Wednesday, December 11, 2013
This is another film in the Forbidden Hollywood series. I was expecting sex and nudity but instead got only big city corruption. Oh well.
William Powell starts out as a lawyer from the poor side of town, gets recruited by a law firm from the rich side of town, gets framed in a shady case, his new rich friends turn their back on him, he scrapes his way back to the top, gets recruited by the mob/city to be assistant DA where he bites the hand that feeds him by prosecuting one of their own. Then he gives a big speech (one of several) and goes back - with his long suffering secretary Joan Blondell - back to the poor side of town.
All this in slightly over an hour. And without a single courtroom scene.
Let's think about this for a second. The film is called "Lawyer Man," (a terrible title), the film centers on 2 or 3 important trials, William Powell gives 2 or 3 long speeches...and none of this happens in a court room! There's some forced comedy about an Italian immigrant trying to talk his way into the courtroom for an important case, but the guard won't let him, nor the audience inside.
Imagine what Sydney Lumet and Al Pacino could do with this.
Powell gets his revenge on those who wronged him, but we never see it. It would dull the enjoyment of any revenge movie.
Warner Bros. is treading Dashiell Hammett territory, the movie looks like the Cliffs Notes version of "The Glass Key." There's lots of big city corruption, but unlike the protagonist in "The Glass Key," William Powell is never in any danger.
Anything with Powell though is worth watching, it's just unusual to see him unable to breathe little more motivation into this character.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Back in the 70s, Star Trek fan fiction was spread around by mimeograph sheets (ask your grandparents). Now, the fans make $100,000 semi-pro movies with actual cast members, all funded by internet donations. It's crazy! And often very good.
I inadvertently stumbled upon the fan film "Gods and Men," and after a clunky beginning, it got better. It's an alternate timeline story, the type of which we've seen before, and it has the dream mash-up of (spoiler) Charlie X and Gary Mitchell beating each other up! A fan's dream come true. It also features the destruction of Vulcan two years before the rebooted Star Trek film did it.
Trek veterans Walter Keonig, Nichelle Nichols, Garrett Wang, Alan Ruck, Grace Lee Whitney, Tim Russ (and a few red shirt-types) all reprise their roles. Charlie X and Gary Mitchell are played by character actors who both do exceptional jobs.
In the alternate timeline, Chekov is leading rebels in a takeover of the Enterprise now led by an evil Starfleet. It's Mirror Mirror, mixed with Space Seed, Wrath of Khan, and a bunch of other episodes. At the end there's a colossal spaceship battle which is awfully cool. Definitely a fan fantasy.
The drawbacks: The aforementioned clunky beginning. Clunky dialogue, clunky acting, clunky setup. (stick with it though). We need a 20 year moratorium on time travel, and the phrase "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Both have been way overused. (That being said, it was good to see the Time Guardian again). Also a major character has an unexplained change of heart which shifts everything.
I thought Charlie X had been retconned to be a member of the Q continuity. No difference, but Roddenberry did have a frequent reliance on god-like omnipotent characters.
The web pages of the creators say they're trying to make a pilot, I say CBS should pick it up, and make Alan Ruck the captain.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Thursday, November 21, 2013
I always thought that once a comic strip's creator dies, the strip should end also. My exception to this rule is Blondie. The sandwich jokes are getting tired, but every once in a while it hits me with a curveball and I laugh out loud. This is one of those curveballs.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
One of the great annual events for DC Comics readers in the '60s and '70s was the JLA-JSA team up.
These issues were historically the best selling of the year. Furthermore, the parallel earths concept intrigued DC readers to no end and left a limitless source of ideas for the writers (Power Girl! Robin as an adult! Huntress! Infinity Inc,! Earth 3 villains, etc.). This idea was so popular with the readers that DC of course had to sh!# on it. So they gave us the Crisis on Infinite Earths, better known as the Continuity Disaster that Keeps Giving.
Anyway, as the years went on, the writers wanted to bring in more super teams. DC had been on a buying spree as other comic book companies went out of business, so there were plenty of characters to go around.
But just like the original JLA-JSA team-up, they needed a reason why the characters hadn't run into each other earlier
For Gardner Fox and Julius Schwartz, this wasn't a crisis (excuse the pun), it was an opportunity! The answer: Parallel universes. Brilliant!
Len Wein teamed up the JLA, JSA, and the National Comics heroes who'd pretty much been in limbo: The Seven Soldiers of Victory (Shining Knight, Vigilante, Crimson Avenger)
Their absentee excuse: They were said to have been stuck in a time loop for years (when in reality, they were pretty lame).
For another year, someone remembered that DC owned the rights to the Quality Comics characters, of which only Plastic Man and The Blackhawks were used. This left Doll Man, The Ray, Black Condor, Phantom Lady, and one of the lamest ideas for a super hero, Uncle Sam.
Their story: They were on Earth Q, where they lost World War II. Roy Thomas would later ret-con this to make them originally inhabitants of Earth 2, who moved to Earth Q to help the war effort. They failed. (He even killed Plastic Man, which really didn't make any sense, because he had his own DC titles off and on in the 60s and 70s which took place on Earth 1…which means, was a Quality Comics character from the 1940s the first DC Comics Earth 1 character?)
After decades, DC finally got ownership of the Fawcett characters, so they were put in the rotation. Where had they been? Earth S (for Shazam, of course.)
By the 80s, this left one set of characters DC had recently purchased: The Charlton "Action Heroes." (Charlton, like National Comics were somehow opposed to super-powered super heroes. They were also opposed to team books. Any 8-year-old comic book reader can pretty much tell you his favorite books are superhero books, and super team books. The Charlton guys never grasped this. This is probably two of the reasons we don't have Charlton Comics today).
Unfortunatley, the purchase of these characters came too close to the "Crisis on Infinite Earths." As a result, we never saw the JLA-Action Heroes team up. We saw the Charlton characters integrated in the new merged DC universe after the Crisis, but no team-up beforehand.
I'm throwing the idea out there to either a DC Comics pro, or a fan fiction writer: The unbefore-told tale of the JLA-JSA-Earth C Action Hero team up.
Run with it!
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Billy Joel said the hardest job in the world is being Paul McCartney. Imagine every album you put out getting compared to "Sgt. Pepper's" or "The White Album."
Yet, it's still his best album in years, and stands up to the others. The standout is "Queenie Eye," a (I hate to say it) Lennon-esque rocker based on a children's game chant. Sounds crazy, but "Helter Skelter" was a song about a sliding board.
"Queenie Eye" is so good it makes me wonder why the title track was the first single/video release. "New" is good but it's the most Beatley, it could easily have been the B-side of "Penny Lane."
"Early Days" is his rebuttal to historians who claim to have a better account of the Beatles' early days than Paul. He sings it in an old man voice though, but once you get over that it's very good.
It closes with the Robert Johnson-ish Blues number "Get Me Out of Here." This is what the Beatles and Paul have always done, write homages to genres they loved that are just as good as the source material.
Monday, November 4, 2013
Just an amazing artist. The first dozen comics I ever bought had his covers, so I do have this nostalgic love for his work. But still,. beautiful women, beautiful design. Imagine my disappointment when he was replaced as DC cover artist by Mike Grell, Ernie Chan, and Jose Garcia Lopez. All great artists, but...when it came to covers, Cardy is still the best.