Our first Kickstarter has been successfully funded. Since we have no basis for comparison, it feels like we just did magic. We wished our book into existence. In reality, we asked for support from friends, family, and fans. We took on a debt by hiring ourselves to do a job. It feels like magic because all we did was ask. Now we realize, our backer’s kindness is greater than any magic we’ve ever practiced. We are thankful and ready to get to work. Now comes the fun part.
When Coming Distractions ended, we didn’t know if it had a future. Now, our Kickstarter has succeeded beyond our wildest expectations and it still has a week left. It’s too soon to look back, but Thanksgiving tends to make me sentimental. Over the last month, we’ve spent a lot of time looking back at our strip. Nate wrote a great farewell, not only to the strip, but to our collaboration. I don’t know what took me so long, but I’ve done my best to respond in kind.
In short, Nate is awesome.
Thanks for stopping by and we hope to share more stories, jokes, and comics soon.
When Nate Taylor and I met, we dreamed of sharing our wild ideas with the world. We made our own movies, brainstormed sequels we’d like to see, and created oddball characters we’d like to meet. The product of all three was our web series – Coming Distractions.
Now that Nate Taylor’s art is being showcased in Patrick Rothfuss’s Slow Regard of Silent Things, he’s reached the point in his career where his old stuff belongs on a shelf next to his new stuff. It’s time to put the entire Coming Distractions series into print. To help make this happen, we’ve created a Kickstarter campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1955547527/the-complete-coming-distractions
I know what you’re thinking. A web comic? On paper? Madness. Trouble is, even though I can read your mind, I have no idea how to answer your questions. Perhaps I should go to bed and dream of willing backers.
Also, I heard a rumor that funding our Kickstarter gives you superpowers.
The transition from summer spectacular to fall failure can be as jarring as this roundup’s title. Heroic space thugs, big-brained simians, deformed kung-fu reptiles, and in-and-out-of-costume super heroes/heroines all offer young adult peril for the young and adult. As in the past, when the stars are at war, we’ll need some Guardians of the Galaxy (Rotten Tomatoes – Metacritic).
“You’ll laugh because the jokes are good, you’ll clap because the action is awesome, but you’ll get emotional because you truly care about the characters.” Devin Faraci Badass Digest
You’ll be ordered to do things and you’ll like it.
“The film seems content to be the class clown of the Marvel Universe, which is all well and good. But like most class clowns, sometimes you wish it would apply itself — because it seems capable of being so much more.” New York Magazine (Vulture) Bilge Ebiri
“Guardians boasts not one, but two Han Solo proxies — not to mention an ass-kicking Princess Leia surrogate, a villain with a very Sithian fashion sense, and the flora answer to Chewbacca. Also, one of the Han Solo types is a talking raccoon.” The A.V. Club A.A. Dowd
So, it’s Star Wars without the Jedi?
“If blockbusters are the cinematic equivalent of junk food, then 2014 has been a goddamn ice-cream sundae, and Guardians is the bright, sickly sweet cherry sitting on top.” Adam Ross The Aristocrat
Next up, those multi-colored, mostly-inedible, sprinkles you wish you’d left off your summer sundae. If only the eye candy tasted like actual candy, instead of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Rotten Tomatoes – Metacritic).
“A dark, shaky, standard-issue superhero picture.” Philadelphia Inquirer Steven Rea
Defining a film as ‘standard issue superhero’ is as constructive as reused tape. Since most film protagonists are super, and we like hero-centric narratives, almost every action movie is a super hero movie (costume optional). Consider the super-ness, hero-ness, and costume-ness of the following characters: Indiana Jones, John Rambo, Gandalf, Jason Bourne, John McClane, Dirty Harry, Harry Potter, James Bond, and any movie with Chuck Norris.
“If TMNT the franchise is going to reach the same lofty heights of blockbuster-dom, it still needs to find its own inner hero.” The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Cliff Lee
“If nothing else, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reminds us that nostalgia is often used as a mandate for spectacularly lazy filmmaking.” RogerEbert.com Simon Abrams
Be advised, this reminder costs $12.
“It can’t be overstated what kind of a marvel these Turtles are onscreen, however. As crude and unpleasant their design might be, they feel like living, breathing things, not special effects.” The Playlist Gabe Toro
In the digital age, it is common to praise technicians over theatrics, yet how many special effects artists can you name? The unsung and unnamed SPFX teams deserve more screen credit, especially when they’re the primary actors. Exhibit A: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Rotten Tomatoes – Metacritic).
“It’s a provocative sci-fi action film with dynamite special effects, a powerful humanistic theme with echoes of real-life social conflicts, and a truly wondrous performance by Serkis.” USA Today Claudia Puig
Perhaps this movie will force the Academy to recognize digital performances as “acting” Since, Gollum wasn’t precious enough, maybe this ape is deservedly human.
“‘Dawn’ is not just a good genre movie or a good summer movie. It’s a great science-fiction film, full-stop, and one of the year’s very best movies so far.” HitFix Drew McWeeny
Argumentative claims are stronger if you use a full-stop after saying “full-stop.”
“Serkis’ Caesar gets more than his fair share of rip-snortin’ badass moments. He’s arguably the finest leader of men we’ve seen on screen since ‘Lincoln.’” Film.com Jordan Hoffman
“It speaks to the masses with some treats for the discerning types in the back.” indieWIRE Eric Kohn
Translation: Speaking to the masses, but aimed over their heads.
“Good news – it’s incredible. It sets the standard for blockbuster action movies, and manages to be even better than its predecessor.” The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Dave McGinn
“Engaging as it is to look at, this stop-motion animation film from the young Oregon studio Laika seems to have been masterminded by people thinking, “Everyone loves Pixar. So let’s do everything the opposite!” Admirably contrarian. Like being cast overboard and calling out for an anvil.” New York Post Kyle Smith
If the thrower is feeling contrary, you’ll get a lifeboat.
“While The Boxtrolls does follow kiddie-action genre conventions in its big, noisy climax — a hectic brawl of explosions, collisions and oversize machines — it also finds an impressive number of quiet, eccentric and haunting moments along the way.” The New York Times A.O. Scott
This just in: New York Times spelling mistake isn’t ‘oversized.’
“The Boxtrolls hold their own on screen, too, and children will fall in love with the creatures’ mischievous antics, gurgling language and tendency to use their boxes as both a disguise and a portable bedroom.” USA Today Brian Truitt
“The Boxtrolls is a kiddie charmer that makes you laugh, cower, and think of Hitler. That’s an unusual trifecta, but then again, this is an unusual film.” Village Voice Amy Nicholson
“Say this for The Equalizer: It gets the job done, and that job, to quote A Clockwork Orange, is delivering a little of the old ultra-violence.The Dissolve Scott Tobias
A.K.A. – a good date movie for men and their guns.
“Director Anton Fuqua has jettisoned almost everything related to the TV series except the title, the main character’s name, and the bare-bones premise. Even the theme song is gone. For all intents and purposes, The Equalizer isn’t so much a reboot as it is an entirely new entity.” ReelViews James Berardinelli
“It’s the sign of an empty, depressing experience when the only tension is over Bob’s choice to use a power drill or a weed whacker for his next kill.” Entertainment Weekly Joe McGovern
If creative modes of killing is the central gimmick, the only thing separating this movie from slasher films is that the killer is the protagonist, not just the star.
“The Equalizer, which reteams Washington with his Training Day director, Fuqua, is an origin story, like the birth of Batman, or Daredevil. If audiences and star are so inclined, it’s easy to see this premise and this character – a tough, taciturn gent burdened with regret and a very special skill set – going into Roman numerals.” Philadelphia Inquirer Steven Rea
“The resolution to this puzzle is so botched it’s insulting, as if they’re daring us to laugh at the notion that this is merely ‘the beginning.'” McClatchy-Tribune News Service Roger Moore
Adaptation conundrum: The danger in adapting book one (of a quartet) is the first movie will be judged on its own merits.
“A perfectly serviceable entry in the young-adult dystopian sweepstakes.” The New York Times Ben Kenigsberg
“If you’re going to treat your audience like a rat in a maze, it’s best to offer a tastier reward than the promise of more maze to come.” The A.V. Club A.A. Dowd
Unless the mice are maze fetishists.
“Think “Lord of the Flies,” without all the jerks.” San Francisco Chronicle Peter Hartlaub
“Lucy earns points for its unpredictable treatment of its vaguely superhero-ish premise and an appealing silliness, but it struggles to match wits with the genius at its center.” The Dissolve Matt Singer
Translation: It looks moronic, but it’s smart on the inside.
“Lucy plays more like a big dumb superhero flick than sci-fi.” The Hollywood Reporter John DeFore
Self-Reflexive Counterpoint: If there’s nothing super about superheroes, why do super heroine movies still seem rare?
“The funny thing about all these sub-“Matrix” shenanigans is that they’re genuinely meant to stoke thought and reflection. Frankly, though, few movies have left me feeling as shorn of gray matter.” Time Out New York Keith Uhlich
“There are moments of real wonder and even beauty amidst the slam and the bang and the big bada boom, and while Lucy is a mixed bag, it’s been mixed by a master, and it is delightfully, happily insane.” HitFix Drew McWeeny
Big bada boom Besson’s bombasity could fill District 13 (with the letter B being The Fifth Element). Whether The Messenger gets Taken 2 the Subway, The Professional contracts The Transporter’s Taxi or The Family gets Unleashed after a Lockout at the Brick Mansions, Lucy still gets Taken From Paris With Love by La Femme Nikita.
“By the time the film exhausts itself—in a brisk 89 minutes — it feels like there’s literally nowhere that Lucy and Besson can’t go, no boundaries, no laws, no logic. Just go with it.” Entertainment Weekly Jeff Labrecque
If man jumps extinction, is it tomorrow’s fault? Or will tomorrow pay the cost of an aborted Armageddon? Metaphysical questions aside, June’s mainstream releases focused more on clever sequel titles. We get straight number (2), sentence incorporation (Too), and adding +1 to the original numeric title (22). Franchises that give up on numbers opt 4 colons, as with Transformers: Age Of Extinction (Rotten Tomatoes – Metacritic).
“Imagine if instead of creating new music, a recording artist kept putting out the exact same album, just playing the songs a little louder each time. That’s what it feels like watching Transformers: Age of Extinction.” San Francisco ChroniclePeter Hartlaub
Marketing opportunity: Roll with it and give audiences earplugs before showings. They’re either clever or collectable.
“Who can really differentiate between these films anyway? In the end, they all devolve (evolve?) into clashing, clanging bots.” Christian Science Monitor Peter Rainer
Determining whether this franchise is shitty/crappy or rad/awesome depends on your proximity to puberty.
“The bi-culturalism actually is kind of fitting. Asia sends us their junk as toys. We repurpose that junk and send it back as movies. See? Recyling. Everybody wins. Except audiences.” Portland Oregonian Stephen Whitty
“Nearly three %$^&%!!# hours, and they’re brain-freezing.” New York Magazine (Vulture) David Edelstein
Cold make hard sentence properly?
“You get the feeling the guy who wrote Transformers: Age of Extinction used the entire script as a passive-aggressive running joke on his boss, director Michael Bay.” New York Post Kyle Smith
“What happens in Vegas happens a lot in movies. Think Like a Man Too goes to the same casinos, strip clubs and pleasure pools with a fistful of jokers and an ace up its sleeve, the irrepressible Kevin Hart.” Tampa Bay Times Steve Persall
Vegas is uniquely capable of serving as cinematic landmark, sinful verb, and euphemism for unspeakable mistakes. It begins on a Vegas Vacation, when the Viva Las Vegas-attitude of What Happens In Vegas leads to fun, but stops short of a Honeymoon in Vegas, due to worries that Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas comes before Leaving Las Vegas praying it’s your Last Vegas.
“The sequel is a disappointing step down, and backward.” Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips
Irrelevant counterpoint: Add a step left and forward and it’s dancing.
“Think Like a Man Too, the derivative, intermittently amusing follow-up to the surprise hit rom-com from 2012, is so frenetically paced and hysterically pitched that it makes almost no room for simple enjoyment.” Washington Post Ann Hornaday
“This is the sort of film that only makes sense as a rental, with, perhaps, a couple of friends and a very generously mixed pitcher of margaritas.” Portland Oregonian Stephen Whitty
Add it to the list of #moviesyoushouldntwatchsober
“Think Like A Man was a memorably bad movie; the most eccentric thing about this sequel is its title.” The A.V. Club Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
“This is a sequel that has its own story to tell and that gets right down to it, and it expands on the ideas from the first film, but in a way that tells a thematically satisfying and complete story. In other words, this is how franchises are supposed to work.” HitFix Drew McWeeny
A.K.A. – The famously fickle formula for franchise fortune fulfillment.
“A cartoon with better animation and livelier action, if fewer jokes. If there’s one thing these sweet-message/great flying sequence movies don’t need is fewer jokes.” Movie Nation Roger Moore
“I laughed, I cried, I longed for a pet dragon to call my own.” Austin Chronicle Kimberley Jones
Trogdor The Burninator is available.
“Game of What? This is our new desert island dragon-themed pop pick.” Tara Brady Irish Times
“This excellent film is a sequel and knows it, and wants us to know that it knows it.” The Telegraph Tim Robey
A.K.A. You know.
“It’s a self-aware movie that makes fun of the macho clichés it indulges.” RogerEbert.com Matt Zoller Seitz
Also known as, self-aware self-indulgence.
“The car chases are unremarkable, but the stunts — which comically juxtapose Tatum’s athletic grace and Hill’s stocky clumsiness — are a hoot.” USA Today Claudia Puig
“22 Jump Street hits far more often than it misses, and even when it misses by a mile, the effort is so delightfully zany that it’s hard not to give Lord and Miller an “A” for effort.” Variety Scott Foundas
“B” for bad idea, “C” for see me after class, “D” for don’t bother, “F” for frankly, you fucked up.
“Bigger and better – 22 Jump Street joins the exclusive list of sequels that out-gun their originals. We’re already knocking at the door of no.23.” Total Film Jamie Graham
“The Fault in Our Stars may not show the true messiness of cancer, but it does grapple with death and the ability to survive great loss. Maybe that’s enough truth for one movie.” The Wrap Diane Garrett
For those who can handle the truth.
“It’s nothing you’d ever want to put yourself through twice, and yet it’s effective in the moment. Shrewdly prefabricated and yet lovingly assembled, it is, in short, the most beautifully made cynical thing I’ve ever seen.” San Francisco Chronicle Mick LaSalle
“The fault is not in the stars — they’re fine — it’s in the way they’re put through what amounts to emotional overkill.” Portland Oregonian Jeff Baker
Beware of death by emotion.
“The ultimate feel-good movie about feeling bad. And within those limits, it succeeds all too well.” Christian Science Monitor Peter Rainer
“The pleasure of Edge of Tomorrow is that it’s not an action movie first and foremost, but rather a cheeky little puzzle picture in expensive-looking blockbuster drag.” Variety Justin Chang
It’s sci-fi diva deja vu?
“It is basically deadly serious, and after some moderate knockaboutfun, settles into something pretty dull. Where’s the edge?” The Guardian Peter Bradshaw
In the title.
“Although the humor helps, the Groundhog Day-like repetition gets tedious; it makes you feel more like a hamster than a groundhog — or rather a hamster’s wheel, going round and round, over and over again.” The Hollywood Reporter Todd McCarthy
“Edge of Tomorrow may be the best video game movie ever made. Which is strange since it isn’t actually based on a video game.” Tampa Bay Times Steve Persall
The movie’s slogan is Live. Die. Repeat. In video games, that’s known as trial by death.
“I felt unable to decide between this movie is the most badass thing ever and OMG turn it off.” Salon.com Andrew O’Hehir