Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Circle of Trust #1: La Loi (The Law) 1959

This is the first entry for what is going to be a regular series on my blog, almost monthly, and one I am really excited about. As I have mentioned quite a few times before I am in love with the film distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories. Every one of their films that I have seen is awesome and based on their upcoming releases I don't see that changing in the near future. Along with selling their DVDs through their online shop they also offer membership to a DVD club of sorts where they send you their releases automatically.

Called the Circle of Trust, membership nets you Oscilloscope's next 10 DVD releases about a week before they go on sale for the price of $150. Now I know that sounds like a lot, but for the value your getting it is really quite a deal. Each DVD comes out to fifteen bucks (had to break out the old calculator on that), is loaded with special features, and comes in a beautiful case (the cover art for The Law is featured below.) The next thing that jumps to mind is "but I don't know what movies I will be getting for that money", a somewhat true statement. Oscilloscope updates with news about their latest acquisitions as soon as there are acquired so you can sort of guess what movies you will be getting from them. Additionally, in my opinion, if I was having anyone pick out DVDs for me besides myself I would want it to be them. They have yet to distribute a terrible film from so I know they won't end up making me watch one, something I can't even say for the closest of friends. As an added little perk, members can also purchase a copy of each older Oscilloscope release at half price from shop, something I plan on taking advantage of quite a bit. Now, on to my review of the first DVD I received as a member, Jules Dassin's The Law.

The Law is a tale of lust, love, justice, and control all happening in a small Italian fishing village named Porto Manacore. With multiple story-lines and an amazing ensemble cast, The Law focuses primarily on two individuals. The first is Mariette (played by the gorgeous Gina Lollobrigida, seen above), a young female house keeper looking for love and freedom, and the other is Matteo Brigante (played by Yves Montand), a gang leader gaining power and status in the town so he can totally control it once the current Don passes. Part Italian neorealism and part soap opera, the film presents of an interesting blend of romanticism and politics that few films nowadays seem to attain.

In addition to its engaging story and brilliant acting, the film's technical aspects aren't to shabby either. From a great out doors long-shot early in them film (introducing us to many of the minor players) to the intense, close-up bar scene when the gentlemen play the drinking game The Law (providing insight into the community and from which the title comes) no shot seems to be without powerful meaning from behind the camera as well as in front of it. The spectacular backdrop of the southern Italian coast didn't hurt either, as it adds to how epic the film feels and looks.

In true Oscilloscope fashion the DVD comes with some great extras. Two critical essays on the DVD cover, an alternate ending, two television clips discussing the film and the book it was based of off, and a great little documentary about The Law as it is played today in southern Italy. While I didn't listen to the commentary track from film critic David Fear I look forward to checking that out next time I decided to take a trip back to Porto Manacore.

I am giving this film (and DVD) 4 out of 5 stars, as I really enjoyed it and I think it has something for everyone if your willing to look for it. Released on DVD yesterday, it is available for purchase from the previously linked Oscilloscope shop and for instant viewing through Netflix.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wednesday Pickups 9/22/10

Not a ton of new pick ups this week but still a bunch of good reads. Decided to change up the usual routine this week and start with everything non-superhero.

First up is Image's latest fantasy tale Skull Kickers #1 by Jim Zubkavich, Chris Stevens, and Edwin Huang. Two nameless mercenaries, one a gun wielding barbarian the other a quick tempered dwarf, embark on a journey to well... have fun and get paid. Skull Kickers presents a fantasy tale with over the top humor and graphic cartoon-like battles, it has sucked me and had me laughing quite a bit. Looking forward to more of this series.

Also from Image, I finally decided to check out the $1 reprint of Chew #1. Being a series that has received critical acclaim in addition to being recommended by my friends, I tried to keep my expectations from getting to high on this one. In the end that didn't really matter since this book is awesome! Chew, written and lettered by John Layman while drawn and coloured by Rob Guillory, follows detective Tony Chu who has the unique ability of being a cibopathic, meaning anything he eats gives him information about where it came from. Gore, illegal chicken, great one liners make this book a must read especially at a dollar. Probably going to invest in the trades of the series when I get the chance as well.

Moving into are weekly duo of death, we have 5 Days to Die #4 of 5. Not much more to add about this series besides what I have covered over the past three weeks. Still loving the combination of story and art, and can not wait to read the finale next week. Part two of the duo is none other that 1 Month 2 Live #4 of 5. Same goes for this one, really covered it over the past three weeks leaving little more to say till its finished. Interesting moment towards the end of this issue when they stayed true and didn't take the easy way out but the finale issue is really going to make or break this one for me.

Heading into the capes and tights department we have Uncanny X-Men #528. Interesting developments in every story line, and even a new one or two, except for Hope's visit to the newest mutant. I really think Matt Fraction is doing good job of handling the X-Men stable in showcasing some people, giving others a minor appearance or two, and letting others stay in the rest of the x-books. Had some problems with some of Whilce Portacio's art (there is a panel or two where Emma looks very manly) but over all it was still enjoyable.

Next up from Marvel is Secret Avengers #5. This issue explains how Nick "Max" Fury got into bed with the Shadow Council that is out to take down Steve and his covert ops team. Really enjoyed the art collaborating artists David Aja, Michael Lark, and Stefano Gaudiano; it gave the book that old-school/spy story feel which is perfect for the character. The story was good once you read the entire issue, starting out it feels like one of a dozen Fury stories I have read in the past. Still loving this series, never been a huge Avengers fan but Ed Brubaker is turning that around in a hurry.

Venturing over to DC we have Green Lantern Corps #52. The conclusion of Revolt of the Alpha Lanterns wasn't as great as the rest of the arc but still descent. My big problem with it was how the story seemed to take the easy way out of the corner it had been written in to and gets a happy ending. I was kind of hoping for something big that would have a lasting impact on the characters but it kind of went the safe way. Ardian Syaf's art was still fantastic through and made up for a less than stellar ending.

This brings us to the pick of the week, Justice League: Generation Lost #10. If you read my comments before you know I love everything about this book and that just continues into this issue. Also, loving the way it is tying into past DC stories (ala Kingdom Come) even if that is probably more of an editorial decision that Winick's alone. Joe Bennett is still bringing his A-game with the art and this issue features a nice cover by Cliff Chiang. If your not reading this book, start immediately!

That's it for this week's books, leave comments/recommendations/critiques through the usual means.

Monday, September 27, 2010

In Theaters: Buried (2010)

Attended a preview screening of this little gem last week, starring Ryan Reynolds and directed by Rodrigo Cortes. Reynolds plays Paul Conroy, an American truck driver working on in Iraq who wakes up inside a coffin. Realizing his situation and armed with only a cell phone and lighter, Paul races against the his depleting oxygen supply to get out or get himself rescued.

So let's get this out of the way first, yes the entire film takes place in the coffin. While most directors would avoid that idea like the plague for fear of boring viewers to death, Cortes embraces and uses it to create one of the most intense films I have seen in a while. Utilizing some spectacular cinematography from Eduard Grau and very little off screen sources of lighting (from what I could tell), Cortes keeps the audience invested in this thriller all the way through to end. Of course all that would be for naught with out a great performance from Reynolds.

Buried is probably my favorite Reynolds acting gig to date (would have to watch The Nines again to be sure.) Showcasing a range of emotions from fear and anger to compassion and love, Reynolds performance elevates this role that would have crushed a less talented actor. Staying true to his usual style, he even manages to cause a few laughs from an audience that is watching him suffocate to death. Really can't say enough about how much I enjoyed him in this film and look forward to seeing more of this caliber from in the future (crossing fingers for Green Lantern.)

Needless to sat at this point but I really enjoyed the hell out of this film, even if I was a little tentative about it at first. Giving it 4 out of 5 stars in my book, well really 4 out of 5 in my internet blog but you get the idea. I highly recommend you see this film in the theater if you get the chance, as it only adds to the ambiance of it. Pretty sure it is in select theaters now but widening out to more markets come October so look for it soon.

Friday, September 24, 2010

In Theaters: Devil (2010)

"I was living in a devil town,
didn't know it was a devil town.
Oh Lord, it really brings me down about the devil town."
-Daniel Johnston

Got around to seeing Devil Monday after finally emerging from the basement I spent all weekend in playing Halo: Reach. It wasn't a film I was dying to see but the trailer and hearing the director & producer duo of the film (John and Drew Dowdle respectively) talk about it at Chicago Comic Con was enough to get me to see it in theaters, and I am glad I did.

The general premise of the film is that five people become trapped in an elevator and one of them may or may not be the title character. Not an overly complicated idea but greatly done in this film as a thriller/mystery with a dash of police procedural. It would fall flat on its face though with out the excellent cast. Headlined by Chris Messina and Logan Marshall-Green, this ensemble of recognizable performers, but non-house hold names really hold their own. Although with any film, movie magic played quite a large role as well.

Watching a film take place in primarily a small elevator would become boring and tiresome fast if not for the creative and interesting techniques the film utilizes. Ranging from multiple point of view shots, getting inside each character, to total black outs of the screen, bringing about the fear of the unknown, the viewer is constantly wondering who is perpetrating these events and why. These combined with the excellent sound mixing sustain the thrilling atmosphere all the way to credits.

I really enjoyed the film, enough so to give it a 4 out of 5 stars and as long as your next expecting the greatest film of all time I think you'll enjoy it as well. To those out there who have been staying away from it after not enjoying Shyamalan's last few films (The Last Air Bender, The Happening, The Village), keep in mind he only wrote the story and produced, so he didn't control anywhere near as much in this film and its more reminiscent of his earlier better films (The Sixth Sense, Signs, Lady in the Water.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wednesday Pickups 9/15/10

This week's books (plus a few from previous weeks) were amazing! Add those to a few other goodies and it going to be quite lengthy post today, so grab your beverage of choice and turn on some Dido to set the mood.

First up is our fortnightly does of brightness, Brightest Day #10. This issue focuses on Aqualad and one of my favorite new odd couples, Firestorm. Both stories begin to heat up and boil (double bad pun useage for the win) as one pulls a semi-Darth Vader while the other brings back one of the best characters from Blackest Night (hint: his new name is so stupid its awesome.) Keeping up with quility of work this series has been putting out can't be easy task of this band of artists but they some how manage it. Art is still awesome, with a particularly striking cover, and going with only two story lines per issue is really helping the writing to shine.

Staying in the DCU but heading into a future (the future is a lot harder to get to), we have Batman Beyond #4 of 6. Terry meets up with a former partner of Bruce's and sees the real cost of the working with him while the new Catwoman shows she is not a one trick pussycat. Oh yeah, and the new Hush reveals his or her identity! I am going to reserve judgment on that till the end of the mini but still really enjoying the book. One (of the many) things the creative team, lead by Adam Beechen at the type writer and Ryan Benjamin on the pencils, is good at is subtly making references to the TV show. Both in the story and in the visuals it is their for long time fans to appreciate but doesn't exclude those who may just be getting into the Batman Beyond world.

Moving from the dark and grim future of Gotham City to the dark and grim future of the Marvel universe we have Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher #4 of 4. While I was some what skeptical about this mini at first it really ended up being an enjoyable read. Part dark comedy, part "true" Punisher story, this tale doesn't try to redefine Frank but show him in his true light in another world. This final issue really brings it all together nicely and satisfies with out making you desire a sequel. However, I do hope Jonathan Maberry and Goran Parlov team up for something else soon.

Meanwhile back in the current Marvel universe things are going almost as badly for our favorite band of young mutants in New Mutants #17. Illyana feels "a disturbance in the force" and realizes young Pixie has been kidnapped by General Ulysses, his unit, and "the babies." Taking charge, she leads the team against these Limbo-hardened warriors and by issue's end things are going so well. Have to start off by saying how much I love this cover! Not sure if it is how strong and colorful the image looks or my obsession with young Russian women with awesome names but Dave Wilkins gives us a cover you can't help but notice on the stands. As for everything inside the cover, awesome as usual. Can't wait to see what happens with these "babies" when everything is said and done. Also loved how Cypher nonchalantly translates everything said in limboese in the book, just adds to my fondness for him and Magick and gratefulness at having them both back in the X-verse.

Last up from Marvel is 1 Month 2 Live #3 of 5. This week Dennis Sykes, or Flux as he was recently dubbed, goes adventuring with Marvel's first family while his family drift further apart. Really liked Shane White's art in this issue, has that classic Fantastic Four feel to it and goes with the adventure. An interesting guest-star of the week type tale, this book is consistently fun and the creative team changes keep the reader vested as well, but I am not sure how its going to finish up in two issues with out feeling rushed or losing impact. Hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised.

Changing companies to other dying protagnist, we have 5 Days To Die #3 of 5. Contiuing this weekly noir tale Ray confronts Mr. Hoverman but doesn't get his revenge just yet. Is revenge really warranted though, is Frank even seeing reality anymore after his injury? Meanwhile, in the hospital his daughter wakes up and is not to thrilled about his absence. Really digging the art on this book, its dark tones with occasional red splashed panels creates a feel not available anywhere else on the stands. While I feel like I know where right where this one is going, there still might be a surprise or two in store, and I am sticking around to see it to its bloody finale.

From one bloody tale to another, we have Hack/Slash: My First Maniac #3 & 4 of 4 (missed 3 at some point resulting in this little double feature this week.) Cassie Hack gets to the bottom of the happenings at the old Fig Farm and finds her place in this monster filled world. For my first venture into the Hack/Slash books this mini really pulled me in. Full of sexy babes, horror film humor, and character development this book delivers on all fronts. Already looking at picking up some of the collected editions and I can tell by the covers I am in for a treat. If you like horror movies or like to laugh at them, I can't recommend this book enough. I am sure it will be out in trade paper back soon enough, and be showcasing a provocative new cover no doubt.

Next up is another $1 preview comic from Radical, Mata Hari. A fictional tale based on the real person, famous during World War I as a performer turned "double agent" or government scapegoat depending on who you ask. Not only does this comic feature beautiful art but its page and panel layout is amazing. Busy pages line up and flow perfectly with out seeming crowed and over stuff. The story of this book is interesting as well, featuring an article at the end of the comic by the author and why he had to write this tale. Mata Hari is set as a hardcover graphic novel release in spring 2011 and I will definitely be picking it up then. The only problem I see with it is their release of this preview so early, closer to the release of the actual book would seemingly have gotten them much more sales from buzz about it.

Last to books of this week both come Vertigo and both are awesome, yes I realize saying something is from Vertigo and is awesome is redundant but some people don't know this yet and need to be converted. First up is Joe the Barbarian #7 of 8. In this penultimate chapter, Joe finally gets to the item that could make every thing right again but will it work for both worlds? I've said it before but this mini-series is just chock full of awesomeness! From all the classic heroes we see doing battle to the the mirroring of the real world in his world to the humorous mythical names given to locations, this one has all the makings of a great dream-scape adventure. Can't wait to see how it all wraps up in the next and final issue.

Last book, and no suprise as pick of the week since its no longer competing with Day Tripper, is The Unwritten #17. Taking a different approach with this issue, Mike Carey and Peter Gross present us with a choose your own adventure comic. Complete with non-sequential pages and choices that lead to different endings, this is just another example of how special and unique this comic is. It goes places other haven't or won't all while telling an engrossing narrative. The art, both interior and covers, is amazing as well of which this month's cover is a fine example. If your not already reading this comic, seriously stop reading and go check out the first collected volume!

That brings us to the end of my comics for the week but I also bought a few other things which you might find of interest.

First up is the Halo Reach Limited Edition set. I wouldn't call myself a huge Halo fan but I do enjoy the campaigns as well the multiplayer modes of all the ones I have played. The real reason I wanted to pick this up/showcase it here (besides playing it obviously) is how sweet this set really is. First is all comes in a black box type case which goes well with this game being about the fall of Reach In addition to the case it comes with a journal of one of the supporting characters in the game that dives deep into the creation of the Spartans as well as the research happening on reach. Now they could have just produced it like a normal book and it would have been fine but it is made to look like an actual journal down to the page feel and sketches inside! Going even beyond that, tons of little news stories or memos are stuffed into the journal and can be taken out, some of which I arranged in the picture below but I couldn't even fit all of them on the table. As some of you might now, I have a fondness for movie or game collector's editions I can easily say this is one of the finest I have ever seen.

Next to Halo Reach is an impulse buy graphic novel/memoir from this week, Drinking at the Movies by Julia Wertz. Can't say to much about this one, as I haven't gotten around to reading it yet but the cover and title really drew me in. Flipping through it in the store really sold, while it was simply illustrated I just got this cool personal feel from the writing. Looking forward to sitting down with it in the next few days, maybe even tonight.

Last is yet another example of my sickness in collecting collector's editions, the Alan Wake Limited Edition. I haven't tired the game at all and actually no very little about it outside its comparisons to Twin Peaks but just couldn't pass up this awesome looking edition on sale. This one, all shown in the picture below, comes with a novel "written" by the main character in the game about the happenings in the game, the soundtrack of the game, some bonus downloads for your Xbox 360, not to mention the game itself. On top of that, it comes packed in what looks like an over sized book (the protagonist is a writer.) Not quite as awesome as the Reach set but very cool indeed.

Well, that is it for this week. You know the routine, any comment is greatly appreciated. Suggestions, critiques, and even off color jokes are all accepted. If your not the type to comment email is also an option, send them to Untill next time, stay literate my friends.

-The least interesting comic reader in the world

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday Pickups 9/9/10

Huge bunch of books this week so lets jump right in.

First up is 5 Days To Die #2 of 5 from IDW. Continuing with the same black & white (and red) noir feel they started with, Andy Schmidt and Chee's tale of the dead and dying goes even further down the rabbit hole. These action scenes are spectacularly drawn and colored while the story gets darker and darker. I'm sold on the rest of the series but a smart man might wait for a trade since its only 5 issues.

Sticking with dying protagonists we have 1 Month 2 Live #2 of 5. Marvel opts go a different route and change up the creative team for each issue. Digging the art of Koi Turnball & Shawn Moll over that of the first issue's team. Not the best book out there but the story and art team changing are enough to keep me with the book for the remaining three issues. Still can't believe Marvel and IDW managed to put these similar concept books out at the same time, some one had to pull some shenanigans.

Getting into the regular books, we start with Ultimate Avengers 3 #2. While Steve Dillion's art is better than that of (season) 2, it still doesn't have that "Ultimate U feel" in my opinion. The solid, bright colors just seem to go against what the universe and this book are primarily about. I am still sticking on the book however since the story line is grabbing me with everyone turning into a vampire, now if only they manage to keep them that way it would be a true ultimate universe.

As for my review of X-Men #3 a lot of the same comments can be copied and pasted, except about the art. Enjoying this art for the X-Men: Curse of the Mutants storyline, had the right mix of color for varying personnel and locations and makes some really dynamic panels pop that much more. I am a little worried the story is just for event shock and awe, and will have no lasting effects what so ever but I guess we will have to wait and see on this one.

Staying with our favorite mutants we have X-Force: Sex + Violence #3 of 3. Think I wrote it pretty clearly in the review of the last two issues, but I love every thing about this mini. The art, story, covers, dialogue, sex appeal, ect are all of the charts for awesomeness. Seems like a fitting good bye to this X-Force and time to start praying that Deadpool doesn't make me hate the new book.

Moving over to DC we'll start off with Batman and Robin #14. Definitely starting to warm up to Frazer Irving's art. While I still don't love it his panels of the Joker, Black Mask, and Professor Pyg are really eye catching and iconic. Morrison's story is still my favorite part of this book and keeps me coming back for more each month. How he has Dick filling Batman's cowl, just nails the character spot on for me and can't wait to see how he handle's Bruce's return.

Changing birds we have Red Robin #16. Still my favorite bat-book and character, Fabian Nicieza and Marcus To have really been doing great things on this book. The core of Tim Drake to me is that he is constantly growing, most of the time it is emotionally with all that he goes through but his skills and plans are right up there as well. Nicieza creates a perfect story atmosphere for this while To art shows it perfectly. Probably the most under-rated bat-book as well, so if your a bat fan and not reading it please give it a chance. Looks like #17 in two months will make for a good jumping on point *hint hint*.

Switching gears and going all intergalactic planetary we have Green Lantern #57, a Brightest Day tie-in. Art is still amazing! Mahnke pencils are being handled very well by a team of inkers to bring us this vibrant book each month and it is well worth the price for that alone. Johns story while still pretty good has been waning a little bit in this title but I am holding out hope that it could really change right back around any issue now.

Moving on to the shining star of Brightest Day, we have Justice League: Generation Lost #9. If you've been reading the blog, you know I love this title. Great humor, characters, story, and art all in one team book. While a lot of DC team's have been sliding off my pull list, this one is standing firm at the top. If your in the same spot, fill the gap with this book. You won't regret it.

Last book of the DCU this week is Booster Gold #36. A great companion read to Generation Lost (sharing a main character and all) this one delivers on a lot of the same cylinders but goes delightfully over the top on the humor. Probably starting to sound like a broken record, but this is yet one more super hero book you should be checking out.

From Bongo Comics we have Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book #3 of 5. Classic Simpsons art with some great nerd humor. Still not as memorable as the first issue but descent enough to finish out the mini.

First Vertigo book of the week is American Vampire #6. Shifting the locale a bit from the first arc but Scott Snyder is still delivering in the story department. Rafel Albuquerque's art is great as always. Strange deaths begin happening in the growing Sin City of Vegas in the 1930s and newly appointed police Chief Cashel McCogan is hot on the trail (that is an awesome character name by the way.) It does feel a little shorter with out a co-feature from King but I am Snyder will have us all forgetting about those days in no time at all.

Coming it at runner up this week is Kill Shakespeare #5. Still loving everything about this book! Despite not knowing the in depth stories of all Shakespeare's characters, this book manages to present enough of them for new readers to get the character and still enjoy the book. Andy Belaner's art flows seamlessly from panel to panel, demanding your attention until the last page. I think this book would look even better in a slightly over-sized hardcover collected edition, hope one of those comes out soon.

Last and best is the pick of the week, Daytripper #10 of 10. In this final chapter of Bras' life Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba leave us and him with the perfect ending. While I hate for this book to end, all great things must at some point and I am glad the book did hear. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a comic this much every single time it came out, as evidenced in being my pick of the week every time its available. Now to start the wait for the collected edition which I am sure I will be buying in mass to give out to people. If you still have managed to some how not check out this book, GET ON THAT!!!

Well that is it for this week, a little later than normal but I think the massive size allows for that. Be sure to comment with and thoughts, critiques, or recommendations. Always up for trying out new comics.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Coming Soon: HOWL (2010)

Thanks to the fine folks over at Ain't It Cool News, I got to attend a preview screening of HOWL, staring James Franco, tonight which was followed by a question and answer session with the film's co-directors and co-writers, Rob Epstein and Jeffery Friedman.

For those not familiar with the subject of the film, HOWL is a poem written/performed by Allen Ginsberg in 1956. While it gained some popularity on merit alone among the beat poet community, it came into the national (and world eye) when the company that published it was charged with producing and selling obscene material due to the adult language, sexual acts, and drug use the poem spoke of. I was first exposed to it in a college literature class and while I didn't immediately fall in love with the poem, its uniqueness and my teacher's lessons brought about a through enjoyment of it.

The film features three main, inter-cutting story lines to create a film practically as unique as the poem it comes from. The first is Allen Ginsberg, played by James Franco, reading Howl while accompanying animations amaze the viewer, not just by illustrating the words but capturing their emotion and metaphors perfectly. Next are re-enacted scenes from the obscenity trial, featuring Jon Hamm and David Strathaim as opposing counsel, to examine both the conflicting critical thoughts on the poem as well as the censorship in question and on art in general. Lastly is an interview with Franco's Ginsberg, exposing not just his views on Howl but poetry, life, love, censorship, politics, and art. Blending these three narratives, Epstein and Friedman create a film that not only is spectacular to watch and loose yourself in but defies genre classification.

With the writer and director pair coming from mostly documentary work, most would try to classify it as an artistic bio-pic but it really transcends that. The film, instead breathes new life not only into Ginsberg or the court transcripts, but the poem itself making for a truly unique experience. The themes of sexuality, oppression, judgment, and heartbreak are just a few of the subjects covered sensationally in the poem and film, making the latter not just a regular adaptation but one that also beats with its own visual heart. It wouldn't be so though, without numerous other factors at work outside of narrative.

Acting in the film is phenomenal, with James Franco yet again proving how great he is at capturing the essence of real people. I first saw it a made-for-tv James Dean bio-pic (a film the directors also mentioned as enjoying him in), and while I haven't seen Milk I am sure it was prevalent there as well. Following at a close second is the astounding animations of the poem. Their fluid movement, great color, and the particular style really leaves one dazzled. While I could go on and gush about more of the film, such as the greatness of its score, I will leave somethings for you to discover when you see it.

Should come as no surprise if you have read the review so far but I am giving this one a 5 our of 5 stars, and it has quickly jumped to being one of my favorites of the year. Can't be too surprised though since it is yet another film being distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories, they really know how to pick them (at least for my taste anyways.) While I know some people will still see this film and the poem as obscene, I encourage everyone to go check it out. Might open your perspective up on some things.

Friday, September 10, 2010

REVIEWFLIX: The Exploding Girl (2010)

(Usual deal, reviewing a film I recently watched and the title links to it on netflix if you want to add it to your queue. Leading off with the DVD art instead of a poster this time because I love the look of it so much.)

Not sure how many of you have heard of this film, but I have been looking forward to seeing it for quite a while. First heard about it via a feature article in Filmmaker back in late 2009/early 2010 and really enjoyed the director's (Bradley Rust Gray) commentary on film-making, collaboration, and inspiration. That said, first thing I did after work Tuesday (day of its DVD release) was load it up on the Netflix Instant and enjoyed every minute of it.

The film centers on Ivy, played amazingly by Zoe Kazan, as she comes back home for spring break and deals with the transition from teen/child to being an adult. Dealing with everything from relationships to illness to friendships on a mature level, Ivy goes through a transition that we rarely see featured in a serious/dramatic film and that some us are not to far removed from. ;) While this simple story and brilliant performance were enough to satisfy me, the camera work brought the film to a higher level of greatness.

Shot with a long of long lenses and shots the film brings us in to Ivy's life without letting us in all the way, following in line with the film and how Zoe keeps people at a distance. These couple with suffocating close ups when she is alone in her room on the phone or waiting for it to ring, capturing her frustration precisely and keeping the viewer invested in her relationships. While all these things were great about the film the one shot you just barley see, as the camera respects her privacy, and have been expecting most of the film is one of the most memorable. Relating to the viewer that while we know her and are invested in her life, we don't really "know" her and aren't automatically privy to extreme situations.

A solid film that is going to stay with me for quite a while, I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars. I know its probably not for everyone but if anything in my review sparked your interest I highly recommend you check it out. Another solid film distributed by Oscilloscope Laboratories, and you have to love how all of their films are available on Netflix instant the day they are released.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wednesday Pickups 9/1/10

Not a ton of books this week but all were pretty solid with no disappointments, which always makes for a good week.

Jumping right in with out only helping of DC this week, we have Brightest Day #9. Turning into solid book every other week, not sure if I just grew accustomed to the pace or they picked it up a bit but it works. Really liked the art and both main story lines of the issue (Martian Manhunter meeting up Smokey the Bear in guise of Green Arrow and Black Manta becoming Darth Vader) are getting better. Still not on the level of 52 but it is a good Bimonthly book none the less.

Next up is Five Days To Die #1 of 5 from IDW. An interesting Noiresque thriller in which our protagonist (Ray Crisara) gets a unofficial expiration date in the first issue. Really enjoyed the art (done by Chee, don't ask me) and looking forward to where the story goes. Hopefully we will get some more splash pages like the ones in this first issue, gorgeous destruction.

Over at Marvel we have a somewhat similar concept in 1 Month 2 Live #1 of 5, but takes it in a drastically different direction. After an being exposed to bio-hazardous materials Dennis Sykes seems to have only a short time left to live but on the plus sides, he seems to have developed a special power as a well. This book looks to feature a who's who of marvel characters and talent, hopefully making for a unique collaborative experience and not a train wreck. First issue was enough to keep me interested and eventually pick up #2, not to much more than that though. Looking forward to what the other writer's and artist's bring to the table.

From death to death to death, we head over to Marvel Universe vs. The Punisher #3 of 4. We find out why Patient Zero wanted to meet with Frank and the story takes a few interesting turns at the end of the issue. I am enjoying this book, while it may not be the best one it is a fun little survivor tale. Some nice visuals in this issue from when the virus first broke out (except for Lady Deathstrike being drawn how she appeared in X-Men 2, that really bugged me for some reason.) Also wondering how this is all going to get wrapped up in the last issue, I am putting my money on a high body count.

Continuing out mini marathon of Marvel mini-series we have Avengers: The Children's Crusade #2 of 9. Still digging the book. In this issue, a bit of a battle ensues between friendlies (never saw it coming), another relative makes a quick appearance, and cliff hanger that definitely changed where I think the book is going. Only complaint is that Wolverine's character seems a little off but other than that, its a great read.

Moving over to Marvel's imprint Icon, we have Scarlet #2. Still really digging this book as well. The breaking of the fourth wall in this book just draws me in more than the comedy books its traditionally done it. Alex Maleev's art is gorgeously textured bringing out the grungy details of every person and location. Only second issue so still time to jump on this one before it takes off. Very close to being my pick of the week but the next title just barely edged it out.

Hawkeye & Mockingbird #4 is the top of the stack this week, and well deserved it is. Loving this book more and more each issue! A fun spy/action book that more people really need to check out. Jim McCann is handling ever character expertly while David Lopez's pencils glue your eyes to every page with their classic yet solid feel. Predicable? A bit, but that isn't always a bad thing. It keeps the book enjoyably entertaining rather than try to throw the reader off with multiple twists and shocking moments. If your a fan of either character or just in the market for a fun read I strongly urge you to give this dynamic duo a chance.

Well that is it for this week's books. Got tons of other posts I am working on so be on the lookout for those soon and better stack up on the snacks for next week's reviews, the list is currently at 13 books and could still rise.