Trailer of the Day : Mark Amin’s EMPEROR (2020) and great Black History Month and All Year Long DVD and Blu-Ray Pickups!

Dayo Okeniyi in Emperor (2020)

This trailer came out of nowhere, but I loved it.

I’m not crazy about the poster tag-line, a ‘true legend’, while many true things with time become the stuff of legend, and many legends are stories that have outlived and outlasted the crumbling and burying into dust of all things, even concrete evidence, the putting together of those two words… ‘true legend’ , if not exactly an oxymoron, is just slightly inept marketing. You want to put those two together, try this… ‘in a time of imposed truths, he became in his own lifetime… a galvanizing legend’ .

Took me two seconds to come up with that, and I think it shows more thought than what their marketing department did. Call me guys if you need to fire them and get a better marketing presence, we’ll talk. 🙂 .

But that aside, a very good poster and a GREAT Trailer! If the movie lives up to it, it will be a blast.

As someone who just picked up the 2 season set of UNDERGROUND (almost sold out, so you may want to pick it up while you can, use the attached link) and who is a huge fan of the best in Pan African cinema such as SANKOFA, DARESALAM, HYENAS, GENESIS, I AM CUBA, CAMP DE THIAROYE  (also available courtesy of the attached links) this film definitely goes on my must check out list. Probably along with the WITCH:SUBVERSION one of the best trailers for the Month of February.

 

UNDERGROUND 2 season DVD

SANKOFA – arguably one of the finest, and both savage and beautiful films made, of a true Holocaust. Haile Gerima’s masterpiece. and the fact that this film is out of print, and does not have a Criterion or similar high-scale Blu-ray or DVD release, is only proof that we have a long way yet to go. Get a copy, you will thank me later.

Sankofa

 

 

Daresalam

DARESALAM – This is simply put, cinema at its finest. Get your copy, while you can.

 

I AM CUBAFor years this film was not available in the west, and then when I finally saw it, I think at a film festival, yeas ago, the camera work, in a time way before CGI, blew my mind. As a fan of David Lean, and Hitchcock and Welles and Fritz Lang, geniuses with the camera, this film was like a generational evolution. In an age before Steadicam adoption, the shots were absolutely mind blowing. When it finally was released on a quality DVD boxset, I rushed out and picked it up, and I told all of you to pick it up. For those new to this blog, back in the day, those who listened to me picked it up for $40. It is decidedly more than that, but still worth picking up, if you have the funds. A Masterpiece.

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Quick rant, feel free to bypass this. 🙂

Here’s a tip you should know. Quality  non-hollywood  films about and by people of color, especially politically provocative films, have a tendency of not staying in print. And either dry up entirely on the secondary market, or explode in price before disappearing into private collections rarely to see the light of day.

I am never in a rush to pick up KNIVES OUT or 1917 or AVENGERS ENDGAME, because that is going to be there for decades to come. But when I hear about a THE GREAT WAR or EMPEROR or a DARESALAM or a BROTHER JOHN on dvd or Blu-ray, I can not race fast enough to purchase these movies. Haile Gerima, who I had the pleasure to interview back in the day, understood the importance of retaining positive images, and words, and movies, and music. That is culture.

And when the ability to view or hear or see these sounds and images, is at the mercy and whims of multinationals… culture itself is held hostage. And the people who depend on the reflective power of culture, to help define the width and the breadth of their aspirations, are likewise diminished.

And particularly today when so many are weaned on streaming, physical media is ironically both scarcer and yet more important and arguably esteemed and sought after, than ever before.

Because those in the know, understand streaming giveth and streaming taketh away, based on the uninformed whims of the lynchmob. You want your favorite film, available to watch when you want, and in the cut of the film you remember, there is no replacement for physical media. There just is not.

Here endeth the soap-box interlude. 🙂

You can take it, or you can leave it alone. 🙂
Either way, be well.

 

 

 

The Best of Boutique Blu-ray Labels in the age of Streaming! Oct 2019 to February 2020 ARROW Collection Update! Part 2 of 2!

Despite claims of the death of physical media, Blu-ray Boutique labels, HERE IN 2020, are putting out some of the best physical content… EVER!

Here then are MUST OWN Blu-rays in the age of streaming and digital, acquired between October 2019 and February 2020!

 

PT 2 of 2 of my Arrow Video Pickups for that period:

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THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN – Just in terms of art, this is not one of the better Arrow releases. The art, both versions of the reversible cover, are pretty awful.  Unworthy of such a great film. However because it is a great film, and the Arrow release is the only legitimate Bluray option out there, I can definitely overlook the art, in order to own this essential sci-fi tinged horror film. But I do hope we in the futuure get a superior version.

J.D’S REVENGE – I saw this film recently courtesy of Amazon Prime, my first time seeing this 40+ year old film… and I loved it. What a gem! Surprisingly gripping and exciting and Volatile. And this is one that ARROW VIDEO does a Fantastic job with the art, And i look forward to checking out the special features.

 

Get your copies at the following links:

INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN

JD’S REVENGE

 

ONE FINAL WORD, AS i wrap up this quick update on arrow video titles acquired recently.

One OF THE STANDOUT FEATURES OF ARROW IN ADDITION TO THE SPECIAL FEATURES THEY INCLUDE ON THEIR RELEASES AND THE METICULOUS WORK THEY TYPICALLY DO COMMISSIONING NEW ARTWORK, is their booklets that come with their releases. however, that is also one of the main frustrations of collecting arrow releases.

arrow does this policy, where they only release the book or booklet with the ‘first pressing’ of their movies. basically when their initial batch of blu-rays of a title sell out, when they release subsequent pressings, those subsequent batches will not come with the book or booklet.

NOW I DO UNDERSTAND THE BENEFITS OF DOING THIS FROM ARROW’S PERSPECTIVE, COST BEING A VERY MINOR ONE. BUT I THINK THE REAL REASON THEY DO IT, IS IT CREATES THIS AURA OF collectibility AND DEMAND AND URGENCY. it feeds into the ‘limited edition’ collectibles market, which is a valid part of their customer base.

here is the issue with that, that is only part of your customer base.

as a buyer and fan of arrow video releases, you do not know when you place your order, via a retailer, whether the new product you are getting will come with or without the booklet. and for most fans of arrow (or any boutique label, such as criterion), the booklet is part of why you collect physical media, as opposed to just streaming the movie, or getting the film from a different label. even today, four years after its initial release, i can order black narcissus (one of the most stunning films ever made) from criterion, and be assured of getting the beautiful booklet with it. that assurance of quality whenever you pick up a criterion product, well that says everything about why they remain synonymous with quality and confidence.

so while the limited nature of arrow’s books and booklet, ensures you create a quick sell out of your initial run, it hampers sales of subsequent runs. And gives the buyer pause before buying that release, and has them turn from you and your retailers to the secondary market for a used item, but one that guarantees they get the book or booklet.

this policy is actually training potential customers to be wary of getting the item new from arrow or its retailers, and to rather patronize the secondary market.

now i am a supporter of the secondary market typically, but in this case i think arrow may actually be losing sales on older titles this way. training your customer base to seek out used product as opposed to your in-stock product, courting the exclusivity fervor, is a tricky tight rope to walk, especially when it may be actually sacrificing some sales from a potentially larger customer base, to support this model.

at the very least if arrow, wants to not provide the book/booklet in all releases, and continue to court to some extent the limited edition part of their customer base, what they can still do is offer the books and booklets as an add on to customers. give customers the option to buy the book or booklet at a nominal fee, to include s&h. worldwide shipping of a booklet, even today is only few pounds. And to differentiate it from the first pressing, just simply mark it aS ‘2nd printing’.

this way your limited edition audience, still keep their ‘limited edition status- they have first prints’. and at the same time you generate revenue from people who missed out on the books or booklets. it strengthens peoples trust in arrow, since what you get is not totally left up to chance or the secondary market.

anyhow that is my two cents on the one issue, as someone only several months into arrow video patronage, that i see as room for improvement, with the otherwise excellent arrow label.

 

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.

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Ahoy Comics | Expect More

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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.

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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