Friday, December 30, 2011

Mini-Reviews: War Horse, The Muppets, Limitless

We’re coming up on January which means that we’re approaching three things relevant to this blog: 1) My Top Ten Movie list, 2) The Academy Award nominations and, of course, 3) Beta is Dead’s Second Year Anniversary. On top of that I have an extremely specific film in mind for my first review of 2012, yet I had wanted to write a few more before then. It seemed like a good time to play catch-up so I decided to do another round of Mini-Reviews and do a few of movies I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t been able to.

Like last time this will be shorter and more to the point, lacking the rant elements of my normal review. Less funny: perhaps. More likely to result in me being looked at a serious reviewer: Maybe. And in the end that’s what’s important: the recognition and praise of total strangers.

Today I’m reviewing Limitless, The Muppets, and War Horse. Click below to check them out.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

I in fact watched original film adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo last year with the intention of reviewing it for this blog but for whatever reason I never got around to it. With the Hollywood “remake” looming I planned on re-watching the film this past summer and reviewing it then but again I didn’t get around to it. So, kind of out of nowhere, the new film was suddenly out in theaters and I still hadn’t reviewed its predecessor. Sometimes you just have to say “I’m beat” and move on.

So anyway this flick, like the 2009 version, is based on the best selling Swedish novel of the same name (Though technically in Sweden its original name translates to “Men Who Hate Women”, which is a depressingly accurate title) by Stieg Larsson, the first book of the Millennium Series. Apparently when he was 15 years old Larsson saw a young woman being gang raped. The scene haunted him for decades and he never forgave himself for not helping her. This led him to write these books, which deal heavily with the theme of sexual violence against women and the deserved backlash towards the men who committed them. The books are international sensations and so movies were inevitable. The three books were all turned into films in Sweden and the movie we are reviewing today is the first attempt on Hollywood to get a piece of that sweet, sweet Dragon Tattoo cake.

God help us all.

Okay, so this film is directed by David Fincher who also directed my favorite movie Fight Club as well as one of my favorite films of 2010 The Social Network, both also based on books. So, in theory, this flick has a decent chance of not completely sucking despite Hollywood’s seemingly unending goal of ruining everything that is good and pure on planet Earth. If you recall in my review of the Social Network I very briefly mention that Rooney Mara had been cast in the lead role and that I was unhappy with that decision. Well...

Find out more after the jump.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Housekeeping: KZOO Music Scene and SMCS Podcasts

Happy Holidays, everyone. And, in case I don’t get to post before then, Merry Christmas. I again apologize for the severe lack of updates throughout November and December. As I said before I was working on, and failing to complete, a novel for National Novel Writing Month. I’m hoping to get back in the swing of updating more often; I’ve said several times in the past that I want to dedicate more of my life to this blog and the best way to do that is to keep writing after all. 

But today I want to get some housekeeping stuff out of the way as there are a few outstanding issues I wanted to make you aware of. 

Number one is that earlier this year I was hired as a featured writer for KZOO Music Scene, a local music website. However within the last month I was promoted to Head Writer and thus I now oversee a staff. I mention this because if you’d like to see something written by me that’s not inherently nerdy go check the website out. My articles are listed as being written by some guy named “Jason S. Leverett.” Also you can find profiles on a bunch of local Kalamazoo bands and also other Michigan bands as well so if you’re a music lover it’s a cool site to check out even if you actually hate my writing style (But if you did then why are you here?). 

Number two: I’m happy to announce that the Saturday Morning Cartoon Show Podcast is back! Long time readers will note that I periodically do a companion blog for the weekly radio show I co-host in Kalamazoo and the resulting podcast. Since this past summer, through no fault of my own, they stopped uploading. Happily they’ve begun again, though they’re not in order and there’s a ton of them missing. Still there’s Life with Louie, Eureka’s Castle, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and others so there’s still some good stuff to find. Click here for the link. Remember: click the “RSS feeds” tab once you find the SMCS archives for the new entries. 

Those are the two important things but since I’m doing all this self-promotion anyway I’d like to remind you all that I’m in a band. That band has a new page full of music you can check out. Click here if interested. Again Happy Holidays, everyone. I’m hoping to get a several reviews out of the course of the next week. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nerd Rage #9b: More Superhero Marriages

Oh no!  I suddenly can't relate to Spider-Man anymore!
Everyone knows young people NEVER get married!!!!
Last time we talked about Superhero Marriage and I plan on continuing that today.  It was going to be one long blog but the length was getting out of control, thus the need for breaking it up.   If haven’t checked it out yesterday’s post d so by clicking here.  So far we’ve discussed the relationships that ended for one reason or another but for this blog we’ll look into those that have managed to last.

Happily Ever Afters will be found below.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Nerd Rage #9a: Superhero Marriage (150th Blog)

I deeply apologize for the lack of updates in November.   I kind of let things get away from me there.  Long story short I was participating in (And failing at) National Novel Writing Month and whatever writing I did last month I did for that.  Then I was kind of burnt out from writing.  Also I got a writing job for Kzoo Music Scene and I have been a bit busy with that as well (But I’ll properly plug that later this week).  Then again I didn’t get any comments or e-mails asking about where I was so I’ll go ahead and assume you guys weren’t all that worried.

Anywho if you have in fact been eagerly anticipating the 150th blog of Beta is Dead your dreams have finally come true.  Today, as with pretty much all the major and minor milestones I celebrate here, we’ll be talking about comic books; especially the topic of Superhero Marriages.

How long before DC tries to have another "Wedding of the Century" stunt?
If you read my 100th (And 99th) blog you’ll recall that I was particularly bothered by Marvel Comics' decision to retcon the marriage of Spider-Man and his long, long time love interest Mary Jane Watson.   While I had several reasons for my distaste one of the bigger cons I had for it was the reasoning behind why it needed to be erased in the first place.  Now at the time I didn't think too much of it, aside for my overall disapproval towards Spider-Man comics that continues to this day, but recently I've started wondering if comic book creators have something against their characters being married.  Now superheroes have be through divorces in the past and certainly wives and husbands have died off before as well but in one of the more frustrating aspects of the DCnU reboot this past fall has been that DC Comics have removed several established marriages in the hero community.  This was no doubt an attempt, or maybe even simply a “side effect”, on their part to re-establish their characters as being younger (And probably “hipper” since as we learned from Spider-Man no superhero can be “cool” and “married”, yuck-yuck-yuck). So the current Flash The False, well established grandfather Barry Allen, is no longer married to Iris West (Whom he married decades ago), Superman and Lois Lane have reverted back to the Silver Age of Comics where she somehow had been too stupid to figure out that guy she knows in the glasses is also the Man in Steel, and Wally West (The One True Flash) and Linda Park…well I’m not even sure Wally still exists in this new continuity, let alone his two children who have surely been erased.

This has made me think: traditionally how have superhero comics (Particular Marvel and DC since they both seem to be tied to traditional much more than small imprints like, say, Image Comics) treated holy matrimony and do writers seem to actively prefer single heroes.  I don’t have the answer to that.   But I thought I would talk about superhero marriages in general.

The sanctity of marriage is challenged after the jump.