November 2012

The Shadow #8

by Alan Rapp on November 30, 2012

in Comics

the-shadow-8-coverWith his business in Nepal complete, Lamont Cranston slowly makes his way home with his pilot Miles through Istanbul and Rome bringing him to the streets of Paris where the interest of The Shadow is piqued by the murder of an elderly French couple, the Spanish Civil War, and the beguiling Major Esmeralda Aguilar of Spanish Military Intelligence.

After an exciting night with the major, Cranston returns to his investigation leading him to stow away on a cargo ship full of gun runners making its way from France to Spain. When the gun runners are ambushed while unloaded their cargo The Shadow makes it out of the port by the skin of his teeth, eventually rejoining Miles in Barcelona where fate leads him to the real reason behind his arrival – George Orwell.

Writer Victor Gischler does a good job setting up several pieces of a larger mystery without giving us, or The Shadow, a clue as to the true purpose of his journey to Spain. I’m not as fond of Aaron Campbell’s art as Herbert‘s work from last month’s issue but it’s not enough to stop me from coming back to see how this story plays out. Worth a look.

[Dynamite Entertainment, $3.99]

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Anna Karenina

by Alan Rapp on November 30, 2012

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Anna Karenina
  • IMDB: link

“Sin has a price, you can be sure of that.”

anna-karenina-posterAttempting another historical adaptation of classic literature, while re-teaming with leading lady Keira Knightley (with whom he collaborated on both Pride & Prejudice and Atonement), director Joe Wright delivers the unexpected with an evocative and dazzling adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s legendary novel Anna Karenina.

Limited by budgetary considerations and an unwillingness to repurpose locations other adaptations of Tolstoy’s work, or those used by various recent historical dramas, Wright hit upon an extraordinary idea to breathe new life in the staid genre by staging a setting that transforms around its characters. The result is a game changer in how movies like Anna Karenina are told and a serious contender for the best film of 2012.

Set in Russia during the late 19th Century our story concerns rich socialite Anna Karenina (Knightley), her marriage to an honorable but bland government official (Jude Law), and her temptation and eventual affair with the far more dashing Count Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).

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Here’s a little rant about Jack & Diane

by Alan Rapp on November 30, 2012

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Jack & Diane
  • IMDB: link

jack-and-diane-posterJack & Diane, sadly unrelated to John Mellencamp’s 1982 hit, is a regrettable piece of filmmaking. It’s regrettable that writer/director Bradley Rust Gray wasted four years trying to get the film made. It’s regrettable that young actresses Juno Temple and Riley Keough are wasted in thankless roles. And it’s regrettable for anyone who has to sit through what is arguably the worst film released in theaters this year.

The story centers around teenagers Diane (Temple) and Jack (Keough) who meet and share a rather tepid and unremarkable romance over the course of a summer. Gray intersperses the emotional and sexual aspects of their relationship with horror imagery meant to underlie the animalistic nature of their attraction (which we see little evidence of on-screen).

Gray’s metaphor is ill-defined and sophomoric at best. The only positive to the various scenes involving monsters, growing hair, and various pulsating internal organs is a welcome relief from the relative boredom of the rest of the movie.

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Arrow – Muse of Fire

by Alan Rapp on November 29, 2012

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Green Arrow – Muse of Fire
  • tv.com: link

“Isn’t the man in the hood fighting to set things right? Why is your vendetta more valid that mine?”

arrow-muse-of-fire

Starling City gets a little crowded on the vigilante front when an armed assassin on a motorcycle kills a business man (John Cassini) in broad daylight while he was talking with Moira Queen (Susanna Thompson). Not-so-surprisingly the death of the businessman with mob connections to the Bertinelli crime family coincides with Oliver‘s (Stephen Amell) attraction to a young woman named Helena (Jessica De Gouw) harboring her own painful past and dark secret. That’s right boys and girls, it appears the Huntress has come to Starling City.

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Fables #123

by Alan Rapp on November 29, 2012

in Comics

fables-123-coverThe two-parter “The Destiny’s Game” concludes as the Big Bad Wolf learns that the fate he was given of an untimely end was assigned, not earned. Armed with the knowledge of how the Green Woman of the woods (the Lady of the Lake) truly operates from the teacup turtle, who tells him the woman collects and distributes fates as she pleases, he sets out to change his fate once again.

Armed with the hope that his fate may be overridden the Wolf returns but learns a fate, once given, cannot be reascended. However, not willing to be killed by the Wolf, the woman does find an appropriate loophole that allows the fate to take place but also allows both the witch and the Wolf to live.

I enjoyed both parts of “The Destiny’s Game” so much that I would have liked more of the story. Fables #123 does feel a little rushed, but it wraps up all the loose ends for all the major characters and allows the rules of the world to be bent without being broken. Worth a look.

[Vertigo, $2.99]

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  • Title: Les Misérables
  • IMDB: link

Here’s another trailer for Les Misérables which is set to Anne Hathaway‘s performance of “I Dreamed A Dream.” The film premiered this past weekend in New York to a reported standing ovation with much of the praise going to Hathaway who now appears to be the early front-runner in the Oscar race for Best Supporting Actress. Hugh JackmanRussell CroweAmanda SeyfriedHelena Bonham CarterEddie RedmayneIsabelle AllenSamantha Barks, and Sacha Baron Cohen also star. Les Misérables opens in theaters on Christmas Day.

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Nashville – Lovesick Blues

by Alan Rapp on November 29, 2012

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Nashville – Lovesick Blues
  • tv.com: link

nashville-lovesick-blues

As Rayna (Connie Britton) continues to work with her new producer (Michiel Huisman) on refining her new sound, Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) deals with the unexpected consequences of dating a young football star (Tilky Jones) when fans and tabloids begin to blame her for the quarterback’s less than stellar stats since the two began seeing each other (making it even more difficult not to draw comparisons to Carrie Underwood and Jessica Simpson‘s relationships with Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo from which the show’s writers were obviously inspired). Both women are shocked, and less than pleased, when the record label insists the pair perform together to close out the upcoming country music showcase.

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News and Notes

by Alan Rapp on November 28, 2012

in News

Jenna-Louise ColemanEntertainment Weekly has an exclusive interview with new Doctor Who companion Jenna-Louise Coleman. As River Song might say: “Caution, Spoilers!”

The LA Times is reporting Rihanna has her first number one album on on Billboard’s 200

TV Line has an interview with Arrow executive producer Andrew Kreisberg about the show’s First Season and tonight’s new episode featuring Jessica De Gouw as the Huntress

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Leverage – The Low Low Price Job

by Alan Rapp on November 28, 2012

in Television Reviews 

  • Title: Leverage – The Low Low Price Job
  • tv.com: link

leverage-the-low-low-cost-job

The Leverage team agrees to help a local grocer (Willa Ford) who, along with several other local businesses, is being slowly pushed out due to the underhanded dealings of a crooked super-store conglomerate looking to run the entire collection of locally run stores out of business. Elliot (Christian Kane), fueled in part by his own personal history, wants to take down the entire corporation but Nate (Timothy Hutton) is unsure they can do more than take down a single store. So the team sets out to destroy the new store before its grand opening, which is easier said than done.

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Daredevil #20

by Alan Rapp on November 28, 2012

in Comics

daredevil-20-coverAfter literally loosing his head in the pocket dimension Coyote has trapped him in, Daredevil begins plotting his escape a his body moves through the villain’s realm while his head keeps Coyote distracting in a Bond villain style rant (in which he explains every detail of his nefarious enterprises).

In the B-story Kristen McDuffie, who apparently works the offices of Mad Men, finds it impossible to get her bosses to take a crazy Daredevil seriously when they accuse her of having a lover’s spat with her boyfriend. Although it skirts the issue of Foggy‘s drunken confession, the McDuffie outcome is troubling at best as writer Mark Waid and Marvel Editorial have deciding the New York District Attorney’s Office is perpetually stuck in (an overly cliched version of) the 1950’s.

The Coyote story works far better, although bringing up (and showing) human trafficking as one of Coyote’s new interests does feel a little unseemly for what has been up until now a pretty safe all-ages book. Hit-and-Miss.

[Marvel, $2.99]

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