Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Conan: The Song of Bêlit

Marie and I were in Ann Arbor last week and we popped into the Vault of Midnight comic book store. Don't get out there much but when I do it's a treat. It's a good spot, man. I picked up the latest Walking Dead TPB and the latest Conan hardcover; volume 16.

This is an emotional one, fellas. It's the conclusion in the Queen of the Black Coast saga. That can only mean one thing.

It's a good read. Lots of emotional ups and downs but Conan faces them the only way he knows. By decapitating people. I believe there're are some foes that he even cleaves right in half. Good stuff.

The writing is good but the art isn't my favorite. I dunno, man, you get used to one way of visualizing Conan then it gets thrown out of whack when someone else picks up the pencil. It's a little jarring at first but then you get used to it. It's not sub-par...just different, I guess.

This is one hell of a ride, though. Sorcery, pirates, evil beasts, blood, fire, death. It's packed to gills with riches and witches.

I'd be hard-pressed not to enthusiastically recommend any book in the Conan of Cimmeria series. I'm looking forward to re-reading them in one big week-long binge or something. Maybe when/if the 30th book comes out I'll re-read them all one book a day for a whole month.

Hail the king.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tanar of Pellucidar

You can judge a book by its cover. I mean, just look at this. You know it's gonna be bad ass. Frank Frazetta painting of a muscled barbarian holding a dagger dripping with blood. He's just vanquished his foe and he's poised ready for more action. How could it not be great?

Edgar Rice Burroughs is famous for writing Tarzan, but he also had a series of books centered around the fictional realm of Pellucidar. This was my first exposure to the author and although it started cold I feel it definitely warmed up.

Pellucidar is in the center of the Earth. The inhabitants are in various states of cultural and physical evolution. There are some gnarly prehistoric creatures mixed with 17th Century era firearms like canons and harquebuses. There are a few people who have travelled from the surface down into Pellucidar and brought with them modern day technology. It's crazy shit. Their sun is perpetually at its zenith so there is no night and there is no concept of north, south, east or west. Things are different in the center of the Earth.

So, I felt like the book was a second-rate Conan yarn. Where are Robert E. Howard would have some sort of rising drama and eventual climax punctuated with small sub-dramatic elements along the way, I felt like this one was often times just one small drama to the next to the next to the next, with no clear destination. It took a while but eventually it started to coalesce. I just felt like a decent amount of the book was Burroughs making up one calamitous event after another for the sake of taking up pages. Girl is captured, Tanar fights some villagers, Taner frees girl, both are captured, they both escape, rinse wash, repeat.

But at the end of the day I definitely dug the book. I think the second half was better than the first. I probably needed to get used to Burroughs writing. I will continue to buy books for the Pellucidarian series whenever I see them at local stores. Hell, I'll read more Burroughs and maybe I'll get into Tarzan. Why not.

Dig it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Savages from Hell

Hands down one of the funniest biker flicks we've ever seen. The acting was THE WORST and that's saying something. Holy shit.

Incredible fake accents, overt racism, the worst Prez ever, and lamest intro to a biker flick the world has ever seen. This one takes place in Florida which is only the second classic US biker flick we've seen that isn't set in Arizona or Cali. At times the movie seems like a telenovela interrupted by a shitty biker gang and a lunatic broad. The acting is amazingly bad, though. It's awesome. Shockingly I don't think any of the "stars" of Savages from Hell went on to do anything else that was remotely noteworthy.

The editing is hilarious. Not because it's just downright bad, but because there are so many botched attempts at trying to be good/artistic. There's no shock that this never got a good restoration. You can rent it on Amazon Prime for $2 in all its 3:4 aspect ratio glory. Terribly degraded film stock at no additional cost. ;) The rip that I've linked above is the whole movie on YouTube, but the Amazon one is actually better. The exposure and contrast is improved.

Who cares about the plot. There's a botched rape scene. There's an demented jilted ex. There's a violent and idiotic Prez. And there are some really rad bikes, but you don't get to see them in detail enough. It's a shame because the bikes look outta sight.

If you're looking for a hilariously poor bikesploitation flick look no further. You've hit pay dirt.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Art of Client Service

I read The Art of Client Service on the plane to Puerto Rico. As the subtitle says, it's 58 things every advertising & marketing professional should know. I figured being in the business it would be worthwhile for me to give it a good read. So I did...

This is the kind of book that should be mandatory reading for the Account / Sales team. The advice is universal and you can definitely apply it regardless of whether you're a "sales person" or not. Because truly we're all selling, every day, regardless of our title.

The book is broken up into the following areas: At the start of an assignment, looking at creative, making presentations, running a meeting, attitude, communication, trouble, and socializing. Each area has its own chunk of "things you should do." Most are exemplified via personal anecdotes. The author has failed often (as all successful people have), and mined those failures to give substance to his suggestions and assertions.

I will definitely be passing this one around at work. It's a quick read and it's packed with little nuggets of advice. But it's definitely something I'll reread and take specific notes. I believe the website has a downloadable PDF with the main 58 take-aways summarized so you can post them up on your wall and whatnot.

If you read business books then add this to your list and bust it out on your next flight...

Grand Prix

So, I reviewed Grand Prix before. I just reread it and I think it sums up everything perfectly. This movie is un-fucking-believable. In the Top 10 flicks of all time? It's that good.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Naked Angels

Don't do a google image search for "Naked Angels" when you're at work. It doesn't pull up the biker flick.

We watched this last night. It's another classic Corman biker flick. This is 1969, mommas, bar fights, great choppers, gang war, disturbing the peace, love-ins, violence and boobs. It clearly ticks all the right boxes. Naked Angels has a legit soundtrack. I was really vibing on it.

It's pretty gritty. And terribly shallow. The whole plot could be explained in about 3 sentences: Biker gets beat up. Biker seeks revenge. Wait, make that two sentences. The stage is set in the first 30 seconds of the movie and then the remaining 83 minutes and 30 seconds is pretty much a gang of bikers riding through the desert so they can beat up another gang. Sometimes in fast motion. And often times stopping to beat up and molest their mommas along the way.

There's some decent acting from the main mustachioed Pres (considering the type of movie). But typically everyone else is pretty crappy. It's par for the course.

This one definitely was a bit of a downer. There's a lot of internal strife going on. But I think it was actually one of the strongest classic biker flicks we've seen. I think it deserves a spot in the top ten.

I purchased the dvd and it's a pretty freakin good transfer. You can watch a shitty transfer on YouTube above.

Recommended if sleazy biker flicks are your thing.