Friday, September 30, 2005

Things to do if you like space cowboys.

- OK, if any of you are surprised that the first thing I mention to do this week is SERENITY, then you obviously haven't read my blog in the last month. Prior to buying the DVDs for the space Western FIREFLY, I was interested in watching this movie because it's the first Joss Whedon-directed movie. And since the show FIREFLY completely ruled beyond even my expectations, then this mention should come as no surprise to you. From what I understand, the plot of FIREFLY is summed up in the first few minutes of SERENITY so that those of you who are going in it without previous knowledge of the show should be OK. The reviews say it's better than the latest STAR WARS movies, which I expected, and that the dialogue and character development are as strong as anything you'd expect from BUFFY creator Joss Whedon. Plus, the movie seems to be all about the ENDER'S GAME-ish story of River Tam, a prodigy who escaped a government facility after they were experimenting on her for unknown reasons. Besides, there are plenty of hot-looking people in this. This movie, more than anything, should be lots of goofy fun. (And all it needs to do to become a franchise to recoup about $40 million, which isn't much in box office terms, so you can all do me a personal favor by going to the theater this weekend and finding SERENITY.)
- I don't know why I think it would be fun to get lost in a cornfield with my friends, but I'm always looking for unique things to do around the city. This definitely qualifies. Cagle's Dairy Maize, located north of Atlanta outside the Perimeter, has reopened its giant cornfield maze for the season, and I really, really want to get a group of friends together to traverse it. I think Edmondson's in. And Shalewa. (I'm not suggesting that we all do some sort of CHILDREN OF THE CORN thing - though, if we accidentally become a murderous clan that, I'm totally gonna be Isaac or Malachai.) I was thinking that this was the closest we were ever going to get to visiting a hedge maze, which I've always wanted to do. And the Maize, in this case, is 50 acres, which is amazing. There's bound to be several good anecdotes created by placing a group of my friends together in a maze of corn. We have to go.
- Gregory Maguire's SON OF A WITCH, the sequel to his almost-perfect WICKED, gets us back to his version of Oz this week. This one, though, doesn't follow the Wicked Witch of the West, for she's already melted. This book, obvious from the clever title, follows her rumored son Liir as he tries to discover if he has any of her powers. (The Liir portions of the first book, to me, were when WICKED started to go downhill, so I haven't gotten the book yet. Still, WICKED was rather good, so the sequel should contain some rather good parts, too.)
- CITY OF FALLING ANGELS, the new nonfiction book from MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL author John Berendt also came out this week, and I hear Berendt, investigating the arson of a famed Italian opera house, turns Venice into a setting as enchanting and bizarre as his version of Savannah. The author is due at the Margaret Mitchell House next weekend for a signing of his new book, so you may want to go. In a funny twist, though, I can't go to the John Berendt signing because I'll be in Savannah.
- The new David Cronenberg film A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, starring Viggo Mortensen and a freaky-looking Ed Harris, opens at the Landmark this weekend. It's gotten a lot of good reviews, particularly for Mortensen's work as a man with a haunted past. The story looks, at first, like a simple story of a small town plagued by one man's secrets, but Cronenberg usually has a couple really sick twists up his sleeve. Consider this one a must-see.
- As a storyteller, Neil Gaiman's a genius, and this week we're lucky because there's a lot of new stuff from him. MIRRORMASK, a new, fantasy movie written by Gaiman and directed by his illustrator Dave McKean, also opens at the Landmark this weekend, and its visuals look absolutely stunning. The film, envisioned as a follow-up to LABYRINTH of all things, follows another teenage girl trapped in a mysterious world of witches and goblins. (I'm thinking that Jim Henson fans, particularly the crowd from Center for Puppetry Arts, would find MIRRORMASK dazzling.) Gaiman also recently released his new novel ANANSI BOYS, which is a sequel to AMERICAN GODS, and friends who've read the new book say that it's pretty good.
- INTO THE BLUE probably sucks, but everyone in it is so damn pretty. And, knowing their audience, it looks like the filmmakers have kept Jessica Alba in a bikini and Paul Walker shirtless throughout the entire film.
- In anticipation of the new season of VERONICA MARS, I picked up the Dandy Warhols' excellent old album WELCOME TO THE MONKEY HOUSE this week. Good stuff. I recommend it.
- As for this week's question, I'm gonna go back to SERENITY and its acrobatic psychic genius superheroine River Tam for inspiration. If you could have only one freaky superpower, what would you choose, and how would you use it? And, honestly, do you think it'd be more fun to be a superhero or supervillain? Most people will probably say they'd like X-ray vision, but what's the fun of looking if you couldn't always touch? And, ummm, what if you couldn't turn it off and were forced to X-ray-vision everybody? I've always thought that, if I had a superpower, I'd want telekenesis, the ability to move objects with your mind. That way, whenever I got upset, I could wreak havoc on annoying people and destroy stuff. I guess that'd make me a supervillain, but I think I'd be cool with that. What superpower would you choose?

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