Eugenio Mira’s GRAND PIANO is a tight, compact and visually stunning thriller, starring Elijah Wood in a stellar role as a concert pianist and his most memorable night. Laced with rousing score and sound design throughout, it’s a film that would have made Hitchcock proud. Ignore the naysayers, a highly enjoyable 90 minutes!
See where you can view it… here:
and when you’ve determined it is worth owning purchase the DVD (complete with special features) here:Grand Piano DVD
Today courtesy of Netflix streaming you can watch the pretty darn awesome and informative 2012 documentary THAT GUY… WHO WAS IN THAT THING. 16 actors, known in the business as character actors, discuss the ups and downs of being an actor in Hollywood, in this heartfelt documentary. Recommended!
There are a few essential truths of the world wide web (which turned 25 this year. The internet turned 44 this year) one being that most of us use the WWW to find reviews or recommendations of new things, new joys, to consume.
Whether that’s a restaurant review, hotel review, auto repair review, book review, or as in this case movie review; the hunt for reliable reviews and reviewers can be a daunting experience. Separating viable, intelligent opinions on a movie from just caustic rants (whether overly combative or overly defensive of a viewpoint) , separating the signal from the noise can be a daunting experience; weeding out the howling mob, from the reasoned review.
Well my friends, I was doing just that today over at IMDB, a site that is unfortunately very high in the noise department, filled as it is with immature reviewers who want to grade everything either 1 or 10, the best or the worst; not realizing the truth is usually somewhere removed from those two extremes. Well I sifted through quite a few reviewers to come up with the below list of movies that sound interesting and/or stylish enough to try.
Here they go… Enjoy!
Night of Fear (1972 Australian Horror)
Ritual of Death (1990)
Night Visitor (1971)
Burning Bright (2010)
The Pack (2010)
The Dead (2010)
In the Line of Duty 4 (1989)
The Lost Missle (1958)
Dead of Night (1945)
Pensione Paura (1977)
Devil’s Business (2011)
The Dead Don’t Die (1975)
The Card Player (2004)
Ths Abomination (1986)
Sei Mong Se Jun / Abnormal Beauty (2004)
The Raid 2 (2014)
Under The Skin (2013)
Stranger by the Lake (2013)
TWO-MINUTE WARNING (1976)
THE MANIPULATOR (1971- The late, great Mickey Rooney in a horror movie?! I have to see it. :) )
PLEASE MURDER ME (1956)
FIGURES IN A LANDSCAPE (1970- Joseph Losey is one of the great unheralded noir and crime directors, so add the names Shaw and McDowell to this film’s description, and consider me intrigued)
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
The new GODZILLA is now stomping across theaters near you, so I’m going to find a showing tonight and see if the film is enjoyable summer entertainment that does the big lizard proud.
My only question regarding going to see the film is, is it worth seeing in 3D?
Since the last couple of films I’ve seen in 3D (due to lack of 2D options) have been underwhelming at best, and certainly not worth paying more for, these days I tend to only see 2D films, and matinees. Both of which help minimize this inflation of ticket prices and box office #s that Hollywood is big on.
But the following link, and the fact that the author is hard on other 3D movies I likewise was underwhelmed by, tends to give credence to his positive review on GODZILLA’s use of 3D.
Check the review HERE!
I’m going to see for myself, and will post whether the movie, 3D and all is worth your time and money!
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! :)
Netflix Streaming MOVIE OF THE DAY : THE WILD GEESE 
Directed capably, if unexceptionally, by Andrew V. McLaglen, what elevates this tale of aging mercenaries and an off the book mission, is a surprisingly incisive script, that includes three or four exchanges, about Africa, and colonialism, and war, and ethnic cleansing, and bigotry and apartheid, that still resonate today.
Based on a novel by Daniel Carney, the exceptional screenplay is by Reginald Rose of 12 ANGRY MEN fame and involves the rescue of a deposed African president called Limbani (loosely based on the real life Lumumba). Add to that a stellar cast that includes Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris, Stewart Granger and a host of great British character actors, and you have a movie that exceeds expectations. Strongly Recommended. Grade: B+.
COMIC BOOK REVIEWS
What is worth your money:
THE MASSIVE #22
MIND MANAGEMENT #21
GOD IS DEAD #10
GOD IS DEAD #11
MIGHTY AVENGERS #9
STRAY BULLETS KILLERS #2
THE WALKING DEAD #125
THE WALKING DEAD #126
STAR WARS #16 – Book of the Month
What isn’t worth your time:
THE MOVEMENT #11