Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Circle of Trust #2: Kisses (2008)

If this is your first time checking out the Circle of Trust, here is a link my first post in the series and what it is all about. This time I am checking out Kisses, an Irish film by writer/director Lance Daly.

Kisses follows two runaways on an adventure through the kind and mean streets of Dublin. Dylan, played by Shane Curry, comes from an abusive father and a home that hasn't quite been the same since his elder brother ran away, while Kylie, played by Kelly O'Neill, is the girl next door who comes from a home full of children and problems. Both turn in brilliant performances in this heartfelt tale that not only examines the city from the eyes of a child but connects with any viewer who has ever wanted to runaway. Daly's emotional story and characters carry a bulk of the weight but the technical aspects also shine in this Indie-Irish darling.

First, and probably my favorite part of the film, is the the changing color scale. The beginning and the end are pictured in old fashioned black-and-white while most of Dylan and Kylie's adventure is shown in full color, with transitional phases happening between each section. There are quite a few ways to read into such a stylistic choice but this reviewer see it as everyday life remembered in plain gray-scale, extraordinary events are captured in all the colors of the rainbow, and sometimes the two blend together when were not quite sure which is happening. Less in your face is the score to the film, a fantastic accompaniment to this tale. Part fantasy with magical melodies matched to the title scenes, part real world/folk grounded music with the raspy singing of Bob Dylan, and part everything in between. These and other such elements are going to have me re-watching the film every once in awhile for years to come.

The DVD, however, is a little less impressive with minimalist features, but that isn't to say they are interesting features.. The film comes with the standard fare of outtakes, a making of featurette, and commentary track but with its own little spin. Both the outtakes and featurette are less technically minded and more of seeing the production through the kid's eyes and in place of a director's commentary we get to listen to the two star enjoying the film, showing their chemistry even off screen and just having a good time.

Overall giving the film a 4 out of 5 stars, since I really enjoyed it and Oscilloscope continues its lengthy hot-streak in choice for me, but giving the DVD only 3 out of 5, fans of the film will enjoy it for the film and a once through on the features but not much there for others. I definitely recommend everyone check out the film although it might not capture every one as it has me, always been a sucker for those Irish films, but coming in at 78 minutes it is a great film to just put on and relax. If your still or now interested in the film check out the links below to get it into your hands.

Check out the trailer on YouTube

Add the film to your Neflix queue

Buy the film from Oscilloscope Laboratories or check out the rest of their films

Or try your hand at winning it from one of these two great sites: Cinespect and Film Junk

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday Pickups 10/13/10

Ton of books this week, as you can see below, so let's get right into it.

We start off this week with Oni Press' Frenemy of the State #3. While not the greatest title out, its still a pretty fun book. The topic of under cover agents has been done to death but this title breaths some fresh life into it with its clever "pop princess" dialogue and the unique ways our protagonist maintains her cover.

Next up is Bongo Comics' Comic Book Guy: The Comic Book #4 of 5. Not much to say about the book really. The art the same as the television show, neither better nor worse, and the story/humor have been in a steady decline since the first issue. It still has some funny moments but overall not worth the price of admission. Due to my collecting illness I will probably pick up the last issue when it comes out but I really recommend passing on it if your not already invested.

Kicking off a swarm of DC books we have Justice Society of America 80-page giant 2010. Overall an awesome one-shot of short stories. Didn't care to much for the tale of two Wildcats or Liberty Belle's story but the rest were great, with Christian Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis' Cyclone story being my favorite. Art from everyone was fantastic but I especially enjoyed Mateus Santolouco's Dr. Fate work (except for his velociraptor-like Power Girl.) A must check out for any JSA fan (especially of these characters) even if you have gotten away from the regular books recently like I have.

Up next is another DC one shot, Untold Tales of Blackest Night and I for one wasn't nearly as impressed with this one. While the art was good just like it was consistently through Blackest Night, but most of the stories just felt like scrapped ideas from it. Really enjoyed Ethan Van Sciver's Karu-Sil's story and the actual deleted scenes from Blackest Night, but the rest just left me unimpressed. If you want more of Blackest Night I can recommend it as your only current source but if you felt satisfied with the story there is nothing absolutely necessary here.

Rounding out these DC one-shots we have Bruce Wayne: The Road Home, Red Robin. I was pretty hesitant about picking this up, mainly because I thought this series of The Road Home one-shots would leave you feel like you were missing something if you only picked up one. I am really glad to say, that is no the case. While it ties in elements from both the other Road Home books and the Red Robin monthly title, it also tells an accessible stand alone story of Tim and Bruce testing each other. If you have ever been a fan of this particular duo, definitely recommend picking it up as it gives a nice perspective on where each of them is now.

Getting into the regular DC titles we have Green Lantern # 58. Solid issue, Doug Mahnke's art kills it as usual while Geoff Johns' story continually growing. Really enjoying Atrocitus getting to flex his vocal cords and his quoting of "The Dark Knight" film.

Heading over to another Brightest Day tie-in we have Justice League: Generation Lost #11. Another series that continues to pump out great issues. Featuring the Metal Men, this one turns into a hero vs. hero slobber knocker, which may seem a like a tired plot but is both fun and funny here. Quickly becoming one of my favorite super hero books that I hope continues for quite a while.

The perfect compliment to the last book in both characters and style is up next, Booster Gold #37. Giffen, DeMatteis, and company continuing tales of the greatest hero you've never heard off never cease to entertain an amuse me. Featuring a sexy prison break, Blue Beetle being eaten, and Booster solving the problem he got into from time traveling by traveling forward in time; this issue delivers another helping of awesome.

Moving over to the my only Marvel book this week, unless you count the Icon imprint, X-Men #4. Have to start off by talking about the gorgeous cover by Adi Granov. His portrait of vampire Wolverine is affective and bone chilling. On the matter of the actual comic, it is good but nothing spectacular. I enjoyed Paco Medina's art but find the story to be predictable while aiming for just the opposite, never been a big fan of that. I could end up eating my words if the story drastically changes but I doubt it.

Getting back into one-shots, this time from Image, we have Hack/Slash: Murder Messiah Annual. Per the norm for Hack/Slash, the cover and art are fantastically gory and sexy. The story was also really good but might probably isn't the best for any one to join in on or new comers to the universe such as myself. While I enjoyed it and just wanted to known more about these characters, I could see someone having the reverse reaction and totally losing interest in the book. Hopefully going to track down some early volumes of this book soon.

The almost but not quite pick of the week is The Unwritten #18. Just when we have figured out most of what is going on in The Unwritten, Mike Carey and Peter Gross open up a whole new and delightful can of worms. Spectacular art and story as always with yet another engrossing cover. Can't recommend this book enough, so if your still not checking it out rectify that immediately.

Lastly, just barely beating out The Unwritten, is Casanova #4 from Icon. What more can I say about this book that haven't in previous posts? Amazing art from Gabriel Ba, a Silly/Sci-Fi/Spy story by Matt Fraction, and even special features via an interview at the end of every issue. While I know not everyone will like this book, I am enjoying the hell out of it!

Well that is it for this week, and since this is going up late I can already tell you there are some great comics for next week. See you back here in six days (going to try to get this on a normal schedule of every Wednesday.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday Pickups 10/6/10

Really small stack this week but it is full of some awesome comics.

First up from Veritgo is American Vampire #7. I have already gushed about this book in previous posts and this issue maintains that level of deserved praise, so just pretend I wrote it all again. Something I don't think I have mentioned yet is how great this book is at blending vampire stories into a time period. In the first arcs it was early Hollywood and "The West" while the current story line takes a look at the beginnings of sin city and the Hoover Dam being built. Overall this book is just another perfect example of the work Vertigo puts out every month.

Next up is DC's Brightest Day #11. Art is still awesome and the narrowing down to two story-lines per comic, something that has been solidifying over the last few issues, has really helped the flow of the overall narrative. This issue brings us the return of a few familiar faces, which I am not really excited about but don't hate either so I am willing to see where it goes.

Heading over to Marvel, we kick their books off with Hawkeye & Mockingbird #5. It has been said many places but this comic just oozes fun and you should definitely be giving it a shot. In addition to the fun factor, David Lopez's art every issue has been great especially the action sequences. Again the books leaves us with a great cliff hanger anxiously awaiting next's month's installment.

Moving into my new books, with this one only getting picked up after flipping through it at the shop, we have Ultimate Thor #1. Never been a big Thor fan and Ultimate Marvel books haven't been great recently so this should have been an easy pass for me. At the shop though the cover caught my eye, which got me to flip through it, which got me to buy it, which resulted in me really enjoying it. The combination of Jonathan Hickman's story and Carlos Pacheco's art has a real epic and grand feel that fits the Norse god of thunder, especially the battle scenes. Definitely going to pick up the next issue, hoping they keep it up.

Lastly and pick of the week is Uncanny X-Force #1. I was little hesitant when I first read about this comic as I had really come to enjoy the previous X-Force team, have no love for Deadpool, and haven't read anything from Rick Remender or Jerome Opena. It was inevitable that I would pick it up though since I couldn't miss Archangel and Psylocke being back together in the same book (and bed coincidentally.) Long story short: I Love This Book! It holds on to that the feeling of X-Force but Remender and Opena also manage to put their own personal touch on it that makes it feel unique. Can't wait to see where they these two creators go with two of my favorite x-men and one of my favorite x-villains. So if you were holding back or didn't want to pick up another x-book, I implore you to give Uncanny X-Force a shot. They even manage to make Deadpool bearable.

Closing time once again and while you don't have to go home, you do have to go out to your local shop and pick up next week's comics since I do as well. See you back in here in 7 days or less or the next post is free.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wednesday Pickups 9/29/10

Not a huge amount of books this week, but all were awesome save the one I was expecting not to like. Really hard to narrow it down to a pick of the week but through a number of coin flips, die rolls, and games of rock-paper-scissors (with myself) I was able to do just that. So with out further ado, the usual suspects:

Lets get the bad stuff out of the way first, Teen Titans #87. If you've been reading regularly, you know this title has been a disappointment as of late. The art isn't bad but the story and characters just seem shallow, boring, predictable, and humorless. Basically everything I liked about a Titans book has slowly been stripped away. All that said, I promised to (and still plan on) sticking around for the creative team change coming with the next issue. Hopefully with some fresh blood and some returning/new characters, this book can get back on track.

Heading over to the Marvel Universe, we have Namor: The First Mutant #2. I am enjoying everything about this book! The phenomenal art and cover art (by Ariel Olivetti and Jae Lee with June Chung respectively), the way the story ties into the other Curse of the Mutants branded books but can also be read by itself, and perhaps most of all the character development of Namor. While a lot of creators just write him off as the eternally pissed off king of the sea, Stuart Moore is doing a tremendous job of building personality back into the character. Instead of just letting his fury come out at the drop of a at as is his standard operating procedure, Namor instead restrains himself saving it for the heat of battle. Being the long time Sub-Mariner fan that I am, I am glad he is back in his own book under a great creative team.

Next up is part one in the duo of death both coming to a conclusion today, 1 Month 2 Live #5 of 5. This issue brings a nice and fitting end to this mini, which had me on the fence for a while but am now firmly on the side of liking it. It had its moments that I didn't like, but overall presented a great story which is a feat considering how many different creators were working on the title. I don't want to give away the ending here suffice to say that I really enjoyed it and that people should definitely pick this up when it gets collected.

Part 2 is little well less covered by most, coming from IDW, but is just as good, 5 Days to Die #5 of 5. In this final issue Andy Schmidt and Chee bring their bloody noir tale to its ultimate conclusion. While it was a bit predictable, that didn't effect the emotional or visual payoff when Ray finally caught his man and paid the price for doing his duty. Also, the cover of the final issue was worth the price of admission alone, perfectly summarizing this entire mini-series in one single image. If you get the chance, and this does get collected, I definitely recommend giving it a read.

Continuing with just a little more death, we have Crossed: Family Values #4. Now I am a huge fan of the Crossed books and this issue just builds on what is already a great series with a bit of a curve ball. The big story here is how this issue was very toned down in comparison to every other issue, with less blood and gore and almost no sexual content, shocking the audience this month with what wasn't in the book. Upon a second reading though, I found even more interesting the bulk of violence was normal humans against each other instead of the crossed wreaking havoc on them. While I know a lot of zombie/apocalyptic books broach this subject, I am really interested to see where David Lapham takes it in the crossed universe. All that said, art is still great from Javier Barreno and if you are a guts and gore fan, you need to be picking this book up. Really close to being pick of the week along with our next book, but both just barley fell short.

Venturing into the world of toys and the boogeyman, we have The Stuff of Legend Volume:II The Jungle, Part 2. Its been a while since the last issue, so for those who don't know this book it follows a group of toys loyal to their master who are trying to rescue him from the Boogeyman. Something of a cross between Toy Story and The Never Ending Story, this book continues to wow with spectacular art and design as well as interesting story with compelling characters. A perfect example of what non-superhero comics can be and why more people should be giving them a chance.

Last up and the pick of the week is Icon's Casanova: Luxuria III by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba. Casanova is a humor filled spy story that keeps me wanting more each month. From fantastic locals gorgeous robotic women, this one has it all. I'm a huge fan of Ba's art, whose work is not stranger to the pick of the week coming off of Daytripper, and am becoming a bigger fan of Fraction every issue, with his writing on this book as well his recent X-Men work. In addition to this being another great issue, it also features a little story/interview by Matt that was personal, touching, and inspiring. Even if the concept of the book doesn't sound like your kind of thing, check out this issue for a little insight in to Matt Fraction's life.

That wraps up another week of comics. Next week is looking a little light so I might finally get around to reviewing some of the recent indie comics I have been checking out. Until next time keep flopping those floppys.