Movie Review: KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE – Impressive debut from Taron Egerton, and Matthew Vaughn’s smart direction just about saves this James Bond parody from being a total disaster.

***Caveat: This review was written as a mere Facebook post upon viewing the movie upon its original US release, in February 2015, but I thought I’d post it here to give some kind of reference to the sequel, Kingsman: The Golden Circle.***

The clumsily-titled Kingsman: The Secret Service is Matthew Vaughn’s latest adaptation of a Mark Millar comic book, in this case, The Secret Service, by Mark, and legendary Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons. I never finished the actual mini series, but I read enough of it to know that this adaptation is more Wanted than Kick Ass, in terms of how faithful it cleaves to the source material.

Continue reading “Movie Review: KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE – Impressive debut from Taron Egerton, and Matthew Vaughn’s smart direction just about saves this James Bond parody from being a total disaster.”

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Movie Review: WONDER WOMAN – Gal Gadot’s fine turn as the titular heroine prevents the movie from complete mediocrity, but only just.

I don’t want to say that Wonder Woman is a politicized movie, but for some odd reason, it’s become a lightning rod for people on both sides of the gender divide.  I suppose it’s inevitable in this sociopolitical climate that any genre movie with a lead female character is going to become this year’s feminist icon – I remember the massively overblown praise for Mad Max: Fury Road, as an “important” feminist action movie (I saw a movie with that title, but I don’t recall that version), and even the mostly awful Ghostbusters remake was hailed for pretty much the same thing.  Well, now it’s Wonder Woman’s turn, and when Marvel eventually get around to toplining Brie Larson as Captain Marvel, the same plaudits will be flung around then too.

Continue reading “Movie Review: WONDER WOMAN – Gal Gadot’s fine turn as the titular heroine prevents the movie from complete mediocrity, but only just.”

Graphic Fiction Review: HOWARD LOVECRAFT AND THE THREE KINGDOMS – unique and mostly enjoyable take on the works of HP Lovecraft

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It’s always interesting comparing an adaptation to source material.  Conventional wisdom favours the original over the adapted work, but of course that isn’t always the case.  When it comes to movies from books, I can say that I prefer Kubrick’s The Shining to King’s, for example, but overall the richer experience is provided by the original.  Cinematic versions can omit or combine characters and situations, sometimes adding new ones for the sake of brevity, and with the right talent, these changes can work for the better – not not always, and not often.  A couple of weeks ago, I watched the animated children’s movie Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom, and wrote a fair, but deservedly negative, review.  I won’t recap the failings, but I did promise to seek out the original work.  The movie is an adaptation of the first of three comic book stories, each published in three issues by Canadian publishing company Arcana Studio, and created and written by Bruce Brown, with art by Renzo Podesta (The Frozen Kingdom) and Thomas Boatwright (The Undersea Kingdom, The Kingdom of Madness).

Continue reading “Graphic Fiction Review: HOWARD LOVECRAFT AND THE THREE KINGDOMS – unique and mostly enjoyable take on the works of HP Lovecraft”

Guest Opinion: WHY I’M DONE WITH COMIC-CONS

BY TERRY BEATTY

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I suppose I could be convinced to change my mind by a great guest list or the promise of a trip to an interesting location — but I think I’m done with “comic cons.” I won’t call them comic book conventions, because they’re not that, really, anymore. The last one I attended that felt like a real comic book show was OafCon in Oklahoma — which is specifically themed around vintage comics and paper collectibles — and was wonderful. My SupaNova experience in Australia was great, because they LOVE The Phantom there. But the last few shows I’ve attended elsewhere have been disappointing. Continue reading “Guest Opinion: WHY I’M DONE WITH COMIC-CONS”