Sunday, November 04, 2018

Doggie Adoption Day, 3rd Anniversary

It seems that Jules has been with me for three years. Now it seems like it must be far longer, but it has just been 3 years. He's just filled each year with more moments and fun than I ever expected.

Not the youngest when we met, he does love his long naps and needs a few minutes when he wakes to go through his yoga routine. But sometimes, even after an intense stretching session he'll plop right back down and nod off. He knows the secret, sleep is good.

But he also wants to be seen as the most vigorous of dog, and also bigger than any dog he meets. Or any wild turkeys and geese. I don't know if it's bluff on his part or 50-pounds of confidence in a 20-pound sack.

It doesn't matter to me, as when he isn't trying to be an adventurer, he loves his time being adored and pampered.

And I look forward to more years of being able to spoil my little guy.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Horror Of...Halloween Night, Daughter of Darkness (1990)

Halloween has plenty of big-budget gore and terror going for it in the modern era of horror. But the smaller scale endeavors in horror are often just as rewarding to fans. And among the golden age of TV movies, you can find many odd films that can fit in nicely into a night's scares.

One I can across earlier this year was a small 1990 film for CBS. Daughter of Darkness.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Halloween Movie Timelines

For the Halloween season and for the upcoming Halloween sequel it might do us all well to review just how these films, scattered over decades all fit together. Surprisingly, a series that comes from a one-off dream film in the late 70's that has had a number of creatives take it over is not as seamless a tale as you might think. We have different avenues to follow if it is bothersome for films to contradict or retcon each other.

SPOILERS ahead for the whole of the Halloween franchise.

It starts with the original, Halloween. a grown-up Michael Myers comes back to his hometown bent on killing a group of teenagers. In the end, he is gunned down by his psychiatrist.

A simple and tense tale that works perfectly well on its own. And with this film, you have all you need to see before the new film comes out this month.

In the new film, Michael survives being shot and seems to have been locked away all the decades since that story. Laurie Strode has gone on to marry and have kids, but she has been left mentally marked by the events. She has tried to carefully plan for his inevitable return when she'll kill him.

But that is something we can see later this month.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

The Horror Of...Universal Monsters, Dracula (1931)

Dracula, when I was a kid still had a certain sway. Yes it was old, and a new era of slasher killers was coming into prominence, but those Universal Monsters couldn't be denied. The black and white, the misty streets and forest, the baying wolves, and the creatures walking out of the shadows seeking their prey.

They were also conveniently available for us to watch, or sneak a viewing of. I remember the first of my viewings of Dracula came late at night when I got up and turned on the old portable TV near my bedroom. It had a broken antenna on it, and the wiring to the back of the tv was not great, but if you fidgeted with it, you could break through the static and get some channels, and some UHF. (...I know most of you have no idea what I'm talking about. I clearly come from some dark age of entertainment.) And as I moved the lousy antenna a bit, the opening of Dracula came into focus. A carriage racing through mountains.

It was thanks to Shock Theater that we all had these movies ingrained in us at a young age. Creatures of the night. Cinematic terrors, that by my childhood became more agreeable for the whole family to enjoy. How horrible!

Now let's go back to where we left off, Universal had finally gained the rights to Dracula (They got the rights to the book and stage play for $40,000.), and Tod Browning had been brought on board to direct.

Tod Browning had a good career as a director: London After Midnight (which was sadly mostly lost -- But I plan to cover down the road.), Thirteenth Chair (his first talking movie, and his first time working with Bela Lugosi), Freaks, Mark of the Vampire (with Bela Lugosi again), The Unknown, The Unholy Three, The Blackbird, The Road to Mandalay. Several of his movies were made working with Lon Chaney. They were good friends.

Chaney was one of the leading men they wanted to have in the film. In fact, it's one of the reasons that Carl Laemmle, Sr. greenlit the movie. He expected they could get Chaney onboard at Universal. But that didn't happen, as he stayed at MGM. And he ended up remaking Browning's The Unholy Three without Browning. Shortly after, Chaney died.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Semi-Heroic Reviews: Man of Steel

It seems odd to think of and look at Superman as a figure of controversy. But in our exceedingly social age little does escape controversy. And when the subject has been around for over 75 years, everyone has an opinion about how to tell their story right.

So when Superman returned...again, and the decision was made to not emulate iconic 30 year films, conflict follows.

Now, 5 years on, the "Internet consensus" would be happy to close the book on this film, and dismiss it. Man of Steel was bad. It's didn't work. It was made wrong. The movie got Superman completely wrong. End of story. Close the book.

And that seeming consensus has a strong hove to it. After Man of Steel's follow up, Batman vs Superman, came out, I found myself avoiding watching Man of Steel. I had enjoyed the film when I went to the theater. And when I rewatched it. And when I bought the DVD. The negative push that came after the release and over the intervening time had weeded it's way into my memory.

So let's keep that book open, and reexamine this film.

It wasn't until mid-2016, when I was rewatching Man of Steel that I was reminded how well this film worked for me. The re-imagining of Krypton. The lost and questing Clark Kent. Lois Lane sniffing out Superman before he even existed. Zod, and his unbending will, keeping Krypton's culture and ideology alive, no matter what it cost.

It was in many ways borrowing from the long history of Superman. And in other ways, it added new takes and ideas. A respect for lore, with a willingness to go beyond as needed. When it comes to beloved lore, it's exactly what is needed to help it live and grow.

Let's take flight then, and see the power of...

Man of Steel

Monday, November 13, 2017

Subspace Reviews: Star Trek: Discovery - Ep 7 - "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad"

Episode seven brings us to a return of an unexpected reoccurring character this season. Harry Mudd.

I'm sure he's over that being left to rot on a Klingon prison ship.

A return of Mudd, and an episode of this new series which feels surprising like a Classic Trek or Next Generation episode. A dangerous situation. A colorful foe. An internal conflict. The ship on the line. And Lorca gets to die.

But no news on what's happen to Cornwell. :(

Subspace Reviews: Star Trek: Discovery - Ep 6 - "Lethe"

Back into Discovery again, and this time we get to know a little more about a popular Vulcan among Trekkies. Sarek.

In fact, after seeing this episode I started to build an interesting timeline for the Sarek family between Spock's birth and his entrance to Starfleet Academy based on this episode. But that will have to wait until the midseason break next week. And the rest of these midseason reviews.

So let's see who lives and who prospers.