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Entertaining reviews - John C. Kirk

Feb. 11th, 2010

02:57 am - Entertaining reviews

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Some reviews are more useful than others: it mainly depends on how similar your tastes are to the reviewer's. However, there are also some reviews that are entertaining in their own right; here are a few that I like.

I've been reading Paul O'Brien's comic reviews for a long time, even when I don't read the comics in question, because he's a very clear thinker. (We were undergrads at the same time, posting to the rec.arts.comics newsgroups, although I doubt that he'd recognise my name.) His reviews are currently being posted to the House to Astonish blog, and he also does some podcasts with Al Kennedy. They're an hour long, so I haven't listened to all of them, but I've enjoyed the few that I have found time for. I particularly like the way that they offer a UK perspective on American comics; for instance, in episode 31 they discuss the plastic toys (Batarangs, Green Lantern rings) that you can get with some DC comics, and start reminiscing about "Whizzer and Chips". Also, when they looked at the list of upcoming comics, this bit really made me laugh:

Paul: "And from IDW, Kill Shakespeare."
Al: "Yes. 'Othello, Hamlet, Juliet, and Fallstaff team up to fight Richard III, Lady Macbeth, and Iago, and stop them from killing a wizard called William Shakespeare.' This sounds brilliant!"
Paul: "This sounds stupid."
Al: "We have got to review this when it comes out, this sounds mental."
Paul: "'Kill Shakespeare'?! Oh god."


Moving on, "That Guy with the Glasses" has recorded several videos under the banner of the Nostalgia Critic. They tend to be quite negative, but it's funny because he (deliberately) goes over the top with his reactions. Even when I like the film in question, his criticisms still make me laugh.

For instance, I saw TMNT a while back. Quoting from my Flixter review:

Turtley awesome! (Sorry.) It had a solid plot, a good voice cast, and excellent characterisation; each of the turtles had a well-defined personality, so I didn't need to rely on weapons or colour-coded masks to tell them apart. The music was appropriate for the different scenes (except for the rap song during the end credits). There were some funny moments, and a satisfying ending that left me grinning.


(By the way, I can't find a way to link to specific reviews, but I do have an RSS feed if you're interested in reading them.)

Meanwhile, quoting from his review: "You know, this wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I think of a Ninja Turtles movie. Giant reptiles talking about things! Expressing their emotions and analysing them!" This is similar to the sentiments in this Shortpacked! strip: "Ninja turtles should never be treated with even a hint of seriousness." Still, his archive is worth a look, particularly if you pick a film that you've already seen (so that you've already formed your own opinion).

When Jamie Oliver did his "Naked Chef" TV series, this was (presumably) a metaphor for his cooking style. Over at Naked News, they take the title much more literally, so that website probably isn't safe for work! In particular, one of their presenters is Katherine Curtis, aka "The Naked Nerd". Here is an interview that she did with Kevin Smith (with strategically placed censor boxes); the thing that really impressed me there is that she clearly knows the subject, i.e. she really is a comics fan. This contrasts favourably with the continuity announcers on TV who don't even know how to pronounce names, e.g. pronouncing "Picard" as "PIE-card" rather than "pick-ARD". There's another video here (clothed), where she reviews "Wolverine: Origins". It's a negative review, and I haven't seen the film so I can't say how fair it is. However, I love her enthusiasm, and there's a real sense of fun. Basically, the clothing (or lack thereof) is incidental; I'm not interested in watching someone fondle herself, but I do like it when Curtis strikes a dramatic pose and shouts "Raargh!" I don't think it's really worth paying to join their website just for those segments, but I'd watch them on TV if I could. Obviously there's an argument that these things are degrading to women, but she clearly disagrees. She's written a bit about feminism in her blog (Jealous of Sarah Palin? No. and The Hooters Book Club!) which sounds sensible to me.