Currently Listening to : Mark Olden’s POE MUST DIE

Currently listening to POE MUST DIE by Marc Olden.

 

His audio books have recently become available on Amazon, and I have been picking them all up.The eight book BLACK SAMURAI series ( I highly recommend also picking up the 70s paperbacks with the great painted covers) the nine book NARC series, and over half a dozen other stand alone novels, as well as the aforementioned POE MUST DIE are all finally available as audio books, the CD variety, with great voice actors. As someone who has read the great 70s paperbacks, I highly recommend the audio books as well. A great voice actor can enrich the story for you.

Mark Olden, in my interview with his partner, inspiration and vocal advocate for his work and legacy, Diane Crafford; what came through that discussion and through his work… was a renaissance man of many interests who left us too soon. One of his interest the literature of Dickens and Poe, and the history of Victorian period (roughly 1837 to 1901).

Arguably, while I love his BLACK SAMURAI series, POE MUST DIE is arguably his finest work, and never received the accolades it was deserving of.

It is a work of fiction, that is also as insightful a look at the famed Edgar Allen Poe as ever penned. Many works and film treatments since, when they do Poe, they do Marc Olden’s Poe, his evocation of the man and his age. The conceit of Poe as a pseudo detective, and protagonist in cases outside of his own fiction, is a trope that has been used badly by movies and books since, but was done first and best, here, in POE MUST DIE.

POE MUST DIE is filled with so much that is historical accuracy, and so much that is brilliant detective work, that it bolsters the fictional horror narrative, making a book that bleeds , and sweats, and says something bright and clear and frightening, about where we came from as a nation, and where we are always in danger of going to, as a nation.

Hopefully with talk of Idris Elba bringing Marc Olden’s POE MUST DIE to the big screen, Marc Olden and his works, will receive more of that recognition they richly deserve, as seminal writings.

Get your copy here:

https://amzn.to/2HTxMSd

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Deals of the Day! Amazon Edition!

DEALS OF THE DAY!

‘With this CD on Winter & Winter, the Arditti String Quartet celebrates 40 years of cutting-edge performances. Long recognized as the leading string quartet in avant-garde circles, and admired for the brilliance and virtuosity of its performances of the most demanding works, the Arditti gave its first concert in March, 1974, and over four decades it has not stopped rehearsing, studying, performing, and recording the most challenging music of our time. This program consists of 14 short works by some of the most prominent contemporary composers — Wolfgang Rihm, Hans Abrahamsen, Toshio Hosokawa,Brian Ferneyhough, Brice Pauset, Mark Andre, Marco Stroppa, Liza Lim, Harrison Birtwistle, Hilda Paredes, James Clarke, Georg Friedrich Haas, Uri Caine, and Johannes Maria Staud — and the variety of their compositions makes this survey a fascinating exploration of innovative techniques and original concepts. Adventurous listeners will be impressed by the Arditti’s fearlessness and directness in approaching this uncompromising music, and the liner notes by violinist Irvine Arditti provide background information that will be helpful to those just discovering the group.’ — All Music

View/price it here:

http://amzn.to/2EsqSTm

FERNEYHOUGH:TERRAIN – with the 21st century’s most complex composer ‘s most famous CD out of print and commanding multiples of its msrp, this TERRAIN cd is a good way to sample some of the composers best works without taking out a mortgage. Great CD at an affordable price.

Get tge CD here:

http://amzn.to/2BGw1Ed

 

Jack Kirby’s FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS – At over 1200pages this hardcover is big enough to go into battle with, or you can do something more traditional with it and enjoy it and put it on your bookshelf. Rushed out just at the end of 2017, to be part of the 100th Anniversary of Jack Kirby, it is easily the must own collected edition/graphic novel to have. The first printing does have a printing error, all that rushing I was talking about. One page is printed twice. It is an easily corrected error.

You can find details here:

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/12/21/fourth-world-omnibus-major-printing-error/

I printed the correct page (found at the link above) on my color printer and slipped it in the book at the correct spot. Job done. And sure we can wait for a corrected edition, or future printing, but considering we have no idea when or if that is happening, my 10 cent fix more than suffices.

Get your copy, while it is still below cover price, here:

 

http://amzn.to/2ErGztV

 

Come back next time for more… Deals of the Day!

 

Week 4 of 2018! Still my favorite band… THE HEAVY!

THE HEAVY, as I wrap up the first month of 2018, has been on heavy rotation on my CD player (remember those) in my nice non-self driving car. 🙂

Take that Elon Musk and Google!!!

I’m joking!I am a HUGE fan of Elon Musk  and his Tesla and Space X projects. He is a real life Tony Stark/Reed Richards pushing a nation that has been too long held hostage by backward leaning corporate interests into the future.

That said, I’ll keep my cd player in my car, and drive my own darn car, Thank You very much. 🙂

And when I’m driving that car, I like to listen to… THE HEAVY!The Heavy

THE HEAVY is a band, that has a fresh, vibrant, energetic, genre defying sound that  marks them as something … new, and exceptionally good. Arguably with 4 albums under their belt since 2009, their rock-soul-fusion sound, marks them as the best band of the 21st century. A 21st century British answer to the short lived 20th century phenomenon of HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH. But where HOOTIE was more lyrical folksy, THE HEAVY true to their name has a growl in their music, that is pure power, and pure Rock. Not the Rock of metal and noise, but the Rock of Hendricks and Morrison and The Who.

I’ve been listening to these guys 2 or 3 years now, and week 4 of 2018 they are still my favorite band. I own all 4 of their CDs. You can too. All 4 of their CDs are works of art in terms of naming and construction.Get yours here:

Great Vengeance & Furious Fire

http://amzn.to/2DzNeAP

 

The House That Dirt Built

http://amzn.to/2EhnbQl

The Glorious Dead

http://amzn.to/2DG7WPO

Hurt & The Merciless

http://amzn.to/2DGUZ8h

Music of the Day: The Essential GREGORY PORTER!

So if new to the Grammy winning Gregory Porter, begin with his Grammy winning Album LIQUID SPIRIT(2013).

A mix of blues, soul, jazz and a touch of bop, and lifted by one of the most amazing voices and crooners since Nat King Cole, LIQUID SPIRIT is one of the best albuns of the young 21st century.

Now once you’ve listened to LIQUID SPIRIT, an album you can listen to from beginning to end, repeatedly… what’s next?

I would say listen to his singles 1960 WHAT? and FEELING GOOD off of his first album WATER(2010).

From his 2nd Album BE GOOD (2012) standouts are ON MY WAY TO HARLEM and REAL GOOD HANDS and BLING BLING and GOD BLESS THE CHILD.

We have already discussed his third album LIQUID SPIRIT, his next album is the collaborative GREAT VOICES OF HARLEM (2014)with notable song being MOANIN.

2015 Saw his rerelease of LIQUID SPIRIT with additional songs.

2016 saw the release of  TAKE ME TO THE ALLEY, highlights being HOLDING ON and FRENCH AFRICAN QUEEN (A song, in its phrassing, very reminiscent of  the late, great Terry Callier).

 And bringing it up to date, his 2017 album is NAT KING GOLE & ME and it is easily Porter’s best album since LIQUID SPIRIT. Every song is a winner. Even in the age of Itunes and Digital those two CDs are must haves. Andin addition they both make great gifts this holiday season.

Liquid Spirit

Nat King Cole & Me

 


 

First Great Theatrical Experience of 2017 — KONG : SKULL ISLAND in 3D!

It takes a lot to get me out to the theater these days. 2016 was one of my most anemic theater going years. Having only seen a couple movies in the theater (among them the excellent CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR).

The slow movie going year could be linked to several reasons, some personal and singular, and some endemic of larger more encompassing perspectives.

The rise of Netflix and Streaming options has brought cinema quality programming to your living room or bedroom, around your schedule. So no trying to make your schedule fit around a movie showing, and all the baggage of parking, and seats, and annoying crowds, and of course the expense.

So for those reasons and others the theater wasn’t top on my list in 2016.

2017 and I’m incentivized to see quite a few movies in the theater. One reason is the reopening of one of my favorite regional movie theaters, as an upscale adults only dinner and a movie venue.

Perfect for couples or close friends, I decided to check out a matinee showing of KONG : SKULL ISLAND over other available options at this theater (such as LOGAN and JOHN WICK II and GET OUT, all of which I intend to see) for the main reason I wanted to test out the spectacle and 3D quality of this new theater, and what better way than a loud, explosive, monster movie.

So I reserved my seats, picking the perfect seats of course, and quite impressed with their meal and drink menu. Forget the overpriced artery clogging Popcorn and Hotdogs and Candy that comprises the fare of your typical theater, this theater offered a full and quite impressive meal and drink menu, brought to your spacious clean, well kept seats, no less. We had the crabcakes, bistro burger, korean wings, with a Berry Blast drink for me and a Mocha Latte for her. And did I mention the excellent attentive service.

So we are planted in front our huge curved screen, it’s a matinee showing so not only do we have our whole row free, we have our whole section free, with probably a total of less than 20 people in the large yet intimate theater. Meaning the theater and screen is large, but the number of seats are few.

So that’s the setup. What about the movie?

The best part of the Peter Jackson 2005 KING KONG movie, was the one hour period on the island (once we get past Peter Jackson’s annoying portrayal of Native Life as monstrous, evil and subhuman), that one hour was fantastic sequences of monster and Kong Mayhem, and should have been the whole movie.

Once that movie leaves the island it loses all interest and excitement, crawling toward a tepid ending.

KONG:SKULL ISLAND, 12 years after Peter Jackson’s mistake, learns admirably from the flaws of his film, crafting an entire movie on Kong’s home, the Island of Monsters, Skull Island, and it is absolutely kick-ass!

The idea to set it in 1973, at a pivotal time for America and the World, I thought was a stroke of genius and gives real motivation to Samuel L. Jackson’s Ahab inclined character, who see’s in the monster of Kong, this fight, a chance to win the war that he was denied, to change shame into glory. I like the opening, the setup to the actual Mayhem that is Kong, quite a bit, which says a lot about the quality of the filmmaker and the film.

Usually the least interesting part of any monster movie, is the prelude to the appearance of the Monster, when you have to endure boring cardboard characters killing time. That was the issue with the GODZILLA movie by the producers of this film, it was mostly setup and concentration on the human drama, but the humans and the human drama in that movie was as of much interest as watching paint dry.

Here, the setup and the characters feel fleshed out and earned, and part of that is grounding these soldiers in 1973. Survivors, but somehow not victors. Going from one barely war abroad, to a frightening barely understood war at home awaiting them, Skull Island, is very much a reprieve to Jackson’s Colonel. And the men under him, caught in the machinations of dreams of Glory, well they are understood to.

And all the characters are quickly enlisted for this obscure mission, all powerful, compelling actors, not a Jack Black insight. But actors all who can compel and own their time onscreen… their closeups. So I’m thoroughly entertained and into the movie, before Kong goes Ape, so to speak. And when he does go Ape… it is… EPIC!!!

This is why Theaters have value in an age of Netflix and Home Theaters, because a home theater is no match for a commercial theater when you have no annoying audience to deal with, this was the fury of Kong unleashed… this was spectacle, this was Blockbuster, and this was worth every penny paid!

Should you see it in 3D? I typically find 3D is a wasted expense in most situations. I think it is expertly done here, and is really the type of movie that cries out for really good 3D. KONG is really good use of 3D, and I think like AVATAR is a must see in 3D!

KONG is only the second feature film of Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, nothing in his filmography would indicate he could handle a big budget blockbuster of a monster movie, but much like the Russo Brothers of CAPTAIN AMERICA fame (who also came out of feature film obscurity) Roberts rises to the occasion, shattering expectations.

I loved this movie from beginning to end. It blows away recent failures such as GODZILLA and the aforementioned KING KONG, and bodes well for future films. Stay past the trailer for a nice Marvel style Easter Egg.

Grade: A solid and easy B+!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

BLU-RAY Movie of the Day : Antoine Fuqua’s EQUALIZER

“Progress. Not perfection.”

The Equalizer Movie Poster

I know in this day of streaming it’s all the rage to herald the death of physical media.

Allow me to be the voice of dissent.

Streaming is fine for sampling things, and trying things, but for things you love, and intend to watch again, revisit again, give me that feature rich DVD or BLU-RAY any-day, and twice on Sunday.

I love film. And I love cast and Director’s commentary. For films I love, after I consume the film, I like to go back and hear about the process, the experience of making the film.

For a beloved film, it just adds to the enjoyment.

And for cinephiles or hopefuls one day looking to work in some capacity crafting these once celluloid marvels, a commentary by Michael Mann or Ridley Scott or the late great Tony Scott is like being part of the best film school in the world.  It’s enjoyable AND informative.

My favorite movies I might get introduced to on streaming, but providing they have that commentary and special features, I will always buy in Blu-ray/DVD format.

The Equalizer Movie Poster

Antoine Fuqua’s THE EQUALIZER is one of those movies. First the Blu-Ray picture and sound quality is stellar. No buffering issues, or making sure you haven’t gone over broadband quota issues, or weather related or ‘time of day’ issues that can all affect your enjoyment with streaming. No the Blu-Ray, as long as you have your player and power, will be there for you, in the same spectacular quality.

Now moving on to the film itself, while I liked the TV show well enough, I too was incredulous when i heard about a remake. Add to that the odd choice of Denzel Washington to helm a big screen version of a mid-tier show, best known for the Britishness of its protagonist.

But I’m happy to say AntoinE Fuqua and the writers and Denzel Washington do the impossible in making this 80s small screen show, into galvanizing big screen entertainment. From the first frame the story is told, of a man of regimented routine, of  necessary order. Peace, found in the adherence to the space between seconds. A dragon allowed to sleep. Until one day something shatters that routine, that peace, and the dragon must wake.

Fuqua is a director, whose first couple of efforts left me cold, but I have to say he has grown into a great Director. There is such a beautiful patience in this film, that it makes the action scenes when they come, so much more devastating. And a large part of that is Denzel Washington, he brings a laconic, measured weight to the doors he steps through, a gravitas, that really sells the moments he must… wake.

Coming out the same time frame as JOHN WICK, both films share a common theme of men of extreme skillsets being forced back into using those skills. It’s lovely how the same theme of vengeance can be handled so differently, and so well in those differences.

JOHN WICK is a balls to the wall, action extravaganza,  EQUALIZER offers a bit more measured approach, but somehow manages to make every person’s fall more personal for that measured response. Fuqua’s EQUALIZER takes the time to watch the light go out of a man’s eyes. And there is something sobering and frightening about that. I love JOHN WICK, and looking forward to JOHN WICK II, but I love EQUALIZER just as much. The only misstep to EQUALIZER is the poor choice of a rap song for the closing credits, but other than that a home-run of a film.

It is a phenomenal film. Made even more so by the VENGEANCE MODE that the Blu-Ray offers. All in all a grade ‘A’ film, well deserving of owning in Blu-Ray.

 

Get your copy at the link below:

The Equalizer [Blu-ray]