Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Day

The Day is a WWE Studios production and is the first movie from the studio that does not feature a wrestler in the main role. They actually managed to secure a pretty solid cast consisting of Shawn Ashmore, Ashley Bell, Dominic Monaghan, Michael Eklund, and Shannyn Sossamon. That is an unbelievably solid cast for somethin as second rate as a WWE production. Ashley Bell is worth the price of admission because she is really head over heels better than everyone else in the cast.

The Day tells the story of a group of survivors in the near future after an undisclosed disaster wipes out a large portion of the Earth's population. The group consists of Shannon(Shannyn Sossamon), Mary(Ashley Bell), Rick(Dominic Monaghan), Adam(Shawn Ashmore), and Henson(Cory Hardrict). They are surviving day to day by scavenging and moving from place to place. They encounter an abandoned house and decide to rest, but they soon come to see that things may not seem as good as they appear.

The performances of Ashmore and Bell are really solid and they are the glue that ultimately holds the movie together. Bell gives a very quiet and intense performance and really embodies her character who is supposed to be the loner of the group and the one no one knows anything about. She is an excellent actress and really deserves to be in higher profile movies than movies like this and she definitely has a very bright future ahead of her. Shawn Ashmore is the other part of the equation and he plays the damaged one of the group as his wife and child were killed by a group of cannibals. Their relationship evolves throughout the course of the movie and is one of the main storylines of the movie itself.

Unfortunately for the movie, the two main performances are really where the good stops in the movie. Shannyn Sosamon gives a horribly wooden performance and her character does the most illogical things in the movie. She defies logic at every turn and actually makes the group's lives harder than they need to be. Her character is just terrible. The main villain is also not very threatening and we get to know next to nothing about him and his group throughout the course of the movie and they never seem to present a credible threat. The other performances in the movie are also pretty wooden as well and they don't really contribute anything to the movie at all.

The story is standard and it does not take a ton of chances to differentiate itself from all of the other post-apocalyptic movies. The only one who is a developed character by the end is Mary and she is also the main focal point of the movie which makes this movie not as horrible as it should be. The thing that did unfortunately ruin the movie for me is Shannyn Sossamon's performance and her character's actions which just defied logic at every turn and just killed the movie for me.

This is a movie that is a rental at best in my opinion. If you can stand having to trudge through some terrible performance to get to a gem then you will be surprised with what you will see and get from this movie., especially since it is coming from WWE Studios.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Red Dawn 2012

There has been an enormous amount of remakes in Hollywood over the last few years, and Red Dawn has been lost in the confusion for the last few years. Originally slated to come out in 2010, the movie was delayed because of MGM’s financial woes and was almost sold off on a few occasions. This is a movie that I was on the fence about because the original was far from a classic and no one really clamoring for a remake of it. But it did have Chris Hemsworth and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in it, so I was willing to give it a chance.

The remake of Red Dawn tells the same basic story of the original, with the North Korean army replacing the Cubans and Russians from the original. We follow brothers Jed (Chris Hemsworth) and Matt(Josh Peck) as they try and liberate their town with the help of other teenagers and they become known as the Wolverines. They use guerrilla tactics to try and drive the North Koreans from their town and hope there are other people fighting like them across the US.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Chris Hemsworth are really the only two things to be really commended in this movie. Morgan lends credibility to any role that he is in and is good as a marine that comes to help out the Wolverines. He provides some much needed humor and clarity to the events that have been unfolding through the film. Hemsworth gives an amazingly charismatic performance as Jed, the leader of The Wolverines. He commands your attention in every scene that he is in and seems to be the only actor in the movie that had any clue of how to handle an action scene. Adrienne Palicki also provides some eye candy in this testosterone fueled action movie and she is always great to look at.

This movie leaves a lot to be desired in the acting department. All of the performances in the movie besides Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Chris Hemsworth are pretty piss poor. Josh Peck does his best Hayden Christensen impression throughout the entire movie by acting as wooden as possible. He has almost no ability in relaying emotion and is just horrible. The rest of the cast isn't much better with Connor Cruise, Isabel Lucas, and Josh Hutcherson being dreadful as well. The producers and casting directors really went all out in remaking this movie because the horrible acting from the original was recreated perfectly in the remake.

Since the movie was originally filmed to have the Chinese be the antagonists and then switched to the North Koreans there was a huge hole in the story. There is no explanation given as to how the whole situation came to be or how the North Koreans could possibly stage a surprise invasion of the US. In the original at least they gave you the circumstances that could lead to an invasion in the opening credits, in the remake you get next to nothing. There is also the explanation that the North Koreans used a new EMP to knock out our defenses and render us helpless, yet cars are still able to function, there is power, and cell phones still power up. EMPs would generally kill all electronic devices and electrical grids, but you can’t have an exciting movie without power, cars, and cell phones, right? Also the North Koreans created a closed circuit communication system that only they could think up and were impervious to an EMP blast. At least the original tried crafting a story that seemed plausible, the remake was just a hole filled train wreck of a story. Also forgot to mention that we are supposed to believe that Josh Peck is a star quarterback, I laughed out loud in the theater at that one.

The action and special effects should be a focus for a movie like this, right? Looks like someone messed up and forgot to remind the director and the producers. The fact that all of the Chinese Army patches had to be covered with North Korean patches is something that I could accept if they were done correctly, but they look terrible and stand out way too much. The special effects are B-movie quality at best with the scene where you see troop parachuting in looks especially terrible and look like something done in the late 90s. The action isn't much better with most of the action made solely of large explosions. The limited amounts of firefights are standard fare and are not really thrilling or exciting. The lone fight sequence in the movie between Chris Hemsworth and Will Yun Lee was passable at best. After seeing the action and special effects in the movie it was no wonder why MGM was in no particular rush to put this in theaters.


This movie is wooden, just like the acting of most of the cast. It’s a really bad sign when a remake of a mediocre movie ends up being worse than the original, and that is what you get with the 2012 version of Red Dawn. Good luck, if you decide to see this movie. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Superman: Earth One

This is the book that has officially changed my stance on Superman. This is a hero that I have hated for years but this book changed my mind in a matter of minutes and I now actually understand Superman as a character even though most writers have absolutely no idea how to handle him. J. Michael Straczynski does a great job of crafting an updated origin story for Superman and manages to make the character very sympathetic. The artwork of Shane Davis is also as solid as ever and shows why he is one of the most popular artists in the comic industry.

This is a retelling of the origin story of Superman, and shows why Clark Kent decided to become Superman. We follow Clark as he comes to Metropolis to find a job that will help him support his mother for the rest of his life. He is not concerned about his own happiness and simply want to make his mother's life comfortable. He goes to an open tryout for the Metropolis pro-Football team and is offered a blank check to play with them, he makes scientific breakthroughs at a lab, and applies to the local newspaper, The Daily Planet. You realize that he is really alone in his situation because he can never truly show off his abilities in his Clark Kent persona because he will be studied and ridiculed. When the city is threatened by an alien threat, Clark comes to the rescue and he discovers himself and saves the day.

This is a great take on the character of Superman, and it is really in the writing of JMS. He is written as a very conflicted character and is trying to discover his place in the world while trying to do right by his mother. He realizes that he will never really be happy because he can never really be himself in front of people. He comes to eventually realize that Superman is who he really is and that Clark Kent is the mask that he has to put on in front of people. He gets to help the people of the world with his powerful gifts and also be a functioning member of society as Clark Kent. I feel that this is sometimes lost on some writers for DC and they tend to just write Superman in all of these over the top action sequences.

The art in this book is also amazing, and proves why Shane Davis is one of the most sought after artists  in the comic industry. Every panel is great and everything from emotional panels to action panels are handled with grace. Davis really needs to be on a monthly book at this point. His work is head over heels better than a high percentage of artists in the industry at this point. His art is perfectly suited for Superman and any of the larger title books in the DC universe.

This is a must read for Superman fans and comic fans in general. The great story combined with the top notch artwork makes this book an instant winner in my eyes. This is a creative team that deserves a shot at the main Superman title for DC for years to come. Go out an grab this as soon as possible and if you have anyone who is a Superman fan in your family then this would make an awesome Christmas gift. THIS IS A MUST BUY.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Manhattan Projects #2

For this issue the focus shifts from Joseph Oppenheimer to Richard Feynman and Wernher Von Braun. We are essentially following the brightest minds on either side of the conflict in World War II. Richard Feynman is one of the brightest minds that the Americans have to offer and he is also the most inexperienced of the group so he would naturally be chosen to parachute into German territory to speak with Von Braun. On the other side, Von Braun is approached by Hitler and his commitment to the Nazi cause is questioned. He kills all of his fellow scientists when the Americans are close to capturing their work and offers himself to the American with the stipulation that he can continue his work. This is where the actual Manhattan Projects begin to take form for me.

Feynman and Von Braun are two interesting characters to follow side by side. Richard Feynman seems like he is young and eager to learn from all of these brilliant minds and is portrayed as the every man in the group. In actuality he is smarter than a lot of the individuals in the group but lacks the experience to fully take advantage of his gifts. Von Braun is a super genius as well and he is realizing his life's work with the Nazi army, but has no qualms about doing what needs to be done in order for him to see his life's work come to life. Von Braun represents where Feynman's life could go if he makes certain decisions. That is the way that I see it any way, and I don't doubt the fact that I may be completely wrong in my assumptions. I will say that Wernher Von Braun is one badass human being and is oddly my favorite character in the series (up to issue #7 at least). His conviction is what really sells his character, because he really is mainly concerned with the science of his projects and could give a shit about the cause.

The issue also benefits from the stellar artwork of Nicholas Pitarra which is just as solid as the first issue. Every character has a semi-grizzled feel to them with the exception of Richard Feynman, because he is the young one of the group. The group suicide scene is pretty awesome as well, with everyone at the table contorted and dying while Von Braun just sits at the head of the table with a smirk on his face as the US soldiers storm the room. it is just a beautifully twisted scene and sets the tone for the issue. This is a comic that can be appreciated as much for the art in it as the story. Just a perfect combination of the story and art.

This is a series that I cannot recommend enough, and is a great comic series to begin with if you are just starting to get into comic. It shows how you can take real life people and mold their characters and their history into something epic and fantastical. If I were you I would go out and pick up the first trade paperback of the series so you can experience the craziness and greatness of this series firsthand. You're an asshole if you don't at least try the series out, just sayin'.


Still very Tight Butthole

Sunday, November 11, 2012


When people talk about the best cult horror movies, Re-Animator is routinely on the list of the best ones to date. This is one of the best black comedies that you will ever see and has some of the best makeup effects ever recorded. Jeffrey Combs also lends his considerable talent to the movie and simply takes over ever scene that he is in. This is one of those movies that falls into the category of "they just don't make them this way anymore". The combination of gore, story, and great performances make this one of the most under appreciated horror movies of all time.

The story of Re-Animator is a modern day retelling of the classic H.P Lovecraft story, "Herbert West- Reanimator". We follow Dr. Herbert West(Jeffrey Combs) in his search for a cure for death, and he is actually successful in bringing the dead back to life but with mixed side effects. Joining him in his quest is his roommate Dan Cain(Bruce Abbott), who becomes involved in West's quest after they reanimate Cain's dead cat. Their main goal is to defeat death but there is moral dilemmas in their way because most people are not going to accept "zombies" as living people. Another doctor at their school, Carl Hill, is obsessed with becoming famous and will do anything in his power to achieve his goals. Hill and West come into direct conflict and the results are gore filled to say the least.

For being a cult horror film, this movie actually does have some stellar performances in it. Jeffery Combs takes over ever scene that he is in and you really start to believe that he could be this modern day mad scientist. I for one loved this character and viewed him as an anti-hero while others may view him simply as a mad scientist. His main goal is to simply defeat death, we aren't given an of his back story as to why he has this need to overcome death but there is something definitely disturbing lurking in his past. Combs plays the role with an amazing amount of intensity so the character never become silly, over the top at times, yes, but never silly. These are the types of performances that I miss in my horror movies, casting directors in Hollywood really need to start seeking out talented character actors to play main roles in new horror movies, not just hot, young twenty-somethings. The art of the cult actor is a lost form that seems to be only really kept alive by Bruce Campbell and Jeffrey Combs.

The effects in this movie are simply mind-blowing. The amount of effort and time that was put into these effects seem to be well worth it and it made the movie a thousand times better than it would have been with modern day CGI effects. Hill's decapitated reanimated head in the surgical plate is one of the best effects that you will ever see in any horror movie. The amount of planning that went into that effect must have been staggering. All of the effects are great and none of them seem goofy at any point which lends to the effectiveness of the action and the story being told on screen. These are effects that should be admired and set as the goal for each and every practical effects worker in the movie industry.

This is a must see movie in my opinion and is one of the best movies that the horror genre has to offer. A lot of people have seen the iconic poster of this movie but have never seen the movie itself. Well, guess what? Its time to actually sit down and watch the movie. It features one of the best performances in any horror movie and features innovative effects work. Rent it from Netflix or but on Blu Ray/DVD, either way you need to see this movie right away.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Now this is what I am talking about, a little bit less Jason Bourne and a whole lot more James Bond. This is the first of the last three James Bond movies that actually feels like a James Bond movie. You have James Bond given an assignment by M, exotic locals, and one of the best villains of the Bond series in general. That sounds like an automatic recipe for success, and it is. Having Sam Mendes fill the director's chair was an interesting if not inspired choice. He has almost no experience with action movies yet proves that he can hang with the best of the action industry. He is also able to evoke emotion from a series that has been devoid of it for some time.

Skyfall tells the story of James Bond(Daniel Craig) coming back to active duty after being deemed M.I.A on a mission that goes horribly wrong. He is brought back in by M(Judi Dench) against the wishes of some higher British government officials. Bond is attempting to gain back the "edge" that everyone thinks he lost during his time being "dead" and he is trying to prove that he is not over the hill. Meanwhile, there is a cyber terrorist that seems to be going directly after MI6 and more specifically M. Bond then goes to in search of the man that is terrorizing MI6 and M, he along his journey he learns to accept why he is the way he is and save the day as well.

Javier Bardem is the one that makes this movie truly great and is the most memorable Bond villain that I have ever seen. Bardem plays him a bit over the top but the character is always based in reality. He has no dream of world domination and only want to exact excruciating revenge on the people he thinks wronged him in the past. In the quieter moments of the movie with him on screen, he brings out how truly troubled the character of, Raoul Silva is.  He plays off Judi Dench and Daniel Craig masterfully and you can see his contempt for M in every frame he is in with her but you can also tell that they were once very close. While on-screen with Craig, he brings about a feeling of sympathy because he feels that what happened to him is what is going to happen to Bond in the future. Just a great performance and should be nominated for Best Supporting Actor in every major award show.

Daniel Craig again kills it as James Bond, and he is neck to neck with Bardem as being the best part of the film. This is the first Bond movie that I can remember that there was some actual back story on Bond, we get to finally see where he comes from and get a little bit on his actual past. M is also an essential part of the movie and Judi Dench is great in every scene that she is in. You can see how conflicted M is in most scenes between what she feels is best for her country and what is best morally. This is one of the only instances that I remember that M is an actual main character in the series and I wonder why no one thought of this concept earlier.

This is the best Bond movie to date in my opinion and made me forget the disaster that was Quantum of Solace almost immediately. The introduction sequence of Bardem's character is one of the best scenes in Bond history and is worth the price of admission alone. This hopefully this is the first in a long string of successes from the Bond franchise and MGM studios. Go see this movie as soon as possible and you are in for a treat. This packs more action, emotion, and badass acting into it than any of the other James Bond imitators.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Manhattan Projects #1

I am just going to get this out of the way and say that this is the best monthly comic series being produced by any major comic company at this current point in time. It is just crazy enough to make you feel like anything can happen and it features one of the most interesting casts ever used in comics. The idea of using the Manhattan project as a backdrop for the series is ingenious because there are so many interesting characters/people to use and since it was a science based project it lends itself to the idea that there were more projects being worked on behind the scenes. Jonathan Hickman and Nicholas Pitarra create an engrossing book that is getting better with each and every issue.

This issue focuses on Joseph Oppenheimer, who is being interviewed for a position in the new Manhattan Projects sponsored by the US government during World War II. It focuses on the duality between Joseph and his brother Robert, who are each polar opposites of each other. One is interested in science and helping the world while the other is a brilliant serial killer. They are both brilliant in their own ways and their paths just diverged to such a large degree that they have nothing in common. But at one point they have a reunion and it doesn't exactly go "great" for one of the brothers. Looks like you will have to read the issue to find out what happens.

The art is fantastic in this book and really gives the book its "life". There are so many crazy and over the top scenes to draw and each is handled perfectly. Pitarra creates a scene where the Japanese forces send death robots into the lobby of the Manhattan Projects and it becomes a glorious bloodbath. American soldiers and mechanized samurai battle each other and Oppenheimer comes in to save the day. The characters also convey a huge amount of emotion in each panel which is always the trickiest thing for artists to do correctly and Pitarra nails it in every scene. Seeing Albert Einstein locked in a rook just smirking because he knows someone is looking at him is great and seeing how Oppenheimer reacts to a machine trying to touch him is just priceless.

This is the most fun I have had while reading a comic in a very long time. The great part of the series is that I have absolutely no idea where the story is going to go from issue to issue. If it can keep me guessing, I will be sticking with this book until the end. Hickman and Pitarra have put together one of the craziest and most interesting series currently being produced. It is a true accomplishment when you can take a cast of almost completely unlikeable characters and make them awesome and compelling. This is a must buy for any Sci-Fi fan or alternate history fan. Put this on your monthly pull list at your local comic book store and you will not be disappointed.


For all of you Workaholics fans out there, this series is very Tight Butthole.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Deadpool #1

This is the second title to debut under the Marvel NOW! banner. The team of writers Brian Posehn, Gerry Duggan, and artist Tony Moore do a fantastic job of creating a Deadpool book that combines over the top action, humor, gore, and dead presidents all under one roof. The combo of the oddball humor of Posehn and the outstanding artwork by Tony Moore makes this a pull list selection for avid comic readers.

I have never been a huge fan of Deadpool and I always found him to be more of a distraction in a book rather than being an essential piece of the story. His addition to the X-Force book started to turn my opinion of him and then this book made me a full fledged fan of the character. He is written impeccably by Posehn and is equal parts psychotic and heroic. The team up with Thor in the book is just priceless, because Thor is so incredibly embarrassed to be mentioned in the same breath as Deadpool. It is just a fantastic scene that shows how crazy the series is going to be and that happens before FDR shows up as a ghost and has a full out battle with Deadpool and SHIELD.

The art of Tony Moore is just flat out incredible and it is a major reason why this book works. With a lesser artist this book would be mediocre book but Moore just takes it to another level completely. He draws the action scenes with a sense of brutality that was probably carried over from his work on The Walking Dead and Fear Agent. His action scenes are over the top and when he needs to he is able to convey the humor that is laced throughout the book. His depiction of FDR being cut down by Deadpool with a katana is fucking hysterical and is the standout action scene of the book.

This is a book that needs to be read by comic fans far and wide. It is also accessible for new readers because you don't need to have a full understanding of the character to jump into this book. The art alone is worth the price of admission and the writing is just icing on the cake. If this is indicative of what the Marvel NOW movement will bring to the table then we are in for quite a treat over the next few months as the new titles roll out. This series also has some of the best covers that you will ever see.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Joss Whedon's Fray

Fray is a spinoff of the very successful Buffy the Vampire franchise. Joss Whedon, the creator of the Buffy series, returns and writes this wildly successful comic series. All of the characters introduced in the comic are original and only the concept of vampires, demons, and the slayer are carried over. There is never a mention of Buffy or Sunnydale. Whedon really got to run wild with the Buffy universe in this series and in doing so created a heroine that is every bit as likeable as Buffy and her crew.

Fray tells the story of Melaka Fray, a young thief in the future, who discovers she is a Vampire Slayer. She is aided by Urkonn, her Watcher, who is trying to train her in the art of being a Slayer. She becomes entangled in a plot to bring back all of the demons to Earth and bring the Vampires back into power. She begins to understand her destiny and finally embraces her role as a Slayer and starts to fight the forces of evil.

This is a great addition to the Buffy cannon and Whedon has created another great story to add to the Buffy universe. The character of Fray continues the trend of Whedon creating very strong female characters. He has created the likes of Buffy and River from Firefly, and Fray has that badass edge to her that allows her to be an engaging main character. The story is a great origin story and it is a shame that there was no follow up because there is so many avenues they could have sent Fray down. She is a thief and a hero at the same time and could have showed her trying to make a living for herself and at the same time trying to save innocents. This would also make for a pretty solid television show but the chances of that happening are almost non-existent.

This is an excellent comic series/graphic novel and if you are a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer then you should pick it up. The combination of Whedon's excellent writing and Karl Moline's artwork make this a must read in my opinion. Pick this up and you will be pleasantly surprised with the story and art.