Monday, October 31, 2011

The Movie I Can't Watch

My mother-in-law and I talk about film a lot. An ongoing discussion seems to be that she doesn't like horror movies - or creepy, scary, or anything like that of the kind. She's often puzzled that I do like them. The argument that comes up most frequently is why would someone want to be scared. The point is I don't want to be scared. I wouldn't watch these things if they truly scared me. In fact, there is one movie I will not watch because it does absolutely terrify me.

Nosferatu - A Symphony of Horror ~ This 1922 classic of German silent horror is perhaps one of the greatest and most enigmatic and most legendary of all horror films - and I have made a conscious effort not to view it for years, as when I have, it's given me nightmares, when I was able to finally get to sleep that is.

I'm not sure if it's the imagery of the horrifying Max Schreck who played the vampire Graf Orlok or not. I am able to watch movies that emulate the visuals like the remake from 1979, or "'Salem's Lot," or even Shadow of the Vampire, which is about the making of this film. So it just must be the wonderful shadowy direction of F.W. Murnau, and Max Schreck himself. Oddly enough, Graf Orlok only appears on screen for nine minutes, but it's enough. No matter how you cut it, Schreck is scary here. The Renfield character played by Alexander Granach is also pretty fearsome as well.

Nosferatu is an unauthorized filming of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," thus why so many names are changed while the story remains much the same. Because of an ugly lawsuit, Stoker's widow had every print and negative of the movie destroyed. Luckily (depending on your outlook), copies reappeared in other countries around the world. It has since fallen into the public domain, and has been accompanied by several wonderful soundtracks, including one by Type O Negative.

I had mentioned the shadow work previously. It is some of the best ever in film history in my opinion, and the German silents were masters of the artform. And still, I won't watch it. I love watching old movies on the big screen, which is why I'm such a big fan of the Silver Screen Classics on the local Rave, but notably I once turned down a chance to see Nosferatu in a theater, it scares me that much. I probably won't even look at the pics supporting this blog entry.

Happy Halloween.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Darna The Return

Darna Ang Pagbabalik ~ I'm a big fan of Mars Ravelo's comics work and his sometimes brilliant pantheon of Filipino superheroes. I love me some Captain Barbell, Lastikman and Darna. But much like film versions of American superheroes, their Filipino cousins have hit and miss success. Sometimes they're great and sometimes they're not. Case in point - Darna Ang Pagbabalik, or as translated to English, "Darna The Return."

For those not in the know, Darna is basically the Wonder Woman of the Phillipines, but not enough to create litigation. She was bestowed power from the gods, given a magic stone to transform into her super-identity, and has other powers like heat vision, telekinesis, and telepathy, that keep her out of court even though she also frequently plays 'bullets and bracelets' like a certain Amazon Princess. She's been around since 1950 in comics, movies and television.

Darna Ang Pagbabalik is pretty traditional superhero fare, if a bit campy. Darna fights crime, loses her magic stone, and romances her leading man, while her snake-haired archenemy Valentina tries to take over the nation via evangelist television. The beautiful and athletic Anjanette Abayari is more than suitable in the title role and Pilita Corrales is very creepy doing "V" imitations with mice as the heavy. The special effects are pretty cheap for the mid-1990s but about on par with the CBS Marvel telemovies of the late 1970s.

If you don't mind subtitles and some hokey special effects and dialogue, this isn't a bad flick for superhero fanboys and girls. However I would recommend the 2000 versions of Captain Barbell and Lastikman if you're looking for a proper introduction to these wonderful Mars Ravelo characters.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lost Hits of the New Wave #4

"Hello Again" by The Cars.

The Cars were at the start of the New Wave but this entry, the fourth single from "Heartbeat City," comes from late in 1984, well after the MTV video revolution. In fact, at this time, Ric Ocasek and The Cars were at the forefront of the music video world and recruited the legendary Andy Warhol to direct this one. He appears throughout, and also look for a very young Gina Gershon.

The song, my favorite from the album which is full of great tunes, both wildly popular and largely unknown, seems to me to be about The Wizard of Oz, but the video seems to focus on the dangers of gratuitous sex and violence in music videos. Somehow that seems too appropriate.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

What Happened to Harry's Law?

I am not a fan of either David E. Kelley or TV law shows. The first part is a matter of liking good writing and not liking where the author puts his opinions inappropriately into the mouths of his characters. Kelley also gets very preachy and overly topical in forums where it's supposed to be entertainment, not op-ed. The second part is first because it usually bores me, and also, The Bride, being an attorney herself, has a very low tolerance for such crap in her off-work life.

When The Bride showed interest in "Harry's Law," which also starred Stephen King favorite Kathy Bates at her acerbic best, I went easily along for the ride, despite it being a David E. Kelley law drama. Disenfranchised and disillusioned lawyer Harriet "Harry" Korn finds new life as a neighborhood attorney based out of a shoe store in a bad section of Cincinnati. She was surrounded by a cast of well-meaning folks who equally believe in helping their neighborhood. It was a different kind of law show, more about community than court, and it was also critically acclaimed, and one of the few new series to survive what has lately been a rather nasty television season of canceled programs.

When it returned this season, things were different. The kind of lawyers she fought against in the first season, she seemed to turn into. The kind of cases she would never have taken in the first season, she takes in every episode. And the very law firm she opposed in most episodes in the first season, she merges with! What the hell happened?

Basically all of the charm, wit and humanity that brought both The Bride and myself in to this series is gone. "Harry's Law" is just another law show now. Is David E. Kelly just recycling old "The Practice" scripts now? Is he getting even with NBC for not picking up his "Wonder Woman"? What the hell?

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Non-Gamer's Gamer's Blog

Just a bit of shameless self-promotion here today. Some of you know, and some of you don't know, but this isn't my only blog, nor my only outlet of rage and ignorance. I also blog elsewhere on the innerwebs.

One of those other places is The Non-Gamer's Gamer's Blog. It was a project I came up with a while ago to keep myself from becoming a bum. You see the theory is that the only thing that keeps a freelance writer from officially becoming a bum is the ownership of a gaming system. With a gaming system in the house, I had to do something - blogging about it - to keep me from bumship.

So here is The Non-Gamer's Gamer's Blog, described as "A forty-something non-gamer gets a PlayStation 3 and tries to get up to speed, reviewing games and posting random thoughts about the electronic gaming world."

If you so dare, you can enjoy it here.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for 10-26-2011

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live in a real comics and gaming store in West Berlin, NJ - All Things Fun! - co-hosts Ed (purveyor of Legion Flight Rings) Evans, Allison (awesome sauce) Eckel and Glenn (get off my lawn) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in two fun video segments, now in high definition, and also available on YouTube. See it here!

The first segment includes discussion of the following topics: Ed goes first with Legion Secret Origin #1 and Legion Flight Rings, the Indies, pin-up covers from Zenescope, IDW's Star Trek #2, The Walking Dead #90, Star Wars and Avengelyne #4 from Mark Poulton and Rob Liefield.

The discussion continues in segment two including: Madness in the morning, Aquaman #2 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis, The Flash #2 by Francis Manapul, Teen Titans #2, Gail Simone's Firestorm #2, Savage Hawkman #2, Fear Itself and Spider-Island, fast Marvels, Allison's kids comics, and Ed's trades.

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

And be back here every Wednesday morning at 11:30 AM EST to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau ~ This is one of those movies that I really wish I didn't know the premise of before I started watching it. The on-screen electricity between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt at the beginning of this flick is marred by knowing that their relationship is doomed. It made me sad that the bulk of the movie would be about them trying to get together and stay together while others pull them apart - when what I really wanted to see was them together and watching their romance bloom. Perhaps it's something we can see when and if they are paired in another film, because they have chemistry, and it is sadly wasted here in this non-romance.

Now that is not to say this is a bad movie, it's not, it just doesn't play well with the abilities of the actors. Damon is good, Blunt is good, but they could have been great. The movie is scifi, not romance, and it's based on the classic scifi story "Adjustment Team" by the late Philip K. Dick. The premise is that our lives are predetermined by Fate, and maintained by agents of Fate. If we veer off course, these agents step in and make sure all goes to plan. Damon and Blunt are not meant to be together - and it rolls from there, hilarity ensues, and the action begins.

Again, it's no romance, more like another Bourne movie with a supernatural edge, but it's good. John Slattery from "Mad Men" does a suitable imitation of that role as the leader of the 'adjustment team.' I also like team member Anthony Mackie, and it took me a while to figure out where I know him from. He's been in the background of a million different things, nothing major, but I think he's someone to watch.

All in all, it's not a bad scifi flick, even though it quickly disintegrates into an action flick. Defnitely worth a watch, worth a rental or a pay-per-view. Good premise, good acting, and you just can't beat Dick. Behave. You know what I mean. And watch out for the men in hats.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011


Bridesmaids ~ This is so not my kind of movie, and really the first half-hour of it bore that out. I had been told this was a female version of the Hangover movies. I was told it was vulgar and hilarious. I was told it was a chick flick. And I was told that Melissa McCarthy of TV's "Mike and Molly" was hysterically funny in it. Maybe only one and half of these things ended up being true.

I despise Kristen Wiig. I count her as one of the most unfunny folks in recent memory on "Saturday Night Live." Had I known she was the star of this flick, I would have clicked delete in the Netflix queue on this baby. Watching Bridesmaids, I have to say I didn't think I could dislike Kristen Wiig more, but I would be wrong. Actually I think I might have enjoyed this a lot more if someone like, say, Laura Linney had been the lead.

The real surprise of Bridesmaids is Chris O'Dowd from "The IT Crowd," here playing a semi-serious role as Wiig's wannabe relationship. He's quite good in a role so different from the one we're used to. Franklin Ajaye and Jill Clayburgh, in her last screen appearance are good too. Also look for an uncredited Jon Hamm, and Wilson Phillips as themselves. And yes, Melissa McCarthy is definitely the reason to see this flick.

As I mentioned it started slow, painfully slow, but once we had the gross out scenes in the Brazilian restaurant and the bridal shop, and Wiig and O'Dowd got together, it wasn't bad. It wasn't much like I had been told it was, but it wasn't bad. Definitely worth a rental or pay per view.

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Fear Itself at Biff Bam Pop!

Today I'm guest-blogging over at Biff Bam Pop! about the latest big crossover event to come from Marvel Comics - Fear Itself.

You can check out "Fear Itself, Or Why I Don't Like Crossovers" by clicking here. And please feel free to peruse the rest of the site while you're there. Biff Bam Pop! has all the latest and coolest in movies, music, comics and pop culture.

And special thanks to Andrew Burns for putting this together, thanks, man!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lost Hits of the New Wave #3

"Controversy" by Prince.

Prince is one of my three favorite artists, along with Kate Bush and Nine Inch Nails, and this song, from the 1981 album of the same name, was probably the first one I ever heard by His Purple Badness. I heard it on WYSP, believe it or not. Long before he was pop or R&B, music programmers thought of Prince, and this first real crossover song as rock or new wave.

The video itself is like most of the early pre-Purple Rain videos in that it's a performance, and it also spotlights the Revolution, before he (they) actually became known as Prince and the Revolution. Great song, love it, and him.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for 10-19-2011

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live in a real comics and gaming store in West Berlin, NJ - All Things Fun! - co-hosts Ed (The Doctor) Evans, Allison (Amy) Eckel and Glenn (the tin dog) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in two fun video segments, now in high definition, and also available on YouTube. See it here!

The first segment includes discussion of the following topics: Fear Itself #7 and its side titles, new Avengers teams, which Hawkeye?, awesome sauce, why Justice League is like heroin, Wonder Woman #2, Supergirl #2, and geekgasm - Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes #1.

The discussion continues in segment two including: Ed's Marvels, including the X-Men titles, John Constantine one of two ways, Dark Horse Presents #5, John Carter of Mars, Mass Effect, 30 Days of Night #1, Superior # 6, Doctor Who #10, Allison's kids comics including Tiny Titans # 45, Kevin Smith's Bionic Man #3, Ed's trades, and The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor. Mmmm… brains…

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

And be back here every Wednesday morning at 11:30 AM EST to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Thor ~ This Marvel Comics film is one of conflicts and contrasts, most of them terrific. If you loved the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby comics, and even the Lee and John Buscema comics, you will be swept up in a world conjured by those stories. Some of the themes and explanations have changed, but unlike a lot of things the DC Comics have done, these changes are for story logic.

There's a rough beginning where astrophysicist Natalie Portman's Jane Foster (an odd job change for her character but it works in the context) is looking for an anomaly and ends up hitting Thor with her car. When we're hooked, we're hit with the real beginning. The wonderfully cast Anthony Hopkins as Odin clues us in to the origins of the Norse gods as beings of superior science and technology, which we perceive as gods and magic. We meet the family, his sons Thor, about to ascend the throne, and his darker brother Loki.

More great casting comes with their friends the Warriors Three. I love Josh Dallas who is the de facto substitute for Cary Elwes in parts the original is too old and chunky for. The main roles of Loki and Thor are also perfect cast. Tom Hiddleston has the correct slinkiness and sneakiness in his voice and physical stature. And nobody else could ever have played Thor better than Chris Hemsworth in my opinion.

There is one bit of casting that seems to have caused a controversy in some dark corners of our world, and that is Idris Elba as Heimdall. Some racists have made a big fuss about the character being African-American. Now if these were truly Norse gods, one could make the argument that the Norse would perceive their gods as like themselves, as in white skin. But it should be noted in the context of the movie, the Asgardians are not Norse, they may not even be human, and can be of whatever race. Just because the Norse thought Heimdall was white doesn't mean he is. Add to this Elba's amazing performance, and I have no problems at all.

It's just like Lawrence Fishbourne being cast as Perry White in The Man of Steel. There's nothing that says he isn't, or can't be. I think there are a small handful of characters who are definitely of one race or another. Established African-American characters can't really be white. For instance you just couldn't do it with the Black Panther or Black Lightning (and not just because of the names), but Blade could very well be portrayed as white. Of course you will get an argument from me on Wonder Woman. Sorry, Beyonce, but Wonder Woman is Greek. But enough on this sidetrack, suffice it to say, Idris Elba's Heimdall is one of the highpoints of the flick.

Once Odin's explanation of the universe is over we move to a very special occasion - Thor becoming his replacement as king of Asgard. The ceremony is ruined by a break-in by some Frost Giants trying to steal back the Casket of Ancient Winters. Thor wants to attack the Frost Giants and start a war, and his father disagrees, seeing this as a bad kingly decision. Like a good spoiled brat prince, Thor gets his brother and his friends together, and off they go to Jotunheim to rumble with the Frost Giants.

This is Lee/Kirby/Buscema made live on the big screen. This sequence is among the best of the flick. I love it and can watch it over and over again. I know the story of Thor is him on Earth, but man oh man, what I wouldn't give for a Thor in Asgard chilling and killing with his friends movie. Note should be made of the movie Asgard. The realm Eternal is a glorious place, not necessarily that of the comics, but a beautiful vision of futuristic and mythic society. Comparisons could be made to the cityscapes of the first Star Wars trilogy (one of the few things I liked about those movies). And take note, DC Comics, the awe inspired by Asgard is what viewers should have felt when they saw Oa in the Green Lantern film.

After attacking the Frost Giants, Odin has had it with his spoiled brat of a son, and banishes him to Earth to learn humility, just like in the comics, and we come full circle in our movie story. Following a weird light anomaly in the sky, Jane Foster - along with her scientist friend Erik played by Stellan Skarsgard and her intern Darcy (Kat Dennings) - whacks our exiled thunder god with her car. Some great fish out of water scenes follow, and we soon learn that the first anomaly Jane detected was Thor's hammer falling from the sky as shown in the post-credits scene in Iron Man 2. Nice continuity there, Marvel.

Natalie Portman's Jane Foster is a bit of an anomaly herself, going from nurse in the comics to astrophysicist here. The job change needed for both story logic and because Thor's human alter-ego of Dr. Donald Blake doesn't really exist in this tale, although the name does pop up as an Easter egg for comics fans. Jane really only exists here as a romantic foil for Thor. Her mentor has all the keys and her intern does all the work. I would have rather had Jane have all the answers and the intern be her sounding board. Skarsgard wasn't really needed here. Please give me strong women in the movies made from the comics, if not the comics, ya know? Jane Foster could have been that character.

There are great scenes at the hammer drop site of folks trying to lift it, including one with creator Stan Lee. While Thor plays fish out of water on Earth, and SHIELD takes over the hammer site, Loki takes over the throne of Asgard. Loki also sets his sights on bringing all the realms to their knees, and sends the Destroyer to, what else, destroy Thor. Also, Avengers fans, don't miss the fifteen second cameo by Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye the Marksman. When the Warriors Three come to Earth, it's total coolness, though I wish more had been made of it. The same goes with the battle with the Destroyer. When the only real complaint one can have is that I wish there was more of it, that's a good thing. When is Thor 2 again? And, geekgasm, how about a Lady Sif and the Warriors Three movie?

Things are beginning to resemble a Thor comic at this point, and that's a good thing - because it works. Director Kenneth Branagh has succeeded in repeating the magic with which Jon Favreau brought Iron Man to the big screen. He brings what made the comics special to the screen. Thor is near perfect. Along with the original Iron Man and Captain America which followed Thor in July, it's a perfect trinity of Marvel's greatest characters.

This bodes well for 2012's Avengers movie. And speaking of which, don't forget, as with all Marvel movies, don't forget to watch the post-credits sequence with more foreshadowing of the Avengers film. Thor is easily one of the top ten, perhaps top five, superhero movies of all time, do not miss.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Comic Fan! #6

This hot selling sixth issue of COMIC FAN! is still available.

One hundred magazine size pages of articles on the evolution of the Justice League of America, from the silver to the bronze age, by some guy named Glenn Walker; Mike Sekowsky: Appreciating His Radical Years, by Jason Sacks, makes for a fine companion piece as you will agree; fandom icons Carl Taylor and Captain George Henderson are spotlighted by Lance "Doc" Boucher and Richard Krauss; Superboys and Their Toys, by Jeff Vavra, takes a humorous looks at the use of gadgets employed by our crime fighters; Marc Haines chooses his Top Five Alan Moore Moments; Sam Gafford discusses the changes in comic fandom through the years; Lance "Doc" Boucher takes on Wonder Man in his new column, Golden Age Grotto; Larry Tisch's Comic Memories returns; plus, 24 pages of THE SPINNER RACK review section with critiques by Richard Krauss, Dennis Kininger, Matt Levin, Barry Southworth, Mark Allen, Michael Hamersky and Robert J. Sodaro of mainstream, independent, alternative, small press and manga.

Plus an editorial by Jim Main, a eulogy for artist Rusty Haller, and The Low Down, the CF letters section. Plus, covers by Dave Farley/Marc Haines, John Lambert, Lance "Doc" Boucher/Jeff Austin and Miguel Guerra. Interior art by Larry Blake, JK Carrier, Tim Temmel, Al Limacher, Rich Limacher, Kevin Duncan, Jeff Austin, Lance "Doc" Boucher, Carl Taylor, Gary Barker, Rob Imes, John Lambert... what an issue!!!

Get it here:

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides ~ If you like Johnny Depp doing his dirtiest at doing a drunken gay Keith Richard as Captain Jack Sparrow - you will love this. I like this movie on its own, but as a sequel, or more accurately one part in a franchise series of movies, it doesn't work.

If you look at the first Pirates flick, Captain Jack was almost the antagonist there with Kiera Knightley and Orlando Bloom in the hero roles. Jack Sparrow is an intriguing pitstop or obstacle they must overcome. His phenomenal popularity has shoved the character into the spotlight with the next two films and yes, here in the fourth. If you don't know the history, he rolls into that role quite easily in Stranger Tides, but he shouldn't, in my opinion.

That said, and previous Pirate films aside, this is a pretty good action flick. Be warned though, there are some rather disturbing imagery for the little ones. I was surprised at the genocidal treatment of mermaids in a movie by the company that gave us The Little Mermaid. Sorry, but that thought was never far from my mind while watching the movie. Worth seeing, but not fantastic, nor as good as the first Pirates of the Caribbean, but way better than the second and third.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast for 10-12-2011

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live in a real comics and gaming store in West Berlin, NJ - All Things Fun! - co-hosts Ed (they let me talk in the first segment) Evans, Allison (come see me at New York Comic Con) Eckel and Glenn (hey you kids get off my lawn) Walker discuss the new comics out this week in two fun video segments, now in high definition, and also available on YouTube. See it here!

The first segment includes discussion of the following topics: Happy Anniversary, The New York Comic Con, American Vampire #5, the second issues of the DC New 52, including Mister Terrific #2, Batwoman #2 (why is she so white?), Jeff Lemire's Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #2, Deathstroke's and Harley Quinn's Suicide Squads respectively, Green Lantern #2, Gail Simone's Batgirl #2, Paul Cornell's Demon Knights #2 and the rest, and remember, don't be a meat shield.

The discussion continues in segment two including: Miscellaneous Marvels, including All-Winners Squad Band of Heroes #5, Dan Slott's Spider-Island, Punishers, New X-Men and other X-books, Ed's indies, including Star Wars, Dead Rising, Orchid #1, Allison's kids comics, including Super Dinosaur #5 and All-New Batman The Brave and the Bold #12, Ed's trades, and the Angry Bird of Prey.

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

And be back here every Wednesday morning at 11:30 AM EST to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

New Season Fail?

I hate to say it, but other than the "Wonder Woman" pilot from David E. Kelley that NBC did not buy, I haven't really seen anything from this newest TV season that has impressed me, nothing.

I love Zooey Dechandel, so I checked out her sitcom, "New Girl," on Fox. First I was curious what someone like her who has been so successful in movies would want with television. I mean, this had to either be a great show, or a lot of money, right? Well, it turns out it might just be money. She's fun and hilarious, but her three male co-stars were unwatchable. The problem - there's three of them and just one of her. Awful.

Also on Fox, I tried the much anticipated "X-Factor" from Simon Cowell, and again, I was unimpressed. For someone who wanted to make a show that wasn't like "American Idol," it sure seemed a lot like "American Idol," and not in a good way. Here's hoping that Simon, along with Paula Abdul, return to "AI" next season. It will be better for everyone.

As long as we're beating dead horses, the show I most was interested in this new season was "Terra Nova," which at first glance kinda looked like an American version of "Primeval." If only it was. I'd take another rip-off of a mediocre British scifi series over this dreck any day. Where were the freaking dinosaurs? Damn tease.

Look, don't show dinosaurs in your thirty-second previews of the show for the last four months and not put any damn dinosaurs in the pilot for over an hour. To quote Millhouse in one of my favorite "Simpsons" episodes - When are they gonna get to the fireworks factory?"

There were other series that were disappointments. "Unforgettable," "A Gifted Man" and "Person of Interest" all had intriguing concepts, and quickly displayed with second episodes that they were all three simply formula shows. I don't think we will ever see any progress on the main plot that got us hooked on the show, but will just be case of the week series. Damn shame too.

I was even disappointed by "Homeland." It reeked of predictability for me. Again, a fine concept that just didn't do it for me on the screen. Wow. When the pay cable shows aren't good, you know it's a bad season.

"Pan Am" was a pilot that has to be seen to be believed, so if you didn't catch it, check OnDemand and see it. Not just for the now anorexic Christina Ricci, you need to see this decidedly confused show. First it's kinda "Mad Men," then it wants to be a comedy, then it's an Airport movie and finally at the end it's a spy thriller. See it while it lasts, it could be the quirky fun hit of the bunch, so bad, it's good.

The only show I thought had promise, was canceled before I actually got to see it, which shows you just how on the mark I am with these things. Like "Pan Am," it's a period piece, same time frame, but this one's deadly serious. "The Playboy Club" is/was about a mob murder in, you guessed it, a Playboy club. It had much promise, but, unfortunately, dead on arrival.

It looks like we'll have new replacement shows coming up quickly as I think many of these are headed to the same fate as "The Playboy Club." Hmmm... maybe NBC should take another look at "Wonder Woman"...

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Streamlining the Disney Cruise

The Bride and I are big Disney fans. Well, that's not quite accurate. Like Samuel L. Jackson being a vegetarian in Pulp Fiction because his lady is, that's the way I started to be a Disney fan. The Bride is the real Disney maniac, but I have learned a real affection for the mania myself. The fact is Disney, more often than not, does it right when it comes to customer service and entertainment. In my household, usually around vacation time, there is an annual pilgrimage to Florida to worship at the altar of The Mouse. The parks have gotten kinda old for me after more than a dozen trips (although there is always something new), but my heart has found a home away from home on the Disney Cruise Line.

This is my happy place. I love the Disney boat, as I call it, no matter what ship of their fleet I'm on. And it's not just the idea of a cruise. I've done other cruises, but as I said, Disney does it right. And yes, I'm aware they are much more expensive than other cruise lines but in my opinion it's worth it. The care alone taken with the waitstaff that follows you from restaurant to restaurant on board filling your needs easily because they know you so well is a major plus.

We've just taken our seventh cruise with Disney and I was pleasantly surprised that the best had gotten better. With the newest and biggest ship, the Dream, they seem to have made strides to improve their already excellent service. Waiting for the buses at the airport to take you to the cruise ship has now become the place where IDs are checked and keys, etc. given out. When you arrive at Port Canaveral now, you get right on the ship whereas in the past, it could be an all-afternoon wait.

Another place where the streamlining has taken place is at Cabanas, the equivalent of what is a buffet on the other ships. On board the Dream, this restaurant is sooo big that lines are no longer needed. You just go up to any service area, get what you want and sit down. It's amazing to watch folks not used to this hit and run system stand and wait for someone to finish getting their food, not realizing the same item is also a few feet away.

It's not all good. The Disney Dream (and the Fantasy following it) can house almost twice as many passengers as the original two ships, the Wonder and the Magic. The crowds are evident. I couldn't read in the Atrium as I had on previous trips because of the constant echoing din of people talking. And never on the Wonder or the Magic was there ever the experience of people in your way when you were trying to get somewhere. Don't get me wrong, I loved the Dream, but from now forward I think I will prefer the smaller ships.

Those described above are just a few ways the Disney Cruise Line is getting better and making a great experience better. Yeah, in hindsight, the above might sound like a commercial, but just as with a review of a movie or TV series I love, I'm just spreading the word. Next time you're thinking cruise, think Disney, you might be talking just like me.

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

OctoberFist VII

"OctoberFist VII" with Dumpsta Players

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
10 PM Doors, 11PM SHOWTIME!
$1.99 cover
INFO: 215-545-4511

Bob and Barbara's Jazz Lounge
1509 South St.
Philadelphia, PA


Come journey with the Dumpstas to distant lands and experience a Belorussian Empress, a Serbian 60's girl group, and rowdy Greek chorus boys who dance away their troubles!

Come taste from the melting pot of Polish and Portuguese delights! Travel with us from England to Moldova!

But beware, fellow comrades... there are dark clouds on the horizon... Fascist Dictator Luka Coschmenko has sealed the borders and the workers must rise up!

Let the ancient celebration commence. In spirited rhythms and many tongues, let's fill the air with music and make merry!

Behold the songs of the people!

Behold the melody of the language!

Behold, the symphony of the season!

Raise your fist in solidarity for "OctoberFist VII"!

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