10 Greatest Banned Movie Posters of All-Time…

Can’t disagree with many of the choices, particularly the #1 poster!


And from HitFix, the 10 Best Movie Trilogies of all time:


Unlike the previous list, I can only agree with a handful of the choices -those I’ve seen- and disagree (sometimes strongly) with some of the other choices.

I would say that of the best trilogies they present, I’d put the Dollars trilogy at the very top of the list.  Each film in that fabulous Sergio Leone directed, Clint Eastwood starring series was better than the one before it, culminating in the incredible The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.  Now, there were further western films directed by Sergio Leone, including the very well regarded Once Upon a Time in the West which many feel is the best of his westerns.  I like the film a lot, but still consider TGTBATU the best.

The Bourne trilogy I would also put on this list, though unlike the Dollars series I didn’t feel the films necessarily got better as they went along.  Rather, they maintained a very high level and were very entertaining throughout.

The Dark Knight Trilogy, similarly, worked very well from film to film.  Even the much derided final of the three films, in my opinion, delivered.

The Star Wars Trilogy.  We’re talking about the original three Star Wars films here.  I’ve noted before I’m not a big fan of the trilogy but can certainly understand if you liked the first one, you liked all three, including the weakest of the bunch, Return of the Jedi.

Near Misses

To me, these trilogies featured at least two really good, even exceptional films in their group but one was a misfire:

The Mad Max Trilogy.  I loved, loved, loved The Road Warrior.  I liked the first film, Mad Max but felt the low budget hampered it along with the general downbeat nature of the story.  Yet that first film was still very good.  The final film in the original trilogy, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, was to me a misfire.  They took what made the first two film so good (the insane car chases) and for the most part eliminated them.  A big mistake.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, like the Mad Max Trilogy, to me started with two damn good films but totally fizzled for the finale.  Understand: I’m a big fan of those first two movies but the third one broke me, especially with its superprolonged “conclusion”.  It broke me so bad I’ve had no interest at all in seeing The Hobbit.

The Godfather Trilogy.  Again, first two films were incredible.  Third simply wasn’t.

No Way

The Matrix Trilogy:  The first film was mind-blowing stuff.  The other two were confusing and anti-climactic.  There were some great scenes here and there in those last two films, but it felt like I was watching a rushed, half-thought out story.

As of yet unseen…

I cannot offer opinions about the remaining trilogies as I haven’t seen them through (if at all).  Toy Story is the trilogy I came closest to seeing all the way through, having seen the first two movies but having my fill and deciding not to check out the third.  The first two films were delightful, though.  It’s just that there are so many hours in the day and spending them with the Toy Story cast once again doesn’t interest me.

Get off my lawn…!

Rather…um…interesting article by Lewis Beale arguing that Star Wars “ruined” science fiction:


As you can tell by this blog’s title, I do indeed accuse Mr. Beale of being a fuddy-duddy regarding this article.  And, unlike him, I was never a big Star Wars fan.

For those who haven’t read my blogs before, I was a very ripe 11 years old when the original Star Wars came out in 1977.  I distinctly recall the hysteria at the time and wound up seeing the film to a very packed house upon the very first week of its release.  The theater was filled with other boys roughly my age (it was an early showing) and they were whooping and hollering at every gee-whiz effect and clapping at every near escape…

…and when it was over, the whole experience left me cold.

So cold, in fact, that I didn’t bother seeing Empire Strikes Back when it came to theaters a couple of years later.  It wasn’t until the film aired on TV that I first saw it…and found it was about on par with the original, IMHO, that is to say: It left me cold.

Please don’t think me some kind of snob.

If you like Star Wars and its sequels, more power to you.  I love science ficiton (which should be obvious given my novels) and certainly loved, loved, loved it with a great fervor back in 1977.  Yet Star Wars didn’t connect with me.  I didn’t hate the film, but just didn’t like it all that much.  Different strokes, I suppose.

Fast forward to Mr. Beale’s article and…come on, Mr. Beale.  You seriously think there haven’t been attempts at more serious science fiction in cinema since Star Wars?  The advent of this film and series certainly has had an impact and, yes, I agree that there are many 1940’s-like cliffhanger serials on steroids released nowadays, but there are also plenty of more cerebral sci-fi works.

Most recently we had Interstellar (still in theaters!), but in recent times and on TV there have been works like Battlestar: Galactica and Lost, both series which ended on a whimper yet delivered some fascinating storylines in their prime.  You mention The Matrix but one can list many recent vintage films that weren’t just about action-action-action, movies like Donnie Darko (forget the “director’s cut”) up to last summer’s fabulous Edge of Tomorrow (a film even Tom Cruise haters will surely like).  Even the absolutely unnecessary (and, in my opinion, failed) Robocop remake eerily probed into the idea of how much humanity a person retains when most of his body is gone.

The point is that culture has a tendency to move along and release a broad range of works which you may like and which you may not.  I suspect there will always be the modern version of those old cliffhanger serials just as there will appear works that try to stretch the genre and offer food for thought.

Just because Star Wars was successful and led to many imitators doesn’t mean the genre is ruined.

Nothing Has Changed (2014) a (very mildly) belated music review

When I heard my favorite musician, David Bowie, was about to release a new “greatest hits” set called Nothing Has Changed, I wasn’t particularly excited.  Looking over the list of songs on the release, I had almost all of them, and many were “radio edits”, which meant the songs were cut down to fit radio playing times.  Sometimes these cuts were simply brutal and harmed the songs more than helped.

David Bowie Nothing Has Changed

Still, after giving the list a second look I found a number of tracks interested me.  There was the new song, Sue (or in a Season of Crime) along with three tracks taken from the aborted Toys album which I heard snippets of but was curious to hear in full (Let Me Sleep Beside You, Your Turn to Drive, and Shadowman).  There were also some interesting curios/remasters.  Of those, the one I most wanted to hear was the remastered The Man Who Sold the World, one of my all time favorite Bowie songs.

Then, at the tail end of the set were five very, very early Bowie tracks that predated his first big hit, Space Oddity: In The Heat of Morning, Silly Boy Blue, Can’t Help Thinking About Me, You’ve Got A Habit of Leaving, and Liza Jane.

Taken together, there were at a minimum ten songs I was curious to hear/have out of the 59 in the set.  Had I bought those ten songs individually, I would have paid roughly $10.29 for them…if they were all available for download (amazon.com does not allow you to buy three of the very early Bowie songs individually).  The full album, on the other hand, was $19.99.

With an approximate $9 difference, I decided to go for the whole thing.

Now, I’m a David Bowie fanatic and willing to make the investment in the overall product.  Even so, I’m level headed enough to warn those who have most of these songs and maybe aren’t as big a fanatic of David Bowie to go over the track list like I did and consider whether you want to spend their money on the whole thing or just some of the songs in this particular set.  As I said, the extra nine bucks for me wasn’t too big a hurdle but to others the price difference might be greater.  Even so, did I get my money’s worth?


I really enjoyed the three songs from the so-far lost Toys album and wish Mr. Bowie would officially release the whole thing.  As for the new song…it’s Ok, a jazzy piece that neither blew me away nor severely disappointed.  The very early works of Mr. Bowie, I knew coming in, would be more curiosity pieces than songs worth listening to over and over again.  I was happy to have them in the set, but again, they aren’t necessarily earth shakers.

The remastered works were clear and sounded great, but at least to my ears weren’t necessarily a significant step up from what you find in other recent releases.

My overall impression of the album is that it is a good, pretty comprehensive effort but one that those unfamiliar with Mr. Bowie’s oeuvre will enjoy more than “old fans” like me.

A few days back Keith Harris at the Concourse wrote a snarky column about new boxed sets…


…and basically trashed most of the sets offered this Christmas/Holiday season, including Nothing Has Changed.  Most egregious was this statement regarding David Bowie’s more recent output:

I know a bunch of Bowie fans who, against all reason, continued to buy his albums into the ’90s and beyond, and then sold them back in disgust.

If you were a David Bowie fan up to Let’s Dance and tuned out afterwards, Nothing Has Changed should prove Mr. Harris and his supposed friends’ opinion quite wrong.  While I would agree that Mr. Bowie floundered a bit after Let’s Dance, his output since 1993’s Buddha of Suburbia has been on par, in my humble opinion, with some of his great 1970’s work, though obviously not as commercially successful.

In conclusion, if you’re not very familiar with Mr. Bowie or haven’t checked out his more recent output, you might want to give Nothing Has Changed a try.  Otherwise, consider what songs you want and what songs you need and then decide whether getting this album is worth the investment.

I’m back…!

It’s been a loong time, since November 19th, since I last posted and for this I apologize.

I wish I could say I was on vacation or doing something thoroughly enjoyable during that time but the opposite was true.  Others were taking vacations, forcing me to work extra hard to take up their place.  Meanwhile, my daughter came in for an extended Thanksgiving break so whatever time wasn’t devoted to covering others was spent with family.

As of today, the “normal” routine sets back in, although only for a little while.  The Christmas/New Years Holidays are bound to create more time crunches, so we’ll see.

Regardless, I’ll try to make up for lost time!