Death Bed Confession…

I like weird stories, and they don’t come much weirder than this story from involving one James Washington, who while in prison suffered a heart attack, thought he was going to die, and made a “death bed” confession to a murder he committed…only to not be quite as near death as he thought he was:

After surviving the heart attack, the man tried to recant his confession, but was ultimately convicted for the crime.

If the details of his crime weren’t so damn gruesome -beating a woman to death- one might be inclined to laugh at the macabre nature of the story.

At least the family of the victim gets some justice.

Bond…James Bond. In song

A few years back, the James Bond franchise hit a wall.  The current actor playing the James Bond role had obviously played himself out, it appeared, to both audiences and the producers of the films.  Realizing they needed to make a change, the producers of the films decided to go in another direction and bring us a more “serious” Bond.  They wanted to make the stakes higher and minimize the “camp”.

The result, 1987’s The Living Daylights introduced audiences to Timothy Dalton’s James Bond.

Alas, box office history wasn’t made there nor, especially, in the second and last (and, IMHO, pretty terrible) Timothy Dalton Bond film, 1989’s Licence to Kill.  Though its hard to judge and I may well be “mind-reading” here, I nonetheless had the feeling Timothy Dalton knew this second Bond film was a dud.  His performance throughout was pretty dull and he looks to be having a terrible time before the cameras.  It hardly came as a surprise, therefore, that he didn’t return for thirds.

Strangely enough, history essentially repeated itself afterwards.  The next Bond, Pierce Brosnan, certainly looked great in the role of James Bond.  However, I found his films to be…mediocre.  Though I saw all of them, I’d be hard pressed to give you details of any of his films…other than the first, Goldeneye, which I consider the best of the lot.

So when Pierce Brosnan was let go, the producers of the Bond films once again decided to “go serious” and brought in Daniel Craig. Unlike the Timothy Dalton experiment, their fortunes were rewarded this time around even as history repeated itself in other ways.  Like Timothy Dalton, the first Daniel Craig Bond film, 2006’s Casino Royale, was pretty damn great.  The follow-up, 2008’s Quantum of Solace…wasn’t.  In fact, I think I enjoyed Licence to Kill a little more than Quantum…though at least Daniel Craig remained more interested in his role here versus Timothy Dalton.

Which is my very long winded way of saying that I’m curious to see the new James Bond film, Skyfall.

But am I the only one who thinks Adele’s theme song for the movie is…pretty terrible?  Don’t get me wrong:  Her singing voice remains a pure joy to hear and, on the surface, getting her to sing the theme song to a Bond film seemed a total no-brainer.

The problem, in my humble opinion -and, no, I’ve haven’t sold quite as many of my own albums as Adele has! ;-)- is that they put “Skyfall” and words that rhyme with it a little too much into the song.  It’s just a little too much, IMHO.

What are my favorite Bond theme songs?  Three immediately spring to mind:

Goldfinger by Shirley Bassey.  Perhaps what Adele was striving for?

Then there’s the rockin’ Paul McCartney “Live and Let Die”:

Finally, loved Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better”.  Really liked the way she subtly threw in the movie title, “The Spy Who Loved Me” within the context of the song.  Pretty much the opposite of the way Adele has Skyfall a little too pronounced in the song’s lyrics.

So….election day

Good to see so many people in these parts participating in voting, though there have been controversies.

What else is new…for Florida?

The early voting hours were cut down despite the fact that there were long lines of people willing, able, and patient enough to brave the lines.

As for me, for the first time I applied for an absentee ballot for myself and my wife.  Mine arrived in time to be sent out for this election.  My wife’s?  Still waiting for it.  A website for absentee ballot information lists her ballot as being sent to our (correct!) address on Halloween, October 31st…needless to say, it should have arrived by now.  Perhaps it got lost in the mail or perhaps it was delivered to another household by accident.  Regardless, my intrepid wife will have to brave lines later in the evening when she gets out of work…unless the absentee ballot arrives today and we can simply deliver it to a place that accepts absentee ballots.

My prediction?  I’ll have to go with the majority of pundits and say President Obama gets re-elected.  A couple of months ago I made a similar prediction and felt on far firmer ground at that time.  Today, the margins are smaller and Romney has certainly made some inroads (though he seemed to have primarily been helped by Obama’s non-appearance at the first presidential debate).

We’ll see soon enough…

London After Midnight (1927) a (mind-boggingly) belated review

First off, the 1927 Todd Browning/Lon Chaney feature London After Midnight is perhaps one of the more famous “lost” films of the silent era.  Perhaps even THE most well known of them all, given the talents involved.  (lists of famous Lost Films can be found here and here and here)

According to IMDB: (London After Midnight) is believed that this film existed until 1967. Inventory records indicated that the only remaining print was being stored in MGM’s vault #7 which was destroyed by fire in 1967. By that time, all other elements had been destroyed or were missing.

On TCM the other night, however, they aired a slightly under one hour “reconstruction” of the film.  Since there is no actual footage remaining of the film, they used still and creative zooming/panning along with title cards to give viewers a sense of what this lost film was.

Visually, I have to say the film (or rather the still) sure deliver the goods.  Lon Chaney’s vampire character is certainly memorable, as is Edna Tichenor as Luna the Bat Girl, the vampire’s assistant.

But the story…well

Look, its silly.  Perhaps even beyond silly.  London After Midnight is, at its heart, a murder mystery.  Five years before the patriarch of a family dies in what the detective in charge (Chaney) rules a suicide.  But he clearly doesn’t believe this to be the case.  Five years later, the house beside the deceased man’s estate is rented to what appear to be a pair of vampires (Chaney and Tichenor) who creep out the neighbors…one of whom may be a murderer.

Again, what follows is rather silly, storywise.  If you must know, much of the vampire subplot is nothing more than a way for the detective to push the people next door into thinking that the suicide (actually murder) victim may be brought back to life…and therefore expose his murderer.

I am, however, pleased with the presentation, limited though it was to static stills.  The people behind this “reconstruction” did a pretty good job of giving us what we needed to know so that we could at least visualize the lost film.

One remains hopeful, however, that sometime in the future a print of the actual movie will be found.  Silly plot aside, I’d love to see the great Lon Chaney’s every scene as the vampire!

The coming election…

Don’t know if everyone out there in the United States is aware of this, but I heard a rumor that sometime next week we’re going to have a Presidential election.

Here in Florida, a “swing state”, that means a deluge of calls originating from strange numbers (thank you, caller ID…soooo much easier to ignore these annoying robo-calls!).

Now, not to get too political, but I made my decision a while back and find it hard to believe that many polls shows the race as “tight” as it is.  Sorry, but there is simply no way in the world I can support a candidate who switches core philosophies depending on what he thinks his audience at that moment wants to hear.  Voting for Mitt Romney, thus, is like voting for the unknown.  Which Mitt Romney will you get?  That’s not to say, however, that I’m completely enamored of Barack Obama, but at least he’s managed to (slowly, granted) bring this country out of the outright disaster left behind by his predecessor, who I consider the worst President to have graced the White House in my lifetime.

But enough of my politics.

The question on many people’s mind is: Who’s going to win?

While you can look in on any number of predictions (I happen to like the mathematical geekiness offered at, offers the following 6 Bizarre Factors That Predict Every Presidential Election: