Z-View: Dead Body Road #1


Dead Body Road is a six issue mini-series published by Image.

Writer: Justin Jordan

Penciler / Inker: Matteo Scalera

Colorist: Moreno Dinisio

The men involved in his wife’s death must die.   All of them.

Dead Body Road #1 sets the bar high.  Great writing, great art and a crime/revenge story that hits all the right marks without being cliché.

Gage is an ex-cop.  His wife Anna (also a cop) was killed in what looks like a robbery gone bad.  Everybody in the building was murdered and the bad guys got away… just not together.  When the robbery turned into the OK Corral, one of the thieves (the one with the item being stolen) high-tailed it.

Now he has Gage, and the other crooks hot on his trail.  It won’t be good for him no matter who catches him first.  And how bad would it be if the crooks and Gage get to him at the same time?

Justin Jordan has created a crime story that starts with a bang and doesn’t let up.  There’s a lot going on and each scene propels us deeper into something that is much more than your typical ex-cop seeks revenge against those who killed his family tale.  This could have been a simple story of revenge, but Jordan has layered in much more.

Matteo Scalera creates visuals that have the maximum impact for each scene.  Car chases are usually boring — especially in comics.  Scalera pulls off a four page sequence that not only advances the story, but makes you feel the speed and danger of the chase.  His characters have character.

Dead Body Road #1  is a comic for mature audiences due to violence and language.  If you’re a fan of crime/revenge stories then this is for you.  Dead Body Road #1 gets my highest recommendation.

Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Z-View: “Savages”

The Pitch: “Let’s get a name director, a first-rate cast and film an adaptation of Don Winslow’s Savages.”

The Overview: Ben (a pacifist) and Chon (ex-military) are best friends who share a thriving marijuana business and a woman named Ophelia.  The relationship works as well as their multi-million dollar pot business.  All is paradise until a brutal Mexican cartel (is that redundant?) decides to move in on their pot trade.  When Ben and Chon refuse their offer, the cartel kidnaps Ophelia.  Nothing will stop Ben and Chon from getting her back.

The Good: The novel by Don Winslow provides a solid foundation.  The screenplay by Shane Salerno, Don Winslow and Olver Stone isn’t afraid to make changes to the great source material.  The cast: Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, and Salma Hayek are excellent in their roles.  Benicio Del Toro and John Travolta are as well, and own almost every scene they’re in.  Oliver Stone delivers.

The Bad: The things that happen to folks that mess with a Mexican cartel.  Don’t mess with a Mexican cartel.  (Sounds like a commericial for direct tv, doesn’t it?)

The Ugly: Keep an eye out for what happens when “traitors” are bull-whipped.  Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Z-View – Marlow: Soul of Darkness

 

The Pitch: A hardcase with a secret leads a small group of mercenaries onto an island full of zombies in order to rescue a scientist.The Good: The concept. The Marlow character and his associates. The art by Mathew Reynolds shows a lot of promise with inspired panels/poses. Running some of the original proposal pages [by a different artist] was cool.

The Bad: The lack of backgrounds — at times it works, but as the story progressed I missed them and wanted more than just gray-scale figures, etc. The fact that Marlow almost always has a cigar in his mouth became a bit much.

The Ugly: The logo needs to be reworked. The shop owner where I bought Marlow said he had no idea what the title was when he first looked at the cover. The price tag of $4.95 felt a bit high.

The Summary: Marlow was created by Aaron Thomas Nelson and Dario Carrassco Jr. The first issue is 46 black and white pages with a color cover, written by Aaron Thomas Nelson art by Mathew Reynolds. I enjoyed the first issue and feel like Nelson and Reynolds could have a hit on their hands if they stick with it.

"28 weeks later" Rates…

I loved “28 days later.” So when “28 weeks later” was announced, along with the fact that the original writer [Alex Garland], the original director [Danny Boyle] and the original cast were not returning, I felt we might be in for a letdown.

“28 weeks later” has an ambitious screenplay by Rowan Joffe, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Jesus Olmo and Enrique Lopez Lavigne. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo takes the director’s chair and does an admirable job of retaining the feel and style of the original. Robert Carlyle [who is always good] is the biggest name actor in the new cast although many will recognize Harold Perrineau, from “Lost” in a small but important role.

Spoilers will follow…

The movie opens with perhaps the best scenes in the film. A band of survivors [including a husband and wife who hope that their children are still alive] have barricaded themselves in a remote farm house. As they settle down for dinner, it is obvious that their situation is wearing them down. When a child is heard yelling to be let in the house, the theme of the movie comes into play… who/how many will you sacrifice to save yourself? There’s hesitation, but they let the boy in and soon enough all of the “infected” that were chasing the boy, are breaking into the house. They succeed and the survivors run and fight for their lives. A horrible moment occurs when the husband makes it to the window and his wife hesitates so that she can bring along the boy. A group of infected get between them and the husband is faced with a choice: try to save his wife and the boy or himself. He chooses to save himself. The last image that he sees as he runs from the farm house is of his wife being pulled from the window.

The husband makes his way to safety and is part of a group brought in to repopulate London. The virus is gone, and the military are everywhere insuring a quick end should it return. And return return it does…

The Good: “28 weeks” retains much of the feel of “28 days.” Robert Carlyle. Jeremy Renner who almost steals the show in his role as Doyle. The way that the virus is brought back into play. The infection spreading through the crowded underground safe haven. No one is safe… no one! The potential for “28 months later!”

The Bad: The way that Robert Carlyle is always able to find the survivors who are on the run. The killing of Jeremy Renner’s character.

The Ugly: The helicopter taking out “the infected” with it’s blades and not crashing.

“28 weeks later”

Rating: 4 out of 5

New Dawn is a Winner

Dawn of the Dead  has one of the best opening sequences that you could ask for. It stays true to the original, even giving a nod to one of it’s most talked about scenes, and yet clearly shows us, this ain’t your dad’s zombie movie.

Remaking Dawn of the Dead  was a risk. Romero is considered the Zombie God for his trilogy and all three movies have a core following. When Night of the Living Dead was remade, it wasn’t greeted with open arms despite being a very good film. I’m happy to say that the remake is not only being critically praised [Entertainment Weekly‘s critic gave it an “A”], but kicking butt at the box office [coming in at #1]. And rightly so, since the new Dawn of the Dead is a very good film all the way around. Acting, screenplay and directing all hold up well.

Is it as good as the original Dawn of the Dead? Yeah. Maybe even better.

And make sure you sit through the credits…

“Dawn of the Dead” remake rates an A

Kill Bill Disappoints

I’m a huge fan of Quentin Tarintino’s work. Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction are two of my favorite movies. From Dusk till Dawn is as well. [And yes, I know that Robert Rodriguez directed it!] I loved everything about the original trailer for “Kill Bill.” The look. The music. The stars. How could it miss?

 

Let me tell you how. [Minor spoilers ahead.]
“Kill Bill” starts off well enough. It begins with a scratchy, cheesy “Now For Our Feature Presentation” intro straight out of the drive-ins that I loved as a kid. There’s also the retro “Presented in Shaw-Scope” title card, the “Revenge is a dish best served cold” Klingon quote, and the Sonny Bono song, “Bang, Bang” playing over the credits. Yeah baby, Quentin was tapping in to everything that we loved about this genre from our childhood.
Then the movie starts with a bang. Literally. Uma Thurman is shot in the head and left for dead. But she’s not really dead… just in a coma for four years. And when she wakes up she must have her revenge. Great set-up.

The action is over-the-top and brutal. The first payback that we see is really well done. It has the right mix of Tarantino heightened reality, humor and action. Then we have a flashback to the hospital and this is where the movie starts to loose me. There are a couple of scenes with a red neck and Buck the orderly that just really push the envelope. And for some reason everything after that seemed truly excessive and redundant.
How many arterial sprays do we need to see? How many limbs chopped off? But before we get to that gore we have to sit through an anime cartoon [which is pretty well done but again, very gory], a boring dialogue about tea, and discussion about why Uma needs a specific man to make her sword.When I left the theater, I was disappointed. I had been hoping to see a really fun, really exciting revenge film. To make matters even worse, we don’t get to see how everything turns out, since “Kill Bill, Volume 2” doesn’t come out until February. The funny thing is, I didn’t hate the movie. I’m not sure I even disliked it. I was disappointed… but disappointed enough not to see the rest?

I guess we’ll know in February.

“Kill Bill”

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Signs are There

The signs were all there.

M. Night Shyamalan had already written and directed the oh-so-cool “Sixth Sense” and the well done “Unbreakable.” Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix were set to co-star. M. Night was back as writer and director. The trailers were full of suspense, and left you wanting more. Yeah, the signs were all in place for a winner.

But you never know.

I saw “Signs” yesterday and it’s been on my mind constantly since. The story does involve aliens.. but probably not in the way that you’re expecting. It’s as much about family, redemption, and faith as it is aliens… and it is scaryvery scary at times! But it will also make you laugh, move you to the verge of tears, and more than likely leave you feeling very happy for seeing it.

This is my favorite movie of the year thus far. It rates a solid “A.” I think you’ll enjoy it to because…

… the signs are all there!

Training Day Lives Up to Hype

I finally got an opportunity to see “Training Day” — what a powerful movie. No doubt, if you’re a movie fan, you’ve heard the hype. This is one movie that lives up to it.

Denzel Washington turns in a truly Oscar-worthy performance (his best yet, in my humble opinion). Ethan Hawke is excellent as well. While this movie isn’t for everyone, it is for my money one of the best movies that I’ve seen in months.

If you’ve seen it, I’d love to hear your thoughts… if you haven’t, consider it on your next trip to the video store. As for me, this baby is gonna end up in my personal collection!

“Training Day” rates an A+

Line of Sight

“One of the rules… you don’t mess with married women. It’s tempting, sure. Forbidden fruit. He got, I want. But you’re only buying trouble and there’s enough trouble to be had for nothing.”

Ray Dolan finds out just how much trouble can be had, when his infatuation with a married woman turns to murder. Line of Sight by Jack Kelly is one of the best books that I’ve read in a long time. If you’re a fan of crime writers such as Andrew Vachss, James M. Cain, Jim Thompson, Frank Miller and Walter Mosely or if you love film noir… movies like “Double Indemnity,” “Body Heat,” and “Out of the Past” then you’re going to love this book. You can read more about it by clicking [Here] or on the picture to the left. (And ya gotta love the novel’s cover!)

Line of Sight rates an “A+”