Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ragged Isle

A friend of mine clued me in to this the other day, and I must say I'm really intrigued.  It takes place in Maine, the state I call home and a locale that seriously needs more crime fiction.  Sure, the big cities might have all the romance and danger, but we've got plenty of history, grudges, and dirty little secrets. We are not just creepy small towns created by Stephen King, although you can't be completely sure.

 I've embedded the first part, but please, visit the website.  They've got a lot planned.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sugar Boxx

If you want to see exposed breasts without renting a porn, Sugar Boxx might be the film for you.  Those hoping for another Black Dynamite, look elsewhere.  I'm not sure what this movie was aiming for;  homage, comedy, low budget fun?  Consider it a cross between the devoted exploitation of Machete with the the actual women in prison flicks from the 70's.

Is it any good?  Not really.  The acting is awful, the dialogue terrible, the nudity, not so bad.  A bare breast seems to appear every two minutes without reason, pretty much eclipsing the story-to-boob ratio of Caged Heat or Black Mama, White Mama.  I bet the production got a hell of a deal on easy to remove tube tops.

Oh yeah, the story.

An reporter goes undercover in the Florida penal system to expose, well, something I'm sure.  Seems a prostitute got some hard time, and to a seasoned reporter like Valerie March (a terribly wooden Geneviere Anderson) that smells like a story.  She assaults a cop, he plants a brink of drugs in her trunk, and she gets fifteen years.  Now she can explore the story from the inside.  The girls can get an easier life if they prostitute themselves out.  Good clothes and a pool, sure beats the scantily dressed hard labor.  But Valerie, or "Angel",   is going to lead the uprising.  And it will be violent.

Sugar Boxx had the potential to sit on my shelf alongside Machete and Black Dynamite, but despite the nudity, it really played safe.  Writer/Director Cody Jarrett could have celebrated the weaknesses of the girl-in-prison films instead of simply copying them.  Or it could have gone the way of Machete, with it's gleeful over-the-top violence.  Instead, it did neither, and for that I consider it a noble failure.  Entertaining, but not worth repeated viewings.

At least exploitation legend Jack Hill has an appearance as a corrupt judge. And I learned how to convince an unconscious man that he did indeed have sex while out cold.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cover of the Week

It's QT's birthday, so in honor of the birthday boy, here is a rather simple, yet very effective poster.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chew: The Television Show

Showtime is adapting John Layman and Rob Guillory's book Chew for the small screen.  With such shows as Dexter and Californication under their belt, I believe this is the perfect home a story that has to combine dark humor with a bit of off-kilter violence.  And apparently Californication's Stephen Hopkins will be a director and executive producer, with a script written by Terri Hughes Burton and Eureka's Rob Mibauer.  All of this sounds promising.  My only worry is the 30 minute time frame they are going to use for each episode.  I'm sure it can work, but I'd love a full hour.

I also want want Ken Leung as Tony Chu and John Goodman as Mason Savoy.  Please make this happen.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Henry's Crime

Keanu Reeves is not an automatic watch for me.  I've certainly enjoyed him in films ranging from the first Matrix to Bill and Ted to my personal favorite film of his, Point Break.  He's not an exceptional actor by any means, and his facial expression range tends to be fairly limited, but he's usually watchable if the film is interesting enough.

Henry's Crime has the possibility of being good.  It's the new  film from Malcolm Venville, and considering he made last years VERY GOOD 44 Inch Chest, his name alone will sell me on this over Keanu.  The cast also includes Vera Farminga, James Caan, Peter Stomare, Fisher Stevens, Judy Greer, and BILL DUKE!  Hell yeah Bill Duke is back.  He doesn't come out from behind the director chair very often, but when he does I'm there.

Opens April 8th.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


How does everyone out there feel about torrent sites?  I'm not talking about downloading the newest album or viewing the newest flick in the cinema, but searching for those things you just can't find otherwise.  They call it pirating when you download virtually anything with a copyright, but is it sometimes justified?

Case in point.  I've got copies of every Alan Moore MiracleMan on a disc somewhere.  The trades for those issues are all long out of print and run in the hundreds of dollars.  Were they available down at the bookstore (are you listening Marvel), I would be first in line to buy the hardcover.  I don't feel bad about downloading it, and I'm quite sure Alan Moore cares even less then I do.

But not everything I've ever downloaded is new, which brings me to the reason I decided to ask this question of you in the first place:  The Second Season of Southland.

I love this show, and it's the best police drama to hit the airwaves since The Shield ended.  I've got the uncensored Season One, and I would love to have an uncensored Season Two to go along with it.  Only for some reason, it's not available, and there is no listing anywhere for it to even comes out.  Why is that?  It just finished up it's third season, and if it followed the lead of every other show on television the season would have hit DVD a week or so before the season premier.

But it didn't.

I checked on the shows official website, and the episodes were not there either.  How does TNT expect anyone to invest in these characters if a third of the output has just disappeared?

After much searching, I did discover the shows are on iTunes, but at nearly $20 for the six episodes I'm a little apprehensive.  I love the digital revolution, but I like my DVD shelf more.

So the question is there.  Do I download, saving myself the $20 but with the annoyance of watching the show on my computer without nearly the same amount of quality, wait an undisclosed amount of time and pray for a DVD release, or pour over the television listings and hope that TNT runs a marathon in the near future. Or buy that import Blu-ray?

What would you do?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Joan Crawford

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite ladies of noir, Joan Crawford.  She might not have been the most congenial person, but her work stands for itself.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mystery Men

I'm not sure how I missed this news coming out of the C2E2 convention in Chicago, but it seems Marvel comics is going to dabble with pulp heroes in the 30's.  My thanks to Brad over at In the Mouth of Dorkness for posting  it yesterday. I'm not familiar with the writer of the project, David Liss, but that could actually work in his favor.  He doesn't have the years of baggage that a Brian Bendis or Mark Waid would bring, so I don't have to compare it to anything else.

The teaser images, seen over at ItMoD, look fantastic, and I hope the book is at least a critical success.  I'm not going to pretend this book will sell over 50,000, as anything even slightly off the mainstream universes ever does.  DC tried a similar thing this past year with their First Wave books, which featured pulp heroes Doc Savage, the Spirit, as well as retooled versions of the Blackhawks and Batman.  From there, The Spirit and Doc Savage got their own series, which were recently cancelled as sales dropped from 20,000 to 8,000 over the course of the first ten issues.  The initial series, First Wave, was only a six issue mini-series and was completed.

Surprisingly, or nor really, the only time these books were ever discussed were when they were first announced and at their cancellation.  Goes to show the interest just wasn't really there.  I plan on picking up the First Wave trade, as it is written by Brian Azzerello, one of the geniuses behind 100 Bullets.  And I will at least pick up the first issue of Mystery Men.

Monday, March 21, 2011

BBC's Sherlock

After a long time on my Netflix Queue, Sherlock has finally arrived.  I considered purchasing it blind when it first came out, but instead chose another BBC crime show, Luther, which had the known enjoyable quality known as Idris Elba.  I didn't regret the choice at the time, but would I now that I have Sherlock in my hands?

I don't watch much Dr. Who, so despite the claims from friends of mine, I have yet to be convinced that British scribe/showrunner Steven Moffat is a genius.  Sorry, but I've never really gotten into the adventures of the good Doctor and his Tardis.

But one episode of Sherlock, the reimagining of everyone's favorite detective to reside at 221B Baker St, and I'm not only convinced,  but ready to preach.  The first episode, A Study in Pink, was flat out brilliant.

The terrible twosome, Watson and Holmes, were perfectly cast. Perhaps the greatest English name I've ever heard, Benedict Cumberbatch, is a revelation as Sherlock, playing it as a cross between the misanthropic House and the detail oriented Patrick Jane from the Mentalist.  I was only familiar with Martin Freeman from the British Office, but his Watson is a force all his own.  His Afghanistan wounded doc is slightly lost, but it's easy to see the warrior underneath.  He's not going to back down from anyone, let alone Holmes.  The rest of the cast is solid, from the beleagured Lestrade (Rupert Graves), to the irritating Dr. Anderson (Jonathan Aris), to the wonderfully brilliant Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gattis).

Some might be put off by the modern aspects of the show, particularly Sherlock texting, but rest assured its just another tool at his brilliant disposal.  And if anyone can turn a cell phone into a sleuthing device, it's Holmes.  It adds an interesting twist the the Sherlock we have all grown to love, and honestly, makes him better.  My young son adored the fact that Sherlock didn't run around smoking a pipe (he's on the patch) and wearing a "stupid" cap.

Everything about this show is high quality, and I cannot recommend it enough.  I only wish the first season had been longer than three ninety minute movies, but it's not going to stop me from purchasing this on Bluray.   Bring on Season 2.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy Birthday Patrick McGoohan

Happy Birthday to one of the baddest men to ever be on television, Patrick McGoohan.

Was there ever a better opening to a television show than his intro to The Prisoner?

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Lincoln Lawyer

Forget Matthew McConaughey, this film has Michael Pare!

Actually, that's a great idea.  Just forget Matt is even in the movie.  If you are like me, he's not usually a reason to go see a movie.  I loved him in Dazed and Confused, tolerated him in a Time to Kill, ADORED him in Reign of Fire, but after that...the less said the better.  He's wasted his talents in stupid formulaic romantic comedies.  

So lets focus on everything else this movie might have to offer.

It's based on a book by Michael Connelly.  While I cannot vouch for this particular title, I can say that Connelly has the chops, and the few books I have read have been quite good.  It's directed by Brad Furman.  Who?  I have no idea.  He's only got one other feature to his credit, the 2007 movie The Take.  Haven't seen it.

It's probably a good thing I'm not writing the ad campaign for the movie.

However, I can say this film is loaded with supporting actors that I absolutely love.  Marissa Tomei, Josh Lucas, Ryan Phillipe, John Leguizamo, Bryan Cranston, Michael Pena, Frances Fischer, and of course, the always amazing William H Macy.   Did I also mention...

Michael Pare!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Greg Rucka returns?

Although "gone" wouldn't necessarily be the correct word, Greg Rucka has been missing from "mainstream" comics for the past year, perhaps two.  Thanks to his fantastic book Stumptown (with Matthew Southworth), I haven't missed him a bit.

However, when he did write for the Big Two, I was always interested in his character interpretation.  He did wonderful things with Wolverine, Elektra, and Wonder Woman, characters that interest me only marginally.  Books like Batman and Batwoman were made for him to write.

Now it seems like he's back, relaunching Punisher for Marvel.  I haven't purchased a Marvel title in monthly form   for the better part of the year, but that will be changing.  If anyone can fill the giant shoes Garth Ennis left behind, it's Rucka.

As you can see from the picture, the official announcement won't happen until Saturday, but the sometimes reliable Bleeding Cool broke the news yesterday.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

PAX news about L.A. Noire

This might be the only time there are two posts concerning video games in a one month span, but the news coming out of PAX East is just too cool for school.  (No, I don't know what the hell PAX stands for either, but I'm assuming its something to do with video games.)

Apparently there was a hands off (meaning not playable) demo of the game for all to see, and Geoff over at GamingBits  has a pretty good write up that I'd rather just point you towards instead of paraphrasing.  There are the usual highlights to expect from a Rockstar game, the wide open world, lengthy game play, and solid voice acting.  But for me, the best announcement was the ability to interrogate.  For once, I can reward my inner Frank Pembleton and put people in the box.

If I disappear in the month of May, just look for my Xbox and you will find me.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


The only experience I've ever had with Terry Pratchett is reading the wonderful book he co-wrote with Neil Gaiman, Good Omens.  He has constantly been recommended to me, but I've never gotten around to reading another book of his.

This might change.

Apparently, his Discworld series is being optioned for a television series.

Sir Terry Pratchett and Rod Brown, Managing Director of Prime Focus Productions, announce that they have come to an agreement for the unprecedented and exclusive worldwide television rights to create brand new storylines for the iconic characters of Pratchett’s phenomenally successful Discworld series.
Terry’s universal success has seen him create one of the leading fantasy fiction franchises of all time, with 70 million worldwide sales of his 38 book Discworld titles (with a 39th being published in October 2011). Whilst there have been three successful mini series adaptations of his Discworld books made for television in the UK, this is the first time that Pratchett has granted a production company the international rights to his characters and world, for the creation of new stories exclusively for a television audience.
The main focus of the series will be set in the bustling, highly mercantile, largely untrustworthy and always vibrant city of Ankh-Morpork and will follow the day-to-day activities of the men, women, trolls, dwarves, vampires and several other species who daily pound its ancient cobbles (and, of course, Igor in the forensics department).
Terry commonly refers to the City Watch police force series as “the jewels in the Discworld Crown.”  These richly developed and highly compelling characters will feature in a ‘crime of the week’ episodic storyline. As each weekly adventure unfolds, viewers will be taken on a ride through Pratchett’s genius imagination, with the author overseeing the creation of the series,  where wild and exciting encounters with werewolves, dragons, dwarfs, trolls and golems and the classic heroes and villains, are an everyday occurrence…and where many of these characters even make outstanding crime fighters!
Rod Brown, Managing Director of Prime Focus Productions said, “I believe that the globally successful Discworld franchise will readily translate to the small screen in the form of a high-end, mass appeal weekly drama series.  It will give the audience the anticipation and excitement of brand new Discworld stories every week through the medium of television, rather than books.  It’s a huge responsibility to get this right for Terry, his legions of Discworld fans and the new followers to his work that we will attract along the way, but I believe they will be in for a treat with a high calibre writing team already attached, including ‘Monty Python’s’ Terry Jones and Gavin Scott (Small Soldiers, The Borrowers). We have already spoken to a number of international broadcasters who have shown early interest and we hope to move forward very quickly to bring this exciting project to fruition”.
Sir Terry Pratchett said, “I’m very excited! I really am incredibly happy about this because Rod was part head of the team that produced the very successful Sky One adaptations and my message of encouragement to him now is; don’t bugger it up!”
Sounds like an interesting take on a crime drama.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Hardest Working Man in Showbiz!

Not everything this gentleman makes is cinematic gold, but he's in more movies than Samuel L. Jackson.  Seriously, Jason Statham is in a movie every three months.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cover of the Week

Who's in the mood for some more Duane Swierczynski love?  How about a foreign edition? If the cover intrigues you enough check out my rant/review from last year.

The French edition of The Wheelman

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I do love writing this blog each and every day, and these are just a few of the perks that make it all worth my time.  My thanks to Mulholland Books for sending these out!

Fun & Games by Duane Swierczynski

A Drop of the Hard Stuff by Lawrence Block

The Bayou Trilogy by Daniel Woodrell

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kill the Irishman

Yet another movie that I won't get to see for months and months.  There are days when I truly am green eyed and envious of all you city slickers with your fancy pants movie theaters that play films other than the newest, flashiest P.O.S.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Scalped Vol 7: Rez Blues

Another volume of Scalped hit the bookshelves the other day, and as usual, it's absolutely brilliant.  But I'm not going to praise it's merits yet again.  It's a consistently great book.  Please read it.

Today, I'm going to talk about why comic book shops often fail it's customers.

I order the majority of my books through Discount Comic Book Services.  They offer insane discounts, delivery monthly for a low flat fee, and like Scalped, are consistently awesome.  For a reader such as myself (i.e. knows exactly what I want and can navigate Previews) they are the perfect system.  Others, perhaps not.

Case in point.  I found myself in the local comic shop yesterday.  I go in from time to time.  The owner is a perfectly nice gentlemen, but his business is not comics.  Sure, he owns the store and has tons of product, but he will admit he doesn't read them.  He's in the coin and gold business, and he knows that well.  It's not unusual for books to be under-ordered or not ordered at all.  I went in looking for the newest issue of Fantastic Four.  It came out last week and was the final issue of the current series.  I didn't expect to find a stack of issues, but I figured there would be at least one or two kicking around.  No such luck.  Zero copies on hand.

But I'm not here to complain about that.

A friend of mine, an infrequent reader but big comic fan, happened to be in the store picking up copies of Daredevil:Reborn.  I'm not reading the series, so I asked about it.  We got to talking and soon the topic steered toward Ed Brubaker's fabulous book Incognito, which he had read and loved.  Being the comic shill that I am I asked if he had read Criminal or Scalped.  He hadn't.  I gave the sales pitch and he was quite interested.  And before you ask, no I don't work at this store but perhaps I should.  We scoured the shelves looking for trades of both books, but came up empty handed.  They might have had copies, but the store is arranged in such a manner that even someone who worked in a book store cannot figure out the organization system.  There are trades everywhere, perhaps shelved by a drunken gibbon.

Should we have asked for help?  Perhaps.  Personally if I'm going back and forth looking at the shelves and none of the four! employees happens to ask if I need help, I'm not going to ask.  They don't want my money.  Also, even if we had found a copy, the trades are sleeved like back issues.  I don't want to crack a hermetic seal in order to browse a damn book.  So instead of maybe hooking a reader on books that have at least 13 trades between them (at $14.99 or so a pop) and making nice future sales, they lost out.  I offered to let my friend borrow my copies.  Should he enjoy them, I bet Bull Moose or Amazon will be getting those sales.

I would like to think the shopkeep would have noticed this, or even read this blog, and will fix the error of his ways.  But I'd be dreaming.  I've got the local shop blues.

Back to DCBS I go for next months order.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Red Dead Redemption

I'm always behind the video game curve.  Grand Theft Auto made it's way to my console at least two years after everyone else in the free world had concluded Nico's adventures.  Not that I minded, as it's hard to be spoiled when video games can have numerous endings depending on some choice you made six hours into a forty hour affair.

Truth be told, I don't play that many games.  I'm always a sucker for the newest superhero game, and Lego games are always a must purchase, but when it comes to everything else on the shelf, I don't really care.  Halo is fun, but not a way of life for me.

The exception to the rule is Rockstar games, and the amazing worlds they create.  If I am going to drop $30 for a game (I rarely pay $60), I better have at least twenty hours of open ended game play available.  Designers who create a game that can be completed in six hours (I'm looking at you Lost:Via Domus) has a special room reserved in hell.

Long story short, I finally got around to purchasing Red Dead Redemption.  I came ever so close at Christmastime, but resisted the still $50 price tag.  Then came the Zombie expansion pack.  Any resolve I had was eroding away.  When I saw it for $36, I was helpless.

I'm about ten hours in right now, and if I didn't have a job to go to, I would most likely never leave my couch. Who doesn't want High Noon-like showdowns, the ability to stop a lynching, or rescuing damsels in distress.  The graphics are astounding, the music fantastic, and while riding in the hills I got attacked by a mountain lion. A mountain lion.

If you need me, I'll be drifting along the high plains, six shooter in my hand.  I'm a cowboy...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


There is a lot to enjoy about Faster.  It's got some high adrenaline action, a dour, stone-faced turn from Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), fast cars, and plenty of guns.  Sprinkle in Carla Guigino, Billy Bob Thornton, and Mr. Eko, and I'm as happy as can be.

Sure, the movie isn't for everyone.  Logic and tactics are thrown right out the car window, and the three interlocking stories of violent men might not be for everyone.  Both Driver's (The Rock) the Cop's (Billy Bob) stories are entertaining, but I couldn't care less about Killer's plight, nor his girlfriend/fiance (the always annoying Maggie Grace).

In the end, this film will feel right at home amongst 70's action flicks, and it has enough noir hints to satisfy those looking for a downer film.  It's not going to win any awards, or maybe even be that memorable in a few years, but for 98 minutes, I was thoroughly entertained.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Breakout Kings

Premiered last night on A&E.  Anyone get a chance to check it out?  Not totally sold on the idea, but I've always enjoyed the creepy vibe that Jimmi Simpson brings (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Domenick Lombardozzi was interesting on The Wire.  The creators were heavily involved in Prison Break, which doesn't leave me with much confidence.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Detective K and more

Thanks to yesterday, I'm in the mood for some Korean crime flicks. No subtitles, but these three seem interesting enough to search out.

Check out this link to find more.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I Saw the Devil

This opens today in select cities, none of which happen to be buried deep in the snow of central Maine.  However, the second it finds it's way to a Bull Moose or Edge Video, I'm all over it.  This just looks simply amazing.  And yes, that is the guy from Oldboy squaring off against Storm Shadow.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Crime of the Century

Is there a greater crime of the 1800's than the assassination of Abraham Lincoln?

All history class ever taught me about the assassination was John Wilkes Booth shot and killed the president during a performance at Ford's Theater in Washington DC.  He fired a bullet into Abe's head, shouted "Sic semper tyrannis" and took off.  Even when I got a tour of Ford's theater, all that was mentioned was Lincoln and Booth.  But there had to be more, right?  Someone else had to be involved, and as long as Oliver Stone isn't the one telling the tale, I'm interested.

Keep in mind I have yet to read James L. Swanson's numerous books on the subject, something I should certainly rectify,  but this movie certainly piques my interest until then.

Directed by Robert Redford, written by James D Soloman, and starring James McAvoy, Alexis Bledel, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Danny Huston, Colm Meaney, and Robin Wright.  This film has Oscar bait written all over it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In the Mouth of Dorkness

This is a shout out to two friends of mine, Matt and Brad, who might just be the coolest "dorks" on the planet.  Their interests range from comics to Star Trek to gaming to movies.  They are both smart as hell and have very interesting opinions on just about everything.

Finally, they are willing to share those thoughts with those of you outside their circle, and if your interests intersect with any of the above, you should give them a read.

For those of you who enjoyed my last month of blaxsploitation, please read Matt's wonderful piece on his 28 days.