Tag Archives: batman

Batman—Arkham Origins: What If Gotham City Was A Hot Half-Korean Girl?

Batman—Arkham Origins: What If Gotham City Was A Hot Half-Korean Girl?

Ever since I texted my girlfriend a joke about “Pussyville,” my phone’s been auto-correcting all the “P” words I type to “Pussyville.” So if I text you that I’m taking you to Pussyville, don’t get too excited—we’re probably going to P.F. Chang’s.

Batman probably doesn’t even need auto-correct. I’m sure every wireless communication Batman sends is flawless, concise, and to the point. If he texts you that he’s taking you to Pussyville, you can be damn sure you’re going straight to Pussyville. And then he’s going to take you to P.F. Chang’s.

Imperial Trouble Episode 76: “The Dark Knight Rises” With Renn Brown Of CHUD.com

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Jason and guest Renn Brown of CHUD.com discuss upcoming film The Dark Knight Rises. Jason realizes he likes Tom Cruise and shares his anxiety about the The Kentucky Derby. The podcast is compared to Deadwood’s Al Swearengen. Also discussed: the Old Murder House Theatre.

Imperial Trouble Episode 75: The Sober Episode!

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Bunny and Jason clean up their act and discuss the upcoming Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who crossover, leading to a comparison between the two properties. A debate rages on whether Jason’s dog resembles Batman. Swear words in comic strips and the ultimate sci-fi crossover is also discussed.

The Dark Knight Rises: Lurching Purposefully Through The Next Few Frames

The Dark Knight Rises: Lurching Purposefully Through The Next Few Frames

In which Jason is joined by Dan Nadolny for a review of the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises.

J: Who does Catwoman think she’s talking to when she tells Batman to “batten down the hatches”? I mean, he is Batman. It is integral to his nature to batten things. That’s the reason he became a crime-fighter in the first place, to batten fear into the hearts of criminals. Although, I’m willing to acknowledge that I may be a little murky on Catwoman’s use of the word “batten”. But I’m 100% certain that by hatches, she means the baby chickens that Bruce Wayne is hatching under a glow lamp in his study at Wayne Manor. Don’t worry, Catwoman, he’s already battened fear into their hearts, because even though they are CuteOverload.com-worthy baby chicks, they are also ruthless criminals.

Imperial Trouble Episode 48: Batman: Year One and Jason von Hinezmeyer of The Ghastly Dreadfuls

Imperial Trouble Episode 48: Batman: Year One and Jason von Hinezmeyer of The Ghastly Dreadfuls

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Sam and Jason review Batman: Year One in a car and discover an exception to Rule 34. Other topics include an interview with Jason von Hinezmeyer, resident puppet builder at The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, and a recap of his adult Halloween puppet show The Ghastly Dreadfuls.

These Kardashians Of The Universe: A Case For Free Will
freewill

These Kardashians Of The Universe: A Case For Free Will

This essay was originally written and performed for Write Club Atlanta, a monthly competitive writing event.

Okay, so I’m here to defend free will. A lot of people have tried to crush free will throughout history, mostly so they could have more sex or live in bigger houses. In fact, if someone is trampling any of your rights, there’s usually a guy in a mansion who wants a bigger mansion at the top of the rights-crushing pyramid. Maybe with bikini girls dancing around his pool. Of course, going by that logic, MC Hammer in his video “Pumps and a Bump” wants to crush your free will more than Idi Amin ever could.

Free will is one of the most prized aspects of the human experience, and many have risen to defend it when it is threatened— Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mel Gibson in Braveheart, Captain Crunch versus the soggies. And yes, I equate freedom with free will. If they are not the same cupcake, then one is surely the frosting and the other is the spongy cake beneath.

But I also think it’s free will’s fault we’re stuck on this planet. It’s right there in our origin story, if you were to count the bible as our origin story. At the very least, it’s an origin story. Of course, Batman’s parents getting shot is an origin story too, but you don’t see anyone starting a holy war over Batman except on internet message boards.

Anyway, free will being to blame for us being marooned here on Earth. You’ve got Adam and Eve, you’ve got the forbidden fruit, the knowledge of good and evil, etc., and so on. And of course the serpent, the devil with his forked tongue, because he’s a snake, the sorting hat putting him in Slytherin. Actually, there’s some Harry Potter fan fiction for you. The devil goes to Hogwart’s, gets under the Sorting Hat and the Sorting Hat yells, “Hufflepuff!” Next thing you know Professor Sprout is wearing dark eye makeup and having orgies.

Now let’s take the biblical story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden as a metaphor for whatever intelligent life predated our current existence. An actual paradise full of alien life somewhere else on the other side of the universe, some other dimension, who knows. What we do know is they have free will and they’ve managed to make it work. Lush meadows, hoverships, iPads, rivers of chocolate run by Gene Wilder and no one ever, ever, ever talks or text messages in a movie theater after the trailers begin.

And let’s say these perfect creatures, these Kardashians of the universe, they invent a new form of life in their image. Similar in shape and appearance, but like children, innocent. Mouths hanging open at the wonders around them, like when you see a framed commemorative Dale Earnhardt “The Intimidator” plate at a gas station. And this new form of life, these humans, they don’t know what bad is. They don’t even know they have the choice to do bad.

So Satan, or the Morning Star, or Steve Jobs- whatever you want to call him, he exercises his own free will to give the human race a magnificent, awful gift. The same ability to choose that everyone else in the garden has. But as soon as he lifts the veil from their eyes, there’s going to be trouble. Violence, war, slavery, injustice, T.G.I. Friday’s, lapdances where the stripper doesn’t really seem that into you, the Star Wars prequels- all of these horrible things are on the table now. Suddenly, the human race has terrible, nightmarish options.

And these beautiful, wise Yoda-like aliens (or maybe just the old man with the white beard, I’m not ruling anything out), they must have looked around and seen what was coming. All the centuries of famine and brutality to come as mankind learns to keep his balance on the world’s most dangerous bicycle. And they probably said, “We’ve got to get these humans the fuck off our planet.”

So they put us here eons ago. Quarantined. Every other planet, star or black hole as hostile to our survival as the corner of Ponce and Monroe.  Absolutely no chance of us stumbling onto other intelligent life and finding out what they taste like, because let’s face it- if you’re another sentient creature on this planet and you can’t dial a telephone or pass the Iowa Test of Basic Skills we’ll probably try to turn you into food at some point.

All of that having been said, I still believe free will is the best thing that ever could have happened to us. Those wise old aliens, they probably had to be marooned on a rock for millions of years before they worked out the secret to making daiquiris actually taste like what suntan lotion smells like and making polyamorous marriages work in practice and not just on paper. Maybe once we’ve dropped the training wheels and figured it all out (world peace, jetpacks), they’ll welcome us back with open arms to the Garden of Eden. And then we will open fire with the laser guns that we’ve built into our fingertips. And it will have been our choice to have done so, thanks to our most wonderful quality— free will. Thank you, good night!

A Beard Worth Stripping For! A Review of “Luther | Series 1”

A Beard Worth Stripping For! A Review of “Luther | Series 1”

Idris Elba is Detective Chief Inspector John Luther! In England, of course. It would be pretty posh if we had Detective Chief Inspectors here in America. I think it’s the “inspector” part that makes it sound so British. Like the police are constantly putting on a play about Sherlock Holmes.

I like the way Idris Elba’s hair looks in this show. He let it grow out a little wispy, kind of a smart-guy-rumpled look. I wish I had a smart-guy-rumpled beard, but I feel like I have more of a fatty-at-a-porn-convention beard. A stripper once touched my face and said she liked salt-and-pepper beards. I should have pulled out some salt and pepper shakers and shook them over my beard and said, “There you are, madam! Here’s a beard worth stripping for!”

In my heart-of-hearts I have to admit that the stripper was probably not into my beard, or any man’s beard. How did the heart-of-hearts system get started, anyway? Why do we need a smaller heart inside our regular heart? Is it like the boss of the heart? And why do we keep things we secretly know to be true in there? Seems like you’d want to keep that in your brain-of-brains.

Luther solves grisly crimes and tries to get back together with his wife who left him because he’s always thinking too much about fighting serial killers. Too much Batman, not enough Robin, I guess. You know Robin would totally give you a smooch when he got home from work and not talk about how the Penguin murdered the mayor with his umbrella and there was blood everywhere. Wakk! Wakk! Wakk!

Luther’s intro credits are set to “Paradise Circus” by Massive Attack. That song makes me think of kissing a Suicide Girl on an overcast day. Not that I’ve ever kissed a Suicide Girl. I saw a booth of them once at a comic convention but couldn’t think of anything good to say. “Hello tattooed pin-up girls. I see you’re all in a group here, with your clothes on. Guess that’s to be expected, with all the public nudity laws. Still, bang up job not wearing clothes on the internet. Keep up that nakedness!”

Luther is currently streaming on Netflix, the Penguin is currently at large, my heart-of-hearts is currently beating and somewhere a stripper who may or may not like salt-and-pepper beards is currently dancing at one of Atlanta’s classier strip clubs. Good night!

Portal 2

Portal 2

I have no idea what to say about this game. If Portal 2 was a president, it would be Abraham Lincoln. Everybody already knows about Abraham Lincoln. If you want to buy a $5 book about Abraham Lincoln, you’ll probably pay for it with a picture of Abraham Lincoln. Well, a five dollar bill, not a framed portrait of Lincoln. I guess maybe if the antique bookstore owner is willing to barter and is into Lincoln you could pull it off. “Hey….hey you… behind the counter at the bookstore- you into Abraham Lincoln pictures? No nudes!”

Right. Portal 2. If you like video games you probably bought it. Unless you’re one of those dudes (or ladies?) who only plays shooting games or hates having to think too much to play a game or something. ‘I hate thinking!’ thinks the brain of the idiot. Beautiful, complex little idiot brain. Synapses and neurons firing off in a miraculous ballet in order to form thoughts about hating thoughts. Maybe all the stars are nodes in an infinite network of intelligence, and the universe is thinking right now, thinking about how much it hates nerds and their nerd games.

I dropped my car off to get the oil changed earlier today. What a diference the letter “S” makes. If I had asked to get my car’s “oils” changed I’d have sounded like a crazy person, or a sultan. Nope, regular old “oil” change for me, thanks. One of the cars there had an enormous pink penis drawn on it. The penis was changing some oils of its own. I wonder why the artist chose to make it an action shot instead of a still life. The drawing was unsigned.

In Portal 2, you shoot a blue portal at a wall and another orange portal somewhere else like the ceiling or the floor and try to outwit GLaDOS, the feminine artificially intelligent computer system who tried to kill you in the first game. Stephen Merchant plays Wheatley, one of her personality cores. Portal 2 is an excellent game that made me very happy when I finished it. You know what else made me happy? On the way to get my car’s oil changed (oils?), I saw a girl joyriding around in her wheelchair with a little terrier dog in her lap. On the way back, I saw her again with the same dog but she’d changed shirts.

Should you buy Portal 2? Probably, it’s really just a fantastic game. But some people hate Scrabble (me), and just because you don’t want to stare at a bunch of letters trying to think of words all night doesn’t mean you should have to wear a dunce cap. Maybe Portal 2 is your Scrabble. But I eventually learned to like Words With Friends on my iPhone. Who’s wearing the dunce cap now? Is it Abraham Lincoln? Because I can get you a picture of that.

Anyway, I was nearly home from my admittedly eventful oil change, and I saw a man in a business suit on a hot pink bike wearing a Batman backpack. The suit said “captain of industry”, but the bicycle and backpack said “pink phallus erupting crudely on the side of a car.” He threw something into the nearby bushes (gum? a rock?) and pedaled furiously away. So long, whatever that was! I’ve got all I need in this child-sized Batman backpack!

Meanwhile, the synapses and neurons of the universe continued working together to form thoughts, thoughts of the man on the bike, the girl in the wheelchair with the dog, Portal 2, a penis on a car, inexpensive books about Abraham Lincoln and me writing this, ending this review, so long for now.

Winter’s Bone

Dogs everywhere heard the title of this movie and started wagging their tails. Sorry, cinema enjoying dogs. There are no dog bones in Winter’s Bone. There is a dog named Peanut Butter, though. So I guess you could still screen it at your dog movie night after you get done playing poker and posing for paintings of dogs playing poker.

So Ree Dolly is a 17 year old girl trying to find her father because the bail bondsman is going to take her family’s land unless she finds him, but nobody will tell her where he is. She thinks he’s been killed and all the meth-making yokels in her family are in on it. She keeps asking them if blood don’t mean nothing, but she finds out that it don’t. Now she knows how Dracula feels. Wait, never mind. Blood means everything to Dracula.

Ree goes around to different hillbillies’ houses on the hunt for her father’s whereabouts with her scary uncle Teardrop, played by John Hawkes. Hawkes is like an older, more badass version of DJ Qualls. Maybe John Hawkes is DJ Qualls from twenty years in the future, grizzled with experience and wisdom. Like if a seventy year old Batman came out of a time portal with a big scar on his face and he’s missing two fingers. Oh, what happened with the Joker, future Batman? “I don’t want to talk about it,” growls Batman, “Now help me get this message to Superman in Metropolis so I can get back to the year 2052.”

Before you can say Rilo Kiley alt-country O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, Ree is all up in some country-ass living rooms watching people play the fiddle and getting nowhere with her search. Also, she makes a nuisance of herself to her crime lord grandfather who looks like Charlie Daniels. Guess that’s what all the fiddle playing was all about. Probably some kind of fiddle contest with the devil for some souls. If I was the devil I’d have a fiddle contest for more fiddles. Then flip those fiddles at an auction or something. Guess I’d make a terrible devil.

Oh yeah and Garret Dillahunt plays the sheriff. I liked him as John Henry in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Too bad it’s canceled and now Summer Glau is out on the street. She’s probably out begging for nickels wearing nothing but a barrel. You know, when I imagine a down on his luck drifter wearing a barrel I think “impoverished hobo”, but when I picture  Summer Glau in the same outfit I think “Donkey Kong/Firefly fan fiction”. Anyway, Sarah Connor Chronicles– you will be missed, for your robots and your references to L. Frank Baum’s Oz books.

Right- this is a review of Winter’s Bone. This is one of the best movies I saw all year. Rent it or OnDemand it, do whatever you got to do to watch this movie.

Batman: Under the Red Hood

In Batman: Under the Red Hood, Batman tinkers around with the engine of his torch-red 67 Ford Mustang for an hour and a half. He’s very proud of it. Alfred says, “Batman you need to get out from under the red hood of that thing and go fight crime” and Batman says, “Shut up and bring me a lemonade and some screwdrivers.” I guess Batman fixes engines with screwdrivers. Sonic screwdrivers, maybe. Damn, I’d love to see a Batman/Doctor Who crossover. Like the TARDIS crashes into the bat-cave. And Batman says, “You got any lemonade in that thing?”

So this movie starts off with Robin’s death. The Joker hits him with a crowbar and then explodes him with bombs. When Dixie Carter died earlier this year, I intended to say to my girlfriend, “Oh no, Dixie Carter passed away. She was 70 years old.” But instead I said in a thick southern accent, “Man, that Dixie Carter, she 70, she dead.” I have no idea why I turned into Cajun chef Justin Wilson, but there you have it. Anyway, that Robin, he 19, he dead.

Five years later, a vigilante in a red hood shows up and starts intimidating Gotham City’s crime bosses. “Hey crime bosses, give me your crime earnings! I have a bunch of your friends’ heads in a duffel bag. Just like Joe Pesci in 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag.” No joke, one time I got so distracted listening to a commercial for 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag on the radio while I was driving that I ran a red light and nearly T-boned a car. That would have been a really dumb way to die. Oh, welcome to heaven. How did you die? I got excited for a movie about Joe Pesci and heads in duffel bags.

Then a crime boss with a black skeleton face named Black Mask gets mad and tries to kill the Red Hood. He looks like Skeletor would if he tried to smoke a novelty exploding cigar. Prince Adam is like, “Skeletor, congratulations on getting the other half of the power sword, have a cigar. Just kidding, yo- it’s a plastic sword, dummy! You need to wake up pretty early in your bed made of bones to trick me! Now I’m off to buy more magenta vests and purple leggings so I can star in a La Roux video.” [cigar explodes in Skeletor’s face]

Spoiler Alert

Batman starts to suspect the Red Hood might be Robin back from the dead. That’s a hell of a leap, detective. Even though there are millions of living people out there in the world, I bet this masked man is my dead ex-best friend that I buried myself and held his dead exploded body in my arms. So he runs the DNA and guess what- he’s right! Zombie Robin is back from the dead kicking it new school with a fashionable red helmet.

Turns out Ra’s al Ghul threw Robin in a pool of water that brings people back to life. And switched out Robin’s body with a latex dummy for the coffin, apparently. So Batman is a good enough detective to figure out that this new villain is his dead best friend, but not a good enough detective to notice that he was burying a real doll instead of a human body.

Anyway, there’s a lot of death and hard choices going on in Batman: Under the Red Hood. I love watching movies where Batman has to make hard choices. If there was a movie called Batman: Hard Choices, I’d definitely go see it in the theater. Unless it was one of those porn spoof movies where they make porn of popular characters and shows. I am not going to a porno theater to see a second-rate Batman have sex with a third-rate Catwoman. Never again, Adam West!

Harry Brown

Damn, what is going on in England? I feel like if I go to England I’m either going to get knifed by a gold toothed hooligan or wind up in Doctor Who’s blue police box. Where I will then be knifed by a gold toothed Doctor Who. I ain’t no Dalek, get that sonic screwdriver out of my ribcage!

Michael Caine is Harry Brown, according to the minimalist opening credits. You think we need big fonts and colors? Hell no. We got classic understated type here, y’all. Harry Brown is a pensioner (yeah, British talk!) who goes straight up vigilante on some British hooligans. They probably listen to The Streets or Lady Sovereign or Ratatat and call themselves “chavs”, according to some mp3s I downloaded in the year 2006. All I know is they sell heroin and look like Dudley from Harry Potter.

Harry Brown wants to walk through a pedestrian walkway but the street toughs hang out there all day and night terrorizing “the estate”. Man, even a description of British housing projects makes them sound like a place where the Queen just got done pouring tea out of a hollowed out bust of Winston Churchill. Speaking of elegant busts, I always thought Posh Spice was the cutest Spice Girl. I like how she ended up being posh for real. She didn’t just start singing in the Spice Girls out of her mansion, right? I think she was just a regular girl first. That’s like getting a millionaire costume and then everyone starts thinking you’re a millionaire and next thing you know you’re smoking a cigar and a stripper is doing your taxes. Thanks, Party City! Next I’m going to get a Ghostbuster costume.

Harry Brown’s elderly best friend goes down to confront the thugs with a bayonet and gets killed then they pee on him and film it all on their “mobiles”. Well, there’s your problem. Don’t take a knife to a gun fight. Don’t even show up to a gun fight. Stay at home and watch British shows like “Chesterfield Acres” or “Chimp Takes a Suitor” or “Gross Lower Class British People In Their Garish Clothing Smoking Cheap Cigarettes” or “Ricky Gervais”.

Harry Brown is all, oh I’m ex-military I thought you knew and starts killing the hoodlums. Here’s a fun game. Pretend this movie is Batman Minus Batman and Harry Brown is Alfred living in England under an assumed name. Ooh and his wife who dies at the beginning is like Catwoman or something. Which explains why her last words were meow meow meow meow. Just like Rap Cat. I once had a bet with my friend Rich that whoever lost a ping pong match had to listen to Rap Cat on repeat for a solid hour. After he lost, I got him album art for iTunes and everything. He ended up briefly being the top Rap Cat listener on Last.fm.

The fact that he is no longer the top listener means that someone out there listened to Rap Cat so much they’ve surpassed a man who played it on repeat for an entire hour. The dude who wrote Rap Cat hasn’t even heard it that many times. I bet he’s sick of Rap Cat. Waking up in the morning, the first thing he sees is Rap Cat. He sleeps with the Rap Cat puppet, I guess. Then he takes Rap Cat into the bathroom and brushes its teeth. “I hate you, Rap Cat,” he says to the Rap Cat puppet, his mouth full of toothpaste. And Rap Cat just stares back at him in the mirror, gold chain luminescent under the bathroom light.

Spoiler Alert

After killing a gang of teenagers, Harry Brown gets to use the pedestrian walkway from now on. Batman is still at large. Posh Spice remains the most attractive Spice Girl. Rap Cat is survived by his widow Mrs. Rap Cat and two kittens.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Well, Batman, looks like you’ve captured your brilliant mad arch-nemesis the Joker again. Where you gonna put him? Arkham Asylum? Hope he doesn’t break out and cause any havoc. I mean, he broke out all those other times, but surely he won’t—oh wait he’s out. And it looks like he’s freeing all your other worst enemies too.

If I was Batman I’d build a bat-prison in the bat-cave and put the Joker there. Or maybe a bat-prison on the bat-moon. Just a metal bat-box with some bat-oxygen in it and a year’s supply of bat-treats.

I’ll tell you where I wouldn’t put him- a crumbly old building he broke out of a million times before.

Batman is super ripped and bulky in this game. I thought Batman kept himself lean in spite of his muscular frame- so he could skulk around in the dark and detect stuff. Seems like with these giant power muscles he’d struggle a little bit to even turn his head.

The character design for this game is all about muscles. Muscles and naked ladies, that is— Harley Quinn is dressed like a clown pin up girl and Poison Ivy didn’t even bother putting on pants for this whole Batman killing party. She couldn’t have made a mini dress out of leaves or something?

Seriously, though—everybody Batman punches in the face has an amazing physique. Lot of people sporting no shirts, too. Cause that’s how I’d prefer to fight Gotham City’s most determined crime fighter. With the exposed skin of my torso and endless optimism. (To be fair, Batman called shirts.)

When you get knocked out in ‘Batman: Arkham Asylum’, a cut-scene comes up in which one of the game’s bad guys gloats at Batman’s soon-to-be corpse, stuff like ‘nice try Batman, time to DIE!’. In one of them, the Joker walks up and says dismissively, “Someone finish him off” and walks away.

Wait- what? You’re the Joker- you and Batman have been fighting one of the most epic battles in the history of pop culture rivalries and you have him bleeding and helpless in front of you. So here’s your chance to do some CRAZY MURDER to Batman, and you hand it off to some henchman you just hired the other day in a gym bathroom?

Which brings me to the final boss battle aka a spoiler: Why would the Joker inject himself with toxins that make him a big muscle freak? He doesn’t like brute force combat, he’s more of a ‘slice a smile in your face with a skinny knife’ kind of maniac. He’s also vain- why would he take anything that would mutilate his body to that extent? His ribs were bursting through his chest- he’d seen it have that effect on other people.

Not to mention the fact that he had Batman’s oldest and dearest friend Commissioner Gordon as a hostage. Here’s an idea: inject Gordon with the toxin and make Batman fight him.

What’s going to really get Batman where it hurts- fighting a bigger meatier Joker at the end of a long line of fighting big meaty dudes or shedding little bat tears in his cowl as he has to fight for his life against a twisted version of his best pal Commissioner Gordon? How cool would that be as a feature in a game? ‘Press X to keep from crying into your superhero mask.’

Speaking of crying, I’m sorry I said all those critical things about you, Batman video game. The fight mechanics and the parts of the story that involve the other villains are amazing.  The Scarecrow making Batman hallucinate all of Bruce Wayne’s deepest anxieties made manifest into a playable level; or Batman just hanging out on a gargoyle waiting to swoop down on some dumb bare chested dummy with a machine gun- I have to give credit where credit’s due. This game is well crafted.

I guess it’s just that if you want to tell me The Joker’s crazy, you need to make me think he’s crazy. In this game he just wants to be strong.