Sign up for my newsletter for an early look at upcoming titles and events!

Archive for August, 2011

Dear folks involved with the Conan the Barbarian reboot,

Let me break it down for you because I guess it wasn’t obvious enough:

1. Here’s what ladyfriend and/or love interest should look like in a goddamn Conan movie:



Note the muscles and weapon; the costume that allows for freedom of movement and babealiciousness both. See the film itself for how she should behave. Cliffs Notes version: Doesn’t need to be saved all the time, cracks wise, commits awesome acts of brutal violence without squealing or looking appalled at herself. Also, she should be wise and cunning and her lines should be more substantial than “Eeeeek!” or “Conan!” in that save me because I am a girl tone of voice.

2. Regarding Sidekicks

Sidekick Pirate Man in the reboot does not look like he would be up to the task of, say, crying for Conan because Conan will not cry, being Conan. Actually, while we’re on that topic, New Conan totally looks like he’d shed a manly tear, which, whatever. Anyways. Subotai was awesome enough that he was actually of use to Conan in the original, where as new dude just has, I dunno, a boat.

3. On Villains 

What the hell is this:

Khalar Zym

While I admit we do a bit better with Zym’s daughter, Marique, neither are as interesting or compelling as Thulsa Doom. I’ll admit James Earl Jones is a hard act to follow, but come on! Khalar’s just a schoolyard bully with a creepy daughter. Marique would have done better on her own. . . but then those involved would have had to give a girl character a personality and lines and stuff, which seemed a bit hard for some reason I guess, here in 2011.

Anyways, Thulsa Doom could make an acolyte jump to her death with just a wave of his hands and a come-hither look. Just sayin’. It’s basic stuff that villains should be interesting. Frankly, they should be show-stoppers in S&S films! The key is that a good villain should be more than just the reason the Hero is doing stuff. Otherwise. . . yeah.

Anyways, due to the critical reception, I doubt we’ll get another Conan film anytime soon. But if it happens, I sincerely hope those involved will try a bit harder. The new Conan film was pretty awesome for its first 45 minutes, then took a nosedive and quickly went into freefall. All it takes is a good script with interesting characters, folks. Kid Conan was a good character, so was Corin, Conan’s dad. After that. . . good lord.




Anyways! Moving on to another letter I needed to write:

Dear folks involved with the Fright Night reboot,

You’re all awesome, thanks for making a great film. I really appreciate all the work and time and effort and care you put into the remake. It was completely enjoyable and smart and gory and wonderful. Mad props! 



Not much to report here. Movie blogging will start next week because I had a whole bunch of unexpected things thrown my way, but for now, I’d just like to say… I love my Vibrams. I’ve worn my Classics for about two years now, to the gym, around town, etc., and they’re great. But at the beginning of summer I bought a pair of the TrekSports, for summer hiking when I didn’t feel like dragging out my giant heavy hiking boots. They’re really awesome, but until this week I never really put them to the test on a serious trail. Tuesday I tackled an eight mile hike, which took me up 1600 feet over 4 miles to a pristine alpine valley (forgot my camera, because of course I did). My little TrekSports got me there and back again, thus earning their spurs.

Molly TanzerOther than that, life has had its ups and downs of late, but overall things are good. Oh, and as a matter of Serious Interest I’m updating my author photo to the one to the left. My dawgg Becky took it when she was out here visiting a few weeks ago, and I <3 it. The most interesting part of the photo, the background, is the mountain range along the continental divide drive you can do if you come visit me and we go out to Rocky Mountain National Park! So there you go.








I feel like I’ve been gone for, like, for-ev-er, but when I looked at my post history I was shocked to see, in reality, it’s only been a little over half a month. Between my “summer vacation” at the end of last month and now I’ve had to turn inward and focus on work/entertaining a steady stream of guests, with only occasionally poking my head up to see what’s up with my friends. I know I’m missing stuff, but let’s see… John Hornor Jacobs’ Southern Gods had its official release (you should definitely check it out!), and holy shit, my friend Robert Jackson Bennett won the motherfucking Shirley Jackson Award for his novel Mr. Shivers. There’s more—ever so much more—but I utterly failed to set up my Google Reader before falling off the map so I’m probably being a neglectful stinky friend to about a million people.

Anyways, here’s the thing that compelled me to log in and update this friggin blog: I saw an awesome movie last night.

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of terrible movies (I’m going to be starting a new feature on my blog soon, which I’m considering calling “A Feast of Trash,” wherein I’ll be documenting my katabaino through the selection of mildly racy horror films available on Netflix Instant), because I like them, and because I now have access to a metric ton of schlock and awe. But, though this may come as a surprise to anyone who even vaguely knows me, I also enjoy quality cinema. Which is why, with titles such as Crucible of Horror and Hands of the Ripper yet unviewed in my queue, I spent good money to rent the Criterion Blu-Ray of The Magician (1958).

The MagicianThe Magician is an Ingmar Bergman film, set in 1846, and starring Max von Sydow as Albert Emanuel Vogler, a mute spiritualist/performing hypnotist who travels around with a shady crew of weirdos who comprise “Vogler’s Magnetic Health Theater”: his mysterious effeminate assistant Mr. Aman, “Granny Vogler” who seems to be an old witch who brews potions, a little gross-out of a coachman named Simson, and “Tubal,” a portly creeper-cum-carnival barker who reads palms and sells Granny Vogler’s potions to The Ladies. The film gets started when they roll up on the Consul Egerman’s house in Stockholm and are detained (some might say imprisoned) and interrogated by a Dr. Vergerus, the Minister of Health. Vergerus, having heard tales of the supernatural occurrences during Vogler’s performances, requests a private audience with the obvious hope of exposing Vogler as a charlatan. Vergerus’ interest is scientific, but he also seeks to prevent Vogler and his troupe from swindling the Consul and his wife, who are still in mourning for their dead son.

Though something of a slow burn, The Magician is never dull. Part of this is that even during the more leisurely scenes, Bergman’s cinematography is, of course, impeccable—and the masterful interweaving of the plot threads keeps one eager (but not impatient) to know what is going on elsewhere in the household. Like a magician’s act, Bergman keeps the viewer happily wondering what will be behind the next curtain, after the current illusion is completed and discarded: for example, while Vogler is unexpectedly propositioned by Consul Egerman’s wife (as the Consul watches from behind the curtains), Tubal whores himself out to the Egermans’ housekeeper, and the Egermans’ serving wench seduces Simson, the coachman. This layering is repeated as the film progresses—and darkens.

My only disappointment with The Magician came with the rather deux ex machina ending, but before that, it’s tense, wonderful, dark, and beautiful. I recommend it without reservations; I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a film more. But I can remember a film I enjoyed nearly as much, because I have horrible taste: It was called Circus of Horrors, I’ll be reviewing it next week, and it doesn’t deserve nearly as much praise as The Magician.