Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Feedback Vs. MegaSnake

The SciFi Channel has a rather dubious reputation for their made-for-TV Saturday night movies. They are just not that good, sometimes even laughingly bad. But then again, compared to the average episode of the now-canceled "Painkiller Jane" or the new (and in name only) "Flash Gordon," they're pretty good, and they also keep folks like Casper van Dien and Colin Ferguson employed.

Now normally I avoid these movies just as I would avoid the aforementioned "Jane" and "Flash," but this past weekend's offering, MegaSnake, advertised something of interest - Feedback. The wife and I are huge fans of the SciFi series "Who Wants to be a Superhero," so much so that the Bride even tried out for the show. Naturally, seeing a movie that reputedly featured Feedback, Matthew Atherton, the winner of that series' first season held interest, so we taped it for viewing last night.

To quote Joseph Conrad, "The horror... the horror..."

Not only was this the same old giant snake crap one could see almost any other Saturday night on SciFi but Feedback was only in this thing maybe three minutes tops. I think honestly he was in the commercials advertising this dog during any hour the previous week than he was in the whole movie. He had five lines. He showed the kids about electricity, said his tagline, poked the giant snake with a stick and then helped the kids get away. And then he ran away, never to be seen again.

In MegaSnake, Feedback is a superhero the same way Sir Robin is a knight.

Wow. I'm not getting these two hours back. And I'm never going to trust advertising on the SciFi Channel ever again.

Speaking of trust, I certainly hope this wasn't the movie Feedback was promised as part of his prize for "Who Wants to be a Superhero." On "Survivor" the winner gets a million bucks, on "Big Brother" it's half a million, but the prize for winning "Superhero" is the winner's own comic book from Dark Horse Comics and a movie on SciFi. Man, I hope MegaSnake's not it. If it is, Matthew, Comic Widows has a great attorney who'd love to talk with you.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Train Wreck Power of the Van Halen Press Conference

You know that feeling when you pass a car accident? That compulsion to look even though you don't want to? That's what any Van Halen press conference is all about. It seems like any time David Lee Roth gets back together with his old bandmates disaster ensues. I'm sure that, despite appearances, it will end that way again. Just wait.

The new/old line-up of Van Halen includes Eddie Van Halen, post rehab, a lot thinner and not seeming to crack a smile at all - yep, just what you want in a VH line-up, a man with no sense of humor. If you're thinking he must be quite a fun dad, look no further than Wolfgang Van Halen, the offspring of Eddie and Valerie Bettinelli, who appears to have gained all the weight his dad has apparently lost. I'm betting Wolfie will be the first to bail, even before Roth. David Lee Roth on the other hand (nice toupee, Dave) will probably fight to stay as long as he can; he certainly has no chance in radio again. Alex Van Halen is probably still there because he has nothing better to do, and he doesn't talk. All good points when it comes to his brother and band leader Eddie.

Notably missing is founding member Michael Anthony who one assumes is being punished for touring with ex-lead singer Sammy Hagar. Hagar is also persona non grata as are other former lead singers Gary Cherone, Ambush Bug and Squirrel Girl. No love lost with this band.

Watching this particular train wreck, I have to notice how much Dave talks too much, and how Eddie looks on disapprovingly throughout. Sooner or later, Dave's chatterboxing, which was so endearing two decades ago, will make Eddie strangle him in my opinion. And have Alex and Wolfgang been trained by Eddie not to talk out of turn? Humorless drill sergeant Eddie makes Evel Dick on "Big Brother 8" look like father of the year. Surely I'm not the only one who watched this press conference waiting for the fistfight to break out? My goodness, this is just like Nascar!

Personally I give this version of the band to the end of the year tops.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Black Snake Moan

How can you complain about any movie where Samuel L. Jackson gets to say "motherf*cker" at least once? Black Snake Moan, whose title is derived from the classic 1927 Blind Lemon Jefferson blues tune, is so much more than it at first seems. The pulp-like poster depicts a black man with a white woman on a chain and is sure to drive many folks up the wall with just that conjures an exploitation flick that probably should have double-billed with Grindhouse from earlier this year - but trust me the film is much deeper.

Writer/director Craig Brewer, late of Hustle & Flow, creates what can only be termed as a psychological Southern Gothic. Sam Jackson is a semi-religious bluesman whose wife has just left him after sleeping with his brother. Christina Ricci, needing a sandwich and badly bleached blonde, is an abused nymphomaniac with uncontrollable urges. Justin Timberlake, who continues to amaze each time I see him on the screen, is her boyfriend about to go off to war. There is also an impressive performance by Kim Richards as Ricci's mother who has been scarily white trash-ed up for the role.

When Jackson finds Ricci on the side of the road, he decides he must save her from herself. A struggle and a friendship ensues which endears the viewer to these two seriously dysfunctional characters, which if not handled right could easily have filed this flick into the exploitation genre. I think it's sad that it was marketed to that aim, because it really is an amazing film, working on many levels. This is a twisted and explicit must see, but a must see nevertheless. Oh, and of course, great soundtrack, Jackson himself on some tracks.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Old People Radio

I'm a huge talk radio fan. And being from the Philadelphia area where the genre's heyday is firmly in the past buried under a tombstone marked "WWDB," good talk radio is sometimes hard to find. One such place, until very recently, used to News Jersey 101.5 FM headquartered in Trenton, which for all intents and purposes is basically Philadelphia.

For many years the stars and major highlight of their talk line-up was the afternoon drive time team of Craig Carton and Ray Rossi, the Jersey Guys (pictured above). They could have easily been shuffled into a Howard Stern or an Opie & Anthony category except for their active attitude toward happenings in New Jersey. They were not just entertaining and funny, they were politically and socially active as well.

The duo had a good camaraderie, if you could call it that. Ray was older, more sensible, and a radio veteran. Craig on the other hand was a cutting edge shock-jock type whose grasp of pop culture was unrivalled. Where normally such a mix would be like oil and water, here it worked.

Now Craig has unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) have left NJ 101.5 to replace Don Imus at WFAN in New York. NJ 101.5 has decided to retool the Jersey Guys show and replace carton with someone named Casey Bartholomew. The show is now described thus: "Casey Bartholomew and Ray Rossi: The best thing Jersey has to offer...next to the tomato. A couple of 'Good Fellas' in a Jersey state of mind. Gen-X meets the Baby Boomer. They call it like it is, no holds barred. Find out why the most listened to FM Talk Show in the country is on New Jersey 101.5."

"Gen-X meets the Baby Boomer," eh? Doesn't that imply a younger or younger-ish slant? Maybe. Maybe not. My first exposure to Casey had him mentioning his age, and growing up fantasizing about Rebecca DeMornay in Risky Business. I thought, okay, he's my age. Not quite.

The topic of that hour was Elvis and other dead singers. This is not a usual Jersey Guys topic, this is something more suited to the frivolous Frick and Frack show that runs at noontime. Fluff, nothing but fluff. The Jersey Guys that I know tackle stuff like illegal immigrants and corrupt state troopers.

Casey Bartholomew after taking the prerequisite calls about Elvis, commenting on how much he liked and respected him, he took a call from a caller who discussed Kurt Cobain. Casey confronted the caller questioning what was so great about Cobain, referring to the legend as a loser.

This is a Gen-X-er??? Whether you liked Kurt Cobain or not, it can't be denied that the man changed the entire landscape of music in the early 1990s. This idiot wouldn't even acknowledge that. As a matter of fact, he came off sounding a lot more like a Dominic Quinn or that old man Gearhart idiot NJ 101.5 has given mornings to than anyone even close to my age. And this is a representative of Generation X?

Well, that's it for me and NJ 101.5 I think. I hate the old man in the morning, I have to be in the mood for the fluff at noon, and I just can't stand Michele Pilenza, a lifestyle and relationship host that apparently thinks only good-looking people should be able to date (I swear, she's said it more than once!), I think I'm officially an ex-listener. Which is a shame, because I actually do like the overnight guy Tommy G., too bad WYSP has better talk programming on at the same time.

Bye bye, News Jersey. Hope you get enough old people listening to keep your ratings now.

Friday, August 17, 2007

All Things Fun! Podcast - Episode Four

All Things Fun! Podcast
Episode 4: There are no Z-Rays

Ed Evans & his co-host Wes Hitchins kick off the show reading some listener feedback, Glenn Walker, of Comic Widows returns and talks about Marvel Comics' World War Hulk. Listeners get one last chance to enter the ATF! Summer of 2007 Mash-up Contest then Jim & Wes review the game Winners Circle and discuss how they review a game.

Click here to listen.

Air Date: August 13, 2007
Runtime: 43 minutes


To discuss this podcast, head over to the ATF! forums:
All Things Fun! Podcast Forums

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is the fourth DVD title from Lions Gate and Marvel Comics, and actually in my opinion, the best so far. So far with the two "Ultimate Avengers" DVDs and the "Invincible Iron Man" one, the creators in charge have taken some unnecessary liberties with characters' backgrounds personalities and such from the original source material.

This one is no different but here the changes only serve to enhance. The writing by Greg Johnson is superb and the animation is dazzling, just right for this sub-genre of superhero adventure. Johnson explores the pre-sorcerer Strange and his what-a-dickiness and the downfall that eventually brings him back as a better person, and hero. I enjoyed the backstory of longtime Strange foe Baron Mordo and the extra characterization and purpose lent to manservant Wong.

The redesign of Strange's outfit is welcome leaning more toward subtle and practical which I didn't mind. Dormammu did bug me however, I think he's more scary in the comics, an image that would have been truly frightening animated. Oh well, I guess you can't win 'em all. This is a must-see for comics fans, and an accessible 'toon for the non-comics folks as well, enjoy!

Mike Wieringo 1963-2007

We've lost another one.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pari$$$ Or Bust

Chardonna Jenkins: Pari$$$ Or Bust

DJ K-Tell & The Dumpsta' Players present:

"Chardonna Jenkins: Pari$$$ Or Bust"

Wed. Aug. 15th
Doors 10pm
11pm Showtime -- sharp!
@ Bob and Barbara's
1509 South Street
Info: (215)-545-4511
$1.99 cover


Pari$$$ Hilton made some new friends while she was in jail: none other than Miss Chardonna Jenkins, the ghetto avenger who tastes like Flavor of Love.

But once the girls are out, Pari$$$ disses Miss Chardonna for fellow celebutante pals like Lindsay Blohand, who has some troubles of her own these days. Chardonna takes revenge the only way she knows how: killing dumb bitches!

Anderson Pooper of CMN Television News Network and nasty gossip columnist, Gladys Crotchshott, swoop down on Pari$$$ like vultures, but find themselves covering the killing of mindless rich people who are constantly clogging the news.

Pari$$$ attempts to concoct a scheme to get the media's attention back on her. The media circus comes to a head at an American Idle event with superstars Gay Acchin'and Jordin Sparxxx.

Look forward to big wigs and bigger laughs in The Dumpsta Players' twisted statement on class, media,and celebrity. Join Chardonna as she travels to- "Pari$$$ Or Bust"!

Edge Philadelphia

Dumpsta Players

Dumpstas at MySpace

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Quickies for 8-12-2007

Lord of Illusions - I've seen parts of this one over the years but never the entire flick at once until today. I have always been a big fan of Clive Barker's books and especially his short stories, but not so much his films. Visually Barker seems to always go too far over the top for me. Lord of Illusions however is subtle, and that toned down Barker works for me. Scott Bakula as Harry D'Amour, private detective with a foot in the supernatural, is a very different role for him but still suits him well. Without the horrific trappings, this is a very good film noir, and I wouldn't mind seeing Bakula do this spin more often. He's very good here. Well worth seeing, but not for the squeamish.

Session 9 - I've gotten lots of hype about this one, and having seen it, I now have no idea why. It has promise and is a fairly good premise, but when it was all over... I was just kind of "What? That's it?" and "You've got to be kidding me!" Also, I've never understood the draw of David Caruso, and this flick does little to help.

American Dreamz - This began as a rift on the "American Idol" TV phenomenon and turned quickly into an ensemble character study. All involved are very good, especially Hugh Grant in an against-type not-so-nice role. Very funny as well as thought-provoking. It did however lose me in the end which tied up much too nicely for me.

F*ck - This is a great documentary on the F word that is both entertaining and educational. Smart, funny, and it should go without saying, there is vulgar language in this one.

Latter Days - I saw this great flick on Logo and really enjoyed it. Like the better parts of American Dreamz above, it's also a character study. Two gay men, one a party boy and the other a Morman missionary, are forced to learn more about themselves after meeting. Written by C. Jay Cox who also wrote Sweet Home Alabama.

Silver Hawk - Another accidental but enjoyable find, this one has Michelle Yeoh as the super-heroine Silver Hawk. The plot is fairly mundane with the good girl fighting the villain who has a device to rule the world. Michelle falls seamlessly back into the Hong Kong superhero genre from her days with the Heroic Trio. The real coolness of the flick is watching her, in her mid-forties at the time, jumping and flying and fighting like she did in her twenties. She makes the Jet Li Black Mask look like a wimp. And not to be stereotyped, Michelle left the set here to work on Memoirs of a Geisha. Rock on, Ms. Yeoh!

Thursday, August 09, 2007


In the world of film, not many folks may know the name Neil Gaiman, but anyone involved with comics or even on the fringe of the comics world will tell you the man is a master storyteller. His Sandman is probably one of the triumphs of the last two decades in making comics into real legitimate literature. From there Gaiman moved onto writing novels like “American Gods” and “Good Omens.” Then came his entrance into television and film with “Neverwhere” for the BBC and the theatrical MirrorMask.

Now with Stardust Gaiman brings one of his own novels to the big screen. Described as an adult fairy tale in the vein of The Princess Bride in Hollywood-speak, that is actually pretty accurate. Imagine TPB as if it were directed by Terry Gilliam, and you’ve got a pretty good idea what it’s like. Unfortunately from what I understand (I’ve never read the book), the flick deviates a bit character-wise from the novel.

I think it’s a given that both Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer are way over the top but I don’t see it as really out of place. I thought they were both delightful. Stardust is a lot of fun and a must see.

As a preliminary for Stardust we got to see the preview for Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf, which Neil Gaiman did write the screenplay for and is a flick I have been waiting a looong time for. I am looking sooo forward to that one.

And extra special thanks to the Dark Crystal for getting me into this sneak preview.

"The New Master of Evil"

"The New Master of Evil" - my comic book review of New Avengers #33, written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Leinil Yu, is now online at Avengers Forever.


"Months and months ago, maybe perhaps years at this point, writer Brian Michael Bendis promised us Avengers fans a new Masters of Evil. Most of us thought it would be composed of villains who escaped from the Raft, or be formed by whoever that was that was collecting the weapons of super-villains (another hanging plot thread not yet tied up), and some of us just plain forgot about it.

"My first impression upon seeing the cover of New Avengers #33 was that this was it, our new Masters of Evil. It portrays a group of villains mugging for the ‘camera,’ including The Hood, The Owl, Madame Masque, a newly-outfitted Wizard and Dr. Jonas Harrow. There is more or less to this group however as we find later in the issue.

"What is it with Marvel Comics channeling R. Lee Ermey from Full Metal Jacket? First it was that annoying Gauntlet from New Avengers: The Initiative, and now Bendis does it with Captain America in this opening flashback in New Avengers #33. We see the Avengers, circa 1966, basically Cap’s Kooky Quartet plus the returning Goliath and the Wasp – And Captain America is dressing them down Ermey-style. He particularly picks on Hawkeye, breaking his bow and kicking and shoving him to the ground."

To read the rest of the review, click here:



Wednesday, August 08, 2007


More like Jackman and Billy than Jekyll and Hyde, the new BBC America original "Jekyll" is a refreshing new look at Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It's written and produced by Steven Moffat of "Doctor Who" and "Coupling" fame which is actually significant, as he wrote one of the more chilling "Who" episodes of the third season - "Blink" with the angel statues.

The cast headed by James Nesbit, known as the lead in "Murphy's Law" on the other side of the pond. His mannerisms and over the top expressions make it believable that Jackman and Hyde are two different people while still played by one person with very little make-up accompaniment. Also on board are Denis Lawson, Wedge Antilles from the classic original Star Wars and Michelle Ryan, TV's new "Bionic Woman."

I've only seen two episodes so far but the story is top notch as is the acting. This is an amazing update of the Jekyll/Hyde concept and definitely worth a look.

"Let the Hulk Win"

"Let the Hulk Win" - my comic book review of New Avengers: Illuminati #4, written by Brian Michael Bendis and Brian Reed and illustrated by Jim Cheung, is now online at Avengers Forever.

"Let the Hulk win.

"That’s right. You heard me. Let the Hulk win. That’s what I have to say about New Avengers: Illuminati #4, a book that dropped right in the middle of the World War Hulk crossover. Put simply, the Hulk has returned from exile in space on the rampage seeking revenge on the Illuminati. I say, let the Hulk win. They deserve what they get. It was a very uneven issue, but one that helped me at least decide what the fate of the Illuminati should be.

"Let’s start with the cover, a cover full of promise. The concept of Marvel’s Illuminati, heck, any Illuminati, is that it’s a secret. And anyone who’s been married or in any long term relationship knows exactly how hard, emotionally, mentally and even physically it is to keep a secret from your partner. So a cover depicting the significant others of the Illuminati has much promise."

To read the rest of the review, click here:



Monday, August 06, 2007

July 2007 Movie Log

Movies I've watched or re-watched this month include: Relative Strangers, Beyond the Rocks, Midnight Cowboy, Finding Nemo, F*ck, Latter Days, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Shortbus, The Pumpkin Eater, Nanny McPhee, The Simpsons Movie, Silver Hawk, American Dreamz, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Breach, Ladies They Talk About, Rashomon, The End of Violence, Farce of the Penguins, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna, Evil Dead, Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, King Kong (2005), Ice Age: The Meltdown, One Million B.C. (1940), Picture Mommy Dead, Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla, Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani, Knocked Up, Invasion of Astro-Monster and Ghidrah the Three-Headed Monster.

Flicks to add to the list of movies I’ll watch whenever they are on TV: King Kong (2005) and anything Godzilla. Nanny McPhee would be added to my wife’s list, I just happen to be in the room.

Among the best this month would be F*ck, The Pumpkin Eater and Silver Hawk.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Simpsons Addendum

The best parts of The Simpsons Movie aren't even in the movie itself, but just before it and on television.

The Burger King commercials:

And the teaser for The Dark Knight: