Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Crazies- movie review

Now I know there will be the die hard purists that will throw their hands up in the air when they realise I'm reviewing the re-imagining version of the Crazies instead of the Romero original. As much as I liked the Romero version I have to say this is the 2nd time a re-imagining of Romero's movies have happened and this is the 2nd time I've been pleasantly surprised by what was done. So, let's just jump right on into the review.

The Crazies movie review

By Richard Serrao

Directed by Breck Eisner

Starring: Tomothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Judy Dutton, Joe Anderson, Russell Clank, and Danielle Panabaker.

Run time: 101 minutes

Genre: Mystery, thriller, horror.

Rating: R for Bloody violence and scenes of a disturbing nature.

There are just so many movies that come out every year and let's be honest, the majority of them are a complete disappointment. Then once in a while a movie comes out of left field and just surprises me in a good way. Well I'm happy to say this version of The Crazies was one of the good surprises.

Imagine how surprised I was when I saw that once again Hollywood was remaking another movie that I loved. The Crazies by George Romero. Good God Almighty. I groaned. Why do they do this to all of the movies that I love. To hope that they would follow in Zack Snyder's footsteps and create something new from a Romero movie like he did was a LOT to ask for.

Then I saw the first trailer for the movie and was very intrigued. I didn't want to get my hopes up too much but despite myself I did begin to hope.

This version of The Crazies has more polish to the look of the Original film. Romero's film had more of the Grindhouse look to it with it's utter rawness. This version looked way too nice and beautiful at first, setting the stage for all of the insanity to come.

The story starts up by establishing the type of quiet town the story takes place in. We've all seen that type before in real life and on film. The kind of town where the first day of Baseball season is a big deal and everyone turns out to watch the town's team play. It's just how it is. This is the kind of place where people don't lock their doors at night and crime is far and few between. Idyllic and peaceful. So when the town drunk shows up at the baseball game carrying a Shotgun and looking quite messed up, you see the tone of the movie begin to change. He gets killed by the local Sheriff for pointing the Shotgun at him and it sends shock waves through the community. The peaceful veneer of tranquility begins to crack. The mood of the town and it's people have become somber. Everyone is in shock.

The Sheriff is haunted by having to kill the poor man and the stress begins to show on his face and in his actions. The tension level begins to rise as more and more inhabitants of this normally quiet town have begun exhibiting strange and violent behavior. More and more strange events have begun to permeate their everyday lives. The question is, why is all of this happening? This is answered quite succinctly when some hunters find a corpse while hunting with a parachute attached to him. From the look of him he's definitely Military but if his parachute has been deployed then that means that his plane can't be far. But where? How about the one place you wouldn't want a plane carrying an unknown payload: The Town's water supply.

From here on in the movie kicks into high gear and never lets you catch your breath. No Internet, no cellular service and no phone service. The Town has been cut off from the rest of the world with no way to call for help. It literally feels like no one is safe during this point of the film. Every single aspect of the film is delivered to us the viewer with a solid expertise. The Director, the Actors, the Score or lack thereof and lastly the awesome Special Effects that were used.

If you didn't see this movie yet because you're a big fan of the Original by Romero, then please take the time to check this version out. It's not a remake. This version adds so much more to the story than a typical remake would and this is one of the rare cases when a re-imagining of a classic movie has actually in my humble opinion been a better movie than the Original.

Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Desperado movie review

This review was originally slated to run on but unfortunately the site folded due to various reasons I can't get into. I was of course one of the contributors to the site and worked my butt off, so I was very sorry to see it go under.

Desperado is one of the first movies I saw from Director Robert Rodriguez and of course afterwards i went and found El Mariachi and so began my love affair with Rodriguez's many films he would come to direct. I figure why not start with the movie that first captured my attention.

Call this a classic movie review.


Directed by Robert Rodriguez

Starring Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Joachim De Almeida, Quentin Tarantino, Steve Buscemi and Danny Trejo.

Runtime 104 minutes

MPA Rating: R

Genre: Action,Thriller, Crime and Drama.

Robert Rodriguez has proven himself as a Director time and time again with the multitude of movies that he directed. He continues to be the most visually creative and fun to watch Director from his generation. To me it seems like he does his best work when he has little to no interference from the big Hollywood Machine.

There is a big aspect of Rodriguez;s work that has impressed me time and time again. Of course we could list his work ethic, his visually ability to tell a story concise and clearly and while those are all big aspects of what I love about this Director. The biggest thing that continues to impress me is his ability to take whatever his budget is and make it look 10 times bigger than what it actually is. In this day and age I think this is very admirable. Some people never consider somethig like this when they watch a movie but this is one of the first things I look at. I love to see and feel like the Director not only used his budget to make the story more impressive but actually took things a step further. Just consider what Desperado cost to make back in the day: 6 Million dollars. Now I know this might seem like a lot to the average person but when it comes to a movie's budget this is chicken feed. At the time an average action movie would cost upwars of 30-100 million dollars. Now that figure has jumped to an insane dollar value, just go back and rewatch the movie and you'll see what I mean.
He truly does blow my mind with how he takes the cooler elements of the Grindhouse era( like Tarantino) and bring it seemlessly into our era.


Desperado is the sequel to Rodriguez's first film El Mariachi ( which if you haven't seen it and you love action movies, do yourself a favor and go and watch it), even though he changed the actor playing his main character, who is now played with an intense demeanor by Antonio Banderas, this doesn't diminsh anything with this sequel. In fact this is one of the few instances where a sequel actually eclipsed the original film that started a franchise. Banderas is beyond flawless. Very similar in style and character develpment as a John Woo movie ( see- Bullet In The Head,Hardbolied, The Killer and a Better Tommorrow), which is saying a lot right there.

Salma Hayek. Wow. This was the first movie I saw with her and man o man did she set the screen on fire. You could literally see every male in the movie theater follow every move she made when she was on screen. Aye Caramba indeed. Her incredible sex appeal and innocence broke more hearts and jump started crushes than any female star of her generation.

Cheech Marin as a sleazy bartender, talk about perfect casting. Personally I kept wanting to yell out where is Chong during the movie but I didn't want to get lynched or thrown out of the movie for that matter.

Desperado begins right after El Mariachi ends with Banderas looking for a man called Bucho, who is one of the biggest drug dealers in all of Mexico. Even if you've never seen El Mariachi, Banderas' reasons for hunting Bucho become very apparent in a flashback scene that sets the story and action in motion.

If you want your action sequences bloody,violent and extreme, then you've come to the right place because that's what you'll get from this movie. In spades. The acting is dead on without ever becoming a parody of itself or talking down to the viewer. The overacting and mugging for the camera is kept to a minimum. Even when Tarantino does his thing, while being very self indulgent and obvious it still works within the confines of the story that Rodriguez has established.

Well worth dusting this baby off, popping her into your dvd player and giving her a spin.

Now this is an action movie.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Catwoman #1 comic book review

Catwoman #1

Written by Judd Winnick

Artwork by Guillem March

Published by DC Comics

This is part of the new 52

While I haven't read any of Judd Winnick's previous works, I was chomping at the bit to check out Catwoman #1.


Guillem March, that's why. He was doing pencils and inks and I try to always encourage an artist when he's doing a-z on the art chores. So I was definitely giving this title a shot.

This book is rated teen plus and for good reason. I was a bit surprised by the level of violence and sex for a mainstream title. Don't get me wrong, I thought Winnick did an awesome job on the story and dialogue and I have absolutely no problem with any of the more adult feel to this title. I'm very happy Dc did their new version of Catwoman like this.

There was also a lot of talk and controversy surrounding the ending of this first issue and with good reason. I won't spoil anything if you haven't read this issue yet maybe waiting for the trade or haven't given this book a chance.

Okay, now I've given you a pretty good overview of the title without giving away any major plot points or spoilers.

This brings me to the reason why I wanted to buy this book in the first place- Guillem March.

His work while very reminiscent of Tim Sale has ascended a mere comparison to Sale. In fact I would consider his overall style more of a European feel. March has lifted Winnick's script to where this character and previous title should have been before. The cover that March did also deserves mention. As in all of his work with Catwoman he combines a sexual energy,playfullness and sense of danger that only a few other artists have ever attained. In other words, March shows that he gets Catwoman and is the artist to beat whenever someone else renders her in the future. He has lifted the bar for all artists to follow. The sequential interiors are just as beautifully rendered.

March has become my favorite Catwoman artist.

I know some people might think I'm overplaying March's talents but I'm giving my humble opinion and telling you what I like. Just keep this in mind.

I hope that DC keeps the creative team intact for as long as humanly possible. As long as they do so I'll continue picking up the title.

Kudos DC.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Stepping back.

Today I'm going to do a Blog unlike anything I've done in a long time.

It might be a bit too personal for some people, so you might want to tread lightly while reading the contents herein.

For the last little while I've been super busy as well as wrestling with a variety of issues on an emotional and physical level. It's been tough but at the very same time incredibly rewarding. When nothing makes sense anymore, remember to keep it all in perspective.

What do you do?

Do you let it overwhelm you and drown in the mire of fatigue?

Ruin your life and consume you whole?

Or do you suck it up,man up or insert whatever type of macho bravodo crosses your mind in this section.

What do you do?

Personally for the last few years since my Mom passes I've been rethinking a lot of the little things that occupy space in our life. Things that make us waste time. Being an independant artist means that time is always of the essence and you never seem to have enough hours in each and everyday. So, that means cutting out the things that make you waste what little time you have to create.
Do you know what you have to do?

What you really need as opposed to what you THINK you need?


I've always been a big believer in trying to get my work out to anyone that would look at it but not at the cost of not being able to spend enough time with my family. We all have to make sacrifices at some point.

This last year that went by was quite an interesting year. I think I ended up doing a bit more than double the amount of private Commissions I did the year before. Not only did I have the time to do them but I was also able to put together a Sketchbook for 2011 AND at the sametime still continued work on Silent Scream and the ever expanding bonus section of the 3 books. Memento Mori Volume 2 is almost finished and will have a large Bonus section with tons of extras, ranging from pinups to some script pages as well as a Bonus story and a look at some pencils for a few pages and even unused pages. I'm going to submit it to Diamond and see what happens.

No matter what happens this year, I've already achieved more than I had thought possible and I'm still very far from finishing putting out creator owned work that is important to me. Myabe one day I can leave all the things rattling around in my head and do other people's stories but until that day I hope a lot of you will stick around with me for a wild ride.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Charlie Huston

Charlie Huston.

To be honest before I read Moon Knight a few years ago I had no idea who this writer was but after reading the first few issues, I had decided to find his other works. Huston's style is akin to the earlier Masters of pulp fiction but while he refuses to become limited by the trappings of said genre, he continues to push the boundaries mixing genres and themes. His books are engaging and if you're looking for something out of the ordinary, give his work a look see and you won't be dissapointed.

I've put together a list of some of his novels and if you have any problems finding them just look on Ebay or Amazon and you'll be good to go.

The Shotgun Rule

Already Dead: A Novel

No Dominion: A Novel

Sleepless: A Novel

Six Bad Things: A Novel

A Dangerous Man: A Novel

A Dangerous Man: A Novel

Caught Stealing; A Novel

My Dead Body: A Novel

As you can see from this list Mr Huston is a very prolific writer and I've only listed a few of his titles currently available in the marketplace. Be assured if you pick up one of his books, I can guarantee you that you will be entertained.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year.

I can't believe another whole year has gone by again. I really didn't even see it go by. That's the scariest part. I know a lot of people make these kinds of comments but the truth is that because for most of 2011 I was only sleeping about 5 -5 1/2 hours every night. In small doses you can get a lot done but I have an extremely hard head and LOVE to push myself past the breaking point mentally and physically, so, that's what I did all year long. I did achieve a lot artistically speaking but somehow Istill feel like I could have done more. I think it's more of a question of how to work faster,harder and smarter while still retain some semblance of a normal life. This has always been my goal from the beginning.

All of the resolutions I set for myself I managed to achieve, which wasn't easy but I also learned to be a wee bit more flexible and adapting to unforseen circumstances. I also made a few more contacts, met some very cool artists,directors and just some plain good ole individuals who support my work.

This year my resolutions are bigger in scale but still very doable. Especially now with some of the new tools I got this year to help me create more. I guess while I'm still very much old school when I create I've begun to embrace the digital frontier, ever so slowly moving from analog to digital. I will always create with my hands and tools based in the "real' world as opposed to the digital realm but that doesn't mean I can't broaden my bag of tricks.

Change or die.

Adapt constantly.

Push your limits.

Being an independant artist in the comic's world is akin to being from a Leper Colony. Most of the established Pros see you as a threat so they try to brow beat you,box you in to a corner and in some cases try to blacklist you. I know while I've met some very cool established pros in the Industry, the majority of the Community is far from being as accepting. That's okay. I would be surprised otherwise. I guess some people think that I'll back down and run with my tail between my legs but as I've already proven I don't back down from a fight.

Optimum Wound is still here and so am I.

My partner Jason and I have proven that even though we're still a very small Company that we're still alive and kicking and while Optimum Wound only published my Sketchbook last year, there are a few things coming along for the New Year.

Now, 2012 will have the release of only 2 books from the Company that I can guarantee. The question being will either or both of them be listed in Diamond's catalogue.

I guess time will tell.

I'm also very interested in how Diamond will treat Opwound when our stuff is sent for solicitation.

Hopefully it will be a good experience........ This time around.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


You'll notice that for a little while now I was very quiet here on, facebook and various other platforms. Well I won't bore anyone with all of the stuff that was and still is bouncing around in my head but what I will talk about is what got the cobwebs and dust bunnies jumping around.

Okay, hold on to your undies people.

Back in September, I was appearing at the Comic Con in Montreal and there were so many things happening at the same time, almost too many things. This is something that I've learned to live with. When you're an independant artist that promotes your own work, things can get really hectic very quickly. There was also a major decision I had to make a few weeks before the Con and while I was incredibly stressed out and things really didn't go my way on the first pass. So, instead of getting all upset and blaming what was going on on other people I had decided to find a way out of the box I was now placed in. I found a solution quickly and not only did the solution prove to be a good idea, it also helped me get my name out to some people that have never heard it or seen my work before. This showed me that by my finding a solution to the problem that had presented itself, everything ended up working out on a positive note. I had refused to admit defeat and found a way to get what I wanted, on the date I needed it for and I also ended up with a few more contacts that I would never had met if my bad luck hadn't befalled me. The point of all of this by now if you haven't gotten it yet is this:

When things don't go your way, don't look for a scapegoat, find a solution and get the job done. Everyone involved will not only be impressed by your willingness to solve the problem but you just might end up learning a thing or two.

By the time I had arrived at the Con, something else happened while I was prepping for the doors to open. My case that I used to bring all of my gear for each Con, the zipper got stuck and I had no choice but to rip the case open. In effect rendering it useless but I was able to get all of the books and my other stuff out before the Con started. The good point outweighed the bad and I'd deal with the problem I created later. Much later. I didn't even let this affect my mood for the Con. I set up my table and got ready.

At this point I had no idea that one of my childhood idols Neal Adams was going to be at the Con. I actually found out as I was setting up when I saw the banner with his name on it just 20 feet from where I was sitting. Then as I looked in front of me I saw the 60's Batmobile was stationed not even 10 feet and I DO MEAN RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. To the left was the De Lorean from The Back To The Future movies. As I was drinking this all in mR. Adams stopped by my table and started perussing my work. He just looked over my display books and smiled, didn't offer any tips or critiques like I had heard he done with a few other artists that had met him in the past. He then begged me for an 11 x 14 inch page to do a Commission on, of course I considered this a huge compliment and told him he didn't even have to beg, I'd gladly give him the page. I mean it's Neal Adams.

After the 2nd day and as the Con was winding down I wanted to actually go and say hi and talk to my idol. As we were talking I realised that he had a very strong character and he even said that some people didn't know how to react to his outspoken nature or just how he talked generally. He did take me by surprise I do have to day. After I had signed a copy of Optimum Wound Volume 1 for him and had given it to him, he thanked me and began looking it over. After flipping through the book, he looked up at me and smiled. He basically said that he was always a bit dissapointed with a lot of the artists that were in the industry that never did creator owned projects and played it safe with the big guys. However he felt that we at Optimum Wound got "IT". He then proceeded to tell me that if I drew less than 14 hours a day that I was an asshole. This last part threw me for a loop. I had just felt like I had gotten gut punched but at the sametime I had also felted very elated.

It was a weird feeling.

There was now a lot of stuff I needed to figure out. I needed to pull back. Now I'm back and while I can't tell you guys everything, this upcoming new year will be very interesting.

Draw your own conclusions for yourself.