AVENGERS INFINITY WAR : THE LAST WORD Review

 

I have been off the movie radar for a bit.

I go in cycles like that.

Last movie I saw in the theater (twice) was the excellent BLACK PANTHER Directed by Ryan Coogler and produced by filmic juggernaut, Marvel Studios.

Today a few minutes ago I just got done watching AVENGERS INFINITY WAR courtesy of Amazon Prime, and streamed right in the comfort of my home.

It is definitely a movie that would have been great seen  on a huge full size theatrical system, but as I said timing and interest sometimes works out for me to hit the theater, sometimes it doesn’t.

The movie, AVENGERS INFINITY WAR finally seen ( I avoided trailers, special features, reviews etc) it is ten years of Marvel Studios, and ten years of world building codified and paid tribute to; it is not just a great movie, it is a great mythology. It is that first story told around the raging fire to keep back the night. It is everything you want a film to be.

To call it just a superhero film is perhaps to miss the point, and the enduring power and place these four color heroes have held first on the comic page, and now the cinematic stage.

They are our modern myths writ large, and this film by the capable Russo Brothers improves and transcends the source material, to tell tales both of massive victories and massive defeats, but always managing to ground it on a very personal level.

The movie made me laugh, it made me cheer, it made me tear up, and it made me silent. A whole gamut of emotional states in a mere couple of hours. The Russo Brother’s have helmed yet another masterpiece and this one being their best and most haunting yet. Raising the stakes but not losing the man on the ground perspective, that make these films so relateable.

Tales of Gods and Monsters yes, but hinged on wheels of faith and loss and sacrifice and love.

The wheels all of us, can understand and be moved by.

There are reasons to be concerned about a monotheistic Movie Landscape, with all studios gobbled up by the mouse. I do not feel Disney acquiring Marvel Studios was a good thing. I do not feel the Lucas properties being engulfed by them is a good thing. I do not feel the Fox acquisition is a good thing.

I think in the long term this monotheistic film landscape is a very bad thing for culture, and choice, and competition. I think in the long term there are anti-trust and anti-competition issues that will affect all of us; whether fans or not, of these films. But those are fights and concerns separate from the actual review of this one singular film.

This one singular film, celebrating the 10th year of Marvel Studios unprecedented dynasty is filmmaking done as well as it can be done, on a scale and scope that is nearly as mythic as the story itself. I loved it. Full Stop. It is right in the mix with my top 5, being in no particular order AVENGERS, BLACK PANTHER, WINTER SOLDIER, CIVIL WAR, and this one… INFINITY WAR.

Grade: A+. As a fan of METROPOLIS and GREED and SEARCHERS and LION IN WINTER, even though this movie is a ‘Super-hero’ movie and a Blockbuster, and is popular, it is every bit as great and serious and beautiful a film as those lauded classics. It is a new minted classic, and will stand the test of time.  From script, to direction, to special effects, to performances, especially performances, allowing the actors to act under those layers of makeup and costumes and CGI, the film is a rare achievement.

I look forward to the sequel. And I look forward to buying this film on DVD/Blu-Ray, and watching again, and enjoying the film commentary.

You can get your Blu-Ray here:

https://amzn.to/2obFhvS

 

 

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Get it While You Can : Bill Cosby’s groundbreaking I-SPY TV series and previous post feedback!

Well my last post really got a lot of attention and mostly positive response.

From a lot of people who get it. And a few negative comments from some people who don’t.

One such comment:

“We need to stop letting abuse occur in our community. Black men are never held accountable when the victims are black women. It’s sick you’re suggesting that we support someone who openly abused women. No more.”

See that kind of response is what I’m talking about.

Bill Cosby isn’t a stand in for your bad experience with your boyfriend, husband, father, uncle. brother, son. He’s not a stand in for your baggage with how you think you’ve been wronged by men. For every woman who wants to castrate every man for her bad relationships, there are quite a few in great relationships. Your baggage is not the world’s baggage, and more importantly your baggage should not be projected onto a case about one individual, Bill Cosby.

It is that kind of thinking (the inability to see an individual but rather a target to put your hate, your rage, your frustrations; frustrations with stuff that has nothing to do with that person or the case at hand) that is the very definition of mob justice and lynchings. It is that kind of thinking that I call sick.

Did Bill Cosby 14 years ago, roofie Costrand, a college student athlete with financial issues, when she supposedly came to his house to ask him for career advice? Did he roofie five other women three decades ago, when he could have had any woman he wanted?  With no physical evidence, and nothing but he said, she said, the way our courts work, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. And how do you prove someone guilty in the absence of evidence? Well, you forget proof, and you sell them as guilty before trial. You, before they even are proven guilty, brand them as guilty in every paper, every tv announcement; you have institutions strip them of honors, before trial.

And even in such an unfair, witch-hunt infused atmosphere, where even the Judge seemingly had decided Cosby was guilty before the case, it took a 2nd jury to get them to swallow the McCarthy flavored kool-aid and pronounce… ‘guilty’.

 

Did Cosby do these things? I don’t know. I do know no one proved it in a court of law. He was tried and convicted before ever getting to a court house. This was a lynching plain and simple, and I find everything about it, the timing, the witnesses,.. suspect.

I do know that if true, these alleged aberrations speak of sickness; rather than an 80 year old mix of Jack the Ripper and Hitler… that the media is painting him as. If true these aberrations warrant treatment and not enslavement.

But as that one comment shows, there are always people willing to see you brought low and punished not for your sins, but as somewhere to put theirs. Many a tree in this country has swung with burned and butchered men and boys, not because they were guilty, but because a group of people decided they needed someone to be guilty.

But when that someone has done as much to change the landscape of a racist America, from sports, to television, to comedy, to movies, to representation, the very fact that many of you can see yourself in TV and movies in non stereotypical roles, is down to this erudite, renaissance man.

You want to judge? You have to judge not just the falling down, you have to judge the standing up. An in an age when very very few had the courage to do anything, Bill Cosby and a few others kicked open the doors, and had the courage to do everything.

You can not strip Bill Cosby of his achievements, without in some fundamental way… stripping away the larger social and economic progress those achievements extended to a whole group of people.

I’m not talking about simply innocence or guilt.

I’m talking about the need to make demons out of people, usually people of color.

In the grand scheme of things, Bill Cosby’s story should not be this big a deal.

Every where around the world, right now, true horrors are happening.

Real horrors, deserving of your outrage and attention.

Real demons, many in high public office and private positions.

And you expend your outrage being swayed to demonize a man whose greatest crime was, he shared his success and his opportunities, and he brought other people of color up with him.

This is who you let yourself be sold on demonizing?

Really?

My god, you have to see with better eyes than that.

I’m saying you are being used to kill your heroes, and by so doing kill some measure of the liberties and the horizons they opened for you.

In everything someone loses, and someone profits.,

A lot of powerful liberal men, who made powerful enemies, have been taken off the playing field.

And every witch hunt has a witch-finder general.

People who amass power as others lose it.

You are being used.

Your bloodthirsty rush to judgment being used, to clear the playing field, and to leave you sheep devoid of anyone to keep the wolves from your neck.

I find everything is a matter of perspective and mercy.

And those without either, need to judge themselves before judging anyone else.

They are trying to erase Bill Cosby’s achievements, and I say you don’t get to do that.

Not on my watch.

Pick up these DVDs while they are still available:

 

 

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https://amzn.to/2KvlXDH

https://amzn.to/2weyg46

https://amzn.to/2JOdZ7t

 

 

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Rating the FILMS! The best and worst Superboy/Superman Movies!

 

MOVIES -from best to worst-

      1. SUPERMAN- One of my favorite films. Solid A+. And yes he does that at the end, and I’m completely good with. I’ve read more Superman comics, than most of you will ever read, and I’m cool with the changes. You know why, because its a fantastic film.
      2. SUPERMAN II -I’ve seen both versions,I prefer the theatrical version to the Director’s cut. Though there are peices of the Director’s cut that would be nice added to the Theatrical version. But yeah if you are someone hung up becauise of the expanding shield, and other nifty heretofore unknow SuperPowers, you do know this is a movie right. Let the creator’s take some artistic license, and sit back and enjoy! A solid B+. http://amzn.to/2HAzQxZ
      3. Extra Large Movie Poster Image for Superman Returns (#3 of 9)SUPERMAN RETURNS – People give this movie and Director Bryan Singer a lot of hate, and I frankly love this movie. There are several amazing set sequences in this film, Brandon Routh is great, and so is Kevin Spacey and it works very much as a followup to the original Christopher Reeve SUPERMAN. People having a problem with the messiah imagery and the stalking/creepiness factor of a guy who sees and hears all, than don’t effing go see a movie called Superman, about a God like being who can hear from across the world, if you call his name. And yes the movie has Luthor, and yes it is a land deal, and yes I don’t have a problem with either of those. I think they put enough of their own twists into the story, to make it fun. And worth the price of admission for the plane and machine gun sequences by themselves. A solid B+. http://amzn.to/2DqL0mA
      4. BATMAN V SUPERMAN- Some people complain about this movie, the theatrical version especially. But I think that’s because we have become a tail wags dog society, where people live to complain, and look to complain, rather than going in looking to enjoy. Don’t get me wrong there are some valid issues with the movie, they try and do too much in the movie, adding easter eggs that aren’t earned, and just confuses and slows the movie they are trying to tell. The flash appearance is horrendous, because the person doesn’t look like any character we have ever seen. So it is just a WTF moment that confuses even comic heads, much less those unfamiliar. The third act villain of (spoiler alert) Doomsday, is the very definition of bad cgi. But everything else I think the film knocks out of the park. The reason the heroes come into conflict worked, and the reason they cease fighting, also works for me. All in all I liked the theatrical version quite a bit. And I even liked the longer version even better. Grade: B/B+.  http://amzn.to/2Ds57Rl
      5. MAN OF STEEL – This Syder film suffered from the lack of a moral center, it was all bombast and fire with no thought of the human impact, so the whole film was more an orgy of video game violence to the point of absurdity. The failure of MAN OF STEEL would however benefit BATMAN V SUPERMAN that had the heart that MOS was missing, Grade: D.

Dishonorable mentions:

SUPERMAN 3- What an odd choice to add Richard Pryor to a Superman movie. D-.

SUPERMAN 4 – unwatchable

Honorable Mention:

ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN MARVEL SERIAL(1941) – Not a Superman movie, however this great serial decades before the Christopher Reeve movie, sported impressive flying scenes, and surprisingly brutal action sequences. Lives up to its billing as one of the greatest serials of all time!

http://amzn.to/2pdbtyO

 

Richard Carpenter’s seminal 80’s ROBIN OF SHERWOOD may just be the best TV show of all Time

‘Nothing is forgotten. Nothing is ever forgotten.’ — Richard Carpenter’s ROBIN OF SHERWOOD

 

 

 

Richard Carpenter, no relation to John Carpenter, is largely unknown to modern audiences, however he shouldn’t be. In the 80s he created a TV show, ROBIN OF SHERWOOD, which became a surprising hit. Here in the states it was broadcast via PBS, and even watching it then, it felt mythic and larger than life. Revisiting it 35 years later, not only does the short lived series hold up as great television, those first two seasons remain the best version of Robin Hood ever conceived.

Richard Carpenter taking the traditional Robin Hood myth, and adding unheard of mystical and Moorish and pagan and Arthurian elements to it, created a show that was the crystallization of myth. Add the perfect confluence of young, hungry actors , a brilliant creator/writer at the peak of his powers, groundbreaking directors and cinematographers, led by Director Ian Sharp, that were rewriting the way action could be filmed, and a score done by Pol Brennan and hot new touring bad Clanad, and you had a show that was as mythic and forged by destiny, as the fiction it chronicled.

 

  • Michael Praed
  • Ray Winstone,
  • Nickolas Grace
  • Judi Trott
  • Clive Mantle
  • Robert Addie
  • Phil Rose
  • Mark Ryan
  • Peter Llewellyn Williams

 

The above actors were the perfect cast (thanks to Beth and Esta Charkham) to give life to Richard Carpenter’s groundbreaking mythic and mystic version of Robin of the Hood.

The writing, married to the performances, is at once eloquent and elegant; and like all great myths it is endlessly quotable and memorable. In the 35 years since, what Richard Carpenter invented for his series, the mystical elements, the addition of a Moor to Robin’s Merry Men, making Marion a vital part of the story, has been stolen by other tv shows and films, but none to any great effect. Because those were part of Carpenter’s vision, and 35 years ago he, with the exact right people, and the exact alignment of stars… gave birth to that vision.

Will someday someone make a Robin Hood series or film as good? Well they haven’t yet, but the good news is ROBIN OF SHERWOOD is available on DVD/Bluray and Streaming for a new generation to discover, and long term fans… revisit.

The first two seasons (called Set 1) are essential television. The third season (Set 2) is fun, but is not essential.

Get your fix here:

http://amzn.to/2H8TSQI

http://amzn.to/2ElZrxo

 

If you would like to try before you buy, Season 1 is available right now via Amazon Prime. But the commentaries in the Bluray’s are a clinic on film-making and storytelling, and are a must listen. As well as the other features, and interviews with the cast, it is… in the age of streaming; a must own Blu-ray.

WEEK 5 of 2018! Best Youtube Video/Channel!

Kudos to CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT for some excellent content on his blog and Youtube videos. His Youtube video on COLLECTING MEDIA IN A DIGITAL WORLD….  absolutely essential viewing.

 

http://www.cerealatmidnight.com/

 

As someone old enough to remember the pre digital days and the coming of vhs and dvd and cd, those formats empowered the consumer. And these Millennials growing up to think physical media ownership is a burden, and the instant gratification of the cloud is the way to go, do not realize the power that they are relinquishing back to the studios.

Do not realize that the freedom to be free of physical media, comes at the cost of never being able to have a product that is not subject to being removed, or altered or banned, at any time.

Comes at the expense of having anything that you can actually own, without the oversight of gatekeepers.

VHS and DVD and CD, in fundamental ways started an evolution that empowered the consumer and got the market to cater to the consumer. Increasingly with digital (sans physical media) the conversation has returned to a one way monologue.

Consumers being dictated to, rather than catered to.

And that will get worse if we let physical media as a companion or alternative to ‘in the cloud’… disappear. Because we have sold a new generation on a lie that privacy and physical ownership is a burden, that takes them too much effort… to preserve.

Much as our media and politicians are selling them on this idea that Liberty and Democracy and Civility… are likewise burdens that take too much effort… to preserve.

So yeah give CEREAL AT MIDNIGHT some patronage, especially that video. It currently has about 500 views, it deserves to have 5 billion.

YouTube vs Roku/Fire TV YouTube! CDs vs Records! And the de-evolution of America. Winner? MUSIC COMPANIES!

So i hate YouTube on the web.

I hate anything with an unmoderated comments section, that revels in talk show idiocy, or ‘attention through controversy’ or bad behavior.

But thankfully YouTube via streaming devices Roku or Amazon Fire TV, is actually devoid of those moronic comments and is more signal rather noise.

This week it has been brilliant helping me research and scratch my hifi/ audio need.

And by far, by far, the Youtube Channel I found the most useful of all, is the s)mply fantastic channel AUDIOHOLICS.

These guys can clearly call bs on the fuzzy thinking that makes up too much of hi-fi marketing and hype.

Such as the sillyness of various Youtube channels going on about the superiority of LPs over CD (I don’t care if you like LPs better, that is subjective. But LP/wax is an inferior medium, (I stress MEDIUM) that is not subjective, that is a fact.)

Talk about lossy system, LP is the original lossy system. It can’t handle the highs or the lows that CDs can, so has to be mastered in this very midrange sweet spot. Which is fine, in that midrange, if you’re good with that, and that sounds ‘warmer’ to you than a   CD, whatever. In the midrange if mastered right it can be perfectly fine. But one thing you lose in addition to those highs and those lows, that get clipped on wax, you lose the ability to reproduce the listening experience.

By that I mean, if you play a CD the first time, or the 500th time, and the hardware, the cd player, the speakers, amp, being the same; the quality of that recording will be the same as the first time you listened to it. That listening experience is reproducible.

Not so with wax/lps, like vhs tape or cassette tape, the LP playing experience is one of degradation. Everytime you play the medium, your start wearing it down minutely, and evertime you play it (though no one wants to think of it) it sounds worse than the previous time, because you are scraping into that signal, that medium.

I come from the analog generation, I played records, and vhs tapes, and cassettes until the quality noticeably started grinding down. And it didn’t then, and it doesn’t now, take too many plays, for that quality to start noticeably degrading.

So I have an experience with LPs and Cassettes, and in its time it was great, and it is still something to be said about large beautiful album covers and liner notes, the tactile process of it. But don’t confuse immediacy, with sound quality. And that immediacy doesn’t outweight the glaring flaws and problems with wax, in terms of sound quality, albums always getting futz on it,needles getting futz, the threat of warping, pops and cracles appearing out of nowhere.

We loved LPs because it was the best we had. But it was always a bit of a chore as anyone can tell you who grew up with them.

And I am not an LP hater. I think it has a place , and I still get the occassional LP, but generally these are recordings only available as LPs, or were mastered direct to wax.

The former being a lot of Quincy Jones stellar 60s and 70s avant garde film soundtracks such as the seminal IN COLD BLOOD. As far as the latter, I’m a purchaser and supporter of Jack White’s THIRD MAN RECORDS. This label goes to the stunning step of recording performances live and pressing directly to vinyl. You stilll lose some highs and lows when recording to wax, but in that midrange you get something very unique and original, you get a live concert experience unmoderated by overproducing.  That”s something very unique, and while I don’t see anything particularly superior in the sound, this at least has validity as something distinct from the CD. Unlike others taking tracks mastered for  a CDs range and just chopping off the highs and lows and slapping that on vinyl.

Vinyll can be great for these very unique niche projects. But as as additive to what should be a strong and healthy and forward looking digital market. To include CD and DVD and and SACD market.

It shouldn’t be this very cannibalizing either or scenario, in which music and choice….and the consumer… loses.

So when LD, CD, DVD came on the horizon it was then, and is now, a revolution, because suddenly you have something  you can buy that will rather than lasting 25 listens or views , if you are very careful and meticulous in keeping it cleaned and dust free,  before quality suffers, you have something that will keep its pristine quality, with just normal care for a minimum of 25 years. Not 25 listens like an LP… TWENTY FIVE YEARS! Minimum.

Now add greater dynamic range, larger capacity, and vastly increased lifespan and you have a medium,The CD/DVD, that by any definition is superior. And is by any measure the greatest boon to the video and audio consumer since the advent of recorded sound.

Now if a new generation gets sold on mp3 CDs and mp3 streaming and some badly mastered cds (and LPs can be equally badly mastered, any medium will have those who use it well and poorly. The difference being we have not yet exhausted the limits of how far we can take the CD and DVD and SACD. We are abandoning those formats before wecreach their limits. In favor of going backward to a medium, wax, whose limitations were always a source of frustration to audiophiles and engineers), and this young generation is bamboozled into writing off the most astounding and groundbreaking medium produced in the 20th century and goes backward to the flawed and not copyable ,and needing replaced often, analog medium, then who benefits?

I’ll tell you who… The RIAA and the music companies, who always viewed Digital with fear for the freedom it brought the consumer.

I tell you this new generation is giving away the baby with the bath water. Privacy, oh who needs that, put everything on facebook. Put surveillance systems in the guise of game consoles, and music players and smart devices in our homes.

Here’s the thing about smart devices and trusted computing, its about the companies being able to trust you, and not the other way around.

Conglomerates, are the ones benefiting from DVDs and CDs removed from the consumer and the return to records.This creates a model where the consumer owns music or video only on flawed, finite, non high-quality medium, and must go to the content provider for anything superior.

It is not only politically and morally and spiritually that America is devolving as a nation, but also in terms of technology.

 

My response… don’t let it.

Don’t buy the marketing and allow your rights to the future, be swept away by someone selling you the past. Continue to support full spectrum DVD, CD, and BluRay. And more than that let us continue to innovate, if people like the large LP format, lets give it to them, but in the superior medium.

I was a huge fan of Laser Disc, which works very much like a record, but using a superior medium, and a laser pickup instead of the horrible wax and needle medium.

Lets offer that as the 21st century version of records, to those who want Analog playback but with the benefits of digital transport/reproduction. That is a record I could get behind. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

p.s. And avoid youtube morons attempting to review speakers and amps by just playing music (uh, moron, if I could hear the quality of your system just by listening on my system… they would call that magic. How do you not realize that?)

This is the lack of common sense mentality  that has idiots ditching CDs for flawed LPs, and spending thousands to try and make those LPs reach a dynmaic range, that is beyond them.

 

Okay here endeth my rant!

 

Rating the Bigfoot Movies! Best and Worst!

BIGFOOT MOVIES TO SEEK OUT:

WILLOW CREEK – Suffers from annoying boyfriend syndrome, a failing too common to too many of these films with women being talked into dangerous situations, and worse being talked into remaining in the dangerous situations by boyfriends completely oblivious or making inane excuses for them remaining rather than rushing them to safety.

WILLOW CREEK for the majority is this annoying dynamic. So worth a watch if you are a Bigfoot movie fan/completest, but this due to how stupid the characters are written is far from satisfying. Grade: C-/D.

EXISTS is Big Foot movie done probably as well as it can be done. While you do have the obligatory idiot, you also have more well rounded and intriguing characters, and some sustained and exciting Bigfoot action. And a great and exciting if harrowing ending. Well worth owning on Blu-ray. Grade: B+

THE WOODSMAN- Is a horror takeoff on SURVIVOR MAN, as are many of these ‘Something in the woods’ films. Sporting only 2 actors, and only a brief glimpse of the rock thrower. Worth a  look, but relatively forgettable and an abrupt unsatisfying end. Always a bad sign when the poster is far more interesting than the actual movie.  Grade: C-/D-.

STOMPING GROUND – is up there with IT EXISTS with being a solid entertaining look of friends sharing their bonding time with something else. A great ending. B+.

LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK- This is the one that started the BigFoot hype and with its documentary  meets DELIVERANCE style, continues to have a compelling vibe. Grade: C-.

SOMETHING IN THE WOODS – low budget 2016 film is convincingly done and engrossing tale of a man trying to protect his family and farm from something… unrelenting. Very good film. Grade: B/B-.

THE SIGHTING – For those looking for a twist on the standard BigFoot lore, this film fits the bill. Quite liked it. B/B+.

BIGFOOT (1969) – Speaking of twists. This forgotten 1969 film features buxom beauties falling into the clutches of a Bigfoot who wants attention paid to something besides his foot, and the biker boyfriends who must save them. The type of outlandish, trippy film that only the waning days of the swinging 60s could provide. Grade:  C/C+. Worth a Look and several shakes of the head.

CREATURE FROM BLACK LAKE (1976)

HUNTING GROUNDS (2017) – If you are sick of this off camera stuff most of these other films do, than this is the film for you. You will see the Bigfoot clearly and often, and doing things the other films would leave to your imagination. Where this one trips itself up is the human element. But unevenness aside, well worth a look. Grade: C/C+.

WILD MEN (2017) – Another Reality show goes hunting for BigFoot type movie. This one is quite good and fun. Grade: B.

 

-BIGFOOT THE LOST COAST TAPES rivals EXISTS as one of the best BIGFOOT movies. And it has one of the more unique and impressive endings. Strongly recommended. Grade: B+.

 

You can catch many of these films courtesy of AMAZON PRIME and/or HULU and the following are worthy of owning on DVD/Blu-Ray:

Exists [DVD + Digital]

Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes BD/Combo [Blu-ray]

 

BIGFOOT MOVIES TO AVOID:

FIELD FREAK

BLACK WATER SASQUATCH

NIGHT WALKER

BIGFOOT VS DB COOPER

LOST WOODS

1313 BIGFOOT ISLAND

BOGGY CREEK (2010)

DOGMAN

HOLLER CREEK CANYON

PREDATORY INSTINCT

BIGFOOT HORROR CAMP

BIGFOOT WARS

BIGFOOT VS ZOMBIES