Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday, November 3, 2012


A lot of people equate Warner Archives as a handy way to get those hard to find films, but did you know they also have some pretty cool cartoons available. Here's a sample;

The Flintstones Prime Time Specials Volume 1

The Flintstones are a cartoon institution and many forget that it was a prime time show in it's heyday. After that they were delegated to Saturday Mornings, but it wasn't always that way. This double feature gives us two, prime time specials. First up is The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone. When the gang wins a game show and winds up in Rocksylvania it isn't long before the guys awaken Frankenstone who, in turn, awakens his vampiric master, Rockula. Rockula develops a case of the hots for Wilma and the hijinks ensue. Then it's the world of kids baseball with Flintstones Little Big League and Fred and Barney are coaches on opposing teams and Mr. Slate wants Fred to win the series no matter what.
And one of the coolest parts of this? It's just Volume 1! More to come.

Snorks: Complete First Season

Most people will remember the annoying third season opening theme song and cringe. Others will consider it to be nothing more than an underwater version of The Smurfs. A lot of people don't realize that this show actually ran for five years and the first season was probably one of the best. Anchored in reality by it's opening it gave the show more depth than you got from a lot of Saturday Morning fare. Here, check out the opening;

See! Not as stupid as you remember, was it? And for all you Snork completists out there you know you will get them all.

Heathcliff and Dingbat

The cartoon cat who predates Garfield by 5 years got his own show. Well, half of his own show. The other half deals with monster animals who have their own brand of misadventures. While this only ran for 13 episodes, hopefully Warner Archives will run the second half that has Heathcliff sharing his air time with Marmaduke, the great Dane.

This is a wonderful way to introduce kids to cartoons that weren't there to just sell you toys and whatnot. Just some good old Saturday Morning fun and, with The Flintstones, proof that prime time cartoons aren't just the offensive stuff we see today.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


This might be the stupidest thing I have ever seen. Bad enough that we have Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury because of the Ultimates line, but Captain America as the President?!? There are times that I am glad that I am poor and this is one of them. If I had a huge expendable income I might be curious. Luckily, my sting ass bastard mode prevents me from buying this at all. So, so much bad here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Sure, summer is done and gone, well unless you count Indian Summer in which case we have another month of Summer. Anway, here's a trio of stuff that you need for your shelves.


I really liked the first entry in this series, and you know they're gonna make more of them. But, the second one had things that didn't work for me. They killed off the girl from the first film. No spoiler there, it happens pretty early on. There is a lot of the same kind of thing from the first film. Their version of Moriarty is pretty cool. But I really didn't like the ending.
That being said I am fond of these DVD/Blu Ray/Digital combo packs. Probably the best invention ever.


In a world with Heathcliff and Garfield I have always liked Heathcliff more. I think I was exposed to his antics waaaaay before Garfield. The Dingbats are monsters so that's fun for me. I thought there was a catchy theme song and was pretty excited about that, but I was thinking of the series with the Cadillac Cats. Better luck next time. Oh, and this is a treasure that everyone should have in their collection.


Before Star Trek, Gene Roddenbery had a show called The Lieutenant. Gary Lockwood is the title character and he is a lieutenant in a California Marine base.  The show is full of special guest stars from Norman Fell to Bill Bixby and Dennis Hopper. There are things in here that you see surface in the original Star Trek show that makes this fun to watch. Warner Archives does a magnificent job with presenting these things that wouldn't survive a DVD release, but Video on Demand suits it just fine.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Innkeepers

The Innkeepers (2011)

I like a good ghost story as much as the next person; that is to say I like a ghost story that isn't entirely comprised of jump-scares and incessant screaming. I also like a ghost story with an eerie title. The Innkeepers is an eerie title. Think about it: Innkeeper is an archaic term used back when inns were thatched hovels with creaky floors and dark, creepy histories dating back centuries where spirits and gloom ruled the times. The Innkeepers in a damn creepy title.

Unfortunately, both of the things I really like about ghost stories are both present, and lacking in The Innkeepers. Which isn't to say it's a bad movie... it just feels 'done before'. Oh, but boy does it try to be a wolf in sheep's clothing. It tries really hard. In fact, from the onset until about the half-way point, it really was refreshingly different. But after that, it definitely became an amalgam of so many things done all at the same time, and it suddenly became unsure of what kind of movie it wanted to be.

It starts off innocently enough: It's the closing week of The Yankee Pedlar Inn. Business sucks, and the last two employees (not including the manager who we later find out is on vacation) decide that rather than go home each night, they'd just stick around and tend to the remaining guests who may or may not even show up. The innkeepers themselves are Claire (Sarah Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healey), and they both not only exude brash hipsterness (if that's even a word) but also such disdain for the old hotel that it's almost a chore for either of them to be there. It's not that I was expecting Tim Curry-esque hotel manager performances out of these two, but an iota of a happy memory might have made me care just a little bit more for them. As it is, Luke is such a stereotypical slacker that it's almost gross. At least Claire has chops and we do get a bit more of a flower-girl vibe from her that imbues her with a modicum of likeability. Anyway, these two 20-somethings are in charge for the final week and each decides to take 7 to 7 shifts watching the desk. And we're off and running.

So Luke has been working on a web site about the many haunting experiences he's had at the The Yankee Pedlar Inn, and has a few pics and videos uploaded that Claire rifles through as she mans the desk on their first evening. She knows that the old building has a history (here's where the Innkeeper definition from above fits in... it really kind of does feel a bit like something out of a King novel and I dig that), but she has yet to have an experience of her own. Luke has some recording equipment and Claire thinks it might be fun to give it a go... but she has no idea how to use it, so when she does hear something odd, she has no way of recording it. Oh well, there's always a next time...

At first there are only two guests: a mom and her son on the lam from a lousy husband. Claire accidentally runs her mouth to the kid about the spooks in the joint, and the already tense mother, Gayle (Alison Bartlett) snarks off to the clerks and spends the rest of her time in the film maintaining her bitchiness. Meanwhile, we get the arrival of the third guest who just so happens to be the biggest name in the flick: Actress Leanne Rease-Jones played by Kelly McGillis, who hasn't aged particularly well. Look, the last time I really cared about McGillis was Top Gun... and I suppose that was going on thirty years ago, but really, she looks kind of like Shirley Jones from The Partridge Family... only, yuckier. Anyway, she checks in and Claire immediately recognizes her as an actress from some old shows she used to watch and the two strike up a tenuous relationship.

Meanwhile, things start really tensing up at The Yankee Pedlar Inn. And by tensing up I mean jump-scares and incessant screaming. Yup. There it is: the other reason I cited earlier for this movie blowing a tire mid-way through. Nothing is particularly scary, even when they discover the ghost of Madeline O'Malley hanging around looking like an extra from The Ring. There are noises, pianos playing by themselves, and a few genuinely creepy moments that might catch the casual non-horror viewer off guard. But all in all, it becomes sadly cookie-cutter. However, even as I write this, there is one guest... the last, I might add... who jabs a little absurd spookiness into the plot. His name is... well, he just goes by Old Man, and he's played by George Riddle. He's got an air of chill from the moment he walks in, and he just keeps getting more horrific as the film progresses.

Well I'm not going to spoil the ending, even if it is trite and about a subtle as a toe stubbing. The movie as a whole is a ghost story through and through, even if it does stray off the path and wander into other territories. It definitely feels like an episode of Ghost Hunters for quite a while, and I really was okay with that because even that show can be frightening in its reality. The acting was mediocre, but was definitely carried by Claire. Even McGillis, the thespian of the cast, was dry and tasteless. It was pretty fun, it had some nice moments, and definitely harmless. But as a good ghost story... you're better off reading Peter Straub.

I'll give it 6.5 out of 10.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Monster Brawl

Monster Brawl (2011)

Wow, I haven't done a movie review in quite some time. And it's not for any lack of seeing movies, either. I just happen to write for a living so sometimes I'm just drained. But, regardless, I definitely got the urge once again after seeing this little gem of a flick, so, let's take a look!

The premise is deceptively simple: somewhere in a cemetery in 'Central Michigan' called The Necropolis, a horror/wrestling fanatic, Jake Blackburn, has gathered some if history's greatest 'Monster' icons in a wicked death match. Right of the bat this just screams 'lower-than-standard-by-a-damn-sight-budget' and that's perfectly okay by me. So, separated into two distinct creature sub-genres we have the Undead and the classic Monsters featuring eight of the most well known characters from horror: Frankenstein, Werewolf, Cyclops, Zombie Man, Swamp Gut (basically an homage to all things Swamp Monster), Witch Bitch, Lady Vampire, and Mummy. Each is represented with a nice back story, given a specific weight class, and posed next to a card that showcases their individual abilities. Seriously, if you love (or ever loved) wrestling and video games, there is so much of those two here that it's breathtaking.

The match layout is pretty simple where the lighter 'middleweights' take on each other from within their specific categories, and then the heavyweights go at it. Oddly, what bugged me the most is that the two winners from the middleweights never faced off, it just went right to the heavies and then to the end. Why that particular loose plot point stuck in my craw I don't know, especially considering all of the other little nitpicks I could have chosen. Oh well, it was still pretty epic.

So, from the onset, it's Cyclops versus Witch Bitch, then Mummy versus Lady Vampire, then in the heavyweight bouts it's Werewolf versus Swamp Gut, then Frankenstein versus Zombie Man, which leads to the finale of Werewolf versus Frankenstein. And the matches are all very well performed looking not at all unlike actual wrestling... even a bit better, in my opinion. They all do basic moves with some bulldogs and frog splashes thrown in. All in all, pretty exciting and just plain cool witnessing classic monsters tussle.

For comic relief, and acting as announcers, they have Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall) as Buzz Chambers, and Art Hindle (various horror flicks)  as Sasquatch Sid Tucker. Oh, but that's not all. They even managed to gather two actual wrestling icons, as well. Jimmy 'The Mouth of the South' Hart plays himself as sort of a ring-side commentator, and Kevin Nash portrays a military colonel who 'manages' Zombie Man. And finally, in the terms of veteran actors -even in this case of being heard and not seen- is Lance Henricksen who acts as both narrator and voice over for the matches peppering each with some not-so-subtle Mortal Kombat type calls.

So, was it any good? You're likely asking yourself. Well, let's just say it was 'good' on a scale of 1 to 10 where somewhere between 6 and 7 falls 'good'. The acting was surprisingly solid, and the make-up and gore effects were very effective and well done, but there was just no real plot to speak of. Now, typically, that would drown a genre-specific movie like this, but the really nice back stories of each creature was a major saving grace and, of course, the actual wrestling was pretty spot-on. Fortunately, it never takes itself too seriously and it does plod on a a good clip with never too long of a slow point. All in all, it's a movie you might want to have a few friends over and toss back a few beers to really enjoy.

Friday, June 8, 2012

DC 52 - Earth 2

So, everyone has their favorite team book. I loves me some Avengers, but that wasn't my favorite. I have always had a spot for Justice Society. Those guys worked on such awesome power levels and they were old school super heroes. Some of my favorites.
Now, DC is doing Earth 2 which is a re imagining of my precious Justice Society.
I have read the first two issues.
Before I do my review I noticed that DC has been doing damage control because Green Lantern a.k.a. Alan Scott is a homosexual. Believe me when I say that where Alan Scott goes for his lovin' is the least of my problems with this new book.
I read the first two issues and it deals with Earth 2. Good to know that Crisis on Infinite Earths was all for nothing, huh? This is the dawning of the superheroes that will exist there.
Small problem.
They are using all the names of the original Justice Society and giving them origins and costumes that look like they were culled from the Image Comics reject pile.
The origins suck. The costumes suck and, apparently, so does Alan Scott. Sorry, I really couldn't resist it.
So, to summarize, yet another DC book sucks. I am completely offended by this book in such a great way that I think I'm gonna have to just give DC a pass for the foreseeable future. I can read the Showcase reprints of when they didn't suck and Marvel hasn't ticked me off yet.
Seeya DC! Eat it! Yes, another gay joke. Once you start it is so hard to stop.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Alright, go read the previous post about the books. Did that? No, go do it now and then come back.
I will be giving away the three good books on the list. Not that last awful one.
Now, how do you win?
Simple, in the comments section give me your favorite film, why it's your favorite film and which book you would like of the three. After I have received 20 comments I will choose three at random and send them the book of their choice. So, part of it is how well you convey the film you love and part of it is the book you want. I only have one copy of each.
Have at it already!

Penguin Bookshelf

Recently Focal Press sent us a lot of books. They are all pretty cool and deserve a mention. And then there's a book that irritated me.
Let's begin, shall we?

First up is EDITING by Justin Chang.

Sure, it has that Godawful Dark Knight flick on the cover, but this gives some delicious images and true attention the the craft of the editor. For people considering the business or just curious how it works, this is a good starting place.

Next we have CINEMATOGRAPHY BY Mike Goodridge and Tim Grierson

Filled with many breathtaking pictures and interviews with legendary and contemporary cinematographers, this is a great little book. Slim, yet packed with information.

The last good book of the group is DIRECTORS TELL THE STORY: MASTER THE CRAFT OF TELEVISION AND FILM DIRECTING by Bethany Rooney  and Mary Lou Belli. 

These two ladies have been down in the trenches. They have seen it and done it and bring some valuable insight to anyone considering this kind of wild and crazy career. A really great book on the subject of directing.

Finally we have SHUT UP AND SHOOT by Anthony Q. Artis.

First up, name sounds fake. Second, and this is my biggest problem, the cover says, 'Any budget, any camera, any time' Horseshit! The cheapest camera he lists is in the thousand dollar range. I'm one of those guys who likes to shoot quick and cheap. I have my own cable access show and we do some short films from time to time. My camera costs less than 200 bucks. And this whole HD or hi-def thing? Yeah, when they came out with the commercial for hi-def paint, I said goodbye to HD. Over rated. Truffaut says you should only shoot in natural light so why am I buying a light package? This was just the worst book I have read in a while. Save your pennies on a camera instead.

So, look these books up and give them a whirl. Well, maybe not that last one, but the rest of them.

Monday, March 5, 2012

THE SNOW BLEW INN by Dian Curtis Regan

This delightful children's book tells of a small Inn that accepts weary travelers during a snowstorm. But as Emma, the daughter of the innkeeper watches the small Inn fill up she waits and waits for her cousin Abby who she has planned a sleepover.
The illustrations by Doug Cushman are wonderful. I tested this out on my grand daughter Izzy and she made me read it two times in a row. I would have liked some musical notes to give me a hint on how to sing the song at the end of the book, but all in all this is a wonderful book to read to your little one on a cold winter day.

Order it here!

Friday, February 24, 2012


Apparently, this is finally coming out. Looks like fun.