The Titular Devil, With Hand

The Titular Devil, With Hand

Friday, December 14, 2012

My Hobbit Review: Too Much Frog, Too Little Dinosaur

All, right, just got back from a midnight show of The Hobbit. If you follow this blog, you probably read my piece on what was worrying me about the movie ahead of time...I was hearing and seeing a lot of things that seemed really screwed up, although I was expecting some stuff to be cool. Well, in my opinion the cool bits were few and far between, and the awful stuff predominated to a fairly astonishing degree. I liked it less than I liked Peter Jackson's King Kong, and I really hated that. I think Jackson has turned into a megalomaniacal self-indulgent nincompoop who thinks that every idea he comes up with is fantastic. The first installment of his coked-out new trilogy reminded me, by turns, of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the Star Wars prequels, and Michael Bay and Stephen Sommers shit. It's just jaw droppingly awful for long stretches, and whenever I started to get into it, something moronic would come along to take me right back out again. After a while I just got bored, because I knew I was never going to warm up to it.

Of course, aside from the huge doses of preposterous bombast, the biggest problem is the padding. As I made clear in that other piece, I was extremely skeptical when I heard they were making three movies, and it turns out I had every reason to be. The original material simply doesn't justify this sort of treatment. The movie clocks in at two hours forty-five and only covers about a hundred and twenty pages of the book; moreover, Jackson sticks in all sorts of stuff that he and his collaborators simply invented out of whole cloth, or pulled ill-advisedly from Tolkien's LOTR appendices. It's almost like one of those horrendous Dr. Seuss adaptations. I keep reading reviews that bitch about the film being ludicrously faithful to the novel. Well, don't you believe it. A huge proportion of this dinosaur is frog DNA, just as I predicted. There's just scene after scene which has very little to do with the book, and even when you get a something that's actually from the novel, it's distorted and stretched and lengthened until a Tolkien purist like myself wants to scream. The other movies just weren't like this.

Of course, there are all sorts of things that suck besides the adaptation. For one thing, the special effects simply stink in a number of scenes...just as in Two Towers, the wargs this time are dreadful, but they're much worse than the ones in TT, badly designed and incredibly fake-looking. There's a chase sequence involving Radagast in which the wargs and Radagast's CG rabbit-drawn sleigh are sliding around in the landscape as though they don't have any contact with the ground whatsoever. Almost all the orcs are CG, and that's a real bad idea...the ones in LOTR were guys in really good Richard Taylor makeup, and they were just fantastic. Here they look like video game rejects, with Azog and the Great Goblin being especially cartoony. The trolls are lousy designs fact, the only good creature effects are the stone giants, the eagles at the end, and Gollum, who's better than he was in the first trilogy.

I'd also been worried about the whole approach to the dwarves...when I first saw advance stuff featuring all those beards and hairstyles, I thought they were extremely goofy-looking, and boy they turned out to be. Actually, most everything connected to the dwarves was bad. I disliked Jackson's manhandling of Gimli...well, for the most part, the dwarves in The Hobbit are about as lousy, although in different ways. They butt heads, have burping contests, and talk about things getting shoved up jackses...but the main thing is that most of them don't have any real personality. Now, my chief fear going in was that we were going to get a lot of character-arc stuff and wheel-spinning about the dwarves...well, the film does spin its wheels like crazy, but only a couple of the dwarves come through even remotely, most notably Thorin, who's turned into a hunky heroic type quite at variance with Tolkien's version...I didn't think it worked.

Unsurprisingly, Ian McKellen's Gandalf is good, and Martin Freeman's Bilbo is was nice to see Hugo Weaving again as Elrond. Of course, Elrond has a genuine part to play in the story. But we also get senseless cameos from Cate Blanchett and Chris Lee, and while I really love Chris Lee, there wasn't any reason for him to be in the film. Nor did we need the simply stupefying Radagast, who drives around in the aforementioned bunny-sleigh, has a bird-nest in his hat, and a giant streak of birdshit down the side of his face. Jackson really lingers on the birdshit, by the way. He also seems to think troll-snot is fabulous...after sneezing a big splash of it onto Bilbo, a troll mistakes him for one of its boogers, and Bilbo spends the rest of the scene glistening.

I'm not making this up.

Let's see.

I was pretty sure Howard Shore's music would be nifty, but he overscores a lot of the scenes, most of the music is a retread of his LOTR  soundtrack, and the only effective original theme is the Misty Mountains song. The scenery is frequently gorgeous, although a lot of the production design is wacky...the goblin-city is particularly ridiculous. One of the things I loved about Jackson's LOTR was the way certain settings looked like you were just hallucinating the settings in the book...none of that here, except for Bag End, which, of course, was in in the first trilogy. Tolkien himself never described much of Rivendell, so Jackson always had a certain license with that...but it looks even more gingerbready and silly this time around.

It was fun, however, seeing Bret from Flight of the Concords in a bigger role than he had in LOTR.

As for the action sequences, I'd thought there was a good chance they'd be great, and there are some snippets that remind you of the best action in the other movies. But mostly they just get unbelievably over-the-top and stupid. Again and again we have our protagonists falling prodigious distances and not getting hurt. At one point, the gigunda Great Goblin lands on them from a tremendous height, and they're fine. There are all sorts of slapsticky things that I can't even describe...the climactic orc-fight (involving our guys climbing up pine-trees which knock each other over and hang out over the side of a cliff) goes on forever and is reminiscent of the awful tyrannosaurs-in-slings vine fight in Jackson's Kong.

I have to say, the only part of this thing that I thoroughly enjoyed was the Riddles in the Dark sequence...Andy Serkis is great, and the scene hewed very close to the book. But boy you have to wait forever to get there, and it doesn't last long when you do.

I didn't see the movie in the 3D 48 frames per second version...since 48 FPS apparently makes everything look  videotaped, I'm pretty sure I'd loathe it...there are enough things for me to loathe about this movie as it is.

Oh yeah, that scene with the Great Goblin landing on the dwarves was in one of the trailers, and I mistook him for a troll in my previous piece. Mea culpa.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Samurai Cat Slideshow

Death Dealin'

Seeing as how I've got a ton of Samurai Cat art just sitting in my computer, I thought I'd post some...much of it was in that Youtube SC slideshow, but you'll get a much better view of the pictures here. A lot of them were done just for this or that convention, and if you weren't there, you didn't see them. Anyway, hope you get a kick out of them. Click on any of them to go into full slideshow mode and see everything much bigger.

On The Crag

Poodle Cut

Tomokato's Saga

Pool Of Sunlight

Bambi Avenged



The Good, The Cat, And The Ugly

Shimura Comes Through


Sword of Samurai Cat Cover

Samurai Cat In The Real World Cover

Shiro, The Oz Boys, Ubersaurus Rex


Seven Samurai Cats

Kamikaze Curtis Kondo

Origami Ito And Sue

The Mouse Trap



Shiro---Blazing Combat

Shiro's Anguish

Take My Hoard Please

Draw Cut

The Invasion Of The Kitty Snatchers

The Kremlin Litter

Shotgun Shiro

Tomokato Versus His Evil Nephews

The Abominable Snowcat

A Fighting Cat Of Mars

Christmas Eve, Berlin, 1944

Dramatic Lighting

Tomokato God of War

Fun With A Browning Thirty

Katsucon Program Book Cover

The Adventures of Samurai Cat #1


Samurai Cat Portfolio 1 Cover

Have A Nice Day

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Apprehensions About The Hobbit

So then...Peter Jackson's revisiting Middle Earth, and I'm kinda worried. I'm going to lay out my reasons here, at considerable length. I suppose some of you might think it's like reviewing The Hobbit without even seeing it, but actually this is an exercise in'll be interesting to see what I get right. Now, ideally, I would love it if the new trilogy was one hundred percent pure dynamite; I was, on the the whole, pretty happy with Jackson's LOTR. But I didn't much care for what he turned out afterwards---I've already vented rather furiously about King Kong on this blog---and I've been seeing and hearing a whole lot of Hobbit stuff that seems pretty wrong-headed. Moreover, the source material presents all sorts of extreme difficulties, and I don't think Jackson is going to be able to finesse them.

Fact is, unlike Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit is a kid's book.Tolkien wrote it for his children, snitching bits and pieces of his Silmarillion mythology, as well as material from the Elder Edda, etc; actually, the book wasn't really set in Middle-Earth exactly, but given the fact that it gave rise to LOTR, it served as a kind of alternate portal for the Silmarillion stuff, and it got more and more anchored in Middle Earth as Tolkien developed his Third Age ideas. But there were all sorts of things about The Hobbit that Tolkien was unhappy its origins, it wasn't really of a piece with the other material, and he'd made some choices that really grated on him. He was very fastidious about linguistic invention, and regretted borrowing the Eddaic dwarf list when naming Thorin and Co...also the fact that he pilfered all manner of Anglo-Saxon names. There weren't any Germanic types in the Silmarillion, and the dwarves had Semitic-sounding names. Moreover, the tone and style of The Hobbit wasn't really congruent with LOTR. Most of what we know about Hobbits isn't derived from The Hobbit, but from LOTR, where he really went to town with them...there's very little Hobbitry in The Hobbit, speaking comparatively. There were also all sorts of stylistic things that pained him, bebotherings and confustications, things like that.

Having already revised the book pretty significantly to make the Riddles in the Dark biz consistent with LOTR, he decided to attempt a much more thorough overhaul, and actually completed two or three chapters, which you can find in Douglas A. Anderson's Annotated Hobbit. But even though the bebotherings are gone, and a lot of other kid-book touches too, you just kind of wind up missing the original. It's damaged somehow by this tampering...just isn't quite itself. Fact is, at some point, an artist has simply got to accept the fact that art is a human institution, you never get it completely right, and you just have to let it fly on its's rather like having a child. Well, in any case, Tolkien put the revision aside.


We have Peter Jackson faced with the challenge of turning this kid's story into something that feels more like LOTR. Tolkien gave up on this, mind you, and as much as I liked Jackson's movies, I have to say that Tolkien does Tolkien better that Jackson does. In general, the LOTR movies worked best when they stuck close to the source, or depicted stuff that was implied by it, i.e. giving some expository screentime to Saruman, or showing Boromir's final battle. The least successful installment was Two Towers, and that was the one that did the most violence to the book, particularly with the Godawful characterization of Faramir. While Jackson got some characters deadon, such as Gollum, Gandalf, and Sam, others were middling, and some, like Faramir (in Two Towers, not Return of the King) and Gimli, simply stank. Gimli's constant
pratfalls were a particularly bad omen for The Hobbit, but more about that shortly.

Now, I understand that Jackson is planning three, count 'em three, Hobbit movies, in an adaptation of a book that's only about three hundred pages long. I could see maybe, just maybe, doing two movies...break 'em in half after the spider-fight and the dwarves getting captured by the forest elves. But three installments? Even if they're only two and not three hours long, that's still way too much bread and too little butter, and we've seen Jackson pull a similar stunt...his Kong remake. As I said in my aforementioned blog entry, the thing was twice as long as the original and half as fast. It was positively crammed with padding, useless buildup, complicated but lousy characterizations, and all-round aching stupidity. And he was  dealing with source material that was already quite sufficient in length and admirably designed. For him to get three films out of The Hobbit, he's going to have to rely a whole whole lot on his own personal invention, and we have good reason to be nervous. Even though he's plundering material taken from the LOTR appendixes, he still won't have enough unless he fleshes out a great deal of it himself, and undoubtedly all that stuff is going to wander pretty far from Tolkien's conceptions...there's going to be a shitload of frog DNA in this dinosaur.

Might as well really get into the dwarves now. Aside from Thorin, Tolkien doesn't characterize his dwarves in The Hobbit...well, Bombur is a fat idiot, okay. But individualizing the dwarves wasn't really necessary for a kids' book. Still, you'd have to do something with them in a movie, particularly if you're planning to make it of a piece with the LOTR flicks...and this really opens the door to a world of cinematic hurt. I think some guys could do a good job with it...the dwarves in Snow White and the Huntsman were way better than Jackson's Gimli, for example. But I'm pretty sure we're going to get Gimli times thirteen. Rendering Jackson's temptation particularly acute will be the fact that the dwarves in The Hobbit really are comedy dwarves...they're not that funny in general, and they're not characterized, but they are comic...I think Jackson's going to add heaps of subpar Monty-Pythonish biz, complemented by ill-chosen concept choices. If you doubt me, consider the way the dwarves look in the trailers. The prosthetics, costumes, beards, hair, trappings, just seem, at first glance, plain goofy. Maybe they'll work when you finally see the movie...I'm skeptical. Then there's the fact that every one of these guys is going to be endowed, if that's the right word, with a backstory, a personal journey, a character arc. God, I'm so sick of that kind of doctrinaire bullshit...and if you listened to Jackson and his screenplay collaborators on the LOTR DVDs, it was plain that they're totally committed to that approach. But, by spinning his wheels with each and every individual dwarf, Jackson will be able to waste more of our time.

And there's other stuff in the trailers that's got me on edge. Did you see Radagast? He was in the second trailer briefly, in a chariot drawn by giant rabbits. What the fuck?  You got to see a brief closeup of his face...he has birdshit down the side of it, because he has a nest under his hat. Good Lord. Then, of course, there's the bit where the dwarves have fallen into something, a canyon or suchlike, and a comic-looking troll drops on them, and one of them groans, "You've got to be joking!" Is this what's going to pass for writing in these flicks? Perhaps we can also have somebody saying that they're "Getting a bad feeling about this," or "Getting too old for this"...yikes.

Then there's the certainty that Jackson is going to have to come up with alternate versions of so many of the scenes. There's a whole lot of kid's book stuff in the first chapter that he will surely have to chuck, although I expect him to do a pretty good job on a visualization of Smaug's descent on the Lonely Mountain during Far Over The Misty Mountains Cold... we've already heard some of Howard Shore's music for that, and it's cool. However, it's hard to imagine that the sequence with the trolls  will resemble Tolkien's version too much. He had three talking comedy trolls who decide to kill the dwarves with their great fat asses, and Gandalf tricking them into staying up for a very quick sunrise. In Jackson's trailers, we can see that there's some sort of fight, which ends with the dwarves falling into a canyon and the troll landing on them. There's either going to be an attempt to make the scene less kidstuffy, or make it funnier in some way, maybe both...I don't think I'm going to like it.

Then there's the Rivendell material. Tolkien gives you very little idea of what the place is like, although it's run by Elrond, and inhabited by elves that sing, "Tra-la-la lally, down in the valley." Well undoubtedly the movie's elves will be like the ones in Jackson's LOTR, which is to say, hit and miss. I liked Hugo Weaving's Elrond and Orlando Bloom's Legolas; Kate Blanchett's Galadriel was a member of the slow-talking club, though, and Haldir was just well...epicene, and showed up at Helm's Deep to boot. Bottom line, Jackson's elves might very well improve on Tolkien's originals in this flick; but I expect him to drag the Rivendell material out as a long as he can, to the story's detriment.

Of course, in my opinion, the book doesn't really hit its stride till we get to the Misty Mountains. If the trailer's any indication we're going to have the giants, which is swell, but evidently they're going to be chucking boulders at our guys, and I bet it's going to be a lot of Jacksonian bombast, although it might be worthwhile if it's not too coked out and ostensibly funny. Once we get underground, it should play to Jacksons's strengths...the Moria sequence was one of the best things in his LOTR after all. He should be able to do a good job on the Great Goblin; I expect there'll be a whole lot more fighting and running-around than there was in the book, but that's jake with me. Bilbo's brush with Gollum is likely to be fine...after all, Jackson's Gollum really clicked. I do wonder whether he'll restrain himself and just have Bilbo escaping and leaving Gollum well behind...given the fact that Jackson shoehorned Elrond, Arwen, and Galadriel into places in LOTR where they just didn't belong, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he has Gollum tagging along for a while, and that would be stinko.

Let's see...the rockslide should be scary and spectacular, but Jackson always tends to go overboard on things like that...ditto the escape from the wargs on the eagles .Regarding Beorn, the thing where Gandalf tricks him about the dwarves in the book is pure kiddy-lit biz, and I don't know how Jackson can get around that...once again, I think he'll try to make it genuinely funny, with bad results. Beorn himself is scary, and could be successful, though.

As for Mirkwood, the climax of that section could well be very impressive, but there sure is going to be a giant dollop of dwarf-comedy leading up to it, them lugging Bombur around, etc. Moreover, we've seen some shots of Mirkwood already, and Jackson's version is all wrong. It doesn't look like that. Tolkien's version is a nasty black evergreen climax forest with the floor covered with pine-needles, nothing much in the way of undergrowth, and practically no animals.   Jackson's Mirkwood is kind of a cross between his Skull Island Jungle, and something out of Hansel and Gretel. The bit with the starving dwarves seeing the mobile elvish feast which winks out every time they step into the light should be a no-brainer, both scary and funny...but we've got to worry about practically everything with the dwarves. I'm expecting an exciting monster show with the spiders, but...I was expecting good monsters with King Kong, too. Just don't trust Jackson any more.

Now, of course, in the book, just before we get to Mirkwood, Gandalf leaves the company and heads south to deal with "the Necromancer," who we'll eventually learn is Sauron, reconstituted after his defeat at the hands of the Elvish-Human alliance...he's ensconced himself in southern Mirkwood at the fortress of Dol Goldur. Apparently, Jackson has decided to incorporate a lot of this Necromancer business into his movie, which I think is rather unfortunate, since it really wasn't part of The Hobbit. I mean, Bilbo's the protagonist,  and the movie should pretty much revolve around him. There's only one major sequence which isn't from his point of view, and that's the attack on Esgaroth by Smaug. Now, there is non-Hobbit Bilbo-centric material that could be injected...Tolkien did write an account, in the style of LOTR,  of Gandalf's meeting with Thorin and Co., before they got to Bag End., wherein he explains what he's up to with Bilbo. Bilbo isn't there, but he's the subject. Don't know if Jackson will use that...he might not have the rights. If he does use it, it'll be towards the beginning of the flick.

There might be other appendix-pilfering before that, Gandalf penetrating Dol Guldur and speaking to the Thorin's imprisoned father, Thrain, followed by Gandalf delivering dark tidings about Dol Guldur to the White's never really described, but it's implied. Mainly, non-Hobbit add-ons should come in following Gandalf's departure for points south...evidently we're going to get Sauron's eviction from Mirkwood, which might be incredibly great, but could also involve all the padding in the world, and seriously slow down the dwarf/Mirkwood strand, which really needs to be the main focus. We'll see. I bet there'll be a lot of nifty FX,  but I think the storytelling will be unsound. I suppose the Dol Guldur business might be interwoven over a longer stretch of the film...I wouldn't mind it if the dwarves' imprisonment with the elves is interrupted in spots...otherwise, much more dwarf-comedy.

Which we will, of necessity, get barrels and barrels of when they escape onto the river hidden in big kegs. Once again, this will be a kids' book comedy minefield. I predict it will be chock full of groanworthy banter and non-gags...Bombur in a barrel will surely bring out the absolute worst in Jackson...perhaps we'll even get some luscious fart jokes.

However...once we get to Esgaroth, the story should be easier to adapt. Likely Jackson will portray Laketown much the same funky grimy way he portrayed Bree, but that would be much more appropriate here. The town-on-stilts will almost certainly be an impressive effect, and the politics, involving the dwarves' reception, the Lakemen's inflated expectations, and the Master's sliminess, are rendered in some detail by Tolkien...Jackson should have no difficulty following his lead, although he might want to introduce Bard at this point. Tolkien's Bard doesn't show up until Smaug attacks later on, and we really should've had something about him beforehand.

I presume we're going to have lots of buildup to Smaug as the dwarves head to the Lonely Mountain. The settings should be of the things I really liked about the LOTR movies was the way Jackson paid very serious attention to Tolkien's descriptions of places like Edoras, Helm's Deep, Minas Tirith, etc. If Dale and Erebor get the same treatment, I'll be delighted. As for Bilbo's descents into Smaug's lair, I'm rather expecting them to be well-done too.

But a lot is going to depend on the handling of Smaug. They'd better nail the voice-casting, and it will be really terrible if the basic visual conception doesn't work. In the Rankin bass Hobbit, Richard Boone's voice and the overall direction clicked, although I disliked Smaug's hairy oriental-dragon head. Smaug should be real reptilian, and rather long, not like your basic batlike Dragonslayer dragon, the one that we've seen again and again for the last thirty years, most notably in that last harry Potter flick (best movie dragon ever by the way). The Dragonslayer template really is well-rationalized, but Smaug doesn't look like that. He's a wyrm, kind of a flying serpent with legs. Apparently the reason that Guillermo Del Toro dropped out as director was that he and Jackson couldn't agree over the conception of Smaug...Del Toro was wedded to the Dragonslayer design, I believe. So I assume Jackson will do something different, but that doesn't mean it'll be good.

The attack on Laketown should be dynamite...I do hope that it' a purely Laketown-men versus Smaug affair, although I strongly suspect Jackson is uncomfortable with the fact that Bilbo doesn't do any actual dragonslaying. It might sound daffy that I'm worried bout this, but remember...Jackson wanted to have Sauron himself show up outisde the Black Gate at the climax of LOTR. He even shot some of a fight between Sauron and Aragorn (it wound up as that dustup with the troll) but ultimately he backed off on his brainstorm, and he'll probably do the right thing with Smaug's demise.

Since Desolation of Smaug is the title of the second movie, I assume his death will be the climax of Part Two...which doesn't leave a hell of a lot for a third movie. I think the buildup to the Battle of the Five Armies and the battle itself will be good...Jackson generally knocked that epic stuff out of the park in LOTR. But all the post-Smaug material was thirty-forty pages in the book. In order to get anything like a feature-length film, Jackson will have to rely very much on appendix-cribbing and his own personal invention, and I've already registered my anxieties on that score.

Once again, I would very much prefer it if the movies were fabulous. If Jackson merely gets certain important sequences right, I think I'll be sufficiently happy. He needs to do a good job on the Misty Mountains/ Goblins biz, Mirkwood and the the spider fight, Smaug and his destruction, and the Battle of the Five Armies. I expect Gandalf to be good again, and probably Bilbo will be too.'s hard for me to imagine that the dwarves will be anything but awful. I'm looking forward to the movies, but if they're all wrong, I'm pretty confident that they'll go bad in precisely the ways I've outlined. I will, of course, return with a blow-by-blow review in which I will gladly admit I was wrong about whatever, if necessary.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Argo Review

There are a lot of folks out there who hate Ben Affleck, although I've never been one of them...I never thought he was too icky looking, and felt he was frequently undermined by lousy material, such as Pearl Harbor. But lately he's been directing stuff, such as his Boston bankrobber yarn, The Town, and he's showing himself to be pretty damn good behind the camera. His new flick, Argo, is a case in point, and his best film to date, as a helmer and an actor...holy shit, my wife, who normally loathes him, was perfectly happy with his performance. That's truly something.

Now I'll tell you's been a long time since I've gotten into a movie as much as I got into Argo. First off, I remember the period vividly, and have some recollection of the incidents it's based on, although I was, of course, misled like everybody else, because most of the story was kept secret. In any case, the movie does an excellent job of setting up the history and depicting the overall milieu---among other things, there are a lot of bangup special effects portraying Tehran, since I can't imagine Affleck and co were allowed to shoot some of the shots, Istanbul's used as a standin, I guess. A lot of actual footage of Iranian demonstrations is worked effectively into the movie, and the events immediately leading up to the takeover of the embassy are succintly but chillingly depicted.

In case you don't know, the story's about how the CIA snuck six US Embassy employees out of Iran after they fled to the Canadian Embassy and took shelter there...don't know exactly how much of it's true, but evidently all the salient stuff is based on the facts. Nothing struck me as especially filmi, except for the climax, maybe. The stratagem that the CIA winds up employing seems absolutely looney, but evidently worked, and truth is frequently stranger then fiction. While Langley and Foggy Bottom are flailing about for a plan, and tossing around a lot of very lousy ideas, Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) comes up with one that seems, on the surface, to be the battiest of the bunch: invent a fake movie, say that location scouts want to take a look at Tehran, and pull the US personnel out with bogus Canadian identities, using the Hollywood cover story. Even though this is so preposterous, Affleck gets a preliminary okay and goes about setting up a phony production. The movie begins to get seriously funny at this point, as how could it not? He seeks out Planet of the Apes makeup man John Chambers (John Goodman), who puts him onto a movie producer (Alan Arkin, who's great), and they select a cheesy science-fiction script called Argo, which seems to have a vaguely Middle Eastern setting. They have a poster made, commission concept art, take out ads in Variety, and throw press parties attended by actors in ridiculous Flash Gordon-like costumes. Once they've laid this foundation, Affleck goes to Iran, gets permission to scout locations, and gets into the Canadian embassy, where he apprises the endangered Yanks of his plan, which they find pretty ludicrous at first, but eventually accede to, because they really don't have a choice...

Won't summarize the rest, but things are wound up in very extremely suspenseful, satisfying fashion. All the characters are well-drawn, and there isn't a bad performance. The screenplay, by Chris Terrio and Joshua Bearman, is tight, well-constructed and consistently funny...the dialogue is all good. Affleck's direction is very crisp and powerful, and he handles all sorts of material really well. While the movie features a lot of laugh out loud stuff---I was particularly amused by all the science-fiction references, such as Valley of Gwangi posters, and scenes from The Ultimate Warrior ---the paranoia gets pretty acute, and the payoff is a real nail-biter. I fully expect this thing to clean up at the Oscars, and while they're usually an idiotfest, sometimes good movies win. In any case, go right out and see it. I really want it to do well, and there weren't enough people in the audience should get dynamite word of mouth, though.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Poetry Corner---On Her Majesty's Secret Service

I always thought it was a terrible problem that the theme for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service didn’t have lyrics, so I made up some, which I’m posting here. If you feel moved to sing them aloud, you should do it in a whiny nasal northeastern accent, and when you come to the words chick and tit, you should pronounce them with as much aching never-to-be-assuaged horniness as possible. Here goes:

James Bond
He comes from across the pond
All hot chicks
Of James Bond are really fond
He can shoot
Even when he’s on skis
And he does it with

He’s the guy
Who parachutes from the sky
When he lands
He foils the Master Plan
Blofeld flees on his little monorail
When Bond breaches their sanctums
Cat-fancying scumbags all bail!

James Bond
License to ki-hi-hill!
With other guys
Footing the bill!
He gets to buy drinks
And he gets to dri—ink them!

He’s one Brit
Who takes not a bit of shit
He trots the world
And sees more than one great tit.
In outer space
Or deep underneath the sea
James Bond is the man-god that
This itchy git want to be!

James Bond
James Bond
James Bond

The Pond
The Pond
The Pond

James Bond
James Bond
James Bond

Double-O Seven!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Yark Slideshow

I posted this slideshow over at Youtube, and now I'm posting it here. . Yark is a parody of a certain fantasy author...the protagonist, Snash, is a goblin, a runt-Yark, who hatches out in the evil fortress of Mount  Adamant, and goes to work in the mailroom, afterwards rising through the ranks as an unwilling spy for different factions. Along the way, he meets various personae, including the entire membership of the imprisoned White's available on Amazon. Here are the pictures...


Mount Adamant
Snash Asleep
Snash And Slagbag
Tossed From A Tower
Glolob's Glasses
Princess Luvliel
The Shark Lord's Eyeballs
Being Followed?


Won't it Leak?

Glargle At Overflowing Fist
Sharks On The Ceiling
Nognomen Buys It
On The Board
Glargle And The Gauntlet
Luliel's Luvly Cell
Luvliel Lowers herself

Lets Her Hair Down

A Nameless Thing
The Shark Lord
Shark Dogfight
Split Hellrog
Glargle And The Acorns
Tim Bimbottom
Bimbottom And The Ogres
Oakenwife Spiral
One-Bimbottom Band
Serpentar And The Ice-Flowers
Serpentar Blazin'
The Fall of Mount Adamant
Serpentar Comes Back Out
Snash Slagbag---Shades