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

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

For your edification (or "Who the f%ck builds a Stonehenge?!")

Ylvis... a pair of brothers from Norway have produced some videos for the hippy-hoppy slutty Hannah Montana generation. These songs are like School House Rock, only with more hip-hop and Autotune! (And even old folks with a sense of humor and an understanding of how songs are structured will get lots of enjoyment out of then. And perhaps even learn something.)

Sit back (if you can stay seated when these mad beats start pumping!









That last one seems like the craziest of the bunch--and it is--but it's not quite as insane as you might think. The second "what does the fox say" sound made me say, "what a sec!", so I did a Google search to check a faint memory of a very old nature show. And apparently someone else had the same reaction I did:



For the record, foxes are one of my favorite animals. I've found them fascinating since I was a kid. One of my favorite book was even about a kid who was from a family of werefoxes called "My Friend Giles" or "Pure Magic,"

Oh.... and then there's this...


The Brothers Ylves

Thursday, October 17, 2013

'Holy Safari' with O.J. Simpson, coming soon

Like Job, he's long suffering. Like Mohammed the Prophet, he's a bloody-handed murderer. Like Baby Jesus, he will be delivered unto the world in December... because that's when he gets out of prison for armed robbery and kidnapping.

I'm talking about O.J. Simpson -- and he is hoping to star in a new religious show called "Holy Safari," who, according to his publicist Norm Pardo, is perfect for a show like this.

"He’s always been religious inside [...],’ Mr. Pardo said. "He helps people who can't find their way."

Simpson's especially good at personally helping people on their way to Heaven.

If the promotional art is any indication, "Holy Safari" is going to be shockingly bad. *I* could have Photoshopped a better image. Hell, I make better promotional images on a regular basis for NUELOW Games if I do say so myself.



You can read all about Norm Pardo's fantasies regarding the future greatest wandering holy man since Jesus by clicking here. (For another display of cheap half-assedness, check out the web address where the promo page for the show can be found.)

There's also this article in the Daily Mail Online about O.J. Simpson's latest excursion into obnoxiousness. Does anyone but Norm Pardo actually think the Pope will grant an interview to a thug who got away with murder and who has shown no remorse whatsoever. One might even say that he has been the opposite of remorseful.

Then again, when one is a holy man--a Prophet even--one doesn't have to be remorseful.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Death Announcement:
Omar Hammami 1986 - 2013

Here's one American whose death at the hands of Islamic murderers that is worth celebrating. He was known as Omar Hamami, Abu Mansoor al-Ameriki, Baby Bear, and Sweet Cheeks by those who knew him best.

Omar Hammami and two close "friends" taking part in the internet craze of holding up signs.
Among those celebrating his passing are music fans, as his death means he won't be posting anymore crappy rap videos to Youtube.

He was an American member of the only Islamic group brave enough to wear the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name (lest it get stoned to death) in its very name -- Al Shabaab. The only downside is that we'll never know if the argument was truly over who would be pitching vs. receiving.

He was shot dead by other Al Shabab members together with the lover and fellow killer for Allah, a British national known as Usama al Britani and Backdorr Tommy.

Click here to read more about the life and death of a scumbag at the Jihad news network, al-Jazeera.

(And if you're boycotting them, you can get the same good news at UK outlet The Guardian or America's own Huffington Post.)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth of July!


AN AMERICAN
By Robert E. Howard

Sing of my ancestors!
   Sing of them with pride!
Sing of fair America,
   Green prairies and blue tide!
One was born in County Cork!
   Hail the shamrock green!
(One was named Abraham
   Simeon Levine.)
One held rule in Dundee,
   Friend of the Montrose.
(One sold nuts and apples
   Where the river Tiber flows.)
One drank ale in Devonshire,
   One scaled Lomond's crags.
(One grew up in Warsaw
   And peddled clothes and rags.)
One sailed out from Liverpool,
   Bold and free and glad.
(One lended cash at high
   Rates in Petrograd.)
Och, oi, oi, and hoot mon!
   Gott sie dank go bragh!
Gevald! Be dommed! Diavoli!
   America iss braw!
Shure, its meself thot loves the land,
   Vy shouldn't I? Oi oi!
Some fellow he no lika diss,
   I'm nae you kind o' boy!
Its aiche mon for his ain, py hell!
   A feller got to stand
An' tella people who he iss
   And brag on his own land!
Vun nation unt vun langvitche!
   Oi! And go for business fine
To Michael Israel Malcolmsky
   Gammettio O'Stein.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Robert E. Howard: An Under-Appreciated Writer

On June 11, 1936, Robert E. Howard died at his own hand. While those who know his writings mourn for what the world lost when he pulled that trigger, he did leave us with a wealth of great short stories and poems.

If all you know Howard for is Conan and Solomon Kane, you don't know his work at all, but you are like the vast majority of the reading public. And I think this is a tremendous shame. Howard did much better writing in other genres and in other stories that few know exist and even fewer read.

I would like to change that. I hope that some day Howard gets moved from the footnote status of "created the sword-and-sorcery fantasy sub-genre through the character of Conan" to his rightful place among great American authors. As a small way of making that happen, I've put together several collections of his humor, horror, and historical stories--most of which are vastly superior to any Conan story he wrote. Get any of "Oriental Stories" books and you'll see what I mean.


"Oriental Tales Vol. 2" offers a broad cross-section of what his non-Conan writings are like, so it's a great place to start getting to know him better. An even better choice might be to get all of the "Oriental Stories" collections, as the stories in those are among the ones Howard would probably preferred to be remembered for.

Click here to visit DriveThruFiction,com to see a full listing of NUELOW Games's entire Robert E. Howard Collection. I hope you'll consider getting one or more of them.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Jack Vance dead at 96

Another literary giant and often unacknowledged progenitor of more pop-culture fantasy and RPG standards can be counted, Jack Vance, has died at the age of 96. Click here to read the obit on his official website.

Like Fritz Lieber and Robert E. Howard, Vance is another greatly under-appreciated American author who was not only a brilliant writer but whose work inspired vast creativity in others.





Saturday, May 25, 2013

Debra Paget rules in 'Cleopatra's Daugther'


Cleopatra's Daugther (1960) 
Starring: Debra Paget, Ettore Manni, Erno Crisa, Corrado Pani, Andreina Rossi, and Yvette Lebon
Director: Fernando Cerchio
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

When Shila (Paget), Cleopatra's daughter, is forced to marry the mentally unstable Pharoh Nemorat (Pani) in order to unite Egypt's two kingdoms. But a scheming noble, Prince Kefren (Crisa), plans to eliminate both of them in order to take the throne himself. Will Shila's trule love, the Royal Physician (Manni) manage to save her?


"Cleopatra's Daughter" is an exciting fantasy film that probalby has as much to do with history as an average episode of "Xena: Warrior Princess", but it takes great advantage of its ancient Egyptian backdrop with great sets and gorgeous constumes. The acting is far above average for films of this type, with the voice actors who dubbed the film into English doing excellent jobs and the casting of the various parts being spot on. (Manni, as the heroic physician and Erno Crisa as the devious Kefren are paticularly excellent. Debra Paget, as the title character forced into the potentially lethal political marriage is also not great to look at, but performs with such charisma that one is constantly reminded of what film-lovers lost when she retired from acting in 1962 for married life with a Chinese millionaire..)

The film is also better paced than most of these Italian fantasy epics. Many of them tend to sag in the middle, or start to bukcle under the weight of too many subplots or bad comic relief. This one is solid from beginning to end, with just the right ratios of humor, action, suspense, and romance throughout to keep viewers engaged.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Epic Rap Battles of History. Vol. IV

Here are more best and most hilariosu rap battles between historical (or fictional) figures from Nice Peter and Epic Lloyd. These may, in fact, be the most epic of all the epic battles so far!

First up it's Frank Sinatra vs. Freddie Mercury.



 Then the giants of home computer take each other on--Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates


And, to close out this installment, it's a survey of modern Russian history

Friday, May 10, 2013

'Amazing Stories' to publish first fiction since 2005

Amazing Stories, the world's first science fiction magazine, has returned to publishing new fiction with the release of a substantial excerpt from Aurora Award-Winning author Douglas Smith's new novel "The Wolf at the End of the World"

Cover image for "The Wolf at the End of the World"
About his novel, Smith says, "Set in modern day Northern Canada, THE WOLF AT THE END OF THE WORLD is an urban fantasy incorporating First Nations mythology. With an introduction by World Fantasy Award winner, Charles de Lint, the book will appeal to fans of de Lint and Neil Gaiman. In it, a shapeshifter hero battles ancient spirits, a covert government agency, and his own dark past in a race to solve a series of murders that could mean the end of the world."

"The Wolf at the End of the World" is a sequel to Douglas’ award-winning novelette, “Spirit Dance".

"The Wolf at the End of the World" will be published this summer and is available for pre-order. A special discount is being offered to readers of Amazing Stories (sign up for a free membership on site).

To read the excerpt and for more information about Douglas Smith and his award-winning fiction, please visit www.amazingstoriesmag.com/blog, or visit Douglas Smith's website www.smithwriter.com.

Amazing Stories was re-launched in December of 2012 as a social network for fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror and features multiple daily blog posts written by the Amazing Blog Team, comprised of over 100 authors, artists, bloggers, editors and fans. Blog posts cover the entire universe of subjects of interest to fans - literature, film, television, comics, anime, science, audio works, art, collecting, pulps, fandom and more.

With the release of Douglas Smith's novel excerpt, Amazing Stories returns to the publication of fiction with an excerpt program. Two excerpts of new works will be published every month; featured works will initially be drawn from among the Amazing Blog Team members but the program will eventually open up to outside submissions.

The Amazing Stories xcerpt program joins its already-in-progress Space Art feature, a bi-weekly showcase of space art contributed by the members of the International Association of Astronomical Artists.

Membership in the Amazing Stories website is FREE. Every new membership directly contributes to the return of Amazing Stories as a fully-fledged professional market for science fiction, fantasy and horror.

http://www.amazingstoriesmag.com

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Restaurant Review: Hong's Garden

It's been a while since I've written anything about food here, so let's change that shall we?

Hong's Garden Restaurant
Location: 64 Rainier Avenue, Renton WA, 98055
Type: Chinese, lunch and dinner menus
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

Hong's was the second Chinese restaurant I went to after moving to Renton in 1997, and it's the only one still in business and/or under the same management. (I still weep for the loss of the Golden Coin in Tukwila.) 


With average prices and with decent portion sizes, Hong's has a full bar, a full-service sit-down dining room, and quick and easy take-out or pick-up service right at the front counter--where someone is always present to greet you. That someone is usually owner.

Hong's is a convenient place for me to get take-out when I don't feel like cooking. There's always plenty of parking, usually only a few feet from the door. Their are take-out menus available right when you walk in the door, for both lunch and dinner, and my order is placed within moments. I've never waited longer than 15 minutes for my take-out to be ready--I love the quick and painless in-and-out of the place.

I've had lunch in the restaurant on a couple different occasions, and the experience was satisfactory--although both were working lunches so I can't be too sound in my judgement, as I was paying more attention to business than enjoying my food. I did have a slight twinge of nostalgia each time, because the service and general ambiance of the place reminded me of some of the places I ate at regularly as a kid.

I've also spent a few hours at the bar, and my experience there was that the bartender was friendly and welcoming. She knew the names of all the regulars--of which, on that particular night, I was the only new face in the crowd--and she was on top of everyone's orders at all times. The prices for drinks were average for what I've paid at other places around town.

But I love Hong's mostly as a source of take-away dinner. Their various fried rice dishes are among my favorites from anywhere in the area, and I rank their cream of corn chicken soup among my favorite things to eat, period. Another favorite of mine is their egg foo yung; I've had all the varieties and each one was perfect, especially the gravy. Their sweet and sour pork and chicken are both a bit dry for my tastes, but the sauce is excellent.

So... if you're ever in Renton on Rainier Ave near the airport, stop in at Hong's. I think you'll be glad you did.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!


It's my birthday on Tuesday, May 7. I invite you to celebrate by having one of the following for dinne: Spaghetti with tomato sauce, ground beef, and peas, or sweet-and-sour chicken with pineapple over steamed rice, or curry chicken or beef with carrots over steamed rice.

You can also celebrate by drinking coffee with some variety of creamer in it. Lots of coffee with lots of creamer... something vanilla or chocolate flavored would be most suitable.

Also, as part of your celebration of my birthday, you can get yourself a present! From now until Midnight on May 7, all NUELOW Games products at RPGNOW and DriveThruFiction are 44% off. Click here to check out the nearly 100 items that can be yours for next to nothing!

Get yourself a present that's also like getting a present for me, because I get a tiny royalty on each product sold! (I recommend one of our Robert E. Howard anthologies if you haven't already checked them out. For something very different, you might also consider "The Sheik" by Howard & Hundal, or the poetry collection "Shadows of Dreams." It would be a fantastic birthday gift to me if one of those items ended up back on a best-seller list for a day or two.)



Of course, if you already have all of what NUELOW Games has to offer, or you just want to celebrate my birthday by getting me a birthday present, you can always order me something off my Amazon.com wish list. Or just get one of the items for yourself... it's all great stuff!

So... happy birthday to me! I hope we all have a great day! And please remember: I won't object if you buy me a present! Even if it arrives after my birthday. It's the thought that counts, right?




Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Best Epic Rap Battles of History, Vol. III

Nice Peter and Epic Lloyd continue to bring us the best rap battles history has ever known. And here's some of the best of the best for your enjoyment and edification. The line-up this time include:

Tesla vs. Edison


Gandhi vs. Martin Luther King Jr.


Bruce Lee vs. Clint Eastwood




 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Over the Hills and Far Away...

"Over the Hills and Far Away" was originally recorded in 1987 by the late Gary Moore. Supported by an excellent video, it tells the story of a man framed and condemned for a robbery he didn't commit. Here's the original version:



The song's been covered a couple of times, most effectively by Finnish hard rockers Nightwish in 2001. Here's their version, along with its video:




Artwork inspired by "Over the Hills and Far Away", borrowed from here.

Friday, March 29, 2013

It's (Good) Friday

And Sadie's looking forward to Easter weekend (weekend)




Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The One That Got Away (and more)

I was at the dentist yesterday and while I was in the chair Katy Perry's "The One That Got Away" came across the radio they have running for background static. I was reminded of what a nice song that is, with an even nicer video. So, through the miracle of YouTube, here it is.


And with nice songs invariably follow parodies and covers. Here are a few of the best ones I've come across, starting with "The One Who Turned You Gay" by Shane Dawson and Totally Sketch.




And then there's "The Husband That Ran Away" from La Coacha.




Here's a straight (and touching) cover and original video by Ralph Vincefied




Katy Perry, who must have lost her shirt in the tough economy.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A welcome to new visitors!

When I wrote a review of the drama "Pinprick" (which can be read immediately below this post), I didn't realize that titling it "Are Teen Girls Really Like This?" would place Cinema Steve on entirely new search engine radars. I SHOULD have realized it, though... the combination of "teenage girls," "pinprick" and "lover" all appearing right at the beginning of the post are like honey for bears when it comes to certain webizens and their search engines..

Laura Greenwood: Teen star of "Pinprick"

There are both plusses and minuses to this new potential audience that are finding my little corner of the web.

The downside: I'm deleting three or more spam comments per day for all sorts of interesting products and websites of the adult variety.

The upside: Possibly some new readers! Welcome! I think the Tectonic Tuesday series here, the Saturday Scream Queens series at Terror Titans, and the many picture series at Shades of Gray are good places for you to start. Come of the pretty pictures! Stay for the reviews and commentary!


(BTW, for those of you out there who are operating some of those interesting adult websites and/or selling interesting "toys" that have "flesh" or "pocket" as part of their trademarked brand-names, you should find yourself another internet marketing firm--assuming you yourself aren't just incompetent in using spambots. You're not getting value for your money or effort if what I'm seeing in the process of admin'ing comments to my blogs is any indication.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Are teen girls really like this?

Pinprick (2009)
Starring: Laura Greenwood, Rachel Blake, Evin Nagy, and Zoltan Ratoti
Director: Daniel Young
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

Teenaged Charlotte (Greenwood) is keeping a secret from her recently divorced mother (Blake): A mysterious, hunky man (Nagy) is living in her closet. Things go from complicated to nightmarish when he decides to leave the closet and become her mother's new lover.



"Pinprick" is a somewhat bizarre drama that will have you asking yourself what logic-defying action the characters will take next, or how they will next try to complicate a situation that could easily be solved by calling the police. As film unfolds, it becomes more and more illogical, eventually presenting a plot twist that gives rise to the film's eventual non-ending ending -- a twist and ending that completes the film's rise toward a pinnacle of complete nonsense.

"Pinprick" is a Swiss/Hungarian production starring English, Australian, and Hungarian actors. It was marketed in the United States as a horror film, so for roughly the first half of the movie I kept looking for increasing hints and clues that the man in the closet was a figment of Charlotte's diseased mind -- and I think the film might have made more sense if it was. I've never been a teen girl, and I've never had raised a teen daughter, so maybe they do behave as bizarrely as Charlotte does. Maybe they will hide strange men in their closets in order to spite their parents, and when said strange man starts taking over their home they will basically take his place in the closet? (I do have a sister who was once a teenager, and I don't think she would have let a guy live in her closet, but how can I say for certain?)

Maybe if writer/director Daniel Young had spent a moment or two giving viewers some details about the characters up front, even if those details would have to be reinterpreted in the light of the twist in the third act -- that twist might even have made a little more sense if he had. We get a tiny bit through a conversation that Charlotte and her mother have at the very beginning, but a little more might have helped dispel some of the confusing air that exists throughout the  picture. At the very least, some indication in regards to how the hunk ended up in Charlotte's closet and why she didn't run screaming from the room at that first encounter would have been helpful.

If not for the fact that the film kept me engaged, despite my sense of it being nonsense and despite it not being a horror film even though it was marketed as such, this would have rated a Four. The strong performances from the cast, as well as some nice cinematography, coupled with the way the film's pacing kept me interested, all add up to a movie I can't bring myself to condemn too harshly. If you're in the mood for something odd but well crafted, "Pinprick" might be worth a look. (My advice would be to pick up the "Midnight Horror Collection" or renting it as a streaming movie rather than paying for it on a DVD by itself. The mutli-disc "Midnight Horror Collection" features several other mis-marketed films, as well as two actual horror films.)