Saturday, April 30, 2011

Y'know its funny...

I was at Comicon today at the Hynes Center, (good time even if no one was selling interesting DVDs) and the joint was crawling with persons in elaborate costumes. This has been a fairly recent phenom in Boston, as recently as two years ago, you never saw anyone done up in Superhero costumes or whatnot at a con.
Now down in Jersey, at the Infamous Chiller Theatre show, you'd see all kinds of cosplay going on, up here, bupkiss though.
Not any more.
This goes hand in hand with an even odder phenom I've noticed, the aging comic book buyer (Newbury Comics is crawling with persons thirty and over on Wednesdays getting their books) and the perpetually youthful comic book convention goer.
So IF, these kids aren't buying floppies on a monthly basis how are they getting aligned so to speak with all these characters?
They could be buying graphic novels straight up at Barnes & Noble, I think that is part of it, but I also suspect that they interact more with these characters in on line RPGs, video games, movies TV etc.
However it happens they are then inspired to don extremely elaborate costumery and go a' paradin' at the Comic Book Convention. The kids in the above pic had good costumes all around but you should have seen the incredibly detailed rigs favored by the Star Wars fanbase.
I'm starting to think that all these characters are being systematically "claimed" by their respective fan bases regardless of what the copyright holders may have planned for the property.
There is something quintessentially American and democratic about that...
Other than that I ran across "The Horror Haven" table, who are some peeps doin' th' lord's work in ensuring that Late Nite TeeVee Horror Film Hosts Shall Not Perish From This Earth.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Atlas Shrugged Parts II & III have been canceled???

The most gut-bustling preposterous parts of the book had yet to be filmed!!!

Well, all I can say is, live by the free market die by the free market, produce a cheap humorless film adaptation of a cult leader's holy book and all the exploitation film tricks in the world will not stop you from going bust.
I mean so much for playing entirely to your base, I guess even hard core objectivists require a little more bang for their buck at the box office.

Really though, was it something I said????

The ironic part of all this mishaugas is, that to date, Ayn Rand has had a pretty good filmography, "We the Living" an epic 1942 adaptation of her anti-bolshevik novel executed under the aegis of the Fascists in Italy, and later on "The Fountainhead" starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal.
Ah but really, it takes close intellectual cooperation between free market fundamentalists, hard core objectivists and reactionary cultists of all types to produce a film as bad as "Atlas Shrugged Part One". It took fifty years and ghod knows how much money and effort but they finally managed to do their beloved Prophetess' legacy lasting damage.
These are people with "believing minds" (to quote H.L. Mencken) and as he famously observed they are never more destructive of their ideals when they try to put them into practice.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"First Man" James Hansen's authorized biography

of Astronaut Neil Armstrong, must be a very engrossing book. I sat down with it on the Red Line at Alewife, and somewhere between there and South Station the burly African American fella who sat next to me changed into a skinny caucasian college student without your humble narrator ever noticing.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Ayn Rand and the Forty Thieves" Or "Who is Kroger Babb?"

Once upon a time in post war America , risque titillating movies circulating furtively thru the land under the aegis of "The Forty Thieves", hard core road showmen who arrive in town, rent a theater, paper the place with flyers, ruthlessly target a sensation hunger audience and all on behalf of ragged moralizing tripe like "Reefer Madness".
The uncrowned king of the Forty Thieves was one Kroger Babb, who for some twenty years toured America with a film called "Mom and Dad" a half titillating, half educational melodrama depicting the dangers of unwed teenage motherhood. The movie's key selling point was it's much ballyhoo'd "Birth of a baby" scene which was in reality some old Army training film footage ineptly spliced into the storyline.
Babb did all this mishaugas up big and included the use of carnival barkers done up as "Elliot Forbes the eminent hygiene commentator" who job it was to hawk war surplus bith control pamphlets during intermission.
According to Babb's apprentice, the late David Friedman, Babb made about eleven million dollars off of "Mom and Dad" when all was said and done.
Trust me, I've seen "Mom and Dad" it is cheap moralizing trash sold to the unwary as a social problem film with some sex education footage thrown in for good measure.
Of interest only to franchises like "Channel Zero".
As Babb himself so frequently observed "You sell the sizzle, not the steak".

Which brings me to "Atlas Shrugged" Part One (2011) now screening at the Landmark Kendall Square the Framingham Fourteen and elsewhere.
A lot of different people have tried to get this novel adapted as film, I can recall as a teen serious rumors that NBC wanted to option it as a TV miniseries more recently Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were supposedly interested in the property as a starring vehicle. Rand herself once opined that her sprawling 900 page semi-science fictional denunciation of "big government" labor unions and uppity intellectuals was inherently unfilmable.
So it is ironic that here we have a low budget film with a cast of wooden unknowns, a labored script and a marketing plan that depends on word of mouth, lots of flyers and the activation of a particular subset of the moviegoing audience.
Truly, Kroger Babb lives.
Indeed given the divisive nature of the Ayn Rand novel on which the film is based, the only smart thing for the producers to do is cut costs remorselessly and sell this turkey exclusively to hard core libertarian objectivists.
I saw this bad baby in Framingham last night, and I half expected Elliot Forbes himself to stroll up the aisle selling copies of Ayn Rand's "The New Left: The Anti Industrial Revolution".
The film itself is cheap looking, ill-lit in certain scenes and features actors who artistic range compare unfavorably with the monoliths on Easter Island.
And this is only Part One!
Ultimately though, the films problems start with the source novel, a long boring work of libertarian utopianism churned out by Ayn Rand in 1957 in desperate attempt to generate a capitalist free market ideology that would have the same pseudo-religious appeal of Marxism Leninism.
That much worked, "Atlas Shrugged" is a book nigh venerated by conservative mediocrities toiling away in cubicles all over the USA convinced that the EPA, "community activists" and Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms Bureau are all that is keeping you from inventing an aircraft powered by the limitless power of your own resentment.
The book itself is trash, female railroad tycoon Dagny Taggart is desperately trying to hold her empire together even as all the other smart rich people in the nation disappear literally "going on strike" to protest a government given over to wicked wicked leveling and egalitarianism. The book's machine worship & veneration of wealth is perfectly comical, Dagny Taggart all but copulates with a locomotive as the Dollar $ign finally triumphs and new age of financial super heroes is proclaimed.
If you are a libertarian with a grievance, then Ayn Rand wrote this book for you, it is a massacre of straw men, have at it sez I.

God imagine how much more beautiful and exquisite New York City would be if Donald Trump took John Galt's advice and went on strike against "big government"?
Imagine how many people would still have their live savings if Bernie Madoff & Lehman Brothers had run off to "Galtsylvania" in a huff prior to the 2008 market crash?
Wealth=heroism in Ayn Rand's cosmology, remember that the next time one of British Petroleum's cheap ass oil platforms blow up.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Its a world built for impersonal Orwellian cubicles

That is where most of us make our money however much or little that may be.
So it's imperative to personalize and individualize that space as much as possible.
The whole "You Big Mary" movement is nothing but an attempt celebrate individuality in impersonal workspace, so check their site out out, they've got needlepoint, tee shirts and lots of other snarky tchotchkes in thepipeline.

In hard times when the boss is breathing down your neck like Captain Queeg gone mad on crystal meth, needlepoint proclaiming "Suck It Up, You Big Mary" is a vital necessity in everyone's cubicle.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Praise the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!!!

Well...The redoubtable Mendon Drive In is open at least, thats a start.

Seriously tempted to go see "Limitless" there...Now if only Suckerpunch would git on th' schedule...

When the Drive In opens, winter ends officially for me, not a moment too soon this was a bad one from start to finish.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The People's Republic of China...

has officially outlawed the use of Time Travel as a storyline in movies and TV.

My Gjod what next...mass burning of "Dr. Who" DVDs???

Totalitarian societies can survive a lot, but they teeter when they look foolish and Beijing looks pretty damn stupid with this one.

Must be all those movies where enterprising Chinese go back and time and successfully convince Chiang Kai Shek to go over onto the defensive on the Yangtse River, wear down Mao's communist troops and wait for Stalin to get sick of bankrolling stalemate in China.
What would Herbert George Wells do? (As played by Malcolm McDowall in "Time after Time")?

He'd go back in time and PREVENT China from outlawing "The Time Tunnel" - THAT is what he'd do!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My heroes have always been Englishmen ...

First Welsh born Christian Bale becomes "Batman", now word comes that one Henry Cavill, born in the Channel Islands, is on track to play Superman in the upcoming 2012 film.
What is going on here? Who the hell WON at Yorktown anyway?? How'd all these limey's get into the Justice League of America????
Granted Toledo Ohio native Adrianne Palicki is currently playing Wonder Woman in a David Kelley pilot, but likely thats because Sporty Spice wasn't available.
Besides, she is running around in stretch pants for ghod's sake, it's like putting Tarzan in a track suit and Nike running shoes.
Honestly I am starting to miss Dean Cain and Val Kilmer...
Nope for true down home old fashioned hard R-Rated superheroic action, I strongly recommend you seek out James Gunn's "Super" over at the Landmark theater in Waltham and elsewhere. Because amidst all the purely terrifying grue and gore is a pair of scintillating performances from Rainn Wilson as "The Crimson Bolt" a down on his luck masked avenger who wields a lug wrench like it's the Hammer of Thor and Ellen Page as his utterly psychotic sidekick "Boltie".
What I liked about "Super" was simple and yet profound, I had the good fortune to sit with an aud that was utterly shocked at the film's gleeful excesses, I was truly the only one laughing as Rainn Wilson's Crimson Bolt tries to abort a purse snatching only to severely injure both perp and victim.
What can I say...sometimes the violently transgressive is hilarious or at least for once it worked in this case.
BTW all bluster aside it is a standout performance from Ellen Page who goes a long way towards stealing the show from Rainn Wilson, which believe me, is no small feat.

Many thanks to the Big Sell Out Aud

we had at Friday Night's screening of "Wesley Willis's Joy Rides". What a pleasure to see so many new faces at Channel Zero. Our humblest apologies to anyone who was turned away at the is a thirty one seat venue what can we say?
If it is any consolation there will be plenty of room at our next screening (Hopefully in July), as we are planning on screening something incredibly obscure and fun.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

At Last Validation...

The Boston Phoenix's on-line edition devotes some critical digital space to our screening of"Wesley Willis's Joy Rides" tomorrow.
You kin read it Hyar:

Meanwhile the curtain goes up on this mutha in just 24 hours...

“Wesley Willis: Joyrides” is a unique documentary experience about one man’s journey out of homelessness and schizophrenia to Rock-n-Roll Redemption.

Friday April 8th at 8pm (sharp!)
Admission 6.50 (Cheap!)
The Somerville Theatre, Screening Room
55 Davis Square.
Somerville Ma 617-625-5700