Monday, August 10, 2020

BlacKkKlansman (2018)


BlacKkKlansman (2018): Brilliant, mostly true true story about Colorado Springs police officer Ron Stallworth and his infiltration of the KKK back in the 1970's. The catch? Ron is African-American. So he infiltrates over the telephone while fellow officer Flip Zimmerman (played by Adam Driver) 'plays' the white Ron Stallworth. 

Funny and harrowing by turns, this 2018 film has somehow become MORE relevant than ever in less than two years. Spike Lee is in top form, as is the cast. Highly recommended.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

The Knock

I like to say 'Hello," Dmitri... just not right now.

Knocking Etiquette seems to be something that's degrading at a fair clip.

Over the last two years or so, I've noticed that virtually anyone knocking on our door does so with a volume and fervor normally seen only in officers serving warrants and angels announcing the End of Days.

And the person knocking in this fashion (usually but not always male) always wants something from me they're not going to pay for -- permission to take hay off the North field, permission to put 100 beehives on our property, permission to shoot deer on our property, or some other goddam thing.

And these knocks always come either before 9 a.m. or after 8 p.m..

So now I just don't answer the door when some dumbass knocks in this fashion because there's nothing in it for me and in any case, learn how to knock, asshole.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Godzilla vs. Matt Helm

Godzilla vs. Mecha-Godzilla (1974): The penultimate Godzillaverse movie in the original Toho Studios run demonstrates that old adage about history beginning as tragedy, returning as comedy, and ending in farce. 

Aliens send a giant robot Godzilla to conquer the Earth. Godzilla teams up with kaiju King Caesar, some scientists, and Interpol to save the world. King Caesar is easily the worst kaiju Toho ever created, a sort of cross between a lizard, a Muppet, and a team mascot. Godzilla demonstrates another new power, generating a massive magnetic field. Well, why not? Lightly recommended.

Terror of Mecha-Godzilla (1975): Original Godzilla director Ishiro Honda returns for this final entry in the original Toho series. That makes for a decent finalĂ©, with Godzilla even strolling off into the sunset at the end, sort of. There's a bit too much Interpol vs. the Space Aliens action in this one which may have contributed to its series-ending low box office. 

Along with a resurrected Mecha-Godzilla, the undersea-dwelling Titanosaurus also battles Godzilla under the control of the aliens and a misanthropic human scientist and his alien-resurrected cyborg daughter. This last leads to a scientist-hero telling the woman, "I don't care if you're a cyborg, I still love you." Shakespeare, eat your heart out! Lightly recommended.

The Wrecking Crew (Matt Helm 4) (1968): Sharon Tate is pretty much the only reason to watch this unfunny, boring yet fascinating mess -- fascinating mainly because Mike Myers drew a lot of inspiration for the Austin Powers movies from the Matt Helm series, including Dean Martin's cover job as a fashion photographer. When someone says movies today are bad and overly parts of serials, make them watch this. And it's purportedly better than Matt Helms 2, 3, 5, and the TV series!!! Not recommended.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Horror Movies Seen As Pithy Life Lessons

  • Phantasm: Don't have sex in a cemetery at night.
  • The Night of the Living Dead: Frankly, just avoid cemeteries altogether.
  • Dracula: Beware of illegal immigrants.
  • Frankenstein: Early childhood education is vitally important to the development of a child.
  • The Exorcist: Don't become a Roman Catholic priest: Low pay, high mortality rate.
  • The Nightmare on Elm Street series: Don't take justice into your own hands, especially if it involves burning an alleged felon to death.
  • The Friday the 13th series: Don't have pre-marital sex.
  • The Hallowe'en series: Seriously, don't have pre-marital sex.
  • Cujo: Have your pet regularly vaccinated for rabies and other diseases.
  • The Omen: The Italian health-care system is a mess.
  • The Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Home gardening can be a life-changer.
  • The Day of the Triffids: Green energy is bad.
  • Gremlins: Have your pets spayed or neutered.
  • Pet Sematary: If you have young children, don't live close to a road.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Score (aka Killtown) (1964) by Donald Westlake

The Score (aka Killtown) (1964) by Donald Westlake writing as Richard Stark: A typically terse, concise, matter-of-fact entry in Donald Westlake's series of novels featuring super-thief/burglar Parker. Westlake wrote them as 'Richard Stark' in order to avoid flooding the early 1960's market for Donald Westlake. Lee Marvin, Jason Statham, and Mel Gibson have played the amoral, hyper-efficient Parker in movies, to varying effect (Marvin was clearly the best, in the John-Boorman-directed Point Blank (1967)

The scheme this time is fascinating and clever, and, as always, complications and double-crosses come into play before the 'caper' is over. Though 'caper' is far too jolly a word for anything in a Parker novel. So call it a heist. Grofield, a slightly more amusing Westlake character, is a member of the team in this one. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Thanos: Titan Consumed (2018) by Barry Lyga

Thanos: Titan Consumed (2018) by Barry Lyga: Very enjoyable back-story for Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe does a nice job of gradually making the Mad Titan unsympathetic after depicting his childhood and early adulthood as a time of isolation and sorrow. All this and we find out where and when Thanos gets the Mind Stone! Though Thanos' ultimate plan of killing half of the population of the universe to save it still doesn't make much sense, Lyga at least specifies that we're talking about the sentient population of the universe and not every virus, bacterium, and tree. Recommended.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Dial 'K' for 'Ditko'


HBO's WATCHMEN series (which should really be called AFTER WATCHMEN) gives us a White Supremacist Group calling itself The Seventh Kavalry. That's a reference to Custer's doomed Cavalry. The change from 'C' to 'K' in 'Cavalry' is a reference to the Ku Klux Klan.

The Seventh Kavalry wears masks based on deceased original WATCHMEN hero Rorschach.

WATCHMEN creators Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons based Rorschach on a character created by Steve Ditko (himself creator of Spider-man, Dr. Strange, and many others). That character was The Question.

Rorschach's real name was Walter Joseph Kovacs. That 'K' was a nod to Ditko's love of K's.

A fairly astonishing number of Ditko creations had either a 'K' or the K sound created by a hard 'C' in their names. 

These characters include but are not limited to the following characters: Vic Sage (The Question, whom Rorschach parodies), Ted Kord (Silver Age Blue Beetle, whom Nite Owl parodies), Peter ParKer, Rac Shade, Mocker, Doctor Strange, Doctor Octopus, Mac Gargan (Scorpion), Electro, Doctor Spectro, Jack Ryder (Creeper), Chameleon, Clea, Clown, Curt Connors (Lizard), Hank Hall (Hawk), Tinkerer, Karcilius... OK, you get the idea. You'll note that the 'K' sound even lurks in The Question and Rorschach.

So the Seventh Kavalry is also a nod to the Ditko 'K.'

Hey, there's a 'K' in Ditko!

Imagine that!