Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Frank Review of "The Crazies" (2010)

The Short Version? Rage Virus in Bumfuck, U.S.A.
What Is It? Horror.
Who Is In It? Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell
Should I See It? Maybe.



Despite the original Dawn of the Dead being one of my absolute favorite films, I've never been especially fond of director George A. Romero. I've seen quite a few of his movies, and most fail to make a strong impression. For instance, I rented his 1973 film The Crazies about twenty years ago, and never needed to see it again. Like many zombie nerds, I was expecting a variation on Night of the Living Dead, but with townspeople turned homicidal by a chemical agent, rather than attacked by flesh eating ghouls. I did get a variation, but it was instead amateur local actors in a micro-budget thriller that mostly takes place in one house. What most people take away from it is the anti-military-industrial complex angle, which got grafted onto scores of survival horror projects since (Return of the Living Dead, Resident Evil.) Hell, one of the supposed innovations of 28 Days Later... was simply marrying The Crazies to Romero's Dead films. Anyway, my point is that I can only barely recall the original film as a handful of striking images and transgressive acts. Beyond that, there's only room for improvement in a remake, which I was able to watch with preconceptions.

That said, the modern Crazies owes more to Danny Boyle than George Romero. It's very self-aware, in that it knows you've seen this type of movie before and don't need to be bored by recitation of the obvious. The first crazy person shows up almost immediately, while the leads are all in place within minutes. The cause of the outbreak of infectious lunacy is determined and addressed, obligatory scenes like the town sheriff warning a disinterested mayor are as brief as possible, and the first thirty-minutes hits every obvious beat in shorthand. Your ass is in a theater seat to see crazy people, and the film is cut together to get you crazy people as quickly and with as few obstacles as possible. The flick is very clever and concise in this regard. It is also the film's great failing.

You see, The Crazies is so busy delivering the most obvious and desirable goods to the masses, that it has no actual life outside jump scares and well crafted carnage. The leads are all types that speak in exposition, with no souls or real personalities. You root for them because the alternative is to side with ugly murderous subhumans. There is no text, much less subtext. It is the motion picture as video game proxy. It looks cool and moves fast, so you don't have time to think about how empty it all is. Fans of this genre will find it comfortingly familiar, except for its almost total lack of balls. A dark ending you see set up by the middle point never pays off, the imposing military presence is just scared kids following orders, and any opportunity to say anything with this picture besides "look out for the monsters" is avoided. Because of this, you're pretty sick of the repetitive crazy attacks by the last reel, and are just ready to wrap the damned thing up. It's strictly a popcorn flick, and stale before you leave your seat.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

2009 Red Wolf and Lobo Commission by John Byrne

Click To Enlarge


I'm always pleasantly surprised when anyone remembers one of my favorite disregarded Marvel heroes, Red Wolf, much less a big name like John Byrne drawing him. I wasn't aware the Initiative replaced the last Lobo with Rahne Sinclair, but if Longshot can join the X-Men, I guess Warpath can gain a 'lil Injun buddy in X-Force. I still need to work on my Captain Comet Bantum Blog, but sooner or later the Masked Avenger of the Western Plains will get his, and Byrne's brief '70s work on the character will be covered. Be sure to click the pic to get the full story on the enlarged art...

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Linkypeux for February 19-25th, 2010


John Henry gave his life against the Inky Poo to prove a man could overcome a machine. Frank Lee Delano fights a losing weekly battle against the internet, so that his sacrificed time might save your own.

General/Entertainment

Columns:
The 6 Most Sadistic Dishes From Around The World (Cracked)
The Evolution Of Famous Company Logos (Damn Cool Photography)
The 14 Freakiest Serial Killers You’ve Probably Never Heard Of (Pop Crunch)

Art & Photograpy
Sexy Live Action Disney Princesses (Damn Cool Photography)
Gothic Disney Characters (Ned Hardy)

Books:
The End of Food by Paul Roberts reviewed (Pajiba)

Comedy:
Logo Fails (Damn Cool Photography)
The Best of 404 Error Pages (Damn Cool Photography)
From a 1995 Newsweek article: Why the internet will fail (Three Word Chant!)




Denmark Introduces Harrowing New Tourism Ads Directed By Lars Von Trier



T-Shirt War


Politics:
Health care reform: A simple explanation, updated (PolitiFact)
Reid says Republicans have used reconciliation more than Democrats (PolitiFact)

Music:
KIRSTEN DUNST IS TURNING JAPANESE (Gamma Squad)
P.S. If you have trouble with the nudity, you don't get the goddamned song, though I doubt McG does, either.

TV:
Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths review by TK (Pajiba)

Movies:
Too Many Movies Tuesdays: Technically, It's Thursday (The Factual Opinion)
Shane Black attached to direct & direct Doc Savage. Very good thing. (CHUD)
Defendor review by Devin Faraci (CHUD)
Why the Oscars Matter by Dustin Rowles (Pajiba)
The Ghost Writer review by Brian Prisco (Pajiba)
Happy Tears review by Brian Prisco (Pajiba)
Unbreakable review by Steven Lloyd Wilson (Pajiba)
The 2010 Academy Award Nominated Shorts for Animated and Live-Action (Pajiba)



Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche from Spy Films on Vimeo.

Celebrity Gossip:
Oh Just Shut Up & Get Back To Looking Pretty, Johnny Depp (Agent Bedhead)
34 Sexy Celebrities When They Were Young (Pop Crunch)

Comic Books:
Comic Book Legends Revealed #249(CBR)

Comic Book Reviews:
AICN Comic Reviews Shipping Week: 2/17/10 (AICN)
The Buy Pile 2/17/10 by Hannibal Tabu(CBR)
CBR Reviews Last Week's New Comics:Tue, February 23rd, 2010 (CBR)
The Week In Ink: February 24, 2010 (Chris' Invincible Super-Blog)
Reviews of some recent super-comics, more than half of which were written by Geoff Johns (Every Day Is Like Wednesday)
Comics Of The Weak: I'd Read More Comics If They Sold Them At Foot Locker (The Factual Opinion)
Best Shots for 22 February 2010(Newsarama)
Best Shots Rapid Reviews: FLASH REBIRTH, NEW AVENGERS(Newsarama)
What I Read This Week: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 (El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker)
Review: Fantastic Four: World's Greatest (Every Day Is Like Wednesday)
Review: A couple of very violent Teen Titans trades (Every Day Is Like Wednesday)
Bullet Reviews: Outsiders #27 And Tiny Titans #25 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)

Comic Book Blogs:
Nobody’s Favorites: Purple Girl (Armagideon Time)
The ComicsAlliance Quiz: Which Lantern Corps Are You? (ComicsAlliance)
Supergirl (Corner Symbols of Coolness)
New Firestorm Drawing by Co-Creator Al Milgrom – 2010 (Firestorm Fan)
Public Domain Hero-A-Day: 13 & JINX! (flameape)
Public Domain Superhero-a-Day: LADY LUCK SKETCH CARD (flameape)
29: Fantastic Four #10 (Marvel Genesis)
30: Strange Tales #104 (Marvel Genesis)
Sense Memory and Slush Puppies (Once Upon A Geek)
Airboy and Valkyrie in Air Fighters Volume 2 Number 2 (Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine)
Lady Danger in Sensation Comics #89, 1949 (Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine)
Miss America in Marvel Mystery Comics #'s 49 and 50, from 1943 (Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine)
Señorita Rio in Fight Comics #65, 1949 (Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine)
Number 683: Steve Ditko Right out of the gate (Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine)
Captain Wizard #1, 1946 (Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine)
Suzie #60, 1947 (Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine)
The Phantom Brander & The Ghost Rider (Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine)
Rann-Thanagar Holy War #1 (Reilly2040's Blog)
Rann-Thanagar Holy War #3 (Reilly2040's Blog)
Hawkman Special (Reilly2040's Blog)
Rann-Thanagar Holy War #4 & Robin #177 (Reilly2040's Blog)
The Kingdom (Reilly2040's Blog)
Secret Invasion Finale and Dark Reign (Reilly2040's Blog)
Strange Adventures #1 (Reilly2040's Blog)
Digital Comics (Reilly2040's Blog)
Atomic Robo (Reilly2040's Blog)
Timestorm 2009-2099 (Reilly2040's Blog)
Captain Britain and MI13 #13
Green Lantern Fan Trailer (Reilly2040's Blog)
Dark Reign So Far (Reilly2040's Blog)
Dollhouse (Reilly2040's Blog)
Timestorm 2009-2099: Spider-Man
My Own Worst Enemy (Reilly2040's Blog)
Iron Man: Armored Adventures
Strange Adventures (Reilly2040's Blog)
Thunderbolts (Reilly2040's Blog)
Who Was Ben Reilly? (Reilly2040's Blog)
World’s Most Wanted Conclusion (Reilly2040's Blog)
R.E.B.E.L.S. #10 (Reilly2040's Blog)
Iron Man and War Machine December ‘09 (Reilly2040's Blog)
Blackest Night: Adventure Comics (Reilly2040's Blog)
Green Lantern Corps #43 (Reilly2040's Blog)
Whatever Happened to The Flash? (Reilly2040's Blog)
Green Lantern #49 (Reilly2040's Blog)
Blackest Night #6 (Reilly2040's Blog)
Iron Man’s New Armour (Reilly2040's Blog)
Green Lantern #50 (Reilly2040's Blog)
Marvel in May (Reilly2040's Blog)
Changes in the Green Lantern Corps (Reilly2040's Blog)
Green Lantern #51 (Reilly2040's Blog)
Back Issue Box: Legion Of Super-Heroes #302 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
Back Issue Box: Legion Of Super-Heroes #303 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)

NUDITY (Not Safe For Work):
Eva Padberg - PB Germany - May 2004 x22 ()
Irina Bondarenko Nude In "Playboy" (Ukraine) March 2010 HQ Scans (Nebula's Nude Celebs)
Olivia Wilde Nude But Covered HQ Peggy Sirota Photo Shoot For "GQ" Magazine Oct. 2009 (Nebula's Nude Celebs)
Amii Grove Nude In "Loaded" Magazine April 2010 HQ Scans (Nebula's Nude Celebs)
The 100 Hottest Women of 2010 (Pop Crunch)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

When Captain America Slings His Shitty Casting Short List

I've been a comic book fan since the Carter Administration, so I've seen more than my fair share of bad comic book movies, especially from Marvel. Though it's increasingly just a bad memory, Marvel movies were 'round about uniformly terrible cheapies until Blade, with Incredible
Hulk
television specials being among the high water marks. Nowhere near that level were the two 1970s Captain America TV movies, and the 80s "theatrical" film stunk so bad it never even played in its native country. However, the previous decade raised the bar in a major way, with highly respected actors and directors assuming the roles of Marvel's greatest heroes in blockbuster (and not so much) features. Among their most iconic remains my personal favorite, the Sentinel of Liberty himself, so of course only the most respected actor could fill his cavalier boots on the silver screen. You know, like goddamned Matthew McConaughey.

Can I get a "what the fuck?" After a decade in which Robert Downey Jr., Ed Norton, Wesley Snipes, Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, and other luminaries have taken up super-heroic guises, why does Captain America persistently get the shitty end of the stick? How can a filmmaker have been found who gets a barely-A-list character like Iron Man so right he becomes an international sensation after nearly fifty middling years, but we can't scrounge up someone who understands Cap at the most basic level?

Director Joe Johnston still doesn't impress, and he appears to be looking to the worst possible candidates to cast as the Living Legend of World War II. Let me offer up some pointers:
  • Steve Rogers was born in 1920s New York, where he grew up during the Great Depression a sickly child with an unemployed alcoholic father. His mother died young after devoting her life to supporting the entire family, and her husband had already passed of consumption before her. Rogers was 6'2", but he weighed about 98lbs. He carried on through his intellect and force of will. Rogers was so determined to fight the Nazis, even before the U.S. entered WWII, that he took suicidal risks to prove himself in the Super Soldier program.
  • After becoming Captain America, Steve played a goofball ne'r do well in the Army while secretly going AWOL to battle the forces of tyranny.
  • Cap would have to have a commanding voice and inspire the utmost respect to lead both the Invaders and, when sequel time comes, the Avengers.

Taking all that into account, why are the auditions for the role of Captain America populated by pretty young California surfer dudes and nigh-middle aged sitcom stars?

Yahoo News and Comic Book Resources have both recently commented on Jackson's short list for the role. It's pretty much shit. Let's take a look:

  • Chase Crawford



Associated Words: Boring. Dandy. Forced. Emo.

  • Mike Vogel


Associated Words: Dude.

  • Michael Cassidy


Associated Words: Deep nasal voice. Skinny. Stiff. Slightly effete. CW.

  • Patrick Flueger


Associated Words: Dumb. Skinny. Gnarly.

  • John Krasinski

Associated Words: Average. Round. Oldish. Lame. GTFO.

  • Wilson Bethel



Associated Words: Soft. Skinny. Blank.

  • Garrett Hedlund


Associated Words: Attitudinal. Emo. Skinny. Unfortunate hair.

Thankfully, there are a few not embarrassing options. Longshots, of course, but here are the best of the lot...

  • Jensen Ackles


Associated Words: Ruggedish. Fake accent. Committed. Jared isn't an option, why?


  • Ryan McPartlin



Associated Words: Captain Awesome. Good body. Really tall. Funny. Oldish. Voice that could command a Norse god?

  • Scott Porter


Associated Words: Genuine fan. Enthusiastic. Good voice and body. Young. Range.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Walking Dead Volume 10: What We Become (2009)




I've been a busy blogging beaver for many months now, but I had no idea it had been over a year since I last read and reviewed my favorite flesh-eating zombie survival horror soap opera comic, The Walking Dead. The previous volume was something of a low point for the series, so I guess I can forgive myself for letting two trades and a solicitation for a third pass me by before finally getting back to it fresh.

Where I might have groaned about our crestfallen protagonist Rick still playing telephone games and having nightmares about the departed, I was instead relieved to have hooks back into the series' status quo after such a lengthy absence. I'd forgotten who all had managed to survive volume eight and regroup, so some reacquainting was due, not to mention reminders that there's a slew of new characters I'm now slightly less prejudiced against. In truth though, Abraham remains the only one making a real impression, as his personal history and escalating tension with Rick are the main driving forces in this edition.

Picking up from last time, the crew continues their slow push toward Washington, D.C. After the fall of their longtime previous home, our survivors need a reason to keep going, but it's clear their psyches and interpersonal relationships have been devastated in the aftermath. When Michonne is your most calm and stable cast member, things have certainly taken an ugly turn. The latter half of the book revolves around Rick and his son Carl returning to their old neighborhood in search of supplies and a loose thread left hanging since the earliest issues of the series. Abraham is in tow, and unsurpringly, things take a turn for the grimmer and barely let up.

Never moreso has it been clearer that the walking dead of the title are not the zombies, but the increasingly disturbed humans barely getting by. Where last time, Rick's whining and delusions seemed regrettably indulgent, it now is apparent that he's just succumbing to the psychological traumas that have plagued the weaker cast members in the past, but now leave even the most hardened unscathed. Coming full circle back to Rick's starting point illustrates how terrible things have gotten, and how the hopelessness of the situation is unsettling everyone to the point where it's tough to feel safe in the company of even the oldest, most comfortable cast members. As an added bonus, we finally get the classic "ghouls breaking into a house" sequence that dates back to the granddaddy of this genre, Night of the Living Dead.

Long time readers know Kirkman writes this book in cycles. Here We Remain was his dull, talky establishing of a new status quo. What We Become is the slow burning development of the current conflicts, and it ends on a build toward the inevitable shitstorm in volume 11. Luckily, now that I'm back on the book, I'm just a bit of reading time away from seeing how that plays out. After all, despite the failings of the last edition, The Walking Dead remains consistently the best series on the stands, and I buy each new collection without hesitation or remorse.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pride of Baghdad (2007)




I remember when Brian K. Vaughan was first coming up in comics, as fans bellyached over his "off" fill-in work on various Marvel and DC titles. The only mainstream thing he ever did that I liked was The Hood mini-series, starring characters he created. I figured that was probably his forte, so I gave both the initial trades of Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man a try, but they came off limp. I also read his entire run of Runaways, and I guess that was okay. It was one of those books I was interested enough to read for free while coasting on the momentum of the book's intrigues, but never gave a shit about the characters or worried I might miss out if I didn't finish. It was just convenient and disposable.

A friend passed me his copy of Pride of Baghdad and a recommendation over a year ago, but it sat on the back shelf of my closet until I moved, at which point it sat on my new IKEA bookshelf. He had actually forgotten I had it, and accused another friend of swiping his copy, so egg on his face when he spotted it again at my place. He then told me to read it or give it back already, so with that ultimatum, I moved it up my reading pile.

You see, Pride of Baghdad is about escaped lions roaming Iraqi streets during the U.S. invasion of 2003. Thing is, I don't give a fuck about animals. Sure, I'll play with somebody's pets for a while when I visit their place, or feed the odd stray, but I don't care to keep any for myself. "Oh, your beloved 'family member' got run over? Look, you go inside and cry it out, while I scrape this up and chuck it in a dumpster. We'll swing by the pound later and get you a replacement." I remember when everybody was jizzing over We3, which to me was just saccharine Disney crap with shitty texting dialogue, some automatic fire and over complicated layouts.

All this is to say I finally started reading Pride of Baghdad as a chore while my girlfriend was getting her taxes done at H&R Block, and could not put the fucker down. This is in no way pandering, but a straight-up bad ass page-turner that just happens to involve talking jungle cats. Each of the primary characters are well defined within a matter of pages, and by the thirteenth you've had your first "oh shit" shock that lets you know this is an adult work with a serious mind. I'm not the kind of reader who usually invests emotionally in human characters from most comic book stories, but in fairly short order I felt deeply for these beings. Their circumstances are dire, the situation is intense, and even incidental characters impact on your reading experience and psyche.

Artist Niko Henrichon matches the script beat for beat, imbuing the characters with personality and soul. The visual storytelling is clear, fluid, and lushly colored in autumnal tones. Pride is a thing of beauty; a masterwork from both creators. This is a powerful, mature graphic novel that should be among the first things you grab when introducing new readers to or attempting to validate the medium. I implore you to pick it up at the next opportunity, before someone inevitably adapts it to film and you feel like a jerk for not having embraced it sooner.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Linkydeux 12.21.10



Whilst avoiding working on actual blog content and surfing the web, Frank Lee Delano struck upon the conception: what if I could surf the net in order to generate meaningless content? And so the Linkypeux was born, and it was good. Verily, 'twas too good, as its contents swelled, causing a strenuous effort to release. It was assured that a deuce must be dropped, a Linkydeux. There was sorrow amongst the land though, as genuine content suffered from the excess of deux accumulating in the bowels of the nurgh. So it was foretold, the time would come for a War of the Links, and only the fittest would survive...

IN BLOGGEST NIGHT
Coverage will be slimming down hereabouts, as some sites just take too much time to read through for too little yield. If you enjoy these pages and haven't already bookmarked them, now would be the time...

  • Has Boobs, Reads Comics: I just scanned through a month's worth of posts, and I didn't miss a thing. What isn't totally lightweight is a link to somewhere else.
  • Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin: This has been my official "when am I gonna drop this" blog for a while, but the guy kept throwing out that one post to keep me coming back. Then, he redesigned his blog, threw all my past links into the 404 bin, and annoyed me enough to cut the cord.
    UPDATE: Mikester said...
    My links do work now, just so you know.
  • The Legion Omnicom : Possibly the single most boring and generally useless blog I've ever followed. It's nothing but trivia questions and links to current articles at news sites. Admittedly, the same could be said for this blog of late, but I've got naked chicks, and this Linkpeux is on time! Fuck you!
  • Bully Says: Comics Oughta Be Fun!: An amusing blog at times, but since he's cut out the reviews, there's just too much filler and too little meat for my taste.

General/Entertainment

Columns:
5 more things: from the when is evil cool? Junk Drawer. (when is evil cool?)

Art & Photograpy
plastics. american as apple pie. (Random Picture Day)
From The Vault: Axe Man - 2003 (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Monster PSA: Tom Atkins (Rob Kelly Illustration)

Books:
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer (Pajiba)

TV:
Television of the Weak: Shit Goes Down (The Factual Opinion)

Movies:
Dellamorte's Box Office Wrap Up 2/19/10 (CHUD)
The Ghost Writer review by Devin Faraci (CHUD)
You, The Living review by Eric Wales (CHUD)
Shutter Island review by Dustin Rowles (Pajiba)
Triangle review by TK (Pajiba)
Amanda Seyfried to Don a Red Riding Hood (Pajiba)
Flash Gordon Coming Back to the Big Screen (Pajiba)
Too Many Movies Tuesday: On A Wednesday? (The Factual Opinion)

Comic Books:
Comic Book Legends Revealed #248(CBR)

Comic Book Blogs:
Kid Action: Aqualad (The Aquaman Shrine)
More Fun Comics #97 - May 1944 (The Aquaman Shrine)
Aquaman (Vol.1) #62 - Juy 1978 (The Aquaman Shrine)
Green Lantern: Blackest Night Logo Paintings (Atomic Alphabet)
Inheritance! from The Thing #14 (1954) by Steve Ditko (Atomic Surgery)
Aquaman in "The Court-Martial of Moby Dick II" (1955) (Atomic Surgery)
Whatever happened to Chocolate Thunder? (Black SuperHero Blog)
Comic Book's Black Quintet (Comic Book Bin)
Public Domain Hero-A-Day: ATOMAN! (flameape)
Public Domain Hero: Miss Masque! (flameape)
Guy Gardner: Not Crazy (Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!)
John Stewart is ALWAYS competent (Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!)
1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Vandal Savage Trading Card #76 (The Idol-Head of Diabolu)
1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Brimstone Trading Card #82 (The Idol-Head of Diabolu)
1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Mongul Trading Card #86 (The Idol-Head of Diabolu)
1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Darkseid Trading Card #87 (The Idol-Head of Diabolu)
1995 Skybox DC Villains: The Dark Judgment Doomsday Trading Card #88 (The Idol-Head of Diabolu)
Secret Origin of the Red Lantern – Greatest Hero that Never Was (Once Upon A Geek)
What If... Four Other People Had Become Nova? (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)
What If... Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu Fought on the Side of Fu Manchu? (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)
What If... Ghost Rider, Spider-Woman and Captain Marvel were villains? (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)
What If... Dr. Strange Were a Disciple of Dormammu? (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)
What If... Spider-Man Had Never Become a Crimefighter? (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)
What If... the Avengers Fought the Kree-Skrull War Without Rick Jones? (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)
What If... the Invisible Girl married the Sub-Mariner? (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)
Delusions Of Grandeur (Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!)
Friday Night Fights--ALIEN-ATOR Style!! (Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!)
Review: Supergirl #50 Part 1 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
Review: Supergirl #50 Part 2 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
Shadowstorm: Firestorm's Very Own Bizarro (Transforming Seminarian)


NUDITY (Not Safe For Work):
Marisa Miller - Perfect 10 Magazine - Winter 1997 x64 (DeepAtSea)
Bazinga! Kaley Cuoco Unleashes Her Inner Supervixen For The March 2010 Issue Of "Maxim" Magazine HQ Scans (Lanky Bastard)
Chanel Iman - Victoria's Secret lingerie (Model Fever)
Robert Pattinson really hates that vagina (The Superficial)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Frank Review of "The Wolfman" (2010)

The Short Version? Classic Wolfman, not werewolf. So, Victorian England, upright standing, and no titties.
What Is It? Gothic Horror.
Who Is In It? Franky Four Fingers, Hannibal Lecter, Agent Smith and Emily Chalton
Should I See It? Maybe.



Most horror movie fanatics, especially if they were indoctrinated into the darkness at a young age, have respect and some nostalgic fondness for the Universal Monsters. Weekends in my childhood were often spent watching the dawn of American horror in the form of Boris Karloff's Frankenstein & Mummy, Béla Lugosi's Dracula, and Lon Chaney Jr.'s Wolfman. Truth to tell, aside from the ones directed by James Whale, I found I preferred Abbott & Costello's send-ups of the Universal Monsters to the dull, serious, official offerings. Still, there was something inherently cool about the granddaddies of nightmare that I never felt was reflected in their then-modern slasher counterparts.

Because I grew up on the poor side of town, I had a lot of the dirt cheap off-brand action figures made by Remco, including every single one of their glow in the dark Universal City Studio's Monster figures. Despite some incredible packaging and okay looking figures, you could find them for less than a dollar in bargain bins. It was an early indication that, while I learned to appreciate horror history, most kids my age had no time for those hoary old beasts.

All this is to say, even I as a horror fan wrestle with the relevance of the Universal Monsters. Bram Stoker's Dracula as meant to change that in 1992, but despite generally positive reviews, I thought it a ludicrous spectacle. Old man Coppola dropped a shitty young cast into an ill-fitting period setting, and tried to jazz the proceedings up with overt sexuality and tricks he swiped from Raimi, but mishandled. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein tried to pick up the fetid gauntlet a couple of years later, but because it took the material seriously and actually deferred to the literary original, it laid a goose egg with modern viewers. It took another sixteen years for another attempt at getting a Universal Monster right (let's not mention Van Helsing, shall we,) and we've gone from Kenneth Branagh and the director of The Godfather to the guy what did Jumanji. This might explain why I've spent three paragraphs talking around The Wolfman rather than about it.

Director Joe Johnston, probably tired of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids defining his career, also reached back to Sam Raimi and others for his over-stylized but heartless take on the Wolfman. It's a great looking movie, from the production design to the costumes and locations. The special effects are pretty good, if a bit heavy on familiar CGI. There's some awesome bits of gore that should make you cheer or wince as inclined. The acting is solid throughout, and the script offers some twists and a bit of mystery. It just seems like the whole endeavor is played a bit too fast, like a 33 1/3 album run at 45rpms. You can't fault it for being indulgent with time, but you can for the lack of emotional investment and mood. Virtually none of the scares work, both because the ruthless editing robs the film of tension, and because the flick is so busy, you never become immersed enough in the proceedings to be startled from a settled place. I suspect that an awful movie ended up on the cutting room floor, which would be a canny move, but what remains is more like an extended trailer than a film.

I'm disinclined to discuss the plot at any length, as there's little to the story beyond reaching plot points, and even a brief summary would ruin the only thing an intellectual would likely have to hang on to. Benicio Del Toro works as Lawrence Talbot, a stage actor investigating the death of his brother at the request of his fetching widow, played by Emily Blunt. Anthony Hopkins is a fair bit better here than his turn as Van Helsing, but it doesn't take long to realize what he was paid to bring to the movie. Hugo Weaving shows up a ways in an a police detective looking into the deaths as one would expect his modern counterparts to. In fact, one of this production's strengths is in the assumption that since this is a well-trod story, it can skip the rote bits and keep the story moving forward. As soon as Talbot is bitten, virtually everyone in the film knows what's coming, and those too arrogant to miss the obvious pay in a satisfying manner. I'm grateful I was never bored, but the indifference I felt wasn't anything to aspire to. There's also some silly bits (the new howl; facial close-ups during running sequences; a late game brawl that recalls the trampoline-"enhanced" Wolf) that don't quite take the film into camp, which means it doesn't even work as a guilty pleasure. In the end, The Wolfman is neither a victory nor an embarrassment, but just sort of sits right there in the middle.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Linkypeux for February 12-18th, 2010



John Henry gave his life against the Inky Poo to prove a man could overcome a machine. Frank Lee Delano fights a losing weekly battle against the internet, so that his sacrificed time might save your own.

General/Entertainment

Columns:
The Devin's Advocte: In Defense of Werewolves (CHUD)
The Story of Stalin's Son by Dustin Rowles (Pajiba)

Art & Photograpy
Let's Look: at some examples of the painted Thailand horror poster. (when is evil cool?)
shatner computer ad. (Random Picture Day)
when i was 4 this was my best friend. (Random Picture Day)

Comedy:
Sam Strange Remembers... Precious (CHUD)
The Canadian Dictionary (Pajiba)

Reservoir Turtles


Politics:
Scott Brown says stimulus 'didn't create one new job' (PolitiFact)
O'Reilly claims poll shows that Fox News is the most trusted news operation (PolitiFact)

Music:




TV:
Television of the Weak: "A Respectful Black Woman I Can Take Home To My Mother" (The Factual Opinion)

Movies:
Dellamorte's Box Office Wrap Up 2/12/10 (CHUD)
The Wolfman review by Devin Faraci (CHUD)
Shutter Island review by Devin Faraci (CHUD)
CineTel Film' I Spit on Your Grave remake (CHUD)
The Fucking American Pie Reboot (CHUD)
Cinematical Seven: Character Mosaics (Cinematical)
Banlieue 13 - Ultimatum / District 13: Ultimatum review by Brian Prisco (Pajiba)
Crazy Heart review by Brian Prisco (Pajiba)
The Wolfman review by Steven Lloyd Wilson (Pajiba)
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief review by Agent Bedhead (Pajiba)
Valentine's Day review by Dustin Rowles (Pajiba)
That Lone Ranger movie. Again. (Pajiba)
10 Worst Oscar Best Pictures of All Time (Screen Junkies)



Celebrity Gossip:
Heather Mills admits her divorce settlement money is gone (celebitchy)
Singer Chynna Phillips Enters Rehab (Pop Eater)

Comic Books:
DC Comics Solicitations for May, 2010 (CBR)
Image Comics Solicitations for May, 2010 (CBR)
Marvel Comics Solicitations for May, 2010 (CBR)
DC Names DiDio & Lee Co-Publisher, Johns Chief Creative Officer (CBR)
Bedard Joins the GREEN LANTERN CORPS, New Book Launching (Newsarama)
Amadeus Cho Takes the Reigns as PRINCE OF POWER, May 2010 (Newsarama)
Comic Book Legends Revealed #247(CBR)
Lying In The Gutters –15th February 2010 (Bleeding Cool)

Comic Book Reviews:
AICN Comic Reviews Shipping Week: 2/10/10 (AICN)
The Buy Pile 2/17/10 by Hannibal Tabu(CBR)
The Week In Ink: February 17, 2010 (Chris' Invincible Super-Blog)
Best Shots Rapid Reviews: INC. HERCULES, Tons More (Newsarama)
Best Shots Reviews: BATMAN & ROBIN #8, HIT MONKEY #1, more (Newsarama)
What I Read This Week: Monday, February 8, 2010 (El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker)
What I Read This Week, Part II: Tuesday, February 9, 2010 (El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker)
What I Read This Week: Monday, February 15, 2010 (El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker)

Comic Book Blogs:
Happy Valentines Day! (Amazon Princess)
Monkey See: Aquaman! (The Aquaman Shrine)
Sears Underoos Ad - 1970s (The Aquaman Shrine)
Aquaman Valentine's Day Statue (The Aquaman Shrine)
Bloodstains across Riverdale (Armagideon Time)
Nobody’s Favorites: Peacemaker (Armagideon Time)
The Atom Convention Sketch by Gil Kane (Atom: The Mighty Mite)
Black Venus from Contact Comics #5 (1945) (Atomic Surgery)
Phantom Flyer (1945): 1st & Only Appearance (Atomic Surgery)
Read: The Atom And Hawkman #46 (Being Carter Hall)
Watched: Smallville "Absolute Justice" (Being Carter Hall)
Acquired: Hawkworld v.1:no.1-3 (Being Carter Hall)
Atoman, the original Nuclear Man? (Firestorm Fan)
Coupling in the DC Universe: Highs and Lows (Girls Gone Geek)
Amanda Waller Will Cut a Bitch (Girls Gone Geek)
Five Swoon-Worthy Comic Book Moments (Girls Gone Geek)
The Absolute Truth About Batman (Gone & Forgotten)
Judy of the Jungle: Savage Incest Princess (Gone & Forgotten)
My Promised Land: DC Comics Offices (Has Boobs, Reads Comics)
Synchronicities (J.M. DeMatteis' Creation Point)
Pouring God into God (J.M. DeMatteis' Creation Point)
The Benevolent Conspiracy (J.M. DeMatteis' Creation Point)
14: Incredible Hulk #3 (Marvel Genesis)
15: Fantastic Four #7 (Marvel Genesis)
16: Tales to Astonish #36 (Marvel Genesis)
17: Strange Tales #101 (Marvel Genesis)
18: Journey into Mystery #85 (Marvel Genesis)
19: Fantastic Four #8 (Marvel Genesis)
20: Tales to Astonish #37 (Marvel Genesis)
21: Strange Tales #102 (Marvel Genesis)
22: Journey into Mystery #86 (Marvel Genesis)
23: Incredible Hulk #4 (Marvel Genesis)
24: Fantastic Four #9 (Marvel Genesis)
25: Tales to Astonish #38 (Marvel Genesis)
26: Strange Tales #103 (Marvel Genesis)
27: Journey into Mystery #87 (Marvel Genesis)
28: Tales to Astonish #39 (Marvel Genesis)
My Love-Hate Relationship with DC’s Multiverse (Once Upon A Geek)
Golden Age Green Lantern drawing by creator Marty Nodell (Once Upon A Geek)
It's Still An Odd Place Inside My Head... (Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!)
Friday Night Fights--Korge Style!! (Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!)
I Bet These Aliens LOVED Siege #2 (Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!)
Review: R.E.B.E.L.S. #12 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
Bullet Review: Outsiders #26 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
Brainiac 5 and Supergirl: The Levitz Years (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
Back Issue Box: Legion Of Super-Heroes #301 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
Review: Justice League: Cry For Justice #6 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
Review: Supergirl #49 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
Review: Superman Secret Origin #4 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
Review: Superman World Of New Krypton #12 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
500 Posts So ... Back Issue Box: Action Comics #500 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
Supergirl and Stargirl In JLU (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)
Review: R.E.B.E.L.S. #12 (Supergirl Comic Box Commentary)

NUDITY (Not Safe For Work):
Rihanna - Russian Roulette Promoshoot by Ellen von Unwerth 2009 x13 (Deep At Sea)
Lucy Lawless Nude in Spartacus (Egotastic!)
"Magic rising" from Mirage magazine #2 (Finn's Place)
"Public Image" from S-magazine #10 (Finn's Place)
"The Fashion Icons : Daria Werbowy" from Love magazine # 3 (Finn's Place)
Michelle Trachtenberg Breaks Out Her Cleavage For The Feb./March Edition Of "Complex" Magazine HQ Scans (Lanky Bastard)
Shannen Doherty Topless In "Playboy" Magazine Jan. 2004 by Michel Comte HQ Scans (Nebula's Nude Celebs)
Playboy Miss March 2010 – Kyra Milan (NS4W)
15 Hottest Mother Daughter Combos in Show Business (Pop Crunch)
Melani Martin: cupid for the day (The Scandy Factory)
Sash: Sugar Lips (The Scandy Factory)
Dita Von Teese performs at the 60th Italian Music Festival in Sanremo (2/17) (The Superficial)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care #56

Ed Hannigan: Covered
Green Lantern #51 (2010)
Nation X #1
Silver Streak Comics #24 (The Next Issue Project)


Ed Hannigan: Covered (Marvel, 2010, $5.99)
Some people might define "irony" as "a libertarian ex-comic book artist needing help with medical bills through a charitable foundation." Those people learned "irony" from Alanis Morissette, and should match their donation to this HERO Initiative benefit comic at their local second hand bookstore to buy a fucking dictionary.

Anyway, this special has a one page Hannigan biography, two pages of introduction by the artist, and thirty-three pages of mostly really rough color sketches accompanied by small reproductions of the finished art and quotes from industry pros. For the most part, I preferred the text to the art, though I generally like Hannigan's stuff. It's just that you can only look at so many familiar '80s Marvel covers before it wears thin.

Afterward, there's a one page text piece by Klaus Janson, and a seven page tribute gallery by forgotten old pros that'll probably need their own benefit books before long. I'd say I liked Jim Valentino's Marvelized swipe of Ed's cover design for DC Sampler #2 best, though nostalgia surely played a part there. Jim Salicrup offered a page long afterward.

All in all, it was alright, and for a good cause, if a bit of a disappointment. I think I'd have been happier with full page virgin cover reproductions, but them's the breaks.


Green Lantern #51 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
I enjoyed the anniversary issue okay, but it looks like they should have made that an extra long issue with an additional chapter by another artist, because fuck all happens here. There's a decent couple pages between Orange Lantern Lex Luthor and Larfleeze, a whole bunch of fightin', some more team switching amongst the Corpsmen, and a set-up for a later story with Parallax. Wheels, they were a-spinnin'. Also, Doug Mahnke inked himself this time, and obviously in a rush. The result is a weird halfway place between his old, intentionally crude but energetic style and his more refined modern look, hurting both in the compromise.


Nation X #1 (Marvel, 2010, $3.99)
Boy, I put this one off long enough and hey, shouldn't it be "Nation M." It's actually Asteroid M, after all, and man, the X-books can't stand to let any trivial bit of bullshit go to waste for long, can they? Under a nice cover is an anthology book. The initial obligatory Magneto tale works, while a Wolverine & Nightcrawler road trip story doesn't quite, though the Mike Allred art is nice. An Iceman solo story is about as good as one could expect from such a limited character, but the book closes out with a lame, maudlin Colossus piece. You could do better than all this, but you could also do a whole lot worse, so shut up and take it.


Silver Streak Comics #24 (Image, 2010, $3.99)
I waited nearly two years for this? I gave Fantastic Comics #24, the first edition of Erik Larsen's "The Next Issue Project" of Golden Age series revisitations a very positive review back in March of 2008. That was a more balanced book. This one is essentially four post-modern satirical bits. Larsen's been using Daredevil regularly in The Savage Dragon, so there's no novelty in his appearance here as part of an eight page gag. Paul Grist's Silver Streak beats home the point that the hero is really fast in a time when that was uncommon, but now isn't that time, so it ends up irrelevant and repetitive. A one page "Kelly the Cop" strip tries to channel Chris Ware, but gets his voice mail instead. Michael T. Gilbert's "The Claw... In the 21st Century" is the best of the bunch, but group with similar nudge/wink material, it loses some shine. Captain Battle is the only semi-straight heroic offering, but it seems to rely on a working knowledge and emotional investment towards the lead character I (and most anyone born since the Baby Boom) lack. Aside from art by the always awesome Alan Weiss, it's a dud.

I guess with this publishing schedule and its still seeming more timely that Project Superpowers, I'll keep up with the Next Issue Project for another few years. I just hope the 2012 issue is closer to 2008's quality.

Monday, February 15, 2010

nurghophonic jukebox: "Tall Cans In The Air" by Transplants

Written By: Tim Armstrong and Rob Aston
Released: 2002
Album: Transplants
Single?: Fuck no!



Lyrics:
'Nobody move, nobody get hurt'

Take a look around baby, yeah my whole crews ugly
But we still got the most game, the most money
The most hoes, the most honeys, it's so funny
How you hate my fuckin' guts but at the same time love me
From the Lincoln to the gold to the lowriding bike
I always catch you hatin' but you know that you like
What you see is what you get, nothing more, nothing less
I'm chillin' smokin' chronic while you're chokin' on stress

Tall cans in the air, let me see 'em... fuck you! [x2]

I see you're mad at the fact that my pockets stay fat
Is it the cash I made on whacks or the cocaine sacks?
Is it the crew I roll with or the one that you lack?
I wish you would come around, I'd lay you flat on your back
You better hope you fuckin' miss me if you see me drinkin' whiskey
You know, me and Diablos get way past tipsy
Whether drunk, high, or sober, yeah we're still gettin' over
Catching tats at 3 AM, head to toe, tread to joker

Tall cans in the air, let me see 'em... fuck you! [x2]

I never sing, no, never, I only shout
We're coming clean forever, without a doubt
Like a machine gun trigger, you'd better watch out
Yeh, Transplants don't give a fuck, that's where we're at
So here we come again with our original style
I said 'Who the fuck are you? I been here for a while.'
We got Distillers, AFI, LFB, and Crystal Sound
Transplants are fearless and the most original

Tall cans in the air, let me see 'em... fuck you! [x2]
'Nobody move, nobody get hurt'
Tall cans in the air, let me see 'em... fuck you! [x2]

If you think I give a fuck, well you better think twice
U.S. Thugs, Wolfpack, and I ain't nothing nice
Check the date and time, lyrically committing hate crimes
Noose from the cord of my mic, now it's hang time
Blow minds with rhymes designed to break spikes
Transplants comin' through and we're one of a kind
With a chrome to your dome, make you flip like a flapjack
Two tall cans and a packet of blackjack

Tall cans in the air, let me see 'em... fuck you! [x2]


Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Linkypeux for February 5-11th, 2010


John Henry gave his life against the Inky Poo to prove a man could overcome a machine. Frank Lee Delano fights a losing weekly battle against the internet, so that his sacrificed time might save your own.

General/Entertainment

Columns:
History of Bad Men: The Evil Genius from Time Bandits. (when is evil cool?)

Art & Photograpy
Monster PSA: Bela Lugosi (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Time Out New York: Topher Grace (Rob Kelly Illustration)
milla mattress sale. (Random Picture Day)

Comedy:


TV:
Television of the Weak: Your Grandmother Will Be The Only Family Member Left (The Factual Opinion)

Movies:
Dellamorte's Box Office Wrap Up 2/5/10 (CHUD)
The Invaders will appear in Captain America. (CHUD)
Known facts about The First Avenger: Captain America (CHUD)
Mutants review by TK (Pajiba)
Penélope Cruz in next Pirates of the Caribbean? (Pajiba)
Updates on Dune, Spider-Man and National Lampoon's Vacation/ Dustin Rowles (Pajiba)
Tarantino Talks Scorsese, 'Avatar' and 'Reservoir Dogs' (Rope of Silicon)

Batman XXX: A Porn Parody trailer


Celebrity Gossip:
Jessica Alba Loves Being Married (I Don't Like You In That Way)

Comic Books:
AMC's Walking Dead pilot films in May (CBR)
New Marvel Atlas ongoing series (CBR)
Dark Horse Comics Solicitations for March 2010 (CBR)
The Team for "Avengers" #1, by Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr (CBR)
Luke Cage Powers Into THUNDERBOLTS as Heroic Age Leader (Newsarama)
Zatanna's first ongoing series preview (The Source)
Comic Book Legends Revealed #246(CBR)
Lying In The Gutters – 8th February 2010. (Bleeding Cool)
Joe Jusko complains that Harris has cancelled his new Vampirella poster (Bleeding Cool)

Comic Book Reviews:
AICN Comic Reviews Shipping Week: 2/3/10 (AICN)
The Buy Pile 2/10/10 by Hannibal Tabu(CBR)
CBR Reviews Last Week's New Comics: Tue, February 9th, 2010 (CBR)
The Week In Ink: February 10, 2010 (Chris' Invincible Super-Blog)
Weekly Haul: February 10 (Every Day Is Like Wednesday)
Comics Of The Weak: You Coulda Had A Red Snapper (The Factual Opinion)
Best Shots Extra: AMAZING SPIDEY #620 & ULTIMATE SPIDEY #7 (Newsarama)
Best Shots Rapid Reviews: BATMAN & ROBIN, NEW MUTANTS, more (Newsarama)

Comic Book Blogs:
More Fun Comics #95 - Jan. 1944 (The Aquaman Shrine)
"Tex Willer" Cards - 1970s (The Aquaman Shrine)
Aquaman Fathead (The Aquaman Shrine)
Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3 - April 2010 (The Aquaman Shrine)
DC Super Friends #24 - April 2010 (The Aquaman Shrine)
More Fun Comics #96 - March 1944 (The Aquaman Shrine)
Nobody’s Favorites: Free Spirit (Armagideon Time)
Growing Up 2600: Sick burn (Armagideon Time)
Birth of the Atom! (Atom: The Mighty Mite)
Indigo Tribe Atom (Ray Palmer) HeroClix (Atom: The Mighty Mite)
The Weapon Out of Time! (1951) by Wally Wood (Atomic Surgery)
Watched: Smallville "Absolute Justice" (Being Carter Hall)
Brightest Day Aquaman (Dave Finch Artblog)
old fashion stuff (Dave Finch Artblog)
Ok, it's been a while.... (Dave Finch Artblog)
Commissions (Dave Finch Artblog)
Captain America (Dave Finch Artblog)
fashion. (Dave Finch Artblog)
Change Comes To Riverdale! (Girls Gone Geek)
G3 Review: Blackest Night-Wonder Woman #3 (Girls Gone Geek)
Comic Shop Unicorn-Spotting (Girls Gone Geek)
Tempest In A Tea Party (Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!)
Foxes Guarding The Henhouse (Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!)
Blackest Night Cheat Sheet (Trusty Henchmen)

NUDITY (Not Safe For Work):
Emmanuelle Chriqui Nipple Slips Rock (CityRag)
Heidi Klum Topless and See Through in DT (Egotastic!)
Denisse Padilla Is New Here (I Don't Like You In That Way)
Cintia Dicker 2010 "Sports Illustrated" Swimsuit Issue HQ Scans (Lanky Bastard)
Milla Jovovich Nude In ".45" HD 720p .avi (Nebula's Nude Celebs)
Lydia Hearst Topless In "GQ" (Italy) May 2009 HQ Scans (Nebula's Nude Celebs)
Stunning 1992 Geri Halliwell Nude Photo Shoots (NS4W)
Helene (Vision LA) (This Photo Life)
Helene Part II (Vision LA) (This Photo Life)

...nurghophiles...

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