Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This is an old video clip which has Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert defending Star Wars.  I was a Star Wars fan along with the rest of the millions of fans.  Whether you want to call it science fiction or just science fantasy doesn't matter to me.  Some people seem to get upset if you claim it's science fiction, as there's no science in it per se.  I find that notion hair splitting and a bit too snobby.   In fact, given the choice between something hard science or something a bit softer or something that's science fantasy or speculative fiction, I'm probably more apt to go with the latter.  My basic interest is that I prefer to be entertained and drawn into a story with some action and good characters, which contain a certain amount of drama, good scripts, and everything else one expects from good movies. 

I used to eat pizza with some buddies that claimed that, at the time Star Wars came out on the screen, it had many detractors or critics that panned or hated the film.  I don't remember it being that way, which is not to say that they are not correct.  I just don't have that great a memory, I'll admit that much.  Plus at the time, I didn't have much conscious awareness of what was going on in the pop culture at the time.  I had a job that kept me pretty busy,  so  whether or not critics liked or disliked the film back in the day flew under my radar.  I do remember seeing the film out at the mall, and loved it.  I didn't go back for multiple viewings either as I probably just was too busy and didn't have the time. 

I tried at one time to do a search on Google and the net on how critics at large perceived the film at the time the film was playing, but came up pretty empty.  I didn't fine much.  If anyone knows of such info I would appreciate a link to that insight just for grins.  I guess it's all water under the bridge anyway.  Like a lot of things, I enjoyed the films (although the first prequel with Jar Jar Binks--not so great),  so that's good enough for me. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

2001: A Space Odyssey

I'm piggybacking this 2001: A Space Odyssey Giant Sized Treasury Edition on my blog, because it's worthwhile, but also I  want to take a closer look at it myself, and it's sort of a reminder for me to do that.  You can still give it a gander over at the diversionsofthegroovykind.blogspot.com. 

I've seen the movie numerous times and will likely watch it again.  It's probably one of my Top Ten films of all times, and I can't think of another film that had that sort of impact upon my psyche unless it was Apocalypse Now as far a something transforming, amazing, or impacting.  But I had never taken a look at the treasury edition drawn by Jack Kirby.  I knew he had created it along with the short lived monthly comic series.

I recently read the first two issues of the monthly series (evidently there were ten comics in the monthly run from what groovykind blog says), hence my interest in the comic run.  With the monthly books Kirby takes the mythology of 2001 and sort of spins his own characters and stories dealing with the monolith and other themes from the film or book by Arthur C. Clarke.  After reading the first two issues of the comic it made me wonder where Kirby was going with the series.  In the first issue he begins with prehistoric times much like the film, and has a caveman that is at odds with some other tribe, they chase after  him, and he gets engulfed by the monolith, to be transformed into a new lifeform, much like the astronaut in the film.

In the second issue a woman from the stone age is looking for food, she's hungry, and is run out of the area she is in, by again, an ignorant tribe.  She enters a cave, finds a bunch of bones, and creates a sort of costume.  She appears at night to this tribe as sort of a deity, and tells them to bring her food or she'll destroy their tribe.  She does well with this ruse, and then the comic shifts to outer space.  In space we meet a female, who might somehow be related to the cave woman, but if so, it isn't implicit in the two female's relationships.  At any rate, the spacewoman is exploring a planet when she is attacked by aliens.  She runs away from them, and enters a cave, to find a monolith, and is whisked away similar to the male in the first issue.  Both have been transformed into alien beings.  I was also reminded somewhat of the Silver Surfer while reading both stories due to the cosmic setting, something Kirby was adept at.  I would be interesting to know  more background data on the 2001 series, like whether or not Kirby met Stanley Kubrick or Arthur C. Clarke.   I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall on that conversation. 

Some say Kirby had lost his edge during this stage of the game.  It's true his artwork isn't the same as it was earlier.  Some say he was having eyesight problems around this period (he was around age 59 when the comic was created), which might have been one reason.  I don't know, but I think part of might just be he was evolving as artist often do. His artwork got more abstract, and at least on the first two 2001 comics I read, they were fun and interesting to read.  I need to dig around in my old comic long boxes because I'm curious about some of his other work from this period--stuff like Silver Star, Devil Dinosaur, etc. 

I need to get up and to outside.  It's pretty outside today, but crisp and cool weather-wise.  I need to find some covers for the outside water faucets.  We might get an early freeze this coming week, better to be safe than sorry. 

Friday, November 01, 2013

How Robots Will Change The World

A video from YouTube on How Robots Will Change the World.

I'm been missing in action.  Just too much stuff going on to post lately.  I've been looking for an automobile title, which I finally found.  It took me a week plus to run across it, but at least I also gathered together a box of paperwork to throw away as well.  So it wasn't all for naught. 

Over Halloween, I didn't do a lot, but did watch a bunch of movies off TCM.  They had a few Hammer horror movies on earlier and later a Vincent Price Marathon.  Most of them were worthwhile, and a few were a bit dry.  But over all a fun day.  Later that night they even had a short special on PBS about Lou Reed, which was pretty entertaining.   Here's sort of a rundown of the stuff I watched.  Some of them I sort of multi-tasked and did other things while I watched.

The Castle of the Living Dead--this one was pretty wack-o.  It did star Donald Sutherland in a really early double role (he played a Napoleonic soldier and an old witch as well).  It was one of those Italian films so had weird dubbed in dialogue.  

Dracula, Prince of Darkness--Hammer Horror Dracula movie.  I like all these Hammer horror movies, just about.  Some are better than the others.  I mostly like the Dracula and Frankenstein ones. 

The Pit and the Pendulum--Vincent Price loosely based on the Edgar Allen Poe story.  It had interesting sets, and I'd never watched it before, but was a little dry too.

Horror Express--pretty decent horror movie and sets from the Hammer Studios, taking place on a train.  Well, worth seeing if you never seen it.  Good sets,  props, and sort of period horror. 

I also taped The Witchfinder's General or Conqueror Worm with Vincent Price, but haven't gotten around to watching it yet.

While on the subject of horror, if you are a fan of the Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine,  you can read them free online now or download them:  here.