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What are you reading? 
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Well, it depends. An underdeveloped story by Alan Moore is still nothing to sneeze at. Plus, Bolland was on fire during this time period--he was turning in fantastic cover art for Grant Morrison's Animal Man run, for example--so he certainly wasn't short on opportunities to show his stuff.

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Thu May 08, 2014 5:03 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Oh yeah, it could be worse. But I imagine writer and artist to be a strained relationship at times

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Thu May 08, 2014 5:05 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Picked up the first three books of Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth series on a very high recommendation... not one I'm too likely to take again.

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Sat May 10, 2014 4:34 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Just started to read Gone Girl. Probably first time when I've decided to read a book when the movie is coming out soon. Usually, I like to watch the movie first so I can be surprised by any kind of plot twists that are in the story and I hear Gone Girl has some good twists. But I decided to read the book first this time.


Sat May 10, 2014 4:58 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Finished Jack Kerouac's On the Road. Mixed on it, even after reading up on the writer and historical context. There are some beautiful passages of poetic power, especially around the music and large group of friends getting together. But it's too rambling for my taste, and things not revolving around Dean Moriarty lack in energy a lot. Such as when Sal is traveling alone in the book's early going-ons. More of a curious peek into a culture and time than a satisfying read on its own.


Thu May 29, 2014 11:23 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Phillip Pullman. Written in style and events of gospels with Pullman-ish spin on things. Sometimes too familiar, but thought-provoking and even powerful towards the end.


Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:02 am
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Vietnam at the Movies by Vietnam veteran Michael Lee Lanning, who reviews over 300 films that either take place during or directly reference the Vietnam war and judges them on how accurate they are, he notes the different types of characters that veterans are portrayed as(killers/rapists, anti-war activists, draft dodgers, shell-shocked and/or disabled vets haunted by the war, superheroes like Rambo) are often untrue stereotypes: In a 1980 Harris survey, 91% of vets surveyed stated they were glad they served their country, and 74% enjoyed their time in the service. When asked if the United States had taken unfair advantage of them, 80% strongly disagreed. Also, a March 1985 Washington Post survey found that Vietnam vets, compared to non veterans of the same age, were more likely to have gone to college, more likely to own a home, and more likely to earn more that $30,000 a year. Other studies have shown equally interesting facts, like that 75% of Vietnam vets were volunteers when in World War II, only 34% of soldiers were volunteers. The Department of Labor in 1982 revealed that at least 90% of Vietnam vets had a job. The Bureau of Justice concluded after a study that Vietnam vets were less likely than non veterans to be in prison. The National Academy of Sciences found that only 20% of Vietnam vets had emotional problems upon return, compared to 25% of World War II soldiers.

It's certainly interesting to see a vet's take on Vietnam centered films, he acknowledges atrocities like My Lai, but says it's wrong to paint every single veteran of the war in a bad light just because of that(and that Jane Fonda was dead wrong about POWs not being tortured), a film doesn't necessarily have to be accurate in order to get a positive review, he enjoys Apocalypse Now in spite of it's numerous inaccuracies(he remarks "anyone who thinks Brando would hang corpses around his camp has never smelled a fresh corpse in Vietnam" or something like that) enjoys Platoon in spite of it's unfair demonization of soldiers(and the unlikeliness of all those events occurring in a mere four months) and enjoys Deer Hunter in spite of the fact that Russian roulette clubs did not exist in Laos, though he does find movies like Taxi Driver, Mean Streets and Easy Rider immensely overrated(with Taxi Driver, he notes that many viewers will blame Vietnam for De Niro's problems, but says that true vets will recognize that he would have problems well before he entered the war).

He also notes the stark difference in tone between WW2 films of the time(the book was written in 1994, before films like Saving Private Ryan came out and showed the darker side of WW2) which were often very positive, and nam films, which were often very cynical and painted authority figures as the bad guys and protesters as the heroes.

Although I do disagree with quite a lot of his reviews(i'm a big fan of all the low-budget 80s and 90s films he pans like Annihilators, Saigon Commando, Strike Commando, Fireback, Tornado, Hangfire, Eye of the Eagle, Exterminator, etc) and I feel that Lanning does seem to whitewash over the atrocities at times(the book also has a number of somewhat glaring spelling errors and occasionally wrong release dates for films, though this was before IMDB was well known so i'm willing to overlook that), the book is nevertheless a fascinating read and can make you see films about Vietnam in a whole new light, I would definitely recommend you check it out.


Sat Sep 13, 2014 2:03 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
An interesting write-up, Vex. I'll admit that while I've never found a lot of the Vietnam actioners from the 80s good from a cinematic standpoint, I find them fascinating from a sociopolitical standpoint, with the attitudes and feelings of the time that they captured. I'll make a mental footnote of the book.

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Sat Sep 13, 2014 2:31 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
An interesting write-up, Vex. I'll admit that while I've never found a lot of the Vietnam actioners from the 80s good from a cinematic standpoint, I find them fascinating from a sociopolitical standpoint, with the attitudes and feelings of the time that they captured. I'll make a mental footnote of the book.

Lanning notes that two groups of people dislike films like the Rambo series for different reasons, liberals feel they glorify war, and veterans feel that they give people an unrealistic viewpoint of combat and causes viewers to wonder how come the soldiers didn't win Vietnam in the first place.


Sat Sep 13, 2014 2:49 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Vexer wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
An interesting write-up, Vex. I'll admit that while I've never found a lot of the Vietnam actioners from the 80s good from a cinematic standpoint, I find them fascinating from a sociopolitical standpoint, with the attitudes and feelings of the time that they captured. I'll make a mental footnote of the book.

Lanning notes that two groups of people dislike films like the Rambo series for different reasons, liberals feel they glorify war, and veterans feel that they give people an unrealistic viewpoint of combat and causes viewers to wonder how come the soldiers didn't win Vietnam in the first place.


Both are legitimate criticisms. And both are very accurate. However, I've never looked to the Rambo films for any sort of realism. Instead, I see them - especially the second and third - as well made propaganda films designed to advance a conservative agenda. Which is also a valid criticism.

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Sat Sep 13, 2014 5:43 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Vexer wrote:
Sexual Chocolate wrote:
An interesting write-up, Vex. I'll admit that while I've never found a lot of the Vietnam actioners from the 80s good from a cinematic standpoint, I find them fascinating from a sociopolitical standpoint, with the attitudes and feelings of the time that they captured. I'll make a mental footnote of the book.

Lanning notes that two groups of people dislike films like the Rambo series for different reasons, liberals feel they glorify war, and veterans feel that they give people an unrealistic viewpoint of combat and causes viewers to wonder how come the soldiers didn't win Vietnam in the first place.


Both are legitimate criticisms. And both are very accurate. However, I've never looked to the Rambo films for any sort of realism. Instead, I see them - especially the second and third - as well made propaganda films designed to advance a conservative agenda. Which is also a valid criticism.

Same here, I enjoy those types of superhero films precisely because they don't aim for realism and instead go for entertainment, and Lanning admits that the films do have exciting moments even though he doesn't entirely agree with their depiction.


Sat Sep 13, 2014 6:45 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Read Michael Crichton's Sphere and Jurassic Park. He knew how to create an interesting story but the man couldn't write characters for shit, and his handling of dialogue and simple he said/she said prose becomes tiresome earlier than not. Spielberg understood Park's potential better than Crichton, and as such it stands as one of the few glowing examples of a film that far surpasses it's source material.

Now I'm halfway through The Terror by Dan Simmons. More on that in 300 pages.

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Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:07 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
JJoshay wrote:
Read Michael Crichton's Sphere and Jurassic Park. He knew how to create an interesting story but the man couldn't write characters for shit, and his handling of dialogue and simple he said/she said prose becomes tiresome earlier than not. Spielberg understood Park's potential better than Crichton, and as such it stands as one of the few glowing examples of a film that far surpasses it's source material.

Now I'm halfway through The Terror by Dan Simmons. More on that in 300 pages.

Agreed, Hammond's character in particular was a real jerk in the book, thankfully he was changed for the better in the film.


Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:11 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
Hammond certainly was more sympathetic in the film. The main strengths of the film over the book however all lay on Spielberg's direction. He understands the sense of awe inherent in the premise and the tension of it's set pieces. Crichton mistakes scientific intrigue with awe and his writing style doesn't lend itself to tension at all.

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Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:32 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading?
I recently finished Michael Cunningham's "The Hours" (made into that 2002 movie with Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman). Now reading Ann Leckie's "Ancillary Justice", which I first heard about on NPR's podcast "Pop Culture Happy Hour".

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Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:28 pm
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