Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
I finally, finally own a pristine copy of George Armitage's Hit Man (1972), starring Bernie Casey at his best and a lovely and very young Pam Grier. I've had one long, strange trip with this film. I think I first read about it in Shock Cinema (before I began contributing to the "Film Flotsam" section of that awesome magazine). I had heard of, but had yet to see, Get Carter, and learned that Hit Man was a blaxploitation remake of that film (the action was transposed - seamlessly, believe it or not - from Cockney England to urban Oakland). I learned that Casey and Grier were the stars and I was a fan of both actors.
I requested a screener from Video Search of Miami (remember them?) so that I could review Hit Man for the regional rag, Indie File, that I reviewed films for. I expanded my review for Video Eyeball's Drive-In special issue (which, sadly, ended up being our last). I still had not seen Get Carter (and didn't until 2002), so I downplayed that aspect of things and tackled the film on its own terms. I wrote a decent-sized review of the film, zealously praising Casey's "incendiary righteousness" (did I really write that way back then?) and comparing Hit Man favourably to one of my Top 10 most-loved flicks, Superfly. This review is cited on IMDb, I'm proud to say.
Years later, circa 2005, doing Wold Newton research, I needed access to some blaxploitation titles that were in limbo and not yet on DVD, among them Hit Man. A gent I corresponded with on a Yahoo! blaxploitation board supplied me with the titles I needed, duping them from his old VHSs onto DVD-Rs. Well, the picture quality and sound on the DVD-R were an improvement, but sadly not by much. But at least I could watch the movie on my DVD player. Recently, I learned the Warner Archives (on-demand DVD-Rs direct from the studio) had released the film. But not only did the copy I ordered through a vendor that goes through Amazon have the wrong (albeit beautiful) cover art, but the DVD played defectively on 5 different devices we tried it out on. I nabbed a refund, pronto.
I ordered HM directly from Amazon as soon as it went on sale (it had been $27) and could not be happier. The DVD was the real deal with the Warner imprimatur and original poster cover art and all. And, DVD-R or not, it plays perfectly on all our devices. So my quest is over and this Holy Grail of blaxploitation brilliance now resides in the Covert library. I highly recommend this film to any fans of blaxploitation, Casey, Grier, and/ or Get Carter (this is how a remake should be done) - which we (finally) own and love.
Friday, July 15, 2011
I reviewed this immaculately crafted new graphic novel series by Vertigo veterans Lovern Kindzierski, John Bolton, and Todd Klein over at She Never Slept. Based on the first issue alone I highly recommended this series. My review can be found here:
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Because you demanded it*, a short review of Hack/ Slash #22 on the Comics Forge:
*I hope someone demanded it anyway...
Here is the iconic image of Carroll Baker from Elia Kazan's "scandalous" 1956 classic Baby Doll, which my wife Sarah and I watched again last evening. The film was absurdly denounced by the Catholic League of Decency at time of its release. I once interviewed Richard Blackburn, director of the delightful Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatuural, and he related to me that Lemora had also been condemned by the Catholic League, and he mused, "I felt I must be doing something right to be singled out by the Catholic League of Decency - I mean, Baby Doll was and it's a classic, so I was in fine company".
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Join me as I put yet another issue of Hack/ Slash under the critical microscope over at the Comics Forge here: http://comicsforge.com/2011/07/hack-slash-21-mind-killer-part-i/
Sunday, July 10, 2011
This ends my week of (in my opinion) spectacular images culled from the Tarzan and Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I've tried to find unusual or rarely pics; I was even hesitant at first to include Frazetta's Mars covers, but they were just too awesome to leave out. My closing pic is the gorgeous original cover of A Princess of Mars, the classic first novel in the Mars series, featuring a cutlass-wielding John Carter protecting beloved Dejah Thoris. This one has special significance for me since, though I'd read it once, APOM was absent from our (my wife's and mine) library. That is, until we received a 1939 hardcover edition in excellent condition as an anniversary gift from our dear friend, Jeremy Duncan, who stood up for me as best man for our third wedding (of many more to come...). It was almost odd having a traditional best man, as, due to various factors, my first two "best men" were women - Cara Cirincione Mueller, a dear friend of mine since 1999; and Alanna Quinn, Sarah's housemate at the the time she moved 3000 miles to marry me, and her close friend since 2005.
But I digress: Jeremy's gift was wonderful; an indispensable addition to a recently christened shared library - and a shared life together. I bet John Carter and Dejah Thoris are still traversing the Barsoomian star system sharing their life together - a life fraught with deadly danger, battles to the death, bizarre creatures - and eternal romance.