Wednesday, October 18, 2017
The Monarchs by Stephen Mark Rainey
An intoxicating and perverse blend of Lovecraftian horror and brooding gothic, The Monarchs is a fiendish delight guaranteed to send shivers racing down your spine. Captivating from the start and populated by intriguing characters who are all too vulnerable, the pace never relents as the terror steadily mounts. The main character, Courtney Edmiston, comes equipped with a tragic backstory and enough gusto and pent-up rage to have us squarely in her corner as things veer from bad to worse at every sinister turn. This is a grim opus, and Rainey doesn't hold back; thankfully, his compelling prose keeps the reader hooked in spite of a powerful sense of impending doom and a nerve-jangling assortment of gruesome shocks. Long before supernatural horrors rise from the swamp where the tale is set, it is clear that our plucky heroine has been ensnared in a malevolent web of fright. Truthfully, the same could be said for those who dare to spend a little time with The Monarchs. At the center of this web, there lurks a particularly nasty spider itching to prey on Courtney 's darkest fears. Her struggle to escape this woeful fate grows more desperate (and darkly compelling) with every page that is turned.
Monday, October 2, 2017
Short Attention Span Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
So much fun! A fresh take on a character who has enjoyed a lot of screentime in the last 15 years, Spider-Man: Homecoming is equal parts superhero film and high school coming-of-age dramady a la John Hughes. That's precisely what Director John Watts billed it as, and the end result really sticks the landing. In hindsight, this was clearly the path to take in bringing one of Marvel's enduring characters into the fold (previously, the relationship with Sony and Marvel--or lack thereof--didn't allow for him to exist in the same space as Iron Man or the rest of the gang), and this film packs as much fun and excitement into 2 hours and 13 minutes as one could hope for. Tom Holland is Spider-Man, thoroughly owning the part and bringing both Peter Parker and Spidey to life in stunning fashion. However, for yours truly, it was Michael Keaton who really put the picture over the top, turning one of the more mediocre villains from the comics into a real jewel who exudes menace and charisma in equal measures. The supporting cast is also quite an assett, with Jacob Batalan ratcheting up the humor throughout and Marisa Tomei giving us the hottest and most intriguing take on Aunt May we've seen to date. The whole thing feels new and brimming with life, and though it is missing some of the staples of the franchise (there are no Osborns in the mix, and J. Jonah Jameson is also missing in action), it does such an amazing job of ripping Spidey from the pages of the comics and plastering him on screen that viewers will hardly notice their absence. Is it the best Spider-Man movie we've seen yet? Honestly, I don't know--I think Sam Raimi's Spider-man 2 still sits atop the throne, but Spider-Man: Homecoming is in the discussion, and it has certainly laid the groundwork for bigger and better things to come.
Final Grade: A
|A winner from start to finish, Spider-Man: Homecoming is a terrific way to cement our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man's place in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).|