Wednesday, 26 March 2014

PANELS TO FRAMES: THE END


It is with a heavy heart that I must bring my comic book movie column, PANELS TO FRAMES, to an end for the foreseeable future. Created for the sight LOST IN THE MULTIPLEX, the column has been continuing here since LITM was taken offline for some important maintenance several months ago.

I feel that the column has run its course, especially with its true home out of action for so long. Plus, there are so many other people doing the same thing that I'm not contributing a great deal of use with the column right now.

I wish the LITM crew all the best of luck for when the site returns to active duty. And a big thanks to everyone who read PANELS TO FRAMES throughout its run. I'll see you at the cinema.

Monday, 17 March 2014

VHS ATE MY BRAIN - NOW AVAILABLE WORLDWIDE VIA AMAZON

Following on from the news of VHS ATE MY BRAIN's limited run of signed and numbered paperbacks selling out, I figured I should really post about the standard paperback being available to order NOW from whichever version of Amazon you use! Released through Amazon/Createspace, the 6x9 matte-cover paperback of VHS ATE MY BRAIN is just the thing to quench your thirst for retro/trash/horror video nostalgia. So please do check it out if you haven't already.

VHS ATE MY BRAIN on Amazon UK

VHS ATE MY BRAIN on Amazon US

Or just visit your Amazon of choice!

Many thanks from your humbled and slightly shocked geek,
Andrew

VHS ATE MY BRAIN – LIMITED EDITION SOLD OUT!

Hey all – big news! The limited edition first run of VHS ATE MY BRAIN has now sold out! All outstanding orders will complete shipping this week. Thank you so much for checking the book out! The experience of putting it together and getting it out there has been an incredible thing to do.

I had no idea that there would be so much interest in such a niche title, so from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU to every single one of you. I am humbled, a little shocked and very tired. As I funded, signed and mailed all of them myself on top of the rest of my freelancing and a full-time day job, it's been a challenging experience which I won't forget.

I genuinely appreciate your interest in my little niche interest book on trashy old video tapes. Thank you so much.

If you missed out on the limited edition, then fear not – the standard edition book is OUT NOW WORLDWIDE via your local version of Amazon and the Kindle edition will follow shortly.

Friday, 14 March 2014

PANELS TO FRAMES: THE DC TV ONSLAUGHT BEGINS!


PANELS TO FRAMES: THE DC TV ONSLAUGHT BEGINS!

Now this is getting interesting. With official costume photos from WB's pilot for The Flash and NBC's pilot for Constantine surfacing alongside the official logo for the Gotham TV series, it seems that DC Comics (and of course, Vertigo too in the case of Constantine's Hellblazer roots) are finally getting their act together. In tandem with the ongoing popularity of Arrow, the DC screen universe is building nicely, which may well lead to aiding a full-blown DC cinematic universe a la Marvel's exemplary established mythos.

This is a really interesting development for comics properties, as the different approach (TV rather than films) may work even better in DC's favour. TV offers more content for viewers to latch on to, more screen time for comics properties that would need to build an audience in order to appeal to a moviegoing audience.

Plus, while Arrow takes some liberties with the Green Arrow characters and mythos (but nowhere near as many liberties as Smallville did), it seems that these three new additions to the line of DC related shows are moving closer to the source material which built the legends in the first place.

The suit for The Flash (played by Grant Gustin in a spin-off from Arrow) looks far closer to the real deal than I expected it to, and the buzz which is growing seems to be positive, so I hope the pilot capitalises on that positivity built up from his Arrow appearance and it goes further than just the pilot (remember the ill-fated contemporary Wonder Woman pilot?).

Gotham seems to be a bit of a no-brainer, but NBC's Constantine looks like a bit more of a gamble. The lousy Keanu Reeves headlined Constantine movie left a bad taste on our cinematic palate, and thus this TV version has its work cut out for it both in terms of winning people over and also bringing us something different, lest it turn out to just be another version of The Dresden Files.

The shot of Matt Ryan in Constantine's proper outfit (and trademark smirk) is a damn good start, though. Of course, Marvel are coming out with their own multi-series TV onslaught in the form of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and eventually The Defenders, but DC are beating them to it in terms of television heroes.

As much as I'm a Marvel guy through and through, I do have to concede that DC/WB are ahead in terms of quality TV material. I mean, I like some episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, but that show has been so inconsistent that I struggle to even look at it sometimes. These new DC TV properties look really promising, and hopefully bode well for more to come. Now if WB would just get on with it and tell us that the Man Of Steel sequel is actually a Justice League movie, then we can just get on with being ultra excited.

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Recent reading:

ROGUE TROOPER #1 – IDW PUBLISHING (8/10)
Fantastic new start for the classic 2000AD character. Back to basics!

TALES OF HONOR #1 – TOP COW (8/10)
David Weber's sic-fi heroine Honor Harrington arrives in comics. Brilliant, apart from the dialogue font...

THE WAKE #6 – VERTIGO (10/10)
The perfect jumping-on point. A fantastic concept and amazing execution.

X-MEN #11 – MARVEL (7/10)
A little slow, but the all-female X-men team still offer strong entertainment.

BLACK WIDOW #3 – MARVEL (7/10)
Great story, but I'm not convinced the art style works.

NEW WARRIORS #1 – MARVEL (2/10)
Five years since their last incarnation ended, here comes another comic which will be cancelled soon.

UNCANNY X-FORCE #17 – MARVEL (6/10)
Again, a fantastic script with inconsistent art. 

ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN VOL 3 – MARVEL (8/10)
My first taste of the stories featuring Miles Morales. A wonderful surprise.

X-FORCE – FINAL EXECUTION BOOK 1 - MARVEL (5/10)
Overly brutal nonsense. 

X-FORCE – FINAL EXECUTION BOOK 2 - MARVEL (6/10)
More brutal nonsense, but ended with some style.

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(Panels To Frames is my comic book movie column. Usually running over at Lost In The Multiplex, the column is currently running here while the LITM site is down for maintenance work)

Thursday, 6 March 2014

VHS ATE MY BRAIN – AVAILABLE TO ORDER NOW!

VHS ATE MY BRAIN, my 7th book, is finally available to order! It's taken longer to get this one out than my previous books due to some big life changes since the release of my last book, BAGGED AND BOARDED, but the wait is over and the book can finally be released.

Inspired by the HORROR VHS COLLECTORS UNITE Facebook group and collectors around the world, VHS ATE MY BRAIN is the chronicle of a life spent in front of too many bad movies on that much cherished and equally maligned dead format, along with a look a number of the films which shaped the era of cult video entertainment.

It's been a blast to write, and is a very personal book which devolves into my obsession with bad films and dusty old video tapes. It's my way of giving something back to a scene which has brought me so much pleasure in recent years.

The initial run of VHS ATE MY BRAIN is available as a limited edition signed and numbered 6x9 paperback, limited to just 100 copies. There are currently two ways you can get hold of them, with a third to follow very soon!


SIGNED AND NUMBERED PAPERBACK
Eighty copies of the signed and numbered paperback of VHS ATE MY BRAIN are available directly from the author – just visit the order page to get yours! The books are £6.99 plus postage in the UK and $10.99 plus postage for the rest of the world. Please allow 7 days for UK delivery and 14 days for overseas delivery (as the books are produced to order, shipped to the author and back out once signed). 

Visit the VHS ATE MY BRAIN order page!

BOOK/VHS/MAGAZINE BUNDLES 
Ten copies of VHS ATE MY BRAIN are available on eBay as bundles, each including a signed copy of the book along with a vintage VHS tape from the author's private archive and a rare VHS era cult film magazine. Each bundle auction starts at £9.99 plus postage. See the bundles on eBay UK!

DUAL-SIGNED PAPERBACK 
Ten copies of VHS ATE MY BRAIN will soon be available from the store of the US-based cover artist Josh Schafer (boss of the awesome LUNCHMEAT VHS FANZINE), signed by both author Andrew Hawnt (me!) and Josh! More news on this one very soon!

AND THEN…

The standard unsigned paperback and Kindle version of the book will be available via Amazon next month.

Note: All funds made from sales of VHS ATE MY BRAIN will go towards preparing for the arrival of my second child in August. Thanks so much for checking the book out. I hope you enjoy it.




Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Harold Ramis: Rest in peace, Egon


Harold Ramis was one of the architects of my childhood, one of the geniuses who co-wrote and starred in the perfection that was Ghostbusters. The humour and excitement of that film blew my mind as a kid and shaped my creativity in ways I didn't realise for many years.

As I grew up I discovered the other classics he was a part of, Stripes, Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Vacation, Groundhog Day and more. Whether behind the camera or in front of it, Ramis was a genius of timing and understated humour which never failed to entertain and inspire me.

News of him passing away due to a lengthy battle against a horrible illness came as a shock to a lot of people like me. I didn't even know about it. I guess that's a sign of the man he was – never someone who courted sensationalist attention.

The tributes are pouring in from across the world, many of them mentioning his Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day credits (which is understandable, especially in the case of the massively popular and influential Ghostbusters), but to remember him fully is also to remember he was a director, a talented actor, a father, a husband and a friend to many. Rest in peace, Mr. Ramis. Thank you for the gifts of entertainment you gave the world.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

PANELS TO FRAMES: SPIDEY TRAILER AND THREEQUEL, X-MEN CLIP, WINTER SOLDIER FALCON POSTER, DC TAKES OVER TV


PANELS TO FRAMES: SPIDEY TRAILER AND THREEQUEL, X-MEN CLIP, WINTER SOLDIER FALCON POSTER, DC TAKES OVER TV

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2: ACTUALLY LOOKING DECENT? 

I hated the look of the first Amazing Spider-man film and still to this day refuse to watch it. The Lizard shouldn't look like a Mario Bros Goombah. I just can't face watching that thing. However, as much as I ranted about this new entry, the new trailer (featuring the rise of Electro) is looking much better.

Sure, Rhino is a CG Transformer, the Green Goblin isn't very green or much like a Goblin (I hope he gets the hood at some point) and Electro still looks like a sex toy, but this trailer is showing glimpses of what appears to be a pretty strong superhero film with some genuinely decent Spidey character moments. Could I have been wrong? Possibly.

Mind you, the inevitable smackdown between Spidey, a dildo, a Dinobot and a Power Rangers villain is liable to bore me senseless/enrage me, but that's the old comics fart in me saying that. Get offa my yard, you young whippersnappers!


AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 3 CONFIRMED – DATE AND DIRECTOR TOO! 

Marc Webb will once again be returning for the third Amazing Spider-man movie, which is set for a release date of Jun 10th 2016. Here's hoping he's learned from the mistakes made by the uneven and villain-heavy Spider-Man 3 from 2007. Then again, with the formation of The Sinister Six in the second movie, probably not.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST CLIP 

A very, very brief clip of new X-Men: Days Of Future Past footage has been released and is being seen by some as an attempt to get some coverage in the wake of the debut of the epic trailer for the new GODZILLA. I love how this X-men movie is shaping up, but I'm starting to get a little concerned that it's way too overcrowded for its own good and may not hold the attention of the moviegoing masses. 

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – FALCON POSTER

The Falcon is looking badass in this new poster from the hotly-anticipated Captain America sequel. Everything I'm seeing about this flick is getting me more excited for it.

I loved the first Cap flick, but I'd be the first to admit it had its faults. Now the origin stuff is out of the way, we can get on with some proper stories, and I for one am excited to see how much this one delivers. 


DC TAKES OVER TV

While Marvel continues to dominate the big screen in terms of comic book movie output (until the much-debated Batman/Superman movie arrives), it's DC which is winning on TV. Marvel's patchy Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is okay but really inconsistent, however Warner/DC's ARROW is going from strength to strength in terms of quality and audience numbers from what everyone is saying. I may even grudgingly have to check it out.

I never got on with Smallville as it just never seemed to gel properly somehow, but Arrow sounds far stronger in terms of narrative and overall quality. Add to this the forthcoming GOTHAM and THE FLASH and it seems that DC is taking a different approach in building an audience for their screen properties.

It's interesting to see how things have worked differently for the Big Two's properties. A lot of DC's output has the potential to work really well as ongoing Tv series, while Marvel seems more suited to cinemas. How all of these series will play a part in the developing cinematic DCU is anyone's guess. Probably nowhere, but if there was some crossover with the films, then that would be a stroke of genius in terms of world building.

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(Panels To Frames is my comic book movie column. Usually running over at Lost In The Multiplex, the column is currently running here while the LITM site is down for maintenance work)

Friday, 21 February 2014

PANELS TO FRAMES: THE FANTASTIC… EH?


PANELS TO FRAMES: THE FANTASTIC… EH?

Fox have apparently cast their new version of The Fantastic Four, and as with any comic book movie casting news, the fans are polarized. Well, actually for the most part fans are outraged, but that's fans for you. We get outraged easily.

Not only is this new Fantastic Four very young, but Johnny Storm is now African-American and Ben Grimm/The Thing is... Billy Elliott. No, seriously. They've apparently cast Jamie Bell as Ben Grimm. It's okay, I don't really know how they thought of him either. Great actor, but for The Thing? nah. The rest of the cast consists of Miles Teller as Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, Kate Mara as Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman and Michael B. Jordan as the aforementioned Johnny Storm/Human Torch.

The young cast suggests to me yet another origin story. Sigh. Sigh again. Why can't we just have a FF movie where they're already established as heroes and not have to go through the same old getting used to abilities/becoming a proper team routine? There was a chance to break the mould a bit with a new take on The Fantastic Four, but if it's yet another origin story then I have even less interest in it than when this supposed casting news broke.

The previous Fantastic Four films, starring Ioan Gruffudd as Reed, Jessica Alba as Sue, Chris Evans as Johnny and Michael Chiklis as Ben, weren't perfect by a long way, but they were true to the spirit of the characters and were decent fun. Especially the second movie, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (aside from Galactus showing up as a giant space fart). Seriously, give that flick a second chance. Just hold some Kirby art over the screen when the big G shows up.

Anyway. This new one. As long as it still has a similar origin, Doctor Doom and suchlike then some semblance of the FF can be scavenged. If they go a completely different route to that which has been established and appreciated since the early 1960s, then audiences will wonder what all the fuss was about in the first place and shun the movie. Now if you'll excuse me I'll get back to reading flame wars about the cast.

Comic book resources have put up a poll about the casting (which has now apparently been confirmed). Cast your vote!


PANELS TO FRAMES is my comic movie column, which usually runs at Lost In The Multiplex. The column is running here right now as LITM is on hiatus due to much-needed maintenance.