Jul 02 2015

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

This is actually the only Potter movie I never saw any of prior to my (re)watching of them. In it, Harry, the no-longer-a-boy wizard and friends, seek to put an end to the return of the Dark Lord before he fully establishes his rule. It’s definitely for the best that the last of the Potter books was split in two for the movies as it is far too long. Unfortunately, like the book, this first part is rather slow. There are interesting ideas here like the idea of sacrifice to protect what you care about (whether a person or a way of life) and elements of fascism are displayed as evil wizards take control of more and more of magical society. Still, rather slow. The book tries to instill elements of adolescent angst during the early parts but comes across as presenting a group of annoying teens. And I had a hard time hearing everything that was said and think it might just be a product of the library copy I had–it is still very frustrating.

Jul 01 2015

Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray & Lost Coastlines – Frank J. Barbiere

You can either figure it out from the blurb on the cover or wait for issue four of the first collection, but this series is about an adventurer who can tap into the skills of five fictional characters in order to aid him in whatever quest he is on, often one involving trying to rescue his twin sister’s soul. Honestly, I am not too impressed. There’s absolutely no substance to the characters or plot, making it geared towards younger readers, who, in turn, may be confused by the time shifts in the comic and most certainly won’t get the Lovecraft reference. While Chris Mooneyham art is ok, and Lauren Affe’s muted and few colors provides an excellent touch, the whole work seems like it could’ve been done better as a Kid Eternity comic or just trying to be less of a pulp fiction novel a la H. Rider Haggard. five ghosts

Jun 28 2015

Saga (vol four) – Brian K. Vaughan

It’s been about a year since I’ve read the last volume, but with a straightforward plot line of star-crossed lovers with a child, trying to outwit government forces that are more than a little annoyed about the two quitting their war (being that they’re on different sides and all), it didn’t take much to remind me of the cast of characters and their situation. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed. If I was new to the book I would see nothing to recommend it. Yes, there are some dramatic turns and wrinkles, but the bottom line is that it is a story about a married couple starting to drift apart due to mundane stress. But even that story seems contrived as a desperate attempt to add a new development. The unfortunate truth is that despite having every issue to begin with a splash page that acts as misdirection and ending every issue and with a splash page that hopes to provide a cliffhanger, the story seems to have run out of steam, and for work that I praised wholeheartedly in the beginning, I have no eagerness to keep reading. Saga

Jun 26 2015

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince [Take Two]

Once again I’m reviewing a Harry Potter movie I’ve both seen and reviewed, but wanted to re-mention it and add a few new thoughts. In this film our hero boy wizard and friends continue to figure out ways to defeat the Dark Lord. Unlike the last movie that focused on action, this one is very much centered on relationships between the various players and so I suspect it wasn’t very enjoyable to most viewers, but I liked it well enough. Luna makes some brief appearances and continues to be my favorite character and love of my life.

Jun 23 2015

Barbarian Lord – Matt Smith

By its own admission, this comic is as much Icelandic saga as it is Thundarr the Barbarian (lords of light, do you remember who that is?); however, the problem is it just doesn’t come together well. I love the cute art, and still have a hard time believing this is not Jeff Smith, but the story tends to be a little all over the place. Don’t give me a lineage with bizarre names, but then settle on the idea that none of that matters and proceed to give people names such as Barbarian Lord. I still can’t figure out if our hero is even that, whether he’s incredibly clever or rather dense, or if some of the hilarious lines are even meant to be funny. It seems like a work in progress, and when it does figure out what kind of a comic it is, I’ll be happy to give it a second look. Barbarian lord

Jun 20 2015

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

You all know the story, but do you know what comes after? when they grow up? They hunt witches! Actually, they kind of suck at it, like stupidly so. The movie wants to be an Evil Dead but incorporates far too much of Van Helsing. It actually could have been a lot of fun if people spent more than a weekend on its creation.

 

Jun 17 2015

The Secret Service: Kingsman – Mark Millar

Despite the incredibly positive reviews, the fact that the comic was turned into a movie, and had a great creative team of Millar, some quixotic direction from Matthew Vaughn, and art by Dave Gibbons, this comic was a pathetic, half-hearted, piece of garbage. Purely done by the numbers, with painstakingly embarrassing attempts to hit certain bullet points, there was almost nothing original here. It is not worth my time to go into the various defects, and the fact remains that whatever opinion I have is clearly wrong, due to, as I said, the reviews and popularity. I guess I have no idea what makes for a good comic. kingsman

Jun 16 2015

Jurassic World

You kind of have to know the original Jurassic Park to have this movie resonate at all, and this film goes on the premise that it is the reopened theme park that used dinosaur DNA to bring them back to life and exploit them for human viewing. I don’t know what made me think this movie might be good, but I was very wrong. I don’t know how you could have a movie about dinosaurs running rampant and still have it not exciting, not frightening, not even interesting, and every character and plot line about the humans made absolutely no sense, which I guess was fair considering none of them seem to know their lines. Yes, they certainly looked like real dinosaurs on the screen to me, and yes, the comic relief character of Larry was fine, but really nothing else in this movie worked. The last time I saw a movie in theaters it also stared Chris Pratt but at least in Guardians of the Galaxy he was funny and interesting and the movie was pretty good, but here you had nothing. I’m almost positive there was one final scene after the credits, but I couldn’t be bothered to wait around. What a shame; glad I only paid $5.

Jun 14 2015

Oz Great and Powerful

How and when did director Sam Rami become mainstream? Anyway, ne’er do well Oscar, AKA Oz, the stage magician, wishes to be someone important. Well, getting accidentally transported to a magical land might give you more than you wish, as Oz has to save the kingdom from an evil witch. Disappointingly, the acting is horrible, direction poor, and F/X lame, plus it’s too long.

Jun 11 2015

Batman/Superman: Cross World vol 1- Greg Pak

The “new” 52 has the young Batman and Superman meet for the first time, get involved with some sort of trickster god, jump across dimensions, and accomplished absolutely nothing (that’s not really much of a spoiler, there must be dozens of ways a comic can end with nothing resolved). Let’s temporarily ignore the fact that this comic was incredibly boring, and in the end meaningless, I’m not sure how it was supposed to entice people into the DC universe. In no way does it really introduce the characters, relying only on what you already know, and doesn’t particularly make them enjoyable. I suppose some of the art was interesting, I’m just not sure what I’m supposed to take away from it, other than exactly what the characters in the comic themselves did, which was exactly nothing. Batman Superman Greg Pak

Jun 08 2015

The Secret World of Arrietty

What a wonderful, magical film! Based on the children’s story The Borrowers (which I never read and didn’t hear about until I was an adult), about tiny people that live in walls and “borrow” what they need, the film tells the story of tiny–but ever so courageous–Arrietty, and her chance meeting with the sweet but sickly human Shawn. Filled with heart, adventure, and suspense, along with the incredible animation of Ghibli studio, you simply can’t miss this movie. 

Jun 06 2015

Berest Dance Center: The May Showcase

As some of you may know, I’ve been going to these for several years to see my nieces perform various dances. Typical of me, I think their work is flawless, and am highly critical of everyone else (except little kids, whose effort I think is adorable). So to avoid the typical let me state an observation I discovered, and that is European dance is horrible. I realize this is blasphemy but I can’t stand watching ballet, which I’m convinced is merely designed to put people in the most awkward poses possible and see how long they can hold them. Nothing seems less like a swan to me than someone dancing Swan Lake. African inspired dance, however, is awesome. It is all about movement and imitation of nature and animals. Jumping, running, and swaying is just a delight to watch, as opposed to a stiff as a board woman standing on her tip toes.

Jun 04 2015

Through The Woods – Emily Carroll

If you are looking for a collection of very creepy short stories partially based on fairytales, with imaginative almost childlike artwork, and vibrant if few colors, then you will love this. I’m pretty sure this work is geared towards children, but many of the stories, especially the shorter ones really freaked me out. Great job. Through the woods

Jun 02 2015

The Masochists – Nick Bertozzi

I want to like this little indy comic with its simply drawn, black and white, only a couple of panels on a page comic, yet I can’t. Bertozzi uses broad strokes to paint pictures of people dealing with problems in their lives, although it is really only the 3rd and final story that any “real” problems exist. The trouble is his strokes are so broad that I don’t have any feel for or understanding of the characters and thus can’t actually care. 

May 28 2015

Joker – Brian Azzarello

I really enjoyed this take on the Batman villain, the insane Joker, as told by a henchman. Azzarello does a nice job with small details, such as keeping timeframes out of the equation, as well as larger ones, such showing how someone might be enraptured into a sociopath’s world. I did feel the ending just sort of happened and thus was disappointed with that. Jeff Bermejo’s art created “realistic” depictions of the usual suspects with a harsh horrific style that was perfect for this work. 

May 27 2015

Flight of the Conchords

This two season show from HBO about two rather awkward musicians from New Zealand (yes, THE New Zealand!) attempting to make it big in NYC is dead pan hilarity! The musical numbers are great fun that often have me rolling with laughter and the absurdity of the characters and their mundane situations are absolute delights. I was really disappointed to realize that it only lasted two seasons, and don’t understand why, despite its success, it didn’t continue.

May 26 2015

Unbroken

This often very slow moving film about an Olympic athlete in World War II and his miraculous survival amongst the elements and within Japanese prisoner of war camps is just as often very powerful. It is based on a true story, but there are moments when I’m curious if the film took liberties. For example, my frame of reference just does not allow for dozens of people to punch someone in the face and him not loose teeth, shatter bones, etc. It was a good movie, but I think I would’ve been better off just reading the book. Note: occasionally have your actors sweaty when they do things like run at top speed in the hot sun.unbroken

May 24 2015

The Imitation Game

14 million. That’s the estimated number of lives that were saved by the breaking of the Enigma code. In honor of Veterans’ Day and the passage of gay marriage in the conservative Catholic country of Ireland (right next door to Britain), I watched The Imitation Game. This is an incredibly powerful, wonderfully acted, and often hysterically funny film about the group of codebreakers in England that were tasked to break the unbreakable Nazi code during World War II. And to think, today, in this land of freedom, there are still issues of homosexuals in the military, and the right of gay marriage. I fear others will look back upon this country and this time in history, and we will be judged harshly. imitation game

May 17 2015

B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth: New World – Mike Mignola & John Arcudi

I’m not really sure what’s going on here. There seems to have been a bunch of other stuff that happened prior to this that I probably need to know, but don’t. Anyway, populations of entire towns are going missing and it is up to the fish-man Abe to figure out what is happening. Oh, he might also be the anti-christ. Oh, and monsters and other horrible things are happening all the time so it might be the end of the world. I didn’t really care for this, which sounds strange after that description. While there was action and some character development, I just didn’t really care much and maybe this has to do with the fact that I don’t really like Guy Davis’s art. Sorry. 

May 14 2015

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – movie review take two

Since I’m (re)watching most of the movies I wanted to have a post for this title since declaring my intention, but I had done a review of the film before and, since little has changed, I am simply linking you to my updated post here. Enjoy.

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