Comic Review: DC Legends The Collection

LEGENDS: THE COLLECTION

Many of the greatest comics ever written were done in the 80s and part of that reason was the invention of the mini series or limited series. In these takes, even though the character was ongoing, you got a complete tale of that character. A more educated person would suggest these takes were more story driven than character driven, but I’m not, so I won’t suggest that.
DC were particularly good at it as they crafted more deliberate stories, a habit Dark Horse took up later with their Aliens and Predator mini series’s. DC gave such amazing tales as Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns, and of course, the genre and universe re-defining Crisis on Infinite Earths.

The objective of Crisis was to clean up the ‘multiple Earth’ theory that DC had devised so that both their pre-60s relaunch and the earlier stories could exist together, our earth having younger heroes but ‘Earth-2’ having heroes who fought in WW2.

After Crisis occurred, there were many questions left unanswered, and several new series started to re-explain origins of various DC stalwarts, including a brand new Superman title. One of these new titles was a clean-up mini-series called Legends.

Legends was a six issue mini, tied in many other titles, but it still could be read without needing those others, which were more decoration to the core story told in it.

What was Legends about, well, Darkseid makes a bet with the Phantom Stranger that the general populace of Earth would turn on their heroes if opportunity arose, and so, to prove his point, sends his minion Glorious Godfrey, who has to power of coercion, to start creating a scare campaign.

In his nefarious plans he also puts heroes in positions where they seem to cause problems, but Doctor Fate can see what is happening, and bands together a group of heroes to stand up against Godfrey’s ‘Hounds of War’, machines contain humans under his thrall, who are descending upon Washington… can they be stopped?

Many titles came from this series, including a new Wonder Woman, a new Suicide Squad, a new Justice League comic (rebranded as a comedy), a new Flash comic, and fresh minis of both Captain Marvel (Shazam!) and Cosmic Boy.

This collection also has a wonderful introduction by former group editor and director for development for DC, Mike Gold, who talks about how he managed to get the idea together, and how he managed to land John Ostrander, a writer who had a different approach to comics as could be seen by his First Comics published stories of Sargon, Mistress of War and Grimjack.

Story: John Ostrander creates an amazing story that really highlights some heroes that don’t always get much credit, like Robin (even though it’s… bleargh…. Jason Todd), Blue Beetle, Doctor Fate, and his revamped of Task Force X aka The Suicide Squad is a perfect addition. Add to that scripting by Swamp Thing legend Len Wein and you have a winning tale!

Score: *****

Art: The art in this comic is top shelf. My second favourite artist of all time, John Byrne (my first is Jack Kirby) inked by Karl Kesey, the inker who shows off his work best. Sweets for the eyes.

Score: *****

WIRIA: I love this comic and probably drag it out once a year. Finding a collection was a blessing because it meant I didn’t have to touch my individual issues any more.

Mindhunters (2004) Review

One from the re watch pile…
Mindhunters (2004)

Mindhunters DVD cover


Film: My favourite TV shows, post X-Files, have always been those ones that hunt serial killers and that sort of stuff. Sure, I can occasionally be found watching Rick and Morty or Pok√®mon or Doctor Who, but those that I really get into are police procedural ones. I don’t know why, but I really enjoy them.

Criminal Minds is a particular favourite.

This trickles over to films as well, and I am guessing my love of gialli echoes that fandom as well. That whodunnit aspect of the film where you yourself get involved in the policework as you try to outsmart the detective by coming to your conclusion first.

Mindhunters is an interesting choice as it was an attempt by Renny Harlin to do a cinema version of those TV shows that were super popular at that time, but what he did was mix it up with a bunch of well known faces, like Val Kilmer, LL Cool J (who went on to NCIS Los Angeles) and Christian Slater along with several newer faces such as Kathryn Morris (who went into Cold Case), Patricia Velasquez and Clifton Collins Jr.

Val Kilmer eats cake: no one is surprised.


Mindhunters tells of a group of young FBI agents who are training to become profilers. Part of their training is to be taken to an island called Omega Island, by their trainer Jake Harris (Kilmer) to profile a fake serial killer who has committed a fake crime. Along for the ride is a cop (LL Cool J) who is observing Harris’ training methods.

Unfortunately for our crew, there is a real serial killer on the island, one who is slowly picking them off one by one, but has someone snuck on the island to perform these murders, or is Harris a nutbag killer himself, or is it one of the students with some kind of grudge?

Even though it doesn’t really read as a super film, and more a direct to DVD loser, I actually really dig this film, but as I stated earlier, that’s mainly due to my love of police procedural shows. It’s an eclectic cast who shouldn’t work together really, but that adds to the suspicion and mistrust.

Kilmer and Slater are really only here for the cache their names provide, and don’t appear for great periods of time.

L to R: Morris, Velasquez, Collins Jr, LL Cool J and Miller


Essentially this film is nothing more than an 80s slasher, with a group of people trapped in a remote location with a killer on the lose, but the Saw-like traps, and oddball characters make it a far more interesting watch.
Score: ****

Mindhunters DVD menu screen


Format: This film was reviewed on the Australian release region 4 DVD which runs for approximately 101 minutes and is presented in a pretty good 2.35:1 image with an excellent Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Score: ****

Extras: You would this a DTV film like this would not have many extras, but it does!

Director Renny Harlin gives us a pretty good commentary about the making of the film and various other aspects of this film, including actually FBI procedures. One thing I really like about this commentary is that the dialogue of the film is subtitled during the commentary so you can still follow the script whilst Harlin is making his musings.

Profiling Mindhunters is a collection of interviews with cast and crew about what it rook to create the film.

Stunt Sequence looks at the behind the scenes choreography of the stunts, focusing on one particular scene that had an extensive fight sequence.

A Director’s Walk Through Crimetown sees Harlin look at the mock up town used in the film as the training ground for the young FBI trainees. 

There are also trailers on this disc for The Longest Yard, Layer Came, The Marksman and xXx: The Next Level.

Score: ***1/2

WISIA: It’s not the greatest film but it’s compelling, and I give it a regular respin.

Slater’s performance? Smashing!

Cutey Honey (2004) Review

One from the re watch pile…
Cutey Honey (2004)


Film: I was too old to like Mighty Morphin Power Rangers when it first hit Australian televisions, and yet somehow I did. When it first appeared on television I was working in a job where I was home early enough to watch it, and I guess I loved it as it tapped into my love of ‘uniformed hero teams’ like Fantastic Four and the Thunderbirds, and started a love of Sentai that remains to this day. 

With the new Power Rangers film out, I’ve been hit again by Sentai fever and have been watching the original MMPR on Netflix, and due to a bad influence who love anime and manga at work, have started getting back into Japanese movies, comics and cartoons again.

One thing I decided I needed to revisit was this film, Cutey Honey, a live action film based on the manga (and subsequent anime) of artist Go Nagai directed by another anime director, Hideaki Anno, best known for Neon Genesis Evangelion, and who created a new type of special effects for this film, ‘Honeymation’ which combined single photos of the cast which is then turned into ‘live’ anime sequences for effect, giving birth to another term created for this film, Digital Comic Cinema.


This movie tells the tale of Cutey Honey (Eriko Sato), an android copy of a human who has special powers which she uses in her fight against the forces of Sister Jill (Eisuke Sakai) and his (her?) villainous gang of thugs Panther Claw. Cutey Honey gets some help, though, from a cute young police officer, desperate to prove herself, Nat-chan (Mikako Ichihawa) and a reporter, Seiji Hayami (Jun Murakami), but will their combined skill be enough to thwart the baddies?


It’s a bizarre film, even by Japanese standards, with completely over the top villains and crazy events that only make sense within the confines of the film. If you tried to describe the events, I imagine people who watch ‘normal’ films either wouldn’t believe you or would suggest you accidentally ingested horse tranquillisers.

Japanese model Erika Sato is no doubt an exquisite beauty, but in this her acting range extends all the way from sad faced covergirl to squealing excitable sexpot. Actually, the squealing in this film is so frequent, sometimes I felt like I was at a 14 year old girl’s birthday party at a bowling alley, but she is something special, and the camera loves her! Unfortunately, unlike the anime, there are no flashes of nudity with Cutey Honey activates her powers, though she is frequently seen in her underwear, miniskirts or a garbage bag… yep: a garbage bag.

I should point out that Sato is not the ONLY beauty in this film, Mikako Ichihawa is lovely too, though I wish she smiled more, even though it’s not in her characters range.

The film is a load of fun, and it’s funny too. In an age when most superhero films are dark and depressing, this one has a distinct joy in its story, and the bad guys seem to only exist to be evil, though typically, there seems to be an element of Honey’s origin that’s tied into them. Their costumes are bonkers too, looking like rejects from that old MMPR show.

It is overacted, dumb and fun and you’ll perhaps doubt your sanity for watching it, but it is definitely a spectacle worth trying.

Score: ****


Format: This film was reviewed with the Australian Madman DVD release which is present in an OK 1.78:1 image with a good Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track presented in Japanese with English subtitles. The film runs for approximately 89 minutes.

Score: ***1/2

Extras: There is a decent amount of extras on this disc.

The Making of Cutey Honey is a 20 minute subtitled extra highlighting the cast and production of the film. It’s actually quite funny as it’s like a 60s styled, school aged aimed doco, with a whole pile of dialogue like ‘now Cutey Honey is a police officer… I wouldn’t mind being arrested by her’… I’m actually reading the subtitles in a Troy MacClure styled voice! The subtitles on this are occasionally annoying though as the feature itself has a fair bit of Japanese text on it so finding WHERE to see the subtitles seems to be a chore!

There is a bunch of trailers, from the sneak peak, to the actual trailer and a bunch of TV spots.

My most hated of extras, a stills gallery!

There’s also trailers for other Madman releases: Godzilla, Mothra, Mecha-Godzilla: Tokyo SOS, Please Teacher! and Seven Samurai.

Score: ***1/2

WISIA: It’s cute and dumb fun: yeah I’ll watch it again.

Nerds of Oz: 3rd June 2017

Week Ending 3rd June 2017
Our Italian celebration has pushed Nerds of Oz back a day, so we’ll lose a comic Review this week., but aleast a new week means cool stuff!

Comics


Another little comic grab this week, starting with Action Comics #980 which I only grabbed due to the Harley Quinn cover, but then actually enjoyed the contents! I got Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #8 which unfortunately has been canned, but I love. Jean Grey #2 is shaping up to be an amazing comic with a great character. Weapon X #1 is the usual of what you’d expect from a comic with Wolverine and Sabretooth in it, but the art is fine so I’ll continue with it for a while. Lastly, X-Men Blue #4, which I’m still not so sure about as a title: maybe I’m too old for teen angst.

Magazines



A new Rue Morgue and a new Record Collector have made my pile this week.

Blurays


Grabbed a bunch that will no doubt end up eventually being reviewed right here at this very site: Rings, Class of Nukem High, From a House on Willow Street, Night of Something Strange and xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.

Records


Grabbed a shedload of records this week, including some soundtracks I have been longing to get: Cannibal Ferox, Little Shop of Horrors, Machete Kills, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Notturno (a RSD17 exclusive) and Halloween 2, and with pop albums I picked up Lloyd Cole and the Commotions Rattlesnakes and Mainstream, No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom, Guns n Roses Appetite for Destruction, Harry Styles’ self titled debut, Rage Against the Machine’s self titles debut, Gorrillaz’s Humanz and Tori Amos’ Under the Pink.

Video Games


EB Games are having a sale at the moment so I jumped on their cheaply cheap Rockband Rivals!

Anthropophagus (1980) Review

One from the re watch pile…
Anthopophagus (1980)


Film: Sometimes you’ll find a film that you’ll like that you just can’t nail down why. For me, Anthropophagus is one of those films. Directed and co-written (alongside George Eastman, who also stars as the Killer) by Joe D’Amato aka Aristide Massaccesi, a name that some people will associate with the less impressive films of European cinema.

I don’t necessarily subscribe to that point of view. Yes, I agree, some of his films have been… well, crap, but occasionally there is a diamond in the rough. I put Buio Omega I that category along with this one.

Something this film is probably best known for is being one of the films that was labelled a ‘Video Nasty’ in the U.K. in the early 80s, and had only, until released fully intact in 2015, ever been released with 8 odd minutes cut from its approximately 90 minute run time.

Anthropophagus tells this sordid tale…

Julie (Tisa Farrow) manages to hitch a ride on a yacht to a small island community off the coast of Greece where she is supposed to meet up with a family whose daughter she is paid to be a ‘companion’ for whilst they travel. Upon arrive they find the entire town abandoned and as they investigate further they find several bodies and one survivor, Julie’s young charge who has been hiding from a man who she describes as smelling of blood.


Who is this man and what does he have to do with the missing population of the island?

I also have to say whenever I watch this, and I have done it this time, I immediately have to watch 1982’s Humongus: it’s basically the same film but with two special features, and both of them are attached to Joy Boushel, an actress whom a young me fell in love with and still have fond memories of… she’s probably more famously exposed in the cult comedy film Pinball Summer.

Fans of Eurotrash cinema will notice several people amongst the cast aside from Farrow and Eastman:Selena Grandi from Portrait of Gloria, Zora Kerova from the New York Ripper and Mark Bodin from Alien 2 – On Earth


Anyway, back to Anthropophagus. It’s notoriety is completely warranted. There are a couple of scenes in the film which are such WTF moments of epic magnitude than you’ll wonder if you really saw what you just saw. There is one scene it’s particularly known for where you’ll be absolutely gobsmacked, and every woman in the room will slam their legs shut and cringe.

This film is criticised for being slow but I prefer to think of it as being deliberately paced. Synthy-soundtrack fans will get a kick from Marcelo Giombini’s score, a combination of frenetic synth riffs with church-like organ, which fills some of the scenes with a certain amount of anguish, which is what a good score is supposed to do!

Basically I love this film and I don’t know why. I always enjoy watching it. Though the fact I watch it alone may suggest others don’t have a similar thought…

Score: *****


Format: The reviewed copy was the UK, region B, 88 Films release of the film, as part of their Italian Collection (its number 7) which runs for approximately 90 minutes. It is presented in a somewhat grainy 1.66:1 image with a good mono audio. Also this film can be watched in English, or in Italian with English subtitles.

Score: ***1/2

Extras: Some excellent extras on this disc, including the amazing documentary 42nd Street Memories: The Rise and Fall of the Most Notorious Block! which has many people, including Debbie Rochon, Lynn Lowrey, Frank Henenlotter and Lloyd Kaufman discuss the history of the notorious grindhouse strip of cinemas in New York in the 60s, 70s and 80s. For me, it’s my favourite of director, film documentarian Calum Waddell best work. It’s not just some crappy ten minute thing either, it’s a proper 90 minute doco. I admit it’s not directly linked to the film of the disc, but it’s a nice extra anyway.

Italian Opening titles shows the beginning of the film but with the Italian titles instead of the English ones.

Anthropophagus trailers features a bunch of different trailers with various titles of the film.

The Bluray slick itself also can be reversed to have either 88 Films’ cover, or a replica of the original cover.

Score: ****

WISIA: For some reason I love this film, and I watch it regularly!

Italy Day Review: Cailtiki the Immortal Monster (1959)

One from the to watch pile…
Caltiki the Immortal Monster (1959)


Film: I was involved in a conversation the other day on Facebook about Italian horror film directors, and basically the question was ‘other than Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento and Mario Bava, who is your favourite Italian horror film director?’

This proposes an interesting point: most of us who are Italian horror fans rely on those three directors as our go-to men for European horror, and why not? Argento chills us with his deft hand with giallo, Fulci thrills with his gory-laden zombie output, and Bava… well, Bava is Bava: a director whose eye for setting, and lighting a scene is unsurpassed, and who is European cinematic royalty… no, WORLDWIDE cinematic royalty!

This film, 1959’s Caltiki the Immortal Monster, aka Caltiki il Monstro Immortale, is Bava’s first directorial attempt, though he is uncredited. Credited director Riccardo Freda left the project halfway through, claiming he wished the producers, who had previously mistreated Bava, would recognise what a talent he actually is. Bava himself described this as his first film.

Caltiki the Immortal Monster tells of a group of archeologists who are set upon by an amorphous thing when investigating an ancient Mayan temple. One of the expedition is killed, and another injured by the creature, and the only way to help him is to cut off the piece of the creature that is attached to his arm.


We make it back to civilisation and discover not only had the victim of the attack gone slightly mad (actually, he was somewhat of a jerk in the first case, so one hardly notices) but the now-removed thing on his arm hasn’t only grown, it has also multiplied… can mankind survive this creature, or is it doomed to suffer the same fate as the Mayan’s did many years before..

This film is very much a product of what some countries were doing in this time. The success of the Universal horror and scifi films, and their competitors, had changed cinema somewhat and had created an industry were professors were heroes, me monsters, alien or terrestrial, are the enemy.

One of the real surprising things about this film is that even though it’s origins in the American black and white scifi and horror films, it has a lot of European sauce through it. There is a scene of a native dance that is surprising in its explicitness for its time. Now I don’t mean there is full frontal nudity, but the native girl gyrates in a manner quite over the top for the time it was filmed. For that matter, it’s surprisingly gruesome for the same time!

The effects showing the gore is pretty good too, and really only falls over with a miniature scene of two, and honestly can be forgiven when the time is to be taken into consideration. There’s one particular matte painting which fails too due to an actor’s shadow being cast over the image, which reveals it has no depth of field.

The story by Fillipo Sanjist is a quaint mix of American films of a similar period, with smart adventurous scientists, a monster and a threat from space filling its script. It does borrow heavily from The Blob (Caltiki is a Blob like creature and attached itself to a man’s arm) and has elements of Quatermass and Lovecraft within its universe.


What’s really weird for me was that I got a real Doctor Who and the Seeds of Doom vibe off the whole affair, and was mentally comparing it to that!

The best thing about the film is how you can actually see Bava’s use of light to create depth. Something he does much better in color, but it is still extraordinarily impressive when doing it with black and white. You can really see the beginnings here of what will become an amazing career.

I really liked this film and am happy to include it both my Mario Bava and Arrow films collection.

Score: ****


Format: The reviewed copy of the film was the UK Arrow films region B Bluray (which also comes with a DVD copy) which runs for approximately 76 minutes and has a strikingly good 2K restored, 1.66:1 image with an efficient mono audio track.

Score: ****

Extras: There is a real great bunch of extras on this disc. The first thing is two commentaries, one from horror historian and Bava buff Tim Lucas, which is a technically complete commentary with many insights into the making of the film and the other is from Italian horror movie expert Troy Howarth, writer of giallo bible So Deadly So Perverse, which covers a lot of the same ground as Lucas’, though Howarths is far more conversational and less formal.

From Quatermass to Caltiki sees writer Kim Newman talk about not just this film, but what influenced it and what it influenced.

There is a really cool full aperture version of the film which removes any in-camera matte work so the joy of Bava’s cinematography and effects work can be better appreciated.

Archival Features has some previously released extras of the film including a 20 minute discussion about Riccardo Freda, with film critic Stefano Della Casa. The Genesis of Caltiki which talks about the film with Luigi Cozzi. There is an Archival introduction to the film, again with Stefano Della Casa. There is also a US theatrical trailer and alternate US opening titles.

As with many of Arrow’s releases this comes with a reversible cover, and an illustrated booklet featuring essays by Kat Ellinger, Roberts Curti and Tim Lucas.

Score: *****

WISIA: This is exactly what WISIA is all about: I thoroughly enjoyed the film but can’t see myself visiting it again.

Italy National Day: Massacre in Dinosaur Valley (1985) Review

One from the to watch pile…
Massacre in Dinosaur Valley (1985)


Film: If you have read anything on this site before, you’ll know I am a big fan of Italian films of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Amongst that, I also have somewhat of a fondness for the Cannibal film made by Italian filmmakers of the period. I think I saw Cannibal Apocalypse first and was stunned by the story and brutality of it, and whenever I hear of one I’ve not seen I seek it out.

This was one I hadn’t seen of until it’s release by 88 Films this year and I was pretty excited to watch it as I could tick off another Cannibal/ Green Inferno film off my list, and actually from the period and of available releases it might be my last one, or very close to it.

This film was written and directed by Michele Massimo Tarantini who also gave us Sword of the Barbarians and Women in Fury is of the second wave of Cannibal films of this time, others being Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story and Cannibal Holocaust 2, which aren’t as good as the first wave, which included the original Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox.


Massacre in Dinosaur Valley tells of the misadventures of archeologist Kevin Hall (Michael Sopkiw) who has journeyed into the Brazilian jungle in search of dinosaur bones. When he gets there, he decides to hitch an airplane ride with Professor Ibanez (Leonidas Bayer) and his daughter Eva (Suzane Carvalho), along with a slightly mad ex-Viet Nam veteran, his annoying wife, a photographer and two models.

Unfortunately for them, the plane crashes (in some of the worst special effects ever seen) and the survivors of the crash have to find a way to make their way out of the jungle, but with just a few people up against cannibals, piranha and evil illegal diamond minors, will any of them get out safely?

First I must point out that this is an edited version of the film as due to animal cruelty laws in the U.K., some cock-fighting scenes at the beginning of the film have been excised from this release so it isn’t a ‘complete and uncut’ version, but realistically the film doesn’t suffer from it and it’s not a story point, though you do hear that the competition is going on in the background.

It’s a quirky film for sure. Sopkiw plays his role like a mysoginistic jerk-off that the women seem to love, but it’s done with a great air of comedy too, not sure if that’s intentional or not, but it does add something to the uniqueness of the film. One case that particularly makes for a laugh is some hilariously ill-fitting music over a sex scene. No Barry White for this guy!


The special effects are pretty amusing in general too. Most acts of gunshot violence don’t result in a blood spray, the aforementioned airplane crash is clearly a model plane and the scenes of hogs attempting to eat Sopkiw’s leg are less that spectacular.

The film is entertaining but it doesn’t have the weight that the films of the earlier batch of cannibal films, so it comes across a little more like a Romancing the Stone film with a bit of blood and violence.

Score: ***


Format: Considering the age of the film, it looks pretty good! There is an occasional artefact, but in general, this UK, region B, 88 minute bluray release is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen with a decent LPCM 2.0 audio.

Score: ***1/2

Extras: Now I’m not sure if you count this as an extra or a special feature, but the film is able to be watched in an English dubbed, or a subtitled version. Oddly, the Italian language version is a shorter film!

In addition to that, we also have a theatrical trailer of the film, and a bunch of deleted scenes, some of which have no audio due to the nature of the scenes not being finished for the final presentation of the film, so their removal must have been decided well before any recording of audio was done.

There is also a discussion about the Cannibal sub-genre with well known U.K. Horror enthusiast Callum Waddell called Location Location Cannibalisation. It’s an interesting look not just at this film but of Cannibal films in general.

There is also a special thanks section where those who donated money to the release of the film get a note of thanks.

This bluray release also has a reversible cover featuring alternate artwork for the film.

I’m going to gauge these extras from the point of the alternate version of the film being an extra feature.

Score: ****

WISIA: It was entertaining but I can’t see myself watching it too frequently, not when films like the aforementioned Cannibal Holocaust, Apocalypse and Ferox exist.

Happy National Day, Italy!

Italy National Day 2017

One of the reason the To Watch Pile even exists is that there is a bunch of us, who met through online forums and have become friends, who get together regularly to celebrate our love of horror, cult, action… dammit, let’s just say film in general, and whenever we get together films of Japan, Hong Kong or Italy inevitable come up in drunken conversation. It was these fine gentlemen who spurred me on to create the very site you hopefully enjoy on a regular occasion.

My fondness is specifically for Italian horror films, and so, I feel out of respect I should, each year, celebrate my love of Italian films by presenting three films, each one representing the three colours of the Italian flag: green, white and red.

What will they be? Well you’d better visit each day to find out!

I hope you enjoy the films I have decided to use to represent these colours, and I’d also like to thank you all for your continued support.

J.R.

Idle Hands (1999) Review

One from the re watch pile…
Idle Hands (1999)


Film: Many years ago I had this film on DVD, but as can one when one has a big collection of anything, things go missing, and this was one of the films (along with David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ) that has disappeared. I probably leant them both to the same person and never received them back.

If you have my copy of eXistenZ, whoever you are, I want it back! You can keep the copy of Idle Hands as I now have this whiz-bang bluray copy released by Umbrella Entertainment.

This film was written by Ron Milbauer and Terri Hughes and directed by Rodman Flender, who, considering how good this is, hasn’t really done anything like this again, though he is quite a prolific TV director.

Idle Hands tells of Anton Tobias (Devon Sawa) the ultimate slacker who spends his days smoking dope, watching MTV (and the hot girl down the street, Molly, played by Jessica Alba) and mooching off his parents, but Anton discovers what can happen when you spend too long idle.


Anton’s hand has become possessed and has turned him into a murderer, two of his victims being his best friends Mick (Seth Green) and Pnub (Elden Henson) who return from the grave and decide to help him rid himself of his devil issue.

The first thing they do is suggest he visit local metalhead, Randy (Jack Noseworthy) who being a metalhead, you know, is obviously a devil worshipper to try and find a way to exorcise it. He suggests he keep his hands busy because as the saying goes, idle hands are the devil’s playground, but will it work or will Debbie (Vivica A. Fox), a woman from a sacred order sworn to destroy possessed hands, kill him?

The cast are a massive piece of how well this film plays, even though it is dated as hell. Alba is great as the rebel girl love interest, Henson and Green are just a wonderful comedy team and I wish they had done more together, Noseworthy reprises his ‘bully metalhead character’ he’s done several times and does so well and Sawa holds it all together brilliantly.

There is some absolutely prime bits of comedy from Sawa in this: not only is his ‘devil’ hand performed brilliantly, he also manages to squeeze out some sublime, almost unnoticeable bits of comedy that once you see, are just brilliant. A particular favourite of mine is the disgust on his face when he is woken by a particular song on his clock radio, but when he puts his Walkman on, the same song is playing and an expression of satisfaction washes over his face.

Speaking of music, 90s music fans take note: The Offspring appear at the school dance in this film so if you like them, you’ll get to hear a few tracks, and even better, if you DON’T like them… well, I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.


Idle Hands is a fun and funny film, with some great jokes!

Score: ****


Format: This Australian region B bluray of Idle Hands runs for approximately 92 minutes and is presented in a spectacularly sharp 1.85:1 image with a matching DTS-HD 5.1 audio track. The extras, however, are not as sharp.

Score: ****

Extras: A nice bunch of extras on this disc:

A director and cast commentary starring Rodman Flender, Seth Green and Elden Hensen. It’s a pretty entertaining commentary as the three of them are quite funny.

Deleted scene is just as the title suggests, a deleted scene, but it’s introduced and explained by the director and features the demise of the villain of the film. The ending in the film is far better.

Making of Featurette is a 6 minute mini about the making of the film… don’t expect and involved explanation on how to make a film’ it’s essentially a trailer with some behind the scenes stuff and a few interviews.

Theatrical Trailer, is just that, the trailer for the film.

Storyboard Comparisons feature split screen views of the film showing the storyboard sketches in one panel and the actually film in the other. I find these things interesting so I enjoyed this part of the special features.

Score: ***1/2

WISIA: It’s VERY 90s, but really funny and I’m glad to own it again.

Comic Review: Naruto Volume 1

NARUTO VOLUME 1

If you’ve read anything about me here at the To Watch Pile, you’ll know that I love my comics. I’ve been collecting for years and enjoy everything about them, but I insist that both the art and the story are of a decent standard.

It’s a medium that celebrates both and should do so.

Now I’ve mainly been a Marvel or DC guy, with a few dalliances into Dark Horse and some of the other smaller companies, including the mighty 2000AD and also for a while was grabbed some manga stuff, like the Akira collection, and now defunct company Eclipse used to do Robotech comics as well., and even occasionally, and for a reason opposite to my claim about liking both art and story, I’d get Shonen Jump comics just for the cool Japanese styled drawings.

Now I’ve not bought manga for years, but recently, due to an occupationally change, I have become in contact with HUGE anime and manga fans, and upon their say so I have decided to check some out. It just so happened, coincidently that the bookshop near my work started getting a pile of manga collections in: Sailor Moon, One Piece, Death Note, Attack on Titan, and this one, Naruto, which I decided to give a go.

Naruto tells of a neophyte ninja desperate to prove to a town that hates him that one day he will be the greatest ninja in the town, but first he has to graduate ‘ninja’ school and prove to all who despise him that he is greater than the evil force that’s living inside him.

This comics was published by Viz Media and as it is a manga, it does read from back cover to front, and each page from right to left.

Story: This first Volume of Naruto is all about setting up the story. It’s divided into 7 chapters which start at Naruto becoming accepted into the Ninja teachings and how he and two contemporaries, the serious Sasuke and dreamy, love-lorn Sakura start on their journey with their teacher Kakashi. This book also reveals the horrible secret that Naruto has hidden within.

The story is all about introductions and setting up but never becomes bogged down with them, and the story moves along a quite the clip. Writer/ artist Masashi Kishimoto has really given The main characters a variety of personalities, and they read nicely as completely different ‘types’ of people.

Score: ***1/2

Art: Madashi Kishimoto’s art is fantastic. It’s nice and simple and light and the characters are just ever so slightly cartoony, but not enough so it becomes a distraction, or do you ever not think they are ‘real’ people. The action is fast and furious and contemplative scenes are relaxed and understated.

Score: ****

WIRIA: I sure will: it’s totally cool! I’ve even already bought Volume 2!