Movie Review: Burke and Hare (2010)

This is a horror-comedy directed by John Landis (no one does this genre better) and starring Simon Pegg (who has found his forte in horror comedy, as well). It’s set in Victorian London, a setting that has found recent popularity again in the genre with NBC’s “Dracula”, Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful” …but this is more reminiscent of Sweeney Todd than any classic monster mash.

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Burke (Simon Pegg, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End, Fantastic Fear of Everything) and Hare (Andy Serkis, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) are two Irish immigrants living in London who can not find suitable work. They stumble on a profitable venture after trying to dispose of the corpse of another resident at their rooming house and they find that selling cadavers to a medical school could be quite profitable. Only, a good corpse is hard to find, and they become increasingly more desperate and ridiculous in their venture. Burke, for his part, isn’t that gung-ho about their scheme until he meets Ginny Hawkins (Isla Fisher) -a former sex worker looking for financial backing for an all women production of Macbeth.

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Burke becomes taken with her and their increasingly bizarre killing spree ramps up.

The find themselves in danger when the corpses become recognizable and the medical professor is confronted.

Some of this is based on a 16 victim killing spree in West Port in the 19th century, that much is true. The real story is much more macabre, Burke and Hare were found out and turned in by Burke’s lover, the duo found lure people in, get them drunk and suffocate them.

Slapstick murder, increasingly wild schemes and cover ups, naive lovers and neighbors, and a soundtrack and costuming that doesn’t try too hard at realism and atmosphere. It’s nearly perfect and I’m not sure why this film isn’t more popular.

That being said: all the women are side characters or motivation for the men. Not that they are quite 2-D… but they are not much more and there are virtually no PoC characters even in the background.

4/5

Extant- Episode 3

John comforts Molly with science after her miscarriage. He had already been working on an android and decides that they should raise the program. Molly, in her grief, volunteered to go into space. Molly is remembering all this while she lays in bed.

John wakes up and proposes that they throw Molly a birthday celebration since she missed her birthday in space.

Ethan is nervous about orientation. Molly is going for an invigorated run, her health monitors encourage her to slow down, she sees a spaceship blast off. Orientation doesn’t go so hot, There are angry villagers there who call Ethan “a toaster.” 

Molly tries to see Harman but he’s not there, he’s drawn weird circle patterns (like the one that appeared on Molly’s stomach) on the wall. Sam is disappointed that Molly still hasn’t told John about the pregnancy. She says some version of, “the timing isn’t right.” 

At the party Sam takes Molly’s blood (which is weird). Molly’s dress is fantastic.

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Then Molly collapses and sees herself in space with Marcus. A bit later, John’s lab tech tries to flirt and insert herself into their family structure, but John pays no mind. Marcus’s brother arrives at the party, and Molly has a misunderstanding when he says that he sees Marcus everywhere.

The power goes out. John finds something moving in a box and finds it’s a chicken that Ethan caught earlier. Ethan doesn’t understand what things need food or water. John says, “no more birds and no more secrets.” That prompts Ethan to say that “mom says secrets are okay if you don’t want someone to worry.” John confronts Molly. Then she confesses.

Sparks said that the ISE implanted something in her without her consent. Which is gross and weird. 

As the party wraps up Molly looks for Tim (Marcus’s brother) to say goodbye. Her husband keeps saying that he is not there. She remembers him next to her in a group photo, which is on a screen… but there’s a empty space next to her. SO YOU ARE TELLING ME: THAT NO ONE STOOD NEXT TO HALLE AT HER OWN DAMN BIRTHDAY PARTY?! John tries to calm her but she says she’s losing it, she insists she saw Tim there, saw him talking to other people. The secrets all come out and she manically recounts her hallucinations. She goes off with Sparks because Sam will be there and something bad is happening and she trusts Sam.

Sam tries to go to her office but is held up by security, she sneaks around and shee’s that they are taking her files. Knowing they can’t be trusted she tries to call Molly, she gets John, expresses concern and then texts Molly to get out of the car. 

Molly goes for might over cunning. I thought she would fake morning sickness for sure. Anyway, Molly grabs the wheel, the car swerves and she gets out and runs as we see weird circles protruding on her torso. John is behind them and picks her up.

This show is getting serious. So much craziness, and what could ISE be up to? Halle Berry is just so phenomenal. Her/Molly’s meltdown after discovering the truth about Tim was astonishingly painful to watch. She has no idea who to trust and those she trusts are in danger… with still no clue as to why. And the plot doesn’t center around Ethan. And for Molly the baby she is carrying isn’t even the main focus., she wants to know why she has been betrayed, not gushing over possibilities. 

Which is good, because it’s majorly sick that they implanted something in her against her will and caused her to have abnormal brain scans and jeopardized her physical and mental well being as well as her family life and career ENTIRELY. 

Is Harlan real? 

I hate that Julie is being written as a romantic rival for Molly. I enjoy that John entertains none of it (and that he is supportive of Molly even when dealing with insane situations). Julie being flirty toward John and catty towards Molly her behavior makes it seem as though she is infringing on thei parenting and inserting herself into their family situation. But rather Ethan is her life’s work, too. Not just John’s.It would be nice if she was portrayed as John’s colleague and not a potential hook up.

Comic-book Catch up #4

Featuring Ms Marvel #3, Tomb Raider #3, Lazarus #8

Ms Marvel #3

Kamala Khan is experiencing the backlash from sneaking out. Her parents are upset, she’s still upset with Bruno. Bruno has his own mayhem happening, his brother asks him to steal from his register at the convenience store. Zoe is getting all the attention for getting saved while Kamala tries to get a grip on her powers and ends up in hiding even though she’s the hero in this story. She’s worrying she’s outgrowing her life “like a pair of pants that no longer fit” and in the next moment she’s confronting both teenage drama and an armed robber head on. G Willow Wilson writes teenage well, and she provides insight to the way that Kamala’s culture separates her from others in Jersey City, but also how it bonds her with her friends. She questions authority but is realistically insecure and charming. 

Tomb Raider #3

We’re treated to a bit more backstory on the hard hitting Reyes. In Dublin, her daughter is in imminent danger from the Solarii cult. They want the artifact Lara stole. Only, she still doesn’t remember it. She tries to lie, but the cult members don’t buy it. Suddenly, someone takes aim and shoots the gangsters and Lara breaks a glass over someone’s head. Meanwhile, Sam is in trouble. Lara and Reyes make a break for it, with the men in hot pursuit, Reyes and her daughter split from Lara (I love when characters don’t all orbit the main protagonist, btw. So Reyes calling Lara out on being the cause of this, on being bad luck. Worthwhile). Lara clubs a goon with the a busker’s guitar and grabs his gun. Reyes’ daughter says she was too mean to Lara. Lara finds out that Sam has been taken and throws down, but one goon sneaks up on her- she averts disaster but causing a soccer riot. But the goons just keep coming. Luckily, Reyes shows her daughter what it means to be loyal and double backs for Lara, with a “Don’t thank me, it was Miss Manners here.” And Lara declares they’ll go back to Yamatai to stop this and save Sam.

Sam Nishimura has the best answering machine message of all time. “I’m either off shooting an award winning documentary or passed out drunk. You know what to do.”

Lazarus #8

The first 5 were amazing, a new series with so much promise. One with a female lead (and still more females with their own agendas) that creates a world that is bleak, violent and corporate. One of all out class warfare. How could I not be in love? But the momentum has slowed, flashbacks to Forever’s childhood bog down the series instead of advance it. Currently, Forever is looking for and IED while the Barretts are looking to go get jobs with the Carlyles, they’re headed for Denver. Them and everyone else. Like pioneers travelling to a new frontier, to their last ditch effort: the road is hard. Worse when Forever finds that Denver is the target of this attack. But her father refuses to cancel the lift. Forever is in a race to stop the plot in the final pages. but it won’t be resolved til next month. 

V Wars #1

This is written by Jonathan Maberry. I have also read (some) of the book by the same name, in truth, it didn’t really capture my attention. I think partially this was due to the fact that the book switches between characters/settings in a way that actually works in comics but kind of sucks in long books. By the time you figure out what’s up with the actor, you’re back with some bikers and no one has ever met. But I chose to try this out because I enjoyed a couple of Maberry’s short stories (one from Apple for the Creature which I read in June of last year, when I used to read books all the time). 

Starts off with a different line up than the book. We begin with a man, a college professor who’s written academic books on vampirism, restraining a young girl vampire (who is his daughter) who has recently turned into a vampire -everyone carries the Ice virus and has potential to be a vampire. Conrad’s ex-wife and son are killed, his daughter is a vampire. He throws himself into his work, but as the President addresses the US, saying that vampires and humans can work together. That speciesism is just another form of discrimination. Only, it’s not. Because unlike real oppressed groups, vampires are actually dangerous. And they prove it by taking out the Speaker of the House. Not with fangs, but with a bullet.

Vampires and Vampire sympathizers quickly become an enemy. Vampires are ferocious, and have declared themselves the top of the food chain, but there are less of them. But if anyone can change at any time…

Human vs Vampire, a murder investigation, science and politics. Off to a well enough start.

Art by Alan Robinson is pretty gruesome, eyeballs fall out, broken teeth, buckets of blood. Colors (Jay Fotos) are muted and dark, back grounds stark, the sun might still shine there; by it does nothing to lighten the mood. It suits it well.

I had a chance to read over #0 that was given out on Free Comic Book Day, that one referenced the wannabe actor/barista from the novel, it was a great tie in for the source material and new series. 

I don’t know how to feel about the Ice virus causing vampirism. With the seeming political slant in the comics it reminds me of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy where all humans are carriers for a zombie virus that can amplify at anytime. They are very different in how this relates to political entities. 

Tomb Raider #1

I always like origin stories. There’s always that point where the character needs to choose what they’re going to do with themselves. The same story could make you the villain, could make you vengeful distrustful, hard and cold; it could make you catatonic; or, it could make you something bigger, something better. 

This picks up where the videogame reboot did. When Lara Croft, driven in pursuit of adventure, for academic reasons and to solve a mystery, things go bad. Real bad. They try to find the island of Yamatai. But the ship sinks, people die. For 21 year old Lara Croft, that’s too much. When she’s called by another of the trip’s survivors, Jonah, he starts ranting that they have to break the circle and the stole gold before a tidal wave overtakes the desert and leaves her stranded. After all they went through, they haven’t really escaped.

I don’t really know exactly what I am doing with this series, I haven’t played Tomb Raider since Tomb Raider: Legend for GameCube.

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Also, all the promos I’ve seen for the new game reminds me of Katniss Everdeen. This comic book reminds me of Katniss Everdeen. Which is not a bad thing, per se. Also, I know I’m wrong and people are actually going to show up and tell me that I’m an asshat for comparing Tomb Raider with the Hunger Games, but I don’t even care. Bring it.

This picks up where the new game left off, so your enjoyment will increase with your appreciation of that game. I’ll give whatever Gail Simone is doing a fair shot, when I saw this issue was titled Survivor’s Guilt! I instantly thought of Annisia from Red Sonja, and how survivor’s guilt made her the bad guy. Who we become under duress isn’t a calculated choice, if this is to fill the gap in between the new reboot and a possible sequel, I wanna see how LC grows up.