Monday, April 8, 2013

Invaders From Mars (1953)

There's one spoiler that I ALWAYS give away, without the slightest twinge of conscience, and that's the old "it was all a dream" routine. There are plenty of classic movies (like THE WIZARD OF OZ, for example), that end up with the protagonist regaining consciousness, but you don't feel cheated at the end, and when I give it away, it doesn't matter. And if the suspense depended on you being fooled, well, you really ought to feel cheated. No one should feel cheated when the kid wakes up at the end of "Invaders From Mars", but even if you haven't seen it. Knowing that it's all a nightmare will make the implausible dialogue and weird sets go down much more comfortably. And it's a good nightmare. The silent cold stare of the alien commander (the head in the globe) still scares the shit out of me, and the odd Disneyish characters make it all the more nightmareish. There's a lot of sci-fi coming out of the fifties, but most of it was last fifties. This was four years pre-sputnik, and that gives it an odd, fairy tale feeling.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

This week in Conservative Attention Whoring. Killer Fawn out-herods Coulter

I usually bristle at the term "attention whore". It usually a term that boring people apply to interesting people, but conservative attention whoring is definitely a thing, and it goes way beyond youtube. It's a great example of why conservatives are wrong about the market being the best way to sort things out. The market rewards this kind of assholery, and this kind of assholery is destroying the Republican party, America, and arguably, the world.

This is full of fail. She's about as sexy as a Foley Catheter, her delivery is lackluster, and telling Republicans that they have no balls may not endear her to her audience.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mysteries and Scandals: The Paul Lynde Story

Back in the sixties and seventies, he was a guest star on everything, though he was a little too... intense to succeed in a lead role. Turns out he may have been gay.

Old School Anime: ASTRO BOY (1960)

When I was five years old, I had two favorite shows. Fifty years later, this is the one worth watching. The other was "Supercar", one of those old marionette shows.

"Astro Boy" is the English Language version of what has been called the first anime, in many ways a forerunner of Stephen Spielberg's AI. He's a sort of superhero Pinocchio, a thinking and feeling robot created by a grief-maddened scientist to replace a dead son, cruelly abandoned by the scientist for not being a real boy (failing to grow). The pathos and humor that made anime a huge part of world culture are well-represented here.

From Wikipedia:

Astro Boy was adapted into the first popular animated Japanese television series that embodied the aesthetic that later became familiar worldwide as anime.[3] It originated as a manga in 1952 by Osamu Tezuka, revered in Japan as the "God of Manga."[4] After enjoying success abroad, Astro Boy was remade in the 1980s as Shin Tetsuwan Atomu, known as Astroboy in other countries, and again in 2003. In November 2007, he was named Japan's envoy for overseas safety.[5] An American computer-animated 3-D film based on the original manga series by Tezuka was released on October 23, 2009.

Trailer for the 2009 computer generated feature:

More episodes of the original ASTRO BOY can be seen at this youtube channel:

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Electra-Glide in Blue (1973)

Directed by James William Guercio Starring Robert Blake

IMDB page


I'm going to go home and watch this now, and I'll post in the comments to let you know how I like it. I haven't seen it in (Jesus Christ!) forty years, but I loved it when I was 15. James William Guercio is better known as a record producer (Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears), and this was the only film he ever directed-- but in 1973, it was the American entry at the Cannes festival (So I guess every country submits a film? I'll admit that I know nothing about how this works), and it was a big hit there according to the advertising blurbs in the New York Times. I remember tightly controlled cinematography, a lot of close-ups of things. I was impressed by such things back then.

Robert Blake (Before Baretta) plays a motorcycle cop, and he solves a murder. I don't remember much more, but the trailer looks great.