December 2012

Les Misérables

by Alan Rapp on December 25, 2012

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Les Misérables
  • IMDB: link

les-miserables-posterAs someone who has never read Victor Hugo’s novel nor seen the musical adaptation on stage I was hardly going in to Les Misérables completely blind, but I was certainly coming from a different perspective from that of people who know either version of the source material by heart.

Clocking in with a running time of more than two-and-a-half hours, Les Misérables refuses to skimp in big set pieces (such as the opening sequence set in the Bagne of Toulon), large themes (faith, freedom, liberty, and morality), or filling out its roster with several big name stars.

Director Tom Hooper‘s (The King’s Speech) adaptation casts Hugh Jackman in the role of Jean Valjean, a French peasant who (as the play opens) is released from Toulon after serving 19 years of hard labor for stealing a loaf of bread to feed starving relatives and Russell Crowe as the intractable Inspector Javert who relentless tracks the man for years after Valjean breaks his parole.

[click to continue…]

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Scarlet Spider #12.1

by Alan Rapp on December 24, 2012

in Comics

scarlet-spider-12-1-coverI put Marvel’s .1 issues in the same unnecessary column as DC’s Zero issues and foil comic covers. Marvel has no problem releasing multiple comics for a paticular title during the same month (hell, it’s become common practice for Marvel NOW!) and slapping a .1 on the cover (which originally meant a reintroduction to the character) doesn’t really mean the same thing anymore because of the sheer number of these the House of Ideas has pushed out.

That said, Scarlet Spider #12.1 is an interesting read. I’d call it a one-shot, featuring Houston’s hero taking on white slavery, but the fact is the comic lays the groundwork for huge changes for our killer turned hero (which, when you think about it, is kind of a dick move for a .1 issue to do).

While tracking a killer whose mark reminds Kaine of his past, the Scarlet Spider takes on the gangs of Houston and The Hand who have shown up to make their presence known in the port city. And, if that news isn’t bad enough for our hero, the Kingpin appears to have major plans for Houston as well. Worth a look.

[Marvel, $2.99]

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Fables #124

by Alan Rapp on December 24, 2012

in Comics

fables-124-coverHad I paid a little more attention odds are I wouldn’t have picked up this latest issue of Fables. Instead of a one-shot or the start of a new arc, the issue is wholly devoted to the final three chapters of the back-up story “A Revolution of Oz” (which has been running for the past several months) and the further adventures of Bufkin and Lily Martagon. That’s not to say what writer Bill Willingham delivers here is bad, it’s just the fact that I haven’t been reading the back-up story and felt a little lost for the first few pages.

That said, the further adventures of Bufkin and Lily, even if it seems to be all 80’s style montage, is actually quite a bit of fun delivering a love story, fights for freedom, a mad scientist, weird transformations, and the peaceful end to an adventurous life.

Odds are those who have been keeping up with the backup story and know these characters far better than I are going to get more out of this issue than I did, but even for someone jumping in blind there’s still plenty here that’s worth a look.

[Vertigo, $2.99]

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Arbitrage

by Alan Rapp on December 24, 2012

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: Arbitrage
  • IMDB: link

arbitrage-dvdBy outward appearances Robert Miller (Richard Gere) has it all. The hedge fund manager has a thriving family business, a loving wife (Susan Sarandon), and devoted children (Brit Marling, Austin Lysy). And one moment on a deserted street will threaten to take it all away.

While getting out of town for some alone time with his mistress (Laetitia Casta), Miller loses control and crashes her car. Although he walks away with minor scrapes and bruises, his mistress isn’t so lucky. While trying to navigate the complicated sale of his company to an elusive businessman (Graydon Carter) and hide using his company’s money for personal use from both his family and the IRS, Miller cannot afford the scrutiny an accident like this would bring.

Fleeing the scene with the help of the son (Nate Parker) of a longtime employee, Miller tries to keep one step ahead of an investigation led by a cop with a hard-on to take him down (Tim Roth), and make sure the sale goes through.

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Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow #20

by Alan Rapp on December 23, 2012

in Comics

snake-eyes-and-storm-shadow-20-coverTarget: Snake Eyes comes to and end as Snake Eyes and Helix‘s recuperation comes to a screeching halt when Storm Shadow shows up to destroy an entire aircraft carrier just to get his hands on his traitorous sword brother whose recent actions have gutted the once proud Arashikage Clan.

There’s a little too much of everyone else here including Scarlett and a whole host of various other JOEs as the comic is at its best when it stays with the fight we’ve been waiting to see ever since the crossover began: Snake Eyes vs. Storm Shadow. The fight itself is good, I just wish the rest of the story didn’t keep encroaching on it.

The fallout leaves the JOEs minus one aircraft carrier and another apparent “death” for our title character. It also, in an interesting choice by writer Chuck Dixon, gives Storm Shadow the smallest semblance of victory. With the crossover now finished and Snake Eyes once again missing in action, it will be interesting to see what new direction the comic takes next month as it appears the comic will continue to give both characters title credit. Worth a look.

[IDW, $3.99]

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