December 2007

This Week in Foreign Film

by Alan Rapp on December 31, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

TV writer/director Andrew Piddington brings to life a dramatization of the death of John Lennon through the eyes of his killer Mark David Chapman (Jonas Bell).  Sofia Dubrawsky, Krisha Fairchild, Robert C. Kirk, and Thomas A. McMahon also star.  Check out the official site.  The film opens exclusively in New York and Los Angeles on Friday.  Larger trailer available in the Full Diagnosis.

The Killing of John Lennon
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This Week in Independent Film

by Alan Rapp on December 31, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

Frank Langella stars as a reclusive writer who is convinced by a young graduate student (Lauren Ambrose) to end his seclusion and resurrect his career.  Karl Bury, Anitha Gandhi, Jessica Hecht, Adrian Lester, and Lili Taylor also star.  Check out the official site.  The film opens wide on Friday.  Larger trailer available in the Full Diagnosis.

Starting Out in the Evening
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This Week – Year in Review

by Alan Rapp on December 31, 2007

in Uncategorized

2007, the year that was.  As we bring you more of the features and reviews you’ve come to crave from you RazorFine pals, this week we’ll also take a gander back at the year which was 2007.  Tomorrow you’ll get your regular dose of DVD news and notes.  Once again comics, thanks to the holiday shipping schedule, are pushed back (come back on Thursday for our comic and anime madness!), but don’t worry becuase on Wednesday we’ll be bringing you our lists of the worst films from 2007!  And on Friday we’ll give you our lists for our favorite films of 2007!  Thanks for ending the year, and beginning the new one, with us!  Check inside the Full Diagnois for end of the year links.

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Alan’s Top 25 Films of 2007

Ian’s Top 10 Films of 2007

December’s Top 5 Films of 2007

Alan Bashes the Worst Films of 2007

Ian Bemoans the Worst Films of 2007

December Belittles the Worst Films of the 2007

In Memoriam

3rd Annual Razorblade Awards

Fresh Ink – Best Graphic Novels of 2007

Marvel Comics Top Heroes and Villains of 2007

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Behold the Devil

by Alan Rapp on December 28, 2007

in Comics

Whether you’ve never picked up a Grendel comic, or you’ve stashed away countless issues of Matt Wagner’s creation, this series is for you.  Wagner returns to his creation for the first time in ten years to give us a never-told tale of the first Grendel, Hunter Rose.  Take a peek inside the Full Diagnosis as we review the first two issues of the eight-issue mini-series Grendel: Behold the Devil.

Grendel: Behold the Devil #1 & 2
Custom Rating

What’s interesting about this first issue, aside from the fact it’s the first Grendel issue Matt Wagner has penned himself in a decade, are the alternative perspectives and looks back mixed in with the linear never-before-told tale of Hunter Rose.

We begin with an excerpt from “Devil by the Deed” which in one page introduces both the character of Hunter Rose, the accomplished novelist, and his alter-ego Grendel, a costumed assassin and crime boss.  These carefully chosen words contrast sharply with the next six bloody pages which follow showing us the outcome of Grendel’s latest killing spree.  From here we move through the perspectives of Grendel/Hunter Rose, Detective Lucas Ottoman and Detective Elizabeth Sparks as the story continues on many separate points.

This first issue easily sets up the world and is a good primer for those unfamiliar with the characters.  And although filled with blood there’s no killing here, as the reader arrives seconds too late and is only allowed to glimpse the aftermath of Hunter Rose’s work.

By the end of the issue we also see Rose’s growing paranoia and learn that something yet unseen is waiting for Grendel in the shadows, and is hunting the hunter.

 

 

The second issue gives us more blood, more sex, and, in the issue’s final frame, the first shot of who is hunting Hunter Rose, the creature who is destined to end Grendel’s life – Argent the Wolf.

Wagner’s b&w art (with splashes of red) is classic and brilliant.  There’s a grace to the character that Wagner brings to the surface (and seriously, how totally freakin’ awesome is it to see a comic character that doesn’t look his steroid enlarged pecks are about to burst through his spandex top?).  It’s great to see him writing and drawing this character again.

Once again the story includes perspectives and insights from other sources including interviews, excerpts from “Devil by the Deed” and more.  We also see the effect of the uneasiness and feeling of being watched slowly begin to crack the emotionless exterior of Grendel.  And by the time Argent shows up we’re more than ready to plunk down another $3.50 for the next issue.

After two issues I’m hooked.  New and old fans of Grendel should pick up this series and enjoy a great storyteller slowly unfold a new exciting tale featuring his prized creation.

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Comic Rack

by Alan Rapp on December 28, 2007

in Comics

Hmm, we’re about to talk about comics so it must be Wednesday Friday?  (Hey, blame Santa not me!!)  Welcome to the RazorFine Comic Rack boys and girls.  Pull up a bean bag and take a seat at feet of the master as we look at the new comics set to hit comic shops and bookstores today from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, WildStorm, Vertigo, Dynamite Entertainment, IDW Publishing, and Image Comics.

This week includes Amazing Spider-Man, The Authority: Prime, Batman, Green Lantern, Invincible Presents: Atom Eve, Jack of Fables, Sorrow, Thor, Usagi Yojimbo, and the first issue of Pax Romana.  Also don’t forget the truckload of new graphic novels including Daredevil: Battlin’ Jack Murdock, Fantastic Five: The Final Doom, The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive – Full Throttle, Superman: Kryptonite, Uncanny X-Men: Extremists, Will Eisner’s The Spirit Archives Vol. 23,, and much, much more.

Enjoy issue #53

[click to continue…]

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Empty ‘Orphanage’

by Ian T. McFarland on December 28, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

For having so much buzz behind it, Spain’s entry for best foreign language film for the 2008 Oscar is pretty dissapointing.  A fun idea with some fun moments, The Orphanage is a fun movie movie at best and an uninteresting one at worst.  Read on for more. . .

The Orphanage
2 Stars

You’re child has just disappeared.  Desperate to find him, you spend nine months trying every conventional route to finding him – police, flyers, the whole drill until finally, some paranormal expert dude tells you there’s something vaguely weird with your house.  What do you do?  Well, if The Orphanage is any indicator, you wallow around for a while and do random shit until you somehow wander upon what you were looking for.

And, for better or worse, that’s about all there is to The Orphanage.  After giving it a second’s thought, it’s probably for worse.

Considering Guillermo del Toro produced this first-time film for many of the filmmakers involved – like the screenwriter and the director – The Orphanage is a surprisingly un-edgy film.  The supposed horror film certainly has its share of tense moments, like when our main character attempts to infiltrate the world of the spirits occupying her home; but they’re more apprehensive than they are scary, and the scenes aren’t ever close to being pant-piss-worthy scary.

The biggest reason for the downfall of the film could likely lie in its lead actress, Belén Rueda.  She comes off as likable when she’s playing opposite her son Simón; but in any other scene, there’s nothing in her performance that draws you in, that makes you want her to have a happy ending.  In a role that’s full of emotion, you never feel convinced of her suffering.  One can’t help but think that if the role were in the hands of a stronger actress, the movie might be easier to get invested in.

What we get instead is a passable genre film that is able to keep your attention proficiently enough, but not one that can justify doing so.

As it is, The Orphanage is a surprisingly flat experience.  The buzz is electric for this foreign language film candidate; it’s too bad the film can’t be too.

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Third Annual Razorblade Awards

by Alan Rapp on December 27, 2007

in Uncategorized

Yes that’s right, the end of the year is upon us.  Starting next week we’ll take a look back at the year that was 2007.  We’ll examine the best of the best and the worst of the worst.  To kick things off we’ll start with our Third Annual Razorblade Awards for the most memorable (and truly awful) performances and moments in film we were subjected to this past year.  The Razorblade recognizes the only thing which could stop this awfulness – letting audiences slit their wrists.  Previous winners includ Paul Walker, The Dukes of Hazard, A Sound of Thunder, Tideland, Hilary and Haylie Duff, and Underworld Evolution.  (check out the 2005 and 2006 winners).

As for this year’s winners go ahead and take a peek in the Full Diagnosis, you know you want to.

3rd Annual Razorblade Awards
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Glitter Award for film
The Condemned

Ed Wood Award for direction
Christopher Cain for September Dawn

Sam J. Jones Award for Acting
TIE: Eddie Murphy, Eddie Murphy, and Eddie Murphy for Norbit

Elizabeth Berkley Award for Acting
Lindsay Lohan for I Know Who Killed Me

Louis Gossett Jr. Award (AKA the Aces: Iron Eagle III Award) for previous Oscar winners
TIE: Nicolas Cage for Ghost Rider and Cuba Gooding Jr. for Daddy Day Camp

Halle Berry Award (AKA the Catwoman Award) for previous Oscar winners
Diane Keaton for Because I Said So

Macaulay Culkin Award for child acting
AnnaSophia Robb for The Reaping

Plan 9 From Outer Space Award for unintentional comedy
The Reaping

Pauly Shore Award for humorless comedy
TIE: The Ex and Norbit

Rambo III Award for screenplay
September Dawn

Land of the Lost Award for special effects
Blood and Chocolate

M. Night Shyamalan Award for plot twist
Next

Wild Wild West Award for movie adapted from television
Transformers

Congo Award for movie adapted from a book
Blood and Chocolate from the Annette Curtis Klause novel

Double Dragon Award for movie adapted from a video game
Hitman

Mr. Deeds Award for film remake
The Invasion, remake of Body Snatchers, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Superman III Award for sequel
Daddy Day Camp sequel to 2003’s Daddy Day Care

Mandy Moore2 Award (AKA the Because I Said So / License to Wed Award) for two or more entries in one calendar year
Mandy Moore for Because I Said So and License to Wed

Color of Night Award for gratuitous nudity
American Pie Presents: Beta House

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle Award for gratuitous butt shots
American Pie Presents: Beta House

Arnold Schwarzenegger Award for gratuitous violence
The Condemned

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Beta House

by Alan Rapp on December 26, 2007

in DVD Reviews 

American Pie Presents Beta House is uncompromising, unapologetic, softcore porn.  Skinamax is gonna love this film.  Sure it makes as much sense as Carrot Top fan sites, but you’re not watching a flick like this for the story.  It lacks the heart of the original film (of whom only Eugene Levy appears), but it hits the sleaze factor the target audience will be hoping for, and then some.  I can’t really recommend it, but if you’ve got beer, buds, no babes, and nothing to do late one night there’s worse ways you could spend your time.

American Pie Presents: Beta House
2 Stars

The stars of the film

Here’s where I normally discuss the plot with you, such as it is.  The film follows Erik Stifler (John White) to college with his best bud Cooze (Jake Siegel) where they will meet new friends and pledge his cousin’s (Steve Talley) fraternity, the Beta House.  The film returns many of the characters from American Pie Presents: The Naked Mile but since plot is not the primary storytelling device those who didn’t see the previous film (like me) shouldn’t feel like they’ve missed much.

There are also love stories between Erik and the cute Ashley (Meghan Heffern) and Cooze and a Southern belle with a embarrassing secret (Sarah Powers), and the ongoing battle between the Betas and the Geek house, but that’s just window dressing for nudity, semen and vomit jokes, and general mayhem.

This DVD is what it is.  It’s an exploitative romp through fraternity life filled with sex, nudity, projectile vomiting, semen and ejaculation jokes, strippers, toga parties, and a Russian roulette scene where a bullet in the head might be preferable.  When it tries to play safe and have Erik straddle the line between sensitive and fun-loving it struggles mightily, but when the film throws in the towel, and all reason, and just goes for broke it provides many memorable, if not necessarily good, moments.

You’ll dislike at least as much as you’ll enjoy, but for fans of this type of humor the film delivers what you are expecting (including testicles hooked-up to a car battery, hot chicks dressed up as school girls, an orgy of binge drinking and projectile vomiting, hot chicks dressed up as school girls, a toga party, multiple trips to a strip club, and hot chicks dressed up as school girls), but not much more.  Oh, and did I mention there’s a frat party with all the hot chicks dressed in skimpy school girl costumes?  Yeah, it’s exactly what you’d expect.

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DVD Look Forward

by Alan Rapp on December 26, 2007

in Home Video/DVD News 

If you missed the Star Wars inspired episode of Family Guy from earlier this season here’s a chance to get your hands on it.  “Blue Harvest” will be released on a single-disc DVD available January 15th.  To take a sneak peek at the episode click here, and to find a little bonus love check out the Full Diagnosis.

May the Force be with you, and remember:

“Don’t get penisy!”

Family Guy – “Blue Harvest”
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RF DVD

by Ian T. McFarland on December 26, 2007

in Home Video/DVD News 

Hope you liked your presents yesterday, boys and girls, because Santa’s got nothing more than a giant, red felt sack of crap for you today.  With anything worth buying for Christmas already out, all we have today is a collection of less-than-worthy releases.

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Eastern Promises:  I know I’m in the minority for saying this, but I was fairly underwhelmed by this new David Cronenberg picture.  It’s essentially a thriller-less thriller that really struggles to get you to feel emotion for any aspect for the story which, as annoying as that is, is not nearly as annoying as he fact that that everything else in the movie is really well done.  Great acting, solid, concrete camera work, a brisk pace and editing job and one badass bath house brawl – but for reasons I can’t figure out, it never becomes the thriller it ought to be.  It’s a big disappointment after Cronenberg’s last film, and my pick for the best of 2005 – the taut and grabbing suspense A History of Violence.  But don’t take my word for it, it’s got an 88% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes and a solid review from Alan.

American Pie Presents: Beta House:  The saddest thing about these DTV American Pie releases?  Eugene Levy is still in them.  Check out Alan’s review.

The Heartbreak Kid:  Wow.  One decade removed from giving Ben Stiller his breakout role in There’s Something About Mary, the Farrelly Brothers gave the huge star his worst box-office performer since Envy.  Ouch.  Alan was less than impressed too.

The Kingdom:  Didn’t see it, but you can let Alan and Aaron convince you that you don’t need to either in their dueling review.

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