- Lost Hits of the New Wave
- The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast
- The Cape
- The Following
- Bionic Nostalgia
- True Blood
- Doctor Who
- The Flash
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Agent Carter
- Avengers Assemble
- Age of Ultron
- Legion of Super-Heroes
- Jessica Jones
- Young Justice
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Legends of Tomorrow
- Civil War II
- Luke Cage
Friday, January 30, 2015
This documentary, done almost the opposite of the Eagles doc I reviewed some time ago, has interviews with the band together and separately. It's intriguing that while there was conflict within the band, much like the Eagles, no one really hates each other here. Phil Collins, frequently rumored to be difficult in all areas of his life, appears to be the odd man out though, acting the cantankerous old man, while other members seem to still have a passion for the music.
The interviews, together and separately, with Gabriel, Collins, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett, and others, paint quite a vivid history of the band, from its early days to the art rock days of costumes and props to the pop music video days, and beyond. This fascinating and revealing documentary is well worth watching.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
new crime lord Brick having undone everything Team Arrow has worked for the last few months, things don't look good for Starling City. Its a good thing there's a new Canary on the streets - or is it?
With no Arrow and no original Canary, the vacuum is being taken advantage of by Brick. While Oliver recuperates in the Himalayas, Team Arrow confronts Laurel who is new to the mask business. She's not her sister, and she's going to get killed.
A later botched rescue attempt shows clearly how inept Laurel appears to be at this vigilante stuff, and Brick kills one of the aldermen as payment. This was the point where I started questioning the show. At first I thought did Ted Grant really do that bad a job training her? Then I wondered why Quentin couldn't tell that Canary was much taller than usual. Then I wondered why Brick would pull such a ham handed stunt when really, he already has control of The Glades?
Notably many street names and city places are mentioned in this episode, none of them referencing creators from the comics. That's an easy homage that is missed. Oliver's magical length changing beard was also distracting. This was neither a strong episode nor a favorite one. Perhaps it's time for another Flash crossover to spark things up a bit.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Dead Is Dead or Poor Devil, is one some folks are unsure they remember correctly or perhaps remember seeing at all. Sometimes known as Chinese Gods, or The Story of Chinese Gods, or simply the unlikely Bruce Lee cartoon, its real title is Pang Shen Feng.
Created in 1976, with a character drawn to look like Bruce Lee, I first discovered this on Saturday afternoons in the early eighties where it invariably showed up as part of the martial arts flicks on UHF. I have to wonder what the regular kung fu and Shaw Bros. fans made of this animated feature mixed in with their standard fare.
The simply animated film, with old school anime flair and just a touch of Yellow Submarine surrealism, loosely strings together a handful of tales from Chinese mythology into one story full of bizarre visuals and wild martial arts fight sequences. Be warned ahead of time, this is not for kids. There are adult themes and concepts, and quite a bit of violence and sexual innuendo, even blood and a bit of nudity.
Chinese Gods starts a little slow, but once the strange creatures, monsters, and demons start showing up, it gets quite good. I remember being so entranced with one such beast - the nine-tailed fox - that I wrote it up and used it against my players in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Here the nine-tailed fox gives Bruce Lee a run for his money.
There's also the half-naked kid who flies by riding fiery wheels on his feet. Did I mention how surreal yet cool this flick is? I thought Chinese Gods stood the test of time and was well worth seeing again. It's definitely available on YouTube here, and might also be on out of print VHS or bootleg DVD. Good but surreal fun.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Originally intended to be just another bad stoner flick from James Franco and Seth Rogan, The Interview gained frightening national and international infamy by reputedly being the target of a cyber attack on Sony supposedly by North Korea. While the facts of who did what may be in question, it seems that making a film about what a monster the leader of North Korea is and how a couple of idiots attempt to assassinate him could actually lead to an act of war. Sounds silly, doesn't it? But apparently it happened.
This is still a terrible movie, but it's better than it has any right to be. And I'm not sure whether that's good or bad. I certainly didn't hate it like I did This Is The End. I really didn't think I could hate James Franco more than I already did, and then I saw The Interview. The man is now on my do-not-watch list. Yeah, he's that bad. He makes Adam Sandler look like Cary Grant. Seth Rogan isn't bad, and Lizzy Caplan does her best with what she has to work with.
Otherwise, I would say to wait to see The Interview for free, if at all. This flick is only a curiosity because of the controversy around it, not because of anything special in it.
Monday, January 26, 2015
The series had gotten quite a bit of recent buzz with its Golden Globe nominations, but I knew it from hearing its star, veteran character actor Jeffrey Tambor, interviewed on the Satellite Radio circuit quite a few months back when the show first took off. I was intrigued, and looking forward to a chance to see it, and I'm glad I finally did.
"Transparent" is about secrets, and the prices paid by keeping them. Maura's coming out affects each of her three children distinctly, making them examine their own lives and their own secrets, and how her secret has impacted them growing up as well as in the present. The show has an amazing ensemble cast including standouts Gabby Hoffman, Amy Landecker, Judith Light, and of course Tambor.
As I said, I'm glad I finally got to see "Transparent" but sorry I waited so long. Don't wait. This is very good television, and well worth paying for.
Friday, January 23, 2015
One of my first memories of MTV was this video. I never saw the music video channel until about a year or so after it had first hit the air, and was in college at a friend's house, who not only had a Nintendo Entertainment System with the amazing for the time Donkey Kong home video game, but also cable with a projection TV in the basement.
"Stand or Fall" by The Fixx was the video that was on when I first came down into that basement, and as I recall, I saw it again later that afternoon as well. It wasn't a matter of it being popular at the moment, it was that the channel didn't have all that many videos yet. This was also around the time that Michael Jackson was making a stink about no videos by black artists on the channel, and something called "Billie Jean" was also starting to get airplay. I saw that one that afternoon as well.
Around this time however, The Fixx was very hot, follow up singles "Red Skies" from Shuttered Room, and from the next album Reach the Beach, there was "Saved by Zero" and "One Thing Leads to Another." Their videos were played on MTV in heavy rotation and for the non-cable users, "Video Rock," ad nauseum.
Led by Cy Curnin, lead singer and primary songwriter who has a solo career as well as participation in other musical projects, The Fixx continues to perform and record today.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Yes, the Arrow is dead, and while this is new for television, in the comics, Green Arrow has been dead before. More than once. He's always gotten better. And seeing how Stephen Amell and his bare chest are the stars of this show, he won't be dead for long on TV either.
the situation, quick and mostly painless, as I'll be glossing over the weak plot points and cliches as we go. While under Malcolm's mind control, Thea killed Sara. To keep the League of Assassins from killing Thea, Oliver takes the blame and is brought before R'as Al Ghul. In lieu of execution, Oliver challenges R'as to a duel, a trial by combat. It's a good fight for a moment or two until R'as stops toying with Oliver, puts his sword through his chest, and kicks him off a cliff. Yeah, baby, dead us dead. Or is it?
Brick is a 21st century Green Arrow foe from the comics. Danny Brickwell was a low level thug and enforcer who rose to crime lord status with his powers of super-strength and invulnerability. Played here by charismatic but typecast villain actor Vinnie Jones, Brick might not be a metahuman (jury is still out on that, did he take a bullet to the head?), but he's strong, resilient, and very intimidating. And he's killing or threatening witnesses, and stealing evidence from the police, giving him a sort of invulnerability.
The story in Flashback Hong Kong continues as Amanda Waller insists Oliver and Maseo go after China White and the bomb components as opposed to Tatsu/Katana. Of course it perhaps only serves to keep Stephen Amell on the screen in his own show that he's the star of. There may of course be a payoff in the flashback story this episode however.
Next: More of the new Black Canary, and the return of the Arrow in "Midnight City."
You can read all of my "Arrow" reviews here, and my Biff Bam Pop! reviews of "The Flash" here.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Panic was shot in black and white and directed by star Ray Milland, his debut as a director, and with themes close to his heart. The movie was written by John Morton and Jay Simms, yet bears a remarkable resemblance to the "Lot" and "Lot's Daughter" short stories by Ward Moore, for which he has never received official credit. The parallels are however obvious.
Frankie Avalon, in a studio bid for a different audience, is his son. He doesn't do much at first other than "Yes, Dad" but he comes along to be just as nuts as Dad. Avalon does get a little acting in when a girl he's not related to shows up. A young version of character actor Richard Bakalyan plays one of the thugs that terrorize the family. The women in the flick unfortunately are victims of its time, and thought of as helpless or possessions.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
This two-part documentary takes it from the beginning as back up for Linda Ronstadt to their big hit years to the solo years to the never-ending reunion tour. Interviews are done individually with members and associates covering in the first volume such topics as Jackson Browne's songwriting technique to the early production of Glynn Johns to the Eagles' own songwriting styles to trashing hotels with Joe Walsh to the wild after parties of the 'third encore.'
We watch as membership changed in the band, and differences emerge. They spend almost thirty minutes on Hotel California without ever saying what the title track is actually about. Eventually it becomes clear as to why the interviews are all separate, they can't stand each other. During the making of the album the band members realize they were all alphas fighting for supremacy, and the breaking up began there.
Part two of the documentary picks up the solo careers of the separate Eagles, leading up to the reunion tour fourteen years later. I was intrigued that getting Joe Walsh into rehab was partially behind the reunion. Rivalries aside, it kinda proves they were for the most part still friends. Or should I say, selectively still friends.
History of the Eagles is very long at just over three hours, which is probably why it was cut in two parts. After watching it I had had enough of the Eagles for a while, and that's just the opposite effect that such a film should have. Interesting stuff, but just a bit too much, for me at least, and I'm an Eagles fan.
Sunday, January 18, 2015
John Carter, they did something different, they went old school and cannibalized the original source material - Edgar Rice Burroughs' public domain "Princess of Mars."
The Asylum's Princess of Mars stars hunky Antonio Sabato Jr. as John Carter and, wait for it, Traci Lords as Dejah Thoris. Surprisingly, as bad as it might sound, it's not bad. It is neither as brilliant or beautiful as Disney's big budget John Carter, nor would it be deserving of the treatment that film received from the narrow minded uneducated critics. I'm being harsh, but I thought John Carter was fantastic, and the film was savaged unnecessarily.
The charismatic Sabato is not only more than adequate as Carter, he's more than capable, and dare I say it, just as good as Taylor Kitsch. I like him here, even with his tattoos and one-liners, Antonio Sabato Jr. is a good choice for John Carter of Mars. The Asylum works with the SyFy a lot, so if they wanted to launch a JCoM series with Sabato in the lead, I would be down. As a matter of fact, it would rock. Get to work in that, okay?
I have to admit to digging this flick, and unlike a lot of what The Asylum churns out, it's actually pretty good. Granted, it's neither the film John Carter nor the book "A Princess of Mars," but it does what it does well. If you're a fan, check it out.
Friday, January 16, 2015
Yeah, I've talked about this before, but it bears repeating. Host George Noory continues to veer farther and farther away from the topics and the style that first attracted me to Coast to Coast AM. And of course, there is no way to address my concerns to anyone involved in the show. Coast has a Twitter account and a Facebook page, both of which make standard practice of ignoring what the fans have to say. I think I might sooner win the lottery than get a reply on Twitter from these folks. George and company are going to do what they are going to do, and don't care what you think, and it seems, on a personal level, what I, a fan and listener for as long as I've known about the show - roughly eighteen years. And if I don't matter after nearly two decades, then really, who does?
Darkness Radio rocks, if only they'd let him be himself and do his own topics. But nowadays, I'll listen once or twice a week for a segment or two, and for the most part, unless it's a 'real' Coast topic or an interesting guest, I am bored to tears.
I guess I'll be listening to the Art Bell reruns for now. It doesn't seem like Coast will be changing before it dies from declining ratings.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
La Jetee on which it was loosely based.
Tomorrow night (Friday, January 16th) the new "12 Monkeys" television series debuts on Showcase and Syfy. I had the chance to see the nine minute preview recently, and let me just say that while the film had me intrigued, this extended clip had me hooked. You should definitely check it out.
You can see those first ten minutes right here:
And don't forget to check out Biff Bam Pop!'s Marie Gilbert's interview with "12 Monkeys" star Amanda Schull right here.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
I've been watching the show since the beginning and have enjoyed it, bought the songs on iTunes, voted like crazy, entered betting pools, and loved the water cooler talk the next day. But the show's better days are long gone. I barely paid attention last season, and the last time I was excited about AI was when Nicki Minaj was a judge, and that was a while ago.
She-Bang and Princess Leia, and it's a sad thing.
Friday, January 09, 2015
the Better in the Dark podcast, I know I should be ashamed of myself. I am a fan of Kristen Bell however, just from "House of Lies," not "Veronica Mars." I know, it's a whole different girl, but there you go.
There is much here about Veronica going back to her past. There is the appearance of baggage without the weight. It's not as seamless as say Serenity to "Firefly," but you feel it. On the eve of her high school reunion, her ex-boyfriend has been accused of murder, so of course she has to help out. You can feel that you're being informed of whatever-happened-to for the first twenty minutes or so, but not to the point of slowing the story down.
I enjoyed it though, enough to put "Veronica Mars" on my Netflix queue. Maybe it'll be better when I get all the references. Worth seeing.
Thursday, January 08, 2015
my vices. I'm not a fan of Diet Coke (or any diet soda, and if I'm being honest, Diet Coke is the worst of them) or Coke Zero, which just tastes bitter to me.
One recent addition to my vice has been the so-called Mexican Coke. It's available in a few places around here. This Coke tastes like childhood, mostly because it comes in a glass bottle and uses cane sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. And yes, I've heard the naysayers who insist it still has corn syrup and that there is no real taste difference. I assure you, even if it's psychological, Mexican Coke tastes better. This stuff is heavenly.
Rich Voza recently hipped me to a new Coke variety being test marketed in the UK and South America called Coca-Cola Life. This product's claim to fame is that it uses both cane sugar and stevia, a sweetener made from plants, thus the green label, to make the soda sweet. As a plus for the health crowd, it also has roughly 30% less calories.
Coca-Cola Life was released here in the States just in time for the holidays and I recently got hold of a bottle. At first try, there was no noticeable difference in Life compared to the original Coke. It was later I got the aftertaste. It's not a bad aftertaste, but it unpleasant to a degree, not like Diet Coke, but close. It also has very little fizz and zing to it, not flat, but getting there. All that said, it is the closest of the non-Cokes to the actual taste of Coke.
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
The above is the official introduction, and the premise, of our newest column at Biff Bam Pop! called On.... Each week we spotlight one of our writers, and a subject they love, and let them go to town with it. The schedule so far has been:
Andy Burns On... Jodorowsky's Dune
Leiki Veskimets On... The Fight Club DVD Commentary
Glenn Walker On… Firefly
Amanda Blue On... The Crow
JP Fallavollita On... Star Blazers
Robin Renee On… Gary Wilson's You Think You Really Know Me
Jim Knipp On... Rankin Bass
Loretta Sisco On... My Bloody Valentine
And this Friday, Marie Gilbert will be writing On... Alien, so be sure to check it out.
Don't forget our other columns - Blue on Black by Amanda Blue every Saturday afternoon, The Wednesday Run by JP Fallavollita every Wednesday morning, The Ten Percent by K. Dale Koontz and Ensley F. Guffey every other week, our weekly TV reviews, and our Box Office Predictions every Friday and Sunday, all at Biff Bam Pop!.
And don't forget to 'Like' the Facebook page, and Follow the Twitter!
Tuesday, January 06, 2015
Yeah, so no background in ice skating here, and the Olympics barely count because they were so boring, to me at least. I think the final nail in the coffin for me was more than two decades ago, I was invited by The Bride and her parents to go see Starlight Express, their favorite show, on ice in Philly. I embarrassed myself badly by dozing off for most of the show. Ice was not my thing.
Frozen, so when she saw "Frozen on Ice" was going to be at the Wells Fargo Center, former home of the Philadelphia Wings, we made plans to go. Upon sitting down, the first thing I noticed was that the Wings banners had been removed, the team since last season having moved to Connecticut and renamed the New England Black Wolves. So not happy.
Frozen being the little girl phenom it is, we were the only adults I saw there. Perhaps we should have brought a niece or two as a cover, but no one seemed to say anything or stare. The merch was out of this world and everywhere. The Bride got a plastic mug made of Olaf's head to eat a sno-cone out of, and I got Chickie & Pete's Crab Fries. The fries, like the parking, was noticeably jacked up much higher than they ever were when we were Wings season ticket holders.
Despite a barely enthusiastic yogurt commercial for an opening sequence (the one host sounded like. a. robot. as. he spoke.), the show was amazing, even the post-commercial pre-show with the regular Disney characters was cool. The players, through dead on lip sync, brought the movie Frozen to life on the ice. And ice is key here. Everyone was on skates, including seemingly blind animals with no eyeholes.
For more on "Frozen on Ice," check out the latest episode of The Make Mine Magic Podcast right here.