Reviews

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Immortality is something that has long been sought for but never achieved (supposedly).  The Fountain of Youth, eating a mermaid, a vampires bite, there are many ways to not die, but what would you do with all that time? Finally take up knitting? For the four soldiers of The Old Guard, it’s doing what they do best, fighting for the highest bidder. Written by Eisner winner Greg Rucka, The Old Guard has him step away from his usual superhero fan-fare and allows him to come back to his first passion, original comic work with longtime collaborator, Leandro Fernandez. While I don’t usually use the words ‘action-packed’ and ‘a mile-a-minute thrills,’ this work has a cinematic quality to it rarely seen in the graphic world. A tight read that never lingers, The Old Guard is a solid baseline from the finickiest of comic readers to full blown addicts.  

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It’s ‘classic horror comics meets classic horror writer’ madness in the latest continuation of everyone’s favorite swamp monster, Man-Thing! RL Stine, the mastermind behind such hits as Goosebumps and Fear Street, has teamed up with Marvel to release a new story titled simply, Man-Thing. The comic will be starting from the Man-Thing’s origin story, that is, with scientist Ted Sallis who in an attempt to recreate the super solider serum, accidently turns himself into Deadpool. Kidding! He actually turns himself into Man-Thing when he tries to save himself and his formula by injecting the serum straight into his veins. Now a lumbering creature of the night, Man-Thing spreads his unique form of eco-justice through a fear toxin that pours through his vines.

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We’ve been saying since we launched Warped Perspective that we’d be covering a fairly broad selection of what could be termed ‘genre’ cinema, but it’s taken me until now to really put this into action. And, it has to be said, I elected to watch a film which was always going to pose certain issues for me. See, the star of the ‘based on a true story’ comedy, Army of One, is none other than Nicholas Cage. I have respect for Cage, as he’s been acting for a long time, and to be fair, he’s been in some films which I very much like – usually when his character is having the worst time of his life, now I think of it, such as in Leaving Las Vegas. However, in other roles, I find Cage’s jittery, manic stylings incredibly challenging to watch. It’s too intense; it saps the life out of the rest of the film (his performance in Vampire’s Kiss still hurts my mind). But if I veer between grudging admiration and utter exasperation when I watch Cage on screen, then it’s nothing compared to my feelings about Russell Brand, who also features here – as none other than God, a role Brand may well have felt very comfortable playing. So, a challenging cast, and a divisive director (Larry Charles, who gave us Borat). Army of One was sizing up to be a challenging prospect…

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Death and the Wild West go together like chocolate and peanut butter or Australians and vegemite. From the harsh weather and even harsher land to forced labor and just-plain villainy, it’s no wonder that the horizon of US expansion is littered with the bodies of the dead. But from all the bad, something good always comes and in this case, it’s a rich history of legacy, traditions, and wild gods that still shake the earth something fierce. In BOOM! Studios newest release, Death be Damned, we see how far one man goes to find his wild gods and the length one woman goes for retribution. A retelling of the classic revenge story, the comic attempts to take a peek behind the veil in the bloody west but drops short of a truly distinctive experience. That’s not to say there aren’t good things about it.

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Funny thing; it’s just over a month since we relaunched as Warped Perspective, our mission statement being to diversify from the horror-specific focus of our previous incarnation Brutal As Hell – and yet in that time, I personally have still wound up reviewing nothing but horror movies. Old habits really do die hard. Of course, we never said we’d stop covering horror, nor would that be especially feasible given our standing within the industry, small fish in a big pond though we may be. And given that we’ve always been something of an underdog site, it’s important to me that we support other underdogs, gearing up for their own David/Goliath stories. One such plucky so-and-so ready to let fly with his sling is Justin M Seaman, writer-director of microbudget Halloween horror The Barn – and like all the best microbudget horror filmmakers, what Seaman and co lack in funding, they more than make up for in ideas, ambition, and enthusiasm.

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3D cinema may have undergone a bit of a resurgence in recent years, but it’s important to remember that – although we now have an array of new-fangled technology to enjoy it and a whole host of new films to go alongside – the phenomenon isn’t exactly new. Hence this brilliant little factoid on the cover of the Salvation Films Blu ray release of The Stewardesses: apparently, prior to Avatar (!) this was the highest-grossing 3D film of all time. Now if that’s a piece of the much-vaunted ‘fake news’ we’re currently hearing so much about, then it’s the kind I think we can approve of. But who knows? It could well be true. Before audiences wanted to be immersed into fictional universes, perhaps they wanted to be immersed into something rather more, shall we say, earthy…

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What can be said about Back to the Future that hasn’t been said for the past thirty years? Yes, it’s a great family favorite that has surpassed its life expectancy and is still as entertaining today as it was thirty years ago and yes, we still love the sequels! Did we get our hoverboards and holographic Michael Jacksons as promised in the BttF sequel? Well, sort of. But you know what we didn’t get that I’m sure all franchise fans have been hankering for? An answer to how in the world big bully Biff became such a world-dominating powerhouse just by betting on a few horses. Wait, you never wondered, you just assumed there was thirty years of alternate plotline between 1955 and 1985 that just wasn’t important enough to get its own movie? Why am I asking so many hypothetical questions instead of getting to the damn point? Because life is chaos and nothing matters! But also, thanks to IDW Comics, there is an answer to what Biff has been up to in those three decades and it’s a whole lot of no good. A fun romp into the backwoods of the main storyline, readers can finally have a main character they don’t want to root for yet still can’t help but want to see succeed.

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When a film is touted as a supposedly offensive comedy, I tend to go in sceptical, because for me titles touted as such tend to be neither. Such was the case with War on Everyone, and it’s fair to say, in that regard at least, my expectations were met. War on Everyone failed to elicit a single belly laugh from me, and neither did it leave me writing letters to my local MP demanding the BFI should be dismantled for funding such sick filth. No, instead, I was mostly bored for just over an hour and a half, and wishing I’d re-watched The Nice Guys for a third time instead.

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The love letter to Los Angeles that is La La Land is taking the world by storm and is a favorite for an Oscar nod. It’s dreamy, unreal and positive. It’s full of life and love and singing. The city of Los Angeles has played itself in cinema since the beginning. Like most cities, it’s many different things to the people who know it. Chad Ferrin’s Parasites, which is available today for digital HD download, takes a decidedly darker view of L.A. One that begins with an almost comical view of violence and ends up making a powerful commentary on class, power, society and institutionalized racism. The film meanders and stumbles a bit along the way, but stick with it. This is a truly bleak film, and an important one as well. Continue reading

I think it’s fair to say that director M. Night Shyamalan has had a variable track record to date. After his big break, The Sixth Sense, made a new sport out of guessing-the-twist, he seemed to have landed straight at the top and seemed likely to stay there – but subsequent films saw this influence wane, with offerings such as Lady in the Water dividing fans and more recent efforts, namely The Last Airbender, uniting them again – mostly in derision. (I’ll admit I haven’t seen The Last Airbender, though whenever faced with Shyamalan’s most twee efforts, I always feel like Michael Jackson’s Earth Song is about to break out.) So, this brings us to his new film, the recently-released Split (2016), which features no spooks, no mysterious realms and no crop circles. On paper, it certainly seems like a concerted effort has been made to head in a new direction – but just how complete, and successful, is this departure?

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