My mate Andy Liegl, who works in the Collector’s Paradise comic shop in California has launched a rather spiffy new website endeavour. Called Comic Attack, it’s got the usual reviews and such, but also a vast array of articles from its many contributors. And when I say vast, I mean it. There’s articles on renovating a comic-centric room, very detailed reviews of action figures and my favourite, the very impressive Comics Are My Religion. Sure, there’s a wealth of comic related sites out there, but this one’s worth a look.
The Box. A return to form for writer/director Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) after the misguided project that was Southland Tales. The Box stars James Marsden and Cameron Diaz (both of whom have appeared in comics films – X-Men and The Mask respectively) as a couple in 1970s suburbia who receive a simple box from the mysterious Mr. Steward. They push the button in the box and get $1 000,000. Oh, but an unknown person dies too. Let the morality debate begin! It’s a well-made drama, especially in the first half, but as questions receive answers (involving lightning, water portals and NASA conspiracies with an alien life form) it becomes less engaging. The acting is top notch and Kelly crafts the film with restraint. Props must go to him to managing to make a good (mostly) film from a short story by Richard Matheson (I Am Legend). With elements of a creepy thriller and an emotional core centred in Diaz and Marsden, it does have its high points. Don’t expect a feel good film though.
Anvil. A real life Spinal Tap is the obvious description but this film about two Canadian best friends who are desperate for success in their hard rock band is an engrossing film about dedication and holding onto dreams throughout life’s dramas. There’s also rockers attempting tele-marketing and getting paid in soup at the end of a gig. Yes, it’s often humorous and sad.
The Invention of Lying. Ricky Gervais knows he can only play one part, and does so in everything. This could’ve been a great film. The concept of a world in which no-one has ever lied, and Gervais is the man to discover the concept of not telling the truth is a grand place to start. It seems like a Monty Python sketch that was never filmed. However, right off the bat it becomes obvious that in this world people not only don’t lie, they also constantly speak their inner thoughts. Those are two different things, but there is some comedy to be found. It’s just a shame it morphs into flat drama and God bashing mid-way through. There’s also far too many scenes in which songs play throughout montages with no dialogue. It just seems like filling in time. As is the case with all of Gervais’ films, the bloopers are always worth a watch though.
Jennifer’s Body. Like the film above, this seems like a vanity project based on a writer’s previous success, whereas it should’ve had more studio guidance. Diablo Cody did a stellar job with her first screenplay in Juno, but here she tries too hard to make every line of dialogue a new catchphrase. Basically rockers sacrifice “virgin” Megan Fox, but she returns to life as a man-eater, literally. It’s not really funny, or gory, and the lesbian make out scene and constant Fox pouting just screams of desperation.