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

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Best-selling NUELOW Games titles in November

Here are the best-selling titles for NUELOW Games this month. Our sales were not quite as strong as in October, and I don't think the Thanksgiving sale made a difference one way or the other; our prices are already so low that knocking a bit off the price won't entice anyone that wasn't going to buy anyway.

Next year, i think I'll just say, "Look! We've got stuff on sale for Black Friday!" (because we've got stuff on sale every day as it is....)

Still, it was a decent month... and I thank you all for your support. Please stick around.

Also, if you've got a short, rules-light RPG, get in touch. We'd love to add some gaming variety to our line-up.

NUELOW Games Best-sellers for November

1. ROLF!: Nine Days of the Ninja, by Steve Miller (Game Supplement)

2. Shanghaied Mitts, by Robert E. Howard (Short story collection)

3. ROLF!: Playwrights and Piledrivers, by Steve Miller (Game Supplement)

4. ROLF!: Day of the Turkey, by Steve Miller (Game Supplement)

5. Fists of Foolishness, including the Violent Worlds of Robert E. Howard RPG, by Robert E. Howard, Steve Miller, and L.L. Hundal (Fiction anthology/Core game)

6. ROLF!: The Rollplaying Game of Big Dumb Fighters, by L.L. Hundal and Steve Miller (Core game)

7. ROLF!: Supermodel Slapfest, by L.L. Hundal and Steve Miller (Game Supplement)

8. ROLF!: Icing Oetzi, by Steve Miller and L.L. Hundal (Game Supplement)

9. ROLF!: Gaddafi's Angels, by Steve Miller and L.L. Hundal (Game Supplement)

10. ROLF!: Herbert West vs. the Zombies, by Steve Miller (Game Supplement)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jailbird Parade:
Man Sues Couple He Took Hostage

From the Kansas City News, via KMBC: Kansas Man Sues Couple He Took Hostage.

I'm inferring from the linked article about Dirtbag Dimmick that he is representing himself in the breach-of-contract lawsuit against the people held hostage. If I'm right, then he has an idiot for a client. If I'm wrong, is there a way to petition to have his attorney disbarred?

Jesse "Dirtbag" Dimmick is also thinking about suing his dermatologist

Completed Collection: Drop Dead Gore-geous

This is another one of those budget-priced packages that gives you exactly what you pay for: You pay a cut-rate, you get four cut-rate movies.

The main attraction in this set, as well as the best film in the bunch, is "Kiss Daddy Goodnight." It's Uma Thurman's first film role... and while it may be the best out of the four, it's still pretty damn awful. There's nothing to recommend this collection, since every film in it is also available in much larger sets where you'll actually get a good movie or three along with the crap.

Drop Dead Gore-geous: 3/10 Overall Rating

Birds of Prey (1/10)
Kiss Daddy Goodnight (3/10)
Little Corey Gorey (4/10)
Slash Dance (2/10)

(Click on the titles to read reviews on the various Cinema Steve blogs.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NUELOW's fiction available at discount prices!

Through the end of Monday, November 28, the fiction anthologies I've produced for NUELOW Games are on sale at a reduced price, what with it being "Cyber Monday" and all. This is also in celebration of the newly launched website, which is the exclusive outlet for NUELOW Games' pdf-format fiction anthologies.

Each of these ebooks (great for reading on the iPad or even an iPod Touch, and compatible with some models of the Amazon's Kindle) are currently priced at $1.50, no matter what the usual sales price is.

Click the titles below for more information on each book, and to purchase your copy for download. Help feed my hungry cats during this holday season, and get yourself some excellent reading material in the process!

Alice in Blunderland by John Kendrick Bangs (Humor/Political Satire): The Mad Hatter takes Alice for a visit in the perfect city he's founded... a place where everyone is perfect, because the laws are made to make politicians look good, to keep the rich prosperous, and the powerful powerful. (Sound like anywhere you know?)

Houseboat on the River Styx by John Kendrick Bangs and Steve Miller (Humor/Fantasy): A classic work of humor takes on new life as writer/editor Steve Miller "remasters" Bangs' "A Houseboat on the River Styx" and "In Pursuit of the Houseboat" into a single outrageous volume. Every owner of the book is garuenteed membership in the Associated Shades of Hades once they "cross over." Just don't tell William Shakespeare that "everything is better with Bacon" when you arrive.

Fists of Foolishness: The Tales of Sea-faring Boxing Champ Steve Costigan by Robert E. Howard (Humor/Adventure): Journey back to the 1920s and the seedy waterfront districts of the world's port towns for ten comedic misadventures from the typewriter and mind of the creator of Conan the Barbarian. Includes a complete roleplaying game, "The Violent Worlds of Robert E. Howard"!

Shanghaied Mitts: More Tales of Sea-Faring Boxing Champ Steve Costigan by Robert E. Howard (Humor/Adventure): Eleven more of Steve Costigans misadventures are chronicled, as he takes on all comers, including Mexican bandits, Chinese warlords, industrial spies, and con-artists. Includes an adventure for use with "The Violent Worlds of Robert E. Howard", or for stand-alone solo play.

The Deadly Sword of Cormac by Robert E. Howard (Historical Adventure/Fantasy): During the Third Crusades, there was a renegade Knight so fierce that he was feared by Moslems and Crusaders alike. His name was Cormac FiztGeoffrey. This book collects both novelletes that Howard wrote featuring Cormac.

Names in the Black Book: Three Nightmarish Mysteries by Robert E. Howard (Horror/Mystery): A trio of horror-drenched, hard-boiled detective mysteries.

White Fell and Other Stories by Clemence Housman and Robert E. Howard: Four off-beat horror stories that see lycanthropes clawing a bloody swath from the frozen wilds of Scandinavia, through the dark forests of central Europe, and to the sun-baked veldt of Africa.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The best Hotel California cover (together with a great spoof)!

The video isn't much to write home about, but DAMN if this isn't a great performance and arrangement of a great song! Mostly instrumental, it captures all the beauty and creepiness of the classic Eagles song and gives it an entirely new and fresh life.

Leading the performance is Iranian musician Farhad Besharati, playing a Kanun, a traditional Persian 78-stringed instrument that has a reputation of being one of the hardest instruments to master in the world.

And on the flip-side... we have this (a "Hotel California spoof by Cliff Darby with a vaguely similar sound that made me laugh, and which I've posted to my Facebook page but not here):

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My cool new look...

It will persist until that eye no longer looks like an Occupy Wall Street protester crapped in it just before one of NYPD's finest pepper-sprayed me.

As they say in Occupy Tortuga...

Speaker: Yarr.

Crowd: Yarr.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

No posts on any of my blogs this week.

I am having really bad eye trouble. Hopefully, tomorrow's trip to the doctor will start to make things better.

I hope you'll check in at some point in the future.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Shakespeare may or may not have been a fraud....but this movie's marketing sure is

Anonymous (2011)
Starring: Rhys Ifans, Sebastian Armesto, Edward Hogg, Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis, Jamie Campbell Bower, Joely Richardson, Xavier Samuel, Sam Reid, Paolo De Vita, Trystan Gravelle, Rafe Spall, and Derek Jacobi
Director: Roland Emmerich
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

Edward, the Earl of Oxford (Ifans), is a brilliant and obsessive writer and poet, who is forced to keep his art secret due to circumstances of birth and the machinations of power-broker William Cecil (Thewlis). But his love of theater becomes overwhelming, and he seeks out a talented but struggling playwright, Ben Johnson (Armesto) to serve as his "beard." The play goes awry when Johnson hesitates and hack actor and all-around low-life Will Shakespeare (Spall) steps in and steals the credit. As Oxford turns from play-writing to politics in order to support his friends and proteges, the Earls of Essex and Southhampton (Reid and Samuel), playwrights and nobles alike are swept up in deadly and hidden machinations over who will take the throne of England after the death of Queen Elizabeth I (Redgrave).

The film's tagline and ad campaign drew me in. "Was Shakespeare a Fraud?" is an intriguing question for one such as myself who has enjoyed many different stagings of his plays over the years, and who loves the running gag in "Houseboat on the River Styx" about Shakespeare not being the author of his plays. However, this is ultimately a very small part of the film, which is primarily concerned with a chain of events that leads to the events known as the Essex Rebellion and behind-the-scenes machinations of the Cecils, a wealthy family of commoners. And, of course, the brilliance of Oxford as a writer.

The film, in fact, makes such a big deal out of how brilliant Oxford is that is ends up undermining its own conspiracy theory about Shakespeare taking credit for his work. According to the story, a number of plays attributed to Shakespeare were written by Oxford when he was just a boy and performed at Queen Elizabeth's court. In fact, the plays were seen by so many people that it strains credibility that when they start showing up in theaters and later performed at Elizabeth's court again that no-one remembers them from years before. In other words, within the universe of the film, Oxford's secret identity as a playwright is one of the worst kept secrets in all of England.

The credibility of the film is further undermined by glaring historical inaccuracies, ones that even non-history buffs or non-Shakespeare scholars will pick up on, with the most glaring of these being "Macbeth" presented as written and performed during the reign of Queen Elizabeth when it was wasn't written until King James was on the throne.

Now, the screenwriter has stated in interviews that he made those errors intentionally as a homage to Shakespeare... and they can further be excused by the fact that the film is presented within a Shakespeare-like framework with a presenter taking to the stage before and after the main events of the film, thus clearly framing it as a work of fiction where shadows may or may not offend. Nonetheless, if you're going to write a movie presenting the thesis that the greatest creative force to ever work in the English language wasn't who history records him to be--no matter how tangential that ultimately ends up being to the thrust of your story--it behooves you to actually present a little historical accuracy as far as his works go. Especially when in the case of Macbeth, there's no reason for the discordant note to be struck.

Aside from the glaring historical inaccuracies, this is an accomplished film. It is well-acted, beautifully shot, and expertly paced. The story structure is unnecessarily convoluted--as it's got a framing sequence within the framing sequence of the narrator on stage in a theater, and then adds frequent flashbacks within the main story just to add a possibility of confusing the audience--but the film is long enough that viewers get acclimated to the jumps back and forth after the first couple of times, so it turns out to be less or a drawback than it seems at first. The way character traits were conveyed through props and costuming was also impressive, with the fact that Earl of Oxfords fingers were always stained with ink while Shakespeare's were always perfectly clean was a particularly nice touch.

This is not a film for everyone; some will find it way too talky, and I suspect it might be painful to sit through if you've put any real time and effort into Shakespeare scholarship (given the inaccuracies a yahoo like me could spot without even trying), but if you're a regular viewer of "Masterpiece Theater," I suspect it might be right up your ally.

I'm still going to stick with the Shakespeare authorship theories put forth by John Kendrick Bangs, however.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Don't panic! It's only a test! The Red Chinese have NOT landed! Nor have the Martians!

A little later today, Wednesday November 9, there will be nation-wise test of the emergency broadcast system. You can read a short article about it by clicking here: National test to verify emergency system

You can find the event described in great detail at FEMA's website by clicking here.

The government is concerned that there are idiots out there who will assume this is a REAL emergency, in part because some local cable and over-the-air broadcasters might be too lazy or incompetent to provide graphics or long enough screen crawls that will make it clear that the activation of the network (today at 11am on the west coat and 2pm on the east coast, which is the same time due to the magic of time zones) is just a test. Of course, many of these are the same people who expected rioting in the streets and cities aflame when UHF stations switched to digital broadcasting, so one has to take their low opinion of the American public into a account.

One also has to wonder what sort of test of a central emergency alert broadcast system is so sloppily run that they haven't taken the time to show that they can actually broadcast. Wouldn't a true test of the system be one where a graphic or screen-crawl stating "This is ONLY A TEST!" transmitted from a central location for the 30 seconds the test will take?

At any rate, unless you see Martian War Machine vaporizing your neighbors, see the Red Chinese Army parachuting into the parking lot at the mall, or zombies shambling down Main Street (although you may have to look closely on that last one... you might mistake a bunch of Occupy Whatever Comes to Mind campers for zombies, or visa-versa), the 30-second disruption of your favorite radio and television shows IS ONLY A TEST.

(Although some cable providers--like Time Warner--have warned that viewers may have to change the channel or regularly programming won't resume. Which makes one wonder who those cable broadcasters survive the local tests of the EAS....)

Nine Days of the Ninja 2011!

The Nine Days of the Ninja Blogaton is almost over! But there's still time for you join in with a ninjtastic post or three! Put something ninja-related on your blog and send the link to me at stevemillermail(at [@])

Like the neigh-invisible Ninja, Nine Days of the Ninja has appeared suddenly and without warning! It's a blogathon that's one of the web's best kept secrets!

Okay... so I kinda dropped the ball in promoting it... BUT if anyone out there wants to participate, send me links to any reviews of or commentary on Ninja movies or comics, or if you have Ninja art or anything else Ninja you want to put forward, I will link to it in this post. Just email me the link.

As for me, I will be posting at least one Ninja-related post each day between now and November 9th on one of the blogs that make up the Cinema Steve Network. Like those written by others, I will be linking to them in this post.

Nine Days of the Ninja: Day One
Ten Ninjas from TV (Craig Edwards of Let's Get Out of Here!)
Movie Review: Ninjas vs. Zombies - at Terror Titans

Nine Days of the Ninja: Day Two
In the Video Vault of Mora Tau: "Sho Kosugi's Ninja Theater" (Craig Edwards of Let's Get Out of Here!)
Picture Perfect Wednesday: Here Be Ninja Babes! - at Shades of Gray
ROLF! Combat Maneuver: Kung Fu Face - at the NUELOW Games Blog

Nine Days of the Ninja: Day Three
A Public Service Announcement from Lee Van Cleef, the Master! (Craig Edwards of Let's Get Out of Here!)
Movie Reviews: The Mystery of 'Ninja Death' - at Watching the Detectives

Nine Days of the Ninja: Day Four
Movie Review: Ninja Death Squad (Craig Edwards of Let's Get Out of Here!)
Movie Review: Ninja Powerforce' - at Movies You Should [Die Before You] See

Nine Days of the Ninja: Day Five
It's a Dusk-to-Dawn Special with "American Ninja"! (Craig Edwards of Let's Get Out of Here!)
Saturday Night Ninja! - at Cinema Steve

Nine Days of the Ninja: Day Six
Movie Review:Enter the Ninja (Craig Edwards of Let's Get Out of Here!)
ROLF!: Bruce Lee & Sue Shiomi - at NUELOW Games

Nine Days of the Ninja: Day Seven
Maniacal Movie Poster Monday:Ninja Posters! (Craig Edwards of Let's Get Out of Here!)
Movie Review:Challenge of the Lady Ninja - at Watching the Detectives

Nine Days of the Ninja: Day Eight
Movie Review:Unmasking the Idol (Craig Edwards of Let's Get Out of Here!)
ROLF!:Nine Days of the Ninja - at NUELOW Games

Nine Days of the Ninja: Day Nine
Ninja Goodies from the Video Vault of Mora Tau! (Craig Edwards of Let's Get Out of Here!)
Random Ninjaosity - at Shades of Gray

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Night Ninja!

On the Saturday of last year's Nine Days of the Ninja Blogathon, I posted a couple YouTube ninja videos. I'm doing it again, including a reappearance of Ryan Higa. This officially makes it a tradition, yeah?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Catch up with the Space Girls!

Over at Shades of Gray, I've been featuring Travis Charest's Spacegirl together with drawings from a variety of artists every Friday for the past few months. Chapter Two will start appearing tomorrow, but in the meantime, you can catch get to know the lovely (and deadly) ladies of outer space with this post here.


by Travis Charest

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

'Allah's Curse' helped along by firebombing idol-worshipers

French satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo" announced on Halloween (10/31) that the Prophet Mohammed (may peace be upon him) would guest edit the coming week's magazine. The details were reported here: Prophet Mohammed to 'guest edit' French satirical magazine - Telegraph

Idol-worshipers swung into swift and violent action in defense of the Prophet Mohammed (may peas be upon him) and His holy image. The details were reported here: French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo firebombed after prophet Mohammed announcement - Telegraph

You can read in the article that Mohammed Moussaoui, president of the French Council for the Muslim Faith (CFCM), said he "firmly condemned" the arson attack if it proved criminal. That begs the question, Mr. Henry Samuel of "The Telegraph," since we can't be sure if you got this guy's statement right since you only quoted two words, when is a Molotov cocktail thrown through a window not criminal?)

And if Mr. Henry Samuel of the Telegraph DID quote him accurately, is it an insult to the Prophet Mohammed (may pizza be upon him) if you're a dumb-ass while sporting His name? If this is the case, would it be criminal to firebomb Mohammed Moussaoui home?

Nonetheless... "Allah's Curse" once again appears to be helped along by idol-worshiping psychopaths. At least this time, they didn't murder anyone.

Which brings us to the ceremonial Mohammed Cartoon in honor of his faithful worshipers.