Tagged: 2015

Comic Cover of the Week: Wonder Woman vs. The Joker!

With all the excitement over the latest movie sensation that is Wonder Woman I thought it’d be cool to show off a couple of my favorite covers by the master himself Brian Bolland. It’s no secret that Bolland is easily one of the best comic book cover artists of all time and of course after his classic artwork in The Killing Joke it’s apparent no one can capture the clown prince of crime quite like he can. I dig these two Wonder Woman covers as well because it’s not every day that you see Diana facing off against The Joker.

The first one Wonder Woman #97 is from 1995

 

….and the second a bit more recent #41 from 2015.

 

A couple of my favorites!

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‘Krampus’ is Easily One of the Best Christmas Movies EVER!!

My Christmas wishes were answered yesterday as I headed off into the chilly night with a bunch of friends to check out Michael Dougherty’s holiday horror flick ‘Krampus’! I’ve been waiting for a proper Krampus movie for ages and the wait is finally over folks, this movie was awesome. Dougherty has proven he IS the master of holiday horror as now he’s got two incredible movies under his belt, his first being ‘Trick ‘R Treat’ from 2007 which has already become a cult classic. So why did I enjoy Krampus so damn much?

First it’s the perfect movie for the season at hand as it has a true heart of gold at it’s core. We start out seeing a crazy sort of Black Friday shopping experience on screen where insane Christmas shoppers fight in slow motion in  greedy hordes for their gifts. It really kinda sets the mood for the rest of the movie, Christmas has become ugly. No one really has the holiday spirit anymore and our main characters who’re basically your average modern day family have forgotten what’s really important in life. We’ve got a great comedic cast here to and once all the relatives arrive for Christmas dinner it’s evident they’re in for a long weekend.

Krampus has a great cast going for it, Emjay Anthony really shines as Max a young boy who finally gets fed up with everyone’s selfish, negative attitudes and decides to rip up his Christmas letter to Santa chucking it out into the winter winds. Soon after a dark looming storm cloud settles above his neighborhood and hits it hard with one helluva winter storm. This is where all hell begins to break loose. From this point the neighborhood feels disconnected from reality and the way the winter transforms the landscape is a sight in itself to behold. Suddenly odd sinister snowmen begin appearing all around their house. Soon the family is entrenched in a fantastical fight for their lives against an evil hulking force with more than a few frightening tricks it up it’s shaggy sleeve.

The first time we see Krampus is an excellent sequence and form that point on we’re taken on a continuous roller coaster ride that brings to mind the best about movies like Gremlins and The Gate. This movie really feels like a lost movie from the 80’s that Speilberg produced, not directed. In fact this one feels like an old Joe Dante flick. The sets are incredible yet centralized in mainly one location and the monsters are a true spectacle to behold. Feeling a bit like if Charles Band (Puppetmaster/Full Moon) had a big budget back in the 80’s to make an X-mas flick. Also the effects are almost all practical with every bit of CG used exactly the way it should be. The costumes too of Krampus and his crew are quite impressive as well, simply put this one didn’t feel like your average mainstream horror movie and that’s a damn good thing.

Lastly we do have the big baddie Krampus who looks simply amazing, though maybe not quite like what you may have been expecting. My only real problem with this movie was that I really was hoping for more of the actual Krampus and maybe a bit of his true mythology. Most of the mayhem here is brought on by his minions and Krampus is more of an evil presence watching the shit hit the fan than a big bad guy like the Predator or Alien. I was hoping for a game of cat and mouse with the family squaring off directly with Krampus but in the end I really enjoyed the finale equally just in a different way. So that being said, I’m going to say this was easily one of if not my favorite movie this year so far. I’m actually quite happy as well with the PG-13 rating and some of the family friendly tones of the movie, besides with all the ugliness in the world right now it’s nice to have something to warm our hearts a little this Christmas season! I’m already hoping for a sequel where Krampus truly meets his match!  

We Can Never Go Home #5 is a Home Run!

This week the final installment of the first arc of ‘We Can Never Go Home’ hit the stands with issue #5. It was a great finale filled with a ton of well placed twists and turns. This also just might be my favorite new title of 2015. We’ve been following the unpredictable exploits of teen runaway misfits Duncan & Maddie for only five issues but hell, what an adventure it’s been so far.

The series takes place back in the late 1980’s a time I remember quite fondly as a kid/teen growing up, so perhaps I’m just a little more than partial to this tale from the start. It’s also a series that involves 80’s references galore and even more so in the realm of underground music & punk rock of yesteryear. Mix that with some seriously deep in serious shit troubled teens on a road trip that seems to get more dangerous with ever mile traveled  and you’ve got quite an intriguing story.

The final issue comes to a blood soaked boiling point to a once seemingly innocent start of budding teen crushes. The final issue pulls no punches a lot of questions are finally answered and maybe not quite in the way you might have hope they’d be. That’s fine though as a truly great story never really wraps up the way you think it will. This last issue takes place in the compound of this first arc’s villain, Mr. Carroll, where he’s trapped Maddie and Duncan and tests their “superhuman” abilities.

Certain aspects of this final issue might piss you off, you might suddenly find yourself questioning some of our lead characters motivations in this series. Ultimately though this dynamic conclusion delivers on all cylinders, (with some excellent artwork to boot by Josh Hood) and I already find my self ready to read it all over again.

It also has me quite ready for more which we can expect in 2016. So if you haven’t checked this out yet I advise getting the trade when it hits as the individual issues are hard to track down and going for a pretty penny online. This series makes the $3.99 price tag on comic books these days feel not quite so sleazy. “We Can Never Go Home” is a full on home run. 

The Best Horror Comedy Trailer of the Year ‘Hands’ Down!

So maybe I’m a little late to the party here but over the weekend I saw this amazing trailer to a movie that doesn’t really exist, and I hope it stays that way! This was released back in October but somehow I missed it. It’s easily one of the most ridiculously funny things I’ve seen all year.

Yep check out the trailer for “Handjob Cabin” a horror story about a ghost who’ll give you the time of your life…until you’re dead! This one looks and feels like a real movie with a budget however don’t hold your breath I don’t think you’ll be seeing this in theaters anytime ever. If you missed this one like I did check it out or heck, watch it again and again! 

Kick Don Bluth in the Butt and Kickstart The DRAGON’S LAIR Movie!!!

Yes! It’s such a pleasure to do a blog post that I really am totally hyped about these days! This morning I got wind of the brand spankin’ new Kickstarter page for Dragon’s Lair: The Movie and this is something I’ve always wanted to see since the 1980’s.

First let me state that Don Bluth was responsible for my favorite animated movie of all time, The Secret of Nimh, a movie from 1982 that still easily holds up today against the mass produced CG animated movies which have flooded the market. If you’ve never seen it you’re missing out big time. Anyway a year later in 1983 we got quite a surprise in the Arcades, when Dragon’s Lair was released-it was the first hand drawn animated video on the scene and it was a true wonder to behold. Yes the 1980’s were a wonderful era.

 

I know many people these days don’t even remember what a video game really arcade is, but back in the 80’s it was the place to be. We’d head off to the mall on a saturday afternoon and spend hours there playing video games and then maybe catch a movie afterwords. Ahh, yes, those were the days. I would spend hours watching my brother play Dragon’s Lair and besides it being a very difficult game it was, for me, just fun to watch the incredibly inventive action sequences & adventure unfold before my very eyes. Dragon’s Lair was total eye candy, I was never very good at it myself but I loved it.

So here we are in 2015 and (the now retired from animation) Don Bluth is being challenged by fans to make Dragon’s Lair into an old school style animated feature film via Kickstarter!! The good news is that Don Has officially accepted the invitation. Bluth started out working as an animator with Disney in 1971 having films like Robin Hood & The Rescuers under his belt, he later left and started his own animation company.

So fans we all need to support this venture, get a full on Don Bluth revival going on here, How amazing would it be to see a classic animated Dragon’s Lair feature movie? Who knows maybe if this happens we could get him to do a ‘Space Ace’ movie!!!

I’ve really been missing those classic hand drawn animated feature films, they had so much damn character, I think the world just might be a little better place if we could get this one made, check out the Kickstarter Page right HERE-let’s head into the Dragon’s Lair again!!   

Cool Comic Debut: Paper Girls #1 Brings us an ‘Amblin’ Style 80’s Mystery!

I just finished ‘Paper Girls’ #1 by hotshot writer Brian K. Vaughan and it’s one of best debut issues I’ve read in a long time. What’s even better is at it’s $2.99 cover price it’s a double sized issue filled with a great little story just waiting to burst into a retro ‘Amblin’ style adventure set way back in 1988. Not only do we get an intriguing story here but also some great artwork by Cliff Chiang. We follow twelve year old Erin as she heads out onto the streets to do her paper route in wee hours of the A.M. after a extremely peculiar dream, involving apples, aliens, winged astronauts and classroom demons speaking what seems to be gibberish. I love the way the dream sequence is played out in the pages here, with a ton of strange symbolism, conversations that seemingly make no sense and some frightening creatures, it really feels like an actual dream which is quite nice.

The setting in the morning is the night after Halloween, so as Erin hits the streets with her sack of papers she encounters some neighborhood bullies still roaming. Luckily three other paper girls arrive on rad bmx bikes to the scene to her defense. From this point Erin decides to ride with the girls on her route and discovers that the three of them too had been jumped by some strange “people” dressed as ghosts who stole one of their walkie talkies.

I don’t want to spoil any of the story as there are some cool surprises that develop along the way. But what I will say is this has the perfect setting for a lost 80’s flick and puts some cool supernatural elements in the mix that leave you longing for issue #2. A super solid debut and just the kind of comic book story that I love even if for some reason we get a bit of prominent product placement by the way of Apple computers. Check this one out, this issue gives you more bang for your buck too as it’s twice the normal size. A great scheme to get people to drop their hard earned cash these days on a comic book!

WTF?! Did M. Night Shyamalan Just Make the Best Horror Flick of 2015?!

Well, well, well, I must admit I didn’t see this coming! Yeah I’m a bit perplexed myself at just how much I liked M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie “The Visit”!! I am going to go as far to say it’s quite possibly the best horror movie I’ve seen thus far in 2015. Some major contenders were “It Follows”, “The Babadook” and “We Are Still Here” but I’d certainly put The Visit up against any of those. I alway knew Night had it in him somewhere to make a full on horror movie and this time around he certainly went the distance. This is easily the darkest of any film he’s ever done and it proves that he shines on a smaller stage, with a smaller budget. Night should stay far as far away from the summer blockbuster territory as he possibly can. I also think he’s invented a new style of horror flick “Senior Citizen Terror”!!

The Visit is not only a return to form, but it’s also a transformation for the film maker. It show’s in a way that he’s grown up a bit and has become a bit more of a risk taker. He’s willing to scare the shit out of you this time around, pulling no punches like he did previously. I’ve always suspected if he let loose he’d be able to craft something really genuinely scary. You know how most of his movies reach the final act and they get kinda….family friendly? Well this one goes to some dark places and then some. In fact there are some scenes in this movie that you will NEVER be able to erase from your memory. A bold statement for any horror flick but it seems M. Knight was done fucking around this time. The guy has had a quite a string of clunkers under his belt recently and it goes to prove a point, never underestimate a guy who’s down on his luck with nothing really left to lose.

The Visit really shines in it’s simple plot. Two kids go to visit their grandparents which they’ve never met because of a falling out that their mother had with them when she was much younger. So really it’s a bit of a story of trying to forgive and forget the past and hopefully move on. And really, we all can relate to being a little kid staying with grandparents, no matter how sweet they were they always seem a bit odd especially through the eyes of a child. Of course the plot thickens when Granny and Gramps do start acting a bit odd during the daytime really fucking weird when the sun goes down!

This movie has got some great acting as well and the movie’s real stars are definitely the young boy played by Ed Oxenbould and his grandmother played by Deanna Dunagan. The Visit surprisingly also is one of the few modern horror flicks that really puts children in serious fucking danger, which is something you rarely see in this day and age. So kudos to Shyamalan for having the guts to go the distance here. It’s really best if you know as little as possible about this one as it’s packed with surprises and yes….a damn good twist!

Last my only real complaint at all is the found footage route Night decided to go with this. I’ll admit I wasn’t thrilled about the idea going into it all. Seeming at first a little late to the party perhaps, he really does utilize this medium quite well to tell the story. He does it so well with no creepy score that this feels pretty damn realistic when all is said and done. He also blends some great comedy throughout somehow that works leap and bounds better than any movie he’s tried to pull this in before. So final thought, I’d say it’s safe to say M. Night Shyamalan is back. Scarier, bolder and riskier than ever before and I hope this time he’s realized he’s at his best when trying to scare the shit out of us.