Monday, January 31, 2011

Queen of Night

The Queen of Night
Mother of Sorrows
Daughter of Tears
Walks with her Guards

and now we pause for noms

Abstract in Bloom

Dead Space Aftermath

Dead Space is a video game first person shooter of science fiction persuasion.  This is the second of two animated features based on it.  Frankly, there's not much here.  A bunch of survivors are picked up and then interogated and tortured.  Each tells the story of what happened on their doomed ship.  It all has to do with an alien artifact that's like a bad monolith from 2001.  It starts rewriting people's DNA and that's never good. 

I argued that video games could indeed be art.  This is not art.   This isn't even much of an entertainment.  The mix of Computer animation and standard 2d animation is jarring.  The characters are mostly cyphers.  The characters are also in a no win situation where a bullet in the head is the best you can hope for, and that's not much fun to watch.  The only thing this show left me was the question of why do all the humans have a glowing blue spine?  I mean it looks cool but that can't help you if you are trying to hide from monsters in the dark. 

Today's Secret Code

"I've come to bury my hard drive not to praise it."  Again: "I've come to bury my hard drive not to praise it."  Today's colours are at half mast.  Today's author is considering reality.  That is all, maho maho.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Light from the Old House

Sometimes a cold light
shines from the old manse
Those who follow it
are never seen
but sometimes felt
in the misty moor

LOLs on the move

The blob

I'm fairly sure this is the first theme song that mentions the name of the monster in the song. Besides that, it is a fun little ditty that easily describes the creature without being trite or tiresome.


Roger Ebert, last year made a bit of a mess when he said that video games could not be art. That of course begs the question of what is art, a highly subjective debate. I know in my heart that video games can be heart because I have been emotionally moved by the best of them. Ico is one of them. It's a deceptively simple puzzle game. There is no dialogue. You are not given a back story. You simply know you are a boy in a huge haunted castle and you find a girl and you want to help her. Yet, from that simple set up a close bond forms between you and the characters. You find yourself caring about them as you try to get them to run in the right direction. That seems like art to me.

Films that should be remade Little Norse Prince

I think I said before that one of the most strange memories from my childhood was seeing "Jack and the Witch" while suffering a high fever.  I didn't have a fever when I saw "Little Norse Prince Valiant" (a.k.a.Taiyou no ouji Horusu no daibouken), but it had a similar effect.  I think it was because it was the first cartoon I saw that was almost adult in nature.  I had no frame of reference and it blew my little mind.

It starts with our hero fighting a pack of wolves with a hatchet on a string.  Though it pulls it punches (or lunges and slashes in this case) it is still obvious he hitting wolves with an ax something you didn't see in hanna barbara cartoons at the time.  Things look grim though till the very ground rises up into a literal mountain of a man.  The wolves go away and the boy, who's name is Hols which I found funny, takes the sword of the sun from the shoulder of the giant.  The giant says when the sword is sharpened again and Hols knows how to use it, then the giant will come and witness him as Prince of the Sun.

Wow, what an adventure and things are just starting.  His friend (a talking bear) comes suddenly and tells him that Hols' father is dying.  On his death bed Hols' father tells them that their village was destroyed by the evil Grunwald, the King of Frost.  He took his son and ran away and has regretted his decision.  He asks Hols to return to the village and help them.  After father dies (again another thing you didn't see in cartoons of the time), Hols gives him a viking funeral and makes for the homeland with his bear friend.

On their way they are attacked by eagle/crows and Hols is dragged to the mountain tops.  There he meets Grunwald.  Grunwald, though the cartoon doesn't make it clear,  obviously knows something about the Hols and the Sword of the Sun, and says he's been waiting for him and has an offer.  Join me and rule with me, or die.  Hols being made of hero's stuff says no way to the whole joining with evil thing and Grunwald lets him fall off the mountain.  Grunwald by the way isn't all that scary as a villain, he comes off more petty.  Also, when I look at him now he looks like the villain from G force/battle of the planets, and how scary is that?

As I said, though, Hols is made of strong stuff.  He is found floating down the river and taken to the village he was going to.  Most people are very hospitable except for the village mayor and his doofus "gee I'm so naughty evil" deputy.  Still, hospitality can only go so far.  The trouble is that this is a fishing village with no fish.  It turns out there is a giant pike stopping the fish from getting to the village.

Though the pike has already killed men from the village, Hols decides to take matters into his own hand.  This is an incredible scene.  The pike is horrible, almost mutated looking and has spears dug into its side.  The battle goes back and forth and the pike is very tricky often playing dead before almost swallowing our hero whole.  In the end an avalanche buries the pike and the village gets a huge fish run.

Everyone treats Hols as the hero which makes the Chief and his deputy jealous.  After an attack by wolves, things are further complicated when Hols brings Hilda to the village.  Hilda was found in an abandoned village and she says her village was destroyed by Grunhild and since then she has been forced to live alone.  Touched by her story Hols brings her to his village along with her friends (a talking owl and squirrel).  She is a beautiful girl and her singing can hypnotize everyone who hears her.  She is distant and mysterious.  What is her secret?

So, Grunwald tightens his trap.  Rats attack the village, and people become suspicious of Hols driving him away.  Finally, the truth comes out.  Hilda is Grunwald's sister!  Granted immortality by Grunwald's necklace of life, she is obliged to destroy Hols though her heart is not in it.  She still manages to dump Hols into the psychotic/psychedelic lost woods.  Now Grunwald is free to destroy the village his way with frost and monsters of ice and snow.

Of course Hols gets free and saves the village.  What made this so good then and even now though, is the fight for the soul of Hilda.  She is Hols enemy, but Hols tries to save her.  To bring her to humanity.  What really makes it good is that she doesn't just bend to his will but makes her own choices and finally comes to reject Grunwald on her own terms.  First, she stops fighting Hols, she fades away and tells Hols to save the village.  Later she gives her necklace to a child freezing to death in the snow, knowing full well that it will probably kill her.  This last scene is so powerful, as Hilda is alone in the snow as wolves of frost attack her slowly forcing her to her knees.

This isn't by any stretch a bad film, but it was badly treated.  It was translated by AIP and it's definitely rocky, also the American prints are old and damaged.  But even if you watched the American version you'd see a compelling story and sometimes incredible animation.  The animation isn't consistent, you can tell they were still searching for a style, but there are individual scenes of great beauty.

I would definitely loved to see this remade.  Today's animation would definitely improve things.  Also, a better respect for japanese animation would help keep things intact.  Until then you can check out the original japanese version on You Tube.

Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid


Ok, well like in Mega Piranha this has Tiffany (and this time her co-star Debbie Gibson) introducing the film as if it was an event of some sort.  On the one hand I applaud Syfy for aggressive PR.  I've always been a fan of the P.T. Barnums and William Castles in the world.  On the other hand, with the exception of the Troma people who are um.. special, it is gauche to plug your own wares as camp crap.  It's ok if someone discovers you've made a horribly bad film, it's another thing when you proudly proclaim that you can't make a movie to save your own life. 

So, we have Tiffany and Debbie and they are in the swamps.  Each is a specialist of reptiles.  Tiffany loves her gators and Debbie is a snake fan.  Enter some ginormous pythons that start eating all the gators.  Tiffany gets crazed so puts up hunting licenses to the local hunters whom cannoodling is high tech to kill up some snakes.  Things do not go well, and basically after a lot of dead people Debbie is like "It's nature's way beeeooooiiiitch!"  Yeah, the chemistry between these two is somewhere between "Hee Haw" and "Jersey Shore."

Tiffany will not let this stand, and tells her deputy granny cop that she needs her some bigger gators.  Granny cop gets a bunch of steroids, including experimental ones, from a relative and they put them in chickens and feed them to the gators.  The Gators hulk out, except they don't wear purple pants and get big quick.  The funny thing is that they pythons eat some gator eggs and THEY start to hulk out.  This is not a good thing and many people get eaten by the end. 

But not the director of this film.

Well fair's fair, and the idea of some sort of football style grudge between herpetologists is funny.  Having a sort of arms race between creatures that don't have arms is amusing.  The film though is not amusing without recreational beverages and is just sad.  Tiffany and Grandma cop are actually ok at the acting thing but that just makes everyone suck more, and I'm looking at you Debbie Gibson.  The grudge fight between Tiffany and Debbie is just more weird than anything.  If I was looking for a grudge match between eighties singers I'd be more interested in a slap fight between Prince and Boy George.  The special effects, oh lord oh just makes me cry.  They aren't even TRYING anymore.  The snakes move like they float two inches above the ground, and when the gator eats someone it's like watching a sock pocket eat a paper cut out. 


Today's Secret Code

"If I could keep time in a bottle, I would ferment it to a fine burgundy."  Again:  "If I could keep time in a bottle, I would ferment it to a fine burgundy."  Today's colour is red.  Today's author is all wight.  That is all, maho maho.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

you and I
each other
such a

My Dopple

My reflection and I
go side by side
a brighter shadow
that can swim
on still waters
and dark glass

Killer klowns from Outer Space

Generally music in movies serve the visuals. Sometimes though they surpass the movie. Killer Klowns is a great, fun film. The type of nonsense you probably couldn't make nowadays. The song though, from the Dickies, is perfect on its own. It's bettter than the film in mixing both horror and that crazed circus feel.

Not connected to the movie but this is the MOST DISTURBING CLOWN MUSIC VIDEO ever....

Spice and Wolf

Spice and Wolf is one of the best low key animes I've ever seen. It is set in a fantasy world that is European in nature. Our hero is a wandering merchant. He wants to make enough money to set up his own shop, but he also you can tell loves his wandering. He frees a grain Goddess from her vows, and she happily decides that since the farmers no longer need her she will go home. Merchant and Goddess make a deal and they travel together.

The Goddess is a wolf and she appears either as a woman with wolf ears and a tail (Which causes problems with the church if they ever see her ears and tails) or as a giant wolf (which can cause EVERYONE else troubles). She's something of a trickster figure and also talks about how wise she is. Wise she might be, but she's an innocent in this new world and little things like an apple pie just sends into paroxysm of delight.

One thing I love about this series is that it doesn't really go in for the swash buckling.  It is often as not about trade and economics.  The first plot arc involved currency manipulation of all things.  People started buying up old coins as the rumor that that the new coins were going to contain less silver.  The show takes its time to develop its ideas and also the relationship between merchant and goddess.  I also have to be candid, I was singing the end song from the first season for like two weeks.

Cut me a slice of sunshine pie!

Young Justice

Well tonight Young Justice finally goes into action. They are told just to go and observe a plant that makes the drug venom which gives superstrength. I can't believe that Batman actually thinks they would just observe so I'll assume he was planning all along for them assault the plant. True they do sneak in fairly well. Some of them are outfitted with stealth version of the long underwear standard issues costumes. Ms. Martian of course can become invisible (A nice effect with just enough difference from standard "Predator" to be original), Robin can sneak around in bright red and yellow, and the Superboy just doesn't give a damn.

The problem is they are still being dickish. This time about who is to lead the team. Robin thinks of course it should be him, but he is too busy doing his own thing to lead. One thing about this series is that it wants me to kick robin's butt. He's a cocky little so and so with none of the charm shown in "The Teen Titans."

So as they hash out leadership they meet Bane. Now Bane is something of a bad ass to be sure, he broke Batman's spine in the comics. But, really superboy should have no problems mopping his luchador ass up. They still are very inconsistent in how they protray powers.

They also had to fight Cobra (not the GI Joe gang), and of all people the Sports Master. Sports Master is really what third tier villainy? I mean ok they might had have to fight Kite Man, but no superhero is THAT hard up.

When they do get to work together the team is very nice. They still don't have the the girl with the bow and arrow they show in the credits, but I'm in no hurry. Frankly trick arrow acts have never really thrilled me. Also, as an interesting bit of trivia martians blush green.

Moby Dick 2010

The Asylum is a slick little outfit that tries to be the Syfy of direct to DVD movies.  They have two general strategies.  The first is to see what's coming out in theaters and then make a quick knock off of it and release it direct to DVD at the same time it is in theaters.  Their second idea is to take something that is in the public domain and name rape it enough to direct their version of it to DVD.

Hello Moby Dick 2010.

Ok, they get points for keeping all the names of the characters in the book.  Also, there IS a whale so I guess that counts.  Other than that, there's no real connection between the book in the movie.  Here we have submarines being attacked by a 500 foot long CGI whale.  A one foot Captain Ahab is chasing said whale in his custom sub and he picks up a lady scientist because she knows whale sounds and because you need a lady scientist of course.  Ships get sunk and nukes get used, and still is fairly boring 90% of the time.  About the only clearly cool moment of the movie is where Ahab has lost his foot again so takes an old cross off a grave and puts it on like a size nine.  Other than that this is a miss and a whiff.

Today's Secret Code

"Never hug porcupines or phoenixes."  Again:  "Never hug porcupines or phoenixes."  Today's colour is red, fred.  Today's author won't kill, bill. That is all, maho maho.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hyfanian Drop Trooper

A hyfanian drop trooper
hurtling down as it targets
civilian drone spores


Speaking of music, I don't know if Voltaire has done anything in a movie, but I wish he would. He has done at least one song for the Cartoon Network, "Brains" for the Adventures of Billy and Mandy and it was one of the high points of the series. As a self professed goth and an author of a book of how to look goth (hint, more black!) he has a wonderful sense of humor that matches his ability as a performer.

Here is brains which is just a fun toe tapper!

I have a lovely young niece and I plan to sing this to her when I get to put her to bed. This is probably why I don't have kids my own!

and this is my favorite song of his...

Movie Music: Suspiria

Suspiria is the perfect storm of Italian horror movies. It has a wonderfully dreamlike script. It has some shocking horror. It has probably the single best use of color in a horror film. It also has music by Goblin. A favorite of Dario Argentio the group is sort of the Tangerine Dream of horror movies. Their music is very recognizable, and always adds to the atmosphere of the film. Their theme for suspiria is brilliant pure and simple. It starts like a music box, and has a dream like "we aren't in any hurry" feel at first. It sort of lulls but also feels off. Then you get that whispered, "la la la la la" and you are just creeped the shit out. And they you get the punctuation with the drum like a heart slowly stopping. Just wonderful.

Damn You Roger Corman

Roger Corman has entered that stage of his career that we could call, "The Victory Lap."  He has gone from exploitation master, to indie fav, to joke, to now a well respected icon of cinema.  Good for him, he deserves it.  No one can stay alive in the business as long as he has without doing a lot of things right.  Some of his movies are truly good films.

Then there are "The Terror Within," and "Dead Space."  Both made late in career pretty much in the joke phase.  Unfortunately, I didn't laugh.  Maybe if I had some company or if I were one to partake of certain herbs it would have helped. 

The Terror Within is alien.  Creature bursts out victim.  Grows big.  Eats people.  The End.  Roll Credits.  Of course there are differences,  there has to be according to the lawyers.  Here our core group are gutsy survivors in a government lab in the middle of the mojave desert.  They have survived a super plague but things are looking grim supplies wise.  They discover a bunch of dead people and a suspiciously pregnant woman.  They take the woman in and suddenly they have a mutant problem.  The mutant looks like a peeled alligator crossed with the pillsbury doughboy.  Not very frightening.  Like other films of this era the mutant is a serial rapist.  Oh goody, oh joy oh fun.  Not.

Dead Space, is forbidden world.  Yes Corman rips off himself.  Space jockey goes to an alien world where a lab specimen has gotten out of control.  Our space Jockey is played by Beastmaster Marc Singer as he waits for a check.  There is nothing else going on here.

To be fair, both films have decent values of production given a dollar and ten cent budget.  Corman by this time had a crew of old hands and hungry young students that tried to do as much as they can with a smoke machine and a corridor.  One the commentary track of Dead space the director said he had just finished his UCLA student film when Corman asked him direct a movie week from then.  The student asked for a script and Corman said, "It will be there when you get to the set."  Corman was true to his word, but it shows just how crazy tight things were at the house of Corman.

Showing How It Is Done

I have been justly hard on the Syfy network for its saturday movies.  Never has so much been wasted on so little actual entertainment value.  But I know some of you folks out there are fair and wise and might ask, "Well Laz, what would you do."  Fair enough, it's six a.m. here at the moment and I'm going to hammer out a proposal for a film that would be more fun than 99% of what they've been putting out.

Now to be fair, I'll handicap myself with the same problems that plague Sfyf movies.  One, nearly no money, and secondly an over reliance of (bad) computer effects over practical effects.  Ok, the first way to deal with the money problem is to go someplace where you can stretch your dollars.  Canada has been popular because it is close and they speak something close to American.  But that's still probably too much money for syfy so I'll pick Romania.  It's seen a lot of movie work since it fell from communism and it is cheaper than dirt.  Plus there are good locations there.  Now the problem comes when you try to pass of Romania as somewhere else.  Unless you have really genius location and production value it can't be done.  So I won't even bother, the film will be set in Romania, and what the hell we'll try to swing for a castle.

Now the computer effects.  Sigh.  The standards actually differ quite a bit from movie to movie.  Sometimes it so bad as to leave you in mouth dropping wonderment as how it got on the screen, sometimes it's actually fair.  However, there are some qualities one can see in the range of effects Syfy uses.  I would say, sadly, that the effects just generally don't do living things that well.  Living things breath and bleed and a host of other things that there just doesn't seem to have the money to handle.  So, it seems to me that I should plan on creating a creature that isn't biological but rather mechanical. 

Oh my yes!  It just came to me!!  Castle in Romania, and robots.  The movie will be called... (wait for it!)


Now we are rolling.  I can see how this can all work out.  We have our villain.  It's a bad name but I'm going to call him Vlad Temptest for now.  He's a sillicon valley super billionaire and he has moved his company to the land of his fathers.  Here he has outfitted a castle as his headquarters/home.  He has also outfitted the castle with his new toys, homocidal robots that he has sculpted to look like gargoyles.  One reason he is here is that the easily bribed Romania government allows him the leeway to develop a new super cyber weapon that he intends to use for black mail.  As you can tell Vlad is not very stable.  He cycles between a bond villain and nerd.  He never leaves his castle.

Now for the other side, we have people who got wind of what Vlad is up to and they pay big bucks for a team of thieves to go get the macguffin.  They are also told they can keep any cash they free up as well.  Our thieves are led by Tom Peters who is a master thief with a day job as catholic school teacher.  In fact, most of his crew are former students.  Yes, a band of catholic school girl thieves are going to go to romania, sneak into a castle and fight robotic gargoyles.  Come on, is that not better than "Mega quake?"

What say you?
Syfy you know where to find me, and I'm easily bought.

Today's Secret Code

"If you are going to dine with the Devil, then have a long spoon and never pick up the check."  Again:  "If you are going to dine with the Devil, then have a long spoon and never pick up the check."  Today's colour is white tie,  Today's author is wondering the red or the white,  That is all, maho maho.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bad Wulf

No one can stop the power of Dr. Triclops

Dr. Triclops doesn't consider himself a MAD scientist
merely miffed

Just for you!

Early Fans

Before Comic Book Conventions
Grown fans were considered strange
Like Alan Orr who went to work at his hardware store everyday
dressed as superman
despite being the only hardware store in Jakesville Nebraska
he eventually lost all his customers
and died sadly
He was buried in his cape

Music part 3, John Carpenter

I could write forever about John Carpenter. Here is a man who really helped put independent film makers on the map as far as Hollywood is concerned. Halloween was the first mega success from the independent scene. Whether you liked slasher films or not, Hollywood could not ignore the bottom line. John Carpenter also proved he wasn't a one hit wonder like some other horror directors, yes I'm looking at YOU Tobe Hooper. Again and again, he not only made hits he made some pretty darn thought provoking movies pretending to be dumb entertainment. That John Carpenter has basically burnt out of late is sad, but I always hope that he'll come back to us.

But here, let's concentrate on his music. To say it's simple is an understatement. It's basically karaoke cassio time here. It's like the punk guitarist that knows like one and a half chords, but with a synthesizer.  I mean, I'm a musical moron and I learned to play the theme to Halloween.

Yet it works, and works so well.

I think the reason why it works is because John Carpenter the film maker and John carpenter the composer are in perfect synch here.  He knows he needs a beat here and here and here.  He knows where the music should be and doesn't worry about the rest.  It's like the difference between the Mona Lisa and a panel drawn by Jack Kirby.  The panel by Jack Kirby may seem simple compared to the Mona Lisa, but really it isn't because what Jack is doing is directing action from panel to panel so that it is the over all whole of the piece that makes it complex.

Movies I'd remake: "The Pit."

There's a story that was actually called "The Sucking Pit."  So I guess by that standards "The Pit," isn't that bad of a title.  It breaks my rule though of never title your work in a way that it can be easily used against it.  It's too easy for some critic to have the headline "The Pit really is the PITS!"  A word to the wise there, bucko, and abolutely free.

The movie is about a truly creepy kid.  I mean he just oozes creep from every pore like sociopathic acne.  Everyone in town feels it and hates the little bugger.  He has no friend except for his teddy bear (kid by the way is 13-14, way tooo old for teddy bears)  When not creeping people out or cutting out the nudes from art books and pasting the librarian's face on top, he goes out into the woods.  Not for anything healthy, of course.  Out there in the woods there's the titular pit, and down there are hungry things.  Well, creepy kid, plus hungry things, means people start disappearing.  Things eventually get out of hand and the things in the pit come out to play. 

OK, in concept not a bad film.  We can all deal with the creepy, evil child.  Things in pits are always great fun.  So how can we make this better?  Well first, let's get some good actors.  The script here is no great shakes but the actors are like community stock theater, and probably were.  They either "act" "like" "this," or ACTTTT LIKE THIS!!!!  Neither really works, you do have to ground your weirdness in some reality usually for it really take root.

Speaking of which the other main thing I would do is strengthen the "character" of Teddy and bring more as part of the plot.  As is he's not only the weird sounding board for creep boy but he does creepy things.  Teddy bears should not move by themselves, ever.  I'm talking to you Teddy #$&*(*@  Ruxtpin.  What we need to do is more directly tie Teddy to the things in the pit.  They already look like teddy bears to some extent, and it makes more sense for Creep kid to have some Carrie psychic powers than for Creep boy to just happen to find things in a pit AND have creepy Carrie psychic powers.  This can lead to a three way mind game with the pit things being the id, and teddy being the super ego. 

Oh, and for God's sake, I'd make it look like people actually fell into the pit and not jumped in because the director said so.  It was as goofy as some monty python skit.

Face Off

By format, Face Off is just painfully unoriginal reality TV.  Twelve contestants start competing against each other.  Every show has two challenges, the first grants some basic little tweak to the winner.  The second challenge determines who gets the boot for that week.  Yeah, if you haven't seen this before you are a hermit.

The difference is that all twelve are make up artists and the challenge is to turn some very patient models into whatever weirdness that week's challenge is.  For example, in this episode the first challenge was to basically drop and do an improvised make up using items in the room they were partying in.  The second was to make a human animal hybrid from the choices of a beetle, an elephant, or an ostrich.  The results are to say the least unique and these folks do have some skills.  This is closest to project run way but done ugly and less of a bitch fest. 

In any event, I do approve of this show for Syfy.  True, it isn't really a science fiction show, but its wonderfully nerdy, imaginative, and beats the hell out another hour of wrestling. 

Today's Secret Code

"Get the hacksaw.  Betty needs a shave."  Again:  "Get the hacksaw.  Betty needs a shave."  Today's colour is the night.  today's Author is trying to figure out what "Gao yang jong duh goo yang" means.  That is all, maho maho.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

She Walks the Spin

She Walks the Spin
The Ghost Way
Between Electrons and Information
Where she walks there is no path
there is no trace
She is Elite
She Walks the Spin

When the Last War Comes

When the Last War comes
Everyone will serve
A dish best served cold
Piping hot

She comes in waves

she comes in waves
like AM at night
she wants you
at night


"Red" is short for "Retired-Extremely Dangerous," which describes to a T Bruce Willis' character. A retired black ops agent, he now spends his days keeping in shape and getting chatty with Mary-Louise Parker over the phone. It is almost a relief when a new black ops squad tries to take Bruce out. Now he must go and get his only line girl friend before they shoot her and gather a team of fellow retired agents to find out what is going on and stop it.

This is an action film that doesn't forget to be FUN. Morgan Freemen, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich all take turns showing younger actors how it is done. They even dusted off Ernest Borgnine for a brief role as a CIA records keeper. If there is a sequel a can see this becoming a franchise for actors over a certain age to fire guns and play james (or jane) bond.

John Malkovich is great fun as Marvin who was given LSD every day for 11 years. He's a bit twitchy and nuts, but he has a great intuitive sense and still can shoot. Don't ever call him an old man! Bruce Willis does his usual workman like job and holds everything together. Both Morgan and Helen are just plain classy in their roles. Definitely fun for everyone!

Red Hill

Red Hill is a good action thriller from Australia.  Set in the titular town of "Red Hill," it's about constable Shane Cooper played by Ryan Kwanten.  He's from the big city and has moved to Red Hill because of his pregnant wife's need for a place with less stress.  His boss looks down on him from the very first meeting.  He sees him as a wet behind the ear city slicker.  Still he needs the help when an escaped convict with a horribly burned face finds his way to town.  Shane learns that this is not just any old con, and that things are very personal.  The con goes through town killing everyone, and the town is bent on killing the con before real authorities get involved.  Shane must stay alive and find out what is going on.

The action is well staged and intelligently done, the characters are sharply drawn.  It's a very good little film that deserves more attention.

What I saw on TV...

Dang me, if I don't really really like "The Cape." It's pure guilt ridden guilty pleasure to the hilt. They've really hit a stride here and I hope they can keep the pace. Our hero tries to start a war between the evil Chess, and the ill tempered Scales on a masquerade train.  Plans are complicated though by the Carnival of Crime which wants to rob the train.

Ok, first off they really made Scales shine here.  I don't know if it was better make up or just better lighting but his face looked much better here than in the pilot.  Also while they didn't delve into his back story much they gave enough of a taste that he's a bit more three dimensional as a two dimensional villain.  He certainly has a well deserved hatred of midgets ("No Cake for you!").  I do call shennigans on how he gets out of his cage at the end.  Banging your head through the bars till the door comes off is very cool, but it won't work if you are holding the doors at the same time.

Another one involves the central scene of the show.  The train is out of control and Chess and the The Cape must work together to stop the train.  Now maybe things work differently on a train, but as far as I know cutting hydraulic brake lines do not engage the brakes.  Quite the opposite.  Still, a great scene among many.

Best line of the show:  "Get me a hacksaw.  Betty needs a shave." 

Being Human improves on its second episode.  It looks like they have a much better grasp on its characters than the pilot indicated.  That it is on at the same time as the Cape proves to be a problem.  Thank God for Hulu!

A little music professor...

Two Serbians on cellos never looked so cool...

fond memories of the pagoda...

when nerds played cool music..

Today's secret Code

"Uifsf bsf op dpeft po uif gspoujfs."  Again:  "Uifsf bsf op dpeft po uif gspoujfs."  Today's colour is a lack of black.  Today's author is back.  That is all, maho maho.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Books are a home for dreams

Hungry Eyes

Hungry Eyes
hunt the pages
swallowing tantalizing truths
bold face lies
and dreams
most delightful
Hungry Eyes
Hunt the page

Today's Secret Code

"Why are you waiting?"  Again:  "Why are you waiting?"  Today's colour is a peach.  Today's author is on the go.  That's all folks, maho maho.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Hungry Trees

The Hungry Trees
of the Red Jungle
are patient
and waiting
for you

The Last Tower

The Last Tower
long ago
but the King remains

The Order of Celestial Nuns

The Order of Celestial Nuns
could trace their order to before the very church itself
if they dared....
But they deny the rumors
that they were once the
tied to Astarte

A bit o' history

Once things were good
we had good land
good women
hot and cold running buffalo

Part two, Best music

It would be hard for me to think of a better fantasy film than "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad." It has incredible special effects, a strong script, and a cast that was perfectly suited to the film. One factor that really helps is the score. It is a bold, exciting score with a middle eastern flair. As it plays over the credits the main score promises exotic adventures, and it doesn't lie.

Alakazam the Great

"Journey to the West," is a classic story of Buddhist values. As you can imagine it is not quite as well known here in the west. So when American International released a cartoon version in 1960, they felt some tinkering was needed.  Oh hell boys and girls, they took the story and ran it over five or six times and then patched it up like road kill Frankenstein.  Still, the results are sort of funky fun.

So there's a magical and the beasts need a new king.  Along comes Alakazam who is brave and clever.  He jumps down a waterfall to an underwater city to prove he has the right stuff to be king.  Unfortunately, he's a very poor, egotistical, and spoiled king.  Upset to think that humans can be be better than him he leaves his cute monkey girlfriend DeeDee to learn magic from Merlin.  Gaining vast mystical power he invades the heavens to eat the forbidden fruit.  He even challenges the king of everything.  He loses and is imprisoned.  Only DeeDee visits him everyday giving him food.  Finally, now humbled he is freed and is asked to accompany the King's son on a pilgrimage.  Demons seek to stop them, so Alakazam finds allies in the shape of a big talking pig and a mole like cannibal.  Together they fight the bullish demon king and Alakazam finally learns his lessons.

The songs are campy.  The animation are funky.  Oh, and Jonathan Winters is the voice of the talking pig.  Clearly, this is something to see and see probably in a large group to really enjoy the fun.

Here is a more correct version of the monkey king

Chess: In Concert

They say a DA can indict a ham sandwich.  If true, then a Broadway producer can make a musical about.... chess.  Yes, someone thought this was a good idea for a show with a lot of dancing and music.  They even rooked in Bjorn Ulvaus of ABBA and Tim Rice to help with the music.  The results were, interesting.  Years later, the music has come back in this concert done in Albert Hall.

The plot has to do with an American chess player who is an egotistical A hole, heck he's an ABC hole.. he's a pretty all inclusive schmuck.  He is playing mind games with a Russian player and his own lovely female assistant.  Things go all pear shape for the american as the Russian wins their matches and defects with his assistant.  A year later the American returns as he an others plot to make the Russian throw the new match set in Bangkok.

It's really the music that works for this piece.  It's jaunty, it's funky, and it certainly keeps your interest.  The one hit from the show "One Night In Bangkok," still has me humming all these years later.

"I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine."

Legend of the Guardians

By george I don't know how he did it (ok, I lie I know HOW just not WHY), but Zack Snyder (of 300/Watchmen fame) managed to sneak in slow mo action into a children's movie.  That deserves a slow golf clap to be sure.

Apparently based on a series of books, this is a story about owls.  Owls, ok I can go for that.  They always look funky and smart so I can imagine a kingdom of owls.  These owls just want to live in piece as they slaughter rodents for their daily feeding.  The story centers on two young brothers still learning to fly.  They get kidnapped by evil owls.  These owls, the "pure ones," are seeking to create an empire and take over the other owl kingdoms.  They are kidnapping young owls and turning them into mindless slaves or soldiers.  One brother decides maybe he likes being a soldier, the other flies to the Guardians.  The Guardians are legendary keepers of order who live in a far away tree and have the skill of blacksmithing creating masks and weapons.

This is a mostly painless movie.  The kids would certainly like it.  There are some parts that I found fun.  Other parts... well I've seen this story before.  That owls are used instead of people, dogs, or cats does keep it a little fresh.  It does create its own problems.  I might have been able to buy it better as traditional 2d animation but seeing realistically defined owls doing blacksmithing sort strained my suspension of disbelief there.  On the other hand, I understand that ol' Zack got stunt men to wear cardboard wings and beat the snot out of each other to get the owl fighting right.  It does look impressive to be sure.

Overall, good for the kids.  I think this was a good pick up project for Zack, but I'm still waiting for "Sucker Punch."

Today's Secret Code

"If your only subject is the Fool, you aren't much of a King."  Again:  "If your only subject is the Fool, you aren't much of a King."  Today's colour is black or white.  Today's Author is fact checking.  That is all, Maho maho checkmate.


Of all the Endless
Delirium is a fan favorite
The "Little Sister" of Dream
She is madness defined
Once known as Delight
She's now lost to herself
This is my version of her

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Why Brillman's Party Was Legendary

Of the 10 greatest Parties
Brillman's is remembered
because of the Dark God's arrival
Survivors say he had a beautiful singing voice

We Three

We Three
Walk the Moon Paths
Knock on
Hecate's Door
We Three
Ever One
Walk the Moon Paths
With care

Waiting for the Probe

Part One, Best Music in Fantasy Horror Movies


They are the smallest things you'll see in a Godzilla movie. Twin fairies from a far away island. They are often found being exploited for their small stature by businessmen. But, when they sing they can unleash Mothra one of the few monsters who could take on Godzilla in a one on one.

The song itself is beautiful and mystical. You can really believe they are calling what they worship as a God. The Peanuts themselves had a good career outside of Godzilla pictures singing both english songs and japanese standards. They were later replaced in the new batch of Mothra pictures, but they were never topped.

The new fairies


Ryan Reynolds is generally not in anyone's top ten of actors, at least for acting. His reputation is more of smart ass pretty boy. Nothing wrong with that, but it's obvious that Ryan wanted more which explains Buried.

In this film he plays Paul, Paul in a box. Seems that Paul got ambushed in Iraq and has woke up in a coffin like box with only a lighter and a cell phone. Desperately, he starts making calls to try to get out.  It's almost a black comedy as he's put on hold or told that he's being rude.  Meanwhile, his kidnappers call him and make demands.  They want him to make a ransome video using his phones.  The folks Paul is trying to call caution that doing so would be bad for PR. 

This is definitely a one man show and Ryan rises to it.  His fear and frustration is perfectly done.  It gives me a lot more faith that he can carry off a major film like Green Lantern.  Certainly worth a watch if you aren't claustrophobic.

Night of the Demons 2

I already said I have a great stupid love for the first Night of the Demons, so of course I wanted to see this.  It lacks the rough charms of the first one and there is a crying lack of Linnea Quigley.  However, it has its own charms.

It is set in a catholic school. The student body judging from what we can see is about 25 and so horny they are going to hormonally explode.  The only exception to this is Mouse who is the younger sister of Angela from the first film, and Perry who is way way too much into demonology.  The School is run by Sister Gloria who uses a ruler like an epee and the new father who is very touchy feely (no not what you are thinking pervs). 

Well the whole Hull House episode of the first film has become quite an urban legend.  So the bad girls and boys of the school borrow Mouse and one Perry's demonology books and go to Hull House for a party.  Demons are raised and students are killed.  They bring the party back to the school so it's up to Sister Gloria to make room for the holy ghost. 

The special effects are better (my favorite is a pair of breasts turning into hands for no reason what so ever) and the tone is much lighter.  For one thing the kids learn to fight back.  Holy water balloons do even the playing field.  Frankly, the tone is a little too light, and not every joke works.  On the whole, though, it's fine if lesser effort when compared to the first film.

Never Take Coupons From a Chicken

May the Chicken of Luck
never lose a feather

The Dream

you could be the dream
and be on every screen
you could be all the dreams
just never pull on the seams

Today's Secret Code

"I am the Inquisitor's hatrack,"  Again:  "I am the Inquisitor's hatrack."  Today's colour is elusive.  Today's author is secretive,  That is all, maho there Miss Gloria.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Softly They Come

In the night
the starless dark
softly they come
sisters in arms
In the night

Some guests never check out

The rooms are soft and comfortable
never want to check out

Young Justice now with Martian Babe

When last we saw Young Justice they got themselves a new base and a charter from the Justice League.  They also got a new member.  The Martian Manhunter's niece.  She's pretty, she's green and she's a telepath, shapeshifter, and has telekinetic ability.  Oh and a living space ship.  In other words, she can kick butt.  Now, to play fan boy here I cry foul.  The whole deal with the Martian Manhunter was that he was the last martian left.  He did not have a niece.  Still, she's pretty and green so I'll let it pass.

The actual plot isn't much of anythinig.  Mostly just everyone making introductions and setting up future issues.  We know that the superboy clone has a huge chip on his shoulder and does not deal well with being told what to do.  We also see he's going to have trouble dealing with a telepath.  Meanwhile, a random threat in the name of Mr. Twister gives them a good super hero work out.

You always need an episode like this, so I wasn't upset that there wasn't more going on.  What annoyed me was the dick move every single guy pulled when the Martian Lass made a mistake.  Firstly, it was a mistake I would have made given all the clues given, and second these guys hardly have a stainless record.  It was just a knee jerk guy reaction to a girl getting all "uppity" and thinking she knew what was up.  As I said, very annoying if unfortunately often realistic.

On another level, I had problems with the banging the bad guy's head with a big rock.  Their excuse was, "He's just a robot."  Well their "baby sitter" the Red Tornado is just a robot.  Obviously the DC universe has Artificial Intelligence already so it doesn't seem to me that much difference if you are bashing in a robot's or a living being's head.  I mean, it's not like you are going to give a turing test before you kill them, so why take the chance?

Today's Secret Code

"Real Eyes Realize Real Lies."  Again:  "Real Eys Realize Real Lies."  Today's colour is clear.  Today's Author is sublime.  That is all, maho maho.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Urban Trollz

Urban Trollz
with cyborgkinetic geer
If they can remember where the key is
and keep a wind up
they can be

Never look a gift Monster in the Mouth

Unusual Fact:
All turtles were once dragons
Pray they never remember

Today's Secret Code

"How can they say something is classified information when they won't define it for you?"  Again: "How can they say something is classified information when they won't define it for you?"  Today's colour is secret.  Today's author did not say this.  That is all, maho maho.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Death on the rocks

Found drawn crudely on the rocks all along the San Andres fault.  These skeletal guardians watch the fault quietly.  Originally thought to be the art of native americans, some tests put the the inks back to five million years.  This is clearly wrong and should be ignored.

The GLIBZ 910-56a

The Glibz 910-56a is a perfectly sound robot for guard duty.  Simple to command and easy to repair.  It comes with five different sensor domes, and your choice of weaponry allowed in your district.  Easy rates apply and one can use the "Robby" rebate for a large tax deduction.  Please contact your AI-security representative for terms.

LOL cat won't wait


Ladies and Gentlemen, our answer to Weird Japan....

Folks it don't get stranger than this...

Weird Japan and Black Butler

Black Butler is not an Chris Rock vehicle, but a rather strange anime from Japan. It's set in victorian britain, which we get a bit of an odd funhouse mirror view through japanese eyes. Our hero is Ceil Phantomhive, a young noble and known in some circles as the Queen's Guardhound. His parents have been killed and he was left for dead. He would have been dead if not for a contract he makes with a demon. The Demon becomes his servant Sebastian. Sebastian cannot lie to Ceil and will follow any order Ceil gives him, but in the end Sebastian will kill Ceil and take him to hell.

This creates an interesting dynamic of the series. Ceil is Lord and Master, for now. He knows someday his greatest tool and weapon will be his doom. Sebastian is the very best servant, but he knows that Ceil will be his and sometimes he is just too creeptastic. The thing that spoils a rather morbid little team are the three other servants who act as comedy relief. They are added later by the even more lame and creepy, overly happy, naked demon dog man. Yes, only for a japanese show I would have to type "Creepy, overly happy, naked demon dog man." Definitely score one for weird japan.


M. Night Shyamalan totally embarrassed himself this summer with "The Last Airbender."  What can you say abou the misguided ego of a director that decides for no reason to change the name of the main character?  After a string of critical losers, this should have been the final nail in the coffin of the cinematic vampire.  Alas, M. Night had a back up plan:  to start of series of films in which he'd produce but not direct.  The first of these was "Devil."

The results are underwhelming.

It's not a horrible film.  There are moments where a little shock is created.  It certainly doesn't look bad, nor is it any worse acted than anything that is direct to DVD.  These however, are definitely damning with faint praise.  The problem with the film is simple, the premise.  People trapped in an elevator with the devil just sounds stupid on the face of it.  What, the devil has nothing better to do than to be stuck between the 12th and 13th floor?  Also, as a locked room mystery, it's pretty impossible to have in an elevator that is under constant view without a lot of cheating.

They cheat a lot.

In any case, it's the premise that sinks the film because they didn't do anything to lift it out absurdity.  To be fair I don't know what I'd do if I was told, "Make a film about the devil on an elevator."  About the best I could think of would be the equally hack idea of maybe the devil letting the folks off on 'special' floors.  Like, "Here you go sir, Luggage and buggage, on this floor you'll find all the conveniences.  Oh and your dead wife.  The one you killed.  She is very hungry Sir.  This is your stop." 

But I'm not M. Night.

Today's Secret Code

"Moths follow the moon, and butterflies the sun, and I was born under a sign of stars."  Again:  "Moths follow the moon, and butterflies the sun, and I was born under a sign of stars."  Today's colour is G7.  Today's author is in retrograde.  That is all fluttering away, maho maho.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ring of Diamonds in a Cooling Pyre

Maxxie Minyx

Her Ladyship
Her Ladyship, and Maxxie sang together at the Deep Blue Voodoo Lounge and Bingo Emporium.  The Cover charge at the DBVLABE was to go next door to Sam and get a small tattoo of the infinity symbol just under the right wrist.  It was said to be worth it.  When those two sang together, it was said that people remembered the loves they never had.  The one time someone tried to record their duet of "Ring of Diamonds In a Cooling Pyre" didn't work.  When played back it turned out to be the recording of a famous politician in a compromising position. 

They still sing their hearts out there, but only on the full moon any more.

No LOL cats were harmed....

The Town

Well there is hope for me. The Town is a classy movie, and I liked it mightily. It's set in Charlestown which is a neighborhood of Boston. It is famous for the sheer number of bank robbers who have called Charlestown home. Doug MacRay, who is played by Ben Affleck, is one of these bank robbers. His life becomes more complicated as he starts an affair with a bank teller he recently just robbed. He begins thinking more and more of getting out and getting clean, but the town has other ideas.

This is a great heist film. It's filled with several well planned robberies. The robbers themselves are all good characters and you find yourself often cheering them on. Still, being an adult film we know they can't win in the end giving a certain sense of tragedy to it all.

Ben Affleck is not only the star, but the writer and director. Instead of being an ego piece, he gives generously to his other actors. His writing is great and captures the local flavor, and his direction is good, solid craftsmanship. Really this is a great film to watch.

...Now for some class

The Social Network came out the big winner at the Golden Globes.  It rather annoyed me to be honest, I was hoping that Inception would get a few awards.  I was particularly vexed when The Social Network won for best score.  Now I like Trent Reznor very much and wish him well, but Hans Zimmer's score for Inception is clearly better.  Like the movie it just gets into your head, and I can't be the only one to think that given the amount of videos that used it this year.  It's gone viral for viral.

Really though, the thing that bothers me is I just don't get The Social Network.  It has excellent talent, and it is all on the screen.  Great direction by David Fincher.  Simply Gorgeous photography.  The actors, notably Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, are great in their rolls.  The thing is simply this; I did not like one person in this movie.  They don't even rate as INTERESTING assholes.  They are just assholes and jerks, and I just can't enjoy the movie. 

So there, yet another classy film I don't like.  I guess I better go back to rewatching ol' Godzilla movies.

Today's Secret Code

"You are my brother, unless you are my sister."  Again:  "You are my brother, unless you are my sister."  Today's colour is everywhere.  Today's Author is at home.  That is all, maho maho yippie kai ya!