A few tunes to get the weekend off to a sexy start!
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
In the month of September, Derek Koch's podcast Monster Kid Radio is covering four Italian muscle man movies. The four are listed above all of them are worth checking out if you have any interest in these fun adventure films that often have some pretty cool monsters menacing the hero.
I love Derek's show and, as you can see, I get to participate in the episode focused on Mario Bava's brilliant HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961). It was a lot of fun being part of the discussion along with Dominique Lamssies. We had a great time and it was amazing being the one on the show that could best pronounce some of the Italian names! Since I am semi-famous for screwing up Spanish names and words of all kind it was strange to feel like I was getting some things right. I owe it all to my tyrannical French teacher in high school, I guess.
Anyway - Check out this series of monster filled discussions over at Monster Kid Radio!
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Friday, September 15, 2017
For nearly fifty-five years the British science fiction television show Doctor Who has been a staple of geek culture. Admired for it's imaginative stories, if not always for it's high budget, the show has managed over time to be so popular that it has reached a status that often surpasses other science fiction franchises. These days being a fan of Doctor Who is pretty mainstream, with the public at large now having a good idea of the show's premise and stars. Such was not the case decades ago when fans begged for the show's return and fandom had to sustain itself on repeated viewings of the episodes produced from 1963 to 1989. Re-watching the Doctor battle Cybermen, Ice Warriors, Sontarans, Silurians and a host of other villains became fan's comfort viewing as they hoped for new adventures. Even if the story was a well know one, it was still proper Doctor Who and therefore a fun time!
But there is a strange tributary that branches off from main river of classic Who that was, and still is, generally ignored by fans. In the mid-1960's a film production company saw the incredible popularity of the TV show and thought the time was right for the Doctor and his companions to make the leap to the big screen. Hammer Horror star Peter Cushing was cast in the lead role, huge sets were built and, before you could activate the Tardis controls, a pair of cinematic adventures appeared. These two films were successes on their own and are the first instance of a Who story being shot in color. Cushing is his usual excellent self but you might have noticed that when images of the character's various incarnations are assembled, his face is never included. Often referred to as the Forgotten Doctor, Peter Cushing should be better known for his entertaining turn in the role and so, we present this podcast.
Stephen Sullivan and I have decided to draw some much deserved attention to these movies and in this episode, we focus on the first of them as this alternate Doctor Who discovers the big daddy of Who villains - The Daleks! By the middle of the 1960's the television show had made the mutated, mechanical monsters a (British) household name so they were the natural choice for the move to theaters. With the addition of color and the widescreen imagery (not to mention a lot more money) the relentless bad guys were more formidable looking than ever and I'm sure caused more than a few nightmares for years afterward. And in the theater there was no couch to hide behind!
Join Stephen and me as we glide through this first cinematic Who tale. We talk about the story, compare it to the TV episodes it's adapted from, discuss the production, point out things missing from the finished picture and just generally geek out over how cool everything looks. We lament the fact that this Doctor isn't really the one we know and love from the television show while at the same time enjoying this separate version of a beloved hero.
The podcast can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org and Stephen and his work can be found at his website. Thank you for downloading and listening!
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
As far as I'm concerned it's always a good thing when Steven Soderbergh returns to cinemas. He's an incredibly capable filmmaker who seems to be able to craft nearly any kind of movie and his record for me is much more hit than miss. With
LOGAN LUCKY he returns to
the crime genre for a fun, clever romp in West Virginia.
Often when Soderbergh does a crime film it seems that he doesn't concern himself quite as much as he should with the mechanics of the crime. I often wish he would spend more time making the crime plausible enough to engage my willing suspension of disbelief. That is not the case with this film though. Here the director is intent on making sure that we understand the mechanics of the crime, the setup for each section of it and the psychology of why each person is involved so that when each piece fits into place right before the end credits, it's impossible to keep a smile off your face. He wants everyone in on not just the crime, but each individual joke along the way. Wonderfully, the humor in this film works very well. I've read a lot of BS in the media about how Soderbergh doesn't understand Southerners or doesn't understand low-income people or doesn't understand country people or whatever idiotic thing can be said to try to make sure that people think that this fellow doesn't understand the characters in the movie. Let me just say that, as a Tennessean, he honestly he got it right. All of the characters in this movie are recognizable as people I see and interact with every day of my life.
Now, to be sure, the people in this movie are generally much more competent, much smarter and much more able to follow through on a complicated and dangerous plan than most of the Rednecks that I know. But that's as it should be in a crime caper film. It's not much fun to watch incompetent morons stumble out of the gate and shoot themselves in the foot. Well actually, I guess it could be. But in this case we instead get to see a pretty competent group of people pull off a robbery and see just how complicated things get after the fact as well.
Things I learned from this film that I did not expect to learn.
- I'm becoming a Channing Tatum fan.
- I still enjoy seeing Katie Holmes on screen.
- Adam Driver does deadpan humor extraordinarily well.
- It's never a good idea to deny prisoners the latest George RR Martin novel.
- This Daniel Craig guy is going to go far in movies, I think.
THE HALLOW (2015) - 8 (rewatch)
ROAR (1981) -4 (madness on film)
HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961) - 9 (rewatch)
DOCTOR WHO AND THE DALEKS (1965) - 6 (rewatch)
WILD BEASTS (1983) - 7 (rewatch)
HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE (1973) - 8 (rewatch)
MISTER X (1967) - 4
THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE (2016) - 7
...TICK...TICK...TICK... (1970) - 7 (excellent, tense race relations study)
EVIL EYE (1975) - 6 (Euro-Trash mystery without a real ending)
ATOMIC BLONDE (2017) - 8 (saw it again!)
FRIGHT NIGHT (1985) - 9 (rewatch)
Saturday, September 09, 2017
This week I finally caught up with the last of William Hartnell's appearances as the first Doctor Who. Of course, he did briefly appear in The Three Doctors years later but this is his last adventure on the show in the central role. In general I enjoy Hartnell in the role but I've always felt that the show didn't come into its own until the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, came along.
As for the story, it is truly odd! Beyond it being the first time that we see the Doctor regenerate it also introduces one of my favorite Doctor Who villains - the Cybermen. That is fantastic all on its own, although this early appearance is really quite strange considering how different they looked just a few years later. Truly, the look of the Cybermen changed quite a lot over time and, in my opinion, got better as those changes went along. The story takes place in 1986 on Earth in an international military station giving the secondary cast the chance to try on various accents - for the most part quite well.
The DVD release of this story is quite good. The final fourth chapter is missing except for the recovered audio track and on this release the full audio is used and the chapter is recreated through animation to give us the chance to see the entire story. I always enjoy these animated reconstructions of missing episodes of the early Who. Even when it's odd and a little dull to see these animated characters run through their often stilted paces it's still fantastic to actually finally be able to see some of these 'lost' stories in a kind of complete form. I can't say The Tenth Planet is one of my favorite Doctor Who stories or even one of my favorite William Hartnell Doctor Who stories but it's not bad. If I can find the novelization that was published in 1976 I think I'll pick it up and read it. The book is apparently based on the original script and so there are some significant differences!