Blog Archives

Thursday Movie Picks – Comic Book Movies

Once again I saw a very appropriate topic from Wandering Through the Shelves Thursday Movie Picks theme for this week. The last time I joined in the topic was superhero movies, and this time it’s the other end of the spectrum that I cover for this site: non-superhero comic book movies. Check out his picks as well as the other choices over there.
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Graphic Horror: Road to Perdition

Road to Perdition 2002

It’s time to finish off my participation in the Graphic Horror Blogathon with a bang by covering one of only a small handful of actually well received and well known comic book adaptations that I have yet to cover here on this site. And while it isn’t exactly a horror film, Road to Perdition does have enough thriller elements and more than enough striking visuals that I’m glad to share it as part of this project. It’s the story of a mob hitman on the run while simultaneously out for revenge, but more than that it’s about the relationship between a father and son and how they end up connecting with each other though these trying circumstances. Not only that, but this is one of the most acclaimed and star-studded comic book movies out there starring Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, and an early role from the man who would be James Bond Daniel Craig. It’s an amazing film, and if you haven’t seen it before, definitely seek it out before reading this, as I will be delving into this film in its entirety spoilers and all.
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V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta 2005

Remember, remember
the fifth of November
the gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
why the gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot

It’s rare that either a superhero movie or a comic book movie would be the most well remembered for a line of poetry commemorating a holiday that’s not even celebrated in the US. And even though fans of this movie still probably don’t know exactly what it means to celebrate Guy Fawkes day, they still know the opening lines of that poem and likely no more of it other than vague references to Guy Fawkes and blowing up Parliament. There certainly isn’t mention of lines further down in the poem “A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope, A penn’orth of cheese to choke him, A pint of beer to wash it down, And a jolly good fire to burn him.” Although the pope is never hung nor burned, there is a priest who is killed. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this movie, but it’s always stuck with me as being one of my favorites. This was the first work from the Wachowskis after the Matrix trilogy though they only wrote the movie and directed the climactic fight sequence. Even without their direction, it has a lot of visual style to it, so much so that I considered forgoing a written review altogether and just share a collection of the dozen or so screenshots that I took while watching the movie over the past couple nights.
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Graphic Horror: Tales From the Crypt Season 1

Welcome to my look back at one of my favorite horror TV shows of all time, Tales From the Crypt. While I never actually saw the show while it aired on HBO, instead I caught up with it several years later when it was airing late at night on Fox. And while I imagine that little to none of the blood and gore was cut out of the show, I did miss out on the plenty of sex and language that’s present throughout the show. When the show came out, it was an interesting experiment that throughout its run showcased many notable directors and actors. And while it was still on a somewhat smaller budget, especially during the early seasons, it managed to showcase some great special effects, especially when it came to the animatronic Cryptkeeper that opened and closed every episode with John Kassir’s iconic voice.
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Graphic Horror: The Scribbler

The Scribbler 2014

For a couple years now I’ve avoided falling into the trap that nearly every other movie blog falls into during this time of year: reviewing horror movies for October. But since I started my Graphic Horror tag this past March, I thought it was due time to go further into the very shallow selection of horror movies and thrillers adapted from graphic novels and comic books. To kick things off, I’m taking a look at the movie that just released on VOD a couple weeks ago adapted from Daniel Schaffer’s comic the Scribbler. The story itself is a weird mix of Girl, Interrupted, Fight Club, and the Cell. Katie Cassidy in the lead role was one of the best parts of the movie, though I thought things got a little muddled in the direction. It also had a rather surprising and unusual turn towards the end that I will be discussing, so spoilers abound. Overall I enjoyed it, but the concept felt a bit stronger than the execution.
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Sin City

Sin City 2005

After hearing the reviews for the disappointing sequel Sin City: A Dame To Kill For I had decided to wait to revisit the original movie until after seeing it for myself. I thought that doing it this way around would remind myself of how good it could have been rather than setting myself up for disappointment. And in that respect it worked exactly the way I hoped it would. There are still a handful of issues that I noticed in the sequel that were also present in the original, but for the most part, the original still holds up almost 10 years later while the sequel is the one that feels dated. I don’t specifically remember seeing this when it was originally in theaters. I was a fan of Robert Rodgriguez from Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn but knew nothing about the Sin City books. But I liked it enough to get the three disc DVD edition that has a version where you can see the four stories individually and extended. It also came with a mini reprint of the comics used in the movie so you can see how visually similar they ended up being. There’s just something about this movie that can be felt, the actors are better, the cinematography is better, there’s just a more intense feeling that everyone involved knew they were doing something different. This was an experiment in filmmaking, the digital cameras were fresh. Rodgriguez was able to change up his style of directing, letting the cameras roll continuously and let the takes flow naturally. There was just an unspoken buzz in the air that can still be felt, something that was absent in A Dame to Kill For.
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Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

Sin City: A Dame To Kill For 2014

I think more than any movie before it, this had the quickest drop from being a movie that I had been looking forward to the most to being a movie that I was dreading watching. All after I started hearing all the negative reviews coming in from many of my fellow reviewers who were watching early screenings. It warned me away so much that I avoided seeing this movie opening weekend. Although I wouldn’t have had to worry about my other usual concern when seeing a movie opening weekend as the crowds wouldn’t have been an issue with the tepid $6 million opening. Maybe it was the poor marketing, maybe it was the fact that it’s been ten years since the first Sin City, maybe it was because the second 300 movie also came out earlier this year, but nobody went to see this movie. This movie is still a far cry from The Spirit, that pseudo Sin City directed by a lone Frank Miller with all of the elements of Sin City but not in the right amounts. There are plenty of great moments in this movie, but none of those moments ever added up to a cohesive whole and in the end I was left wanting.
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Snowpiercer 2014

It’s always weird to me the way that some movies are released. This is a Korean film filled with mostly American and British actors and filmed in English with the exception of a couple characters, and it’s based off of a French graphic novel. It’s a sci-fi movie set in a dystopian future. It was completed and released in Korea last year. And yet it still hasn’t gotten a US release date until June, of course this was partly due to the conflict between the director Bong Joon-ho and the distributer Harvey Weinstein who wanted to cut about 30 minutes from the movie to make it a more action-heavy movie, cutting out much of the character development. In a time when it feels like two hours is the standard movie runtime and many movies run two and a half to almost three hours, this does not seem like an over-long movie at all. On top of that, I really loved this movie; the action, the characters, and especially the sci-fi concepts behind it. It’s the best sci-fi movie that I have seen in quite a while even though it’s grounded in mostly current technology.

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Graphic Horror: 30 Days of Night

30 Days of Night 2007

This Graphic (Novel) Horror blogathon is coming to a close and I’m finally coming around to one of the movies that first came to mind when I was thinking about movies that I should cover. I saw it back when it was still fairly new and quite enjoyed it, but hadn’t seen it since then and have never seen the sequel. I always thought it was an interesting concept for a vampire movie. One of the vampire’s biggest weaknesses was the fact that they couldn’t be out in the sunlight, but in the Arctic Circle there’s a full 30 days of night without any sun, not only that but according to this story the town basically cuts itself off from any other town South of it for the duration of the darkest part of winter so this clan of vampires can essentially feed at will for a full month without any fear of being discovered and stopped by a larger force from outside of town. There are also plenty of great visuals along the way that really had a graphic novel feel to them, whether or not they were actually taken from the pages of the original comic.
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Graphic Horror: Vault of Horror

Vault of Horror 1973

Following up from the Tales From the Crypt adaptation the year before comes yet another adaptation of several of the EC Comics stories from their various horror comics like Tales From the Crypt, Vault of Horror, Haunt of Fear, and others. It follows basically the same format as Tales From the Crypt with a frame story about several people coming together and telling tales of their demises. The difference is that this time they are all taking an elevator that brings them to the sublevel instead of the ground floor, and they are talking about these vivid dreams they’ve been having, and also there is no curator inviting them to speak, instead they bring up speaking on their own, and there is no woman in this group. There’s also something about the stories in general that weren’t as interesting overall as several of the ones in the Tales From the Crypt anthology. I also found it interesting, even though I’m not a Doctor Who fan at all but I noticed that Tom Baker is one of the main characters in one of the stories.
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