May 2011

Once Upon a Time in the West

by Alan Rapp on May 31, 2011

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Once Upon a Time in the West
  • IMDB: link

Although I know many love it, I’ve never been a big fan of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. In fact the only film I really enjoy out of the “Man with No Name” trilogy is the second film – For a Few Dollars More. For my money Sergio Leone‘s best western, and his best film, is Once Upon a Time in the West.

Co-written by Leone’s longtime partner Sergio Donati, Once Upon a Time in the West is a love letter to the mythology of the Old West and more than thirty American Westerns Leone had deep affection (several of which are referenced throughout the film including High Noon, 3:10 to Yuma, The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Iron Horse, and The Magnificent Seven).

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The Mechanic

by Alan Rapp on May 31, 2011

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Mechanic (2011)
  • IMDB: link

Remakes, Hollywood’s second favorite shortcut (after sequels) for quickly churning out mediocre flicks. If I have seen the original 1972 film with Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent I don’t remember it. And there’s nothing in the remake that makes me think I’ve missed anything.

This version stars Jason Statham as hitman Arthur Bishop who takes on the son (Ben Foster) of a old friend (Donald Sutherland) he was forced to kill.

As action flicks go this version by director Simon West is average at best. There’s plenty of poor decision making and plot holes where the story is sacrificed for more action scenes. I also found the film’s main villain (played by Tony Goldwyn) to be rather bland. His near limitless supply of generic soldiers are even less memorable than he is. If a movie is only as good as its villain The Mechanic is pretty damn forgettable.

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Comic Rack

by Alan Rapp on May 31, 2011

in Comics

It’s a new week so it must be time to talk about comics! 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 offer you this quick list of all kinds of comic book goodness set to hit comic shops and bookstores this week from all your favorite publishers including DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, BOOM!, Dynamite, Image Comics, and others.

This week includes Batman Beyond, Betty, Fear Itself, G.I. JOE, Herc, Hulk, The Intrepids, Moon Knight, Queen Sonja, Secret Six, Wonder Woman, X-Men, the first issues of 50 Girls 50, Comeback Kings, Fear Itself: The Deep, Flashpoint: Abin Sur The Green Lantern, Flashpoint: Secret Seven, Hellboy: The Fury, Minx, Reed Gunther, Shinku, and the final issues of B.P.R.D.: The Dead Remembered, Doctor Who Classics: The Seventh Doctor, Halcyon, Turf, Weird Worlds, Witchfinder: Lost and Gone Forever, and Wolverine/Hercules: Myths, Monsters & Mutants.

Enjoy issue #130

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The Macho Man is gone, but he’s left us quite a few memories. The Macho Man Randy Savage passed away a little over a week ago, but we’ll take today’s holiday to look back and remember the Top Ten Greatest Moments of his wrestling career. Think your favorite made list? Find out after the jump!

OH YEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAH!

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Kung Fu Panda 2

by Alan Rapp on May 26, 2011

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Kung Fu Panda 2
  • IMDB: link

Three years ago DreamWorks Animation put out a little film called Kung Fu Panda about a Panda with a destiny to learn Kung Fu and save his village from a shadowy warrior. It turned out to be one of my favorite films of 2008. While it might not be as good as the original (a film which I love to no end), the sequel brings plenty of awesome back to the screen.

Kung Fu Panda 2 fills in Po’s (Jack Black) back story as an attack on his village will lead him on a quest to discover where he comes from. Also back for the sequel are Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and the Furious Five: Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Crane (David Cross), and Viper (Lucy Liu).

The film also gives us a deadly new enemy in a deranged peacock (played with malevolent glee by Gary Oldman) who wants to rule all of China by the force of a new deadly weapon which could mean the end of Kung Fu. We also get a few new characters voiced by the likes of Jean-Claude Van Damme as a Kung Fu crocodile (admit it, that’s pretty awesome), and Michelle Yeoh as the Soothsayer who holds all the answers to both Po’s past and future.

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The Hangover Part II

by Alan Rapp on May 26, 2011

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Hangover Part II
  • IMDB: link

hangover-part-ii-posterPhil (Bradley Cooper), Alan (Zach Galifianakis), Doug (Justin Bartha) and Stu (Ed Helms) are reunited in Thailand for Stu’s wedding to his new bride (Jamie Chung) in this sequel to the surprise box office hit of 2009. Once again things get crazy and a forgotten night leads to a blurry-eyed morning in a hotel room and the search for a lost member of the Wolfpack, this time the bride’s 16 year-old brother (Mason Lee).

Like most sequels, this one is far too similar to the original with almost the identical setup and resolution we got the first time around. But hey, this one has a monkey! Director Todd Phillips‘ logic is simple: If it worked once why not try it again? Not only do we get drugged-induced haziness but mistaken identity, kidnapping, and Stu’s crying over an unexpected change to his appearance.

This time the drugged setup feels even more forced the the original and creates an unnecessary change to Galifianakis’ character who was always creepy and strange, but here comes off much meaner than in the first film.

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Batman #710

by Alan Rapp on May 25, 2011

in Comics

batman-710-coverFor an issue that is jam-packed with important events and characters I’m not quite sure how this issue of Batman is such a trainwreck. Two-Face returns to Gotham, but he’s not the only Dent who’s got a role to play.

We also get Batman (tiptoeing around like a ballet dancer on steroids thanks to Steve Scott’s art) attempting to deal with Kitrina Falcone and hunt down a psychotic Two-Face who is even more lost than usual without his trademark coin.

And then there’s the late reveal and final panel which returns Gilda Dent to Gotham as well, as the arm candy of Mario Falcone? Like everything else in this issue it takes a good idea and turns it into pure shock and filler without context or meaning.

I’ve read some bad Batman comics in my day, but this issue is such a clusterfuck it’s baffling to behold. Here’s hoping the title makes some swift changes and gets back on track as soon as possible.

[DC, $2.99]

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G.I. JOE: Snake Eyes #1

by Alan Rapp on May 25, 2011

in Comics

snake-eyes-1-coverCobra Commander is dead, and he’s not the only one. Six JOEs are dead as well. Each one was personally trained by Snake Eyes and the man responsible is holed-up at the top of a mountain. As COBRA scrambles to find a new leader, Snake Eyes will lead a team (including Agent Helix, Alpine, and Iceberg) up a mountain to find the secret Himalayan fortress of Rajah Vikrim Khallikhan.

There are some great action sequences on the side of the mountain as well as flashbacks to Snake Eyes’ earlier attempts to track down Khallikhan – a man going to great links not to be found.

Robert Atkins knows how to draw Snake Eyes in both his silent somber and total kick-ass moments so well that I don’t want to see anyone else’s take on him for a long time. It’s hard to get both right and Atkins seems to do it effortlessly here. He even looks cool in his semi-ridiculous Hoth gear. The story, from Chuck Dixon, ain’t too shabby either. Must-read.

[IDW, $3.99]

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Batman and Robin #23

by Alan Rapp on May 24, 2011

in Comics

batman-and-robin-23-coverWriter Judd Winick, who seems to be all over the DCU these days, takes over the writing duties with this issue. It’s appropriate that Winick writes the return of Jason Todd story as it was his tale that brought the former Robin back from the dead and transformed him into a bloodthirsty anti-hero.

Sadly Winick is forced to deal with a Jason Todd that still has Grant Morrison‘s fingerprints all over him. We get the red hair (which I’m okay with) and, if the covers are to be believed, the return of the Captain Red Penis Head costume (which I’m not okay with).

The issue begins, after a quick recap of the character, with a conversation between Batman and his former sidekick. What works so well here is how Bruce honestly doesn’t know how to communicate with someone who has gone so far off the path he laid out for him.

From their we see the Red Hood swiftly killing enemies (brutally) and prompting a prison transfer back to Arkham Asylum which results in his eventual escape (but hopefully not the return of the penis head costume).

The Red Hood is out, and things should be about to get interesting. I actually like this version of Jason Todd (in the biker outfit, not the worst comic costume of all-time), and I’m hoping by the end of the storyline we get a little better sense of how he’s going to fit into the DCU and, more specifically, the Batman universe. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Star Wars: Jedi – The Dark Side #1

by Alan Rapp on May 24, 2011

in Comics

star-wars-jedi-dark-side-1-coverFifty-three years before the Battle of Yavin, and twenty-one years before the events of Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the Jedi Council uncovers dark rumblings in the Outer Rim Territories.

Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan Xantos (a noble of Telos IV) will be sent, along with Jedi Master Tahl and her padawan Orykan, to Xantos’ home planet to stop a political assassination and a conspiracy which threatens the lives of everyone on the planet.

This new series from writer Scott Allie and artist Mahmud Asrar will focus on Qui-Gon Jinn’s years working on the Outer Rim long before he would take on a padawan named Obi-Wan Kenobi. The first issue sets up the characters and situations which will play an integral part in the first five-issue story arc, but it doesn’t do much more than that. I also found Asrar’s art a bit sloppy in places. The close-ups of each character are very detailed and you can tell why he was chosen for the project, but the larger shots seem rushed and a little blurry. Hit-and-Miss.

[Dark Horse, $2.99]

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