Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pacific Rim

Growing up, I watched a lot of monster movies. I still do, but there was a magic to watching them on the weekends as a kid that is hard to recapture in this day of on demand everything. I might have been a bit of a nerd, but there was no bigger thrill for me than to settle in with a creature feature or two thanks to the various local outlets like Theater Bizarre, Grandpa Munster's Super Scary Saturday and Chiller Theater, as well as the other weekend movie broadcasts. Those were some defining moments for me.

Pacific Rim is a homage to those halcyon days of youth and yet manages to stand on its own even when you take away the crutch of nostalgia. In other words, it's fucking awesome. You see, apparently Guillermo Del Toro had a similar childhood, except instead of writing a blog, he's making movies that kick ass. In making this one, he pays respect to the movies that influenced him and adds to the genre with one of the most entertaining movies I have had the pleasure of seeing in a long time. I don't think I've smiled as much in the theater since I saw Godzilla 2000 when it was making the rounds here in America.

In Pacific Rim, we are treated to a world that become all too familiar with the rampages of kaiju, or monsters, as they crawl from a rift beneath the sea and rampage across the globe. The military, while able to stop the monsters after heavy losses, realizes that conventional weapons are no match for these fierce monsters and the seek another means to terminate these invaders. Thus is born the Jaeger program.

Jaegers are giant mechs that are piloted by a team of two and actually manage to turn the tide of the battle in the favor of the humans. That is, until the creatures coming out start getting stronger and stronger. Pacific Rim follows the pilot of an old Jaeger, Gipsy Danger, as he is brought back into service and joins with other pilots who seek to end the fight once and for all.

I had been psyched for Pacific Rim ever since the first artwork started leaking two years ago and I found out what the plot was about. If there is a movie that spoke to me based on a description alone, it was this one. It sounded awesome and was well worth the weight. The Jaegers and kaiju are fully realized in the film and stage epic fights that you will find yourself grinning like an idiot through. The mechs punch, they bite, they kick, the shoot and do whatever it takes to destroy the threat and the kaiju are no slouches either in the fighting department and truly give the pilots a run for their money.

I don't even want to risk spoiling the experience for you, for that is what the movie truly is. It is a transcendental experience that has restored my faith in the summer blockbuster after being beaten into submission by the Transformers movies. It has given me robots and monsters and most of all, heroes that do their duty. They don't balk at it. They know they need to save the world and that there is no time for dallying.

The soundtrack is pretty amazing too.

Check it out. Seriously. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Evil Dead (2013)

I've been slacking quite a bit lately when it comes to movies. I don't know what it is that makes me miss them. Probably Borderlands 2. As I didn't have anyone to play with this weekend and because I wanted to get the release date price on the movie, I picked up the steelbook of Evil Dead to watch this past weekend so I could get my horror movie on.

I'm a pretty big Evil Dead fan, so I had some trepidation going into it. I know the film had the blessing and backing of Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and Rob Tapert, but that didn't necessarily mean anything. I'm sure a few of the other remakes out there had the blessing too and most of them have been rubbish, honestly. I also didn't like the idea of Diablo Cody being involved, as I loathed Juno, or more specifically, the way she had people speak. Since she was punching up the dialogue, I shuddered to think of what I might hear upon viewing it.

As it was, upon viewing it, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the film. It hearkened back to the original film. Any humor in this movie is dark, not the Three Stooges-esque slapstick of the sequels. And there's blood and gore. It flows in rivers. People lose arms and hands and Chekov's nailgun is fired several times after being introduced in the early parts of the movie. A chainsaw makes an appearance and so does the Classic. It's everything you could want from an Evil Dead movie.

It even had a good reason for them to go to the cabin in the first place. Mia (Jane Levy), is a drug addict and her friends and brother are holding an intervention for her to help her kick the stuff once and for all. Unfortunately, they find a book and its warnings are not heeded and an evil is loosed upon the forest. Mia is the first taken by it and everyone just thinks she's having a really bad time going cold turkey. Soon enough, it's apparent that she isn't and the non-possessed members have to find a way to save her or save themselves.

It's a fun ride once it gets started and I'm happy I checked it out. Jane Levy gives a wonderful performance that gave me chills and the rest of the cast was good as well. The only thing I thought was a little unnecessary was the opening scene, which deals with characters we never see or hear about again who are themselves dealing with an evil in the basement of the cabin. I guess it is there to spell out that the book is looking for someone to corrupt.

Check it out.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Larfleeze #1

I haven’t written about comic books in awhile, mainly because I’ve been lazy and so many other sites do it that it almost seems like my brief rundowns don’t do an issue justice. However, I have taken up keyboard after my reading of Larfleeze #1, the new Green Lantern spin-off (technically Threshold but whatever) by Keith Giffen, J.M. Dematteis and Scott Kolins. Their subject? Why, it’s Larfleeze, the Orange Lantern, of course who, for the unfamiliar, is the greediest and vilest creature ever to come out of the Vega System.

You see, Larfleeze is in a bit of a pickle. His orange lantern, the source of his power, and all of his stuff has been stolen from him. Thus, Larfleeze is depressed and contemplating tossing himself into a space anomaly. While that might not sound like the most promising of beginnings for the first issue of a comic, it becomes a great starting point as we are treated to Larfleeze’s origin story as he recounts it to his faithful butler. Of course we can’t believe half of it, coming from Larfleeze, but it gives a bit of background and insight into the mind of a completely insane and greedy beast of a character who you can’t help but love.

What in lesser hands could be a bland and boring issue, Giffen and DeMatteis offer a fresh and humorous take on Larfleeze’s recounting of his history that will elicit more than a few chuckles from the reader. Unless you’re dead inside. They can’t help that. Everything from Larfleeze’s birth to his acquiring the power of Agent Orange is covered and is frankly hysterical. I usually hate origin issues but this one kept me enthralled and I couldn’t wait to turn the page and see what other mishaps that loveable scamp had gotten into.

Then we get the setup for the next issue and boy, is it a doozy. Cosmically so. And comically.

Did I mention that all of this is visually represented by the lovely and wonderful artwork of Kolins, whose baby Avengers covers are a thing of beauty? Because he brings  his A game as much as the writers and combined makes for a book I didn’t know I would end up loving but did and now I am quite looking forward to the next issue.

If you haven’t picked this comic up, please do. Too many comics are cancelled because they don’t get enough promotion and I aim to see that this doesn’t happen too Larfleeze. He has too much stuff to get back and I want to see him get his hands on every grubby last piece. Hell, I think I’m going to go and read it again.

Also, fuck that half-star review at Comic Book Resources. I don't know what axe that guy has to grind, but he's totally wrong. The book might not be up his alley, but it's a fine piece of work that deserves much, much better than he gave it.

Check it out.