Sunday, December 20, 2015

American Ultra reviewed

Glib Review of 
American Ultra
- Directed By Nima Nourizadeh

Max Landis scripted this at times funny, at times kind of creepy and weird dramedy about a stoner (Jesse Eisenberg) who turns out to be a deadly sleeper agent for the CIA. Eisenberg nails the stoner part, and the deadly assassin part with equal aplomb. This might be my favourite performance for both him and Kirsten Stewart, who I didn’t recognize right away, watching the movie. No dead eyed staring from her in this picture, like in Runaways K-Stew brings her actual acting chops to bear, and is good in a role that starts off great, realistic in it’s portrayal of the slightly more together girlfriend of the stoner cartoonist who has a pathological fear of leaving their small Virginia town.

Movies are quite often kind of disappointing for me, rarely living up to trailers, or word of mouth. My expectations of this film were low based on lukewarm to pretty good reviews from friends, and based on the trailer, which made it seem kitschier than it actually is. The flick definitely has some quirks, but it’s not hokey, silly at times, but in a good way. There are some great supporting performances from Topher Grace, in easily the meatiest (some great villainous monologuing) thing I have seen him in since Traffic, as well as Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development and so much more) and Connie Britton, who kills it as the one decent human being working for the CIA.

The action scenes are fairly well choreographed, and unconfusing in their jump cutting and so on. John Leguizamo, and Walton Goggins are mostly wasted as comic/pathos appeals in the film. They each could have used a scene or two of character building, and the entire film would be raised up a notch or two. That may be my only real criticism of the film. Don’t turn off the credits right away either, as the ending animation caps the whole thing up nicely. I wish more films played with the titles in this way, at either end of the movie.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised that American Ultra delivered much of what I hoped it would given the premise. Definitely worth renting, if only to bask in the lack of Twilighty-dead eye stares from K. Stew, and of course the weirdly good action scenes and scariness from Eisenberg. I genuinely enjoyed the movie, its maybe not the best ‘sleeper agent story’ ever; but it delves a bit into the absurdity of doing this kind of thing, and doing this kind of thing to someone. And, it has tongues firmly in cheeks much of the time. 

8.1111 different grocery store items that can be disturbing lethal outta 10

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Ant-Man Reviewed

Glib Review of Ant-Man
- Directed By Peyton Reed

I liked a great many things about Ant-Man. The action scenes were good, the sfx I thought were quite good, the story was an interesting spin on a Marvel character I know very well, having been a comics nerd since the early 70’s. The changes in character from the comics to film universe are pretty reasonable. I thought Paul Rudd was great, as was Michael Douglas, and Evangeline Lily. I liked the family dynamic, and Bobby Cannavale is always great. The scene, not to spoil anything, with The Falcon is one of the best 'getting to know you' superhero fights on film. but.... but something about this movie bugged me.


True story though. I am having a hard time putting my finger on it. But the things I thought gummed up the works, were Lang’s sidekick ethnic stereotype buddies in crime. Michael Pena gave it his all, but a lot of the humour these guys were supposed to add fell flat for me, which messed up the pacing, that and the villain, having Cross become Yellowjacket, rather than ‘Crossfire’, the villain he becomes in the comics is a twist I really like, but the whole thing played out with less gravitas, less something than the concept needed. Again, for me, it was just the pacing. The movie lagged as it sprinted to the finish. I’m not sure exactly how I would have done it differently, but it needed something else. Maybe the Hope not getting to be the Wasp yet subplot got in the way? I liked how it played out though, obviously leading to an “and The Wasp” movie, if this one did well enough, which I think it has.

It’s a comic book movie, which means it can never be as sophisticated as an actual comic book, and it does a good job of continuity cherry picking, that as a comics fan I appreciated. First shot is the Milgrom Building! See, for me that was really meaningful. Most moviegoers scratch their heads at my *squee.* I think I will have to watch it again in a few months or something, to see if I can figure out what slowed the movie down so much for me. So many things I liked, but my reaction at the end was kind of ho hum. 

6.8548 Ethnic Stereotype minions who aren’t very funny outta 10

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wolfpack, under the radar Docu-Gem

Glib reviews Of recent DVDs

The Wolfpack
-Directed By Crystal Moselle

Do you like documentaries about charming but creepy outsider weirdo artists or families? Who doesn’t? I keep thinking that film makers are going to run out of odd but relatable weirdo families to follow around. Lucky for me, and director Moselle, that hasn’t happened yet. 

I don’t want to spoil it much, but the premise is simple. An alternative couple who find the world around them to be super toxic, decide to have a lot of kids, and to home school and raise the kids in public housing in the lower east side of Manhattan. They have seven kids, 6 boys who don’t seem to have much age difference between them, the oldest being maybe 20 or 21, it seems. They rarely venture outside, but of course make their own fun in the apartment. they do so by recreating their favourite movies from scratch, using quite ingenious home made costumes and props that bring to mind that cult hit from a few years ago, Be Kind Rewind. the brothers, (and the much younger sister, who is more background in the film than anything) all named with early Sanskrit names, Govinda, Bhagavan, Krsna, Jagadisa, Mukunda, Narayana.

Of course eventually, and again this is what the film is about, they do start engaging a bit more in the world, stepping outside their father’s iron rule. There are a lot of great narrative structure choices here by the film makers that build suspense, and create a tension that echoes the kids, and the mother’s struggles to have some autonomy under the father’s vague anti society ethos. You find out why they are called ‘Wolfpack,’ simply by seeing how they interact as a unit and alone within the confines of their apartment, and outside as well. 

I don’t have any real criticism of the narrative, though I would like to see a down the road sequel, to see how these folks are doing after a few more years.  One thing I really think they do well, is differentiate these boys, becoming men, from each other, when they do kind of blend, and sometimes it’s hard to tell them apart, by the end you see that they are not just part of a pack, but individuals going through their own stuff. You can gain some understanding of where the parents are/were coming from with what could be seen as a very abusive and off kilter upbringing. Mostly the kids are delightfully off kilter. Humans can surpass their circumstances whether they are aware of doing so or not.

Lovely documentary.

8.5 Convincing Batman costumes made from yoga mats and cereal boxes outta 10

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Review of The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Glib Reviews of Recent DVD & Blu Ray Releases.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 
- Directed by Guy Ritchie.

A pretty entertaining movie rehash of one of my very first ‘Favourite TV shows.” Like my other early rerun Favourite ‘Star Trek,’ ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ was in reruns for the first time, after 5 years off the air, so 1973-ish for me.  My first crushes on men, were probably on these two, ‘not as suave as either thinks,’ and awesomely named super spies, ‘Napoleon Solo, and Ilya Kuryakin. I have rose coloured memories of watching that particular spy show. I was very much as a kid into spy tv shows, like this or, ‘the Avengers,’ ‘I Spy,’ ‘Get Smart,’ and the zillion others that came and went in the 70’s.

I tried my best not to bring too much nostalgia to this movie remake. I enjoy the Star Trek movies, best as really good two part episodes of which ever show the characters are from. Most old tv shows rebooted into movies suffer from trying too hard to re-invent the wheel. and I am always a bit trepidatious, and try to look at reboots, as just that, an interpretation of that old movie, tv show that you liked.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. suffers a bit from comparison, and nostalgia though, despite the great look, set dec, and overall great retro look. It is actually in the movie’s favour that unlike Bond, they aren’t trying to keep contemporary. The only way The Man From U.N.C.L.E. really works is during the cold war. Otherwise like Bond, it may have the name, but it’s not really what it was meant to be. I Really enjoyed this film. It was very well paced, and I thought the cast was totally on board with keeping it retro, and kind of ‘Mad Men’ slick. Superman was great as Solo, totally inhabiting that suave but dangerous mid-Atlantic accent, and always on the game manners. The Lone Ranger had a bit of a tougher role, in that he was much less outwardly nerdy than McCallum’s original. The PTSD is played pretty respectfully, but brings down what should have been just slightly more light hearted a film.

Obviously, the film is setting up a possible sequel and beyond, by the ending which flows very nicely. The thing is, as entertained as I was by this pretty slick picture, I kept thinking, man this would make an awesome TV series.

7.55648 East German Lady Mechanics Who Like To Wrestle Outta 10

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Avengers Age of Ultron reviewed

Glib Reviews of Recent DVD/Blu-Ray Releases

The Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Directed by Joss Whedon

Well, it definitely was not as bad as a lot of folks made it out to be this little film. I am a big reader of comic books, and superhero fan, but even I think there are too many superhero movies. While this movie doesn’t quite capture the fun of the first Avengers movie, it scores a lot of points for me, simply by not being called Avengers 2. Oh, there are tons of spoilers in this review, fyi.

The initial scene where everything is cgi seemingly except a few cutaways is weirdly out of place in terms of the cinematography, but it is a comic book movie, so I say embrace the cgi. It is supposed to be a bit ‘cartoony’. The lack of actual Loki (Tom Hiddleston) makes the whole thing less fun. The second most jarring thing for me was James Spader’s laconic glib take on Ultron. This really threw me for about half the movie, Ultron sounds like a preppy overprivileged lawyer? 

Ultron’s biggest weakness has always been his daddy issues, and without Hank Pym to kick around, this is a bit tougher to digest for an old nerd like me. But The MCU is an alternate to the comics, so room for change is okay, and by the end of the picture, I was liking having Alan from Boston Legal as an evil robot. And Tony Stark really is a more realistic  bad Dad, what with being such a dink most of the time. But it took a lot of work to get me on board with Alan Ultron.

The most jarring thing to me though was changing Hawkeye into a family man with a wife and kids. This really is not any Hawkeye you have seen in the comics, he’s more upright and forthright. Comic book Clint Barton has always been a defensive quipster with a big chip on his shoulder. Cinematic Hawkeye is the heart and soul guy when Cap is not around to be that. the most interesting part for me was the Hulk/Black Widow pairing, that while being played out in a cliched way, is interesting as those characters don’t have much history in the comics, and is an odd pairing, that kind of works chemistry wise with the two actors. The idea though that Natasha can’t escape a simple jail cell and needs Bruce Banner to come by and do it for her though is as ludicrous as the several deus ex machinas that happen with Thor, and the Vision, who has just the right kind of upstanding, but creepy vibe. 

The action flowed pretty nicely I thought, and while some of the plot holes made my brain hurt, it was a reasonably fun summer movie. The dialogue sometimes had the vibe of too many cooks in the kitchen. If it’s too hammy for a comic book movie, its pretty hammy: aka everything that Samuel L. Jackson, as Nick Fury, says. The origins, and backstories of these movie versions of familiar long time characters are far less convoluted, by decades of revisions and reboots than in the comics, and I hope this stays a thing. Please don’t retcon anything mid movie series, Marvel. 

The film holds together much better visually than it does plot wise. I was also pleased with the versions of Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver. In the Comics their stories are ludicrous, and only Pietro has a clear timeline of being a bad guy/good guy. Wanda is the Avengers punching bag for horrible retcons. I don’t think Pietro is dead. Fast metabolism! At least I hope not, I liked this take on him, which personality wise was pretty bang on.

7.23 pretty funny cameos from the very few black characters in the film out of ten

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

my review of Kingsman: the Secret Service

Glib Reviews of Recent DVD Releases

Kingsman: The Secret Service
- Directed By Matthew Vaughn

Loosely based on a comic book that somehow I never read, despite it being up my alley with all the spying and gadgets and gratuitous violence. One of those Mark Millar comics, called “The Secret Service.” I will be searching it out now, as I found the movie reasonably entertaining. It was no From Russia With love or Goldfinger, mind you, or even Layer Cake, Vaughn’s first and for my money, best film, but I have enjoyed all of his five of his Directorial efforts. Kingsman is a lot of fun, with a ludicrous plot line that the characters constantly joke about. Like Millar’s comics there isn’t a ton of depth or story, just clever usage of tropes from the genre.

I like the setting the story with an outside independent Secret Service, as opposed to the done to death MI-6/CIA kind of spy movie. Colin firth is great as classy agent Harry Hart, code named Galahad. It’s nice to see him doing an action piece. The younger lead was serviceable, and had a bit of Chav-ish charm. The choice of Samuel L. Jackson as the billionaire cell phone magnate was a nice departure for him, playing a nerdy bad guy, who though dorky and almost relatable is still a sociopath. It was also nice to see Mark Hamill playing the role that would have went to Eddie Izzard (seriously, I thought he was Izzard for half a minute when you first meet him) if there hadn’t been a Hamill reference from the comics that the film makers were ‘easter egging’ to the comic fans.

I really enjoyed the film, though it really kind of meanders here and there. It has a lot of potential, that somehow never quite has the gravitas, or humour that it wants to have. The actual fight scenes are all pretty awesome though, and that makes up for a lot of my pacing quibbles. The whole ‘butt sex controversy’ near the end is kind of silly.Though, it gives the hero a weird vibe in that, he was sort of into sexing up the Princess, and the deal is sealed with the offer of anal sex. Creepy, at least to me, and given the way people went on about it, I thought it was going to be super graphic, I was kind of relieved it wasn’t quite as juvenile as it could have been. I think I would enjoy this movie more watching it a second time with some friends beer, and all joking about various silly parts of what goes on. Entertaining fluff!

7.11111 Michael Caine references in a film with Michael Caine in it, outta 10

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Inherent Vice is Inherently great!

Glib Reviews of Fairly Recent DVD  Releases

Inherent Vice
- Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Finally got around to seeing the latest PTA flick, which I had heard a lot of conflicting opinions on. Inherent Vice is also based on a Thomas Pynchon novel, so there are of course some heavy wight ideas going on. Personally the only Pynchon I have ever been able to finish reading is The Crying Of Lot 49.  I had my own sort of mix of skepticism and hope going into this. Tried and tried to get through V. and Gravity’s Rainbow three or four times each, but also, something makes me give up on these books, I usually am so into the books, the first half or so, then something that just happens is that I have put the books down, and moved on to something else. Maybe it’s just timing; and I say this because this is what I see in this film, something that PTA groks about pace and timing, that generally, (with the exception of “The Master, which I can’t seem to stay awake through.) I find Pynchon doesn’t, he always loses the rhythm for me somehow.

This is I think PTA’s best written script, for that reason, he hits all the right noir notes: the bedraggled, PI, the ex who drags said PI into a web of her troubles, plucky sidekicks, iconoclastic bigger than life ‘villains’ and a well developed co-dependant relationship with a cop. Seriously, this movie is like a class in how to create a faithfully 1930’s, 40’s esque noir. The cast is a nice blend of very familiar faces and new or vaguely familiar faces. 

Joaquin Phoenix is a stoner Bogart/Sam Spade, or Phillip Marlowe, whose relationships with women echo those with a hint of maybe Elliot Gould’s laconic LA Marlowe. the ex shows up, spins a web of intrigue and disappears faster than you can say, “Otto Premminger’s Laura.” Josh Brolin’s broken down flat topped cop deserves an ovation. The chemistry between him and Phoenix is a joy to behold. Some great cameos from Martin Short as a drugged out purple velvet suit wearing sex fiend dentist, Maya Rudolph as Phoenix’s witty bob coifed gum snapping receptionist bring a real sense of the usual PTA ensemble. His use of Joanna Newsome’s character Sortilege as a greek chorus style narrator is the final coat of noir sheen. Well done narration is a marvel in this day and age.

This is something that the more I think about it, makes me think that PTA is a good fit to try to realize a Pynchon novel. They both fill their backgrounds as much as they do scene, and plot, and that the characters really are the scene and the plot. His adaptation of the novel captures these aspects that I recognize from the first halves of Pynchon that I have read, that new characters are constant coming at the protagonist(s), and these people are what create the huge web of conspiracy and propel the story far more than the action does. 

The actions the characters take are always in reaction to another character, more than their own ideas, or morality. Everyone is struggling. There is no real denouement, things just sort of settle down, as certain characters are eliminated, or cowed by someone else, and in the end our ‘heroic hippie,’ manages offer one person salvation. It’s a modern noir, you can tell as the femme fatale suffers no real repercussions for the fires she started, and wandered off from. In a 30’s film, she would have been headed for jail or death.

I like this picture even more than I did when I was watching it, now writing and thinking about it, I’d like to watch it again. Outstanding performances, and a titanium strength script propel this PTA up the ladder into my top five PTA films after just one viewing. It makes me want to go back and finish those Pynchon books, and read the one this is based on. I am giving this a higher rating than I set out when I started writing this review. See this film and talk about it. Even if you hate it, I bet it will have you talking about it.

8.8888 times that your ex drops by and casually ensnares into a criminal conspiracy that turns out to be both real and not real outta 10

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Welcome To Me, Reviewed

Glib Reviews Of Recent DVD Releases

Welcome To Me
- Directed by Shira Piven

A very sharp, very much with a feminine gaze satire on how the world deals with mental illness, fame, and wealth. Sounds like reality TV? Bingo. Kristen Wiig brings us Alice Kleig, a women filled with anxiety, rage, love and medication. In a familiar plot this very typical modern Oprah obsessed heavily medicated woman wearing her neuroses on her sleeve, wins the lotto. 

She decides to fund her own infomercial style ‘talk show “Welcome To Me.” I really don’t want to give much away of the story, but I will say that it all unfolds with impeccable timing, and is alternately making you laugh, cringe, and cry, maybe all three at the same time. Alice is one of those very hard to love characters, her social awkwardness both charms and wears thin as she goes from catharsis to catharsis, kind of forgetting/taking for granted the people who helped her before she won the lotto, as she wins over most of the tv production company that she has basically purchased. 

She does things throughout that make you cringe and maybe even dislike her, at times, yet in the end she actually grows and changes, and realizes that her own story is the story of her friends and loved ones, and that perhaps wealth and money are bigger roadblocks to humanity and sanity, than ‘borderline personality disorder, or using masturbation as a sedative. Squicked.

As much as this really is Wiig’s vehicle, her supporting cast does a lot with what they are playing through. Wes Bentley was unrecognizable to me, and wonderful in a very low key, early ‘Gyllenhaalish beardo role.The only character I would have liked a smidge more of was Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Deb who is the one person it seems with much guilt over producing this ‘vanity show’ and the exploitation that is happening not just from the infomercial production company, but Alice’s own self exploitation, and blithe diminishment of folks who have “wronged her.” 

Joan Cusack is her usual tower of strength, as is Linda Cardellini as long suffering best friend, Gina. Their friendship and it’s ups and downs are the scenes that really ground this dark dark satire of modern life in America. The great low budget art direction and pacing brought to a tough, touchy script by director, Shira Piven is self assured and she is a director i am now going to be keeping my eye out for.  

Recommended for folks who like female led films like Blue Jasmine, or the TV show Broad City; where the women are very flawed and very human. So, you know, it's not a film for everybody.

8.5 VHS tapes filled with hours and hours of Oprah outta 10

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Review Of Ride the Pink Horse

Glib reviews of DVDs and Blu Rays.

Ride The Pink Horse
- Directed by Robert Montgomery

It might be a mistake to watch a movie adaptation only one day after finishing a novel that you love. Dorothy B. Hughes’ novel called Ride The Pink Horse is a wonderful small town noir of the sort associated with Jim Thompson, and at the same time a sweaty tension filled fish out of water story akin to the best of Patricia Highsmith.

The fact that the film makers let the more literary name stand instead of giving it some generic but more cinematic title is a testament to the strength of the story. Many of the details of the film are changed for those kinds of what works in a book might be too subtle for a movie kind of ways, like some of the names of characters, most obviously, the protagonist (who is no ‘hero’ in ether the book or the film) goes from the no last named ‘Sailor’ in the book to the much more noirishly named Lucky Gagin, who is never once called ‘Lucky,’ with good reason.

It’s no spoiler to give the very bare bones plot that is taken from the book and attached to the film story: Gagin comes to the small New Mexico town of Sao Pueblo to confront, maybe kill, but most likely blackmail a gangster who had his friend, also a black mailer killed. In the book ‘Sailor’ knows the ‘gangster,’ who is also a senator. All the great Chicago corruption angles are gone, as everyone in the film version is from DC.

The other big character changes are the cop who is onto Gagin, following him invisibly, everywhere he goes, and the gangster, who also have different names and motivations. What makes these changes work and sing really are twofold, wonderful dialogue from writers Ben Hecht and Charles Lederer, legends on their own, and a great cast of scenery chewers like the ubiquitous Fred Clark, who plays ‘Frank Hugo’ the big bad gangster. Clark gives a great turn as a slicker than slick talker, who is constantly almost talking Gagin into thinking he won’t just have him killed when he gets the blackmail dealt with.

Also wonderful are the very familiar Art Smith who you might recall from another great Hughes adaptation “In A Lonely Place,” where he played the agent, Mel Lippman. His performance drips with butter as the savvy old cop who is about three steps ahead of everyone. 

The other great character actors in the film are the lesser known Thomas Gomez (who reprised the role of “Pancho” in Montgomery’s tv episode remake of the film in 1960 on his dramatic Tv show- Robert Montgomery Presents); and  a nice turn from Wanda Hendrix, as Pila, the young girl follows Gagin around, helping him, and not quite being the love interest, because she is so young, the character is 14. this is an aspect I like from the book, that they didn’t change too much, there is an inferred sexual tension, but nothing really. Gagin/Sailor is more like an uncle, or father figure in both the book and the movie. Pila doesn’t pick up men like her friends, she helps them stay alive as they blackmail gangsters.

The film is solidly directed and has great pacing and dialogue, well worth a watch, but don’t watch it too close to reading the book, some few small bits will nag at you, like the protagonists initial racism and the Spanish speaking and native population, that he grows to regret, as by the end, these are his people. The sweaty paranoia of Sailor cannot be matched by quirky Robert Montgomery’s Gagin who is far more moral, and upright. In my imagination, Sailor is more of a pre-war Elisha Cook Jr, hustling, sweating, unshaven, than an almost suave, shaved and tidy war hero - Montgomery.

Quibbles though. Ride The Pink Horse is a great adaptation, that doesn’t need to stick to the literary details to serve up a fun crime story with a heart of gold.

The Criterion edition looks gorgeous as usual, and is worth renting, or buying if you are thus moneyed. Lovely to look at the black and white is saturated, and the greys stand out. beautiful job on making what could be a grainy washed out old movie look new and spanky!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Mad Max Fury Road review.

Glib reviews Of movies still in The Theatre.

- Directed By George Miller

Maybe it was all the hype, maybe not, but I probably didn’t think this film was as good as I had been told. Don’t get me wrong, it was very entertaining, and I will rate it fairly high on my dorky ‘outta 10’ scale, but simply for sheer entertainment value. Obviously the film passes the ‘Bechdel test’. But it is by no means some sort of Feminist masterpiece, nor is it some kind of misandry masterpiece as the mra nutters would have you believe.

What I watched was an exciting, silly, high budget chase movie with lots of car crashes, ‘Road Warrior-esque’ bad guys, and suitably post-apocalyptic backdrop. The look was pretty consistent with the second two Mad Max Movies; Road Warrior (I do not acknowledge the whole mad max 2 nonsense anymore than I do, ‘a new hope nonsense’ [/grumpyoldperson]) and Beyond Thunderdome, which yes, counts. It’s quirky and fun, and also has a couple of badass female characters. 

As far as Furiosa goes, she’s top notch, the rest of the women characters though are mostly one note, supermodel-y, and almost all the old ladies (not to spoil it) are just cannon fodder, aside from one or two nice crone/maiden scenes, which to be fair are nice to see. 

I also don’t get the whole Max is just a sidekick angle of criticism, I have heard: he’s in as much of the picture as he should be. Max has never been much of a talker in his earlier incarnations, why should he be so here? I thought Hardy gave Max as much gravitas as Theron did Furiosa: two great pretty equal people in terms of kick-ass heroes. I think though the movie’s super simple plot lacked the gravitas of the actors. I dug the Warboy subplot, and for me as cheesy as it was, as I think about the movie, that is the my favourite part of the plot, and it has the most tender bug eating scene in cinema history perhaps? I also didn’t care much for ‘Immorten Joe’, maybe that’s it. One note, if well set dressed villain. One note.

I may have to watch it again to come to a final judgement, but the film just lacked something for me to put it in the same league as either Road Warrior, or Mad Max, or even Beyond Thunderdome if I am honest. I have so much nostalgia for those movies, maybe nothing can live up to them. Seems reasonable to me.  Nostalgia is a high wall to climb.

I definitely recommend this as an exciting see it in the theatre post apocalyptic adventure, but if you are looking for a feminist masterpiece, wait for whatever Lucia Martel is doing next.

7.999999 Villains so Metal, they bring their own band on the car chase outta 10

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Panels of the week returns!

Panels of the Week 
(spoilers, don't look if you don't want vague spoilers)

"The Tomorrows" first issue from Dark Horse. Good dialogue lifts familiar super title above in a heavy 'Team week' in Comics. Will check out second issue. Fresh stuff!

The Fox continues to be trippy and funny in ways Deadpool can never be for me. Loving this run by Haspiel and Waid. (from Archie comics super imprint Dark circle comics)

From Strange Fruit, which is a fun and gorgeously artistic series right from this first issue, well hyped, so far worthy with it's nice pacing and setup. (So many great comics from Boom! Comics lately)

The Sundowners goes for the Full on Alan Moore freakout and somehow pulls it off. Digging this quirky dark and dorky psycho candy. 

Part of wants to hate the new 'Robot Batman' and marginally powered stupid brush cut Superman, but i don't because titles like Superman/Batman or Batman/Superman, whatever are upping their game with these new takes. Darn it i wanna hate read these, but they are fun takes on mythic characters. see panel below...

Batman 42 has Godron Bats making with lots of banter and non cigarette fuelled brooding. It's weird, and there is a return of a character, that is likely not what it seems.. maybe. Good story telling trumps gimmicky reboots every time.

The New Constantine: Hellblazer has me believing after two issues. It's the real deal. Nice Chaz appearance. and a nice take on old Johnny.

speaking of well done gimmicks - Secret wars Mini 1872 started this week. fun and very easy to take these marvel heroes as wild west heroes, archetypes.

The other Secret wars Mini that i really dug this week was the ASM Renew Your Vows. I like the direction of this mini, and am wondering if this is going to be the new MU Parker family? fits with the miles taking over after SW thing. I approve.

Lando ! as in Lando Calrissian gets his own comic and he shares it one of my favourite minor characters Lobot! Fun stuff Marvel is killing it on the Star wars titles so far.

Saga is just barrelling along since issue 25. The only complaint I have about Saga is that I always want more. not much of a complaint.

Speaking of Fiona Staples, and Mark Waid... the new Archie looks and feels exactly like what we hoped it would be, an updated modern Archie comic. All the players get a few seconds, beautifully paced love letter to characters as archetypal for some of us as Batman or Wonder Woman.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Reviews! John Wick and more!

Glib Reviews  Recent DVD/Blu-Ray Releases

John Wick
- Directed by Chad Stahelski, David Leitch (uncredited)

There two kinds of Keanu Reeves that the people want. Sad Keanu, and Mad Keanu, ‘John Wick’ gives you both and lots of both. The set-up involves already sad former assassin John Wick being made even sadder by GOT’s Alfie Allen, aka Theon/Reek. I can’t look at the actor with wincing. He nails the snivelling entitled gangster’s son who does stupid thing after stupid thing (not to spoil it) to turn Sad Keanu’s sad frown in to Mad Keanu’s angry grimace. 

I had heard how great this movie is, and well, I definitely enjoyed it, it really is pretty hackneyed and silly. Lots of great cameos, and a hotel that is exclusively for assassins. 

The gunfights and streetfight/MMA throwdowns are well choreographed, and happen with a regularity that keeps you from caring about nuance or character development. It’s okay, though, the movie really plays out like that really great level you had that time playing Max Payne. Feel good movie about sociopaths? Kind of. Very entertaining, and re-watchable, I imagine, a you won’t retain much other than good vibes at seeing Broyles (Lance Reddick) from Fringe as the Concierge at the assassin hotel, and so on. 

Some nice second Unit NY stuff, and a fun but under utilized Willem Dafoe  round out a fun fast moving popcorn shoot em up flick, in John Wick. If you are looking to shut down your brain and watch Sad Keanu morph into Mad Keanu and kill his way through the Russian Mob, this movie is for you. Fun, dumb etc et al...

7.232 Ian McShane scene stealing moments outta 10

What We Do In Shadows.
Directed by Jermaine Clement, Taika Waititi

I was initially wary of this flick, as it looked to be one of those ‘Office’ mockumentaries that I have gotten so tired of. Turns out though that this particular comedy has far more in common with the Trailer Park Boys ‘moc-comedy’ that your Office, Parks & Rec etc. Thank Dracula! 

Who, in this movie is hilariously portrayed by Clement as ‘Vladislav’. The premise is that there is a doc crew (who are silent until a FUBAR like moment near the end) is tracing the lives of 4 Vampire Flatmates in Wellington NZ. Each vamp is more than a bit odd; and endearingly so, as their long livedness makes their ideas, and ways of communicating, almost adorably awkward, unless they are draining you of blood. One Vamp, who turned at least one of his flatmates is an 8000 year old Nosferatu, who crypts it up in the basement.

This is the most fun watching vampires that I have had in ages. Adorable, quirky inhuman monsters can be quite relatable when it turns out they are just nerds who live forever. It is actually kind of a fresh take on vampires, and the undead. Not to spoil it, but the werewolves all have dad bods, also they have a swear jar. 

The movie actually kind of rolled itself out kind of episodically, and by the end, i was imagining how much fun it would make as a series, say 6-8 episodes a year. Don’t milk the premise to much with a long season, it could be fun. I mean Trailer Park Boys as Vampires, C’mon! Great premise, well executed, pun intended. It’s nice to see that there are some decent comedies out there, even if you have to get them from New Zealand.

8.5 Vampires who knit ugly sweaters for their familiars outta 10