Paper Cuts: 10/21/16

If there was an Eisner for Best Week of Comics, this one would have to be nominated.

pc-die-kitty-die-1-2

Die Kitty Die #1 (Astro Comix / Chapter House)

The sign of good story tell can be when you are reading a first issue but you feel like you have known this character your whole life.

Die Kitty Die is the creation of two classic Archie creators who have an undeniable chemistry as a creative team.

The art in this book is simply incredible.  The book opens with a classic “throwback” style of art that resembles Archie comics of the 1960’s.  Here we are introduced to Kitty as a character.  The artwork in this section – paired with the editor’s note – really makes you think you are reading a re-print, and it is delightful.

From that intro, we fast-forward and find ourselves with modern day Kitty, complete with art reminiscent of the Life with Archie or Predator vs Archie series; no surprise considering both creators worked at Archie during that time.

Oh, and there is a beautiful two-page spread from J Bone in the middle of this issue and it is simply stunning.

The colors are bright and vibrant and it matches the story telling.  We meet Kitty, a semi-forgotten comic character who also happens to be a real life witch.  The story is accessible to anyone and is not shy about taking a couple jabs at the current state of comics.

This book was just so much fun and full of energy that I implore everyone to check out the creators’ Kickstarter happening right now.

Ratings: 5 out of 5

pc-lord-of-gore-1

Lord of Gore #1 (Devil’s Due)

The worst part about this book is having to wait until 2017 when the next issue comes out.

The art here is pretty good.  Daniel Leister definitely has an affinity towards Howard Chaykin and it comes through in the best possible way.

This was a fantastic first issue and really set up the world.  After reading the Lord of Gore background story in it, I was not too sure that this was not a real life horror franchise.

This is a fantastic tale of real life Hollywood and life of stars on the horror convention circuit.  If there ever was a perfect book for Horror-Writers, it is this book.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

pc-spell-on-wheels-1

Spell on Wheels #1 (Darkhorse)

There have been many books and movies that have been trying to capture the same type of fun and coolness of the movie, The CraftSpell on Wheels finally is a worthy successor and really captures some of the same magic.

Artist Megan Levens delivers some wonderful art.  Her character design is fantastic.  Her cartooning style mixed with real-life-figure-proportions really grounds the book; no small feat, considering it is about witches with fantastical powers.

Writer Kate Leth really crafts a compelling first issue that deals with some real life fears that many women face, but still manages to keep the story light and not bogged down.

The creative team here is worthy of high praise for delivering a story of believable women in a fun road trip that really has some heart.

Ratings: 4.5 out of 5

Anna

image

Directed by Jorge Dorado (assistant director on The Devil’s Backbone, Bad Education, Talk To Her and many more outstanding Spanish films) with a screenplay from Guy Holmes and Martha Holmes, Anna brings us into the world of  memory detectives; people who have the ability to enter our memories to find more information about past traumatic events.

John is our classic disgraced professional. Once at the top of his game, his own traumatic experiences began to intrude on his work. Now desperate for money, John agrees to take on the case of Anna; a 16 year old girl who is either a sociopath or a victim of  trauma herself.  Played by Mark Strong (RocknRolla, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) John is a man haunted by his past and determined to get to the truth behind Anna’s behavior. As he develops a relationship with Anna, played with doe-eyed malevolence by  Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story), the questions  regarding her innocence begin to pile up.

Told through John’s visits to Anna’s memories, Anna is a girl who is constantly finding herself in the wrong place at the wrong time.  If someone suffers any level of physical harm, Anna is there, yet she swears she has never harmed anyone. Anna’s unusual ability to control her memories and her constant flirting with John  seem to indicate that she is, indeed a sociopath. But is she?

We have a mysterious person following John, a suspicious father, a predatory teacher and so many questions it becomes difficult to keep track of everything going on. What is real, what is a memory and is it John or Anna’s memory that we’re seeing?

With such an awesome pedigree of talent behind the movie, Anna is, ultimately, disappointing. It looks gorgeous, the way the memories are filmed is beautiful and Mark Strong is an undeniably magnetic actor. Basically, I’ll watch anything with Mark Strong in it and I also have a fetish for Spanish cinema; perhaps I had set my hopes to high when seeing Anna, but it just fell a little flat. So much potential and such an intriguing premise lacked the necessary suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat. Anna is not by any means a bad movie, it simply suffers from trying to cram too much story into 99 minutes, which is a sin in and of itself.  I really do love the story and my biggest complaint is that I want more. I want more background and information on John and Anna. I especially would love to know more about this whole memory detective thing. I can’t help feeling this would make a much better television series than a movie.

Anna is currently available on V.O.D.

Curse of Chucky Review

Description from IMDB:
After her mother’s mysterious death, Nica begins to suspect that the talking, red-haired doll her visiting niece has been playing with may be the key to recent bloodshed and chaos.

Notable actors: Brad Dourif (of course), Fiona Dourif (his real-life daughter), Danielle Bisutti, A Martinez

My thoughts:
I did not go into this movie with high expectations.  While I enjoyed the previous films, a direct-to-video sequel that comes 9 years after the last installment doesn’t exactly scream “high quality”.  Still, I wasn’t looking for anything amazing, just something entertaining.  So, with my expectations cranked down to an acceptable level, I was ready to begin.

Let’s start with the things I liked about this.
Fiona Dourif was terrific as Nica, the wheelchair-bound protagonist who is suspicious of the Chucky doll from the moment he arrives at the house.  The acting in this movie was considerably below top-shelf, which only made Fiona’s performance stand out even more.

The majority of this movie takes place in the old house where Nica and her recently deceased mother lived.  It looked fantastic.  It kind of had the vibe of an old castle, or a smaller version The Overlook Hotel.  Huge and spacious, but sparsely furnished and dimly lit.  It allowed the film to feel claustrophobic, while still allowing for a lot of shadows and corners for Chucky to hide in.  Even though we see much of the house throughout the course of the movie, I always felt there was another room I hadn’t seen yet.
Even though I liked the look and feel of the house, I still kind of had a problem with it.  The size of the house (combined with the sparse furnishings) was pretty distracting.  They never said why they were living in this house.  I figured there had to be a story behind it.  But, unless I missed it, there was no such story.  Maybe it’s not a big deal, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  Perhaps this isn’t a problem for everyone, but I found myself waiting for the bomb to drop.  I was waiting for the scene where they would talk about this house, and how them living in it was central to the plot somehow.  I felt like Dignan, screaming, “How did an asshole like Bob get such a nice kitchen?”

There was a bit of showing the audience the weapons of the family’s destruction early on.  “Here’s a knife.  Here’s an axe.  Here’s some rat poison.”  And so on.  The Evil Dead remake did this extremely well, building up a level of anticipation for the promise of gore to come.  The same concept was at work here.  The same concept was at work here.  And, while it wasn’t done nearly as well as Evil Dead, it was still enjoyable.

I really love the delivery guy at the beginning of the movie.  It was like they cast him straight out of porn.  “Hey there, pretty lady.  I like your face.  Is your mother home?  Yes?  Too bad.  We could’ve had some fun.”  (This is a bit of an exaggeration, but not as much as you might think.)

Now for the things I didn’t like.
The Chucky animation looked horrible.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen the other movies, so it’s possible that the animation in those is worse than I remember, but it was really cheesy here.  I wasn’t looking for it to be perfect, but it was distractingly bad.

Curse of Chucky - Chucky

There’s a trope that is common in movies with children, and I really dislike it.  It’s when the child is the only one who can hear the doll talking,  yet acts like everything is normal.  In this movie, the little girl kept saying, “Chucky told me this.”  At one point, she dropped the line, “Life’s a bitch and then you die, bleeding like a stuck pig.”  Which, while humorous, struck me as extremely odd.  What little girl says stuff like that?  Wouldn’t she think it was strange that Chucky told her such a thing?  She was young (they don’t mention her exact age, and I’m terrible with the ages of children, but I would say she was no older than 7).  Wouldn’t she be freaking out that this doll – which is almost the same size she is – is talking to her and saying things like that?  Sure, the Good Guys dolls talk, but it’s mostly benign chatter like, “I’m your friend to the end,” and “I like hugs.”  Not “Your whole family is going to die tonight.”  Unless we’re dealing with extremely stupid children, they would react differently than the children in these movies do.

There’s a scene where a wheelchair hits a full-grown-man, and he does a complete flip.  I don’t necessarily care that this flies in the face of Earth gravity so much as I care that it looks terrible.

There was a complete lack of understanding of how electronics work.  On multiple occasions the power was blinking in the house, and the screens of the laptops in use were also blinking (in one instance, the screen turned to static snow, like an old TV with bunny ears on a terrible connection).  Laptops have batteries.  If the power blinks, laptop screens do not blink.  And yet, over and over again, that’s exactly what happened here.

They worked very hard to work the story of this family in with the first Child’s Play movie.  While I enjoyed the idea behind it, the execution was terrible, and it resulted in entirely too many false endings.  It’s like they weren’t quite sure how to end it.  The first ending was fine, if a bit sudden and more than a little illogical (I won’t discuss those issues here, since it would include a pretty big spoiler).  But each one after that got a little more goofy.  I could almost see the filmmakers winking at me.  “See?  See?!  Get it?!”  It got to be a bit old by the end of it.  (The end of the last false ending before the credits was really terrible.  And then, of course, there’s a stinger after the credits.  Just thinking about it makes me tired.)

My main problem was this: this movie didn’t seem like it knew what it wanted to be.  It was pretty serious and dark for the most part.  But, eventually, it turned into dumb Chucky one-liners, while never changing the tone of the movie.  It’s like they wanted to mix the darker horror elements of the original with the goofiness of the latter movies, but it just didn’t work.  If there’s a happy medium between those, they didn’t find it.

All of this sounds like I hated it.  I didn’t hate it.  For the most part, I enjoyed watching it.  If nothing else, it’s worth watching for Fiona Dourif and the creepy spaciousness of the house.  If you’re a fan of the previous movies, you may not love this, but I’m sure you’ll find enough to enjoy to make it worth your while.

In summary: it wasn’t great, but it was more-or-less enjoyable.  A rousing review, I know.

Rating: 2/5