Monday, December 31, 2012


 "Scene for scene, The Dark Knight Rises is by far the most exciting and visually stimulating of the three Nolan Batman films and definitely my favorite."

Superhero and Action

Starring - Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Gary Oldman as Commissioner James Gordon, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, Tom Hardy as Bane, Marion Cotillard as Talia al Ghul / Miranda Tate, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.

Director – Christopher Nolan

Writer(s) – Christopher and Jonathan Nolan

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.

Runtime - 165 min.

I am not a huge fan of the comic book Batman. My first exposure to the character, like many children who grew up in the 1960’s was the TV show that ran from January 12, 1966 to March 14, 1968. I do remember collecting bubble gum cards that featured photographs from the show and later painted artwork of the comic book characters, but for whatever reason the TV show never inspired the then 8 to 10 year old me to buy the comic book.

I have since as an adult bought many different runs of the The Batman, Detective Comics and even the The Dark Knight, but I have never bought it for more than a year or two at a time. For reasons that are too deep to go into here, I have always felt more connected to the superheroes of the Marvel universe than those of the DC universe. Therefore, I am not an expert on Batman the comic book character, but merely a fairly educated fan.

I loved the 1960’s TV show as a child, but have not been able to enjoy it much as an adult. I did find out that the show was based on the 1940’s serials Batman (1943) and Batman and Robin (1949), more so than on the comic book, which explains the serialized nature of the show.  The Batman films of the late ‘80’s and 90’s were also somewhat of a disappointment to me as well. While I thought Tim Burtorn’s first film, Batman (1989), captured the mood of the character, I didn't like it for much more than Nicholson’s inspired portrayal of The Joker. Burton’s second film, Batman Returns (1992), was a self-indulgent mess that had more to do with Burton’s demented world view, than with the character of Batman. Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever (1995) was slick and slightly more super-heroic, but was already bordering on the ridiculous that would be his disastrous follow up Batman & Robin (1997).

With a fair amount of time to get the fowl taste of those films out of my mental palette, I approached Christopher Nolan’s first film, Batman Begins (2005), with reserved optimism. While I think Nolan got the tone of Gotham and all the supporting characters just right, Christian Bale’s Batman still seemed too grim and one-dimensional. However, this was definitely the best film version of the character and I looked forward to the sequel. The Dark Knight (2008) was an immense success, both critically and financially, but I disliked Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker as an insane serial killer and that ruined the film for me. I was still hopeful that that the next – and last for Nolan – Batman film would be a good solid finish to Nolan’s vision of the character. For the most part, I wasn't disappointed.

I’m sure anyone who cares enough about Nolan’s Batman trilogy has already seen it (perhaps multiple times) at the theater, so I won’t reiterate the details of the plot here. I waited to rent The Dark Knight Rises for the simple reason that I wasn’t sure if I would like it enough to sit for two-hours and forty-five minutes in a theater to watch it. I was glad I did watch it at home, because much of the middle portion of the film is weighed down by a complete lack of Batman. I understand that Bane wanted to make Bruce Wayne suffer as he had in the inescapable pit-like prison, but this part really does slow that film down to a crawl.

I did like the set up to the film and didn't have too much of a problem with how Bane converts Wayne Enterprise’s reactor core into a nuclear bomb to put Gotham under his control. While Bane’s plan seems ridiculously over-complicated  it did make for some intense drama. I particularly liked the sequence where Gordon has rounded up as many of the Gotham police as he can, to push a frontal assault on Bane and his mercenaries, while he attempts to place a device on the reactor core that will disable the remote control trigger.

The last act of The Dark Knight Rises is filled with fantastic sequences of action and character drama. I love the way that Bruce/Batman manages to keep coaxing Selina/Catwoman into helping him thwart Bane’s plan to destroy Gotham City. In fact, Selina basically becomes The Robin to Batman in this film and I think she was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the film.

Speaking of Robin, the character, the young police officer John Blake becomes an integral part of the film, where he sort of fills in for Batman; working with Commissioner Gordon while Bruce is recovering from his broken back in the hell hole prison. I liked the character, but he seemed rather forced into the story and I’m not sure I buy his explanation of how he figured out Wayne was Batman. I also don’t understand why Nolan felt compelled to end the film with Blake quitting the force and going off in search of the Batcave.

Nolan’s subsequent Batman films each attempt to “up the ante” in scope. Rise features a new flying machine for the Batman to use against Bane’s militia that its inventor Lucius Fox dubs “The Bat”, for reasons I’m not sure of because it looks nothing like a bat. Still, it does present Batman with some cool action sequences; particularly at the end of the film when Batman is shooting at the several Batmoblie prototypes that Bane’s mercenaries have stolen to help with protecting the truck transporting the reactor core.

I liked enough of the positives of the film, so that the negatives didn’t deter from my enjoyment of it. Christopher Nolan’s strengths as a director and storyteller are in creating mood and character drama and The Dark Knight Rises has both in abundance! While the plot contrivances and outright illogical narrative events in this film could ruin it, I decided early on while watching this film that I would not let these things spoil my pleasure in watching it.

Scene for scene, The Dark Knight Rises is by far the most exciting and visually stimulating of the three Nolan Batman films and definitely my favorite. It will be interesting to see where Warner films take the character of Batman next. With a JLA film reportedly in the works for a release in the summer of 2015, I can only assume that there will be another Batman film, with a new and younger actor playing the part, coming in the near future as well.

TECHNICAL: Acting – 9 Directing – 9 Cinematography – 9 Script – 8 Special Effects – 10

VISCERAL: Visual – 10 Auditory – 9 Intellectual – 8 Emotional – 9 Involvement – 9

TOTAL - 90


Nearly every year since 1985, our local UHF TV channel 38 has run a Three Stooges Marathon. This year apparently is no exception. Here is the article on the marathon from their web site:

Ring in the New Year with five straight hours of pie-throwing, head-smacking, eye-poking Three Stooges action hosted by Dan and Dave Andelman!

Classic shorts include A Plumbing We Will Go, Disorder In The Court, Men In Black, Violence Is The Word For Curly, and many more.

Look for a special midnight music mash-up where the Stooges meet “Gangnam Style”. Special guests include Karlson & McKenzie from 100.7 WZLX, Mix 104.1′s Karson & Kennedy, Gresh & Zo from 98.5 The Sports Hub, and 103.3 AMP Radio’s newest DJ Joe Breezy!

Join the annual tradition on myTV38 – starting Monday night at 8pm!

If you are anywhere in the Boston area, or in the New England area and have WSBK-TV on your cable or satellite provider, tune into channel 38 at 8pm tonight and get 5 hours of slapstick silliness from The Three Stooges!

Saturday, December 29, 2012


In the eighth and final part of Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak -- which I've titled "Bad to the Last Drop" -- Zombzany introduces the final film of the horror movie marathon, while waiting for his newly silenced zombie slave Doc Freak to return with his final caffeinated beverage of the evening. Freak bows before his master and delivers him his coffee. After taking a long sip, Zombzany begins to choke and realizes that Freak has once again spiked his coffee with sugar. Zombzany grabs Freak by the collar and drags him out of his Tomb to deliver a king-size beat-down on his disobedient zombie slave. Myron then mercifully, or mercilessly, depending on your taste in zombie films, segues into the final film of the marathon.

When they come back from the end of the final film, Zombzany reads a new scripted soliloquy to bring the horror movie marathon to a close. Clearly unhappy with the script, Zombzany inquires of his zombie slaves, who wrote the closing speech, but none dare challenge the Dominator of the Dead. Displeased with his newly zombiefied slave, Zombzany decides the best punishment for Doc Freak is to return to him his mortal life. Zombzany casts a powerful remortalisation spell on Doc Freak, which causes Freak to fall head-over-heels onto the ground. Quickly recovering, Doc Freak realizes that his is once again mortal and runs back to his lab vowing vengeance on Zombzany. Zombzany merely smiles and returns to the beloved sanctuary of his tomb.

Enjoy Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak: Part Eight -- Bad to the Last Drop.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


From Fritz "Doc" Freakenstein, Bill E. Bones, Major Mac Maniac, Professor Phileas Photon, Zombzany and all the zombies, werewolves and ghouls...




Sunday, December 23, 2012


Podcast of the Month for December 2012 is:

Geek Out Loud!

As Steve Glosson says at the beginning of every Geek Out Loud podcast, “Welcome to Geek Out Loud, your safe place to geek out.” which is precisely what he and his “podcasting partner for life” Derek, do on each and every episode. Geek Out Loud is one of the most loosely structured, but categorically comedic podcasts on the Internets. Every Geek Out Loud episode is unique in both subject matter and structure. What is consistent is the big heart and geek love that Steve communicates in each podcast. Steve occasionally works solo, or with guest co-hosts, but he is at his best when working with Derek, who has the ability to make Steve laugh uncontrollably and often.

Here is how Steve and Derek describe themselves on their Geek Out Loud website:

Steve Glosson
He resides in a small town in Southern Georgia USA. He’s been a geek his whole life. “It started with Star Wars and grew from there.” says Steve of his geekdom. Steve is the founder and primary contributor to Geek Out Online, and the host of Geek Out Loud: The Official Podcast of Geek Out Online. Steve’s vision was to create a place online where people would come to talk about the things they enjoy as it pertains to geekdom rather than complain about everything that is wrong with comics, movies, and sci fi. As Steve says of Geek Out Loud and Geek Out Online, he tries to make this a “safe place” to geek out. Whether it’s bad impressions or poking fun at himself, fun is the key and Steve tries to bring a little bit in all he does.

Derek Russel
The host of Starkville’s House of El and The Skynext Podcast. Derek is another lifelong geek who, by his own testimony, wore a Superman cape on his first Halloween. He and Steve met through a series of e-mails and circumstances and have been a dynamic duo ever since. Derek appears occasionally on Geek Out Loud and works behind the scenes with Steve to help him keep up with all the coolest news, latest trailers, and geeky goodness. It has been said that Derek and Steve actually share some sort of Vulcan mind meld type thing. To this outlandish idea, Steve was heard to reply, “Vulcan? Of course not. That’s Star Trek, and everyone knows how I feel about that show. It’s the force…and it’s totally serendipitous.” Check out Derek’s blog Totally Serendipitous for his thoughts on television happenings, his life, and occasional Vlogs.

Episodes of Geek Out Loud have ranged in topics from films like The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises to TV shows like Smallville and Clone Wars. Topics range the full gambit of all things geek; so be prepared for anything to be discussed on Geek Out Loud. What keeps me listening to each episode of Geek Out Loud is the back and forth banter between Steve and Derek. Sometimes Derek has fun messing with Steve, like the time he declared that from now on he wanted to be known as Sean Phillips. Derek also was jealous of Steve’s co-host Buck on The Big Honkin’ Show, a podcast that they did live every Saturday morning on Usenet. Derek kept saying that he wanted to be Buck, because Buck was much cooler than him and it took much cajoling from Steve (between fits of laughter) to convince Derek that he was just as cool as Buck.

If you want to be entertained by a podcast and sometimes informed, Geek Out Loud is a safe place to geek out – indeed!

For more information on Geek Out Loud go to their web site:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


In the seventh part of Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak -- which I've titled "The Choke is on Freak" –Zombzany is asleep on his throne, snoring away, apparently exhausted from the many attempts at a rejuvenation spell to heal Doc Freak of his missing arms. Freak tries to revive his master by showing him a DVD copy of his favorite movie White Zombie, but to no avail as Zombzany continues to snore away.
Doc Freak decides this is a perfect time to demonstrate his horror movie hosting abilities and begins to regale his audience about the magnificent virtues of Scream 3 and all of Wes Craven’s films. Unseen by Freak, Zombzany arises behind Freak and begins charging his staff menacingly. Suddenly, Zombzany takes his magically-charged power staff and places it around Doc Freak’s throat; choking the words from his mouth. Pleased with the sound of silence, Zombzany encourages Myron to start the next film in the horror movie marathon.
Enjoy Zombzany and the Undead Doc Freak: Part Seven -- The Choke is on Freak.