Movie Review: Constantine: City of Demons (2018)

Two animations in a row? I know, fucking insanity up in this joint. But hey, it’s my blog and my Month of Spooks, so I can do whatever I want. Besides, why wouldn’t I wanna talk about DC’s arguably most well known horror character?

Ladies and gents… “Constantine: City of Demons”.

When his daughter is thrown into a supernaturally induced coma, Chas Chandler (Damien O’Hare) enlists the help of his old mate, John Constantine (Matt Ryan), to hopefully fix this whole situation. And as they look further into the situation, they not only get into new troubles, but old wounds get opened back up too. I thought the story here was good. Leans a bit too heavily on exposition during the first act, but as soon as we get into act two, things aren’t quite so info-dumpy. And I have to admit that I didn’t fully see where this story was going, it managed to throw me for a loop multiple times, telling a narrative that understands the “Hellblazer” mythos and themes, while still making it accessible to anyone unfamiliar with the material. That latter point might be somewhat related to the info-dumping in the first act, which makes it kind of a double-edged sword, but that’s just how shit ends up some times. But yeah… the story’s good, if a bit flawed.

The characters in this are flawed, colorful, and overall quite interesting. Constantine in this is more like in the comics rather than how he’s portrayed in the Keanu Reeves movie. He’s British, snarky, and a bit aloof. And while he’s not quite as morally flexible as he is in the comics, they do nod towards that idea a fair bit throughout this movie, which makes him a bit more interesting. And Matt Ryan (in his fourth appearance) is great in the role. Damien O’Hare as John’s trusted friend Chas Chandler does a great job as the committed and brave, yet slightly impulsive type. And in the supporting cat we got people like Laura Baily, Robin Atkin Downes, Jim Meskimen, Rachel Kimsey, Rick Wasserman, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Kevin Riepl, and it was alright. It is overall a well composed score that worked fine for the movie, but I felt that it might’ve been a little bit on the bland-ish side. It does have some cool chorals that make it stand out a little bit, but for the most part it’s your typical orchestral stuff with occasional synthesizers for effect. Again, not bad, pretty good, but a little bland.

Of course based on the legendary DC/Vertigo Character, “Constantine: City of Demons” was directed by Doug Murphy, who I think did a good job with it. He doesn’t force a lot of needless action or an unnecessarily rapid pace, instead opting for a decent bit of downtime, letting characters breathe and letting the audience take in what’s going on a bit. And even when there is action, it isn’t typical action-action with fists flying all about the place or flashy spells pew-pewing all day long, which I think is a fun change of pace. And the animation carrying it all, I think is good (based on the standards of these lower budget DC animated flicks). There are some minor things that distracted in it, like some of the blood splatter effects, but for the most part the animation looks nice and wonderfully brings out some of the nastier stuff in the DC universe.

This movie has been decently well received. On imdb.com (which is the only site with a clear number), it has a score of 7,4/10.

While it isn’t perfect, “Constantine: City of Demons” is still a very enjoyable take on the titular Hellblazer. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, okay music, and really good directing/animation. Though it is unfortunately brought down a bit by a little too much exposition dumping, and some minor animations niggles. Time for my final score. *Bollocks*. My final score for “Constantine: City of Demons” is an 8,77/10. So while flawed, I’d say it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Constantine: City of Demons” is now completed.

“Abraka-fooking-dabra” – John Constantine.

Movie Review: Constantine (2005)

So what’s on the Month of Spooks meny today? Spooky comic book adaptation? Neat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Constantine”.

The story follows John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a private detective handling cases of the supernatural kind, as he helps an LAPD detective (Rachel Weisz) try to prove that her sister’s death wasn’t a normal suicide, but something more sinister. All while John is dealing with the recent news that he has a really severe case of lung cancer. So now we have our spooky detective story. And it’s good. Not perfect, but good. Overall it’s a very well paced story that never feels like it drags, but there is kind of a weird disconnect between the plots of the movie. It’s clear that they used the “Dangerous Habits” story arc from the comics as basis, but then added the cop with the dead sister plot onto it because I guess they needed a more movie-esque aspect in the plot. And the two sometimes tie into each other okay, but a lot of the time they don’t fully gel. Both plots on their own are really good, but putting them together like that doesn’t fully work. But overall, pretty good stuff.

The characters in this get some decent development and are all pretty interesting. First up we have Keanu Reeves (whoa) as the titular hellblazer. He’s a sarcastic jerk who doesn’t let anyone get close, for reasons we shall not disclose, but it’s some good stuff. He’s quite a departure from the comics, but I still found him to be an entertaining and interesting character. And Reeves is really good in the role. Next we have Rachel Weisz as Angela Dodson, the detective that Constantine decides to help. She’s tough as hell without it coming off as forced or unrealistic. She feels a bit more real. And Weisz is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Tilda Swinton, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Peter Stormare, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler (with some additions by Klaus Badelt) and I think he did a great job with it. The score takes influences from a couple cultures as well as taking inspiration from a couple different genres such as horror and action. And it creates a really interesting sound that elevates the various scenes where music can be heard.

Based on the “Hellblazer” comics by DC/Vertigo, this movie was directed by Francis Lawrence, and I think he did a really good job with that. While elements of the story and character have trouble capturing the vibe of the comic, his direction gets closer to capturing that feel… if it was turned up to 11 that is, but that’s slightly besides the point. But I do like the slightly gothic vibe this thing has, which often manages to add some creep factor to it all. And the cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is pretty great too, giving us some damn fine looking shots throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 46% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 50/100. Roger Ebert gave it 1,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not necessarily a great representation of its source material, “Constantine” is still a damn good supernatural action thriller. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by elements in the story feeling somewhat disjointed. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Constantine” is an 8,94/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Constantine” is now completed.

Whoa.

Series Review: The Punisher – Season 1 (2017)

I don’t really think I need to make an introduction for this. I’ve talked about this show several times on this blog before, every time reminding you of my excitement for the show. So let’s just get into the review and see if this show is any good.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is season 1 of… “The Punisher”!

After he has seemingly killed the people responsible for the death of his family, Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) soon uncovers a deep and complex conspiracy that somehow relates back to his past as a soldier. So now Frank has to find out what the hell is going on while a Homeland Security agent (Amber Rose Revah) gets a whiff of him being back in town. So now we have our comic book thriller. And is this plot any good? Yeah, it is. It’s not a fast-paced action/revenge plot, but it’s a slightly slower conspiracy thriller that features Punisher, and I think the plot here is very intriguing. My only gripe with it is in one of the early episodes. It’s not bad, but the pacing at one point dragged a little bit. But overall here we have a surprisingly deep plot that isn’t afraid to tackle dark and socially relevant themes regarding guns, violence, vigilantism, PTSD, black ops, family, and it is all incredibly engaging and intriguing. ’tis a great plot.

The characters here are flawed, damaged, layered, and just really interesting. Jon Bernthal (like in season 2 of “Daredevil”) plays Frank Castle/The Punisher, former soldier turned violent vigilante. Already in “Daredevil” he got a fair amount of development as a character, and they somehow managed to cram in a bit more here. As we follow him through the season we see how the war, death of his family, and the vigilantism has taken a toll on him and how it messes with his mind a bit. And it is all incredibly engaging. He’s of course also a motherfucking badass, but that didn’t need to be mentioned. And Bernthal is once again fantastic in the role. Amber Rose Revah plays Dinah Madani, the Homeland Security agent on Frank’s trail. She’s a tough and determined woman who wants to find Frank and possibly get justice. But she’s not just some brash and unstoppable idiot, as she at times is shown as vulnerable, but in a good way. And Revah is great in the role. Ebon Moss-Bachrach plays David Lieberman (AKA Micro), a skilled hacker and whistleblower that Frank teams up with to try to solve this conspiracy. And he brings a much needed levity to the dark and grim tale of “The Punisher” without coming off as forced or out of place. He is funny, but he is also a serious character with a good dramatic arc. And Moss-Bachrach is great in the role. Then we have Ben Barnes as Billy Russo, Frank old best friend that I will not talk too much about since it’s too easy to get a bit spoiler-y with him. But he has somewhat of an arc and Barnes is great in the role. And then (to not ramble or give too many character details here) in various supporting performances we have people like Jamie Ray Newman, Kobi Frumer, Deborah Ann Woll, Paul Schulze, Michael Nathanson, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Jason R. Moore, Daniel Webber, Kelli Barrett, C. Thomas Howell, and they all are great in this. Really, it’s a great cast.

The score for the show was composed by Tyler Bates, and it was great. What we have here is a tense, exciting, dramatic, emotional, badass, and just overall interesting score that takes heavy influence from rock and blues to create a fairly unique sound for a show like this. It’s not straight-up rock or blues, but there are traces of it in the score and I like that, makes it sound almost a bit western-y at times. And it all works very well for the show. There are also a couple of licensed tracks used throughout and they all work well in their respective scenes.

The show was created by Steve Lightfoot and written/directed by a whole bunch of different people (with Lightfoot having written a couple of episodes). And I think they did a good job here. While it’s not as action-packed as the trailer made it out to be, there is still action here. And when action happens it is exciting, badass, and brutal. Not just brutal as in a lot of blood being spilled, but brutal as in the violence having a real impact here. And it’s not just gunshots penetrating bodies, there’s also close quarters fighting, and knives, and various other things used throughout to create the memorable and brutal as fuck violence. And the directing and such in the less action-based scenes is good too… got a little sidetracked there, I usually save action for after overall directing… oh well, c’est la vie.

This show just came out, but it has already gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 54/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,6/10 (though this is very likely to change).

Season 1 of “The Punisher” is pretty damn great. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/action. My only flaw was the slight pacing problem in one episode, but it doesn’t really bring it down too much for me. Time for my final score. *One batch, two batch, penny and dime*. My final score for “The Punisher” season 1 is a 9,52/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Punisher” season 1 is now completed.

I really want to get into the comics.

“Constantine” animated series first look!

Hello there, my friends. Time for another trailer talk… sort of. It’s not exactly a “trailer” per se, but it technically counts as a trailer but still not… fuck it, let’s just get into it.

So we finally have our first look at the animated “Constantine” series, set in the Arrowverse. Backstory time. John Constantine was created in 1984 by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and John Totleben for the “Swamp Thing” comics. He’s an occult detective/con man/magician known for his quick wits, snarky attitude, and constant chain smoking. In 1988 he got his first solo comic series called “Hellblazer” (which is a pretty awesome comic). He has then appeared in various comic series’, and also had his own movie in 2005 called “Constantine”, starring Keanu Reeves. Then in 2014 he got his own TV show (also called “Constantine”) where he was played by Matt Ryan. The show was great but was canceled after only one season due to less than stellar ratings. Then Matt Ryan reprised the role in an episode of CW series “Arrow”. Then he reprised it again in the animated DC movie “Justice League Dark” (which I reviewed a while back if you’re interested). Then it got announced that he’d get his own animated show on CW seed, the CW’s very own streaming service. And now we arrive at very current times, where are New York Comic Con they released a first look at the animated series (Titled “Constantine”). And it looks cool. The animation is slick, Matt Ryan is back as John Constantine, and holy shit, this looks like it will be rated R. There’s blood/gore, some cursing (probably no F-bombs, but I’d gladly be proven wrong), and yes… I am so excited. Sure, the creature designs here aren’t the most interesting, but I am still incredibly excited for this! “Constantine” the animated series is coming soon to CW seed.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Constantine”? And what is your favorite on-screen version of him out of the Keanu movie, NBC show, and “Justice League Dark”? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the “trailer”!!!

New “The Punisher” trailer!

Hello there, ladies and gents of the internet! Another interesting trailer has dropped, so let’s talk about it!

So we have a new trailer for “The Punisher”, the next Marvel/Netflix show. When “The Defenders” was released, we got a small teaser for this series, giving us a slight hint at what might occur. But now we have our first full-blown look at the show and holy shit… holy shit. We get a good glimpse at what caused Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) to become what he was, as well as some of the people involved in this conspiracy. We also get a good look at the carnage that will ensue and mother of god, it looks brutally glorious. Blood, bullets, shouting, badassery. This trailer also features the best use of Metallica’s “One” ever. And it’s fitting too, since it’s about a soldier who gets everything taken from him. Really, this trailer is amazing and I am so excited for the show! “The Punisher” is set to be released later this year. No specific date, those cheeky fuckers are keeping that on lockdown.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “The Punisher”? And what’s your favorite Metallica song? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

Series Review: Preacher – Season 2 (2017)

Last year a little show called “Preacher” premiered on AMC. Critically speaking it did well, with audiences it did well, so of course a second season would get made. And now it has finally finished, which means that I can finally review it. So here we go.

Ladies and gents… “Preacher” season 2!

After the explosive end of season 1, we find Jesse (Dominic Cooper), Tulip (Ruth Negga), and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) on the road to try to find god… I’m not being metaphorical, they’re seriously trying to find the individual known as god. All while they’re trying to survive being chased by the Saint of Killers (Graham McTavish), who wants to kill Jesse. So now we have our plot for the season. And I’d say that it is quite good. It’s not flawless, but it’s strengths definitely outweigh it’s flaws. For the most part you have this weird, fun, and sometimes blasphemous adventure with plenty of fun mythology to it. And at times you get some pretty solid character drama. And it’s filled with a whole bunch of good twists and turns. Now, my only gripe with the plot here is that there are some mild pacing issues in maybe two episodes near the middle. But they’re not that bad… noticeable, but not deal-breaking. So overall I’d say that the plot is really good.

The characters in this are fun, colorful, and just incredibly interesting. But it’s not just the characters being the same throughout, you see them develop more and more over the season while still remaining true to what we were introduced to in season 1. Dominic Cooper returns as Jesse Custer, the troubled preacher with a special ability. Seeing him trying to find god while also dealing with his other demons is quite fascinating, and Cooper is great in the role. Ruth Negga returns as Tulip, Jesse’s girlfriend and partner in crime. She’s as badass as ever while still showing a relatable vulnerability, and Negga is great in the role. Joseph Gilgun is back as Cassidy, the Irish vampire… yeah, he’s as awesome as he was in season 1, still my favorite character in the show. He’s incredibly fun, but he’s also given some good dramatic depth this season which was fun to see. And Gilgun is of course awesome in the role. Graham McTavish returns to play the Saint of Killers, AKA the cowboy we saw every now and then in season 1. Though this time he has an arguably bigger role, and he’s honestly quite awesome. He’s a terrifying villain, an unstoppable badass who will kill Jesse Custer no matter what, and any scenes with him were quite tense. But he was also given some solid dramatic moments too, fleshing out his character a bit more. And McTavish is fantastic in the role. Ian Colletti returns as Eugene/Arseface, and he’s still great in the role. As for new people, there are a whole bunch, including Noah Taylor as… you know what, I’m not gonna spoil it if you haven’t seen it already, because it has to be seen to be believed. That said, he’s great in the role. Then in more supporting roles we have Pip Torrens, Julie Ann Emery, Ronald Guttman, Malcolm Barrett, and Amy Hill. There are more people in the show, but I’m not gonna write up every name that appears in this season. But with that said, every actor did very well in this season.

Like in the first season, the score was composed by Dave Porter, and once again he did a great job. The score is tense, dramatic, and just overall fits the show quite well and elevates a couple of moments throughout. There’s also plenty of licensed music throughout, not only being overall ear-pleasing, but also fitting the scenes they were used in very well.

The show was created by Sam Catlin, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg and is based on a series of comics by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (R.I.P). And the show was written/directed by Rogen/Goldberg and a whole bunch of other people. And they all did very well in those departments. The show is directed with plenty of style and energy, making sure to keep most shots interesting. It’s also a visually appealing show. And the action scenes too are quite entertaining. Sure, a couple feel a little bit clunky, but most of them are quite solid… intense, fun, and badass. This show also has plenty of humor in it… admittedly quite dark humor, but humor nonetheless. And I laughed quite a lot throughout the show, both in small chuckles and in loud, gut-busting laughter. I also feel like I have to mention that if you have a problem with copious amounts of blood/gore, then this might not be for you because fucking hell, this is gory. But if you can stomach blood and gore then you might have some fun with it.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10.

“Preacher” season 2 is a fucking blast. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great directing, and great humor. My only issue with it was that an episode or two had some mild pacing issues, but it’s not horrible for me. Time for my final score. *Amen*. My final score for “Preacher” season 2 is a 9,52/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Preacher” season 2 is now completed.

By the way, my friends from the We Have a Hulk podcast interviewed Graham McTavish (The Saint of Killers) a handful of weeks back, and I highly recommend checking it out.

“Preacher” Season 2 Teaser!

Hello there, ladies and gents of the internet. I hope you’re all having a good day. Now… let’ talk about a teaser!

So we finally have a teaser trailer for the second season of “Preacher”, the AMC series based on the comics by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (R.I.P). Quick recap: Jesse Custer is a preacher in Texas who receives supernatural powers and then a bunch of crazy shit happens. Alright, recap over. So there will be some minor spoilers for season 1 in this post, so if you haven’t seen it but want to go in blind, maybe leave this post now. Alright? Sounds good? I’m not gonna stall for too long. 3. 2. 1.
So after the explosive ending of season, we find Jesse (Dominic Cooper), Tulip (Ruth Negga), and Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) going on a road trip to literally find god. And then it seems like crazy shit will happen. So what do I think? Well, it looks like it will be as weird as season 1 and god damn, I am so fucking excited! I loved the first season of “Preacher”, so I was already excited for season 2. And now that we’ve gotten an official look at it I am even more excited! “Preacher” season 2 is set to premiere June 25th of this year on AMC.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Preacher” season 2? And what did you think of season 1? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy!

Series Review: Preacher – Season 1 (2016)

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The world of comic book/graphic novel adaptations is pretty huge. From movies, to video games, to TV-shows. Which means that there are a lot of different adaptations to choose from. And my guess is that we will keep getting these types of adapations until the end of time.

Ladies and gents… “Preacher”.

Welcome to the fictional town of Annville, Texas! In this town there’s a preacher named Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper). Jesse may have a bit of a shady past, but he at least tries to be a good preacher. However when a strange supernatural event at his church gives him a special power, things seem to take weird turn. So with the help of his new friend, the Irish vampire named Cassidy (Joesph Gilgun), Jesse has to try to figure out what the hell is going on. All of this while a few things happen to the side, including Jesse’s ex-girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) suddenly showing up in town. And I’m not gonna say anything else because it’s quite the interesting plot that should be experienced rather than described. The plot of the show takes some very weird turns throughout, which gives the show a lot of personality and makes it stand out a lot within the world of comic book adaptations. I found the plot incredibly interesting and entertaining, constantly surprising me with everything it had up it’s sleeve.

Calling the characters in this show colorful would be quite an understatement. Jesse like I said, has a bit of a shady past which you gradually get to know more and more about as the show goes on. And I think Dominic Cooper was fantastic in the role, perfectly playing his part in this whole thing. Ruth Negga as Tulip, she’s cool and her performance was really good. Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy is just buckets of fun. From the first time I laid eyes on him I knew that I was gonna like him… but I didn’t think I was gonna love him as much as I did. There are also a whole lot of supporting characters that are just as entertaining as the main three people and have really good actors in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Dave Porter, the same guy who did the music for “Breaking Bad”, anotehr show that aired on AMC. And I think that the stuff he composed for the show was good, working perfectly for scenes that it was used in. But there are also a lot of licensed tracks too, mostly within the country genre. And it all works because of the show not taking itself too seriously for that type of music, but also because of the Texas setting. There’s also a good amount of Johnny Cash in the soundtrack, which is always a plus in my book.

“Preacher” is based on the comic series that was created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon for Vertigo, a sort of subsidiary of DC Comics. And this show was developed by three people: Sam Catlin, Evan Goldberg, and Seth Rogen (Yes, that Seth Rogen). And while I haven’t read a single issue of the comic, I can still see that this show does a lot of things right. The directing in this show is terrific, it’s visually terrific. The action scenes are great, but even the more quiet talking scenes look great. I’ll give a wanring though, if you’re not a fan of blood and gore… yeah, this show has a lot of it. But if you’re like me and have a dark sense of humor, you’re really gonna enjoy the writing in this show. The humor is really dark and twisted and weird and I laughed a lot during the show.

This show has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes the season has an 89% (100% if you go by “Top Critics” only) positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10 and is ranked #239 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

If you couldn’t tell, I love “Preacher”. The plot is really entertaining, the characters are really fun, the acting is great, the music is great, the directing is great, the action is great, and the humor is really funny. Time for my final score. OH LORD, JEBUZ CRUST! My final score for “Preacher” season 1 is a 9,94/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval 

My review of “Preacher” season 1 is now completed.

Billy-Ray was a preacher’s son And when his daddy would visit he’d come along.