The Misanthrope

In Martin Crimp’s translation of Molière’s The Misanthrope — which transposes the action and plot from the 17th century to the present — the central story is so utterly hit or miss that it’s no wonder the reviews of the latest production at the Comedy Theatre in London have been either raves or, more commonly, total pans. “People speak highly of a pile of shit if they get dressed up and paid fifty quid to see it,” says Alceste, the show’s protagonist, and there’s so much truth in that, it got the biggest laugh of the evening. It’s not, however, true of this particular show. While The Misanthrope certainly has its flaws, its two stars manage to save it from mediocrity.

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Princess and the Frog

A return to Disney's former glory days?

I’m a child of the 90’s. I was a Disney kid. Sure, I remember the day that my mother gave us the ultimatium: you can keep The Disney Channel or the Sega Channel and we chose the snazzier, more interactive option, but regardless, I was at just the right age during the era fondly known by some as “The Disney Renaissance.” I remember singing “Hakuna Matata” on the way home from the movie theater after “The Lion King” and I couldn’t tell you how many times I rewound my VHS tape of “The Little Mermaid” so that I could memorize the words to “Under The Sea.”

But as much as I loved those films, and as colorblind as I was to them when I was a child, I can still remember my mother express her disappointment upon seeing trailers for “Aladdin.” The film featured some of the first Disney characters with darker skin, and they weren’t what she considered ‘black’. Of course, “Aladdin” was (and still is) an amazing movie, and I still respect the film for what it is, but as a child, Disney had yet to get around to creating a Disney Princess who looked like me.

And then Disney stopped making traditionally animated movies altogether. When Dreamworks started churning out Shrek movies and Pixar enjoyed year after year of both critical and box office successes, Disney’s contribution to the market were films like “Chicken Little” and “Meet the Robinsons”. While they were still decent kid movies, for me, the name Disney no longer brought to mind yearly mini-musicals, chock full of as much thinly veiled adult humor as kid-friendly sight gags.

That is, until about a year and a half ago, when I caught wind of “The Princess and the Frog.” With Disney now under the creative control of Pixar’s John Lasseter, and the news that the movie would be helmed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the team responsible for “Aladdin”, I was looking forward to the movie before I even knew the cast, the plot, or that Randy Newman would be creating the music. Even as the inevitable racial controversies emerged over the title of the film (then, “The Frog Princess”), the heroine’s name (then, ‘Maddy’) and station (then, chambermaid), and the fact that a ‘black princess’ had coincidentally emerged just as America embraced their first black President (though some people forget that animated movies take far more than year to make it from conception, to script to actual theatrical release…) I had faith that Disney had the right pieces in place to become the creator of quality and classic animated film that I remembered so fondly from my childhood.
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What the Hell, Marvel.

Okay, look. I know complaining about the way women in comic books are drawn is like yelling into a hurricane, but Siryn is my absolute favorite comic book character, full stop.

X-Factor’s next issue is being renumbered to 200 (counting this and the previous two volumes) and there is some great art coming out for it. The variant covers are great, and this amazing team spread will be the main cover:

X-Factor 200

I love the team redesign. I love that after 10 issues apart they’re finally back together in New York again. I love that they all look badass, I love the new costumes, I love that they match, I love it all. What I don’t love is Siryn’s redesign.

The previous issue (#50 before the renumbering) used this spread as a teaser for issue 200, and I loved it then. Nix and I spent at least half an hour talking about how much we love it. I loved it so much I had to take a picture of it on my webcam so I could shove it in my friends faces and tell them how much I loved it:

Notice anything different?

Of all the things to edit, why did Siryn have to lose half her shirt? Monet’s got enough sex appeal to cover all three women, and it’s in character for her to show that much skin. Considering what she’s just been through in the past month or so of comic book time (from having her baby, losing her baby and finally facing Jamie, even though he was a dupe), it’s almost inappropriate for Siryn to bare  so much. Not that I’m saying a woman can’t show whatever she wants if she’s comfortable, but historically, Siryn’s shown just cleavage. She had a bare midriff for a very short time in X-Force, but that costume was lost to the ether when she lost her powers and left the book.

So, what gives? Layla gets to keep her body covered (though she used to be 15, so that’s probably for the best), but to counteract all the testosterone in X-Factor they have to give Siryn less? Was the cleavage in her original X-Factor costume not enough? Should I stop asking questions, because I’m just another woman complaining about the way women are dressed in comics?

(That’d be a no.)

I think what bothers me most is that the Marvel higher ups obviously vetoed the original design and asked them to edit Siryn’s new uniform. Which is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard off, because she is a pure (and sexy) badass in the redesign without showing  any skin.

Oh, and let’s not forget: she flies. So not only is she dressed in half a shirt, but she’ll freeze when she’s in the air. Great thinking there, Marvel.

It’s not too much to want my favorite character be treated properly, is it?

On a scale from one to Nine

With its dazzling trailers, full of renowned actresses and flashy dance sequences, accompanied by Fergie’s rendition of “Be Italian” and a new song written for Kate Hudson, Rob Marshall’s stage-to-screen adaptation of the musical Nine is certainly eye-catching.

Inspired by Fellini’s film 8 1/2, Nine is the story of Guido Contini, an Italian director played by Daniel Day-Lewis, and the many, many women in his life, primarily his wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his lover Carla (Penelope Cruz) and his muse Claudia (Nicole Kidman). Standing on the other side of forty, Contini faces failure after a long and successful career, suddenly faced with the disintegration of his latest movie and his marriage alike. Judi Dench and Sophia Loren round out the cast in this star vehicle as Contini’s mentor and mother respectively.

With only two weeks left before its Christmas day release, Nine seems full of promise. The soundtrack, recently released digitally, however, suggests otherwise.

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I’d like to preface this by noting that I’m a big fan of Chuck. Big fan. I love that show. It speaks to me.

And that’s exactly why I have some concerns.

As has been widely reported, Chuck returns on January 10, and the promotional blitz for that is starting out. Here’s a six minute preview of the new season:

Exciting, no? Well… yes. But it also reinforces the concerns I had at the end of the last season. Continue Reading »

It is very rare that a game can so engross you in the plot line it’s nearly impossible to put down. Dragon Age: Origins was that game for me, and I was pleased to see it offered just about everything I could have looked for in a video game experience. It is one of the very few games I have played in recent memories that literally took me on a sort of rollercoaster ride.

Now, I am going to try to go light on the spoilers, but I will warn you there will be some (especially about the beginning of the main plot) spoken of in this article. You’ve been told!

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First the rumors were March, then NBC ordered an additional six episodes and rumor surfaced that the show’s third season would be brought back early, possibly as early as late October. October came and went without so much as a word as to when Chuck would actually come back.

Today, the news broke from NBC.
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