‘Oh what a tale I have to tell
of those who went to heaven
and those who went to hell’
Now Playing: Recommended NetFlix Streaming Movie of the Day… DIRTY MARY, CRAZY LARRY!!
Directed by John Hough this 70s road thriller and petrol fueled powerhouse is a sleek, adrenaline inducing, justifiably acclaimed masterpiece of the genre. It is to car and road movies, what JAWS is to shark movies; the standard by which all others will be judged.
Wonderfully performed by Peter Fonda, Vic Morrow, Susan George, but particularly Adam Roarke as the taciturn mechanic, this film in a word is… Awesome! Great direction and editing, phenomenal stunts that even in the age of CGI or especially because of the age of CGI remain… jaw dropping; and a wonderful script that is an evocation of the times, and a loving homage to the road movies that came before.
You can currently watch it for free on streaming, but once seen you are going to want to own this movie. It is too good to leave it up to the vagaries of streaming licensing deals, your ability to see this baby whenever you want.
Get it on Blu-Ray here, while you can: Dirty Mary Crazy Larry / Race With The Devil (Double Feature) Blu-Ray
What’s Hot & What’s Not : What’s Worth Buying in Comics & Slims!
What is worth buying Monthly: Al Ewing’s MIGHTY AVENGERS
At 3.99 and up, and with stories that don’t lend themselves to satisfying stand-alone monthly reads, Marvel Comics for me have largely priced themselves out of the monthly or periodical business.
The only exception being Al Ewing’s MIGHTY AVENGERS, the only book by Marvel Comics I seek out on a monthly basis. And even then I pre-order that title so I end up not paying the outrageous $3.99 retail price. And once that title is no longer, I will go back to, happily, getting 0 periodicals from Marvel.
Don’t get me wrong, Marvel has some fantastic writers and artists, from Remender’s UNCANNY AVENGERS to Aaron’s THOR, however at nearly $4 a pop for advertising strewn monthlies, from a company that has the margins of scale to hold the line at 2.99 but simply choose not to, I can’t justify paying $4 and up for their monthly comics. Which you invest all that time in, and the story ends up being derailed by editorial or a weak conclusion. Much better way to sample Marvel, I have found, is to wait till the stories are collected, do your homework by checking the reviews, and using resources like Amazon or your local comic store or library to purchase the collected editions at a sizable discount.
What is worth buying Monthly: ASTRO CITY and GREEN ARROW, and the upcoming GRAYSON has me interested as well! Buy Here:
Everything I said for Marvel goes for DC, with the exception DC has of late had far fewer creators or titles I’m interested in sampling at all. I think they followed up the initial high of the New 52 with largely a lot of uninspired and direction-less characters and books. Their flagship titles such as JLA, Superman, Batman, due to too many cooks (editorial influence) and over-saturation of the characters across multiple titles, are largely unreadable. However in the titles that are one-offs and left alone in the periphery, such as GREEN ARROW and ASTRO CITY that tell self contained stories with characters that are the singular vision of one creative team, if DC can do more of this they can right their flailing ship. Have 1 JLA title, 1 Green Lantern title, and no more than 2 Batman or Superman titles, but staff them with exciting creative teams, and that lack of confusion right there is a start. Add to that if they have more such titles at the $2.99 price-point, they can attract readers rather than alienating them.
What is worth buying Monthly: MIND MGMT, THE MASSIVE, GHOST, DARK HORSE PRESENTS, THE GOON OOR, POP, and SUNDOWNERS
Buy your Copy Here: https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=22803281&affid=200301p0
When it comes to the smaller publishers I’m more forgiving in regards to price. They don’t have the scale to set prices as a Marvel and DC do, but still try to provide lower prices, and even when the prices are the same, smaller publishers such as Dark Horse excel in giving you more pages, less ads, extra material, including letters pages, and best of all books that are the unique vision of a distinctive creative team, not typically beholden to company wide editorial events. The books as a whole are more mature, able to offer something more than another reworking of decades old super-hero stories.
Dark Horse makes some of the best hardcovers and collected editions, and recently they have excelled at making some of the best monthly books.
Among them MIND MGMT, THE MASSIVE, GHOST, DARK HORSE PRESENTS, THE GOON OOR, POP, SUNDOWNERS and the recently ended Brian Wood’s STAR WARS. At over half a dozen titles, it for me is clearly a more interesting company with more interesting titles than either Marvel or DC.
What is worth buying Monthly: WEIRD LOVE
Buy it Here: https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=25619219&affid=200301p0
IDW makes great collected editions and art books. I’m less enamored of their monthly titles. One that does get my vote for solid entertainment month in and month out is WEIRD LOVE.
The last company to mention is IMAGE, and I left them for last because they are the best. I get more books from IMAGE than all the other companies combined. In part 2 of this installment we’ll devote it to covering all the great monthly books available from Image.
— to be continued–
Deal of the Day : Favorite 3D Book ‘ NATIVE AMERICANS & THE WILD WEST IN 3D! ‘!
First published in 2009 by Voyageur Press NATIVE AMERICANS & THE WILD WEST IN 3D is part of a short lived but impressive series of 3D titles edited by Greg Dinkins and released by Voyageur.
Sporting high production values and smartly designed built in glasses, not the flimsy glasses you think of when you hear 3D, but a high-quality fold out stereoscopic viewing apparatus that is actually built into the front cover, and you have a book that is at once a fascinating historical read and document, while at the same time being a ‘you are there’ thrill ride.
It’s an impressive alchemy of form and function, and that’s why it is today’s DEAL OF THE DAY! use the following link to Get one for yourself and one to give out as a gift. You’ll be glad you did. :)
Russell T. Davies the man who nearly single-handedly spearheaded the resurrection of the DOCTOR WHO franchise after its decades long demise, created the boundary pushing spin-off series TORCHWOOD. Revolving around the popular Doctor Who character Capt. Jack Harness, Torchwood allowed Davies to create a show for adults. While American audiences are relatively comfortable with violence, Davies wanted to create a more mature show, laced with sex and sexuality and relationships in this fragile 21st century.
From a rough and awkward first season, every subsequent season of TORCHWOOD became better both in terms of budget, story and scope, until the third season, CHILDREN OF EARTH, which is largely and I think rightly considered some of the best and most ambitious and heartfelt television the BBC has produced.
So it’s in the shadow of that huge popularity and success of season 3, that season 4 of TORCHWOOD, MIRACLE DAY was born. A ten episode series, it met with less than stellar reviews upon its release. Season 4 set in the US, and financed by a US company, possibly fell afoul of an American audience expecting the standard Sci-Fi tropes, an audience possibly unprepared for the depth and level of sophistication and level of sex and sensuality, sometimes transgressively so, showcased in the season.
For the mythological middle America demographic that ratings are supposedly based on, MIRACLE DAY had a lot in it to buck the expected trends, Black guy on White woman, guy on guy, multiple characters of color, characters of color as heroic and smart, non-stereotypical writing. Davies (whose take on characters of color in his early work on Doctor Who bordered on the minstrel and offensive) in all categories is pushing the boundaries of his latest adult scifi epic, and especially in exploring the sexuality of its protagonist.
So MIRACLE DAY took its share of hits from those threatened by all the above, as well as the British audience feeling the show had gone American, and to be fair there is a bit in here to make even me uncomfortable. But if Davies comes down a bit heavy on the skin and sexuality, to push his own inclinations, it is his right, and thankfully the excesses never come at the expense of the story, and for the most part are always done artistically; and scifi has always been the perfect place for pushing boundaries and being a little bit dangerous.
And here watching MIRACLE DAY for the first time, courtesy of Amazon Prime and Roku, I have to say ignore the naysayers, Season 4 of TORCHWOOD stands the test of time as some of the best and most epic writing Russell T. Davies has produced, which means this ten part epic is among the best and most satisfying TV produced… period.
It’s not perfect, the first couple of episodes are a slow build, the character of Rex perhaps more annoying than he needs to be, or perhaps it’s the actor Mekhi Phifer who tends to grate and be a little too belligerent and obnoxious for me in all his performances [I think the series would have been better with another actor cast, say Michael Ealy (ALMOST HUMAN) or Taye Diggs (DAY BREAK], and while a strong Season, CHILDREN OF EARTH still edges it out as the high-water mark for Russell T. Davies and Torchwood and arguably BBC. But those stumbles along the way just make MIRACLE DAY sticking its landing all the better, and stick its landing it does, a great end to a great season.
And an especially valid watch (episode 10 in particular) on Father’s Day! Grade: Highly Recommended.
Watch it for free courtesy of streaming [Get a free 30 day Trial of Amazon Prime (One Year Membership) here!] and then if you are as impressed with it as I was, buy it and the other seasons of TORCHWOOD, here:
“(9-CD LP-sized box set with 48-page book) Look out! as the man himself said, ”This is it!” Throw away those old bootlegs, sell the other albums and pick up these nine little boogie woogie blue plates. This is everything Louis recorded for Decca – in other words nine CDs of the most influential, and purely enjoyable R&B ever cut. Truly Reet Petite And Gone! Here are just a few of the memorable jump ‘n’ jive hits: Outskirts Of Town, What’s The Use Of Gettin’ Sober, Five Guys Named Moe, GI Jive, Caldonia, Buzz Me, Salt Pork West Virginia, Beware, Stone Cold Dead In The Market (with Ella Fitzgerald), Choo-Choo Ch’Boogie, Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens, Open The Door Richard, Boogie Woogie Blue Plate, Run Joe, Baby It’s Cold Outside (with Ella Fitzgerald), Beans And Cornbread, Saturday Night Fish Fry and Blue Light Boogie.It’s no exaggeration to say that R&B starts here. This is also the only set carefully re-engineered from the original metal parts!”— Amazon Reviews
“Let The Good Times Roll…” is old. It was originally issued in 1992 as an 8CD/1LP box set and then when Bear Family finally got the CD licensing rights for the Ella Fitzgerald LP, they reissued it in 1994 as this 9CD set which has remained on catalogue ever since.
It’s a 12″ x 12″ box with a 46-page album-sized booklet featuring a stunning and detailed life story and discography by PETER GRENDYSA – which in itself is peppered with movie stills, newspaper clippings, Harlem Hit Parade charts, Sheet Music etc… There are 215 tracks (32 unreleased) with expert tape and 78″ transfers by the legendary BEAR FAMILY experts in Germany – great sound throughout despite the vintage [age]. Other vocalists and players featured throughout include RODNEY STURGESS (Jordan’s first ever credit in 1939), YACK TAYLOR, DAISY WINCHESTER, MABEL ROBINSON, KENNETH HOLLON, BING CROSBY, ELLA FITZGERALD, MARTHA DAVIS, VALLI FORD, LOUIS ARMSTRONG and BILL DOGGETT.”— Amazon Reviews
“Absolutely Stunning. This is the second collection I’ve bought that was produced by the Bear family (the first was Lesley Gore – It’s My Party), and I’m here to tell you, it’s a stunner. Packaged in a sturdy large box containing nine individually cased discs (discs eight and nine are in one jewel case), a printed booklet, and the CDs themselves even resemble miniature vinyl records with grooves on the label side.” –Amazon Reviews
DEAL OF THE DAY:
At over 7lbs,and nearly 17″ wide by 12″ tall and 370pages… this tale by co-creators Skipp Brittenham and Brian Haberlin that is equal parts STARSHIP TROOPERS meets BLADE RUNNER meets AVATAR lives up to its impressiveness and hype.
In a world racing toward digital, it shows in its tactile art object glory, why print will always have its audience. There is a wow factor with interacting and touching, and even smelling a well designed art book, that can not be replaced or replicated by a tablet or laptop. Don’t get me wrong, digital has is strengths, and ANOMALY using built in AR codes in the book, and a website, makes digital and tablets and phones part of the conversation if you so choose.
But ANOMALY, the book, remains a wonderful experience whether or not you have a signal, or your device has power, which is the strength of the ancient technology of books. It is self sufficient, and does not suffer the obsolescence most technology falls victim to.
I have books from the 1950s and you can hand those books to anyone who can read… and the magic in those books can be consumed with no problem nor external player needed. That cannot be said of most technologies since. Most people can no longer play 8track tapes or laser-discs or records or video tapes or even cds. All of which are mediums far newer than my book of the 1950s however far more temporary based on their dependence on a player to translate the storage medium. A book in that way remains superior technology, being both a storage medium and a player.
And the rate of technological obsolescence is speeding up, as companies hurriedly race to produce the next thing to get you to re-buy what you just bought, but in a new format. More than likely in less than 10years, your huge collection of mp3s will be as useful (and as used) as real audio files. And no doubt your Blu-rays and certainly your DVDs will (as the players break, and the market stops producing new content and new players) go the way of the Laser-disc, as a format that time, for good or ill, has passed by.
However, books such as ANOMALY, the ancient technology, will remain accessible and valued. Indeed ever more valued as tangible items, and physical quality, become ever more a cost, publishers and manufacturers are unwilling to undergo.
At $75 retail, it is not cheap by any definition, but neither is it overpriced. And to paraphrase Shakespeare’s Henry the Vth, “if you wear it, it will only wear better and better over time’. Add to that Amazon has it at a substantial discount, and you have today’s DEAL OF THE DAY. Details here:
If you appreciate this post, and agree this installment’s DEAL OF THE DAY is for you please use the link above to purchase it. You’ll get a great item and this blog will earn a couple pennies to keep the proverbial doors open, and keep bringing you more DEALS OF THE DAY posts. It’s a win/win! :)
My first introduction to Henning Mankell’s detective Kurt Wallander is with the Kenneth Branagh helmed WALLANDER BBC series. I found those shows visually striking and emotionally intense. Only recently have I likewise become introduced to the earlier Swedish series starring Krister Henriksson (earliest episodes dating from 2006, with the latest episodes being in 2013).
There is a degree of fatalism and nihilism in the more slick and stylish BBC reworking of WALLANDER that is absent from the earlier Swedish television series. And I feel that that absence is to the earlier show’s benefit.
While the Swedish series is no less a captive and mirror of the forlorn land it depicts, there is in the original series and in the captivating and world wearied yet bemused performance by Krister Henriksson a welcome sense of hope, of optimism even in the face of those who have forsworn hope. As such, despite or because of its understated nature, there is something more endearing in the Swedish WALLANDER, something easier worn.
Whereas the BBC version of Wallander is a different animal all-together. First its scale is far grandeur than the Swedish version, essentially each season comprised of three feature length movies, with approximately two years between seasons; 2008, 2010, and 2012 respectively.
Add to that Branagh’s wonderful portrayal of a man ever more broken is superlative. However that degree of depression can be taxing to view. To the BBC WALLANDER’s credit it is a distinct and different take from the Swedish version they were going for and achieved, so it can be viewed as its own thing rather than simply a remake.
All that to say you can watch the original series and the BBC series and see two distinct and divergent shows, each deserving of your time. But if pressed regarding the version of Wallander that I enjoy the most, I would have to choose the Krister Henriksson series.
While the BBC version has amazing direction and cinematography, powerhouse acting by its lead Kenneth Branagh, and a wonderful score and introduction (reminiscent of the equally compelling LUTHOR), thematically I prefer the less angst ridden and less dire Swedish version. Its low-key delivery making for less hyperbolic viewing.
Grade: WALLANDER BBC series gets a grade of B/B+, and the CANAL Swedish version edges it out with a solid grade of B+.
Next up I’ll sample the Rolf Lassgard WALLANDER episodes and bring you my take on those.
The Lost Men Series : Four GREAT films currently available on Streaming!
These four films, which did not get theatrical releases, are far better than the vast majority of films that do reach the theaters. Disappointing films such as DEAD MAN DOWN and SPRING BREAKERS get screen time, when visually and thematically superior films such as Tim McCann’s brilliant ANOTHER ZERO IN THE SYSTEM and Dan Eberle’s enthralling, nearly wordless PRAYER TO A VENGEFUL GOD go unheralded.
And Michael Morrissey’s impressive BOY WONDER is the myth of masked vengeance done better than most big budget super-hero movies. Rounding out the quartet, director Brian A. Miller’s HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN is one of the best neo-noirs seen since the Coen Brother’s BLOOD SIMPLE or Craig Ross Jr’s frenetic and fantastic CAPPUCCINO. Dave Bautista delivering a surprisingly elegant and understated performance.
One of the common threads these four movies share is understated but brilliant performances, as well as a thematic conceit of men either at odds or abandoned by the judicial system, who must themselves find justice for those around them.
From Mike Simmons memorable turn as the protagonist in ANOTHER ZERO IN THE SYSTEM (A great film unfairly lambasted by the short-sighted crowd, there’s rumors of director Tim McCann and star Mike Simmons in talk to helm the new Luke Cage/Power-Man series from Marvel/Netflix — to which I say… heck yes!) to Director/Writer Dan Eberle, also doing triple duty as star in his PRAYER TO A VENGEFUL GOD. Together these four films create a new and refreshing phase of American cinema, a new wave if you will.
Sample them for yourself while they last on streaming services, and when you find yourself smitten with them… purchase your copies here:
“Try your best in life, to keep your promise to God; and give God time enough to keep His promise to you.” Bobby Hackney, quoting his Dad
I am that most horrible of things. I am a collector and a romantic, and those two things together tend to make me… sentimental about certain things.
Those two things tend to make me extremely emotional about certain things.
And I try to avoid things that will make me either emotional or sentimental. But sometimes that’s not for you to say. Sometimes there comes along something worthy of both sentimentality and emotion.
The documentary A BAND CALLED DEATH is one of those things. The phrase ‘truth is stranger than fiction’ is oft heard, but little acknowledged; you’ll acknowledge it in the watching of this film, about three Black Brothers in a thriving early 70s Detroit, creating a hyper brand of rock, a punk music, years before punk; and the winding road that winding music… takes them on.
Just a brilliant, wrenching film, the feature film debut of Mark Christopher Covino and Jeff Howlett makes you want to scream, and create, and believe in family and generations, and believe in being a better man… and that confluence of feelings, is a rare and rarefied thing. A gift.
A highly recommended documentary, viewable free via streaming, that will spur you for posterity and for joy… to buy not just the documentary, but the cds associated with it.
Just riveting all around. Click the links, and for little, own much.