Thursday, 28 February 2013

Adventure Time With Fionna And Cake Issue 1 Review

Written By Natasha Allegri (Main Story) and Noelle Stevenson ('The Sweater Bandit')
Art By Natasha Allegri (Main Story) and Noelle Stevenson ('The Sweater Bandit')
Cover By Jab

Genre
Fantasy, Comedy

Synopsis

FAN-FAVORITE ADVENTURE TIME SENSATIONS FIONNA & CAKE ARRIVE TO THE HIT ADVENTURE TIME COMIC! Join Cake the Cat and Fionna the Human in this totally algebraic new adventure, written and drawn by Fionna & Cake creator and ADVENTURE TIME storyboard artist Natasha Allegri! When Fionna rescues a feral flame boy from a pack of wild fire lions, it starts her on a quest she’ll never forget… Don’t miss out on this sure-to-be INSANELY popular new ADVENTURE TIME mini-series!

Review

Adapting Pendleton Ward's incredibly popular shows are a bit like eating a Marmite sandwich.  You will either absolutely love them or you will hate them.

The adaptation of the original 'Adventure Time' was incredibly well done, well drawn and really kept the feeling of the cartoon through out the entire comic book.

Here we have a comic book starring some characters from a spin off of that series.

You might just think that these are the characters that you are used to but with their sexes reversed but that would be doing these characters a massive detriment.  Take the main characters for example.  Finn is confident and brass but Fiona is a bit more shy and prone to doubting herself.

Yes it's a mirror of the original universe but the characters themselves are completely different and I think that Natasha Allegri does a truly fantastic job of getting that across the page.  The characters just fly off the page art wise and storywise, they are so true to the cartoon itself.

This issue starts with a beautiful fairy tale style story that I was completely not expecting but then jumps straight in to the 'Adventure Time' world and I loved the sudden change of pace.  In this six issue run, if the stories stay up to this standard then I, as a fan, will be more than happy.

I've not really said that much about the story itself but that's just because I don't want to ruin any of the surprises for you guys but believe me, it's worth it.

If you are a fan of the cartoons or of Pendleton Ward's work then you will most definitely love this one and I for one, will definitely be getting my hands on to issue 2.

Story 4/5
Art 4/5
Overall 8/10

Fairy Quest Issue 1 Review

Written By Paul Jenkins
Art By Humberto Ramos
Cover By Humberto Ramos

Genre
Fantasy, Adventure

Synopsis

The world of Fablewood, where all of the stories that have ever been told live side-by- side, is a sinister place indeed! Under the watchful eye of the dreaded Mister Grimm and his Think Police, Red Riding Hood and her Wolf must risk everything to try and escape and find sanctuary in a mysterious place called the Real World… Written by industry legend Paul Jenkins (SENTRY, DEATHMATCH) and drawn by comics superstar Humberto Ramos (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN), the smash Kickstarter, FAIRY QUEST, is now available in single issue format for the first time!

Review

'Fairy Quest' started life as a 'Kickstarter' campaign and is now released here as a comic book but was it worth the wait?

Hell yes it was!

The story itself is set in the world of the fairytales that we all know and love from our childhoods.  Little Red Riding Hood, The Woman in the Shoe, they're all here but they're not how you remember them.  Far from it.

The characters are trapped in an endless cycle of repeating the same stories over and over with no deviation otherwise the dreaded Mister Grimm and his task forced named the Think Police will arrest them and wipe their memories.

Suddenly Little Red Riding Hood gets sick and tired of repeating the same story verbatim each day of her life and that's when she befriends the big bad wolf of the story.  That's when all Hell quite literally breaks loose.

This title is definitely in same vein as Terry Pratchett and if you are a fan of his then you will most definitely love this release.  The story itself is well paced, the characters well written and the twists are sharp and well thought out.  I couldn't stop turning the page in fact.  I just couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next.

The artwork is another major strong point to the release.  The drawings of the characters are so well realised and the sheer amount of details on each of the characters is immense.  One of the main strengths of Humberto Ramos' work here are the action scenes.  They're frantic without being confusing and that is a pleasant surprise.  Even during the most packed action scenes, the characters still absolutely fly off of the page.

If you are a fan of Terry Pratchett or of movies such as 'Big Fish' then you will most definitely love this one.  I know I did!  Bring on issue 2!

Story 4/5
Art 4.5/5
Overall 8.5/10

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Looper DVD Review

Written By Rian Johnson
Direction By Rian Johnson

Genre
Science Fiction, Action

Cast

Joseph Gorden-Levitt as Joe
Bruce Willis as Old Joe
Emily Blunt as Sara
Paul Dano as Seth
Noah Segan as Kid Blue
Piper Perabo as Suzy
Jeff Daniels as Abe

Certificate 15

Synopsis

In the futuristic action thriller Looper, time travel will be invented - but it will be illegal and only available on the black market. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target 30 years into the past, where a "looper" - a hired gun, like Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) - is waiting to mop up.

Joe is getting rich and life is good... until the day the mob decides to "close the loop," sending back Joe's future self (Bruce Willis) for assassination. The film is written and directed by Rian Johnson and also stars Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels. Ram Bergman and James D. Stern produce.

Special Features
  • Feature Commentary By Rian Johnson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt
  • 'Looper: From The Beginning'
  • 'Scoring Looper'
  • 4 Deleted Scenes With Commentary By Rian Johnson and Noah Segan
  • Looper Animated Trailer

Review

Just recently we, the science fiction nerds amongst us, have been absolutely spoiled for choice with movies such as 'Star Trek' and many others.  Here, that new momentum continues.

Once again, Joseph Gordon-Levitt turns in an extremely powerful performance as Joe.  A 'looper' who is paid to kill people that have been sent from the future.  With what could have been a really one dimensonal character in someone elses hands, Gordon-Levitt makes the character in to both the strong hero and in to a sympathetic man, who has messed up big time in his life.

Bruce Willis plays the version of Joe sent from the future and plays him as bitter, cynical and with revenge in mind.  It's the normal, balls to the wall style performance that we have come to expect from an old hand like Willis but here he plays the part with a quiet anger in the personality instead of being a wisecracking ass kicker like in the 'Die Hard' movies.

We also have the wonderful Emily Blunt, who like Gordon-Levitt, has been slowly but surely putting together strong performance after strong performance.  She's fast becoming one of my favourite actresses to watch  thanks to her eclectic choices of movies to appear in.  What other actress can say she's been in a movie like 'The Five Year Engagement' and 'Looper'?

The story itself, while full of a few plot holes here and there, is a highly entertaining and fast paced ride for the viewer.  Even when they take the time to build up the characters, there's still a sense of underlying dread running throughout the movie.  I've not seen any of Rian Johnson's movies before but after this I will most definitely be checking them out.

To go along with the well paced and acted movie, we have a good selection of special features here that really give a good insight in to the movie as a whole.

This one is most definitely worth picking up for the sci-fi fans out there.  In fact, it's worth it for the always brilliant Joseph Gordon-Levitt performance and under rated ending.

Movie 4/5
Picture 4/5
Sound 5/5
Special Features 3/5
Overall 16/20

Win a copy of 'Fringe: September's Notebook' UK Resident's Only

Delve into televisions most otherworldly phenomenon with this in-world collection that explores the intricate destinies of Walter Bishop, Peter Bishop, and Olivia Dunham told by September himself.

Written by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry, this book is an absolute must have for fans of the television show 'Fringe' and thanks to the lovely folks at Titan Books, we have a copy to give away.

To be in with a chance of winning this incredible book, answer this simple question.

Joshua Jackson plays Peter Bishop in the show but in which show did he play a character named Pacey?

Send your answers to patrickstevenchallis@gmail.com with the subject heading 'Fringe' by March 6th to be in with a chance of winning.

This competition is open to UK residents only so good luck 'Fringe' fans!

Fringe: September's Notebook

Tara Bennett, Paul Terry, Jeff Pinkner, JH Wyman
Titan Books
£29.99
6/03/2013

Fringe: September's Notebook by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry

Written By Tara Bennett and Paul Terry
Foreword By J.H. Whyman and Jeff Pinkner

Genre
Science-Fiction, Diary, Television Tie-In

Synopsis

Delve into televisions most otherworldly phenomenon with this in-world collection that explores the intricate destinies of Walter Bishop, Peter Bishop, and Olivia Dunham told by September himself.

Review

In my opinion, 'Fringe' was and always will be one of the most intelligently written and exciting science fiction shows that has been on our screens in a very long time.

Part 'X-Files' and part mystery with loads of science fiction goodness rolled in to one, 'Fringe' had characters that really grew with each season that passed.  Sadly it's fifth season was it's last and there will be no more tales of the wonderful characters of Walter Bishop, September, Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham.  Or will there?

Here thanks to those wonderful people at Titan Books, we have one of the best television tie-in's that I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Told from the point of view of September himself, this diary collects near enough every facet of the show, the characters and everything inbetween and makes it in to an absolute page turner.  I couldn't get enough of this book.  With each turn of the page I discovered something new about the characters I had grown to know and love.

The best thing about this release is it's very intelligent and well thought out layout.  There are pictures attached to pages, random envelopes stuck inbetween pages, little annotations, the sheer amount of detail that went in to this release is mind boggling.  It really looks like a diary that somebody has put together themselves.

Also dotted throughout the book are some beautifully drawn diagrams along with photographs that look like they have been in the book for years.  It's the little details like the stains on the pages, the way the pages look like they have tape on them, the writers really deserve a pat on the back for their incredible work here.

If you are a fan of the show then this book is absolutely essential.  It's as simple as that.  If you're not a fan of the show, still get this book.  It's so well done that after reading it, you will want to go out and buy every single DVD or Blu-Ray that you can find of the show itself.  It's that good!

Story 5/5
Characters 4.5/5
Recommended 5/5
Overall 14.5/15



Fringe: September's Notebook
Tara Bennett, Paul Terry, Jeff Pinkner, JH Wyman
Titan Books
£29.99
6/03/2013

Monday, 25 February 2013

Battle of Warsaw Pre-Release Review

Written By Jerzy Hoffman and Jaroslaw Sokol
Directed By Jerzy Hoffman

Polish with English Subtitles

(aka 1920 Bitwa Warszawska)

Genre
War, Action, Romance

Cast

Borys Szyc as Jan Krynicki
Natasza Urbanska as Ola Raniewska
Igor Guzun as Josef Stalin
Viktor Balabanov as Vladimir Lenin
Jacek Poniedzialek as Jozef Haller
Jerzy Bonczak as Captain Kostrzewa

Certificate TBC

Synopsis

Poland's winning battle against Soviet Russia as seen through the eyes of two young protagonists, Ola and Jan. She is a Warsaw cabaret dancer, while he is a cavalry officer and poet who believes in socialist ideals.

Review

As a massive military buff and a fan of war movies I was very eager to watch this movie as I didn't know all that much about Poland's battle for independence.  I'm very glad I got the chance to as I was very surprised at the sheer quality of the movie.

Originally filmed in 3D, Poland's first ever 3D movie in fact, this version was the 2D and to be honest, I'm glad it is because I honestly don't think the movie needs the 3D gimmick at all.

What we have here is a very well told story with some brilliant performances that really make you care about what happens to the main protagonists.  The main couple, played by Borys Szyc and Natasza Urbanska, really rule the entire movie.  When they're together, the romance really flies off the screen as the chemistry really sizzles.  When they're apart the individual stories really hold the attention the viewer and as they have spent the time building the characters, you really want them to be reunited.

The special effects here are amazing.  While the movie doesn't have the same sort of budget as movies such as 'We Were Soldiers' and the like, they use their budget really well.  The battle scenes are absolutely thrilling.  I honestly couldn't take my eyes off the action on the screen and when you see the wounded, you really can't help but flinch at the realistic make up effects on the soldiers.

Music also plays a very big part in this movie, both in the cabaret scenes with songs sung beautifully Natasza Urbanska and in what I would call the 'war' scenes.  The music really makes the movie have a strong heart at the middle of it and that's essential if you are going to make a good war movie.  It can't just be explosions and gunfire, you have to have good quality characters and that's what we have here.  You really get involved in the story and in the characters, which really raises the quality of the movie itself.

I've seen some quite bad reviews of this on IMDB and I really can't understand the criticisms levelled against the movie itself.  The cast is well chosen, the writing is intelligent and engaging and the action set pieces are very well done considering the budget of the movie.

I would definitely give this a look.  It's well made and well written so definitely one for the fans of war movies here.  Plus even if you don't know a lot about the battle for Polish independance, you could even learn something really interesting by watching this movie too so what more could you possibly want?

Movie 4/5

Available to buy 4th March 2013

Mr Mash-Up Issue 0 Review

Written By Sam Johnson
Art By Bruno Letizia, Eric Lamont, Mike Bunt, Meisha Mimotofu and Eddy O'Bomsawin
Cover By Mike Bunt

Genre
Supernatural

Synopsis

The product of his father's dalliance with a cold but beautiful alien goddess, Arin Zahne a.k.a. Mr. Mash-Up is the 'black sheep' of his demonic other-dimensional family - living on a 'granite hell hole,' eking out an existence - using the gift of his clone-creating powers for hired jobs. But Arin's salvation may be at hand in the shape of his would-be lover, the space-travelling Delfi Matrix...


Review

'Mr Mash-Up' is a new comic from the creator of 'Geek-Girl' Sam Johnson and in all honesty, it couldn't be more different to that title.

Here we have a supernatural / fantastical trio of tales that at first glance seem like stand alone stories yet they all have little links to one another.  It's kind of like seeing flashes of a characters back story at differnt moments in his or her life.

I really liked that approach as in someone elses hands it would have been a very disjointed release yet here, Johnson has done an absolutely superb job of blending the stories together.  You find out a small part of the characters backstories and motivations yet there is a real air of mystery at the same time.  It's made me really eager to grab hold of the next issue to see where they're going to go next or what other characters are going to turn up.

The art for two of the stories is absolutely fantastic.  For the stories 'Voodoo Trespass' and 'Gold Town: A Whole Other Thing', the art matches the quality of the story like a glove.  It really brings those stories to life.  The story 'Return of the Prodigal #!%*' is a fantastic story but for some reason the art just doesn't live up to the promise of the story.  That said, it's not awful art wise but the other two stories just outweigh it with the brilliance of their artwork.

All in all, I really enjoyed this issue and really can't wait for the next one.  I also can't wait to see what Sam Johnson is going to come up with next.

Well worth picking up.

Story 4/5
Art 3.5/5
Overall 7.5/10

Mr. Mash-Up #0, 28 pages, b&w, written by Sam Johnson, illustrated by Bruno Letizia, Eric Lamont & Meisha Mimotofu, and published by Actuality Press is available now in $3.99 Regular and $1.99 Digital/Kindle editions, along with Geek-Girl #0, at www.geekgirlcomics.com . Suggested for mature readers.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Kick-Ass: Volume 1 Graphic Novel Review

Written By Mark Millar
Art By John Romita Jr.
Cover By John Romita Jr.

Genre
Superhero, Action, Comedy

Synopsis

Dave Lizewski is just an ordinary American teenager; he has a MySpace page, loves comic books, and is unable to find a girlfriend. Then an idea hits him: why not become a real life super hero? His life will never be the same again...

Review

The original comic book series that spawned a very successful movie in 2010 by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.

While the movie wasn't very faithful to the comic books, it was still a great movie. A lot of the differences are quite noticeable but I won’t spoil them here because they really add to Lizewski’s feelings of uselessness. In fact, they just add more reasons to root for him.

The humor here isn't subtle in the slightest but it is very funny.  In fact, it really can't be classehed as anything other than getting hit over the head with a hammer kind of funny.

There are some brilliant satirical jokes at superheroes here as well as poking fun at peoples perceptions of comic book fans.  While some of the jokes aren't original they are incredibly funny.

The pacing here by Millar is superb and really up there with some of the best of his career.  The action really cracks along at a breakneck pace but amazingly that doesn't affect the growth of the characters.  You really do get to know the characters and  their motivations all while the action is kicking off all around them.

The artwork is absolutely superb but I wouldn’t expect anything less from the talent involved. The colors absolutely fly off the page as does the violence and comedy. In fact, I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see what happened next.

I have to admit that I preferred Big Daddy’s costume in this to the one he sports in the movie. Here, his costume looks really basic and amateurish and that just adds to the point that he’s just a normal man looking for revenge. That to me was much more affective than the Batman style costume that he sported in the movie.

All in all, a graphic novel destined to be a cult classic for many years to come.

Story 4/5
Art 4.5/5
Overall 8.5/10

Bubba Ho-Tep by Joe R. Lansdale Review

Written By Joe R. Lansdale

Genre
Horror, Comedy

Synopsis

Stuck in a Texan retirement home, Elvis and a black JFK are confounded by a redneck mummy, who has been using the home as his own personal dining cart.

Stalking the corridors to suck the souls from the inhabitants, the mummy feeds every night but can Elvis and JFK stop him before they lose their souls too?

Review

I'm a massive fan of the movie starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis and have seen it countless times yet for some reason I didn't realise that it was based on a short story by the multi-award winning author Joe R. Lansdale.

Thanks to a recommendation from the author, Sharon Stevenson, I bought the story on my E-Reader and sat down to read it.  Would it be as good as the classic Bruce Campbell movie?

Most definitely.  The movie was based on this story and after reading this, it's amazing just how faithful to the story the movie was.  This fast paced story moves along at an absolutely cracking pace, packing a hell of a lot of action and laughs in to it's short length.  However that's not all.  The story itself manages to make you really care about the characters.  The fact that Lansdale can take this grumpy and foul mouthed old man and turn him both in to not only a sympathetic character but also in to a hero is a show of just how good a writer he truly is.

At the end of the story is an excerpt from another one of Lansdale's novels called 'Dead in the West' and I have to admit that it sounds very good so I will be getting that one next.

I have to admit that because of watching the movie before reading this, I couldn't help but imagine the scenes I was reading using the actors from the movie.

Considering you can get this story for next to nothing in E-Reader format then I honestly can't see any reason for not getting this funny and well paced horror comedy.

Story 4/5
Characters 4/5
Recommended 4/5
Overall 12/15

Friday, 22 February 2013

Encounters of Sherlock Holmes Review

Written By Mark Hodder, Mags L Holliday, Cavan Scott, Nick Kyme, Paul Magrs, George Mann, Stuart Douglas, Eric Brown, Richard Dinnick, Kelly Hale, Steve Lockley, Mark Wright, David Barnett and James Lovegrove
Edited By George Mann

Genre
Crime, Thriller, Steampunk

Synopsis

A brand-new collection of Sherlock Holmes stories from a variety of exciting voices in modern horror and steampunk, including James Lovegrove, Paul Magrs and Mark Hodder. Edited by respected anthologist George Mann, and including a story by Mann himself.

Review

There have been many Sherlock Holmes anthologies over the years.  Obviously you have the originals by the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle then over the years you have had many by various authors.  Some of these have been absolutely brilliant and others, well others have been a bit rubbish if we're going to be completely honest.

Which one does this new collection edited by George Mann come under?  It definitely falls under the brilliant heading as there is truly a story in this collection for absolutely every kind of Sherlock Holmes fan.

Do you want one that combines Holmes with dark Gothic horror?  Check.  Do you want Holmes but with a more steampunk style edge?  Check.  Do you want a story told from Mrs Hudson's point of view?  You even have had.

There are some truly brilliant stories in this collection.  While not all the stories are brilliant, not one falls below being good and for a short story collection that is a very good thing.

Personally my favourites out of the entire collection were 'The Loss of Chapter 21' by Mark Hodder, 'The Post-Modern Prometheus' by Nick Kyme and 'The Adventure of the Locked Carriage' by Stuart Douglas but there is one story that absolutely rules above them all.

'The Case of the Nightcrawler' by George Mann is absolutely superb and if I'm honest, it wouldn't be at all out of place in a Doyle collection.  I won't give too much away about the story but Mann combines his own creations of 'Newbury and Hobbes' with Sherlock Holmes as they join forces to solve a crime.  Now I don't want to give too much more away than that because you are definitely in for a treat when you read this one.

All in all, this is a absolutely fantastic anthology of riveting short stories starring the worlds most famous detective.  George Mann has done a marvellous job of choosing some brilliant stories by some superb authors.  Although I do have one bone to pick with this collection.  It's cost me a fair of money now as I've been going online to find more books by the people involved in this collection.

Definitely worth picking up.

Story 4.5/5
Characters 4.5/5
Recommended 4/5
Overall 13/15

My Own Worst Enemy: The Complete Series DVD Review

Created By Jason Smilovic
Written By Jason Smilovic, Rafe Judkins, Lauren LeFranc and Tyler Mitchell

Genre
Thriller, Action

Cast

Christian Slater as Edward Albright / Henry Spivey
Mike O'Malley as Raymond Carter
Saffron Burrows as Dr. Noah Skinner
Madchen Amick as Angelica 'Angie' Spivey
Alfre Woodward as Mavis Heller
Omid Abtahi as Tony Nazari
Taylor Lautner as Jack Spivey
Bella Thorne as Ruthie Spivey
James Cromwell as Alistair Trumbull

Certificate 15

Synopsis

Henry is a middle-class efficiency expert living a humdrum life in the suburbs with his wife, kids, dog, and a minivan. Edward is an operative who speaks 13 languages, runs a four-minute mile, and is trained to kill. The one thing Henry and Edward have in common is they share the same body. But when the carefully constructed wall between them breaks down, these polar opposites are thrust into unfamiliar territory where each man is dangerously out of his element. Also starring Alfre Woodard, Mike O'Malley, M├Ądchen Amick and Taylor Lautner, plus powerful guest stars such as James Cromwell.

Special Features
  • None

Review

Christian Slater hits his best form for a long time in this intelligent thriller.

Slater plays two parts here and both are completely separate and as if played by completely different people. One is Henry, an office worker with the perfect family. The other is Edward, a bad ass assassin for the Janus Corporation. A shadow like group who have implanted a chip in his head that allows him to switch between the new personalities. Suddenly the chip malfunctions and the personalities now switch at random, even in the middle of Edward's missions.

I don't know why but this series didn't get past the first season. That's a real shame because it's one of the most intelligent television shows I've seen in a long time. Christian Slater's performance is one of the best of his career and there are some absolutely brilliant performances next to his such as James Cromwell and Alfre Woodward.








Annoyingly because of the abrupt end of the series, the cliffhanger ending means that a lot of the  story line remains unresolved and there are many loose ends.  That's a real shame because the quality was growing as the series progressed and you really started to get deeper and deeper in to the conspiracy behind why these things were happening.

While there is a distinct lack of extras, it doesn't really matter because the quality of the show is so high that that's soon forgotten.

Highly recommended.  For this review I'd honestly didn't the lower score.  That's just because of there being no special features.  The show itself is absolutely superb and well worth picking up.

Movie 4/5
Picture 4.5/5
Sound 4.5/5
Special Features 0/5
Overall 13/20

Vampirella: Nublood Review

Written By Mark Rahner
Art By Cezar Razek
Cover By Cezar Razek

'Lust For Life'
Written By Ty Templeton
Art By Bruce Timm

Genre
Action, Horror

Synopsis

Vampirella continues to thrash her way through vampire pop culture, as she visits a sultry, trashy Southern town where the vampires are out of the closet and a synthetic blood substitute is getting a test-run. In fact, it tastes better than the real thing. It could spell the end of the vampirism's murder and misery for good, and a chance for Vampi and Criswell to settle down. If nothing goes horribly wrong.

Review

First we had the 'Vampirella' take on the 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer' series in the 'Vampirella vs Fluffy The Vampire Slayer' one shot and now we have this.  The television series 'True Blood' getting the 'Vampirella' treatment from the guys at Dynamic Forces.

While the 'Fluffy the Vampire Slayer' one was a bit hit and miss, this one is much better but it's not without it's flaws.

The story itself is fast paced, exciting and they've done away with the self referential stuff that bogged down the 'Fluffy' one shot so much.  While the story itself isn't super original, seeing as the vampires fighting over a blood subsitute has been done a hell of a lot recently, it's actually well written enough to gloss over that.  In fact, I found it to be quite an exciting and action packed story.

However, my main bane with the vampirella stories is that the drawing of the character seems to be majorly stuck in the 80's in that she's the stereotypical heroine with big breasts and little clothing.  I've also found that to be annoying as it comes across as a bit cheap and tacky.  That's a real shame because the character of Vampirella herself is a well rounded character with an interesting past and back story.  That's not the artists fault here, Razek's artwork in this story is up to his normal very high standards, it's just the design of the main character herself.

The art in the rest of the comic book is very well drawn and really brings the action scenes to life but here Razek does something that not a lot of comic book artists do these days.  Even the quieter, dialogue driven scenes look and feel exciting as if there's always something bubbling under the surface.

Included in this release is the short story 'Lust For  Life' written by Ty Templeton and illustrated by Bruce Timm.  They manage to pack a hell of a lot of story in to such a short space and as always Timm's work is simple yet sublime at the same time.

All in all, this is a good one shot released by Dynamite Comics, who are fast becoming one of my favourite comic book publishers.  Well worth picking up.

Story 4/5
Art 4/5
Overall 8/10

 Vampirella: Nublood is released to buy 27th February 2013!

The Crow: Skinning The Wolves Issue 2 Review

Written By James O'Barr and Jim Terry
Art By Jim Terry
Cover By Jim Terry

Genre
Horror, Action, Supernatural, Psychological

Synopsis

The long night gives way to fire and blood as the Crow sets his chess board for a final game against The Commandant….

Review

When I reviewed issue one of this three issue run, I have to admit that I conflicted as to whether or not I liked it.  On one hand you had a well written air of mystery to proceedings, a good setting and some good artwork but on the other hand you had a story that even when it ended, you really weren't all that sure what was happening or what had just happened.

Here, that's completely reversed.  We end a glimpse in the the resurrected mans past and see a little bit of who he was and what happened to him.  We also get to see why he is going after the Commandant too.  We also get a bit of background and character development on the Commandant himself as well so that was really well done.

This part of the story really moves along at an absolutely cracking pace and really sucks you in.  Part of that is due to the absolutely fantastic yet brutal artwork by Jim Terry.  Not a splash of colour is wasted, in fact he uses it to such a degree that it really draws your eyes to the details of the characters.  The concentration camp victims are drawn in a very hard hitting manner that both stays in the memory long after the comic book has ended and really makes you think about what they must have gone through in places like that.

All in all, this is a massive improvement on issue one and in fact, I really liked it and the story itself hooked me in from start to finish.  Now I can't wait to read the third and final issue to see just what is going to happen next.

Story 4/5
Art 4/5
Overall 8/10

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Crow: Skinning The Wolves Issue 1 Review

Written By James O'Barr and Jim Terry
Art By Jim Terry
Cover By James O'Barr

Genre
Supernatural, Action, Horror, War

Synopsis


James O'Barr returns to The Crow!

In this special three-part tale, O'Barr and artist Jim Terry craft a harrowing tale set at a death camp in 1940s Germany, where a simple game of chess turns deadly, leading to the creation of a new Crow, giving new meaning to the term Gotterdammerung ('Death of the Gods')!

Review

'The Crow: Skinning The Wolves' is a bit of a strange comic book in that both a lot happens but nothing happens at the same time.

Confused?  Let me explain.

There is action galore in this first issue of a three issue run yet not a whole lot is said either.  The things that are said don't really make a whole lot of sense but I  suppose all will become clear in the later issues.

'Skinning The Wolves' is set during World War 2 in a Nazi concentration camp, which is a brave both by O'Barr and Terry.  Concentration Camp / World War 2 stories either come across as cliched or as absolutely brilliant and absorbing.  There doesn't seem to be a middle ground.  As of yet I don't know where this one stands.

The Nazi's don't know who this strange and invincible man is and by the end of the issue neither do we.  He appears to have a history with one of the commanders but at the same time, the air of mystery is something that is a strength of the comic while also being a bit of a minus as well.

That said however, I absolutely loved the stark and sometimes simpler artwork in this issue.  I wasn't all that familar with Jim Terry's artwork before but I am impressed with what I have seen here.  I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where he is going to take the story art wise next.

All in all, I'm looking forward to see what is going to happen in issue two.  I want to find out just why this guy has been brought back, what the history between him and the commander is and so many other questions.  James O'Barr is definitely an under rated comic book writer and here, the story is quite up in the air, hence the score.

Worth picking up if you're a 'Crow' fan so try it out.  The story itself is a little frustrating due to the scattergun style opening but at the same, I want to find out what will happen next so give it a shot.

Story 3.5/5
Art 4/5
Overall 7.5/10

The Woman in Black (2012) DVD Review

Written By Jane Goldman based on the novel by Susan Hill
Directed By James Watkins

Genre
Horror, Psychological

Cast

Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps
Ciaran Hinds as Daily
Roger Allam as Mr. Bentley
Janet McTeer as Mrs Daily
Liz White as Jennet
Sophie Stuckey as Stella Kipps
Misha Handley as Joseph Kipps

Certificate 12

Synopsis

Based on the classic ghost story, The Woman In Black tells the tale of Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a lawyer who is forced to leave his young son and travel to a remote village to attend to the affairs of the recently deceased owner of Eel Marsh House.

Working alone in the old mansion, Kipps begins to uncover the town's tragic and tortured secrets and his fears escalate when he discovers that local children have been disappearing under mysterious circumstances. When those closest to him become threatened by the vengeful woman in black, Kipps must find a way to break the cycle of terror.

Special Features
  • Audio Commentary With Director James Watkins and Screenwriter Jane Goldman
  • Inside the Perfect Thriller: Making The Woman in Black
  • No Fear: Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps
  • Interviews With Daniel Radcliffe, James Watkins and Jane Goldman
  • The Woman in Black Red Carpet Special
  • Ghost Competition Winner As Read By Daniel Radcliffe
  • Trailers
  • Photo Galleries Including A Look Behind the Scenes, Storyboards (By Storyboard and Concept Artist Simon Duric) and Production Sketches (By Production Designer Kave Quinn)

Review

I have to admit that I put off watching this just because I was so used to seeing Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter that I couldn't imagine him as anybody else.

I was most definitely wrong.  Here Radcliffe plays a man who sadly lost his wife during childbirth and is deep in to the darkness of his grief.  Radcliffe plays that brilliantly.  He really makes the character seem like he is just a shell of a man, a man just struggling to carry on with his life.  The scenes with his son are incredibly touching and really brought a tear to my eyes.  In a bit of trivia for you movie buffs out there, Radcliffe's God child plays his son in this movie, which was his idea so that the relationship between the two of them appeared more realistic.

The rest of the cast do a truly fantastic job with an intelligent and incredibly spooky script.  Made by the Hammer studio, the movie manages to seem like one of the classic Hammer Horror movies that we all know and love yet still seem like a modern movie at the same time.  That's thanks to the wonderful performances, that I mentioned earlier and the great writing.

I can't tell you if it's close to the 1989 movie or even if it's faithful to the novel on which it is based as I haven't seen that movie or sadly, read that book.  I have to admit though, after seeing this movie I want to do both.

Talking of the 1989 movie, in another bit of trivia for you fans out there Adrian Rawlings, who played Daniel Radcliffe's father in the Harry Potter movies, played the part of Arthur Kipps in the original movie, which is the part that Radcliffe plays here.

Anyway back to this movie.  The sheer Gothic grandeur and atmosphere is fantastically done in this movie.  The houses, the shadows, the surroundings all seem to be a living part of the movie and the director does a truly stunning job of really creating a feeling of dread prevail through the entire movie without having to resort to cheap scares.

That's not to say that there aren't any scares here because there are many.  It's just that for once, a director has gone the intelligent route and left some of them to the imagination of the viewer and for me, that makes the scares linger longer and feel more affective.

The special features here are fantastic.  It's a cliche but there really is a little something for everyone here.  My personal favourite is the Ghost competition winner being read by Daniel Radcliffe.  The interviews and commentary are very well done as well, managing to give a lot of behind the scenes information as well as talking about things we may have missed in the movie but without sounding pretentious.

All in all, this is a brilliantly made and very affective horror movie with a psychological edge to it with a truly fantastic and heartfelt performance by Daniel Radcliffe.  It also has an ending that I didn't see coming and that for me was a pleasant surprise.  Well worth picking up.

Movie 4/5
Picture 4.5/5
Sound 4/5
Special Features 4.5/5
Overall 17/20

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Top Ten Worst Horror Movies Ever Made!


Throughout the years there have been many amazing horror movies ranging the classics like 'The Bride of Frankenstein' right up to recent ones like 'The Orphanage' but then there are just as many bad ones.

These movies are neither of those things.  Instead, this are the worst of the worst so sit down and prepare yourself for the sheer unadulterated horror of....
How these movies even got made!

10 - Friday The 13th: Part 5 - A New Beginning

What would you want from a ‘Friday The 13th’ movie?

Jason Vorhees right?  A silent, maniacal killer? Then don’t watch this  movie.  I think that’s pretty much all that can be said about this unadulterated abomination of a horror movie.

 9 - The Wicker Man (2006 Version)

The original ‘Wicker Man’ is an absolute classic full of dread and terror running through out the movie.

This version however has a couple of things completely different. Here we have Nick Cage.  In a bear suit.  Punching ladies. And the ‘No not the bees!’ scene that had me crying with laughter. Could you want anymore?

 8 - Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead

The first two ‘Wrong Turn’ movies were fun and relatively well made horror movies so how they degenerated in to this mess is completely beyond me.

The acting is nearly as wooden as the trees in the forest. Non of the characters are even remotely likeable so when they do die, you're actually pleased that they won't be in movie anymore.

The music is also uniformly awful through the movie and at times, incredibly distracting. While not groundbreaking the picture and sound quality are good although they do struggle at times, albeit the sound fares slightly better. While a couple of the deaths are inventive, the rest of them are pretty much just by the numbers slasher deaths. Another thing that knocked a mark off the final score for the movie was the ending. The sheer amount of continuity that it ruined was amazing. It was a cheap attempt at a twist ending but just made no sense.

The scary thing is that another TWO of these movies got made after this one!

 7 - The Amityville Haunting

After a massive stream of ‘found footage’ movies, I honestly didn’t think they could get worse.  Instead we have a ‘found footage’ version of ‘The Amityville Horror’ only with none of the skill.

Asylum is famous for it's low to no science fiction and creature feature movies with ropey acting and bad direction but at least some of those are an incredible amount of fun to watch. However this movie is awful even by those low standards.

It's dull, boring and the acting is mind numbing in it's ineptitude. Even the deaths are boring and badly done. For a release whose cover prides itself on saying how shocking this movie is, for it to have nothing but boredom makes it even worse!

 6 - Clive Barker's The Plague

When all the children suddenly become comatose with no cure in sight.  Then after seizures and ten years of being in a coma, the children gain super human strength.  They then go on a killing spree after becoming as one.

This movie is also known as ‘Clive Barker’s The Plague’ although that’s a bit of a misnomer to be honest.  He didn’t write it but merely co-produced it.  That said you can definitely see many subtle nods to his themes and over all style.

The writing is definitely the strong point of this movie, which is lucky because the performances are uniformly awful.  James Van Der Beek performs his role completely devoid of emotion or energy.  That would be forgivable if it  was just one person but the entire cast seems to be sleepwalking through the entire movie.

If it hadn’t have been for the interesting premise behind this movie, I would have turned it off after half an hour.

5 - Lizzie

After being quite interested in the urban legend of the Lizzie Borden murders, I thought at the very least this would be worth a look.

I was very wrong.  What we have here is a very badly acted, disjointed and badly written movie with some of the worst editing I have seen in a very long time that results in some scenes looking like they ended too soon and others looking like they ran way too long.

The idea behind the story was one of those ideas that looks quite interesting on paper but the execution is poorer than the Greek economy.

On the plus side though you have Gary Busey hamming it up for a few minutes so you at least have that right?

 4 - King Kong Lives

Let’s face the simple fact here.  The original ‘King Kong’ was and always will be a complete classic of the cinematic world.  The 70’s remake, while flawed was still mostly enjoyable.  Here, something went very horribly wrong.

King Kong is in a coma and needs a blood transfusion in order to have an artificial heart transplanted in to him.  That’s when  a female ape is found and all hell breaks loose.

Yes you read that right.  Big ape.  Coma.  Heart transplant.  Death and destruction.  All done with the added attraction of having Linda Hamilton involved.

3 - Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven (2006 Version)

Lenore has read only the stories and poems of Edgar Allan Poe but is now haunted by a supernatural entity that wants her dead.

That’s pretty much the whole movie right there.  The ending is awful, the acting is painful to watch and in all honesty, the writing is absolutely pointless.

I’m really not sure what the hell they were thinking when they made this.

 2 - Are You Scared?

‘Saw’ had a glut of copycats fly out the studio doors when it hit it’s massive well of success.  Some were passable and others were quite frankly awful.

Any ideas which one this was?

That’s right, this manages to be the worst of all the ‘Saw’ copycat movies.  Believe me, that’s an achievement.

Maybe not one to be proud of though.

Are you scared?  That's the question the movie asked.  Well, yes I am.  I'm scared I wasted £3 on this movie!

And last but not least, the king of the worst horror movies I've ever seen is....

<insert drum roll here>

1 - River of Darkness

A zombie movie starring wrestlers.  I really should have known better really shouldn’t I?

What we have here is quite possibly the worst horror movie I have ever seen and believe me, I’ve seen quite a few.

This movie has three zombie killers who are hardly in the movie at all, actors that really can’t act and dialogue that is read by people that are quite blatantly reading them from an auto prompter and at times, even from bits of paper!

To be honest with you guys and girls, this movie is well deserving of it’s ‘Worst Horror Movie’ that has been reviewed on this site, I just wish I could have those 90 minutes of my life back.

In fact, this movie made 'Alone in the Dark' directed by Uwe Boll look like a masterpiece.  Have you noticed that movie isn't on the list?  Yeah, it's better than these ten.

That's how awful these ones are.

You guys and girls are just lucky I'm here to watch these so that you don't have to.

You're welcome.

Essential Power Man and Iron Fist: Volume 2 Graphic Novel Review

Written By Mike W. Barr, Chris Claremont, Mary Jo Duffy, Frank Miller, Denny O'Neil, Kurt Busiek and Steven Grant
Art By Rudy Nebres, Frank Miller, Mark Bright, Klaus Janson, Kerry Gammill, Denys Cowan, Keith Pollard, Greg Larocque, Ernie Chan and Mike Mignola
Cover By Denys Cowan and Joe Rubenstein

Genre
Superhero, Action, Adventure

Synopsis

Organized crime, interdimensional evil, espionage, vampirism - the Elite Odd Couple of the Eighties can handle it all!

The origins of Power Man and Iron Fist are retold as figures from each past return to haunt both!

Plus, the savage Sabretooth! The untouchable Unus! Goldeneye, Stoneface, and Hammerhead! Also featuring more of New York's finest heroes: Daredevil, Moon Knight, el Aguila, and the Daughters of the Dragon! Special guest appearance by Elektra: Assassin!

Collects Power Man and Iron Fist #76-100 and Daredevil #178.

Review

One of the best things that Marvel have done in recent years is, by far, the 'Essential' collections that collect some of the earliest adventures of the now well known superheroes that fill their already massive roster.  We've have Spider-Man, Ghost Rider and many more get the treatment.  Now here we have got the second volume of the 'Essential Power Man and Iron Fist'.

Now I know that these guys aren't the most famous guys on the roster but let's not count them out yet.  There are some really good adventures contained in these pages.  I'll admit that they're not my favourite team up in the Marvel Universe but I've seen much worse.

That said however, this is a bit of a mixed bag here.  There are a couple of really bad stories here that kind of weigh down the whole collection.  At the same time however, there are some really good stories and we have some absolutely brilliant guest stars as well  ranging from Daredevil to Elektra and even Sabretooth.

As well as those we have guest spots by some of the lesser known characters of the era as well such as el Aguila, the Daughters of the Dragon and many more.

The tone of the stories are very 80's, not a surprise seeing as that is the era that they were written in, but there are plenty of twists and turns to keep the newer fans occupied too.  Also the stories are written and drawn by some of the best that the comic book world has to offer such as Frank Miller, Chris Claremont and even a young inker by the name of Mike Mignola.  Maybe you've heard of him.

All in all, this is a pretty good collection and while it is a bit hit and miss, you can pick this one up relatively cheaply so it's well worth a look.

Story 3/5
Art 4.5/5
Overall 7.5/10

Carnivale: Complete Season 1 DVD Review

Created By Daniel Kauf

Genre
Supernatural, Fantasy, Drama, Mystery

Cast

Nick Stahl as Ben Hawkins
Clancy Brown as Brother Justin Crowe
Michael J. Anderson as Samson
Clea DuVall as Clea
Diane Salinger as Apollonia
Patrick Bauchau as Lodz
Debra Christofferson as Lila
Adrienna Barbeau as Ruthie
Tim Dekay as Jonesy
Toby Huss as Felix
Cynthia Ettinger as Rita Sue
Carla Gallo as Libby
Amanda Aday as Dora Mae
Amy Madigan as Iris Crowe
Robert Knepper as Tommy Dolan

Certificate 15

Synopsis

Set in the 1930s Dust Bowl, 18-year old Ben Hawkins finds himself all alone in this world when his mother passes on. But a travelling Carnivale takes him in. 

We also see the story of Brother Justin, a priest who is trying to find his way in the world. Little do Ben and Justin know, but they are to fight in a biblical battle. 

With help on the side (Ben with the carnie folk (Sofie, Libby, Apollonia, Ruthie, Samson, Lila, Lodz, Management) and Justin with his sister, Iris) they find out which side each are on and try to battle with the other for what they believe.

Special Features
  • Three episode commentaries  
  • 'The Making Of Carnivale' featurette  
  • Interviews with members of cast and crew at the Museum Of TV And Radio  

Review



Running from 2004 to 2006, Carnivale ran for two seasons on the HBO station in America.  Set during the Great Depression / Dust Bowl time periods, it had a very Western yet gothic theme to it.

Taking many pointers from various sources such as the Bible, the legend of the Templars, Masonic legends and lots of other places.  This really gave the series a unique feel.  As did the fantastic filming style that can best be described as Tim Burton meets John Ford.

Another major plus was the innovative writing a lot of which was done by the criminally under rated Ronald D. Moore, who was also responsible for being back ‘Battlestar Galactica’.  Some of the twists and subtle hints towards the characters pasts are so well written that you can’t wait to see what happens next or wait to see how so many people are connected.  Two episodes, ‘Babylon’ and ‘Pick A Number’ really stand out in that aspect.   

Also the season finale, while not exactly breaking new ground, really ramps up the excitement and leaves so many questions that you are literally aching to see who knows what and what will become of the characters.

A review of this would be void if I didn’t mention some of the absolutely fantastic performances.  Clancy Brown, famous for his roles in ‘Highlander’ and ‘The Green Mile’, gives an absolutely fantastic performance as Brother Justin and Nick Stahl, from ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’, gives a great performance as Ben Hawkins.  Two characters who are in separate places yet their lives are inexplicitly linked through their dreams.  Hawkins, a healer, somehow keeps dreaming of the overly religious zealot Brother Justin.  Is it somehow linked  to a battle between heaven and hell or do they have a dark and sordid past together?

I also loved the wonderfully creepy performance by John Hannah.  In the short time that he spent in the series, he really made an impression and I would have loved to have seen a little bit more of his character.

While not exactly numerous, the special features are very well picked and very interesting.  Especially the ‘Making of’, which really goes in to some great detail about the whole process and how the scenes were shot.

A series definitely worth picking up, especially as it’s available quite cheaply, for both fans of shows such as ‘Twin Peaks’ and of people that just want to watch a show that’s actually very intelligent.  While sometimes the viewer is left a little confused, that’s not a bad thing at all because it’s the good kind of confusion in that you want to watch the next episode to see what questions will  be answered and if there'll be any more twists and turns.

Movie 4.5/5
Picture 4/5
Sound 4.5/5
Special Features 4/5
Overall 17/20