“A screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut.” That’s the image Nina (Rene Russo) evokes when describing her news program in director Dan Gilroy’s tremendous thriller Nightcrawler. It’s tempting to adopt that as a metaphor for the entire film—Gilroy’s first, by the way, which makes his achievement doubly impressive—but while that is definitely part of the equation, what drives this movie forward is the menace that lurks just below the surface, beneath a calm exterior personified by Jake Gyllenhaal’s Louis Bloom.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
It took a couple of issues to really find a groove, but Titan Comics’ Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor has found a nice groove over the two installments of the continuing adventures of Matt Smith’s incarnation of the venerable Time Lord and his new companion, former library assistant Alice Obiefune. Each new book still functions very much like a standalone episode, but in issue #4, writer Al Ewing has struck a solid balance between that and the larger narrative arc that gives these tales a more substantial texture.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Halloween is coming, and while there’s always a lot of talk about potentially awesome costume designs, every year people don and assortment of truly questionable outfits. To help steer your holiday in the right direction, we’ve compiled a list of sci-fi themes you may want to steer away from to ensure a smooth, hassle free night of handing out candy and getting wasted.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Clive Barker’s Nightbreed is the very definition of a cult movie. The 1990 horror fantasy has legions of rabid fans, a swirling mythology both inside the film and without, and is one of those films intended to be the start of a franchise, but is destined to forever remain as is. At least it was. Stories of studio interference, and censors demanding that somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 scenes be cut before the film could screen theatrically, make it readily apparent that the Nightbreed we’ve been watching all these years is not the version of the film Barker initially intended. Now Scream Factory has delivered the definitive director’s cut of the film on Blu-ray, and put together one hell of a package. This is an absolute must for every Nightbreed fan lurking out there in the darkness.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
As we approached the premiere of season 5 of TheWalking Dead, AMC’s mega-popular zombie drama, my biggest question was whether or not they could maintain the progress and momentum created over the second half of season 4. By far the best run in the entire series, I wasn’t a huge fan of the season finale, but here we are, three episodes into the young season 5, and they not only kept it going, they’ve started building even more. The season started out with a tense, action heavy debut, and followed that up with a more introspective episode, which brings us to tonight’s installment, “Four Walls and a Roof. And this is the episode fans of the comics have been waiting for.
It should go without saying, don’t read this unless you’ve already watched the episode, or you just don’t give a damn, because we’re going wade through some deep ass spoilers.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Keanu Reeves may not be the greatest thespian of his generation, but you have to give the man points for doing the unexpected. After hits like Speed and The Matrix trilogy, he could easily have coasted by on name recognition, collecting big paydays and headlining spectacle level action tentpoles (okay, he tried on occasion, with films like Constantine and The Day the Earth Stood Still, but those are relatively few and far between). Instead, however, he’s chosen offbeat projects, like A Scanner Darky, and made his directorial debut with an old school martial arts film, Man of Tai Chi, where he plays against type as a villain. He’s even taking a turn on TV with the upcoming miniseries Rain. John Wick, a gritty, throwback revenge actioner, helmed by two stuntmen making their own directorial debut, is another unusual choice, and it may be my favorite movie of the year thus far. It’s definitely up there.
Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman: or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is a big, bold movie, the kind that takes aesthetic and thematic risks, and that grabs you from frame one and practically screams at you to pay attention. It’s also very convinced of its own cleverness. The film made the rounds at all the prestigious fall festivals, garnering praise and adulation at every stop, and it’s become impossible for anyone to mention it without discussing awards possibilities. Surely this will figure into those races, in many respects justifiably so, but while Birdman is a very good film, even coming near greatness, it’s not necessarily the paradigm shifting, perception altering feature that some have made it out to be. There’s a fine line between genius and pretension, and Birdman walks on both sides. As much as there is to praise, there’s always a ‘but’ looming.