January 2012

Usagi Yojimbo #143

by Alan Rapp on January 31, 2012

in Comics

usagi-yojimbo-143-coverThe rabbit ronin’s wanderings lead Usagi Yojimbo to a village where a local soy sauce maker is under attack by his ruthless competitors.

Usagi stops the arson set to destroy the factory but soon realizes the town’s local authorities have no interest in stopping the violence. Given that the brewer has no one else to turn to Usagi decides to stay in the town for a few days.

Sakai is known for using issues of Usagi to describe and educate young readers on various aspects of Japanese life. Here we get quite a few pages of Usagi learning the lengthy process of how soy sauce is made.

The issue may be a little light on action but there’s plenty of foreshadowing to next issue’s conclusion of this two-part tale that tells us there’s a big battle or two coming if Usagi is to save the brewer from his enemies. Worth a look.

[Dark Horse, $3.50]

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The Flash #5

by Alan Rapp on January 31, 2012

in Comics

the-flash-new-52-5-coverThe Mob Rule story arc ends, although it looks like the character is going to stick around the New 52, as the Flash is able to stop Darwin Ellis‘ out of control experiment, to solve Mob Rule’s degeneration problem, from exploding and taking an entire Central City block with it.

Although the Flash is able to save the day none of Mob Rule survive leaving Manuel to blame the hero for their deaths. I was hoping the arc would end the character’s involvement in the series but it appears he’s going to be sticking around, and with an ax to grind.

The issue also sees the Flash save Iris West from the prison break at Iron Heights and learn Ellias’ terrifying theory about the Speed Force which could mean the end of the Flash for good.

Once again Francis Manapul delivers another terrific looking comic. I’m glad to see the end of the Mob Rule story arc and the chance to see the Flash deal with a problem with the Speed Force and the return of his Rogues Gallery in the next couple of issues. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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Drive

by Alan Rapp on January 31, 2012

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Drive
  • IMDB: link

drive-blu-rayBased on James Sallis‘ 2005 novel, adapted for the screen by Hossein Amini, Drive stars Ryan Gosling as a getaway driver with no name who finds himself in a sticky situation when he breaks his own rules. If this sounds a little like The Transporter franchise, well it is, but director Nicolas Winding Refn decides to treat a rather ordinary action tale as an art house film drawing comparisons to dramatic action films of the late 60’s and 70’s like Steve McQueen‘s Bullit.

The Driver has everything he needs. His evident skill gets him consistant stunt car work and the far more lucrative (though far less legal) jobs no one else can do. His business partner (Bryan Cranston) has just closed a deal with a mobster (Albert Brooks) to buy a stock car which will allow the Driver to finally hit the big time. But when the Driver allows himself to be sucked into the troubles of an attractive neighbor (Carey Mulligan) and her young son (Kaden Leos) by agreeing to help her husband (Oscar Isaac) pull off a big score things go horribly wrong.

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Chuck Versus the Goodbye

by Alan Rapp on January 30, 2012

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Chuck – Chuck Versus the Goodbye
  • tv.com: link

chuck-versus-the-goodbye

If the second-to-last episode of Chuck spent a little too much time setting up all the pieces in anticipation of one final hour, the show’s finale delivers a jam-packed episode full of callbacks from the show’s earlier years, one last performance of Jeffster, the return of the Intersect to where it rightfully belongs, and a tearful farewell to the show’s fans who have fought to keep Chuck on the air every single season for five years.

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Chuck Versus Sarah

by Alan Rapp on January 30, 2012

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Chuck – Chuck Versus Sarah
  • tv.com: link

chuck-versus-sarah

Nicholas Quinn (Angus Macfadyen) has used the Intersect to remove Sarah’s (Yvonne Strahovski) memories of Chuck (Zachary Levi) and the last five years. He’s rebooted her back to the spy she was at the beginning of the series and set her sites on the man he tells her is responsible – Charles Bartowski.

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Comic Rack

by Alan Rapp on January 30, 2012

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, Archie, Dynamite, Image Comics, and others.

This week includes Action Comics, Amazing Spider-Man, Animal Man, Batwing, Betrayal of the Planet of the Apes, Defenders, Detective Comics, Doctor Who, Fatale, G.I. JOE, Hellraiser, Hulk, Invincible, Irredeemable, Justice League International, The Lone Ranger, The Punisher, Reed Gunther, Savage Dragon, Sonic the Hedgehog, Stormwatch, Swamp Thing, Sweet Tooth, Uncanny X-Men, Venom, X-Factor, and the first issues of Alpha Girl, Infestation 2: Transformers, Magic: The Gathering, Warriors of Mars, and Winter Soldier.

Enjoy issue #164

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The Beta Test Initiation

by Alan Rapp on January 29, 2012

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: The Big Bang Theory – The Beta Test Initiation
  • tv.com: link

big-bang-theory-beta-test-initiation

As Sheldon (Jim Parsons) shares his love of flags and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) spends far too much time alone with his new phone, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) attempt to work the kinks out of the relationship now that the pair are dating again.

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Red Hood and the Outlaws #5

by Alan Rapp on January 28, 2012

in Comics

red-hood-and-the-outlaws-5-coverThe latest issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws gives us not one but two battle scenes as the Red Hood battles the Untitled and Arsenal and Starfire take down the crocodile-Man-Bat-thing known as Crux. It’s not a great story, and (as has been the case for this comic) some of the writing may illicit unplanned groans or giggles from the reader, but (unlike a vast majority of the New 52) it is fun.

This issue puts Jason Todd on a path. It’s a murderous path to be sure, but at least we now know where writer Scott Lobdell is planning to take the Red Hood and the rest of the team. I’m confused by the blood blades and the reasoning why Starfire didn’t loose her powers, but let’s be honest – logic has never been this comic’s strong suit.

Even though I’ve stopped reading many of the New 52 titles I’m going to stay with Red Hood and the Outlaws for at least awhile longer. It’s never quite what I expect, and its not the direction I would take the characters, but I’m still intrigued by what Lobdell has planned for this motley crew he’s assembled. Worth a look.

[DC, $2.99]

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A Dangerous Method

by Alan Rapp on January 27, 2012

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: A Dangerous Method
  • IMDB: link

a-dangerous-method-posterA slow moving drama centered around the science of psychology may initially seem an odd choice for director David Cronenberg‘s latest project, but A Dangerous Method proves to be an engaging study of the minds and hearts of three individuals, each of whom finds themselves at the mercy of their uncontrollable passions and foibles.

Based on the play by Christopher Hampton and the book by John Kerr, Cronenberg and screenwriter Christopher Hampton deliver a character study centered around three people central to the birth of psychoanalysis. Michael Fassbender stars as Carl Jung, a doctor who in the early 20th Century would expand on the ideas of Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) to create analytical psychology.

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Morning Glories #15

by Alan Rapp on January 26, 2012

in Comics

morning-glories-15-coverIn the latest issue of Morning Glories Zoe takes center stage and makes a solid case why she might be the most screwed-up member of the freshman class (which, at this school, is saying something!) as the Wood Run storyline continues.

Zoe and Hunter work together to capture their flag, stopping to make camp and to give Zoe a chance for a not-so-comforting lecture the impossibility of a Hunter and Casey relationship. Along the way Hunter meets a new friend who not only has high nerd cred but a pretty obvious crush on Hunter as well. It’s too bad, given the shocking final panels, things between them will never work out.

Once again writer Nick Spencer and artist Joe Eisma give us another weird, but highly entertaining tale, and a terrific value. At an age when content seems to be shrinking as more and more monthly comics seem hellbent on a $4 price-tag, here’s 30 pages of (very good) story for $3. That’s pretty awesome, if you ask me. Worth a look.

[Image, $2.99]

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