Monday, January 2, 2017

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) starring Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight and Daniel Craig

Tomb Raider Poster
I remember back in 2001 being quite excited to see this in the cinema.  However, the ENTIRE 97 minute run time my wife payed out on Angelina's breasts.  There had been articles in the paper about how the star had a C cup and Lara Croft had a DD cup and they compromised with padding Jolie up to a D cup and my wife (and I'm pretty sure her sister was there too) nothing but comments about how fake the breasts looked.  Kinda took me out of the movie.

Fast forward a few years and I get the DVD and my wife and I watch the movie with one of her friends - if you guessed another 97 minutes commenting on Jolie's breasts, you'd be right.  So the other night I watched this on my own.

Each time, I've enjoyed the movie as an action adventure movie.  Had this been Indiana Jones and the Triangle of Light - I still would have enjoyed this.  It's not a great movie but it's fun.  Jolie sets up her action cred which allowed her to do films like Salt and Wanted.  The aerial ballet scene was a great set piece showing us Lara using her brains and athleticism to take down a number of heavily armed intruders intent on stealing the mystical McGuffin she's found.  Because Jolie did a lot of her own stunt work I believed in her as Lara Croft - perhaps slightly more Goth version with black hair and outfits but it worked. 

I was intrigued by the idea that some of these artefacts can only be accessed during planetary alignments - because magic?  Which meant that Lara was literally racing against time as the next alignment wouldn't come for another 5000 years -  however at one point had Lara let them make the error they were going to make it would have solved her problems but wouldn't have made for much of a movie.  I could nit pick more but those things came after the movie was finished and I was following along the adventure as Lara proves herself smarter that the Illuminati and their henchmen.

I also enjoyed Christopher Barrie's Hillary the butler and Noah Taylor's techie Bryce.  Both offered support and light relief to the movie and I especially enjoyed Hillary's donning bulletproof vest and slippers while loading the shotgun during the invasion of Croft Manor. 

The movie still holds up fifteen years later and is worth watching if you enjoy the Indiana Jones or the Brendan Fraser Mummy series as I do.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Crossovers Expanded Volumes 1 & 2 (2016) by Sean Levin published Meteor House

Image result for crossovers expandedImage result for crossovers expanded














A few years back Win Scott Eckert published Crossovers: A Secret History of the Universe which made connections to many different characters through the links of crossovers. 

I reviewed these back on the old blog (which will have to be reposted here soon)  and found them to be excellent works that were well researched.  However, by its very nature such a work is incomplete - new crossover stories are written all the time and older ones await rediscovery.  Win handed the title of Crossover Chronicler to Sean Levin who after several years of work has published these two new volumes.

Levin has taken Win's format and built two new volumes that have the same breadth and scope of history as Win's works.  Indeed if all four volumes were to reedited into one giant sized telephone sized work I may have some trouble identifying which entries were by which author but this is a good thing it makes Crossovers Expanded feel like an organic outgrowth of the original volumes.

 Looking through both volumes I was frequently surprised by crossovers I was unaware of and pleased to see some familiar authors and names appear in this book.  Full disclosure, several of my stories are referenced in this work and Sean has done a great job at spotting the connections I have sprinkled through my stories. 

I bow to Sean's knowledge of pulp and adventure fiction.  I must also compliment the artwork that littered the work that provided a visual link to the works.  Keith Howell has done a great job on the covers illustrating several heroic archetypes.

As a fan of pulp and adventure fiction these are invaluable reference works.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Carnifex (2016) by Matthew J. Hellscream

Image result for Carnifex Matthew J. Hellscream

I'd really enjoyed Hellscream's first effort Metro 7 a sci-fi action horror novel and I was keen to see what he would do as a follow up.

Carnifex is a different book to Metro 7 but that shows just how versatile Hellscream is as a writer.  This more a nature run amok horror, with a dash of Wolf Creek, and is set here in Queensland in the fictional town of Kooyah in the present.   While Metro 7 was a "wham bam thank you ma'am", Carnifex is a slow burn ratcheting up the tension as characters realise just what is going on and are forced to fight their way out of this situation.

I really liked this approach, Kooyah is the type of town that I might drive through to visit family or go on holidays - although unlike many of those towns, Kooyah won't have won a friendly town award, as they have a secret, one they would kill to protect. 

The main characters Scott and Jessica felt like real people I might know and the fact that Hellscream takes his time to build and develop these characters meant that I cared about them as they were thrown into this situation.

There's a joke that in Australia every animal is out to get you and Carnifex offers another deadly Aussie creature that may have inspired at least one Australian folk tale.  

This was a great standalone novel but I wouldn't complain if Scott and Jessica were to appear in future works.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

What I bought November 2016

Okay a couple of days late, but the order came in on 1 December.

Image result for vigilante southland #2
Vigilante: Sounthland #2 by Gary Phillips & Elana Casagrande

After the first issue I was a bit hesitant to read this but this issue was definitely better and I followed it better.  We're still in the origin arc and it seems that there were other heroes who have operated here in the past including one who operated as The Eastsider.  I'm really starting to get into this story and I'm looking forward to the next issue.

Red One #3 by Xavier Dorison and Terry and Rachel Dodson

Colour me as sucker for female spies - Danger Girl, Black Widow, Modesty Blaise.  I was intrigued by this title produced for two issues a year.  I'd found issue 4 a couple of months ago and said lots of naughty words when no one had issue 3 - so I'm grateful to Secret Identity comics for ordering this in for me.  The idea of a Russian spy acting as an American superhero as a propaganda tool is unusual and I'm keen to see what next year's issues bring. 

Peepland #2 by Christa Faust and Gary Phillips and Andrea Camerini

A solid follow up to the first issue.  New characters and complications get added to the plot and I'm really enjoying this series.


James Bond: Eidolon #11 by Warren Ellis and Jason Masters

We're in the final stretch of this arc and Ellis is ramping up everything for a final confrontation.


Image result for 20 years of tomb raider20 Years of Tomb Raider by Meagan Marie

Wow it's been 20 years since the first Tomb Raider Game.  This is a beautiful overview everything Tomb Raider.  The Game not surprisingly take up half the book but Marie examine Books, Comics, novels, movies, cosplay, and the various fan activities such as Fan fic, fan art, fan films.  The various models, voices and musicians for the game are also looked at.

Even cooler is the fact that there is a flip book effect as various incarnation of Lara run,  jump and shoot as you flick though the book.

It's a big book and the type of companion that I love to have in my collection.