Movie of the Day : David Twohy’s BELOW!!

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‘Oh what a tale I have to tell
of those who went to heaven
and those who went to hell’
—anon


I love when the beginning of a movie makes me go “who the hell directed this??!” in a good way. The first few seamless shots in this film are incredibly impressive, some really lovely camera movements and use of closeups. A showcase for fantastic camerawork and lighting

Forget HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, this is one of the most impressive and tense submarine movies. I’ve seen my share of submarine movies and I’ve never seen one as visually impressive or stylistically intriguing. And it stars Bruce Greenwood who always gives an excellent performance.

The whole cast is uniformly strong in this unusual and slightly preternatural thriller set upon a submarine during a time of war. Directed brilliantly by David Twohy and written by Twohy as well as, the also acclaimed, Darren Aronofsky. Try it on Netflix for free, and when ready to own it get the 2003 DVD with the sought after audio commentary at the link below. Final grade: Highly Recommended!

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Netflix Director Spotlight : The Films of Gaspar Noe

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If you want to see how innovative, experimental, impressive and immersive camerawork may be you should see the films of Gaspar Noe. And if you want to see how plodding, disjointed, padded. uncomfortable self-indulgent and uninteresting film can be … see the films of Gaspar Noe.

Both of his films, currently available on Netflix required liberal use of the fast forward button to get me through them.

However, I do believe that the pyrotechnic visuals of Noe, tempered by a real story/script and a director with an actual viewpoint, could one day make a great movie rather than just these masturbatory visuals in service to violent fragmented moments of fragmented damaged lives.

When that day comes I for one would not bet against Gaspar Noe; but until that day, Noe’s films are curiosities at best, and at worst you come out of them feeling… the whole thing was a tedious waste of two perfectly good hours of your life.

I will say this… I prefer the trippy, lost indulgence of ENTER THE VOID to the violence strewn IRREVERSIBLE. The first 15 minutes of IRREVERSIBLE, the descent into hades, is some virtuoso, ‘you are there’ film-making, but past that point and the film has nothing to offer but bile and tedium.

Though both films I feel, would have been twice as good if they were half as long. That is to say a judicious use of editing was very much needed.

Grade: C-/D. Have the Fast Forward button handy.

A far more intriguing and compelling and absolutely bonkers but mesmerizing alternative to either of those Gaspar Noe films is a film by Yorgos Lanthimos called DOGTOOTH. Streaming on Netflix only for two more days, so watch it now.

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COMIC OF THE DAY: Al Ewing and Greg Land’s MIGHTY AVENGERS and the Black White Nick Fury?!


Marvel Comics.

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You know them? They are owned by Disney, they are brother to Marvel Studios that produces those box office shattering movies that have been all the rage for the last several years.

Well Marvel Comics while not the money maker of the film or video division, is the idea-space for those other mediums, and as such has an importance that belies its modest publishing revenue. As such, they are not going any place.

That said they could be doing better. But at every turn the publishing arm seems to be almost antagonistic to their customer base.

Tactics such as over-saturation of the market and expensive cover price of its titles ($4 is way too much to pay for an ad strewn comic with no additional content) translates into the audience (me) making a conscious choice to avoid all their books at best, and limit my consumption to one or two titles at worst.

Enter… THE MIGHTY AVENGERS.

THE MIGHTY AVENGERS by Al Ewing and the criminally castigated and underrated Greg Land is my favorite Marvel Comic, and the only one I purchase monthly.

Now don’t get me wrong there are other Marvel books I like, Aaron’s THOR, Remender’s CAPTAIN AMERICA and UNCANNY AVENGERS, the new MOON KNIGHT and IRON FIST has me interested, and if all those titles were $2.99 rather than $3.99 I would pick them all up. But I really do feel if any company can successfully ‘hold the line at $2.99′[an euphemism for not raising prices]… it is Marvel Comics, and their refusal to do so… is a misplaced arrogance, a belief that the entrenched fan-base will buy the books regardless.

It is a price gouging mentality, and I am proof to the contrary.

Rather than them getting $15 a month from me for five $2.99 comics, they get $3.99 for one comic. That greed, that one dollar extra cover price, has cost them $11 from me, $11 that now gladly goes to Image Comics or Dark Horse Comics.

And more than that, I am now trained to wait. I’ll wait till a Marvel series gets collected and is available at my local library and I’ll read it for free. So yeah Marvel Comics, that $3.99 cover price… here is one concrete case where you have actually lost business because of it. So great job there.

And the one Marvel Comic that I do get, is Ewing and Land’s MIGHTY AVENGERS.

Al Ewing creating a frenetic and pulp-inspired book that every month delivers a satisfying story, and one of the only books on the stands that offers multiple characters of color, treated respectfully (rather than as punch-line’s such as other Marvel Books are doing. Example being ‘Nick Fury’ gate. :).

Movies made workable the character of Nick Fury, by using the popularity of actor Samuel Jackson.

Now Marvel Comics wants to integrate that successful character from the movies with the 1960s comicbook version. So the brilliant way Marvel Comics decides to do that is by labeling the Black Nick Fury as the ‘son’ of the White Nick Fury. Wtf? Really? :).

That’s the direction you’re going? Can you say demeaning, bigoted and stupid? Hey Marvel here’s a solution for you… How about they are both just Nick Fury, with no relationship to each. Nick Fury being a title, like ‘Christopher Chance’ that gets passed to whoever is worthy. Took me two seconds to come up with a better way for both Nick Fury’s to coincide without demeaning and denigrating the Samuel Jackson version.

Who would have thought it would be the movie Marvel Universe that would get it right, and the comic-book Marvel Universe that would increasingly be the disappointment.)

Which is why Al Ewing’s MIGHTY AVENGERS is such a treat and a surprise. Despite being hamstrung with having to participate in Marvel’s various events (could not be less interested in Marvel’s Crossovers) Al Ewing manages to use the handicap of the crossover as a springboard to tell his own highly imaginative and absorbing tales of werechickens (don’t laugh, it’s pretty cool)and inter-dimensional evils, while at its heart always being a very generational story. A book that is about… Fathers and Sons.

Add to this Greg Land, who has had to suffer the recriminations of people with not a fiftieth of his talent, self styled art ‘critics’(parrots jumping on a bandwagon) who unable to create art, and ignorant even of the process, yet think themselves schooled to heckle their betters.

If you think Greg Land uses ‘porn stars’ for some of his inspiration, I would say two things to you, 1/ who cares and 2/you probably watch way too much porn. :).

Every artist from Jack Kirby to Gene Colan had a little stock/trace file, for poses or buildings or cars or fashion. You know why? Because it is a bloody job and stock photography and images are tools, and drawing, making your deadlines, is a job. And being able to take those inspirations, regardless of where they come from, and craft a functional and beautiful story out of it, takes immense talent. Greg Land is an immense talent, and his work on MIGHTY AVENGERS is drop dead gorgeous, brimming as it is with 70s Indie Black Empowerment images.

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So from writing to art, there is a one-two energy Ewing and Land have going here, that hopefully will continue for sometime. But when and if MIGHTY AVENGERS goes the way of other Marvel Titles, here’s hoping these guys create a similar creator owned title at Image.

I would love to see Al Ewing creating his own pulp-inspired or sci-fi tinged characters, and Greg Land drawing them. For all the good things Image has, a book with a majority of ethnic characters is not one of those things.

Perhaps it is time there was such a book.

So Marvel for all my bashing on them has to be applauded for THE MIGHTY AVENGERS. But if all involved really want the series to grow, 1/add a letters page and back-matter, 2/focus on stand-alone stories primarily, and 3/making it a $2.99 rather than $3.99 book wouldn’t work.

But other than that a fantastic read, month in and month out.

Oh and Al and Greg, two more suggestions, One/change the preamble that starts the book to be something with a little more import and oomph, and two/ Let Luke Cage take back the name Power Man. It’s a good name, and it’s his.

Thanks for reading and if intrigued by the above you can buy back copies of the Mighty Avengers or the Trades here:

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=24852602&affid=200301p0

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=25358810&affid=200301p0

Enjoy!

Breaking News!! Senate Passes CellPhone Unlocking Bill!

“Last night, the Senate passed S. 517, the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act under Unanimous Consent. The bill allows consumers to “unlock” their cell phones so they can take a phone with them from one service provider to another.

The following can be attributed to Laura Moy, Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge: “In response to hundreds of thousands of Americans who called for the right to unlock devices they legally own, the Senate has unanimously passed this important legislation. “We are particularly grateful to Senators Patrick Leahy and Chuck Grassley. “

Courtesy of the site PublicKnowledge.org and written by Brynne Henn, you can read the full story here:

https://www.publicknowledge.org/news-blog/press-release/senate-passes-cell-phone-unlocking-bill-under-unanimous-consent

A bipartisan bill spearheaded by the starting to be legendary Senator from Vermont, Patrick Leahy and the outspoken 34 year veteran Senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley.

FAVORITE & THE BEST : Favorite July Podcasts! Part 1 of 2!

July’s FAVORITE podcasts Part 1 of 2!

B MOVIE CAST- A great 2+ hours of B-movie celebration. A long running and well enjoyed favorite, that I have praised for years, that I look forward to every week. Consistently one of the best!

COMIC GEEK SPEAK - One of the earliest podcasts and still one of the most popular and enjoyable, this one is a bunch of friends letting you in on their love of all things comics. With closing in on 1500 episodes, this show has seen many changes and many moments memorable and heartfelt. Dedicated to Jamie D, this show will always be one of the best.

FILM SPOTTING - One of the newer movie podcasts I’m trying, after the hiatus of a couple other movie podcasts.

FILM SPOTTING SUV – For those of us who have cut the cable bill and have embraced all things streaming this is an informative listen, keeping you abreast of the latest movies and shows to watch… courtesy of streaming.

HORROR ETC - Another long running show, this Canadian horror movie podcast is up there with B MOVIE CAST as being one of the best, while still being very unique. Always a highly recommended listen.

SIDEBAR – A trio of impressively versed art lovers, helm this excellent process show, with interviews and commentaries of some of the most acclaimed cartoonists, pencilers, painters, etc. A must have addition to anyone’s podcast rotation!

SONGS of the Day!

SONGS OF THE DAY