Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: The Three Musketeers (2011)

Okay Hollywood, listen up: calm down with all the goddamn remakes and reboots for a while.  Please.  How many times are we going to make films based on The Three Musketeers?  This will be the third one released in my lifetime and I’m getting a little sick of it.  Regardless here we are today not unlike last year with the Robin Hood film by Ridley Scott.  That film was pretty damn mediocre at best and Scott is a really good director.   This film was directed by Paul W. Anderson whose film list includes the Resident Evil movies, the first Mortal Kombat movie, and the Death Race remake.  If that doesn’t sound alike the resume of a director you’d expect to be making an adventure film based on a literary classic you’re not alone. 

For what I assume is a very, very small minority of you currently reading this blog this film is based on the first and most famous book in the d'Artagnan Romances series written by Alexndre Dumas, a fictional account of the life d’Artagnan.  As far as I can tell this film differs from most of its predecessors in that it’s an unrepentant action film.  To put it simply this is a 21st Century action film based on a 19th Century historical novel (Set in the 17th Century).  And since by “21st Century Action Film” I mean “Copied from Zack Snyder’s 300” you can begin to see why I had doubts going into this movie. 

Full review below.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Anime Review: Murder Princess

Is there a cooler name for an anime than Murder Princess?  I have seen my fair share of anime with badass titles: Darker than Black, Soul Eater, Princess Nine (Shut up! I like what I like!).  However Murder Princess tops them all!  It’s so out there and invokes a lot interesting images just by hearing it.   I’ve been hoping to watch this anime for a long, long time based solely on the name.  Yeah, yeah; I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover or whatever but have you seen that title?   It’s awesome!

Based on a two volume manga by Sekihiko Inui Murder Princess was adapted into an anime in 2007 by Marvelous Entertainment and Bee Train…Bee Train of course being the company responsible for El Cazador de le Bruja.  You know, that anime I hated because it was as boring as the day is long.  In fact Murder Princess came out right before that atrocity series.   Honestly this show seems to share some thematic similarities with the Triple G Trilogy (That’s “Gay Girls w/ Guns Trilogy” for you newcomers) in that it stars two women, one of whom is a trained killer, and that they share a strong bond.  Apparently this show is considered a Yuri anime (i.e. “Girls’ Love”) by some sources but honestly it’s mostly ambiguous at best and I wouldn’t put too much stock in it were I you.  Anyway it was licensed by FUNimation Entertainment in 2008.

Also this anime is an OVA or Original Video Animation and thus only six episodes long.   As I’m pretty sure this is my first time reviewing an OVA I’ll briefly talk about a bit about them. OVAs are straight to video (Or DVD nowadays) anime.  Which isn’t at all uncommon here in North America, of course, but we don’t usually think very highly of such releases as they tend to a bit on the cheap-ass side of things.   However in Japan OVAs are much more popular and tend to have higher budgets and better production quality than their television counterparts likely due to its (Usually) short episode count and longer production time per episodes (Which can in some cases can last years between releases).

Full review after the jump.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Review: 50/50

I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt!  I’ve been a fan of his since 3rd Rock from the Sun but it was actually with the awful film GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra did I start to realize that he can pretty much play any role given to him.  Along with a choice few others I feel that he is the future of Hollywood.  Since 500 Days of Summer America has finally taken notice of JGL and he’s been getting a lot of big roles lately.  His most recent film is 50/50 and I’m letting it be known right now; if it’s got JGL in it I’m going to try to watch it.  Next year he’ll star in a bike messenger film that looks kind of freaking ridiculous but I’m fairly sure I’ll be there opening weekend nonetheless. 

Directed by Jonathan Levine this film is loosely based on screen writer Will Reiser’s own real life battle with cancer.  As a point of trivia Reiser is very good friends in real life with comedic actor Seth Rogen who pretty much plays a fictional version of himself in this movie.  Rogen also acts as a producer because that’s kind of his thing now, I suppose.  Last time I reviewed a Rogen-related film it ended poorly but does the inclusion of JGL do anything to soften the blow?

Click below for the full review.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Anime Review: Highschool of the Dead

We’ve talked a lot about comic books the last few months.  So let’s take a break (At least until, oh I don’t know, four blogs from this one) and focus and something else for a bit.   How about some anime?

 Highschool of the Dead, or simply H.O.T.D., is an 12 episode anime series based on a still as of this writing ongoing manga by brothers Daisuke Satō (Writer) and Shōji Satō (Artist).  It was aired in 2010 and produced by Madhouse, the studio responsible for many noteworthy works including Trigun, Ninja Scroll, Beck: Mongolian Chop Squad, Nana, Monster and the recent string of Marvel Anime that has been popping out the last year.  Now I’m somewhat cheating here because I have seen this anime in its entirety before re-watching for this review.  It was last fall; I was watching around the same time I was watching Black Blood Brothers.  I was going to review it then but I realized that it had just been licensed by Sentai FIlmworks and scheduled for a 2011 release so decided I would wait until it was commercially, and legally, available to everyone before I advertised it here.  The title of the series is probably pretty self-explanatory; this is a horror/zombie drama starring Japanese high school kids, which I assume makes half of you roll your eyes and possibly the pique the other half’s interest.  To set the tone of this review I must let you know that the manga version o this work was named one of the Top Five Worst Manga at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con.  So obviously we’re off to a good start. 

Full review after the jump.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: X-Men - Schism #5

This is it: the final issue of X-Men: Schism.  I have to say I when I first heard about this comic I was really excited about the prospect of the X-Men being put at odds with each other mainly because I thought it be neat to see the an X-Man versus X-Man scenario.  However this miniseries disappoints on every level.  Mostly.   But I’m getting a head of myself.  So far I have been underwhelmed for three issues and then in the last one I actively became kind of angry over the writing.  If you haven’t done so yet check out those reviews: Issue #1, Issue #2, Issue #3, and Issue #4.

X-Men: Schism #5 was written by Jason Aaron with art by Adam Kubert on pencils, Mark Roslan on [Digital] Inks, and Jason Kith on Colors.  X-Men: Regenesis #1 has already come out by this point and I have indeed read it.  Soon the “new” X-Men books will be coming out and the new status quo for the team will begin.  Of course, as with this comic, this new direction seems considerably less interesting now that it’s here than it did when it was announced.

Full review after the jump.

[Warning: Tons of spoilers ahead]

Friday, October 14, 2011

Nerd Rage #8: Final Thoughts On the Intitial DCnU

The DCnU does its best to remind you that Aquaman is awesome
We were solidly in Month Two of the Great DC Reboot of 2011.  When I first herd about this big company spanning relaunch I was upset and extremely skeptical, but now after having read a number of the new titles…well, I’m still upset.  Yes I admit that I have read some good comics and I know that there are several comics I didn’t read that have been critical successes as well.   However I still feel like there are a lot of problems with this whole stunt, and it is a stunt.   As of right now I’m sure DC Comics doesn’t care too much about whatever is being said in general (Like, if DC were to read this bog they probably wouldn’t take it any mind) because the bottom line is they killed in sales in the month of September.  Of the top twenty spots seventeen were DCnU books, including all of the top five.  Compare this to Augusts’ sales where things were much more evenly distributed (But Justice League #1 was still the top seller).  Even if a million people went on the internet to declare their hatred of the comics good sales would keep DC motivated to make more of the same.  They’re a business and that’s what businesses do.  Even so these numbers are still in the short term.   Before the new comics came out none of us really knew which ones would be good and which ones would be crap so I imagine most of us just bought what looked good and seemed to gel with our sensibilities.  Not every comic in the top twenty was really all that great after all.  It will be interesting to see what the coming months will tell for DC and whether they can keep this momentum up now that fans have a better idea where to put their money.

Also I’d like to point out that Batgirl #1, Batwoman #1 and Wonder Woman #1, three books I gave positive reviews of, all made it to the Top 20 while Red Hood and the Outlaws #1, which I hated, did not.  I feel somewhat vindicated.

In any event today I want look at the new DCU and discus a bit more on what changed and speculate if it’s good or bad.

More rants after the jump.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Review: X-Men - Schism #4

So I said the next time I would review an X-Men: Schism comic it would be Generation: Hope #10.  That was the intention but to be perfectly honest the Schism Checklist may have overestimated that book’s importance.  Basically it’s the events leading up to Idie saving the lives of the civilians at the Mutant History Museum from her point of view.  It’s supposed to, I guess, give us a look at the type of person she is (Which guess is a “Debbie Downer”) but not only do I still not really care about the character but the issue itself has none impact on the storyline as a whole.  But if you want a Panda Score it would have probably been 3 out of 5, neither good nor bad.  Let’s move on.  For reference you might want to check out parts One, Two and Three

This issue is again written by Jason Aaron with art from Alan Davis (Penciler), Mark Farmer (Inker), and Jason Keith (Colorist).  We’re now at the “Make or Break” portion of the comic.  So far this comic has been a combination of silly and dull but has slid by with an average score thus far.  Will it continue to disappoint or will Aaron pull out an awesome story from an otherwise mediocre one? 

Full review after the jump.

[Warning: Lots of spoilers here. You’ve been warned]


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mini-Reviews: Captain Atom, Teen Titans, Firestorm, Stormwatch

As I mentioned in the last blog I wanted to catch up with all my missed posts from the past few days.  The easiest way to do so was to write them all at once but in an abridged form.  I’ve wanted to try doing Mini-Reviews for a while now but haven’t gotten around to it.   This seems like a good time to try it though.  So these reviews will be much shorter than normal and lack a lot of the more “rant” elements my reviews tend to have, nor will they have the huge amount of information ad background I usually give; just my thoughts on what I read and what I liked and disliked.

So the reviews I’ll be doing today are Captain Atom #1, Teen Titans #1, Stormwatch #1, and The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #1.   Check them out after the jump.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: Wonder Woman #1 (2011)

If you don’t think Wonder Woman is a badass then you and I have nothing to talk about!

Assuming you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that I am very partial to strong women, especially when they are the main characters.  And as far as superhero comic books go they don’t come stronger than Diana.   One of the most iconic and recognizable women in not only comic books but in American pop culture Wonder Woman is one of DC Comics’ famed “Trinity”, alongside Batman and Superman, who are considered the company’s top heroes not only in real life but within the fiction as well as they typically seen as the example for other heroes to aspire to.  In theory.  Unlike Bats and Supes Diana hasn’t traditionally been a heavy seller.  While Superman usually stars in at least two ongoing titles a month and Batman in about seventy-nine Wonder Woman struggles with just one and has been canceled more than once because of that.  As a result DC has on numerous occasions tried to reboot and revamp the character in order to attract readers, most of them unsuccessful and sometimes laughably so (Remember that period when Wonder Woman had no super power, learned martial arts and ran a goddamned boutique?).  The most recent example of this was literally just over a year ago in Wonder Woman #601, under our old friend J. Michael Straczynski, when her entire origin and history was thrown out (Possibly only temporally, though I don’t think it was ever truly resolved) but more importantly her classic costume was replaced with a more “modern” and “hipper” (Though ironically not original) look with pants and a jacket.  There was HUGE media buzz over this; you almost certainly saw the images!

Wonder Woman Reboot #475
So OF COURSE a year after the most recent disappointing reboot of Wonder Woman DC has opted to reboot her AGAIN.  At this point it’s clear a lot of people don’t really care about Diana that much these days, especially with the recent surge of popularity Green Lantern has over the past few years.  However I maintain that at her core Wonder Woman is a fantastic character but she suffers from all these “Bold New Directions” and a string of writers who clearly have no idea how to write for the character.  The number of writers to have successfully “gotten her” and how to do so have been few and far between and as a result Diana is probably the most inconsistently written character DC has.

So here we are again: Another Wonder Woman #1 (Titled “The Visitation") and I have no idea how many of those there have been (639?). However this issue is written by Brian Azzarello, famed writer of 100 Bullets.   It is also being drawn by Cliff Chiang whom I’m less familiar with but on the other hand he’s impressed me after listening to some podcast interviews with him.  In theory this could be a recipe for brilliance.  In theory.

Full review after the jump.