Today’s Rant Brought to you by THE FEARMAKERS (1958)

“Millions of people being lied too. Taken for suckers.

You know it’s a funny thing. They have pure food and drug laws, to keep people from buying poison to put in their stomachs, and you’re pedaling poison to put in their minds!”

Dana Andrews in FEARMAKERS (1958)

A good film by the always impressive Jaques Tourneur. Currently available via Amazon Prime. But against the day when it becomes unavailable on streaming (which happens often), get your DVD (is not available in Bluray) here.

 

-Wow that quote could be directed at ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FACEBOOK and FOX.

Okay I am about to rant here. So if you don’t want to hear one of my always outrageous and “witchhunt society incorrect” rants, then enjoy the above poster and quote, and come back next installment for more cuddly teddy bears. For those masochists and sadists among you who get off on my occasional tirades… enjoy the following.

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One thought on FOX… people tend to toss the ‘fake news’ appellation at FOX, when every other network is just as guilty of it. Do you think it is coincidence that when a major story breaks, NBC, CBS, and Disney owned ABC, are reporting the same news, at the same time, using nearly the same sound-bites?

Without a doubt FOX and Sinclair Broadcasting have agendas, and positions to pedal, but I appreciate the fact, that they are at least original when composing their coverage, rather than just a member of a ‘greek chorus’, that the other bought networks are a part of.

I hate slavery, and I hate programming, and I hate the stupidity of the mob, and network news relies on all three.

So yes FOX news, culpable and biassed, but do not fool yourself into thinking CBS or ABC or NBC or CNN is any less culpable and biased.

I wish Bill Cosby — back in the day, before he became the pariah for this witch-hunt generation, had bought CBS (he was always an excellent businessman), and this idea of a major network in the US, not part and parcel of the Industrial War Complex, would have at least given us some modicum of balance in our ‘news’; instead of what we have, which is… who we should deify and who we should demonize, being fed to us by multi-national corporate interests and the children of slavers.

 

The Truth is out there, to borrow an old slogan. But so are lies, and determining the one from the other, takes being informed as much about yourself, and your prejudices, and biases , and agendas, as it does being aware of other peoples.

We have to work harder at finding the news, and not trust that we will get it delivered to us. We have to some extent — be our own journalist, and for medical issues, don’t accept the regurgitation of middlemen be it newscasters or youtubers or personalities or bloggers. Go to the source for any rumor or ‘news’ you hear.

You want to know about the state of the Covid Virus, you don’t watch the effing news, you go to the World Health Organization and the Center For Disease Control. This is for everything, crime, movies, weather, employment, entertainment, you see a headline, you fact check it, and cross check it with multiple established and respected resources.

Yes it requires work.

And no, it is not as much fun, as joining the mob, and playing “who do we lynch today”, who do we pile on and castigate for their sins, so we do not have to look at our own.

Bill Cosby recently came up in the news, a letter from his representation, requesting release due to this Covid situation.

For those of you who do not know, America has one of the highest prison populations in the world, and one of the most corrupt and mismanaged. The endpoint of this being it is a hotbed for the current outbreak.

So Bill Cosby’s representation, naturally put in motions for release.

Any of you reading this blog for any length of time, know where I stand on Bill Cosby.

Namely a lot of people rushing to castigate Bill Cosby. And if none of them have done the accused evil of a Bill Cosby, I guarantee you, no ten of them have done the good.

But it is easier to pretend that a man’s falling down exists, and his standing up never did. His honors and accolades removable, his faults are all… they are to be weighed above and beyond all… they eradicate the good, so all we see is the bad.

Is that the measure by which we judge, and should be judged?

If guilty —  treatment is what he needed, not prison. But America continues to use the media for lynching, and the legal system for enslaving, and between the two… justice is a distant land, and the echoes of Jim Crow and slavery… alive.

Hopefully the new motions from his representation will get Mr. Cosby, who is not a violent criminal, released.

And to the rest of us, those who are quick to judge, and damn, and delight in a person’s fall.

Be hopeful you be not judged, as harshly as you judge.

Or none of us will escape crucifixion.

None of us will escape the fires.

 

Here endeth the Rant.

Recommended Movie : INFERNO (1953) By Roy Baker

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Received this film in the mail, less than 24 hours ago, courtesy of Blu-ray label Twilight Time and having already watched it have it say… it is a keeper.

This 1953 directed Roy Baker film, starring Robert Ryan, Rhonda Fleming and William Londigan is a surprisingly intense, gripping and even brutal affair. What begins as a seemingly routine 1950s period film, becomes something far more compelling and intriguing, something that surprised me, watching it for the first time in 2020, in its sophistication of storytelling, and attention to detail, and the efficacy of its survival narrative.

You get a real appreciation for Robert Ryan as an actor, who rarely got the chance to play anything besides vicious heavies, and can appreciate why this was one of his films that he liked. Also actors Rhonda Fleming and William Londigan, likewise give strong performances. Also the accompanying film commentary (if you are watching via Twilight Time disc) gives a thoroughly informative and enriching look into all involved in the film, and the film itself. You particularly learn that contrary to Robert Ryan being typecast largely as heavy, and racist; that he was actually a champion for human and civil rights, and was an erudite and learned man.

Now regarding the Twilight Time Blu-ray disc for this film, it looks good but it does not look great. It looks DVD quality, not remastered, with artifacts, which is most likely the print Twilight time was given by the studio to work with, so I do not hold it against them. But I did want to make you aware you are not getting this release for its picture quality.

As of this writing this film is not available via streaming, and with it being one of the Fox inventory that is now owned by Disney, the chance of a future Region A disc release of this film is currently unlikely.

Though eventually I see this film making it onto a streaming service, and when that happens, it will likely be a better print, higher quality than presented on this disc.

You may think that’s an odd admission from me, considering I am always praising the importance of physical media, and I do prefer physical media. However in some cases, streaming gets it right, and the physical media… doesn’t. And this disc quality wise, leaves room for improvement.

That said, it could be years before this film hits Disney streaming or is re-released on disc, and considering how good of a film it is, that would be a bit of a loss, to film fans and to film history.

And the Blu-ray/Hi-Def limitations of this Blu-ray disc aside, it is perfectly presentable, and worth owning for the special features, and commentary alone. And Twilight time is one of the few labels doing the hard-work of releasing these often long unavailable films. That then get picked up by bigger labels that have the money to remaster the films, etc.

 

So Twilight Time is definitely a company worth supporting. And as of this writing you can still pickup the INFERNO Blu-ray. 

And even if the streaming version was available today, I would still recommend owning the physical version of this movie, because it not only offers you the film, and the special features, but also the ability to donate it or sell it when you are done with it. Something you are not going to be able to do with a digital version that you ‘own’.

The physical version still has inherent resale value.

 

Grade: Recommended

 

Get your copy Here!

 

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Some Favorite Blu-Ray and DVD and Knife and Book Purchases of 2019! – Under Construction

UNDER CONSTRUCTION – come back tonight about 10pm for finished version

 

 

The last few years, I have been discovering new passions, or interests.

2018 was really me getting into slabs (sealed and protected graded comics) as well as headphones and to a small degree statues.

 

Buying my first 3 statues (and as of this writing still my only 3 statues) in 2018. It was also the year I began my dive into graded or slabbed comic books. I started 2018 with 0 slabbed comics and ended the year with over 2 dozen. I also got into headphones big that year, getting about half a dozen audiophile quality headphones.

By 2019 I had put the brakes on the slabbed comics, as well as the headphones (selling most of the headphones, only keeping a couple). Instead in 2019 I got bitten by two new collecting bugs, folding knives and Blu-ray Steel-books. Managing to control my collecting bug a little more in 2019, I only treated myself to one folding knife, my first new knife in over 10 years, but on the Steel-book front I have jumped in with both feet.

 

Having only owned one steel-book going into 2019, and having largely just not made time for physical media in the last several years, since 2014, by the end of 2019 I had definitely made up for lost time, i had amassed a collection of over 3 dozen mostly steel-books, with a smattering of digi-books thrown in. I won’t bog you down in all the great items I picked up in 2019, but will just shut out some that put a smile on my face every-time I see them, and that I highly recommend to other collectors out there.

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.THE THING – I saw this steelbook, a mingling of beautiful art piece, and quality remastered and feature rich version of one of my favorite movies, on someone’s youtube channel and I was blown away. While I appreciate the improvement of Bluray over DVD, I was never a fan of the Bluray packaging, branding. It looked cheap, it looked ugly, and in the age of streaming, you do have to justify what you allow to take up space in your home. So while not one of those extolling ‘physical media is dead’ for me at least, it had slowed down to absolute must haves, that I did not want to leave to the vagaries of streaming licensing deals, to ensure I could view it.

But with this Shoutfactory/ScreamFactory release of the THING I was introduced to something new in the market, boutique companies treating these Blurays as quality works, deserving of quality branding. So yeah, as funds allowed in 2019 I picked up ShoutFactory steelbook after steelbook, and they have just been homeruns. And 2019 was a particularly good year, because they were doing the John Carpenter series of films, and his work in steelbook… well let us say i can not think of many other genre filmmaker that I would have been as passionate about collecting as John Carpenter.

 

As of this writing there are only a couple of his films, that I still need from Shoutfactory. So big kudos to that Youtube channel and to ShoutFactory for making steelbooks a definite passion for me (and seemingly many others) in 2019.

 

And naturally Shoutfactory’s Steelbooks opened the door for me to great and must have steelbooks from other quality Bluray labels, such as Universal, Criterion, Disney, Indicator, Arrow and many more.

 

Some quick shoutouts for 2019:

STEELBOOKS

THE THING -ShoutFactory

PRINCE OF DARKNESS – ShoutFactory

LIFEFORCE – ShoutFactory

THE LAST JEDI – Disney

ROUGE ONE – Disney

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA -Zavvi

 

Under Construction- Come back tonight 10pm EST for completed post

 

In the meantime check out these 2020 DEALS!!!

 

3 Best Marvel/MCU Villains 2008-2019

 

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

 

LOKI

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

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KILLMONGER

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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THANOS

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

And for Honarable Mentions:

  • Ultron
  • Red Skull
  • Winter Soldier
  • Klaw

 

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

 

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Purchase Here.

2019 Year in Review : Favorite TV Shows

2019 Year in review : Favorite TV Shows

I tried quite a few shows in 2019 UMBRELLA ACADEMY, LUCIFER, GOOD OMENS, THE WITCHER, BLACK MIRROR, GAME OF THRONES but my favorite TV shows, BY FAR, were the following:

 

THE TERROR 1st Season – One of the most grueling and terrifying and brilliant things I saw on TV in 2019

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BODYGUARD 1st and only season- One of the best action/spy shows I’ve seen since SPOOKS and the first season of JACK RYAN.

THE GRAND TOUR – One of the worst mistakes TOP GEAR made was pissing these guys off and forcing them out. TOP GEAR has become an un-watched joke, and THE GRAND TOUR … simply fun and brilliant.

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HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE Season 1- After THE TERROR, the 2nd most terrifying tv show I saw in 2019. And that one episode with the reveal of the hanging lady, is just horrible to think about. The more you think about that episode the more effed up it becomes, and the more you feel for that character. A brilliantly written show.

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LUKE CAGE Season 2- Speaking of a brilliantly written show, LUKE CAGE season 2 when you get past some cringe worthy scenes in the early episode ( I do not want to see Shades and Black Mariah kissing on each other, the less of that the better) but when you get past that bit of self indulgence, it really takes off and has a story that is more complex than people hitting each other. Which kinda is why I lost interest in the other Marvel/Netflix shows. It is the small moments where this series sings, like the scene of Cage and Rand just talking as they overlook Central Park. That is one of my favorite scenes, and not a punch in it, just people talking. And the Antagonists were so rich, no clear good, or clear evil, but people in varying degrees of pain. Add to that just the best ending/cliffhanger of any of the Marvel/Netflix shows. Really hope this comes to Bluray soon.

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MANDALORIAN Season 1 – Baby Yoda Rules! And the show is great, a nice back to basics western in space.

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THE BOYS Season 1 – Jaw Dropping, and one of the best examples of the adaptation being superior to the source material. Not a fan of THE BOYS comic, loved this show,

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THE EXPANSE (Seasons 1-3) – I’ve praised this show often. It is the best scifi show currently being aired.

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PENNYWORTH – Only saw 3 episodes, that was all that was available for free, but what a 3 episodes. Phenomenal and fun and gripping.

 

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WATCHMEN – Only saw the first episode, but what an episode. Had my doubts about this show, the first episode made me a believer.

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With an honorable mention to BABYLON 5 as a show I revisited in 2019. Currently on season 4. Holds up as one of the best shows of all time. Straczynski creating the first novel for TV.

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Movie / TV Trailer of the Day or First Netflix Show I have been excited for in a Long Time!

Dracula_Final_VARIANT.jpg

The poster above is by Jonathan Burton, commissioned by Universal Studios to honor the original 1931 Dracula film, but in spirit it seems perfect to capture this new Netflix distributed DRACULA that is on the horizon. The new trailer looks… AWESOME!!! View it at the link below.

Lets make no mistake Francis Ford Coppola, his questionable stance on current films aside, in his heyday made some phenomenal films. APOCALYPSE NOW, and GODFATHER on anybody’s shortlist of 100 best films.

However, some of his less celebrated movies, are the ones I love the most. TUCKER starring Jeff Bridges, is a masterful film. And his BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, is the last word in the vampire film. I love my Universal Films, I love my Hammer films, PENNY DREADFUL had its moments (a poor third season ruined it for me), but Coppola’s DRACULA has been the undisputed best take on the Dracula myth.

Based on the trailer alone, this new DRACULA, may be a worthy new take on Stoker’s most celebrated tale.

The trailer has me looking forward to it, and excited for it, which is something I have not been for a Netflix property in sometime. So yeah, this one goes on my must watch list. 🙂

 

 

DEALS OF THE DAY

Streaming TV Guide of the Day : Youtube Shows of the Day!

Streaming TV Guide of the Day : Youtube Shows of the Day!

Or in the words of the MANDALORIAN show… I HAVE SPOKEN! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s it in a nutshell guys all the must watch Youtube shows  for today, the 10th Day of December, in the Two Thousandth and Nineteenth year of a Crucified Lord, if you go by the Gregorian calendar, or the One thousandth Four Hundred and thirty ninth year of the Hijri calendar, or the year Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifteen on the Traditional Chinese calendar. Man I love how wacky our world is. 🙂

Anyhow if you love this post guys, give a subscribe, give a like. Takes you two seconds, but it does make a great difference.

Also if you have some disposable income and looking for nifty gifts AND a way to support this Heroic Times blog, in these Heroic… Times, :), then use the link below. We have a goal to move 10 of the emergency bags, quite proud of them, so if moved to, use the link below.

 

Deals of the Day!!

 

Till next installment… Be Well!!!