Monthly Archives: April 2014

Rust and Bone

Rust-and-Bone-PosterBrutal Romanticism

‘If we continue, we have to do it right.’

Jacques Audiard’s unflinching melodrama is an exploration of how physical nature can render emotion – how they collide…and how often one cannot survive without the other. Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead) plays Alain, a single parent who attempts to look after his young boy after setting up a new life with his sister and her husband. This is a man who is more brawn than brains and his physicality lands him a number of roles that lead to a series of actions as the story unfolds. After he takes on his first job as a bouncer he meets Stéphanie, played by Marion Cotillard; who, once again, reminds us of her depth and versatility as she takes us through the pain and gradual rehabilitation of an amputee.

Their chance encounter reveals her distractions that lead to a horrific accident during her day job as an Orca trainer. At first we think she is dependent on him but as her will power increases and the relationship develops, it is clear that they are dependent on each other. Where there is strength there is weakness. Where there is tenderness there is brute force. Where there is tranquility…there is rage. This is the story of how an emotionally handicapped man relates to a physically handicapped woman – one who insults and destroys everything and anyone around him, while the she rebuilds her life. Using Alain’s lack of sympathy to her advantage, his disconnection helps her deal with the situation in a positive way – a subtle, yet complex approach to any modern love story. As Audiard builds each scene with broad strokes, as much as he focuses on the details, he is constantly aware of the juxtaposed nature of the story that builds towards a heart-stopping conclusion. Rust and Bone may be gritty and unconventional for most, but there is no doubt that it delivers unrivalled passion at every level.

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The Conflict of Captain America – Part IV

After Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting laying the groundwork in The Winter Soldier, Marvel's Civil War event would signal The Death of Captain America and follow Bucky's conflicted version of the Sentinel of Liberty.

After Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting laying the groundwork in The Winter Soldier, Marvel’s Civil War event would signal The Death of Captain America and follow Bucky’s conflicted version of the Sentinel of Liberty.

Paranoia

‘They’re right. We’re not fighting for the people anymore, Falcon… Look at us. We’re just fighting.’ Civil War, Mark Millar

Inline with the new millennium, the adjustment from sixty years in suspended animation would now bear more weight and relevance for Captain America. Through the eyes of a born leader, we would begin to witness how one man catches up with the rest of the world and acknowledge the truth that some wars can never be fought – post 9/11having given birth to more complex and socially relevant stories.

Despite their acute mythology and fantastical origins, writers now sought an angle that would expose weakness and conflict in these characters in an effort to make them more human. With the introduction of the Superhuman Registration Act in Mark Millar’s Civil War crossover event signalling a major turning point for Captain America, his refusal to sign sets a major tide in motion. Branded a traitor, Rogers becomes a fugitive and with those few who follow him he comes in to direct conflict with Tony Stark.

In the aftermath of the conflict he hands himself over to the authorities when his battle with Iron Man destroys both his faith in society and himself. It is here, in Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s run on Captain America that the seeds are planted in their first arc, The Winter Soldier; leading towards one of the most finely crafted series of the past decade.

‘What I found is that all the really hard-core left-wing fans want Cap to be standing out on and giving speeches on the street corner against the George W. Bush administration, and all the really right-wing fans all want him to be over in the streets of Baghdad, punching out Saddam Hussein’ Ed Brubaker

Pitched as an espionage thriller, Brubaker delivers what is primarily James ‘Bucky’ Barnes story in the wake of Steve Rogers’ assassination. What follows is the complex nature of how a man who has been used as a weapon against the United States, by the Soviet Union, is able to carry the Shield and become the patriotic symbol that Rogers’ unrivalled, untainted soul originally represented. Bucky’s Captain America is the antithesis of the United States at conflict with themselves; an individual who fits the ‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ tag – a brainwashed individual who serves a faceless enemy. The difference here in Brubaker’s reinvention of Captain America’s sidekick is the exploration of the antihero in true, western fashion. After all, isn’t this also part of American mythology?

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Having lost his arm during WWII, Captain America’s sidekick, Bucky Barnes, is presumed dead. Recovering his body the Russians craft a bionic arm and brainwash him in to becoming the Winter Soldier.

Inevitably, Rogers return in issue #600 signalled his own miniseries with Steve Rogers: Super Soldier before wielding his Shield, while Bucky’s alter ego, The Winter Soldier is recruited to hunt down other brainwashed assassins he trained during his days during the Cold War.

In 2014’s entry in to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo’s sequel, Captain America: The Winter Soldier delivers a finely crafted espionage thriller based on Brubaker and Epting’s original reinvention of the characters. Already considered, by many, the strongest Marvel film to date, Chris Evan’s stoic portrayal of Steve Rogers explores, in full detail, the problems he faces when the organisation he works for stop at nothing to protect their nation.

‘He is one of us, and he represents the best in all of us. Because he represents an ideal, his popularity has never faded out entirely, even when comic books have struggled to survive. With the world today — more dangerous even than it was back in World War II – people need that ideal more than ever. That’s why it’s the perfect time for him to be more popular than ever. We need him.’ Joe Simon

For me, as with the real heroes of WWII, Captain America represents the very best of his generation – a man who lives by a strict moral code who fought a common evil in order for us all to live in a better world. People are easy to dismiss such ‘boy scouts’ as dull and predictable, but for all his original propaganda and patriotic nature; for most, Steve Rogers is a fictional Grandfather and perhaps the only reminder of our greatest generation. Captain America is an honest hero – a man who knows right from wrong even if it questions his own identity and has been reborn at the right time to deliver a more universal message. Whether life has improved since WWII is debatable, but one thing is for sure – if any superhero can be the platform to explore the conflict and ramifications of a modern world, it’s Captain America.

The Conflict of Captain America – Part III

The Conflict of Captain America – Part II

The Conflict of Captain America – Part I

The Conflict of Captain America – Introduction

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The Conflict of Captain America – Part III

The Avengers #4 marked the first appearance of Captain America in the Silver Age, written by Stan Lee and brought back to life by his own co-creator, Jack Kirby.

The Avengers #4 marked the first appearance of Captain America in the Silver Age, written by Stan Lee and brought back to life by his own co-creator, Jack Kirby.

Man out of Time

‘Even then, everyone had the sense that this was the character who could knock out Superman’ Jack Kirby

With their imminent involvement in World War II, the United States government enlist the frail art student, Steve Rogers transforming him, through the use of an experimental serum, in to a man at the peak of physical perfection. Armed with an indestructible shield and wearing a costume based on the American flag, Rogers with his sidekick Bucky fought the Nazis and Japanese in their efforts to thwart the dominant forces and act as a moral boost to troops during the conflict.

Despite the character’s popularity during WWII, after the war sales began to decline. With no more need for a fictional character, superheroes’ popularity had begun to diminish. With Captain America’s origins so intrinsically linked to the war, it seemed he had already served his purpose. Heralding the first true ‘Death of Captain America’ his decline in popularity led to his cancellation in 1950. Aside from a brief revival in 1953, (later defined as different alter egos of Cap and Bucky) it wasn’t until he was revived in March, 1964 with the release of the fourth issue of The Avengers, that he returned in full force. By now comics had entered the Silver Age with the success of Timely’s transition in to Marvel Comics.

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Steve Englebert and Sal Buscema’s run on Captain America and The Falcon became one of Marvel Comics most successful titles of the period.

With the assassination of President Kennedy and the United States decision to enter the Vietnam War, retrieving Steve Rogers from suspended animation seemed an appropriate plot point to add as a nod to former glory. The defrosted Sentinel of Liberty was now a ‘man out of time’ who struggled to adjust to modern society – an internal conflict that added an interesting angle and dynamic to the already dysfunctional family group of The Avengers. It was the defrosted Steve Rogers who would become the conflicted figurehead of the nation – where now, the patriotism he represented two decades later, represented different notions of what it meant to be an American. As the Vietnam War raged on, by the end of the 60s and in to the early 70s, Nixon’s presidency coupled with the tales of ‘baby killing’ soldiers, rape and pillaging of the Vietcong brought in to question the American flag.

Steve Englehart, a conscientious objector at the time, was honourably discharged from the Army just a few years prior to his legendary stint as a writer for Captain America. In the early 70’s, he had the unenviable task of making the character relevant during the anti war protests and Watergate scandal. ‘The audience was not particularly in favour of a guy wearing a flag on his chest under those circumstances.’ In response, Englebert developed an extended storyline following Steve Rogers’ profound disillusionment in his home country. Abandoning his identity as Captain America, Rogers took on the mantle of a new superhero called Nomad, where he refocused his purpose as ‘the defender of America’s ideas, not necessarily its government.’

Although rooted in sci-fi, Remender and Romita Jr’s homage to Kirby is interspersed with flashbacks to Roger’s own childhood as we witness the abuse of his mother at the hands of his drunken father. A pivotal moment that has formed a crucial part of Rogers character.

‘Because, and you listen close, Steven…you ALWAYS stand up.’ Although rooted in sci-fi, Remender and Romita Jr.’s Kirby homage is interspersed with flashbacks to Roger’s own childhood as we witness a pivotal moment that has formed a crucial part of Rogers character.

As Captain America entered the 21st century Marvel began to reimagine their Universe through the Ultimate imprint; wiping the slate clean from past continuities and bringing the characters more inline with contemporary society. Although the Ultimate line has been relaunched again since, it was during its first incarnation that the writer Mark Millar (Wanted, Kick-Ass) took Steve Rogers back to his roots and help redefine what made Captain America such an important and pivotal character.

Following up on Ed Brubaker’s groundbreaking run (Part IV), the first of arc of the current Marvel Now series from writer Rick Remender was a welcome nod to the original pulp material that inspired Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. With John Romita Jr at the helm as penciler, Klaus Janson’s inks and Dean White on colours, Castaway in Dimension Z found Steve Rogers stranded for a decade in Arnim Zola’s twisted world. Rather than deliver another espionage tale, Remender’s story is more Flash Gordon than Jason Bourne, pitting Captain America against the twisted machinations of Zola’s forces while he raises one of his enemy’s own. Having adjusted to the world we know, Steve Rogers is now forced to adapt to a more alien environment in his attempts to escape his captor.

To be continued in The Conflict of Captain America – Part IV

The Conflict of Captain America – Part II

The Conflict of Captain America – Part I

The Conflict of Captain America – Introduction

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The Conflict of Captain America – Part II

Rushed to press during the surrounding outcry of WWII, Captain America #1 was a direct response to the conflict. A brazen cover image that delivered it's message 'loud and clear'.

Rushed to press during the surrounding outcry of WWII, Captain America #1 was a direct response to the conflict. A brazen cover image that delivered it’s message ‘loud and clear’. The first issue was also the debut of Captain America’s sidekick, James ‘Bucky’ Buchanan Barnes, who would go on to be defined further through the modern era in Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s Winter Soldier storyline.

Stars and Stripes

‘Captain America was created to be the ultimate representative of what it means to be an American.’ Joe Simon

Pearl Harbour, December 1941. Emperor Hirohito’s Imperial Japanese Navy unleashes a surprise attack on the United States’ Naval base in a strategic attempt to expand their reach over the Pacific. Admiral, Isoroku Yamamoto, who led the attack, was quoted as saying,‘I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.’

With Europe struggling to hold back Hitler’s Nazi regime, it was clear that the powers that this common threat was to have a cataclysmic impact on the world. With these major conflicts, each political power armed their forces and fought hard – most for survival, while the threatening dictatorship of the Nazis sought world domination. Since Hitler’s insidious rise to power during the early 30s, having gained the respect of his people through rebuilding an entire nation, Germany’s firepower and the might of the military grew. With the control his people his poisonous views and seed of destruction grew ominously throughout the rest of Europe.

The War on Europe had raged for two years before the attack on Pearl Harbour and the news of Nazi Germany was wide spread. Despite no involvement from the United States at this stage, on  home soil Martin Goodman’s imprint of Timely Publications, Timely Comics, presented the superhero, Captain America. Co-created by writer Joe Simon and legendary comic book artist, Jack Kirby, the character was consciously based on their own political views and although the US had not entered the conflict, the creators were more than explicit in the depiction, as the heroic Captain America punched Adolf Hitler in the jaw. Bold and unapologetic in its message, this was satire only the US could illustrate through their patriotic nature from the safety of their own shores.

After the huge success of Action Comics #1 and the introduction of the seminal character, Superman the birth of the superhero had become a major part of American culture. Defining the Golden Age of comics further, both DC and Timely set out to produce more inspiring stories, at first influenced directly by the pulp stories and serials, such as Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers and then the mounting fear that their own country may be heading to war. ‘Writing super hero comics,’ Simon recalled, ‘we were always looking for that great villain. It was becoming hard to think of a better villain than Adolf Hitler.’ It only seemed a natural reaction at the time for Simon and Kirby to create a hero who could punch the Führer in the face. With children on the streets already playing soldiers with pretend guns at pretend Hitlers, it only made sense to justify the character further by targeting both child and adult alike. There was both a spiritual and economic sense to it all that added to the success of the character, which led to the unprecedented gamble of offering the Captain America his own title.

The Shield  appeared in Pep Comics #1 from the MLJ company and was a precursor to Captain America. One of the first superheroes with a costume based upon United States patriotic iconography. The character was later integrated in to the DC Universe.

The Shield appeared in Pep Comics #1 from the MLJ company and was a precursor to Captain America. One of the first superheroes with a costume based upon United States patriotic iconography, the character was later integrated in to the DC Universe. Joe Simon’s original design of Captain America’s shield was too close to MLJ’s character and from issue #2 onwards, Kirby had redesigned the more iconic circular shield the Captain has carried ever since.

The launch of Captain America #1 was not only a success based on his response to the current zeitgeist but also to the legendary comic book artist, Jack Kirby who, after Timely evolved in to Marvel Comics during the start of the 60s, would also help create most of their superheroes during the birth of the Silver Age. Kirby’s solid inks and sense of scale and drama burst effortlessly from the panel borders and was a refreshing visual experience in the medium – a unique style that helped his co-creation stand head and shoulders above similar, patriotic attempts, such as the Shield that proceeded Captain America a year earlier.

Although the cover date was March 1941, the first issue was on sale a year prior to the United States’ decision to enter WWII. Suddenly, despite their best intentions, comic books and their characters were irrelevant in the context of a major conflict and those who were deemed ‘real heroes’ were the obvious, valid news stories. With a positive response in most readers, there were those who objected through hate mail and organised groups who protested outside Timely Publications’ offices. It would take the Mayor of New York’s support to quell the negative press and encourage further publication.

Despite particular upset and strong views that were expressed about the character, if there was ever a moment for a patriotic superhero then this was the time. Nine days after the first issue hit the newsstands, President Roosevelt told the United States of America that war was imminent and that America must be, ‘…the great arsenal of democracy’.

To be continued in The Conflict of Captain America – Part III

The Conflict of Captain America – Part I

The Conflict of Captain America – Introduction

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The Conflict of Captain America – Part I

J. M. Flagg's 1917 poster was based on the original British Lord Kitchener poster from 1914. Used to recruit soldiers for both World War I and World War II, the concept of Uncle Sam can be traced back as far as the War of Independence in 1812.

J. M. Flagg’s 1917 poster was based on the original British Lord Kitchener poster from 1914. Used to recruit soldiers for both World War I and World War II, the concept of Uncle Sam can be traced back as far as the War of Independence in 1812.

Points of View

‘Patriotism is an instant reaction that fades away when the war starts.’ Mick Jagger

For the European Enlightenment thinkers of the 18th Century, group dedication and the notion of civic virtue conflicted with the loyalty of the Church where they criticised what they believed were the excesses of patriotism. In 1774, the English writer, Samuel Johnson published The Patriot, a critique of what he viewed as false patriotism, stating, ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.’ Although the quote is ambiguous in nature, it is believed that Johnson was in fact attacking the false use of the term ‘patriotism’ by his contemporaries of the time and continued to promote in favour of what he considered ‘true’ patriotism.

There have been many political leaders who have promoted their own ideals and, indeed, fought to gain control over the masses through social conditioning in an attempt to impart their own personal views and behaviours in an attempt to support a state’s decisions and actions. It has often been debated that the devotion to one’s cause, specifically the attachment to your country of origin, is intrinsically linked to nationalism. Karl Marx’s famous words, ‘The working men have no country’ cemented that those who benefitted through capitalism would segregate the class systems further. The ideals of nationalism have become a heated cause for debate; since the Marxists had taken their own various stances concerning patriotism in an effort to promote a socialist world commonwealth, hence the conflicts between capitalist and communist states during the 20th Century.

It could be considered that the patriotic perspective is distinct from other forms of attachment such as a religious standpoint or romantic partner, as the desire for interpersonal attachment and the need to belong is a fundamental motivation in human nature. When studying this more closely, from both a political and social view, there are two main perspectives on the basis for nationalism. One is the primordialist – a reflection on the evolution of humans to organise in to distinct groups based on an affinity of birth. The second is the modernist perspective that requires the structural conditions of a modern society in order to survive.

In today’s modern world, multinationality in a single state has often delivered controversial views on defining what would constitute a nation, which has led to many different strands of nationalism. Therefore, the relevance of patriotism is put in to question more than ever – whether it can truly be accepted as a belief that citizenship in a state should be limited to one identity, ethnic, cultural or religious group. There will always be a minority, whether it is Karl Marx’s worker or racial creed and the adoption of national identity, in terms of historical development, is the result of a response by influential groups unsatisfied with traditional identities. This is due to those inconsistencies between their defined social circumstances often resulting in a particular society reinterpreting their identity by removing elements deemed unacceptable in order to create a more unified community. These developments and responses are more than often the result of internal structural issues or the result of resentment by an existing group towards other communities, especially foreign powers that are deemed to be in control of them.

Despite its complex nature, national personification has never been more prominent in politics through the use of commercial art – a visual approach to distil and represent an entire nation through the use of one, concise image. Predating an Orwellian society, this echo of Big Brother would become a significant part of the cultural landscape, synonymous with what it mean to belong to a particular society. From the famous image of Lord Kitchener’s ‘Your Country Needs You’, to Uncle Sam; the influence of these particular campaigns have drawn nations together, divided societies and sent thousands to their deaths. There is no doubt that the potency of these characters and what they stand for convey a strong message and are an obvious precursor to the birth of the superhero as propaganda tool.

To be continued in The Conflict of Captain America – Part II

The Conflict of Captain America – Introduction

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The Conflict of Captain America – Introduction

Captain_America_Alex_Ross

Captain America, Alex Ross

Role Models

Keep flying, son. And watch that potty mouth!’ Captain America, Civil War #1

The image of Captain America has stood bold and bright in the public consciousness for over seventy years but until the more recent success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Steve Rogers has never quite connected with a modern audience and perhaps less so with anyone outside the United States. It could be argued that the patriotic heritage has been a thorn in the character’s side – stars and stripes emblazoned across his uniform, his Shield a symbol of protection – he is no Dark Knight, instead the living symbol of liberty and the pursuit of the American Dream, which, in terms of visual appearance can boarder on high camp. Until the release of Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), the costume had never really been explored and it is during the film that the contrast between star-spangled tights and functional fatigues helped to deliver a believable interpretation of the character.

From the birth of the blockbuster to the onslaught and domination of comic book related movies of the past decade, the impact of the superhero has never been more potent and influential on popular culture. Gone are the days when comic books were uncool. Since Marvel’s Iron Man hit the big screen in 2008, what were considered second-rate characters have now become first rate; giving birth to an intricate and hugely successful series of interwoven storylines that has helped build one of the most ambitious events in the history of film.

America, the powerhouse nation that has strived to build its own mythology from the remnants of the Wild West, has always struggled with its history and sense of identity. During the Industrial Revolution the birth of the revolver and subsequent Gold Rush only intensified conflict between individuals who sort control and possession over their plots of land. Some would say a natural human instinct, such prosperous times and the promise of a ‘New World’ had become the foundations of the American Dream. America had eventually sort independence, divided itself in two and eventually built the Skyscraper watching their cities grow towards the sky as iconic landmarks. A nation of great wealth and power, America’s influence upon western society was unrivalled.

Comic book culture was born in America. The US format had never really been imported during the Silver Age of the 1960s and therefore had no real impact or social significance on British culture at the time. Hardly taken seriously in their country of origin, superheroes had no real place in the UK and would take another twenty years before they arrived on spinner racks and then gravitated to specialist shops. Although the British weeklies were enough to satisfy your appetite, during the 1980s it was hit or miss finding the next issue of a US monthly title.

From my own point of view, Captain America had no impact on me growing up. The only Marvel characters I was familiar with at an early age were Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk and this was mainly due to their own television series that aired in the late 70s.

Brought up in the UK and educated by a family of Aircraft Engineers, both my Father and maternal Grandfather had the irreplaceable skillset and knowledge informed by a more pragmatic approach to their life. Both were Fathers without fathers and had taught themselves and although there were stories of adventure from their childhood, both generations had grown up fast and left their fantasies behind. My Grandfather in particular fleetingly showed an interest in commercial art before serving his apprenticeship, entering the R.A.F. at sixteen and embarking on a twenty-seven year career as an Engineer and then a Technical Author for Rolls Royce. Like my Father, the information they both dealt with was hard and tangible facts that kept everything in motion. In some ways they would have related more to Tony Stark’s affinity for all things mechanical than Steve Rogers’ US patriotism – from both their points of view it has always been rather difficult to witness the American stereotype of winning WWII all by themselves.

Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun’s Charley’s War was a meticulously researched account of British soldier, Charley Bourne who, underage, enlists to fight in the trenches. Mills and Colquhoun provided an extremely frank portrayal of the horrors of war and an unforgettable account of the conflict for adult and child alike.

Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun’s Charley’s War was a meticulously researched account of British soldier, Charley Bourne who, underage, enlists to fight in the trenches. Mills and Colquhoun provided an extremely frank portrayal of the horrors of war and an unforgettable account of the conflict for adult and child alike.

Although I have very fond memories of my family’s history lessons, I was an escapist at heart…the fantasist of the family – an only child who was constantly looking for a fix to distract me and spark my own imagination. Comic books were very important to me and in the early years I was attracted to what I recognised from those history lessons and immediate influences – the War Stories, most of which were published in Commando and the British weekly, Battle. Not only did it provide wonderful realism in the shape of Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun’s Charley’s War but eventually the introduction of the more commercial G.I. Joe, branded in the UK as Action Force.In retrospect, with the impact of merchandising and the insidious nature of advertising, it is very easy to see where the interest in superheroes took hold. In my early years I showed very little interest in patriotic characters having now graduated to Batman and The Punisher, and The Uncanny X-Men – the perfect diet for my adolescence. I didn’t care for symbolism at thirteen. All that was important reading comics was the story and the character’s relevance to me. Captain America was no Batman, not even Superman – there needed to be a voice that spoke to the individual instead of a particular society.

Unlike the more universal appeal of Superman, Captain America has survived more as a national hero and it has taken the modern age of comics to help reinvent the way he is portrayed through life, death and rebirth. In a post 9/11 world many important questions were brought to light based on controversial views and conspiracy theories. Despite specific views, most of us would like to think we are united in the belief that terrorism is a war we can’t fight and that real heroes represent something far too complex to summarise in this essay. The world is both the same but different to the outbreak of WWII and it is this same conflict that Steve Rogers has had to contend with as writers have used the current paranoia to fuel intelligent, meaningful stories based on political and social commentary. For once, Captain America has had more to say than ever yet still struggles with the very same problems that some people find in the character. With this in mind, what kind of man should be allowed to wield the shield?

The Conflict of Captain America – Part I

The Conflict of Captain America – Part II

The Conflict of Captain America – Part III

The Conflict of Captain America – Part IV

https://richontheshelf.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/the-conflict-of-captain-america-part-iv/

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Dredd Sequel

1493277_428402610629542_1525079928_nJudgement Call

‘Ma-Ma’s not the law, I Am The Law!’

There were a number of mistakes made in marketing Judge Dredd’s second transition to the big screen, namely the decision to focus so much on the 3D aspect and distribution of any 2D version of the film. Dredd was a high quality, balls to the wall homage to 1980s action movies as much as it was to its original source; water tight in its execution and focus of character it deserved far better treatment in its delivery to its target audience and the respect of its film makers. Karl Urban has recently delivered the message below – please sign the petition and keep your fingers crossed.

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Broken Bells: After the Disco

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A Supergroup Returns

Broken Bells’ second album, After the Disco showcases the intricate beats and articulate, electronic compositions that owes as much to Jeff Lynne and Supertramp as the more obvious nods to 80s synth and prominent indie roots. Both Jeff Mercer of The Shins and Brian Burton, otherwise known as the prolific music producer, Danger Mouse, have managed to craft an album that evokes a unique sense of balance between pop and poetry. A more upbeat outing from their self-titled debut album, their latest entry delivers on every level from the progressive, Kraftwerked opening track, Perfect World to the wonderful Holding on for Life’s catchy, Bee Gees vibe. With a heady mix of 80s revival and indie vibe, Broken Bells deliver on many levels reprising a mellow duet of melodies produced to the level you would expect from Burton’s experience via Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz and The Black Keys.

You can check out Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) and Kate Mara (House of Cards) in the wonderful retro video to Holding on For Life below.

 

 

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