This week I am reviewing Quirk Books’ The Resurrectionist in preparation for this weekend’s Book Expo America. The aesthetics of the book are breathtaking and really bring the book alive, I mean really as soon as I finish this review I’m sending the book to a friend of mine who LOVES Gothic art.
The Resurrectionist is broken into two basic parts, the first being a fictional biography of Dr. Spencer Black–a young biologist who becomes obsessed with proving that human mutations are examples of the body trying to revert to earlier forms of homo-sapiens. The second is a fictional collection of samples of Dr. Black’s work. This second half or “Codex Extinct Animalia” is filled with exquisite sketches of the taxidermy creatures that Dr. Black was supposed to have built out of exhumed bodies and dead animal parts. The sketches are more than mere curiosities, however–they are exact in every detail and strip the taxidermy creatures down to muscles and bones.
The split function of the book is an example of the article that I wrote over a year ago about the publishing world morphing to make books more valuable as physical artifacts. While the first portion of The Resurrectionist could function well as an eBook*, it is the second half that makes this book truly unique as a physical book on the bookshelf.
*The Resurrectionist has been released as an eBook for the kindle, and comes with a disclaimer that the file may take longer to load than most as it contains many oversized images, and has been “optimized for larger screens”
The illustrations in the Codex have all the attention to detail a biologist needs for his studies, and all the whimsy that a fantasy artist’s work needs to be believable. There are eleven creatures included in the book, pulled from fantasy and mythology from all over the world and throughout history. Each creatures gets several pages of description and “sketches” of how it would have existed, according to Dr. Black, had we not evolved into our current human state of boringness. The Codex is apparently built from the late Doctor’s field notes and random lab sketches, and has been assembled posthumously on his behalf as he went insane and then disappeared from the public eye. If the biography itself hadn’t done a thorough enough job convincing you that a man like Dr. Black could have and may have existed, then these sketches and explanations will surely convince you that the fantastic creatures he investigated may have at one time roamed the Earth. What’s truly remarkable about this book is that it brings the fantastic into the real world while still keeping the two apart, like the separation of biography from field guide within the book itself.
The Ressurectionist may not have been quite as successful if the two halves were separated, as neither is particularly unique. However, when artfully sewn together like one of Dr. Black’s “discoveries”, the whole that is created is something to be marveled.
This week’s Cosplay Soptlight is on the badass beauty, Laura Bronkhorst, as Maya the Siren from Borderlands 2! Unfortunately, Laura does NOT have a Facebook page (and we should all be giving her shit about that, because really? LOOK AT THE ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND WHO WOULDN’T WANT MORE PUBLIC W.I.P PHOTOS, COME ON!) but you are more than welcome to go stalk her amazing graphicalness website at http://fourthreestudios.com! All photos by PhotoTsumi, you can check out his website at PhotoTsumi.com or like his Facebook Page! Because at least he has the sense to have one, amirite?
This week I thought I’d dip into my movie library to list some movies you may or may not have seen, but, well probably should. Old movies? Yep. New movies? Some yeah. One’s somewhere in between? You bet! Film is amazing fun and everyone should watch something new even if it might be out of your comfort zone or what you’d be used to. I will be doing a series of posts like this, giving three movies each time for everyone to check out. My picks for this week? In no particular order:
First, two films you should look out for:
Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953) and Mon Oncle (1958) both directed by Jacques Tati.
These two French films are perhaps some of my favorite films ever. Both are directed by French director Jacques Tati and are extremely unusual and original for both the time period and their approach. They are unusual in that they are, pretty much at the core, silent slapstick films. No really, while both have sound, and are bristling alive with French dialogue, such conversation is in general regulated to the background chit and chatter of the beach resort and its patrons in Les Vacances and in the “old quarter” and mechanized suburbs in Mon Oncle. Both films star the director Tati as Monsieur Hulot, a silent bumbling comedic figure in the vein of Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd and modern characters like Mr. Bean. The first film features him going on vacation in a quiet seaside town, the second explores his life adhering to “Old world” lifestyle and struggling to find work and fitting into the new uber modern (to the extent of sterile and heartless) Post-War French suburbia and 1950’s futurist technology and how his resistance affects his young nephew. Don’t be put off by the supposed lack of dialogue. It’s there, and you hardly need to know french to understand as most of the humor is situational, reactionary and slapstick. The music scores for both films also take center stage and contribute a lot. You’ll never miss the dialogue. Both movies are so charming, and Les Vacances is so idyllic you will be dying to go to the beach yourself. I advise to put on sunscreen while watching it, or if it’s warm open your windows, because it will be surely make it a wonderful experience. When it get’s really hot I will probably return to both of these films for their own individual movie reviews, as both are excellent summer films.
Another film? The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) directed by Terry Gilliam
A favorite fantasy film of my childhood that seldom to have seen but it seems most who have it has become a vague dream-like memory. Sort of scary, highly imaginative, it’s Terry Gillliam all over.
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, staring John Neville about the outrageous tall tales that the 18th-century German nobleman Baron Münchhausen was said to have told about his wartime exploits against his nemesis the Ottoman Empire. The movie starts as a play of his exploits but the ancient and decrepit supposedly real Baron interrupts and decries the events as they were told as false. Thus starts a strange and bizarre metatexual what-the-hell-which-is-the-story-and-which-the-present labyrinthine plot that is as fun as it is utterly bizarre. This is Frankenstein level frame story action. Given a 98% percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this film was an absolute FLOP in theaters, which is such a disappointment as the movie was chock full of other celebrities and celebrity cameos, both of classic actors, ones in their prime, and those just beginning their careers. The film stars and features appearances by Valentina Cortese, Eric Idle, Jonathan Pryce…classic Robin Williams too.
Also features freaking Sting, Oliver Reed, an eighteen year old Uma Thurman as the goddess Venus and a very young Sarah Polley. I mean everyone’s in it. seriously you know this film is good when they recreate, in live action Botticelli’s Birth of Venus. One of my favorite scenes in film, ever.
The effects are amazing, being 1988 they still used CGI and special effects, but most the props and articles are actual “things”. Today most of Venus’s shell and the water and her nymphs and their fabric would most likely have been CGI, but this they actually hoisted a giant calm from a fountain and had girls on wirework. Even her Putti pulling the clam’s sash were little anamatronics. The effect, of using real things in the actual filming space, water sloshing around onto the floor, later actual real waterfalls of water really adds a true feeling of magical realism that unfortunately is missing a bit in more current fantasy films where CGI is used for, well, everything.
The movie also has hot air balloons made of underwear, Ottomans (okay just a bit problematic there), and cross-dressing, undead skeletons, giant fish, swashbuckling, supernatural powers and abilities. You really should watch it. I’ll probably return back to this movie too for an individual look.
Oh god is that three beautiful amazing movies already?! This isn’t fair. I’ll have to post three more next week or so. Until the next installment!
Have you seen any of these three films? Please tell me what you think of them! Do you have any movies you think people should watch?! Tell me your suggestions!
Staff Writer/The Doctor
As I sit here in my “There Is Always Money In The Banana Stand” shirt, watching a 24 hour marathon of Arrested Devlopment marathon on IFC, I can’t help but think, “AHHHHHHHHH YESSSSSSSSSS NEW SEASONNNNNNNNNNNN!”.
But then fear sinks in… what if it isn’t as good as before? What if I have to put up with fools who are gonna binge watch the whole season in one sitting (if you do you are doing it wrong) and feel the need to share with everyone that they have already finished.
Anyways, I hope all of you have Netflix and will be watching the first couple episodes tonight/tomorrow. I will be putting up a review for the episodes one by one (even though they are all being released at once) and I hope they are as wonderful as ever. As long as they get one episode as good as “Not without my daughter” then I will be happy.
I’m usually enraged with everyone that runs the show in the mobile consumer space.
Over the years, I’ve found (as well as you’ve found I’m sure) that the major players do their level best to squeeze every copper penny out of the American consumer, trying to back up that squeeze by telling us about service enhancements and whatnot that come with that charge. What AT&T is now doing in that spirit doesn’t even come with a veiled attempt at justification. Soon all AT&T wireless customers will have an additional $0.61 tacked on to their monthly bill. Now sure that doesn’t sound like too much – I mean we’re only talking about an additional hit of $7.32 to your yearly mobile expense, but that adds up. Maybe it doesn’t add up to you personally, but add up that $7.62 per customer over their entire customer base and it adds up a little sweeter to them – to the tune of $500-600 billion added to AT&T’s yearly bottom line.
And why? According to analysts, because they can.
Now let’s take a look at the evil genius of it all.
1. AT&T has a clause in their contracts that if there’s a price increase outside the scope of the contract, the customer has an opportunity to get out of it without having to pay a termination fee. The fact that they call it an administrative fee means it’s not technically a rate increase, so that clause doesn’t apply. Take a look at section 1.3 if you’re interested in their terms of service and make note of administrative fees being explicitly excluded.
2. $0.61 isn’t enough to scare customers away – no one’s going to cancel their contract and pay a huge termination fee over $7.32. Now no one’s going to like it, but it’s jut not enough to quit. This is half a billion dollars pretty much for free as a gift to themselves from all of you. Joe Hoffman, principal analyst at ABI Research had the following to say:
“But why 61¢, why not $1 or $5 or $10? Because AT&T understands price elasticity of demand. When AT&T raises the price by 61¢, they know hardly anyone is going to bail on them, and so can impose this with impunity. $1 or $5 or $10 is just too much to swallow all at once, but give them time. For now, $500 – $600 Million will flow right to the bottom line. Brilliant! No fancy software tools, no focus groups, no high priced engineers and programmers, and no iPhone subsidies. Just a raw, brute force price increase. In six to 9 months, add another fee, then rinse and repeat a few more time. Marketing beats engineering every time!”
Now an AT&T spokesperson says that this is pretty in line with what other carriers do or will charge, and I totally believe it.
It’s $0.61 now, but when is that line going to be $0.90? or $1? It’s going to creep over the years while our phone bills skyrocket, and the average consumer will barely notice. Not exactly much we can do about it, but you should all fully understand what the mobile industry sees us as:
Cash piñatas that always pay out.
Last week, Bethesda announced the development of it’s newest title – Wolfenstein: The New Order. This new installment of the Wolfenstein series takes place in an alternate 1960, in which the Nazis won World War II. Also, the Nazis have the giant death tripods from War of the Worlds, along with several other overzealously destructive weapons. Based on the initial info provided, it seems like a promising first person shooter! Hooray for overthrowing the Nazis! Hooray for alternate realities! Hooray for giant laser beams! Hopefully, for Sony console owners, this game actually works properly.
Perhaps I should explain the original point of this post. I was planning on writing a slightly inflammatory article on why I enjoy Fallout 3 more than Fallout: New Vegas. I have completed both games, and both certainly have their merits and faults. Despite the former’s low level cap, I appreciated Fallout 3 more. I thought the overall plot was more engrossing and darker, the world design was far more accessible, and I was bored by the faction conflicts in New Vegas. More often than not, I was frustrated by New Vegas. Even by Bethesda game standards, I was faced with excessive glitches, malfunctioning quests, and corrupted save files. My entire experience was frustrating and hard to enjoy, and I blamed Obsidian, the company New Vegas was actually developed by, and their poor development team for not putting as much effort into New Vegas as they put into its predecessor.
I played New Vegas on the PS3, and played Fallout 3 on the Xbox 360. When I traded my 360, I lost Fallout 3. Having beaten it completely, I was not really fussed. However, recent I had started getting the Galaxy News Radio music stuck in my head, and I felt an urge to re-visit Fallout at its finest. So I picked up a PS3 copy of the game for $5 from my local GameStop and….found myself plagued by the same constant glitches and corrupted saves that tormented me during my time with New Vegas.
|Hey there Krang! How’ve the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles been lately?|
Bethesda’s poor relations with the PS3 became especially apparent after the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim two years ago. Skyrim certainly was, and remains, a phenomenal game. However, the PS3 version was ridden with glitches, and the game slowed down considerably the longer it was played. The DLC packages released for Skyrim were also unplayable on the PS3 version, and were not released until almost a year after they were released for the 360 and PC. Fans had nothing but a year of uncertainty regarding whether or not they would eventually receive the long-awaited Dawnguard DLC, while Sony and Bethesda bickered over who was to blame.
|“You’d be amazed at how easily a stealthy severed head can get around…and fortunately the Thieves’ Guild believes in the handicapable.|
Are all PS3 ports of Bethesda games doomed to suffer the glitches of corrupted save files, textures which don’t load, and significant slowdowns? Many PS3 owners have boycotted Bethesda games after experiencing constant disappointments and frustrations. Bethesda’s latest release, Dishonored, has seen a much smoother experience on the PS3…but some owners still report glitches which prevent them from getting past the loading screen, and several patches were released to solve frame rate and loading issues. The issues are very minor, but they reinforce the fan-perceived gap between Sony and Bethesda.
I adore the vast majority of Bethesda’s releases, and I have high hopes for the new Wolfenstein title. It is scheduled to be released on the PS3 and the next-generation consoles, and so hopefully Bethesda and Sony can reach a “fresh start” of sorts. It could be that owners of Sony consoles will be able to play Wolfenstein without so much as a hiccup. Or, perhaps the PS4’s initial release bugs will render the game unplayable. All I know is that after several weeks of revisiting endless frustrations and gameplay issues, I hope that Sony and Bethesda can discover some form of compatibility and give their fans some new confidence.