GREATEST SHORT FILMS OF ALL TIME : THE LAST TEN (2011) by Director David Higgs

The-Last-Ten-Short-Film

THE LAST TEN- I love short films for the same reason I love short stories, at their best they can deliver a pure moment, unhampered by filler or setup or dressing or fluff, and therefore a memorable moment to the core of us, in a way which only the most masterful feature films can equal.

Dickens was by far the more lauded author of his day, but it is the short fiction of his contemporaries Doyle and the American Poe which remains the mainstay of our cultural obsession to this day. And it is because of their short fiction’s power to completely live in us and be remembered by us, in their entirety; and the very nature of this construction is one of icon-ism rather than specif-ism.

Therefore the characters are ever very personal and close and fleshed out by us; are as part of their brevity ever ruminations on us. Indeed, even Dickens, who while the writer of many long form works, made his livelihood in the serialized market, and arguably his most beloved work, is his short form A CHRISTMAS CAROL, more novelette than novel.

When done well, a short film in a minute or two minutes or five minutes, or in this case under 14 minutes, can present a beginning, middle, and ending that almost all live completely on this razor edge of climax, and satisfy you before your attention wanes.

David Higgs’ THE LAST TEN is short film done as well as it can be done. A premise Hitchcock would have adored, a locked off camera, a single location, and creeping dread. I went into the film knowing nothing about it, as i suggest to you, and was blown away. Writer/Director/Producer David Higgs along with Cinematographer Nicole Heiniger in under 14 minutes creates one of my favorite short films with a haunting final shot.

You can view it courtesy of the Roku channel VIMEO. We all know short fiction is oft seen as a stepping stone to feature film, but the truth is they are two distinct animals. Clive Barker’s short fiction is miles ahead of his long form fiction. If THE LAST TEN is anything to go by, David Higgs is a fantastic short film maker, and I for one would love to see more films by him. At least enough that he could put out a DVD or Blu-Ray complete with special features and monetize some of his excellent work.

Last word on THE LAST TEN? HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION. A+.

 

Pick up the following books if you enjoyed this post and are a fan of what it covers:

Edgar Allan Poe Annotated and Illustrated Entire Stories and Poems
– There are tons of Edgar Allen Poe collections, but only a few sport illustrations by the great Gustave Dore and only one is this affordable. Get the hardcover version while you can.

Major Works of Charles Dickens (Great Expectations / Hard Times / Oliver Twist / A Christmas Carol / Bleak House / A Tale of Two Cities)
-six of his works in this exclusive and sumptuous boxed set of lavish, clothbound editions, designed by Penguin’s own award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. Part of Penguin’s beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in high-quality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.

 

 

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WHAT IS HOT and WHAT’s NOT on TV for FALL 2012!!

I don’t have cable. I jumped off the band wagon years ago, and really have not been seriously tempted to jump back on. I’m content with waiting for products to hit DVD, and in the interim there are a lot of great shows out there on DVD to try.

I did that with both season 5 and season 6 of Doctor Who. Watching the shows over a few nights rather than the dubious experience of lengthy waits over several months, to invest in a story that may end with a whimper rather than a bang.

Which is how I tended to feel about Moffat’s Dr. Who seasons. While an imaginative and talented writer of “done in one” episodes or two parters, as a season wide story arc writer, his work tends to be swiss-cheese and disappointing.

So the ability to find that out by renting the DVDs over a couple nights, rather than an investment of months of ‘live’ watching, suits the way I like to view seasons.

That said for those of you who do watch TV/cable here are the shows I think you should be watching this fall, ones I’m intrigued in picking up when they hit DVD.

WHAT’S HOT

LAST RESORT on ABC- Why I’m interested? 1/Stars Andre Braugher of HOMICIDE fame. 2/Premise of a naval commander and his sub crew hunted for refusing to commit mass murder, has me incredibly intrigued. 3/One of the few dramas/genre/thrillers on an increasingly whites only TV shows, that has multiple actors of color

TREME- I’ve heard much about this Orlean’s based show. So look forward to catching up with it on DVD.

DOCTOR WHO- While I think Moffat should stick to done and one episodes or 2parters, and give up his attempt to outdo Russell T. Davies with big elaborate universe ending story arcs (Note to Moffat…, you may be a more imaginative writer than Russell, he is the better story arc guy. And your tenure is suffering in an attempt to outdo Davies rather than play to your strengths.

Particularly Moffat’s take leaves a lot to be desired. It gets old, the elaborate universe ending story arcs and over-hyping the Doctor into a God like protagonist. It just reads as bs and failed one-upmanship, and leaving your character no place to go or grow to. It tends to get boring, and while it’s fantasy and some level of inconsistency is inherent, season 5 and 6 have plotholes you can drive a truck through), I am interested in seeing where Season 7 takes the show. If Moffat would play to his strengths, smaller, intimate, done-in-one stories or two parters… the show could be fantastic.

WHAT’S NOT
ELEMENTARY- Sherlock Holmes is a recovering smart-alec drunk, Watson is his Asian female Bodyguard and Watcher, and the setting is New York. Really?!! I’m not a huge fan of the BBC SHERLOCK series, it’s okay, I just don’t think the writing is always up to the strong acting and direction, so my objection to ELEMENTARY has nothing to do with that BBC show. The more great shows the better. My objection is, if you’re going to change everything about it that is Sherlock Holmes, why even call the character Sherlock Holmes? I have no interest in seeing it, the premise just sounds insipid. However I’m willing to be proven wrong. If it makes it a full season and people are raving about it I’ll pick up the DVD, but otherwise this goes in the “What were they thinking’ trash pile.

That’s all for now! Feel free to leave your own recommendations, comments!

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

OKay, I don’t know what is going on with this segment of WEDNESDAYS WORDS, but in my defense all I can say is interesting titles, regardless of genre, if they catch my eye, can end up featured here.

So this ‘testosterone lacking’ episode of WEDNESDAYS WORDS (with the exception of the Tim Vigil art book and Blacksad Graphic Novel) is for all my female readers and uhh husbands and boyfriends of females. 🙂 Wow that’s a nicely put together sentence… NOT.

Anyhow, yeah, wacky books for the woman in your life… enjoy. 🙂

WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.

Blacksad: A Silent Hell [Hardcover]
Juan Diaz Canales (Author), Juanjo Guarnido (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: July 24, 2012 | Series: Blacksad
Detective John Blacksad returns, with a new case that takes him to a 1950s New Orleans filled with hot jazz and cold-blooded murder! Hired to discover the fate of a celebrated pianist, Blacksad finds his most dangerous mystery yet in the midst of drugs, voodoo, the rollicking atmosphere of Mardi Gras, and the dark underbelly that it hides!

Product Details

Hardcover: 96 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse (July 24, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595829318
ISBN-13: 978-1595829313
Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.6 x 0.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds

“The strip puts forth a dark dirty-realist style. The artwork uses clean, realistic lines. Very detailed watercolor drawings, including real-life places and cities, contribute to the realism and arresting (no pun intended) nature of the series… The knowledge of US culture and New York design is stunning. Neither creator is old enough to remember it. They are nothing short of brilliant. And subtle. I love this series.”– Noel Hynd

Blacksad: A Silent Hell


Tim Vigil Artworks 1976-1990 [Paperback] [Paperback]
Tim Vigil (Author)
Book Description
Publication Date: 1991
The best unseen works from early in his career
Tim Vigil Artworks 1976-1990 [Paperback]


Keeping Score [Paperback]
Regina Hart (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: July 3, 2012
To be a pro b-ball champion takes endless drive and passion. But being a winner on the court can often mean losing off the court. . .

He’s an NBA legend, considered the best of the best. Now veteran player Warrick Evans is determined to lead his team all the way to the championship. It’s his last shot before he retires, but the media can’t get enough of his story–and all the attention is turning his teammates against him, not to mention his wife. . .

Dr. Marilyn Devry-Evans has always stood by her man, even when it meant standing in his shadow. Now she wants to focus on her own career, and on scoring her own dream job. But with the spotlight bearing down on them, Marilyn is reaching her breaking point. Especially when a secret comes to light–one that could destroy not only her career, but her marriage.
Keeping Score


Skinny Bitching: A thirty-something woman mouths off about age angst, pregnancy pressure, and the dieting battles you’ll never win [Paperback]
Jenny Lee (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: October 25, 2005
In her acclaimed books I Do. I Did. Now What?! and What Wendell Wants, Jenny Lee hilariously chronicled the milestones of getting married and getting a dog. Now she takes on the most terrifying milestone of all: getting older.

Tackling everything from the peer pressure to have children to resisting the siren call of suburbia, Skinny Bitching delivers unsparingly witty commentary on:

• What to do when you actually start breaking out again like you did in junior high school (how is that even possible?)

• Saying good-bye to going to bars, seeing bands, and generally being cool

• Finally facing the fact that those extra ten pounds are never coming off

• Dealing with the fact that just when you finally know what you want out of a husband, it’s too late to exchange him

In a hilarious and poignant homage to thirty-something women everywhere, Jenny Lee lets us in on her most intimate secrets as she transforms her modern-day angst into something timeless, moving, and unfailingly funny.

Skinny Bitching: A thirty-something woman mouths off about age angst, pregnancy pressure, and the dieting battles you’ll never win


The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color [Paperback]
Iman (Author)

Book Description
Publication Date: September 5, 2006
The first beauty and make-up book to address skin tones from across the spectrum-including Latina, black, Asian, Indian, Native American, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern, as well as multiple ethnicities – The Beauty of Color features:

Skin care basics with specialized beauty regimens for skin of color
Makeup 101 – what you really need for every skin tone
How to create ten amazing make-up looks with easy step-by-step instructions and photos
Famous beauties, including Salma Hayek, Tyra Banks, Eva Mendes, Venus and Serena Williams, Eve, Rosario Dawson, Padma Lakshmi, Jade Jagger, Alicia Keys, and Kimora Lee Simmons

The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color

Foul Play!: The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics! [Paperback]
Grant Geissman (Author)
Book Description
Publication Date: April 5, 2005
Legendary publisher Bill Gaines is perhaps best remembered as the founder of MAD Magazine, but in the opinion of many dedicated comic book fans, his greatest achievement was E.C. Comics, a line of adventure, horror, and science-fiction comics whose influence on American graphic novels is undeniable, even today. Foul Play! is the perfect book for anyone wanting to understand the special place E.C. holds in the comic fan’s heart — or who just wants to read some real good comics!

Foul Play! celebrates the fan-favorite creators of E.C. Comics, profiling their artists — a veritable who’s who of mid-20th century popular illustration — and describing how they came to work with Bill Gaines and how their careers evolved after E.C.. Among the comics art legends profiled are Al Feldstein; Harvey Kurtzman; Johnny Craig; Jack Davis; Graham Ingels; Jack Kamen; Wallace Wood; Joe Orlando; Will Elder; John Severin; George Evans; Al Williamson; Reed Crandall; Bernie Krigstein; and more! Plus, the book includes a special bonus: a lost E.C. Comics story “Wanted for Murder!” originally intended to be published in 1956 but forgotten and unseen until now

Foul Play!: The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics!


The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!

Sponsored by Ebay Store: Deals of the Day!

BEST COMIC BOOK COVERS OF 2011! The Remaining Parts!

“These people are like family to me. It has not been easy for anybody. Let me put it that way: It was like a death in the family. Only I was the dead guy. I felt like William Holden, face down in the swimming pool, narrating this thing.”– Frank Darabont on his departure from WALKING DEAD

Okay we’re wrapping this puppy up of the best Comic book covers of 2011. This covers the rest of the year not covered in the first part of this Article.

Okay onto the fun!

John Tyler Christopher for Annihilators: Earthfall #1

Steve McNiven for Captain America #1,3- Steven McNiven in addition to interior work, did several covers. These two were head and shoulders above all the rest of his covers for 2011. They differentiate themselves, particularly #1 by being very memorable. A great cover notable by distilling an entire issue into one image. A great cover is something iconic. CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 is a poster waiting to happen.

Sean Phillips for all four of the CRIMINAL LAST OF THE INNOCENT and select INCOGNITO covers. I didn’t care for some of his INCOGNITO covers in 2011, I think both as concept and covers INCOGNITO never quite gelled into having an identity. Whereas with CRIMINAL LAST OF THE INNOCENTS (as well as the other story-lines) the covers just scream creativity and read me. Great stuff.

JH Williams III knocks it out with his cover for BATWOMAN #1.

Kalman Andrasofszky for X-23 #14. I have no interest in this character or this book, but that is just a fun cover.

Esad Ribic did a lot of covers for 2011, but his covers tend to be too static for my liking. They fail to make me interested. Two exceptions, that made this list being X-FORCE #4 and #13.

Gabriele Dell’Otto gives a very intriguing cover to VENGEANCE #1. And Joe Casey seems to have an intriguing story to tell, but I couldn’t get past the very bland interior art by, to me, an unknown. But Dell’Otto’s cover did the job, it had me interested in buying the book. However the interior art quickly unsold me.

Sean Murphy for American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #1.


Jae Lee offers a great cover for Wolverine #9. Compare this image to another image below and see what you think. You’ll know the image when you see it.

Gorgeous Terry & Rachel Dodson covers highlight UNCANNY X-MEN 537 & 535. For some reason they knock it out of the park when drawing Kitty Pride. however the other characters they do in other covers… Emma, Colossus, Wolverine… not so much. But with their Kitty Pride covers it’s like that’s when they get interested and inspired. I think they just love drawing brunettes. 🙂

David Yardin worked his way on this list with two covers that are very visceral, bordering on a rough, muscular moment of ugliness captured, frozen in that moment before the point of no-return. Namely:
Spider-Island: Heroes for Hire #1- A silly cover for a silly storyline, but Yardin’s cover (based on a Romita cover) makes it more compelling than it should be and X-Factor #219. The covers depict ugly moments, which are disturbing, but it’s drawn with sexiness and sensuality beneath the savagery so it makes for something of an uneasy and unsettling image that gets you to stop and take notice. And that’s what covers strive to do.


Sam Basri was fantastic on POWER GIRL, and his cover for #26 is Hilarious and great!

I like wrap around covers so thumbs up to New Mutants #25, looks a bit computer generated, but nice enough.

Jock for Daredevil Reborn #4


Paul Chadwick’s art highlights the exceptionally well laid out DHP #1. Fantastic Typography!


Birds of Prey #11 by Stanley Lau. Jae Lee’s cover looks more than a little like this one. I’ll leave that for others to ponder. Getting back to Lau, I dislike all of Lau’s covers for CAPTAIN ATOM, his earlier work on BIRDS OF PREY is much better. It’s like the work of two completely different artists.


I have yet to read Morning Glories, but Rodin Esquejo offers a titillating cover for #8 that is both sexy, and creepy (nurses putting on gloves is never a good thing).

Dan Brereton for Spider #1


Jason Pearson for Astonishing X-men 36. Did I mention I love wrap around covers?! 🙂

That’s it kids. Let’s call it a wrap on the best Comic Book Covers of 2011!!!

Hope you enjoyed, and here’s hoping for even more great covers in 2012!!!

BEST COMIC BOOK COVERS OF 2011 PT 1 of 4!!!!

Well here in the 3rd week of 2012, thought it was an appropriate time to put out my best and worst of 2011 Comic List.

I personally love looking over best of and end of year lists, and my own lists, tends to touch on a lot of things that may be bypassed or overlooked or just not tried, in other lists and on other sites.

True to the eclectic nature of this blog, my lists are always… never less than unique. 🙂

So let’s get into it, and enjoy!

We’ll start with the best covers of 2011! We’ll start with the 4th quarter of 2011 in this post and work our way backward to highlight the other 3 quarters as well.

Without further ado:


So the best covers of the 4th quarter of 2011 are as the pics show:

The number one cover artist for 2011 Qrt 4 (From Oct1-Dec31) is JH Williams the 3rd, with his gorgeous, stained glass worthy BATWOMAN covers. How he manages to write, do the amazing interiors he concocts AND do the covers is beyond me. It’s award winning work (at least art-wise, I trade wait for most DC comics, so will be a while before I read it. But if it’s half as good as BATWOMAN:ELEGY HC, one of the most gorgeous books of 2011, it will be a treasured buy).

But right on JH Williams III’s heels as my favorite cover artist of Qtr 4, is John Tyler Christopher. A brand new name as far as I can find, his covers on DC’s VOODOO are just stellar! And he also produced a couple issues for Marvel’s Annihilators: Earthfall. I have no interest in buying Marvel Monthly comics (too expensive, too many ads, too few pages) but they did produce a few decent covers in 2011, and the artists deserve recognition. DC’s VOODOO however, I think I will be picking up in issues. The interior artist is Sam Basri, a fantastic cover artist in his own right, with a stellar run on POWER GIRL in 2011, so combine him with John Tyler Christopher’s covers and it’s win/win.

Viktor Kalvachev is next up with his fantastic covers for the soon to be short lived MEN OF WAR. His covers are gorgeous set pieces, seemingly run through with Russian Constructivism aesthetics. Objective and often geometric forms carrying universal meanings, and striking use of color, primarily red. Definitely a cover artist to watch.

Next up is Francesco Francavilla covers on BLACK PANTHER along with DARK SHADOWS and CAP & BUCKY. Being a fan of most things pulp I quite like the mood Francavilla’s covers strive for. I’m a detail guy, so that’s the only reservation I have against the slightly cartoony covers, but overall they work for me. His pulp-tinged composition and layout skills winning me over.

Now for the rest:

Chris Bachalo for WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #1- just wonderfully laid out cover. I hear good things about this book, but I don’t pay $4 for a comic, period. I’ll wait for the trade, an affordable trade. Meaning I don’t pay $4 per issue in trade format either (another crazy business decision Marvel has been cutting their throat with). If the trade breaks down to an outrageous amount per issue, I wait till the price drops, or I don’t get it. One less X-MEN book for me to buy, is not a bad thing. There’s more than enough great books out there that are priced right.

Ben Oliver for BATWING #3. Hearing nothing but great things about this series. At $2.99 I’ll be picking it up monthly.

Patrick Zircher for VILLAINS FOR HIRE #1- I enjoy this artist’s layouts, his shot composition, but his lack of backgrounds tends to weaken them a bit. In this one he has Andry Troy assisting, and it is Zircher’s best cover of 2011.

Rico Renzi for LOOSE ENDS #3. I hate the logo on this book, but ignoring that, I like Rico Renzi’s actual art.

Marko Djurdjevic for Avengers Origins: Ant-Man & the Wasp #1

CASANOVA #2 (from Marvel’s ICON imprint) gets Gabriel Ba on the list.

Daniel Acuna for AVENGERS #19. It’s easily the best of the covers he did this quarter. Meaning it, like all the ones I give praise to here, I would buy as a poster.

Alex Ross only did 2 covers for this quarter, one was for ULTRON and it was one of the rare Alex Ross covers that I didn’t like. However the 2nd one was FLASH GORDON ZEITGEIST. and that as you can see for yourself is masterful. When Alex Ross is on his A game, there is none better. Easily one of the best ones of the quarter.

Nathan Fox gets on the list with his only cover of the quarter, HAUNT #19. Wonderful composition, the typography really sells it.

Eric Larsen for SAVAGE DRAGON #177.

And Finally Steve McNiven for CAPTAIN AMERICA #5.

That’s it kids! The best covers for 2011 quarter #4! Come back as we complete the list for the remainder of the year!

BEST AND WORST DVDs OF 2011!

‘Nasty things [Orchids]! Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, and their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption.’
— 1946’s THE BIG SLEEP

“When one tries to rise above Nature one’s liable to fall below it.”
— Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes in Robin Chapman’s THE CREEPING MAN

Like most people I like lists. As a writer, perhaps more than most.

Hence with everyone tossing out their best of 2011 lists I thought I would compile my own rather eclectic list. But this being a best and worst list, if you will. The main thing to note about my favorite and least favorite things of 2011, are that they are largely things made in previous years and I discovered in 2011. But that said there are some actual 2011 produced items.

Okay, onto the list:

My Best and Worst DVDs of 2011 (Best meaning I enjoy it and I’m glad I bought it, and worst meaning I disliked it, and it was a waste of money):

BEST
Day Break: The Complete Series – Taye Diggs – Dvd Set- One of the first DVD sets I purchased in 2011, and a year later still one of the best shows I saw all year. Not just one of my top ten of 2011, but one of my top ten of all time. I love this show. Have bought it as presents, and everyone I buy it for loves it. Just one of the best shows I’ve seen in years! Essential DVD. There are two versions however, make sure you get the 4 DVD BCI set, and not the poorly compressed 2 DVD set being put out by moneygrubbing scumbags like Navarre and MillCreek, it’s a crime how awful their version looks. Unfortunately the 4 DVD set appears to be super hard to find since BCI went out of business. Versions of it are not even on Amazon. This is a gorgeous looking series and deserves to be on Bluray.

The Hire BMW Films Clive Owen – BMWFilms.com Presents The Hire

Doctor Who – The Complete Third Series- This was the series at its best. The current, Matt Smith, Doctor is okay, but his companions of Amy and Rory are unwatchable. Just nail on chalkboard annoying. Very bad writing throughout, so re-watching the third season keeps me happy until Dr. Who gets good again. – Doctor Who: The Complete Third Series

Detective Story (DVD)
Takashi Miike, Media Blasters –Detective Story

The Prowler (DVD)
Van Heflin, Evelyn Keyes, John Maxwell, Katherine Warren, Emerson Treacy, Joseph Losey, VCI ENTERTAINMENT –The Prowler

WORST

Chaos Starring Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, Ryan Phillippe, et al. (2008)

BEST
Let Me In (DVD)
Chloe Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Kodi-Smit McPhee, Matt Reeves, TCFHE/ANCHOR BAY/STARZ

Black Dynamite (DVD)
Michael Jai White, Scott Sanders – Black Dynamite [Blu-ray]

The Confessional: House of Mortal Sin (DVD)
The Confessional: House of Mortal Sin

WORST

Footprints on the Moon ( Le orme ) ( Primal Impulse ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.0 Import – United Kingdom ] (DVD)
Florinda Bolkan, Klaus Kinski, Ida Galli,

Stagefright (DVD)
David Brandon, Barbara Cupisti, Robert Gligorov, Martin Philips, Michele Soavi

BEST

Undisputed II – Last Man Standing (DVD)
Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins (II), Ben Cross – Undisputed II – Last Man Standing

Rififi – Criterion Collection (DVD) – Rififi (The Criterion Collection)

Darkness (Unrated Version) (DVD)
Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Iain Glen- The ending is a mess, but there’s enough good in this film, that’s it’s a keeper and I see myself rewatching

The Girl By the Lake (Sub) (DVD)
Toni Servillo, Valeria Golino,

The Russian Specialist (DVD)
Dolph Lundgren – The Russian Specialist

Sauna (DVD)
Ville Virtanen, Tommi Eronen – Sauna

WORST

The Killing Machine (DVD)
Dolph Lundgren

The Tournament (DVD)
Robert Carlyle, Kelly Hu

BEST

Delirium (DVD)
Mickey Hargitay, Rita Calderoni- US language version is surprisingly far superior to the Italian version, and the US dub, better acted, and just a longer, better cut of the film. – Delirium

WORST

From Within (DVD)
Steven Culp, Adam Goldberg

Fangoria Frightfest Presents – Fragile (DVD)
Calista Flockhart, Elena Anaya

Belly of the Beast (DVD)
Steven Seagal, Byron Mann, Monica Lo

BEST

Splinter (DVD)
Paulo Costanzo, Shea Whigham – Splinter

Boss (DVD)
Fred Williamson, D’Urville Martin – Boss

Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye (DVD)
Jane Birkin, Boschetti, Bruno – Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye

British Horror Quadruple Feature (Frightmare / House of Whipcord / The Flesh & Blood Show / Die Screaming Marianne) (DVD)
Penny Irving, Pete Walker – British Horror Quadruple Feature (Frightmare / House of Whipcord / The Flesh & Blood Show / Die Screaming Marianne)

WORST

The Nameless (DVD)
Emma Vilarasau, Karra Elejalde, Tristán Ulloa, Toni Sevilla, Brendan Price, Jordi Dauder, Núria Cano, Isabel Ampudia, Carles Punyet, Aleix Puiggalí, Susana García Díez, Pep Tosar, Xavi Giménez, Jaume BalaguerÃ-
A great begining, stylish film, but like most Balaguera films falls apart at the end, becoming just inane

BEST

Watchmen (Director’s Cut + BD-Live) [Blu-ray] (DVD)
Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Malin Akerma- Don’t be fooled by the 9 million other versions, this is the version to have. And one of the few Blurays I think enough of to own. –

Tombstone – The Director’s Cut (Vista Series) (DVD)
Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer- This is the version to have, with excellent commentary – Watchmen (Director’s Cut + BD-Live) [Blu-ray]

Manhunter (Restored Director’s Cut Divimax Edition) (DVD)
William Petersen, Kim Greist- This is the version to have with excellent commentary – Manhunter (Restored Director’s Cut Divimax Edition)

Secret Agent AKA Danger Man: The Complete Collection (SLIMLINE) (DVD)
Patrick McGoohan- One of my top ten DVDs of the year – Secret Agent AKA Danger Man: The Complete Collection (Slimline Packaging)

Johnny Staccato starring John Cassavetes – 3 DVD Box Set! (DVD)
John Cassavetes – Johnny Staccato starring John Cassavetes – 3 DVD Box Set!

Farscape: The Complete Series (DVD)
Ben Browder, Claudia Black- One of my top ten DVDs of the year, The Bluray is not worth paying more for. Video Improvement by all reports is negligible.- Farscape: The Complete Series

Brotherhood of the Wolf (3 Disc Collectors Edition) (DVD)
Samuel Le Bihan, Vincent Cassel- This is the version to get! – Brotherhood of the Wolf (3 Disc Collectors Edition)

Robin of Sherwood: Set Two (DVD)
Jason Connery

Kings – The Complete Series (DVD)
Ian McShane, Christopher Egan – Kings – The Complete Series

WORST

Justified: The Complete First Season (DVD)
Timothy Olyphant- Talk about overrated. Was bored by the whole season

Alexander the Great (DVD)
Richard Burton, Fredric March- Not a bad film, but ultimately pretty forgettable

BEST

The Philanthropist: The Complete Series (DVD)
James Purefoy- Lasted only seven episodes it’s one of my favorite television shows. Just brilliant – The Philanthropist: The Complete Series

The Well (DVD)
Richard Rober, Gwendolyn Laster

The World, the Flesh and the Devil (DVD)
Belafonte, Inger Stevens – The World, the Flesh and the Devil

Dead Man’s Shoes (DVD)
Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch

WORST

The Dark Hours (DVD)
Kate Greenhouse, Aidan Devine

BEST

Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (The Wild Bunch / Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid / Ride the High Country / The Ballad of Cable Hogue) (DVD)
Sam Peckinpah- One of my best deals of 2011. 4 Peckinpah movies, full versions with commentaries for under $15! – Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (The Wild Bunch / Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid / Ride the High Country / The Ballad of Cable Hogue)

WORST

Isolation (DVD)
Essie Davis, Sean Harris, Marcel Iures, Crispin Letts- This started out great but lost its way

Community: The Complete First Season (DVD)
Joel McHale, Chevy Chase- Had 2 great episodes, the others just annoyed me

Dexter: The First Season (DVD)
Michael C. Hall, Erik King- CSI meets Hannibal Leckter. Just find the main character/premise not something I want to root for support, plus find the supporting characters annoying as hell

BEST-

Breaking Bad – The Complete First Season (DVD)
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul- Rarely does a show live up to its hype. Wow, was that good – Breaking Bad – The Complete First Season

Kidnapped – The Complete Series (DVD)
Jeremy Sisto, Timothy Hutton- Another brilliant show, unfairly cut short. Just when you think its losing its way in the middle, wraps up with a powerhouse couple of episodes. Plus it stars Delroy Lindo. The only reason I picked it up actually, and he’s great. Wish the DVD had commentaries, but that aside is just a must watch and must own series – Kidnapped – The Complete Series

Well that’s it for my best and worst DVDs of 2011. If intrigued by any of my recommendations please use the links as purchases through them help to fund and keep this blog going. Thanks and enjoy!

BEST PODCASTS OF 2011: Comic Geek Speak Best Episodes of 2011!

From episode 995 to episode 1169 (as of this writing), The gang of the popular comic book pod-cast Comic Geek Speak, managed to crank out a staggering 174 episodes in 2011. And they will likely sneak in a couple more before 2011 arrives.

That is just a staggering amount of work, and a staggering labor of love, particularly when you factor in they are providing all this great entertainment free to you the listener. But for them it is definitely costly in terms of time, energy, and expense.

I realize the massive expenditure of time and energy and effort, and yes expense, that a blog can take, so a multi-cast pod-cast is an even more staggering commitment of time and energy, that you have to try and juggle in between your pay the bills jobs, and responsibilities of hearth, home, and family.

So yeah, the crew at CGS deserve much appreciation, and respect for their work ethic, because it is a massive undertaking. Made all the more impressive because not only are they prolific, one of the most prolific pod-casts of any kind, but they do it while also putting out a consistently excellent and fun to listen to product. And here they are in 2011, years later, still going strong. And still gaining new listeners.

Now all that said, a 174 episodes could could make it daunting for people coming in to CGS in 2011 and trying to decide where to start. The obvious question to most newcomers trying to get a handle on a new show is… ‘What episodes are the keepers?’.

Well that’s going to change depending on everyone’s interests. Some people like to start from the first episode, some people from the latest episode.

But most everybody at some point wants a best of list.

Recently needing to free up some drive space, I had to delete some episodes, which gave me a good excuse to go through 2011 and determine, which episodes for me were keepers. Which episodes did I see myself listening to or referring to again?

So it was a good bit of house cleaning I’ve just completed (freeing up gigs of Data), and I’ve decided to share the results with you.

As far as which type of episodes factor most prominently in my too-keep list?

Well, for purchasing reasons I find the ‘Previews’ episodes good ones to revisit, as they help me when I’m looking for stuff to pick up in trade or collections, that I might have missed the first time around. So the bulk of the episodes I’ve saved from 2011 are ‘Previews’ episodes ( A preview episode is, as the name implies, an episode where they look at upcoming books to be released).

Also the ‘Drunk Cap’ and ‘Uncle Sal’ episodes figure high on my to keep list. So I’m going to give you a string of numbers, and your mission if you choose to accept it is to head over to the CGS site (link below) where they give you the description and download link to the episodes I recommend.

So without further ado my biased list of the essential Comic Geek Speak episodes of 2011:

995,996,998,999,1000-1003,1005,1011-1012,1016-1017,1019,1031-1032,1035-1036,1050,1057,1059,1065-1068, 1071-1072,1089,1095,1098-1100,1110-1111,1118,1126,1135,1143,1145,1150,1154,1155,1159,1164,1165

Go here to get details on the episodes mentioned!