Writers Recalled : Best First Paragraphs

 

“It had been a long time since I’d had any trouble sleeping. Probably Vietnam, and that was gunfire that kept me awake. I’ve never been an insomniac. You might think killing people for a living would give you restless nights. Truth is, those that go into that business simply aren’t the kind who are bothered by it much.”

A MATTER OF PRINCIPAL by Max Allan Collins from THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF PULP FICTION

“A warm rain misted down on a small boy standing motionless in the tall, yellow grass. Although he enjoyed the sensation of rain on his skin, the boy’s expession remained solemn–too solemn for a child who had seen only five rains wash through the Tamburure. His height and breadth would have been envied by a boy of seven rains’ passing.”

IMARO (Vol 1 of an absolutely essential 2 volume set put out by Night Shade Books) by Charles Saunders

 

 

“I knew Nathan would believe me when I told him that there were ghosts down there. what I didn’t know is just how keen he’d be to meet them.”

THE EMPTY ROOM by Tim Lebbon from AS THE SUN GOES DOWN

 

MUST OWN COMICS AND WHY : DC ‘s OUR ARMY AT WAR Featuring Sgt. Rock #248

https://storage.googleapis.com/hipcomic/p/36fb032cbf36856787d83d92c13da5ae-800.jpg

 

UNDER CONSTRUCTION — come back this evening for finished article

Sporting a STELLAR Joe Kubert Cover along with the very limited and still ground breaking SROAAWFR masthead (I think less than two dozen of these iconic mastheads adorn issues of OUR ARMY AT WAR), that Kubert as Artist and Editor masterfully integrates into his cover art, issue # 248 of OUR ARMY AT WAR is among the best comic book covers ever made.

Compare this cover  to today’s where too many publishers and artists confuse pinups and so called virgin covers, with great comic book covers, and there is no comparison. Kubert understood that the marriage of typography, masthead, stunning art AND STORYTELLING… a great cover makes, and issue #248 is one of the great covers, by one of the greatest artists to ever do it.

And the interior sporting a primary story by the superb Robert Kanigher and sublime Russ Heath, lives up to the promise of Kubert’s cover. Included Letter’s pages sing the praises of issue #244, and the issue sports two more older stories, that are quick but enjoyable reads.

This was the height of comic book story telling in 1972, and while this genre of comics, the combat comic, quickly became overshadowed by the superhero boom, it grows every year, these books, and this storytelling, more inviolate.

Here in 2021 to purchase one of these issues, and to read and hold it and to experience it, written and drawn by men touched by war, is to understand the breadth of story, the feel of Americana, the potential of comics, and ultimately the importance and price of peace.

These issues, as individual issues, come with the highest recommendation possible.

Thanks to Fandom at DC Comics for the below Issue details.

Our Army at War #248 is an issue of the series Our Army at War (Volume 1) with a cover date of August, 1972.

Cover

Gallery

Our Army at War Vol 1 #248

August, 1972

Cover Artists

  • Joe Kubert

Sgt. Rock: “The Firing Squad”

Writers

  • Robert Kanigher

Pencilers

  • Russ Heath

Inkers

  • Russ Heath

Editors

  • Joe Kubert

“The Salute”

U.S.S. Stevens: “Ride the Baka”

 

Get your copy by clicking the images below:

 

Favorite Movies of the Day : Netflix’s BLOOD RED SKY and Amazon Prime’s 24 HOURS TO LIVE

 

I went into this film knowing nothing more than the title, and that it was a horror tinged movie. And I was awarded by that blank slate approach with a movie I really found compelling and enjoyable.

This is a German film, and typically I choose subtitles for foreign language non-comedy films, however the dubbing on this film I noticed immediately— is actually great. the stigma dubbing has, historically, is the voice acting is jarring, or ridiculous or inept. Here the voice acting is actually nuanced and impressive and really marries well to the visuals. Netflix I think is doing a great job of upping the quality of dubbing for their non-English content.I believe some of the actual actors do their own dubbing.

And the film… has some logistic, plotting/physics issues late in the film that are kinda glaring. But by that time I am well captivated and caught up in the story, and largely powerful performance done by the cast, particularly the lead, and the main antagonist, do a good job of really selling the drama and pathos.

I really surprisingly enjoyed this film, plotting issues aside. Really fun watch, and recommended. Currently showing on Netflix.

 

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I historically am not an Ethan Hawke fan. His films tend not to do it for me. So I went into this action film a little unenthusiastically. However, finally watching it after having been on and off my watch-list for a while, I found this another surprisingly enjoyable and compelling film.

And again, this is another film that I came into knowing nothing beyond the poster art. And once again I feel rewarded for coming into the film scenario free, and letting its story and surprises unfold at their own pace around me.

Both this and the previously mentioned BLOOD RED SKY had an emotional core that elevated it beyond simple genre expectations. And 24 HOURS TO LIVE, more drama than action, has moments of eye opening action set pieces.

Strongly recommended. It will only be free on Amazon, for seven more days. So view it now if interested.

 

Most Disappointing Movie Trailers of 2021: SHANG CHI and THE ETERNALS?

I am a HUGE fan of the character of SHANG CHI aka THE MASTER OF KUNG FU, mainly as defined by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy (and later Mike Zeck and Gene Day) during their seminal 70s and 80s run (Moench’s nearly ten year run on the title before forced off due to creative differences with Editor-in-Chief [at the time], Jim Shooter).

If you do not own the above MASTER OF KUNG FU collections, pick them up by clicking the images above, while they are still available. They are that good!

 

So I was very excited when I heard a MCU film was in the works. However, I have to say the trailer has killed most of my excitement.

Now I’m not one of those fans who ignorantly wants the films to mirror the comics, I understand they are different mediums for different audiences and what works in one medium may not work effectively in another medium.

So I don’t mind change in a film, as long as the filmmaker believes that change strengthens the film.  Marvel under the stewardship of Feige and his talented Directors and Writers and Actors has been incredibly successful in creating cinematic versions of comic source material that for my money is SUPERIOR to the source material.

From the trailer to the films, Marvel has in nearly two dozen films been, for me, mostly a home-run machine.

I have to say… just based on the trailer for SHANG CHI, it looks much like the SNAKE EYES movie to me, just boring and uninteresting. There is not a single thing in the trailer I find captivating or compelling, or interests me in anyway to want to pay to see this movie.

Now this is the trailer, I am quite aware that the film itself could be great. However based just on the trailer… I will wait for the reviews to come out. But based just on this trailer… this is a hard pass.

*******

My second most uninteresting trailer of 2021 is a film that Marvel is actually singing the praises of, THE ETERNALS. Feige, who has proven he has an eye for talent and what works, is effusive in his praise for the upcoming THE ETERNALS and their Director.

eternals

Based just on the trailer… I just don’t see it. The trailer looks bland and uninteresting, which is an even worse sin than it looking just dreadful.

So those are currently my worst movie trailers of 2021 SNAKE EYES, SHANG-CHI and THE ETERNALS.

Streaming TV Guide For Week 28 of 2021 Amazon Prime Video Edition : Triumphs and Disappointments

Streaming TV Guide For Week 28 of 2021 : Triumphs and Disappointments

AMAZON PRIME:

HITS:
ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI (2021)
DUEL (1971) – I rented this on Amazon, because after watching the disappointing UNHINGED I wanted to watch a good road rage movie. This is agreat movie, and I will be buying the Blu-ray.
THE MYSTERY OF A HANSOM CAB

MISSES:

UNHINGED (2020) – Starts good, loses it’s way in the 3rd act where it decides to become HOME ALONE meets TERMINATOR. Loses all interest that the build up generated by the irrational actions of the heroine. And yes I get these movies are all about suspension of disbelief, but that suspension has to be in context to the rules of the universe the film sets up. And this film just disregards its own buildup. “No lets not drive to a police station when pursued by a maniac, but rather lead him to an empty deserted house and play hide and seek with him. Yeah, that makes sense.” Moronic. It is this kind of fantastical, not grounded in reality or by consequences thinking that is at the heart of road rage, not the solution to it. In the real world that lack of thinking would have gotten her and hers killed.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Currently Watching UFC 264 Live Stream Commentaries

 

 

UFC 264 card and results

  • Dustin Poirier vs. Conor McGregor, lightweight
  • Stephen Thompson vs. Gilbert Burns, welterweight
  • Tai Tuivasa def. Greg Hardy via first-round knockout (punch)
  • Irene Aldana def. Yana Kunitskaya via first-round TKO (punches)
  • Sean O’Malley def. Kris Moutinho via third-round TKO (punches)
  • Max Griffin def. Carlos Condit via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Michel Pereira def. Niko Price via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Ilia Topuria def. Ryan Hall via first-round knockout (punches)
  • Dricus Du Plessis def. Trevin Giles via second-round knockout (punch)
  • Jennifer Maia def. Jessica Eye via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Brad Tavares def. Omari Akhmedov via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Zhalgas Zhumagulov def. Jerome Rivera via first-round submission (standing guillotine choke)
I personally would like to see Poirier win against Connor, in this third fight.
So by the time you view this we will know which way this lands. But it would be great if somoeone who doesn’t need to drag everything into the mud, but rather lets his fighting do the talking… wins.
*******
Well UFC 264 is over, and Poirier did win. I have to say, I am very happy for him. And agree with his sentiments below, particularly considering the unthinking Connor idiots who were booing him throughout the weekend.
“Karma is a mirror.”

THE LAST HURRAH : Essential Movies – THE BIG SLEEP (1946)

“Do you like orchids?”

“Not particularly.”

“Nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men,  Their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption.”

—From Drector Howard Hawks’ noirish paradigmatic film, an essentional framework of noir, 1946’s THE BIG SLEEP starring the first pairing of the immortals, Bogart and Bacall.

 

It was a film that was so convoluted that not even the screenwriter or director were able to tie up all the knots. However despite this, the power of the performances, direction, and charisma of the leads carries it over any lapses of plot.

Their on screen sparks, the 20 year old Bacall and the married 45 year old Bogart [they filmed THE BIG SLEEP in 1944 but it was not released until 1946], mirrored their off-screen sparks. They would be married three months after filming wrapped, and it would cement a love affair that would transcend both their lives.

One of the must watch films of the 20th century.

Click the image below to  get the Blu-ray. I generally only purchase films if they include special features and audio commentaries. But I make an exception for this film, it is worth having even with this relatively bare-bones release.