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Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

Some villainy to brighten your day

Where would we be without villains? Well probably happier, and healthier ... maybe safer. But perhaps a little more ignorant when it comes to matters of the human soul....

On Saturday I went to see a performance of Zastrozzi: Master of Discipline by a local amateur theatre group as a fundraiser for their local Belegarth guild. The play consists of an insane artist on the run from Zastrozzi, master criminal of all Europe (apparently set in 1893). Zastrozzi finally corners Verezzi only to face Verezzi's tutor and guardian, Victor. As the play progresses, Zastrozzi and Verezzi both show signs of insanity while they separately investigate the nature of good and evil. Zastrozzi is a misanthrope and an atheist who believes his only purpose is to hold people accountable for their actions. Verezzi believes he is a servant, then a messenger of God, then a visionary, and finally a saint. Whether or not these men are sane is open to interpretation (what is sane anyway)? The play ends on a depressing minor chord, as such plays are wont to do.

The performance was excellent, especially the two actors who played Zastrozzi and Verezzi; they really threw themselves into the part and were enjoyable--sometimes terrifying--to watch. Since it's the first play done by an amateur group, there were some wrinkles that still need to be worked out--the scene changes were horribly slow, for one--but all things considered, I was pretty impressed. Plus it reminded me that I need to go to the theatre more often.

Today I saw The Dark Knight. OMG another Batman movie!!! :w00t: Or, as I like to call it, "A well done sequel to a well done movie that puts the Superman movie franchise to shame." I really liked Batman Begins; it removed any campy elements of the previous Batman movies and presented Batman from a new, grittier perspective. As a sequel, The Dark Knight does not disappoint. It's loaded with action scenes and fun Batman gizmos. All that praise for Heath Ledger's performance? Deserved. Of course, I'm in for Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, whom I believe are excellent in their roles in this film.

It's kind of long, and it's pretty predictable. But it's fulfilling. The movie sets Batman up to take the fall for the events at the end, and it does not disappoint us. Yes, I know: I'm a sucker for tragedy. If the hero gets set up for tragedy, though, I darn well expect him or her to be subject to the tragedy and not find a loophole! That just makes me angry . . . and you wouldn't like me when I'm--wait, wrong franchise. Wrong company!

I'm looking forward to Watchmen. The graphic novel is the graphic novel. So of course there's a chance that the movie will be utterly horrible. Comic book companies are getting better at bringing their characters to the big screen, however (case in point, The Dark Knight!). If you haven't read Watchmen, check it out.

Speaking of villains, our old friend Dr. Horrible is back! Yes, that's right: you can watch Joss Whedon's awesome supervillain musical, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, for free again. The full episode is available on Hulu as well as the three individual acts, so if you missed it the first time, this is your chance to see it for free.

Now I'm going to go watch Felicia Day's webseries The Guild, which I learned about through her interview with Lifehacker.