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Quite a small week as far as these things go, but a few trades made up for it:

Black Widow: Deadly Origin #2
- decent issue, though increasingly I wish that John Paul Leon was doing all the art here; Raney is fine, for the most part (Mockingbird at the end is a bit awkward), but Leon's work excels. I do like the white variant of her costume that Natasha uses in the modern day. The flashbacks continue to skip through Natasha's relationship history (given that this was basically conceived as a movie tie-in, the book does lean a bit heavily on you being familiar with her past history), while in the present-day we learn that she's unwittingly given everyone she's ever slept with nano-VD that allows whoever to take control of them. Oops.

Invincible Iron Man #21 - this was my favourite issue of the series in quite a while, actually. I've found a lot of what's going on middling, but it feels like the plot is actually moving now, and the gathering of the supporting characters is quite engaging. Steve's back, which seriously depresses the experience of Reborn, not that the end of that was ever really in doubt; of course, when they decided to add another issue I don't think delaying all these books was really an option. The bits with Pepper are okay character stuff, and Happy's existence is at last actually being acknowledged, but so far she seems to be skipping over the fact that Happy is currently dead because she asked Tony to pull the plug.

We3 - I usually find Grant Morrison's writing rather emotionally uninvolving, but damn, that shit was depressing. In a good way, mind you.

Queen and Country v.3 - mostly good way to end the series, though the transition to the last arc is rather confusing; it might have been nice for some kind of notice that there was a whole novel we should read. I had to look that up after.
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As another decade draws to a close, I put some thought into what my favourite films of the last 10 years (2000-2009) were. My choices:

Batman Begins - in a lot of ways, The Dark Knight is a better film, but I like this one more both because of how big a blast of fresh air it was at the time and because it's such an effective character study of Bruce Wayne.

Before Sunset - Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy walk around Paris for two hours. And it's really, really entertaining. The film also ends with them basically deciding that he's going to throw away his family and shack up with her, which is...kind of appalling, in a way, but you see how they got to this point.

Catch Me If You Can - I debated whether this or Munich was my favourite Spielberg work on the 00s, but I went with this. A great lead performance from DiCaprio, and Spielberg just having a lot of fun; and it was nice for Christopher Walken to be in a genuinely good movie.

Gran Torino - whenever Clint Eastwood's filmography is fully evaluated, I think this will go down as a fairly significant entry. It got way less critical and award support then Mystic River or Million Dollar Baby, but I'd call it his most important and overall best film since Unforgiven.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - While the first two movies I think get a bit too harsh a reputation these days (they're solid, if unremarkable, commercial exercises), Cuaron definitely revolutionized the franchise here. One of the first films I saw where I was really aware of the director's impact while watching it.

The Incredibles - I don't know whether his or Begins is the best superhero movie of the decade, but this is definitely the funner of the two. Introduced me to Brad Bird (whose Ratatouille I also considered for this list), and puts the lame Fantastic Four movies to shame.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - this is basically a stalking-horse for the whole series, but the second one was my favourite, which is, from what I've seen, an unusual position.

Match Point - for the first time in quite a while, a genuinely great Woody Allen movie. He managed the difficult feat of rerunning much of the plot Crimes & Misdemeanors, but making it seem fresh (and it's a better movie than C&M), in part by tackling different thematic elements.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - probably the most unexpectedly enjoyable film experience I've had. It was based on a theme park ride, but it turned out to be totally awesome.

WALL-E - the other Pixar entry on the list, this movie must have caused a few marketing executives to bash their heads against a wall, but Pixar makes it work (one of a streak of them taking really high-wire concepts and hitting home runs). WALL-E and EVE might be the best screen couple of the decade.
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3OH!3 is an, er, allegedly talented musical act that made quite a splash with its breakout song "Don't Trust Me", famous for the lyric instructing a 'ho' to "act like Helen Keller and talk with your hips". Blogger Jammer rather accurately assessed it as a douchebag theme song.

They followed this up with Starstrukk, which features an outright bizarre video and consists mostly of them wolf-whistling at various attractive women.

Which is why I find Starstrukk 2.0 so oddly compelling. It's been fairly heavily reworked (with much-improved production values), and now features Katy Perry as the third vocalist (and, in the video, the undeniable centre of attention; the camera loves her, for obvious reasons). What I find so weird about the Perry version is that Perry's vocal solo is essentially devoted to calling 3OH!3 a bunch of sexist losers and calling out all their stupid, allegedly effective methods of flirtations (while Perry dances around in a fountain and gets soaked). And the video ends with the two of them looking ridiculous.

On a semi-related note, a shiny new donkey for whoever can explain to me whatever all those weird tangents in the video are supposed to mean within the MV's "story" (which is, broadly, a telescoping of an upcoming romantic comedy starring the woefully misused Kristen Bell).



And that's as much time as I ever plan to devote to discussing 3OH!3. I think I'll go listen to some Joel or whatever.

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December 2009

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