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by Bill Gibron

4 Mar 2010

If you’re looking for a parallel, how about starting with Hook. You remember Hook, don’t you - the high concept rewriting of Peter Pan that was supposed to signify Steven Spielberg’s more mature fulfillment of his F/X fantasy propensities? The Robin Williams/Dustin Hoffman vehicle that took J. M. Barrie’s tale of ageless whimsy and rewired it to a hectic post-Greed decade gimmick? Expectations were massive, especially since Mr. ET was seen as the only person who could make this otherwise conceivably cloying concept work…and guess what? He failed miserably. While more or less tolerable, Hook is now seen as the source for much Spielberg soul searching. The result? The ridiculously addictive return to form, Jurassic Park, and the Oscar-worthy aesthetic wake-up call his career was demanding - Schindler’s List.

So if you’re looking to give the water-treading work of 2010 Tim Burton a shot in the substance, let’s link his look at Alice and her adventures in “Underland” and the seeming sense of self-referential mockery he is presently locked into. When it was announced that everyone’s favorite Gothic goofball was exploring the possibilities of Lewis Carroll’s love letter to some unrequited Victorian jailbait, many in movie fandom started to froth. Just imagine, Tim Burton taking on such noble literary icons as The Cheshire Cat, the Red Queen, the hookah smoking Caterpillar, and most importantly, the always Mad Hatter. With his wild imagination and ability to translate it to celluloid, it seemed like a perfect cinematic marriage. The initial teaser trailer kept said tongues wagging and working overtime.

by Rob Horning

4 Mar 2010

I loved board games as a kid, which is how I ended up with the game Anti-Monopoly, which billed itself as the “bust-the-trust game.”

I don’t think I ever succeeded in getting anyone to play it with me, or even understanding how the rules worked, but according to its Wikipedia page, players were supposed to “compete to return the state of the board to a free market system.” It’s hard to tell from that whether it was subversive or not. Perhaps there was an option for players to nationalize the monopolies in the name of revolutionary socialism and become oligarchic bureaucrats.

by Oliver Ho

4 Mar 2010

not simple unfolds like an intricately constructed piece of origami. Start with the title. It isn’t ‘complicated’, for example. ‘Not’ and ‘simple’: the two words appear late in the story, when one character attempts to describe what she thinks of the main character in this unusual manga. She calls him ‘pure’ and ‘innocent’:

‘But not like a child. You’re hard to grasp. You’re not simple’, she says.

Those few words encapsulate the entire 316 page story. They’re practically a haiku.

by Steve Leftridge

4 Mar 2010

The big question on the minds of Idol Nation all day Wednesday was whether or not Crystal Bowersox would be cleared to perform. Bowersox was hospitalized for an undisclosed malady on Tuesday, and if she were unable to perform, she would be, according the show’s rules, disqualified from the entire competition, a fate that Tuesday night’s boy-girl swap was an attempt to avoid. The show’s producers, though, must have been dry heaving. Had she not been able to sing Wednesday, the show would have lost its most promising contestant, and it can hardly afford such a setback as weak as the overall field is.

On Wednesday, the girls were, like the boys the night before, typically hot and cold. Randy Jackson was exasperated all night, offering identical responses to nearly every contestant: “Uhnnghh, I don’t know, dude; you didn’t bring anything new to it. I don’t know. What do you think, E? [Enjoys a swig of healthy and delicious Vitamin Water Zero]”. A couple of times, Randy did provide his highest compliment: “That was hot”. It’s one of the show’s most reliable broken-record catchphrases along with “If I’m being honest” (Simon), “You’re adorable” (Ellen), and “There were a couple of little pitch problems” (everyone, ad nauseam). So to work it out with the Dawg, here are Wednesday’s Hot Awards:

Hot Performance: Crystal. She didn’t just show up against the odds, she killed it, leading off the show with a version of CCR’s “As Long as I Can See the Light” that slayed the field before the competition had even begun and made all of the others look like little girls. Bowersox may be saving a sinking-ship of a show, if only by reshaping the show’s archetypes. She claims that she’d never watched American Idol before auditioning, and you can believe it since she’s like no contestant before her. Bowersox brings elements of hard-singing folk-soul singers from Janis Joplin to Melissa Etheridge with terrific natural instincts for rhythm, nuance, power, and taste. If her own songs are good, it’s easy to see her attracting an enthusiastic crowd at next year’s Bonnaroo Festival, something you can’t say about any former Idol contestant.

by Crispin Kott

4 Mar 2010

Maybe I’m showing my age here, but I can actually remember information gleaned more than five minutes ago. Sure, in an increasingly Twitterized world, if it didn’t just happen, maybe it never happened at all. But are there really people over two weeks old who don’t know who John Lennon is?

That’s apparently Sean Lennon’s fear. How do I know? Because the deceased former Beatle’s youngest son said exactly that on his official Twitter page. Or rather that’s what he tweeted. Twittered? Twaddled? Forgive me—I’m too consumed with moral Beatle outrage to keep up with the terminology.

//Mixed media

Players Lose Control in ‘Tales from the Borderlands’

// Moving Pixels

"This is an interactive story in which players don’t craft the characters, we just control them.

READ the article