Monthly Archives: February 2014

Skyfall: Aging Decrepit Hero

As a big fan of the James Bond movie franchise, I’ve watched all the films several times, especially the ones featuring Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan, the two Bonds that I am most familiar with. However, Daniel Craig hasn’t exactly had a good run with the three movies that he has done and Skyfall, the most recent Bond film (#23), being a perfect example. It lies in between Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace and it straddles both sides of the fence.

There was a lot that was wrong with the movie, and not all that much that was actually good. Because of that factor, it remains one of the least exciting movies I’ve seen in recent years, especially since becoming a movie blogger. And here’s the review where I go in some detail.

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EVE: True Stories #1 (Comics Review)

EVE Online has been one of those games to come out in recent years that I’ve wanted to play for a long time. The entire world sounds exciting and intriguing and is full of the kind of awesomeness that I want in a game like that. Sadly, I have yet to get the opportunity, for fate always conspires to keep me away from it, sadly. But I suppose that a comic based on the game is the next best thing right? And what really could be better than a comic that is inspired by events that happened in the game as a result of player interaction? Sounds very ironically meta doesn’t it? Well, that was the hook for me to get and read this comic.

Turns out, its not quite what I was looking for. Nothing against the story itself, per se, its just that the art isn’t always clear, and the story is just slightly convoluted that I don’t understand what exactly is going on. But still, I got pulled into a mystery here, and since I love big, loud space opera, I did like this issue on a certain level. Time will tell whether or not this story will be good or not, since we have three more issue to go, but I’m hopeful nonetheless.

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Tomb Raider #1 (Comics Review)

My first ever experience with Tomb Raider was this one PC game demo that I got off a magazine CD. I remember it clearly because I just ran around the starting area with no clue as to what to do. I just couldn’t find a way out. Then years later, I saw the two movies featuring Angelina Jolie. They were good, decent, but hardly exciting fare. Then again years later, when I finally got a Nintendo DS in college, I bought a Tomb Raider game on a trip to San Francisco for a gaming convention. And it was fun. A lot of fun. I’ve still got it, even though I haven’t played it for like 4 years now.

Last year Dark Horse announced that they would be doing a new Tomb Raider comics series and that this was going to be set in the aftermath of the recently released video game with the rebooted continuity. I was excited. I hadn’t played the game but the comic was going to be written by one of my absolute favourites, Gail Simone, and that’s all that I wanted. This week, the first issue got released, and it was everything that I wanted out of it, and more. And the art was quite good as well. Very different to what I expected but good nonetheless.

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Student of The Year: Class Is Out

In recent years Bollywood has developed a certain fascination with college movies. The fascination has been around for a while, truth be told, but it has taken on a new fervor thanks to the industry’s growing interest in youth movies to cater to the young modern crowd. One of the results of this was 2012’s Student of The Year, which starred three new debuts, and it did fairly well at the box office too.

Its not the best college movie I’ve seen from Bollywood, but it is definitely among the better ones. It has a lot of the youthful intensity that I expect from such a movie, and it entertained quite well, so I’m fairly satisfied with that. I wish it had been a little better overall, but that’s one of the drawbacks of working with debuts in such a case. They are still trying to find their feet and working together in a big movie like this, so hiccups are expected.

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Comics Picks For 19.02.2014

Another very slow week, mostly due to traveling again. And now I’m in India for a cousin’s wedding, so I have big doubts that I will be able to read all that much in the next two weeks at least. Its certainly going to be quite a challenge.

Still, there were some really good entries this week, and I’d recommend almost all of them, barring like two of the issues. Definitely check out Kings Watch #1 if not anything else. More Phantom goodness? Hell yes, please!

Anyway, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Dredd: Judge, Jury, Executioner

In fall of 2012, one of the most awaited films of recent years debuted to audiences all over the world. Following on seventeen years since the Sylvester Stallone-starrer Judge Dredd, which was a massive disappointment, audiences finally had a Judge Dredd movie which actually looked cool from all the promos and which seemed to correct the mistakes of the past. Sadly, nothing worked out as intended. Whereas the previous film had at least made back some of its money and more besides, the new one failed to recoup its investment in the first place, and the budget was even half of what it had been before.

No doubt, several mistakes were made with the new movie, and they all contributed to what was eventually a box office flop. But since then, Dredd has gained a significant cult following. Whereas the theatrical release was a flop affair, the DVD/Blu-ray sales were highly encouraging. Stores, whether physical or digital, were constantly out of product. This was unexpected and on some level, this helped change perspectives. Now, there are talks of a sequel happening at some point, which is quite significant in and of itself. I can only hope that there is a sequel, because I enjoyed the movie. I pretty much loved it. Watch it with my highest recommendation.

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Unity #4 (Comics Review)

I keep saying this and it never gets old for me: despite everything “new” that the Big 2 have done of late, Valiant Comics is still not done pulling out all the stops to establish themselves in the big leagues of superhero comics. Their Unity ongoing, which is a team-up comic featuring some of their biggest heroes, is proof of it. I wasn’t sure what all to expect from it when I heard about it and the book has been a very pleasant surprise. It has kept me coming back month after month, and I suppose that is evidence enough of how much I am enjoying reading this series.

In the first three issues, we saw a superhero team go up against one of the most powerful men on the planet. It was quite a brutal three issues and featured some of Matt Kindt’s best writing. He’s been very hit and miss for me, but with this series he has definitely a hit, and that is pleasing on a personal level since the Valiant universe is so very different from what exists at the Big 2. It is fresh, it is unique, and it also a whole lot of fun. It also helps that the art on this series is so damn good.

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Kings Watch #1 (Comics Review)

Years ago, there used to be this little animated series called Defenders of the Earth. To a young kid growing up in the 90s, the show was one of the most memorable ones at the time, in part because it featured The Phantom, a comics character from my childhood that I had a ton of fun reading about in the Hindi-version comics that were released in India. I don’t remember the show all that much, but I do remember that Phantom, Flash Gordon and Mandrake pretty much kicked ass every time and that Ming the Merciless was utterly despicable, a true villain.

Fast forward to now, when Dynamite has begun releasing Kings Watch, a mini-series that focuses on the adventures of this trio and goes to some new places. The original animated series was set in 2015. It is now 2014 (the series started in September last year). Funny how that works out, huh? Reconnecting with these characters after all this time has been quite a thrill, and this first issue has been very entertaining. The story isn’t quite as put together as I would like it to be, but the art is pretty top notch and this is definitely a really good issue. One that makes me want to pick up the others immediately.

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Expendables 2: Bigger, Better, Faster

2010’s Expendables kind of marked Sylvesterr Stallone’s return to big, loud action movies after somewhat of a sabbatical (somewhere around that same time he also starred in the latest Rambo movie). Rising to prominence in the 80s and continuing on through the 90s, Stallone has been one of the industry’s biggest action stars for a long time, and with this movie he brought together a whole bunch of his peers to deliver some, hopefully, kick-ass action with a cool story. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out because the story was basically boring and lacked heart.

Then in 2012 he returned with Expendables 2, with an expanded ensemble cast that also included as its villain another big 80s and 90s action star, Jean-Claude Van Damme. Thankfully, the new movie was much better on pretty much every front and it has held up to repeat viewings in a way that the first movie did not. Now this year in August we are going to get Expendables 3 and soon we will also be getting Expenabelles (working title) which will do what Stallone did in the same movie, but with an all-female cast. I’m excited. In the run-up, here’s my (reposted) review for the second movie, which was pretty good, all things considered and would certainly be my recommendation.

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New Warriors #1 (Comics Review)

If anything, February has been a bigger month for Marvel and its All-New Marvel NOW! launch than January was. More titles, a bit more oomph in general, and just as interesting in the final tally. And given that January was a pretty damn good month for the publisher in terms of unit sales and market share, I’m thinking that February is going to be equally good. I mean, when you launch these many new #1s and with many of them getting their sequel issues in the same month, that’s going to add a lot of padding to your wallet. Like a lot.

But that’s fine, as long as the titles being released are decent. And New Warriors #1 is kind of entertaining I suppose. There’s an overload of characters and everything is basically frontloaded at the reader as far as the team’s makeup is concerned, but that’s fine. This is not a group that I’ve really read about before (I hardly remember what I read in Civil War), so there’s that charm about them that I drew me to the title. Beyond that though, I can easily see this as being a good replacement for Young Avengers, following the cancellation of that title recently. Art is good, story is decent. All good.

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The Dark Knight Rises: The Fail Hard

It is pretty undeniable that Christopher Nolan’s grim and gritty take on Batman, a very apt portrayal given the character’s nature and the setting of Gotham, pretty much revolutionised superhero movies. In that respect, these movies have done as much to create the mass appeal of such movies as Marvel’s own movies have done in the last decade. But, there have been ups and downs as well, because these movies aren’t perfect, despite the illusion otherwise.

The primary issue I had with the movie was that it magnified the failings of The Dark Knight without offering anything to counter that extreme. It basically just failed hard, as far as I am concerned. For me, it is one of the most disappointing superhero movies I’ve seen to date. It is overly long, self-indulgent, and suffers from a villain who is undone by the story rather than the hero himself. It is a movie that has the purpose of shocking the reader, not entertaining. One can only hope that any future portrayals are better. In the meanwhile, here’s my review of the movie.

Note: The review contains some major spoilers for the movie.

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Curse #2 (Comics Review)

Boom Studios debuted a new title last month, the supernatural horror tale Curse which features a werewolf among other elements. For a title that I’d picked up on a whim and thus didn’t really have any expectations for, it was surprisingly good with its debut issue. I enjoy a good werewolf story now and then so reading the same in comics form is quite a thrill. But that wasn’t all with the first issue, for it had a lot more going for it than I initially realised, and I had wondered then if the second issue would keep up with that and continue to develop the same.

I really shouldn’t have worried since the second issue, released earlier this week, did in fact build on every single plot element from the first issue. There is a mystery developing here that I find very intriguing and that can’t be said for most other such stories that I read. They often have quite a singular focus so its nice to see that the writers here have branched out to do a whole bunch of different things together. And of course, the art was just as impressive as in the first issue. I love all the contrasts in the backgrounds and the snowy landscapes that we get here.

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