[EXPRESSO] Dampyr (2022) | Bonelli: The Masquerade

While i made clear i was very familiar with Dylan Dog’s source material in the review of Dylan Dog Dead Of Night, i can say quite the opposite for this new adaptation of an italian comic book series distribuited by Bonelli Editore, Dampyr, debutting at this year’s Lucca Comics & Games with renewed aspirations of a Bonelli MCU-thing.

So if you were looking for an in-depth review from a fan of the series, i’m not the guy this time, even if the situation it’s convenient for the sake of a more unbiased piece.

Set in the war torn Balkans during the early 1990s, Dampyr it’s about Harlan, a guy that manages to survive by posing as a dhampir (a half-human half-vampire hybrid in slavic folklore) for superstitious small villages, but it ends up dragged into the war as a unit of soldiers is attacked by vampires and Halan is brought there to help as a last resort. Little does he know he IS an actual dhampir, and the horrible dreams he constantly has are hints to his actual origins…

The vampire lore isn’t anything amazing but ain’t totally copy and pasted either, it has some inventions of its own (you can tell this was based on a comic book, regardless), acting by the international cast it’s fairly decent, the war-torn Balkans are a nicely bleak setting, production values aren’t shabby at all, the movie it’s definitely more than just “presentable”.

Overall, Dampyr it’s a fun, quite decent film, fairly entertaining but not much more, especially with some very cliched turns the story takes and the ouvert sequelbaiting. And the slightly confusing fact that two important characters basically look almost identical, like gothic vampire armored Alan Rickmans (or italian singer Renato Zero, for the “homies”) despite being played by different actors.

The Spooktacular Eight #14: Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night (2010)

As they announced via a trailer early this month, we’re gonna have Bonelli, an italian comic books publishing house, give another crack of turning one of their decades long running series into a live action film, with the movie adaptation of Dampyr, a horror comic book series created in 2000 by Mauro Boselli and Maurizio Colombo about the supernatural adventures of the protagonist, a hybrid between a human and a vampire (so, yes, a “dhampir”), set to release very soon in theathers here.

Not only that, this is supposed to kickstart the Bonelli Cinematic Universe, and while to many non-italians readers this sounds like a cheap joke i’m making up…. it ain’t, and from a more marketing-oriented view, it makes sense, as now the time is ripe to give it a shot as audiences are familiar and used to superhero stories and stuff alike.

Still, it sounds hilarious to me to see them still trying to go this route, as if Universal itself tried and managed to cock it up not once, but twice, and in general very few players can do the MCU thing.

So it’s worth bringing back that the precedents aren’t exactly high in terms of inspiring any confidence or actual committment to any long term plan, as we saw Sergio Bonelli’s publishing house try it more than a decade ago with the live action adaptation of a far more famous italian horror-supernatural comic book series that will ring a bell even outside of Italy.

Continua a leggere “The Spooktacular Eight #14: Dylan Dog: Dead Of Night (2010)”

[EXPRESSO] My Hero Academia The Movie: World Heroes’ Mission (2021) | God Loves, Hero Kills

We’re at the third theathrical movie for My Hero Academia, and that itself it’s a testament to the popularity of the franchise, if nothing else. Make no mistake though, i quite like MHA.

That “disclaimed”, there are certain expectations that inevitably come with a movie based on a popular shonen manga series that still on-going, even though MHA started the modern trend of having the movies’ original stories being considered (somewhat) canonical by its creator.

I’m not gonna explain the premise of MHA here for time sake, but i will say it’s quite fitting how the plots of the movies for a series inspired by american superhero comics… borrow liberally from their heritage. Like Heroes Risings, the plot it’s heavily “X-Men inspired”, this time about Humarise, a sect of people that believe the power of the Quirks (the superpowers almost everyone in this universe has) will eventually get out of control and bring about the end of humanity.

So they plant bombs filled with a special gas that makes Quirks go berzerk, and pin the blame of their terrorist attacks on Izuku Midoriya and his new friend Rodney, having him and the Pro-Heroes at large intervene to stop Humarise’s agenda…

While the plot on paper should make the story more cinematic than before, in practice not so much , as most of the movie its spent with Deku and Rodney on the run, so the world spanning mission and the many heroes are put on the background, all for a new ally character that’s ultimately quite clichè, slightly better than the villain, not really interesting in characterization or design.

The script also suffers from more of the usual “shonen anime film”-isms, not exactly inspired.

It’s decent overall, but it’s the weaker MHA movie so far in pretty much every aspect.

[EXPRESSO] Venom: Let There Be Carnage (2021) | Venom, Accidental LGBT Icon

The 2018’s Venom movie was kinda interesting and a oddity of sorts, as it came out unbound by tethers to the MCU, while being a Marvel IP born out of the Spider Man comics, without Spider Man, deliberately put out in a way to easily dismiss its very existence if it need be.

I will not lie, that movie wasn’t good at all, frankly a big mess that did deserve being called out on not being nowhere good… but it was so stupid and fun i found myself liking it a lot in spite of all its obvious flaws, especially when it’s being this goofy buddy comedy about Tom Hardy and his parasite monster “best friend by force” that just happens to be an alien parasite monster.

Ridiculous but incredibly enjoyable.

It was also quite the box office hit, so the teaser of Carnage at the end of the first one is realized in this sequel, Let There Be Carnage, which has serial killer Cletus Kasady (played by Woody Harrelson) escape from prison after becoming the host of Carnage, a spawn of Venom itself, which complicates thing for Eddie Brock, still adjusting to his new life as a host to the symbiote.

This one is directed by motion capture extraordinarie Andy Serkis (instead of Ruben Fleischer), and like the first Venom, it’s a flawed affair (this one has basically no second act, just set up and then fights) through and through, stupid as hell but sincere and reveling in its own dumb nature. Once again the romcom parts are better than the action scenes, but overall makes for a strangely refreshing throwback to old superhero movies that could be imperfect, messy fun.

Though i won’t be surprised if eventually Marvel doesn’t integrate this series into the MCU somewhat. We’ll see.

[EXPRESSO] The Suicide Squad (2021) | King Shark is in it

Let me preface this by saying i find stupid the whole “release the [director’s name] cut” shtick, and i’m sorry, but i did saw the 2016’s Suicide Squad movie, and it was such a mess nothing would have “saved” it. Look, David Ayer it’s not that bad a director, at all, but he made a crap movie with Suicide Squad.

That’s it, nothing special, it happens and can happen to anyone, the world will go on.

You’re free to pursue this crusade if you will, Ayer has all the right to be happy about it (who wouldn’t?), but i personally don’t “get” it (what you’re gonna do next, request the Proyas’ cut for Gods Of Egypt?), honestly, and i was quite happy to see James Gunn give the concept another go.

So yeah, it’s the same idea of getting together a group of DC supervillains to send in a do-or-die important mission, using the expandable baddies instead of the superheroes themselves, this time tasked to take care of “Project Starfish” on a secluded island instead of an american city.

But yeah, it’s a bit surreal to see the same movie done twice in just a span of 5 years, even more since it has most of the same cast and selection of characters, as it’s supposed to be a sequel to the 2016’s movie, which explains some of it but still comes off as confusing since this is basically a re-do of the concept and doesn’t really require seeing the previous Suicide Squad movie, at all.

Honestly i loved it, it’s such a fun, bloody, stylish and funny take on the concept, it’s not just that it’s the FAR better execution of it so far, but it’s also pretty good on its own, with a lot of style and substance.

Gamera The Complete Collection UK BLURAY [REVIEW] | Absolute Pristine Turtle Meat, Really Neat

Gamera The Complete Collection UK complete set

Arrow Video keeps being a shining beacon of light in a world where companies are planning to stop making physical media all together, so they can hold properties hostage on another streaming service with no guarantee film and series will always be there, or there in a matter of months, for that matter.

This time they bring us a collection that will make kaiju fans furiously ejaculate, and for good reason, as there wasn’t any complete collection of the beloved Gamera series, there were some boxsets for the North American market, but nothing complete, and here in Europe TM we got it far worse, Italy especially, as they brought only 5 five of the Showa Era, often calling Gamera “The Great King” and retitling the movies to imply it’s Godzilla or King Kong, with craptacular marquee artworks to boot.

But now it’s all good again, as this boxset (which i preordered as soon as i saw it) is shipping worlwide, and it’s all english… but it’s also a limited release, so i’m just gonna say this to interested fans: stop reading, and get it RIGHT NOW, this is pricey and there aren’t gonna be that many copies around, so just go. Definitely worth the price, it’s not cheap, at all, but it’s worth every single cent. Continua a leggere “Gamera The Complete Collection UK BLURAY [REVIEW] | Absolute Pristine Turtle Meat, Really Neat”

[EXPRESSO] Shazam! (2019) | Say My Name!

Shazam 2019 poster.jpg

Superhero time again, with the DC offering of Shazam!, a series/characters that (like for most DC properties) i really wasn’t familiar at all, so i didn’t have any expectations of fidelity to the source material for this adaptation.

Billy Batson is a 15 years old boy that keeps escaping from foster homes in search of his mother, and yet again is assigned to a new family, that he tries to get away as well. But he summoned as the Champion by an old wizard, that passes his powers unto him by uttering his name, Shazam, as he’s too old to keep the Seven Deadly Sins sealed away into stone statues.

Billy transforms in a full grown and caped adult superhero (played by Zachary Levi), but as he’s still a teenager, he just fucks about with his newfound abilities, acts like an arrogant idiot, but the appareance of an occult villain (played by Mark Strong), will force him to not play the hero, but become an actual one in order to save his family.

If you are feeling tired of the genre (and of some of Marvel copious offerings), and think you might skip this one, don’t. It’s funny, really funny, the action is good, the humour is incredibly well balanced with the more emotional moments (which don’t shy away from being serious and dramatic), and overall the comedy never feels out of touch or “mandated”. It’s earnest, understanding, like it’s young main character, trying to figure where he belongs more than how to cast lazer beams from his eyes.

All of this with good characters, and a really welcome touch of horror (there’s some decapitation, which i really didn’t expect, but nothing too graphic overall), making it one of the best superhero movies i’ve seen in a while.


P.S.: Stay not just for a post-credit scene, but for the ending credits themselves, funny and tonally fitting of the overall tone. 🙂

Also, yeah, i know that the horror bits are not so surprising, given the director previous works, like Lights Out.