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|Monday, June 15th, 2015|
|The Terror from Beyond Pasteboard
has impeccable skiffy credentials; the screenplay is by John Brunner, adapting a Murray Leinster novel (The Wailing Asteroid
). The story starts off with scientists borrowing a radio telescope to seek signs of intelligent life in the universe, then to send a reply to what appears to be a response. (It's the 1967 version of Contact
, essentially.) There's a long slog at the beginning as our valiant researchers have to contend with small minds, tight fists, and Charles Hawtrey, but the story picks up once they're whisked away to a long-abandoned alien fortress to work out a series of puzzles which, it turns out, hold the key to saving humanity from annihilation, very in the mode of a Golden Age problem-solving story. It's certainly not Brunner's fault that the resulting picture wound up looking so craptastically cheap and cheesy. The models and miniatures all look tiny and flimsy (the radio telescope looks like it might as well have been made from a bottle cap), and on an alien world, clouds of billowing smoke pass behind one of the moons in the sky.The Terrornauts
was the penultimate feature directed by B-movie maestro Montgomery Tully; his next (and last) would be Battle Beneath the Earth
, which I caught on the bottom of some misbegotten double bill when I was a child. An oddly memorable early scene with a deranged scientist obsessing over ants made up for a lot of the subterranean silliness that followed.
|Sunday, June 14th, 2015|
|Out of the Loop
"Well, you know what they say."
"I don't even know who they are
|Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015|
|No Joy in Puppyville
Actually what should really be concerning the Sad Puppies is whether Mr. Beale, having had a taste of power, even allows them a seat at the table in the future.
Consider: Beale's Rabid Puppies slate removed the stories by Grey and Diamond from the Short Story category, and replaced them with stories by Wright and Rzasa. When the shortlist was initially announced, neither the Grey nor Diamond stories made the cut; the Wright and Rzasa stories both made the ballot. The Diamond story only made it onto the ballot when Bellet withdrew her nomination. The other nominees required the joint support of Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies to make the ballot.
So what has Mr. Beale learned? That Vox Day, Kingmaker, can determine whether short stories make the ballot by deciding whether to grant or withhold Rabid Puppies' endorsement. And Rabid Puppies candidates can make the ballot without Sad Puppies' endorsement, but not vice versa.
In the more competitive Best Novel category, Beale replaced the Gannon novel from the Sad Puppies slate with Torgersen's THE CHAPLAIN'S WAR. Neither made the ballot. In this case, perhaps Rabid Puppies didn't have enough clout to get his pick onto the ballot without Sad Puppies' support, but the same goes for Sad Puppies: None of their picks for Best Novel made the ballot with Rabid Puppies' support.
What might Beale logically conclude from this? That he might or might not have the clout to get his own picks onto the Best Novel ballot, but that he can definitely deprive Sad Puppies picks from getting onto the ballot by withholding his support.
Where did the Sad Puppies succeed in getting candidates onto the ballot without Rabid Puppies' backing? In Semi-Prozine, where the Rabid Puppies only submitted one candidate, and Fan Writer, where one of the Rabid Puppies picks declined his nomination.
Now that he's had a taste of power, I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Beale decides next time to see how far he can go just coming up with his own slate and Sad Puppies be damned. A lot depends on how long he can maintain his interest, and how well any of his picks succeed in the general election. Since only two of his picks for Best Novel made the ballot, I'd actually be surprised if either of them won. But if a lot of those thousands of new supporting memberships are Rabid Puppies...eh, who knows.
(This all began as a comment over at The Facebook.)
|Wednesday, May 27th, 2015|
Went to my sister's last night for a post-Memorial dinner get-together: Moe's B-B-Q followed by homemade cobbler with blueberries from her yard. (Sweetened with Splenda; well...)
|Monday, May 25th, 2015|
|Sunday, May 24th, 2015|
|Shocked, Shocked I Say
So it's Memorial Day Weekend, and TCM's Sunday Night Silent is The Big Parade
, followed by the TCM Import, Grand Illusion
Wow. Didn't See That Coming.
|Wednesday, May 20th, 2015|
|All of the Good Ones Are Taken
is showing Django and Sartana's Showdown in the West
, directed by...Dick Spitfire!
That's what the credits say, anyway. It's surely a better name for a Spaghetti Western director than Diego Spataro. In fact, has there ever been a better name for a director than Dick Spitfire?
|Tuesday, May 19th, 2015|
|Monday, May 18th, 2015|
|Saturday, May 16th, 2015|
|Lights Off, Everybody's Home
As happens from time to time here, we had rolling thunder followed by flickering lights, followed by a protracted loss of power around 6:15 p.m. After an hour or so I called Alabama Power, who said their crews had been sent out and estimated power would be restored by 9 p.m. When I called again after midnight, they'd stopped giving updates.
Ironically, the power came up after another fifteen minutes.
Wait, does this mean I missed the Chimes at Midnight
|Wednesday, May 13th, 2015|
|Tuesday, May 12th, 2015|
|Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Bland
My pet peeve with most recent movies is when I stream them in Netflix on an HDTV, they have an unmistakable shot-on-video look. I worked in television for years and when I streamed Women in Cages
it looked like film, so it isn't just me, or the TV.
Nevertheless, it seems that regardless of what raves or snarks I may post here, in reality most movies strike me as...okay
That's because I rarely rate any of my Netflix views below three stars. I save that much praise for something truly exceptional. But, because Netflix is going to use my ratings to suggest further titles to me, I never rate anything below
three stars, either. Once I saw a title that I was convinced was the worst piece of crap I ever saw, but I was afraid if I rated it too low, Netflix would stop recommending me movies that were exactly like it
|Monday, May 11th, 2015|
|A Big, Fat Treat
Get.TV shows a lot of its post-1950 movies in pan-and-scan. Seems beside the point to air the restored version of Lawrence of Arabia
then chop the edges off the picture, but there you are. Kind of irksome to read about a beautifully composed action sequence in Anthony Mann's The Heroes of Telemark
then watch it on Get.TV, but, eh, whadda ya gonna do.
So it was a rare treat to see them air an anamorphically squeezed
print of Daniel Mann's The Mountain Road
(1960)...either that or Jimmy Stewart lost a lot of weight back as he aged, and everyone at the beginning of the 60's was anorexic. It was just a matter of flipping my TV set's zoom setting to "Wide" and there it was as God and Burnett Guffey intended, filling my screen with a film in its proper aspect ratio and human actors in their God-given proportions, even if the film's otherwise nothing to write LiveJournal about.
Would be nice to see more flukes like this. Every now and then they'll air a nice letterboxed print of something like First Men in the Moon
but blowing it up with the "Zoom" button would just make the 480dpi picture even fuzzier.
|Sunday, May 10th, 2015|
|Saturday, May 9th, 2015|
According to one of the commentary tracks on the Blu-Ray of Zardoz
, one of the actors considered for the lead was...
Which makes sense in a "Who have I worked with lately?" kind of way. Ah, but to imagine the critical reception that
version would have met!
|Thursday, May 7th, 2015|
|On Seeing A TV Spot for FURY ROAD
Is it just me that specifically does not
want a Mad Max movie where Max describes himself as "a road warrior looking for a cause" and has conversations where the word "Redemption" gets bandied about?
It was bad enough when the word "Redemption" got tacked onto the title of every action-movie sequel for no reason, now the damn thing is infecting the dialogue of our unasked-for remakes.
|Monday, May 4th, 2015|
|Alan Hale Is In A Rut
Alan Hale, who played Little John opposite the Robin Hoods of both Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn, donned the outfit one more time for his last film role, in Gordon Douglas's Rogues of Sherwood Forest
(1950). A Columbia outing which offers us other, less expected casting, even if it is
Columbia: George Macready as King John! Diana Lynn as a damsel! John Dehner playing Belgian!
|Sunday, May 3rd, 2015|
|Netflix's Latest Cute Trick
, a 1994 cop flick starring Jet Li, is an option on the banner on the Netflix home page today; however, if you search for that title, its listing shows it as unavailable. You can click on the home page banner and start streaming it; not if you search for it. So, presumably, if it should drop off the home page it'll be gone forever, unless they resolve this little quirk.
|Monday, April 27th, 2015|
|It's Moocher Monday!
Today, I went to use my coupons for a free haircuit at SportsCuts (one-time-only for new visitors, yay), Dunkin' Donuts (free large iced coffee on Mondays, I got a mocha, yay) and a free "nutrition" bar at CVS (but the machine that scans your card and prints the free coupon was out of order, boo). I warned my stylist that I had a knot on my head from tripping when I was feeding my sister's cats, but she managed to open the wound anyway. So instead of giving me a shampoo that was part of the package, she doubled down on the shoulder massage. That's how I found out my right shoulder must be still a little sore from the fall...
|Friday, April 24th, 2015|
|WIthout Honor In His Own Country
Larry Correia's favorite "Hypothetical question, if Robert Heinlein wrote Starship Troopers
in 2014, could he get on the Hugo ballot now?"
Good question. Seems to me the Sad Puppies would have left it off their slate, same as the Heinlein bio this year. I mean, isn't it the kind of book Sad Puppies rail against? You know, all lecturey. Besides, wouldn't they complain about that Robert Heinlein being on the ballot every year and hogging all the awards?
How come he didn't ask, "If Robert Heinlein wrote Stranger in a Strange Land
today, could he get on the Hugo ballot now?"