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Just Fine: A Justice League Review

JusticeLeagueEarlier this week I had typed up a piece pre-viewing Justice League that chronicled my concerns heading in to the launch of the long awaited feature film that would unite the DC comic universes big guns on screen for the first time. The piece made its way through issues like my feelings on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (I didn’t like it). The lack of involvement of the crew that made Wonder Woman. The lacklustre trailers. And, most crucially, the question of wether or not I could bring my kids.

You see, I have waited a long time for the League to come to life and sharing it with my kids should be a dream come true.  But, after Batman V Superman, a movie barely watchable as an adult, I needed to know there was a different tone to this movie if I was going to bring my small people.

Batman not committing mass murder every time he suited up was also a must, as was knowing that the rest of the League didn’t have mothers named “Martha”.

To make sure I gave Bruce, Diana and the gang the best opportunity to present themselves, I headed to see Justice League on a massive IMAX screen with an equally massive bag of popcorn on my lap. I crossed my fingers, sat through the 25 minutes of ads and prepared myself as the DC pantheon spread across the screen in the opening credits. It was time…

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Audiences reject ‘Justice League’ at the box office

When is a good debut not a good debut? When a film can’t meet even tempered expectations, as this week’s number one film demonstrated. Here’s what went down:

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Justice League debut on top of the box office this weekend, as expected, but DC’s version of Marvel’s Avengers could only deliver an estimated $96 million. The first Avengers film meanwhile debut with over $200 million for its opening weekend! There is simply nothing good about this number for Warner Brothers. Justice League was designed to bring all of DC’s heroes together for an epic story and big box office money. Well, the movie isn’t particularly epic (thanks to a lacklustre villain) and the box office return just wasn’t there. None of this is the fault of the cast, all of whom do strong work in a weak film. Instead, this poor performance is a rejection from the majority mainstream audience of the storytelling style of previous Zack Snyder DC films, Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (and once again, I liked that film). Hopefully, the strength of the characters and new creative blood will bode well for upcoming films with Aquaman and The Flash, but for now, this weekend can be seen as nothing but a disappointment.

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The week in horror: The Strangers, Hotel Transylvania + more

Get ready for a trio of spooky-centric trailers, as we look at some of the biggest stories from the week in horror.

The Strangers: Pray at Night trailer arrives

It’s been nearly a decade since the first Strangers films scared up critical raves and solid box office. Finally, a sequel is due out March 9th, 2018. The first trailer arrived this week, which you can see below. The film is described as follows:

A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive.

Dwayne Johnson’s Rampage trailer isn’t monkeying around

I spent hours and hours playing Rampage on my SEGA Master System as a kid, even though the whole endeavour of destroying buildings and eating people was pretty darn repetitive. But fun! And that’s what the trailer for the film adaptation looks like its going for. Is it horror? Who’s to say? Rampage hits theaters April 20oth, 2018.

Drac goes on vacation in Hotel Transylvania 3

The Princess and I love the Hotel Transylvania films, with the first one being a classic in our house. This summer, Dracula, Mavis and company are setting sail and heading out of their comfort zone in Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation. Check out the trailer below. The film is out July 13th, 2018.

Let Us Now Praise Noise: November 18, 2017

This week: John Carpenter, All Pigs Must Die, Cable, Low Estate, Amenra, True Ghouls/Sea Ghouls

John Carpenter, Anthology; Movie Themes 1974-1998: Available now (Sacred Bones Records)

There’s almost nothing more synonymous with John Carpenter’s film than the music he composed to accompany them. Is there any score more famous, recognizable, and chilling then his theme for 1978’s Halloween? It evokes a response even if you haven’t seen the film. What about the creeptastic music for The FogAnthology is a career-spanning 13 tracks, and while that doesn’t cover every film, every film covered is gold. I don’t have a record store nearby and had to order my copy; Amazon has the CD for $11.99 and the vinyl for $17.99. Carpenter is currently touring North America (fingers crossed I get to see him).

All Pigs Must Die, Hostage Animal: Available now (Southern Lord Records)

All Pigs Must Die satisfies my taste in the more extreme end of hardcore/metal, where I tend to get weary fast, but Hostage Animal has a staying power that I’d equate with newer Napalm Death. As intelligent as it is brutal, Hostage Animal is fierce, well-produced, dynamic and doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Cable, It Cost Me Everything 1994-1995: Available now (Atomic Action)

The Rockville CT four-piece Cable exploded out of the gates in 1994 and would go on to be an important name in East Coast metalcore. It Cost Me Everything brings together the early, rare, and out-of-print recordings from the band’s infancy and it’s nothing to sleep on. The abrasive emo/noise/hardcore sound will appeal to fans of groups like Unsane.

Low Estate, The Covert Cult Of Death: Available now (The Flenser)

I covered Low Estate’s single, “The Rope,” two columns back and now the whole album is available for purchase (highest of recommendations) and you can preview it over at Metal Sucks where they’re streaming the entire album. Low Estate mix black metal and ’90s hardcore in an intoxicating cocktail of metal bliss.

Amenra, “Children Of The Eye” music video, directed by Wim Reygaert, from Mass VI: Available now

Produced by Billy Anderson, who previously worked with Neurosis, Cathedral, and Sleep, among others, Belgium’s Amenra unleash their newest album Mass VI, an emotional slab of blackened doom that has moments of real beauty. Accompanying the album is a gorgeous, scary, ritualistic video for the single “Children Of The Eye,” directed by Wim Reygaert. It starts slow and quiet, but builds dramatically.

True Ghouls/Sea Ghouls, Some Ghouls split EP: Available now (Blank City Records)

Both True Ghouls and Sea Ghouls hail from Los Angeles and teamed up for this very cool split EP for a Halloween release. It’s available on vinyl and digital with great cover art that’s a send up of the Rolling Stones’ Some Girls LP. You can stream True Ghouls’ “Muscles and Bugs” at New Noise and Sea Ghouls’ “Warren” at Ghetto Blaster. True Ghouls give us a John Carpenter-esque trip hop while Sea Ghouls give us more rootsy rock, providing a nice balance of sounds and influences that work well together.

 

Takashi Miike’s ‘Blade of the Immortal’ slices and dices, but it could use a trim

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Takashi Miike’s been one of the biggest shock jockeys of Japanese cinema for eons. Ichi the Killer (2001) was a high-splatter mark for lovers of extreme gore, and Miike’s output has been an extraordinary arterial gusher. Blade of the Immortal is billed as Miike’s hundredth film, and while one could quibble (glancing over his Wikipedia bio, I count somewhere in the mid-nineties), the fact is the guy’s made an astonishing number of films. And he’s only fifty-seven!

Blade of the Immortal finds Miike plying his grisly gonzo in the service of a long-running samurai manga. Is the legendary director finally in danger of becoming a hack, or does his blood-slicked blade cut through one more time?

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What Happens When Revenge Isn’t Enough: ‘The Punisher’

Netflix’s first season of The Punisher picks up where Season 2 of Daredevil left off, in a world where everyone thinks Frank Castle is dead and that’s just fine with him.

Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle/The Punisher

For those entering Netflix’s Marvel universe for the first time, here’s what you need to know: Frank Castle, an ex-Marine who fought in Afghanistan, transformed into The Punisher after his family was gunned down as part of a drug deal sting operation gone bad. Frank then goes after those responsible, becoming a vicious vigilante who lives by by the code of “an eye for an eye.”
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‘Justice League’ finally arrives in theaters this weekend

It’s a big weekend for super hero fans, as one of the greatest teams in comic book history comes to life on the big screen. If there’s any justice, it will be a decent film. How will it perform? Here’s our prediction:

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At long last, Justice League arrives in theaters. Our own JP Fallavollita did an exceptional job tracing all the twists and turns it took to get Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Flash together in a live action environment. Now that we’re here – what happens next? Well, reviews are underwhelming for the Zack Snyder directed film (with a helping hand from Joss Whedon), though reactions are not as terrible as Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Justice League is definitely going to be the number one film of the weekend, and it will likely have a strong showing, regardless of what the critics are saying. Look for it to debut with $115 million.

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‘Mudbound’ is a fascinating, moving film

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Mudbound is a fascinating, moving film from director Dee Rees. Set in the deep south during the forties, this adaptation of Hillary Jordan’s 2008 bestseller is deeply affecting but not without its own contradictions, a sprawling literary epic that feels somehow too contained.

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Road To Justice League: Long & Winding & Obstacle Filled

The road to the about-to-be-released Justice League film has been a long and winding one.

Long and winding and fraught with bumps and pitfalls and massive industry, cultural, commercial and familial obstacles.

Resiliently plowing through these numerous impediments, Warner Brothers has finally made good on a long-standing promise to showcase the greatest heroes of pop culture on the silver screen – the comic book visages of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, the Justice League, together for the first time.

Sort of.

It’s actually not technically the first time the Justice League has been together on screen. There have actually been numerous iterations of the group over the years. But the road taken for this particular Justice League, is an interesting one indeed.

To get to here, let’s take a quick look back at there, and all the previously mentioned hazards that nearly conquered the world’s greatest superheroes.

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It’s No Laughing Matter Reading “The Batman Who Laughs #1” On The Wednesday Run

Over the last few months, DC Comics has been publishing their Dark Nights: Metal mini-series, along with a bunch of one-shots that spin out of the main title.

Dark Nights: Metal, written by fan and critical favourite, Scott Snyder and illustrated by the wonderful, hard-rocking, Greg Capullo, is essentially their last, big Batman story that began when the two first started their monthly Batman run a number of years ago.

This Batman-starring story was so big, so all-encompassing, and so senses-shattering, it needed its own title! And indeed, Dark Nights: Metal, involves the entirety of the DC Universe.

Essentially, the series establishes the dark-sided universe of DC’s fifty-two distinct universes. Bear with me, as I’ll attempt to explain that physics-cosmos-philosophical conundrum after the jump.

Chiefly, however, this particular column will shine a light on that darkness, highlighting the most anticipated of the spin-off one-shots with the Batman Who Laughs #1, released today!

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