Must Watch Videos of the Day : 9 Jan 2020

The PORFLE POPNECKER Youtube channel always has great and oft obscure tidbits from the heyday of old Hollywood. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable on classic cinema, however… even I… typicaly am always introduced to something new when watching his channels. I am a huge stop-motion fan, but had never heard of the 1957 movie, BLACK SCORPION. Thanks to the above clip I now know about it, and will definitely keep an eye out for it, to view it when possible.

 

Roland Romero shows off his recent Blu-ray purchases, to include a sought after Indicator Hammer Boxset. Love this channel. As those of you reading this know, while I have fallen off of most Blurays, I am a huge fan of Steel-books and Boxsets. I think while major American companies have under-served the physical media market, boutique specialty companies and foreign companies are filling the void by producing, some of the finest physical media releases ever. Quality mastering, with quality special features, with quality presentation and packing. These releases are works of art, as much as the actual film itself. The ‘dead’ physical media format, has never looked more alive, and more attractive. :). I bought more Blurays in 2019 than just about any year… ever (part of that has to do with the rise of Steelbooks) , and 2020 is already gearing up to surpass that.

 

 

 

Earl Grey released his BEST TRADES OF 2019, and like any of his best of videos, it is a must watch to my fellow bibliophile’s out there. Just a consistently great channel.

 

 

 

TOP 5 scariest Horror Manga You Need to Read! What else is there to say, love this channel.

 

 

Amazon Prime Short Horror film of the Day : Ray Sullivan’s THE THING AT 2:37 and Deal of the Day!

Amazon Prime Short Horror film of the Day : Ray Sullivan’s THE THING AT 2:37

 

 

Do not read reviews, just go into this blind. If you have Amazon Prime you can view it right now.

I went into this movie not knowing anything beyond the vaguest description, and was rewarded by 8 minutes of imaginative eeriness.

The ending is very Ligottian, in that the film lets you (if you have imagination), ruminate on that ending. I thought it was a very effective little short. Did more in 8 minutes than a lot of films do with 80 minutes.

Now don’t get me wrong, it is no LIGHTS OUT or DON’T MOVE, but it is a very good short film, and I look forward to more from this filmmaker.

Rating: B+ Strongly Recommended!

 

If you liked this review, subscribe and give a like to this post, and support this blog by clicking on the link below and getting today’s item of the day!

 

ITEM OF THE DAY!

 

 

“This marvelously macabre film is based on a classic short story by Alexander Pushkin which is the same one used by Tchaikovsky for his opera of the same name. It stars Anton Walbrook (fresh from THE RED SHOES), Ronald Howard (son of Leslie and looking just like his father) and Dame Edith Evans in what marked her screen debut at the age of 61.

Set during the time of Napoleon, QUEEN is the story of a young man who is obsessed with the secret of winning at cards and the old woman who possesses that secret. It is turned into a tour de force by Thorold Dickinson who had earlier directed the original version of GASLIGHT (which also featured Walbrook) back in 1940. The movie is full of baroque chiaroscuro lighting and bizarre camera angles and looks like a cross between the films of Val Lewton and Orson Welles with a little F. W. Murnau thrown in for good measure.”

—Amazon Prime

Purchase it here!

One Day Left for Prime Deals 2019! And here are the ones everyone forgot!

A lot of people are concentrating on the tech deals, but there are also deals on what Amazon initially built its empire on… books.

 

Here then are great book deals recommended for you to pick up this Prime Day… and beyond. (While supplies last!).

Everyone is aware of Kareem Abdul Jabbar as one of the great basketball players of all time. Fewer are aware of him as an acclaimed writer. From non-fiction books on all Black tank units in World War II, to his recent Graphic novel work, Kareem Abdul Jabbar proves himself as compelling a writer as he is a personality. I recommend this Prime Day, picking up his books and audio books.

 

https://amzn.to/2jGI80Y

https://amzn.to/2lJvqiN

https://amzn.to/2kcEoV8

https://amzn.to/2lJxIhT

https://amzn.to/2lImXML

The last link above is for the audio cd. There is only ONE left. So hopefully I beat you guys to it. 🙂

 

https://amzn.to/2lkVVek

The hardcover is almost sold out.

 

And below is his new Mycroft book, the third in the series, coming out this September.

https://amzn.to/2lJMs0d

And I would definitely also recommend the graphic novel, available here:

Cover Image

https://amzn.to/2lJbsEZ

Use the links, get a great item for yourself, and earn a couple pennies for this humble blog. A win-win! 🙂

 

Best Streaming TV Show Week 28 of 2019 Edition: Netflix’s BODYGUARD

Do not watch the trailer. Do not read anything on the show, just go to Netflix, and you will probably end up binging the entire 6 episode season of this show in a couple nights.

WoW.

What a show. The BBC knows how to make brilliant shows. Between this, RIPPER STREET, MUSKETEERS, and the first several seasons of SPOOKS, the British Broadcasting Corporation is producing some of the finest television around. Though to be fair they make their share of misses as well. However, on a whole I find their level of quality, how they are shot, their music, their broad themes, to be more daring than what you will find on traditional broadcast tv.

At their best, they are cinematic in their scope, and far reaching in their impact.

Such as… BODYGUARD.

This six episode season of BODYGUARD, left those of us viewing, after the last episode played,… FLOORED. This is TV on a whole different level to popcorn fluff such as LUCIFER, that some people would call the best show on TV.

Insert rant on LUCIFER here. 🙂

Lucifer is ok at best, it is a very well worn ‘police procedural with spice’ type show, in the vein of tons of other gimmick police procedurals, whether ROSEWOOD or ELEMENTARY or SHERLOCK or FOREVER KNIGHT (Vampire Policeman) IZOMBIE (Zombie Policewoman) or GRIMM. Of these the best is arguably GRIMM.

LUCIFER for me, falls somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Another quick aside about LUCIFER: I can definitely do without the tired dynamic of “lets make the initially strong character of color, a ‘Charlie brown, sad sack’ who we use as a foil and comedy relief for the protagonist, and keep pulling the ball away from like Charlie Brown, and he gets dumped by the girl… etc”.

I like to call it the Worf syndrome 🙂 as you see this in a bunch of shows from STAR TREK NEXT GENERATION to ANDROMEDA to BUFFY. Speaking of BUFFY, poor DB Woodside got this same Charlie Brown dynamic done to him in that show as well. It’s a little thread of minstrel show television that remains… and largely because Americans so little examine the stereotypes they ingest and regurgitate.

Thankfully that is changing because you are getting writers of color writing characters of color more organically, so you get non stereotypical shows like LUKE CAGE and POWER, where writers are not setting up their strong characters of color, just to take them down a peg later in the series.

Aside from that bit of tired, agenda writing. LUCIFER is harmless fun, but great television it is not.

End of LUCIFER tirade. 🙂

 

For great television go watch… BODYGUARD.

You will thank me later.

This one i hope to purchase on Blu-ray as soon as it is available. It is a show you do not want to leave its availability to the ever shifting waters of streaming licensing deals.  It is that good.

The End of American Comic Books?

With the major two American Publishers (Marvel Comics and DC Comics) Marvel Comics (Real) | Spiderman animated Wikia | FANDOM powered ...Dc Logo Png Transparent - Dc Comics Logo 1976 - Free Transparent ...largely pricing themselves out of the periodic comic book market, ($4 for a 22 story page comic? Are you on crack?! 🙂 ) and failing to engage any sizeable readership in the sub-thirty market, and losing readers in their dwindling above 30 market, they are kept around largely to just be an idea space/loss leader for the actually profitable divisions of the multinational oligarchies that own them.

That is not to say there are not brilliant writers and artists that work for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, but unfortunately they are crippled by a few things.

First a pricing structure (over $3 for a couple dozen pages of comics. 10 minutes of reading entertainment is moronic. It is a poor value for dollar when compared to just about anything else) , second a quality structure ( abhorent paper and cover quality. Poor and obtrusive placement of ads, especially when compared to better Indy publishers. Marvel Comics is especially culpable in this) and third a flawed editorial structure/mindset ( lets inundate the MARKET, dilute the brand and confuse and frustrate the readership, with too much overlapping, and conflicting, and redundant books, and events, and storylines. Let us not give prospective readers one clear on-ramp to our comics, a single Batman book to follow, or Spiderman book to follow, when we can publish 20 poorly selling, and market-fractioning books instead. And let us not place the books or advertise the books, places where our demographic could actually find them).

All three of these ingrained ‘sales’ structures of major American comics, seemingly just designed by moronic frat boys, rather than capable professionals who really love and want to grow/expand the medium.

Marvel and DC comics for the last few decades since the 90s, proving themselves inept at selling American Comics to Americans or anyone else. Think about it, Marvel and DC comics, these publishers, their inability to sell 100 thousand comics in a nation of 300 Million people, is an unprecedented level of failure. Especially with the hard work of selling these characters to the mainstream already done by the movies and TV shows.

If I were the parent companies, AT&T and Disney, I would wholesale fire the Marketing and Editorial departments of both companies, and bring in fresh blood with fresh ideas. Because, clearly the people currently running these divisions have not the slightest clue how to sustain and grow their print model/readership.

Now on the Independent comic book publishing Front, there are still promising companies, IMAGE COMICS, and some of the smaller companies such as Alterna and Albatross etc. these companies are really challenging the ingrained pricing and content and quality deficits of marvel and dc. these companies resembling more the mad creativity and broad appeal of marvel comics in its bronze age glory days, before it lost its way. before the peter principle took hold of marvel and dc, and they grew past their best and most useful state.

WHERE I BUY JUST ABOUT NOTHING MONTHLY FROM THE BIG TWO (Exception being Christopher Priest’s DEATHSTROKE) I buy just about everything from ALTERNA, and ALBATROSS and a bunch from IMAGE. Dark Horse, IDW, Ahoy, Aftershock, Titan, all companies putting out great books.

However a recent rash of buyouts of Indy comic companies, by deep pocket Chinese companies may bode ill for true Indy American Comics. and may signal an end to this current golden age of american comics.

AND YES, I WOULD ARGUE THAT LOW SALES AND OTHER ISSUES TO THE CONTRARY, WE ARE IN A GOLDEN AGE OF COMIC BOOKS, graphic literature, slims. cause when you get away from the reprehensible shenanigans and mismanagement and flooding the market tactics of the big two, the comics themselves, have truly never been better, or richer, with nearly every genre of book being published, and across the board, a higher level of story and art then ever before.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

Ahoy Comics | Expect More

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

i grew up in the bronze age of comics, i love the bronze age comics, and there were some great comics. but across the board the quality and creativity is better today. you just have to push a lot of that noise of the big two out of the way so you can see eric powell’s hillbilly and goon, so you can see brubaker’s criminal, so you can see rucka’s lazarus so you can see walker’s bitter root, so you can see dingess’ manifest destiny, and the list goes on. and even in marvel, great comics are being made,  ta-nehisi coates black panther and captain america, jason aAron’s thor, montclare’s moon girl and devil dinosaur, g. willolw wilson’s ms. marvel and the list goes on, it is just marvel has made these books (for reasons mentioned) unpalatable to pick up monthly. it is better to wait for the collected edition and read the story that way.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.

for monthly comics I really like the Alterna model in terms of pricing, and seeking old fashioned newstand distribution. And hopefully other companies can follow their homegrown lead so we continue to have American comic book companies not potentially censored by allegiance to foreign interests.

Hope you found the above slight tirade useful. It comes from a place of love for the medium, and love that a home grown, domestic comic book company… can endure.

If you want to buy the back issues of any of the books I mention, or subscribe to books (preorder new books, I highly recommend it) use the below link. You will get great books, and it will earn a few pennies for this blog. Enjoy!

https://www.mycomicshop.com/?AffID=200301P01

 

Streaming VOD Roku Fire TV Channel Watching Guide For Feb 2019 : HULU Edition!

HULU

 

1st Kudos to Hulu for, in an age where Streaming Services like Netflix are going price-hike crazy, actually offering a price reduction. Applause to HULU! This and Amazon Prime in my opinion are the best two Streaming services, in terms of both content, value, and ease of use/quality of the surfing experience.

Netflix lags FAR behind both channels, in my admittedly biassed opinion.

 

Okay onto the stuff you need to catch this month on Hulu (both old and new content):

https://cdn3-www.comingsoon.net/assets/uploads/gallery/legion-season-2/dxqfn3rxkaa06zq-jpg-large.jpgThe first season of LEGION was nothing short of game changing television. Writer/Producer Noah Hawtey with this and the 2nd season of FARGO proving himself one of the best writer/producers of this new Golden Age of Television. [To that list of best writer/producers of this new Golden Age, I would add creator Drew Goddard for DAREDEVIL Season 1 (Was not a fan of Seasons 2 and 3), and Cheo Hodari Coker’s brilliant and criminally underrated LUKE CAGE Season 1 and 2. While DAREDEVIL Season 1 is the better Action Show, LUKE CAGE is the better show, both writing and importance, for reasons way beyond, one person hitting another.]

I am looking forward to Noah Hawley’s feature film directorial debut LUCY IN THE SKY (slated for this year), but until then I will be enjoying the 2nd season of LEGION on Hulu.

 

 

John C. McGinley, Nate Mooney, Deborah Baker Jr., and Janet Varney in Stan Against Evil (2016)

The Boondocks (2005)

Into the Dark (2018)

INTO THE DARK? A hulu curated series of feature length Horror Movies?? Count me in!!!!!

Dwayne Johnson in The Titan Games (2019)

THE TITAN GAMES is definitely inspired by AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR, and while not as compelling as that show, this is still a very good mid season fill-in for AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR.

I had my doubts about ATLANTA, but the first season made me a believer. A modern day renaissance man, Donald Glover is a creator to watch. And season 2 is now on HULU. This show and WAYWARD PINES are two shows that get painted with the TWIN PEAKS brush, as a measure of their strangeness; but both shows are far better than TWIN PEAKS ever was.

David Kellman, Robert Shafran, and Eddy Galland in Three Identical Strangers (2018)

Ted Allen in Chopped (2007)

Cities of the Underworld (2007)

The Tesla Files (2018)

 

Aldis Hodge and Jurnee Smollett-Bell in Underground (2016)

 

The first episode of UNDERGROUND Blew me away! Fantastic use of anachronistic music, and camera movements to tell this tragic and triumphant tale of horror and holocaust. It is of course not easy viewing, but is rewarding and essential viewing. I did not like and do not rewatch the film ROOTS, but the film SANKOFA which covers the same story of the slave trade but does it with such heartbreaking beauty and incredible visuals, it becomes an undeniable work of art, rather than simply a dry recounting of facts, or a pity party. That is what UNDERGROUND also brings to this shameful part of American history. The struggle of those who fought against the accepted horror of their time.

In that way, how much more heroic are they… than we. I look forward to completing season 1 and 2 this month on HULU!

 

Rick and Morty (2013)

RICK AND MORTY- much to my surprise is animation genius. LOVE IT. Right up there with the VENTURE BROS. Looking forward to season 4 showing up on HULU.

Lakeith Stanfield in Sorry to Bother You (2018)

Called both the best and worst movie of 2018, depending on which reviewer you listen to, I’m really looking forward to watching SORRY TO BOTHER YOU sometime this month. And based on the track record of certain critics, I think this one is going to end up in my loved it pile.

The Sisters Brothers (2018)

Joseph Sikora, Omari Hardwick, Naturi Naughton, 50 Cent, Lela Loren, and Sinqua Walls in Power (2014)

I LOVE this series, POWER, and am way behind on it. So HULU this month will give me the chance to finish season3 and watch season 4.

Scott Grimes, Penny Johnson Jerald, Seth MacFarlane, Peter Macon, Adrianne Palicki, J. Lee, Mark Jackson, and Halston Sage in The Orville (2017)

I loved the first season of the ORVILLE. Season two started off great, but the second episode written by Wellesley Wild and directed by Kevin Hook, wow, that was a stinker.

It is some of the worst television I’ve seen since the 4th season of HELL ON WHEELS. Meaning really god awful, editor-less and rambling and self indulgent, please-fine-me-the-remote-fast-forward television. :). The odd thing is with just a less heavy handed delivery, no need for multiple hit us over the head holo-deck scenes, it could have been a good episode. the message was sound, the delivery unfortunately over indulged.

I will be very pleased not to see the name Wellesley Wild or Kevin Hook on any upcoming Orville episodes. 🙂 . Because other than that misstep, it has been a great and balanced show, not over doing the comedy and letting the drama shine thru when called for. And the visuals/ set and ship design and CGI, are just stellar.

It is the best STAR TREK on TV since the turn of the century. Wow. Let that sink in. 🙂

Castle Rock (2018)

Runaways (2017)

Kelsey Grammer, Russell Hornsby, and Rachelle Lefevre in Proven Innocent (2019)The premise of this show, addressing wrongful convictions, is I think very timely, and intriguing. Particularly in a witch-hunt/social media lynching America where people are found guilty and punished BEFORE trial, much less a verdict. In such an America where corporations the jury and the judges, rubber stamp social media verdicts, and special interests weaponize social media… a show about wrongful convictions… I’ll take a look.

Now the above are some of the top shows on or coming to HULU in February 2019, and reasons to give HULU a look this month.

So those of you who came just for the February 2019 STREAMING TV guide can leave now.

For those of you who want one of my inconveniently timed and inappropriately placed rants, 🙂 keep reading.

 

 

That last mention above, regarding the show PROVEN INNOCENT, made me ponder upon that subject.

One of the most idiotic postings I read recently, was this commenter piling on some guy accused of harassing a woman.

This guy was calling for the usual things the mob calls for, the accused to get fired, the accused to get stoned, etc. To which was pointed out that he knows neither the ‘claimed’ victim nor ‘claimed’ accuser,  that before taking sides and handing down his verdict, maybe this should go thru due process. Due process defined as If criminal… a court of law, if civil or corporate, a board of inquiry or a federal HR complaint.

When pointed out that there is a process for proving an actual crime or wrong doing, that perhaps has nothing to do with stirring up lynch-mob justice on Facebook or Twitter, and attacking someone who should be innocent till PROVEN guilty…. this guy’s response was….

 

“I TRUST WOMEN!!!!”

That was it.

Some woman he does not know, claims some horrendous deed was done to her, last week, 5 years ago, 20 years ago, and this guy takes it as gospel and attacks wherever she points.

You know where that also happened.

Salem Massachusetts in 1692 and 1693.

As well as the United States from the age of reconstruction through the 1960s, where many a body swayed from many a tree.

“ME TOO’, may be a great movement for healing wounds, and improving conditions.

However, it has no place deciding guilt or innocence.

Only facts should do that, not the baggage of the mob.

Here endeth the aside. 🙂

Favorite Purchase of the Day : NEGRO ROMANCE #1

 

Romance books as well as Comic Books in general really picked up steam in the post World War II years. The comics finding themselves picked up by everyone one from kids to teens to adults. GIs and their wives also making a regular audience for these comic books.

In the prosperous post World War II years America was riding high, and you can see it in everything from the cars to the boom in home ownership to the boom in the birth rate, to the boom in comic genres and publishers.

In an America where currently comics struggle to sell a 100000 issues, comics back then routinely sold upwards of half a million copies. The more popular titles in the millions.

Romance Titles were one of those lifted by the general explosion of comics. And mainstream comics, though another war had just been won, ostensibly for liberty and freedom, were still victim of an America cowtowing to Jim Crow restrictions. Books that had people of color,could not be sold in some southern states if those depictions were not jingoistic or demeaning.

Evenhanded or respectful depictions of people of color, would likely get your book banned from that particular retailer. It was an extension of the same restrictions movies dealt with, that led to the ‘race’ movies of pioneers such as Director/Producer Oscar Micheaux in the 1920s and the creation of Black Film Production companies, and more importantly a Black owned circuit of theaters.

However Comics, while more popular than today, were still a niche medium and attempts to break the Jim Crow mandated codes against people of color, while valiant and brilliant… were unfortunately short lived. Especially where legal protections against mob behaviour/lynchings were virtually non-existant.

So that the NEGRO ROMANCE comic  existed at all (much like the earlier ALL NEGRO COMICS) is down to the courage and talent of people who at the end of the day just wanted to tell good stories, without the Minstrel Show trappings of the time. That the book lasted two issues before being literally white-washed, removing characters of color and renaming it, is unfortunate.

But at least we had those two issues. And Thanks to Karl A. Therrian, after 70 years of being  lost from the light of day, these issues, along with ALL NEGRO COMICS are currently available.

I could not be happier to own these reissues, in FANTASTIC condition of these extremely rare comics. Get them while they last.

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https://amzn.to/2M5427P

I will cover the book in more detail in an upcoming post.

However, I would strongly suggest not sleeping on these books. Yes, you can buy them from various people, but it is apparent the love and care that Karl A. Therrian puts into his reissues that sets them above the competition.

Buy it while available.