When I reviewed The Troll Hunter, I mistakenly identified it as the only foreign film I saw at Sundance 2011. I’m not sure how the very first film I saw that week slipped my mind, especially one so crude and darkly humorous, but it’s about time I reviewed it. Irish black comedy The Guard is an immersive character study with an underlying thriller plot line. Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges, The Harry Potter Series) stars as unorthodox Sergeant Gerry Boyle. His offensive, lazy, and naïve façade make him an unlikely protagonist, but Gleeson’s performance lends this film its best attributes. The supporting cast assists him with a mixture of quirky and straight-man performances, making The Guard a colorful film despite an average plot.
Crom smiled on the Fanboy Comics Crew last week when we were able to attend the red carpet Hollywood premiere of Conan the Barbarian, starring Jason Momoa, Stephen Lang, and Rose McGowan! We were so psyched about the return of the Cimmerian that we prepared for the premiere by honoring Crom (and Mr. Schwarzenegger) with a repeat viewing of the classic '80s original.
Fanboy Comics is excited to bring you the first of many reviews from its newest Contributor, Jarret Mock!
Here’s a movie you may have missed: Neil Marshall’s largely ignored 2010 effort, Centurion. Set during the Roman occupation of England, it received barely any attention at all in the United States upon its release. Marshall has written and directed cult action-horror movies like Dog Soldiers and Doomsday in the past, always bringing along a gory style that’s refreshing in the presence of PG-13 summer blockbusters. American viewers have probably heard of The Descent, the one Marshall horror flick I really didn’t enjoy. But, when the geeky director who I remember for gleefully mashing up werewolves with foul-mouthed SAS troops or Mad Max with Braveheart decides to try out a straight-laced, historical epic, I have to wonder what he’s thinking.
Dear Fanboy Comics Readers:
On behalf of the staff at Fanboy Comics, I am very happy to announce that The 36, a five-part graphic novel created by Kristopher White, reached its fundraising goal on Kickstarter and is currently going into production! Earlier this summer, I interviewed White regarding the project, and I can assure you that this is a graphic novel series that is not to be missed!
Congratulations to Kristopher White (Creator and Writer), George Zapata (Pencils and Ink), and Micki Zurcher (Color) on reaching their goal, and I wish them the best as they continue with The 36!
More a tone poem than a movie, this thoughtful, vibrant film takes the audience on the placid, yet emotionally vibrant, journey of a Hobo with a Shotgun. Actually, this movie IS a pretty incredible B-Movie along the lines of Robert Rodriguez’ Machete. Coming from the exploitation camp, it has a similar genesis, starting as a fake trailer and winning first prize in Rodriguez’ South by Southwest Grindhouse trailers contest. After accompanying select screenings of the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse double feature, it was then expanded into a feature length movie directed by Jason Eisener, written by John Davies, and starring Rutger Hauer in the title role. Also, like Machete, this movie will not be for everyone, as it capitalizes on the gratuitous use of violence, vulgarity, and nudity, even reveling in it, as it pays homage to exploitation flicks of the past.
What if Willy Wonka created video games and was obsessed with the 80s? That seems to be the question asked by Ernest Cline’s first novel, Ready Player One. In this novel, James Halliday, creator of the most popular video game in the world, the OASIS, has died with no heirs. Rather than allow the company to be broken up or sold, Halliday created a contest within the virtual reality of the OASIS, with the winner becoming sole heir to Halliday’s billions of dollars and the most successful video game company in history. This contest takes the form of an easter egg hunt, with the participants, known as gunters (short for egg hunters), searching for puzzles within the simulation. After a brief and entertaining exposition (ed. Like this one?), our story picks up with a gunter named Wade Watts, better known by his online handle, Parzival, five years after Halliday’s death. No one has beaten the contest; in fact, no one has found the first piece of the puzzle. Parzival and a small group of friends (if not quite allies) each try to outwit each other and stay ahead of the evil corporation, IOI, an oligarchical media company, which aims to win Halliday’s hunt by any means necessary.
What I remember from the opening moments of Drive: wide shots of glittery Los Angeles taken in the black of night, opening credits scribbled in thick pink font, electronic pop music that sounded like it could belong in a Brett Easton Ellis novel, and the feeling that I was about to witness an auteur’s breakout American film. I was not disappointed. Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson) took home the “Best Director” award from this year’s Cannes Film Festival for Drive, an invigorating, raw crime thriller with a loaded cast, including Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, and Bryan Cranston. The beauty of this film, as a whole, is that it is purely the vision of its director, and it does not appear to be related, in any way, to the monotonous cookie cutter films that Hollywood can churn out by the dozen. Although Drive has its flaws, it is a work of art, a film that can actually be digested and dissected, scene-by-scene, with moments that are exhilarating, shockingly elegant, and beautifully brutal.
In the past few years, we have been given two reinterpretations of Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous character. The first, by Guy Ritchie, was a modern retelling of Sherlock Holmes in the Victorian Era. The second, by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, was a sort of classic BBC detective series set in modern times. Each of these versions approached the problem of introducing a Victorian hero to a modern audience, but they approached the issue in completely different ways.
For those of you who have not heard, or tried, Minecraft is crack. Beautiful, delicious crack. The basic premise of the game is that you are a guy who can build stuff in a hostile world. That’s it. The game is an unfinished product and is constantly being updated. This is both a good and bad thing. The bad news is pretty obvious. The game is not as good as it should be yet. There are fairly steady improvements being made, but this is one of the great bits. The game is constantly changing as you play it. There is something incredibly fascinating about watching the evolution of a game as it is happening. The other great thing about the game being a work-in-progress is that it is cheaper. When Minecraft is finished, it will cost €20, or about $28.75. Right now, while the game is in Beta, you can buy a copy of the game, and all updates, for €15, or $21.54.
Why scheme, lie, cheat, and steal? Because an honest day’s work is so darn hard, and the payoff is usually higher; at least that’s what Mickey Prohaska would have you believe in the 2011 Sundance film The Convincer. Mickey (Greg Kinnear, As Good as It Gets, Little Miss Sunshine) enters every scene with one objective in mind: how can I get more out of this situation? His vile, unapologetic persona is always on the lookout for another scam, and he’s about to unearth his easiest con yet. Once his plot is put into motion, nothing, and no one, can stand in his way. Or, so he thinks.