Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

I’ve heard it said that Fahrenheit 451 (1953) is a poor novel because the theme is too obvious. I think that it has to be obvious in order to be understood by every half-wit who tries to ban Harry Potter. It’s about more than censorship, too. It’s about thinking independently and realizing that happiness is not the same thing as fulfillment.

And don’t believe my review, read it for yourself. Let’s talk about it.

Justice League: The New Frontier (2008) takes place in the 1950’s. It centers around the formation of the Justice League, with the Cold War and the space race as a backdrop. The animation was stylized for the 50’s, but it seemed more detailed than Doomsday. Hal Jordan’s hallucinogenic freakout was my favorite part.


Captain America & Black Widow - Cullen Bunn, Francesco Francavilla

This five-issue arc takes Cap and Black Widow on a mission through alternate dimensions. The artwork is beautiful (though this cover doesn’t do it justice) and the story is solid.

The animated feature Superman: Doomsday (2007) tells an important chapter in the mythology of Superman. The fight between Superman and Doomsday is an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.

Doing a superhero movie as an animated feature creates a great balance between camp and grit. You can have all the explosions you want, but it’s still a cartoon. I think that’s the greatest challenge with live-action superhero movies.


Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Besides being one of the most exciting and violent additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) is also the most political. The entire plot revolves around the traumas of being a soldier and the issues of security vs. freedom. There are heavy allusions to the United States’ drone strike program.

I especially enjoyed The Winter Soldier because of its connections to the Agents of SHIELD television series. There were also numerous references to other characters in the Marvel Universe and at least one Pulp Fiction reference. Props to Agent Sitwell for mentioning Iowa City.

I want you to think of E.T. but British and scary. Double that, and you’re starting to understand Attack the Block (2011). It’s about a group of teens defending their neighborhood from an alien invasion. More than that, it’s about privilege and the true victims of the war on drugs. We have more in common with our friends across the pond than we like to let on.

The monster design for Attack the Block is original and fantastic. The defining characteristics: neon blue fangs and fur that’s blacker than black. Terrifying. The characters describe them best as “big alien gorilla wolf motherfuckers.” And the score by electronic duo Basement Jaxx is shiny but vicious, the perfect tone for this monster movie.

I highly recommend Attack the Block for anyone who enjoys horror, kidventures, or social justice.


French New Wave is weird. Beautiful and insightful, but weird. Alphaville (1965) is about a detective in the future. He’s sent on a mission to Alphaville, a  dystopian city ruled by logic and super-computers.

There are a lot of big themes here, and I don’t think it’s possible to digest it all in one viewing. I think the biggest theme is that living purely by the rules of logic is inherently illogical.

Jean-Luc Godard’s vision of the future is pretty stylish though.


A strange kind of poetry:

"An entire town bathed in pulsing human blood! Madmen crazed for carnage!"

Two Thousand Maniacs! (1964). 


The citizens of Pleasant Valley, a southern town, are still bitter about the Civil War. They celebrate the town’s centennial by striking violent vengeance on a few travelers from the north.

In most modern horror flicks, the focus is on jump scares that catch the audience off-guard. In films like Two Thousand Maniacs (1964), it’s the opposite. The scary parts are slower in order to make you really think about it. The audience is forced to imagine in detail what it feels like to be tied down and crushed by a boulder. Maybe modern audiences crave faster scares because they have less imagination. And maybe I’m the last one to figure this out.

Two Thousand Maniacs is filled with laughable dialogue and grating accents. Watch this with friends, but don’t watch it with friends who are offended by redneck jokes.

we drifted apart

because the universe just

won’t stop expanding


Don Jon

The thing about romantic-comedies is that the relationships are usually based on the assumed fantasy of the stereotypical woman. They’re made for their target audience. Don Jon (2013) examines the stereotypical man’s fantasy. The idea is that men and women have different fantasies of the perfect relationship, but that both of these ideals are one-sided.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s debut as a director and writer is impressive. The repetition of shots was great and showed Jon’s development as a character. I applaud him for making a film about one of the most uncomfortable subjects known to humanity.

You can watch Don Jon on Netflix, but only if you think you can handle it.