Reviewed by Brady Steele. The story of the American Revolution continues to unfold and garner more and more interest with each passing issue. Rebels #3 stays in line with this upwards trajectory. This historical series sheds insightful and touching light on the men and women and the tolls a growing war takes on them.
ART BY: Andrea Mutti
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse Comics
RELEASE: 10 June 2015
It’s always fascinating for me to discover new ways to tell stories in comics. Not like reinventing the entire genre, mind-bending revelations per se but using the tools we know and love in a fresh way. Writer Brian Wood manages this feat with simplicity and subtleness. There are so many ways where less is more and it works so well with this story. You can feel the sheer weight of youngSeth Abbot’s plight finds himself in when trying to save his father. You can feel the struggles of newlywed Mercy Abbott daily chores and the difficulty of maintaining what is yours in the frontier land of young America.
All of this would not be possible without artist Andrea Mutti. The amount of grit and heft conveyed in the panels of this issue really make this story feel grounded in reality. Nothing feels safe or permanent in this ever changing new frontier. Things like cold and distance from home feel insurmountable at different points of this chapter. Bigger things feel just as momentous as a conversation between a young couple caught up in a country’s revolution.
I’ll admit I was not overwhelmed with the first issue of Rebels. I’ve never been a big fan of American history since I’m not from there. Wood and Mutti are doing a very good job of making me interested in how America came to be. I should know better to doubt Wood’s storytelling by now. I am happy to be wrong about this book and look forward to see how this intimate yet epic story unfolds.
Mr. Steele enjoys all things comics and imagination-based. Using his lifetime of comic-fu-dom for good, he imparts his knowledge for the universe to enjoy and for you, dear readers, to pass it on.
Reviewed by Brady Steele. You want horror? You want truly shocking? You want hope shattering storytelling? You should read The Nameless #4 right now so you can devoid yourself of all hope in the salvation of mankind. This is science-horror at its most disturbing and mind bending.
WRITTEN BY: Grant Morrison
ART BY: Chris Burnham
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: 10 June 2015
Writer Grant Morrison is channeling some truly dark forces and ideas into this latest venture. Astronauts in space are sent to stop a meteor from destroying the Earth. What the meteor actually is is something much worse than a Michael Bay movie plot. Another dimension’s worst elements are invading our planet physically, mentally and spiritually all at the same time. Morrison layers on so many different ways beings more powerful than us can break us down. As usual for his work, there’s a lot to take in to truly grasp what is going on in this story.
Another great reason there is so much to follow in this issue is artist Chris Burnham. I thought their previous collaboration Batman Incorporated was impressive. This is another kind of impressive in the way horrible car accidents grab your attention and don’t let go of it. The artwork in this book will haunt you for a good long while. I don’t know who came up with these twisted ideas and I don’t want to know. Paradoxically, I can’t look away either.
Maybe that’s the magic spell Morrison and Burnham are casting with this series. Hope seems to have been stripped away already in this story. I’m not sure where this ship can be turned around but I have no doubt this uninhibited creative team will keep readers enthralled and horrified and captivated until the bloody and disgusting end.
Mr. Steele enjoys all things comics and imagination-based. Using his lifetime of comic-fu-dom for good, he imparts his knowledge for the universe to enjoy and for you, dear readers, to pass it on.
David Cronenberg fans with expendable cash wanted.
Above you’ll see a one-of-a-kind iPhone charger that looks like an umbilical cord out of a Cronenberg film. The item is for sale on Esty, and will dent your nest egg in the amount of $5,000. According to the seller, the iPhone cable shaped as an umbilical cord keeps moving while it’s charging.
“Now people bring their iPhone all the time in their lives,” says the designer. “I designed the looking of this cable as an umbilical cord, which mother feeds energy to her baby. It moves as if it’s trying to introduce iPhone into, just like to express an irony to people’s dependance on iPhone.”
Here, watch it in action:
Another horror oddity we came across this week is a set of three “Realistic Anatomy Brain Soaps” in Buttercreme and Snickerdoodle fragrance by Lavish Handcrafted.
The brain is poured in two steps, with beige and pink to mimic the a real brain, however at 1.1 oz each, it weighs much less than a real adult human brain, which weighs 3 pounds, explains the ad listing. Lavish Handcrafted Soaps are made with the finest quality glycerin, shea butter, and goats milk soaps, cosmetic grade colors and scents.
Lastly, Reddit user Cereburus posted this image of a homemade vase along wit this hilarious caption: “My wife made this vase, doesn’t understand why we need to burn the house down, and it, to be safe…”
A gripping dystopian thriller, “Starve” #1 packs a major cringe-inducing wallop towards the end. I swear you will not look at food the same way after this first installment. In this bleak future, “Starve” asks if you would rather be eaten, or would you like to be the one doing the eating?
WRITTEN BY: Brian Wood
ART BY: Danijel Zezelj
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
RELEASE: June 10, 2015
In the post-apocalypse, the number one program that viewers are watching is the foodie television show called, Starve. The creator of the show, Gavin Cruikshank, has been living in self-imposed exile for years now. He has abandoned all those who once loved him. When Gaven returns to the spotlight, there are those who want to see him dead. Now that he’s back, what better way to kill him than in front of the cameras.
Writer Brian Wood has crafted a riveting character-driven narrative. Wood does a great job world-building and setting up back-story for his protagonist. Gavin is on a self-destructive path just like the rest of the world. Even though the themes are dark, Wood adds a bit of his witty humor to lighten the tension.The fast-paced story builds to a stomach-churning cliff-hanger, which you definitely have to read to believe.
Every panel that artist Danijel Zezelj has drawn is just amazing to look at. In one of my favorite illustrations, notice the background Zezelj has illustrated when Gavin sits in a hotel suite. Playing around with shadows, the black shapes swirl around like serpents. The black lines continue in the next panel as Gavin’s hairline curls on his forehead. Dave Stewart’s colors add to the gritty atmosphere and heighten the cringe-fest at the climax.
“Starve” #1 is great read from start to finish. With Brian Wood, Danijel Zezelj, and Dave Stewart as the creative team, the “Starve” series can’t be beat.
Reviewed by Jorge Solis
I gave “Chrononauts” a hard time when the first issue came out calling it “Time Bros” and drawing attention to the flat characters and groan-worthy dialogue. Over the remaining 3 issues I grew to really enjoy “Chrononauts”. I think it has a lot of problems and never really reaches greatness but it has such inspiring premise that is both fun and lighthearted as well as full of amazing potential. That potential hopefully will be realized in the film version of this series (which will be likely if frequent “Millarworld” director Matthew Vaughn has a hand in it) because unfortunately, the comic has only hinted how great “Chrononauts” can be
WRITTEN BY: Mark Millar
ART BY: Sean Murphy
RELEASE: June 10, 2015
It is quite apparent that Mark Millar is who he is when you read this series. As it becomes increasingly impossible to get major studios to greenlight new IPs, Millar has mastered path of comic book adaptation by writing 4-6 issue miniseries and selling the film rights. They don’t even need to be particularly good now that Millar is a proven commodity and in fact, they very much read like treatments to the movie they will inevitably turn into.
Character development is an issue in “Chrononauts”. The two protagonists are basically interchangeable throughout the series as I was constantly having to double check to see which one was the blonde one. Oh, right, one of them had an alcoholic father. I know this because he says it a couple times in every issue. The only interesting thing about them is that they do what all of us would do if we had their power and that’s to get rich quick and fuck shit up. That is the essentially the tagline of this book and really, the reason you’re reading it.
Similarly, dialogue is an issue in “Chrononauts”. As the wonder twins are double-crossed and separated by their head of security one of them pleads for forgiveness and the other replies “You’re my best friend. But this isn’t over yet, Dude!” Once again I caught up on the fact that these PHD holding captains of industry that invented time travel talk to each other like highschool jocks.
“Chrononauts” takes time travel as lightly as the characters do, which I don’t have a problem with. Seeing warriors and soldiers from every time period roll around in tanks and helicopters is a delight, and if Millar wants to wave a magic wand to undo it all I don’t have a problem with that. At the end, there are no consequences to messing with time other than Danny’s girlfriend is now married. Corbin says “It must have been a ripple effect from the changes we made.” It is supposed to be cute and ends with a full page of Danny’s sour puss but that throwaway gag does exactly what this series was trying not to do. Maybe the joke is that you can’t have a time travel story without bringing consequences, however benign, but for me it undermines the the whole book when it ends that way.
We can expect a team of writers and producers to take hold of “Chrononauts”, flesh out the characters, tighten up the dialogue, and sort out the plot turning this mini-series into a film that captivate a huge audience and make 100x or 1000x what this series will ever make in print. There is absolutely a value reading and being engaged in source comics when films about them get made, but I worry Millar is taking his craft for granted when he knows all they need to do is put an idea out into the world so it can be translated into something much better in a different medium. On the other hand he may likely respond with a picture of his bank statement. I liked the idea of “Chrononauts” a lot and I think it’s going to be a kick ass film. I just wish it was a better comic book first.
I can’t believe it is already over. “Robocop” #12 concludes what is hands down the best Robocop series ever written. It isn’t nearly as bombastic as issue 11, but the stand-off between Murphy, Killian, and The Old Man plays out like a exquisite game of chess, and the resolution, though Deus Ex-ey, is a satisfying conclusion that leaves you wanting more.
WRITTEN BY: Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver
ART BY: Amancay Nahuelpan
RELEASE: June 10, 2015
If you have stuck with it this far, I would have to say issue 11 was really the climax of the series and the big pay off for fans. We have seen a lot of delicious brutality throughout the series and #11 turned things up to 11. Though Team Robocop saved the final showdown for the finale, this issue is more of a epilogue to the series. Order is restored, the status quo is reset, and everybody learned a little lesson. It was an appropriate conclusion to a series that read very much like a film. “Robocop” managed to stay so faithful to the tone and style of the original film that I consider it to be the true sequel. It was consistently steeped in brutal 80s action goodness while attending to the more complex narrative sensibilities audiences of today require. It sets an example of how comic adaptations should approach the source material by concentrating and extracting everything we love about the original. “Robocop” captures the same feeling you had the first time you saw the film. That is a rare quality.
Killian is the best Robocop villain so far. He is an exceptionally evil mastermind who terrifies because there is no line he won’t cross and is singularly focused on his goal. At the start we write off his motives as power and chaos; a perfectly acceptable motivation for a 80s action villian. When his true intent is revealed at the end of the series it gives him great pathos and in fact led me to root for his crusade of villainy. The lines of good and evil are blurry in New Detroit, only Robocop himself stands righteously on the side of the law.
The supporting cast receive their dues as well. Lewis uses her information to reset the status quo and promote herself to something better than the fake detective position she got. Jansen proves her worth big time in issue 11 and is actually the reason Lewis is able to uncover the truth about Killian with her persistence that they follow up on the cold cases. And Kaplan turns out to be a big goddamn hero despite his loathing of Robocop. Everything gets tied up quite neatly here and Williamson has grown the supporting cast to include a couple a fantastic additions I hope we will get to see more of in the future.
Personally I felt Murphy got a little to communicative by the end of the series and lost that cool stoicism I love so much about the character. He is still the supreme ass kicker that can never be swayed from his crusade of justice, but once he started talking about wants and needs and his feelings I thought he kind of lost something. Not enough to take away from the incredible triumph that this series is, but it was noticeable.
“Robocop” #12 is exactly everything it should be. As much as I wanted to see Murphy smash some more heads together, the story needed to end eventually, and 12 issues is an impressive stretch of consistent quality work. I hope more franchises take note of what Williamson has done with Robocop because this series was an incredible success.
Jen and Sylvia Soska are gearing up for their next genre pic, one that gives social commentary on plastic surgery in Hollywood.
The duo behind Dead Hooker In a Truck, American Mary and See No Evil 2 are set to get behind the camera on Plastic, penned by Frank Strausser as an adaptation to his novel of the same name.
In it, “A celebrated Beverly Hills plastic surgeon risks everything to uncover the truth behind a crime, the disfigurement of an international pop star.”
More as it develops.
Sixty-five million years ago, the Tyrannosaurus Rex stood dauntingly, a tyrant over his kingdom, at roughly at fifteen feet tall, thirty-nine feet long. His four foot long jaw filled with dozens of cone-shaped teeth made it easy to tear into flesh and rip away his filling, an act so constant that this carnivorous beast regularly engulfed over five hundred pounds of meat in a single day. These are facts that used to impress people. Ten years ago, when Masrani, the powerful park owner, and Dr. Henry Wu, the scientist behind the creations, first breathed life into John Hammond’s Jurassic Park plans, they opened the door to a whole new world that previously, only a few select eyes had seen. A world filled with real dinosaurs; massive, scaly, ancient beacons of hope which stood as proof that a more magical time truly existed long ago. Jurassic World, the updated version of Hammond’s humble dream, takes that idea and super sizes it.
As blissful kid genius Gray wanders with wide eyes in through the gate of the park, his reluctant teenage brother Zach trudges behind, blankly staring at his smart phone. Unimpressed, but under obligation by his parents, Zach sticks by his little brother as they wander through the different attractions and explore the many hot spots of Jurassic World. Hologram dinosaurs roar enthusiastically at young children in the lobby of the main building, while baby triceratops are ridden like ponies at the petting zoo. A stream nearby carries canoes down a calm shoreline while a group of friendly plant eaters It might as well be tigers and bears to Zach, the single boy who represents an entire generation of jaded boredom, the kids who have seen it all, and captured it on their electronic devices, too. This current culture of instant gratification and and constant need to be entertained by the biggest, baddest and newest products will no longer be satisfied with simple dinosaurs, no matter how majestic they once seemed. Jurassic World executive Claire knows that, which is why she’s enlisted Dr. Wu to aid her in creating a genetically modified mega dinosaur that’s sure to scare the kiddies back into quiet admiration.
When we first meet Claire, she’s in the elevator, on her way to meet with corporate sponsors who are interested in investing in the park. With the sharp folds of her white jacket and her binding white skirt and her stiff white heels, Claire stands pristine, immaculate, and capable. This is a woman who can take care of the 20,000 people that depend on her each day for a safe journey to the fantastical island. As Claire guides the men through the lab, she unveils a plan that’s guaranteed to make every person in the room even richer. She speaks of the spike in attendance that results whenever they add a new attraction to the park, a fact that led her to her latest scheme. In the effort to stay ahead of the curve, Claire explains how she and Dr. Wu spliced together a new, more advanced dinosaur, with some parts added from different animals, and some unknown classified additions that have yet to be revealed. This new creation, aptly named the Indominus rex, stands even taller than the traditional T-rex, and possesses a few newly vamped up predatory skills as well. It has yet to be revealed to the public, but with the excitement demonstrated in her meeting, it seems that this monster has already garnered some attention, and playing god might just pay off.
For a while, it seems that Claire might be able to pull off wooing the investors while hosting her nephews Gray and Zach, who have made the trip all the way from home to visit their busy aunt. Of course, Claire’s attempt at balancing work and family means shoving the kids off on her assistant and loading them up with passes for rides and games that they’ll attend without her, but after a quick, reassuring call to her sister Karen, Claire promises to take some time off of work to hang out with the boys, and swiftly soothes over any troubles she might have caused. This rushed attempt to fix a deeper problem comes back to bite her when the brothers inevitably escape their babysitter, right around the same time that the Indominus rex breaks loose. The asset escapes his cage, a notion made all the more terrifying by the fact that the beast was raised in isolation after eating its only sibling, never learning the social skills necessary to interact with other species. As it runs free for the first time, the Indominus rex witnesses the only other dinosaurs its ever seen. In a world that is confined by the walls of a cage, where the crane that drops the meat into the center of the boxed prison is the only sense of love or affection from another living being, it’s no wonder that the Indominus rex interpreted its new counterparts as predators, and in defense, ripped every one of them apart. As the panic of the situation sets in, Claire finds herself turning to her least favorite person on the island for help: Owen.
Owen is the raptor trainer at the park, a man who has become known for his effective routines with his trained reptiles. Although people are quick to praise his ability to tame these wild creatures, Owen insists that the key element that he has with these animals is a relationship, not control. Sadly, the more effective his work, the more his words fall on deaf ears, as the greed of progress shouts loudly over the decency of understanding, and Owen’s pleas to treat the dinosaurs with respect are wholly ignored. Perhaps the most stubborn person that he deals with on a regular basis is Hoskins, the military man who constantly urges Owen to look into weaponizing the raptors for combat use in war. Despite Owen’s constant declines, Hoskins continues to beg, and it soon becomes clear that he isn’t as much looking for permission as he is an opportunity. An ex-Navy man, Owen sympathizes with the raptors, and fights to stop them from being used as pawns in the government’s game, a feeling that he has always related to and continues to relate to, as the pressure Hoskins brings to turn Owen’s raptors into a homicidal militia puts weighs heavily on Owen, just as it does the raptors. Perhaps it is this innate need to help others in jeopardy that lends to Owen’s decision to assist Claire, and help her take down the rogue rex and find her nephews, because it certainly isn’t his affinity for her. Owen sees Claire as just another bureaucrat from the board at Jurassic World; a person that only comes along when they need something from him. Although, however rough his exterior, Owen is not one to folly when a crisis calls for his aid, even when that cry is sent out from the mouths of thousands of people all screaming at once. After all, it isn’t just Zach and Gray that need saving from the unstoppable Indominus rex, it’s the entire population of the island that’s doomed to experience the consequences of taking advantage of scientific advancements.
It’s easy to forget how fragile and small we human beings are; how new. It isn’t until we are standing next to something so massive and powerful that we confront our own morality, and in our moment of discovery, get in touch with our vulnerability. Of course, it is our softening that allows us to experience childlike joy, which is why awing a person with a dinosaur can get them back in touch with their childhood, in in turn, their humanity. In all the years that Claire has worked at Jurassic World, she became jaded, and forget that sense of wonder and exhilaration, a feeling that unfortunately comes with familiarity and repetition. It is only when she begins to lose her sense of control, as the rex escapes and her grasp on the situation falters, that she is reunited with the butterflies in her stomach, and a desire for human interaction beyond commands and data reports. Claire realizes that she’s been missing the one thing in her life that she needs to feel complete: family. For the first time, Claire feels like she might want a few kids of her own, and a man of the house, too. She understands that she has been harsh and driven and emotionless for so long, that she forgot what was really important in life, and the one thing that every woman needs to fulfill their purpose — offspring.
It’s unfortunate that such a successful summer blockbuster has to be tainted with such a stereotypical storyline for its female lead, but therein lies the only real problem with Jurassic World: Claire. With decades upon decades of movies implying that women have to choose between their careers and their biological clocks, it’s not an uncommon route for Jurassic World to take, just a disappointing one. It’s strange, too, that in a film where such strong themes are represented, that a message like this one would exist. Jurassic World coyly delivers meta messages about product placement, while providing thoughtful commentary on messing with the natural order of things, and turning every new invention into a weapon. Yet, it still manages to squeeze in a misogynistic depiction of today’s modern woman; for she is only delaying the inevitable desire for children with her adamant work structure and determination for a fulfilling career. Aside from how offensive this standpoint is, it’s honestly just downright surprising since the rest of the movie works so well. Even stranger is the fact that the actor behind the role is living proof that her character is a sham. Bryce Dallas Howard is a woman who balances it all in real life — she is an extremely successful actor, she is married and has children, and while on the set of Jurassic World she not only attended school classes, but also directed a short film from the set of multi million dollar blockbuster she was already apart of. The biggest letdown of this otherwise enjoyable movie is how it lessens this brilliant person to a hot redhead who runs well in heels. Perhaps if it had taken more of a Romancing the Stone route, and simply suggested that Howard’s character Claire just needs to lighten up and enjoy life a little more, as opposed to the idea that she needs to have children to be happy, it would come across more favorably to its female audience.
Despite this glaring issue, the rest of the film truly is a jaw-dropping, spectacular return to the fully completed park. The film itself is a ride at the theme park, it’s a roller coaster that delivers and gives you the full benefit of your buck. When you buy a ticket to this movie, you enter the gates alongside Gray and Zach, and feel the same sense of naive wonderment as the children that populate the park; spectators joined together by the incendiary force of cinema. Director Colin Trevorrow truly did create a believable destination that begs to be visited and lavishly rewards those who abide. Jurassic World provides a sense of homecoming for fans of the original early ’90s classic, while also providing enough excitement for newcomers who have yet to experience the magic of a Spielberg fantasy film. It packs so much excitement, in fact, that it is surprisingly violent and, despite its PG-13 rating, not for the faint of heart. Those who are worried that the newest addition will water down the chaos in favor of reaching new audiences need not fear, for Trevorrow has brought the action right along with the commentary. While paying tribute to its ancestors, it also stands alone as its own film, and in its own way, is a success. It is quite clear that the legacy of this iconic franchise has been placed in some pretty safe hands, even if the series still has room to grow.
The temptation to compare the newest addition to the Jurassic franchise to the epic original Spielberg-helmed, revolutionary fantasy is overwhelming, but it must also be noted that although the original, although historically significant, only shines more brightly with the blissful blurring of nostalgia. Jurassic World may not provide as much of a sense of isolation on the island, or surpass the ridiculously high bar that Spielberg set, but one thing that must be agreed on by all accounts is that this film truly is an excellent example of a cohesive big budget project with a very pure and singular vision that is rare for a summer blockbuster of its kind, and one that hopefully acts as an indication of studio involvement for years to come.
[Interview] ‘Jurassic World’ Cast On Spielberg’s Iconic Franchise, and Making a Smart Summer Blockbuster!
Twenty-two years ago, Steven Spielberg gave audiences everywhere the ability to travel through time, and witness, first-hand, what a world with dinosaurs could look like to the tiny human at their side. “Part of what was so amazing about Jurassic Park was until that point, we’d only seen bones in a museum, two-dimensional drawings, and a couple of really weird ’50s films where dinosaurs looked like your elbow” Bryce Dallas Howard comments as she dissects the consistent admiration for these majestic extinct creatures throughout the ages. “So, to get to see them come to life, and to co-exist with human beings, it’s a wish fulfillment in a way”. As she reminisces upon her very first Jurassic Park viewing at the young age of twelve, her bright eyes shimmer with childlike excitement. Although legendary director Ron Howard was initially hesitant to allow his young daughter to watch such a mature film, after seeing it himself, he actually insisted. “I remember this clear as day, my dad said, ‘this is cinema history, you have to see this movie in the theaters”. Despite their youth, even child actors Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson express very positive feelings toward the 1993 picture. “It just transports you to another world” Robinson utters dreamily about the film that still stands tall in people’s hearts, a whopping two whole years older than the young man asked to fill the archaic shoes with some new blood. Even thirteen year-old Ty Simpkins holds affection for Spielberg’s first venture into ancient territory “I just remember watching the ending where the T-rex is roaring and the poster is falling down, just that really awesome scene”.
Now, in 2015, Spielberg has passed over the torch to Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow,who tries his best to put his own stamp on the monster movie franchise that has become, over the years, larger than life. “It was a huge challenge because we care about these movies so much that he made and for me, to be put in the position where I need to not just make a sequel, but make a new film in the context of Jurassic Park, that is inventive and that is moving forward and is not a fan film”. Despite his own adoration for the series, director Trevorrow understands the temptation to merely replicate what has already been done in the 1993 classic; a common trap that many filmmakers fall into when called upon to add on to a popular franchise. “Worst case scenario here is if you’re accused of just making a carbon copy of Jurassic Park” relates Trevorrow, who worries about settling for a copy of one of his favorite films instead of making his own. Despite the daunting task at hand, and the plethora of eager, worthy filmmakers who would revel at the chance to get behind the camera of a historical Spielberg project, the iconic director handpicked Trevorrow after seeing his first and only feature length film. It may seem odd that Spielberg would opt for such an inexperienced filmmaker when there are so many with much lengthier film resumes, but it feels rather self-explanatory for those have seen the Sundance Film Festival favorite, Safety Not Guaranteed. Although it is not as grand in scale as a Spielberg film, it offers the same sense of wonder and nostalgic awe that many Spielberg films have inspired in the past. As for Spielberg’s involvement, he played an intregal part in the brainstorming process and an objective eye in the cutting room, but had little do with the actual filming itself. “We wrote a screenplay based on three key ideas that he had, that the park is open, there’s a raptor trainer, and there’s a dinosaur that gets loose and threatens everyone in the park” Trevorrow reflects on their collaborative process. “Once we had a script and we were ready to go he really stepped away and let me make the film that I was very confident we could make”. The filmmaking process was actually so fluid and casual for Trevorrow that he found that the movie making process for this giant summer blockbuster was just as, if not more laid back than when he worked on Safety, “the studio was just very supportive and they were thrilled to be able to be making a Jurassic Park movie again”. The humble director may push aside all credit and selflessly list Universal as the key proponent for such a relaxed, positive filming experience, but according to star Bryce Dallas Howard, Trevorrow deserves just as much praise: “Something that he brought to this movie was sort of that mindset that’s required when you’re making a micro budget film, which is just a lot of passion, a lot of efficiency and just the ability to accomplish a lot with kind of a small, intimate crew”. Despite the more lavish complimentary craft tables, director Trevorrow never lost his hunger, or his identity, in the luxury and intimidation of such a massive undertaking.
One of the most crucial updates to Isla Nublar was the park itself; a re-vamped, highly stylized version of the park gates that viewers passed through over two decades ago. John Hammond envisioned a world where man and dinosaur could co-exist in the same lifespan; the enormous, mythical reminder of a simpler time when the earth remained untainted, and the young, cynical man who cries out for a reminder of such uncomplicated joy, brought together by questionable, albeit hopeful, forces. Thanks to men like Masrani and Dr. Henry Wu, that dream has become a reality. When child genius Gray (Simpkins) enters the park for the first time, the dazed, euphoric look on his face is one that is shared by every member of the audience reflecting back at him. The mosasaurus splashes audience members as it lays down its massive body upon the water’s surface at an attraction on the other side of the island, triumphantly seizing its prey, a full-sized shark that appears as a lego in comparison, in its teeth-riddled, bloody jaws. On a much dryer section of land, kids roam about in translucent balls powered by motors known as “Gryospheres”, weaving in and out of legs as thick as tree stumps, holding up the Brontosaurus, the gentle giants of the dinosaur kingdom who are much more interested in eating leaves from the tops of trees than hurting any of the tiny humans that race across the lawn below. The dream for a safe haven filled with dinosaurs has become so successful, in fact, that these once extinct reptiles have become commonplace, and the park which once thrived now must seek out ways to bring attendance back up, and ensure the future of Jurassic World.
One of the most appealing aspects of the new and improved park is its basis in reality. Many of the attractions and immersive experiences in the film feel like they could actually happen in this current age. “I didn’t want to create a futuristic unbelievable theme park of the future, we wanted to create a theme park of today” urges director Trevorrow. Of course, this angle is admirable, but how does one actually fathom a dinosaur theme park that is rooted in reality? Trevorrow visited several established, up-and-running amusement parks, like Universal Studios and Disney World, and found inspiration in an unlikely place: the control room. “I was actually surprised at how simple the set ups were” confesses the director noting that despite their grand outer appearance, behind the scenes, they were no more than “three guys with a Pepsi just sitting here watching a thirteen inch monitor”, which influenced an interesting choice for the control room of Jurassic World, when the crew decided to make their control room practical. “All of our video is really playing live when we shot it” points out Trevorrow, who admits that they might have “tricked out” the room for the film, but insists that most of the attractions the film were invented from a logical standpoint.
At the head of the operation is Bryce Dallas Howard, an executive who resides over the park and is responsible for more than twenty thousand lives on a daily basis. According to Howard, her character Claire, “projects this sense of power and authority, but in truth, she’s super disconnected from herself”. Always putting her career before her own more maternal and romantic desires, Claire always chooses businesses over pleasure. “In her quest for profit, she’s disconnected from her own humanity” explains Howard, “and I thought it was so interesting to meet a character like that, and then to have that person….evolve into an individual who redeems themselves, and who is ultimately heroic”. When the brand new, spliced together mega T-rex, called the “Indominus” rex, a name that illustrates its inability to be controlled, breaks out of her cage and starts heading towards thousands of unarmed tourists, Claire is forced to call on the last man she’d ever want to ask for help — ex Navy man turned satirical loner raptor trainer Owen. Owen, played by charming and usually funny Chris Pratt, is a much more serious role for the man who has made a living out of making people laugh. “It was a bit of darkness,” Pratt comments about his character, “Like, this is a guy who’s been through something….the likelihood is, in the years that he’s been working for the park, this isn’t his first set of raptors, and some of his raptors didn’t make it through the training.” Pratt muses that his character Owen feels not only the experience of combat weighing heavy on his shoulders, but the guilt over costing lives in his newfound profession nagging at his insides. “A lot of these animals paid the sacrifice for the work that I’m doing for this company, so you know, that’s pretty serious. There’s not a lot of room for goofing around when you’re playing that guy who’s been chosen to move away from the world and live on the dark side of an island”.
Naive brothers Gray and Zach deal with some sadness as well, as the fate of their parents’ inevitable separation looms over their light-hearted trip like a dark cloud on the horizon; anxiously awaiting its moment to burst and shatter any sense of hope for a happy family. Perhaps it is this sense of dread that unites this motley crew, as Claire enlists Owen’s aid in finding her lost nephews after they take off during the great Indominus rex’s prison break. Upon the hybrid dinosaur’s escape, Claire is filled with panic and surprise, as are all of her coworkers watching helplessly from the control room. It seems that Owen is the only one that might have foreseen this terrifying event coming from afar, if only he had been alerted to the animal’s presence earlier on in the story.”It’s a little bit about our relationship with animals, and how we cage them,” explains director Trevorrow on the commentary of the price of captivity,”When something grows up without a mother, and without siblings, thinking that the crane means food, you know, all the things that Pratt points out, that can lead to a very unhappy and potentially homicidal animals, and eventually, that’s what happens.” With several themes intertwined together in this surprisingly thorough film about a bunch of dinosaurs, such as the consequences of constant instant gratification, and the overstimulation encouraged by technological advancements, and the horrors of playing god, Trevorrow highlighted the two main messages that he deemed the most important: “The thirst for profit is a dehumanizing force” and that “dinosaurs remind us of how small we are”. Although he makes sure to point out that this self-aware blockbuster is not a preachy, anti-corporate media through which he wishes to display all of his lessons about life, Trevorrow does have a film on his hands that stands apart from previous summer hits just because of its deeper, more meaningful commentaries about the world within the celluloid.
That’s a headline I never thought I’d write. I usually don’t push for more adaptations when anyone who watches movies or plays video games knows that’s never been something we need more of. Scream is an exception to that rule and now that everything has lined up just right, it’s time we start talking about why it’s time for it and what we would like to see from a possible adaptation.
The reason why I’m bringing this up now is because of that excellent timing I mentioned earlier. Horror games are hot right now, and if you read Bloody Disgusting with any kind of regularity, you know that Scream is, too. Then there’s the growing number of slasher games we have on the way with Until Dawn, Last Year, Summer Camp and that mysterious Friday the 13th game, and in the next 6-12 months we’ll have a promising new subgenre of horror on our hands.
In other words, the road is being paved for a Scream game as you read this.
It will only take the success of a few of these games to prove this isn’t just a passing trend and that there’s a future — and more importantly, an audience — for slasher video games. Thankfully, as their numbers grow, so do our chances of seeing a few that get it right.
As for a Scream game, there’s a myriad forms it might take, and until we some of these games release so we know what works and what doesn’t, they’re all worth exploring. I can see it taking the Heavy Rain approach with a story comprised of several characters with interconnected stories. Until Dawn is going in a similar direction.
Asymmetrical multiplayer is the approach the makers of Summer Camp, Last Year and whoever it is that’s working on the Friday the 13th game took. It’s popular because that twist on multiplayer means one player can assume the role of the murderous villain while everyone else becomes their victims. I say we wait and see how an asymmetrical multiplayer agrees with them before we add another game to that list.
We went from having zero slasher games on the way to having several in such a small amount of time that I don’t think many people stopped to consider how confusing it might get. With the similarly titled Summer Camp and Splatter Camp, the former of which stars Kane Hodder, Jason Voorhees himself, even though there’s also a Friday the 13th game, and that game recently clashed with Last Year which featured a killer that looked like Jason… see what I mean?
Starting now, any developers that are itching to take a stab at making a game about a psychopath who hunts down horny teenagers needs to prioritize coming up with a way to make that game stand out. Even the small crowd we have now is taking on an amorphous shape already. It wouldn’t take much to make it nigh-impossible to distinguish one murder game from the next.
Scream can accomplish through two easy steps. The first is by not becoming the fourth multiplayer slasher game, because any more would be excessive, and the second involves its going episodic.
Granted, the upcoming television series should give us an idea of what an episodic Scream game might feel like, so it would be a good idea to wait and see how that goes, but even if it fails, I can’t see the fault resting with its new easier-to-digest format.
Episodic games got a significant amount of attention in 2012 with the impressive debut of Telltale’s The Walking Dead. Several other studios have since joined in with their own series — including Capcom with Resident Evil Revelations 2 — but the force behind this episodic renaissance we’re seeing is still mostly being led by Telltale and their desire to become the HBO of the games industry. With series based on Game of Thrones, Borderlands, Minecraft and Fables, among others, they’re also the most invested in its future.
Telltale might be the best candidate to handle the development of an episodic Scream game. They’re very good at adapting TV shows into video games and they have some experience with the horror genre. The studio also comes with a stellar writing team, and that’s mandatory if the game is going to continue the Scream tradition of being self-aware and making full use of its medium.
It’s why I have some hope for the TV show, even if it is on MTV. There’s untapped potential there, just as there is in video games. The films have mined that vein for meta humor long enough that it took the fourth film all of ten minutes to run dry. It was a glorious opening ten minutes, sure, but then you’re left with the other 80 or so that can do little else but disappoint.
To recap: today we discussed how scary video games are hot, slasher games may be hot a year from now, and if Scream wants to reclaim its title as one of the “cool” and innovative brands in horror, it should look to the sometimes cool and always innovative medium that is video games.
If you’re still on the fence, just picture a Stab game you can play in a Scream game that’s being played by teens in the Scream TV show that’s playing on a television in a Scream movie.
IFC Midnight’s Guillermo Amoedo’s The Stranger, which stars Luis Gnecco, Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, and Aaron Burns, is set for release in select theaters and on VOD June 12th.
While we shared our review this morning, we also now have a second trailer for the indie horror produced by Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin fever, The Green Inferno) and Nicolás López (Aftershock), which premiered at the Fantastic Fest film festival in Austin, Texas.
In The Stranger, a mysterious man arrives in a small Canadian town seeking his wife, though his presence plunges the community into a bloodbath.
Here’s a lengthy festival synopsis:
“Amoedo shows a deft ability to turn a bloodthirsty monster movie on its head, into a slow-burn, character-driven film. ‘The Stranger’ takes its time, building the tension through occasional flashbacks and having the audience sympathize with Peter, who grew up not knowing his father. Peter, like the audience, is kept largely in the dark about his father’s motives or even what he is… because he’s certainly not human. What is apparent is the chaos his dad’s return has on the small town, especially a member of the police force and his violence-prone son.
‘The Stranger’ is ultimately about family, the legacy we pass on to our children and the lengths we go to protect and ensure their survival, no matter how dark and deadly they might become.” (James Shapiro)
Our friends ay AICN broke the news this morning that Gregg Bishop will be directing Siren, our a non-found-footage adaptation/spinoff to David Bruckner’s short film “Amateur Night,” one of the segments featured in the 2012 Sundance premiere of the anthology thriller V/H/S.
In Siren, a bachelor party becomes a savage fight for survival when the groomsmen unwittingly unleash a fabled predator upon the festivities.
Bishop most recently helmed the magician story in VHS Viral, but landed on our radar with his astounding indies The Other Side and Dance of the Dead.
Slated to premiere on Chiller in 2016, Siren is written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski. David Bruckner will be executive producing.
Ohio horror-infused death metal band Necrophagia are currently on the “Chaos Raids” tour with 1349, Vattnet Viskar, Black Anvil, Atriarch, and Early Graves in support of their latest album WhiteWorm Cathedral. We’ve covered in the past and want to give a shout out to their video that shows their full set from Cobra Lounge on June 4th. You can see the near 45-minute set below.
We premiered the band’s track “Fear The Priest”, which is a tribute to The Exorcist. Find out more here.
Remaining tour dates:
June 09 Boise, ID @ The Crazy Horse
June 10 Seattle, WA @ Club SUR W/ATRIARCH
June 11 Portland, OR @ Panic Room W/ATRIARCH
June 12 Oakland, CA @ Metro Opera House W/EARLY GRAVES
June 13 San Diego, CA @ Brick by Brick W/EARLY GRAVES
June 14 Phoenix, AZ @ Joe’s Grotto
June 15 El Paso, TX @ Mesa Music Hall
June 16 San Antonio, TX @ Korova
June 18 New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
June 19 Orlando, FL @ The Haven
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jon Bernthal, who played Shane in “The Walking Dead“, has been cast as The Punisher in the second season of Netflix’s “Daredevil“.
In “Daredevil“, The Punisher, whose real name is Frank Castle, goes around punishing the criminals of Hell’s Kitchen by any means necessary, regardless of the potentially lethal results. He’s a trained martial artist with extensive weapons knowledge and is versed in guerilla tactics.
Marvel head of TV Jeph Loeb states:
Jon Bernthal brings an unmatched intensity to every role he takes on, with a potent blend of power, motivation and vulnerability that will connect with audiences. Castle’s appearance will bring dramatic changes to the world of Matt Murdock and nothing will be the same.
The second season of the show returns in 2016.
Now on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD via Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is the absolutely awesome Kingsman: The Secret Service, which comes via Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn!
Easily one of my favorite films of the year, Kingsman also carries the most awesomely violent sequence of the year as well. For those who have yet to see it, Samuel L. Jackson plans to cleanse the planet through the use of his technology. He tests this out at a church, all while Colin Firth’s character is trapped inside. What results is complete and utter mayhem.
Kingsman: The Secret Service gave us the most murderous, rage-filled scene we can remember. Now, as a Bloody Disgusting exclusive, the infamous cult-fave “Church” fight is back for yet more worship thanks to “The Art of Kingsman Combat” — a closer look at the deadly weapons, moves, and kill shots that made this what could be the greatest and goriest flashmob-brawl ever filmed.
Because yes: it gets better when you slow it down!
In the film, “A super-secret organization recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a dire global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.”
Kingsman has a full arsenal of bloody good added materials that bring the world of the Kingsman to life. Not only can you see a gorgeous gallery of behind the scenes images from the film’s production, but the Kingsman: The Secret Service Revealed documentary also gives you an exclusive 90-Minute look into the film’s iconic style, fights, gadgets and more.
A new poster for the upcoming cult film Regression has been released and it highlights actress Emma Watson and her unreasonably shiny eye. Yes, I understand that she appears to be in a state of great fear and consternation, but WOW that’s a shiny eye!
The film’s synopsis reads:
Minnesota, 1990. Detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) investigates the case of young Angela (Emma Watson), who accuses her father, John Gray (David Dencik), of an unspeakable crime. When John unexpectedly and without recollection admits guilt, renowned psychologist Dr. Raines (David Thewlis) is brought in to help him relive his memories and what they discover unmasks a horrifying nationwide mystery
Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight, Training Day) and Emma Watson (Noah, Harry Potter) star in the film alongside David Thewlis (The Fifth Estate, Harry Potter), David Dencik (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo) , Dale Dickey (Winter´s Bone, True Blood), Lothaire Bluteau (The Tudors) and Devon Bostick (Diary of a Wimpy Kid).
Ten years ago, Team Sleep, the side project of vocalist Chino Moreno (Deftones, †††), released a self-titled album that featured 15 tracks. Since then, there’s been nothing else from the project, leaving fans disappointed. However, that’s about to change as the group will be releasing a live album as well as having plans to unveil a series of studio EPs.
Late last year, the group convened at Applhead Studios in Woodstock, New York with a small audience and recorded a live album over two days. That album, dubbed Woodstock Sessions Vol. 4, is now available for pre-order right here. It will include live renditions of several songs as well as official versions of past demos.
Below is a stream of the band’s performance of “Blvd. Nights”.
Band co-founder Tim Wilkinson states:
“Blvd. Nights” is kind of a nostalgic song to me. Most of the stuff we’ve been making has been centered around drum machines and melodies, but ‘Blvd.’ is a real rock song. Gil and Chuck are a great rhythm section and it feels good to be super loud sometimes.
Looking at the cover art for Chad Archibald’s The Drownsman, I can’t help but recall the scene in A Nightmare On Elm Street where Nancy is taking a bath, and is dragged underwater by Freddy. In fact, the cover art and the back of the case for The Drownsman make it a point to tickle your retro glands by name-dropping Freddy and 80s slashers in general to grab your interest. Of course, you never want to go by how cool the cover looks to gauge how good the film actually is, nor do you want to rely on pullquotes. Because invariably, you’ll find out that it’s the classic “sell the sizzle instead of the steak” situation, leaving the film all wet.
After a near-drowning in a lake, and what she experienced while underwater, Madison (Michelle Mylett) has developed hydrophobia, or a fear of water. Crippled by the fear, she misses her best friend Hanna’s (Caroline Korycki) wedding, where Madison was to be the maid of honour. Madison’s friends enlist the help of a psychic medium (Clare Bastable) to try and help Madison face her fear. Unfortunately for the group, the intervention only unleashes what was initially only fixated on Madison — The Drownsman. Now The Drownsman is after Madison’s friends, able to appear in any body of water and pull them into his lair to be drowned. Madison must now find a way to stop The Drownsman before he takes them all.
I have to say, that while the concept of the film is derivative (Wes Craven, anyone?), I do find the idea of a killer potentially popping out of any body of water pretty intriguing. It opens up so much potential for what you can do, and it’s clear that director Chad Archibald (who also co-wrote the story) is a fan of 80s horror. There’s a focus on the psychological horror rather than gore. Having something so innocuous as a glass of water as a potential portal for The Drownsman to reach through is a definite plus. Add in some nice camerawork with good use of shadows, and it’s an impressive-looking film.
Of course, the main draw is The Drownsman himself. Working within budget and mood, we never really get a good look at The Drownsman until much later. Keeping the creep in the shadows and low-lit scenes also heightens the effectiveness of the makeup, which is honestly pretty cool on its own. To complement The Drownsman, his lair is also quite the mood maintainer. Sure it looks like your typical sunken ship, but the set is appropriately creepy. With his appearance, presence and all of this potential, do we actually find out how he came to be, and his motivations beyond just being a psychopathic killer?
Disappointingly no, which is what can be said of a lot of The Drownsman. Seems that in crafting the story for the film, Archibald forgot to give attention to the substance. For starters, the film’s characters are flat and underdeveloped. While Mylett does a great job of portraying Madison, she’s not given a lot to work with, leaving the character practically interchangeable with the other girls, who are just as undeveloped. Frustrating is the idea that Hanna (who was just married the day before) ignores giving attention to her husband, and instead devotes her time to Madison. Plus, why would you hire a psychic for someone with what appears to be a psychological problem? The Drownsman character amounts to nothing more than a few grunts. We don’t find out how he came to be this supernatural force, we just get a silent, one-note killer. Sure that works in other films, but those films at least put the time into establishing and building up the antagonist in some form. Hell, Freddy is given his motivations and a bit of his background, which counterbalances the fact that we never find out why he has his power. That made the character scary. The Drownsman character isn’t afforded that luxury, especially given the film’s 86 minute runtime. Add in the fact that the story unfolds over a couple of days rather than a single day or night makes these issues stick out even more.
The Drownsman could have most definitely been a nice throwback to 80s horror with some great potential in a water-borne killer, but instead falls flat thanks to an equally-flat and undeveloped script. Stylistically impressive, the film lacks the innards that would have made it memorable and a blast to watch. Instead, we’re given characters for which we couldn’t about, a villain that lacks staying power, and a story that compounds those problems even more. Watch it out of curiosity, but you’ll be wanting to go back to A Nightmare On Elm Street right afterwards to see how a film like this should be done.
Presented in AVC-encoded 1080p 2.39:1 widescreen, the video sports some great detail, courtesy of the RED Epic camera. Skin details are always clear, as are the makeup effects for the killer. Colours are well-defined and consistent, even in lower-lit scenes. Black levels are also strong, although there was some slight banding in spots, and the picture noise does creep up near the end of the film. Overall, the image is very good, and typically what you’d expect from a RED camera.
Audio-wise, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless track is also strong, except for one glaring problem. While the ambient effects such as water drips take full advantage of the surrounds and the subwoofer gets in some good punches, the overall mix is weird. The score isn’t given as much a priority as it should, and the dialogue is placed way too high in the mix, resulting in clipping during certain moments. It’s a nice compliment to the video, but the mix definitely needed to be tweaked.
Video games are awesome because they can present the most twisted, devious, terrifying characters on the planet and we can disassociate them from reality because they’re nothing more than a bunch of pixels. Think of villains like Sweet Tooth from Twisted Metal or Krieg from Borderlands. These guys are as entertaining to watch as they are terrifying to think about.
Now, we all have our own little dark side within ourselves. For us gamers, there’s always gonna be that little moment where we think, “If I were that character…” So why not get a chance to take that little thought just that one step further so that you can see Which Video Game Psycho Are You?
I got “Vaas Montenegro” and, unfortunately, there’s no description to go along with that. However, he’s rather charming, in a psychotic, sociopathic kinda way…right?
CS has snapped a photo of awesome promotional art for the upcoming sci-fi film Independence Day 2 a the annual Licensing Expo, which is taking place in Las Vegas. The photo isn’t a hi-res copy of the art but rather a snapshot of the poster in a frame. Still, we can see that the aliens are planning on sending a goddamn behemoth of a ship!
Remember in the original film how the bottom of the ship would open up and a laser would destroy an entire city? Well, this ship has the same thing only on a MUCH larger scale. From the looks of things, this beam could wipe out entire countries.
You know what? I’m not worried at all. Jeff Goldblum is confirmed for this movie, which means we win. Jeff Goldblum wins everything. End of story.