When the Sparrow Falls now available on Net Galley!

Hey you! Do you live in North America? Are you functionally literate?

Then we have much to discuss…

My debut novel is now available for review at Net Galley and you can request an Advance Review Copy HERE. Why not request one and give it a review? Give me one good reason. Exactly, you can’t.

 

A poem.

Former President Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump (former)

Donald Trump, former president.

The ex-president, DJ Trump.

Donald Trump, 45th of 46 US Presidents, thus far.

The last guy.

The previous occupant.

Donald Trump, who was president, and is no more.

And is no more.

“Well, at least we can all agree the third one’s always the worst.”

“2021! We made it, people! We beat the hell year!”

“Everything’s going to be great now, and we don’t have to worry about that awful coronavirus anymore because it just magically vanished at the stroke of midnight like a Fairy Godmother’s pumpkin coach!”

“Uh, Mouse?”

“Who dares interrupt my hubris?”

“Sorry, but it looks like the virus heard we’d created a vaccine and took it…kinda…personally…”

“YAAAAAAAAAAARGGHHHH!!”

“Oh please. So this “mutant strain” is a touch more virulent, how bad can it really be?”

“Oh crap.”

***

Hi. Welcome to the blog. Make yourselves at home. WASH YOUR GODDAMN HANDS AND DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING IT MAY BE TRANSMITTABLE THROUGH THE INTERNET BY THIS POINT WHO KNOWS YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT CAN DO.

Ahem. So, here in Ireland we’re back in full lockdown as the virus runs rampant through the streets, overturning cars and making lewd comments at our gentle lady folk. As a result, we’re keeping Mini and Micro Mouse at home which means I’ve been full time Dadding it for the last few weeks. Which is my weasely way of saying that this review is going to be very short as I’ve been spending every waking hour minding my awful time sucking monsters sweet, darling little angels.

“Can I watch five solid hours of Avatar the Last Airbender again?”

“Does Daddy have the strength or will to stop you?”

“No.”

“Then. Why. Ask?”

Oh and it’s a shame too, such a gosh darned shame that I won’t be able to spend much time on X-Men Apocalypse. Such a layered work. So brimming with craft and ideas and actors clearly giving it their all and happy to be there. So obviously not directed by a man giving instructions from his trailer as the chickens of his past behaviour come home to roost. So…I can’t maintain this level of sarcasm, I’m not as young as I used to be, I HATE THIS MOVIE.

Not fun hatred either. Not the kind of hate that gets you pumped and excited to tear this thing a new critic hole. Just weary, dispassionate disgust at the whole bloated mess.

But I was going to give it a full length review, honest. Just couldn’t because of the mutant corona virus. Which, shockingly, is only the second worst thing involving mutation I’ve had to contend with recently.

(more…)

Peace on Earth, good will to all…

I’ve been doing end of year recaps on this blog for a few years now and I’m always a little torn when I sit down to write one. On the one hand, it’s satisfying to just take stock of everything that I managed to get through/accomplish/survive in the past 12 months. But it also feels a little self-involved.

Not this year though. This year it feels incredibly narcissistic.

Like, here’s what I did on my little blog during one of the most significant years of the post war era that will surely go down as a major inflection point in human history.

Even as the first vaccines are being rolled out, the pandemic’s impact will be felt in every sphere of human existence for years to come; be they political, economic, social or enviromental. I think (God, I hope) it’s the closest that any of us under the age of 75 will come to living through a world war. There is this massive, impossibly huge, impossibly terrible thing looming over all aspects of our lives and everything from planning a wedding to going to the shops for milk has been warped by it.

And yet, despite the horrendous loss of life worldwide, I find that I’m far more optimistic about the future at the end of 2020 than I was at the start, and not just because of America’s half-throated rejection of Trumpism, the resilience of our social fabric to the disease and the borderline miraculous scientific achievement of creating a safe vaccine in less than a year.

I hope and pray that things are starting to turn a corner.

Anyway, here’s what I did on my little blog this year.

In 2020 I reviewed 1 Canon Disney movie, 3 MCU movies, 1 X-Men movie, 3 animé, 4 live action movies (not counting 1 review where my brother very kindly stepped in), 4 non-Disney animated features and 1 animated series.

Also, we had two instalments of Bats Versus Bolts, covering the silent era and the 2010s.

Oh, and I reviewed a newly discovered episode of The Rimini Riddle and lived to tell of it.

It was definitely a year when I stepped outside of my comfort zone and thanks to reader requests I discovered plenty of films that I might not have otherwise had a chance to enjoy, including the best film I reviewed this year and now one of my all time favourites; Night of the HunterOf course, reader requests also dragged the soggy carcass of Mars Needs Moms, to my door, so it was a mixed bag. All in all though, I felt this year I reviewed a stronger crop of movies than any year since I reached the end of the Disney Canon.

While I ended up posting a lot less this year what with the new baby and taking on a lot of new writing work, I hope you enjoyed what I did manage to post this year and hopefully I’l be able to devote more time to the blog in 2021 (hah!).

I hope, despite the incredible and often heart-breaking turmoil of last year you were able to find your own moments of joy and triumph. If not, I hope 2021 is your year.

Thanks so much to all of you for reading and commenting and letting me know you’re all out there.

Have a wonderful, safe and happy Christmas.

Nollaig shona daoibh go léir,

Mouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“You’ll see Peter. People need to believe. And nowadays, they’ll believe anything.”

Christmas is almost upon us and so, in the spirit of the season, I will challenge the existing status quo and speak truth to power.

Mysterio sucks. Always has. Always will.

And I think I’m somewhat in the minority on this, since fans have been clamouring to see him in a Spider-Man movie since pretty early on in the Raimi films. Some people even seem to genuinely believe that Mysterio is a good villain, which in my opinion is akin to Climate Change denial or saying “Kingdom Hearts has a good story”. Not simply incorrect, but morally reprehensible. Hell, IGN even named him the 85th Greatest Comic Book Villain of all time, proof if proof were needed that the once noble art of ranking things on the internet has become a sorry, corrupt burlesque.

And, yes, he is a creation of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and therefore is deserving of respect if you believe that pampered scions of privilege deserve a free ride just because of who their daddies are.

Fine, the visual design is so ridiculous that it shoots the moon and becomes kind of magnificent.

True, the cape. Is. FABULOUS.

But the whole concept of Mysterio is just a one-way train ticket to disappointment. His schtick is that he’s a special effects wizard who uses tricks and illusions to seem like he’s an actual wizard. In other words, he’s a villain who’s no real threat and uses smoke and mirrors to make you think he actually is a threat. But he’s not. He’s not a threat at all. Hit him with a crowbar, you’ll probably kill him. Doesn’t know karate or anything. Completely normal dude.  His first appearence in the Amazing Spider-Man #15 was one long game of “Got Yer Nose” and once Spider-Man realised that he did not, in truth, have his nose, I don’t really think we needed to see the character again. Once Spidey has seen through his bullshit, the only way you can bring him back is to have him secretly messing with Spider-Man from the shadows. And, once Spider-Man has figured out who’s really behind these shenanigans, it will always be anticlimactic:

  1. Oh no! The Daily Bugle is being menaced by a gigantic red snake!
  2. Huh?! The snake was just a red sock on a stick and the use of forced perspective.
  3. Oh, Mysterio was behind it all. Everyone relax, he can’t actually do anything, his powers are just lies and bullshit.

And that’s Mysterio. Disappointment in a cape and a fishbowl.

All that said, he’s not the worst choice as a villain for Far From Home. After the sturm and drang of Avengers Endgame this movie was intended to close out Phase 4 with a light little comedic palette cleanser and Mysterio is probably a better fit for that than…say, Carnage. Which, I suppose, is as good a point as any to bring up the fact that we have for the moment reached the end of our journey. This is, at the time of writing, the last released MCU film what with Black Widow‘s release having been pushed back and Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings being delayed due to the world going viral in the bad way. This also means that I have to make some tricky decisions. Like; do I actually need to review Wandavision and The Falcon and Winter Soldier? I haven’t reviewed any of the TV shows thus far but all indications are that the Disney Plus shows are going to be FAR more impactful on the overall narrative than, say, Cloak and Dagger or Runaways.

Marvel's Runaways Talk Cloak & Dagger Crossover | Den of Geek

“We exist!”

 Or maybe I should just accept that the film and television production and consumption landscape is almost unrecognisable from what it was when I started reviewing these movies way back in 2015 and that by this point the MCU is just too damn large for one blogger to cover and get on with it.

(more…)

Perfect Blue (1997)

Half a decade ago I reviewed a charming little animé named Tokyo Godfathers from legendary director Satoshi Kon and about as representative of his oeuvre as Interdimensional Cable 2 is of the career of Werner Herzog.  True, Kon only directed four films in his tragically short life, but Tokyo Godfathers is definitely the outlier of those four. Perfect Blue, conversely, was Kon’s breakthrough first feature and is probably the film that he is best known for.
In the wake of Akira  in 1988, the nineties saw a tsunami of animé arriving in the West. There had been Japanese animation on Western screens long before that of course, but those had been shows that either fit into the Western preconception of animation as being for children (Astro Boy, Speed Racer) or could be made to fit with judicious editing and a wacky robot sidekick (Voltron).
By contrast, in the nineties, animé was out and proud in all its violent, cool, mothers-lock-up-your-daughters-Mr. Octopus-is-single-and-ready-to-mingle weirdness and was starting to bump hard against the deeply ingrained preconceptions of animation in the West. There were a lot of concerned thinkpieces being published, a lot of ominous local news segments beginning with the words “They call it “AH-NEE-MAY”. My first exposure to Perfect Blue was in my local video rental place where they used to publish a weekly magazine advertising the upcoming releases.

“Then, I’d ride the trolley for tuppence.”

In this magazine they had a whole dedicated section for the new animé releases, and I remember Perfect Blue being advertised with the usual breathless ad copy but also a disclaimer at the end saying “please note this movie is not for children”. Back then “animation=harmless fun for my innocent little angels” was still a pretty hard-wired instinct in your typical Western parent and Xtra-vision were obviously trying to head off any complaints from people who’d inadvertantly subjected their kids to the kind of childhood trauma that usually results in a Batman villain.  Point is, Perfect Blue was kind of the poster child for why animé was an entirely different beast than Western animation, not simply for its content but also for its sophistication, gritty adult storytelling and reputation as the “scariest animé ever made”.

Only if you’ve never seen “Cardcaptor Sakura”.

Now, as any comics fan will tell you, anything from the nineties that claimed to be “gritty and mature” at the time should be sealed in an airlock until all the scans have been completed because there is a damn good chance that it’s held up about as well as the general public’s trust in the polling industry. Plus, “shocking” films tend to look increasingly tame as time goes by. So let’s take a look at Perfect Blue and see if it still deserves either of those descriptions.

(more…)

Over the Garden Wall: The Unknown

Wha’ Happen’?:

Beatrice flies through a blizzard, desperately searching for Greg. She sees him ahead, standing in a snowy clearing with the Beast. Suddenly, she is blown away by a mighty wind.

The Beast asks Greg to bring him a spool of silver thread and a golden comb. Greg brings him a cobweb and a honeycomb, demonstrating the kind of lateral thinking that’ll probably get him a job in Google down the line. For his final trial, the Beast tells him to lower the sun into a teacup. So Greg simply puts the teacup on a tree stump and waits for the sun to set so that it looks like its going into the cup from the right perspective.

The Beast is apparently satisfied by this transparent con job and tells Greg to wait in the cold until everything starts feeling real warm and comfortable.

(more…)

Over the Garden Wall: Into the Unknown

Wha’ Happen’?:

We begin our episode in a strange and mysterious wonderland full of great music and childlike whimsy and wonder.

The Nineties.

Wirt is pacing his bedroom nervously, having just created a mix-tape for Sara in the hope that she will immediately consent to be his wife and tend his farm (as was the custom in the nineties) After chickening out and unravelling the tape, he finally mans up and repairs the tape. He then makes a Halloween costume out of a re-purposed Santa Claus hat and a repurposed Civil War era jacket.

Look at the freakin' detail on this cup, man | Over the garden wall, Garden wall, Cartoon

Finally resolving the mystery of why he’s dressed like an idiot.

Of course, this doesn’t actually answer the question of what exactly he was dress as for Halloween. My guess is that he’s going as General Gandalf Ulysses Mayberry, commander of the 11th Ohio Wizards.

Known to his men as “Ol’ Spellface”, he was eaten by a dragon at Gettysburg.

Wirt heads over to the school football field and watches Sara through the fence. Sara is currently dressed as a giant bee as she is the school mascot.

I don’t think this is why Wirt’s into her, but no judgement either way.

Greg, who’s apparently been out trick-or-treating alone (ah, the days before 9/11) and we finally learn what he was dressed as: an elephant.

greg over the garden wall - Google Search | Over the garden wall, Garden wall, Garden wall art

Ohhhhhhh…

(more…)

Over the Garden Wall: Babes in the Wood

Wha’ Happen’?:

While Beatrice searches for the boys, Wirt, Greg and the Frog sail down a river in an outhouse. Things are looking pretty grim. The Unknown has gone from Summer Autumnal to Winter Autumnal, Wirt has slipped into a deep depression and worst of all they can hear the Beast singing opera some ways behind them. Or, as Wirt puts it; “The obsidian cricket of our inevitable twilight, singing our requiem.”

Sidenote: Despite blogging for eight years, I still thought it was a good idea to look for this gif by googling “Wanking Gif”. I got everything I deserved.

Wirt says that it’s Greg’s fault that they’re trapped here and that he’s given up all hope that they’ll ever make it home. Greg asks if that means he’s the leader now and Wirt says “Whatevs” and Greg promises Wirt that he’ll be a good leader and won’t let him down because the kid’s a little champ.

(more…)