Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hardware


Someone recently recommended Lost Soul to me, the recent documentary about writer/director Richard Stanley and his journey making 1996's The Island of Doctor Moreau. Before I watched it I thought I might revisit Stanley's first mainstream film, Hardware from 1990.

I remember being very into cyberpunk when Hardware came out, seeing it the Friday night it was released, and liking it enough to buy the VHS when it became available - but if I'm being honest, I remember almost nothing else. It was one of those videotapes I owned, put on the shelf, and never watched. Yes, it's time to watch Hardware, but on Netflix, the VHS is long long gone now.

Hardware portrays a post-apocalyptic world some time in the 21st century with nations at war and radiation everywhere. The technology is dated, yet somehow refreshing, even if the fashions are very 1980s MTV doomsday. Written and directed by Stanley, and based on a short story from 2000 A.D., is the story of a sculptor who inadvertently reactivates a killer robot from collected junk, which then rampages.

This is both something we've seen before and yet haven't. Stanley adds a punk attitude and style to old school scifi and horror, then turns the dials up to eleven. Hardware is sexy, dirty, and slick, fastpaced to a eclectic score and soundtrack. I found I still dig this after twenty-five years, and had to scratch my head about why I hadn't seen either of Stanley's other two films, Moreau and Dust Devil.

Stacey Travis, John Lynch, and pre-"Practice" Dylan McDermott are very good and better than the usual for this kind of genre flick, but the movie is quite easily stolen by Motorhead's Lemmy, and Iggy Pop as DJ Angry Bob. Hardware was a pleasant ride through cyberpunk nostalgia, recommended, but not for the squeamish.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The New Electra Woman and Dyna Girl


If you listened to The GAR! Podcast's interview with Bryan J.L. Glass at this year's Camden Comic Con, you know how big a fan of Sid and Marty Krofft's "Electra Woman and Dyna Girl" I am.

The very short-lived series aired Saturday morning in the disco spandex era of the late 1970s. Though it looked kinda cheap because it was shot on videotape, it was a loving send-up of the camp superhero antics of the 1960s "Batman" TV series, and also had something we just don't have today - female lead protagonists, as Kristin Battestella and I discussed recently on Morning Coffee, more on that here.

Imagine my surprise when this rather unorthodox preview dropped…



The new version will be a digital series from Legendary and star YouTube phenomena Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart in the title roles. Hmmm… we'll just have to wait and see. What do you all think?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Marvel Morning Coffee


This past Friday I had the opportunity to speak with friend, fellow writer, and TV host Kristin Battestella at the RadioVision Network on their program "Morning Coffee." The topic was Marvel, in the movies, on television, and other media platforms.

We discussed Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, the films that have worked, and those that have not. In the second segment we talked "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and "Agent Carter," and in the third segment, "Daredevil" and the rest of the Netflix series.

We also go off topic a bit talking about Ben Affleck's viability as Batman or Daredevil, what's good and about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as what's coming up in the future. You can see it right here. Good times, it was an awesome chat, with shout outs to Biff Bam Pop! and The GAR! Podcast. Thanks to Kristin, Morning Coffee, and the RadioVision Network.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!


With Sharknado, the third time is the charm, and by now, let's face it, The Asylum is just having fun. After protecting Los Angeles and New York City in Sharknado and Sharknado 2: The Second One, Ian Ziering's Fin Shepherd has to save the entire east coast, from Washington DC (which gets demolished better than it did in either Independence Day or Mars Attacks) to Orlando. Camp silliness rules, and guest stars and product placement are everywhere. Could you expect anything else? Truly, Thunder Levin and The Asylum are laughing all the way to the bank.

The opening destruction of Washington was just as exciting as the James Bond intro it was trying to emulate. It was funny, thrilling, and ridiculous - and it sets the mood for the rest of this flick. Be warned, despite the inherent silliness, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! is remarkably plot heavy. While Tara Reid, Bo Derek, and the rest of Fin's non-acting family tour and promote Universal Orlando - he's making his way there from DC in an armored Shazambago.

Two of the best things about this flick are the drivers of that Winnebago - Cassie Scerbo as Nova from the first Sharknado and her sidekick Frankie Muniz. I'll take Cassie over Tara any day myself. Also look for cameos by Lou Ferrigno, Ann Coulter, Michael Bolton, Anthony Weiner, Chris Jericho, George R.R. Martin, Penn and Teller, Ne-Yo, and hell yes, even David Hasselhoff.

Like its two predecessors, this flick is a hell of a lot of fun from start to finish, and as it aired last night, plans were finalized for not just Sharknado 4, but this being a regular event. I'm down. And don't forget to vote in the Twitter contest for #AprilLives or #AprilDies... Why does this remind me of Jason Todd? Semper paratus!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Why George Coe Was Cool


Actor and comedian George Coe passed away yesterday. He was an Academy Award nominee, a veteran of stage and screen, the voice of Woodhouse in "Archer," and an original cast member of "Saturday Night Live." He had appeared in numerous movies and TV shows from "The West Wing" to "Max Headroom" to the Transformers films and even Skyrim, but it was SNL that made him cool.

Here's the thing. George Coe was only credited on the first episode as one of the Not Ready for Prime Time Players, even though he made a few appearances throughout that first season. Coe was originally placed in the cast by network executives who thought the show skew 'too young' for viewers. They were quickly proved wrong and George Coe moved on.

The cool part is back in the dark days before the internet, when you couldn't just look something up on your cellphone in a split second, there was a wonderful sport called the bar bet. If you knew, you could say, "I bet you fifty bucks (or a hundred if you're feeling daring) you can't name every member of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players."

The dumb ones might forget Chevy Chase, or include Bill Murray. The smart ones might, just might, get Michael O'Donoghue (always my favorite), but nobody ever got George Coe. Free beer money.

Good night, Woodhouse, we'll miss you.