Tuesday, May 22, 2018

SO LONG, CLINT WALKER...


You were a towering man who played towering parts, whose affable aura made Cheyenne Bodie one of television's most celebrated cowboys.


On the big screen, you started small, but left a distinct impression as a Tarzan imprint in the Bowery Boys' "Jungle Gents", which then led to a cameo in the epic "Ten Commandments". Thereafter, you occupied a barrage of rough-and-tough action yarns, including "The Dirty Dozen"; "Fort Dobbs"; "Gold of the Seven Saints"; "The Great Bank Robbery"; "Maya"; "More Dead Than Alive"; "None But the Brave"; "Pancho Villa"; "Sam Whisky"; "Yellowstone Kelly"; "Yuma"; and the nail-biting "Night of the Grizzly". 


You also swaggered your way into the weird and wonderful, with such productions as "Scream of the Wolf"; "Killdozer!"; "The Mysterious Island of Beautiful Women"; "The Serpent Warriors"; "Snowbeast"; and "The White Buffalo". 

Beyond a doubt, Mr. Walker, you were a hero to many, whether on or off the screen. Lord knows we need more of your virtuous likes these days, but we'll at least be grateful that your legendary stature blessed us for all these many decades. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

FAREWELL, PATRICIA MORISON...


You were, in so many respects, the queen of the eclectic, covering musicals, film noir, action/adventure and horror, with entries that include "Tarzan and the Huntress"; "Queen of the Amazons"; "Beyond the Blue Horizon"; "Calling Dr. Death"; "Hitler's Madman"; "Lady on a Train"; "Persons in Hiding"; "Song of the Thin Man"; and "Dressed to Kill" (aka, "Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Code").


Your beauty existed on a celestial level, Ms. Morison, radiating each and every film in which you appeared. May your starring role in the Great Beyond be as illustrious as it has been in so many of your wonderful pictures.

Friday, May 18, 2018

RIP YURIKO HOSHI...


Your cinematic career was long and prolific, distinguished by the period-piece action classic, "Sengoku Yaro" and the deeply speculative "The Last War". However to Toho kaiju fans, you'll be remembered best for your dazzling roles in Ishiro Honda's monster team-ups, "Mothra vs Godzilla" ("Godzilla vs the Thing"/"Godzilla vs Mothra") and "Ghidorah/Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster" ("The Greatest Battle on Earth"); as well as Masaaki Tezuka's revisionist "Godzilla vs Megaguirus", where you at long last returned to the giant-monster genre to the delight of your many fans.


You were truly a beauty among the beasts, the epitome of style and a graceful talent for the ages. There's no doubt that your charming essence will continue to captivate into the epic hereafter.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

I saw Deadpool's Second Coming...


Awright!!! Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool, aka Wade Wilson/Merc the Mouth, is back and not too soon. His garrulous presence stands in direct, abrasive defiance of all the teens who'd have once flocked to the anti-hero's big-screen adventures, but now scorn such storytelling in the name of goose-stepping "sensitivity". 


Directed by David "Atomic Blonde" Leitch and scripted by Reynolds, Paul Wernick, and Rhett Reese, "Deadpool 2", like its predecessor, glorifies uniqueness as a brutal (and amusing) justice-brandishing tool. Reynolds makes it all jive, giving the irreverent mutant the unabashed, Looney Tunes vantage that sets his flick apart from even the most colorful of the current pack. Alas, as a second-comer, "Deadpool 2" isn't as fresh as the first, but so be it. It's no less entertaining for its extrapolated, shoot-from-the-hip gall.


This time Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza's Marvel celebrated creation protects a troubled, mutant lad named Firefist, aka Russell Collins (Julian "Paper Planes" Dennison), from extermination. The reason: The kid is to become a futuristic, mass murderer, but his fate might be altered, if only someone were to inspire him to turn the other cheek. 


The set-up ushers in Cable, aka Nathan Summers (Josh "Jonah Hex" Brolin, who's still ridin' high from his Thanos portrayal in "Infinity War") as the tale's time-travelin' cyborg-soldier and temporary antagonist, who sports a big gun, a teddy bear and projects the vengeful, if not justified need to kill the Human Torch heir apparent. Deadpool, of course, has other ideas, thanks to the discovery of his big heart.


To accompany his new mission, Deadpool has help (at varying points) from his established friends: Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna "Tragedy Girls" Hildebrand); Colossus (Stephan "Big Miracle" Kapicic); Weasel (T.J. "Cloverfield" Miller); Dopiner (Karin "Ghostbusters" Soni); Blind Al (the legendary Leslie Uggams); and the fetching Vanessa (Morena "Gotham" Baccarin), who becomes both doomed and blessed due to the story's ethereal dynamics. 

The old crew is joined by lucky Domino (Zazie Beetz); brain-bending Bedlam (Terry "The Thing" Crews); regurgitating Zeitgiest (Bill "It" Skarsgard); cocky Shatterstar (Lewis "Iron Fist" Tan); and average-guy-along-for-the-ride Peter (Robert "Bad Robots" Delaney): a knock-off of Marvel's enduring secret agent, Peter Wisdom. This add-on, motley crew distinguishes Wilson's X-Force team and through the assembly, our mad mercenary is able to fortify his sense of purpose and plan...well, maybe not. Most of the newbies don't last long, but hey, it's the valiant thought that counts.


The plot, as such, is never complex, nor need it be. The save-or-kill-the-kid premise brackets Wilson's wild tangents and vignettes, making "Deadpool 2" resemble a rough, reinterpreted "Laugh-In". Older fans will appreciate the approach; younger ones will (or would) miss the point, since most lack the daring decency to sneak a peek at any R-rated film or for that matter, any far-out fantasy, unless it's perhaps tradition-stompin' fodder like "Last Jedi". 


The film's jarring structure is fine, however, considering how well it fits Wilson's personality swings. Reynolds enables Deadpool's self-parodying stance to connect the outrageous dots (most of which turn cartoonishly violent), ultimately creating a sensible strand. The process is surreal as hell, but against conventional odds, it works like a charm, at least when one grows accustomed to it. (Fans of the first film will latch on without a hitch.)


Now, I must confess, Deadpool isn't generally my kind of superhero, but I'm still cool with him. His hyperactive crassness is what makes him fascinating: an alternative icon who, for whatever spontaneous cause, consistently strikes the right, unapologetic chord. Over and over, that's the ticket here: Deadpool breaks the rules, and the types of rules he breaks deserve to be broken, at least in the abstract way they're presented. 


Deadpool is also the embodiment of "Suicide Squad" with a wry, intrepid twist, layering on manic and mature expression for older moviegoers who've long had their fill of sugar-coated, Hitler Jugend mysticism and its consequential, fumigated wand-shaking. He reminds us that it's okay (maybe even essential) to dance on the edge, especially when dictatorial goons declare, "Don't!" 

"Deadpool 2", however, isn't afraid to layer such rebellion with chunks of family-spun sentimentality. In fact, both films drill the importance of family into one's head, but the mutant's marinated fans already know the score, having acquired this idiosyncratic benefaction through Marvel's pages. The X-Men, after all, do care about one another, as much as the members of any dysfunctional family can and will. 


Even with this precious message bleeding through its crazed antics, the self-proclaimed highbrows will probably condemn "Deadpool 2". On the other hand, those jerkenheimers do deserve some thanks, if only for making Deadpool a sensation among those who get his skewed shtick: I'm talkin' hard-workin' folks who are more than pleased to pay their hard-earned cash for wisecrackin' camaraderie. At the end of any sweat-brow day, that's the emblematic desire of any unsung class. Thank goodness, Deadpool is the ideal deplorable to deliver it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

AIRSHIP 27 PODCAST (MAY '18): READY FOR TAKEOFF!!!

Wow! How time sure does fly! It seems like only yesterday that a new Airship 27 Podcast blazed onto the scene, and here we are with another hour-long entry.


For the May '18 episode, Captain Ron Fortier and Chief Engineer Rob Davis cover further ground in the New Pulp realm, offering chats on Nancy Hansen's latest Jezebel Johnson escapade, "Mourning Star" and Gene Moyers' new Purple Scar excursion, "The Black Fog" (the crusader's first novel-length caper). They also give scoops on the upcoming Sherlock Holmes and Three Musketeers anthologies. 


Tune in now at ...   http://comicspodcasts.com/2018/05/14/airship-27-podcast-39/ ...  for all the juicy, pulp tidbits!!!

Monday, May 14, 2018

FAREWELL, MARGOT KIDDER...


You became part of pop-cultural history with "Superman I-IV": an ideal and spunky Lois Lane who made us believe a man could fly, every bit as much as dear Christopher Reeve did. 


Fans, however, know that your entry into fantastic films occurred well before "Superman", with Brian De Palma's harrowing "Sisters"; Bob Clark's disturbing "Black Christmas"; and J. Lee Thompson's eerie "Reincarnation of Peter Proud".  Latter you occupied Stuart Rosenberg's chilling "Amityville Horror"; as well as "R.L. Stine's Haunting Hour", in the atmospheric episode, "Mrs. Worthington". You also treated your fans with a visit to "Smallville" in the celebrated episodes "Crusade" and "Transference". 


On a personal level, you more than had your highs and lows, but you fought the good fight through it all. You'll remain a symbol of beauty, talent and toughness to all who face life's misfortunes and yet dare seize its wonders whenever those special moments arise.