Friday, June 27, 2008



Our blog buddy, comic maven extrodinaire Chris Mills, gives us this latest update on his fantastic Femme Noir comic title. You can check it out further at www.atomic-pulp.blogspot.com.

This morning I found an unassuming cardboard box on my front steps. Within that innocuous parcel were 50 copies of the "Cover B" version (the Brian Bolland cover!) of Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries #1. Real, honest-to-goodness, full-color, 32-page glossy paper physical copies.

Geez, it's pretty.

The first Femme Noir strips went online in 2001. I came up with the character and concept almost exactly one year before that. So, it's been seven or eight years – depending on where you want to start counting – that I've been working toward this moment... and it's been a rough seven or eight years, too. There have many times over those years when either Joe Staton or I were tempted to cut our losses and move on, but we somehow persevered... I'm not sure if it's through stupidity, stubbornness, or sheer inertia.

But now the book exists, and is already on sale in Chicago at the Wizard World convention. Wednesday it should be on the shelves of the nation's comic shops – those that ordered it, anyway.

Yet, while one journey has reached its end, there's still much further to go. There are three more issues of this initial miniseries to get out in a timely manner, then a 48-page Annual to write, draw and get into print before the end of the year, a trade paperback collection of this first miniseries, and – hopefully – a second miniseries for next year. Now that the property's out there, we have to try to build it up by sticking with it and continuing to produce more adventures for our nameless heroine and hope that the right audience has a chance to discover the book.

Hopefully, the material is as strong as I believe it is, and people will "get it," and start talking about it. 'Cause in today's cutthroat comics market, word of mouth is the only hope a small, independent, creator-owned book has of surviving and (maybe) prospering.

I am deeply indebted to my accomplices: Horacio Ottolini, Mark Stegbauer, Melissa Kaercher, Matt Webb, Brian Bolland, Matt Haley, Phil Hester, Mike Wieringo – and especially, my partner in crime, Joe Staton – for having confidence in the project and sticking with it through countless personal and professional crises, and bearing with me as I struggled with a plethora of crises of my own. Hopefully, our hard work and faith in the property will pay off sooner than later.


Man, this book is pretty.....



Thursday, June 26, 2008



New Amsterdam was one of the better FOX cop shows – ingenious situations, good writing, and a very cool lead actor in Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. It’s too bad the show didn’t find an audience and ended up on the cancellation heap. Fans, however, may not have to look far to find star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau again.

www.zap2it.com reports Coster-Waldau is sticking with FOX, taking a lead role in the network's two-hour sci-fi pilot Virtuality.

Written by Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) and produced by Universal Media Studios and BermanBraun, Virtuality focuses on the 12-member crew of Phaeton, a starship that leaves Earth on a 10-year exploratory mission. The ship has been equipped with state-of-the-art virtual reality modules that let the crew escape their constrained surroundings. Then things start going wrong with the virtual reality, actual reality gets extra-complicated as well. Don't you hate it when that happens?

Coster-Waldau will play the ship's mission commander Frank Pike. One can only assume the name is a not-so-subtle tip-of-the-hat to the Star Trek franchise.

Previously announced stars for the pilot include James D'Arcy, Kerry Bishe, Jimmi Simpson, Joy Bryant, Sienna Guillory, Nelson Lee, Omar Metwally and Richie Coster.

Born in Denmark, Coster-Waldau played immortal police detective John Amsterdam on FOX's short-lived New Amsterdam. His previous credits included Firewall and Wimbledon.



Did Carmen Miranda invent performance art? Born in Portugal to middle-class parents who moved to Brazil when she was still an infant, Miranda merged her talents as a samba singer with a flair for designing hats (acquired during an apprenticeship in a Rio de Janeiro milliner’s shop), creating an outlandish persona that has left a surprisingly long-lasting mark on American culture.

From Cindy Sherman to Madonna, artists across the cultural spectrum have continued to build on her flamboyantly absurd representations of the feminine, now anthologized in a new box set from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Between Miranda and her sympathetic co-conspirator at Universal, the Dominican Republic’s no less preposterous Maria Montez (“Cobra Woman,” 1944), and Lupe Vélez, RKO’s “Mexican Spitfire,” the 1940s saw the birth of an unexpected New Woman — the “Latin bombshell,” imported from south of the border to boost the Roosevelt administration’s Good Neighbor policy. Miranda was a radical break from Alice Faye and Betty Grable, the two original “Fox Blondes” who dominated that studio’s musical production.

Unlike the accessible, warmly appealing lace-curtain Irishwoman represented by Faye and the airbrushed, impossibly perfect pinup portrayed by Grable, Miranda, who died in 1955, was a startlingly unknown quantity, willing to lampoon both feminine decorum and North American notions of South American exoticism.

Apparently without any guiding managerial presence, she created her screen personality on her own: a tiny woman — five feet tall — she augmented her stature with precariously high platform shoes and even more precariously balanced headgear. Beginning with her 1939 Brazilian feature “Banana-da-Terra,” she began to assemble her trademark outfits: kinetic sculptures composed of wax fruit, live birds, ostrich feathers, ropes of beads and exotic silks that she based on the traditional costume of the produce sellers of Bahia.

If Miranda lampooned femininity — as her embrace by several generations of drag performers demonstrates — she also radically expanded the range of options available to actresses in American movies. No less than Jerry Lewis did a decade later, she brought an unpredictable anarchy to the staid business of studio filmmaking.

Just standing there, in one of her insanely, self-consciously excessive costumes, she promised a break from decorum and dignity. Gleefully mangling the English language with a rapid-fire delivery that, paradoxically, demonstrated her mastery of the spoken word, she introduced an element of volatility, idiosyncrasy and flaming narcissism into a Hollywood system that had become staid and conformist.

The centerpiece of this new Fox collection is “The Gang’s All Here” (1943), in a bright new transfer with dramatically enhanced colors that represents a big advance over the disappointingly dull, sallow version that was included in last year’s “Alice Faye Collection.”

The giant bananas, rising and falling in phallic waves in the film’s most famous production number, “The Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat,” are once again bright, screen-burstingly yellow. And the fluorescent colors — the hot pink, radioactive red and throbbing purple — are back in much of the full force that defined the brash look of Fox musicals (as opposed to the art-directed tastefulness of MGM).

“The Gang’s All Here” is Miranda’s sole collaboration with Busby Berkeley, the Broadway choreographer turned Hollywood director who was one of her few peers in Hollywood in terms of rampant eccentricity. Berkeley had been enduring a dull period at MGM when Fox borrowed him for “The Gang’s All Here,” and his built-up resentment against MGM’s conservative aesthetics exploded in several audaciously conceived and boldly executed production numbers.

The opening one lasts six minutes and is covered in only two shots, as Berkeley keeps the visuals evolving through constant camera movement rather than editing. This remarkable sequence, set to a medley of the standard “Aquarela do Brasil” and a new song, “You Discover You’re in New York,” by Leo Robin and Harry Warren, evolves through three distinct levels: a wholly abstract environment that proceeds from a dot (which grows into the face of a singer) and a series of lines (which become the hull of a boat), as the undefined space evolves into a New York dock, wheresugar, coffee and Miranda’s gigantic hats are being unloaded from the S.S. Brazil.

A pull back reveals that this vast scene is supposedly happening on the tiny stage of a New York nightclub, suggesting that the extravagant spectacle is taking place entirely within the fevered imaginations of the club patrons: no New York stage short of the Hippodrome could possibly have accommodated it.

And on it goes, with Berkeley’s choreography — of dancers and camera, moving together in close concert — constantly violating the limits of physical reality and common sense. With only a couple of assists from optical effects, the sequences are presented in real time. (One of the pleasures of this new transfer is that that it is sharp enough to reveal Berkeley’s chalk lines on the soundstage floor, laying out the marks that the dancers and camera operators had to hit at exactly the right moment. When the finale, a curious blend of a nostalgic song called “The Polka Dot Polka” and the ballad “A Journey to a Star,” takes off into a play of pure geometric shapes, close observers will notice the live electrical wiring running off the neon hoops held by the chorus girls.)

The visual effects were not a creation of the film lab (or, as it would be today, the computer animation department) but an ingenious application of practical mechanics. Where a contemporary movie like “Speed Racer” has the frictionless facility of a video game, “The Gang’s All Here” seems like an ingeniously designed vintage pinball machine: a triumph of mechanical engineering, not electronics.

“The Gang’s All Here” was the apotheosis of Miranda’s career at Fox, and the other four films in the set follow its decline. Walter Lang’s 1944 “Greenwich Village,” with Don Ameche and Vivian Blaine, and Lewis Seiler’s barely recognizable version of the Cole Porter musical “Something for the Boys” (1944), with Ms. Blaine and Phil Silvers, both have glorious Technicolor and decent production values.

But by the time of Mr. Seiler’s “Doll Face” and “If I’m Lucky” (both 1946), Miranda had been reduced to supporting roles and the Technicolor had taken a powder. She bought out her Fox contract and went freelance, with diminishing success: in the new realism that dominated postwar cinema, which stories could accommodate a character as utterly unreal as the Lady in the Tutti-Frutti Hat?

(20th Century Fox Home Video, boxed set $49.98, individual titles $14.98, not rated)

New York Times New Service

Dave Kehr




www.hemingwayslounge.blogspot.com reports that producer Frank Marshall recently revealed that he weill begin shooting a fourth Jason Bourne movie next Summer, for release in 2010. Back in February, Universal announced the project, with director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon set to return.

Marshall also confirmed that they'll probably be creating an original story for the fourth film, since author/creator Robert Ludlum wasn’t involved in the later books in the series.

Just where will this new adventure bring us? Marshall predicts that Bourne will journey to South America.



Deborah Lipp, maven of
www.blog.jamesbondfanbook.com gives us the following tip:

“I don’t know if this news is out anywhere.
MSN and AOL will premiere the new QOS trailer on Monday, June 30, 2008.

It will be available for viewing from noon to 2pm Eastern time only.”

She’s psyched, and so am I.



www.commanderbond.net tells us a second edition of Robert Sellers’ The Battle For Bond has now been set for release and can be ordered online at Amazon.co.uk.

Initially banned by the Ian Fleming Will Trust this past February for its alleged use of copyrighted material, this new second edition removes the images of the various correspondence during the Thunderball trial (many of which had never before been published).

Due to the removal of several images (and thus a lower page count), this second edition of The Battle For Bond retails for a much more affordable price. It also includes a brand new introduction by spy novelist Len Deighton, who was involved with the Kevin McClory-Sean Connery James Bond script in the late 1970s.

The official blurb follows:

In 1963, Ian Fleming, the creator of the 20th century s greatest fictional character was in court, accused of plagiarism. The screen version of James Bond was not Fleming’s creation. It was the creation of Jack Whittingham, who was employed by maverick producer Kevin McClory to adapt the character to the big screen. Had this screen character never been developed, James Bond might have been just another minor fictional spy character. The Battle For Bond is a tale of bitter recriminations, betrayal, multi-million dollar lawsuits and even death. It is the fabled story of Kevin McClory’s 40 year legal battle over the rights to the screen version of James Bond, which he and Whittingham had created. The first edition of this book was banned by the Ian Fleming Will Trust. But the truth never dies! This second edition features a new foreword by Len Deighton.

A brilliant page-turner with all the qualities of a thriller, this is easily the best film book of the year. —Film Review

Robert Sellers dedication and thorough investigation into this Bond story results in a book that is a must for any serious fan of the franchise. —Cinema Retro Magazine

The most important book ever published about the evolution of Ian Fleming s James Bond… a must read! —Graham Rye - 007 Magazine



Introducing MI6 Declassified, the new full-colour magazine celebrating the world of James Bond and beyond.

The theme of
issue #2 is very much ‘the Moore the merrier’, as we have an exclusive interview with the longest-running James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore, a 30th anniversary celebration of his favourite 007 outing, the first look at "Quantum of Solace", and also an increased page count!

Whether your passion is with the films, books, comics or games, MI6 Declassified will satisfy your appetite with interesting features spanning all aspects of the canon.

Sir Roger Moore exclusive interview – my word is my bond

Quantum Of Solace the first glimpse at Daniel Craig’s second James Bond outing

Ian Fleming his reports on location in Istanbul for From Russia With Love

Nobody Does It Better The Spy Who Loved Me 30th anniversary

Collecting the Pan paperback artwork of Sam Peffer

GoldenEye 007 the legend lives on - the title that changed gaming forever

Event preview of the Ian Fleming centenary celebrations

The Midas Touch? Sean Connery on the Goldfinger script

The Bond Connection a look at the 007 inspired comic book Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

The Last Word Martine Beswicke on her two Bond girl roles

Issue #2 is now shipping around the world. To order
click here



Dave Zeltserman's always excellent Hardluck Stories is closing up shop, but Dave along with guest editor Ed Gorman and illustrator Jean-Pierre Jacquet have delivered a bang-up final issue.

If you’re into on-line hardboiled fiction take a look and help Hardluck say good-bye in a big way.


A tip of the fedora to


Wednesday, June 25, 2008



I’m looking forward to this old fashioned western feature set for release (probably) on the art house circuit in the middle of September. Reviews from test screening have been very positive.

Based on the novel by Robert Parker (best known for his Spenser and Jesse Stone series), the story features two gunmen, a marshall named Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and his deputy and friend Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen) trying to free a town from its thrall to thuggish rancher Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons). Renee Zellweger plays a young widow with whom Cole becomes enamored – causing numerous complications.

Resolution, a second novel featuring Cole and Hitch, has just been published in hardcover and is selling well. Parker’s first western, Gunman’s Rhapsody, was a retelling of the Wyatt Earp legend and the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral. They are as smootly written as his more popular detective novels and deserve attention from his regular fans as well as readers of the western genre.



Mad Men fans looking for a music companion to the Season One DVD set scheduled for release on July 1st should have plenty to get excited about with the release of Mad Men: Music from the Series, Vol. 1 on June 24. The thirteen track compilation, from Alexandra Patsavas, the Grammy®-nominated music supervisor of Grey's Anatomy, The O.C. and Gossip Girl, will carry a retail price of $17.98.

Songs featured on the disc will include period tracks from Vic Damone, Ella Fitzgerald, and Rosemary Clooney, original compositions by David Carbonara, and the instrumental theme by Aceyalone and RJD2.

The complete tracklist of the disc will run as follows...

1. Vic Damone - "On the Street Where You Live"
2. The Mcguire Sisters - "Volare"
3. David Carbonara - "Lipstick"
4. Bobby Vinton - "P. S. I Love You"
5. Rosemary Clooney - "Botch-a-Me"
6. Julie London - "Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)"
7. Gordon Jenkins - "Caravan"
8. Ella Fitzgerald - "Manhattan"
9. The Andrews Sisters - "I Can Dream, Can't I?"
10. Robert Maxwell - "Shangri-La"
11. David Carbonara - "Babylon"
12. David Carbonara - "Mad Men Suite"
13. Aceyalone & RJD2 - "A Beautiful Mine"


Music from the Promos:
Amy Winehouse - You Know I'm No Good

Music from the Title Sequence (all episodes):
RJD2 - Beautiful Mine (Instrumental Version)

Music from Episode 1:
Don Cherry - Band of Gold
Robert Maxwell - Shangri-La
Gordon Jenkins - Caravan
Vic Damone & Percy Faith - The Street Where You Live

Music From Episode 2:
The Andrews Sisters - I Can Dream Can't I
The Cardigans - The Great Divide

Music From Episode 3:
Bobby Vinton: PS I Love You

Music From Episode 4:
Bob Newhart - Driving Instructor (Comedy Bit)
Ella Fitzgerald - Manhattan

Music From Episode 5:
Miles Davis - Blue in Green
Aquatones - You
Percy Faith - Non Dimenticar

Music From Episode 6:
Original Cast Recording - Babylon (Written by Don Mclean)

Music From Episode 7:
Bud Powell - There Will Never Be Another You
Luiz Bonfa - Night and Day
Rosemary Clooney - Botch-A-Me (Ba-Ba-Baciami Piccina)

Music From Episode 8:
Miles Davis - Concierto De Aranjuez (Adagio)
Rinky Dink - Choo Choo Cha Cha
Chubby Checker - The Twist

Music From Episode 9:
Bobby Helms - My Special Angel

Music From Episode 10:
The McGuire Sisters - Volare

Music From Episode 11:
Astrud Gilberto - Agua de Beber
Julie London - Fly Me to the Moon

Music From Episode 12:
Yma Sumac - Gopher Mambo
Frankie Laine - Metro Polka

Music From Episode 13:
Bob Dylan - Don't Think Twice, It's Alright


Mad Men: Season One (2007)

From Matthew Weiner, the Emmy® award-winning executive producer and writer of “The Sopranos,” “MAD MEN” is the ground-breaking, daring series about the glamorous and ego-driven “Golden Age” of advertising, where everyone is selling something and nothing is ever what it seems.

MAD MEN: SEASON ONE DVD set includes all 13 episodes of the first season and is loaded with special bonus materials including commentaries, featurettes that explore the world of “MAD MEN” and much more!

Arriving on July 1, 2008, MAD MEN: SEASON ONE will be packaged in a truly original sleek, limited edition, metal “lighter” DVD case.

Set in 1960 New York, MAD MEN reveals the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue’s “Golden Age”, where key players make the art of the sell while their private lives get sold. And no one plays the game better than Don Draper (Golden Globe®-winner Jon Hamm), the biggest ad man – and ladies man in the business. As Don makes the plays in the boardroom and the bedroom, he struggles to stay a step ahead of the rapidly changing times and the young executives nipping at his heels.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008




Click the performer's name to order tickets on line, call Brown Paper Tickets at: 800-838-3006 or, as always, the Jazz Bakery Information line: 310 271-9039 - and you can still come down to the JB
July 1:
Kevin Hsieh Trio $25
July 2: 19-year-old trumpeter Harrison Frye Group $25
July 3: Sextet The Romanian-American Jazz Suite $25 one show 8 PM
July 4: Judy Wolman's Sing ! Sing ! Sing ! 4th of July Americana Sing-along $25
July 5: vocalist Bill Henderson w/ Tateng Katindig, Chris Conner & Roy McCurdy $30 matinee
July 8: Mike Jones (of Penn & Teller) Solo Piano $25
July 10: vocalist Kate Reid CD Release $25
July 11 & 12: pianist Eric Reed Trio w/ Hamilton Price & Kevin Kanner $30 matinee
July 13: Dini Clarke Honors Duke Ellington $25
July 13: Brent Canter Trio $25
July 15: Coastal Interchange Quintet feat. Shanley Wang $25
July 16: Bill Cunliffe & flutist Holly Hofmann play "Jobim" $25
July 17: pianist Josh Nelson Trio w/ Hamilton Price & Kevin Kanner $25
July 18: drummer Ocie Davis New Orleans Quintet $25
July 20: Pretzel Logic a Steely Dan Revue $25 matinee
July 20: Leslie Drayton & Fun $25
July 22: Alex Sadnik Quintet $25
July 23: New West Guitar Quartet plus Katie Campbell, Sam Minaie & Angel Figueroa $25
July 24: pianist Austin Peralta Quintet $25
July 25 & 26: Paul Posnak Solo Piano $30
July 27: Danny Janklow Group $25 matinee
July 27: vocalist/composer Talita Long Trio $25
July 23: Big Band - Influence Jazz Orchestra feat. Seth MacFarlane $30
July 30: Saxophone Liberation Day ! w/ The Saxtet feat. Stacy Rowles & saxists Roger Newman, Gene Cipriano, Tom Peterson, Phil Feather, Bob Carr & David Angel plus rhythm section Dave Koonse, Chris Conner & Kendall Kay !! $25
July 31: (10-piece) Tall & Small Band w/ Pete Christlieb & Linda Small $25
Aug 1 & 2: vocalist Jackie Ryan w/ The Tamir Hendelman Trio $25
Aug 3: vocalist Beat Kaestli plus Trio $25





Wesley Britton, spy maven extrodinaire headquartered at
www.spywise.net, tips us to a new article by Graham Rye, "From Kent, With Love: Ian Fleming & James Bond - The Kentish Connection," in which Rye establishes Ian Fleming named 007's Miss Moneypenny and Bond girl Honeychile Ryder after farms in South-East England.

In the detailed and heavily illustrated piece, Rye shows how Kent played a major role in the novels Moonraker, Goldfinger, and Chitty, Chitty, Bang-Bang-along with notable moments in Man With the Golden Gun, You Only Live Twice, and in Fleming's own life.The full story is posted at:http://www.007magazine.co.uk/fleming/kentish01.htm

Monday, June 23, 2008



Your monthly house payments exceed your annual income (and you think
it's normal)

You drive next to a Rolls Royce and don't notice it.

You don't know anyone's phone number unless you check your cell phone.

You speak Spanish, but you're not Mexican.

You begin to "lie" to your friends about how close you are when you know
darn well that it'll take you at least an hour to get there (see below).

Getting anywhere from point A to point B, no matter what the distance,
takes about "twenty minutes".

You drive to your neighborhood block party.

In the "winter", you can go to the beach and ski at Big Bear on the same
day or mow your lawn in your shorts on New Years Day, and maybe sunburn.

You eat a different ethnic food for every meal.

If your destination is more than 5 minutes away on foot, you're
definitely driving.

Calling your neighbors requires knowing their area code.

You know what "In-'N-Out" is and feel bad for all the other states
because they don't have any.

Stop signs stand for, "Slow To Observe Police".

You go to a tanning salon before going to the beach.

You eat pineapple on pizza.

Your cell phone has left a permanent impression on the side of your

You think that Venice is a beach.

The waitress asks if you'd like "carbs" in your meal.

You classify new people you meet by their Area Code. An "818" would
never date a "562" and anyone from "323" or "213" is ghetto/second
class. Best area code: "949/714." Nobody likes anyone from the "909/951"
because it stinks there.

You call 911 and they put you on hold.

You have a gym membership because it's mandatory.

The gym is packed at 3 pm...on a workday.

You think you are better than the people who live "Over the Hill". It
doesn't matter which side of the hill you are currently residing, you
are just better than them, for whatever reason.

You know that if you drive two miles in any direction you will find a
McDonald's, Subway or a Starbucks. (Do we have to go two miles for a
Starbucks? )

You know what "Sigalert", "PCH", and the "Five" mean.

You know the meaning behind the name of the 405 freeway.... because it
takes 4 hours to get one way, and 5 hours to get back.

It's barely sprinkling rain and there's a report on every news station:

The Terminator is your Governor.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from



Okay, we still don't know the exact release date, but we do finally have a picture of the CD cover for Renee Olstead's long delayed follow-up to her huge 2004 self-named CD release.

Fellow www.martiniinthemorning.com listener Daniel Storm caught up with Renee this past weekend at a local LA performance at The Grove. While she didn't give an exact release date for the new CD, she did say her singles from the CD would be released on July 15th. If the actually CD follows normal release patterns, it should be out four to six weeks after the release of the singles.

Fingers crossed.



Some bad news for Shirley Bassey fans. It has been announced that Shirley Bassey has been forced to pull out of Friday's Nelson Mandela concert. As you are probably aware, Shirley recently underwent emergency surgery and although it was expected she would recover in time for this performance, she has now been advised by doctors not to travel.

On a more positive note, there is some good news concerning Shirley's back-catalogue releases. Beat Goes On Records have confirmed that they are releasing a further three CDs this year, starting off with a double CD At The Pigalle/Live At Talk Of The Town in August.

This will be followed by a CD release of Shirley's album Live In Japan 1974 - an album previously only released on vinyl in Japan. In my opinion this is the best live album Shirley ever produced and its release on CD is long overdue and exciting news indeed. Later in the year a double CD featuring the albums "Stops The Shows" and "12 Of Those Songs" will complete the hatrick.

For details of all the latest releases visit The Latest Releases Page and for daily news and features, including reaction to today's sad announcement, visit Peggy's Shirley Bassey Blog.



Like many others of my generation, my first memory of Carlin is as the hippy-dippy weatherman on John Davidson’s summer variety show in the mid-sixties. As an observational comedian, he had few if any rivals. He always made me laugh, especially when skewering or exploding taboos. He will be missed.

The Associated Press: George Carlin mourned as a counterculture hero: "LOS ANGELES (AP) — Acerbic standup comedian and satirist George Carlin, whose staunch defense of free speech in his most famous routine 'Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television' led to a key Supreme Court ruling on obscenity, has died.Carlin, who had a history of heart trouble, went into St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon complaining of chest pain and died later that evening, said his publicist, Jeff Abraham. He had performed as recently as last weekend at the Orleans Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. He was 71."

Sunday, June 22, 2008



Here's the latest take on the 'whose going to sing the new James Bond movie theme' merry-go-round...

The latest Brit singing sensation, Duffy (whose debut CD has only recently been released in America) has hinted she has recorded a song for the new James Bond Film.

The singer is the latest artist to be linked with movie, which is due to be released on October 31st.
In an interview with BBC 6 Music, Duffy refused to be drawn on the matter, simply saying: “Well, a lady never exposes her secrets.”

Give me Shirley Bassie any day over these lightweight, fly-by-night, momentary sensations!



Get Smart, the new remake starring Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway, gets it mostly right – so much so, I was pleasantly surprised.

I’d entered the movie filled with trepidation and after the first ten minutes I thought my worst fears would be realized – when did the funny start? I missed Don Adams’ Tennessee Tuxedo voice and classic comic timing, plus I had trouble getting my head around the reimagining of Maxwell Smart as a details geek who can’t even pass the CONTROL field agent test! However, the film slowly began to grow on me.

It was clear the writers and director had a genuine affection for the original characters and series. And, while the reimagining did turn certain notions about the old show on their head, it still retained the good natured/harmless fun of the original.

Carell doesn’t even try to channel Don Adams, which was probably a good decision. Adams was a master of the deadpan delivery and the over-the-top double take. Adams’ version of Smart was that of an over confident boob -- often wrong, but never in doubt. Carell is a more subtle comedian, more sly in his delivery. He possesses the air of an innocent and gives us an Agent 86 who is a clueless boy scout trying too hard to do everything right – and it works. This isn’t your father’s Get Smart, but it hasn’t fallen too far from the tree.

Once the movie kicks into gear with the introduction of all the major players, fans will get caught up in all the affectionate touches and cameos – Was that…? Yes, it was.

The writing isn’t razor sharp, but it is clever – scenes in act one actually pay off in act three – and it manages to smartly tie in all the touchstones from the original series – the many catch phrases, the original shoe phone (which plays its role perfectly in a cell phone world), Max’s original Sunbeam car, Agent 13 (still lonely after all these years), Fang, Hymie the robot, and finally the spark of romance between Max and 99.

Anne Hathaway – who just gets better loo0king every year – has fun as Agent 99. She appears to be enjoying herself as she moves from scene to scene, delivering her own take as a much more self-involved 99 than Barbara Felton’s brilliant yet less consciousness raised portrayal.

While the new Get Smart isn’t exceptional, it is fun and ultimately enjoyable. Remakes of beloved iconic television series do not often fare well – two of the worst being the excreatable feature film remakes of I Spy and Wild, Wild West – but Get Smart gets by through combining a likable cast, a modicum of wit, several dollops of nostalgia, and at least a trio of actual laugh-out-loud moments. I walked out of the theatre entertained and pleased KAOS had not won – disaster had been adverted.



Roy Budd is one of my favorite film composers of the ‘70s AND ‘80S. His jazz compositions and instincts are outstanding. The latest issue of Cineam Retro has a retrospect on the tough Michael Caine cult film Get Carter. Reading it made me pull out the soundtrack LP from my collection. It had been a while since I’d listened to it and I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it.

A check of YouTube quickly turned up a couple of cuts from the score.

The second cut (Girl In The Car) starts out as a riff on the above main theme and then branches out.

This cut from the great B-movie Who Dares Wins, has another great Budd theme.

A child prodigy with perfect pitch, Budd began scoring television series in 1967 providing the jaunty, jazzy theme tune for the Granada TV series Mr Rose (starring William Mervyn as an eccentric retired police chief).

His first score for the big screen was for the American western Soldier Blue in 1970 (though most of his other film work was on British productions).
His best known score is still from the 1971 Michael Caine film Get Carter, which marked the first notable use of his hallmark method of using the film's sound effects (in this case, Caine's train journey from London to Newcastle) to complement the music.

Budd later worked on a number of films for the producer Euan Lloyd, including Paper Tiger, The Wild Geese, The Sea Wolves and Who Dares Wins. Another was the Kidnapped 1971 soundtrack.

He died at age 46 in 1993, due to a brain haemorrhage.



Blaxploitation is back if this trailer from the forthcoming Black Dynamite is any indication. The trailer is spot on in capturing the style, look, and texture of the 1970’s blaxploitation cult classics – over the top pimp wear, bad getto speak, silly kung fu fights, corrupt cops, and a seemingly endless supply of big busted chicks who want to get it on with Mr. Dynamite.

I’ll probably give the whole flick a miss unless the reviews give it three or four stars (yeah, like that’s going to happen), but the trailer is a hoot.

A tip of the fedora to www.cinemaretro.com for the link.