Cover to “Old Man Logan” Vol. 2, #20, Andrea Sorrentino, 2017

Marvel Comics.

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A few quick words on the premiere of “The Defenders” (2017)

I certainly wasn’t as thrilled with the premiere of Marvel’s “The Defenders” (2017) as I thought I’d be.  I’d somewhat grudgingly rate it a 7 out of 10.

The show’s first episode suffers a bit from an inescapable challenge — how to satisfy the fanbase for each of four superhero characters who have had their own shows.  I’d honestly say that this show so far interests me about 50 percent of the time — I love Daredevil and Jessica Jones, but I don’t much care about Luke Cage or Iron Fist.  Complicating things further is the show’s need to logically tie together all of their respective storylines, while arousing interest in a new overall story for this nascent ensemble team.  (It … looks a lot like Daredevil’s story from both the second season of the Netflix series and the original comics.)

I’m optimistic I’ll enjoy it more as I catch the rest of the series.  Marvel properties almost always have good writers.  And the large cast here (including none other than Sigourney Weaver) is uniformly excellent.

 

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Thank you, United States Veterans.

To all of our Veterans — thank you for protecting our lives and liberty.

 

Airmen place flags, honor Veterans Day

Photo: Flags stand beside graves of deceased veterans at the Utah Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Bluffdale, Utah, Nov. 10, 2015. More than 100 Airmen from Hill Air Force Base placed flags beside the burial sites of 5,646 veterans. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw) [Wikimedia Commons]

A short review of “Jigsaw” (2017)

I’m going along with the crowd today where “Jigsaw” (2017) is concerned; I concur entirely with the other reviews I’ve read.  It’s a story fraught with logical problems, but it’s entertaining enough to please fans of the franchise (of whom I am one).  Based on my own enjoyment of the movie, I’d rate it an 8 out of 10.

Yes, some of it doesn’t makes sense.  And the twists and coincidences seem pretty forced.  There was another problem for me, as well — at this point, the writers seem to have run out of ideas for the film series’ trademark moralizing booby traps.  (The one involving a grain silo is particularly uninspired, and seems like something out a Bugs Bunny cartoon.)

But what the hell.  I’d be lying if I said that this was a movie that didn’t distract and scare me.  I think what attracts me to the “Saw” films is not the blood and gore.  (Gory horror movies are a dime a dozen.)  It’s the character concept behind their brilliant, merciless killer — he’s like a combination of James Moriarty, Rube Goldberg and one of the Inquisitors of old.

Besides, I still like the twists.  They may be forced, but they always take me by surprise despite my best efforts to predict them.

And I think every movie is made better by the addition of Callum Keith Rennie.  (He’s a shady, grizzled police detective here, though he’s far better than so cliched a role.)  I’ve always thought Rennie was terrific — he deserves the lead role in some sort of extremely dark anti-hero film.  (Are they remaking 2005’s “Constantine” anytime soon?)

 

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A review of “Jeepers Creepers 3” (2017)

Jeepers.

The first two “Jeepers Creepers” movies are vastly underrated classics, in my opinion — they’re well scripted and boast a truly original and frightening bogeyman.  The third, regrettably, struggles to retain even a B movie charm.  It’s a substandard horror film that I’d only grudgingly rate a 4 out of 10.

“Jeepers Creepers 3” (2017) is cloddishly written and awkwardly filmed.  The film also suffers from action sequences that are absolutely cartoonish.  A lot of this stems from the titular Creeper’s antique vehicle, which is now inexplicably depicted as being … conscious?  Possessed by the Creeper?  It drives itself, deflects bullets, launches projectiles, and contains booby traps that defy physics.  This leads to some Wile E. Coyote-style fight scenes with the story’s various protagonists, in which the saddest victim is the franchise’s credibility.

About those protagonists — there are far too many to examine with any real success; the two ostensible teenage main characters fall a bit flat.  There are so many characters that have backstories connected with the Creeper (and his signature, decades-hopping supernatural murder sprees) that the film simply becomes confusing.  And that confusion is made worse by this film’s chronology with the previous movies — it takes place immediately after the first, but before the events of the second.  (In all fairness, maybe the problem is me … I am being quite honest when I write here that I just do not follow movies as well as other people.)

With all of this exposition, though, one bit of lore is egregiously omitted – contrary to some of the movie’s advance press, we learn nothing about the creature’s origins.  And this is extremely odd, because a bunch of characters do.  There is a befuddling central plot point where the good guys methodically gain knowledge of their otherworldly foe by … touching one of its severed body parts.  But we, the viewers, learn nothing.

Even the makeup and special effects were inferior to the prior films.

I’m confused by all of the things I’ve written above, as “Jeepers Creepers 3” was written and directed by Victor Salva, who wrote and directed the excellent previous movies in 2001 and 2003.

I hope I’m not being too hard on the movie, because there’s still some fun to be had.  Jonathan Breck still chews the scenery quite nicely as the Creeper, and the monster’s character concept still manages to please.  In a horror movie market often dominated by seemingly interchangeable serial killers and undead little girls, the Creeper is a truly inventive monster — part human; part gargoyle; part body-stealing, feral Frankenstein’s monster.  He’s fun to watch, particularly for horror fans who’ve grown tired of the Patrick Batemans and the various angry ghost children that endlessly haunt the zeitgeist.  You could do a lot worse for a plot-driving antagonist.

And, thanks to so brutal a bad guy, there are occasional moments of tension in the movie.  It’s a bit scary, for example, when he attacks a group of teenaged motorcyclists.

This isn’t enough to make recommend paying for the movie, however — even if you’re a fan of the franchise, as I am.  I’d wait for “Jeepers Creepers 3” to hit Netflix or Hulu, or wait until it’s playing on SyFy again.

 

 

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“The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe (read by Eric Robert Nolan)

Happy Halloween once again!  Below you’ll find my audio recording of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”

I apologize that this and my other readings are a bit “breathy;” I doubt Poe envisioned an asthmatic narrator.  It’s because I’m recording these poems on my cell phone, and I’ve got to stand very close to it to be heard.  I believe I’ll be able to eliminate this problem when I get some better recording equipment.

Enjoy!