Movie Review – Foxcatcher

Foxcatcher (2014)
Written by E. Max Frye & Dan Futterman
Directed by Bennett Miller

Mark Schultz is three years out from his wrestling gold medal win at the ‘84 Olympics and is feeling the pain of being quickly forgotten. He’s also stuck in his brother, Dave’s shadow, who also won gold and is now working as a coach at Wexler University while preparing for a bid at the ‘88 Olympics. One day Mark receives a phone call from eccentric multimillionaire John Du Pont. Du Pont has decided he wants to support Mark and the Olympic wrestling team with hopes of another gold. He opines about the loss of “American greatness” but as time wears on it becomes clear Du Pont sees himself as the leader, coach, and comrade of these wrestlers. An unhealthy power dynamic develops between Mark and Du Pont that only worsens when Dave arrives to act as the “assistant coach.” It’s clear this arrangement is heading for disaster.

Continue reading “Movie Review – Foxcatcher”
Advertisements

Comic Book Review – Captain America Volumes 4 & 5

Captain America Volume 4: The Iron Nail (2014)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Nic Klein & Pascal Alixe
Captain America Volume 5: The Tomorrow Soldier (2015)
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Carlos Pacheco

The Iron Nail has toppled SHIELD and unleashed the secrets of Weapon Minus. More specifically he’s let loose the trippy Doctor Mindbubble. Steve Rogers must face the allure of a fantasy whipped up by the manipulative villain while learning that SHIELD abused the secret soldier serum for decades. Meanwhile, Jet Black newly arrived in the Marvel Universe is adjusting to life as a superhero, fighting the instincts implanted inside her by Arnim Zola. She is targeted by Red Skull who wants to use her as one of his S-Men (as seen in Uncanny Avengers). Little does everyone know, Zola still preparing to invade from Dimension Z and does just that in the concluding volume of Remender’s Steve Rogers run.

Continue reading “Comic Book Review – Captain America Volumes 4 & 5”

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.

Continue reading “Comic Book Review – Winter Soldier: The Bitter March & Captain America: Loose Nuke”

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.

Continue reading “Comic Book Review – Captain America: Castaway in Dimension Z”

Comic Book Review – Uncanny Avengers Volumes 1 & 2

Uncanny Avengers Volume 1: The Red Shadow (2014)
Uncanny Avengers Volume 2: The Apocalypse Twins (2014)
Written by Rick Remender (with Gerry Duggan)
Art by John Cassaday, Olivier Coipel, Daniel Acuna, and Adam Kubert

uncanny avengers main

In the devastating wake of Cyclops’ insurrection, the public perception of mutantkind has plummeted. To remedy this a joint group bringing together the Avengers and the X-Men has been formed. This Unity Squad is composed of Captain America, Wolverine, Rogue, Thor, Scarlet Witch, and led by Havok. They are thrown right into the fire when The Red Skull rears his head, having spliced the newly deceased Charles Xavier’s brain tissue with his own. Possessing the mental abilities of Xavier, Red Skull can force the population to descend into violence and brutality to further his supremacist agenda. However, the Skull is only one danger, with something even worse looming on the horizon. The Skull’s actions ripple into the future bringing the arrival of the Apocalypse Twins and the potential end of Earth.

Continue reading “Comic Book Review – Uncanny Avengers Volumes 1 & 2”

Movie Review – Whiplash

Whiplash (2014)
Written & Directed by Damien Chazelle

whiplash

Andrew Neiman has one goal in his life, to become one of the great jazz drummers. He’s a first year at the Shaffer Music Conservatory playing in one of many campus bands. He’s chosen by Terence Fletcher to join the prestigious Studio Band. Neiman quickly finds that Fletcher demands near unrealistic levels of perfection from his performers. There are verbal assaults which eventually lead to physical ones. Neiman starts sleeping in a practice room where he sets up his drum kit and pushes himself to go faster, have more control until his hands bleed. However, the tension keeps building, and Fletcher attempts to manipulate and twist events around Neiman that it is driving the young to the brink of a mental breakdown.

Continue reading “Movie Review – Whiplash”

Movie Review – Heaven Knows What

Heaven Knows What (2014)
Written by Arielle Holmes, Josh Safdie & Ronald Bronstein
Directed by Benny & Josh Safdie

heaven knows what

Harley has sunk deep into the heroin junkie community of New York City. Almost worse than her drug addiction is her obsession with the sadistic Ilya, a fellow homeless user that continually antagonizes and abuses Harley. In the opening scene of the film, her emotional overload leads Harley to slit her wrists in the middle of a park. After a few days in a psychiatric hospital, she wanders through life clinging to different destructive men who fail to help her escape this addiction. The rest of the film is a descent into the nightmare world of heroin addiction, a hazy exodus of repetition and remaining in stasis.

Continue reading “Movie Review – Heaven Knows What”