Movies, books

THE ROAD TO BALI (1952) was the last film in the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “Road” series until Road to Hong Kong, a decade later, with Hope and Crosby feuding over an island princess (series co-star Dorothy Lamour) while battling cannibals, a giant squid, Lamour’s treacherous cousin and lovesmitten gorillas. Lots of funny buts (“It’s Humphrey Bogart with the African Queen!”), but it feels more like a collection of sketches than a plot (the villain doesn’t even get definitely killed at the climax). “Some of us got it, some of us don’t—I feel like a cad for having so much of it!”
MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1974) remains a hoot 37 years later, as King Arthur battle obnoxious Frenchman, Lancelot saves Galahad from a night of oral sex, Sir Robin runs away and the Knights Who Say Ni demand a shrubbert as tribute. This being the Special Edition, it comes loaded with directors’ commentaries (more interesting than I usually find them), scenes dubbed in Japanese and the “Camelot” number performed with Lego knights. A classic. “You must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest—with a herring!”
10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU (1999) stars Julia Stiles as virago “Kate Stratford” who becomes the target of Bad Boy Health Ledger (“I heard he sold his liver just to buy a new set of speakers.”) as part of Joseph Gordon Levitt’s complicated scheme to win Stiles’ sister Bianca (Larisa Olenyk of Blossom). Fun, though Levitt’s character is too manipulative to be the noble suitor he’s supposed to be. “He’s supposed to be getting a national tube-sock ad.”

THE NIXON RECESSION CAPER by Ralph Maloney is an early seventies novel that fascinated me at the time. Where most crime and mystery stories I’d read back then were kind of timeless (no reference to current events), this one was very contemporary in explaining why its four protagonists had gone broke: One had been the king of cigarette TV advertising (which ended in the early seventies) and another invested in that fashion flop, the midi-skirt (i.e., knee-length, between the mini and the maxiskirt). Rather than the Donald Westlake comic caper I’d remembered it as, this is much more social satire, focusing as much on the guys marriages and lives as on the crime (which is actually a small part of the story). Not bad, but not as memorable as I once found it.
HOUSE OF MYSTERY: Under New Management is the latest TPB collection (by Matthew Sturges and Luca Rossi primarily) about a young woman named Fig with a most curious past and her life trapped in the title edifice. Following up on the previous collection, Fig is now managing the House with its former owner Cain (yes, the Cain—in DC continuity, this makes sense), only to have a sadistic brother she insists she never had show up to become the new bartender. Good, but the last issue appears to be filler just to extend the story arc to TPB length (and anyone not familiar with these character will wonder how Cain’s brother Abel keeps coming back to life).
INCORRUPTIBLE is the first volume in Mark Waid’s story of Max Danger, a super-villain shell-shocked when Earth’s greatest hero, the Plutonian, snaps and turns into a mass murderer (as told in the companion series, Irredeemable). For the first time in his life, Max feels the need to do something heroic, much to the confusion of his henchmen and girlfriend (“You nicknamed me Jailbait, now you’re saying we can’t do it until I’m legal?”). Much more interesting than I found Irredeemable.
THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD AND OTHER ODDITIES is a collection of short tales by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola. The Screw On Heard, it turns out, is a robotic agent of President Lincoln, in this case fighting to thwart the schemes of diabolical Emperor Zombie (“There’s a pocket universe inside this onion!”). Like the other stories, a one-shot that makes Hellboy look fairly normal.


Filed under Comics, Movies, Reading

3 responses to “Movies, books

  1. Pingback: Anachronism « Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Anachronism « Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Only murderers on the road to Bali — it’s a gas! | Fraser Sherman's Blog

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