31st Jul2014

‘The Last Horror Movie’ Review

by Mark Allen

Starring: Kevin Howarth, Mark Stevenson, Antonia Beamish | Written by James Handel | Directed by Julian Richards Found footage horror films are usually a tough trick to pull off well. Not only do they require realistic performances and events so that audiences are (at least partly) convinced that what they’re seeing is real enough for the length of the […]

28th Feb2014

‘Nymphomaniac Volumes I & II’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Stacy Martin, Shia Labeouf, Christian Slater, Willem Dafoe, Uma Thurman, Mia Goth | Written and directed by Lars von Trier How long was the last film you went to see? How long do you think you were in the cinema, ticket-buying, ad-consuming and actual movie-watching all accounted for? Probably somewhere between 2 […]

28th Nov2013

Thought Bubble 2013 Field Report

by Mark Allen

Over for another year, this weekend’s Thought Bubble was the biggest in its short history, and it definitely felt it. While I didn’t attend every panel or get every signature that I wanted to, my days were still jam-packed with awkward fan-worship of idolised writers, wonderful small press discoveries and comfortable reprieves in the plush […]

22nd Nov2013

Mark’s guide to Thought Bubble 2013

by Mark Allen

Well, it’s upon us once again, and not a moment too soon: the superlative annual comic convention Thought Bubble is back as part of both the Leeds International Film Festival and Comic Art Festival, with a signing tour currently wending its way across Britain and the main events happening this weekend at the Royal Armouries. And, […]

12th Nov2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: ‘F.Z.Z.T.’

by Mark Allen

Written by Paul Zbyszewski | Directed by Vincent Misiano | Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen After five decidedly hit-and-miss episodes and a week off the air, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has come back with “F.Z.Z.T.”, possibly the strongest and definitely the most emotionally engaging entry to the series so far, though reminders of the limitations of bringing the […]

28th Oct2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: ‘The Girl in the Flower Dress’

by Mark Allen

Written by Brent Fletcher | Directed by Jesse Bochco | Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen This week’s episode sees a welcome and significant progression in the season’s main arc, a superpower plot more in keeping with the MCU and a couple of decent steps forward in some characters’ development. ‘The Girl in the Flower Dress’ may […]

23rd Oct2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: ‘Eye-Spy’

by Mark Allen

Written by Jeffrey Bell | Directed by Roxann Dawson | Created by Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen This is the stuff I’ve been waiting for: the batshit-crazy superspy technology and straight-laced insanity that was promised at the end of the pilot with Lola, Coulson’s flying car, taking off into the camera and causing mass fanboy hysteria/incredulous guffaws (depends […]

22nd Oct2013

‘Numbercruncher #4′ Review

by Mark Allen

Written by Si Spurrier | Drawn by PJ Holden | Coloured by Jordie Bellaire | Published by Titan Comics Often when you read a comic with a skyscraper-high concept the conclusion doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the rest of the book, mainly because the creators were so excited about the ideas they’d chucked at the wall that they neglected […]

16th Oct2013

In Defence of the Reboot #2 – Surprise!

by Mark Allen

A couple of weeks ago, Marvel sent out a preview for Wolverine and the X-Men #37, which showed a variant cover and interior pages that showed a strangely dressed Quentin Quire. It didn’t take much (or any) detective work to figure out that the Phoenix Force was making its return to the Marvel U (well, it […]

12th Oct2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: ‘The Asset’

by Mark Allen

Ethically sketchy split-second decisions. A morally compromised but uncompromising, fearless leader. Young, vulnerable women turning out to be not so vulnerable. Yep, it’s starting to look like a Whedon show all right, and while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might not quite be firing on all cylinders just yet, its third episode takes a huge step in […]

09th Oct2013

Panel Discussion #23 with Jack and Mark

by Mark Allen

This post is a little outdated, and that’s entirely due to my faffing around and taking far too long to read emails, so don’t blame Jack. Er, sorry. – M Jack I’ve recently been catching up with The Wake, Scott Snyder’s fishy tale on DC’s Vertigo label, illustrated by Sean Murphy, now on its fourth […]

07th Oct2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Recap: “0-8-4″

by Mark Allen

One of the hardest things to tell with big-budget shows that categorically need to be successful is how much of each episode is what was originally intended by the authors and how much is network notes. In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D‘s – sorry, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D‘s second episode, in which much of the action happens […]

03rd Oct2013

Bluewater Comics: Review Round-up Vol. 2

by Mark Allen

Bucking the trend for this glut of Bluewater books, Vincent Price: Museum of the Macabre #2 is actually a pretty solid comic and manages to make sense by virtue of being a self-contained horror story. Concerning a gravedigger who has to keep re-burying corpses due to a mischievous lost soul, the story has a welcome air of Lovecraftian doom […]

02nd Oct2013

Bluewater Comics: Review Round-Up Vol.1

by Mark Allen

An assortment of comics from a publisher I haven’t previously been aware of can be a promising sign occasionally. The rest of the time there’s usually a pretty good reason I didn’t know they existed. Fame: Neil Gaiman is an illustrated biography of Gaiman, fantasy writer and easily-googleable man. It’s hard to picture exactly why this […]

28th Sep2013

Some thoughts on the ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ pilot

by Mark Allen

I’m going to try not to be too biased here, but I guess it’s kind of telling that my favourite moment from the first episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D was when Shepherd Book was on screen for all of ten seconds. Yeah, this show’s definitely for the fanboy in me. I’ve always been a fan of […]

25th Sep2013

In Defence Of The Reboot #1 – Spin-Off Central

by Mark Allen

Some of you remember my short-lived, irregular column ‘In Defence Of The Reboot’ from those halcyon days when this fair site went by the name of Blogomatic 3000. In it I would dicuss sequels, remakes, reimaginings of beloved franchises and generally things that were apt to raise fanboy ire. No? Doesn’t ring a bell? Well, […]

20th Sep2013

‘Numbercruncher #3′ Review

by Mark Allen

Written by Si Spurrier | Drawn by PJ Holden | Colours by Jordie Bellaire | Published by Titan Books Last we saw, Bastard Zane was in a bit of a bind; not only had mathematician Thyme screwed him out of early retirement from his duties as an afterlife enforcer, but he’d also conned his way into perpetual reincarnation, meaning that he could […]

17th Sep2013

Damon Lindelof returns to TV with HBO’s ‘The Leftovers’

by Mark Allen

Last night Damon Lindelof, co-creator/showrunner of Lost and much-maligned screenwriter of sci-fi movies that really got your goat, tweeted a link to a Deadline article reporting that his new HBO series The Leftovers had just been picked up for a 10-episode season: In his follow-up to Lost, Damon Lindelof has received a 10-episode series pickup by HBO for drama pilot The Leftovers,which was directed […]

05th Sep2013

Panel Discussion #020 with Mark, not Jack

by Mark Allen

28th August It’s a week of almost-beginnings and not-quite endings: Angel and Faith #25 ends one half of Buffy‘s Season Nine by wrapping up the climactic action within the first few pages and shakes up the status quo enough for Season Ten to arrive feeling relatively fresh. Gage and Isaac’s work over the past couple years has been excellent, […]

30th Aug2013

Panel Discussion #019 with Mark, not Jack

by Mark Allen

21st August X-Men #4, Brian Wood, David Lopez, Marvel Comics Artist David Lopez fills in on this one-shot issue that sees Logan driving Jubilee and her new baby Shogo on a nostalgic tour around her native Los Angeles while Storm and the rest of her team attempt to rescue a falling plane, finding some time to […]

30th Aug2013

5 Depressingly plausible ways Elysium is a prequel to Wall-E

by Mark Allen

How do you get from Matt Damon playing a hispanic dude in an exo-suit to a nostalgic little tin can who just wants to know what love is? The answer, my friends, is a ton of spoilers for Elysium. 1. The World’s A Mess Even before Elysium begins, we’ve screwed up planet Earth good and proper. […]

27th Aug2013

‘Extraction’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Sasha Roiz, Jenny Mollen, Dominic Bogart, Sara Tomko, Richard Riehle | Written and Directed by Nir Paniry Tom (Sasha Roiz) is trapped inside someone else’s memories. After creating a machine that enables the user to observe a person’s recollections from the inside, he makes a miscalculation and ends up separating mind from body, existing […]

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