Thursday, August 30, 2012

ParaNorman


ParaNorman ~ I wasn't sure what to think of ParaNorman when I first saw previews for it. It kinda struck a comedic animated cross between The Sixth Sense and Hocus Pocus. It certainly had to be more than just a clever title, right? After seeing it, I'm still not sure. Maybe it's a bullying parable gone wildly astray after too many trips through the Hollywood idea machine. Maybe not.

In a town founded on the legend of a particularly nasty witch trial, Norman is a horror obsessed little boy with a non understanding family, few to no friends, and the ability to see dead people. Yep, just like little Haley Joel Osmont, he sees ghosts, but most of them are harmless. Except for the ghost of the witch who cursed the town. And in the words of Remo Williams, the adventure begins.

The character designs are grotesque but interesting, and refreshingly don't stink of Tim Burton's mind. This is a world where everything is crooked, askew, making it a treat to view. I only wish there were more to the story. There is one neat twist but much of the rest is fairly predictable.

This might be a bit intense for the kids, unless they like horror and monsters. Good watch if you wait for cable or DVD, and if you go to the theatre, save your money and see it in 2D.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for the Week of 8-29-2012


The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! - the South Jersey/Philadelphia area's best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (No Questions) Evans and Glenn (Birthday Boy) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here! Allison (Toes in the Sand) Eckel returns next week.

Discussion featured in this week's Special Shaky Cam Episode includes: The controversial Justice League #12, Green Lantern Annual #1, Aquaman #12, Flash Annual #1, monkey action, AvX VS #5 (of 6), Captain Marvel #3, Avenging Spider-Man #11, Gambit #2, Infernal Man-Thing #3 (of 3), Powers #11, Winter Soldier #9, Uncanny X-Force #30, X-Treme X-Men #2, Godzilla #4, and Ed's indies and trades.



Be sure to check out the crazy new mutant friendly All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube (don't forget to subscribe to the channel while you're there!).

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Special thanks to Dina for holding the camera phone throughout all of today's looong vidcast!

Friday, August 24, 2012

This Week's All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast


The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! - the area's best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (X-Men) Evans, Allison (Two Marvel Girl) Eckel and Glenn (Bazongas) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week's Special Dinner and Bazongas Episode includes: Green Lantern New Guardians #12, Batman Inc. #3, All-Star Western #12, Firestorm #12, The Flash #12, Voodoo #12, Before Watchmen Dr. Manhattan #1, Amazing Spider-Man #692, Invincible Iron Man #523, Punisher comics, Cap and Namor vs. Nazis, Archie marries Wolverine, Brilliant #4, Star Trek #12, Bionic Man #12, Archie #636, America's Got Powers #3, Ed's trades, and Doctor Who accessories.


This week our special kids segment returns, featuring Thomas giving us the ten year old's perspective. The discussion included: Adventure Time #7, Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #5, Super Dinosaur #13, the Batman Brave and the Bold trade, the TARDIS lunchbox, and other fun stuff.


Be sure to check out the brand spankin' new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube (don't forget to subscribe to the channel while you're there!).

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Remember, kids, you can't copyright evil.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hoax Hunters


Folks who know me personally know I'm addicted to Coast to Coast AM late nights. They cover lots of different topics on the show, now hosted by George Noory, but the nights that I love are the ones about UFOs, cryptozoology, and conspiracy theories. Yeah, I'm a nut for that stuff. Add in that I grew up in the Pine Barrens of South Jersey, where nobody jokes about the Jersey Devil when they're outside at night - you know I'm a sucker for the new Hoax Hunters comic from Image.

Writers Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley have created quite a phenomenon with Hoax Hunters. It's everything I could want, it's Coast to Coast AM mixed with "X-Files" in comic book form. Described as "Cryptids. Aliens. Monsters. All the world’s bizarre secrets--what if they were real? Their existence would be debunked by a reality TV show! HOAX HUNTERS is that show, publicly disproving all variety of lore. But their real goal is the opposite: as the world’s dark corners surface, the HOAX HUNTERS cover them up. They demonstrate that the truth isn’t out there." Again, what more could I want? The creators have even promised a Jersey Devil appearance in the future.

There are two issues of new material out now, plus a 'zero issue' that collects the stories that first appeared as back-up in Hack/Slash #1-10. Get out to your local comics shop now and check them out! This comic rocks!

Hoax Hunters has a website and blog that you visit here. And don't forget to check out this episode of the Biff Bam Popcast featuring Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley!

Monday, August 20, 2012

RIP William Windom


This has been a bad weekend for show business. We lost director Tony Scott to an apparent suicide, singer/songwriter Scott McKenzie of "San Francisco" fame, and just today, Phyllis Diller. But for right now, I'm going to talk about Emmy Award winning actor William Windom.

Windom was perhaps one of the best character actors in television, film and stage. He was memorable in "The Farmer's Daughter," "Star Trek," "Night Gallery," a recurring role on "Murder, She Wrote," and multiple episodes of "Twilight Zone." You might also remember him from the films To Kill a Mockingbird, Escape from the Planet of the Apes and The Detective among others.

But the reason I remember William Windom is a short-lived NBC TV series called "My World and Welcome to It." My big sister Bobbie, for whom I am eternally grateful for teaching me to read at a very young age, insisted I watch the show when I was just a wee one. At the time, I might have thought she put me in front of the TV because it had cartoons in it, but in reality, she was exposing me to a great writer - James Thurber.

The show revolved around a writer and cartoonist based on Thurber and played by Windom, who won an Emmy for his work there. Most of the content of this unique half-hour sitcom was either based on Thurber's stories, essays and cartoons, or on his own life. The one animated sequence that stands out in my mind is "The Unicorn in the Garden." Years later I would find the tale in a book and discover one of my favorite authors.

Thank you, Bobbie, for introducing me to James Thurber, and thank you, William Windom, for bringing him to life. Windom passed away on Thursday from congestive heart failure. He was 88, and he will be missed.



Friday, August 17, 2012

Lost Hits of the New Wave #16


"Love Is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar

Another example of an established rock act getting on the new wave bandwagon, this example may well have had good intentions but went above and beyond them. While the previous studio album by Pat Benatar, Get Nervous was far more new wavey than this song, it didn't do as well as it was intended to do, and the singles released did not sample that flavor.

"Love Is a Battlefield" was the first single from Benatar's live greatest hits collection, Live from Earth. Written by Holly Knight and Mike Chapman, the drum and synth heavy tune was accompanied by a music video that featured Benatar as a runaway/taxi dancer who leads a rebellion against her pimp and walks off into the sunset victorious. The fashion, the dancing, and the story got the video honored with multiple awards, and earned Benatar her biggest US hit.



Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Lady Vanishes 1938


The Lady Vanishes ~ I had not seen this Alfred Hitchcock classic before seeing it several Mondays ago at the Rave Cinema Classics locally. I'm glad I saw it, and am kicking myself for not seeing it years ago. The Lady Vanishes is everything one expects and loves in a Hitchcock flick, and it reminded me a lot of one of my faves, Shadow of a Doubt. There is intrigue, humor, fascinating characters, and plots twists galore. Most of all, it's fun. I loved it.

A couple investigate a missing old lady on a train across pre-war Europe, where the apathy and selfishness of others keep the mystery intact. This is not the stereotypical Hitchcock flick, although his touch is golden and obvious throughout. And speaking of interesting characters, this film is the first appearance of Charters and Caldicott, who have appeared in various British films over the years. Fun, suspenseful and highly recommended.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for 8-15-2012


The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! - the area's best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Ed (The Answer Man) Evans, Allison (Alvin) Eckel and Glenn (The Question Man) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week's Special Gruesome Headwear Episode includes: The Walking Dead #101 and 100, Pathfinder #1, Voltron #7, The Victories #1 by Michael Avon Oeming, Ed's indies, Zenescope catfight, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman #12, Captain Atom #12, Birds of Prey #12, mysterious crashes, Legion of Super-Heroes #12, Blue Beetle #12, Supergirl #12, A vs. X Round Ten, Avengers comics of the week, Deadpool fun and furious, X-titles of week, Marvel action figures, Captain Marvel #2, Amazing Spider-Man #691, Daredevil #17, Ed's trades, manga, Doctor Who toys, and Justice League HeroClix.



Be sure to check out the fah-bulous new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube (don't forget to subscribe to the channel while you're there!).

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Actor Ron Palillo Dead at 63


Actor Ron Palillo, best known for his portrayal of Arnold Horshack on "Welcome Back, Kotter," was found dead early this morning by his longtime partner. He was 63, dead from an apparent heart attack.

While a star of film, television, stage and animation voicework for most of his career, he will forever be remembered as Arnold Horshack, a role he played from 1975-1979. For years he strove to rise above or erase the public's memory of the role, even going so far as to have plastic surgery. He is the second of the 'Sweathogs' to pass away within a year.

He was a prolific stage actor on and off Broadway. Most recently Palillo was teaching acting in Florida where he lived and passed away.

RIP Joe Kubert


Legendary comics creator Joe Kubert passed away this weekend at the age of 85. He was there back at the beginning of the Golden Age of comics, and was still producing work today. His legacy is carried on by perhaps the first and best school for comics creators which he founded and named after himself, and his two sons Adam and Andy, two of today's hottest comics artists themselves. We have truly lost one of the geniuses, one of the legends, one of the greatest contributors to the comics industry. Joe Kubert will be missed by anyone whose experienced his work, and that probably includes the entire comics field.

I first was introduced to Mr. Kubert at the Berlin Farmer's Market. There was a store there that sold comic books with the covers torn off, three for a quarter. The store is still there but it's much more expensive. I was a superhero guy, but at that price I could explore titles I wouldn't normally have picked up. In that way, I picked up comics featuring Tarzan and Sgt. Rock, illustrated by Joe Kubert. It was also through one of those Tarzan comics that I was turned onto John Carter of Mars and the rest of the Edgar Rice Burroughs fantasy universes.

Joe Kubert was my introduction into so many other worlds. His artistic vision and technique was unique in comics. Much like Jack Kirby, he was an original. There was no one who drew like him, but everyone wanted to and tried to draw like him. Still to this day, if Tarzan, Sgt. Rock, Viking Prince, Enemy Ace, Tor, Ragman, even Hawkman and Hawkgirl, are not by Kubert - my mind will automatically say that's not the real thing. Those characters, and many many more, are the trademark, the realm, and the legacy of Joe Kubert.

We have lost perhaps one of the greatest in comics. We are all in mourning.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lost Hits of the New Wave #15


"Mama" by Genesis

Much like attempts we have talked about before where traditional rock acts tried to ape the new wave sound for their own purposes (like Alice Cooper and Cheap Trick), we have Genesis with "Mama."

The song, released in the summer of 1983, and later followed by the self-titled Genesis album (also known as the 'shapes' album) represented a change in the band's sound, and a lean toward more progressive, mainstream, and yes, some might say new wave music. Most notable is the use of synthesizer, reverb and lead vocalist Phil Collins' voice as a percussive sound itself.



Genesis was an art rock band that had been around forever, and had never been radio friendly, at least not outside of old school FM radio and college music heads. Former lead singer Peter Gabriel as a solo act had been making in-roads with the new wave crowds, so perhaps this spurred the rest of the band to give it a shot.

Genesis quickly became pop music as the decade wore on, Collins becoming bigger as a solo star himself.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Pineland Players Present Bye Bye Birdie


The Pineland Players present "Bye Bye Birdie" - Book by Michael Stewart, Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Lee Adams, Originally Produced by Edward Padula

It's the late 1950s and teenagers from across the United States are going crazy for the handsome rock star, Conrad Birdie. Meanwhile, his manager, Albert Peterson, is going into debt and has staked his financial future on Conrad's success. Albert's secretary, Rosie, is increasingly frustrated with the time and money Albert is losing on his project. Disaster strikes when Conrad receives a draft notice to join the military. Thus, Albert attempts to stage a farewell party for Conrad in which he is to kiss one lucky fan on the Ed Sullivan Show before he leaves for the army. Kim MacAfee, from Sweet Apple, Ohio, is the lucky girl chosen to be kissed. But conflict arises when her boyfriend, Hugo Peabody, gets jealous, and Rosie becomes fed-up with Albert's lack of commitment. Eventually, things turn out alright. Kim and Hugo resolve their problems while Albert agrees to leave managing, become an English teacher, and marry Rosie.

The Cast - Albert Peterson: Dave Ferris, Rose Alvarez: Arielle Thomas, Helen: Megan Bandomer, Ursula Merkle: Alanna Campbell, Kim MacAfee: Emily Chant, Mrs. Doris MacAfee: Jennifer Walker, Mr. Harry MacAfee: Michael Post, Randi MacAfee: Abby Chant, Mrs. Mae Peterson: Rachel Ulriksen, Conrad Birdie: Erich Schmal, Hugo Peabody: Dylan Paulson, Reporters: Stephanie Lottes, Tyrone Fuimaono, Mayor: James Hoffman, Mayor’s Wife: Karen Malone, Mrs. Merkle: Cindy Clark, Nancy: Bryce Turkheimer, Gloria Rasputin: Sammi Kristie, Penelope: Julianna Rankel, Mrs. Johnson: Michelle Bartasius, Maude F Charles: Abby Zahn, Alice: Rachel Benassutti, Margie: Mariah Schultz, Harvey Johnson: David Thomas, Sad Girls: Danielle Romanuski, Sarah Stearn

August 10, 11, 17, 18, 2012 at The Neeta School, 44 Neeta Trail, Medford Lakes, NJ

Bye Bye Birdie Tickets Now Available!!!

Show Dates: August 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 7:30pm, August 18 at 2:00pm And don't forget about our traditional "Meet the Cast" Ice Cream Social immediately following the August 18th matinee.

The Ticket request line is now open. You can request tickets or get more information by calling the Pineland Players information line at 609-286-3485. Leave a message with your name and phone number, your ticket date(s) and how many, and we will return your call to confirm your request.

Or you can use our on-line ticket request form. Click Here to go to the request form. Complete the form and click the "Submit" button at the bottom. We will confirm your request using the method you specified (phone or email) in the form. (you may also put in a ticket request at Saturday rehearsal; see anyone at the front desk)

BY REQUEST, WE NOW HAVE RESERVED SEATING, SO GET YOUR TICKETS EARLY FOR BEST SEATING AVAILABILITY.

Ticket prices - Adults $12, Children under 12 & Seniors, $10. Group rate, 10 or more tickets, $8. Ice Cream Social, $4.

Tickets will be held at the ticket desk on the night of your show, payable in cash or check payable to "Pineland Players."

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for 8-8-2012


The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! - the area's best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts Indy Ed Evans, DC Fangirl Allison Eckel and Resident Curmudgeon Glenn Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week's special Allison Returns episode includes: Spider-Men #4, Space Punisher #2, Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe #2, Avengers Assemble #6, Thing not Thor, Scarlet Spider goes into a bar, Gambit #1, Batman #12, Batman and Robin #12, Batgirl #12, Demon Knights #12, Arrr, Legion Lost, Ravagers, Before Watchmen Ozymandias #2, Resurrection Man #12, Kevin Keller Special Olympics Issue, Godzilla The Half-Century War #1, Magic the Gathering, Archer and Armstrong #1, Mouse Guard, Ed's whole lotta indies, Ed's trades, manga, and the Space Ghost Toon Tumbler.



Our special kids comics segment returns this week, featuring Thomas giving us the ten year old's perspective. The discussion in this special serpentine episode included: Adventure Time, Marceline, Ninjago, Scooby-Doo, Avengers, Mega Man, Angry Birds, Spongebob, Superman Family, Super Pets, Wonder Woman, and the plush Death Star.



Be sure to check out the slick new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Marvin Hamlisch 1944-2012


Celebrated composer Marvin Hamlisch passed away yesterday after a brief but undisclosed illness. He was a star of stage and screen, and won multiple awards, among them - Grammys, Emmys, Oscars, a Tony and a Pulitzer. He was 68.

Hamlisch was perhaps one of the most famous American composers, having created scores for many movies, TV specials and Broadway shows. He was conductor of multiple orchestras across the nation.

His most famous works include A Chorus Line, The Goodbye Girl, The Sting, Take the Money and Run, The Spy Who Loved Me, Ice Castles, Sophie's Choice, and The Way We Were.



Monday, August 06, 2012

Ace Kilroy Returns!


Ace Kilroy by Rob Kelly and Dan O'Connor returns today with a new strip daily.

What is Ace Kilroy?

"THE YEAR IS 1937. Another World War is brewing in Europe, and the United States Government, headed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, is doing all it can to prepare. However, recent intelligence from that part of the world has uncovered an even more disturbing, almost unbelievable, set of facts: that the world's worst supernatural monsters, thought only to be the stuff of nightmares, are real! Even worse, that Adolf Hitler's Third Reich has unleashed a multi-pronged effort to turn those monsters to the side of the axis powers!

"President Roosevelt, backed by a small band of his most trusted advisers, has decided to commission decorated World War One veteran and soldier of fortune Ace Kilroy to go undercover in Transylvania and see if the threat is real--and if it is, to stop it...at all costs.

"ACE KILROY harkens back to the classic American newspaper comic strips of the mid-20th Century like Dick Tracy, Steve Canyon, and Buz Sawyer. We feature a new black and white daily installment every day, with an extra-large "color supplement" on Sundays!"


Check it out now, right here!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Cobra Woman


Cobra Woman ~ My friend Dan turned me on to Maria Montez and Jon Hall. I was aware of and knew about them but their films are not all that easy to find. Imagine my surprise recently when cruising HBO Go on my iPhone one late night looking for something to cure my insomnia when I came across Cobra Woman. On HBO of all places! Insomnia hell, I settled in for the long haul.

The first thing that hit me just in the opening credits was just how brilliant and striking the Technicolor was. Very bright, very crisp. The other thing that surprised me was that both Miso and Get Glue, the two apps I use to post on social media what I'm watching, had no recollection of the flick. This truly was a forgotten movie.

Sabu, who was Mowgli in the original Jungle Book the year before, gets third billing in this 1944 cult classic from Universal after Montez and Hall. Lon Chaney Jr. is also in there as well. The exotic Montez plays dual roles as kidnapped bride and her evil sister, high priestess of Cobra Island, Hall is the heroic groom, and Sabu the plucky sidekick.

Cobra Woman is pretty typical fare for Universal horror of the time had it been in black and white, but the lush and lavish Technicolor raises the bar on this one. The set design and the costumes more than make up for the clich├ęd story and adequate acting. Well, less than adequate acting for Montez, but her dazzling beauty helps to erase that.

Adventure, horror, romance, musical, and spectacle - why don't they make movies like this any more? If you get a chance to see it, don't miss Cobra Woman.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

In Time


In Time ~ This is one of those types of science fiction concept flicks that would have been right at home on a double bill with other 1970s era movies like Rollerball, The Omega Man, Logan's Run, and Planet of the Apes. The concept is the draw point. Here in In Time, the idea is a world where time is currency. Similar to the aforementioned Logan's Run, one has a limited lifespan, 25 in this case, but more time can be earned or stolen, and some people can live for centuries.

This is a lot more clever than it at first appears to be. Much fun is had in dialogue with time measurements in place of monetary amounts. Many of the characters are named after famous watchmakers. Fun.

Justin Timberlake deftly plays Will Salas, who loses his mother to time limit and also is given over a century by a stranger in the space of a day. The stranger also imparts over a century to him before expiring himself. On the run from perennial baddie Cillian Murphy as a Timekeeper (that's futurespeak for cop) for the stranger's murder, Will ends up on the run with Amanda Seyfried as a hostage. She's the daughter of a rich socialite, played by Vincent Kartheiser, Pete Campbell of "Mad Men." This is where In Time spins into current day thriller as opposed to retro-sci-fi.

In Time was written by producer and director Andrew Niccol who's had similar flicks under his belt like Gattaca, The Truman Show, and S1m0ne. It's as if he's got one foot in the day after tomorrow scifi vibe. He also wrote the story that The Terminal was based on and produced a handful as well. I'll be looking for his name in the future based on In Time. There's more to this flick than seems at first glance, worth a look.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for the Week of 8-1-2012


The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! - the area's best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ.

Co-hosts the Invincible Ed Evans and the Glenn Walker of Earth 2 (Allison Eckel returns next week, promise!) discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week's sadly Allison-less episode includes: Earth 2 doings, Superman in Action and Smallville, JLI, Animal Man and Swamp Thing, Nite-Owl and Rorshach, Defenders #9, AvsX and the non-participatory X-Men, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #13, Invincible Iron Man #522, Hawkeye #1, Avenging Spider-Man #10, Deadpool sans tutu, Daredevil #16, Spawn #222, Transformers Regeneration One #82, The Shadow and The Spider, Strawberry Shortcake and The Muppets, The Boys #69, Courtney Crumrin #4, whole lotta Sonic, Ed's trades and Troll dolls.



Be sure to check out the wacky new All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube.

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!