Shiny Shelf

Archive for 2011

By Mark Clapham on 22 December 2011 Comments Off

The New 52 hits UK newsagents with an anthology featuring Justice League, Action Comics and Green Lantern.

By Manu Ekanayake on 20 December 2011 Comments Off

Nucky Thompson (played by Steve Buscemi) sums up his role in the ‘Boardwalk Empire’ with one line to his protégé Jimmy Darmody (relative newcomer Michael Pitt), ‘You wanna be a gangster in my town, then you’ll pay me for the privilege.’
That’s who Nucky is – he’s Atlantic City’s political boss, not its crime boss. Well, [...]

By Eugene Jones on 08 December 2011 Comments Off

Tsui Hark’s Tang Dynasty detective story is a thrilling adventure, though for western viewers the mystical elements make the mystery a little hard to follow.

By Mark Clapham on 28 November 2011 Comments Off

Ironically, considering its premise is that there’s a separate ‘London Below’ entirely unseen by the denizens of the normal, everyday capital, ‘Neverwhere’ seems to have slipped over from a parallel reality.
Broadcast in the mid 90s on BBC2, during a period when British TV didn’t make really make any fantasy or SF shows, its a real [...]

By Eddie Robson on 07 November 2011 3 COMMENTS

After the second episode of the second series of Downton Abbey, some viewers complained that the show was moving too quickly. The narrative jumped five months, going from November 1916 to April 1917, and many were wrong-footed by the rush of time. Yet people seemed to think this was somehow different from the first series. [...]

By Alex Fitch on 31 October 2011 Comments Off

I have to admit I was never the greatest fan of Tintin comics or the classic animated series, but even a casual knowledge of them makes it obvious this film does a disservice to both.

By Eddie Robson on 06 October 2011 Comments Off

A couple of years ago, all the Beatles albums were reissued with new packaging including photos I’d never seen before – and I’m a pretty big Beatles fan, as my blog testifies. At first I was surprised that they’d dug up these new (to me) images – then I realised that The Beatles were such [...]

By Lance Parkin on 03 October 2011 2 COMMENTS

The relaunch of DC Comics’ entire line as ‘The New 52’ has generated sales, it’s generated discussion, and put DC firmly in the spotlight. One of the big talking points, though, has been that something has gone very wrong with its depiction of women.
It didn’t help DC’s case that they launched two books in the [...]

By Lance Parkin on 30 September 2011 Comments Off

‘The Feathered Serpent’ is the love child of ‘I, Claudius’ and ‘Doctor Who’, and is just as peculiar and rewarding as that sounds.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 23 September 2011 1 COMMENT

The future has arrived. And it spells doom for the remnants of our favourite band of mutants.
‘Ultimate Comics: X-Men’ #1 is the latest series in the relaunching of the Ultimate Comics universe, and in the aftermath of the events of ‘Ultimatum’ and ‘Ultimate Fallout’, this is a very dangerous backdrop for mutantkind.
Due to Magneto’s attack [...]

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 16 September 2011 Comments Off

You know, as a comic book fan, this is one of the most exciting times  to ever strike the industry.
No matter what side of the fence you fall on – whether Marvel, DC, or indie – there’s plenty of stuff to enjoy right now.
DC has relaunched their entire brand, Marvel is relaunching their Ultimate Comics [...]

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 12 September 2011 1 COMMENT

‘Ultimate Comics: Captain America’ is a story distinctly shaped by the politics and sentiment of a post-9/11 America.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 09 September 2011 1 COMMENT

At long last, ‘Action Comics’ #1 is here. Which is something, considering the last time that legitimately could be said was in 1938.

By Lance Parkin on 07 September 2011 Comments Off

The new James Bond book, ‘Carte Blanche,’ represents a modern day ‘new’ James Bond, who’s about thirty and who fights in a post 9-11 world.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 05 September 2011 1 COMMENT

It has been a rough few years for Marvel’s Ultimate Comics range.

By Bruce Kent on 02 September 2011 Comments Off

‘Justice League’ #1 comes across like the prologue of a novelization of a terrible, terrible movie.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 01 September 2011 1 COMMENT

As a first issue for the new DC universe, ‘Justice League’ #1 is unexpectedly understated.

By Alex Fitch on 31 August 2011 1 COMMENT

Pedro Almodovar’s most accessible film in years, a story of murder, kidnap and substituted desire that returns to some of the themes of his 2004 thriller Bad Education

By Alex Fitch on 24 August 2011 1 COMMENT

A reasonable compromise between the simplistic entertainment of Batman video games, the pop art spectacle of the 1960s TV show and Nolan’s more adult approach.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 22 August 2011 1 COMMENT

Kirkman and Liefeld. It’s an indie comic dream come true.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 18 August 2011 1 COMMENT

I have been catching up on my comic book reading. And by ‘catching up’ I mean that I’m finally getting around to reading some comics that I’ve had my eye on for a while but for whatever reason (work, kids, time, zombie apocalypse) haven’t had a chance to get to.
I used to love the Ultimate [...]

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 02 August 2011 1 COMMENT

‘Captain America’ is a fun action ride that doesn’t try to put on airs.

By Mark Clapham on 21 July 2011 2 COMMENTS

Is the status quo of an unmarried Clark and Lois in the DC reboot all that it seems?

By Mark Clapham on 07 July 2011 Comments Off

‘Knight of Vengeance’ is very good work, a beautifully assembled comic that just happened to leave me cold.

By Jonn Elledge on 30 June 2011 Comments Off

Watching the first episode of Shameless US is disarmingly like bumping into old friends.

By Mark Clapham on 28 June 2011 Comments Off

Green Lantern is a briskly entertaining and enjoyably broad superhero flick that doesn’t seem to know quite which audience it’s aiming for.

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 23 June 2011 1 COMMENT

Now this is something different- a legal drama that takes place in England… in the 18th century. A period piece based upon actual cases and drawn from the available records of that time, ‘Garrow’s Law’ is a welcome change of pace from not only the legal shows of today, but television in general.
Andrew Buchan plays [...]

By Jim Smith on 20 June 2011 Comments Off

Rowan Joffe’s ‘Brighton Rock’ is beautifully photographed and extremely well played by all involved, but..

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 13 June 2011 Comments Off

In late summer of 2003, I was laid off from my job. In-between looking for a new job, I had extra time at home to be with the family and watch television, and I got hooked on the American crime show ‘Law and Order’.
This began my interest in a genre of television that I had [...]

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By Jonn Elledge on 10 June 2011 Comments Off

It’s not a great sign when the cast list for a film makes more interesting viewing than the film itself.

By Lance Parkin on 08 June 2011 Comments Off

‘Upstairs Downstairs’ is one of the best known British TV series of the seventies, on both sides of the Atlantic (and has recently been revived). It quickly became a centerpiece of [...]

By Mark Clapham on 03 June 2011 Comments Off

Following on from INJ Culbard’s excellent graphic adaptation of Lovecraft’s ‘At the Mountains of Madness’, SelfMadeHero return to Lovecraft’s work with a selection of seven of his most famous tales, adapted by an excellent line-up of creators.
The stories adapted in this first volume (a second is promised) are those which laid the groundwork for Lovecraft’s [...]

By Stephen Lavington on 01 June 2011 Comments Off

The Hollywood career of Jason Statham is reminiscent of Jean-Claude Van Damme. Doggedly working the straight-to-DVD schlock martial-arts beat, Statham has laboriously clambered to the top-rank of action stars. Like Van Damme it’s got to the point where no-one even feels the need to hand-wave away his accent – Statham just IS.
Sadly, and also like [...]

By Eugene Jones on 23 May 2011 Comments Off

After three BBC series shot entirely in the UK, ‘Torchwood’ comes back later this year with a fourth series shot partially in the US, subtitled ‘Miracle Day’. Following on from the surprise critical success of the high-concept mini-series ‘Children of Earth’, ‘Miracle Day’ also starts with a big idea – one day, no-one on Earth [...]

By Jon de Burgh Miller on 19 May 2011 Comments Off

The latest chapter in the Star Wars saga arrives this week at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World as Star Tours: The Adventures Continue blasts off to all new destinations.
Replacing the old 1980s Star Tours ride, which took passengers on an aborted flight to Endor (and can still be seen at Disneyland Paris), the [...]

By Jim Smith on 18 May 2011 1 COMMENT

The unexpected fourth instalment of Pirates suggests the series will now run forever.

By Mark Clapham on 16 May 2011 Comments Off

The first season of ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’ starts out as something of a shallow, guilty pleasure, but gains depth and complexity across the thirteen episodes in this season box set.
Based on the first couple of episodes I wrote a review that summed up the initial impact of the show as a cartoonishly violent and [...]

By Mags L Halliday on 12 May 2011 3 COMMENTS

contains spoilers… for ‘Lord of the Rings’.
Steven Moffat has a thing about spoilers. You’d have guessed it, given he snuck the word into ‘Doctor Who’ and then turned it into River Song’s catchphrase. But his recorded complaint about fans posting spoilers made BBC Breakfast News (and elsewhere).
I agree with Moffat. The kind of person who [...]

By Mark Clapham on 05 May 2011 Comments Off

Kate Summerscale’s ‘The Suspicions of Mr Whicher’ is a brave choice of book to adapt into an ITV drama.
While the subject matter – the investigation of a nationally notorious child murder in the mid 19th century, at the dawn of the age of detection – is dramatic, the way Summerscale’s book deals with it concentrates [...]

By Mags L Halliday on 03 May 2011 Comments Off

‘Woochi the Demon Slayer’ has a fatal flaw but is otherwise a lively tale of good, evil and personal stylists.
Just as an Archgod is about to banish all the evil goblins from the world with his enchanted pipe, three impatient Taoist gods disrupt the spell. The goblins are freed, the Archgod vanishes and two wizards [...]

By Matthew Badham on 28 April 2011 1 COMMENT

I have a confession to make. I’m a crap ‘Doctor Who’ fan. In fact, when it comes to the (Extraordinary?) League of Whovians, I’m definitely Fourth Division. When Season 24 was mentioned in the pub, I had to ask which one that was; I still can’t pronounce ‘Frontios’; and I switched off 10 minutes into [...]

By Mark Clapham on 26 April 2011 Comments Off

Great Odin’s Raven! Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Thor’ is remarkably uncompromised.

By Jonn Elledge on 20 April 2011 Comments Off

Elisabeth Sladen has a claim to be the most important actor to play a companion in ‘Doctor Who’.

By Jim Smith on 19 April 2011 Comments Off

The first issue of the Marvel revival of Mark Waid’s much-missed Eisner winning detective series features sharp dialogue, nice art and easily understandable characters

By Mark Clapham on 15 April 2011 Comments Off

Well, at least they’re not watering it down.
‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’ sets its stall out in the first scene, an astonishing montage of brutal, gory combat in Capua’s old arena, a crude box of wood and cloth.
Shortly after, we get a scene of two old friends doing their business in both senses of the [...]

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 07 April 2011 Comments Off

All you need to know about ‘Sucker Punch’ is that it is the slickest B-movie ever made.
Now, if you’re feeling bold and continued past that initial assessment, what else I can tell you about ‘Sucker Punch’ is that the movie is clearly an exercise in imagination. There is no end to the amount of good [...]

By Julio Angel Ortiz on 05 April 2011 Comments Off

An amoral, conniving, manipulative- and possibly murdering- character. The makings of a tepid crime drama, ‘based on a true story’? Nope. We have the main character of a two-part miniseries collected on Region 1 DVD. Dubbed as a black comedy and staring Martin Clunes (of ‘Men Behaving Badly’ fame) as the aforementioned shady character, ‘Dirty [...]

By Jim Smith on 31 March 2011 Comments Off

‘Oranges & Sunshine’ is the story of social worker Margaret Humphreys (Emily Watson). Mrs Humphreys became – as the result of a chance meeting with a distressed woman in a Nottinghamshire car park – the leading light of a movement which sought justice for hundreds British children who were illegally deported to Australia in the [...]

By Mark Clapham on 29 March 2011 Comments Off

I’ve always had a great fondness for Clive Barker. He’s the same age as my mother, a bit of trivia which always made him seem like the super-cool gay uncle I never had. His work has always sat somewhere between horror and fantasy, while being more humane and creative than 99% of the output in [...]

By Eddie Robson on 22 March 2011 Comments Off

Jarringly, it’s nearly eight years since I posted a breathlessly enthusiastic review of Vertigo’s Human Target on this site. I’ve just been revisiting the series for an upcoming encyclopaedia of comics from Salem Press: it also happens to be coming out again in a new set of trade paperbacks. When I wrote that review I [...]