Friday, 25 May 2012

Valhalla Rising

A pit-fighting slave wins his freedom by mangling his masters, falling in with a gang of optimistic Christian Vikings who, despite their lack of numbers, plan to sack the Holy Land. Valhalla Rising focuses on the idea of first-hand experience, viewers are presented with a string of events contextualised within the intellectual and physical limits of its Viking heroes. The meat of the second act revolves around an endless, drifting voyage to the New World in which the men have nothing to do but starve and pick at each other. Unable to rationalise their unending journey, the men fall prey to various forms of superstition.

Initially they pray to their Christian God for more favourable weather. When that falls on deaf ears, their attention focuses on Mads Mikkelsen's One-Eye, the shit hole gladiator they drafted for their crusade. One-Eye is a dour, supernaturally violent individual who seems to speak through a cherubic familiar. The men become convinced he is dragging them down to hell, a thought not entirely discouraged by the vast green inferno they wash up at. Overwhelmed by their new dominion, the Viking conquest flounders to indecision and in-fighting. Their faith powerless and small in the face of a vast, indifferent continent. The experience is just too much for them. The insignificance of their ambition laid before them, all they can do is wait to die.

Alien by Walter Simonson

Walter Simonson's take on Giger's Star Beast. For a complete look at Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson's adaptation of Alien for Heavy Metal, head over to Grantbridge Street & Other Misadventures.

JEDI by Paul Pope

Radiohead - Talk Show Host (8-bit)

Order 66 - Altering The Deal

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the US theatrical release date of Star Wars, here's some punk pop! My fav is Dagobah, a first person griper from Luke Skywalker's point of view. Good work Thom and pals!

Galvatron by Carlos NCT

The Prisoner by Jack Kirby

Thursday, 24 May 2012

"Some men are coming to kill us. We're going to kill them first."

Daniel Craig's plummy murder spree continues! Skyfall's first trailer offers rolling news terror attacks, enemies staggering away from Batman's burning manor house, and twitchy itchy psychological evaluation. Plot details are scant, except for a vague through line about Judi Dench's M being discredited and Bond fucking everybody off by going to bat for her. Skyfall also looks to be continuing Quantum of Solace's dour 1960s mise-en-scene, with Craig dressed as Goldfinger Connery and firing the pre-Brosnan PPK pistol. Inflections that suggest this flick is pitching for the kind of adult audience that Casino Royale attracted, rather than try to be a vox pop, piggy bank raider.


Given that Eurocom's last major project was a Daniel Craig flavoured reskin of Rare's GoldenEye 007, would it be terribly negative to surmise that this Moonraker level was initially intended to follow Eurocom's re-jigged campaign, much like it did back on the N64, but was ultimately held back for this release? 007 Legends fulfils 1997 dreams of a Bond game full of levels drafted from the entirety of the film series. We're promised six film specific missions, presumably one from each Bond. This sneak peak offers few clues whether we can expect fully licensed likenesses of Roger Moore et al, or Daniel Craig awkwardly crowbarred into adventures that don't fit his reading's MO. Other than that, 007 Legends looks much like Eurocoms last effort - detextured Call of Duty weapon models blasting away at primary coloured spy furniture. Fingers crossed we get to strangle girls with their own bikinis using a Sean Connery character model!

Jackie VS Jet


Beck - Looking For A Sign


You've got 'til June 16th to kick in funds for Phil Tippett's experimental short MAD GOD, a stop-motion nightmare project that's laid dormant for a few decades. As well as it being super exciting to see what a master like Tippett can accomplish when he's not saddled with some boring, formalised Hollywood structure, it's also a kick to learn that Tippett is treating Mad God's production as a training exercise for his army of volunteers. He wants to pass on his expertise.

This is the sort of project that best exemplifies the appeal of Kickstarter - audiences are able to vote financially for what they want to see, giving artists who aren't getting their due elsewhere the opportunity to keep creating. That said, how depressing is it that the guy behind Dragonslayer's Vermithrax Pejorative isn't able to hustle together $40,000 through traditional means?

Bub by Robert Ball

Judge Fire by Robert Ball



Saturday, 19 May 2012


Jackie Chan movies aren't macho power fantasies. Chan never presented himself as a domineering, muscle master. In his early kung fu flicks, his characters tended to triumph through hard work and a pathological reluctance to lose. Even when he did eventually win his body was often ruined, sometimes even his mind.

Sacrifice and self-denial featured heavily in his action films, themes that seemed to arise from a childhood spent endlessly drilling at the Peking Opera School. His filmography reads like an endless strive for perfection, the same basic cinematic models, tweaked and remade over and over, until he was satisfied he could take them no further. Every film tempered with the same comedic streak that allowed them to pinball back and forth between extreme danger and yuck-yuck pratfalling, sometimes even in the same sequence. I'm going to miss seeing new versions of that. I'm going to miss seeing him dance around props, and fall from extreme heights. Above all though, I'm going to miss seeing him punch people as hard as he can, and then screw his face up in mock agony. Happy retirement Mr Jackie Chan.

UPDATE: Jackie Chan isn't retiring after all. Still watch that Miracles clip!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012


How do you like their new direction? B Team Treyarch ditch their usual balls nasty approach for mecha-tat and icey electronica, a strange decision given the studios previous entries. Treyarch's Call of Duty games have never excelled as bleeding-edge series shuffles, historically the studio maintains by correcting the perceived balance issues of Infinity Ward's last release, and adding various shades of dismemberment. 

Call of Duty: World at War, arguably their best crack of the whip, kills because it presents the Second World War in terms of rampant Nationalism, and state sponsored extermination. Treyarch's MO is rusting landscapes, functional bullet spitters, and gibs galore. This Metal Gear / Battlefield 20XX mash-up borders on antithetical. Moans aside, it's interesting to see Treyarch attempting something a little less rote with the CoD franchise, I just wish it wasn't another sub-Clancy speculative shooter. We are promised two timelines in Call of Duty: Black Ops II, the first stream concerns a Tomorrow Never Dies alike scenario in which some rich dick is playing the US and China off against each other. Narrative 2 concerns proxy war naughtiness of a 1980s vintage. Keep 'em peeled for a glimpse of the player flanked by Mujahideen, charging at Soviet choppers, that conclusively proves that mud and blood heroism is a millions times more exciting than imaginary laser helicopters. 

El Topo by Jim Mahfood


Tuesday, 1 May 2012


This latest ad for The Dark Knight Rises seems to tease an early, decisive victory for the League of Shadow's muscle-bomber, Bane. With Gotham in the grip of a fallout winter, and Bruce Wayne lumped up in a one percenter gulag, the Batman idea passes into folk myth, whispered between sick children and exhausted cops. Fuck yeah!