Friday, 3 February 2017

Groundhog Day

What a great film.


Writer Danny Rubin has thought up such an utterly fantastic concept, that's fun, sad and unexpected. Weatherman Phil Conners visits the town of Punxsutawney to report their annual February 2nd 'Groundhog Day' tradition. He's a cynical, directionless man - until fate intervenes, and he's forced to relive this February 2nd over and over and over again.

Over the course of his repeated days Phil really goes through the motions - and actor Bill Murray captures each perfectly. He's sarcastic, sexy, downbeat, upbeat and the tragic hero. Coupled with some terrific writing, there's not a single scene in the whole thing that feels out of place. Everything fits in, and serves the overall story.

A standout scene happens towards the end, with Phil stumbling across an old homeless man. By this point, Phil is on a cycle of redemption - having decided that it's better to live selflessly than selfishly. But then, whilst helping him, the old man dies. Every time Phil revisits the man, he fails to save his life. It seems the old man's time is simply up. In the midst of a comedy, events here break your heart - and it's impossible not to love Groundhog Day all the more for it.

When the end comes, it's swift and without much fanfare the credits roll. Exiting the cinema it's impossible not to be caught up in Phil Conners' renewed vest for life. The over-riding message is life is better when you are doing something meaningful (whatever you decide that to be). Too often, we all live, simply drifting through it all. So, here at the end, is a nice reminder than it is possible to apply yourself, and learn. All journey home, you'll be smiling.

Groundhog Day played, appropriately enough, February 2nd at the Prince Charles Cinema.

***

January 2017 is over!

It's been a fantastic 31 days, with lots of writing and reading. A quick rundown of my month!

Writing

I'm roughly 14 pages into Ezra & His Human now, though I've paused to crack on with a couple of other projects, and will return to ASAP. It gives me time to think up a suitable conclusion.

I wrote two 22 page comics (Darkened Avenue 030 'Milk' and 031 'Justice')! That's an amazing feat. Unbelievably, I think they both turned out pretty damn well too. My brain is already thinking up the next two issues, to be written across February... and then more beyond that! It's good to be back to regular writing.

Reading


I read the second chapter of 2000AD's Brass Sun. Here, the story really clicks into place and has some great character moments. Writer Ian Edginton seems to have perfected his pocket-storytelling (5 pages per issue). I'm excited to read on and see how things conclude.


Meanwhile with my Dredd marathon I reached the notoriously great 'Apocalypse War' epic. What can I say? It's grim, but keeps you reading on, desperate to know how events will play out next. Carlos Ezquerra deserves special praise for drawing every single one of the 25 instalments. And do you know what? The quality never drops. He's amazing, and probably the definite Judge Dredd artist in my opinion.

Other comics I've read this month:

Sweet Tooth (Volumes 1 & 2)


Boy, this is a great read! I'm two volumes in, and love how writer/artist Jeff Lemire tells the story.

Scalped (Volume 2)


While I thought volume 1 was merely 'decent' this is better, using the comic medium well to tell a couple of jumbled up stories, that ultimately lead up to (and partially explain) the cliffhanger from the end of volume 1. I still don't think it's turned into something great (like I hoped it would) but if opportunity ever allows, I'd pick up the rest of the series run and see how events play out.

Jupiter's Circle (Volume 1)


Wow! This was great. Writer Mark Millar captures the 1950s/early 1960s extraordinarily well - and I actually enjoyed this more than the series it is a prequel to (Jupiter's Legacy). A big part of that is the artwork by Wilfredo Torres - look how pretty is it!

But to his credit, Millar does a great job telling three 2-issue stories (dealing with topics such as homosexuality, infidelity and what happens when a superhero suffers life changing injuries). It feels fresh, as if Millar is telling his own stories instead of copying from others.

Wild's End (Volume 1)


I wasn't too sure about this after issue 1... but it quickly turned into a right old page turner! The highlights include some great dialogue, that really captures the personality of the characters, as well as INJ Culbard's art (he drew Brass Sun too - and is quickly becoming a fave of mine). Just look at how he captures animals! I've met people like the cat on top right!


Frank Miller's Holy Terror


A man out of touch with the world writes about something he doesn't properly understand (Islam) - and gets it horribly wrong.

Starlight


Another fun Mark Millar read. Touching in parts, too. I highly recommend!

(And I have to highlight the art again - great job, Goran Parlov!)

Rachel Rising (Issues 1-5)


I'm working my way, one issue at a time, through the big thick omnibus of this. I've read the first handful of issues so far, and it's made quite an impact on me. It's one of those books that you look forward to picking up again, and uncovering what happens next. Writer and artist Terry Moore is amazing at what he does - and I think he's due some credit for the very real way he writes women, and empowers them.

Not many people have heard of this as it was independently published. If you happen to stumble upon the book - definitely pick it up! It's a mystery that unravels over many issues - and you'll have a blast discovering it all.
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