Friday, 19 February 2016

The Crow: Midnight Legends - Waking Nightmares Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Christopher Golden

Art By
Phil Hester
Ande Parks
Jim Woodyard

Lettering By
Dan Burr

Cover By
Kyle Hotz
Dan Brown

Published By
IDW Publishing

Genre
Horror, Thriller, Crime

Synopsis

Can a crow pursue only vengeance, or can he act to save the living?

NYC Cop Mark Leung contemplates this question from the other side after he and his wife are murdered by the Triad, who then take their twin daughters captive.

Volume four of the Midnight Legends collection brings you Waking Nightmares by Christopher Golden and Phil Hester.

Review

As a massive fan of the original The Crow by James O'Barr and a lot of the other spin off's, I was really excited to have finally gotten my hands on this one, especially after reading the synopsis and seeing how they were going to mix the mythology of The Crow with that of the Chinese Triad's system of honour.

After reading this one, one thing struck me.  When you read a book or a comic series based in the world that O'Barr created, there's a sense of the familiar yet also a sense of the horrific as well.  With this installment, there were a myriad of absolutely brilliant ideas and some fantastic scenes yet, for some reason, the sum of it all doesn't quite add up to the great story that we should have ended up with.

My main problem with the story is despite the massive flow of ideas that come from the story, there's still the overwhelming feeling of 'been there, done that' to it all.  The story isn't awful, far from it.  The good ideas and the brilliant pacing of the first three issues really do hook you in to the world that the creative team have created here.  However, the pacing for the last year does seem a little off.  One moment, there's gradual build up to something big but then it just seems to jump to the end.  That said, when the ending does hit, it's a good one and absolutely heart breaking.

Art wise, the story comes across as a mix of the original James O'Barr tale but with a more angular style of art.  There are quite a few panels that made me think of the Sin City stories as well.  It felt at times to be too busy and other times the pages were beautiful but in a brutal and violent way.  One of the things that I liked the most was that while the story tells you of these horrific moments, you see a bit of what happens but quite a lot is left to the readers imagination.  I've always been a big fan of that approach and it works very well here.

All in all, this is a good installment in the franchise but also slightly disappointing at the same time.  It's still very much worth a read thanks to the great ideas here, it's just that not all of those great ideas come together as well as they should.

Still, at least it's not The Crow: Wicked Prayer movie.

Story 6/10
Art 7/10
Cover 8/10
Recommended 6/10
Overall 27/40

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip Review


Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Randi Mayem Singer
Adam Sztykiel

Based on Characters Created By
Ross Bagdasarian
Janice Karman

Directed By
Walt Becker

A Fox 2000 Pictures, Regency Enterprises, Bagdasarian Productions, TSG Entertainment Film

Genre
Adventure, Comedy, Family

Cast

Jason Lee as Dave
Justin Long as Alvin (Voice)
Matthew Gray Gubler as Simon (Voice)
Jesse McCartney as Theodore (Voice)
Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Samantha
Josh Green as Miles
Tony Hale as Agent Suggs
Bella Thorne as Ashley Grey
Eddie Steeples as Barry
Christina Applegate as Brittany (Voice)
Kaley Cuoco as Eleanor (Voice)
Anna Faris as Jeanette (Voice)

Year Released
2016

Certificate
U

Synopsis

Through a series of misunderstandings, Alvin, Simon and Theodore come to believe that Dave is going to propose to his new girlfriend in Miami...and dump them. They have three days to get to him and stop the proposal, saving themselves not only from losing Dave but possibly from gaining a terrible stepbrother.  

Review

I have to admit that I've not really been a huge fan of the first three 'Chipmunk' movies.  They had their funny moments but for the most part just really there and not all that memorable.  That's why when my little son chose this one as his treat for the cinema trip, I wasn't all that eager.

Despite thinking that this was going to be awful, I went along with the little guy and sat down to what I thought was going to be more of the same.

After watching this one, I have to admit one thing.  I actually found myself enjoying this one.  Is it a world changing movie?  No.  Is it an original movie?  Not at all.  Yet this one had one thing that the other movies didn't.  It had a heart right at the center of it.

The story itself isn't anything new but the cast really do bring the characters to life here and end up making you root for them.  There are some lovely moments in the movie that really tackle the question of what does it take to feel like family.  While they do tackle the question in a sometimes funny way, the cast do really well to give it a nice and subtle flow to the story.

Cast wise, Jason Lee returns as Dave but it feels almost like a little bit more of a cynical and tired portrayal at the beginning of the movie but as the story moves along, you can see that he really puts some subtle little nods in to making his character feel a lot more layered than he has done in the previous movies.  That said, the movie definitely rests on the shoulders of Tony Hale, an agent that is chasing the chipmunks.  He really has a Steve Martin / Buster Keaton feel to his slapstick stunts.

All in all, this isn't the most exciting or memorable movie that I have ever seen but it was far improved compared to the other movies and my little lad loved it so what more could you ask for from a family movie?

Movie 6.5/10