Ash and the Army of Darkness

Dynamite Comics is doing a serious overhaul of their leading series Army of Darkness. As most of you know AOD is based on the third film in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy. Over the years Dynamite has had some serious success with the title, thrusting Ash and his trusty chainsaw through various dimensions, time periods, crossovers with horror movie royalty (Herbert West: Re-Animator, Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees) and even teaming him up with a new female hero. It’s been a mighty fun series, but they felt it was time to take it back to basics. As far as I can tell this new series will not negate the events of the previous series, but we are going back to the beginning…of the end.

Picking up EXACTLY where the film Army of Darkness ends, issue #1 opens with the final battle in S Mart…Gimme some sugar. We learn why that deadite shows up at the store after Ash returns from the Dark Ages. Of course everything goes to Hell and Ash is reluctantly thrown back into action.

Written by the great Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) with awesome, franchise-worthy art by Dennis Calero Ash and the Army of Darkness #1 was a really good starting off point. As a huge fan of the franchise, Niles’ writing is fun and absolutely evokes Raimi’s along with the style we’ve grown used to through previous comics and Evil Dead video games. I hoped for a little bit more in terms of storytelling, but it was still fun nonetheless and really if it has Ashley J. Williams, chainsaws, boomsticks and deadites I’m gonna be happy. As of now the series is set up as a 12 issue arc. We’ll see if they stick with this title or go back to their original series, either way Evil Dead/Army of Darkness fans have plenty to be happy about.

Hail to the King, baby!

B+

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MANIAC

This chilly October night felt like the perfect time to sit down and watch the remake of William Lustig’s 1980 cult classic of the same name. The plot is essentially identical: Frank, (played disturbingly by Elijah Wood) a severely troubled man who is still effected by childhood abuse and the recent death of his mother, goes around Manhattan killing women he finds to be beautiful and taking their scalps as trophies. Frank owns a mannequin restoration shop and he keeps some of his favorites in the apartment behind the store where he lives…for really creepy reasons. When he meets the beautiful French photographer Anna (Nora Arnezeder) he has a difficult time of keeping both sides of his life separate, especially when she becomes a big part of his life, professionally and as a new friend. As his obsession builds the more bodies stack up.

Other than the plot this film is very different from the original. The entire movie is shot through Frank’s eyes and we only ever see his face in reflection and in his creepy daydreams. In fact we don’t see his face until about 12 minutes in. While an innovative and different take on the slasher sub-genre, there were a few times that I grew a little tired of seeing everything in first person, but not enough to take away from my overall enjoyment of the film. It did allow the audience to see things very differently. To focus on other characters and the surrounding visuals, through the eyes of this absolute lunatic was pretty rad. Instead of doing the same old thing. To say that some scenes were very disconcerting would be the understatement of the year. Being that we’re seeing everything through a guy who’s pretty much totally disconnected from reality, not 100% of what we’re seeing can be taken at face value; most of it yes, but not everything. I’m also a fan that not everything that makes Frank tick is spelled out for us. Even after the movie is over there is still plenty of mystery left. Lets you think about things as the credits roll.

I really dug the way this movie was shot. Not unlike other films, but really well done and a nice change here. I loved the soundtrack. Composed by “Rob,” it was like a mash-up of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and A Clockwork Orange. Absolutely perfect. Loved the nod to The Silence of the Lambs as well, had to sing along during that scene. The style of the film kept bringing me back to the movie Drive, maybe it was the pseudo-80’s vibe and the soundtrack along with both posters having the title spelled out in a retro typeface and in hot pink. Who knows. I like it. It’s awesome. That’s what matters.

This was a neat, disturbing slasher flick and definitely worth at least renting, if not owning. The acting is great, the kills are gruesome and awesome. Rad movie, wonderfully shaped by few-time director Franck Khalfoun. While I enjoy the original enough see another one or two times, I thought this new version was a far superior film. Cool little movie, not overly flashy. Nice blend of dark and gritty along with sleek, glass-like sheen. If that makes any sense. Liked it more than total grungy, dirtiness of the original. At a quick 80 minutes this movie never loses it’s pace and leaves no time to be bored.

“Watch it fuck-face!”

A-

Look! Up In The Sky! It’s…It’s…ROCKET GIRL!

I am once again proud to be part of something special through Kickstarter. I donated some money to a little comic book called Rocket Girl. Created by artist Amy Reeder and writer Brandon Montclare, this book tells the story of Dayoung Johansson, a teenage cop from the far off future of 2013, who is investigating Quintum Mechanics – a mega-corporation, for crimes against time. She is sent back in time to 1986 and must piece together clues as she discovers that the future she comes from is actually an alternate reality that shouldn’t exist at all!

This was one hell of a fun book. I flew through it (pun intended). The artwork is gorgeous, colorful and fits the storytelling perfectly, the writing is smart, fun and to the point. I was lucky enough to receive the first issue (autographed) in the mail yesterday along with a kick ass double-sided art print from Amy Reeder. Published by Image Comics, (The Walking Dead, CHEW) issue #1 is set to release tomorrow, Wednesday, October 9th 2013 and will be available wherever comic books are sold. I have high hopes for Rocket Girl and it has great potential to soar. I think Image has another hit on their hands.

A-

A teenage cop from a high-tech future is sent back in time to 1986 New York City.  Dayoung Johansson is investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time.  As she pieces together the clues, she discovers the “future” she calls home – an alternate reality version of 2013 – shouldn’t exist at all! – See more at: https://www.imagecomics.com/comics/releases/rocket-girl-1#sthash.c3XDXOtP.dpu
A teenage cop from a high-tech future is sent back in time to 1986 New York City.  Dayoung Johansson is investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time.  As she pieces together the clues, she discovers the “future” she calls home – an alternate reality version of 2013 – shouldn’t exist at all! – See more at: https://www.imagecomics.com/comics/releases/rocket-girl-1#sthash.c3XDXOtP.
A teenage cop from a high-tech future is sent back in time to 1986 New York City.  Dayoung Johansson is investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time.  As she pieces together the clues, she discovers the “future” she calls home – an alternate reality version of 2013 – shouldn’t exist at all! – See more at: https://www.imagecomics.com/comics/releases/rocket-girl-1#sthash.c3XDXOtP.dpu
A teenage cop from a high-tech future is sent back in time to 1986 New York City.  Dayoung Johansson is investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time.  As she pieces together the clues, she discovers the “future” she calls home – an alternate reality version of 2013 – shouldn’t exist at all! – See more at: https://www.imagecomics.com/comics/releases/rocket-girl-1#sthash.c3XDXOtP.dpuf

Gravity

I’m going to keep this brief.

Good Lord. What a movie. You’ve seen the trailers, you’ve heard the hype. I’ll lay it all out for ya. Gravity tells the story of the worst (fictional) space disaster in history. During a routine maintenance mission to the Hubble telescope, the Russians decide to destroy one of their old spy sattelites by launching a rocket into it. Genius! This causes an insane amount of debris that heads right for U.S. space shuttle crew at the Hubble…even though it wasn’t originally supposed to go near them at all. This leaves two survivors (played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) trying to make their way to the International Space Station and save themselves from running out of oxygen or just floating off into space forever.

This was one of the most beautifully shot and flawlessly directed movies I’ve seen, ever. Alfonso Cuarón has created a visual masterpiece. The direction, cinematography and special effects are really what this whole movie is about. The plot and acting are definitely good, though not the end all/be all for the world of cinema. This a gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking, emotional roller coaster and I left the theater emotionally drained and feeling like (probably from the IMAX/3D experience) I, myself had been shot into space and bounced off space shuttles, life pods and space stations. This was without a doubt the most realistic film about space ever made. I really don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just leave it here. Excellent movie. It was an experience to say the least and I highly recommend seeing it in theaters, especially IMAX if you can swing it. Some people have apparently been let down by it, from all the hype, but I wasn’t disappointed at all. It was pretty much exactly what I expected. Loved it. I feel like I had a cinematic religious experience from the visuals alone.

A