Movie Review- Devoured (2014)

This film follows Lourdes, a woman who moves to New York to make money to provide for her son to have a life -saving operation. She winds up working the night shift cleaning a bar/restaurant and setting up for the next day. Throughout the film Lourdes is aggressively harassed by her male boss, snubbed by her female boss, propositioned for sex by skeevy customers. She toils endlessly and is victimized for her hard work. She had next to no social life, she dresses poorly. It accurately portrays what a bind Lourdes is in, she is unable to quit her job because it’s her last chance to save her son. Aside from the horrors of wage-slavery and the class struggle, Lourdes begins seeing dead people. Dead men pop up from behind fish tanks, dead women emerge from trash bags in the alley, Lourdes pulls out a tooth and spits a geyser of blood, something tries to pull her through a locker or trap her in the bar. But still she returns every day.

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The pacing of this movie is excruciatingly slow. As Lourdes walks the restaurant there are bizarre scenes of elaborate meal preparation in a way that is reminiscent of the opening theme of “Dexter”. We watch as tables are set. Again. The audience is forced to see these repetitive scenes, fitting since this is all Lourdes’s life consists of except for her phone calls home to her mother and son. 

The majority of the film is more depressing drama than horror. But after the mood is set, there are some true shocks and creeps. It’s wonderfully directed by Greg Olliver (whose other works are rockstar documentaries) who sets the mood well, orchestrates jump out of your seat moments and leaves the audience guessing til the end. It’s a slow burn, but there is no denying it is well done. (However, this is not an ending that’s never been done in horror either.) Olliver gets us into Lourdes’s mind state and will leave you wondering if her bosses are evil, if the place is haunted or if she is just losing her freaking mind!

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Marta Milans from ABC’s “Killer Women” stars as Lourdes, she is fantastic. She completely pulled off every aspect of this role and made this film relatable. Even through the depressing slog that was the first half of the movie, Marta Milans brings life to Lourdes and never allows the audience to forget why she is there and what is at stake for her.

That being said, this title doesn’t fit at all. I hear “Devoured” and I think “vampires, ghouls, shit that will eat you” and there’s really none of that. I feel like that’s why there were all those shots of the food, because people eat food and the movie was named “Devoured” for absolutely no reason and they tried to make it work. Or it was to throw the audience off of the cause of the horror. I don’t know. But it doesn’t make sense.

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3.25 out of 5 

V-Wars #2

This cover:

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I hate it. It looks like a cheesy direct to DVD horror flick. It took me forever to “see” that vamp in the corner left so it appeared to me at first that the woman in the center had her hand down lipring vampire’s pants. Who ok’d this?

A reporter is held hostage by vampires, they’re saying that she doesn’t care about the truth, that she just reads lines. He tells her that vampires aren’t getting due process, that they’re Americans too. He thinks that someone is diverting attention on purpose. He throws around stats proving that humans are more violent.He wants her to tell their side of the story. Yuki Nitobe has to decide whether or not to be their spokesperson. She’s released and calls Luthor (the man from issue 1 who was an expert on vamps, his family turned) . She confesses that she doesn’t like the ratings queen that she has become.

The next day Yuki meets with a vampire named Kyra who has been badly tortured by humans. This scenario happens all the time, “We are the new minority. People are afraid of us and they hate that they are afraid.” That would be reasonable except for that vampires are dangerous and bloodthirsty. Not Kyra, Kyra is a quaker and abstains from violence even as she is being beaten and raped. 

The go to The Red House: a church/cult for vampires to worship and form community.

The black vampire who looks mostly human uses the phrase “One that, like me, can pass” Holy fucking shite with this appropriated garbage. 

Yuki and Martyn go to stop a terrorist plot. Luthor is also there along with homeland security. But when they arrive, it’s not criminals or terrorists, just an abandoned dwelling full of squatters and vagrants, but homeland security open fire while Yuki and Martyn watch in horror. The news reports it as if Homeland busted a volatile terror cell, except for Yuki who asks viewers to question what evidence or weapons they had to show. It nearly costs her her job, but she has a solid contract and great lawyers. Kyra thanks her, but then they are attacked at the Red House. The whole plays explodes. “No one saw anything.” 

She and Luthor drink their problems away and then she goes back on air and proclaims that she is always on the side of truth and she will make sure that the responsible party -no matter who they are- is dragged into the light.

The Movement #12

The final issue. I’m heart broken. This was a consistently good series with unique characters and nods to the rest of DC Comics, Gail Simone’s other titles and Coral City’s sister city Gotham. 

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Freddie Williams II has always provided art that well suits the feel of this title, but it’s above and beyond when we’re treated to a 2 page spread of Virtue’s ultimate dream for “The Movement”: Virtue and crew are fighting side by side with Justice League bigwigs. Mouse vs. Cheetah, Katharsis sword fighting against Deadpool, Virtue throwing down against Sinestro. It’s gorgeous and really showcases all that Channel M’s hacktivists could have accomplished. I’m so bummed. Virtue thought they could be big like the JLA, but with a twist, they could show people that empathy was as important as strength, that anyone could be a hero, “But then I remembered that I live here. In the ‘tweens. And they were never going to ask us to join a club that lives on mount Olympus.” 

24 hours ago (after a “we’ve come so far” montage where Burden cracks a joke and Mouse finds a new woman to like) Mr. Cannon infiltrates the sweatshop. He tells them that his son is the Cornea Killer. And that he needs to be stopped. The Movement confronts them and offers him an easy way. Come quietly and he’ll go to the police… if not, “the ‘tweens gets some of its blood back.” The Cornea Killer does not comply. In a twist, Cannon has Whitt on back up to take out The Movement. 

The Cornea Killer sacrifices himself in front of Whitt’s bullet to save his father. But it’s too soon, Vengeance Moth takes out Whitt before anyone dies. We get Holly’s whole backstory as told to Captain Meers and it all ends on a note of hope instead of death or disbanding. 

Gail Simone did a wonderful job wrapping everything up, I hope to see Virtue make a comeback somewhere in Gotham. I enjoyed the DIY nature of the heroes in this book, they’re a resourceful bunch, I’m sure they’ll pop back up somewhere. I hope. I’m really sad to see this one go. It’s one of the only DC series that I read and the only I actually consistently enjoy. I think this could have gotten a better start is it wasn’t billed with the Green Team. That one didn’t appeal to me and I think there was a huge misconception that you had to read BOTH; so people missed out. 

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. 

Lazarus #7

Lazarus has consistently been one of my favorite series. I love dystopians. I love female leads. i love the “what ifs” of impossibly stratified classes and corporate wealth that elevates families into royalty… and dumps everyone else into poverty so extreme that there’s no escape. It’s impressive… and yeah, it’s depressing. 

The review for last issue is here.

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So I’m a huge fan and we’re getting into some meat now. The Barrets, an impoverished Midwestern family who recently lost everything in a flood is travelling to Denver for “the Lift” they are hoping to get jobs working for the Carlyles …but so are alot of people, so many that they clog up the highway as they make their way on horseback. They are attacked in the night and their daughter, Leigh, is killed and the father is shot.  

Forever is interrogating the woman who ‘distracted’ the guards so that her friends could steal materials to make a bomb. She doesn’t care about threats of prison or torture. But Johanna offers her something different.. a better life. A make over, higher social status, acting classes, a job. Is it an offer to good to refuse?

We also get another glimpse into Forever’s training with Marisol. I think Forever kills her. It’s so heavy. Greg Rucka is stopping my heart with this one. Next issue Forever will be at “the Lift” and since she’s becoming more aware of the atrocities both inside and outside of her family I expect her to get into a lot of trouble. But her training tells her that if her family needs someone dead… she must abide. Will she sympathize with the “waste” or will she stay true to the Carlyles? 

The faux advertisement for Morray cellular service on the back page is a nice touch. Corporate empires = global take over. It’s terrifying and awesome. 

Comicbook Catch-up Extravaganza! Numero Dos!

Featuring Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash #5, Lazarus #6, Ms. Marvel #1

Army of Darkness vs Hack/Slash #5

I’ve really enjoyed this series. Despite the chronic late release of the issues it really maintained momentum for me because I loved LOVED seeing Ash and Cassie play off of eachother. The 2 badasses breaking heads with their unconventional weapons, enemies and friends from each series. Fun. Good. This one flew in the frigging face of all of that. The end of last issue featured their hook-up. Cassie’s in a committed relationship with Margaret- so one of two things spring to mind for me: 1) she’s trying to confuse Ash or 2) the writer is a shallow idiot who thinks bisexuals are all sluts. Either way she’s deceitful. 

The duo get to Ancient Greece, turns out Britt the cult leader went back in time and met with Akakios who was an alchemist and “created the principals that the cult followed” and icing on the cherry hate cake? He killed Cassie’s old partner Vlad. They throw a wild party in Ancient Greece to attract Akakios and his cult and deadites and they burn ’em to a crisp. Cassie goes berserker and beelines for Akakios himself, “Changing the past is bad” Ash says, Cassie KO’s him and he knows he’s been played. But not only did she play Ash…she played Margaret. To “Bring back the only thing she ever loved. Vlad.” 

WHAT THEE FUCK?

Thankfully, issue 6 is the last. Because fuck all that shit. Ash and Cassie are now enemies at odds for possession of the Necronomicon.

Ms. Marvel #1

Kamala Khan, teenage supe, writer of Avengers fanfic, shapeshifter and Muslim. Her family is varying degrees of assimilating and she just wants to be a “regular teen” like her classmates and go to parties. So she sneaks out to a party with boys and booze on the waterfront. Her BFF Bruno tries to get her out of there, and she’s all “MYOB” and storms off.. then a crazy for starts to permeate the area. Kamala Khan gets KO’d and has a drugged out dream about the Avengers, and her homegirl, Captain Marvel. And she wishes, “I want to be beautiful and awesome and butt kicking and less complicated. I want to be you.” And Carol Danvers says, “All right, kid. As fate would have it, you’re about to get the kind of total reboot most people only dream about.”

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Epic debut. Kudos to G. Willow Wilson for calling out concern trolls and stereotypes. So pumped to find out what’s up with the fog, or what’s up with Captain Marvel being her fairy godmother. I repurposed that photo from Jeremy Roberts’s deviantart. http://jprart.deviantart.com/art/All-New-Ms-Marvel-412376037

Lazarus #6

Flashback again, to mini-Forever doing pushups on her thumbs and conjugating Latin verbs, she’s taking her training with Marisol too far.

In the present she wakes up to an alarm, takes her regimen and then she receives the text again. “He is not your father, this is not your family.” Joanna is still sporting a black eye and playing innocent. Flash to Montana, we see the family whose home was destroyed. The cost to rebuild will have them taxed out for the foreseeable future. Back in LA, a woman propositions the guards in exchange for food and others break in and set up a device to hack the keypad. They steal canisters of acetylene. Forever catches them in the act, but she directs her wrath at the guards taking advantage of a hungry woman. Forever asks her where the others have taken the canisters. And the Barrets leave Montana for Denver in hopes that their children can work for the Carlyles. Will this play an integral role? Will they start an uprising? Will Forever discover what’s really happening outside of her family? So many questions. 

Rucka has built this insane world. It’s bleak, it’s dark… and sadly, it’s very very real. Carlyles have infinite wealth and resources and meanwhile we see families giving up all they’ve got, their time, their dignity, their land, their children, they sell themselves out. It’s very blood and guts, but no major revelations this issue.

Lazarus #5

I said this in my review for #4

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I HATE this cover. Forever is a child with her head so big. Stiff arms + no action + zero background art… OMG WHY?! Forever and her Lazurus crush had blown up, fought their way through armed mercenaries. She just found out that her “family” has been lying to her!

But inside “Lift: Part One” it’s all explained. We are back in time. Forever is a child trying to earn her sword and the title of her family’s protector. Her father visits her and she is forced to fight the adult badass Marisol. Forever loses, she is not fit to wear the sword. 

In the present day: Forever apologizes to a woman whose father she executed… takes a cell phone call while she does it. Forever heads to the Mississippi River. She’s after Jonah. SHe also thinks Jonah beat up Joanna. 

Jonah appears to have crossed the Mississippi River… into Bittner and Hock’s territory. Bitterner and Hock lost land and resources in a real war between the 1% itself. Forever antagonizes the other side and in response gets called, “Sweetheart”, “bitch” and receives a rape threat. The trifecta.

Worse when one of them shoots her in the back. Bittner and Hock’s men execute the offending soldier… the only way to avoid war between families.

A family in Montana begs the regional administrator for protection against the flooding. Their about to lose all they have but their “Government” won’t help them. 

In South Central Los Angeles, the devious Joanna plays nice with Forever while organizing workers to get the water and sewage running. They’ve narrowly averted a Cholera epidemic. Joanna is, presenting herself as doing the right thing. Earning back the trust of their… err… her father. 

That family in Montana… they lose everything.

Forever is no closer to knowing who she is.

Really a sad start… since this is a part one, I will stay excited. Excited to see more of Forever’s past, Joanna’s master plan and if the Carlyle’s who seek to exploit the oppressed will be taken down!

The world created here is monumental… while this issue didn’t thrill me, I’m sure it’s setting up to something rad. The disconnect between Forever and the “waste” population. Between Forever and her own siblings who treat espionage, war and profits as their right. Rival families bitter over not the way humans are treated but how much money and resources they are entitled to.

For those of you not sold on monthly issues, waiting for the trade: there’s always extras, timelines, fan letters, columns by Rucka on weirdly real science.

This month’s was on lab grown brains: which you can read about here:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/37262/title/Lab-Grown-Model-Brains/

Next month- LIFT: part two