Maleficent: For the Love of Purple & Green...

By Jason Haggstrom, October 31, 2012

It's October, and with the changes of Autumn come fall colors. Between the descending leaves and the presence of pumpkins, we're accustomed to seeing plenty of orange and yellow at this time of year. But the Halloween season brings forth another, less natural combination of colors. It's a union of colors that resonates with me more than any other. It's that luscious pairing of purple & green.

I have the distinct memory of seeing Disney's Sleeping Beauty in the theatre as a kid. IMDb lists Sleeping Beauty as being re-released in September of 1979 (it's original run was in 1959), which would have made me 3½. Seeing that film for the first time, and in such a magnificent setting, was a formative experience.

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The Movies of my Childhood, Coming in 2011: Tintin

By Jason Haggstrom, December 26, 2011

The Adventures of Tintin logoWhat, exactly, does "Tintin" mean to you? There's a very good chance that for you, "Tintin" is simply the title to Steven Spielberg's new, mo-cap animated film that opened in theatres this past week... and nothing more. But for me "Tintin" isn't just a funny sounding name for a character or movie. Tintin is a passion that has been with me for most of my life. Tintin was my gateway drug to the world of comics, a medium that I grew to adore as much as any other, and that I still love today.

Tintin in America is the first comic book that I can recall reading. Well, there had always been the comic strips in the daily newspaper, but that's not quite the same. I discovered a few Adventures of Tintin books in a dark, neglected section of a local book store back in 1983 or '4. Back then, graphic novels and other comic collections just weren't stocked at traditional book stores so finding comics—especially comics that I'd never even heard of—felt like a wondrously odd and magical discovery. I was in second grade—eight years old, or about to be. In the years that followed, I picked up copies of all the Adventures of Tintin books; I've probably read each of them a dozen times. And now, 28 years since my first encounter with the character, we have a Tintin movie created by one of our greatest filmmakers. My expectations for the film are high. Unreasonably so. No current film project is dearer to my heart than this one.

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The Movies of my Childhood, Coming in 2011: Wolverine

By Jason Haggstrom, November 27, 2010

The first issue of the 1982 limited series, Wolverine, starring the popular X-Men character of the same name was the first comic I ever bought off a comic store wall. For those who are unfamiliar with comic shops (yeah, I know, that's most of you), the method of displaying prominent, pricey back issues used to be hanging them on the wall behind the counter in what amounted to a giant mural of comic covers arranged in a grid that went from floor to ceiling and from one edge of the wall to the other. This was an incredibly cool way to showcase comics. As a kid, when you bought an issue off of that wall (and left a hole in the collage), it made you feel like some kind of comic-acquiring rock star. When I saw the first issue of the series with Frank Miller's cover drawing of Wolverine in close-up, beckoning an unseen opponent to step forward and meet his demise, I knew I had to have it. When I finally cracked open the book, its classic opening line only re-confirmed that I'd made a fantastic purchase. "I'm the best at what I do. But what I do best isn't very nice." That's some serious attitude. That's Wolverine. Or, at least that was the Wolverine of the comics, especially in the first decade of his existence.

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Variations on RED, White, & Blue Black

By Jason Haggstrom, October 15, 2010

The movie RED opens in theaters today, but don't take the fact that I'm commenting on it to be an indication that you should rush out to see it or anything. In fact, I've found that far more interesting than the prospect of the film itself is the variations between the French and American posters used to market it. Where the American posters overwhelm the senses with the iconography of violence and mayhem, the posters in France indicate that the film is something else entirely: a black comedy.

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Mad Men in Still Life

By Jason Haggstrom, July 23, 2010

Leading in to the Mad Men season four premier this Sunday, AMC has published a series of stunning portraits by photographer Frank Ockenfels 3. His images are dramatic works of art that capture, in the most iconic sense, some of the characters and themes from the show and its upcoming season.

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Violence as Fetish in Zach Snyder's Watchmen

By Jason Haggstrom, April 18, 2010

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' comic book series Watchmen has often been cited as a deconstructionist text.1 By placing his story in a realistic setting and showing his heroes to be flawed, self-serving, nihilistic, and even sociopathic characters, Moore forces his readers to consider whether the archetypical superhero might be better left to the fantasies of fiction. One of Moore's primary methods in this deconstruction is the use of graphic violence to illustrate the harsh reality of a world populated with superheroes that have no problem taking the law into their own hands and dispensing various forms of vigilante justice. Unfortunately, in creating the film adaptation of Watchmen, director Zach Snyder has elevated the violent aspects of the source text in ways that often alter the thematic purposes that the violence originally represented in the comic series.

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