How’s this for a novel concept: the reason Poles were able to defend their realm against the invading armies of Genghis Khan was that they had the super-human help of Hercules! This is one weird movie. Seing a muscle-bound man in a tiny loin cloth thing fighting alongside crusades era knights is quite jarring, as is the cast of burly white men playing the Mogol Asians. There is a great Hercules vs. rubber crocodile scene.
This is nothing you haven’t seen a hundred times before in war movies. The Russian perspective of Afganistan is a bit of a change though.
After watching this, I think I am pretty close to having seen all of Argento’s films. I held off on this one for so long because I had heard it was bad. The DVD cover doesn’t help the cause either. Yes, it’s pretty bad (the cover and the movie). Although, I don’t think it is quite as bad as Trauma. The plot is incoherent (honestly, it’s downright stupid) even for an Argento movie. It just makes no sense at all. Well, I guess the cinematography is kinda pretty and I think Julian Sands’ hair will haunt my dreams forever.
I’ve written about Troll 2 here before. Basically, Troll 2 is the epitome of a so-bad-it’s-good movie. Best Worst Movie is a documentary that follows several of the principle actors and the director to explore how, after finding out the film has reached cult status, the movie has effected their lives. Like the best documentaries, there is a sense of a story arc that helps the film transcend what could have devolved into a DVD style “making of” featurette. It’s entertaining, informative, funny and will make you want to pop that dusty Troll 2 VHS tape into your VCR as soon as the credits start rolling.
My post-Game of Thrones decent into pure phantasy nerdom continues with the Mistborn trilogy. This first book in the series is a well-plotted story and has some pretty memorable characters. The prose can be a bit mediocre or, at least, strangely repetitive at times—the characters all seem to be able to “raise an eyebrow” when they are thinking. Independent eyebrow control must be a high-level magick skill. However, overall it kept me interested throughout and it seemed to tie up loose ends nicely at the end.
This is the b-side of Jim Bakus’ “Delicious” single from my not-so-vast record collection. The a-side is legendary, the b-side is still pretty good to.
Leave it to The Phantom Surfers to release an instrumental surf record without any music, singing, talking or audio of any kind. I believe in some higher circles of society these types of records are called books, but what do I know. Rock Stardom for Dumbshits presents itself as a step-by-step guide to making it in the music industry. Bands are offered advice on how to sell-out and compromise everything they believe in for the near-impossible chance of making a living as a rock musician. Of course, it’s all a big goof! This is The Phantom Surfers after all. In actuality, the book is a funny and cynical look at just about every tier of the music industry: from the long-haired sound guy at the club to the money-grabbing record company suits. It’s a fun, albeit short read that ends on a semi-serious note by detailing how Lookout Records screwed The Phantom Surfers (and just about every band on the label) out of a bunch of digital distribution money.
Before Gregg Turkington was creating anti-comedy as Neil Hamburger, he was, along with guitarist John Singer, creating anti-music in Zip Code Rapists. This album rides the fine line between genius and stupidity. The first side contains one of my all-time-favorite songs about the best never resting, “The Best Never Rest,” as well as the hysterical, historically-challenged “Presidents Song.” The second side is mainly comprised of a live recording where the band mostly apologizes for their existence before covering Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” I have never done drugs, but I assume this record would sound even better if I was stoned out of my mind.
Martin Gardner died around the time this book was released. Like many of his books, it compiles articles and essays that he has written over the years. This volume lacks much of the consistency of his other books. As usual, he still manages to hit some of this favorite topics: mathematics, pseudo-science, religion, and his overly-enthusiastic love of G.K. Chesterson. Personally, I think he is at his best when he is looking for paradoxes and puzzles within the framework of these broader areas of interest. That was truly his area of expertise, and when he strays from that it can feel like he is just indexing facts without much insight. Despite the lackluster quality of this book (and the fact that it ends on the sour note of his pro-socialism politics), he will be missed.
You know you are in trouble when the most convincing performance in your film is by Isaac from The Love Boat. Despite the skin and swears, this is a made-for-TV quality blaxploitation film. It is uncommonly low on action, and the acting and dialogue is painful. Even Eartha Kitt disappoints.