Male Objectification Monday: Tommy Helm

Ink Master is one of those shows I always seem to catch repeats of while I am on my lunch break. Somehow Ink Master Season One captured my attention briefly away from X-Files. Mostly because of this guy:

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And his rivalry with fellow contestant Shane O’neill. The two finalists hurled insults. The tore up each others work. They bragged and boasted, but they always could back it up. The rivalry between the two was unmatched by any other contestants. They argued like feuding siblings, but hardly found it worth fucking with the other contestants. Underneath the venomous words in their big talk they showed a lot of mutual respect.

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look at him, looking like a badass James Bond

And that’s true class.

For the Season 1 finale, there was a surprise client for him to tattoo. He got a beautiful blonde woman and he turned to her and said “Well, this is a pleasant surprise” with swagger and unparalleled confidence. He nailed the tattoo.

But Shane was dubbed the Ink Master with Tommy standing by his side in second place.

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And we’re talking about a contest where $100,000 dollars is on the line. Where fame and fortune are the prizes.

But when it came down to it he shook Shane’s hand and congratulated him.

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No whining, no bitterness, no excuses and no bullshit.

All class.

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check out http://artbytommy.com/ for his amazing work.

PS- He did win fame and fortune (although not the grand prize): he got his own show “Tattoo Nightmares” about covering up bad tattoos which has been going strong for 4 seasons.

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 

She-Hulk #4

She-Hulk is upset about the way her case went. She successfully argued that Von Doom’s son Kristoff should be granted asylum from Latveria only to have Von Doom swoop in (literally) and kidnap Kristoff. And to top it off, they were paid in Latverian francs which the bank considered “conflict currency” and confiscated it. No closer to being able to make the lease, Jen can’t decide if she should get back to work or confront Victor Von Doom. 

To help her choose, she asks fellow lawyer/superhero Daredevil.
They talk shop and then go on some superhero adventures. 

I know many people are not into Pulido’s art (and I get it, it’s kitchy), but it suits the series impeccably. This spread was outstanding:

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Let’s just face it.

She-Hulk does decide to head for Latveria, but instead of solving her problem with her big green fists she talks it out with Victor Von Doom and convinces him that he’s not raising his son as a leader, he’s raising him to bow down. Then she heads back to her office to recap with her assistant and investigator. She uncovers a case where She-Hulk herself is the defendant- along with a slew of other supes in a suit brought on by George Saywitz. 

I don’t know who that is. Or who Rufus Randall is. Just being honest before I research.

Review! IN THE DARK a Horror Anthology

Drawn from a wide range of inspirations, stories reminiscent of childhood campfire tales, or Lovecraft-esque, or teenage action influenced and featuring creepy kids, self-sacrifice, monster hunters, petty revenge or something more existential, good people going bad, and bad kids going good from the tampering of horrific entities. What if the reason that jerk always checks his phone so much is that he needs to know when he’s going to change into a horrific beast? Nothing is as it seems here IN THE DARK.

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Among my faves:

The Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley penned story Guilloteens a punk rock Buffy homage with a Scooby gang monsterhunters and on one night they find a house being used by were-wizards for nefarious reasons. Were-wizards. So cool. Cute characters and extra blood spatters made awesome by artist Christian Wildgoose.

All Things Through Me by Mike Oliveri, artist Mike Henderson follows the son of a fallen priest who can communicate with the dead and has a knack for possession on a house call in a small town and stumbles on something local law enforcement would rather he hadn’t.

When the Rain Comes by Steve Niles is a creepfest about repercussions of fearing what you don’t understand. Damien Worm’s super creepy art is killer here, cloudy scratches, scribbled silhouettes capture the essence of the mysterious creatures that come forth to a farmhouse after a flood.

The Body by Tim Seeley, art by Stephen Green, mixes urban violence with a supernatural avenger.

Final Meal by Christopher Sebela and Zack Soto makes me glad to be vegan after reading this eerie tale about feeling like a God on the top of the food chain following a sad character who can’t get enough of sucking life from between his teeth.

The One That Got Away, written by Scott Snyder (who, y’know, writes both metropolis and Gotham’s heroic dudes) plays off our expectations when a young boy is approached by a knife wielding character.

Brian Keene’s The Lost Valley of the Dead is set in a wild West zombie plague. Tadd Galusha brings it with well drawn zombie animals sporting dripping fangs and exposed ribs. In trying to escape the disease they find a hidden entrance to a world of dinosaurs ..things get even crazier when the T-Rex ingests the zombie coyotes. Zombie freaking dinosaurs.

Swan Song by Rachel Deering takes a break from the plethora of werewolves and features a gorgeous vampire and the dashing would be hero who unknowingly unleashes a monster.

Extra treats- faux vintage ads and page 185’s horror trivia crossword! I’m thinking about sending $3.25 to get my “Creature in a Crate”.

Whether you like your villains internal, supernatural or humanly homicidal and your main characters twisted, teenaged, tragic or triumphant and your settings futuristic, realistic or rustic IN THE DARK has something for you. If you didn’t get in on the ground floor for this one order one from your local comic shop, IDW is printing and shipping this rad compilation soon.

Harley Quinn #1

Harley Quinn #0 was so frigging awesome. One might think it would be tough to follow that up… and they’d be right.

Unfortunately the official first issue of Harleen Quinzel’s first book didn’t rock my socks off the way that issue 0 did. 

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Dr. Harley and her little furry friends leave Gotham and their exploded dumpster home behind and head for Brooklyn. She inherits her building as promised… but there is a catch, the tenants- including a Danzig look a like- are behind on their rent, she’ll need to collect and then make half a fortune herself as she tries to pay for the building. So she paints herself up human for a therapist job at a new-agey drug free clinic and joins the roller derby- All the while dodging assassination attempts. 

Newbie Chad Hardin’s art is detailed and suits both Harley and Brooklyn. However it seems as if even on the same page he can’t decide whether he’s going for Harley: playful scamp in a skimpy clown costume or stonecold icequeen sexpot. There’s nothing wrong with big boobs or skimpy clothes, but when facial expressions take the serious and sexy at random intervals and necklines and cupsizes change at random… I’m miffed.

I do have hope for this series yet. Harley is showing off her sensitive and independent side and we’re rooting for her to foil the assassins and their benefactor. Unfortunately, fans got a slow set up with this first issue.

Sleepy Hollow- Episode 7

We’re taken back to Boston for Paul Revere’s ride. The Hessian (with his head) shows up and starts decapitating those sending out the signal.

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Present day: Abbie explains bottled water. She’s hoarded some supplies in case they need to hunker down at the cabin if the Hessian comes back. Jenny’s out of the institution tonight, Morales tries to reconcile a friendship with Abbie. She agrees to go out for coffee with him the next day. Later on that night John Cho, shows up and confronts Luke Morales.

“Rumors of my demise have been… pretty much true.” 

He warns Abbie’s wanna be suitor to stay away from her. That there are forces in play he can’t begin to understand.

Ichabod attempts to meet up with the freemasons, hears signs of a struggle and finds them with their heads removed. The horseman is watching. The Chief arrives, CSIs in tow. Cult Ritual Suicide is the official story. Irving decides that there’s still no proof the horseman exists… umm… eye witness accounts? The missing heads everywhere?

Pages torn out a freemason’s book enrage Ichabod. No one’s gotten Ichabod proper clothes yet. Ichabod is taking this personally for the life he lost, the lives of his brothers, Abbie reminds us that her mentor, Corbin, was killed by the Horseman as well. Ichabod surmises that he attacked the freemasons in search for his skull. They decide that they must destroy the skull. Ichabod guilts Irving into helping them recover the skull, it’s been sent out to another lab. It’s also evidence.

Paul, they lab tech, is puzzled by the treatment the skull received.

“No signs of life. Yet… there it is.”

While looking for a box (for the skull), the Hessian arrives armed with an automatic weapon. Irving (played by the hilarious Orlando Jones) pulls off some matrix level stunts and tries to take out the Horseman. He narrowly escapes. Now a believer he confesses that he wanted it to be a lie. And still no one will believe them, the surveillance cameras cut out, destroying evidence of what happened at the lab.

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In the Freedom Tunnels IchAbbie try to smash, bash and explode the skull.

Paul Revere’s lanterns system (one if by land, two if by sea, you might have heard of it) 4 lanterns… what does that mean? 4 if by death? The lanterns are the heads of the freemasons, he lined the skulls with silver to reflect brighter and be seen further. Ichabod remembers seeing a heptagram, a devil’s trap, on a manuscript of enemy secrets back right before Paul Revere’s ride.

Abbie and Ichabod take to the history museum to find the manuscript. Ichabod takes over a children’s tour and sets straight the misconceptions that a commonly perpetuated about the Revolutionary War. Paul Revere discreetly informed others that the “regulars are coming” not the British, since they were all still British at the time (fact checked, real thing). Abbie excuses herself to call Morales and she is almost grabbed by Andy Brooks, she clocks him hard and dislocates his jaw. Andy sold his soul, but it’s the horseman who won’t let his service be over.

Ichabod accidentally discovers porn. “Paul Revere. You Rum Beggar.” In an connection that I don’t understand, he hid the password on the back of the teeth in the horseman’s skull and Ichabod finds it.

Andy gives Abbie tips on trapping Death rather than trying to destroy him.

“Is that the sheriff’s turncoat?”

Ichabod sends Andy with a message for the horseman, to meet at the cemetery at nightfall. Ichabod knows how to trap the horseman. In 1782 the masons included in the manuscript a way to trap the horseman. A witch must be summoned. Everyone immediately thinks of Katrina. But they don’t need witches, they have UV light (like in Thor 2 where a soul forge is a particle accelerator). Cicero is the password, btw, (which last episode was the code name of the traitor).

Ichabod and Abbie lament over their loneliness… but atleast they have each other.

But night is falling, so it’s time to lure the horseman to his death. They trick the horseman with fake skulls everywhere, Abbie lures him after her, faking helpless and Irving and Ichabod blast him with UV light. He’s successfully incapacitated.

This episode was great. The special effects were consistently awesome, from the scene with Orlando Jones where the Horseman is armed with an assault rifle, to the illuminated decapitated heads of the freemasons to the beyond awesome last scene. I like that Abbie and Ichabod are getting closer as friends… but on the negative: no Jenny OR John Noble this episode?! And why does Abbie hate tap water so much? Bottled water steals natural resources from impoverished areas, it’s shipped around wasting gas, causing pollution due to shipping and also the unnecessary plastic bottles. Plastic bottles can also introduce contaminates to the water inside as the plastics degrade.

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The Abbie/Morales situation is still up in the air and the previews for next week show more John Cho and Ichabod losing his cool while the Horseman is their prisoner. I’m glad Irving is on board now.

Agents of SHIELD- episode 6

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Fitz makes fun of Ward and makes Skye laugh. She’s been getting the cold shoulder and is trying to make amends with the team. The night-night pistol is off by an ounce. Simmons does a Ward impression, too. it’s not really that funny. 

They head off to the boy scout troop’s campsite that was hit by lightning. Is it superpowers? a new high-tech weapon? 

I would have gone with aliens.

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The man struck by lightning, the troop leader, was cleaner than clean. “He makes Captain America look like the Dude.”

Ward gives Skye some ‘tude and Coulson tells him to back-off. Fitz-Simmons track an electro magnetic signal that quickly disappears. Confronted with a locked door (that Agent May makes short work of, they find a dead body with a burn mark on his forehead suspended in mid air. He’s a volunteer firefighter just like the troop leader AND they both responded to the alien invasion in New York. The agents head to the firehouse.

Coulson is instantly suspicious of the sweaty and inquisitive Tony Diaz. The satellite picks up and electromagnetic reading at the firehouse and May finds the Chitauri helmet. Diaz took it as a souvenir. They cleaned it and it gave him an alien virus. Coulson orders the other agents to clear everyone out. Diaz figures he’s going to end up dead like his friends. Coulson asks if theres anyone he wants to call or anything he can do. 

May listens in as Coulson tells Diaz not to be afraid. He says he knows he died and that it was for more than 8 seconds. He says it was beautiful. All the metal objects in the room are floating and then in a flash  of light he is gone, too. Agents test negative for any electromagnetic anomalies. The helmet is going to “the Sandbox” a secret SHIELD facility. Coulson sets Fitz-Simmons to work on finding a cure incase it reaches any others.

I’m digging May’s character development. She exposes her concern and fondness for Coulson as the series continues.

Coulson looks in on Simmons and metal objects start floating as she gushes about the interesting way that the virus spreads. They’re over the Atlantic and unable to land. Simmons will eventually create a pulse that will crash them to their deaths in the middle of the ocean… or she will find a way.

Ward, struck with the possibility of losing a member of the team gets over his hard feelings towards Skye. Coulson is ordered to drop the infected material into the ocean. Fitz gets emotional over Simmons’s impending doom. They bicker over whether what they need is a vaccine or an anti-serum and then Fitz grabs the Chitauri helmet and runs into the lab, exposing himself to the virus. After 3 tries, Simmons resolves herself to death. Coulson says there’s still time. Fitz keeps working. 

Simmons, to save her friends, clubs Fitz with a fire extinguisher and jumps out the cargo hold. Excruciatingly, Fitz has just found that their last attempt was indeed successful. 

Ward jumps out after her, shoots her up with the anti-serum and pulls open his chute. 

They get chewed out by Coulson.

Ward does an impression of Simmons’s impression of him. 

Agents May and Coulson have a moment as Coulson explains that his physical comes back fine, he says he feels different. They suggest that may died, too, and that it has taken her long to even begin to get over it.

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Then, Fitz and Simmons have a sweet moment as Fitz tells her that he was ready to jump out of the plane but Ward got there first (“he couldn’t get the straps on”) but Simmons says that it was him who gave her hope not Ward …he’s her hero. D’awww….

With all the talk of crossovers I was really hoping that Thor would emerge from the clouds and save Simmons… but whatever. I like May’s emerging personality. Coulsons alive/robot/clone/LMD status is still not clearly resolved. Fitz-Simmons were cute and brave. I think I might be coming around to them.