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The Kitchen

The Kitchen 2019

It’s the last month of the year and I was able to catch up with the last major theatrical release of this past year. There are still a few other home video and TV movie releases that I haven’t gotten around to, but I should get pretty close before the end of this month and will have a ranked list next month. As for this specific movie, I didn’t hear very much good about this when it was in theaters and while I strongly considered going out to watch it, I just missed it. I thought it was interesting that it was based on a comic and it was about Hell’s Kitchen which is usually associated with Daredevil, though it has absolutely nothing to do with any superheroes at all. Instead, it’s a period drama about the mob featuring comedic actresses. Unfortunately, the trailer featured pretty much all of the comedic bits in the mostly dramatic movie, none of the characters really had any strong personalities to draw me into their stories and by the time things got interesting in the third act, it wasn’t enough to save the film.

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Graphic Horror: Hardware

Hardware 1990

This is another somewhat interesting story when it comes to comic book movies. When this film was released in 1990, the comic book publishers of 2000 AD which was the home of Judge Dredd noticed the striking similarities to a short story they published years earlier called Shok. It was a very short 7 page story but the similarities are striking. Both the movie and the comic feature a guy bringing home a robotic head that reassembles itself to terrorize a woman who is holed up in a highly secured apartment. There’s even a moment in both stories where the woman uses a freezer to disguise herself against the robot’s heat vision. As for the film itself, it’s very much schlock, ultra-violent horror which oddly enough reminds me of another comic book movie Virus that would come out 9 years later. Those two stories both have killer robots that reassemble themselves, have a slow start, are trapped in a relatively small space, and ultimately have a low body count. And while there are some major issues with this film, it’s actually much better than the latter movie.

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Steam Engines of Oz

Steam Engines of Oz 2018

I wasn’t intentionally going down the Arcana studios rabbit hole, but I just happened to see this DVD at the library after returning Howard Lovecraft and the Kingdom of Madness so I decided to pick it up and get it over with. I didn’t have very high hopes for it even though I was about fifty-fifty with the Howard Lovecraft trilogy. In general, I’m a big fan of Oz adaptations and I do like it when they go away from the traditional Dorothy route and get into some of the extended lore even if I technically haven’t read any of it myself. But this suffered from many of the problems that existed with the Howard Lovecraft series, especially the low budget animation and limited quality for voice actors outside of a few notable characters. But this one also suffered from lack of interesting characters or a cohesive story and failed on almost all accounts.

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Ethel & Ernest

Ethel & Ernest 2016

I always enjoy getting around to watching comic book movies that aren’t just about superheroes. This is the second film that I watched based on a graphic novel by Raymond Briggs after the lesser known 80’s animation When the Wind Blows. Briggs is probably best known for his children’s book the Snowman and while children’s books do share some similarities with comic books and graphic novels, there’s enough of a difference that I don’t include any of them in my list. This has a somewhat similar style as When the Wind Blows except that the backgrounds in this film are gorgeous. The two main characters actually feel like they inspired the two characters in the previous movie but they are actually inspired by the author’s actual parents. This film chronicles the relatively basic life of two simple people living in London through the events of World War II as well as their years afterwards. It might be simple, but it’s a poignant look at these two people’s life from the perspective of their eventual son.

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The Immortal Wars

The Immortal Wars 2018

One thing I don’t talk about too much on here is my local library. Ever since video rental stores have all but died out (there is a Family Video nearby but we don’t go there), aside from streaming I source most of the movies I watch for this site lately from my library. This is not the first time that I happened across a movie at that library that I had never heard of before but I could tell from the cover and back of the box that it was a perfect fit for this site. This is a combination of X-Men, Hunger Games, and a little bit of Gladiator, only the weakest bits of all of those movies along with some poor special effects, weak acting, and a bland script. It’s not quite Captain Battle level bad movie, but it’s right alongside some of the Asylum films that I’ve seen and I’m actually a little surprised that the sequel is already being made for a planned trilogy.

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Wilson

Wilson 2017

I’ve almost caught up with the movies that I missed in 2017, but still have plenty to go from 2018. This is one that I heard about right around when it was released in theaters, but never got the chance to seek it out. It’s a dark comedy and the third movie based on a Daniel Clowes comic after Ghost World (which I loved) and Art School Confidential (not so much). I would rank it right in between the two films as it does have a handful of problems, but the comedy works well and it does a good job to make the audience feel for this quirky-but-obnoxious guy played by Woody Harrelson.

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Accident Man

Accident Man 2018

It feels like it’s going to take forever for me to catch up with the previous year and a half of superhero movies that I missed out on, but I’m continuing to inch my way through them. I had vaguely heard about this movie before going on hiatus but didn’t know anything besides the fact that it was an action movie based on a comic book before going into it, which is honestly always a treat. What I found was a stunt-oriented revenge movie involving hitmen that reminded me a lot of the movie Payback which I really love. The plot is honestly a relatively standard guy working his way up the chain of command with a bit of dark humor laced throughout since there’s plenty of killing going on. Not only that, but the director was Jesse V Johnson who directed a great action oriented Wonder Woman concept trailer way back in 2013.

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Graphic Horror: Bad Kids of Crestview Academy

Bad Kids of Crestview Academy 2017

This was one of the last movies that I tried to watch before I went on my hiatus and I even tried a couple times. And while it’s not a great movie, it wasn’t exactly the quality of the film that kept me from finishing it, it was just other things going on at the time. I’ve seen the previous movie and while it had a few good moments, I wasn’t a fan of that one either so I didn’t have very high hopes. This is a horror/comedy/mystery/etc that really feels like a retread of the first movie with only a few slight differences here and there. It’s another group of kids in a weekend detention that get massacred over the course of the movie with a little extra mystery going on in the background. Some of the comedy hit me a bit better this time around, but I just felt like this was another mediocre go around that didn’t learn anything from the first movie and as it hints at a third movie, I just hope that it goes in a different direction if it gets made.

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Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom

Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom 2017

Last year I decided to take a chance on the first Howard Lovecraft movie. At the time, I thought it was just a low budget knock off film that somehow was trying to trade in on the HP Lovecraft lore and was also based on an indie comic. This year I did a little bit more digging and discovered Arcana Studio spun off of Arcana Comics. They do seem to be a low budget animation studio, but the majority of their films are adaptations of their comics which I think is a great concept. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Howard Lovecraft film, it seemed like a fascinating world, but there wasn’t much of a character arc and the tone seemed like a weird childish goth with mediocre voice actors except a couple token cameos. The sequel works much better with an overall darker tone with less kid-centric humor, bigger roles for the notable voice actors, and more of a character arc for Howard himself. I actually quite enjoyed this one and am curious to see where things end up in the third movie coming out in a couple weeks.

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I Kill Giants

I Kill Giants 2018

It’s been a long while since I’ve sat down and written a movie review. This past year I’ve tried and gotten through the opening paragraph twice, but haven’t been able to finish one out just yet. But I’m trying to revitalize my interest in this site. Or let me rephrase that, my interest has not gone away for this site, just the ability to give it the time that I want to. But things are starting to change and as I’ve started to prepare for the new year, I’ve been getting a jump start by trying to catch up on what I’ve missed. The first one that I decided to grab was something that I always enjoy doing for this site, a lesser known comic book movie that’s not really about superheroes at all. This is a family fantasy drama adapted from the Image comic by Joe Kelly and Ken Niimura released in 2008 about a young girl who appropriately kills giants. It comes close to being a cliched version of the outcast/weird girl living in her own fantasy world to escape reality, but there’s enough different about this to make it stand out.

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