Kolchak, Community, Red State, and Ironclad

The last few weeks have been a time of quiet reflection, and review of my life. Mostly because I am flat broke and sit around the house doing nothing when not at work. In an attempt to distract myself from the snoozefest my life has become, I watched a lot of TV over the holidays.

Kolchak: The Night Stalker

I briefly discussed this recently as my favorite old show discovery of 2012. Kolchak started in the early 70’s as a couple of tv movies which was then upgraded to series for 20 episodes before being cancelled. It is one of those series that I have been aware of, but never seen. I am certainly glad to have remedied this situation. Kolchak is played by Darren McGavin- an actor who earned a place in my pantheon with his turn as the father in “A Christmas Story”. Kolchak is the story of a newspaper reporter who prowls Chicago searching for stories, and coming across supernatural threats instead. A major influence on X-Files, this show also launched the career of David Chase- creator of The Sopranos as well as featuring stories written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis who would later team up to create Back to the Future. McGavin’s sense of humor is present throughout, and the supporting performances of the others in the newsroom, give the show a lot of heart. Keenan Wynn makes a couple of notable appearances as a police Captain who keeps running afoul of Kolchak. A grueling schedule, and studio politics led to the show’s cancellation in 75. Amazingly it lives on, being a popular download from Netflix, spawning a short lived remake, and even comic books. Kolchak is a great show.


From old to new! Another show that is constantly dancing on the periphery of my viewing habits is NBC’s Community. It is the story of Jeff, former lawyer a who is caught not having a real college degree, being forced back into school or face disbarment. He falls into a study group for Spanish class which then has all manner of misadventures. Easily the funniest show on tv of the last several years. Like 30 Rock, it is intelligent, and so SO bizzare! There is nothing quite like it on tv right now, and I am a bit sad that it is not finding much of an audience other than the vocal geeks on the internet.

Red State

Kevin (Clerks) Smith’s first “horror” film isn’t really a horror film, more of a gory action film. I enjoy Smith, but this was a bit of a misfire for me. Three teens find a woman online soliciting sex and they travel to her trailer for some fun. Instead, the whole thing is a set up by a Westboro Baptist Church type group who is rounding up homosexuals and fornicators and killing them in the name of God.  The ATF is called in to raid their compound for illegal guns, and a shootout commences. It aims really high, hoping to tell a story of religion, free speech, government abuse, 9/11, and gay rights. It never really comes together sadly. John Goodman plays a great ATF agent, and the phenomenal Michael Parks is the Pastor of the church. Parks really hits it out of the park and elevates this film higher than it probably deserves. Kevin Smith is a great writer, and a favorite director of mine, but even he is admitting that he doesn’t have much left in the tank. He is making one more film (Clerks 3) and then retiring from film to focus on other projects- TV, internet etc. While this makes me sad, I have reached a point in my life where I can realize when its time to go, you go.  Smith has earned his rest.


Its been sitting in my Netflix queue for a while now, waiting to be seen. Well, it was seen.

In 1215, the Barons of England fought a rebellion against King John (perennial villain of Robin Hood). Facing defeat, John was forced to sign Magna Carta- the document that stated that the free men of England had rights, that the law of the land was supreme and even the King was beholden to it. Well, John did not like this, and he immediately hired an army and attempted to crush all the Barons. This is the story of that war following Magna Carta, specifically the siege of Rochester Castle.

It takes some serious, SERIOUS, liberties with history, almost insanely so.

James Purefoy- terrific actor from Rome (Mark Antony) plays a Templar Knight.

Brian Cox

Baron d’Aubigny, leader of rebellion. He is brutally killed in the film. In reality his character lived another 20 years.

Paul Giamatti

King John. Insane casting, but he pulls it off.

I honestly do not know what to think of this. I like historical accuracy, but this was not as bad of a film as is being touted. The actors were fine, and the story as presented is fine. The problem is that it is total bullshit. The film ends as the King is about to conquer the Castle. He has killed d”aubigny 20 years too soon and used a “Pig Bomb” to blow a hole in the wall. In reality, he used pig fat to grease support struts under the castle which he then set on fire. He did not send an army of pigs, set ablaze, to blow a hole in Rochester castle. About to seize victory, he is thwarted at the last minute as King Louis of France arrives and drives off the King’s forces- saving Rochester Castle….

What the fuck.

Rochester castle is regarded throughout 800 years of history as one of the most ingenious sieges EVER. Right up there with Caesar’s battle with Vercingetorix. Rochester Castle is a legendary VICTORY for King John. The rebels, including d’Aubigny, surrender to the King in the face of his superior siege warfare. They are sent to jail and the King rides on and takes Southern England. 6 months later, King Louis arrives from France and starts tearing up England. John later dies of illness while retreating. This film turns John’s victory into a defeat. Its like making a Napoleon film where he WINS at Waterloo! Drivel.

Moonrise Kingdom

Oh Boy. When I made my “best of post” I mentioned that I would watch a few more movies and revise my best/worst of 2012 film list. Right off the bat, we have a top 5 movie.

I enjoy some of Wes Anderson’s stuff, not all, but some. This is a great movie. Simple, expertly made. Well Cast. Exceptionally shot, as always, by Robert Yeoman. It was filmed all around Narragansett Bay, which is where I live. Due to this, I think the film touched me a bit more than it likely would have. After all, what we are seeing on screen is my home, and that makes it special.

A story of two kids who fall in love, and the lengths they have to go to be together. Its simple, and it is great stuff. The actors are superb, and the story is good. That goes a long way in the hands of a skilled filmmaker.

Revised top 10:

1: Skyfall

2: Django Unchained

3: Avengers

4: Moonrise Kingdom

5: Dark Knight Rises

6: The Hunger Games

7: The Artist

8: The Hobbit

9: Dredd

10: Prometheus

Booted off-

11: Get the Gringo. Sorry Mel.


Movies 2012


This was a cool year for movies! The list you see is the final version of the list. To see a progression of how I came to this list, simply read the subsequent articles leading up to the Oscars in Feb 2013.


The “Meh”

John Carter

The venom and hate spewed at this film astounds me. I have read the books by Burrows, and I thought the film was ok. The action was good, actors did a fair job, and it was a decent, if flawed, adaptation of the original work. I walked out happy to have spent a couple hours in Barsoom!

Beasts of the Southern Wild


It did very little for me. Its tough to pick on a little kid, but she did not deserve an Oscar nomination.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D

What a money grab this was. With all the time and effort supposedly devoted to the transfer of this film into 3D, I was hoping for a bit more. Unfortunately, it suffers the same fate as all the post-conversion 3D films- blurred action, tough to see darker scenes. Luckily I like the film, which is why it did not score lower.

Bad Ass

This could have been a great film. “Machete” showed us that Danny Trejo is a movie star, and is capable of greatness. When I first saw a trailer for this tale of an old man who beats up a few skinhead jerks and becomes famous, I was more than intrigued. It starts off quite well, but devolves into action movie nonsense by the end. Shooting off one-liners while in a car chase between two motor-coaches sounds cool, but was ultimately without substance. A good film, but not great.

The Three Stooges

I enjoyed this return to the world of the stooges. The cast was excellent, the humor in tune with the originals. The Farrelly brothers did a great job with this. Plus it had Kate Upton in it. Lets refocus here. Kate Upton….


The Dictator

Sacha Baron Cohen strikes again! This time as an Anti-Semitic dictator of a fictitious African nation. Great humor, but without the edge of Borat or Bruno. I appreciate Cohen moving away from “mockumentary” style filmmaking, but he needs a little more polish.

The Amazing Spider-Man

I really like this movie, but did not love it. In many ways it was a truer representation of the comic book version of Peter Parker and Spider-Man. In other ways it was a huge diversion from the comic, particularly in the origin aspect of it all. One thing that must be acknowledged is that Andrew Garfield is a far superior Peter. Emma Stone brought a lot more to the plate than Kirsten Dunst. This film just needed to bring a little more into the story than was present. I understand what they were trying to do, and they largely succeeded, I suspect the sequel will bring it all together.

Get the Gringo

I only saw this one recently, and I was very surprised by how good it was. Mel Gibson is a pariah in Hollywood these days. He is trying to get back on top, but I don’t think it’s in the cards for him. What he delivers here is a top notch action film in the vein of his fantastic “Payback”. He is a criminal in a Mexican prison unlike any prison I am familiar with. The acting was great, the story interesting, and it was shot well. You don’t need much more than that.

Expendables 2

A joy ride of a film. Packed with muscles, guns, and more inside jokes than you would believe is possible. We saw Stallone, Willis, Schwarzenegger, and Chuck Norris tear the screen up with their awesomeness. A good time at the movies. Far superior to the first.

Wreck it Ralph


This was a fun movie about the “secret world” inside arcade games. The voice acting was good, and the animation up to the Disney standard. The humor was there, and morals were plentiful for the kiddies. A decent Disney film that could have used a few more “Arcade game worlds” to suit my tastes.

Honorable Mentions:

Comic Con IV: A Fan’s Hope

The best documentary on San Diego Comic Con. If you want an understanding of why I have travelled across the country 8 times for this convention- this movie holds the secrets.

Casa de mi padre

How the hell do I review this insanity. It is a tongue in cheek look at the Mexican Telenovellas starring Will Ferrell speaking nothing but espanol. They explain his bad Spanish accent as him being “a little slow in the head”. It was funny, but strange.

Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie

If Casa de mi padre was tough to explain, how in the holy hell do I even begin with this one?! It’s almost not even a movie! Sadly, I did enjoy seeing their schtick though- thus the honorable mention. Here is a video clip:


There were a lot of movies that would have beaten the three selections here. I fortunately did not see most of those films. What makes these the worst is that these were films that I was really anticipating. Potentially great films that went awry, and that pisses me off.

3: Red Tails

George Lucas has been making this movie for over 20 years. On paper, it is everything he has been wanting to bring to the screen since the 70’s. The Star Wars space battles were based on WW2 dog fights. This film is about WORLD WAR 2 DOG FIGHTS. What the hell happened?! The dialogue was not particularly good. The editing bizarre at times. The special effects were quite good- great even, but they don’t guarantee a good film. This film had some great actors who were utterly wasted. When the TV version of the Tuskegee Airmen is superior to the multi million dollar extravaganza, its time to hang it up.  I suspect this had a lot to do with Lucas’ decision to sell Lucasfilm.

2:The Grey

It was a chilly and stormy night in New Hampshire. The cast of “Cherry Valley”, myself included, sat around our Director’s living room to have some dinner and watch a movie or two. The Grey, starring Liam Neeson was the choice of those present. What followed was a very bizarre 2 hours. I cannot fault the actors, they were all extremely good- especially Neeson. There just reached a point where a wolf was eating a corpse, and Neeson, seeing this- dives at the wolf screaming “You Mother Fucker” and starts fist-fighting it. This was the point that co-star Anna Rizzo and I acknowledged that this movie was ridiculous. Once again, I get where they were going, but the final scenes, and especially the after credits scene, was more laughable than poignant.

Worst of the year

1: Wrath of the Titans

Holy Hell. I was one of the 7 people that enjoyed the first movie in this series. I eagerly anticipated a return to the world of Greek Mythology, especially for an original tale! What followed was horror. Hades became a good guy, ALL the gods died. Poseidon, played by the great Danny Huston, dies right off the bat like a chump- giving this actor nothing to do…again. It was all a jumbled terrific mess of a movie. I have rarely been so let down.

Lets interject here with an examination of one actor- Liam Neeson. What happened man?! Titans and Grey made this list, but he released two other films that probably would have been on it- Taken 2 and Battleship. Why hast thou forsaken us!?

Now, the good stuff::

12: Prometheus

This is one that is popping up on SO MANY “worst” lists. My suspicion is this: people went in expecting ALIEN 5,6, or whatever the hell number they were on. What they got was a smart, well written, better acted, hard Science Fiction film. This is not about Aliens eating people and causing terror. Alien did that perfectly well. This is something else entirely. It is a meditation on the origins of human life, whether human life is successful and should flourish, or whether we are a failed experiment that should be destroyed. It was so good, that I am shocked that any reasonable person could not “get it”. I highly anticipate the sequel.

11: Dredd

Now THIS is more like it. THIS is Judge Dredd. True to the comic, through and through. We never, NOT ONCE, see Judge Dredd without his helmet. Judge Anderson is present, without a Rob Schneider in sight. The abomination that is the Stallone Dredd is forever wiped away. This film, besides being watchable and well written, was also one of the best shot films of the year. It definitely featured the best use of 3D I have seen since the realD explosion.

10: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I loved my return to Middle Earth. ‘nuff said.

9: Hunger Games

I covered this pretty thoroughly In a previous post. In short- It is the anti-Twilight. A film about a STRONG young woman, who finds the strength within herself to survive…despite any odds. This was a really great movie.

8: Zero Dark Thirty


A terrific film making exercise. Well written, well acted.

7: The Dark Knight Rises

Equal to The Dark Knight in every way save the performance of Heath Ledger. It was a good “Final Story” for Batman. I watched this at its premiere in one of the theaters that was screening the trilogy. Seeing them all, in a row, really drives home the link these films share. They work together thematically. It is a complete story by one of the better Director working today.

6: Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson being Wes Anderson. Terrifically cast, and well directed.

5: Lincoln


Daniel Day-Lewis is phenomenal. Deserved the Oscar.

4: Les Miserables


Fantastic adaptation of the musical. Memorable as all hell.

3: The Avengers

There are no words that can express the joy of seeing an unapologetic COMIC BOOK MOVIE on the big screen. This IS the Avengers. It hit all the right notes. It was what comic book fans have been dreaming for decades. One review stated that it was as if Joss Whedon travelled back in time and filmed my imagination when I was 9. A real achievement.

2: Django Unchained

I just wrote up a glowing review of this one, just scroll down the page! Seriously, it is one of Tarantino’s best. He is a master at the height of his powers.


This is it baby. This is possibly the best Bond Film ever made.
It featured a unique story for the series, which i thought really gave the actors a chance to shine, as well as create some gripping adventure. I feel this completes a trilogy of sorts with the previous 2. It finishes the origin story of James Bond which began in Casino Royale. At the start of the film, Bond is finally over the death of Vesper and is finding himself. This is the final construction of “Casino-Bond” into 007, as we knew him.

Craig has hit his stride. Like Connery and Moore before him, his 3rd entry was his best Bond yet. I am so happy they signed him for 2 more. Craig is knocking on Sean Connery’s door as the best actor to play 007.

Javier Bardem, one of my favorite actors, plays a memorable villain. My wife Tatum was creeped out by him, which was a sign that he nailed a perfect performance. Ralph Fiennes, one of her favorite actors has a great part as a government oversight guy. She and I are split on the new Q, I liked him, she thought he was a dick (which is probably why I liked him). Bond Girl Eve was underutilized until the finale of the film, and Judi Dench gives her best performance as M.

The Opening credits were fantastic, and take on greater significance once we know the story. This was, in many ways, a return to classic bond. The Bond theme song is front and center in several scenes, as opposed to being an after-credits thing.

Roger Deakins proves why he is one of the best Cinematographers alive with his stunning visuals.

If you love Bond, see this movie. It is easily the best acted of any of them, top 3 for the series, and my favorite film of 2012.

TV 2012

This is a weird post to be writing. I barely watch television anymore. What I do watch, is via Netflix or Hulu. So what do I have to say about TV in 2012?


It is some of the best, and worst, ever.


The watershed moment was in the summer. After months, years even, of paying almost 150.00 a month of the top cable packages, with multiple recievers and DVR and all that junk, the wife and I made the decision to cut the cable. We joined many others who decided that the cost does not equal the benefit of television in 2012. We all know it. 99.5% of television is pure crap. The Scifi channel, now syfy, features more wrestling and reality shows about Ghost Hunting than any real Science Fiction. They dropped Dr Who from their lineup, the cancelled the various Galactica series, and Stargate, and decided that their viewers would rather watch Sharktopus 3. Discovery Channel was still watchable, but the others had descended into anarchy. TLC, the learning channel is now all crap, not one decent show to watch. Whether is is prostituting children on Toddlers and Tiaras or the adventures of the Gosslings, or the Mormon family with 19 kids, this station starts in the gutter and works DOWN when it comes to programming.

I must let you know that I was not in favor of cutting the cable. I enjoyed having all those options at my disposal. One thing made my decision quite easy- My Big Fat American Gypsy wedding. This was easily the greatest piece of garbage I had ever set my eyes upon. The wife and I watched in horror as this train wreck unfolded before us. This was the show that made my mind up for me. Cable TV was dispensable.

We cut the cord just after July 4th, and in the begining it was rough, until I discovered FREE HDTV. Yes I said FREE. The old fashioned Rabbit ear antennas can pick up all the local stations, in crystal perfect HD, better than the cable feed. One channel- MeTV plays nothing but reruns of old shows from the 60’s and 70s. In other words, it only shows the GOOD stuff. Bob Newhart every night? Cheers too!? It was wonderful. The first real test of the new status quo came with the Olympics. We watched the Opening Ceremonies and were shocked by the stupidity of the commentators. Offensive, and ignorant remarks about other nations, and humerous mis-pronunciations peppered this EDITED version of the Ceremony. Yes, edited. Americans did not see the entire program, we were instead spoon fed only what we felt was appropriate for us, with non-stop explanations of everything from the Industrial Revolution to the double decker bus. NBC assumed that their audience is uninformed and needs their hand held through these sorts of things. I recoiled and immediately sought a solution. As always, the internet provided.

It tuns out there are programs, free and legal, which can Mask your computer and fool the internet into thinking you live in Great Britain.This allows you to watch British TV LIVE and view their broadcasts unimpeded. What a difference an ocean makes. The British showed the ENTIRE Opening, with limited commentary. They had insightful commentary during sporting events. THIS was the Olympics I wanted to see.

The rest of the TV year played out normally. I watched some things via Rabbit ears, some through Hulu, and some through iTunes. Here is what I was seeing with limited, though insightful, commentary.



Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding.

Pure garbage.


NBC Olympics


Best: in no particular order



A revived version of the classic tv show, one of my favorites. A true continuation of the story, featuring good writing, great acting, and plenty of drama. A hit. RIP Larry


Mad Men

Such a great show. It never lets you down.


Walking Dead

Holy Moley. This makes me happy to be alive, and in an age when this can be broadcast.


An Idiot Abroad/Ricky Gervais Show/Life’s too short

Ricky Gervais is phenomenal. Karl Pilkington is a gift from heaven. Warwick Davis steals the show. If you are not watching these three shows, Idiot Abroad in particular, familiarize yourself immediately.


Game of Thrones

Almost the best show on Television, near perfection. Dinklage deserves every award possible.


Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Their 8th is one of the best seasons to date. So SO funny.



Best animated comedy, hands down.


American Dad

Far superior to Family Guy, best of the fox comedies. 90% of the reason to watch is Roger.


Colbert/Daily Show

These men give me hope for America.


South Park

Still relevant, still funny after 15 years. A minor miracle.


Boadwalk Empire

UNABLE TO WATCH!!! Due to not having HBO, this is a series I shall have to wait several months for. Its ok, this show is worth the wait.


Doctor Who


Best Scifi Show on tv. Always perfect.


Downton Abbey

My guilty pleasure. Also a phenomenal show. Well acted, well written, with production value unmatched.


Best discovery of old time TV:


Kolchak: The Night Stalker

This is a show I had never seen. I finally made some time for it, and I am hooked. A great show, ahead of its time.


Best show

Breaking Bad


This is the best show on tv, possibly best show ever. Every week, we tune in to see what has become of the life of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Every week we are shocked and amazed. This is the best writing on TV, best acting too.



2012 is almost gone!

Here we stand, yet again, on the precipice of another new year.


I have started compiling my best/worst film lists for this year. As I went through the 24 films I saw this year, I realized how many great flicks I just never got around to seeing. I also realized how many bad movies I never saw. While the latter is normally a good thing, I feel that a regular influx of bad cinema is essential to better appreciate the good stuff. The big reason for the lack of viewings is that I have gotten far more selective in my theater going since the recession hit. I realize that I cannot see EVERY movie, but this year seems particularly bad. In 2011, there were 3-4 films I could list off the top of my head that should have been in contention, this year there are far more:

Lincoln , Moonrise Kingdom, Seeking a friend for the end of the world, Lawless, Dark Shadows, Battleship, The Campaign, 21 Jump Street, Snow White and the Huntsman, Men in Black 3, The Watch, Being Flynn, Safety not guaranteed, Cloud Atlas, Anna Karenina, Chronicle, Ghost Rider 2…

Off the top of my head. Some are good, some are bad. All are films I wanted to watch for one reason or another.

I am tempted to delay my “list” until a few weeks into 2013, but where is the fun in that? Instead I shall do this- There will be a New years eve posting, as usual, of my top 10 favorite films, as well as the clunkers. At some point in January I shall revisit the list after viewing most of the listed films (thank you redbox and netflix) for a more well-rounded listing.

I will also venture in a Best of TV list which should be amazing considering I dropped cable TV and intentionally only watched maybe 5 shows total. We will see how that shapes up.

Watch and wait!

Tier 5 is alive!

After several days off from work for the holidays, I decided to re-enter the World of Warcraft and do some “Transmogrification runs”! What the hell is a “Transmogrification run”? you ask? Well, here it is:

As you play the game, you gather various pieces of armor to upgrade your character. At the start of the week, I looked like this:


This is pretty close to a full dungeon set, a lesser set of armor in the game. A set will typically match and look cool on your character. I was happy with this look, but It did not compare to some previous armor sets made in WoW’s heyday of the mid-late 00’s.

Recognizing this, the geniuses at Blizzard introduced Transmogrification. Transmog, as its called- or xmog, lets you change the appearance of your armor to resemble any other piece of alternate armor in your equipment bag. As most of us sold or threw away our cool armor sets back in the olden days of 2008, to recapture the look, we would have to return to older raids (large dungeons) and reacquire the armor.

I spent most of my week doing this, and now I have returned to the circa 2007 “Corruptor Raiment” set which was a personal favorite during the Burning Crusade expansion pack.



Yup. Look at how bad ass that is. All horrible looking with a glowing scythe.

Just thought I’d share my pathetic-ness with the world 🙂

Entertainment Analysis by Superponte