POF Archive: February 2019

I have been writing this drivel for decades. Browse through my archives by clicking the links below.

Shirley Temple and the Screaming Specter by Kathryn Heisenfelt (5/10)

This is a strange old book. It's a Nancy Drew style mystery but the main character is a teen-aged Shirley Temple. Characters in the book recognize her as the famous entertainer and then it's never mentioned again. There's one instance in the book where, in order to escape a desperate situation, she needs to utilize skills she had learned sitting in the make-up chair. This is just weird concept. The mystery itself is not that deep and Shirley isn't even the one who solves it. The whole plot about a haunted lake might have been the impetus of her investigation, but it's soon forgotten. What the…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 02/23/2019 - 15:19

A History Of Wood Engraving by Albert Garrett (6/10)

The title of this one is a bit deceptive. The book is actually a history of British wood engraving. It starts out at the very beginnings of art history by making the tenuous claim that European cave art was actually a form of engraving. There are some nods to Chinese works, then quite a bit about the woodcuts of the Albrecht Dürer and other formschneider print makers (again, not wood engraving!). The author then breezes past the many decades of the golden era of commercial wood engraving only to spend chapter after chapter gushing over Eric Gill and works of the early 20th Century. Eric Gill…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Thu, 02/14/2019 - 14:55

Suspiria [2018] (7/10)

I'm not sure why filmmakers insist on remaking films that were already great. The original Suspiria is one of my favorite movies, but perhaps there is room for improvement. Like almost every Italian horror movie, the plot is a mess. Is that reason enough for a remake? This new version is pretty good, and I'd prefer this to Mother of Tears any day. Wisely, there really wasn't much of an attempt to match the colorful visual mastery of the original. The artistry is mostly in the performances and choreography. Dance plays a vital part in the story, which makes the the idea of a coven using a dance…

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Wed, 02/06/2019 - 11:10

Execution Squad (6/10)

A roving band of vigilantes are killing criminals left and right while the police try to track down a kidnapper. Not much action in this poliziottesco, but it's moderately entertaining.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sun, 02/03/2019 - 19:32

Presto! How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette (7/10)

Penn details his weight-loss journey and his wacky diet. It's an interesting take on how we view food and there are elements of his diet that might make sense for me to try. He keeps it entertaining and informative, but I miss crazy junk-food Penn. Snackers need a hero now that the Go-Nuts are no more.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Sat, 02/02/2019 - 16:01

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (6/10)

I primarily have this book because I am interested in the spectacular Gustave Doré wood engravings. The text is a deep and thoughtful meditation on the divine yadda, yadda. To be honest, most of it was over my head. I would be reading and finally think I had a grasp on what he was talking about, then he'd slip into the medieval Florentine pop-culture references and I would be lost again. By the third book I was just reading the overviews, skimming the poem and spending most of my time in awe of the illustrations.

Submitted by Robert Gomez on Fri, 02/01/2019 - 23:22