“Justice League: The New Frontier,” adapted from the late great Darwyn Cooke’s graphic novel is an attempt at a new approach toward the DC universe the heroes behind DC. It’s an engaging, poetic, often brilliant animated film with an adult sensibility and intriguing psychological analysis that features a world on the brink of a new frontier, and its heroes and protectors facing the prospect of not being needed. On the opposite spectrum, their views of humanity are waning and devolving as they see endless cruel violence, and hatred take form through horrendous racial crimes. Director David Bullock and co. dare to present a film that takes a step back looking at the humanity that is affected by a world inhabited by DC heroes.
For the respective Three Stooges buff looking for a good holiday gift, or for someone just seeking some good old fashioned laughs and gaffs, Mill Creek offers up a forty hour compendium of some of the more interesting three stooges entertainment. While it’s branded the “Complete” collection, I doubt that we’ll ever have a complete collection considering rights issues, but “Big Box of Nyuks” is still a very impressive addition to anyone who adores these knuckleheads and their antics that have managed to garner a new fan base for every generation. It’s an exhaustive look behind the Stooges legacy and also celebrates their comedy when they were at their peak and at their unfortunate worst, but it’s a great collector’s item.
Although I absolutely love “Thriller,” I’ve never been one to associate Michael Jackson with Halloween, but apparently someone does. “Michael Jackson’s Halloween” isn’t just an animated special for the whole family, but it’s classic Michael Jackson. It has his music, it inspires individuality, and it further emphasizes Michael Jackson as something of a mythical figure that centered his life on defending children against sinister forces lurking in the shadows. Suffice to say “Michael Jackson’s Halloween” is a weird animated special, but it’s an oddly entertaining one that will work if you’re a Jackson buff.
“Ghostbusters” was a superb one and done premise that worked because it had such regular men who were called in to confront some spectacular circumstances, and in the end have to figure out how to live in a reality where they’ve essentially proven the existence of the supernatural. It’s surprising that the follow up is so sub-par and often monotonous as it almost has nothing to do with the original concept. It kind of goes through the motions and doesn’t exactly know how to continue building on these originally complex and flawed individuals. They don’t evolve much at all from when we last saw them, and writer Harold Ramis and Dan Akroyd seem to be painted in to a corner by devolving them and building them back up all over again.
“Blood & Iron” is a stellar sequel to the entertaining and raucous “Sword of Storms,” and it’s a yet another faithful adaptation that emphasizes the lore and world of the BPRD. The animated follow ups to the movie, set somewhere between the movies, have been worthy of the time spent with excellent animation, and a compelling narrative, overall. The idea bout the audience watching outcasts defend our Earth and realm is continuously fascinating, and the cast bring their A game.
For folks that appreciated the subversive artistic style that launched Mike Mignola into stardom, “Sword of Storms” practices a lot of the grit and indie flavor, along with much of what made Del Toro’s films so stellar. There’s even voice work from the original films’ stars including Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, John Hurt, and Doug Jones, all of whom are about as fun as ever. Directors Phil Weinstein and Tad Stones’ animated movie is set between the live action installments, channeling creator Mike Mignola with dark and often grim animation, with the back drop of an exciting narrative that never trails from its original source material.
Joe Lynch is a filmmaker not prone to delivering just everyday horror and genre outings, and “Mayhem” is proof of that. This is a man who should be delivering his off beat storytelling and directorial style to big budget features like James Gunn, but that is by no means a slight on the director. “Mayhem” is a demented dark satire and horror film filled with gore, dark humor, and a biting commentary on the doldrums of the work place and world of corporate back stabbing. Director Joe Lynch takes “Wolf of Wall Street” and “Warning Sign” and drops it in to a blender creating one of the most ruthless balls to the wall meshing of genres I’ve seen in a while. While Lynch is very liberal with the use of gore and splatter, there’s a damn good reasoning for all of what goes down.
At best I’d say that “A Witches’ Ball” is a serviceable movie. It’s exactly the kind of movie you’d find at Walmart one day that you’d probably buy for your daughter in hopes of distracting her with a fantasy while you’re preparing for dinner or something. It’s mediocre and hits about all the right beats for a movie heavily aimed toward small girls. Director Justin G. Dyck is a man whose entire filmography revolves around filming cheaply made, holiday oriented, family films and “A Witches’ Ball” s right up his alley.