Friday, January 30, 2015
This documentary, done almost the opposite of the Eagles doc I reviewed some time ago, has interviews with the band together and separately. It's intriguing that while there was conflict within the band, much like the Eagles, no one really hates each other here. Phil Collins, frequently rumored to be difficult in all areas of his life, appears to be the odd man out though, acting the cantankerous old man, while other members seem to still have a passion for the music.
The interviews, together and separately, with Gabriel, Collins, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, Steve Hackett, and others, paint quite a vivid history of the band, from its early days to the art rock days of costumes and props to the pop music video days, and beyond. This fascinating and revealing documentary is well worth watching.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
new crime lord Brick having undone everything Team Arrow has worked for the last few months, things don't look good for Starling City. Its a good thing there's a new Canary on the streets - or is it?
With no Arrow and no original Canary, the vacuum is being taken advantage of by Brick. While Oliver recuperates in the Himalayas, Team Arrow confronts Laurel who is new to the mask business. She's not her sister, and she's going to get killed.
A later botched rescue attempt shows clearly how inept Laurel appears to be at this vigilante stuff, and Brick kills one of the aldermen as payment. This was the point where I started questioning the show. At first I thought did Ted Grant really do that bad a job training her? Then I wondered why Quentin couldn't ptell that Canary was much taller than usual. Then I wondered why Brick would pull such a ham handed stunt when really, he already has control of The Glades?
Notably many street names and city places are mentioned in this episode, none of them referencing creators from the comics. That's an easy homage that is missed. Oliver's magical length changing beard was also distracting. This was neither a strong episode nor a favorite one. Perhaps it's time for another Flash crossover to spark things up a bit.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Dead Is Dead or Poor Devil, is one some folks are unsure they remember correctly or perhaps remember seeing at all. Sometimes known as Chinese Gods, or The Story of Chinese Gods, or simply the unlikely Bruce Lee cartoon, its real title is Pang Shen Feng.
Created in 1976, with a character drawn to look like Bruce Lee, I first discovered this on Saturday afternoons in the early eighties where it invariably showed up as part of the martial arts flicks on UHF. I have to wonder what the regular kung fu and Shaw Bros. fans made of this animated feature mixed in with their standard fare.
The simply animated film, with old school anime flair and just a touch of Yellow Submarine surrealism, loosely strings together a handful of tales from Chinese mythology into one story full of bizarre visuals and wild martial arts fight sequences. Be warned ahead of time, this is not for kids. There are adult themes and concepts, and quite a bit of violence and sexual innuendo, even blood and a bit of nudity.
Chinese Gods starts a little slow, but once the strange creatures, monsters, and demons start showing up, it gets quite good. I remember being so entranced with one such beast - the nine-tailed fox - that I wrote it up and used it against my players in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Here the nine-tailed fox gives Bruce Lee a run for his money.
There's also the half-naked kid who flies by riding fiery wheels on his feet. Did I mention how surreal yet cool this flick is? I thought Chinese Gods stood the test of time and was well worth seeing again. It's definitely available on YouTube here, and might also be on out of print VHS or bootleg DVD. Good but surreal fun.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Originally intended to be just another bad stoner flick from James Franco and Seth Rogan, The Interview gained frightening national and international infamy by reputedly being the target of a cyber attack on Sony supposedly by North Korea. While the facts of who did what may be in question, it seems that making a film about what a monster the leader of North Korea is and how a couple of idiots attempt to assassinate him could actually lead to an act of war. Sounds silly, doesn't it? But apparently it happened.
This is still a terrible movie, but it's better than it has any right to be. And I'm not sure whether that's good or bad. I certainly didn't hate it like I did This Is The End. I really didn't think I could hate James Franco more than I already did, and then I saw The Interview. The man is now on my do-not-watch list. Yeah, he's that bad. He makes Adam Sandler look like Cary Grant. Seth Rogan isn't bad, and Lizzy Caplan does her best with what she has to work with.
Otherwise, I would say to wait to see The Interview for free, if at all. This flick is only a curiosity because of the controversy around it, not because of anything special in it.
Monday, January 26, 2015
The series had gotten quite a bit of recent buzz with its Golden Globe nominations, but I knew it from hearing its star, veteran character actor Jeffrey Tambor, interviewed on the Satellite Radio circuit quite a few months back when the show first took off. I was intrigued, and looking forward to a chance to see it, and I'm glad I finally did.
"Transparent" is about secrets, and the prices paid by keeping them. Maura's coming out affects each of her three children distinctly, making them examine their own lives and their own secrets, and how her secret has impacted them growing up as well as in the present. The show has an amazing ensemble cast including standouts Gabby Hoffman, Amy Landecker, Judith Light, and of course Tambor.
As I said, I'm glad I finally got to see "Transparent" but sorry I waited so long. Don't wait. This is very good television, and well worth paying for.