ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER
This movie is far better than the exploitative popcorn title would have you believe. It mixes (surprisingly elegantly) outrageous fantasy and monster tropes with still redolent historical moments, and wraps it all in mesmerizing action and brilliant direction. I was and remain hugely impressed. Timur Bekmambetov continues to be a director to watch. And writer Seth Grahame-Smith surprises with a script that for all its action and outrageousness is surprisingly heartfelt and earnest and full of the import of those years of civil war. Highly Recommended.
I think far more movies in general, and horror movies specifically, disappoint than satisfy. INSIDIOUS fortunately falls into the latter category. Being from first frame to last a downright compelling, creepy, and scary horror film. It’s a keeper.
David Mamet on his game is a joy to behold, and here in REDBELT he is plain superlative, in this tale of a Jujitsu instructor, played mesmerizingly by Chiwetel Ejiofor, and the lives that intersect one night, and the ramifications of that intersection. It’s a wonderful drama, that also happens to have some thrilling sequences of… prevailing. A movie to own. Highly Recommended!
So if these are this week’s winners, what are the losers? Glad you asked, they are:
That’s all for this run around. Check back later for more.
FIFTEEN movie remakes that are superior to the original.
John Carpenter’s THE THING
Daniel Craig in CASINO ROYALE
Francis Ford Coppola’s DRACULA
Tony Scott’s MAN ON FIRE
David Cronenberg’s THE FLY
Zack Snyder’s THE DAWN OF THE DEAD
Al Pacino in Brian DePalma’s SCARFACE
Sturges’ MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Scorsese’s THE DEPARTED
Branagh’s HENRY V
Eddie Murphy’s THE NUTTY PROFESSOR
Bogart’s MALTESE FALCON (The third film attempt, finally got it right!)
I AM LEGEND, while I have a lot of respect for the Vincent Price and Charlton Heston versions, Will Smith’s I AM LEGEND moves it into big scale territory with out losing the intimate horror inherent
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH Hictchcock Improves on himself in this Stewart and Day remake of his earlier film
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to a mad tirade is a complete coincidence. 🙂
Quick update, we have the WEDNESDAYS WORDS installment scheduled for tomorrow, that’s going to be a rough one, to get out on time. And I want to get up the MONARCHS OF MAYHEM interview with Charles Saunders for Thursday, which will push part two of 15 FAVORITE PULP HEROES into the weekend. So yeah just check back this weekend for part II.
But to give you pulp fans something in the interim, I bring you… The War on the Public! A mad, slightly quixotic rant (for those of you who’ve never seen me rant before… run away. The water is deep here, and in the words of Alan Moore, “the idea of a God… a real idea.” :)) :
CONDE NAST vs BLACK MASK – This is an oldie but an interesting read nevertheless about the first significant volleys in the war to eradicate public domain.
Here are some additional public domain links:
Public domain, public domain, public domain. Why is it disappearing? And Why should you care?
Well the first question is simple, it’s disappearing because people with money can make it disappear. It’s disappearing because of greed.
‘But’, you say, ‘there have always been rich people. and there have always been greedy people, so why is it disappearing now?’
Well it is disappearing now, because business has made such inroads into having the ear of our senate and house, and our courts, that the people who previously were elected to represent the citizens, are instead representing corporations.
The second question, “Why should you care?” I can’t answer that for you, I can only tell you why I care.
Now as a creative person and a writer, and as a friend of writers, I believe in copyright. I think it’s a great thing. But I also believe in Public Domain, and I think that is an equally great thing.
And I think before big business stepped in with their “more, more, more” mindset we had a perfectly workable compromise.
When I was coming up, public domain was very simple, after 50 years, a concept went into public domain
It became the property of the people. Of we, the people.
The writer doesn’t stop being the creator, he is still the creator, his or her name is still on the work. It’s just that after fifty years, his creation can be used by others.
The idea being that if an idea or concept has survived for 50 years that a/ it’s enough time for the creator to profit, sans competition, from the creation and 2/if people are still talking about a character or an idea 50 years later it has become part of the cultural conversation. It has become like an urban legend or a myth or a tale of Grendel and Beowulf, something that transcends the teller. Something that is part and parcel of a larger conversation and the basis for new creations.
(And notice I said people, Public domain is about insuring people, creators get compensated in their lifetime, it is not about ensuring the perpetual unending market share for an undying corporation. Why are companies, that don’t even have the welfare of this country at heart, given the right to lobby our representatives like citizens?
Companies that I can assure you don’t pay the percentage of tax that I do. I’d love to see Disney and Exxon and Shell paying 20% of their income a year in taxes. This nation would not have a deficit.
Corporations shouldn’t in a civilized world, have more rights than citizens. They don’t care about creators, they don’t care about this nation or any nation, they care about themselves. Which is fine if they are not drafting the laws for an entire nation, but they are, so their lack of concern for what is best for anyone besides them… becomes a problem.
A corporation without a sense of cultural and social responsibility… is a mob, to be watched, to be feared, and ultimately to be put down.)
That’s how culture and art works. New things building upon the old. And old ideas being re-imagined into the new. But the coming of the 21st century saw greedy companies rather than earn customers through the new, instead adopt a policy of profit through protection rackets, through intimidation.
So you get corporations lobbying for aggressive changes in the laws of copyright and trademark and patents. And suddenly public domain is an enemy for corporations to avoid and destroy at all cost, instead of what it should be, a necessary part of making old ideas the birth ground for the new.
Art doesn’t get made in a vacuum, it’s part of a continuing conversation. And we are made better for that open resource, for Universal Studios being able to do their version of Frankenstein or Dracula, and for Hammer Studios to be able to do their version, and for any writer or indie filmmaker to be able to do their version.
Without having to clear the usage of Mary Shelly’s concepts with Disney, or Bram Stoker’s concepts with Time Warner, anyone can do a Frankenstein children’s book, or produce a Dracula song or stuffed animal. And that’s wonderful, and cute, and beautiful, and healthy. So it’s about creativity, but it’s also about healthy commerce, and true free enterprise. Companies that want to generate wealth in a country, rather than just taking wealth out. And by Wealth I mean more than money, I mean the ability of people to be able to produce and own products of cultural recognition and interest, without having to pay tribute and protection money… to monopolies.
It’s especially galling to hear from these pompous companies, when the characters they are looking to lock down are, in many cases, popular inspite of them.
Who has kept the Shadow and Doc Sampson and even Spider characters viable? It wasn’t the bloody companies. The pulps and old time radio shows exist not because of the companies, that couldn’t erase the tapes and dispose of the pulps fast enough, it was the bloody collectors. These insane, lovely human beings, who threw together out of their own pocket, these things called conventions, at a time when a company’s initial response was, “Why are they talking about that lame, dead crap, come see my latest Disco Ball action figure! Look at the nerds still talking about the Shadow and Doc Sambo, or whatever his name is! Hey Nerds, the 1930s called they want their hero back! Ha! Ha! Ha!!”
🙂 (I just made myself chuckle)
Unfortunately much to businesses’ amazement, this old stuff, due to the passion of fans, actually had staying power. And if anyone has been to a movie theater in the last couple decades, monetary value.
However, as I’ve said before, it was the people, the collectors, the very obsessive types who corporations seek to criminalize today as filesharers, infringers, etc.,, that have saved and preserved much of the culture we now are able to still enjoy, that without them would have been lost.
I love the Old time Shadow radio shows, along with many other radio shows. Those shows, those great pieces of not just entertainment, but of art and culture and history largely exist, not because of Conde-Nast, or insert corporation here… those shows exist because rabid collectors, copied them off the air, made copies, and shared them down the years.
Same with the pulps. Same with silent movies, and sound movies, and film noir.
In the absence of companies finding a monetary value for something they destroy it. They erase over the tape of Doctor Who, they throw out the audio tapes of the Shadow, they burn original artwork of cartoonists.
Why? Because the number crunchers at companies, are not the creative people, they weren’t then and they aren’t now. They make decisions based solely on dollars and cents, and that tunnel vision is always flawed when dealing with work that is also about the imagination of man.
An ‘only Dollars and cents’ mentality will let what is quirky, and manic, and fun, and childish, and challenging in this world die. So these gentle angels of our nature survive because of people who love them. People like the owner of BLACK MASK. Rather than suing that man, Conde-Nast should have got down on their knees and thanked him.
Because he and his kind, collectors preserve these things, when Conde-Nast could not see financial gain to them. But in the wake of renewed interest from Hollywood at the end of the 20th century, and the gangbusters showing of comic and pulp related properties, suddenly everybody wants to sweep in and be the owner of old things made new.
Here’s the thing about public domain. It doesn’t stop you from making money if you have a good idea and a good product. So you don’t need to take Doc Savage or Shadow or Spider out of public domain, to do a book, or a movie, or a audio drama or a cartoon.
No one is stopping you. Build it and they will come. I don’t need to buy Spider Books or Shadow Books, however I do so all the time, when I see a great packaged product. However, if you’re a morally bankrupt company, that has no intention of putting out an attractive product, I can see how competition may not be for you. And you try to sue yourself into business rather than earning business.
And that is where we are at with these companies. They are so petty and greedy for every single penny, it is sickening.
Those…. bloodsuckers!! (Sorry, couldn’t resist! 🙂 )
Disney’s one of the biggest companies in the world, they can throw around 200 million dollar movies, like you and I throw around nickles, and yet they are afraid to death if a grade school kid creates and passes out her mickey mouse comic.
You can not have it both ways. You can not want something to be culturally iconic and generational, yet remain proprietary and exclusionary. No. We are creatures raised to spread stories over an open flame and for that story to travel from person to person, being changed by each person, owned by each person, passed on by each person, and becoming changed and new and different with each telling.
If you look at all the martial arts, they are pretty much the same art, changed over time, and over region. And we as a culture are better and stronger and richer for that migration, that cross pollination, that cross ownership… we are better for having silat, kung-fu, aikido, hapkido, capoeira, savate, kenpo, krav maga, systema… etc., we are better for free association, no fences, open source, public domain.
We have always been better for it. But now in the last few decades, fences are being put up by a few gatekeepers, on everything. And that cannot stand.
It is an unsupportable policy/mindset, utter control of the culture, art, and interactions of a mass of people by a few outside those people. There is a name for that, and it has always been the same name.
Because if you think that it is a nightmare and an outrage just getting rights to a song to use in your film or project or play, imagine wanting to do your short film of Poe’s TELL TALE HEART, and being told you have to get that approved through Disney, and if they approve you, fees start at $500000.
You wouldn’t have a filmmaker like Roger Corman, if the copyright and trademark environment of today was in existence yesterday. And then you lose all his Poe films, you lose all his collaborations with Vincent Price, you lose his part in the ascension of creators like Nicholson and Howard and Coppola. And who knows what we all lose for loss of those mad, creative cranked out Gothic films.
All that because one man was allowed to follow his muse without crippling interference or exorbitant costs imposed by ‘rights’ holders. How many possible Cormans are we killing, in multiple fields, today? Killing them because we are allowing dinosaurs to sit on our shared cultural conversation and art like a dragon sitting on eggs.
Doc Savage is public domain. Superman is Public domain as much as Robin Hood. Batman is public domain. The Shadow is public domain. Fifty years is a good run for exclusive rights to profits. None of this nonsense about renewal of copyrights, or trademark used to get around expired copyright.
[And speaking of trade-mark. MARVEL and DC have ‘jointly’ trade-marked the term ‘Super-Hero”. What is that about? So tomorrow do you trade mark the term ‘hero’ or ‘myth’ or god’? Do you trademark the term God? Who is at the trademark office just handing out the rights to every word in the dictionary to the highest bidder?
They haven’t begun invoking it yet, their ‘super-hero’ trademark, largely because I think they are waiting for some of the smaller comic companies to fold up shop, and don’t want a challenge to come up when their hand isn’t strong enough. But Like Microsoft, make no mistake, they will give it away for free today, to set themselves up to own the market share and charge you through the teeth tomorrow.
All you small comic-book companies need to come together and publish one big omnibus anthology called ‘Best Super-hero Tales’ or something, and get that trademark challenged and thrown out today. Now while the challenging is good. and all the old creators they are waiting to die before they can bring evidence, are still around. Because if you don’t, mark my words, ten years from now anyone who wants to use the term ‘Super-hero’, in the title to anything, will have to pay for the pleasure.]
I’m not saying companies can’t continue to sell and market their items past the 50 year mark, but what I am saying is that everyone else can produce their take on that idea as well.
(Quick aside here… A word on this copyright extended to 70 years after a writer’s death nonsense. Who the heck does that benefit, if not the money grubbing corporations? Did someone just say ‘the family’?
This isn’t about your family, fool! 🙂
Your family can make money, sell books, shoot movies, whether or not your book is in the public domain. We all know, the rights to a writer’s work ends up snatched up by the publisher. And with only about half a dozen conglomerates owning all the book publishing divisions as it is, that’s a troubling proposed consolidation of intellectual property.
See, what we’re talking about is every work after 1923 [that is the date today, tomorrow they might push it back to works in copyright being only stuff before 1823], all the accumulated wisdom, and hopes, and dreams, and pathos, and joy, and horror, and striving, and yes fighting against oppression of millions upon millions of writers, being owned, with this continued push toward extermination of public domain, the wealth of the world… owned by half a dozen oligarchies. What greater betrayal could there be? To any writer, to every writer. To have the work of the most imaginative, and moral people (which is what on a whole, I find writers to be), owned by people bereft of either imagination or morality.
And to that plan, of mad, sick twisted companies, their dream of a world devoid of public ownership, I say the only thing I can say, the only thing a life-time of loving books has taught me to say to such over-arching presumption and tyranny. I say… no. )
Public domain can work for all
Disney will still have Mickey Mouse, but if Tarantino or Seth Green or anyone wants to do a Mickey Mouse movie, they can. I’m not saying DC/Time Warner can’t still make Batman or Hulk comics or movies, but I’m saying past 50 years from date of creation, so can everyone else. How about a Batman movie by Werner Herzog or a Superman tv series by the Hughes Brothers?
Both those ideas just made me chuckle.
I can’t say you won’t get your share of train wrecks with such freedom, but you’ll also get get your share of wonders. You’ll get Baz Luhrmann’s Shadow next door to Branagh’s Doc Savage. And we are made richer when we can build on the culture we grew up in, rather than this new corporate policy of paying tribute to entrenched monopolies, Disney’s Culture or Time Warner’s culture.
This is very much a land grab, but not land rights this time, not water rights, not airwave rights (which they recently removed from Americans), this is about dreams… being fenced off.
We are on a perilous path. When I think of how much we have lost in the 6 years since Conde Nast sued BLACK MASK out of existence, it gives me pause. Because it is very much a culture where only the few will own anything, that we are pushing toward.
Not software, not hardware, not books, not houses, not music, not comics, not land, not our airwaves, perhaps not even our food or our air, do we get to own. Where everything we interact with is rented to us, is timed, our reactions to it… judged, to insure they are in acceptable non-infringing levels.
That is the end of culture my friends.
Fiction you say?
Yes… Fiction, I say.
Want to learn more?
Want to fight? You? Want to fight? After all I told ya Boy, ya want to fight the dragons of the world?! Swing at windmills like your uncle HT?!!
Aye, you bring a tear to an old man’s eyes. Aye, if I had five more like ya, I could ride into hell and put out all the fires! 🙂
Well get ya some education first boyo, read the following takes on public domain:
It’s a start.
CR Fight Article – Yet another Brit! Where the hell are the Americans working to repeal copyright extension! Hold on, I’m still looking.
EFF– Ah, here’s the beloved Yanks! Over there! Over there! And the Yanks are coming! The Yanks are coming! Over there! WHAT??? Don’t you guys watch James Cagney musicals?!!
‘Nasty things [Orchids]! Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, and their perfume has the rotten sweetness of corruption.’
— 1946’s THE BIG SLEEP
“When one tries to rise above Nature one’s liable to fall below it.”
— Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes in Robin Chapman’s THE CREEPING MAN
Hence with everyone tossing out their best of 2011 lists I thought I would compile my own rather eclectic list. But this being a best and worst list, if you will. The main thing to note about my favorite and least favorite things of 2011, are that they are largely things made in previous years and I discovered in 2011. But that said there are some actual 2011 produced items.
Okay, onto the list:
My Best and Worst DVDs of 2011 (Best meaning I enjoy it and I’m glad I bought it, and worst meaning I disliked it, and it was a waste of money):
Day Break: The Complete Series – Taye Diggs – Dvd Set- One of the first DVD sets I purchased in 2011, and a year later still one of the best shows I saw all year. Not just one of my top ten of 2011, but one of my top ten of all time. I love this show. Have bought it as presents, and everyone I buy it for loves it. Just one of the best shows I’ve seen in years! Essential DVD. There are two versions however, make sure you get the 4 DVD BCI set, and not the poorly compressed 2 DVD set being put out by moneygrubbing scumbags like Navarre and MillCreek, it’s a crime how awful their version looks. Unfortunately the 4 DVD set appears to be super hard to find since BCI went out of business. Versions of it are not even on Amazon. This is a gorgeous looking series and deserves to be on Bluray.
The Hire BMW Films Clive Owen – BMWFilms.com Presents The Hire
Doctor Who – The Complete Third Series- This was the series at its best. The current, Matt Smith, Doctor is okay, but his companions of Amy and Rory are unwatchable. Just nail on chalkboard annoying. Very bad writing throughout, so re-watching the third season keeps me happy until Dr. Who gets good again. – Doctor Who: The Complete Third Series
Detective Story (DVD)
Takashi Miike, Media Blasters –Detective Story
The Prowler (DVD)
Van Heflin, Evelyn Keyes, John Maxwell, Katherine Warren, Emerson Treacy, Joseph Losey, VCI ENTERTAINMENT –The Prowler
Chaos Starring Jason Statham, Wesley Snipes, Ryan Phillippe, et al. (2008)
Let Me In (DVD)
Chloe Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Kodi-Smit McPhee, Matt Reeves, TCFHE/ANCHOR BAY/STARZ
Black Dynamite (DVD)
Michael Jai White, Scott Sanders – Black Dynamite [Blu-ray]
The Confessional: House of Mortal Sin (DVD)
The Confessional: House of Mortal Sin
Footprints on the Moon ( Le orme ) ( Primal Impulse ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.0 Import – United Kingdom ] (DVD)
Florinda Bolkan, Klaus Kinski, Ida Galli,
David Brandon, Barbara Cupisti, Robert Gligorov, Martin Philips, Michele Soavi
Undisputed II – Last Man Standing (DVD)
Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins (II), Ben Cross – Undisputed II – Last Man Standing
Rififi – Criterion Collection (DVD) – Rififi (The Criterion Collection)
Darkness (Unrated Version) (DVD)
Anna Paquin, Lena Olin, Iain Glen- The ending is a mess, but there’s enough good in this film, that’s it’s a keeper and I see myself rewatching
The Girl By the Lake (Sub) (DVD)
Toni Servillo, Valeria Golino,
The Russian Specialist (DVD)
Dolph Lundgren – The Russian Specialist
Ville Virtanen, Tommi Eronen – Sauna
The Killing Machine (DVD)
The Tournament (DVD)
Robert Carlyle, Kelly Hu
Mickey Hargitay, Rita Calderoni- US language version is surprisingly far superior to the Italian version, and the US dub, better acted, and just a longer, better cut of the film. – Delirium
From Within (DVD)
Steven Culp, Adam Goldberg
Fangoria Frightfest Presents – Fragile (DVD)
Calista Flockhart, Elena Anaya
Belly of the Beast (DVD)
Steven Seagal, Byron Mann, Monica Lo
Paulo Costanzo, Shea Whigham – Splinter
Fred Williamson, D’Urville Martin – Boss
Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye (DVD)
Jane Birkin, Boschetti, Bruno – Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye
British Horror Quadruple Feature (Frightmare / House of Whipcord / The Flesh & Blood Show / Die Screaming Marianne) (DVD)
Penny Irving, Pete Walker – British Horror Quadruple Feature (Frightmare / House of Whipcord / The Flesh & Blood Show / Die Screaming Marianne)
The Nameless (DVD)
Emma Vilarasau, Karra Elejalde, TristÃ¡n Ulloa, Toni Sevilla, Brendan Price, Jordi Dauder, NÃºria Cano, Isabel Ampudia, Carles Punyet, Aleix PuiggalÃ, Susana GarcÃa DÃez, Pep Tosar, Xavi GimÃ©nez, Jaume BalaguerÃ-
A great begining, stylish film, but like most Balaguera films falls apart at the end, becoming just inane
Watchmen (Director’s Cut + BD-Live) [Blu-ray] (DVD)
Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Malin Akerma- Don’t be fooled by the 9 million other versions, this is the version to have. And one of the few Blurays I think enough of to own. –
Tombstone – The Director’s Cut (Vista Series) (DVD)
Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer- This is the version to have, with excellent commentary – Watchmen (Director’s Cut + BD-Live) [Blu-ray]
Manhunter (Restored Director’s Cut Divimax Edition) (DVD)
William Petersen, Kim Greist- This is the version to have with excellent commentary – Manhunter (Restored Director’s Cut Divimax Edition)
Secret Agent AKA Danger Man: The Complete Collection (SLIMLINE) (DVD)
Patrick McGoohan- One of my top ten DVDs of the year – Secret Agent AKA Danger Man: The Complete Collection (Slimline Packaging)
Johnny Staccato starring John Cassavetes – 3 DVD Box Set! (DVD)
John Cassavetes – Johnny Staccato starring John Cassavetes – 3 DVD Box Set!
Farscape: The Complete Series (DVD)
Ben Browder, Claudia Black- One of my top ten DVDs of the year, The Bluray is not worth paying more for. Video Improvement by all reports is negligible.- Farscape: The Complete Series
Brotherhood of the Wolf (3 Disc Collectors Edition) (DVD)
Samuel Le Bihan, Vincent Cassel- This is the version to get! – Brotherhood of the Wolf (3 Disc Collectors Edition)
Robin of Sherwood: Set Two (DVD)
Kings – The Complete Series (DVD)
Ian McShane, Christopher Egan – Kings – The Complete Series
Justified: The Complete First Season (DVD)
Timothy Olyphant- Talk about overrated. Was bored by the whole season
Alexander the Great (DVD)
Richard Burton, Fredric March- Not a bad film, but ultimately pretty forgettable
The Philanthropist: The Complete Series (DVD)
James Purefoy- Lasted only seven episodes it’s one of my favorite television shows. Just brilliant – The Philanthropist: The Complete Series
The Well (DVD)
Richard Rober, Gwendolyn Laster
The World, the Flesh and the Devil (DVD)
Belafonte, Inger Stevens – The World, the Flesh and the Devil
Dead Man’s Shoes (DVD)
Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch
The Dark Hours (DVD)
Kate Greenhouse, Aidan Devine
Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (The Wild Bunch / Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid / Ride the High Country / The Ballad of Cable Hogue) (DVD)
Sam Peckinpah- One of my best deals of 2011. 4 Peckinpah movies, full versions with commentaries for under $15! – Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (The Wild Bunch / Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid / Ride the High Country / The Ballad of Cable Hogue)
Essie Davis, Sean Harris, Marcel Iures, Crispin Letts- This started out great but lost its way
Community: The Complete First Season (DVD)
Joel McHale, Chevy Chase- Had 2 great episodes, the others just annoyed me
Dexter: The First Season (DVD)
Michael C. Hall, Erik King- CSI meets Hannibal Leckter. Just find the main character/premise not something I want to root for support, plus find the supporting characters annoying as hell
Breaking Bad – The Complete First Season (DVD)
Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul- Rarely does a show live up to its hype. Wow, was that good – Breaking Bad – The Complete First Season
Kidnapped – The Complete Series (DVD)
Jeremy Sisto, Timothy Hutton- Another brilliant show, unfairly cut short. Just when you think its losing its way in the middle, wraps up with a powerhouse couple of episodes. Plus it stars Delroy Lindo. The only reason I picked it up actually, and he’s great. Wish the DVD had commentaries, but that aside is just a must watch and must own series – Kidnapped – The Complete Series
Well that’s it for my best and worst DVDs of 2011. If intrigued by any of my recommendations please use the links as purchases through them help to fund and keep this blog going. Thanks and enjoy!
So I’ve been putting off buying a lot of this stuff, but I can’t wait anymore!!
All of this stuff gets the big BUY from me today. I think when you see the list you’ll agree:
Sam Peckinpah’s Legendary Westerns Collection (The Wild Bunch / Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid / Ride the High Country / The Ballad of Cable Hogue) – Four Peckinpah movies with special features including commentaries for less than $20!!!??? Nearly 80% off??? Duh! Talk about a no-brainer.
I’m on the whole sustainability/self-sufficiency kick, so the following wacky items were priced right for me today:
SE 6-1 Camping S. Steel Detachable Knife 4″ Body- I’m a hobo at heart, so this well-reviewed stainless steel mobile cutlery set has my name written all over it. Just think how much plastic wouldn’t end up clogging up landfills if everyone carried around their utensils with them! 🙂 (Yes, I do know I’m crazy. :)) And currently priced at nearly 70% off?! Comeon!! What more can you ask?
Well how about a candleless candle that burns for 100 hours.
100 Hour Plus Emergency Candle Clear Mist – Emergency Essentials
Man my power goes down more than a hooker when the fleet comes in, so this candle was for me. I buy one every week or two, so now I have one in every room in my house. They don’t call me Heat Miser for nothing! (I have no idea, what that means. 🙂 ) [One note on this, be careful of poor shipping from the seller, particularly if you’re getting the 3 pack. Stress that they securely pack and ship it.]
Brown Vintage Wayfarer Tear Drop Backpack with Leather Accents
It takes me a lot of research before I decide on something worth buying. I mean minimum of a couple hours per item, just comparing styles, prices, reviews, construction. This book-bag is a case in point. Up all damn night, deciding on the right bag. Both stylish, and yet functional for carrying books, laptops, etc. My time… your gain.
And let’s round all this functional stuff off with some pure enjoyment:
THE SHADOW: The History and Mystery of the Radio Program, 1930 – 1954
Huge Old Time Radio and Shadow fan, so this exhaustive 800 page book is a must own.
Alexander the Great (1956) and Anthony & Cleopatra DVDs for less than the cost of rental??? Say it with me… No Brainer.
Targus CityGear 320 Capacity CD/DVD Album Case TDP019US (Black with Grey Contrasting)- Holds over 300 DVDs/CDs for only $30 shipping included. SOLD!
Farscape: The Complete Series- The Bluray is coming out so you would think the DVD would go down in price. But Noooooo! The stupid thing has gone up over $20 from the cheap prince of $49 that it was at. But even at its new price… it’s a great deal.
The Well (1951)- Is a nice little 50s Drama/thriller that plays as a nice counterpoint to THE WORLD, THE FLESH, AND THE DEVIL.
Captain America by Jack Kirby Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus- I own the comics and am still buying the Omnibus. Great stuff!
X-Men – Volume 2 Omnibus (Marvel Omnibus)- Neal Adams great run collected in over-sized format. Nuff said.
Okay, I’m broke now.
And all I ever wanted
was the dreams that they dream
And all I ever wanted
was the seems that they seem
was the seems that they seem
— copyright 2011 HT
Just like with books, I prefer having the physical item on my shelf. In the case of DVDs, in handy, attractive… cases. I like reading the liner notes or booklet, and getting the special features, and listening to the directors commentary, all things the Attention Deficit Disorder inclined streaming market or burn on demand market, really doesn’t care about.
I do however.
I care about the process. And my buying habit and recommendations reflect this. Without further ado… today’s recommended deal:
My preference for full featured titles aside, one studio Burn on Demand title you would be a FOOL to pass up (a FOOL I say) is the little seen Harry Belafonte helmed 1959 post apocalyptic film THE WORLD,THE FLESH,THE DEVIL available finally in all it’s beautiful wide-screen B&W glory.
My God this is a fantastic film. Liberally borrowed from by various films, and filmmakers, there’s a burning center to this film, a wonderful parable of the end of the world… and possibly the beginning. In a decade where cops were siccing dogs and firehoses on people of color, it’s really impressive, smart, passionate and lovely filmmaking. Ahead of its time for 1959, and given the sorry state of cinema and humanity in 2011 it remains… ahead of its time. Being unusually smart, adept and engaging filmmaking, and also wonderfully acted and gorgeously filmed.
It looks… stunning.
And discussing the DVD itself… It’s not cheap, For what amounts to a barebones DVD, it’s costly. I think BOD (Burn on Demand) films should be priced at $10, but for this film, it is worth getting gouged a bit. I mean it’s effing Harry Belafonte!! The dean of cool! The man told Colin Powell where to go!! And the film…is an unjustly neglected masterpiece. And a wonderful ending. A-.
Click on the below link for current prices:
The World, the Flesh and the Devil
The BBC season DVDs are extraordinarily expensive, retailing at $80 per season in the US for only 13 episodes, calling that high-way robbery prices wouldn’t be too far off. BBCs pricing is rubbish.
And even though most of us can get it for less than retail, the fact remains if you’re going to justify that exorbitant retail price (you can get multiple seasons of most shows for that price or less) you need to offer more.
Namely you need to offer full cast DVD commentaries. This is David Tennant and Freema Agyeman’s journey, and people who love this season are buying to hear these great actors discuss and reminisce over that journey, so common sense would tell you to at the very least, have these two actors in the commentaries.
I’m always amazed how uncommon, common sense is.
Because these two show up together on the US release in exactly 0 episode commentaries. ZERO!
WTF is that?!!!
We do get commentaries, by various producers, and editors, and writers, but really the people you want to hear from most on these commentaries are absent, and it is a huge, effing glaring omission.
In addition to offering no Tenant/Agyeman commentaries, the special features are very light. Why just snippets of Doctor Who Confidential? Why not full episodes??
Christ, BBC you’re charging an arm and a leg for these boxsets, you can afford not to be cheap bastards.
So I’m very glad, I didn’t pay full price for this boxset, but even still… lacking decent cast commentaries I still feel more than a bit cheated. So I’d recommend (if you have a multi-zome player) avoid the BBC America DVD release and purchasing the UK version instead. At least you get (according to various sites) one Tenant, Agyeman, and Barrow commentary on the UK set, and it’s currently priced at 1/3rd the price of the US boxset. So even when you factor in shipping, it still screams deal to me. Man, US/Region 1 viewers are getting screwed. BBC America is rubbish!
So I guess that single episode 13 commentary (with all three stars) will have to do me until BBC grows some brains and decide to release proper full cast commentaries for this season.
So in closing, just say no to BBC America and their rubbish overpricing and heavy editing of episodes (and according to some, poor mastering of US/Region 1/A Blurays, read this). You’d be better off waiting for the UK DVD releases.
Here endeth my ranting for today.
I re-watched this season, the first with Matt Smith as the eponymous Doctor and Steven Moffat as show runner to see if my opinion of it changed any.
And I have to say it didn’t.
Overall, outside of the quite compelling scoring, I still find the season dreadfully flawed, for two main reasons. The first is the companions.
Doctor Who is only as good as the companions/writing, and just as Ecleston’s years were hurt by the character of Mickey, and the Baker and Davidson years hurt by the character of Adric, the Matt Baker Doctor is hurt by the Dawson’s Creek/Smallville annoying soap opera antics of the companions Amy Pond and Rory.
I know some people are found of the Amy Pond character, but having watched all of season 5, she is, to me, like fingernails on a chalk board.
Largely it’s a combination of the pouty, annoying way she is written and the pouty annoying way she plays the character. More the latter than the former. As even in scenes where she is saying nothing, just supposed to be looking meaningfully, I find her among the most annoying things I’ve ever seen. Give me back Martha Jones or Rose Tyler any-day.
That said there were moments where she didn’t annoy me in season 5 (or more precisely, gave a performance that did something other than annoy me), most notably the 2nd episode of the season ,THE BEAST BELOW, where the Amy character saves the day in a way. A nice bit of storytelling, and cutting down on the annoying poutiness Karen Gillan tends to do, rather than act.
But largely I found her annoying, and add the Cory character, played by Arthur Darvill, to that already uninteresting dynamic, and the show becomes exponentially annoying.
Which leads me to the 2nd flaw of the season. Steven Moffat’s writing. Steven Moffat is a great writer when on his game, episodes like BLINK and THE GIRL IN THE FIREPLACE showing the writing chops that got him the job of Show Runner, replacing Doctor Who Resurrectionist Russell T. Davies. However this season he gets away from what are his strengths, and tries to beat Russell T. Davies at his game; of large universe ending threats.
Which tends to get old, after a while. Russell T. Davies himself playing that card one time too many, till by his last story, THE END OF TIME , it just came off as tired, and forced, and a chore.
So Moffat trying for that epic overarching universe ending scope in season 5, just did not work for me.
The small intimate stories in season 5 were fine, but those were few and far between, and most of the season was given over to this crack of time Storyline, that I thought was largely rubbish through most of season 5.
BEAST BELOW Grade B+
THE TIME OF ANGELS Grade B. A really strong first half, with a great cliffhanger. But the 2nd part is a letdown, exhibiting the diminishing returns of more is less. One weeping angel in the Season 3 episode BLINK, brilliantly directed by Hettie MacDonald, was scary, but here an army of Weeping Angels are just… boring and a disappointment. And the director fails to use the conventions that Hettie MacDonald devised to make this conceit… scary. It shows Directors are not interchangeable, and when you get a great one like Hettie MacDonald you should keep using her. Particularly on as iconic and fragile an idea as Weeping Angels.
VINCENT AND THE DOCTOR- Grade B. An intimate, standalone episode.
THE LODGER- Grade B-.
Those 4, standalones primarily, are the highlights of season 5. The remaining episodes I would chuck with the bath water. Your mileage may vary.
Moffat when on his game is great at small intimate tales, that have less to do with saving worlds then saving one person. His stories more fable than scifi, tales as much of sleeping beauties and spells and ogres and handsome knights, as anything to do with space faring threats.
There’s an immediacy, a personalization to Moffat’s writing that comes through in places, However the season finale fails to be one of those places. The finale stumbles over its own, “let me outdo the last universe ending threat” pattern.
And did I mention I really can’t stand the companions?
So the whole season hinges on you caring for Amy Pond, and accepting the “tell don’t show” greatness of the Doctor, that he does nothing this season to earn.
Matt Smith is an okay Doctor, Moffat has written some great dialog for him, but as stated he’s encumbered by the writing of the companions. I’d like to see a season with him, with non-annoying companions ( I overall like River Song– though the ‘spoilers’ mantra, gets a bit old), and more intimate, less hyperbole ridden universe saving episodes.
Overall a season worth viewing free or if you can rent it cheap, but not one I would suggest buying. Here’s hoping Season 6 when finally available in box set rental, is an improvement. Final grade for DOCTOR WHO: SEASON 5 is C-.
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