Trailer Trash – Lovelace Filth The Canyons and Oldboy Out of the Furnace

This edition of trailer trash is going to take that title quite literally. After two straight weeks of school holidays and the fluttering of frivolous family film releases that these requisite I thought I might bring you some of the hard stuff to help wash that sugar down: every one of these films looks dark, dirty and dangerously unsuitable to watch with any member of the family. Check out even these short cuts at your own discretion.

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The Bridge – Pilot

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Though all of the many TV databases will classify The Bridge alongside the likes of CSI and NCIS as a ‘Crime’ show that is something of an oversimplification. Though the promotional campaign was built on the brilliant concept of a body found in the centre of a bridge connecting the US an Mexico it seems clear, based on this pilot alone, that FX’s latest drama – and perhaps its most mature, i kept forgetting that I wasn’t watching Showtime, AMC or some other premium cable network – is not so much a program about a crime as it is one about crime, in general.

Of course, that body is found and yes after forensic analysis it provides some clues to the cops investigating and sure the show provides some suspects to us in the audience via cutaways to chilling criminal types ( there are two Buffalo Bill’s present here, one in character and one out) but these crime tropes are never what drive the action, they’re more a B-plot occurring in the background. The conflict at the true core of The Bridge isn’t a whodunit, because the battle most important to it is still raging, that being the bout between the artificially twain halves of North and South America; neither is dead yet, but boy has some blood been spilled.

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Sheltered #1

The first thing that struck me about Sheltered was just how timely its story seemed: with the tea party politically splintering the population, with Hoarders spinning off shows about people obsessing over stocking their bunkers “just in case” and the world swirling the drain fast enough to throw our axis off-kilter now seemed the perfect time for its story of apocalyptically-minded individuals getting everything they ever wished for. Then I thought, “No, twenty-twelve might have been a better time, given the Aztek prediction,” then I read the words series Writer Ed Brisson wrote in the back of the book, detailing Sheltered‘s near four year history and I thought ” Ok, 2009 also makes sense.” That is when the most horrifying part clicked for into place for me: any year, any time, any place this could happen. We’re skating on the edge and have been for miles now. With a mere twenty-two pages Sheltered had made me start thinking like a prepper.

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Family Tree

The BBC / HBO co-production Family Tree snuck under my radar – premiering the day that I first heard of its existence – and continued to fly low for a number of weeks although I was watching every episode close to live. It was a little show – a small production with a small cast telling the small story of a man who decides to look into his lineage outside the small bubble of relatives that he was raised with – which for weeks had little impact on me – small chuckles, slight winces, stereotypical UK comedy reactions – but this week’s season – and likely series – finale left me with the largest smile on my face and a certainty that it would slot into my Top Ten somewhere come years end.

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Trailer Trash – The Turning Wolf of Wall Street, The Counsellor Dealin’ With Idiots

This look at a few of the impressive trailers released of late will play out a little differently than normal, which makes sense given that the films being promoted all look a little out of the ordinary. There is no theme to this collection, the only thing connecting all four is my desire to see them as soon as possible (maybe two more than the others) but that’s hopefully enough to pique your interest.

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Hawkeye #11

Ten issues and a few more months than that ago ( the book has seemingly been on a bit of a short break and boy have I missed it) Matt Fraction and David Aja introduced us to the bizarrely banal superhero Clint Barton in one of the best debut issues released in many years. It seemed then, and during the many fantastic issues that followed, that the pair had taken us to the lowest point of the Marvel Universe, that they were showing us the places smallest stories and its most dogged hero who just happened to find himself in the middle of these messes; I mean, pages were spent detailing the set-up of his DVR. With this issue though they take the series to new lows, showing us a smaller story and a head even closer to the ground; that of the other character introduced in that debut issue: Pizza Dog.

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Lazarus #1

There are few people in comics today besides Brian Wood who can write a more convincing female character than Greg Rucka – which likely says as much about the strength of his writing as it does the dirge of women writers working in the industry – partly because both understand that you should no more stress the fact that they are female then you would the alternative, just make them interesting instead. This is the same approach that Greg seems to take to the other defining trait of his writing; building worlds for his characters to wreck. Like his other rival, Nathan Edmondson, Rucka excels at merging military fact into otherwise near-magical fictions (the pair unparalleled in their construction of straight-spoken semi-sci-fi action narratives); painting settings with blunt, faux-blasie brushstrokes for the comics in which his characters, often female, reside. Lazarus looks set to be yet another example of his many mixed masteries, if this first issue is anything to go by.
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Mad Men – In Care of…

The Soprano‘s started many trends still adhered to by TV show’s today, one of which I abhor: the warm-down finale. I understand the theory behind putting big events in episode twelve and then allowing the ripples to play out as our fade out, but in practice I want a show to go out on a crescendo, to have the strongest beats vibrate into the ten-month silence to come and that is exactly what In Care of… did (following a rough pattern of on/off finales). So how was the finale? Pretty Great, Bob!

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Demeter

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Comics are a strange and almost mercurial medium, mixing together elements from those more traditional and truly defined forms of art in ratio’s of their creator’s choosing. The superhero comics of the big two tend towards the cinematic, their panels playing out like storyboards of an action sequence we have to animate in our mind; some eschew sentence and story near altogether, allowing their ambiguous but suggestive art to awe us, akin to a gallery held in one hand; others, like those of Alan Moore, lean towards the literary, long layered stories that earn the title ‘graphic novel’. What Becky Cloonan has done with Demeter – what she began back with Wolves, her first self-published short in this sequence of sorts – is twist the comic form in another, new direction: poetry, particularly that of the Romantic period.

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Ray Donovan – Pilot

You can tell from this show’s title that it draws direct inspiration from the fantastic film Michael Clayton, but beneath the surface the two almost couldn’t be any more different. Set in a city of surface, Hollywood, Donovan is a heartless iteration of that tale, telling us of a fixer who works for the famous instead of the frighteningly powerful. It’s a potent seeming premise, especially when combined with the kind of ominous dynastic drama that was so successful for The Soprano’s. Those are two terrific things that I compare this show to, but Donovan is deep below their level. They are both interestingly faceted character drama’s, this is all bare breasts and empty bravado.

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