[Comic Review] Week of 2013/05/01 Highlights

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by Casey Hutton

I have to say…several titles of my pull list are now chalked up to Dynamite. Like any publisher, there are some series I personally feel are lacking here and there, meaning I just can’t get into them. However, the times are changing. This week alone several new releases of high caliber were released with their logo on them.

Photo Courtesy of Dynamite.

Photo Courtesy of Dynamite.

First off, let’s look at Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #4. For anyone not following this series, we find the famous detective duo of Holmes and Watson in Liverpool (hence…the title). This particular story we found are investigators sticking around after a previous case due to murders happening about town…most of which were being chalked up to Sring-Heeled Jack. Throughout the previous three issues, suspense abounds and with each new murder, new information and twists have been added to the plot line. In this issue, we find Holmes closing in on the killer. Following up on leads concerning the death of one Tom Christian, Holmes and Watson find themselves delving into catacombs under the city.

I’ve always been a sucker for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The creative team (which have remained consistent so far) have done well by him. The story is intriguing and has kept my interest with each and every issue. The changes between dialect add flavor and definition to scene changes within the books pages. The artwork here is also right up my ally. It’s dark and gritty, just the way that I like them.

If you’re looking for something more Victorian but still manages to maintain that dark pulp feel, I’d say give this series a shot and see what you think. So far, 4/4 isn’t bad, and if that’s any indicator, I will be enjoying the rest of this five-part series. I just hope the final issue isn’t rushed, which in my opinion, could hurt things overall.

Photo Courtesy of Dynamite.

Photo Courtesy of Dynamite.

Next comes Dynamite’s The Black Bat #1. This is probably one of the titles I’ve been looking forward too the most. Being a fan of their The Shadow and The Spider lines, I had some seriously high hopes for this title’s release. And, I wasn’t disappointed. This is classic pulp, plain and simple and in line with most of their other titles of similar setting. In this issue, we are both introduced to and the creation of the Black Bat. We follow along with Tony Quinn, a former Mafiosi lawyer turned vigilante in the 1930’s. The character is part Daredevil, part Batman and all pulp!

In this issue we follow along with Quinn as he begins his personal vendetta to make amends to the wrongs his committed in his past defending big players in organized crime. Tracking down a police informant capture by local thugs, we find it’s the same informant used to help spread the word of ‘The Black Bat’ on the street. And, bigger fish behind the scenes obviously have more in store for this newly arrived masked vigilante.

Dynamite’s talent in putting together creative teams still astounds me. The artwork adds to the story and the combination of both leave plenty to sink your teeth into. I have a feeling that if this title can stick around, it will just add to the new resurgence of quality pulp comics out there.

Photo Courtesy of DC Comics.

Photo Courtesy of DC Comics.

Another anticipated title of the week was The Movement #1. I will be the first to admit, I’m a little late catching the Gail Simone fan bus. But, nevertheless, I’m sold. Aside from The Talon, there hasn’t been legitimate NEW New 52 characters introduced to the shelves. Although not every character involved in this series will be a fresh face, several shall be. That alone piqued my interest. As much as I love Superman, Batman, etc…sometimes…I just need something different. I found it here.

Although a lot was thrown at me in its pages, this book served as a good introduction to the organization known as The Movement and some of the characters therein. A vigilante group whose mission statement is to protect the less fortunate from those of corrupted power. They have eyes everywhere and this issue made an appoint of showing as much.

Although still only issue one…if Simone and the rest of her creative team can keep it up, this will be a staple to anyone’s pull list that favors the dark superhero. Although most are more than just masked vigilantes, it still has that feel to it. Again…it’s almost pulp-ish (notice the trend?). It’s gritty and dark. I love it!

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

What week wouldn’t be complete without Dan Slott’s The Superior Spider-Man. This week, I found issue #9 waiting for me in my pull box upon my arrival at my comic shop of choice.\

I waited until today (Thursday) to read this title. Why? Because, I enjoy watching the drama unfold on Twitter. There is so much love, yet so much hate for this title…I get giddy. Some weeks, it’s like a middle school cat-fight and I can’t help my self but read Tweet after Tweet of what will be in store.

That being said…love it or hate it (and, just for the record…I love it), Superior Spider-Man has been one heck of a read issue after issue. Just when I think I have things figured out, Slott and team hit one into left field. Just when I think Peter Parker is going to be making that comeback, I find myself being proven wrong. This issue…really hammers it home.

Last issue, we saw Octo-Spidey acquire a device from Cardiac that can help him rid himself of Peter Parker permanently. Now, how permanently is yet to be seen. But, for now…well…Octavius has come away victorious. Facing off in the memories of Parker, no punches are pulled. Slott honestly had me going with just who was going to come out on top and although I was left with my jaw hanging open, I certainly was not disappointed.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

The last of my picks of the week can be found in All-New X-Men #11. This bi-monthly title as easily been one of the best ones to be had and one of two with Marvel (the other is The Superior Spider-Man).

Last issue we were left with one heck of a cliff hanger. My theories were abound with thoughts of just who would ‘defect’ from the old/young x-men. My first belief was that it was going to be Jean Grey. But, when I turned from the first page into the next…it was indeed Angel to cross the line and join up with Cyclops and Magneto. And honestly…I can’t think of a better character to do so.

Now, keep in mind, my reasons are purely selfish. I hate Angel with a passion. I can dig the newer incarnations…but the young and naive Angel always upset me. To see him join sides with ‘the enemy’ only made me smile. Whatever happens, whether he is doing it to aid Wolverine and company or ends up dying (yes…I am crossing my fingers) serving Cyclops…I’m just glad it’s hopefully going to be a side-story.

This event aside, the rest of the issue was primarily a Good vs. Evil X-Men standoff with not much fighting. They were on school grounds after all  Only a brief glimpse of Mystique’s plan is present (I believe via only two pages). Predominantly, this issue revolves around a life lesson for Jean Grey and several X-Men, Kitty Pryde included, hammer it into her she can’t use her metal powers when things don’t always go her way.


[Film Review] Evil Dead (2013)

Posted in Film Review with tags , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2013 by Casey Hutton
Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures.

Photo Courtesy of Sony Pictures.

So…I went into the theater to see the new ‘remake’ of Evil Dead. A movie directed by Fede Alvarez (who also had a part in writing the screenplay) and starring the likes of Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, amongst others.

The official blurp reads: “Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival.”

I’m not going to lie. I walked into that theater more than just a little biased. Like so many others (Texas Chainsaw MassacreHalloween, etc.) I was actually expecting to be disappointed.

Although this Evil Dead was NOT Evil Dead, it was still a great horror movie. So if you haven’t seen it yet…then do not expect another rendition of Sam Raimi’s genius. Although still some cheese (which I will discuss later in the post) it is predominantly a kick-in-the-gut horror flick. Just the right amount of oomph combined with blood and gore. Could it have been a little more frightening? Yes. But to be honest, going into a movie named after one many of us (including myself) have watched a hundred times, it’s no easy task to top it.

The team behind the movie’s production did their best to create something new, yet still pay some homage to its predecessors. Small tidbits like the rusted out car behind the cabin, the swing, the vine-rape scene and others. It’s all there. My problem with this tactic is simple. It became a little old after a while. There was not one, but two hand/arm removing scenes, for instance. One with an electric carving knife (which I thought was genius…Easter ham anyone?) and the other via vehicle. But again, it looses it’s panache after the first few references and then moves on into actually hindering the movie from becoming something more.

There are also scenes that top that of films past. The tongue-forking scene was skin crawling. As was the bathroom face assault.

Despite the movies ups and downs, there is no mistake in how good it is. When I left the theater I had a little pep in my step, and although my personal experience was cut short (the theater crew were shooing people out before the credits stopped rolling), I managed to dig up the final credits scene to sate my Bruce Campbell infatuation. Although, I feel that the scene originally hinted at (which might make it to the deleted scenes upon its home video release) would have been great, I loved all 5 seconds!

This is a must see, if not at theaters than at least a renter if you don’t prefer to add it to your home video collection. Although no Evil Dead, it’s a great possession-turned slaughter flick and worth every penny.

[Film Review] This Must Be the Place (2011)

Posted in Film Review with tags , , , , , on April 11, 2013 by Casey Hutton
Photo Courtesy of Element Pictures.

Photo Courtesy of Element Pictures.

This Must Be the Place, distributed by Element Pictures, directed by Paolo Sorrentino and starring Sean Penn is…well…interesting and better than I expected. But, to be honest…I didn’t know what to expect. I had watched the trailer several times at work.

Originally debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2011, it was released here in the United States in late 2012. The cover of the DVD/BR release is what originally caught my eye. Then, the promo loops hammered it home. However, still unsure, I was not willing to plop down the $14.99 to find out. However, thanks to Netflix (which now provides the title as part of their streaming service), This Must Be the Place will be part of my collection after all.

The blurp at IDBM reads: “Cheyenne, a retired rock star living off his royalties in Dublin, returns to New York City to find the man responsible for a humiliation suffered by his recently deceased father during WWII.”

This, however, doesn’t do the film justice, hence my hesitation at first. Penn does an amazing job here. Deadpan and almost child-like…it’s about a man making amends with a estranged father (post death), the places he sees and the people he meets along the way. The creative team behind the title paint a visual like one I haven’t seen in some time. The casting is simply amazing as everyone involved adds their own flare to the film.

This Must Be the Place is, in my opinion, a breath of fresh air. Many may not like it. I, however, think I can come to watch it several times without growing tired of it.

Two scenes in this movie stand out to me, and all but scream greatness:

1. The scene involving the big-boned child, a single mother and Penn’s character, Cheyenne. The child asks Penn to play This Must Be the Place by Arcade Fire. The exchange of dialogue and the resulting outcome is…well…beautiful.

2. The scene in the gun shop and the discussion involving killing with impunity.

Please, take time out of your day and watch this film. Keep an open mind and chances are, if you were even close to the same mindset I was when the time came to be stunned…you won’t regret it one bit.

[Comic Review] Week of 2013/04/03 Highlights

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2013 by Casey Hutton

This week seemed to be a fairly heavy week as far as some titles went. Personally, I know my pull list had a little extra oomph than it normally does, and overall, most titles read well.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

As always, Age of Ultron has continued to be strong with issue #4 hitting shelves. Things seem to keep getting thicker as each issue comes along. This time around, Bendis’ one-liners give the title a little something extra, as does his writing style in general. There were a couple “deaths” worth mentioning: [SPOILER] She-Hulk dies while giving Cage a chance to see what all the hubbub is about in Ultron’s ship. The end result is Cage barely making his way to a safe-haven in the Savage Lands to share what intel he gathered and then he too passes on. With all the ‘clumps’ of heroes coming together, it looks like the only way forward lies in the future…literally! If this 10-issue run can keep this up, each release is going to be a power-house on the shelves. And with the big G-Man (Gaiman) on board for Marvel’s final issue…well…let’s just say I’m excited as all get-out. Although what I’ve read is that the UA scenario is going to end in a ‘Marvel NOW’ 2.0-ish revamp, I’m looking toward seeing what all comes about.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Next on the list is, of course, The Superior Spider-Man #7. This series has read great so far. Although I haven’t written much concerning it lately (only covering Issue #2) it still remains strong. I was worried when Ryan Stegman left the art on the title, but the creative team that followed has lended their talent to the series and haven’t come up short once. Dan Slott has kept things interesting with the Octavius vs Peter Parker complication (almost in Ghost-like fashion). Each issue has Parker’s personality/memories growing stronger and his ‘voice’ being ‘heard’. Although curious to see how it all plays out, I have a feeling Parker is going to win out.

There has been much going on in previous issues as well. If you haven’t kept up (like I hadn’t…time was not on my side with my class schedule and personal life) I recommend doing so. I dig the dark and brooding mentality Octavious has brought to the character. With several characters, such as [SPOILER] the Vulture, Jester and Screwball amongst others getting severally beaten and Massacre’s life being brought to an and at the hands of Spider-Man is an interesting twist. Although I’m sure some long-time Spidey fans might disagree, I feel that this adds to the progression of the character. And, now that several parties involved are starting to see this change in the Superhero…well…it’s going to get interesting, especially with this issue lining things up for an Avengers intervention.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

This week, Marvel keeps rolling out solid titles with the first issue of Thanos Rising.  I haven’t read much on previews for this story, so I hadn’t known what to expect when I picked it up. All that I know is, the end result was me being quite entertained as learning a little about the characters past…specifically his childhood. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about a being such as Thanos as a result of childhood ostracism and bullying…but hey…it’s the guilt pleasure of the week. Im looking forward to the next issue, and if anyone even has a remote urge to check the title out, I highly recommend it.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo Courtesy of Marvel Comics.

This brings us to All-New X-Men #10. This series has yet to run out of steam, and for being a bi-weekly release, that is saying quite a bit. The story keeps it fresh and engaging and this issue isn’t any different. This issue sees the induction of Mastermind’s daughter into the ranks of Mystique’s clique, whose ambitions are still rather vague other than whatever it is, is going to cost a fortune to pull off. Cyclops pays a visit to the School in an attempt to explain his side of things and even offering a hand towards those who wish to join him. I felt like this added considerably to the story, especially once you throw in a young Summers being torn as to what to do…having the character with a past mentality see what has happened and end up still straddling the fence as to what path to take…it’s great! And, throw in a climax that had me guessing and anxious for issue #11 to arrive…well…you just have to read it to find out, but I know I was like “WHO?!?” once I set eyes on the last panel!

Photo Courtesy of DC Comics.

Photo Courtesy of DC Comics.

Lastly this week, DC made my list of titles with The Flash #18. With the Gorilla Warfare story arc at an end, it’s curious to see in which direction the creative team will take things. This issue felt a little off in terms of direction. Keep in mind this wasn’t a bad thing, although I was left scratching my head.

With things returning to ‘normal’ after everything that has developed was a nice change of pace. Now, however, the Flash is left to deal with a newly introduced duo who have gotten a small taste of powers as a result of previous happenings. That seemed to be the focus, and although slightly humorous encounters ensued…I felt a little overwhelmed with how this new factor was introduced to both myself (as the reader) and to Flash (in terms of no real plot exposure).

[Comic Review] Week of 2013/03/27 Highlights

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2013 by Casey Hutton
Photo Courtesy of IDW Publishing.

Photo Courtesy of IDW Publishing.

I have to say that I’ve been happy with IDW Publishing’s Judge Dredd title. I’ve been a fan of the character since I was a child and subscribed to 2000 A.D. Although lacking the British magazine’s variousness, the fact that this focuses on Dredd and the world in which he lives is what keeps it on my pull list.

With the addition of this weeks Judge Dredd#5, the creative team behind the title continues with their robot revolution story that we’ve seen take a slight hiatus with the clone and Judge Tarjay stories.

In this issue, Judge Dredd must respond to a Droid that turned on its owner, a teenage sensation that films his adventures into the seedier side of Mega-City One and releases them for public consumption.

The biggest difference in IDW’s version compared to others is that it’s not the raw styling that I’ve grown up with. It’s not bad, by any means…it just takes me a minute or two to adjust each issue as I’ve been used to previous artists interpretations. I do, however, appreciate the direction the team has taken Dredd into.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Marvel seems to be turning themselves around a bit with their whole NOW platform. Some series, like the All-New X-Men and Superior Spider-Man have been solid since day one. When I heard they were going to be putting out an Age of Ultron, I will admit, I was a little skeptical. When the second issue was release, I was advised I needed to check the series out. After a twist of the arm (no, not really…I am an easy sell, after all) I caved and picked up the first issue. I was amazed. The art is great and the writing even better. Bendis and crew are superb at what they do and their packaging is tight. When I went back the next day, issue #2 was waiting in my pull box. When This week’s #3 came out, I was down-right giddy.

In this issue, Captain America’s big plan starts to unfold and as it turns out, a deal is going to be had…or at least, on the surface. I have to say both the route taken here, the characters involved (and I must say that even though I am not always a huge fan of all of Marvel’s superheroes here everyone gets a bit of the action). The climax is also a resounding “Huh” moment, and has me waiting to see what is going to happen next! And I have to say that I’m more than a little curious to see how they manage several ‘tie-ins’ that are on their way (Superior Spider-Man and Fantastic Four being released this week as well).

Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Photo courtesy of Marvel Comics.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has been one of those titles I’ve been waiting for every since I read it was coming to store shelves. Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 was a decent enough prelude to the title and I have to say that I was impressed. With Guardians of the Galaxy #1…I’m left slightly scratching my head. In a ploy, Peter Quill’s father managed a little ‘reverse psychology’ on his son, and for whatever reason and to what unknown end…managed to get Peter to be at the right place at the right time as earth was going to be attacked.

The artwork here is great. Although not a shiny as some of the others that have come out this week, this one does manage to hold its own. The writing, for what it is, is decent enough. My only complaint here is that not much ground is covered in the limited page number alotted. Unfortunately, Iron Man/Tony Stark makes an appearance and from the looks of things will be around for a while. Not that I don’t like the character, but I do often times get tired of the same handful of heroes popping up throughout Marvel’s line.

This series is worth checking out, as it’s still in its early numbers who knows which direction the creative time is going to take it. I just hope that issue #2 will have a bit more to sink my teeth into.

P.S. Rocket Raccoon Enough said.

Photo courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Photo courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

I cannot say enough concerning Dark Horse’s The Black Beetle series. Every issue is amazing and enjoyable. When I first saw Francesco Francavilla’s work, I adored it. Seeing it here, even more so. I’m a sucker for noir-style pieces and this simply screams pulp. The overall feel of it is enough to make me want more.

In this story, we find the Black Beetle continuing his search for the mystery nemesis from the previous issue. Stumbling across one another’s paths once more, we find the Black Beetle on a little bit of the receiving end the unknown character’s whim. Making some progress, the ending of the issue is in preparation depicts the Black Beetle all dressed up and heading into a club club.

The artwork is phenomenal. I dig the styling and the choice of color palette. The story is engrossing. Overall, I will most likely say this is the best release of the week and worth checking out.

[Book Review] False Negative by Joseph Koenig

Posted in Book Review with tags , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2013 by Casey Hutton

Anyone that has read this blog knows my infatuation with pulp and noir-style reads, whether they be in the form of novels of comics. Suspense-thrillers with gritty imagery has always won over my heart. So, when I heard about Hard Case Crime I took a look at their website. Sure enough…it was a plethora of books by various authors that had me from the get go. Their selection consists of noir, old and new, by some writers well-known within other genres.

FalseNegativeCoverMy initial head-first dive into their titles consisted of False Negative by Joseph Koenig. From cover to cover, Koenig has put together one of the more interesting reads I’ve gotten my hands on in quite some time. He was a great understanding of the genre and the time period his novel is placed, and as we follow along with his main character (named Adam Jordan), the seedy-side of Atlantic City comes alive.

The book is a legitimate page-turner and in general remains consistant until the end. The story involves a reporter that commits a serious foopah in the journalism industry and ends up getting the boot out onto the street. Having no where else to turn and no other talents, he ends up writing for a magazing dubbed Real Detective. Koenig has us following along as Jordan stumbles from story to story, always seeming to come back to the one case that haunts him, and as new murders ensue he can’t help but become involved.

For three-fourths of the novel, I was kept guessing who was behind the killings involved with the main storyline. With Koenig throwing in side-stories of Jordan earning a living, it kept me engrossed and turning the pages one after another. So much so that I sat aside several other books I was reading (I usually have 3-5 going at the same time) to focus on this one.

What can I say negative about this particular title? Not much. I felt the killer was revealed (even though not necessarily outright, but enough they were singled out quickly) too early. More attention to the main plot could have added to the ‘chew’ of this title. Keep in mind, there wasn’t a lack of main story…I just felt some of the skipping around might have taken away a bit here and there, and in some places had me scratching my head thinking I was missing a page or two between thumbing to the next. And lastly, the final two pages could have been removed entirely and the story ended with ‘Chapter 13.’

But honestly, no piece of work is perfect. What makes a piece of writing great can be in the eye and mind of those who read them. In my opinion, False Negative is well written over all, and what little it does lack is made up for in that need to keep turning the page. If the catalogue of Hard Case Crime is anywhere close to this (and with big names like Stephen King on the bill…) I should say this publishing company is going to be just what the doctor ordered for my noir and pulp fixation.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 Gingered Digits.

Verdict: Character Development (1/1), Climax (0.5/1), Entertainment (1/1), Plot (1/1), Story (1/1).

[Comic Review] The Superior Spider-Man #2

Posted in Comic Review with tags , , , on January 30, 2013 by Casey Hutton

TheSuperiorSpiderMan002Dan Slott and his team at Marvel Comics have done something amazing…and although I was not a Slott ‘hater’ with the wrapping up of Amazing Spider-Man, I had no idea this is what was going to be coming next.

I enjoyed The Superior Spider-Man #1 enough that I wanted to keep with it. Now, with the release of The Superior Spider-Man #2…I’m left feeling speechless.

First thing’s first. Stegman and Delgado’s finished art is eye candy. I couldn’t help but love every panel my eyes came across. It’s both gritty and dark, yet crisp and clean (I know…I don’t get it either!). A lot of times, a book’s cover can be the best part of the title. In this case, it’s the exact opposite. The cover is simple, Octo-Peter and MJ kissing with a black background. Not over-the-top and not too understated. Then BAM!! Once I cracked open the cover, my eyes were overwhelmed with artistic goodness. Stegman…you are amazing and in rare form!

And now for Mr. Dan Slott. There was a lot of “controversy” surrounding the wrap up of The Amazing Spider-Man. I, personally, thought it was an interesting way to bring in a newer embodiment of Spider-Man. Did I necessarily like every aspect? Of course not, but in my view it was a story that should have been longer that was instead shoe-horned into three releases (Amazing Spider-Man #698-700). In what could have been a release or to in and of itself was crammed into only a couple of pages (the culmination and finale of #700).

This issue, The Superior Spider-Man #2 was what I’ve been waiting for, and if this is a taste for what is to come I do ever foresee myself wanted to put this title down. Here we have Octo-Peter struggling with his old habits. That villain shining through in moments where Peter would have given into his emotions. The tech-savvy genius trying to make the most effective use of his time even go so far as “making an app for that” approach which had me chuckling. Not to mention (SPOILER) the next villain being introduced. Who doesn’t love the Vulture…especially one in a world revamped where we may not know what to expect!

If there were any doubts to fanboys…I hope this issue quells some of the internet hatred of the creative team. If they can bring out an issue like this that I felt was knocked totally out of the ball park…I think that alone speaks volumes to both the dedication and future the team sees in this title.

Rating: 10/10 Gingered Digits!

Reasoning: Artwork (2/2), Character Development (2/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (2/2), Story (2/2).

[Film Review] Dredd (BR/DVD)

Posted in Film Review with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2013 by Casey Hutton

Judge Dredd (2012)Although not necessarily a ‘new’ release, as it came out January 8th of this year, I figure I’d take a look at one of the more recent films to be released that I legitimately enjoyed.

I have been a fan of the Dredd character since I was a kid. The art. The Comic. There’s even a part of me that loves the Stallone film adaptation from the 1990s.

This adaptation, however, released by Lionsgate is superb. It’s dark. It’s gritty. It’s Dredd. It has a one-liner or two and some of the same sadistic humor that the comic had (and still has), but none of the over-the-top additions its predecessor had.

We follow Dredd along with a new Judge with psy powers as she gets her review on the street. They are summoned to the scene of three bodies having been dropped from a rather high altitude in one of the tower living dwellings. Things take a toll for the worst, and it ends up the tower goes on lockdown and all hell breaks loose. Mayhem ensues.

As far as story goes, it’s straight forward. There no real surprises here, and once the film gets going it’s almost none-stop action. Although I enjoy the cast (Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey to name a few) the talent that went into this wasn’t a must. The dialogue is direct, and with only a handful of exceptions, most of the actors involved either die horribly soon after they come onto the screen or they   wear a helmet.

Some of the filming technique in this is amazing. The ‘Slo-Mo’ scenes are amazing. The light and how it plays off the set and camera is amazing. After watching some of the special features included in the BR/DVD combo pack, they even went so far as designing a new camera system that allowed them to do what they wanted.

Overall, it’s worth the time to see this film. It doesn’t go much of any where as far as location. It’s a solid action flick. And, unfortunately, it got pretty much forgotten at the box office. Hopefully, just as in the Stallone rendition, it gets its time to shine and will be found years on down the line…even if it’s in the ‘El Cheapo’ bin.

Rating: 6/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Character Development (0.5/2), Climax (1.5/2), Direction (2/2), Plot (1/2), Story (1/2).

[Book Review] Something From the Nightside by Simon R. Green

Posted in Book Review with tags , , , on January 28, 2013 by Casey Hutton

SomethingFromTheNightsideIn my lifetime, it’s very hard to come across a book that fails to meet my literary expectations but still end up loving it. Not only that, but, for the most part, loving the entire series.

In Simon R. Green’s Something From the Nightside, I found a book I couldn’t help but hate to love.

The book, which is the first in an ongoing series, came out in 2003. I read it when it was a new release…and I’ve read it once more after that. This time around having been my third. While perusing the ‘New Release’ shelves in the science fiction section at my local book store I saw that Green had released yet another in the series. Having been out of the loop for a while, I decided to start over again rather than pick up the new title and miss out on previously released back story.

The story revolves around a private eye with special talents name John Taylor. You won’t forget that name because it’s repeated about 1,000 times within the title’s 230-ish pages. Having been in the “normal” world now for a few years, a damsel in distress draws him back in to the seedy side of London, a completely dark and sadistic side of London known as the Nightside. The Nightside is also a name you will not forget, as you are constantly reminded of its name with every turn of the page.

This damsel has Taylor following her daughter into the bowels of this unearthly, supernatural part of town. A place where magic is real, time has no real meaning and the cars can eat you.

Overall, this title is what I would consider ‘Popcorn’ reading. It’s light, fluffy and quick. At only 230-ish pages, it doesn’t take much time to go from cover to cover. But the real kicker is, with all the poor grammar, gaps in story and just in general mind-numbing amount of times the Nightside is mentioned…I couldn’t help but enjoy myself.

The story lacks in several areas…and in general lacks enough to sink your teeth into for long. The character development, although present, isn’t enough to really help you feel for the characters involved in the storyline. The climax was ok…not great or anything spectacular…just borderline on almost being disappointing, but not in the end.

What the story does have is a feel. By that, I mean it screams noir. Modern noir, but noir nonetheless. Green utilizes the Nightside in such a way that the world of today is shoved aside and a grittier side of reality is revealed to us. A place where a futuristic spaceman walks shoulder to shoulder with a knight in shining armor. Unbelievable, yes…but still one heck of a good time!

Give this one a shot. It’s short and well worth the time. Even if you can’t get into it enough to follow along by delving in the rest of the series, Something From the Nightside will most likely have some aspect to tickle your fancy.

Rating:  5.5/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Character Development (0.5/2), Climax (1/2),Entertainment (2/2), Plot  (1/2), Story (1/2).

[Comic Review] The Black Beetle #1

Posted in Comic Review with tags , on January 27, 2013 by Casey Hutton

TheBlackBeetle000One word for you: AMAZING!

That pretty much sums up this series, and this title, put out by Dark Horse Comics. The title and the man behind it, one Francesco Francavilla is one part genius, one part artist for a total of three parts stupendous. For once, I have to admit I’m a fanboy…and it’s not a “classic” title that has garnered my admiration. It’s something new and completely fresh. If you haven’t had the opportunity…and yes, I mean opportunity…to have been given a chance to read this title…you have no idea what you’re missing.

I have been a fan of pretty much anything with a “noir” feel to it. Dark Horse and Francavilla seemed to have timed this title at just the right time, as that artistic/literary taste of mine hadn’t been filled in some time.. Piquing my interest with The Black Beetle #0, (collection of shorts released previously in Dark Horse Presents), I couldn’t wait until The Black Beetle #1 hit the shelves. So much so that I didn’t want to wait to see how the title would pan out before I added it to my pull list.

TheBlackBeetle001But…enough drooling and down to business. In The Black Beetle #1, we see the first in a four part series that has our hero…or rather masked vigilante…out to bring down two of the local La Familia families in Colt City. However, it appears that he is not the only one, and his carefully lain out plans were disrupted as another was one step ahead of him, killing the two men in question via an explosion just as he was swooping in to deliver his own brand of justice.

Thus, we are led on a bit of a chase, only to wind up in Colt City’s heavily fortified prison and still the nemesis that had foiled the Beetle’s plans has struck yet again.

This book is put together great. The art. The writing and dialogue. It all works together and breaths with an air direct out of the era it’s meant to be set in. I simply love it. Francavilla has outdone himself and I hope this will be a series that will be around for some time to come.

Do yourself a favor and pick this title up while you can (from what I understand, it sold above expectation), read it…then read it again, taking in every panel as you go. For once, it may finally be a title you won’t regret investing your time and money in.

Rating: 10/10 Gingered Digits.

Reasoning: Artwork (22), Character Development (2/2), Climax (2/2), Plot Development (2/2), Story (2/2).