Archive for August, 2017

Wolverine and the X-Men Vol 1

Posted: August 30, 2017 in Comics
Tags: , ,

51FM5Cut0PL

Back in 2011 Marvel launched a brand new X-Men series titled Wolverine and the X-Men. I was lucky and got ahold of the first trade that contains the first seven issues of the series and I wanted to say on here that it’s a collection no X-Men fan should be without. What a funny, creative and all round great run.

One of the best parts of Wolverine and the X-Men is how the school aspect of the X-Men is front and centre after Wolverine finds himself the headmaster of the new Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. From mutant centric classes, to students trying to get away with all sorts of mayhem. The book is really funny, without becoming an all out comedy and manages to pack in plenty of action, adventure and heart the best X-Men comics are known for. You get a great arrary of X-Men hits on the foe side of the equation featuring encounters with The Hellfire Club, The Brood and a detour to outer space all in the first several issues with nothing feeling either rused nor forced.

The trade I own is written by Jason Aaron with art from Chris Bachalo, the duo’s style working together perfectly. Each page and in turn the comic as a whole just screams fun. From the main action on the page to loads of tiny details you may just happen to notice as you go to turn a page. Wolverine and the X-Men is written well, has realy good dialogue, a fun story and great art. I can not get over how good this first trade is and if the rest of the series holds up as well I think this could become one of my all time favourite runs.

Roster wise you get a good mix of X-Men mainstays – Logan, Kitty Pride, Beast, Iceman, Husk and Rachel Grey – who act as the main faculty (wait until you see who the janitor is!) and several established students to follow. Lesser known characters such as Broo, a peaceful member of the Brood species and Kid Gladiator of the Shi-ar Empire make for memorable debuts alongside more familair faces such as Hellion, Anole and Quentin Quire, the later getting a fair amount of great character development that I appreciated. Also of note is Warbird, Kid Gladiators bodyguard, who while not as prominent in these first few issues, manages to make an impression still. All of the characters seem right at home uner Jason Aaron’s writing.

Wolverine and the X-Men Vol 1 is a must read for X-Men fans.

 

 

Death Note (No spoilers)

Posted: August 28, 2017 in Comics, Movies
Tags:

MV5BYzk5ZjFhZTUtYzFlMy00MDQ0LWE5OGQtZTk0YWQ3YjdkN2U2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzgzMjU4NjM@__V1_SY1000_CR0,0,666,1000_AL_

I watched Death Note (the original anime) a few years ago and often felt excited, scared, frustrated and by the end satisfied. To call it complex would not be doing it justice. It is without doubt one of the best examples of the genre. Cut to right now and we have an American adaptaion of the Japanese source matrial via Netflix and director Adam Wingard (You’re Next, The Guest, Blair Witch). For the most part you are left with a good if not great movie. Does that sound less than priasing? Well it’s not supposed to be. In fact it’s meant to be the opposite because Death Note, for all it’s depth and complex arguments, is not an easy anime/manga to adapt into a one hour and forty mintue movie and the fact Wingard was able to deliver a solid introduction to this world at all is a proud achievement.

Death Note asks what would YOU do if a god of death’s note book fell into your hands? All it would take would be for you to write a persons name in said book and picture their face for said person to die in whichever way you see fit? That’s the gist of the story. Our protagonist is high school student Light (Nat Wolff) who finds himself in said situation. He along with fellow student Mia (Margaret Qualley) decide to use the notebook to eradicate any who they deem evil from the world. As the bodycount rises the two teens draw the attention of the worlds greatest detective L (an excellent Lakeith Stanfield) who makes it his sole mission to bring down Light. Faced with bringing about a new world order via the power of the notebook while the authorities close in forces Light and Mia to make some questionable decision for (in their opinion) the greater good.

The issue with the anime and sadly with the film is that Light and Mia are flat out unlikable. You don’t root for either of them, Mia espechially comes across as quite ready to go all out and kill without much investigation as to why in this American adaptation. Light on the other hand at least has a reason but whereas in the anime he was given room to show depth and grow (for better or worse) in the movie he comes across as impulsive and more unlikeable. Not the actors fault, just how the characters are written. Thankfully L is awesome and Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out) is great in the role. The always reliable Willem Dafoe and Shea Whigham put in very good turns as death god Ryuk and Light’s father respectively.

Taken as simply a horror movie Death Note is a good picture with some interesting ideas, points of coversation (moral talking points for sure ) and some truly grissly demises. Credit also to Wingard for putting on film one of the best foot chases I’ve seen on film in quite some time, packed in with an overall great musical score that gives the film it’s own indentity and works real well. The film works on it’s own sure but if you find yourself really interested in the world and wanting more then as is usually the case with these things you can’t beat the original. My advice would be to check out the anime and original manga and then catch Netflix’s Death Note, just to see how they went about adapting something massive and compex because you may just surprise yourself and end up thinking the filmmakers did good.

Death Note is available now on Netflix (UK)

 

The original Secret of Mana was released on the Super Nintendo back in 1993 and it would go on to become a classic in the RPG genre. Many years later it is still fondly remembered and an original SNES cart goes for crazy prices on Ebay even now. Luckily for fans who missed out on the original release the game has seen various ports over the years from the Nintendo Virtual Console, the forthcoming SNES Classic and now in the form of a remake. Strange that it is (so far) only listed for PS4, Vita and Steam. I would have assumed a Switch edition would have been a no brainer? Anyway, sit back and check out the announcement trailer.

I had the game back in the day and it is a great RPG. I was lucky in that I was able to get a SNES Classic on pre order (so far, unless it’s cancelled!) so I’ll be jumping right into the original again once I can. Yet if this remake plays as good as it looks then you can bet I will pick it up too.

Secret of Mana will be out February 15th 2018

Yep. You read that right slasher fans! Director/writer Adam Green (Hatchet, Frozen)dropped a bomb shell earlier this week when he unveiled the fourth entry into his Hatchet series in the form of Victor Crowley.

Here is what you need to know – the film was shot in secret over the last year or so, it premiered two nights ago to positive reactions from fans who had gathered to see what they thought was a Hatchet tenth anniversary screening and here’s the big one; if you’re lucky enough to be attending FrightFest this weekend you will be able to see the film too! The reviews from the big horror sites have been very positive also, although I’ve avoided them from the most part to avoid spoilers.

The official plot of the film is as follows –

Set a decade after the events of the series’ first three films, Victor Crowley reunites Hatchet mainstays Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7 – X’s Jason Voorhees) and Parry Shen (Better Luck Tomorrow) for an all-new, horrifying journey into the haunted, blood-drenched bayou. In 2007, forty-nine people were brutally torn to pieces in Louisiana’s Honey Island Swamp. Over the past decade, lone survivor Andrew Yong’s claims that local legend Victor Crowley was responsible for the horrific massacre have been met with great controversy, but when a twist of fate puts him back at the scene of the tragedy, Crowley is mistakenly resurrected and Yong must face the bloodthirsty ghost from his past.

So what do you think of that? Me? I think it sounds okay. Look I was not expecting another Hatchet movie. I thought the axe had well and truly swung with that series with the finale of Hatchet 3. Does Victor Crowley seem like more of the same? Well yeah, it does in some ways but it all depends on the execution and I’m sure if Green and co. felt there wasn’t another chapter to this franchise and a decent story to be told we wouldn’t be getting one.

Going off the films IMDB page there are more than one or two genre stars to keep an eye out for in Victor Crowley but I don’t want to reveal any of that here for fear of ruining any potential surprises.

Hatchet 3 spoilers below.

From what I can gather it appears Hatchet’s final girl Marybeth (Tamara Feldman, Danielle Harris) will not be back, which when you factor in how Hatchet 3 ended kind of makes sense. Maybe. Let’s just say the door was left open.

After FrightFest this weekend Victor Crowley will be going on a tour across the U.S. Right now there is not news of either a UK wide release or DVD release. Once that info is available I’ll be sure to post it here.

Boyka: Undisputed

Posted: August 21, 2017 in Movies
Tags: , ,

MV5BNGQ4YjhmNzUtZTI1MC00OTQ3LTk4MTItYWJhNDdmNGZjOWU2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTA2NjI0MQ@@__V1_

The Undisputed series is one that I know has a ton of fans. Yet due to what I assume are some odd distribution decisions some of the films in the series have never been available in the UK. Point being it’s been hard to try and check this series out to see what the fuss is about, so it was a nice surprise to find the latest movie, Boyka: Undisputed on Netflix (UK). The film stars Scott Adkins (Undisputed 2, Undisputed 3, Savage Dog) as Boyka, the character having proven so popular in earlier installments the series now revolves around his lethal rogue. I assume Boyka began as a villain in the Undisputed movies but proved incredibly popular so he’s now the star (similar to what happens to villains on a ton of CW shows).

In this instalment of the series Boyka is a man on the verge of turning his life around, with close links to his church and his aim set on a chance at a title exhibition in MMA that will see his career not only become legit but taken to the next level. After tragedy strikes in the ring Boyka takes it upon himself to seek out the family of a fallen opponent, only to be confronted with a young woman caught up in debt to crooks. Boyka then sets out to free this woman from her debt whatever the cost. Having only just jumped into the series with this fourth entry I had NO problem following the plot, getting invested and filling in the blanks where need be.

I don’t think it is misleading to say that Boyka is to Adkins what Rocky is to Stallone. Such is the commitment Adkins puts into the role. Having clearly piled on the muscle for the film he once again proves he’s good with those accents (this time it’s Russian. I think) and a force to be reckoned with when it comes to fighting. Once again, whenever I mention this guy, the fights scenes in Boyka are incredible and very brutal. This is a must see movie for fans of not just action flicks but martial arts too.

Boyka is a legit great time for genre fans and as with a lot of Adkins work it’s a love letter to a bygone age of action movies made for action lovers. Not the most vague demographic out there in order to get as many tickets sold as possible, no, this film knows who it’s audience is exactly and wants nothing more than to make them happy (and flinch haha). Now. I need to check out Undisputed one through three.

 

 

Savage Dog

Posted: August 18, 2017 in Movies
Tags: ,

MV5BODI4ZDU4NDItMWY1ZS00NWZhLTliOTEtMGY2NjdlZmQ5MDcwL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzIzMTc2Mw@@__V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_

Scott Adkins (Ninja, Ninja 2, Undisputed, Doctor Strange) stars in another fun and action packed throwback action movie. Adkins has made a name for himself over the years for putting out quality small budget action movies that call back to the 80’s and 90’s golden age of one man against a horde action flicks. Savage Dog is no exception.

The film is directed by Jesse V. Johnson (who also wrote it), it follows Adkins character Martin Tillman as he negotiates Indochina in and around 1959, in a post war backdrop where bad guys are out to shake down and abuse those who can’t fight for themselves. It falls upon Irish man Tillman (really good accent work from Adkins) to put these goons in their place and that he does in some really grisly ways. There’s machete work on display in Savage Dog that would make Jason Voorhees recoil in horror!

Adkins, Johnson and the stunt team put some really well crafted fights on film in Savage Dog. As the film brings in a tournament subplot for a section of the movie there are several showdowns that had me crying out at the brutality of the hand to hand combat. You feel as if you’re getting hit yourself. It’s brilliant work by all involved and to be honest it’s anybody’s guess why Hollywood and the big studios are not knocking down Adkin’s and Johnson’s door to give them money to create quality AAA studio movies. Not to sound overly dramatic nor knock Atomic Blonde, but for pure enjoyments sake I had a lot more with Savage Dog than with Atomic Blonde which surely must have cost WAY more to produce than this.

Marko Zaror (Machete Kills), Cung Le (The Grandmaster), Vladimir Kulich (The Equalizer) and Keith David (The Thing) round out the cast and they’re all great and look to be having a good time getting stuck into the material which is always good to see. A lot of times with small budget movies some actors (which is fair enough I suppose) see ’em as a quick pay check but nobody phones it in and I liked that.

Savage Dog is a good action movie plain and simple. I watched it on Netflix (UK) with my bro and I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. Support small budget movie making because to be blunt if you like these sort of old school action movies but don’t dish out to see them they’ll stop making them. Piracy hurts these movies the most and to some extent it showed in Savage Dog but the fact I was abale to look past some budget restraints and walk away with a grin on my face shows just how much passion went into it.

 

Atomic Blonde (NO SPOILERS)

Posted: August 16, 2017 in Movies
Tags:

MV5BMjM5NDYzMzg5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTM2NDU1MjI@__V1_SY1000_CR0,0,631,1000_AL_

The plot for Atomic Blonde is standard stuff. So standard in fact that despite a game cast who all do great work and seem to be having a blast, I still felt a bit bored in between the action beats. Bored may be too strong of a word for it but still the film felt like it did drag at times. Had it come in at a brisk 90 minutes or so I would say it’s a lean and mean (not to mention) gorgeous looking movie but at almost 2 hours Atomic Blonde (almost) outstays it’s welcome.

What’s good about it? Like I said the film, directed by John Wick’s David Leitch (currently shooting Deadpool 2!) looks stunning. The film ozzes attitude and Leitch and his crew nail that 1980’s look with the sets and the fantastic soundtrack. Likewise stars Charlize Theron and James McAvoy are clearly having a ball, with strong support from the likes of Toby Jones, Sofia Boutella and John Goodman. Yet there’s no beating around the bush here the film belongs to Theron. From acting (which one need never question with this lady) to the action, she throws herself into the role and it shows.

Plot wise the narrative is standard spy stuff – a list of active undercover agents goes missing due to a mole and Theron’s MI6 Agent is sent to Berlin to fix the leaks. The movie is based on a comic but I’m not familiar with it. What stops Atomic Blonde from being too familiar for it’s own good is the strong acting from the cast and the interesting characters that are scattered throughout the film.

The action on display in Atomic Blonde is why most people will be going to see it and on that front the film is a winner. It’s the perfect blend of actor and director, Theron clearly able to do a lot of the work herself and put her trust in director Leitch and his team. The fight scenes are effective and brutal, a lot has been made of the hallway sequence in the film but it’s just one of several well executed (and brutal) action scenes. Characters get messed up in Atomic Blonde real bad and that includes the main character. The fight scenes are violent and help to keep the film fresh and afloat and not simply turn into yet another familiar spy thriller with good intentions.

Did it need to be just on two hours long? Erm, I’d say you’d have gotten a stronger movie overall had it been shorter but overall Atomic Blonde is a solid action movie that should satisfy both casual and hardcore action fans. Hats off to producer Theron and director Leitch for pushing ahead with Atomic Blonde and showing how the ladies of Hollywood can kick just as much arse as the guys, without age (Theron having just turned 42) or gender being a barrier. If Keanu can keep kicking arse then so can Theron!

 

MV5BMjA1MzIwMjMxNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQ3NTc2MjI@__V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_

The Conjuring cinematic universe continues to grow with the release of Annabelle: Creation. Directed by Light’s Out David F. Sandberg Annabelle: Creation began to gain my notice through some effective teaser trailers and strong word of mouth from early screenings. When I got a call to ask if I wanted to go and check it out this past weekend I jumped at the chance. Horror is one of my most loved genres, so of course I wanted to see if Annabelle: Creation could keep The Conjuring universe strong.

The plot of the film revolves around the Annabelle doll audiences first got introduced to in the opening of The Conjuring. It’s a scary doll for sure. This movie tells the story of the origin of the demonic doll and it does a good job because the story of the film is one of the stronger points. A doll maker and his wife suffer a horrid tragedy, years later opening their home to several orphans and their nun charge. No sooner have the children arrived the doll is found and all hell breaks loose. I appreciated the slow burn this film has, as the film does at first appear to be by the numbers – threat established, audiences know more than the characters, first night slight scare, second night slightly worse scare – but it’s the expert way the scares are filmed and paced that sets Annabelle: Creation apart. Each one more effective than the last and getting worse and more terrifying as the film reaches it’s final act.

Regarding the films score, personally I felt the music to be too on the nose some of the time, feeling that a lack of ‘scary’ music would have been much more effective in some scenes. It felt – only during some scenes – the film was using the musical score to kind of say “Okay guys…..GET READY…..HERE WE GO……GET READY….WAIT FOR IT!!!” I felt the scares worked well enough that some didn’t even need any musical cues to play a part in the build up.

Annabelle: Creation has a great cast featuring Miranda Otto (The Thin Red Line, Homeland, Lord of the Rings) Anthony LaPaglia (Empire Records) and Stephanie Sigman (Spectre). Young actresses Lulu Wilson and Talitha Bateman emerge as the films true starts however, their characters are the heart of the film and it’s focus.

So yeah, to wrap it up I did like the film. I think it’s a solid horror movie that does the right thing by starting at 1 and then ramping the scares and the tension up to 10 as the film goes along, something I felt both The Conjuring and Insidious did in reverse despite enjoying both. This gets unexpectedly dark which I wasn’t expecting but those parts only added to the overall horror of the movie. If you’re a fan of either of The Conjuring movies then I think you’ll have a good time with Annabelle: Creation. Considering this is only the directors second feature film (I must check out Light’s Out) the movie is all the more impressive. While not a classic it’s certainly a solid horror flick and really there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

The X-Files season eleven begins production.

Posted: August 13, 2017 in TV
Tags:

MV5BNTM5ODczMDAyOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDQxMDE5NzE@__V1_

The X-Files season eleven has officially started filming! Returning cast members confirmed so far include stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as FBI Agents Mulder and Scully along with Mitch Pileggi as Walter Skinner and Annabeth Gish as Monica Reyes.

Robert Patrick, who joined the show along with Gish in season eight as FBI Special Agent John Doggett, has stated he would be open to coming back but seeing as the show is now filming I would assume the scripts are done and maybe he will have to wait until season twelve? Time will tell. I would love to see Doggett back on the show. Both he and Reyes were welcome additions to the show and I liked both characters. It will be interesting to see how Reyes plays into season eleven considering the controversial reveal in the season finale of season ten.

In other news it has been revealed that the eleventh season will feature only TWO mythology episodes, with the remaining eight of the ten episode season being stand alone cases. Some fans have reacted badly to this news but others, including this fan, feel it’s better for the show as it will mean not being beholden to what even fans agree is a messy mythology for good or bad.

No word yet on whether season ten newcomers Lauren Ambrose and Robbie Amell are back as FBI Agents Einstein and Miller but seeing how the last season ended I would expect both to be back in some capacity.

At the moment X-Files season eleven could debut late this year or early next. Still no official word yet on when the show will premiere. It’s unclear if Channel 5 will once again be broadcasting it here in the UK. I hope they’re not as the gap between the US and UK was too far for my liking with season ten. Maybe SKY can grab the rights and we can get it a day later? I’m greedy I know. Once there is an official air date I will let you know.

 

20638378_1240156682797706_8971360384178516342_n

It’s been a long time coming for comic book fans but we now – finally – have Cable on his way to big screen. This past few weeks has been great for X-Men fans, with shooting kicking off on New Mutants, X-Men: Dark Phoenix and Deadpool 2. Following on the heels of the Domino reveal several days ago we now have a first look at Josh Brolin as Cable. Cable is the time traveling mutant, who got his big breakout during the early 90’s X-Men and X-Force comics and would go on to gain a massive fan following.

20620956_1240156689464372_60919531292395637_n

He looks great.

Deadpool 2 will hit screens next summer.