Links of the Day! Spotlight on Dark Horse Comics and Books! and NY Comiccon Update!

Well the idea was to hit the NY Comiccon this weekend, but that is clearly not going to happen. Darn job and 12 hour days over the weekend. Combined with not getting my press-pass ironed out in time, translates into me… not going.

Oh well, best laid plans, and all that.

I’m emailing in turn those I was hoping to network with over the extended weekend, and making alternative plans.

But enough of me yakking, onto the links of the Day!

Dark Horse, a name synonymous with quality publications and books, has quite a few books and hardcovers that are grabbing my attention, and today’s Links of the Day is devoted to them:

The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine- Dark Horse releases a brand new pulp magazine entitled The Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine TPB. You can view a sample here. There’s not enough there for me to really decide if it’s my cup of tea, but artwork by Geof Darrow is always a reason to at least take a look.

Somethings I’m far more intrigued of from Dark Horse are:


THE MASSIVE – Brian Wood follows up his long running series DMZ, with something that I find far more intriguing. Preview it here. Buy it here.

THE STRAIN GN – a gripping 10 page preview by filmmaker and writer Guillermo Del Toro. Preview it here. Buy it here.

RAGEMOOR HC – Anything by Richard Corben is a must buy! Preview it here!. Ragemoor:Buy it Here!

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WHAT IS HOT and WHAT’s NOT on TV for FALL 2012!!

I don’t have cable. I jumped off the band wagon years ago, and really have not been seriously tempted to jump back on. I’m content with waiting for products to hit DVD, and in the interim there are a lot of great shows out there on DVD to try.

I did that with both season 5 and season 6 of Doctor Who. Watching the shows over a few nights rather than the dubious experience of lengthy waits over several months, to invest in a story that may end with a whimper rather than a bang.

Which is how I tended to feel about Moffat’s Dr. Who seasons. While an imaginative and talented writer of “done in one” episodes or two parters, as a season wide story arc writer, his work tends to be swiss-cheese and disappointing.

So the ability to find that out by renting the DVDs over a couple nights, rather than an investment of months of ‘live’ watching, suits the way I like to view seasons.

That said for those of you who do watch TV/cable here are the shows I think you should be watching this fall, ones I’m intrigued in picking up when they hit DVD.

WHAT’S HOT

LAST RESORT on ABC- Why I’m interested? 1/Stars Andre Braugher of HOMICIDE fame. 2/Premise of a naval commander and his sub crew hunted for refusing to commit mass murder, has me incredibly intrigued. 3/One of the few dramas/genre/thrillers on an increasingly whites only TV shows, that has multiple actors of color

TREME- I’ve heard much about this Orlean’s based show. So look forward to catching up with it on DVD.

DOCTOR WHO- While I think Moffat should stick to done and one episodes or 2parters, and give up his attempt to outdo Russell T. Davies with big elaborate universe ending story arcs (Note to Moffat…, you may be a more imaginative writer than Russell, he is the better story arc guy. And your tenure is suffering in an attempt to outdo Davies rather than play to your strengths.

Particularly Moffat’s take leaves a lot to be desired. It gets old, the elaborate universe ending story arcs and over-hyping the Doctor into a God like protagonist. It just reads as bs and failed one-upmanship, and leaving your character no place to go or grow to. It tends to get boring, and while it’s fantasy and some level of inconsistency is inherent, season 5 and 6 have plotholes you can drive a truck through), I am interested in seeing where Season 7 takes the show. If Moffat would play to his strengths, smaller, intimate, done-in-one stories or two parters… the show could be fantastic.

WHAT’S NOT
ELEMENTARY- Sherlock Holmes is a recovering smart-alec drunk, Watson is his Asian female Bodyguard and Watcher, and the setting is New York. Really?!! I’m not a huge fan of the BBC SHERLOCK series, it’s okay, I just don’t think the writing is always up to the strong acting and direction, so my objection to ELEMENTARY has nothing to do with that BBC show. The more great shows the better. My objection is, if you’re going to change everything about it that is Sherlock Holmes, why even call the character Sherlock Holmes? I have no interest in seeing it, the premise just sounds insipid. However I’m willing to be proven wrong. If it makes it a full season and people are raving about it I’ll pick up the DVD, but otherwise this goes in the “What were they thinking’ trash pile.

That’s all for now! Feel free to leave your own recommendations, comments!

Movie Review: Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon’s CABIN IN THE WORDS

So I was able to finally see CABIN IN THE WOODS, Drew Goddard’s directorial debut (from a script by Goddard and Joss Whedon) and the film manages to keep itself compelling on the share audacity of its script. This will be a relatively spoiler free review, for those wondering.

Goddard’s CABIN IN THE WOODS film manages to harpoon the idiocies of the traditional slasher/horror flick, without devolving into SCARY MOVIE parody, by use of a surprisingly imaginative script, that by the end tosses in everything and the kitchen sink.

So while the film is for the most part a quick moving ride, it does suffer a bit of being too much of what it parodies (parody being a bit strong, self referential being more accurate). The central characters are largely, as in most films of this type, caricatures rather than characters, so it’s hard to get really too invested in them. And by the end, while visually dynamic, I am quite bored of the whole ghoul fad (if they are rotting and eat flesh they are ghouls, not zombies– What can I say? I know my Monster lore 🙂 ), and just throughout, felt not very invested in any of the characters or their outcome.

CABIN IN THE WOODS is a technically sound and imaginative film, that unfortunately suffers from its conceits… of horror movie tropes and bland protagonists. I felt surprisingly empty after leaving the film, not excited, not disappointed, just… uninvolved. So the film while not immediately forgettable in its script, is also not especially memorable in its execution.

So final grade: It’s worth a viewing at matinée price, but otherwise just wait for DVD. B-/C+

Three Best Werewolf Movies available on Archive.Org!

Three Best Werewolf Movies available on Archive.Org!

I like big WereWolf movies and I cannot lie!

That sounded much better as a rap song, 🙂 Anyhow, I do happen to have a fondness for Werewolf movies.

And this being the age of torture porn, and slasher flicks, and zombie movies (none of which I like)… good werewolf flicks are not that prevalent. Unlike many I did quite enjoy Joe Johnstone’s recent WOLF-MAN.

Unfortunately, at this rate it means one good werewolf movie every decade or so (sorry TWILIGHT and UNDERWORLD, not really interested).

Well for those who have seen all the classic wolf flicks (AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, HOWLING, WOLFEN) and are seeking something to tide them over try these obsure, little seen flicks available on Archive.org. While not exactly good, stick with em, they rise above their flaws :):

WEREWOLF IN A GIRL’S DORMITORY- A zero budget film, sprinkled with sizeable amounts of bad acting. That said there is one actor who gives a compelling performance, some interesting mad scientist elements, and some interesting makeup. Worth a look. Grade: Has its moments. View it here.

WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON- Dean Stockwell who spent his early career playing annoying, conflicted characters is true to type in this zero budget horror flick. Comes off as more the rushes of a film, rather than a finished film. At times laughably bad film. Horror drama as political farce. The Werewolf meets Dr. Strangelove. I know this is one movie Dean Stockwell wishes did not exist. The telephone booth scene being so ludicrous it’s laughable.

I cannot decide if this flick is going for brainless or brilliant, at times both. The licking the midget scene at the feet of Frankenstein was just too bloody much for me!! Add to that a cage-match on the White house lawn?!?

What possessed Stockwell to think this film was a good career choice is beyond me. And is it me or does that President remind you of Bush? A bad movie, that should be at least fast forwarded through. : ). ”Get back people! He may be the President but he’s still a Human Being!”

And yet….

I have never hated the beginning of a movie more, written it off, and been captivated by the last hour! I wrote most of this review before reaching the end of THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON. It really turns on a dime, and becomes a film that laughs at itself, and at you. That’s not quite right. It’s not comedy so much as satire, and by the end, very effective satire. Give it a look, I think it may grow on you.

Grade: It may take an effort, but if you can make it through the incomprehensible and pitiable first 40 minutes, the third act, may just salvage it for you as it did for me. I’ll go so far as to say that by the end of the film, I was quite entertained. View it here.

WEREWOLF WOMAN- Softcore exploitation flick, it actually transcends its meager budget, and suspect direction, to have some heart, and some care, and some tragedy. It’s more than you think. There’s a sinister thread to it, a broken morality, a fragmented picture of… abuse begetting abuse. Grade: This movie surprisingly transcends its limitations. And it has stayed with me long after seeing it. Which is more than I can say for most films today. Of the three, it’s the one I wouldn’t mind having a nice DVD version of (Well this and WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON). Your mileage may vary. View it on Archive.org and decide for yourself

[Quick Update: WEREWOLF WOMAN has been removed, like too many movies, from Archive.org. There is a Shriek Video DVD available here, but most reviews state that the Shriek DVD is sub-par, and recommends rather searching out a DVD offered by a Japanese label.]

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The Coming of a Lone Ranger! Johnny Depp Movie Pic!

Just going by this pic, I can see why they delayed this flick. It looks laughable. Johnny Depp looks moronic, and the guy playing Lone Ranger looks… silly. He looks like a kid playing dress-up rather than a bad-ass ranger, who would ride alone into hell.

Hopefully this pic is misleading, as I really would like to see a good Lone Ranger film. Though are there like no Native American actors? Because Johnny Depp playing Tonto just seems to stress the parody nature of that picture, rather than trying to play the film straight.

Yet another wait and see flick.

UPCOMING FILMS (1st Thoughts) 2012: HOBBIT, REDTAILS, PROMETHEUS

“You’re so… My Girl.” FARSCAPE’s Crichton Scorpius

Well I told you what trailers and upcoming films I’m not interested in, usually the mainstream pa-lava, so what is rocking my boat?

Well, first the list of trailers I spent good time viewing, in order to determine the good from the bad:

IN HER SKIN- Interesting trailer, not something I would see in the theater, has a lifetime channel feel, but this thriller about a missing daughter looks intriguing

DARKEST HOUR- 20something yuppie-lites in peril. I could not care less.

PROJECT X- A suburban take on House Party? If I was 10 maybe. Not interested.

THE HOBBIT- I loved the first LORD OF THE RINGS movie, I thought it was brilliant, the two follow-up movies not so much. In fact I dislike both of them and only own the first movie. It is not the first failed trilogy (cough– MATRIX— cough), and probably won’t be the last. I do think the trilogy broke Peter Jackson a bit, as the movies since… not good.

Having seen the trailer for the HOBBIT, I don’t know if it will be a great film. It’s not going to be a trilogy… which is good, but it is a bit hard perhaps to invest in the prequel, when the follow-up films are so fresh in everyone’s head. The absence of surprises and jeopardy (I mean we know Bilbo makes it out okay) maybe making it a bit by the numbers. I’ll probably go see it, but in no way enthused, or excited by it. Time will tell if it proves me wrong.

PROMETHEUS- This is a summer film, but I have to mention the trailer… it looks GREAT! I mean we all know Ridley Scott does visuals exceptionally well, but with the exception of AMERICAN GANGSTER, I have not loved a film he’s done in the 21st century.

Not a fan of GLADIATOR, BLACK HAWK DOWN, BODY OF LIES, etc. It’s odd how he and his brother are on different and opposing trajectories for me.

Ridley Scott’s masterpieces were all at the beginning of his career, from ALIEN in 1979 to BLACK RAIN in 1989, every single one of the films he did in that decade are absolutely AMAZING, beautiful, and gorgeous and also just great, challenging, imaginative and fresh films, but his films since have, for me at least, tended toward the formulaic and uninteresting and a bit tired and propagandistic (think Bigelow). ROBIN HOOD isn’t bad, it just isn’t very good, or interesting, or re-watchable.

Whereas Tony Scott, is the exact opposite. His early films were good, if a bit formulaic and forgettable. But the films he’s done in the last decade or so… I adore. Films such as MAN ON FIRE, DEJA VU, UNSTOPPABLE, SPY GAMES. He is one of my favorite directors currently working, and I’m looking forward to his upcoming film EMMA’S WAR.

That said, AMERICAN GANGSTER has shown that Ridley Scott can still knock it out of the park when he needs to, and the trailer for PROMETHEUS looks… EPIC! It looks really, really great. So yeah that’s one of the few films I’m really excited about in 2012.

RED TAILS- I’m going to see this movie, because I like to support any non-comedy film with more than two characters of color, since there are just not enough of these films. Hollywood suits tending to enforce their quota of two or less people of color per mainstream film So I’m always enthused to support an OBSESSED or a TAKERS (both of which I loved), that flies in the face of this cinematic glass ceiling/tokenism.

So I’m going to give RED TAILS my money in the theaters. That said I’ve watched the 2nd trailer, and while the story looks good, the action scenes fun, my problem is, as I’ve said before, the leads. Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding. Particularly Terrence Howard seems horribly miscast. No offense but whatever it takes to get men to follow you into battle, Terrence Howard does not project it. I wouldn’t follow this dude across the street, much less into battle. 🙂 So in the trailer when he gives those rousing speeches… doesn’t really work. He doesn’t have the gravitas of an Elba or Washington or even Cheedle to sell those speeches and that authenticity. And if he can’t sell it in a two minute trailer, there’s no way he can carry a 2hour movie that requires those speeches.

So yeah I’ll see the film in theaters, but I’m afraid it’s going to underwhelm (hopefully not to the extent of Spike Lee’s MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA, which is one of the worst, most disappointing films I’ve ever seen, on top of being a financial failure, grossing only 7 million dollars, on an investment of 56 million. 4 yrs later and Spike Lee’s career has still not recovered from it).

Here’s hoping I’m wrong.[I was completely wrong. Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr were great. See my full RED TAILS review!]

BENEATH THE DARKNESS- Nice title, and Dennis Quaid is typically good. But there’s more than a bit of been there, done that. 20 somethings in jeopardy by the crazy killer no-one suspects. Nothing at all interesting about the young actors, and they annoy me in a 2 minute trailer much less a 90 minute flick, so I can’t really give a good care about them or the story. This one is an avoid.

LONDON RIVER- A film that completed in 2009, but like too many intriguing films, beyond film festivals, has taken a long time to get any theatrical release/DVD release, however it seems to be making some headway in 2012. Still, it will probably not make it to a theater near you, but just as probably is better than most of the films that will. An intriguing drama about 2 parents, an act of terror, and two missing children. This is a definite one to try and track down at an Indie Theater or on DVD.

EXPENDABLES 2- Another one that doesn’t hit until late in the year, but man the trailer did the same thing as the first flick. It made me shout/cackle out loud! Just like the first EXPENDABLES it’s a dream come true to see all these names in one movie together. Applause to Stallone for putting this cast together and making this film happen while all the actors are still with us. I am a huge fan of the first Expendables and definitely looking forward to seeing this one. Another MUST SEE film!

DJANGO- And speaking of phenomenal casts. Just the cast list for this Tarantino film, reads like a who’s who of great actors. Whether this will be a great movie, or a Tarantino miss, I have no clue, but the cast alone makes it a theater watch.

SILENT HOUSE- I don’t like the idea of trying to sell a film by trading on someone’s ‘real’ horror. I don’t like the sleazy based on true events tag. I’m not objecting to it being ‘true’, but based on a 1940s anecdote in a different country, by the time the American filmmakers get their hands on it I’m not sure if there is anything reasonably close to ‘true’ left.

No, what I object to is what the trailer seems to be selling. It’s selling you, like a carnival barker, the chance over ‘real time’ to watch someone suffer, to watch someone’s world end. It is precariously close to the same allure one would no doubt use, to sell a snuff film.

I didn’t like it. The trailer.

I didn’t like it when I saw it in movies like THE STRANGERS (which I walked out of the theater on) and I don’t like it here. There is something of me, inherent in me, raised on older ideas of dragons slain, and maidens rescued… that objects.

That objects…. to evil… rampant.

I think as an audience, such films appeal to what is worst in us. They are not about journeying with the victim to get out of the situation or be rescued or the bad guy put down, they are about reveling with the predator or rapist in terrorizing, mutilating and then killing his victim. They are snuff films in spirit if not in fact, and I don’t like that. I don’t like it at all.

And I think the prevalence of such films hints at a widening hole in the fabric of the audience, a hole that just might be our decency and our humanity and, perhaps even, our collective soul… falling away.

That is if anyone in the world, besides madmen and writers, still believes in anything as naive and old fashioned and archaic… as a soul.

GONE- If SILENT HOUSE is what I don’t want to see in a thriller, GONE is what I do. It’s quite a refreshing take on the thriller genre, with the young female protagonist having to race against time to save her friend, and bring down the monster. I quite like the trailer.

If it has any fault, it’s that it probably gives away too much of the movie. But I think it almost had to play its hand to get the attention of people like myself who would have written it off as just another slasher flick if a more mysterious trailer was used. But yeah they have me intrigued enough to see this in the theater.

Wow. That was a lot more writing than I had intended when initially starting this post. Hope you’ve enjoyed it, and if you have got a kick out of my rambling craziness, please support this blog by donating or shopping through the handy links located throughout the posts.

Thanks, and till next installment… be well.