Monday, December 31, 2007
Tradition dictates that I mention the top ten films in my humble opinion for 2007. These are flicks that are things I watch that made a big impact on me for the year. This year has more mainstream than usual, but that's okay.
Here we go, and these are in no particular order.
10. 300. This movie was amazing to me. The first time I watched it my jaw dropped. I saw this six times in the theaters and would have seen it more, but they stopped playing it.
Stupid ass theaters! This movie tells me that director Zack Snyder will be perfect for THE WATCHMEN.
9. SHOOT 'EM UP. The perfect popcorn movie. You take your brain out and leave it at home because you won't need it. Your adrenaline gland, you'll need because this thing is a perfect, film going rush. It comes out on New Year's Day on DVD and I am going to be first in line for this baby. Oh yeah. And could Monica Bellucci be any hotter? She makes all the blonde, Hollywood types look like friggin dogs. Oh yeah and Clive Owen is the MAN!
8. TRANSFORMERS. In the beginning when the scorpion transformer is stalking the army guys through the desert I could not get this foolish grin off my face. They had done one of my childhood memories right. By the type we got to Optimus Prime I was in Geek Heaven. And that Megan Fox. Someone gave that girl the correct last name. She had best be in the sequel, Michael Bay. You hear me Bay? And, of course I got the cool transforming DVD case when it came out. I am such a geek!
7. DESPERATION . I know what you're thinking and no this isn't the flick by Stephen King. This is a much more terrifying film. When young Abby gets in a car accident in the woods and is pinned in her car she thinks she's in big trouble. When two teenage boys show up to her rescue, the trouble gets worse. Much worse. This was one of those microbudget things I review from time to time and I was amazed at how gripped I was with the whole thing. I started out watching it from the comfort of my bed, stretched out like always. By the time it was over I was sitting up on the edge of the bed. Micro budget either works well or it fails miserably. In this case it worked as well as I have seen it in years.
6. CHANTAL . This is one of those Seduction Cinema things where they release a film by exploitation master, Nick Phillips and then make their own version. In this case they left it to the capable devices of director Tony Marsiglia (LUST FOR DRACULA)The film itself shows us Misty Mundae playing waaaaay too innocent, but she makes it work. The best part of the film is listening to the commentary with Tony and Misty. You can hear here and how she related a little too well to this naive character. You can hear that she is sick of thinking she's going to break out from her low budget roots and go on to better things when it isn't lining up as well as she would want it to. Having been a fan of Misty's for quite some time it broke my heart a little to hear how disillusioned she has become in such a short period of time. While I like Tony's LUST FOR DRACULA more than CHANTAL, this is still a fine film. The original has a commentary with Nick Phillips that is required listening.
5.SWEENY TODD, THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET . My wife and my oldest daughter and I saw a staged production of this a few years back. Delia, my daughter loved the play. We took everyone to see this one and none of us were disappointed. Even my seven year old son sat there and quietly watched the whole thing without complaints. I loved watching Johnny Depp and Alan Rickman singing together. This is Tim Burton in top form.
4. FEAST OF FLESH. My friends Amy Lynn Best and Mike Watt have the distinction of being on the list two years running with the same film. How is that? You may ask. Let me tell you. I first saw it at a convention under it's original title ABATTOIR in 2006. Then it was released under it's new title this year so, it counts. Besides, it may be the most intelligent vampires in a brothel versus the local townies flick you will ever see. The blood flows freely as does the acres of beautiful woman flesh. It's always a delight to see Rachelle Williams kick some ass and the premise of what will repel a vampire is nothing short of ingenious. What is it, you ask? Buy the damned flick and find out. Best money you'll spend this year.
3. SPLATTER BEACH. I have this guilty pleasure and there's nothing I can do about it. It's The Polonia Brothers. They make movies for me I swear to God Almighty. Their bigfoot epic AMONG US is among one of my favorite films. And how can you beat Misty Mundae..I mean Erin Brown as the crazy girl in one of her more fun roles. Plus we get Erika Smith and that gorgeous bod of hers and wild monsters and cool surf music. One of the most fun flicks of the year. And it even comes with a CD of all the groovy tunes.
2. THE INCONFESSABLE ORGIES OF EMMANUELLE . Another in the string of releases from small companies, in this case Severin Films, giving us another Jess Franco film. This is Franco's take on Emmanuelle and it's interesting how he turns her into more of a secondary character in her own flick. This is Franco doing some of his most interesting work and should be a must for any true Eurotrash connoisseur.
1. THE DUNGEON OF DR. DRECK . Okay, in this case I saved the best for last. Michael Legge gives us the origins of a horror movie host from the 60's. Big difference is that this guy is really a mad scientist. And his sidekick is a real zombie cheerleader. From the opening homage to Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, to the special effect glasses that you need to wear half way through the pic, this is a tribute to the days of yesteryear when movies were good hearted fun and this is no exception. I might be a little biased because we supplied the lab equipment that is in the title shot and all of the Waltz family are in the closing credits with official doctorates to boot. This is the best film of 2007 and needs to be viewed by all. If you haven't checked it out yet be sure to spend some of that leftover Christmas moolah on this wonderful film.
And that's it for us here at Penguin for 2007. Hopefully you all have a wonderful new year and many more. And here's to another year of great movies!
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
The last of the Serverin set BLACK EMANUELLE'S BOX VOL. 2 and it looks like I have saved the best for last. A non-Joe D'Amato entry in the Black Emanuelle series and now Emanuelle (Laura Gemser) is in North Africa visiting friends and handing out with Carlo, the demented photographer that is played by her real life husband, Gabriele Tinti. You know were in for a demented time when he forces her to pose naked next to a corpse of a dog. Blech!
It isn't long before Emanuelle and company get entangled with a religiopus zealot by the name of Antonio. This blonde haired, messiah wannabe spells serious trouble.
This is how Emanuelle is supposed to be. Exotic location, lots of naked women and some seriously simulated sex. When the head of the household goes down on Antonio in the desert and comes back into view with some serious man goo on her face you know that you're in for a good time.
The characters have actual depth, surprising in this type of film. The cinematography is gorgeous and Ms. Gemser never looked better.
BLACK EMANUELLE, WHITE EMANUELLE is the feather in the cap of this recent release by Severin. Can we have the next set soon? Please?
Friday, November 16, 2007
Black Emanuelle means one thing to me...Laura Gemser. There are other things that come with an Emanuelle flick. Hordes of gorgeous women, lots of simulated, hot steamy sex and exotic locations.
BLACK EMANUELLE 2 has none of this going for it. Even Laura Gemser isn't it it! Sheesh! I really think this might be the weakest flick in the box and probably the entire series of Black Emanuelle films. Thankfully, the rest of the box set is strong enough to hold this one up along for the ride.
For Emanuelle completists only.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Laura Gemser is at it again in this classic piece of Eurotrash. She's hot on the trail of a big story and is in Kenya to get the goods. Being Emmanuelle it isn't long before she's groping her friend in the shower before winging her way back to New York for some more fun with her photographer friend. Of course, the only way to get the real story of the White Slave Trade is to go undercover at a brothel in San Diego so she's off to the west coast to get her funk on. She barely escapes being lobotomized when the brothel finds out who she really is and then she's off on another adventure..right after she gang bangs a group of fishermen who give her a ride in their boat.
Emmanuelle movies are about one thing. Sex. Director Joe D'Amato knows this and puts in as many softcore clutches as he can fit in the running time. Laura Gemser is still the lean, dark skinned beauty we have come to know and lust after.
Sure, there are some inconsistencies like that lighter/camera she uses. No way that thing would work in real life. Especially when she is taking pictures of the slave auction and the lens isn't even pointing at the girls.
My favorite scene would have to be the big fight between a burly transvestite and a horde of hoodlums in a bowling alley. The tranny hands them their respective asses for a minute before getting whacked with a bowling pin.
This is probably the best of the three in the box set for two reasons;
One, it's the one with the CD in it with the groovy soundtrack.
Two, the interview with Joe D'Amato is wonderful. It's just a bunch of guys sitting around shooting the shit over beers with Joe and asking him questions in an informal setting. Great stuff and probably the highlight of the entire box set.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Directed by Timothy O'Rawe
DVD Provided by Camp Motion Pictures www.campmotionpictures.com
Bless Camp Motion Pictures. They have managed to stir up all that crap from the 80's that I truly adored. From things like VIDEO VIOLENCE to SPLATTER FARM. Now we get what may be the biggest package of stuff from Camp Motion Pictures with the release of GHOUL SCHOOL:Super Bloody Splatter University Edition.
Sure, the basic premise is paper thin. Two loser crooks let toxic waste loose in a school and if it gets you you turn into the walking dead, hungry for flesh. There are lots of over the top gore effects and the whole thing is played more for laughs than scares, but it works for what it is. Camp Motion Pictures lays on the extras with the following;
Ghoul School feature film
Original Fundraising Promo
Making of Ghoul School
DVD cover photo shoot
Three, count 'em three commentaries
Say No To Drugs (1987 student gore film)
Halloween Tale (1987 fundraising film)
Halloween Tale bloopers
Halloween Takeover (1989 local cable TV show)
Dead Weight (1990 unreleased featurette)
That is a lot of product for such a goofy flick. Definitely worth getting your hands on.
Directed by Corneliu Porumboiu
DVD Provided by Tartan Films www.tartanvideousa.com
16 years after the Revolution and just days before Christmas, a local television station in Bucharest has invited several guests to share their moments of glory, as they allegedly stormed city hall, chanting “down with Ceasescu!,” before Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife fled the presidential palace by helicopter so many years ago.
An alcoholic history teacher and a lonely retiree, who moonlights as Santa, are forced to answer questions from dubious viewers who aren’t overly convinced that the Revolution ever took place in their city.
This is sharp biting satire that is flawless in execution and style. If you can appreciate a truly unique comedy then this is one that you would want to see without a doubt.
Directed by Andrea Arnold
DVD Provided by Tartan Films www.tartanvideousa.com
Jackie is a CCTV operator. She watches over her little corner of the world and is happy with her lot in life. Then a man from her past comes in view of her camera view and she never wants to see him again, but she must.
RED ROAD works because it unfolds in front of you without giving you any backstory. You figure out what is going on as the story unfolds. A very satisfying film that makes you think. Definitely a film worth watching
Directed by Carlos Reygadas
DVD provided by Tartan Films www.tartanvideousa.com
A man leaves Mexico City to go to a remote part of the countryside to prepare for his death by suicide. He finds a place to stay with an old Indian woman overlooking a canyon. The rawness of the surrounding natural beauty coupled with the old woman and her seemingly infinite humanity bring him from the dullness imposed on him through civilization to a new awakening for life.
For a first film this is nothing short of a major accomplishment. Director Reygadas gives us the wild beauty of a desolate place that is teeming with nature. He shows us that it's the little things in life that give it meaning to each and every one of us. This is a beautiful film that should be seen by everyone.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Thanks to the good folks at Showtime we have wonderful prizes to give away for our DEXTER contest. The response was quite nice and here are the three winners;
First up is Corrie Petersen of Kalamazoo, Michigan who writes;
My personal favorite serial killer is The Zodiac Killer. He was one of the best to plan out his kills and keep the cops guessing. I especially enjoyed the taunts and encrypted letters he sent to the newspapers and the fact that his kills were laid out mathematically. To me this makes him a genius. He wasn't a slave to his killing methods and didn't follow ritualistic patterns that could make him easier to find. Also, the fact that he was never caught, even though he provided clues for the cops to figure out, makes him one of the best.
Corrie wins a box set of Dexter Season 1 along with the soundtrack from the series and a I Love Dexter button. Good job Corrie.
Second prize goes to Michael Legge of Mendon, Massachusetts who gives us this account;
My favorite serial killer is Dennis Rader, The BTK. He's my favorite because he is the exact opposite of what the glamorization of serial killers has done to the American psyche. He was an insignificant, sniveling little coward who preyed on women for the power it gave him. He was an unattractive slug who was a religious hypocrite, depending on his seemingly harmless exterior to take the lives of innocent people just for his own sick gratification. Other than a pedophile, there is nothing lower than a serial killer, and Rader is a prime example of how low humanity can sink.
Creepy stuff there, Michael. Michael gets a Season One Box set of Dexter from the good folks at Showtime.
Our final entry is the oddest one. We received an odd email from someone calling himself AlexanderGeorge. He gets a free I Love Dexter button for his simplistic entry of;
Thanks AlexanderGeorge for the succinct response.
There ya go folks. Another great contest from the folks at Penguin Comics in conjunction with Showtime. Keep an eye out for our next contest sometime in November.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
First Prize now wins;
DEXTER Season 1
The soundtrack to the show
and a I Love DEXTER! button.
Second prize wins the Season 1 Box
Now there is a third prize;
an I Love DEXTER! Button.
Time is running out to get those entries in so start writing!
Friday, October 26, 2007
The world has won the Zombie Wars and ZOMCON does its finest to make sure we all stay safe and sound contained rather comfortably withing gated cities and towns. Zombies still reign free outside the protective fencing in the Wild Zones, but we've nothing to fear since the ideas of rogue living dead have become much of a thing of the past thanks to advances in Zombie captive technology! That's right, you too can be the very proud owner of a 'pet' walking deceased as long as you maintain the electro-collar around his or her neck to uphold its docile nature! It's the mid-fifties and life is peachy, giddy, and happy-go-lucky especially when Timmy Robinson (K'Sun Ray) finally gets a zombie just like everyone else in his neighborhood. Sure, apprehensive at first, Timmy finally finds what's missing in his own father, Bill, (Dylan Baker) in the newly-named Fido (Billy Connolly), the kindly animated corpse. Teaching Fido to do ordinary things like throwing and catching a ball or mowing the lawn proves to be a bit daunting, but when it comes to protecting Timmy from school bullies, Fido is the best body guard money can literally buy. Timmy's mom, Helen (Carrie-Anne Moss) turns her jealous desires to fit in within the zombie-owning elite into more of a motherly-turn-attraction for her new un-dead friend and has no qualms about showing it off to her lackluster spouse. Fido becomes so much a part of the family that it becomes a heart-breaking moment when he must be taken away because of a few 'accidental' deaths caused by his hands. Local ZOMCON law enforcer, Mr. Bottoms (played with snide abandon by the excellent Henry Czerny) spends his days trying to convince the Robinson's that befriending a zombie will eventually lead to trouble since, regardless of their collar, things can, and, inevitably do, happen. Timmy decides to enlist the aid of former ZOMCON employee and neighbor, Mr. Theopolis (Tim Blake Nelson) in order to rescue his best friend from the clutches of the more sinister than all together good company. The end is a bit melancholy as Bill Robinson ends up dying in the face of a battle, but everything works out fine with Fido becoming a full-fledged member of the family.
Sure, comedy in zombie flicks has been around for quite a while, what with Dead/Alive, Shaun of the Dead, and a host of others, you'd think that the gamut has for all intents and purposes been run... right into the ground. Then along comes FIDO, a movie so naturally heart-warming and fun you'd almost forget you were watching a spawn of the horror genre all together, were it not for the minor bits of gore ere and there. Obviously borrowing heavily from the LASSIE films of the same 'time period', FIDO learns, acts, and otherwise behaves almost as though he were a dog instead of a lumbering alive again stiff. Never once does Billy Connelly (phenomenal as the zombie, by the way) utter a single word, relying instead on barely emoted grunts and perfected eye motions to convey his little bits of happiness or anger. The humor in genuine and innocent, and you really do feel bad for Fido when he happens to murder and consume a few people who were disliked anyway. And when he's taken away in the ZOMCON truck, gripping the iron bars like a lost child, it stings just enough. Find out just how fantastic FIDO is for yourself, whether you're a horror fan or not, this movie is a top-ten for sure.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The lovely folks over at SHOWTIME have seen fit to let us give away two copies of DEXTER Season One. I thought we should make it an essay contest.
First, the rules.
If you write for Penguin Comics you are ineligible to win. You may participate but it will just be for fun.
All final desicions will be by me and me only.
The contest begins as soon as you finish reading this and ends on October 31st.
And let's kepp it under 500 words, shall we?
Who is your favorite serial killer and why? For the purposes of this game we will only use actual serial killers, fictional ones are ineligible.
Email all entries to;
entries must be in the body of the email. Any email with attachments will be deleted without opening it. The top two winners will have their essay printed here for the world to see.
GOOD LUCK TO ALL AND HAVE FUN WITH IT!
Friday, October 19, 2007
TWO LOST CLASSICS BY LUCIO FULCI ON DVD FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER NOVEMBER 13TH
Long-Unseen THE PSYCHIC And THE EROTICIST Considered Most Unique And Celebrated Works By Controversial Italian Filmmaker
LOS ANGELES, CA, – Severin Films announces the DVD premieres of two of Lucio Fulci’s most sought-after films, the suspense thriller THE PSYCHIC and his politically incendiary sex comedy THE EROTICIST. Both films have been fully restored for the first time ever in America.
More than a decade after his death, Lucio Fulci remains one of the most infamous and misunderstood talents in international cinema history. His films encompassed art house hits (1969’s BEATRICE CENCI), American-made mysteries (PERVERSION STORY, also available from Severin) and acclaimed adventure epics (1973’s WHITE FANG). By the mid ‘80s, Fulci became best known for such hallucinatory horror epics as ZOMBIE and THE BEYOND, which would define the era of EuroGore excess. Both THE PSYCHIC and THE EROTICIST are considered to be among Fulci’s most rare and accomplished works.
Never released in America, 1972’s THE EROTICIST – also known as THE SENATOR LIKES WOMEN – was based on the true story of a prominent Christian senator accused of serial fondling. Fulci’s surreal comedy ignited a firestorm of controversy throughout Italy with its blasphemous depictions of perverted politicians, lascivious nuns (including sexy ‘70s star Laura Antonelli) and a death squad of Vatican Cardinals led by blacklisted American actor Lionel Stander. Initially banned and heavily censored throughout Europe, the film remained Fulci’s personal favorite of his career. Severin’s DVD presentation includes an all-new featurette that documents the film’s scandalous history, including interviews with cast and crew.
Fulci’s 1977 thriller THE PSYCHIC stars Jennifer O’Neill of SUMMER OF ’42 and SCANNERS fame as a clairvoyant tormented by visions of a murder that might be her own. Also known as SEVEN NOTES IN BLACK, the film was acclaimed worldwide for its daring suspense sequences and ingenious final twist. Longtime PSYCHIC fan Quentin Tarantino had unsuccessfully attempted to re-release the film in the mid-‘90s under his Miramax/Rolling Thunder banner, and portions of the film’s main orchestral theme would later appear in KILL BILL VOLUME 1. Severin’s presentation of THE PSYCHIC restores footage removed for its American release and includes an exclusive featurette recounting the film’s production.
Severin Films was formed in May 2006. The label, with offices in Los Angeles and London, is dedicated to unearthing, restoring and releasing the most provocative and controversial erotic and arcane features from around the world. The company’s previous releases include the unrated director’s cut of GWENDOLINE starring Tawny Kitaen, EuroSleaze auteur Jess Franco’s classics MACUMBA SEXUAL, THE INCONFESSABLE ORGIES OF EMMANUELLE and THE SEXUAL STORY OF O, Walerian Borowczyk’s art cinema sensation IMMORAL WOMEN, and the 4-disc limited edition collection BLACK EMANUELLES BOX.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I can remember my first encounter with the Warhammer 40K Universe. I bought a board game called SPACE HULK. I loved that game. I played it for hours, glued the little pieces together, painted the figures. Of course I was a newbie so my paint schemes weren't proper, but I thought they were great. My biggest problem was painting the Genestealers. They wanted them all the same color. Bah! I had a Spawn colored one a red white and blue one and...well, you get the idea. After that I learned of the bigger picture and knew that I had neither the cash or patience to get involved in that madness. I am a big fan of the computer game Chaos Gate, but that's as far as it gets.
Now the fine folks at BOOM! Studios have given us a trade paper back and hardcover of their Warhammer 40K series DAMNATION CRUSADE.
DAMNATION CRUSADE chronicled a man by the name of Raclaw who becomes one of The Black Templars in service of the emperors Space Marines.
This series oozes Warhammer with every pore. The cool body armor, the bigger mechs and their nightmarish opponents. It's all there. Written by Dan Abnett and Ian Edginton with gorgeous illustrations by Lui Antonio this is a volume that any true fan of serious space opera and Warhammer 40K fans in particular will need to have in their collection
Thursday, October 11, 2007
We would like to invite all of you to attend the 2007 recap meeting (and the 1st planning session for 2008) to be held tonight, October 11 at the Heroes Sports Lounge, corner of 9th and L Streets, Modesto , CA
One of the items on the agenda will be the Larry Stanley Memorial Scholarship. Contributions to this fund should be made to Fireside Foundation, Inc., PO Box 580450 , Modesto , CA 95358 . Please make checks payable to the Foundation, but note that it is for the Scholarship fund.
Please let me know if you will be able to attend.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Sam (Bret Harrison) is stuck on the overnight shift at THE WORK BENCH, a warehouse similar to our own LOWE'S, where he has been banished to stock and inventory duty with his cohort, 'Sock' (Tyler Labine). However, it isn't all just counting nails and re-shelving gallons of paint. Oh no, Sam must also discover the way in which he must apprehend his next bounty with his most recent vessel: a remote-control 4x4. You see, in his world, Sam is just an ordinary slacker who loathes his job and spends his days attempting to hook up with another of his company friends, Andi (Missy Peregrym), while hanging out and doing worthless activities with his best friend, the equally lost 'Sock'. But, on the flip side of life, Sam works for the Devil ( Ray Wise) collecting lost souls as bounties and, via his daily 'weapon', sending them back to Hell. Fortunately the local DMV serves as the way station between worlds, so all is well.
Sock knows all about Sam's predicament and drops everything to help out in any way. A true testament to best friendship there. So, back at THE WORK BENCH, Sam realizes that the local black outs of late have been occurring because the escaped soul is back to wreak havoc on those folks in the town who have removed his once-good name from everything in the city, including the hospital. You see, the soul was a philanthropist at one time, but activities that turned him bad also landed him in hell where he was made to face punishment by being electrocuted all day long for eternity. And as the Devil said, "That can really get to some people."
And so goes episode two of the wonderfully skewed series, REAPER. A battle between good and evil on a scale here to for unseen on television and brought to life by the wonderful assistance of Kevin Smith. Sam has become such an homage to the slacker life style, both in his whiny attitude and his lackluster livelihood, that he almost becomes a voice for today's generation. Sure, he gets the job done, but only at the insistents that he is not right for the job. But somehow, the Devil sees more in him and occasionally sees to it that Sam always finds a way. Even so, the Devil still gets in his licks. Oh, and the remote control truck? turns out that the antenna was a lightening rod. Smart move.
Watch this series Wednesday on CW7. You will thank me later.
So, went to the comic shop recently. For that full story read the Howard The Duck review below this one. This was the other comic I picked up. I loved Super-Villain Team-Up. It was an awesome idea. I seem to remember that DC did something similar. Secret Society of Super-Villains or some such thing, but Marvel's was better.
Seems that AIM is up to their old tricks again and have created MODOC. No, not MODOK, MODOC, Mental Organism Designed Only for Computing. Of course the process makes the recipient of this great power crazy and he soon has his own agenda to the detriment of AIM. This always happens so you wonder when AIM is going to quit trying this crap and get a clue. It's a little funny to watch how this MODOC keeps switching his name from Computing to Killing. Funny stuff.
Anyway, MODOK, I mean MODOC has got a plan up his sleeve that requires many super villians. We don't know what the plan is, probably get that next issue. For now we get the following line up of villains; Mentallo, Chameleon, Living Laser, Puma, Deadly Nightshade, Rocket Racer, Armadillo and someone I don't recognize named Spot. A group of widely different powers. I haven't kept up with the Marvel Universe so I have no idea why Rocket Racer is a stuttering idiot, but other than that it seems like a good group.
Now for the talent:
Fred Van Lente - Writer / Francis Portela - Pencils / Terry Pallot - Inker.
Okay, I know none of these people, but the art looks nice and the writing is up to snuff. I like the little quirk that MODOC has about switching his last initial from C to K. Pretty funny. Anything that starts with luchadores fighting is automatically good stuff and the rest of the comic is good. As good as a first issue set up can be. I did like the Mentallo vs The Purple Man showdown in Vegas. And the cute subtitle of MODOK's 11 playing on OCean's 11 is pretty good, too.
Now, if I just knew what the plan was. It sure reads like old school Marvel and for that I am completely grateful. About time they brought back what works.
I have always been a Howard fan. Heck, I even like the movie. Recently, I have been haunting the old comic shop. I bought the first issue of The Mice Templar and was hooked. Martha and I were out having Chinese food for lunch and I had the urge to look in Fanfare to see what was up. A lot of the racks left me cold or were too damned expensive. Then I spotted two new comics. Both were mini series and they were both favorites of mine from long ago. First was this one. Howard The Duck.
Howard is where he belongs. Cleveland, driving a cab while Bev tries to become famous. Howard is having dreams where he is playing poker with all the other monsters of The Marvel Universe. I thought this was pretty cool actually and was a little disappointed when it turned into a dream sequence. Howard has bigger issues though in the form of a couple of duck hunters named The Barrel Brothers. Seems they haven't been able to bag a trophy in their lives and now a duck is picking them up from the airport? It must be providence!
Let's run down the talent before we hit the critique, shall we?
Ty Templeton - Writer /Juan Bobillo - Penciler / Marcelo Sosa - Inker
I know who Templeton is and have a vague idea about that Bobillo fella. Never heard of the inker, sorry Marcelo. That being said it took me a minute to get used to Howard not looking like, well, Howard. The suit is gone. The hat is gone and the worst crime is that the cigar is gone. They may as well have castrated Howard. The face is all wrong. And they make Beverly Switzler out to be an idiot. Both unforgivable crimes in my book. But you know what? I've missed Howard and his sardonic wit. That little guy gets under your skin. Sure Gerber is credited with the creation of Howard, but does none of the creation duties here and that's a shame. The most recent six issue MAX mini series done by Gerber was a welcome return of our fowl mouthed friend. This, while still welcome fits like a bad pair of shoes. I will buy all of them. There will be no cigar because, let's face it, Marvel Comics is run by a group of milksop whiners. I love Howard The Duck. It's the only comic in my thirty plus years of buying comics that I ever subscribed to.
Welcome back Howard. I just wish Gerber was along for the ride.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
RED IS THE COLOR OF
LOS ANGELES PREMIERE AT THE LA FEMME FILM FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 13th, 2007
September 27, 2007, Beverly Hills, CA— Bear Island Films is proud to announce the Los Angeles premiere of feature film RED IS THE COLOR OF at the 3rd annual LA Femme Film Festival. The west coast premiere will take place at the Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills Saturday October 13, 2007 at 6pm with a RED themed cocktail reception proceeding at the FESTIVAL LOUNGE with cast and crew.
RED IS THE COLOR OF is a seductive romance/drama written and directed by Anne Norda. The tense marriage between two painters is disrupted when the husband’s provocative nude model ignites his wife’s sexual and spiritual awakening. In a three-way game of subtle seduction, each confronts unfulfilled desires and festering frustrations that threaten to destroy the illusions of their lives.
Mary Shaw’s (Irina Björklund) signature blood paintings have made her a celebrity in the art world. Meanwhile, her husband, David Stellar (Peter Franzén), can't get a single gallery to show his realistic nudes - they're just not "now" enough. But he refuses to change his style. Could it have anything to do with Julie Belle (Eliza Pryor Nagel), the sexy blue-eyed blonde he’s painting?
Curious about the new woman in David’s world, Mary takes Julie to see her artwork and they soon become fast friends. Fascinated by Julie’s free spirit and outrageous honesty, Mary finds in their relationship a deep level of intimacy, one that is seriously lacking in her marriage. Julie’s ambiguous sexuality and probing
questions lead Mary to reassess her carefully constructed existence. David fights to keep his marriage intact and to resist the temptations of Julie. As she emotionally intertwines with the couple, Julie’s façade of detachment crumbles and she wreaks havoc on all their lives. Out of this emotional chaos, in danger of losing everything that meant anything to her, Mary breaks through her past and discovers what it means to be truly free. RED IS THE COLOR OF stars famed Finnish actress Irina Björklund and actor Peter Franzén, Eliza Pryor Nagel, Cary DiPietro, Terry Tocantins, Lorenzo Caccialanza, and Marcello Robinson.
***Most of the cast will be available the night of the screening for press interviews***
This is Anne Norda’s first film to appear at the LA Femme Film Festival. The 2007 festival is between October 11th-14th, and its mission is to support and nurture the artistic entertainment productions of women for the benefit of an international and domestic audience.
For more information on the film RED IS THE COLOR OF please visit www.redisthecolorof.com.
Cocktail Reception Premiere
Saturday October 13th, 2007 Saturday October 13th, 2007
8PM – 9PM 6PM
Fine Arts Theater Fine Arts Theater
8556 Wilshi re Blvd. 8556 Wilshi re Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA Beverly Hills, CA
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Kevin Smith has made the jump to television a few times in the past, including several director and writer credits on a few dramas, but it's his new ambitious endeavor, REAPER that has become a real shining beacon this new season. Coming amid many new shows like the revamped BIONIC WOMAN, the time travel drama JOURNEY MAN, and the cloak and dagger comedy/drama, CHUCK. Having just watched REAPER I can honestly say this might be the show to watch. Combining elements from many of his previous films, Smith creates a lovable, if not a bit daft, set of central characters each strong in his or her own way.
Starting off on his 21st birthday, Bret Harrison as Sam starts stumbling into odd situations seemingly out of his control up to and including dogs wanting to kill him often. After saving a co-worker, Missy Peregrym as Andi, from a toppling air conditioner, Sam leaves work 'sick' only to find a man claiming to be the Devil (Ray Wise) in the back seat of his car. He thinks he's being carjacked, fails to pay attention, and crashes, ironically, into a trailer from the very place he works. Back at home his father explains to Sam why his parents were acting so strangely that morning by informing him that his very soul had been sold to the Devil before he was born in order to save his father's life. Of course Sam finds this really hard to believe yet, as such, takes it in and decides that since he has bee experiencing weird behavior himself, it sounds pretty good after all. Well, the Devil returns and tells Sam that it is, indeed, true and informs him that as payment for his parent's lives, lest the souls sale become null and void, Sam must become the Devil's bounty hunter by collecting Hell's escapees who have returned to Earth 'illegally'. Sam, naturally, distrusts the Devil and, though given precious little choice, nearly thinks twice until, finally, he makes an attempt to trap the first soul with a weapon given to him by Satan: a Dirt Devil vacuum, of course. A failed attempt and a botched go at it later, Sam figures out his roll and successfully stops the first deserter and brings 'it', a-la Ghostbusters, trapped in the hand vac to the 'way station': the local DMV.
Hysterical in a way that only Kevin Smith can create it, REAPER is an amazing ride filled with decent effects and a great story. Sure, suspension of disbelief is pretty crucial, but that's what makes this show so damn fun to watch. Oh, and if best friend Tyler Labine as 'Sock' doesn't instantly remind you of a combination of Dante and Randall from CLERKS, then you just don't know your Kevin Smith. Check it out on CW7 on Tuesday night at 9... then thank me later.
So, as if the multi billion company Virgin didn't have their fingers in, well everything, they decided to try their hands at comics.
SNAKEWOMAN is one of those comics.
The basic premise of a woman who is more than what she seems and the people that have been stalking her for generations can be a pretty good idea.
Unfortunately, the entire thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I have the first three issues and as each issue progresses it becomes more and more obsessed with the basic concepts of Indian religion.
If a Christian comic tried this people would be up in arms.
Mr. Kapur has another comic called Devi that is more of the same with a little fantasy twist. Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and skip that one as well.
Great comics are pure, unadulterated entertainment. We get our superheroes and know what they stand for. All is good in the world. I'm not sure what the saturation of Indian religion is doing in Virgin Comics. Smells like a weird agenda to me.
Beyond that the art by Gaydos is realistic and looks really good. The covers are phenomenal. Too bad they saddled it with the extra, unnecessary baggage.
Monday, September 24, 2007
A pleasant surprise from Shocker Fest International Film Festival (www.shockerfest.com) I'll let their words do the talking;
Fireside Foundation and ShockerFest mourn the loss of a friend, Larry Stanley, founder of PenguinComics.net. Larry was a great friend of independent film, especially horror films. His wit and generosity with his knowledge and time will be missed. In his honor, the Foundation will present an annual LARRY STANLEY B-MOVIE AWARD beginning this year.
We will miss you Larry.
Go to their site www.shockerfest.com for more information.
Friday, September 21, 2007
We start in a castle where a medium is conducting a seance with members of the Karoli family. A spirit is loosed in the castle and it sets it's sights on Sister Sofia (Mariangela Giordano), but her faith is too strong. The demon goes to the teenage Bimba and possesses this young woman in the flowering of her woman hood. If this wasn't bad enough her father is being seduced by his invalid brother's wife. And his mother thinks it's a good idea so that the family will be able to keep her money in the family when her son dies!
The demon, Lucrieza, knows what she wants. She wants Sister Sofia. To corrupt such a strong spirit would be quite a victory. Bimba makes advances on everyone in the family and even manages to kill her uncle during a rousing round of oral sex.
This is a flick that is obsessed with sex. We get graphic sex scenes that, while not like the mindless hardcore films of today, still have penetration and oral shots in the film.
At the heart of the film is Bimba played by Katell Laennec in her only film role. This young lady exudes a steamy sexuality that almost makes the screen sweat with passion. I'm personally amazed that she never went on to do anything else. Bimba fights with the demon the entire time, but she is young and the demon knows much more than this young girl will ever know and soon the castle is drenched in sex. I was amazed that the mother didn't engage in any of the hanky panky.
This DVD by Severin Films (www.severin-films.com) is probably the best we will get. The print is quite nice with rich colors and a sharp picture. As for extras there are some deleted scenes that are not of the same quality as the feature, but they do add a little to the story. The folks at Severin must have known this because they include the option of having the deleted scenes integrated into the film. Sure, there is that little shock as you go from the lush picture of the feature to the lower quality of the deleted scenes, but it is really the only way to watch this movie.
In addition to this we get a nice interview segment with cinematographer Franco Villa and Sister Sofia herself, Mariangela Giordano. Franco goes on about the pornographic sequences and says that they weren't shot by him and he believes that they were inserted by the producers and exhibitors of the film. While I believe Mr. Villa, I have trouble thinking these were just some random sex scenes. They match pretty damned well to the footage to just be some random porn they found and stuck in the movie. Just my opinion.
Mariangela is so beautiful in this interview. She still looks amazing for a woman her age and she tells us a lot of what went on behind the cameras. Not any hanky panky more like how the shoot went and what it was like to work with everyone.
Finally, there is a theatrical trailer that you should wait until after watching the movie to view it. A lot of the movie is given away in the trailer and it's really a film you should watch in it's entirety.
In the end MALABIMBA holds up well as a perverse entry into the demonic possession genre of films and a wonderful example of quality Eurotrash.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
2007 SCI-FI SERIES
Flashy, for once.
A big man can freely admit when he is wrong, so, to that end, an even bigger man can freely admit to being really wrong. Granted I did, honestly, give the first two episodes of the series their due respect (very little, as it turned out) and I did openly state that if the third edition didn’t immediately turn me around, that would be it. Well, at least I was hopeful enough about that to want to say: I was wrong. I just watched the tertiary story, and, I really got into it fully and completely.
First of all, it was nice to really see a bit more of Mongo this time, in fact, over half of the time was spent there, so that was an accepted difference. Not only were we treated to the local flora, but also the native fauna in the form of two wayward Joy Bugs that escaped Mongo via an errant Rift. As it seems these rifts have been popping up all over and generally causing much concern and strife between Rankol (Jonathan Walker) and Ming (John Ralston). Rankol is warned that he needs to find a way to repair these issues or else face consequences.
Back on earth, Flash (Eric Johnson), Dale (Gina Holden), Baylin (Karen Cliche) and Nick (Panou) are headed to a wedding for Nick’s brother when, along the way, they are warned of an opening rift by Zarkoff (Jody Racicot). They investigate and Nick ends up becoming the unwary recipient of a Joy Bug’s attack, which renders him uncharacteristically euphoric until he, ultimately, dies. Baylin tells them that the only known cure is, of course, back on Mongo in the form of a liquid held by the makers, the O’Madrians. Flash and Baylin leave Dale and Zarkoff to monitor Nick and, as it turns out, keep him irritated as to stifle the Joy Bug’s poison. But, since he’s going to a wedding, this turns out to be much more of a trial than Dale bargained for.
On Mongo, Flash is captured by the O’Madrians and, through some quick-witted thinking, talks his way into assisting them by returning an urn that Baylin had stolen moons ago on the request of Ming. Baylin and Flash schmooze themselves into the castle, enlist the aid of Aura (Anna Van Hooft), and, after a few missteps and tense moments, recover the urn.
The wedding goes off and Nick has fallen prey to the Joy Bug’s toxins and is having far too good a time for his safety. Dale does everything short of punching him while Zarkoff feeds her info from his lab. Nick succumbs and faints while Dale patiently waits for Flash’s return.
Once Flash and Baylin return to the O’Madrians, Flash must convince them that Baylin had no personal interest in hurting their tribe and, once doing so, is free to return to earth with cure in tow. They rescue Nick in the, ahem, nick of time, and all is seemingly well though Baylin is still on earth and much closer to Flash now that he has saved her several times.
The episode was a ride: tense and enjoyable and I will continue to watch and monitor and just hope for best in future installments. So, there you go: an about face. For both of us.
*** It has been brought to my attention just now, for some reason, that SciFi has canceled my favorite series of last season, THE DRESDEN FILES. Right now I am in a bit of shock since I assumed it was doing very well. I, for one, loved the show and was ready to sit back and enjoy a second season. So, for now, SciFi channel has barely a duo of redeeming shows to hold my interest or, as far as I'm concerned, can disappear into oblivion. A pox on you, SciFi!***
Friday, August 31, 2007
WRONG TURN 2
Directed By Joe Lynch
October 2007 Dir. DVD
Horror/Suspense 93 minutes
Wow. That’s just about the most basic of a beginning to a review I can possibly give but –and trust me on this one- it absolutely fits. In addition I think I need to coin a new horror movie genre title here, while I’m at it, and it is: Hillbilly Splatter. Oh, and by the way, I just finished WRONG TURN II. Speaking of splatter, it has been a long while since I’ve seen just a down to earth, nitty gritty mess like this one, and it really did my cynical horror-loving heart good. Yeah, sure, the whole back-woods family fear fest has been around for a while, so it isn’t like the concept is especially new, but even so, this really grabbed what could have been just another lackluster gore flick by the reigns and led it right off the beaten path.
Basically, against the backdrop of a new reality series called Armageddon, a group of eight ‘players’ have gathered within the most primeval of wooded surroundings one could possibly find: now animals, no people, oh, and NO ANIMALS! Keep that in mind. The typical intro to a reality game plays out introducing the characters: Nina (Erica Leerhsen), Jake (Texas Battle), Mara (Aleksa Paladino), Amber (Daniella Alonso), Jonesy (Steve Braun), M (Matthew Currie Holmes), Elena (Crystal Lowe), and Dale (Henry Rollins). Each has his or her story to tell, each swears victory, and each gets paired with another while they traipse through the forest attempting to survive any way possible amiss various games, traps, and, well –as it turns out- sub-humans. Though none to friendly to one another at first, each realizes that they are missing a key cast member without whom the game may not continue. She is one Kimberly (Kimberly Caldwell) who has just been involved in one of perhaps the most visually disturbing death scenes I have seen in quite some time: bisection via large axe. Just so, so gruesome. Well, a few shifts later and the games begin.
Well, as most good horror has taught us: let not the gore wait too long lest one may lose one’s core audience. The ‘spills’ start immediately and never stop. Back slicings revealing spine bones, full-frontal gutting, appendage consumption, arrows through several sets of eyes, exploding bodies, and a giant wood chipper thrown in just for laughs. In fact, some of these kills are so visceral and down right stomach churning I literally had to laugh just to keep from gagging! Forest-folk fun done up just right, and, just a bit of nudity tossed in for good measure. I’d say it’s worth the trip down this WRONG TURN, but that would be silly. Lastly, Henry Rollins, had we not already known it, kicks ass.
Directed By Timur Bekmambetov 2004
When you realize that you have, for all intents and purposes, seen each and every Good versus Evil/Vampire/Light versus Dark movie that there is to see, along comes a gust of refreshing wind from the quite frigid east. Directed and filmed in Russia, NIGHTWATCH is a wonderful and exciting ride revolving around a story that may seem convoluted and arbitrary at first, but boils over into an astounding and thrilling ride with a conclusion you may never see coming.
Anton Grodetsky is as silly a man as one can be early on. He has taken on the magical wisdom and advice of a local “witch” who has, in her own voodoo, over-the-top way, guaranteed our hero a life without a child. How, you ask? Well, obviously, with an abortion spell that will render his vacationing girl friend without child from hundreds of miles away. All she has to do is combine a few drops of blood with this and that, make Anton swallow it, and then cast her spell culminating in the final handclap that will do the dirty deed. But there are those who would prefer that she mind her own business, and those people are the NIGHTWATCH. And so begins a wending, twisting trail through a world so entrenched in darkness that those in the real world have no idea it even exists.
Thousands of years ago a massive, enormous battle between the forces of good and evil was fought non stop for what seemed an eternity. When finally the leaders of both sides decided to create a truce, two sides were formed: The DAYWATCH, who were on the side of evil and do nothing but keep sly eyes on the good side, also known as The NIGHTWATCH; the good side whose very lives revolve around maintaining peace between the evil. The peace accord seemed flawless and those who habitually fell out of line (vampires and those confined to the Gloom) were policed and or killed to uphold the balance. But then, the chosen was born. In the vain of the recent STAR WARS trilogy, the one who would ultimately take control over one side or the other was born. Now it is up to Anton and a few select members of the Light Side to find this child, end an evil vortex forming over the city of Moscow due to an evil curse, and persuade the Chosen to join the side of good before it is too late. Without ruining the ending (a nice surprise to say the least) I will say that the story continues. In fact, those in the know will be reminded that DAYWATCH has been released in select cities as of this writing. This film is the sequel and you can check trailers on line to see just how amazing a movie like this can become.
Flash Gordon 2007
Starring: Eric Johnson and Gina Holden
Not only did I not think it was going to be possible, but I hoped to the good gremlins of TV world that it wouldn’t be, yet, as it stands, I think the second episode of this ill-fated series was even worse than the pilot. And that, friends, is saying an awful lot. However I must admit that it really isn’t the plot or story line of this mess, but it’s the stiff, wooden acting and the ridiculous, poorly placed dialog. I can forgive the sad set design and worthless ‘Science Fiction’ weaponry that they’ve managed to scrape up from some back room in a warehouse, and I can even excuse the simple fact that so little of this series thus far takes place anywhere else but Earth and Earth-looking alien worlds. But what I refuse to ignore is how astoundingly worthless and beyond help Flash and Dale’s acting is… not to mention everyone else’s. However, I must admit again that I absolutely love the skittish, over-the-top skills of Dr. Zarkoff (Jody Racicot). Basically the entirety of this sophomore edition takes place on our planet as a stranded bounty hunter, Baylin (Karen Cliché –appropriate to the extreme-) plays her fish out of water roll to a T. At the end of the pilot she was left behind after being set to earth through one of Ming’s rifts. Her job was to locate and secure the IMEX (watch, goofy) and the rift closed behind her. So now she’s been living in a park in a tree avoiding the local batch of throw-away actors and pelting them with food. Seriously, in one unforgivable scene we see Baylin toss a handful of what looks like chewed apple onto the park ranger while he, in turn, sniffs and proceeds to EAT it. No, bad monkey! Goodness, who eats food that falls on them from nowhere? NO ONE! So this path of hijinx goes on and on. Dale, meanwhile, hears of the mischief-causing out-of-towner and feigns stupidity as she deals with the situation from her press perspective as her fiancée, the rugged 100-pound-wet cop does, well, police-like stuff. Next, back on Mongo for the full four minutes we’re ever there, Ming (John Ralston) has called for the execution of an ice smuggler as, evidently, water is the hot commodity on Mongo and Ming controls every bit of it. This is why smuggling ice is a crime, see. Anyway, Ming’s daughter, whom we met and thoroughly gagged by in the pilot as well, Aura (Anna Van Hooft) believes this execution to be unwarranted since the ice thief was only stealing to give clean water to his dying daughter (*SOB*). So, ever so Ming-The-Mercilessly, Ming decides to offer all the assistance he can to the dying daughter by upping the poor whelp’s water rations… and then kills the father! Best part of the show. On earth a new bounty hunter has arrived and is after his ‘life-mate’, Baylin. He goes around whipping folk with the most ridiculous Star Wars garage-sale prop I have ever seen. He has a tussle with Baylin, Flash, and Dale, gets his supposed super-strong butt handed to him by our hero, and shipped back through the rift. This leaves Baylin still stuck on earth and ‘living’ with Flash. Man, some people. Anyway, as we fade out of yet another insipid episode in this series we see a naked and glistening Baylin bathing in oil as, apparently, she does on Mongo, and Flash slyly looks on impressed. Dale, for some reason, pulls him away. Second best part of the show. Oh, it still sucked, though. This needs to be better by episode three or I just might have to spare myself anymore torture.
(I don't see what Stew hates so much about this show. Flash Gordon is something different to every generation. The people who like the eighties flick compared to those who like the original serials and then there are the fans of the comics. Flash is a pretty braod character to begin with and open for some interpretation. I'm just glad that they keep an element of goofy in this series. It could have been all doom and gloom like that new Battlestar Galactica abomination. Oh well, to each their own, I guess. -- Editor.)
Monday, August 27, 2007
This film is painful to watch. It shows a loving mother and the depths she is willing to sink to save her daughter's looks no matter what the price. This is a brutal film full of disturbing imagery and some pretty effective gore sequences as well. If surgery makes you queasy you might want to think twice before watching this film. It does tie in, in a very obtuse way, with the fairy tale we are used to but with such a demented slant to it.
Once you figure out exactly what the mother has done you will be horrified at the lengths she has gone to.
From the fine folks at Tartan bringing us unique horror from around the world. Be sure to visit them at www.tartanfilmsusa.com. You'll be glad you did.
-- Douglas A. Waltz
I don't read a lot of comics anymore. For the most part they seem to have lost what made them so good in the first place. It's always exciting, however, to get on board when a new story starts. This is the case of Madame Mirage. With an outfit that harks back to the days of classic pulp, but existing firmly in the here and now with a lean towards the future, Madame Mirage gives us what is good in comics. We don't know everything she can do, we're not even sure what is going on, but the storyline is exciting and grabs you from page one. Add some dynamite art like the piece above and you get a great comic. I look forward to this beating the odds and becoming a new standard in the realm of comics.
It's about time.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
by Stew Miller
“…Nothin’ But A Man, Who Can Never Fail…” Well, almost never at any rate. Look, I knew going in to viewing the new FLASH GORDON series that I was never going to be sufficiently stunned, but the lackluster disappointment I came away with from this mess was a little more scathing that even I had imagined. SCI-FI Chanel has this inane hit-or-miss ability about them where they can either come blasting at you full force with a great series (see: DR. WHO, THE DRESDEN FILES, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) or pummel you insultingly with some arbitrary nonsense as to make you seriously wonder what on earth they were thinking (see: Any Sci-Fi original movies, for the most part, though I suppose a few have managed to pique my interest). Now, Take FLASH GORDON; a mainstay character that any Sci-Fi buff worth his or her salt knows and loves from the eighties camp masterpiece. We loved Max Von Sydow as the overly sinister and malevolent Ming The Merciless, Sam Jones as the Jets quarterback set upon to save the Earth, Melody Anderson as the butt-kicking, Princess Leia-esque Dale Arden, and, lest we forget, Topol as the boisterous and gallant Dr. Zarkoff (’If I Were A Space Man… ya da ya da ya da… sorry). The film was absolute and pure twentieth-century tripe served hot and tasty just as science fiction comedy needed to be: never once taking itself too seriously. Or, maybe you are more familiar with the second-run serials from the fifties featuring Steve Holland and Irene Champman, or, even more prehistoric, the original films from 1936 featuring… ACTORS! Regardless of how or when you came to love these characters, one has to be a bit irritated at the path down which our beloved fictional friends have flown.
Basically, from what I could ascertain from the oh-so difficult and astoundingly well portrayed opening sequences (that, friends, is sarcasm), our human-cum-hero (Eric Johnson… at the very least he looks like a Flash Gordon, in the same vein that Brandon Routh looked like Superman) is a marathon runner who has just completed and won his third race within the confines of his little dirt-water burg. Still, a feat of this magnitude ought to drag in some more press than, say, ONE LADY! Enter our woman lead: Dale Arden (Gina Holden, doing a fine Kate Bosworth). She is a journalist and Flash’s ex-girlfriend (natch) and is back in town now currently engaged to a cop whom we see later briefly. So, Flash discovers, by sheer accident, that his apparently still-living father was some kind of NASA-hired scientist working with his partner, one Dr. Zarkoff. Now at this point the acting was just atrocious and actually made me laugh out loud at how painful it was portrayed, that is, except for Jody Racicot as Zarkoff who reminded me so very much of Byers from THE LONE GUNMEN (X-Files fans, you’ll know) and was honestly really good. So, anyway, this ’story’ caroms on for another little while until this alien arrives in the fair city bent on locating Dr. Gordon’s IMEX machine, he stirs up some trouble, attacks Flash’s mom, and gets obliterated by a well-placed bit of electrical current. So this leaves this alien’s possessions strewn about and Flash uncovers some device and his dad’s ID! ARGH! Flash, Zarkoff, and Dale follow the blinkin’ beacon on the object and, just by dumb luck, discover the ability to OPEN A RIFT ACROSS SPACE AND TIME! Wow! Awfully bright for a innocent, hick-like marathon runner… hmm, must be related to Forrest Gump. Okay, Zarkoff had been frittering away the past 13 years preparing for a time rift thanks to his and Dr. Gordon’s work… apparently where the posthumous father has gone. WOW! Anyway, Flash and Dale burst through the tear in time and end up on (cue timpani) MONGO! Hey, look, it’s… Ming? Wow, I guess he’s twisted and evil… or, something. No, I just don’t see him attempting to rule the world, maybe a South Beach Ron John’s, I guess… just a bit under the top for me. Well, Flash gets captured and tortured by Ming’s consigliere, Johnathan Walker as Rankol, who, I suppose, is pretty twisted and sick as he describes a torture ‘gun’ designed to pierce the back of one’s eyes, that was pretty cool. Dale gets whisked away a-la the film by Ming’s concubines and dressed for success complete with the listening earring but, much akin again to the movie, talks her way out or something (never really touched on) and meets up with Flash who is, at this point, free from the restraints and with another one of the ladies in waiting (maybe?). They return to earth with the aid of a new friend who, as it turns out, is Ming’s daughter, Aura (Anna Van Hooft) bent on retrieving the IMEX as well. So what is this bewildering and mysterious IMEX? It’s a damn watch! A TIMEX! Flash has had it on his wrist the whole time, of course, and it evidently hides the ENTIRE SECRET TO THE UNIVERSE IN PRETTY COLORS AND SHAPES (Dr. Who fans, you may cry a little now). Oh, I failed to mention yet another woman from Mongo has arrived on earth to collect Aura and the IMEX and she looks as though Robin Hood, Mad Max, and Bloodrayne had a baby… killer but silly. They have a penultimate melee resulting in the apparent destruction of the IMEX, Aura goes home to Ming’s vengeful whining, and Flash visits his dad’s no-longer necessary grave. And there you have it: far too thin of a story for far too thin of characters. No one really hit me as someone who will stand out in future episodes, well, maybe Zarkoff if they can keep him sufficiently toned to the level he’s at, but all in all, if this series doesn’t come at me with the fierceness of a better ’sequel’ (see: SUPERMAN II or WRATH OF KHAN), I just don’t see myself becoming much of a faithful viewer. I’d say it was crap, but crap might be angry at the comparison.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
TO CREATE ONLINE VIDEO GAME FRANCHISE
Leading Game and Worldwide Comic Companies Join Forces to Develop and Publish Massively Multiplayer Online Video Game Based On the Popular Ramayan 3392 A.D. India-Mythology Inspired Comic Book Series
SAN DIEGO, California & NEW YORK, New York (August 9, 2007) Through a deal that joins two of the world's most innovative entertainment brands, Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), a global leader in the online gaming industry, is teaming up with Sir Richard Branson and Deepak Chopra's Virgin Comics to bring the popular, India-based Ramayan 3392 A.D. comic book universe to life as an MMO video game initially for the PC.
The deal was announced today by John Smedley, President of SOE and Sharad Devarajan, Co-Founder and CEO of Virgin Comics.
"Ramayan has inspired the lives of millions of people through the ages. The re-imagining of this great ancient epic through the creativity of a game platform re-affirms the fact that Ramayan is one of the greatest stories ever told," said Deepak Chopra. "The fact that the same creative team of young Indians that created the story will be involved in working with SOE's game development team, is a testament to the innovative and mythic minds of these gifted Indian creators who will take a new generation to new frontiers across the seas of consciousness into new realms of mystery, magic, adventure, and transformation."
Through this exclusive multi-year, worldwide license agreement, SOE will develop and publish an MMO based on Ramayan's story of mythological lore. Virgin Comics will serve as a creative consultant on the project. Virgin's creative involvement with SOE's game development team will be spearheaded by its President and head, Suresh Seetharaman, who has also overseen the development of the comic series. Also involved is acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, a co-founder of Virgin Comics.
"Virgin Comics approached us with a portfolio of amazing comic properties based on Indian lore. We particularly love Ramayan 3392 A.D., as we feel Virgin Comics' telling of The RÄmÄyana is particularly gripping, graphically brilliant and lends itself extremely well to an MMO," said Smedley. "This a fantastic time for us to expand our games to include this culturally rich storyline and we are honored to do this with a diversified, creative and experienced company like Virgin Comics."
Virgin Comics' Ramayan 3392 A.D., initially released as a comic in late 2006, re-imagines one of India's greatest epics into a futuristic realm. Gotham Chopra, Virgin Comics' Chief Creative Officer commented, "While many of the characters and settings remain familiar to the original lore, we never intended to re-tell the story, but essentially use it as the key inspiration for something fresh. What remains intact to our story are some of the core universal themes like duty, honor, sacrifice, and fraternity while also mining uniquely Indian ideas like karma (how action and consequence are linked) and the malleability of time itself. To bring all of these ideas into a game with SOE is just awesome."
Devarajan concluded, "In a world increasingly dominated with games influenced by a western Tolkien mythos, Ramayan will offer gamers a chance to experience a whole new universe of characters and archetypes derived from one of the oldest cultures on Earth. Our mission at Virgin Comics has always been to allow this generation of Indian youth to have a creative platform through which to speak to the world. Through this collaboration with the like minded visionaries at SOE, our young Indian creators will make gaming history worldwide."
Pandemic Studios and Dynamite Entertainment are proud to announce the signing of an agreement to create a new comic book series based on the characters and story of the Mercenaries videogames!
The Mercenaries comic book series will incorporate all the intensity of the Mercenaries video games. The series will feature covers by artist extraordinaire, Michael Turner, interior art by Edgar Salazar and is being written by Brian Reed. As an added bonus, Mercenaries #1 will feature two connecting covers by Michael Turner -- A first for Dynamite! The Mercenaries video game franchise provides explosive third-person shooter action set in a massive, highly reactive, war-torn world. The first Mercenaries game, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (2005), featured the mercenaries capturing or killing members of the Deck of 52 and their ruthless leader, General Song, to prevent his launch of nuclear warheads. In the highly anticipated sequel, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, the mercenaries return as a power-hungry tyrant makes a play for Venezuela's oil supply, sparking an invasion that turns the country into a war zone. But for the mercenaries, profit comes hand-in-hand with chaos. " You are not a soldier. You don't have to play by anyone's rules. You have your own code: EVERYBODY PAYS."
"Mercenaries is one of the most intense videogames in the market today, and it's going to be an explosive addition to our 'dynamite' line up," said Dynamite's Nick Barrucci. "Writer Brian Reed is blowing comics fans away with his work on New Avengers: Illuminati, Ms. Marvel and Red Sonja, so you can expect more of the same incredible action-packed storylines and intrigue from him on Mercenaries. And one cover couldn't contain all the action, so the series debuts with connecting covers by superstar artist Michael (Civil War) Turner!!! If that's not reason enough to pick up this book, than we suggest you play a few rounds of Mercenaries and see what you've been missing! And to add to the excitement, Dynamite will be working hand in hand with Pandemic to help expand both of our audiences, as Pandemic will help get word out on the 800 Comic Shop Locater Service and Dynamite will help get word out on the upcoming video game! Truly a win-win for both industries!"
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is currently in development by Pandemic Studios and is slated for release on the Xbox 360„video game and entertainment system, PlayStation2 computer entertainment system, PLAYSTATION3 computer entertainment system and PC. For more information on Mercenaries 2: World in Flames visit http://www.mercs2.com/
Monday, August 13, 2007
Thanks for coming and keep coming back. I promise to make things as interesting as possible around here. And say a prayer for our erstwhile editor. He can use all the help he can get.