Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tarantino Comics - Issue 34

This week's issue was the last one commissioned at The Super Wild Pig Show 2012. Inspired by Pulp Fiction, Tarantino Comics # 34 was drawn by Ian Glaubinger.


Ian has a very unique art style that is composed of retro pop art mixed with modern day cartoons.  In this particular cover, Ian did a terrific job showcasing a simple yet memorable scene from Pulp Fiction:  Breakfast at the diner.  Although Honey Bunny isn't involved, the dialogue box alludes to the seriousness of Jules' retirement.  However, humor breaks the scene with Vincent's word balloon dictating "You've decided to be a bum..."

Overall, Ian's pop art is colorful, memorable, and iconic.  At the Wild Pig Show, his booth caught my attention right off the bat because he was surrounded with prints depicting movies and TV shows that I love.  I also appreciated Ian's talent because I've met other artists who sell prints in a similar style, yet they're not brave enough to draw at the conventions themselves. 

So if you enjoy Ian's art style like I do, be sure to check out his work at http://hasunow.com/

Monday, January 19, 2015

Tarantino Comics - Issue 33

Since this is my first blog post of the new year, I going to reveal my 2015 game plan.  With school finishing up in the spring, I should be able to watch more movies and read more comics - theoretically allowing me to write more reviews.  But until I graduate, lab reports are going to get in the way of my pop culture writing.  Nevertheless, I have a huge backlog of Tarantino Comics that needs to be presented.  So until each cover is displayed, I plan to showcase at least 1 issue a week.  In a way, this is going to be a countdown to media event of the year - The San Diego Comic Con!  Although tickets are not yet available, I have every intention of visiting the con and attending a panel of the most anticipated movie of the year - The Hateful Eight

So until plans become solidified, let's continue with this week's new issue.  Inspired by Pulp Fiction, Tarantino Comics # 33 was drawn by Fred Chao at The Super Wild Pig Show 2012.


Simple in design, Fred's depiction of Jules and Vincent is dead on.  Although the portrait is not from any particular scene of Pulp Fiction, the hit men are totally recognizable.  I also love Fred's color palette - Black and White with a tint of red.

If you enjoyed Fred's artwork, be sure to checkout his graphic novel Johnny Hiro, nominated for 4 Eisner Awards in 2010.  Also check out his unique and awesome artwork at http://www.fredchao.com/  

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Favorites of 2014 (a.k.a The Year of El Rey)

Once again, I apologize for my long hiatus.  Between school, work, and a girlfriend moving in, I've barely had time to watch movies (much less write about them).  Nonetheless, of the movies I watched this year, these were my favorites:


5) Gone Girl - David Fincher knows how to tell a compelling crime story with a lot of suspense.  He has become a master of manipulating the audience with his camera.  With stark contrasts between environments (warm flashbacks versus cold reality), the imagery of the film had me on the edge of my seat.  I believe the casting was quite good and the score maintained an intense vibe.  This may not be my favorite Fincher film (that spot goes to Se7en), but of all the films I've watched this year, this is the one I want to revisit the most so I can take it apart.

4) Guardians of the Galaxy - This was the film that surprised me the most.  Even though I'm a big comic book fan, I had little expectations going into this film.  However, James Gunn surprised us and made an entertaining space opera.  With cool visuals, characters, and an awesome soundtrack, I can sum up this film in 1 word - "FUN!"

3) Godzilla -  The King of the Monsters is back!  I loved the direction and how they strayed away from the "bad" Godzilla.  This won't be an Oscar nominee for best picture, but this franchise has me excited for more.  The back story was solid and it was a great way to re-introduce Godzilla to a contemporary audience.  I can't wait for more "Legendary" battles and hope Kaiju are here to stay.

2) Interstellar - If I were to describe this film, it would be hybrid between Signs and 2001:  A Space Odyssey.  Having come off the Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception, I believe audiences were underwhelmed by Nolan's latest film -  I think people were expecting a visual splendor like Gravity.  However, this film is much smaller even though it spans across the space-time continuum.  It is character driven and visits some really neat concepts.  If anything, other than feeding my man-crush on Matthew McConaughey, Interstellar has fed my interest in space exploration (it even got me to visit the Kennedy Space Center over the holiday).

1) Nightcrawler - I believe I had way too much fun with this movie.  It's gritty, disgusting, and shows the flaws of humanity - Yet I still loved it.  Jake Gyllenhaal's performance was mesmerizing, playing an ugly character I didn't really like.  However he was so intriguing, I couldn't stop watching him.  The director, Dan Gilroy, does a fantastic job of showcasing how Gyllenhaal grows into a news chaser.  Showing the tricks of the trade, we discover Gyllenhaal is an adaptable creature that becomes a cameraman who is just as despicable as the news.  This isn't an uplifting film, but it's a terrific character study mixed with the procedural aspects of building a business from the ground up.  Although I'm not really familiar with the director, I can wait to see what Dan Gilroy has in store for us next.

So besides film, here's some other shout-outs I'd like to mention this year:

-Favorite TV show:  Sons of Anarchy - There's not much I need to say other than I will truly miss this show. 

-Favorite Podcast:  Film Junk
- Comic Geek Speak will always be my home, but the cast of Film Junk has kept me highly entertained during my commute between home and work.  Although I respect their movie reviews, its their interactions that keep me awaiting for next week's download.

-Favorite Radio Show:  Serial - Since I haven't listened to a lot of music this year, I figured I needed to represent the radio some how.  Even though it's technically a podcast, I'm going to group it with the FM airwaves since it originally aired on This American Life. Even though I came to this late in the game, Angie and I binged this crime case driving across the state of Florida.

-Favorite Blu-Ray Release:
  Twin Peaks - I don't normally buy a lot of TV series on home video, but this was a good year:  True Detective, From Dusk Till Dawn, Batman, and Pee Wee's Playhouse.  But the one I've enjoyed the most has been Twin Peaks.  It's contained in one beautiful package and you can't complain about getting more David Lynch on Blu-Ray.  Although I haven't fully dived into the special features, rewatching this series gives me a good excuse to have some Cherry Pie and Coffee.

-Entertainer of the Year:  Robert Rodriguez - I don't care what people say, I still enjoyed Sin City 2.  And besides, he's created the greatest cable network in the world - El Rey.  I can't get enough of this channel - it's usually what I have playing in the background as I'm doing stuff around the house.  If you still haven't checked out the El Rey Network, see the commercial below that presents everything I love about pop culture and cinema:  Kung Fu Films, Godzilla, John Carpenter, Grindhouse, Luchadors, Jessica Alba, and Quentin Tarantino.  Thank you Robert Rodriguez for an entertainment hot spot!


So 2014 was a pretty good year, but I'm anticipating a lot for 2015.  Yes, I'm excited for the big franchises: The Avengers and Star Wars.  But as you all know, what I'm really waiting for is The Hateful Eight!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This Month on El Rey - August 2014

So if you haven't taken my advice and checked out the El Rey Network, here's some of the movies showing this month (with plot summaries provided by IMDB):
  
Assault on Precinct 13:  The lone inhabitants of an abandoned police station are under attack by the overwhelming numbers of a seemingly unstoppable street gang.
 
The Harder They Come:  Wishing to become a successful Reggae singer, a young Jamaican man finds himself tied to corrupt record producers and drug pushers.
 
Duel:  A business commuter is pursued and terrorized by a malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.
 
The Street Fighter:  When an important business magnate dies, the Mafia and Yakuza want to hire Terry to kidnap the daughter so they can obtain her newly inherited fortune. When they refuse to meet Terry's exorbitant price, they try to kill him so they conceal their secret plans.

Electra Glide in Blue:  A short Arizona motorcycle cop gets his wish and is promoted to Homicide following the mysterious murder of a hermit.  However, he is forced to confront his illusions about himself and those around him in order to solve the case.

Rolling Thunder:  Major Charles Rane comes back from the war and is given a number of gifts from his hometown because he is a POW. When some greedy thugs decide to steal a number of silver dollars from the Major, they murderer his family and destroy his hand in the process... Hence Revenge!
 
As for original Content, Matador has been a fun show.  Part DEA, part CIA, and part Soccer player, Tony Bravo is a superspy saving the world in this Mexiploitation. 
 
 
As for The Director's Chair, some cool guests are being interviewed by Robert Rodriguez.  At the beginning of the month, Guillermo del Toro was featured.  He was a fitting pick for his involvement with horror, his Mexican roots, and his friendship with Rodriguez (Fun Fact - He was del Toro's Second Unit Director in Mimic).  Airing tonight (August 13th), we get my dream interview - Quentin Tarantino Volume 1!


So until I give another update next month, make sure you check out the El Rey Network!
 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bullet Points - A Scream Factory Edition

 

Today's Bullet Points are brought to you by Scream Factory:

Halloween III: Season of the Witch - For the longest time, I wrote this movie off.  From my edited viewings on AMC, I always considered this to be a cheesy movie with no Michael Myers to support the franchise.  However, after watching this Scream Factory release, I now realize how great this movie is.  Besides the beautiful transfer, we follow a doctor (played by Tom Atkins) investigating the death of a patient.  With some gruesome scenes involving children and Halloween masks, this movie is quite entertaining (oh, and you can't forget that catchy Silver Shamrock jingle).  As discussed in the special features, we learn the Halloween franchise was supposed to be a new tale for each film.  However, after Halloween 3 bombed, it was decided Michael Myers must return as the star of the series.  Although I like the boogy man, I wish this series would have stuck to its original plan because some interesting original stories could have come into fruition.

Death Valley - Starring Ralphie from A Christmas Story, this a pretty solid slasher that takes place in Death Valley.  When a mom (played by Catherine Hicks) takes her son on vacation to meet her new boyfriend, the young boy discovers evidence from a murder scene.  When the killer realizes the boy took a necklace that may link him back to the murder, his family becomes his next target.  With a fun set piece taking place in a mock western town, this was a fun gem uncovered by Scream Factory.

Terrorvision - Although it's a cheesy 80's film, the effects, props, and sets make this an enjoyable watch.  When a family gets a new satellite system for their television, an alien literally invades their channels.  As the alien releases itself from the television set, bizarre murders occur.  Made by an Italian director, this movie is a weird mix between a Giallo and an early Tim Burton film.

The Amityville Horror -  When a family moves into an old house with a dark past, the father begins to lose control of his senses and develops murderous tendencies.  I'm not an expert of the subject, but I'd say The Amittyville Horror is the beginning of the modern haunted house film.  Sure, William Castle made some entertaining haunted house flicks with Vincent Price in the 1950's.  However, this movie transformed the sub-genre since it was based on the accounts of real life people (even though James Brolin and Margot Kidder didn't believe in the events).

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tarantino Comics - Issue 32

It's been a while since I've featured an issue of Tarantino Comics, so it's about time I actually post something to earn the title of my blog.  So without further adieu, Tarantino Comics # 32 was drawn by Andrew Charipar at The Super Wild Pig Show 2012.


Exposed through high school lunchroom talk and TV commercials, two things from Kill Bill resonated in my mind before I even saw the film:

1)  Poison Ivy in a Yellow Jumpsuit
2)  Some one-eyed nurse whistling a creepy tune

As expected, I was blown away after I saw Kill Bill for the first time.  However, even after years of re-watching the film, the sequence with Elle Driver walking through the hospital still sends shivers up my spine.  As depicted above, Andrew captures the eeriness of the scene with grey tones.  However, he amps up the danger with a hint of blood red.  Andrew brilliantly places the Bride's face in the background so we can visualize the De Palma Split Screen and hear the Twisted Nerve theme.   

I've known Andrew for a couple of years and he's become a good friend (plus he's a fellow Floridian too).  His cartoony style is always eye-pleasing and remains a hit with the people at the conventions.  Andrew's art gets better every day and I love his ink work.

Be sure to checkout his blog so you can see his awesome portfolio of  character sketches he continually draws:  http://misfitcorner.blogspot.com/   And if you see him at a convention, be sure to hit him up for a commission!
 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

El Rey Network - Ride With Us

As you may know, I have a decent movie collection that I'm pretty proud of.  From horror (Scream Factory), to Kung Fu (Dragon Dynasty), to even some art house (Criterion Collection), I collect Blu-Rays and DVD's so I can watch the films I like to watch whenever I want.  Unfortunately, when I watch plain old television, I endlessly flip through hundreds of channels before I find something that I can tolerate to watch...  that was until now!


Robert Rodriguez has created a Television Network that suits my needs.  Mixing TV shows with cult followings and exploitation films, El Rey is a cable network programmed for people who like real entertainment.  As much as I love original series from FX and AMC, El Rey has tapped into something really special.  I no longer need to get up from my seat and pop in a Blu-Ray disc.  Instead, El Rey is showing the same movies I've spent years trying to find.

Talking to people I know, there's few who know about this channel because it's relatively new.  Since I don't really have advertising on this blog (although Tarantino Comics would be a terrific venue for El Rey), I'm going to present 5 things I really love about this network:

5)  Flying Five Finger One Armed Eight Pole Shaolin Exploding Death Touch Thursdays
- I believe back in the day, TV channels had "Kung Fu Hours" as a part of their regular programming.  However, as time went on, pictures from The Shaw Brothers were no longer syndicated and they were hard to come across.  Luckily El Rey is providing us awesome movies such as The Flying Guillotine, Return of the One-Armed Swordsman, and Dirty Ho.  Although the dubbed dialogue can be corny (yet I love the aethstetic), the choreography and stories are highly entertaining.  You have to remember, these movies inspired Kill Bill!  So if you've never watched Kung Fu, remember Jennifer Aniston's excitement for these films in Office Space and take advantage of Thursday nights.

4)  Grindhouse Fridays Rodriguez has really embraced Grindhouse films ever since Planet Terror.  To share his passion, Rodriguez established Grindhouse Theatre to showcase awesome exploitation films.  One of the first movies shown on El Rey was Switchblade Sisters (a film from Tarantino's Rolling Thunder line).  From that moment on, I knew this channel meant business.  So if you like movies that exploit sex, action, kung fu, horror, and bizarre subject matter, El Rey is the place to be on Friday Nights. 

3)  Badass TV - When awesome movies aren't being played, El Rey is showing some awesome old TV shows.  Syndicated sitcoms like Friends or Seinfeld aren't shown on El Rey... instead we get shows with strong cult followings.  Representing the era of 70's exploitation, we get Starsky and Hutch.  To ensure we believe in the paranormal and question the unknown, we get to follow Mulder and Scully in the X-Files.  And to satisfy my long-time crush on Jessica Alba (sorry Angie), I get to watch her beat-up bad guys on Dark Angel.

2)  Original Programming - As much as I love movies, Television has a greater advantage of taking its time with a story.  Knowing Tarantino has created some interesting characters, Rodriguez flushed out the From Dusk Till Dawn universe by giving it an original series.  Although I'm ashamed to admit this, I was somewhat skeptical of this show.  But after watching the pilot, I was hooked.  I love the locations, the cinematography, and even the "cool" dialogue.  Mixing veterans like Don Johnson and Robert Patrick with new comers D.J. Cotrona and Zane Holtz (who play the infamous Gecko Brothers), we get a really awesome cast.  And as hard as it is to top Salma Hayek as Santanico, Eiza Gonzalez is a great match for someone who can mesmerize a crowd.   Having recently finished the first season, I can't wait to see what's  in store for us next season.  Thankfully, El Rey is in full pursuit with more original programming and coming out with Matador in July.


1)  The Director's Chair - One of the reasons I still buy Blu-Ray movies is for the special features.  Cable TV can't provide those audio commentaries and behind-the-scene featurettes I love so much.  Luckily, El Rey is there for the movie buffs and has recorded hour long interviews between Robert Rodriguez and well-known movie directors called The Director's Chair.  The first show featured John Carpenter - A true visionary and inspiration to anyone who loves film.  They discussed how he got into the business, shared stories about his movies, and answered questions from fellow directors to give insight about his unique film making process.  Other interviewees I'd love to see in The Director's Chair are Brian DePalma, William Friedkin, Stuart Gordon, and of course... Quentin TarantinoThe Director's Chair is my favorite program happening on El Rey.

Although we haven't seen any news recently, I'm highly anticipating Lucha Libre.  I've never seen a match in my life, but I believe the colors and theatrics will resonate with my tastes.

As I hope you can see, I'm truly a fan of the El Rey Network.  I'm a huge supporter of what it's trying to do and may even get myself some swag.  If my enthusiasm isn't enough to excite you, at least watch Rodriguez's own excitement hereAnd for goodness sake, if you watch the promos, even Godzilla Rides With El Rey!