November 2010

Thunderstrike #1 (of 5)

by Alan Rapp on November 27, 2010

in Comics

Okay, so the Scarlet Spider is still gone but Marvel is bringing back Thunderstrike? Thunderstrike? Really? Sigh.

It what appears to be Marvel Comics’ attempt to write a Shazam! story, the angry young son of the fallen hero is bequethed with the Thunderstrike mace by Steve Rogers. Almost immediately he finds himself in a situation where heroism is called for, and whala, the angry young teen is transformed into the visage of his father with all the power the mace offers.

As hero origins go the story isn’t bad (though hardly original), but the idea of of Steve Rogers handing over a mystical weapon (whatever its current state) into a violent, angry, dangerous young teenager who hates heroes isn’t exactly the best idea Cap’s ever had.

With this issue it appears Marvel is following DC’s lead in over-cluttering their universe with extras heroes, whether their needed or not (and charging an extra buck an issue for their pleasure). Hit-and-Miss.

[Marvel $3.99]

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Astounding Wolf-Man #25

by Alan Rapp on November 26, 2010

in Comics

The final issue of Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard’s tale of CEO turned werewolf turned super-hero wraps things up with a bloody battle between Wolf-Man and the Elder, leaving only one standing.

As conclusions go issue #25 does what it needs to do but even with extra-pages feels a bit rushed. The vampire Zecheriah’s final fate is far from satisfying (blink and you’ll miss it), and the amount of exposition jammed into Wolf-Man’s battle with the Elder comes close to ruining the series final big fight. For a comic that’s been centered mainly around character-driven issues we’re given an overabundance of plot.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the issue, I did. The final few pages present several new opportunities should Kirkman and Howard ever decide ever decide to return to the character. And just the thought that they’ve unleashed an army of werewolf covert opps into the Image universe, answerable only to their new leader, does make me smile.

[Image $4.99]

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Tangled

by Alan Rapp on November 24, 2010

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Tangled
  • IMDB: link

During it’s heyday, Disney made a name for itself by turning out classic tales about princes and princesses, true love, and triumph over evil (usually with a few songs and cute creatures thrown in). With the studio’s 50th animated film, Disney goes back to the well with Tangled, based on the fairy tale Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm.

To save the life of their unborn daughter, the King and Queen steal a magical flower from the evil witch Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy). As revenge, the witch kidnaps the young baby whose hair had captured the healing powers of the flower which has kept Gothel alive for years. Her hair holds the power as long as it allowed to grow.

As the story opens, Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) who has grown up in a secluded tower her whole life believing the old witch to be her mother, convinces a young thief, Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi), who breaks into her tower while fleeing the palace guards, to help her sneak out and see the world on her birthday.

[click to continue…]

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Faster

by Alan Rapp on November 24, 2010

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Faster
  • IMDB: link

After spending 10 years in prison for his part in an armed robbery a man who is only ever referred to as “Driver” or “Ghost” (Dwayne “Stop Calling Me The Rock” Johnson) walks out of the big house and immediately begins to hunt down the men (including Courtney Gains, John Cirigliano, Lester Speight) who robbed his crew and killed his brother (Matt Gerald).

If you’ve seen the trailer for Faster you might assume that’s the entire story. It’s not. Not satisfied with simply delivering a good ol’ revenge tale filled with an ever increasing body count, screenwriters Tony Gayton and Joe Gayton give us not one but two more stories.

The first involves a burned-out detective (Billy Bob Thornton) who is days away from retirement, has a nasty drug habit and an estranged wife (Moon Bloodgood) and son (Aedin Mincks), and who is assigned to the case – much the dismay of the lead detective Carla Gugino. Most of this plotline deals with chasing down “Driver,” but we also get several unrelated scenes of the cop’s screwed-up life.

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127 Hours

by Eric Melin on November 24, 2010

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: 127 Hours
  • IMDB: link

There are certain movies that become impossible to separate from your specific movie-going experience. 127 Hours is such a movie for me.

I had heard the advance hype on Danny Boyle’s dramatic and joyous 127 Hours from the festival circuit: People are passing out in the theater because one particular scene in the movie is so intense.

Without giving too much away, the film is based on the true story of college student Aron Ralston (played by James Franco), who found his right arm trapped under a boulder on a solo mountaineering weekend in a remote Utah canyon. The infamous scene occurs towards the end of the film.

Through a combination of sound effects and music (along with the added dread of knowing what was coming for the 80 minutes leading up to the scene), Boyle created a sequence that had me raising one hand in front of my face. There is certainly a bit of a gory element to it, but that is unavoidable—and I humbly submit that it’s not the gore that is so affecting.

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