Identity Crisis

The Bourne Identity, which introduced Matt Damon as human weapon Jason Bourne in 2002, was very good. Its 2004 sequel, The Bourne Supremacy, was great, as was 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum. Last year's The Bourne Legacy, a spinoff focused on another agent played by Jeremy Renner, was not as good as any of them but had its moments nonetheless. I'll expound a bit, without spoilers, after the graphic.

Jeremy Renner in 'The Bourne Legacy' poster / 'There was never just one'
Poster © 2012 Universal Studios.

Unleavened Levity

Fake book cover for 'Pesadick Tracy and the Case of the Missing Manischewitz — by Chester Gould - A Kosher-for-Passover Caper' with signature profile of Dick Tracy in yellow trenchcoat and yarmulke
Dick Tracy created by Chester Gould and ® The Tribune Company.
Text/Design: Brian Saner Lamken © 2013. Click to view larger at Exhibit B!

More years ago than feels possible I drew up a cartoon like this for a Hillel seder at Oberlin. I've yet to come across it in my files but with today's technology I was able to rebuild the thing better, faster, and stronger.

Not that I'm about to draw a whole strip, but I kind-of want to read this.

Kindred Posts: ¿Quién Es Más Matzah?Nice Day for a Sprite WeddingEarth's Mightiest Hushpuppy


Star Trek on Hulu

Hulu began streaming every season of all five live-action incarnations of Star Trek on demand today. The Original Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise are available to view free via those links through March 31st.

Also today on its Tumblr blog Hulu launched a bracketed March Madness showdown to determine "the greatest Star Trek character of all time". That's not so much a direct quote as it is a derogatory air-style quote, because while I appreciate that Hulu is just having some fun it's put up an awfully shallow field. Never mind that Q is the only adversary included — there are absences from the core cast of every series, including (or not) Uhura, Sulu, Chekhov, and McCoy, for crying out loud; I suspect that somebody somewhere is even upset that no-one from Enterprise appears. While I realize that to add more characters the number of extant brackets would have to double for it to all work, I can easily come up with another sixteen characters and I consider myself more of a Trekkie than a die-hard Trekker (which makes the Hulu brain trust that came up with this scheme a bunch of Treklodytes). More characters almost certainly wouldn't change the final rounds, especially if the presumptive favorites were seeded properly, but even casual fans are going to ask where Bones is.

You can check out Hulu's preface, bracket overview, and the categories open for voting so far to decide for yourself whether participation strikes you as fun or legitimizing a hopelessly flawed tournament. My knock on Star Trek Madness aside, Hulu is a great way to catch up on current and classic television.

Star Trek logo, photos, and other elements of the above image are the intellectual property of The CBS Corporation.

There Are No Small Partings

I'm not sure what I can say about Celeste and Jesse Forever without giving too much away.

Celeste and Jesse, played by Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg, are best friends since college who married and then amicably separated while remaining buds. The entire plot revolves around whether they reunite and/or how they cope with drifting apart.

If I tell you Forever is a comfort film — not that I'm doing so — you'd probably guess that there's a happy ending. If I tell you that Forever should only be viewed if you can handle relationships going south — not that I'm doing so — you'd probably guess that there isn't. If I tell you that Forever is good enough to withstand either the cliché of the happy ending or the bummer of the alternative, well, I'd be speaking untruth, albeit not of great magnitude; Celeste and Jesse Forever is good, just not quite good enough for me to honestly say I enjoyed [whatever happened].

Spoilers after the poster, then!

Celeste and Jesse Forever poster
Poster © 2012 Sony Pictures Classics.

Okay? You saw it or just don't care?

Flow Rider

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Promo art © 2012 Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Beasts of the Southern Wild is by turns life-affirming, death-defying, and mystifying. It was one of my favorite movies of last year.

Mind the Bollocks

As great as the political satire on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report is, sometimes the shows' finest comedy is wrung out of human-interest stories on the smallest scale.

large white bucket marked 'formaldehyde' with skull and crossbones' / A mystery treat inside specially marked containers!
Screencap © 2013 Comedy Partners.

On Monday Colbert led off with an installment of its occasional series The Enemy Within about some misplaced scallop gonads in Maine. It's a great mix of, on the one hand, making fun of these kinds of field pieces and, on the other, just letting the ridiculous nature of the incident speak for itself. You're guaranteed to laugh or the next post on this blog is free. [Warning: Scallop gonads, in case you missed that, but they're really just the macguffin.]

Earth's Mightiest Hushpuppy

mocked-up poster for 'The Quvenzhers' with Quvenzhané Wallis of 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' in the roles of Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America, also with fake blurbs and credits
Photographs, trademarks, and other intellectual property are used
for the purposes of parody only. No infringement is intended or implied.
Text & Digital Manipulation: Brian Saner Lamken © 2013.
Click to view larger at
Exhibit B!

Hide and Sneak

Is Argo worth a watch? No doubt.

Was it worth an Oscar? Not given its competition, as far as I'm concerned, as I wrote at the end of my post-Oscars post last week. But the fact that Argo is merely one of my top five or so movies of 2012 rather than the number-one pick ain't bad. Some thoughts on it that include mild plot spoilers follow the graphic.

Argo DVD
Argo DVD package art © 2013 Warner Home Video.

7 for 007

Maybe there was faint hope of uniting all six men who played James Bond in the cinematic Eon canon on stage last Sunday at the Oscars in honor of 007's half-century in film. All we got was a decent but not exceptional montage and Shirley Bassey singing the theme from Goldfinger, which for the first minute or so I remained unconvinced was not Maya Rudolph doing Shirley Bassey singing the theme from Goldfinger. The Internet, luckily, is here to soften the blow with heaps upon heaps of bloomin' Bondage.

Dr. No UK movie poster

The Bond movies' 50th anniversary actually fell last year — October 5th, to be precise, on the date that Sean Connery's debut as Bond in Eon Productions' adaptation of Ian Fleming's Dr. No hit screens five decades before. Here are seven links — not counting the self-serving ones — that (mostly) honor the Bond legacy, particularly in film.