The irony of the penniless cult and mind-control expert is not lost on us. Ansel Roth’s got the tools to get your loved ones back within your grasp, he’s written them down for all to read, but here he is selling copies of his latest book one hotel conference room at a time, living out of an AMC Gremlin, fishing meal vouchers out of the trash, and shoveling ketchup in his mouth with a fork. He used to be a big shot with a bestselling book and a TV show, but that doesn’t stop him from getting beat senseless in front of a half-full room at a regional hotel. Nor will it stop The Wire and Toys R Me’s own Lance Reddick from showing up in the parking lot afterward, smilingly vicious as ever, asking for money his boss is owed.
Hustler, the notoriously gritty, shameless skin magazine, could easily double as the name of publisher Larry Flynt’s autobiography. For all the editorial prowess and First Amendment arguments he engineered and fought, he is still just a businessman.
Back Issues: The Hustler Magazine Story makes a point of demonstrating that the magazine’s success lived or died with Flynt’s public profile and outrageous behavior. Be it getting arrested, shot, changing his religious views, or running for President, sales always went up. And personal convictions aside, you can’t help but feel it’s all a long con by a very talented huckster from Kentucky.
Ragnarok #1 is lacking in the plot and character areas, but Walter Simonson is still a great artist, especially drawing creatures, weapons, and armor.
We’re one week away from San Diego Comic Con and already the big comics news is breaking. Marvel announced a new Avengers team led by the newly outfitted Superior Iron Man, a female spinoff of Thor, the new Captain America (formerly Falcon) and a handful of other interesting characters pointing towards greater diversity in the comics landscape. This week, we’re breaking down what this means for the series and the industry itself. We’re also reviewing the new, surprisingly epic return of Damian Wayne in DC’s new series,Robin Rises: Omega as well as sharing our thoughts on The Strain, the TV spinoff of Guillermo Del Toro’s book and comic series and our thoughts on Universal’s announcement of plans to spinoff a whole new Universal Monsters multiverse. Give a listen, and don’t forget to share your reviews of Hey You Geeks on iTunes!
Twenty years ago, if someone said that ‘zombie romantic comedy’ was going to become an actual cinematic sub-genre, they’d have been called a witch and burned at the stake. And yet, they would have been right, and Fantasia 2014 has seen the unveiling of yet another film in the rapidly expanding genre, Life After Beth. Starring Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation and Dane DeHaan, recently of The Amazing Spider-Man 2,Life After Beth is best described as a zombie breakup comedy. It’s also best described as “decent, but not amazing”, a serviceable enough zom-rom-com kept afloat mostly by the supporting cast.
Since gaining both the G.I. Joe and Transformers licenses, IDW Publishing has done an effective job of carving out a nice little family of titles for both properties, mixing series grounded in their respective pasts with series that move both franchises forward in new and different directions.Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #1 marks the first time IDW has brought these properties together (itself something of a tradition, having been done by most of the major previous license holders, though this is the first time this concept has been applied to an ongoing series). The end result is the first part of a story that, at least initially, appears to be, above all else, a celebration of both G.I. Joe and Transformers and the kind of madcap energy that comes from mashing together two fondly-remembered toy franchises.
Last week, I said that The Strain would live or die based on how it balances the silliness with the seriousness. This week, it gave us no indication which direction it will be going in, instead giving us an incredibly boring episode of clichés, which is very disappointing.
“The Box” is an episode of our protagonists moving far slower than the audience, dulling the momentum almost entirely. We spend a little more time with our ensemble, including Gus and his stereotypical Hispanic family, in a scene full of clunky dialogue establishing backstory and characterization for people that are either unimportant or uninteresting. Gabriel, the rock star, hangs out with some naked women because he’s a rock star, and becomes the first of the plane’s survivors to find a taste for blood.
What is it about foreign horror films that makes them more interesting than so many English language horror films? You would have to think that the language barrier makes it more terrifying; people screaming is already difficult, but speaking a language you don’t understand can only make it worse. So, why are the remakes typically so bad? On this portion of the list, we are treated to a few of the more upsetting films in the canon – one movie I wouldn’t wish for anyone to see, a few that blazed the trail for many more, and one that I would elevate above the horror genre into its own little super-genre.
Starting off positively—and it’s a big one—no new mysteries were introduced this episode! At least, nothing of the paranormal, never-going-to-be-answered-adequately nature. What we get instead is a couple of contained stories with our lead characters, some swallowed reveals that are appreciated nonetheless, and a whole lot of metaphor. It was still an extreme hodgepodge and smacking of the strained efforts of a show trying to figure out what it is and how to simply tell its story, but at least it’s not like last week’s complete non-sequitur. We are building (some) relationships. We are attempting to focus and head somewhere.
It feels safe to argue that the Bourne film series has had a major influence on the action-espionage genre. Granted, spy thrillers that grilled governments for nefarious cover-ups, as well as espionage escapades featuring greater doses of fisticuffs and explosions (such as the Bond franchise), existed long before 2002’s The Bourne Identityand continue till this day. That said, what directors Doug Limon and Paul Greengrass did to the genre was infuse it with a gritty realism in addition to combining stories of unbelievably well-trained spies and political conspiracies. How many action films, be they concerned with spies or otherwise, have strived for the similar documentary ‘in the moment’ visual style? Not all have succeeded, mind you (the term ‘shaky cam’ is used in derogatory fashion more often than not), but those that have deliver in often spectacular ways. Director Won Shin-yun, who hasn’t directed a film in six years, enters this field with The Suspect.
In an episode of The Big Bang Theory (a sitcom lampooning modern “geek” culture with varying degrees of success), physicist Dr. Sheldon Cooper refuses to watch the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series before the Clone Wars movie. He explains, “I prefer to let George Lucas disappoint me in the order he intended.” Though likely unintentional, this offhanded remark reveals the central dilemma of the Star Warsfandom. Does the franchise “belong” to Lucas or does it “belong” to the public, as an artifact of cultural history? With the 2011 release of the 6-part Star Wars saga on Blu-ray came the announcement that the version of the trilogy available in the set would not be the original theatrical print, but the 1997 “Special Edition” versions of A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, which include additional scenes and updated technology. Many fans of the franchise see this decision—coupled with the critical backlash stemming the threeStar Wars prequels—as evidence of George Lucas’ transformation from an innovative filmmaker, into a profit-seeking businessman.
The Harvest is a modern gothic horror set in small-town America. On one hand embracing the mythology and horror of gothic sensibilities, the film also utilizes naturalism to create a sense of comfort and to help root emotions in reality. Katherine (Samantha Morton) and Richard (Michael Shannon) are a married couple caring for an ailing son, Andy. Their apparent familial bliss is disrupted by the arrival of a pre-adolescent neighbor, Maryann. While Maryann’s intentions are nothing but cordial, the couple is wary of her curiosity and tensions rise as she continually subverts their desires to stay away from their home. Maryann’s quest for truth and Andy’s friendship unravels a dark stain on the American family.
This article is based on a true story.
In a rather perfect example of the Coen Brothers’ irreverent mischievousness, their 1996 masterpieceFargo opens with the text ‘This is a true story‘. Mainly employed to set the tone for their story, which is at its heart a deeply cynical look at human greed and folly, it was a knowingly bogus claim that virtually everyone was aware of from the get-go. A blatant lie rather than a half true, it escapes genuine criticism mostly due to its audacity. Even so, it sparked an infamous urban legend that a woman went in hunt of the loot and froze to death, having seen the movie and the truthfulness claim and taking it that real money was buried somewhere in the snowfields of Minnesota. While it has since proven to be a false story, either fabricated or mis-attributing a real death to a fictional premise, the myth, like all good urban legends, holds at its heart a foreboding message, rather like a parable: the dangers of presenting fiction as fact and misleading an audience whose trust you hold in your quirky hands.
It’s common knowledge for any Fantasia Festival regular that an edition cannot go by without the inclusion of at least one film from notorious Japanese auteur Takashi Miike. Very often two films of his are added to the lineup, a testament to his workaholic nature as a filmmaker. Miike dips his toes into any and every genre, frequently adding shocking twists for effect. He is what one might describe as anenfant terrible of Japanese cinema. The 2014 edition of Fantasia commenced with a bang by playing one of Miike’s latest endeavours,The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji, the irony being that this is one of Miike’s ventures into comedy, just as the internationally renowned Just for Laughs festival is happening concurrently in Montreal.