Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

Posts tagged “Rashida Jones

Film Review – The Muppets (2011)

I grew up with the Muppets in a sort of second hand way. The original Muppet phenomenon occurred in the seventies, about ten years before I was born actually. But the Muppets have this staying power that keeps them relevant and when I was a kid I remember actively being influenced by Jim Henson’s creations in more than a few different forms. I had a VHS copy of The Muppet Movie that I wore out pretty badly over the years and I was always watching re-runs of The Muppet Show whenever I could manage. Of course I also grew up on Sesame Street and Muppet Babies and Fraggle Rock still holds a special place in my heart. Over the years the quality of Muppet films seems to have dropped pretty hard with the last decent one I remember being Muppet Treasure Island, though that was mostly due to Tim Curry hamming it up more than anything. Muppets in Space was just about terrible and I vaguely remember a Muppet Wizard of Oz that did nothing for me. So while the Muppets have been a perpetual part of pop-culture for over forty years, kids today don’t really know what its like to have a legitimately amazing Muppet film on the big screen.

Well, this Thanksgiving we have cause to celebrate because Jason Segel and Nick Stoller have written the ultimate love-letter to the Muppets and served it up to us as their triumphant comeback film. The Muppets is every bit as great as you would expect. What makes it so special however is why it works as well as it does. Everything I said in my introduction really sets the stage for why this latest installment is so amazing. The Muppets is a nostalgia trip for people like myself who grew up loving the Muppets in their many different forms. There is an introspective quality to the film in its examination of what Jim Henson’s creations meant to more than a few generations of kids. This isn’t just a good Muppet movie, it’s a good film. I will be the first to admit that while I absolutely love The Muppet Movie, it’s not really a good film, construction wise. That isn’t really the case here, as plotlines are developed and resolved fairly organically. At least as organically as they can be in a film populated by marionette puppets.

All of that aside the best part of the film is that it’s a truly fun romp. The Muppet spirit is alive with this movie in a way it hasn’t been in quite a while. The cameos, the bad puns, the self-aware humor. It’s all handled in a way that never fails to put a smile on the face of the audience. I was afraid that children who didn’t have the same attachment to the characters that I did wouldn’t enjoy the film but I was proven wrong by their excitement as they left the theater. I think this movie will allow for a whole new generation to fall in love with the Muppets and that alone is enough to make me happy.

Rating: 9/10

Weekly Comic Review

I Do Not Actually Look Like Jesse Custer

I think I may have bought more books this week than I did all of last month. My box got flooded with books, a lot of them new titles that I decided to pick up not realizing they would all be dropped on my broke ass in a single day. Curse my undying love for Booster Gold and Birds of Prey!

MAR100190 BATGIRL #10 $2.99
MAR100185 BATMAN #699 $2.99
MAR100222 BOOSTER GOLD #32 $2.99
MAR100171 FLASH #2 (BRIGHTEST DAY) $2.99
MAR100499 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #631 $2.99
MAR100526 BLACK WIDOW #2 HA $2.99
FEB100436 FALLEN SIEGE $3.99
MAR100540 HULK #22 WWHS $3.99
MAR100551 IRON MAN LEGACY #2 $2.99
MAR100590 NEW MUTANTS #13 XSC $2.99
FEB100421 SIEGE #4 (OF 4) $3.99
FEB100426 SIEGE EMBEDDED #4 (OF 4) $3.99
MAR100610 X-FACTOR FOREVER #3 $3.99
MAR101102 FRENEMY OF THE STATE #1 (OF 5) $3.99

And I actually read some of them. And here’s the reviews…


You know, the general consensus on the work of Grant Morrison seems to be that he deals in the utterly cerebral. The subtle hints dropped throughout his Batman run that led up to this mini-series being a perfect indicator of how he works within the confines of Bruce Wayne’s mind. He understands characterization better than just about anybody, and a good number of people miss out on this because they’re too eager to shoehorn him into an all-encompassing category, usually that he’s “weird” or some other descriptive adjective that doesn’t do his work justice.

If there’s a way to describe this particular mini-series, it’s simply a true high-concept piece. The idea of Batman interjected into different time periods and forced to deal with his situation in the manner that Batman would. It’s really quite brilliant. We begin with Batman in the caveman era, seemingly confused to the point of being rendered unable to process speech. So we get what is essentially the basest concept of the Batman dealing with the basest form of humanity. It feels like something that Kirby would have done if he had a shot at the Dark Knight.

I won’t delve too deeply into the book, because in all honesty you could write a thesis on Morrion’s take on the bat. I will say that this issue indicates, to me at least, that we’re going to get a damned fine miniseries out of all this.


I quickly got tired of Birds of Prey after Gail Simone left a few years back. Everything that came afterward felt like a car spinning its wheels in a pit of mud and never being able to find any traction. With Gail back however, it seems like whatever element was missing after her exodus is tossed back in and the book is able to find its footing with a real sense of authority. We get the whole old crew back together again, interacting in a way that feels realistic and human and recent Blackest Night resurrectees Hawk and Dove find a spot in the book as well, giving us a reason for that Brightest Day banner splashed across the cover.

I’m glad that aside from the characters themselves appearing in the book that the issue seems more focused on moving forward from the point the old series left of rather than turning this into a de-facto spin off of Brightest Day. While I am forcing myself to continue that series out of some sort of literary masochism, (I should read that book wearing a ball-gag, I swear) I have no desire to read about the event anywhere outside of the main title. I read Birds of Prey because I like Birds of Prey, not because a Green Lantern event forced me to.

Let me say that I did love the book. And if Gail is reading this she should know that I am eternally grateful for giving us a book that has strong characterization placed alongside a tightly plotted narrative. The writing is not decompressed or padded, and everything moves along in a way that feels appropriate. That having been said, where is Misfit, Gail? Her exclusion gives me the sads. BRING BACK MISFIT!

Aside from that quabble, great book all around.


I want to say first and foremost, that the idea of calling the a “Finale” seems odd in the face of the book continuing with a new number one. It’s actually more of an interlude, I guess. But it does seem like a finale in the regard that it caps off the last few years of the book and makes the series seem like a self-contained entity. I think this is perhaps to differentiate this incarnation of the book from the next, which doesn’t seem to bare much similarity to this one aside from Bendis’ name on the cover. It will have an entirely different tone, from what I’ve seen and it makes me wonder why they didn’t choose a different title.

The book itself feels like a mixture of an unofficial fifth issue of Siege as well as an epilogue to the series itself. The scope of the book is great, and the action contained within the book feels like classic superhero storytelling with the stylistic flair of Bendis’ modern age. It’s a book that if it were a movie would have people cheering as the bad guys finally get their comeuppance and the world is set right again.

Simply put, Bendis got this one right.


Oni Press does some good work. They put out entertaining books that don’t fit the mold of other publishers. This in particular feels like something that JJ Abrams would have put together as a spinoff from Alias. The meshing of social media and the inner circles of celebrity madness with undercover spy action seems like something that would make for really great television but it also comes together really well as a comic book.

The book is notable for being written at least in part by utterly adoreable Rashida Jones, which is partially why I picked the book up in the first place. I’m going to admit that it makes no sense for me to do so because it’s not like her presense is really in any way tangible. I didn’t know she had ever written a word of anything in her life before this, I just think she’s cute. Now I know that she’s talented beyond what I’ve seen on Parks & Rec. Who knew?


That’s it. I’m not reviewing the Hulk books because I don’t really think I can say anything without ranting about the identity reveal in Hulk 22. Jeph Loeb inspires many emotions in me, and this one brought out the bad ones. Bad, bad emotions!

So, next time, then…