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Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Today is Elke Sommer Day!

Today, we celebrate Elke Sommer, a German actress who was the very definition of Teutonic Beauty (and, to a lesser extent, big hair) during the 1960s and 1970s. This post has links to places you should visit in accordance with the spirit of the day (although it's mostly an excuse to post more pictures of Elke Sommer).

Elke Sommer Biographical Data:
At The Official Elke Sommer Website
At Internet Movie Database
At Cult Sirens
At Vintage Culture (with lots of pictures)

At Watching the Detectives
Elke Sommer at the Cinema Steve Blogs
Articles at Terror Titans
Articles at Watching the Detectives

To the left is a picture of Elke Sommer as she appears today--or, rather, as she appeared on my birthday of last year. Below, we have a picture of Sommer as she appeared in 1974, the year she made "Lisa and the Devil". It may be one of the few pictures of her that even the woman-hating Imam Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi might be able to gaze upon without having a fit. (Okay... maybe not.)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Coming soon to a bookstore near you....

"150 Movies You Should (Die Before You) See" has been in the works for some time; has been through two distinctly different incarnations; and has plenty of stuff to entertain and amuse those who love watching bad movies (as well as those who love hating bad movies).

Now, if only I can convince someone that the world DOES need a book that contains both movie reviews and themed recipes that are easy to prepare (for hosting the bad movie parties).

If you want to help a fellow out, you can pre-order the book at a discount from by clicking on the link below. A portion of every dollar you spend goes to feed my two hungry cats!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Best to keep 'Ali G' out of your house

Ali G Indahouse: The Movie (2004)
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Charles Dance, Michael Gambon, Kate Hedges, and Kellie Bright
Director: Mark Mylod
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

British gansta-rapper wanna-be and village-dwelling moron Ali G (Cohen) becomes the pawn of an evil politician (Dance) who wants to discredit the Prime Minister (Gambon) so he can seize the reins of power.

"Ali G Indahouse" is one of those comedies I have a hard time watching. Its main character is so stupid that I am so embarrassed on his behalf that it pains me to watch the story unfold. I am also embarrassed on the behalf of the people he interacts with. The end result is that the comedy is a bit muted for me, and I suspect that things others are falling off the couch in fits over have me merely chuckling.

However, the fact that the character of Ali G is such a moron that my pity for him overwhelms the fun I might otherwise have with this movie is but a small part of the problems with it.

A far bigger problem is that it's too slow in the wind-up. The first half hour is tortuously slow and the jokes are fairly unfunny (even when allowing for my personality quirks). I understand the film's desire to establish its cast of British "wiggers", but it does so in too languid a pace and it doesn't give quite enough contrast between them and normal society to make this part of the movie entertaining.

Things start picking up when the villains (the evil Deputy Prince Minister and his personal assistant, played with perfect English upper-crust snobbishness by veteran actor Charles Dance and the gorgeous Kate Hedges) are firmly placed in the picture and Ali G. runs his campaign for election to the House of Commons. And by the time Ali G. is dealing with British and global politics, screwing up an audience with the Queen, and proving to be the worst thing for a villain's master plot ever, the film finally obtains the break-neck pace it should have started with. And the jokes are also funnier.

Despite getting better in its second and third acts, the biggest problem with the film is that the character of Ali G. doesn't work very well outside the context it was originally created in. Ali G. originated as a faux reporter who would hold interviews with real politicians and public figures who didn't know they being set up. Ali G. the interviewer generated humor by mocking rap culture stereotypes and confusing people with utter stupidity, a mix that doesn't quite work in this film. Out of his intended context, Ali G. is simply too dumb to be believable or even entertaining, particularly when surrounded by a fairly tame and realistic world.

That said, the actors who belong in that tame and realistic world that Ali G's antics unfold against all perform superbly, and the film works far better for the fact that serious actors like Michael Gambon and the aforementioned Dance and Hedges play their characters straight. But that's still not enough to fully make "Ali G indahouse" worth sitting through. (Check out "Hot Fuzz" for far more effective British satire.)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chesser to remain in jail until his trial

Zachary "Abu Talhah" Chesser, the dweeb who issued a death threat to the creators of "South Park" and who tried to use his infant son as a distraction so he could go sign up with a terrorist group in Somalia, will be kept in prison until his trial. As the judge said when ordering Chesser held: "It's all right if he wants to put his life in danger, but if he's not going to look out for his 7-month-old son, then this court is going to do so."

Read all about it: Judge orders terror suspect to remain in jail until his trial

While the judge gets the nature of this beast, I'm not sure many members of the press do. I think the headline on this other article is a demonstration of that. I also predict that the angle that Chesser offered to "help the FBI" will return later, with much amplification and the loss of the detail that he wanted the government to send him to East Africa in exchange (so he could go join terrorists and murder Americans).

VA Terror Suspect Wanted To Help FBI

Maybe it's my own biases that are coloring the way I'm reading this "profile" article I've linked to below, but I find it interesting that it both opens and closes with paragraphs that carry the idea that he's just some poor kid who was led astray by mysterious, shadowy figures (or maybe mind-control rays from Mars) because no one seems to know anything about where he got his kooky ideas from.

Terror suspect took his desire to belong to the extreme

I also find myself wondering... if all Chesser wanted was "to belong," then maybe someone needs to write an article about the problems with the Muslim student associations and mosques. On the one hand, there are quotes in the article about how excited they were that a "white guy" wanted to join up, but yet somehow they didn't make him feel welcome, or as if he was one of them.

Or maybe Chesser wasn't looking so much for a place to belong, but rather for an outlet for his psychopathy, something the peaceful American Muslim groups couldn't and wouldn't provide him with?

What Chesser found was this:

But this is what he was looking for:

And speaking of belonging... the RevolutionMuslim blog still hasn't commented on the arrest of their former star contributor. Consider that, would-be Lions of Islam: Your brothers-in-Jihad won't stand by you when the going gets tough.

The only movie to give me nightmares

Meet the Feebles (1989)
Starring (the voices of): Mark Hadlow, Peter Vere-Jones, and Stuart Devenie
Director: Peter Jackson
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Long before the big-budget success of the "King Kong" remake and the "Lord of the Rings" series Peter Jackson directed gross-out movies like "Dead Alive," "Bad Taste," and the puppet extravaganza "Meet the Feebles."

"Meet the Feebles" is a film that follows a chaotic day-in-the-life of the corrupt and perverted performers and crew of the "Feebles Variety Hour" as they prepare for their first nation-wide television network broadcast. If you can think of something perverted, violent, or vile, these characters are up to it, and they do it on screen.

It doesn't matter they're puppets, or actors in costumes in the case of the characters... that might even make it worse. I'm not sure. The fact is that after the opening scene, the film immediately turns very dark and very ugly.

The extremely concentrated dose of depravity in this film--which is probably as close to the representation of Roman Polanski's sexual fantasies we'll ever get to see on film, with all the drugging and raping and filming of pornography going on--and the puppets and the characters they represent so ugly that this film actually gave me nightmares after I watched it. This is the only time it has ever happened to me, despite decades of watching horrible movies. Perhaps because the film has a nightmarish quality to it as it's unfolding, it seemed into my subconscious and followed me into sleep.

Whatever the reason, this is a horrible film. However, it sets out to be a horrible film, so Jackson succeeded in doing exactly what he set out to do. That explains my high rating for the film, but it is also the reason why I can't recommend that any one watch it.

"Meet the Feebles" is a funny spoof on the classic "The Muppet Show" and the face the entertainment industry likes to present via movies about itself, but it is simply too ugly a movie to be enjoyed by anyone.

Except maybe Roman Polanski. He'll probably find himself loving every aspect of Trevor the Rat, a pornographer who likes to drug and rape aspiring actresses.

Tectonic Tuesday: Elke Sommer

As regular readers know, the Tectonic Tuesdays posts are devoted to spreading the wisdom of Imam of imams Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, who in April of 2010 revealed that, "Many women who do not dress modestly ... spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."

While I believe its important that the world is made aware of the Allah-inspired warning of Imam Slammy (as he is known to his friends), I have grown concerned that maybe my efforts are counter-productive. Is it possible that attempts to spread awareness of a threat to humanity might actually be contributing to the problem? Is the Tectonic Tuesdays series merely increasing the threat that immodest women post to the world by calling attention to them, much like Al Gore flying riding in his private jet to global warming speaking gigs increases the threat of global warming?

After all, when an oh-so-clever college student organized Boobquake--where women from all walks of life engaged in immodest behavior to show that Imam Slammy was wrong--she instead proved him right by causing an earthquake to strike Taiwan on April 26!

This week's Case Study is going to be a test in itself. This coming Saturday is Elke Sommer Day on my various blogs. If this post, in addition to the Sommer-centric posts later this week, triggers an earthquake this weekend, I may have to reevaluate my efforts on behalf of the most holy Imam Slammy.

Thirteenth Case Study: Elke Sommer

Born in 1940, German actress Elke Sommer (real name Else Schletz-Ho... and, no, I am not making that up) first threatened the world in the early 1960s when she appeared in dramas and sex comedies, such as "Love, the Italian Way", "Sweet Ecstacy" and "Why Bother to Knock." What followed were earthquakes in 1962 that rattled Utah (part of the United States of America) and the northern Iranian province of Qazvin where over 12,000 people died.

Although she semi-retired from acting in the mid-1980s, Sommer has made over 100 film and television appearances, spanning almost every conceivable genre. What has united nearly all her diverse film appearance were bountiful displays of cleavage and naked flesh, often times wearing nothing at all, such as when she appeared in "A Shot in the Dark" (1964) and "Lisa and the Devil" (1974). There can be little doubt that Sommer's serial immodesty caused earthquakes in the American states of Illinois, Indiana, and Washington in 1968, as well as the Tokachi-oki Earthquake in Japan that claimed over 200 lives.

And it's all because of the immodesty of Elke Sommer (aka Else Schletz-Ho).

Monday, July 26, 2010

The white-washing of Zachary Chesser

I shouldn't be at all surprised, but it looks like members of the press--the same folks who won't call a terrorist a terrorist, but instead refer to the likes of al-Qaeda and Hamas as "militants", are going to be working very hard at turning Zachary Chesser from the terrorist asshole and wanna-be murderer that he is into a victim. Consider the headline on the article linked below:

'South Park' critic due in court on terror charges

Yep, according to the Associated Press and the Washington Post, Chesser is no different than Roger Ebert or me... just another critic expressing his view on arts and entertainment. In fact, when they consider him, this is probably what comes into their minds:

If not, they're going to work very hard to make you think of him that way.

But don't let them snow you. Who knows for what diseased reason they're referring to a terrorist and would-be murderer as a "critic," but when you hear or read the name Zachary Chesser, remember that this is the image that should come to mind:

Or, if that seems a bit much to you, this:

But he is no "critic." Critics don't threaten murder over a work of art they don't like. Chesser is not the harmless, hapless little kitten that the media is going to try to portray him as. He is a would-be murderer, and the only reason he got caught before he killed is that he is also a fucking moron.

Zachary "Abu Talhah" Chesser threatened murder over a cartoon show. He was arrested while trying to board a plane so he could sign up with a gang of killers that he admired and shared religious faith with--Islam. He tried to use his infant son as cover for his attempt. Don't forget that, even if the Associated Press is going to working to make you forget.

Remember, this is what Abu Talhah believes in:

July 31 is Elke Sommer Day!

Saturday, July 31 is Elke Sommer Day. Why? Because I have declared it so!

On that day, I will be posting reviews of movies that were graced with her genre-spanning beauty and talent, here and on several other of the blogs that make up Cinema Steve. If you have a blog and wish to take part in Elke Sommer Day with a post of your own, please send me the link, and I'll post it here. (Send your email to

Otherwise, please come back for the celebration of one of the 1960s most beautiful starlets.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Manos: The Music Video

I recently read at Mondo Bizarro that a sequel to "Manos: The Hands of Fate" is in the works. According to the production website, (click on the link to visit in a new window), the film will debut some time in 2013.

Be sure to watch the "Master Returns" clip on the site. I'm sure you'll agree with me that if this new movie as as funny as what is presented there, it will be hilarious. (I could have done without the canned laughter, and I think it goes on just a little too long, but stick with it, because it gets very, very funny at the very end. It's also the best use of "Torgo's Theme" ever.)

As absolutely awful as "Manos" is--it is SO bad that the guys at "Mystery Science Theater 3000" struggled to make even the edited version they used entertaining--something good is coming of it. Maybe. If the world doesn't end in 2012, we'll know for sure. Meanwhile, there's this music video, written and produced by the creator of the forthcoming "Manos" film. It's hilarious.

'Chiller': When B-movies go bad

Chiller (1985)
Starring: Michael Beck, Beatrice Straight, Paul Sorvino, and Jill Shoelen
Director: Wes Craven
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

Young corporate mogul Miles Creighton (Beck) was placed in cryogenic suspension until the day medical science could save him from an organ transplant that failed. Ten years later, he is revived and healed. However, there is something different about him: He is vicious, coldhearted... and homicidal!

"Chiller" is a classic example of a bad B-movie... we have a mildly interesting idea that's ground to death with pedestrian dialogue, so-so acting, and a story that's entirely too slow moving. Worse, the scares in "Chiller" are few and far between. This is definitely one of the worst movies Wes Craven has made. (He DID startle me at the end, but everything up to that point was either yawn-worthy or eye-rolling worthy.)

"Chiller" is worth seeing if you see it on TV late at night and every other channel is running info-mercials, or if you're the world's biggest Paul Sorvino fan (who is featured as the reverend who concludes that Miles may have come back to life, but his (duh-duhn-duuuhhn!) SOUL stayed in the afterlife), but otherwise it's best to leave it cooling on the shelf.

Click here to read a special post at Terror Titans that covers all of Wes Craven's famous and successful "Scream" movies.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Terrorist wanna-be appears in court

Zachary Chesser, who prefers to be called Abu Talhah (or simply "daddy") when forcing sex on his ugly wife, is the creator of the group behind this blog. He is also under arrest, and he had a court appearance today relating to charges that he provided material support to Islamic terrorists.

Chesser requested that an attorney be appointed to him, and his detention hearing was continued until this coming Monday.

Federal public defender Michael Nachmanoff was appointed to represent Chesser, along with Brian Mizer, a former Navy officer who represented Osama bin Laden's one-time driver Salim Hamdan in a military trial at Guantanamo Bay in 2008.

It says a lot about Americans that we don't just shoot scum like this, but we actually will support legal counsel for them through out tax dollars. Chesser, after all, proudly posted videos of himself and his fellow terrorist wanna-bes advocating the violent overthrow of the United States government and the murder of US citizens.

Interestingly, as of this writing, there has yet to be any comment on the RevolutionMuslim blog about Chesser's arrest. Maybe his little playmates are too busy pissing themselves in fear over they too will get to know the gentle embrace of a jail-house rapist to comment? Or maybe they are showing the world that they value Chesser about as much has he should be valued?

You can read about little Zachy Chesser's court appearance, as well as about some FBI concerns about like-minded jackasses, here.

While I wish nothing but the worst upon Zachary Chesser, I still feel a small amount of gratitude toward him.

Without Zachary Chesser, there ever would have been an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day." Molly Norris gets all the blame (and death threats from the zoophiles and pederasts of al-Qaeda), but it is actually Chesser who should be credited with the creation of what will (inshallah, bismallah, bim-salla-bim) become an ANNUAL event.

Without Zach Chesser issuing an insipid death threat at Matt Stone and Trey Parker it never would have occurred to anyone to even joke about plastering the web with images of the Prophet Mohammed (may peat be upon him). So, in a show of gratitude, I am reposting the cartoon that I created for that day.

If anyone reading this knows Zacky personally, I hope you'll print it out and send it to him. Maybe it will comfort him to know that someone out here appreciates his efforts. I may hate everything he believes in and stands for, I may wish him nothing but suffering and horrible infections in his brutalized anus (INSHALLAH!)... but I can still say "thank you" to him for the greatness of "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Big-time dreams in small-time theater

Waiting for Guffman (1997)
Starring: Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy, Fred Willard, Parker Posey, Catherine O'Hara, Lewis Arquette, Bob Balaban, Don Lake, Larry Miller, Paul Benedict, Michael Hitchcock, and Matt Keeslar
Director: Christopher Guest
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

A documentary crew follows the casting, staging, and performance of a musical created by Corky St. Clair (Guest), an actor who has failed his way from Broadway to small mid-western town, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the town's founding. When he learns that a New York theatrical producer, Guffman, will be attending the performance, he inspires dreams of major stardom in the small-town amateur actors (Arquette, Keelar, Levy, O'Hara, and Posey) who are performing the play.

"Waiting for Guffman" is a hilarious mockumentary that pokes fun at community theater, smalltown life, and the desire that lurks withine every performer or creative person--no matter how meager their level of talent--to be a star.

From beginning to end, "Waiting for Guffman" is packed with quirky characters and well-done jokes. In some scenes, the jokes are coming so fast, or simulataniously, that you have to watch the film twice to get all of them. (My personal favorite part of the movie is not so much a gag as commentaries that arise from the film... the orchestra plaing the musical's score is almost at a professional level, as opposed to the actor's who are plainly under-rehersed on opening night. The orchestra was being led by a man who kept wanting to have more organization and less touchy-feely, free-form theatre workshop activities during rehersal time.)

The actors are great and very believable in their parts. Christopher Guest, as the effeminite director/playwright, and Parker Posey, as a teenaged fast foodworker, are particularly remarkable and convincing (which is saying something in the case of Guest's character, because it is truly an odd one0, but Fred Willard and Eugene Levy deliver the lines that get the biggest laughs.

An astonishing to me is that this film (like Guest's other films "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind") are mostly improv'ed. The backstory (and in this case the history of Blaine gives rise to much of the film's humor), general plot, and general nature of the characters is worked out, but most of the scenes themselves are unscripted. In "Waiting for Guffman," the only scripted things onscreen is the musical "Red, White, and Blaine", everything else in it was improv'ed and much it was done in just one take.

It's very cool, very remarkable, and very well-performed stuff.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Moron Who Threatened "South Park"
Creators Arrested


Terrorist wanna-be, and one of the prime instigators of "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day," Zachary Chesser (aka Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee), told an FBI agent all about how he wanted to run off to Africa and join up with REAL terrorists. And, brave Lion of Islam that he is, he was hoping to use his baby son to get easily through security. (I'm actually surprised that this loser ever got to first base with anything remotely female or human. Either the mother is so hideous that the world is blessed by the fact she hides behind a burka... or some other wanna-be terrorist knocked her up.)

I hope this piece offal gets sent to prison for a very, very long time. I hope he gets a roommate named Mo, who insists on being called Allah while givin' it to Zach, doggie-style.

Hey, wouldn't it be nice if, after being sent away, he is martyred while in prison? That would be a win-win for everyone!

For all the details, visit, or a shorter version at The Jawa Report.

This is one court case I'll be following with great glee.

Although... I suppose I should be a little grateful to Zach. Without him, there never would have been "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day."

‘Captain America’ Director:
‘This is not about America…’

From John Nolte's blog-post regarding comments made by the director of the forthcoming "Captain America" movie:

“We’re sort of putting a slightly different spin on Steve Rogers,” said Joe Johnston. “He’s a guy that wants to serve his country but he’s not a flag-waver. We’re reinterpretating sort of what the comic book version of Steve Rogers was.”

Well, I think I can safely say that this is one Marvel movie that is going to suck. Johnston is apparently trying to beat Ang Lee to the bottom of the pile.

Or he's trying to show that he's yet another ignorant Hollywood twat who can't actually be bothered to READ the source material he's adapting.

Will someone tell Palooka Joe here that he should READ "Essential Captain America" Vol. 1--not just look at the pictures--to see that he doesn't have to "reinvent" Steve Rogers.

Steve Rogers was NEVER a "my country, right or wrong" sort of guy, except for a very brief period during some comics from the 1950s, which Marvel Comics later "revealed" as being a fake Captain America (as seen in "Essential Captain American" Vol. 3). Steve Rogers has always believed in the ideal the United States represents--the idea of freedom and justice for all--and that is always what he has been fighting for.

What is it with these dumbasses who think they are superior to those filthy little hacks who created characters that have stood the test of time, dumbasses who think they can improve on the stories of Joe Albano and Michael Fleisher, or even Will Eisner for God's sake?!

I simply do not understand the out-of-control ego that motivates such ignorant, arrogant ass-hattery. I understand that there must be some changes when material is adapted from one medium to another. I understand that updates may have to take place at times. I've been involved in that process more than once. What people like Johnston engage in is change for the sake of change... and they implement their changes in ignorance.

For Nolte's full column, click on the link.

Big Hollywood: ‘Captain America’ Director: ‘This is not about America…’

The Versatile Blogger Award

In the past week or so, two bloggers have recognized different Cinema Steve blogs with the Versatile Blogger Award. Jinx at Totally Jinxed honored Terror Titans, and Brian at Cool Ass Cinema honored Movies to Die Before Seeing.

Both those blogs have the sort of broad scope (and even a that touch of randomness) that I shoot for with my blogging efforts, so I'm glad that the first awards any of my blogs have received have come from such fun writers. Thanks!

Now, in accepting these awards, I have to do certain things. They are:

-Thank the person who gave it to you
-Share 7 things about yourself
-Pass the award to 15 other blogs you've recently discovered, are engaging, and of particular interest.

With two awards, I had to come up with 30 blogs... well, I couldn't quite manage that. But here are 25 that I feel are worth your attention, and to whom I pass the award along.

20th Century Danny Boy: Daniel Best's excellent blog about classic comics and their creators.

Behind the Couch: James' blog features reviews and interviews, and it's always informative.

Dead End Drive-in: R.D. Penning reviews horror movies, with occasional detours into the sci-fi genre. My sort of stuff!

The Death Rattle: I used to think I was pretty well-versed in cinematic obscurities and atrocities. Then I discovered Aaron's blog.

Dr. Blood's Horror Video Vault: Great stuff about often-times-not-so-great-movies. Check out his "The Mill Creek Horror Watcher." I did something similar on my Rotten Tomatoes blog, and my hat's off to anyone with that sort of stamina!

Grantbridge Street & Other Misadventures: The place where Joe Bloke posts comics, art, photos, and entries on the Cunt List. Always fun.

The House that Dripped Blog: Dripped Jake pops up every couple of weeks with another fun excursion into B-movie and horror film topics.

LA-LA Land: Fame, Fortune, and Forensics: Meredith L. Grau's weekly look at Hollywood and movie stars of yester-year.

Mondo Bizarro Cinema:Tim's blog consists of a rotating line-up of themed series ranging from reviews to cover art commentary. Proof positive that even the worst movies are good for something.

Motion Picture Gems: Tom's blog centers mostly on classic cinema (from silent movies through the 1980s), but he takes the occasional detour into commentary on modern popular culture. It's always well worth a read.

Movietone News: Like Cinema Steve, Matthew Coniam's blog is the center of a web of blogs, each of which is fascinating in its own right. I'm giving the award is given equally to all six of his blogs.

Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine: Always informative and fun, Pappy brings old comics to a new age.

Rip Jagger's Dojo: Another fun and informative blog focusing mostly on classic comic books and their covers. Plenty of art to admire.

Sacnoth's Scriptorium: The web-home of my friend and former colleague, editor and Tolkien scholar John D. Rateliff.

Shades of Gray: Steven Thompson's blog devoted to art by the late Gray Morrow.

Skraek og Raedsel: Translated, "Fear and Terror" is Soren Jacobsen's Danish-language horror-themed blog that provides news and reviews. It's informative, and a nice way for me to at get a tiny bit of practice reading Danish.

Starlet Showcase: C. Parker's blog documents glamor and beauty. I've grabbed a photo or two from it for my own Picture Perfect Wednesday series.

Watching Hammer: A blog devoted to reviewing the source of many of my favorite films. And it does with a fun style.

Who Wants Taters?: Andrew Green's all-purpose entertainment commentary and review blog reminds me of Joe Bob Brigg's syndicated column (which I ran in an entertainment section I edited a long, LONG time ago). Lots of fun, and always good for laughs.

You Talking to Me?: Mike Lippert's blog is one of the few "serious" film criticism outlets I read on a regular basis. Good, interesting, weighty stuff on films and the craft of film criticism. Also, read one of Mike's reviews. Then read one of mine. The difference between a critic and a reviewer will be obvious.

And now the little known facts about me...

1. I decided I wanted to a writer when I was six.
2. I'm allergic to Rainier cherries.
3. I've been known to confuse Lori Petty with Lily Taylor and Liv Tyler for no particular reason.
4. Couldn't spell "restraunt" if my life depended on it.
5. My first regular, paying writing gig was as a music reviewer.
6. My favorite writers are Robert E. Howard, Ray Bradbury, Steve Gerber, and Sparkle Hayter
7. I could use a well-paying full-time job or freelance assignment right about how. Offers gladly received at

And that's it. I hope some of you reading this will take the time to visit some of the excellent blogs listed above. I assure you, they are better than this one!

Roles are reversed in 'Elseworlds'

Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham, Books 1 and 2 (DC Comics, 1999)
Writer: Doug Moench
Artists: Jim Balent and Kim DeMulder
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

"Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham" was a two-volume series published in DC's "prestige format" in 1999. It appeared under the "Elseworlds" umbrella, where characters are twisted and changed into something other than what readers are used to seeing them as. (I don't know if DC is still doing these, but from what little I know about what's been going on in the DC Universe in recent years, it ALL sounds like an Elseworlds series.)

In this one, it's Catwoman who is Gotham City's biggest superhero. She's allied with Commissioner Jim Gorden, she battles versions of the Joker, Two-Face, Killer Croc... all the usual suspects. Oh, and then there's the mystery Bat-man, a homicidal criminal the likes of which Gotham has never seen. Will Catwoman be able to capture him? Or will she be the one laying dead by the end of the night?

"Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham" is a fast-moving tale of gritty superhero action. If you liked the violent psycho-phase of the Batman titles, you'll probably enjoy this little alternate reality story. Doug Moench is in top-form writing-wise and there is plenty of entertaining stuff here. The romantic attraction between Bruce Wayne/Selina Kyle that's been present in the Batman series since "Batman" #1 in the 1940s is used to greater effect than I think it's been anywhere outside the "Long Halloween" graphic novel.

Similarly, Jim Balent turns in some great pencils. His redesign of Catwoman's costume (which I think is the fourth or fifth one that did during his years drawing the character) is excellent and in keeping with the look of the rest of the "re-envisioned" Gotham City. The costume of the evil Bat-man is also a great and appropriately, insanely horrific. On the downside, Balent was well into his "breasts must be at least the size of the woman's head" phase. (But it's not as bad as his work on his self-published "Tarot" series... where breasts are at least TWICE the size of the head.)

The end result is a book that's entertaining and worth reading if you're a Batman or Catwoman fan--especially as the characters were portrayed in the 1980s and 1990s. However, it's not a "classic," so, despite the upscale and long-lasting format it was originally presented in, I doubt it's easy to find a decade after its publication. Should you come across this two-issue series at a flea-market, comic book convention, or on eBay, I recommend grabbing your copies.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tectonic Tuesday: Lexa Doig

Here's this week's proof that the great Imam Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi ("Slammy" to his friends) was speaking truth straight from Allah when he said: "Many women who do not dress modestly ... spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."

Twelfth Case Study: Lexa Doig

Canadian actress Lexa Doig first threatened terra firma when she starred as the low-cut top and tight trousers-wearing "avatar" of a spaceship computer on the science fiction TV series "Andromeda" from 2000 - 2005. The strongest earthquake in over 150 years struck the town of Baku in Azerbaijan, killing 26, in the year that Doig first displayed her immodesty on the small screen.

Doig upped her threat-level in 2001, when she was not only appearing in "Andromeda," but also had a major role in the sci-fi thriller "Jason X." She ran around in tight pants and a tank-top, supposedly fighting a cybernetic monster, but actually bringing about the 2001 earthquakes in New York and Washington States.

Since 2007, Doig has been focusing more on her children than her acting career, and what roles she has played have involved her appearing fairly modestly dressed... but she can reemerge as a full-blown threat at any moment. After all, in 2009, when Sci-Fi Channel aired "Fireball", which features Doig in a starring role, Los Angeles was rocked by an earthquake.

And it was all because of the immodesty of Lexa Doig.

By the way, it's not just Imam Slammy who is fighting the good fight against immodest women from that bastion of concern for global peace, harmony, and security that is Iran. On July 18, Rueters reported in this article that Iranian prosecutors want to crack down on earthquake-causing immodest women. Their efforts will also spare their holy men from an experience like this:

Monday, July 19, 2010

'Beyond the Law' is not beyond boring

Beyond the Law (aka "Bloodsilver") (1968)
Starring: Lee Van Cleef, Antonio Sabato, Lionel Stander, Bud Spencer, and Gordon Mitchell
Director: Georgio Stegani
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

When master-thief Billy Joe Cudlip (Van Cleef) and his cohorts decide to rob a silver mine of its payroll, a series of events lands Cudlip in the position of town sheriff. As he settles into the job, he develops respect for the honest, townsfolk, and he starts to want more than just life as a thief. But his partners are still bent on committing the heist, and things go from bad to worse when murderous bandits, led by the psychopathic Burton (Mitchell), come to rob a silver shipment.

"Beyond the Law" in an interesting film in that it features actors in types of roles that we're not use to seeing them in. Lee Van Cleef plays a through-and-through good guy in this film (despite his larcenous tendencies as the story starts), and Bud Spenser doesn't throw a single punch during the entire movie; in fact, he's hard to recognize without his beard and usual scruffy appearance.

Unfortunately, the film features from a script that is focused in all the wrong places--for example, Van Cleef's character makes a transformation from ever-scheming thief to a man who feels loyalty and protectiveness toward the citizens of the mining-town, something which would have made for interesting viewing, but which happens between scenes--and the middle section is padded more heavily than the middle-section of a longhaul trucker who loves beer too much.

At a few points in the film--such as when Cudlip and his partners make their presence known in the film for the first time, when Burton takes the town's women and children hostage in order to get the silver shipment, and the shoot-out--gives us glimpses of the excellent movie "Beyond the Law" could have been if the script had gone through another draft or two, and if the director had given the film more substance and less filler. As it stands, however, this is a sub-standard spaghetti western that's more boring than entertaining.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Muscle Man Battles Moon Men!

Hercules Against the Moon Men ("Maciste vs. the Moon Men" and "Hercules and the Queen of Samar") (1964)
Starring: Alan Steel, Anna Maria Polani, Jani Clair, and Delia D'Alberti
Director: Giacomo Gentilomo
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

The mighty Hercules (Steel) endeavors to liberate the city of Samar from its mad queen (Clair) and her bloodthirsty allies--a band of space aliens wishing to revive their queen (who just happens to be spitting image of the queen's virtuous half-sister (D'Aberti)) and make Earth their plaything. Along the way, Hercules breaks free of death traps, bashes many skulls, romances the beautiful daughter of the queen's chief advisor (Polani), and saves the world from destruction.

I love wacky movies. I thought that a film where ancient Greeks are fighting space aliens would be a hoot. I was wrong. While the film does have its moments--most of them interspersed with one of the most tedious end-of-the-world sequences ever put on film--there is too much meandering plot and too little alien-bashing action to make this film truly entertaining.

What I find most interesting about this film is that in the original Italian-language version, "Hercules" is actually named "Maciste", an all-purpose epic hero of Italian creation that has been featured in dozens of different pictures, set in several different time periods and different parts of the world. Few of the English-dubbed versions reported retain the name Maciste, instead rewriting it as Hercules, Samson, Goliath, and other better-known mythological figures.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Top Forensic Experts Claim
Gibson Audio Tapes Are Edited

I'm not going to defend Mel Gibson's behavior. The guy seems like an abusive jerk and a mean-tempered drunk. However, from the beginning of this latest incident, a thought has been recurring to me: Aren't their laws in California against making these sorts of recordings and then releasing them? Isn't GIBSON the victim here? Why isn't this being brought up by the reporters, since it was their favorite thing to mention back when that guy dressed up like a pimp and showed those ACORN employees for the scum that they are?

I also wondered how in the world Oksana Girgorieva, the supposed victim of abuse at the hands of Mel Gibson, could remain so calm and yet continue egg Gibson on. It smelled like a set-up from the get-go to me, but I never saw that angle discussed anywhere.

And as other tapes were released--we're up to three now, I think--another thought occur ed to me: Why are these coming out in drib and drabs like this... whenever the story starts to fade, another tape is released. Perhaps Gibson is a REAL victim here. Perhaps this wench and her friends in the press are actively going after him? And how did the conversation start? Do we know what was said to provoke him? Do we know how these tapes have been edited?

No one in the press seems to have asked those questions. Until now. I'm glad to see I'm not the only one wondering.

Hollywood Life: Top Forensic Experts Tell Us Mel Gibson’s Threatening Audio Tapes Have Been Tampered With!

Maybe a "serious journalist" will do a follow-up on his or her Gibson bash-fest to explore the reasons for why the tapes were edited? Why Gibson sounds like he's on a speaker-phone while Girgorieva sounds like she's carefully miked? Perhaps someone in the media can even ask to hear the original tapes, in their entirety and from the beginning of the phone call?

Although that's probably asking for too much, since these same "serious journalists" have been fretting about the fact that Mel Gibson uses some pretty vile language during his rants, while almost simultaneously producing orgasmically joyful articles about the fact that convicted child rapist and fugitive from justice Roman Polanski will never again see the inside of a US courtroom or prison again.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Muslim I can respect

Ever since the Danish Cartoon Riots in 2005, I've been looking for just one Muslim who would state what idiocy it is to get bent out of shape over cartoons, not to mention how vile it is to try to force your beliefs on others through violence and threats of violence, without making excuses for those engaging in the violence and heaping condemnation upon them.

Until now, I've had no luck. Even if condemnation of the violence was offered, it was always followed by some version of "but they're justified and those those dirty-minded creatives who don't tremble at the feet of our God, Mohammed, deserve whatever comes to them."

I always suspected there was a decent Muslim thinker out there, but my Google-Fu is weak, so I never did find them.

Well, today, while trying to research something completely unrelated to Islam, Muslims, or cartoons, I stumbled upon that One Righteous Thinker! She posts to YouTube, and here are the relevant clips.

First, she put up this video addressing artists taking part in "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" on May 21.

She followed up with this video on May 22 that was addressed to Muslims who decide to act out whenever they see a cartoon they think is of Mohammed.

She concludes with this video (also from May 22).

As rational and intelligent as this young lady seems--and she is someone I can respect, even if I happily accept that she will never have any respect for me--she probably doesn't realize that I and many like me hold freedom of expression every bit as sacred as she holds Mohammed.

Muslims (Christians, Jews, Neo-Pagans, whatever) are welcome to worship whoever and whatever they want. They are are welcome to worship however and whatever they want, so long as they don't try to violently force those beliefs on others.

A different sort of action move that misfires

End of Days (1999)
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunny, Kevin Pollack, Rod Steiger, and Udo Keir
Director: Peter Hyams
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

Jericho Cane (Schwarzenegger), a world-weary detective, must fight against personal temptation, Satanists, a secret sect within the Catholic church,and Satan himself (Byrne) to protect a young woman named Christine (Tunny) and prevent the End of Days from occurring as the 20th century gives way to the 21st.

"End of Days" is a collage of cliched characters, stereotypes, and action scenes that resolve themselves pretty much as one would expect. It's to the supernatural thriller as "Predator" was to the monster movie, although not quite as expertly paced, nor as well acted. (While Gabriel Byrne makes for a great Satan, Schwarzenegger doesn't quite have the range that the part of Jericho Cane calls for--he can't pull off depressed OR religiously enraptured, and the role needs an actor who could have done both.)

The biggest weakness of "End of Days", which causes it to barely rate a Six, is that the director didn't know when it was time to start the climax of his movie. He seemed to feel obligated to cram in one more chase and explosion in the NYC subway even though dramatically the movie should have moved to its resolution once Jericho rescued Christine from the gathering of Satanists on New Year's Eve.

Although entertaining, and its creators deserve credit for attempting to make a different sort of action movie, "End of Days" is just too flawed to rise above average. You can easily save watching this movie until end-of-the-world mania comes back into style in 2011 and 2012.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

'Let's Go to Prison' should be locked away

Let's Go to Prison (2006)
Starring: Dax Shepard, Will Arnett, Chi McBride, Dylan Baker, and David Koechner
Director: Bob Odenkirk
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

John (Shepard), a career criminal, plots to gain revenge against the judge who repeatedly sentenced him to prison by first getting Nelson (Arnett), the judge's obnoxious, self-important son sent to prison, and then arranging to have himself incarcerated with him. Although John's goal is to see the object of his hatred destroyed by the prison system and the violent inmates, his plan goes wrong at every turn.

"Let's Go to Prison" is a mostly misfired attempt at a comedy. It features good acting and provides a slew of mild chuckles, but in almost every case, the laughs could have been bigger if the scene had been better staged or if the script had been a bit tighter. In fact, there isn't a part of this film that didn't make me feel like it could have been improved if the script had been taken through an additional draft or two.

The fact this film kept flirting with full-blown farce but never crossed the line ended up harming it more than helping it. While part of me finds it interesting that the script could have been reshot as a "serious" and very scary thriller with only minor tweaks, this aspect also keeps it from being a decent comedy.

Tectonic Tuesday: Billie Piper

The great Imam Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi stated in April of 2010 that: "Many women who do not dress modestly ... spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."

Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But no more ridiculous than the words of any other man who has chosen by God, Allah, or Odin to bring wisdom to those who need it. And here is the evidence to support Imam Slammy's divinely-inspired message to the world--that women wearing anything more revealing than black-out curtains are a danger to us all!

Eleventh Case Study: Billie Piper

Born in 1982, Billie Piper is the British equivilent of Britney Spears, but a little less slutty and quite a bit more talented. She was a sexy teenaged pop princess with four Top Ten hit singles between her 15th and 16th birthdays, thus threatening the safety of the world before she could even drive a car. And in 1998, California and Afghanistan were both rocked by earthquakes.

As Piper's music career began to fade, due to bad management and a worse marriage, she turned to acting, with her most celebrated role to date being that of playing Rose Tyler from 2005 to 2008 in the revived BBC science fiction television show "Doctor Who." Given that she plays a character who snogs at alien, it is in retrospect of no surprise that the ground trembled in southern Greece and the island of Java in 2006.

Piper's threat to the world briefly subsided when she gave birth to a child in 2008, but she eventually returned to acting, recording her final "Dr. Who" episodes, as well as appearing as a hooker in "The Secret Diary of a Call-Girl." Needless to say, she once again caused an earthquake to strike Java, with 57 people dying as a result.

And all because of the immodesty of Billie Piper.

Monday, July 12, 2010

'Draw Muhammad' artist placed on hit list

Remember "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day"? The world-wide event intended to stand up to psychotic Muslims who want to murder over cartoons? Well, Molly Norris, the lady whose rather harmless joke set the event in motion--and who then disavowed it and has done everything humanly possible to apologize to Muslims for even JOKING about drawing their false idol--is now under a death threat from Muslim terrorists. Read about the latest from the Relgion of Peace:

Comic Riffs - 'Draw Muhammad' artist placed on execution hit list

If there's anything that this Molly Norris news proves, it's that there is NEVER any reason to apologize to these psychos. The best course of action--the ONLY course of action--is to double-down and tell them to go fuck themselves.

And on that note....

For more cartoons featuring Mohammed, visit the Everyone Draw Mohammed blog. (BTW, don't go to what used to be Molly Norris' website. It has been replaced with a page that will try to download a virus to your computer.)

Harvey Pekar dead at 70

CLEVELAND — Harvey Pekar, whose autobiographical comic book series "American Splendor" portrayed his life with bone-dry honesty and wit, was found dead at home early Monday, authorities said. He was 70.

Pekar had been suffering from prostate cancer, asthma, high blood pressure, and depression.

For the full obit, click here.

Polanski free, Swiss reject US extradition request

Memo to child rapists: The Swiss love you!

Short version (via Polanski free, Swiss reject US extradition request

Long version (via Roman Polanski Free: Extradition Request REJECTED By Switzerland

At the very least, the Swiss authorities share the belief of many Celebretards that raping children is A-Okay if you're famous, no matter what lame excuses the judge tries to hide behind. Yes... being a dork who goes on racist tirades makes you pariah and the object of hatred--as the example made of Mel Gibson over the weekend demonstrates--but raping children only ups your stature. After all, International Creative Management hasn't dropped Polanski as a client (and probably even took him on while during his current state as a fugitive from the United States justice system) while the William Morris Agency has dropped Gibson for being an idiot.

Well... I guess it's good that Woody Allen, Whoopie Goldberg, and their fellow travelers can breathe sighs of relief. Child rape--which one of them has openly claimed not to be "rape-rape"--is still something they can get away with.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Taliban makes war a monkey business

A Chinese news report claims that those shining examples of all that is Islam, the Lions of the Afghani Desert, are training and arming monkeys for use as soldiers.

No Dhimmitude: Taliban makes war a monkey business\

The article leaves me wondering: How are they telling the monkeys from the mullahs? Or maybe there's no real difference?

Friday, July 9, 2010

'Predators' completes its mission nicely

Predators (2010)
Starring: Adrian Brody, Alice Braga, Oleg Taktarov, Topher Grace, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, and Lawrence Fishburne
Director: Nimrod Antal
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

A disparate group of soldiers, mercenaries, and murderers--human predators all--are parachuted into a jungle where they must battle against alien big-game hunters for survival.

"Predators" is a movie that set out to return this venerable sci-fi action franchise to basics--after a decade of comic book and movie cross-overs with Fox's other killer alien property, the xenomorphic, acid-dripping Aliens. And it does a fantastic job of doing just that.

From the opening scene of Adrian Brody's character returning to consciousness while free-falling through sky, to the moment when the closing credits start to roll, this is a movie that never slows down. It's armed human killing machines versus aliens every bit as skilled in the art of killing as they are, but who have the advantage of superior tech and knowledge of the terrain. Unlike the original film and most of the three movie sequels and I-have-no-idea how many Dark Horse comic books (where the Predator aliens even fought Batman at one point), the hunt here takes place on the home-ground of the aliens, so the humans need every bit of skill they can muster.

As would be expected, there isn't much in the way of character development in the film. Our heroes start as military/action movie stereotypes and most of them die that way. The two main characters--played by Brody and Braga, a coldhearted mercenary and a IDF sniper/CIA operative respectively--are given a little more development than most others, but even they remain archetypal figures more than characters. A valid argument could be made that Braga's "character development" is nothing more than sexism, as it is her feminine sensitivity that puts her in grave danger at one point. (An equally good case could be made that she doesn't want to repeat what she considered a horrible moral error a second time. But whichever motivation you want to assign, both fail to move her much beyond the state of the most basic of character.

It doesn't matter in this movie, though. It's a movie about monsters attacking, guns blazing, and aliens getting their asses kicked (as well as aliens dishing out gory deaths when they get the better of their prey). And the film excels at this.

The screenwriters successfully brought the Predators back to their roots while giving the now-familiar set-up a fresh and unique twist. They also treat the audience to some very well-done action movie dialogue and battle scenes--which are brought to life with the aid of great camera work and editing, as well as excellent computer-generated monsters. The few bits of comic relief--mostly revolving around Topher Grace's character, who seems to be the only abductee who isn't a "human predator" but who's secret isn't as big a surprise as I suspect the filmmakers thought it would be--are well-timed and expertly delivered by the actors. They even managed to provide texture to the alien civilization, ensuring that hardcore fans of the series--who have been following all the spin-offs--will have a little something to enjoy, and newcomers might feel interested in checking out some of the comics and other movies.

Of course, the one thing lacking here is the horror element that was present in the first film, but the filmmakers wisely chose not to attempt to play on that angle. Back in 1987, the insertion of an alien big-game hunter into what looked like a straight-up action film was startling and viewers had no way of knowing how things would turn out. That one-time unknown creature is now firmly ingrained in pop culture, and the only mystery left for this picture is, basically, how are any survivors going to get back to Earth? (And this is another aspect the film deals with nicely.)

I think I can safely say that this film will go down as one of the best sci-fi and action films of 2010, with its non-stop action, great cast, and great effects. If you've enjoyed any of the previous films featuring the Predator aliens, or even any of the comics, you want to see this movie. It's also a worthy release for Fox to mark their 75th anniversary as a film studio with. It may not quite live up to the original film, but it's a fine piece of sci-fi entertainment.

(Click here to read my review of the original "Predator" at Terror Titans.)

'Hell and Hot Water' is great Predator tale

Predator: Hell & Hot Water (Dark Horse Comics, 1998)
Writer: Mark Schultz
Artist: Gene Colan (with sketch and cover galleries by Mark Schultz)
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

When an alien spacecraft that matches the design known to be used by the Predator species is seen plunging into the sea off the Chilean coast, a group of SCUBA diving commandos are dispatched to take the fight to the alien and hopefully bring back some samples of the species' technology. Unfortunately for the brave Predator hunters, this is one alien who has come to Earth to hunt game even more dangerous than humans....

"Predator: Hell & Hot Water" is not only an action-packed Predator tale in a very unusual environment, but it's also a top-notch horror story. The horror overtones here are far greater than in any of the "Predator" movies or other "Predator" comics I've read. Further, it features a believable cast of characters--here's a group that actually works together as a team of professionals, instead of wasting effort and energy with in-fighting among the characters like we so often see in this kind tale--and is told in a very cinematic fashion with excellent dialogue and some of the best art from Gene Colan's drawingboard since "Raggamuffins" and "Silverblade".

The free-flowing, sometimes confusing page layouts that have become Colan's hallmark in the late stage of his long artistic career work exceptionally well with the environment of much of "Hell & Hot Water", which takes place in an undersea environment where up, down, left, and right must be considered equally at all times. Even when Our Heroes are on dry land, they have contend with threats that can come from any direction at any moment. Colan's art conveys this exceptionally well. If you're a fan of any of his previous work (in "Daredevil", "Iron Man", "Captain America", "Tomb of Dracula", "Night Force", Silverblade", "Howard the Duck", "Nathaniel Dusk" or "Doctor Strange"), you should track down a copy of this graphic novel for a look at late-stage Colan that is a impactful as when he was at his best.

This graphic novel is better than any of the "Predator" sequels that have appeared in theaters so far. I'll discover today, when I check out the latest one, if this remains true.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Al-Qaeda chef should get book contract!

From Al-Qaeda chef convicted of helping Osama escape

Ibrahim al Qosi was reportedly the chef at Osama's "Star of Jihad" compound. I wonder if the journalists got it wrong, because that sounds like it might have been just the name of the on-base restaurant where Osama bin Laden and his pals would wine and dine their under-aged wives and gay lovers.

Regardless, Ibrahim al Qosi should get a publishing contract. Possible titles for his cook book could be "72 Favorite Dishes of Osama bin Laden and his Merry Band of Murderous Gourmands" or "Soda Surprise and Other Dishes for the Active Jihaddist."

At the very least, a chef to celebs like Ibrahim here should be invited to do a Bon Appetite article titled "How to Make Osama's Favorite Dish" with a follow-up "How to cook for Mullah Omar and Not Be Beheaded."

Forgotten Comics: Silverblade

Silverblade (DC Comics, 12-issue series 1987-1988)
Writer: Cary Bates
Artists: Gene Colan, Steve Mitchell, and Klaus Janson
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

Jonathan Lord was a hugely popular Hollywood leading man throughout the '30s, '40s, and '50s. There wasn't a genre he didn't conquer, and there wasn't a famous literary character he didn't play. As age began to catch up with him, he withdrew behind the walls of his palatial estate high in the hills above Sunset Boulevard, with his friend and manservant Bobby Milestone and copies of his old films. However, thirty years into his self-imposed, lonely and bitter retirement, Lord's youth is restored and his granted the power to assume the form of any character or creature he ever portrayed on film by a mysterious spirit who has chosen him to battle an ancient evil that threatens to consume the world.

"Silver Blade" is a highly creative 12-issue series that deals with such mattters as pre-destiny, reincarnation, the nature of reality, and the lines between good and evil. It is a highly entertaining story of great depth, and it's a shame that it's never been reprinted in graphic novel form, given the crap that has been reprinted. ("Death of Superman"? "Batman: No Man's Land"? These were nothing but third-rate, elaborate advertising stunts.) It's an extremely intelligent series from a writer who has never really received the acknowledgement from comic book fans that I think he deserves. Bates' 100+ issues run on "The Flash" during the 70s and 80s is one that is criminally underrated, and "Silverblade" is a prime example of the fact that mature comic book storytelling existed before someone hit on the idea of marketing it.

One of the best aspects of the writing in "Silverblade" is that Bates uses Bobby Milestone--a former child actor whose life has been a string of failures since his movie career faded--as the primary point of view character in the story. Bobby stands apart from Lord's new life, and he remains very suspicious of what is happening, serving as the perfect "stand-in" for the reader as the tale unfolds. Milestone also becomes the anchor point when the series takes a couple of very strange and unexpected twists toward the end--daring twists, actually.

The artwork by Gene Colan is spectacular, as Colan's art through the mid-1990s always was. Colan brings the mixture of realism and surrealism to his art that a series like "Silverblade" demands. Although he is starting to slip past his prime here, he does a great job on this. Inkers Mitchell and Janson enhance Colan's art just enough to make it shine even brighter. (Yes, even the usually heavy pen of Klaus Janson is just here to augment rather than cover... then again, Colan is such a powerful artist himself that I doubt the heaviest inker could obscure his style.)

Maybe we'll see "Silverblade" re-presented in graphic novel form one of these days. It's long overdue.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

IDF = Israeli Dance Force

Soldiers from the Nahal Brigade are expected to be disciplined for posting a video clip on the YouTube website showing them dancing on a deserted Hebron Street to the sound of an American pop song, while apparently on patrol.

I hope they don't get disciplined TOO harshly, as they went right back to patrolling and it looks like a harmless enough gag. I wonders how long they planned this, and how many spotters were involved, aside from the camera operator.