Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Comic Book Review: "5 Ronin"

I have been a devoted comic book collector for years and very rarely has a Marvel title brought so much enthusiasm, not since last years limited series return of "Deathlok". I have been very disappointed in Marvel with their supposed "epic" story lines which have so completely destroyed anything that resembles anything of the Marvel Universe we know. The constant deaths, resurrections (i.e. Captain America), reboots (i.e. "Wolverine", "X-Men") and don't get me started on the whole "Ultimates" thing... Every once in a while there is a breath of fresh air and creativity that distracts us from the Marvel norm with the occasional original limited series or independent title.
This Spring, Marvel Comics has published a 5-issue mini-series entitled "5 Ronin", in the same vein as the recent "Marvel Noir" titles. "5 Ronin" combines my two favorite things: Marvel Superheroes and Japanese Samurai! Each issue of "5 Ronin" features a specific Marvel character as they would appear in 17th Century Medieval Japan including: Wolverine, Hulk, Punisher, Psylocke and Deadpool.
The series is written by Peter Milligan, a British writer who's comics works include "2000 A.D." "Shade: The Changing Man" , Marvel's "X-Force" and "X-Statix". Each issue features amazing artwork by five different artists including Tomm Coker (Wolverine), Dalibor Talajić (Hulk), Laurence Campbell (Punisher), Goran Parlov (Psylocke) and Leandro Fernandez (Deadpool). The story is set around the year 1600 following the legendary battle at Sekigahara and centers around a legendary Ronin (masterless Samurai) who can not die or rather, will not stay dead (Wolverine)! The Ronin is seeking revenge for the one who betrayed him and his brothers and along the way runs into other uinque warriors who possess strange abilities and strengths. The main influence for these stories come from Wolverine as it is known his character spent much time in Japan and learned the ways of the Samurai. "5 Ronin" is an amazing story told in an epic style with impressive artwork from several talented comic artists. Although the series is only in a 5-issue mini-series, hopefully it will spawn a more lengthy series in the near future as we hope to see more of these fantastic characters! Also, look for alternate cover artwork for each issue by the same talented artists!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


PAUL is THE ultimate geek movie of all time since Fanboys (2008)! Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have become one of the most popular British comedy duo's since their international fame in the BBC TV series Spaced (1999) and movies such as Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). Simon Pegg has also achieved some success in American movies since he played the new Scotty in Star Trek (2009). PAUL is the story of two friends/geeks: Graeme Willy (Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Frost) who've traveled to the U.S. to see San Diego Comic-Con and tour the most infamous UFO hot spots like Area 51 and Roswell, New Mexico! Along the way they encounter a stranded, extra-terrestrial named simply Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen), who just happens to be a rude, foul-mouthed pot-smoking, lazy, slacker! Reluctantly, they agree to help Paul find his way home but along the way run into trouble with dangerous Men-In-Black agents, redneck hunters and bible-pumping trailer-trash!
This movie has so many pop-culture elements that appeal to both the comic-book/sci-fi loving nerds (like myself) and those who love the typical bathroom/pot humor buddy comedies. (It's amazing how those two sub-genres go together sometimes?) And that's where Seth Rogen comes in, who's no stranger to voice work from his parts in "family-friendly" Dreamwork's pictures such as Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) and Kung Fu Panda (2008) to appearing in more "adult"-related comedies like Pineapple Express (2008), Zack and Miri (2008) and Knocked Up (2007). And I use the word "adult" very loosely as most of his characters seem like the same pot-smoking looser, but he has apparently become one of the biggest stars right now since his role in The Green Hornet (2011). Although I found it to be a very campy treatment to an otherwise serious story similar to the travesty of Jim Carrey's The Mask (1994)!
Although I love Simon Pegg and Nick Frost it seemed inevitable that director Greg Mottola (Adventureland (2009), & Superbad (2007) would put these two together. Surprisingly, with Paul, I found myself wanting MORE Pegg and Frost and LESS Rogen! Despite being a computer-generated character, likened to the Grays from The X-Files to very reminiscent of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, Rogen steals the show with his incredibly realistic and highly detailed character. It seems ironic that one of THE most sophisticated computer-generated characters ever is reduced to a crude, pot-head, loser but he amazingly manages to insight a great deal of sympathy and pathos to his character.
The movie is so filled with pop-culture/sci-fi references it's enough to make even the most casual fanboy giggle (admittedly) with nerdy snorts from Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, E.T. and especially Close Encounters of the Third Kind. There are SO many recognizable comedy and sci-fi related cameos in this movie from Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, David Koechner, Bill Hader, Jane Lynch and even Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Spielberg! Kristen Wiig plays the confused, love interest to Simon Pegg who starts out as a pitiful, sheltered, bible-pumping girl (with a weird eye thing?) and with the help (or rather corruption) by Paul is free to pursue a relationship with Graeme and start cursing like an awkward middle-school student.
I just can't stop singing the praises of the Pegg and Frost duo, they're my new buddy comedy favorites since Mike Myers and Dana Carvey or Chris Farley and David Spade! Ever since I saw Shaun of the Dead I've enjoyed they're chemistry and camaraderie through thick and thin, zombies and aliens! Paul is their first American movie together although it was written by both of them, director Mottola I feel may not be the best fit for them as their previous collaborator, director Edgar Wright, who directed both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but also the recent comic-book/ film adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010). If you haven't experienced the comic genius of Pegg and Frost, I highly recommend them and if you too are a fellow geek, PAUL is a laugh-riot! So, may the farce be with you and live long and prosper or something!

Paul Official Movie Website:

Monday, March 21, 2011

2011 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: ALICE COOPER

Last night I watched the 26th Annual 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on FUSE. The ONLY artist I was interested in seeing was of course the one and only ALICE COOPER! After 40 years, Alice Cooper is finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to which to many in the music industry have a love/hate relationship with (i.e. Eddie Trunk) I'm always elated (and sometimes confused, i.e. Michael Jackson, Madonna) at some of the artists chosen to be inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame from classic artists such as The Beatles, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix and even some of my favorite classic hard rock artists such as AC/DC, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, and Queen to even more modern favorites such as Van Halen and especially METALLICA, who were inducted in 2009.
I realize there are hundreds of Rock & Roll bands out there, some of which have been around for over 40 years that haven't even been inducted. I believe it was definitely way over due for Alice Cooper to be inducted and who could've been more perfect to present him than none other than Rob Zombie, who regards Alice Cooper as one of his major influences as a "rock & roll villain". 
For those who don't know Alice Cooper (the band ) started in the late 1960's originally as a 5-piece band who were discovered by legendary record producer Frank Zappa. Throughout the late '60's and '70's Alice Cooper terrorized the charts (and parents) with songs like "No More Mr. Nice Guy", "School's Out", "Under My Wheels", and "The Ballad of Dwight Frye" just to name a few. In 1975 the original band broke up and singer Alice Cooper (a.k.a. Vincent Furnier) released his first solo album Welcome To My Nightmare. Since then Alice Cooper has survived as the original shock-rock band; before KISS, Ozzy Osbourne, and even Marylin Manson. Alice Cooper has been known for his elaborate and amazing stage shows incorporating bizarre costumes, blood, snakes, and guillotines!
Along with their presentation Alice Cooper performed "I'm Eighteen" with the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper band (Glen Buxton died in 1997) and also "School's Out" along with Rob Zombie and a choir of creepy-clad children. This year's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees also included Neil Diamond and Tom Waits.
*Favorite Alice Cooper albums: "Killer", "Welcome To My Nightmare", "Trash", "The Last Temptation", "Brutal Planet"

I got lost on the road somewhere
Was it Texas or was it Canada
Drinking whiskey in the morning light
I work the stage all night long
At first we laughed about it
My long haired drunken friends
Proposed a toast to Jimmy's ghost
I never dreamed that I would wind up on the losing end
I'm stuck here on the inside looking out
I'm just another case
Where's my makeup, where's my face, on the inside...
- "From The Inside", Alice Cooper

Thursday, March 17, 2011


It's St. Patrick's Day! Although I'm not religious I have a strong Irish Heritage and some of my favorite actors,  celebrities and writers are Irish so to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, here's my list of the TOP 10 IRISH CELEBRITIES! So, get your lucky four-leaf clover and grab some green beer and enjoy!

#10 Gabriel Byrne (Actor) The Usual Suspects, End of Days, Miller's Crossing

#9 Colm Meaney (Actor) Played Chief Miles O'Brian in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

#8 Cillian Murphy (Actor) 28 Days Later, Batman Begins, Sunshine

#7 Oscar Wilde (Writer) "The Picture of Dorian Gray" (1890)

#6 C.S. Lewis (Writer) "The Chronicles of Narnia"

#5 Bram Stoker (Writer) "Dracula" (1897)

#4 Sam Neil (Actor) Jurassic Park, In the Mouth of Madness, Event Horizon, Daybreakers 

#3 Liam Neeson (Actor) Darkman, Schindler's List, Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace, Batman Begins, Taken

#2 Kenneth Branagh (Director/Actor) Hamlet, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Thor (2011)

#1 Pierce Brosnan (Actor) Remington Steele, James Bond in Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Today, in honor of the release of The Walking Dead: Season One on BluRay and DVD, CHERNOBOG'S BLOG presents the TOP 10: ZOMBIE MOVIES!

#10 The Return of the Living Dead (1985) This very punky, '80's, parody of the zombie genre actually brought some fun and originality to the genre which coined the term: "Brains!" and featuring such memorable scenes as the Tarman and of course...a nude Linnea Quigley, wow!

 #9 Fido (2006) A classic tale about a boy and his zombie! The pseudo-1950's, post-zombie outbreak is hilarious and surprisingly original.

 #8 28 Days Later (2002) Danny Boyle's British masterpiece, the rage virus creates blood-spewing zombie-like infected which run amok in London. I love the music!

 #7 Zombieland (2009) Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) stars with Woody Harrelson in this hilarious and action-packed zombie shootout. "Time to nut up or shut up!" The opening credit sequence does it for me every time featuring Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls"!

 #6 Zombie (1979) Italian director Lucio Fulci's incredibly gory masterpiece! A zombie fighting a shark underwater, what more could you ask?!

 #5 Dawn of the Dead (2004) Zack Snyder's (Watchmen, 300) first film and an impressive remake of George Romero's classic! It also featured faster zombies!?

 #4 Resident Evil (2002) Based on the incredibly popular Capcom vidseo game Paul W. S. Anderson's started a new zombie franchise that has so far released 3 sequels including last years Resident Evil: Afterlife.

 #3 Shaun of the Dead (2003) Director Edgar Wright+Simon Pegg+Nick Forst=Perfect Combination! In this British homage to the genre brought Simon Pegg and Nick Frost success all over the world!

 #2 Dawn of the Dead (1978) "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth." George Romero's long awaited sequel to his original Night of the Living Dead which brought all the glorious zombie gore in beautiful color!

#1 Night of the Living Dead (1968) THE original, the ONE and ONLY, George A. Romero classic!!! This is the one that started it all! "They're coming to get you Barbara..."