Saturday, September 29, 2007

Don't Fear The Reaper

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.

Stew Miller

Shekhar Kapur's SNAKEWOMAN

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

Our Founder Immortalized!!

A pleasant surprise from Shocker Fest International Film Festival ( I'll let their words do the talking;

Fireside Foundation and ShockerFest mourn the loss of a friend, Larry Stanley, founder of 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.

Very Cool!

Go to their site 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 ( 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


Maybe it's because I'm coming in at the end of this thing, but this really didn't grab me. The two leads, the titular character and the movie star seemed like a bizarre spin off of the JOEY television show. The whole affair came across as a little plat and pretty dull. I don't usually get much dull from BOOM! Studios, but this is the exception to the rule.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I have always been a fan of Mark Waid's. I usually don't go for super hero books and, thankfully, this isn't one. The premise is a simple one. In New York City there is a place where all the John and Jane Does are buried. It's called Potter's Field. There is this mystery man that goes by the name of John Doe and he has one purpose in life. He finds out the names of the anonymous dead in Potter's Field. After he finds it he carves their name into the small, gray tombstone. This is a wicked idea for a series and one that could go on for quite some time. The main character is always cool and doesn't eave fingerprints. He has operatives that he has helped previously that help him with the foot work in solving these unsolvable cases.

I'm not familiar with Paul Azaceta but his artwork fits this like a glove.

Potter's Field is being released by BOOM! Studios. This is one that people who love to see the comic world stretched to admit the most interesting of stories need to pick up. You won't be sorry.

Sunday, September 2, 2007





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.

Stew Miller

*** 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!***