Posts Tagged ‘Monsters’

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J. J. Abrams, the movie marketing master, is back with his newest production, 10 Cloverfield Lane. I’m going to have to be pretty vague with this one, as there are many details that could count as spoilers and I really don’t want to ruin any surprises.

The movie starts off with our main character, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) walking out of her home and driving. Shortly thereafter, she is involved in a nasty car accident, which causes her to black out. When she wakes up, she finds herself chained to a bed in a small cinder block room. Frantically, she tries to get out, and is unsuccessful. At that point her apparent captor, Howard (John Goodman), unlocks the door and enters the room, explaining to her that he saved her life and that there has been some kind of attack on the outside world. He tells her the only reason she’s alive is because they’re in an underground bunker. The movie only gets darker and scarier from there with the revelation that there is a third resident of the bunker, Emmett (John Gallagher, Jr.), who subscribes to Howard’s apocalyptic theory.

Campbell and Stuecken’s script is trim, not allowing any frivolity, much like the environment the characters find themselves in. Tension builds as Michelle tries to figure out if Howard is as benevolent as he makes himself out to be, or if he’s a deeply disturbed individual holding her against her will for some sinister purpose. There are a few jump scares throughout the movie, but I genuinely felt a sense of psychological dread and terror for most of it, which trumps the average jump scare any day, in my opinion.

The real bright spot of this movie is the acting. Winstead and Goodman are phenomenal. Goodman’s presence itself is incredibly imposing, and he speaks with an air of unquestioning authority that makes you wonder if his character does have the best interests of the others in mind. Winstead provides the perfect foil to that in that her character never once falls into the damsel in distress role. She’s constantly searching for a way out and thinking about how she’s going to escape.

In all honesty, I didn’t know what to expect going into this one. And if I had to give one complaint about the movie, I would say it is the placement of the musical score into some scenes. I feel like in certain scenes silence, or just background noise would have been better than music. It was almost a little distracting. But seriously, that’s the only nitpicky thing I can say about it. I really enjoyed this movie. If I can give you one piece of advice it would be not to go into the theater with any preconceived notions. Go in fresh, allow yourself to enjoy it, and you won’t be disappointed.

The Verdict for 10 Cloverfield Lane:
5 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

 

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Marvel is back in the business of monster comics with Howling Commandos of SHIELD #1.  In this series a life model decoy of Dum Dum Dugan, one of Nick Fury’s original howling commandos, leads a group of misfit monsters on a mission to recover the Earth Idol.  One thing that has been consistent through most of the issues of these All-New All-Different Marvel titles is that they’re telling backstory while simultaneously detailing what’s currently happening.  Marvel has chosen to have all of their new number 1’s take place eight months after the conclusion of Secret Wars, so there is nearly a year in these characters lives that has been paved over.  That leaves the writers a lot of leeway to tell some interesting narratives as to how the characters got to this point.

Author Frank Barbiere takes writing duties on this series and he hits the ground running with a mission on a freight ship in the Atlantic Ocean.  I really like the concept that Barbiere introduces in the story, but I do feel like it could have been executed a little better.  The cast is so large, and there are so many characters that he has to introduce that the story almost feels rushed.  No one character, with the exception of Dugan, gets more that a page or two of story time, so we don’t really get to know them very well at all in this first issue.  I’m sure it’s something that will be rectified in future issues, but this being the introduction issue, it seems a little odd not to get more of an introduction.

Brent Schoonover handles the art here and does a really great job.  He does well with the extremely varied cast of characters, from zombies to vampires to Man-things to… whatever Orrgo is, Schoonover draws them all in great detail and all with their own individual characteristics.  Larger scenes seem to lose a little bit of detail, but it’s nothing that noticeable or distracting.  A series like this would require a really good artist and it certainly seems like Schoonover is up to the task.

Overall, I did enjoy the issue, even though it did feel kind of rushed in certain spots.  I look forward to learning more about the characters and watching them interact over the course of the series.  I will definitely be keeping up with this one, and if you’re at all interested in monsters and things that are a little bit different, you probably should too.

The Verdict for Howling Commandos of SHIELD #1:
4 out of 5

If you like this review, or any of my others, don’t forget to subscribe!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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The October Faction is the latest horror comic from writer Steve Niles, artist Damien Worm, and publisher IDW.  It follows the adventures of the Allan family, the patriarch of which, Frederick, used to be a professional monster hunter.  Frederick’s wife, Deloris, is billed as a “thrill-killer,” and his two children, Vivian and Geoff, are a witch and warlock, respectively.  Still following along?  Ok, good.

In this particular case, rather than go back and review each individual issue, I decided it would probably be more productive to review issues 1-6 (which covers the first full story arc and will eventually be collected into a single volume trade paperback anyway) as a whole.  Doing it this way has its pros and cons, but like I said, the deciding factor was simply expediency.  So, with that in mind, let’s get to it.

Steve Niles is one of the better horror comic writers out there at the moment, and this book is actually his first original ongoing series, so initially I was pretty excited about it.  But, if we’re being completely honest, this one just didn’t really do it for me.  The story concept is very interesting, but over the course of the first six issues it doesn’t really seem to go anywhere.  Some secrets are revealed, new characters are introduced, but it doesn’t seem to be building up to anything incredibly significant.  I’m willing to give Niles a little bit of a pass because I can see where it would be somewhat difficult to transition from writing stories with a clear beginning, middle, and end (which he has been doing for years in mini-series), over to this format, which has to have constantly flowing plot lines running through it.  I stayed with it for the basic premise, and because I wanted to see just where it would go, but the more of it I read, the less interested I became.  I think another aspect that ultimately killed it for me was the main characters.  None of them really come off as likable individuals, which can make it very hard to empathize with them when something happens.

The art in this series from Damien Worm is something that I did enjoy for the most part.  It’s slightly cartoonish and pretty over the top, but it’s also bizarre in a way that works really well with the strange subject matter of the story itself.  Some of the more interesting panels here actually involve a side character who is unknowingly haunted by his former football teammates after they’re killed in a car crash.  The emotion displayed in the character’s face after a secret about the crash is revealed is nothing short of chilling. One complaint I do have about the art is that the action scenes seem to be a little awkward, and for the most part there’s not really any feeling of movement when characters are engaged in a fight.  They’re just kind of… there, looking like a statue of someone punching.

All in all, this series isn’t really bad, it’s just… not good.  I’ll probably stick with it through the next story arc just to see where it goes, but it would have to be pretty spectacular for me to keep up with it after that.

The Verdict for The October Faction #1 – #6:
Meh…

Upcoming reviews:
East of West, Volume 3: There Is No Us TPB
Secret Wars #2
Ultimate End #1
Wytches #1-#6
Mad Max: Fury Road

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.