Friday, August 30, 2013

You're Next Review

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Top 50 Favorite Movies of All-Time

This is a list of my top 50 favorite movies of all-time. These are my choices and mine alone. If you don't agree with them, you can post your own favorite movies or STFU. Going to write a quick sentence for each movie about why I love them.

50. Dredd- This is the best of the comic book movies and one of the best action movies that I have ever seen.

49. Seven Psychopaths- Sam Rockwell and Colin Farrell are funny as hell in this movie and it had one of the best stories of 2012.

48. Insidious- A refreshing take on the "haunted house" movie and was one of the only movies of the last few years to make me jump in the theater.

47. Let Me In- One of the few remakes that was actually better than the original, and stands as one of the greatest vampire movies ever created.

46. The Town- The movie that solidified Ben Affleck as one of the best directors in Hollywood, and features some intense heist sequences.

45. In Bruges- A quiet tale about paying for your sins that features an excellent performance from Brendan Gleeson.

44. End of Watch- One of the best cop movies that I have ever seen and one of the few movies to make me tear up.

43. Out of Sight- A slick crime thriller featuring awesome performances from Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney.

42. The Fountain- One of the most beautiful movies that I have ever seen, hampered only by strange jumps in time.

41. The Goonies- Sloth and Chunk, that is all.

40. Animal House- The movie that motivated generations to get wasted in college.

39. Iron Sky- Any movie that features a Nazi moon base and ridiculous space battles is awesome to me.

38. The Incredibles- One of the best superhero movies of all time and one of the few animated movies that I can watch repeatedly.

37. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle- There is nothing like an awesome stoner comedy.

36. The Sandlot- The was nothing better than playing baseball when I was younger, so this one holds a special place in  my heart.

35. Severance- Is it weird that one day I want to live out the story of this movie?

34. Training Day- Denzel kills it in this movie and Ethan Hawke even shows his range in this one.

33. Goon- A hockey movie with heart coupled with foul mouth humor is a win in my book any day.

32. Attack the Block- A fresh take on the alien invasion genre with aliens invading the ghettos of London.

31. The Fifth Element- This is the movie that made me a huge fan of Bruce Willis and is one of the best Sci-Fi movies of all time.

30. Evil Dead II- As a horror fan, this is one of the best horror comedies of all-time.

29. (500) Days of Summer- This is a romantic comedy for guys and it hooked me from the beginning.

28. Looper- JGL and Bruce Willis made a killer sci-fi movie that made me want more original sci-fi in the world.

27. Night of the Creeps- An awesome B-movie about space slugs.

26. Tommy Boy- One of the funniest movies of all time and one that cheers me up whenever I have a shit day.

25. Tucker & Dale vs Evil- A reversal of the killer redneck horror trope, with an awesome cast and genuinely funny moments.

24. Predator- Arnold + Jungle + killer alien = amazing.

23. Spring Breakers- A beautiful film that showcases what is wrong with the youngest generation.

22. Hot Fuzz- A hilarious buddy cop movie from the creators of Shaun of the Dead.

21. Videodrome- One of the trippiest movies ever created by David Cronenberg, this is a must see.

20. 28 Days Later- The first of the new generation of zombie movies and still holds up as the best of the bunch.

19. The Lost Boys- The quintessential 80s vampire movie.

18. Aliens- This movie contains some of my favorite characters of all time and is simply great.

17. The Evil Dead- One of the first horror movies that I had ever seen and is one that is special to me.

16. Kill Bill Vol. 1- Some of the most brutal action ever put on screen and features one of the best protagonists in film history.

15. The Last Dragon- Best Kung-Fu movie of all time.

14. Inglourious Basterds- An alternate reality look at World War 2 and it is great in every way.

13. The Warriors- Anabasis w/ street gangs and is the basis for one of my favorite video games.

12. Drive- A twisted superhero tale with a breakout performance from Ryan Gosling.

11. Old School- Frank the Tank

10. Sunshine- A beautiful movie that showcases the best in humanity and the worst.

9. Ghostbusters- Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis.

8. Wayne's World- The funniest movie that I have ever seen.

7. 50/50- Oddly enough, it made me face one of my fears and made me cry in the theater.

6. Dawn of the Dead- The greatness of George Romero is on full display in this one.

5. The Thing- Kurt Russell and the story make this one infinitely rewatchable to me.

4. Hanna- A twisted version of Pinocchio disguised as a spy movie. Near Perfection.

3. Shaun of the Dead- Funny, scary, and heartfelt all at the same time. A win.

2. Blade Runner- It is really hard to not love this movie as a huge sci-fi nerd.

1. Children of Men- Beautifully shot, engaging characters, all-time great plot, and one of the best shots of all time. You add those things up and you get my favorite movie of all-time.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Comic Reviews for 08/14/2013

Every week in the comic book world lately seems to be the equivalent of the release of a summer blockbuster. Marvel and DC continue to churn out event book after event book, and it might be burning some people out. I am definitely one of those people, so this week I focused mostly on the great creator owned titles being put out by a number of different companies.

Deathmatch #8

This is very under appreciated book and it truly deserves a bigger audience. Paul Jenkins is killing it with this series right now, he takes all of your favorite characters from DC and Marvel, changes their names, tweaks their powers, and then puts them in 1-on-1 deathmatches. That is the basic idea behind the series, but reading to this point I can't help wondering what happened in the past of this wonderful world that Jenkins has created. He packs a ton of character development into a series that kills off a couple of characters in every issue.

In issue #8, we are down to the remaining 16 heroes/villains, with the Superman clone, Meridian, going head to head with his nemesis, Anti-Meridian. It is a lot cooler than it sounds, believe me. There are limbs ripped off, guts ripped out, and a bunch of other shit goes on that is crazy. The whole time you read this series, you can't help but put characters from the Big Two in the places of the awesome characters that Jenkins has created. His Dragonfly character, the Spider-Man of this universe, seems to be much more interesting than Peter Parker is at this point in time and I am actually pulling for him to make it out of this series alive.

This is an awesome series that is accessible and easy to read. Check it out at your local comic shop.

East of West #5

This is along with Lazarus, my favorite title that is currently being produced by any company. The story that Jonathan Hickman has created if fantastic and the world he has created is fascinating. He has managed to make the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse, Death, a sympathetic character that you actually root for. He is out to kill anyone who is willing to get in his path and seeing his back story slowly unfold has been incredible to this point.

In this issue we get to see him actually interact with his long lost wife, Xiaolian, who also happens to now be the ruler of New Shanghai. This has been the moment that we have been waiting for since the first issue and now we see that she holds a bit of a grudge against him. You can feel the tension in their interactions with each other come right off the page. He is expressing his love for her, and at the same time she is voicing her utter contempt for him. Hickman is masterful in these smaller moments away from the brutal action that has dominated a large portion of this series. We also find out what the item Death was searching for is, and you won't believe what it is. Don't worry, I am not going to spoil it for you.

Loved this issue. The art is just as stellar as ever and Hickman seems to be getting a better hold of the world and characters that he has created with each new issue. This is a must add to any pull list in my honest opinion. Keep in mind, if you are not a comic fan this series might be a tad overwhelming.

Saga #13

I might be the only comic fan in the world who is no longer enamoured by this series. After a 4 month hiatus, I thought Brian K. Vaughan would bring something new to the series, but we get more of the same. I remember reading the first couple of issues of this series and being completely on board and 100% in with whatever they were going to throw at us. But the series seemed to stall pretty quickly, for me at least. It just doesn't demand to be read every month, especially when it reads better as a trade.

This issue picks up where we left off with Marko and Alana are still on the run with their newborn baby. They find a new planet to check out and will probably get into another wacky adventure. I done with them. The most interesting character in this entire series is The Will, a badass bounty hunter chasing after the couple and their kid. He is not above killing for money but he has also taken in a child, who used to be a former sex slave. He sees visions of his dead ex-girlfriend, who is seemingly acting as his subconscious and trying to guide him on a path out of his current life. Did I mention that he had a giant cat that can tell if a person is lying. BKV really needs to start showing him and his adventures a bit more.

At this point, I might drop this title from my pull list in a few months. I'll give it until October to pick it up or I going to have to drop it. It is a really well done series and I recommend that people try it out. The good thing is it doesn't take very long to realize that you either love or hate this series. Read it in collected form for a better reading experience.

The Walking Dead #113

To round out this week's reviews, we have old reliable, The Walking Dead. This is a series that I love and credit it with getting me back into comics after a long hiatus from them. There has never been a time where I wanted to drop this series and Robert Kirkman always finds a way to rebound from a lackluster issue or arc. The art may be inconsistent from month to month but that is forgivable when you are in the midst of one of the most exciting story arcs in the series' history.

This is issue focuses on the direct aftermath of Rick trying to assassinate Negan. Let's say that things didn't really work out in Rick's favor this time around. Negan seems to be the one character that manages to get the best of Rick at almost every turn more so than even The Governor. Negan also bit off a bit more than he could chew when going after Andrea. I think someone forgot to tell him that Andrea been through a ton of shit and has come out better and strong each time. Sending one guy to kill he simply was not going to work but Kirkman still had me shitting in my pants throughout the entire fight scene. For those of you that are new to The Walking Dead, Kirkman isn't afraid of killing off any of his characters at any time, no matter what readers think. Great issue can't wait to see the war between the groups begin in a few months.

This is an awesome series and I am sure a lot of you already read it. Some of you might have only been exposed to the series through the television show, if that is the case, go to a bookstore and pick up some of the collected editions. It will change your perspective on the TV series and it is an awesome read.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I wanted to start this article by stating the fact that I am a huge David Cronenberg fan, he has crafted some of my favorite movies of all time, so his movies generally "speak" to me. Existenz was one of the few Cronenberg movies that I have not watched to this point in my life. The name turned me off to the movie itself, which is dumb on my part, considering I've seen movies with titles such as Hobo with a Shotgun and Shocker. This has been in my Netflix queue for well over a year and I finally decided to take the plunge and watch it.

Existenz tells a story about the near future where electronic game consoles have been replaced by "game pods", which are organic devices that jack into "bio ports" in people's spines. Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the world's most famous game designer, is unveiling her newest creation to a test group, when she is attacked by a terrorist. She is saved by Ted Pikul (Jude Law) and is whisked away to the country to hide from the various groups looking to take her out. She soon convinces Ted to play her new game, Existenz, because she needs to play along with a person she can trust. The movie then spirals into a jumble of lies, deceit, and multiple realities.

If you are not a fan of complicated, thought provoking movies, you may want to stop reading this review right now. Cronenberg has a tendency to mess with the viewer's perception of what is happening on screen but here he takes it to a completely different level. When going into this movie consider it as a more complicated version of The Matrix but with a much lower budget. The movie centers around the idea of what reality actually is. If something feels real and seems real, but isn't real, does that take away from your experience. We see as the main characters transported into the game, Existenz, and how it seems just like real life to them. At first, they acknowledge that they are in a game, but as they get more immersed in the game their hold on reality starts to slip away.

As the movie progresses, we get games within games and Allegra completely comes undone and we see that she loses all understanding of what is "real" and "not real". She seems to be in a daze and is letting the game mechanics guide her. Her exposure to the game while developing it has tainted her perception of reality because it has caused her to find reality boring when compared to the more exciting game world. Ted is a newcomer to the game world, so he is much more resistant to the effects, and he shows how you still have to hold on to reality no matter how invested you are in a fake world. Cronenberg was way ahead of the curve with this movie. The movie serves as a metaphor for social network addiction and people being obsessed with video games. People get so invested in a world where they don't have to have actual physical interactions with people and they forget how to function in the real world.

The effects in this movie are disturbing and Cronenberg doesn't shy away from his trademark gore and ultraviolence. In a movie filled with gore and gums made of mutant lizard bones, the most disturbing effects involve the "game pods" The gaming systems in this movie are made of harvested animal organs and are actual living organisms. They can bleed and catch colds just like you and me. They are temperamental and need to be treated with care by the people developing the games in order to function properly. They are flesh pods with tentacles that come out of them, that connect with people's spine to show them the game world. They were just fucking creepy, and the last thing I would ever want from a game system is it hooking into my spine with a fleshy tentacle. Cronenberg also created a bone gun that uses teeth as bullets, so that gives you a good indication of what you are getting into if you choose to watch this.

I loved this movie and it was just the right amount of weird where its weirdness didn't detract from the overall movie. Some movies are weird just to be weird, such as The ABCs of Death, where it just destroys any chance of me enjoying it. Existenz is a perverted version of The Matrix and I could definitely make the case that it is a superior movie as well. A couple of weird facts about this movie: It was passed on by a couple of studios because its plot was "too complicated" and it was originally conceived by Cronenberg as a story about "a Fatwa against a virtual reality designer". Pretty interesting if you ask me.

I tried to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible due to the complex nature of the plot. Existenz is one of the most complicated and engaging movies that I have seen in awhile. It is overly ambitious, as most David Cronenberg are, but it never gets bogged down and is excellent from start to finish. Check this out on Netflix and don't wait a year like I did.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

We're the Millers

I saw the trailer for We're the Millers a few months ago and the only thing that stood out to me was Jennifer Aniston’s striptease. Everything else seemed pretty generic at the time. So when more and more trailers were released showing the full cast, which featured Nick Offerman and Ed Helms as supporting characters, I was pretty much sold on seeing this. This has been a year of mediocre comedies and this is the first one that showed any real promise in the trailers.

In this movie we follow a small time drug dealer, David (Jason Sudeikis), who needs to smuggle a huge amount of weed back into the United States to pay off a debt to his boss (Ed Helms). David knowing that going over the border by himself and then trying to come back over would look suspicious, he enlists a rag-tag team to pose as his family for the trip. He brings in Kenny (Will Poulter), a dork that lives in his building, Rose (Jennifer Aniston), his stripper neighbor, and Casey (Emma Roberts), a runaway teenager, to pose as his wife and kids. Everything goes off without a hitch until they realize that they are bringing over a lot more “product” than they originally thought.

The cast in this one is actually really funny and exceeded my expectations in every way. Sudeikis and Aniston have great chemistry and share some of the funniest moments in the movie. Newcomer Will Poulter, stole pretty much every scene that he was featured in with his goofy naivety in almost every situation he was placed in. All I can say about this kid is, Spider + Balls = Hilarity. I am a sucker for “stupid” humor and this movie featured a ton of it, so the comedy worked for me on every level.

Nick Offerman shows up and steals every scene that he is in, which continues the trend that started in Parks & Recreation. Offerman is hilarious in everything that I have ever seen him in and his straight-laced character in the movie is a great counter to Sudeikis' portrayal of David. A minor appearance by Ken Marino as a greasy strip club owner was one of the funniest moments in the movie. He is one of those underappreciated comedic actors who do not get a ton of screen time in movies but certainly deserve it.  The Aniston striptease was the main reason that I wanted to see the movie in the first place, and I am happy to see that t did not disappoint. It definitely made getting through some of the weaker points of the story worth it and showcased why she is still one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood.

This movie is incredibly formulaic and you get a real sense of how everything in the movie is going to play out about 15-20 minutes in. I am not saying that the story took anything away from the movie but it certainly didn't make it better. I am certainly not expecting high concept storytelling in comedy but a few curveballs could have been thrown in to mix up the plot a bit. The over the top performance by Ed Helms as David’s boss was a bit wonky, and he played it way over the top. His character stuck out like a sore thumb at points for me and he just fell flat in every scene that he was in. Also for a comedy that is about smuggling drugs there was a surprising lack of drug use in the film. It didn't take anything away from the movie for me, but it was kind of weird that the weed they are transporting was only used for some physical humor. Come to think of it, maybe that was one of the curveballs that I thought was missing from the movie.

We're the Millers is a solid comedy that gives audiences plenty to laugh at. This is one hilarious movie but if you don't like to laugh at least you'll get to see an awesome striptease by Jennifer Aniston.

Drinking Game

Take a Shot- Every time you hear "boner garage".

Take a Drink- Every time David or Rose says "We're the Millers".

Chug a Beer- When Jennifer Aniston does her striptease.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

All Good Things Must Come To An End: Breaking Bad

With the first of the final 8 episodes of Breaking Bad premiering tomorrow night, I thought it would be a good time to discuss the journey so far. The past few years have been a crazy one for Walter White and Jesse Pinkman as they try and become players in the meth trade in the Southwest United States. The whole thing started out innocently enough, Walter was trying to find a way to make enough money so his family could get by after his death, keep in mind he had just been diagnosed with lung cancer. Throughout the first season, we see Walter as he struggles with finding a place to cook and make connections in the underworld. Jesse is in his element the entire time, he loves cooking meth and Walter gives him the tools to make the best of the best. This is when they are at their most naive and wide eyed. But towards the end of the season we start to see flashes of how ruthless Walt can be when he is backed into a corner.

Over the course of the next two seasons, we see as Walter White starts to transform into "Heisenberg". He feels like he is superior to everyone around him and it drives him away from his family and starts to puts cracks in his partnership with Jesse. Jesse is extremely trusting in Walter and seems to look u to him as a father figure, so it is very difficult for him to go against Walt at any point. The moments that made me realize Walt was a true monster were when he let Jesse's girlfriend choke to death on her own vomit and when he convinced Jesse to kill Gale. With Jane and Gale, we see how Walt is willing to kill people who are threatening his livelihood, Jane was blackmailing him and Gale was his replacement. With the death of Jane, it seems to me that all hope for Walt had been lost. His web of lies has to keep expanding as a result, it pushes Jesse into a drug fueled depression, and inadvertently leads to a plane crash. He also offered up Hank as a sacrifice to the cartel when they found out that Walt was connected to the DEA through Hank. This led to Hank being crippled for a good portion of the next season. His set up of Hank is probably the worst thing that he has ever done due simply to the fact that he was ready to sacrifice a member of his family to save his own skin. 

After the events of season 3, the writing is on the wall for Walt. He is squarely in the crosshairs of Gus, and Jesse is being groomed by the cartel to take his place. Walt sees this and starts to formulate a way to kill Gus and "free" Jesse. His relationship with Jesse gets more and more twisted as the series goes on. In the beginning they are partners and then as the series goes on he thinks of Jesse more as an underling and less as an equal. Jesse is more about cooking and could really do without the violence that comes with their business. He seems to be the only one who seems to have regret over the people that have died as a result of their business and it weighs on him in every frame that he is in. Walt seems to carry no feelings for the countless dead bodies at his feet. His poisoning of a child is probably the last straw in a lot of people's minds, from that point on there is no hope for redemption.

The first half of the fifth season showed Walt and his aspirations of building an empire. Jesse convinced Mike to come in on the venture to run the business side which left Walt and Jesse to run the "cooking" side of the business. This is the point at which there ceases to be external danger: and all "threats" come from the inside of Walt's own organization. Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of danger of get caught by the DEA, who are closer than ever to catching Walt and Jesse. But there is no other organization looking to murder them and wipe them from the face of the Earth.

Walt is in full monster mode in this season, not blinking an eye at the murder of a child and doesn't really hesitate when it comes to killing his business partner, Mike. As soon as he saw Mike as a threat, he knew he had to be eliminated and he was willing to do whatever was necessary to take him out. Jesse is willing to let everything that he is accomplished go when he sees that Walt is willing to kill anyone that gets in his way. The only thing that makes Walt quit in the end is having too much money. It wasn't him being threatened, but it was simply having too much that led him to quit. Knowing him, it won't take much for him to get back on the horse and start cooking again. Everything also clicks for Hank, while taking a dump no less, and he is going to be coming after Walt with everything he has.

Jesse is my favorite character on the show and one of my favorite characters of all time. He just wants to make a couple of bucks while cooking meth. He thinks of it as artistry at first and then it turns into a way he can make a good life for himself. He isn't naive to the dangers of the job but he also knows when it is time to call it quits. He is really defiant early in the series and we have seen a huge transformation in him the past few seasons. He is the responsible one, questioning some of the darker and riskier of Walt's plans. He has a little family with his girlfriend and her son and he doesn't want to jeopardize that anymore. When Walt poisoned the kid, Jesse was willing to kill Walt, until Walt convinced Jesse that he was not the one who did it. His guilt over not stopping the death of the kid during the train robbery is what ultimately makes him quit. I wish he could see Walt as the monster that he is. My prediction for Jesse is that he is going to kill Walt in the final episode of the series to save Walt from having to go to jail.

Walt is no longer a sympathetic character, in the beginning he was a cancer patient trying to leave something for his family and then he became a ruthless kingpin. He is a scumbag in every way and even had the balls to try and convince Jesse that he was to blame for Brock getting sick. Walt is able to twist and manipulate people to do his bidding and when he isn't able to do that, he has no problem killing the people that get in his way. He took out Gus, Mike, Tuco, Jane, a couple of witnesses to his crimes, and 10 guys in jail who could have connected him to Gus. The blood on his hands can never be washed away and everytime he tries to redeem himself he ends up sinking further into darkness. My prediction for Walt is that he is going to indirectly cause the death of one of his children or his wife. Anyone remember the ricin vile that is hidden in the light socket in his bedroom? Mark my words, the vile will come into play again. I also believe that Jesse is going to be the one who finally knocks Walt off, and if that doesn't happen, he is going to land in jail at the hands of Hank. 

I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones, Justified, and Sons of Anarchy, but Breaking Bad is the best show on television. The mix of drama, dark humor, and impeccable acting makes this a must watch for me on a weekly basis. It is sad to see the show coming to an end but at least the show didn't overstay its welcome. Hopefully the creators can resolve all of the plot threads in a satisfactory way while keeping us all guessing at the same time. If you haven't started watching this show yet, you probably should not have read this article and I am sorry I have ruined most of the show for you. For those that do watch the show, leave some feedback on what you think is going to happen in the final few episodes. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Aftershock is a movie that I have seen trailers for on the internet and in the previews of a few Blu Rays, and I really wasn't impressed with what I was seeing. It looked like another bland horror movie with Eli Roth's name attached to it, just like many horror movies since the release of Hostel. But I am usually inclined to give Eli Roth productions a chance, no matter how shitty they look. This is one that had a mix of really good elements and fucking terrible elements, so keep that in mind when considering this movie.

In Aftershock, we follow two groups as they party their way through Chile. The first group we are introduced to is Gringo (Eli Roth), Pollo (Nicolas Martinez), and Ariel (Ariel Levy). Gringo is being shown around Chile by Pollo and Ariel, with the main goal of the trip to get wasted and laid. The second group consists of Kylie (Lorenza Izzo), Irina (Natasha Yarovenko), and Kylie's overprotective sister, Monica (Andrea Osvart). They are visiting Chile with the same intentions as the group of males, get wasted and bang some dudes. They meet up one night and start going to parties together, until a massive earthquake interrupts their good time. What follows is the ultimate fight for survival across the streets of one of the major cities in Chile.

This is one of those movies that is good for 75% of the movie and then just utter shit for the last 25%. For most of the movie we get to see how the characters are having a great time partying in Chile, which seems fantastic by the way. but then we see their struggle for survival after the earthquake strikes. The early earthquake sequences are actually pretty well done and we see how the groups work together to save each other. The movie shows how people are willing to help each other in time of disaster, but all of these solid elements are quickly thrown away in the last 30 minutes of the movie. Such a waste of potential and it just bothered the shit out of me. It didn't bother me that characters that I liked got killed off, it is a horror movie for fuck's sake, but it did bother me that the writers introduced a group of criminals that are looking to murder and rape everyone in their path. It was a dumb fucking decision by a writer that made a mostly competent movie. I understand society breaks down a bit during time of great distress, but there was really no need for the pointless rape and murder. The movie played down the earthquake element at that point and became a fucking chase movie. So fucking dumb.

Eli Roth need to cool it with attaching his name to every goddamn horror movie that is released from overseas. He must get a stack of scripts sent to him daily and he must say "fuck it" and attached his name to each one. The man showed so much promise in the beginning with Cabin Fever and Hostel, then everything just fell apart. We got to experience the shittiness of Hostel II and the abortion that was The Last Exorcism after his first two solid efforts. He didn't even direct The Last Exorcism, but you could have fooled me with the fact that his name was on every poster and in every trailer promoting that piece of shit. Go back to directing films within films like you did with Thanksgiving in Grindhouse and Nation's Pride in Inglourious Basterds. Stop producing and get back to directing, do what you are fucking good at.

This is a movie that should only be seen if you are desperate for something to see. This is Netflix horror movie quality and I can see why it was released straight to VOD. Eli Roth should be disappointed with this one and should just stop producing, because he is terrible at it. Movies need to be consistent for 100% of the movie not 75% solid and then 25% dog shit. I really cannot recommend this because it just flat-out sucks.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Punk Rock Jesus

This is a series that I have wanted to write about for some time. I kept seeing issues for this series every time I went to my local comic shop but I never thought of picking it up. After a few people recommended it, I decided to take the plunge and pick up the series. what I found was that Punk Rock Jesus is one of those special series that comes along every few years. The story, art, and writing of the series is incredible, and Sean Murphy is quickly becoming one of the great talents of the modern comic book age. He has the uncanny ability of effortlessly building a believable and engaging world through his art and writing ability. Sean's work on Punk Rock Jesus and The Wake perfectly showcase how incredible of a storyteller he is.

The series takes place in the near future where a company, The Ophis Corporation, claims to be cloning Jesus from DNA from the Shroud of Turin. They have a reality show following the doctors and the surrogate "Mary", as they deal with this high profile pregnancy. The show, J2, is the most popular show on the planet and the research facility where the show takes place is on a heavily guarded island. We follow the head of security, Thomas (an ex-IRA operative), as we navigate this world that is very similar to our own. Once the clone, Chris, is born, we get the sense that the Second Coming may be one of the most dangerous events in human history.

This is a series that isn't so much about the actual event of the Second Coming of Christ, but how it could possibly affect the world at large. We see how groups see the cloning as an abomination and violently assault the compound at every turn, and other see it as a blessing. The majority of the world is sucked into the luster of the reality show and see the mother of the clone, Gwen, as some ultra celebrity. You see her struggle with the pressure of being the mother of Jesus Christ and being a huge celebrity, and the huge toll it takes on her over time. the NAC, a radical Christian group, tries to stop the cloning at all costs and will not stop until their goal is accomplished. The cloning is handled by Ophis more as a PR stunt than an event that could shape the future of the world. The whole story a commentary on how religion can be this beautiful thing and can also be the source hate at the same time. Punk Rock Jesus was also envisioned by Murphy as a commentary on politics and the media as well, showing how dangerous both can be when used in the wrong hands.

The character of Thomas was the main reason that I kept reading this series to the end. He is this mountain of a man that once believed that his sole purpose in life was to deal death to those who needed to be punished. He is a former operative for the IRA and certain events led him to leaving that life. Thomas is the security chief of the J2 programs but is very detached from everyone involved. Eventually he becomes close with Gwen and we start to see him truly evolve as a character. Serving as Chris' loyal protector as Chris grows up, he promises Gwen that he will not kill another person which is in direct conflict to what was his main purpose in life for a very long time. There are many times in the series where Thomas is tempted to kill and decides to use less lethal force but he is always brutal with the justice he deals out. His arc is by far the most interesting of all of the characters in the story, and he is very high on my list of top comic characters of all-time.

Of all of the mini-series that I have read over the last few years, this is by far the best one. Sean Murphy crafted a layer world that is ripe for other stories. His ability to tell a craft a fully fleshed out world using both his ability as a writer and artist. Murphy's art style is an offshoot of anime style, not the cartoonish style but a grittier style. It is a very unique style that I feel will be considered to be iconic in time. The Wake and Punk Rock Jesus has solidified him in the top tier of artists and storytellers in the comic industry.

This is easily the best mini-series to be produced in the last few years. Punk Rock Jesus is one of the most socially relevant pieces of media to come along in the last few years. It lost some impact due to the fact that not everyone reads comics and it wasn't heavily publicized but it is a powerhouse story. Even if you are not truly interested in the story, at least check it out for the artwork which is simply incredible. Punk Rock Jesus is available at your local comic shop in individual comic form or in collected graphic novel form. Go buy it.