It’s once again time for me to eat a metric ton of riboflavin, do 35 jumping jacks, and make up a song called “I’m a Tugboat, Call Me Mel,” and travel into the land of the not-real to have another interview with a fictional character. Today, I’ve decided to pretend I’m talking to Bryan Mills, the ex-CIA agent father in the Taken films. I caught up with Mr. Mills at a café in Brussels, where he’s been assigned to protect the Czarina of Tokyo. The events occur in real time. Read More »
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In 1982, Arnold Schwarzenegger hit the big screen in a pec-flexing way with the incredibly silly Conan the Barbarian. A year later, his Pumping Iron counterpart, Lou Ferrigno, made it to cinemas as another legendary strongman; in fact, it was perhaps the most famous strongman in historical fiction: Hercules. And while Ferrigno certainly had the physique – the veiny, lumpy physique – to play the Greek god, he didn’t have much else, certainly not from the production around him. Produced by Cannon Films honchos, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, and written and directed by Lewis Coates (nee Luigi Cozzi), the man behind our favorite piece of garbage, Starcrash, Hercules combined two of the filmmakers favorite genres: sword-and-sandal adventures and science fiction. Put ‘em both together and you get a huge pile of insanity in a bowlful of weirdness. Put it this way: it makes Conan look realistic and logical.
I think it’s patently obvious to most, but I would consider myself a pretty huge nerd. Currently on my desk are knickknacks devoted to Doctor Who, Futurama, and Mystery Science Theater 3000. The amount of time I spend watching sci-fi movies pre-1980 is pretty staggering. I also have more graphic novels on my book shelf than regular novels, and that’s saying quite a bit. The point is, that I’m a nerd (or geek, or whatever you’d like to call it) and basically all through school it was evident to people who called me one, usually in the derogatory. I never had to prove how nerdy I was, nor did anyone. This is why it’s so increasingly ridiculous, now that “nerds” are more socially acceptable, that the term “geek cred” even exists. One’s entry into the “club” (another insane idea) should not be contingent on whether you like X, Y, and Z. What if I like X and Z, but Y is not my favorite? Am I shunned? Read More »
For years, Troll 2 has been the high (or low) watermark for terrible, awful, inept, and overall shittiness in movies. Being who I am, I sought it out and watched with a mix of awe and revulsion. It’s putrid for sure, but I became increasingly interested to see the film that caused this unrelated sequel to get its name. I finally hunkered down to watch the original Troll from 1986 to see how it compared to what many consider the worst movie ever made… You guys. I didn’t think it was possible, but Troll might actually, somehow, be WORSE than Troll 2. The latter at least has the excuse of having a cast of nobodies ranging from talentless and inexperienced to certifiably insane; there are actual known people in Troll and it has at least a passably large budget. It is both terrifying and insipid. Boy howdy. Read More »
Friday, finally, sees the wide US release of Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film and the 50th anniversary of the series. The new title song by Adele is actually very good, in comparison to some of the more recent Bond themes. Part of the reason it’s great, aside from Adele’s amazing voice, is that the lyrics don’t try to do too much. It’s basically about standing tall together, with the usual references to Bond’s name and number being basically all he has. It’s a good little tune. This is not the case for a fair amount of the Bond themes over the 50 years which, despite being largely very catchy, are complete nonsense in the lyrics department. Read More »
Fantasist H.P. Lovecraft is widely considered one of the forefathers of modern horror fiction and has inspired such luminaries as Stephen King, John Carpenter, and Sam Raimi with his Cthulu Mythos and invention of the ancient grimoire, the Necronomicon. This is all well and good, but, despite how great the ideas and general story are, I find most of his writings to be utterly boring. He thought of these horrible monsters but then never described them in any real detail. Still, he is important to the genre and his works have been adapted to screen over a hundred times in the last 50 years. One of the earliest and least interesting is the 1970 snoozer, The Dunwich Horror.
Hurricane Sandy has caused untold damage and problems to people all across the Eastern Seaboard; this much is true and cannot be denied. I have a lot of friends who live on that side of the United States and I, like most people in similar situations, have been worrying about them and checking the status of the storm and whatnot since yesterday. I live in Los Angeles, where for the past two days it’s been sunny and in the mid-70s. It’s very hard to comprehend how such horrible, destructive weather could be happening at the same time as a pleasant autumn in Southern California. Surely there are people in the country for whom Hurricane Sandy is simply a news story and their day-to-day activities aren’t impacted in the least. I understand this. However…
Last night I received an e-mail from Amazon.com (a business I give lots of money to every year) saying, in part, the following:
“Hurricane Sandy may impact fulfillment of some orders. If you anticipate that your seller-fulfilled orders will be impacted, we encourage you to take actions to minimize the effects on customers and protect your performance metrics.
If you have orders to be shipped to areas potentially impacted by Hurricane Sandy, we encourage you to contact buyers about the status of their orders.
If you anticipate that you cannot meet your shipping service levels, we encourage you to temporarily set your listings to inactive. ”
There’s a lot I dislike about this, and almost none of it is Amazon’s fault. What this e-mail is telling me and other sellers to do is twofold. 1) If sellers are shipping things TO areas impacted by the hurricane, we’re to inform customers that they won’t get their stuff until the couriers start running again; and 2) if sellers are shipping things FROM areas impacted by the hurricane, we’re to inform customers that they won’t get their stuff until the couriers start running again. Either way, you want to do this lest your “performance metrics” aren’t negatively affected.
I hate what this implies about people, specifically the “consumer” mentality of immediate gratification.
It seems like everybody I know loves Halloween. It’s never been my favorite. In fact, I think I might like Arbor Day more than Halloween. Not that I dislike the atmosphere inherent in the holiday, and you all know how much I love watching horror movies, but there’s always so much pressure to A) go to a party or four and 2) come up with some clever or inventive costume to wear to said parties. I’m a grown up; I thought I’d moved beyond the expectation to have a Halloween costume when I hit middle school. I remember when I loved dressing up for school on H’ween party days and not really caring what other people thought. What changed? Perhaps it’s time to again talk things over with my 8 year old self to get the bottom of this.
French director Jean Rollin made a name for himself doing super-low budget, nudity-filled, “erotic” vampire movies. They were usually light on gore, story, sense-making and really everything except mood and boobs. It can never be said, though, that Rollin didn’t at least try to make his films interesting, despite the perpetual theme of young nubile women and vampiric activity, and with his third vamp feature, he made something akin to an art film. 1971’s Requiem for a Vampire is as close to a French New Wave film as Rollin ever made, and he even puts some pathos and symbolism in as well. Read More »
There have now been five aired episodes of the show Revolution on NBC (“We Kill Comedy”) and while I’m enjoying the series, I’ve noticed some inherent problems that may, in fact, prevent it from lasting as long as network executives tend to want things to last; i.e. forever. That’s sort of the issue with having a high-concept show with lots of characters: the story outruns the world it inhabits. The show was created by Supernatural’s Eric Kripke and Super Producer J.J. Abrams, so there’s enough talent behind the scenes to hopefully right any of the shaking seas the series has as it makes its way from the docks, but there’s certainly rough waters ahead if they aren’t careful.