Monday, May 30, 2011

Channel Zero Returns!

Channel Zero returns to the Somerville Theatre on Friday July 22nd @ 8pm with a screening of "The Devil with Hitler" (1943).

Satan in a bind, his demons want to fire him and place Adolf Hitler in charge of hell!

The devil (Alan Mowbray) can retain his old job only by tricking the Fuehrer into committing One Good Deed. MEanwhile back on Earth, Mussolini (Joe Devlin) and General Tojo (George E. Stone) plot the Fuhrer's assassination as part of an insurance scam!

A comedy very much in the spirit of the Three Stooges and starring Bobby Watson, the greatest Hitler Impersonator of Hollywood's Golden Age (discounting his faint Brooklyn accent).

The phun begins at 8pm and includes a few relevant short subjects on the program, admission $5. Bring your friends we will have plenty of room on this one!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The best time to go down to Cape Cod for a few days

may in the week before Memorial Day.
Granted the Cape is still fitfully stirring from it's annual Odinsleep, your favorite restaurants may be entirely seasonal and thus it's impossible to get a good meal after 9pm.
Moreover a fitful Nor'easter may be battering the peninsula as well, drizzle and wind at night and whole of Nantucket Sound churned up like Captain Ahab's worst nightmares during the day. The sun usually batters its way out by noon, but at four pm the mists come loping back across Provincetown Harbor with studied insolence.
But you shoot right over the Sagamore Bridge, there is little traffic on Route Six and no lines for anything at all. You can cruise the Cape Cod Rail Trail from Eastham to Wellfleet in a Charlton Hestonish Omega Man solitude.
You can explore the last of Primeval Cape Cod on the Fort Hill Trail with it's Red Maple Swamp, on a grey drizzly day you could actually believe just for a moment that these were the wild moors around Culloden and Bonny Prince Charlie's Highlanders are about to make their last stand for Scottish Liberty.
Of course you never quite escape the sound traffic on Route Six, but if you close your eyes and imagine real hard....
I saw a surfer on Nantucket Sound at the Cape Cod National Sea Shore braving the obvious rip tides, as he sped along a seal black and curious surfaced to the height of the animals shoulders about a hundred feet away. The beast gave the surfer a disdainful looking over and seemed to think to itself "AMATEUR! Needs a board to float...."
By the way, seals have made a comeback on the outer Cape, How Cool Is THAT???
I walked from the Coast Guard Station to Nauset Light and thanked God that President Kennedy had the foresight to sign off on the Cape Cod National Sea Shore, otherwise it would all be the ruins of Howard Johnsons by now.
Provincetown has lost none of it's charm or it's Boho street cred. The streets were just filling up when I got there. Those dunes over Route Six loom over the Cape like the Alps.
I also bought a bottle of wine from a local vineyard in Truro of all places, will advise when the bottle is appropriately sampled.
For the record, the daily wine tasting therein was packed.
And I even got an opportunity to see "Pirates of the Caribbean IV, On Stranger Tides" and "Thor" at the Wellfleet Drive In. If all else had gone to smash, that alone would have made the trip worthwhile. For the record, the Wellfleet plays the National Anthem before each Double Feature, I heartily endorse this practice.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

If you are in a mood for some old timey Samurai Action

You could do a lot worse than to see "13 Assassins" currently playing at the Kendall Landmark Cinema.

True is is almost completely derivative of "Seven Samurai", right down to the savage village based swordfighting showdown...but what the hell, if you are gonna steal, steal from the best sez I.
Besides there is a tactical deployment of enraged bulls that is the most original movie combat gimmick I've seen since Tsui Hark's missing masterpiece "The Raid".

Monday, May 16, 2011

Smallville: An Autopsy

Tom Welling has cast a spell of sheer enchantment over me.

He makes me nostalgic for Dean Cain.

Granted he did not accomplish this overnight, no, it took Tom Welling ten years of boring scripts and mechanical acting to get me to reconsider completely "Lois and Clark, the New Adventures of Superman", but in the end he prevailed.
It seems hard to remember that ten years ago, Smallville was nothing more than a rip off of "Buffy the Vampire the Slayer" with a buffed up male protagonist, a built in audience and a completely cowardly core concept...I.E. Young Clark Kent no tights no flights no nothing really.
And what the hell the damn thing was a success and a malign precedent as well.
D'ye know what you get when you do Clark Kent without the costume?
Without the mythos?
Sans cape?
You get Hugo Danner, the pitiful superhuman "hero" of Philip Wylie's 1931 novel Gladiator, except this poor schnook feeling sorry for himself because he couldn't think of single practical application for being faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive.
And that is what was wrong with Smallville (regardless of Tom Welling's suspended animation performance style), it was whiny self pitying nonsense...directless for lack of a unifying concept.
Year after year Smallville piled up ever more inane excuses to keep Clark out of the cape, other characters from DC comics were introduced seemingly at random (What the hell has the Green Arrow have to do with Superman, other than the show's producers couldn't get the rights to Batman) all to cloud and obscure and obstruct any progress towards the debut of Superman.
Whenever they got two steps forward Clark would lose his powers or his confidence or wanna snuggle with Lana Lang (Played by Kristen Kreuk possibly the worst actress on this breathing Earth), and this went on for years!
Smallville did the impossible at the end of a decade I was entirely in sympathy with Lex Luthor maybe Clark was an alien interloper after all...Maybe Clark Kent is the threat. And even if he isn't when is that Big Mary gonna snap out of it??
And the audience kept coming back for more despite yearly rip-offs that stagger the creative imagination.
Until last week the producers could bail out the Titanic no longer and in the last fifteen minutes of the two hour season finale they CGI'd Welling into the costume and had a cheap computer animated Superman at last save the day.
A more blatantly disrespectful conclusion cannot be imagined.
My Ghod Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster AND Kirk Alyn are spinning in their graves.
What is wrong with Smallville and what will live on long after it's finale is the bad precedent that it sets. That it's okay to run far away from the character's core concept and that you can fake out the comic book audience for decades sans reproach.

I fear the next time the Man of Steel hits TV, the wrong lessons will have been learned from Smallville and even worse indignities will be meted out to Kal El and his mythos.

But thank Rao it's all over, and unless he has made some formidable investments we can expect to buy Tom Welling's autograph for $20 a pop at the Framingham Super Mega Fest sooner or later.

Jerry Lewis Deposed

as the host of the Annual MDA Labor Day Telethon.
This comes as no surprise to me, the word on the street is, that the Muscular Dystrophy Association has long been looking for a decent honorable way to ease Jerry out the door. Contributions are down, the telethon itself hardly even functions as "So bad it's good: kitsch and Jerry spent most of last year's screen time trading risque quips with a sixty five year old Charo.
Time for a change.
Alas though, I'll miss Jerry and his annual orgy of ego-mania, at it's height the weird mix of oddity acts (Czech blob-dancers and or Sandra Bernhard), the last die hard remnants of the Las Vegas Olde Guard and the Osmond was a heady heady brew.
And on good nights when Jerry's manic phase (or simply his meds) would kick in, the man would literally self inflate like a demented Zeppelin, his voice would go up an octave as he berated a stagehand for some trivial offense and for a moment, Jerry Lewis would look like the explosive bolts that held his head together were finally about to detonate.
It seems no accident to me that Jerry's abdication comes on the heels of the news that the Rat Pack's own Fortress of Solitude, the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas is shutting down for good.
Twilight of the Gods indeed.
But if this is IT for Jerry Lewis, who is literally The Last Man Out of Vaudeville (well him and Mickey Rooney)...Trust me you won't wanna miss the last hour of this year's telethon. It'll be like they they legalized above ground nuclear testing for one night only in Beverly Hills...The man's famous volatility will go super critical at long last, after all there will no encore after Labor Day 2011.

And if the MDA needs a new host I say they go with Mickey Rooney assuming Andy Dick isn't available...

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I say must that DC Comics

picked a really bad week to have Superman renounce his US Citizenship.

Maybe Cousin Supergirl seize power at last & get Superman relieved of his Iconic Superhero Status under Article 184 of the Justice League of America code of conduct...

Only if Herman Wouk wrote Action Comics...

Seriously though, I get the birther symbolism of it all, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that comic book super heroes are no necessarily the best and more efficacious mirror to hold up to society. The personnel therein just don't have enough points of conduct with the real world to long keep up the pretense of relevance.

Monday, May 02, 2011


The best comment I've heard so far today on Bin Laden's overdue demise was from a co-worker from South Africa (all places)....What she said was "This gives me hope that they can get Whitey Bulger after all".

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Cosplayground...Or Robur the Conqueror in the Back Bay

If power in the classic democratic sense is being redistributed from the producers to the masses via games, cosplay and social media, then the age old question must needs be asked "What are the people gonna doooo-oo with The Power?"

Dress up as Batman apparently.

But then there is nothing more disheartening than to see a perfectly turned out Batman costume at a convention, the cowl, the cape, the utility belt all of it exactingly rendered and the whole rig is worn by a guy whose body type exemplifies a "Chinless medicine ball".
We've all seen this, in fact it's become a sturdy cliche at comicons and sci fi conventions all over the nation, a very very true cliche at that.
The problem with your perfect home made Batman or Wonder Woman costume is that unless you put double the amount of time into hitting the treadmill yer gonna undercut the costume's effect when you debut it at the BiMonthly Sci Fi Con (or wherever).
The problem with this type of cosplay is that it tends to favor a limited range of body types...Unless of course you are one of those feckless souls who are Out and Proud about your muffin top.
And then there are the Star Wars cosplayers and the inevitable Klingons, there I've seen some pretty amazing costumery and it's a little more figure flattering for the portly or the undersized owing to the heavy traffic in robes and platform boots.
The problem with the Jedis, Stormtroopers and Klingon warriors is that the best they can aspire to is perfect reproduction of the designs developed and designed by Industrial Light and Magic. These are the more inclusive cosplay groups and also the least imaginative.
For my money the most inclusive and imaginative of the rising cosplayers are the Steampunks. They aren't reproducing someone else's trademarked costume nor to they need Tarzan's physique to wear their own neo-Victorian Jules Vernian sci fi rigs.
The possibilites here are limitless, you can go with James Mason's "Royal Navy" style of uniform for your Captain Nemo costume, or you can get tarted up in a princely turban and scimitar for a Captain Nemo closer to the Indian exile favored by Jules Verne.
And the possibilities presented by H.G. Wells from the invisible man to Doctor Moreau are nigh infinite.
Sherlock Holmes meets the Time Traveller?
And that is only the beginning...yes its a "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" universe, but it lets everyone play to the absolute limits of their imagination.
Besides any fanbase that favors clockwork top hats, welders googles with Edwardian cricketer costumes is aces high in my books.