Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Muslim cultural outreach effort ruined by bigots

Once again the bigoted Westerners refuse to let the adherents of the Religion of Peace express their love and adoration for the Prophet Mohammed (may peas be upon him) in a public forum.

Mumbai on the ├śresund: Mass-Murder terror plot at the Jyllands-Posten building thwarted.

Well, I for one thank these self-sacrificing holy warriors--these brave and mighty Jihadists--for trying to show the world the true face of Islam, a religion which we are told is one of the world's greatest. Every time they strike, they fill me with motivation and a desire to act, and to show that their efforts are making a difference.

Please, all of you who are reading these words--all of you who have undoubtedly marveled at the resplendent intellect and exemplary adherence to the grand and superlative Islamic civilization shown by Jihadists everywhere--please click here and here to witness the fruits of the Cartoonifada!

Oh... and I hope you'll appreciate this fine image of the Prophet Mohammed (may pecan pie be upon him).

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

'The Lost Books of Eve' is Great Biblical Fantasy

The Lost Books of Eve, Vol. 1 (Viper Comics, 2008)
Story and Art: Josh Howard
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

At the very beginning of Existence, the Garden of Eden stands at its center, as a place of peace and tranquility and home to God's favorite creations--the first humans, Adam and Eve--while all manner of beasts and supernatural beings in between roam everywhere else. But when Adam is abducted from the Garden, Eve leaves the safety of her Paradise to find and rescue him. Her quest to reunite with her beloved Adam brings pits her against fallen angels, demons, and even worse creatures... and her search for Adam soon becomes a search for knowledge that will eventually put humanity in its proper place in God's Creation.

Art by Josh Howard
This slim graphic novel collects all for issues of Josh Howard's mini-series of the same title. As of this writing, it is out of print and it is the only collected series from this fine talent that has not been given a new edition, unlike his signature series "Dead@17" and his alien conspiracy tale "Black Harvest".

And this is a shame, because "The Lost Books of Eve" is not only the most intelligent work Howard has produced yet, but it is also the best showcase so far of a central feature of his fluid, cartoony artwork: Howard has a great gift for drawing female characters that seem frail and vulnerable while at the same time you have a feeling they can kick your ass if they put their minds to it. He has a talent for drawing and writing strong female characters without making them hyper-sexualized or somehow masculine... he captures the ideal feminine image in his work.

And is characterization of Eve, Mother of All Humanity, is the perfect example of a Howard female. She is beautiful without being sexualized--despite the fact she, naturally, spends the book in little or no clothing--and she possesses an innocent and vulnerable quality even while showing herself to be a ferocious fighter and possessed with an iron will when challenged. Driven first by love, then by a need for knowledge and a desire to understand, Eve is a perfect fantasy heroine.

But as great a character as Eve is, what makes this book truly excellent is that Howard spins his tale between verses in the Old Testament's "Book of Genesis" without attacking the Scriptures that so many people hold sacred. It's makes for a far more interesting read, and is a far more creative endeavor, than the approaches that have been standard fare in recent decades: Comics creators tend to either crap all over the stories of the Bible, or they adhere so slavishly to them that there's no point in reading their stuff, because King James already commissioned something far better than they could ever come up with.

In "The Lost Books of Eve", Howard tells a completely original story without violating the Bible in any way; it is the foundation upon which his stories are built and he wisely does not try to undermine it. The creativity with which he places Eve (and the hapless and slightly dim-witted Adam) in a fantasy universe that feels like a natural extension of the Old Testament, as well as the mythologies of other cultures from which he incorporates bits and pieces, is something that deserved far more recognition and commercial success than the project apparently received.

I wish there would be a "Lost Books of Eve" Vol. 2, because I would love to see the end of the beginning of Eve's story--since we all know how it ultimately ends. Unfortunately, I doubt that Howard will be returning to the Dawn of Creation any time soon, as he Howard described a recent installment of his "Dead@17" series as an "unofficial sequel" to this book.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sandra Bullock: Most Desirable Neighbor

In a season of silly Top Whatever lists, the survey determining what famous person Americans would most like to live next to has got to be the silliest. (Of course, it's intended to be silly; it's undertaken every year as a promotional effort by a Seattle-based real estate firm.)

Sandra Bullock was the most popular wanna-have-as-a-neighbor celebrity with over 25% of all Americans wanting the actress next door... although more than 25% also responded that they didn't want any of the choices in their neighborhood! The full survey results are linked below.

Sandra Bullock Named Most Desirable Celebrity Neighbor for 2010, While Cast of Jersey Shore Voted Least Desirable

Sandra Bullock is welcome to move in next to me any time she wants. I'll even buy the morning mochas every so often.

Monday, December 27, 2010

'For Your Consideration' is a shaky mockumentary that can't maintain a tone

With the 2011 Oscar Awards ballots being mailed to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today, this seems like the perfect time for a review of this movie.

For Your Consideration (2006)
Starring: Catherine O'Hare, Harry Shearer, Parker Posey, Eugene Levy, Christopher Moynihan, Jim Piddock, and Christopher Guest
Director: Christopher Guest
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

When a rumor gets started that three stars in "Home of Purum", a third-rate, low-budget art film (that is still in production) are going to nominated for an Oscar, the Hollywood dream machine and egoes kick into high gear. Can there be a happy Hollywood ending for once?

"For Your Consideration" is a real step downward for Christopher Guest, a writer/actor/director who has turned in some of the best mockumentaries ever made. But his magic formula--which involves a group of actors he works with on movie after movie ad-libbing scenes based on a story outline and that worked so well in Waiting for Guffman", "Best in Show", and "A Mighty Wind"--doesn't quite click in this case.

The fatal problem with "For Your Consideration" is Guest doesn't seem to have a firm handle on the film's tone and style. The film doesn't have a convincing documentary feel to it, and the story is too loose and rambling to be a good "traditional" movie. It occupies a middleground between Guest's mockumentary style and his 1989 film "The Big Show", a straight movie that spoofed the Hollywood establishment and delivered much the same observatiions and messages as this latest film. But, although "The Big Show" had its problems, it was secure in its style. "For Your Consideration" is not, and it ultimately fails, because it feels phony as it unfolds.

The movie features all the faces we've come to expect in one of Guest's mockumentaries, but no one manages to be quite as funny as they were in "Best in Show" or "Waiting for Guffman". Stand-out cast members are Catherine O'Hare (who portrays a Hollywood has-been who comes to believe "Home for Purum" is her final shot at stardom), but she is remarkable here because her character is more tragic than funny and Parker Posey (who plays an obnoxious up-and-coming actress with devastating perfection).

Despite the good performances, this film is only of interest to the biggest fans of this troupe and Christopher Guest. Because the director failed to create a convincing tone--Guest utterly fails at making the film feel like a documentary--the film is shot through with a sense of fakeness and hollowness.

Friday, December 24, 2010

And now for a heart-felt Christmas greeting from our Muslim friends....

'Jihadist' issues Christmas bombing threat: "'Your (Christmas) fireworks will act as an alarm for the time of our devices to blow up -- devices that we, not Santa Claus, are going to offer to you as gifts, to turn your night into day and your blood into rivers."

Merry Christmas to all my readers!

I hope everyone out there is having a great holiday weekend with family and friends. (And if you're one of those people who don't like being wished a Merry Christmas, please accept the alternative well-wishes at my Multi-cultural, Ultra-hip Holiday Page!)

And here are some Christmas tunes and videos for you to enjoy!

(In case you can't tell, "Little Drummer Boy" is one of my favorite Christmas tunes.)

The Christmas Gargoyle that appears outside a friend's house every December!

A fun Christmas surprise/ego-boo for me...

I got a package today that I've been looking forward to for some time--a box of stuff from the kind folks at Full Moon Features. One of the included DVDs featured a nice surprise for me on the cover.

"The Haunted Casino" is a re-issue of Charles Band's 2007 film "Dead Man's Hand: Casino of the Damned" and the marketeers pulled a little quote from my review of that film over at The Charles Band Collection. I've been quoted on DVD covers before, but this is the first time anyone has described me as "author of." And even if they hadn't brought up "150 Movies You Should [Die Before You] See", I still would have been delighted. I'm such an ego maniac that never get tired of seeing my own name in print!

As for the "really cool" quote, it refers to one of the best things in any Charles Band production from the past decade or so; one of the ghosts (played by Jessica Morris) undergoes a startling transformation as she gorily dispatches one of the characters. It's a fantastic moment, and it's one that makes the film worth a cheap rental by itself.

I'll watch the re-issue eventually to see there are differences between it and the original, but "Killjoy 3" and "Oblivion" will take priority.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Movie Round-up 2010

Over the past few years, I've reviewed numerous Christmas movies on my blogs. Here's a list of them, so, if the Spirit of Chirstmas moves you, you can check or some other instant online rental outfit for the films.

Each film is rated on my usual 0-10 scale. Click on the titles to read the actual reviews.

Christmas Comedies and Action Flicks

Deck the Halls (1/10 Stars)
Starring: Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito

Die Hard (9/10 Stars)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman and Bonnie Bedelia

Home Alone (7/10)
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (3/10 Stars)
Starring: Jim Carrey and Taylor Momson

The Ice Harvest (8/10 Stars)
Starring: John Cusack, Oliver Platt, and Billy Bob Thornton

Jingle All the Way (6/10 Stars)
Starring: Arnold Schwartzenegger

Kiss Kiss, Bang, Band (9/10 Stars)
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer, and Michelle Monaghan

Christmas Horror Flicks

Jack Frost & Jack Frost 2 (5/10, 2/10)
Starring: Christopher Allport

Santa's Slay (6/10)
Starring: Bill Goldberg

Silent Night, Deadly Night (6/10)
Starring: Mary Woronov and John Carradine

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My letter to Santa....

Dear Santa,

I've been pretty good this year, at least compared to years passed.

I've not made (much) fun of insane Muslim terrorists and their admirers--in fact, I have tried to foster greater understanding among them and the rest of the world with my Tectonic Tuesdays series.

I have also tried to say something nice about every graphic novel and movie I've reviewed this year, even the ones I featured at Movies You Should (Die Before You) See. And you have have to admit that one has to look damn hard to find something nice to say about many of those cinematic miscarriages.

I know you are very busy and that it might be hard to reach my house, given my proximity to air force bases and airports--no one wants to see your sleigh mistaken for a hostile aircraft and blown out of the sky by fighter jets--so I suggest you just go ahead and get me something of my Wish List at and just have it delivered through the post.

You are of course welcome to stop by, and I will have the usual milk and cookies waiting for you. But if you still think I've not been good enough to warrant a present, can you please at least wrap the lumps of coal in paper? Last year, the cats walked on them and tracked paw prints all over my best table cloth.

Your friend, fan (and hopefully on the Nice List this year),

Steve Miller

PS: If you need a suggestion for what to get those who like bad movies and to whom you won't be able to give cloned love slaves of Jeri Ryan, Fabio, and/or Ava Gardner, I think you should get them copies of 150 Movies You Should [Die Before You] See. I'm sure they'll love it, and you can get it to them in the traditional hard-copy or in electronic format for the Kindle! (The book can also serve as an alternative to lumps of coal for self-important film snobs on the Naughty List! I hope you'll find the suggestion useful, and I hope it will make it even clearer to you how good I've been this year. I am a changed man. Seriously!)

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Not much Christmas for the Grinch to steal here

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momson, and Jeffrey Tambor
Director: Ron Howard
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

In "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (a movie that has about as much in common with the Dr. Seuss book of the same name as "Bram Stoker's Dracula" had with the book it was supposedly based on), the Grinch (Carrey)--a lifelong outcast from the terribly vicious, self-centered and materialistic Whovian society devises a plan to destroy Christmas and the 1,000th Whovilation after one final insult too many.

When watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", I was aghast at by how wide a margin the filmmakers seemed to miss the message of not only Dr. Suess' original book but even the cartoon. (Yes, I can envision some Hollywood types not feeling up to reading even a picture book, but they had the cartoon to go by.) The Whos have got to be the most evil, self-centered species in all of creation--the 10-year-old Grinch gets teased by classmates, vanishes, and no one cares to bring him back into the community, just to mention the worst of the characterizations of the Whos in the film--and where they pretty much lived the Christmas spirit in the Suess' book, with the feasts and the parties being an enhancement to their joy not the source of it, in the live-action film, a tiny minority of one (Cindy-Lou Who) has any Christmas spirit at all.

I was also very annoyed at the way the film was written. It shifted back and forth between a straight adaptation of Suess' story and a bunch of extra stuff, but one didn't seem to have an impact on the other. The most glaring of these was after the Grinch comes down to Whoville and takes part in one of the pre-Christmas celebrations only to be humiliated by the Whoville's mayor and his sycophantic sidekick (extra stuff), he returns to his mountain lair and schemes to destroy Christmas in a direct adaptation (line by line in some cases) of the book... but there is no sense or reflection in what he says that he's already been down to Whoville. It's as if no one bothered to go through the entire script and made sure that all the scenes fed properly into one another. It's as if they decided that all the movie needed was a slip-shod adaptation and Jim Carrey doing schtick in a very well-done Grinch suit.

Speaking of Carrey. I've never been a huge fan of his post "In Living Color" comedy... I find him more annoying than funny. I thought that he'd make a good Grinch--based on memories of the previews I saw when the film was originally released--but unfortunately, all he really does is his standard routines wearing a furry suit. Some of it IS pretty funny, but it would have been nice if someone (Carrey... or maybe even the film's apparently MIA director) had bothered to develop a character for the live-action Grinch, aside from "it's Jim Carrey doing schtick in a very well-done Grinch suit."

On, and I won't get started on the absolute butchery they do to the wonderful "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" song.

On the surface, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" seems like a well-done adaptation of Suess' fantastic children's book, and what rating I'm giving it beyond Zero is for the sets and costumes. In actuality, though, it's an embodiment of everything that book was trying to speak AGAINST--empty flash and commercialism that's devoid of heart and true spirit. This Howard-directed abomniation basically takes Suess' message and turns it on its head. In the original story, the Grinch was mean because he had no Christmas spirit... in the movie, he's mean because the Whos neglected him in every possible way and stripped him of all Christmas spirit. The Whos as portrayed in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" deserved EVERYTHING the Grinch wanted to do them and much more.

The cartoon, although nearly 40 years old now, is still the only good adaptation of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", and I recommend you avoid this version. I make my recommendation even more strenuously if you have young children. How will you answer the question "Why didn't his mommies and teacher go looking for him?" after the Grinch runs away from home? Do you really want to explain to your child why a Christmas movie casts such a heartless bunch of creatures as the Whos as the sympathetic characters in the film?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blake Edwards dead at 88

Writer, director, and master of the screwball comedy Blake Edwards passed away Wednesday, December 15, in Santa Monica, CA. According to his publicist, Edwards died of complications from pneumonia. He was 88.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's not too late...

... to give a Christmas gift of laughter and reviews of cinematic messes for the lover of cheesy and downright awful movies in your household/circle of friends. (Reviewers have even been describing 150 Movies You Should [Die Before You] See as a good reference book, so it's an educational gift, too!)

Order the book at a discount from, pick one or two-day shipping, and it will at your house on time to serve as the perfect stocking stuffer, or a just-before-the-Big-Day Advent gift!

Of course, since I wrote the book, I may be biased in my estimation of its quality. Click here to read highlights of reviews at the Movies You Should (Die Before You) See blog. Critics reviewing the review book are unanimous in their likes and dislikes about it. But most of them mostly like it!

Order now, and I'll put in a good word with Santa for you!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Is your favorite scary moment in the 'Chiller 13'?

Chiller 13: The Decade's Scariest Movie Moments (2010)
Director: Shane O'Brien
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

'Tis the season for Top X countdown lists, and cable channel Chiller appropriately enough brings a selection of horror movie hits to the table.

Premiering on Friday, December 17 at 8pm, "Chiller 13: The Decade's Scariest Movie Moments" looks back at the scariest films of the past 10 years. This hour-long countdown intersperses clips from the selected movies with opinions on the specific films the scenes were selected from, and horror movies in general, from a diverse group of actors, filmmakers, comedians, and horror movie experts. It is the first original documentary produced for Chiller.

Featured participants includes the star of "Orphan" Isabelle Fuhrman; actress Betsy Russell of the "Saw" anthology; actor Tony Todd of the "Candyman" and "Final Destination" films, as well as dozens of other horror flicks; renowned special makeup effects supervisor Greg Nicotero of "The Walking Dead" television series and countless other projects; comic book and screenwriter Steve Niles, best known for "30 Days of Night"; comedians Dan Gurewitch & David Young of; and horror film directors Lucky McKee ("May") and Ti West ("Cabin Fever 2"), among others.

Focusing on big screen, big studio releases that every horror movie fan has at least heard of, the hour-long program leads off with #13 on the list, Sam Raimi's "Drag Me to Hell". My heart sank a bit when a scene from this movie was chosen as the least scary as that's a film that would be near the top of my list of the scariest movies of the past decade if I were to compile one. However, as the show progressed, I found myself agreeing with just about every choice made and commented upon by the hosts. After all, the program isn't about the best horror movie or even the scariest, but about the scariest moments from the past ten years of horror films. And as much as I found "Final Destination" to be absolutely stupid--and I remain amazed that it spawned all the successful sequels that it did--the moment from it that made the list is indeed a very scary one. The same is true of "Orphan" and a number of other films spotlighted and discussed.

I won't spoil the program by mentioning any more of the movies selected, as part of the fun of a show like this is watching the list be revealed. Horror fans, from the casual to the hardcore, will also find the commentary from the featured hosts amusing and enlightening, more often than not at the same time. The musings and comments from horror veteran Tony Todd are particularly interesting, and the comedy duo of Dan Gurewitch & David Young are funny in ways that only horror geeks through-and-through can be.

"Chiller 13: The Decade's Scariest Movie Moments" is a fast-paced, highly entertaining show that horror fans will consider time well spent. The one drawback to watching it will be that you'll be wanting to either rewatch or seek out to experience for the first time every movie featured.

For more about the program and air-times, click here to visit and consult your local television schedule to see what cable channel Chiller can be found on. If you want to have your appetite whetted, check out the broadcast ad, and a clip from interview with Tony Todd discussing "Candyman".

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Celebrating the Prophet Mo and his Mo-Rons

Yesterday, an idol-worshipping adherent to the death cult strain of Islam (a "Mo-Ron") took the generous step of removing himself from the planet Earth.

In his declaration of faith before blowing himself up, the Mo-Ron stated, "“Our actions will speak for themselves. As long as you continue to wage your war against Islam and insulting the prophet and your stupid support of the pig Vilks."

You can read more about his glorious act in Car Bomb: Christmas Jihad in Stockholm

Thank you, oh Brave Shaheed, for reminding us what the true heart of Islam looks like. Not to mention your innards. In memory of your achievement, I present a couple of cartoons, including one featuring the glorious Prophet Mohammed (may peat be upon him).

For bi-weekly images ready-made for idol-worship and/or outrage, visit Shades of Gray for Mohammed Mondays, and be sure to mark your calendars the second annual Everybody Draw Mohammed Day on May 20, 2011.

Oh, and here's one of the Lars Vilks drawing that the mighty shadeen referred to in his statement.

'Quatermass and the Pit' is worth delving into

Quatermass and the Pit (1967)
Starring: Andrew Keir, James Donald, Barbara Shelley, and Julian Glover
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

While building an extension to the London subway, workers uncover what appears to be an ancient caveman burial site. However, as archaeologist Matthew Roney (Donald) and his assistant Barbara (Shelley) excavate the site, it quickly becomes apparent that something far more mysterious and deadly has been uncovered. The government sends in the military, led by the closed-minded Col. Breen (Glover) and rocketry expert Bernard Quatermass (Keir) in the hopes of determining exactly what this ancient threat is and stop it before all of London is destroyed.

"Quatermass and the Pit" is the best theatrical movie featuring rebel scientist Bernard Quatermass. It's a fabulous sci-fi flick--perhaps even one of the best movies that Hammer Films ever made--that's got excellent pacing, nicely done sets, and top-notch acting. The creature effects (I hesitate to even call them that) are quite weak, even by the standards when the movie was made, but everything else in the film is so good that I can overlook that part of it.

Andrew Keir is an excellent Quatermass, perhaps the best actor to ever play the role. He comes across as a well-polished intellectual who very much uses his mind as a weapon rather than his fists, and is perfect in portraying the "You must listen to me! The world is coming to an end! No, I am not mad! Listen to me!" sort of frustrations that Quatermass is constantly confronted with. The other stars--Donald, Shelley, and Glover--are also great in their roles. In fact, Glover is so great in his part that the viewer is both happy and sad to see Col. Breen meet his fate.

If you like intelligent sci-fi movies, "Quatermass and the Pit" is a must-see. It is one of the truly great sci-thrillers.

(For more reviews of great classics from Hammer Films, visit companion blogs Terror Titans and Shades of Gray.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Muslim maniac blows self up in Sweden's capitol

A Muslim Mo-ron engaged in Cartoonifada in Stockholm today. I promised that whenever Mohammed-worshipping death cultists or adherents of the Religion of Peace did something stupid invoving Mo-toons, I'd post one.

Well, I am not in a posititon to access my cartoon archive at the moment, but tomorrow, every one of my main blogs will feature a Mo-toon, in honor of the brave, brave Mohammadan who made the ultimate act of devotion to his false idol, the Prophet Mohammed (may peas be upon him).

Meanwhile, click here to read all about the latest actions on the part of the death cult of Mohammed.

If you want to check out a collection of Mo-toons in preparation for tomorrow's big event, click here to check out the Mohammed Mondays archive.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Webizens, give me your votes!

My Watching the Detectives blog got nominated for an award, but in the present voting round it is being spanked harder than Eddie Murphy at a transvestite convention.

If you haven't voted for an Action Movie Blog in Blog Awards, how about you vote for my blog? I promise I'll talk Steven Seagal out of his current plan to sing power ballads under your bedroom window at 0300 hours every morning.

(Or you can consider my reviews of movies featuring the likes of Seagal, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Clint Eastwood, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Jackie Chan, and even Sandra Bullock!)

Vote for Watching the Detectives! The polls close December 15!

'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' is an epic comedy

Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
Starring: George Clooney, John Tuturro, Tim Blake Nelson, Chris Thomas King, Charles Durning, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Wayne Duvall, Michael Badalucco, Ray McKinnon and Daniel von Bargen
Director: Joel Coen
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

Three convicts (Clooney, Tuturro and Nelson) escape from a chaingang and embark on a quest across Great Depression-era Missisippi in search of buried loot from an armored car heist and a reunion with family.

"O Brother, Where Art Thou?" is perhaps the cutest comedy from the chaemeleon-like Coen Brothers who have not yet made a movie I've seen that has resembled any of the other movies i've seen from them. This one has the feel of a 1940s musical and/or road picture, complete with a spirit-lifting ending that will leave you feeling cheerful no matter how glum you might have been when you sat down to see the movie. Even better, they've used the plot Homer's "The Odyssey" as the framework for this story, and the way they have it manifesting itself in 20th century America is surprising, smart, and very funny.

There is much to love about this movie, but commenting on it would ruin the surprise. This is a movie it's best to come to cold, without anyone having rambled on about about the funny twists and turns of the plot. I will say this: The way they work in fate, prophesies of doom and glory, Circe, the Sirens, the Cyclops, the Ulysses' wife and her criminal, two-faced suitors are not at all going to be what you might expect.

The film is also worth seeing for a very funny performance by George Clooney as the dapper, smooth-tongued leader of the band of adventurers on the quest. I've come to the conclusion after watching this film that no living actor does the "Did I just see what I think I saw?" face like he does... I now understand the comparison between him and Cary Grant, something I've dismissed up to now.

If you're in the mood for a clever comedy that's going to leave you feeling happy and upbeat about life, I can't recommend "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" strongly enough.

For another comedy that makes great use of the under-pinnings of ancient literature, check out "Nacho Libre". Reviews at the time showed a serious flaw in the American education system, as critics focused on the film as a "sports comedy," but completely missed the fact that it's also a step-by-step retelling of "The Epic of Gilgamesh". Or maybe it just showed that even some Jack Black comedies are too intellectual for most movie critics.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Merry Christmas from Full Moon Features

With this little Holiday themed promo for the forthcoming "Evil Bong 3-D: Wrath of Bong", one gets the sense that Charles Band and Full Moon are trying to give Lloyd Kaufman and Troma a run for their money.

(Note: This video is Rated R for drug-related content, strong language, and ridiculousness.)

Ronni Chasen murder SOLVED

The Daily Mail Online is reporting that it wasn't the Hollywood Star Whackers who murdered a publicist on her way home from a premiere event, but rather a dimwitted dirt bag.

Ronni Chasen murder SOLVED: Harold Smith shot the Hollywood publicist during botched robbery

Or did he?! If the Hollywood Star Whackers can drive Randy Quaid to immigrate to Canada and convince the world that the deaths of Michael Jackson, Brittany Murphy and Heath Ledger were "accidents," might they not be able to pull this off too?!

Who can say what the truth is when the Hollywood Star Whackers might be involved? They could be a secret society with far-reaching and mystical power that has existed since the time of King Tut... and maybe HE was their first victim!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

In 3-D and Sniff-O-Rama!

According to an email from Charles Band of Full Moon Features, "Massively far-out and exciting news: We are going to produce and release our first theatrical film in years: EVIL BONG 3-D: THE WRATH OF BONG!!! Not only will it be in 3-D but also in Sniff-O-Rama -- our very own spin of the long lost art of 'scratch and sniff'!!!"

Band also wrote, "We shoot next month, and the release date is 04.20.11 -- NATIONAL POT DAY!!!"

For more information, I am preparing a post for click here to read a preview article at The Charles Band Collection, or watch Band's latest Vidcast embedded below:

(And if you own or operate a movie theater, you need to call Mike Kerz at 1-847-647-3124 and book this picture. That goes double if you're in the Seattle/Tacoma area. I want to see this movie! I know I'm not a big fan of 3-D, nor have I been terribly kind in my reviews of the other "Evil Bong" films... but this is a film/stunt/old-fashioned ballyhoo exercise I have to witness!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas caroling of a different sort

I wonder what the Great Imam Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi would make of this?

EMBED-Girl Plays Jingle Bells With Cleavage Kazoo - Watch more free videos

There is no doubt that, no matter how festive, the Cleavage Kazoo may have greater potential as a weapons of mass-destruction than the atom bomb!

Monday, December 6, 2010

'Home Alone' is an excellent holiday flick

Home Alone (1990)
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern
Director: Chris Columbus
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

In "Home Alone", Kevin (Culkin), the youngest child in a large and chaotic family goes to bed one night shortly before Christmas with an angry wish that his entire family would just vanish. When he wakes up the next morning, everyone has indeed disappeared, and Kevin happily goes about his new life as an "emancipated minor." (His family hasn't magically vanished; they simply forgot to wake him for the Christmas trip to visit far-away relatives... much to the mother's shame and horror when she discovers what has happened.) Kevin's is enjoying his total freedom... until two house-prowlers (Pesci and Stern) targeting homes that are empty for the holidays mark his house for break-in. What follows is a battle of wits and skill between a bratty--but creative--kid and two less-than-sharp criminals.

Some reviewers and critics pan "Home Alone" as not being dark enough and too silly. These are commentators who truly don't get this movie. and who fail to recognize that they are NOT the target audience for the film. "Home Alone" is a kid's movie and its target audience are kids. And kids LOVE the idea of being independent, and kids love the idea of fending off criminals with bizarre traps and slapstick.

Personally, I spend the climax of "Home Alone" wincing because the cartoon violence visited upon the hapless burglars trying to invade Kevin's home makes my bones ache, but I guarantee that kids will love it. The messages that the film works in about Christmas and the value of family also make the film worth seeing.

I think "Home Alone" is an excellent Christmas movie, and I think that the critics that panned it need to remember that kids really aren't just mini-adults. Or maybe they just need to try to remember what it's like to be a kid.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Will Eisner and the "Graphic Novel"

Here's a nice article discussing the truth about the long-held idea that pioneering comic book creator Will Eisner invented the "graphic novel."

Dr. K's 100-Page Super Spectacular: Will Eisner and the "Graphic Novel"

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Greetings from beautiful Leavenworth, Washington!

Here's a cute promotional video for one of Washington State's tourist towns/resort areas. It's bound to make you smile and probably even want to plan a trip. (And do say hello to Woody Goomsba for me.)

Kris Kringle got the jingle, and then Woody got the rhyme,
And the party don't start 'til there's another sleigh ride!

'The Time Monster' is a 'Doctor Who' classic

Doctor Who: The Time Monster (1972)
Starring: Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Roger Delgado, and Ingrid Pitt
Director: Robert Sloman
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

The time-traveling alien known as the Doctor (Pertwee) and UNIT operative Jo Grant (Manning) find themselves squaring off against their old nemesis, the Master (Delgado). The Master's latest scheme for domination of all of time and space involves harnessing the might of Chronos, the creature that brought low the mighty land of Atlantis.

"The Time Monster" is a film that originally aired as 30-minute segments as part of the long-running and very popular BBC sci-fi/fantasy television series "Doctor Who". It is one of my all-time favorite storylines from the show, as it features an equal blend of sci-fi, fantasy, social commentary, and nifty actions with plenty of cool story twists. It's fun the way the story moves easily from the 1970s Earth setting with the Master conducting mad science experiments with interdimensional physics, to the purely sci-fi environment of time-travel machines and the Doctor and Master matching wits and testing each other's nerve, and to a pure fantasy environment with an evil and duplicitous Atlantean queen (played by the sexy Ingrid Pitt) who would have been perfectly at home in one of those Italian Hercules movies. The film is further enhanced by multi-faceted minor villains and by the way the personalities of the Master and the Doctor are compared and contrasted as the story unfolds.

This is a classic "Doctor Who" storyline that has stood up well to the passage of time. The effects can't hold a candle to what we've gotten with the revival of the series in recent years, and the acting might be a little hokey at times, but the storyline and the characterization of the Doctor and the Master fit right in with the "Drums of War" story line from a few seasons back. (In fact, watching "The Time Monster" before watching "The Drums of War" and "The Last Timelord" will make those modern episodes feel all the more impactful, because the love/hate relationship of the Doctor and the Master is so well defined in this film... and because Roger Delgado plays a GREAT Master.)

"Doctor Who: The Time Monster" is worth seeking out by fans of both the new and classic series.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Man sought in LA publicist's death kills himself

The Hidden Hand of the Hollywood Star Whackers reaches out again?

Man sought in LA publicist's death kills himself

'Quark' is a show that should stay lost in space

Quark: The Complete Series (1977)
Starring: Richard Benjamin, Timothy Thomerson, Richard Kelton, Patricia Barnstable, Cyb Barnstable, Conrad Janis, Bobby Porter, Alan Caillou and Ross Martin
Director: Hy Averback
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Some televisions shows die a premature death, undeservedly cancelled because for whatever reason there was no audience for the show. The latest of these is "My Own Worst Enemy", but there are dozens upon dozens of quality shows that died early in the 50-year-plus history of network televison in the U.S.

"Quark", a shortlived 1977 sci-fi comedy show, is not one of these.

Every episode of "Quark", including the pilot--eight in total--is available on DVD. It's a nice-looking package, and it was a decent looking show. The sets were nice, the costumes were nice... the primary target of "Star Trek" was evident throughout--but the scripts simply weren't funny.

The set-up was good--the show followed the adventures of the unfortunate Adam Quark and his bizarre crew of misfits as they traveled the galaxy on a space-faring garbage scow, the bravely collect trash where no-one had collected trash before; the characters had the potential of being sufficiently weird--such as Science Officer Ficus, an overly logical humanoid plant played by Richard Kelton; the all-in-one "transmute" who keeps switching between his/her male and female halves played by Tim Thomerson; the ship's navigator and her clone, played by twins Patricia and Cyb Barnstable; the heroic, dedicated and perpetually unlucky Commander Quark himelf, played by Richard Benjamin--but neither the set-up nor the potential of the characters was never fully realized because of the bad writing.

Hardcore sci-fi fans may find a chuckle or two early on, but it isn't until the last three episodes that anything that a general audience will find remotely funny starts to happen. (The one exception is the "Star Wars" spoof in the second episode, "May the Source Be With You". The whiney superweapon in that episode was pretty good.)

The best part of the show is the interplay between Richard Benjamin and Richard Kelton. There's a goofy Kirk/Spock vibe in the realitionship between these two characters, the actors have a good sense of the comedic, and it helps make even the lamest episodes watchable. But then we've got Tim Thomerson who is so bad that it's hard to imagine that this is the same guy who will go onto be so hilarious in "Trancers" and "Dollman"... of course, it's not entirely Thomerson's fault. The material he's working with is truly awful. The rest of the cast do little more than take up space, and they are neither good enough nor bad enough to really warrant any particular attention.

Don't believe the hype about "Quark"--I did, and I wish I hadn't--and don't rely on fond memories you may have of catching part of an episode as a young kid. This is NOT a show that will stand up to your memory of it.