Comic Book Review – Winter Soldier: The Bitter March & Captain America: Loose Nuke

Winter Soldier: The Bitter March (2014)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Roland Boschi

Captain America Volume 3: Loose Nuke(2014)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Carlos Pacheco

It’s 1966, and the Cold War is at its zenith. Europe has become a labyrinth of spies and counter-spies, agents and double agents. SHIELD Agent Ran Shen has been sent to intercept a pair of former Nazi scientists before the Soviets can get them in their clutches. This means Agent Shen is put up against The Winter Soldier, the presumed dead partner of Captain America Bucky who has been turned into a mindless assassin by the Russians. Hydra becomes involved, acting as the stand-in for Spectre in this James Bond homage. The Hydra killer Drain is dispatched to lead a squad of hitmen to take out Shen and Bucky while bringing the Nazi scientists into their fold.

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Movie Review – American Animals

American Animals (2018)
Written & Directed by Bart Layton

In 2004, a group of college students in Lexington, Kentucky attempted to steal a rare and valuable edition of John James Audobon’s Birds of America. Over the course of a year, they mapped out the entire library where the book was kept, traveled to New York to meet with a fence, went to the Netherlands to set up a potential buyer, and developed an intricate getaway plan. But, did they actually do all of this? And why do some of them remember it in drastically different ways than others? In this clever weaving of re-enactment and documentary confessional, we see the real-life thieves and their actor counterparts lay out the story of a bizarre and seemingly hopeless heist.

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Movie Review – How to Talk to Girls at Parties

How To Talk to Girls at Parties (2018)
Written Phillipa Goslett & John Cameron Mitchell
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell

Enn is a young adult at the height of punk in the United Kingdom. He published a fanzine with his two friends where he illustrates the anarchic adventures of his original character Vyris Boy. Enn and his friends frequently cruise the local venues for punk shows and stumble upon what they believe to be a group of American performers doing some experimental performance art/musical show. In actuality, these are alien collectives living in parent-teacher and child groups. Enn falls for Zan, a rebellious member of the visitors and she departs with him to learn about “the punk.” The alien beings see this as disruptive to the biological patterns they have engaged in for countless millennia and set out to undermine Zan or convince her to return home with them.

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Movie Review – Under the Silver Lake

Under the Silver Lake (2018)
Written & Directed by David Robert Mitchell

Sam is aimless. He’s far behind on rent; his relationships involve random flings or women he ogles after from his balcony. His apartment is reeking of an awful smell; he claims its the skunks roaming around the area. One evening he meets Sarah, a new neighbor whom he shares a quiet moment with. The next day everything in her apartment is packed up and gone. Suddenly, Sam is thrust into a conspiracy of codes and symbols; the mundane is given greater meaning. There are cultish rooftop parties. The band with hidden messages in their records. Fallout shelters deep beneath Los Angeles. The pirate. The balloon girl. The homeless king. Sam finds the surface of reality rippling in bizarre ways. But is this a revelation or his delusion consuming him?

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Comic Book Review – Captain America: Castaway in Dimension Z

Captain America Volume 1: Castaway in Dimension Z Book One (2014)
Captain America Volume 2: Castaway in Dimension Z Book Two (2014)

Written by Rick Remender
Art by John Romita, Jr.

Captain America is pulled into a pocket universe where his nemesis Arnim Zola is genetically engineering an army with plans to conquer the Earth. Cap discovers Zola has created two children, Ian and Jet and after a scuffle in the villain’s tower, Cap and Ian end up cast out into the inhospitable wilderness of Dimension. Rick Remender pens a truly epic Captain America tale that spans twelve years and puts the hero in the shoes of being a father. Flashbacks to Steve Rogers’ childhood with an alcoholic father and ailing mother are paralleled with his struggles to adhere to his beliefs in the face of seeming oblivion. He must fight to instill a sense of goodness in young Ian who was being bred as a killer by Zola, trying to prove not only that he can save this young boy but that he can also save himself.

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Movie Review – Backstabbing for Beginners

Backstabbing for Beginners (2018)
Written by Per Fly & Daniel Pyne
Directed by Per Fly

As I’ve watched my way through A24’s catalog of films, there is one thing that always seems to signify you’re in for a bad time: The DirectTV logo. The co-productions with DirectTV are almost always a guarantee you’re in for a bad to mediocre time. Backstabbing for Beginners is no exception. The film adapts the memoir of Michael Soussan, a journalist who worked for the United Nations’ Food for Oil program. His fictional avatar in the film, Michael Sullivan holds the same job under Cypriot diplomat Costa Passaris. Sullivan quickly discovers that the system to trade Iraqi oil for food and medicine to benefit the struggling people of that nation is deeply corrupted. Sadaam’s people have allowed a black market for medicine to build up while delivering expired meds to ailing children. It’s as obvious as a sledgehammer to the face that Costa is in on the scam and so Sullivan has to gather enough evidence to take his boss down.

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Comic Book Review – Uncanny Avengers Volumes 3 & 4

Uncanny Avengers Volume 4: Ragnarok Now
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Steve McNiven, Salvador Larocca, and Daniel Acuna
Uncanny Avengers Volume 5: Avenge the Earth
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Daniel Acuna

The Apocalypse Twins hold Earth in a massive crisis. They have slaughtered a Celestial using a weapon Thor was tricked into forging centuries earlier. They have resurrected fallen heroes and villains to create their Horsemen of Death. They are holding Scarlet Witch hostage to use in their effort to destroy the Earth and create a new world for mutantkind. Havok, the brother of the mutant terrorist Cyclops, uses his role as team leader to try and redeem the family name as well as stop the impending end of the world. Kang the Conqueror, the man who shaped the Apocalypse Twins into the beings of evil they became, is now a target of their wrath and uses his time travel abilities to visit and recruit various figures from possible futures.

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