Tag Archives: celebrities

Advance Review: GLITTERBOMB #1

Glitterbomb Image Comics

Let’s say that you do go out to L.A. to chase that dream of fame and fortune. Alright, you’re walking down Hollywood Boulevard. You get a text. But it’s not your agent. You don’t even really have an agent but you know someone who does. Or you thought you knew this person. Where did the time go? At this rate, you only have enough money to last you through…the week? Ah, it can happen. Variations of this happen every day. Meet Farrah Durante. She’s struggling at cattle calls for whatever part she can get. And she actually used to be somebody. Yeah, she was Cee-Lin on that really popular sci-fi show, “Space Farers,” or it used to be popular. That was so many years ago. Close in on Farrah. She’s attractive and seems pretty agile but she’s at the mercy of youth-obsessed Hollywood. However, Farrah has stumbled upon some sort of secret weapon in “Glitterbomb,” the new comic book series from Image Comics with a Hollywood horror tale to tell.

Image Comics Jim Zub

You see, Farrah has a way to exact revenge. She is not looking to make trouble. But something has tapped her to be a vessel that can unleash horrific fury. You wouldn’t think it remotely possible to look at Farrah. And, Jesus, what exactly would horrific fury entail? Look, it’s been brewing for a very long time. Hollywood’s fame culture has already unleashed its own horrific fury, so to speak. We question our looks, our own worthiness, compared to the latest celebrity darlings. We all do it in our own way. And, if you don’t, there are others who will do it for us and unfairly judge us. Poor Farrah finds herself caught in the middle of some cosmic reordering of balance. That much I can tell you. That’s fair enough. I’m not here to spoil anything. What I am here to say is that Farrah Durante is a great character and exemplifies the tragic state of our culture when a talented woman reaches a certain age and becomes something less than worthy: unemployable, unmarketable, unwanted.

Jim Zub Glitterbomb

There are a couple of classic films that readily come to mind now: “Sunset Boulevard” and “All About Eve.” Both films came out in 1950 and each stars a woman who has committed the worst act in Hollywood: she has gotten older! Gloria Swanson was 51. Bette Davis was 42. Each character was at a dangerous point in their lives with threats coming at them from all sides. Who would love them? Who would hire them? Both films are dark with Billy Wilder’s “Sunset” decidedly noir. Neither is horror, per se, but we come close as, in both cases, these two older women are so up against it. “Eve” is far more restrained although the threat from the young Eve Harrington on the older Margo Channing reaches the level of a blood sport. For horror movie theatrics, you can’t find much better than Gloria Swanson as the aging and desperate Norma Desmond. This is all to say that both of these movies were playing with a common theme, one of the oldest in the book: the young will devour the old…and women are placed at greater disadvantage.

Glitterbomb Image Comics 2016

Clearly, “Glitterbomb” is playing for keeps! This is an ambitious work. It’s also a scary one! Jim Zub (WAYWARD, Thunderbotls) has created a script that realistically brings us into the hard luck world of Farrah Durante endlessly scrambling for an acting gig. And he melds that with some of the most inventive supernatural content that I’ve seen in a long while. Add to that the very nimble artwork by Djibril Morissette-Phan that captures the pathos and rage of Farrah quite convincingly. We see her as someone potentially so full of life but who must continue to sidestep all sorts of life’s sucker punches along with whatever that is that spawned from hell–or is it just Hollywood?!

K. Michael Russell provides some great atmospheric colors. And Marshall Dillon rounds out the creative team with well balanced, well-placed, lettering. I especially appreciate his creative flourishes in evoking the urgency of text messages.

At the end of this comic, there’s an eye-opening essay on the abusive culture of Hollywood by Holly Raychelle Hughes. As she experienced it, Hollywood made her feel less than human, more like something expendable. It is a perfect companion piece to this remarkable work.

GLITTERBOMB provides a clever horror vibe as well as great biting social commentary. The first issue is available as of September 7th. For more details, visit Image Comics right here.


Filed under Ageism, Comics, Hollywood, Horror, Image Comics, Sexism



And the Tweets from director Bryan Singer just keep coming. Here is a pic he posted yesterday, May 20, of Jennifer Lawrence made up as Raven Darkholme/Mystique. The “Silver Linings Playbook” actress has come a long way since her last X-Men movie with director Matthew Vaughn, “X-Men: First Class.” The new installment of the franchise, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” will release in theaters on July 18, 2014.

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Movie Review: ANTIVIRAL

Caleb Landry Jones in ANTIVIRAL

Caleb Landry Jones in ANTIVIRAL

“Antiviral” is a film that spreads like a virus. We see our main character, Sid March (Caleb Landry Jones) on his long downward spiral, doing his dance with death, almost all at first glance. We know he’s sick. We even know he’s doomed. All from our first view of him, up there on a rooftop, the billboard staring down at him, promising the impossible.

That is what Sid March peddles, the impossible. In a society that has nosedived into complete and total obsession with celebrity, Sid’s employer, the Lucas Clinic, offers its clients an opportunity to be closer to their obscure object of desire. For a fee, anyone can literally own a piece of a superstar. They can own the same virus inhabiting the body of that superstar. They can experience the same sweet pain: the fever, the convulsions, the bleeding. This is what turns society on in the future and Sid March is at the forefront. The only problem is that perhaps the dealer has gotten too close to the poison he sells.


Caleb Landry Jones knows how to command the screen with just a stare or a sigh. He reminds one of Tilda Swinton when she first came onto the scene. He has those same arresting features and attitude. “Antiviral,” to some degree, even brings to mind Swinton’s breakout role in 2002’s “Teknolust,” which revolves around human folly with human genetic modification. In the case of “Antiviral,” the comedic breaks are in the service of an even darker and juicier satire. You even have Malcolm McDowell in this, for crying out loud! Oh, yes, the tension runs through like a high fever. It is a very consistent vision that writer and director, Brandon Cronenberg, maintains to great effect.

As Cronenberg points out, this obsession with celebrity is not new. Just consider the worship of a finger bone from a saint. That doesn’t make it any healthier, of course. Today it’s not saints. It’s the products from the entertainment industry. Cronenberg’s theme is about “the mania that drives that industry.” In an interesting scene early on in the movie, the director of the Lucas Clinic, Dorian (Nicholas Campbell), is asked by a reporter to answer allegations that he is contributing to a mental sickness by providing a means for clients to contract a celebrity’s sickness. He states what Cronenberg has said himself, “Celebrities are not people. They’re a group hallucination.”

The mania is totally out of control. People’s desire of celebrity knows no limits. Prime cuts of human beef grown from celebrity cells are the norm. Given an insatiable desire, a black market is sure to follow. Syd sealed his fate long ago when he decided to traffic in celebrity product stolen from his employer. Couple that with his own celebrity obsession, and it is clear that Syd’s future is far from bright. And you just can’t continue to transport human viruses inside your own body without some really weird and tragic consequences.

The fact that celebrities are not real people, but an impossible ideal, is the real topic up for discussion in this film. It’s about humans entrenched in a belief beyond human. And we see this played out on an often stark, clinical white, backdrop, only relieved by the close-up of the goddess. In this case, it is one Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon) who is described over and over again as perfectly beautiful beyond human terms. We see the real flesh and blood Hannah Geist for brief intervals. She is human, vulnerable, all too human. But even when confronted with the real live Hannah Geist, all some can see is the ideal. Like Marilyn Monroe, the celebrity will endure and can fully manifest itself once it’s done away with its human shell.

“Antiviral” is an engaging mix of horror, thriller, and sci-fi, sharing a sensibility with the filmmaker’s father’s work, David Cronenberg. It is fortunate for us and a sign of great works to come from this young filmmaker.

IFC Midnight will release ANTIVIRAL theatrically at The IFC Center and on VOD April 12th 2013.

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Filed under Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi, science fiction

Movie Review: LINCOLN

Tad Lincoln
It was on a bright day in January in 1865 that the United States, despite feverish opposition, passed the 13th Amendment and abolished slavery in the land. The fight to outlaw slavery, once and for all, is the focus of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” Even if the final outcome is already known to the audience, the full story will likely be new. Remarkably, this film, with its familiar director and familiar subject, feels new too. This is a 21st Century Lincoln led by Daniel Day-Lewis’s brilliant interpretation of a man of his time with a keen sense for the timeless.

Mr. Spielberg uses his Lincoln capital wisely as we begin this film. After some scenes of bloody fighting, we cut to a close-up of two African American infantrymen. They are being interviewed about the Civil War. One man seems content. The other lists the injustices suffered by his people. The interviewer is Pres. Lincoln. We then float up to a dreamworld and there’s the tall and lonely figure in a stovepipe hat standing on the bow of a vast ship. Restraint. Elegant restraint. “Lincoln” proves to have the elegant restraint to make such a movie.

After all the hype, and there’s more to come, “Lincoln,” proves to be a very engaging film. It is not a Frank Capra treatment of our 16th president and that is an understandable concern. As we now know, Daniel Day-Lewis turned down more than one screenplay for this film. The one that finally won him over is based on the book, “Team of Rivals,” by Doris Kearns Goodwin and adapted for the screen by Tony Kushner. It provided a way to maintain that elegant restraint that Mr. Day-Lewis knew was essential.

With the sense of urgency clearly stated, we see a president determined to use all his political capital to steer the country in the right direction. In short order, he means to legitimize his Emancipation Proclamation. The only way to end slavery in the United States is to pass a Constitutional Amendment and the only way to do that is to act immediately. For political junkies, the ensuing dramatization is nirvana. You can almost hear Doris Kearns Goodwin reciting from her popular book in the background. However, this film does offer much more. There is a special urgency you feel in the filmmaking. When Lincoln speaks, everyone listens. We see a jaw drop a bit when the president exercises his distinctive skill to make a point. We feel history being made in a refreshing way as all the players are allowed to live and breathe.

At one point in the film, we see Mr. Day-Lewis in an scene where he ponders over Euclid, the ancient Greek mathematician. It is during a pivotal moment in the war that Lincoln thinks out loud with a couple of young staffers. One of them says he’s an engineer by profession. This sparks Lincoln to quote some Euclidean geometry, “Any two sides that are equal to the whole are equal to each other. Euclid, three thousand years before, stated that this was self-evident.” It is a delightfully low-key moment, one of many, that Mr. Day-Lewis plays masterfully.

In keeping with the restrained vibe in this film, we follow the journey of radical Republican, Thaddeus Stevens, played by Tommy Lee Jones. At first, we don’t seem to know which side he’s on or whether he can be relied upon to check his ego at the door when he needs to. It’s a great performance. One particularly good scene is when he’s confronted by the First Lady, played by Sally Field. She is greeting visitors at a reception and seizes the opportunity to put Stevens in his place. Coming across as a Hillary Clinton complaining over Whitewater investigations, she chides Stevens for his investigating her overseeing renovation of The White House. We see that Stevens can take a good chiding and take it to heart.

The Spielbergian touch is most evident in what we see from a child’s point of view in this film. There was a little boy who lived in the White House, the President’s son, Tad Lincoln. He’s there so often in the film as to be its anchor, conscience, and sense of innocence. When Lincoln and his men gather for a war meeting, the war map is found to have suffered a burn at one corner. Tad Lincoln was there. When Lincoln is patiently awaiting the final vote of the 13th Amendment, he is entertained by Tad Lincoln building a monument from various books and legal briefs. When Lincoln needs to keep up his sense of purpose, all he needs to do is observe the photographs of slaves that Tad Lincoln has been observing. And, when the President is shot, it is Tad Lincoln’s sorrow we focus upon. This is not Doris Kearns Goodwin’s or Daniel Day-Lewis’s doing. This is Steven Spielberg’s.

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Filed under American Civil War, Golden Globes, History, Movie Reviews, movies, Oscars, Steven Spielberg


Bill Murray playing the role of FDR makes a lot of sense. We all think we know Bill Murray. He has that unique set of skills required to portray FDR, another person everyone felt familiar with. While “Hyde Park on Hudson” does not have the same scope and sense of awe you will find in “Lincoln,” it is just the sort of movie you can appreciate for its dry wit and charm. Here is an interview with the great man himself, Mr. Bill Murray, and a quick look on the set of the movie.

The central thing to consider is Bill Murray. He is someone we enjoy seeing perform. As this interview demonstrates, he is genuinely in tune with this film. He effortlessly sells you on it.

Hyde Park on Hudson Movie 2012

Then there is the controversy over the script. Did the screenplay by Richard Nelson go too far in its speculation over FDR and the women in his life? In the “hooking up” age we live in, maybe cranking up the speculation meter on what happened between FDR and his distant cousin, Daisy, rings more true, although this will offend some. It sure offended political writer (not entertainment writer) Melinda Henneberger at The Washington Post. For those too easily offended, the thing to remember is that this is a historical fiction so maybe an attitude adjustment is in order.

“Hyde Park on Hudson” is brought you by Focus Features. Visit them here and learn more about the film.

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Filed under Bill Murray, FDR, History, movies, politics, pop culture

Goodbye Summer, Hello, Ellie Goulding

We begin to mourn the passing of summer, punctuated by the beautiful hit song, “Lights,” by Ellie Goulding, but we hardly say goodbye to Ms. Goulding. What we say is hello to a marvelous musical career. Ellie Goulding is the electro-pop angel we’ve all been waiting for. Full of mystery and mysticism, the latest enigmatic gem for us to enjoy is “Anything Could Happen,” the first song from the new album, “Halcyon,” due out October 9.
What strikes me about Ellie Goulding is that here you have a performer that embraces drama and intellect. She is a dazzling package of entertainment quite at home with all the glamour and buzz but also a true natural, very in touch with, maybe even better, performing unplugged: just her and her music. Check out this performance of “Guns and Horses” out on some suburban lawn. Yes, she’s the real deal. And, no, we don’t just want unplugged. But it’s nice to know we’ve got a performer with the chops to make it work.

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Filed under Entertainment, Music, pop culture