Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

March 18, 2014 at 10:14am

Nerd Alert! Hellboy turns 20 and "Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?" screens at The Grand Cinema

Everyone grows old.

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March 21-27: Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?

This is precisely the type of movie that is built to kill at an art house, but would go unseen at any other theater. Here's the elevator pitch: Restlessly inventive French Director Michel Gondry animates a conversation with linguist and logician Noam Chomsky. Fun, right?

Gondry has always been a curious director, but an inefficient writer. His adaptations of Charlie Kaufman screenplays (Human Nature and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) were low and high points for the writer, respectively. While one film hinged on the burgeoning feature director's abilities (paired with a middling story), the other found writer and director enhancing one another. Meanwhile, Gondry's own excursions into writing and directing-with the ruthlessly prickly relationship drama of The Science of Sleep and the cartoonish broad comedy of Be Kind Rewind - were decidedly uneven.

What cannot be denied, even if we decry Gondry's command over ideas, is his command over deceptively simple visuals. The solution to this problem of visuals lacking meaning? Combine Noam Chomsky's fascinating and maddening philosophy with Gondry's imaginative animation to create something of a mashing together of art and ideas that amounts to more than these two men can do, individually. Seems intriguing. The Grand Cinema, Friday 2 p.m., Saturday 8:45 p.m., Monday 6:30 p.m., Tuesday 8:45 p.m., Thursday, March 27 4:15 p.m., 606 S. Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, 253.593.4474

Saturday, March 22: Hellboy Day

I will never get over the disappointment of Guillermo Del Toro bailing on directing The Hobbit. Here is a director that made his mark by putting way more effort than necessary into Hollywood fluff. This is a trend that started with Blade II, which had no right being as good as it was. After that, we found ourselves looking at the Hellboy (soon-to-be) trilogy, which managed to take a bunch of goofy characters and imbue them with a sort of surreal majesty. Del Toro is an absolute master of monster creation, and Peter Jackson is more or less a hack of his own creating. A Hobbit trilogy under Del Toro's rule would've been a punk rock ode to everything that fantasy could be, if it could just let go of the orcs and move on the batshit Cthulhu parade.

This is all a long way of letting all you nerds know that Mike Mignola's Hellboy comic book series is turning a cool 20 this week. What amounted to the quintessential '90s comic book - self-aware, stylized, coolly violent - has come of age in a time that has largely failed at adapting comics of the kind. Punisher, Spawn and The Crow have all been blessedly forgotten failures as adaptations. Come rejoice at the victory of the comic form as Olympic Cards & Comics celebrates with a sampler comic of new Mignola stories. Olympic Cards & Comics, 10 a.m., 4230 Pacific Ave., Lacey, 360.459.7721

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