The Return of SPENSER FOR HIRE??? – Netflix Movie trailer+Poster

Spenser Confidential (2020)

 

There are a few shows I hold in very high reverence, as television at its finest. Stuff that stands and will stand the test of time. The 1980s SPENSER FOR HIRE is one of those shows.

Starring the great Robert Urich and Avery Brooks (as two very different, but equally imposing 6’1 guys, running around Boston putting people thru windows 🙂 ) and based on a long running series of novels by the prolific Robert B. Parker. The highest acclaim you can give the TV show, is the author hiimself acclaimed Avery Brooks Hawk as superior to the character in the novels.So I loved that 3 season Boston based series.

Now it is clear this Mark Wahlberg Netflix movie will have virtually nothing in common with that great 80s series, however it puts that series back in the limelight, and I call that a good thing. And even though the new Netflix movie seems… not very ‘Spenser’ like; despite that… the trailer looked fun and enjoyable. I’m a huge fan of Winston Duke from his work in PERSON OF INTEREST and BLACK PANTHER, so looking forward to checking out this new take on Spenser and Hawk.

It of course will not be the slightly elegaic brilliance of the 1980s series, but it doesn’t have to be. That series thankfully is now available on Dvd. If you have never seen it, it comes with the highest recommendation. It is an unjustly overlooked, often bittersweet and equally huanted and hopeful series, that stands as television at its finest.

Get Season 1 here!

Get all 3 Seasons here!

3 Best Marvel/MCU Villains 2008-2019

 

22 movies, Eleven years, hundreds of actors, dozens of bad guys, but only 3 stand as the very best Villains of kevin feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 

LOKI

 

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LOKI– In many ways the first AVENGERS movie stands as the most important of the MCU films, up there with the first IRON MAN movie. The IRON MAN movie proved these individual characters could work on the big screen, THE AVENGERS movie proved a super-hero team, wide screen Comic Book level action, could work for the masses; proved That this concept of long form story telling in film… could payoff, and should continue.

After 22 movies, THE AVENGERS is still the movie I saw the most in the theaters, a record three times (I almost never see a movie in a theater more than once), and the one I had the most fun with. And that is because Director Josh Whedon delivered the film of his career, the writing was brilliant, actors and effects phenomenal, and the characters… literally the stuff of Myth. And the most memorable scenes of a very memorable film revolve around Tom Hiddleston’s completely crowd pleasing performance as Loki, that sets up such memorable lines as ‘Mewling Quim’ and ‘Puny God’.

Like the best of all Villains, the two other names on this list; the Loki character while wrong, there is something compelling and seductive, and relateable in Loki’s mania. Driven by some hurt he seeks to fix, some reason that reason knows not of, that makes him more than a stock villain, but someone more complex, and someone that in moments… seen from some angle, is understandable, if not approvable.

There is a reason Hiddleston’s Loki ten years later remains… beloved. Because being more than a stock Villain, means at moments he resembles all of us, he is capable of good, as well as evil. And watching Loki navigate that line, grow as a character, makes him more than villain and more than hero… it makes him… interesting.

 

 

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KILLMONGER

 

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KILLMONGER – There were a lot of MCU villains prior to Michael B. Jordan’s acclaimed turn as KILLMONGER, in the brilliant and ground-breaking Ryan Coolger helmed BLACK PANTHER, but none of them, not Red Skull, not Ultron, not Winter Soldier, not even Loki, had me deep into the movie… unmoored about who was right and who was wrong.

To do that in a film, to bring the audience with you into a questionable grey area where there are no more heroes and no more villains, but just principles of better worlds that clash in blood, that is some deep and epic and personal filmmaking, and to accomplish that in a large scale blockbuster superhero movie, is the stuff that awards are designed to recognize.

Hats off to all involved, but particularly to the way Jordan chose to play KILLMONGER, just unique and disturbing and yet another memorable character, from an actor who has quickly become one of the best actors of his generation.

BLACK PANTHER is a film that I loved the action in, loved the fight scenes, loved the story, loved the scale, but what really sets it apart from every other MCU films before it (with the exception of THE WINTER SOLDIER, which did it in a smaller way) is the sophistication of how it is told. The murky grey areas where good and bad become… unsound. It’s a great film, that becomes stronger every time you watch it. Like leather curing in the sun.

At the film’s heart it is a tale of fathers and sons, kings and commoners, and a question of whose vision of tomorrow… is most right. And that hinges on Jordan’s KILLMONGER, a lesser villain or a lesser performance, and we would be talking about a much less successful film. Which is the case with any film, a great film seldom does so, without a great antagonist; and Jordan’s KILLMONGER is one of the greats.

 

 

 

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THANOS

 

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And now we come to the 1000lb Gorilla in the room, (it is an idiom used to call attention to an overwhelming or obvious  idea, finally being recognized – for those of you who may not be familiar with the expression) THANOS.

A CGI character that has been the big bad we have been building to in these 22 films. It is an unprecedented build up, the likes of which we will likely never see again. But boy did it pay off. Josh Brolin (son of the legendary actor James Brolin) has in the last two decades started forging his own legend, in films from NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN to AMERICAN GANGSTER to TRUE GRIT to SICARIO (look forward to seeing him in the upcoming Villeneuve directed DUNE and Sean Penn helmed FLAG DAY) he has been solidly delivering the goods.

But I think it is safe to say his THANOS is likely to be the role he is remembered for above and beyond all others, just based on the cultural and historic imprint these 22 films have carved out. You have to go back to Universal Studios game changing monster movies of 1923 to 1955 to get a run as formative and impactful as this current run of MCU movies.

And THANOS is the looming shadow that haunts these films, and in INFINITY WAR and ENDGAME Brolin’s Thanos gets to come out of the shadows and take center stage.

Again as buildups go, you will likely never see, in your lifetime the like again, a 22 film novel for television, that stuck the landing.

Much has been written on the character of THANOS and the sophistication he was written and performed with. following in the wake of Jordan’s KILLMONGER, here too is another villain where, to a lesser degree, you see the mercy in his madness, the humanity in his horror. He does and is going to do horrible things, but toward ends that we must all, at the end of the day judge as… understandable.  And it is the achievement of all involved from performers to directors to special effects to camera to makeup to lighting to sound, that in not one moment of INFINITY WAR or ENDGAME, not one moment of a CGI Thanos interacting with the other actors, do I question the fiction crafted. The vision is solid.

It is a 2 film culmination of a 22 film, 11 year unequaled and un-thought of cinematic achievement, and it sticks the landing. And Thanos quite rightly gets catapulted into the conversation of most iconic cinematic villains of all time, up there with Darth Vader, Dracula, Dr. No, Dr. Mabuse, Khan, Hannibal Lecter, Joker.

 

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So that is it guys, the 3 best villains of 22 movies, and 11 years of cinematic gold!!!

 

And for Honarable Mentions:

  • Ultron
  • Red Skull
  • Winter Soldier
  • Klaw

 

Thanks for looking, feel free to comment with your favorite villain or villains, and if you enjoyed this post give some love to this installment’s sponsor:

 

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Purchase Here.

Netflix/BBC’s Three Part DRACULA Mini-series – in a word : SUMPTUOUS!

‘I knew the future would bring wonders.

I did not know it would make them ordinary.’

 

—Count Dracula in BBC’s DRACULA

 

The weight and simplicity and telling beauty and truth of that line, says everything about why this 3 part DRACULA mini-series is an early contender for not just best television of this very new year, but one of the most innovative takes of the much adapted one hundred and twenty three year old Bram Stoker creation… to come along in a long time.

Not since Coppola’s DRACULA has an adaptation been so lush, and sumptuously filmed.

And in no Adaptation, has that vision been taken so far down new and visionary paths.

 

‘Democracy is a tryranny of the uninformed.

Only in blood, do we find the truth.’

—Count Dracula in BBC’s DRACULA

 

Written by the team of Mark Gatiss and Steve Moffat that made SHERLOCK a world wide hit (which while I liked, and thought the actors… to include Cumberbatch and Freeman… were great, as a whole I felt the story quality meandered from season to season. For my money, the long running Granada Television series starring the late, great Jeremy Brett, is far and away, still the last, best word in screen Adaptations of Sherlock Holmes ), their DRACULA with this 3 episode mini-series is as a whole, superior and stunning.

It stumbles a little at the end, feeling too rushed, or too strange, or too something (I have to think on it some more, but on 1st watch  not sure they  really nailed that ending, feels a little trite that ending), but overall a very good mini-series. Brilliantly written from episode to episode, with the exception of that ending, and phenomenally performed by all the actors, but particularly  Claes Bang, who to my surprise with 50 credits to his name is a complete unknown to me, completely owns this production with his charming, bemused, savage and instantly iconic performance of the titular character.

Very seldom does an actor get a character this iconic, with script and direction and costars and production values to match. It is a star making turn.

The direction on each episode is stunning, and visually looks like the vision of a single director rather than 3 distinct directors, Paul McGuinan, Jonny Campbell, and Damon Thomas. The cohesiveness of the visuals must be credited to Tony Slater Ling cinematagrapher on the 1st and 3rd episodes, who sets the visual language for the series.

Just a highly beautiful, and textured and enjoyable mini-series.

Grade: A-/B+. Strongly Recommended!

 

Can’t wait to purchase the blu-ray of this series, hopefully in Steel-Book format!

View it yourself for free, on Netflix!

EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO Netflix Streaming VOD Marathon

 

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EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO Marathon

I’m currently watching the 2nd season of EL MINISTERIO DEL TIEMPO, courtesy of Netflix, and it just gets better with each episode.

Despite the fact that, like most time shows, the logic does not hold up. The rules of what they change, or do not change, does not really stand up from episode to episode, or minute to minute. It can be dissatisfying, if you ponder the holes in the show too closely.

But if you gloss over the issues with the central conceit of the show, the chracters themselves, and the overarching storyline, is entertaining and addictive, and the perfect thing to marathon on a lazy Sunday!

My current favorite films of January 2020 : Ben Stiller’s THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

 

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (#4 of 10)

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY – The Danny Kaye original is justly beloved, and I am a big fan of it.

However I have to say Ben Stiller’s remake, which, while it has the core conceit of a central character who is a socially challenged dreamer, beyond that it is substantially different than the original and… it is better. Yes, I did just say that. It is the rare remake that transcends the original.

Ben Stiller as star and director creates a visually stunning and inventive film with true heart. That is rich, and heart warming, and informed and informative. I watched it with Ms Heroic Times and we both loved the film. She bought the Blu-ray immediately after watching the movie for free courtesy of Amazon Prime. That should tell you how impressed we were with this film. and did I mention it is a stunningly lensed AND COMPOSED film. 🙂 Highly Recommended. GRADE : A.

 

THE ORIGINAL – GET IT HERE.

 

THE RE-IMAGINING, GET IT HERE.

Book of the Day : Almost sold out Batman Kelley Jones Gallery Edition HC DC Comics Graphitti Designs

Today’s Book of the Day!

 

BATMAN: KELLEY JONES Regular Edition

248 pgs • 12′ x 17″ • Smyth-Sewn Hardcover

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“Graphitti Designs proudly launches their new, large-format hardcover book series with BATMAN: KELLEY JONES GALLERY EDITION. For the first time ever, Dark Knight fans and collectors will have the opportunity to see and own museum-quality reproductions of memorable Batman art…as it was originally conceived by the artist. Printed in color from high-resolution scans of the actual original art, this first entry in Graphitti Designs’ new Gallery Editions line replicates the look, feel and attitude of the artwork. Every page is reproduced at original size on heavy paper stock, capturing the artwork – stray pencil marks, whiteout, coffee stains and all! The pages are alive with all of the subtleties and nuances one would expect from investment-quality original comic art.

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BATMAN: KELLEY JONES GALLERY EDITION is the first in a series of deluxe, hardcover books from Graphitti Designs that faithfully reproduces the original art from select, key DC Comics series. This inaugural volume contains the covers and interior pages from BATMAN #515 through #525, minus the interior of issue #520, which Kelley did not draw. These stories are written by Doug Moench, with most pages inked by John Beatty.

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Graphitti Designs’ Gallery Editions reproduce the look, feel and attitude of the original art as it was originally created by the artist. Though it appears to be printed in black and white, the contents of these books are sourced from high-resolution, full color scans taken directly from the artwork. Each high-quality, Smythe-sewn hardcover book captures every detail of the art at actual-size, and are printed at 200 line-screen on a rich, heavy paper stock. Replicating the original art experience is our goal. Our Gallery Editions are the next best thing to holding the original art in your hands – and easier on the wallet, too!”

Thanks for looking, check available stock here!