Friday, 5 August 2016

Comic Review - Buster #1

   So I read Buster #1 with story and art by Peejay Catacutan.  For a local comic that's trying to make an explosive debut, I'm a little disappointed at the rather generic sounding title.  'Buster' makes me think of Megaman or a pet name.  But then 'Star Wars' and 'Firefly' isn't exactly super impressive sounding for a sci-fi franchise anyhow.

   The plot is another future war fought with a small band of rebels but they have a secret non-weapon.  It's actually pretty impressive that the name isn't used but, I swear I will throw a mini fit if this becomes a Doctor Who thing, haha.  Kidding.  What if the twist is they actually revived Manny instead?  The scheme is pretty idealistic but I'm pretty sure the heroes have more rabbits up their sleeves.  Was surprised that they're not local folks either and that it's part of the plot.

  Art-wise, the dozer makes a reference to the Matrix but the figures aren't as hella tight as they could be.  There's some loose, rough depictions that used to be synonymous with local indie artwork some years before so it could be a stylistic choice.  


  Wasn't too keen on the flight combat finale, even though Swat Kats creators were name dropped as the villain.  It was a little hard to follow.  The ship they use could have had a more exciting design but perhaps there's change or augmentation to come.  

   Is this an ongoing or a miniseries?  Not much info is given.  No email address but an actual location of Chopsoy comics is addressed instead.  I suppose Twitter and Instagram would be how these Buster rebels would keep track of their contacts.  Let's see what's to come next.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Movie Review - Suicide Squad

   It's the next in line of DC movies, trying to strike gold.  The basis for the film is an unconventional for superheroes one, perhaps taking a page from their competition by picking unorthodox anti heroes like the protectors from outer space or the deceased wader?  So how does the Suicide Squad fare?

  Task Force X is a team composed of villains, forced to take almost lethal missions.  Their first assignment is a search and rescue type within a city infected by a supernatural force.

   What folks are pointing out is the grimness of the previous DC films so this is their chance to lighten up the mood.  The jokes are in there.  They have to be since Joker is present, though the focus is on Harley Quinn.  She gets some one liners in but the presentation seems a little stunted, as if they pause just for her to quip.  There's chances for other characters to get their zingers in like Deadshot and Captain Boomerang but most are hinged on the unhinged Harley.

   The special effects are still top notch, especially with the new gimmick they had with the supernatural matter that oozes out lightning fast.  There's only a few actual metahumans in the mix but their abilities are displayed pretty well.  'Pretty' being a weak word to describe the Enchantress as she looks quite stunning in her different forms.  A problem though is execution.  The final confrontation has the pacing be very off and the slow motion is utilized quite laughably.  It ruined the fast pace set a few seconds earlier for the sake of the drama.  Quite a shame really.

   For the comic book fans, seeing Harley's classic costume is a hoot.  Her being brought to life from the comics is rather well done, with the exception of the editing.  Deadshot being African American shouldn't be a thing but Will Smith is still playing Will Smith.  Captain Boomerang is rightfully Australian but made a little loopier.  What's with the inclusion of the pony unicorn fetish?  I rather like it but would have been happier if Pinkie was more instrumental like save his life or something.  He didn't use enough boomerangs though.  Killer Croc was disappointingly small of stature.  At least his swimming ability was used in favor of his supposed strength, which wasn't featured.  El Diablo was a bright, fiery spot.  His backstory introduction had strange timing but he was a great character.  Heroic at the very least.  Same with Katana who was sadly under utilized and left barely interacting due to language (intentionally?).  This version of the Enchantress is one I'm not familiar with since she is depicted like a witch doctor and not a classic pointed hat witch.  Nice twist but originally unwelcome at first with the involvement of Rick Flag.  It was unwieldy at first but they made it work, which is good for them.  Amanda Waller here is hardly distinguished from the dragon lady from How to Get Away with Murder in terms of cold heartedness.  The Joker himself I enjoyed a lot.  He didn't have the clown gimmicks but he had an air about him.  Not too serious and not too good either.  Looks to be violent fun so can't wait to see what they do with him in the future.  But he and Harley have to be separated to appreciate them.  Something to add would be Scott Eastwood's inclusion as he might as well have been a named and recognizable comic book hero / villain, considering his role.

   Suicide Squad is rather decent action film with some good humor.  The character focus is a little unbalanced (hence one wonders why the other squad members didn't get a snazzy intro) but unbalanced means crazy and that's what the movie is trying to go for.  Strange but the premise could totally have been made for a Ghostbusters movie and it would have worked.  Either way, it's enjoyable enough if one doesn't expect a masterpiece.  But don't treat is as a joke.

Movie Review - Bad Moms

   It's another comedy where women behave like men.  Or what seems to be how men are perceived when behaving badly?  Tough to say but it's still an absolutely gutbuster.

   Amy is a harried mom with a household that's falling apart and suddenly has to deal with a petty PTA head.  Fortunately, she has new friends who have her back.

   The writers of the film are the brainiacs behind the Hangover trilogy, a macho, manly, drunkfest.  Now these men masterminded what is suppose to be a look inside the thoughts of mothers.  It's an absolutely hilarious take but I wonder how women really think about it.  How much rings true and how much is just coming from male preconceived notions?  Much could have been done with the subject but, well, this is a comedy.

   And what a comedy!  Yes, it's some women being crude and inappropriate so the humor is actually coming from stereotypes and fantasies.  It's a hoot and half.  The jacket talk, the drinking party, the internet connection... a bit disgusting and quite wild but one has to laugh.  

   There are some genuine bits.  Love of children, talk of responsibility, the simplified break up process, dealing with the pettiness between grown women... all of which speak to the modern mother.  I would recommend this to matriarchs.  It may offend some but more might appreciate the matronly position being poked fun of as it is a comedy.  I would like to add that I couldn't believe I was seeing Kristen Bell in that kind of role, haha.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Movie Review - The Shallows

   What variations can be done with a shark movie?  Well, one can have mutated sharks or different kinds of sharks or even flying sharks.  The Shallows goes for the basics and succeeds with producing a still thrilling killing film.

   Nancy goes to a secret beach for some surfing and, whoops, gets attacked by a shark.  Her survival depends on her skill, smarts and a whole lot of luck.

   To start with, the film does a lot of cinematic tricks to stand out.  The split screen smart phone and playing with rise and fall of the background music are a few of the innovations and that doesn't count the breathtaking glamour shots of the surfing.  Too bad it's limited to the beginning.  Afterwards, the movie sticks to conventional cinematography.

  The story is simple enough and the tension and thrill is real.  What spoils it slightly is the sudden appearance of other factors that just happen to pop up near the end.  The luminescent intruders, the weather change, the passing steamer, even the oily flare.  They happened by chance and were they really necessary?  Maybe, maybe not but it's already in there.  But the inclusion of the wingman can definitely stay, hehe.

  Btw, the trailer gives away a lot of things so just dive into The Shallows blind.  One can except a suspenseful and nail biting time fearing the bite of the undersea predator.

Movie Review - Jason Bourne

   The Bourne franchise continues.  Just when one thought it was over, the original character makes a come back.  Can he still carry the man-on-the-run shtick through?

   Jason Bourne is lured back from out of the cold with concrete hints of his true identity.  His trying to evade capture while pursuing his plans for revenge is mixed up in another secret government project.

   So getting answers to the Bourne Identity is delivered but does it have the desired impact after waiting so long?  It might not matter as much but at least it is put to rest.  The inclusion of the company start up cheapens the revelation as it's importance is treated as trivial due to lack of focus.  What exactly is Deep Dream?  I don't think it's actually specified.

   There are new innovations in technology included, which could be a departure from the original vision but progress in tech is expected.  Some exotic locations are used, taking advantage of a fiery riot in Iceland and using the streets of Vegas for a horrific demolition derby of sorts.  The fists and firearms action is kept in high quality and the thrill factor works especially with the new wildcard in the form of new female character Heather Lee.  

   Jason Bourne provides the same level of suspense as expected from the series and this installment could actually close his story, depending on how it performs.  Either or is good, be it new blood or revitalization. 

Movie Review - Ignacio de Loyola

     This film is special as it is produced locally but with an international feel.  The topic, the life of Saint Ignatius or Ignacio, may have a specific audience set but perhaps it will capture a universal market.

   Inigo de Loyola came from a noble family with something to prove but he changes his life path after a failed attempt at glory in battle.  After living years as a holy man, his faith is challenged by that which had hoped to assist.

   The setting in Spain is particularly serene and beautiful and the production value of the props and clothes is pretty high.  There are times though when the effects are not that particularly special but those are few and far between.  The cast is a rather attractive lot, as if the lead's sexiness is a factor in his selection.  Fortunately, Andreas Munoz is an exceptional actor in his own right and he does his role justice.

   The film is split into two distinct parts, with their own climaxes.  Both are turning points in Inigo's life.  The first segment where he tries to live up to the expectations of being a Loyola is a bit more of a typical plot, with a general audience appeal.  The second part when he is already enlightened and is put on trial is a little more of special interest but still contains the tension to carry the story.  The inclusion of the princess may or may not be an essential part of the story but it's still an interesting diversion. 

   Inigo de Loyola is a man who started out lost then found his place in life as Ignacio.  This depiction displays him in an attractive light and has its heart in the right place.