FOUR Button-Lock Must Own Knives of the Day!

Civivi has made me a Button-Lock fan, and at their price point their knives are all must own tools and collectibles. Really smooth and addictive deployment, beautifully designed, Gentleman’s carry (or Gentlewoman’s carry). All of these make great letter or package openers and are really just a nice office desk knife, tactile fidget, zone-in knife. They are the Rubix Cube of knives, the addictive deployment making them perfect for giving your hands something repetitive to do while your mind is working on a problem or processing.

Today’s pick for the best civivi knives are AS FOLLOWS.

Click the images below for more information or to pick up one for yourself or as a gift.

 

My first Button Lock knife, I absolutely LOVE this knife. Own multiple copies of this specific variation with its color, blade material and handle material. Essential.

This one is great for gals and guys.

A sub $100 Damascus folding knife? A no-brainer of a purchase.

And Another Damascus blade, but a whole different model and blade shape/design. Another must own.

So that’s it guys. My list of today’s 4 MUST OWN Civivi Button Lock knives! Click on the images to find out more. And purchase via the links and you get a great item, and earn this blog a few pennies to keep the proverbial lights on.

 

A win-win!

 

Till next time, be well.

New Time Radio/Podcast and OTR (Old Time Radio) Recommendations of the Day!

1948 an America just coming out of the war to end all wars, and this series played to a generation that had unleashed the atom. ESCAPE sported the best voice actors in the world, names like Paul Frees, William Conrad, Jack Webb and many more, to give life to some of the most thrilling stories.

This is one of the stories that kept captivated a world that needed… Escape.

How Love Came to Professor Guildea.

 

Movie of the Day : SLAYGROUND (1983)

“You come highly recommended.”

“I know I do.”

“Do you know what is required?”

“Vengeance, I believe.”

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With those lines, balefully delivered, you know everything you need to know about why you should run out and watch or buy the 1983 film SLAYGROUND, right now.
I picked up this film on a bit of a whim, during the recent Kino Lorber sale. Kino Lorber introducing me to this almost 40 year old film, that I had never heard of. The price was right, and the cover and blurb… caught my eye.
Boy am I glad I purchased this film.
From the opening scene, with that wonderful soundtrack, it grabs and does not let go. Peter Coyote has never been better, and it is masterfully directed by a director, that like the film, I was unfamiliar with, Terry Bedford.
This would be his first and only film. What a debut and what a denouement. The 1980s was very much the age of the iconic boogeymen, from halloween’s michael  myers to nightmare on elm streets freddy kreuger, to friday the 13th’s jason, to the end of the cycle with 1992’s candyman. slayground is a far more mature, complex and both sophisticated and convoluted, laconic film which explains why it flew under the radar and the tastes of the ‘get to the point, show me’ 80s.
however this film very much creates an iconic boogeyman for the ages, an implacable shadowman, played by philip sayer, once heard, once glimpsed… is every bit as terrifying and arguably more disturbing, than the more supernatural tinged monsters of the 80s.
there are good movies that are pushed over into great, by that exact perfect voice casting. james earl jones in star wars, his voice is pivotal in establishing the character of darth vader as iconic, and establishing that character is essential in establishing the film as iconic. the same with his voice in CONAN THE BARBARIAN. Other examples of great voices that helped carry/elevate movies are liam neesen in dark man, stephen mchattie in ponty pool, aDRIENNE BARBEAU IN THE FOG, And virtually anything orson welles has starred in.
to that list you can add philip sayer‘s voice acting in slayground. he creates an iconic villain, largely with his voice, and kudos to the filmmakers for their top notch direction and decision, to create their villain largely by suggestion.
and Praises to boutique Bluray Label KINO LORBER for rescuing this film from obscurity. I would have preferred more special features, but I am happy just to have this wonderful slice of period Americana available on Bluray.

 

The interview by Peter Coyote (done when he was 77, and we should all look as good as Mr. Coyote does at 77) is as essential as the film. It is a film class in one informative and engaging interview. A great special feature.

“Well I mean Terry’s {the Director] a really genial guy, you know I liked these guys… he was easy to get along with, … he made it fun, but there is such … the English have such class consciousness that the actor is one step above a peon, unless he is banking the film. And I certainly wasn’t banking the film. I was a Jew with an animal name, that they hired from somewhere…probably because I was cheap. So, you know, I was frustrated oftentimes being asked to do things that made no sense whatsoever… they just defied logic. And, you know, at a certain point it’s like you can fight everyday and get fired, or throw it in. I didn’t care, I tried my best, I gave it my 2 cents.”

Get your copy by clicking the image below:

 

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Best of the 2nd Quarter 2022 : Best Classic TV Show – ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR’s ‘RIDE THE NIGHTMARE’

ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR was a followup to the far more well known ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, except true to this revival’s name it offered hour long tales of mystery and suspense.

Rarely seen, or referenced, this series tends to languish in obscurity in comparison to its far more popular and well remembered sibling, AHP. Which is unfortunate because, for the most part I am finding the hour long time-frame (that could easily feel padded) being effectively used by the host of talented writers, directors and stars involved. Not in all cases of course, some episodes do fail or feel overlong, but so far the majority of the ones I have seen, are satisfying and compelling additions to the output of the great Alfred Hitchcock.  

While few of these are directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the best of them live up to the high bar of cinematic mystery and suspense that Alfred Hitchcock helped set.

Case in point, RIDE THE NIGHTMARE.

Directed by Bernard Girard (an unknown to me Director, who seemingly spent the bulk of his career directing various Television shows, the movies that are credited to him at the end of his directing career, seem poorly received critic wise, but all sound intriguing to me, and worth a look, especially based on how impressed I am with the visuals in RIDE THE NIGHTMARE) and with a screenplay by the great Richard Matheson, that he adapted form his own novel, RIDE THE NIGHTMARE is a gripping, exciting, amazingly directed episode of television.

Beautifully lensed by cinematographer William Marguiles (a relatively prolific DP in late 50s thru the early 70s, primarily in television) , from the first shot I was asking myself, “who the heck directed this? It looks stunning!”

From evocative low angle shots, that make the ceilings loom above us like the hand of doom, to 270degree close-up pan around an embracing couple, to a series of doorways the character walk through as they quietly discuss their relationship’s immolation (the doorways at dutch angles to represent a world no longer reliable and steadfast, but rather menacing and predatory)… the episode enthralls.

And for an unknown tv episode from 1962, to invoke those impressions on someone watching it for the first time, 60 years later in 2022… I think says much about the visual language of the episode. It also says much about its star, Gena Rowlands.

Known for her later lauded pairings with her husband and paramour (their relationship had that type of oxymoronic duality, and iconoclastic fire, both on and off screen, that he could at once be her husband, and at once be the seducer who swept her away) John Cassavetes; Gena Rowlands, who at the time of this writing is still with us, in this episode (the first of three yearly episodes she would do for ALFRED HITHCHCOCK HOUR) commands the screen with her beauty and her presence. In RIDE THE NIGHTMARE she offers a beguiling performance, that well foreshadows, while giving us a less damaged version, of those later legendary pairings with Cassavetes.

Also with great performances by genre stalwarts Hugh O’Brian and John Anderson — this is a brutal little bit of unheralded television noir, that builds to a [mild spoiler, skip to next paragraph to avoid it] surprisingly near apocalyptic ending.[end spoiler]

The plot has in the 60 years from there to here, been reused countless times, even in 1962 was slightly formulaic, but what was not and is not formulaic… is the craft that it is told with. That had, and still has, the power to rivet.

These shows can be viewed via streaming. Either free if you can deal with the criminal # of commercials (I can not), or via purchase on (typically) an episode by episode basis. I chose neither of those routes and purchased the entire series on DVD to watch at my leisure.

To get your copies go here:

Thanks for looking, and click the image above to purchase. you get a great item, and this blog earns a few appreciated pennies to keep the proverbial lights on.

a win, win!

that’s it for this segment. Oh, and for those of you staying for my rant… read on. The rest of you come back next time, and be well!!

 

*********

“What did he say “DVD”? HaHa!! What a geezer!! Wake up Grand-pa! There’s this thing called streaming!! Ha! Ha!”

Yes, thank You.

Very enlightening. I happen to be a big fan of digital and streaming… In its place.

I like streaming for discovering things I want to revisit or own (if ownership by individuals is not a forbidden word in this new age of solely corporate ownership and corporate freedoms), however for revisiting these things, or owning these things, or enjoying these things, I want it in a format where I can enjoy it whether or not I have an internet collection, whether of not a corporate site is down, whether or not that corporate gatekeeper has decided to stop serving that particular show or episode or album or video game.

As the whole world races to embrace ever more gatekeepers on everything the individual touches, it increasingly becomes clear that you can not buy, or sell, or read, or watch, or listen to something whether in your house or your car, without a log of what you have consumed and when you consumed it being stored somewhere, approved somewhere. Something about that does not agree with me.

Something about not being able to buy or sell without having the mark, whether the mark digital or the mark proverbial, something biblically off-putting about that :).

I tend to like being off grid for my entertainment when I can, when I choose. It is the iconoclast in me. I resist the religion of hegemony and the glory of social media in all things.

 

Here Endeth the Recommendation and the Rant!

 

:).

 

Essential Films for Black History (or any) Month : Today’s Entry… EL BENNY!

 

EL BENNY

Based on the life of Benny Moré, the film concentrates on a period in the early 1950s when Moré leaves the orchestra of Duany and starts his own ‘Banda Gigante’. In flashback we learn of his success in Mexico. Moré is caught in the events connected to Batista’s coup in Cuba. Also, he tours Venezuela, where he suffers the machinations of a vengeful businessman.

Movie Diary : 2022 Day 1- 01012022- UNDERWORLD AWAKENING 3D and PINA 3D from Criterion!

 

 

 

So my first movie viewing of 2022 is one that came into my 3D collection in the last couple of weeks of 2021, and I am just now getting a chance to give it a spin on my 3D projection system.

I am speaking of UNDERWORLD:AWAKENING. The 3D Blu-ray reviews on it were mixed, so I thought I would find out for myself. Generally the 3D is very similar to the quality of the movie, okay but nothing great.

I am a fan of a good creature feature, and even CGI laden werewolf transformation scenes are always fun to watch. You kinda know what you are getting with this UNDERWORLD franchise and this one delivers what you would expect.

Regarding the 3D, a couple of things really work against stereo imaging, even for natively shot 3D. Dark or underlit/dreary/ low contrast scenes, particularly night scenes, being one of the nemesis of good stereoscopy and poor shot compositions that flatten out the depth rather than accentuating it, being the 2nd one. A film like the first DOCTOR STRANGE… people tend to confuse great visual effects with 3D, when in actuality DOCTOR STRANGE has (for the most part) deplorable 3D, sporting both dreary, underlit scenes and poor/flat compositions.

This film, UNDERWORLD AWAKENING, is not flawed to that degree; it actually has good shot composition– designed to make use of 3D, but is hampered by the fact that 90% of the film takes place at night or in low light situations, effectively undermining the very separation you are trying to get in a stereoscopic movie.

Still there is enough 3D to be noticeable and given the choice I would much rather watch this film in even muted 3D, then without. So worth a look. Grade: C- for the movie and C- for the 3D.

Now onto PINA.

 

I knew very little about the film PINA, before watching it today. I knew it was the only 3D release that seminal Boutique Blu-ray company Criterion has released. I knew it was in some way to deal with dance.

Now having seen it, I completely do not understand how this film is virtually never mentioned, even by die-hard Criterion experts and fans. This is clearly one of Criterion’s best and most essential releases.

PINA, by the great director Wim Wenders, is at once a love letter to a calling — a vocation, while also being as moving an eulogy as one person has ever had. It is a dance troupe’s love letter to their guiding star, choreographer Pina Bausch, and as great and effective and affecting a use of 3D as I am likely to see all year.

What LIFE OF PI was able to do for a fiction film, PINA does for documentaries/performance art, making the 3D more than a gimmick, but an indispensable part of the storytelling process.

The doorway sequence close to the end is one of numerous excellent uses of stereo imaging, but may be my favorite of the whole film, as they break rules in that shot, moving the camera, as the actors move, as all the layered doorways seem to move, it is a brief moment, but it helps your idea of reality tremble for a moment, and what more is magic but that.

As a fan of theatre, great theater is hard to translate to great film. While a fan of ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI the film, it pales to the power and immediacy of the theatrical presentation I saw. The same with nearly every version of RICHARD THE III I have seen, they pale to the experience of having attended a walking theatrical play of RICHARD III , conducted at night, in the rain, following the actors in an out of decaying edifices, with roofs gone, and nothing to stop the heavens to bearing witness. Great theater is hard to match.

Very rarely does that happen the other way, where the film can capture or surpass the theatrical presentation.

A few come quickly to mind, Branagh’s HENRY THE VTH (1989), Anthony Harvey’s THE LION IN WINTER (1968) and this film, Wim Wender’s PINA (2011) while not an adaption of any one performance, but rather the overview of a troupe’s body of work, offers an immediacy in how the camera is used, and the stereo imaging is used, that allow the artists to communicate with you in a way that transcends, perhaps by a little — perhaps by a lot, anything that you can experience sitting in the best seats of the best traditional theater.

PINA becomes therefore great film, and even rarer a great and essential 3D film. Grade: A. a film that must be experienced in 3D, and a must own film.

p.s. THE CRITERION RELEASE OFFERS A MAKING OF, THAT IS ALSO IN 3D (SOMETHING I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE), as WELL AS A COMMENTARY. THIS FILM HAS A WEALTH OF CONTENT FOR NUMEROUS VIEWINGS and REVISITS. A RELEASE I LOOK FORWARD TO ENJOYING FOR YEARS.

 

“Dance. Dance! Or otherwise we are lost.”

–Pina Bausch

 

These reviews were conducted using 3D Blu-rays, a region free 3D compatible Blu-ray player, and a short throw, full HD, 3D compatible short throw projector (Essential for a flexible/portable system) offering at least 3000 lumens, and high contrast, and active DLP glasses (one of the most important parts of any system)..

 

 

 

If you would like to purchase your own pre-assembled system you can use this link as well as clicking the images in this post to acquire the items depicted.

If you found this post useful please like, subscribe, and patronize the attached links.

 

Two New Youtube Channel Discoveries of the Day : HISTORY OF THE BATMAN and SALAZAR KNIGHT

As I have previously mentioned I do not watch YouTube on my computer. However it was the ease of access of viewing YouTube on your TV, courtesy of streaming devices/platforms like Roku that in 2018 finally made the YouTube platform a major destination for me.

So now here in 2021 the channel I watch the most of… is not Netflix, is not Amazon Prime, is not Disney, is not Hulu or Kanopy; the channel I watch the most of… by a LARGE margin is Youtube (free version).

And on that YouTube platform, I am subscribed to something like 60 varied and distinct sub-channels (aka content creator channels), many of which I have shared and will continue to share on this blog.

The great thing about YouTube is there is SOOOOOOO much content that you are always making new discoveries. New channels put up not by networks, or conglomerates, but typically just passionate people who want to share their passions and hobbies and interests with you.

I love discovering a new passionate channel, whether new or new to me. Here are two of this weekend discoveries and they both have to do with Batman.

And not just Batman, but the strength of these channels is their focus on the classic,  individual stories/ comic book issues as opposed to the collected edition.

Many channels will tell you what is recent, or current, or hot, or collectible. Many channels will speculate on the cgc (graded) book to get in a 9.8 because of movie news this or that, but very few channels will actually just tell you about individual comic book stories that are worth reading or getting just because they are enjoyable reads.

Both of these channels do just that and cover primarily the older Bronze, Silver and Golden age of Batman Comics, which I particularly am a fan of, and am always looking to be informed more on.

These two channels succeed in being my discoveries of the weekend, and are both now subscribed to by me, and I urge you to give them a look, and if as entertained by them as I was, likewise subscribe to their channels and give a like to their videos.

 

 

 

 

Both of these channels I found entertaining and I have highlighted above what i consider their best videos so far.

 

if you enjoy this post, please support this blog by liking and subscribing and grabbing our item of the day at the links below. You get great items and you earn this blog a few pennies to keep the proverbial lights on.

 

 

 

Streaming TV Guide of the Day 4 Aug 2021- Youtube Edition!

MOVIES AND PHYSICAL MEDIA RECOMMENDATIONS AND INSIGHTS

 

GREAT MOVIE TRAILERS OF THE DAY

Sports and Competition

AUTO AND HOME IMPROVEMENT NEWS AND INSIGHTS

INSIGHT AND NEWS YOU CAN USE

ART BOOKS AND COMIC BOOKS

 

THE LAST HURRAH : Ten Greatest Film Noirs of the 20th Century and their best physical releases here in the 21st Century!

I have not put CASABLANCA or THIRD MAN on this list, because although they have noir elements, there is an A picture scope to them in terms of not just budget but aspiration, that transcends the conventions of the noir, they ultimately tell larger tales than the fall or redemption of a single man, which is the heart of the noir aesthetic.

With that caveat aside, onto the list.

  1. MALTESE FALCON (1941)

  2. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)

I don’t love the cover art for the Eureka release of Billy Wilder’s DOUBLE INDEMNITY (I think they should have gone with the art used for DVD and other releases) , but the film itself is magnificent, one of the greatest film noirs of all time. And a very good Blu-ray release. It is currently the must own version of this film.

3. MURDER MY SWEET (1944)

4. KISS ME DEADLY (1955)

5 DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS (1995)

Walter Mosley’s DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS remains a watershed book, in many ways improving on the pulp noir and film noir roots laid by writers like Hammett And Chandler. As someone who has read the book, listened to the audio book, and seen the film, Director and Screenwriter Carl Franklin’s take on DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS is just as watershed a film. With a stellar cast, the film is Noir distilled, while being one of the most beautiful color films, and is endlessly watchable and compelling. Indicator Films finally releases this film on Blu-ray, with Booklet and one newer special feature… a charming 2018 Interview– Carl Franklin: DANCING WITH THE DEVIL. That said I do wish they had sprung for new interviews and commentaries to go along with the ported features from the original 20 year old DVD; but that aside this is a must own limited-special edition release, that is  25 years in the making.

6. LADY FROM SHANGHAI (1947)

7. THE BIG HEAT (1953)

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8. THE BIG SLEEP (1946)

9. I WAKE UP SCREAMING (1941)

While ostensibly 1941’s MALTESE FALCON is recognized as the first FILM NOIR, this film, I WAKE UP SCREAMING, made at the same time as MALTESE FALCON, actually is the first film to put together all the iconic elements we would later associate with film noir.

In addition to the Femme Fatale, and the morally challenged protagonist, this film adds the heavy use of shadows, the Venetian blinds, the stylish dutch and off-center shooting angles, in essence the visual language of film noir shows up first in this least heralded of films. And with a winding script that keeps you shifting your belief of “who done it” from one character to another, and some strange and compelling performances and laudable direction, you end up with a film that deserves to be better known.

 

10. RAW DEAL (1948)

Being the single best of Anthony Mann’s and John Alton’s magnificent collaborations makes RAW DEAL a must for any top ten list. This special edition, complete with booklet  is a must own release.

Well, that’s it my top 10 list.

2020 saw all ten of these films available on quality, feature rich Blu-Ray releases (eff barebone, questionable quality 4K releases — I despise the “no interior artwork, lacking new artwork” 4k releases. I also blame 4k for the further fragmentation and dwindling of a market, that can not survive anymore fragmentation. If you are going to do UHD releases, release them with the Blu-Ray and/or DVD in multi-packs. You eliminate having to have a DVD market and a Bluray Market and a UHD market, and the associated expenses of trying to package for 3 different formats ) for the first time in the relatively short history of physical media. And arguably by the end of 2021 these ten movies will never again all be available in quality, feature rich, physical media versions.

I hope that will not be the case, but hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

If you want these films in physical media, pick all ten up today, while they are still in stock. Click the images to be taken to the movies in question.

If  you have enjoyed this post, then like, subscribe and come back for more of our coverage of physical media and the… Last Hurrah.

Amazon Deals of the Day : Recommended Complete CRIMINAL Collection Available!

 

I like the dayglo covers of the above reprint editions (the first two are reprint editions, the last two are new printings). However, I like the covers of the original Icon editions  (shown below) a little bit better. The contents and build of both editions are almost identical, I just think the below Icon Editions have covers that are more in keeping with the noirish, slow-burn, content of the interiors. Price being no object I would get the below editions. However the below editions are out of print, and going for multiple times the cost of the new reprints. So unless you get the first editions cheap, or are well off and buy what you want… get the above reprints. Cick the images to view more and/or purchase.