BLOG BUDDY DAVID OVER AT PERMISSION TO KILL PUT TOGETHER A COOL EUROSPY DOWNLOAD. IF YOU WANT A COPY YOU'LL HAVE TO ACT QUICK WHILE THE DOWNLOAD LINK IS STILL HOT.
Over the Christmas break, Kommissar X on the Eurospy Forum issued a good natured challenge for people to post their own Christmas party spy album. This was my feeble contribution.
To be honest, it's a bit of a dog's breakfast, and all the tracks aren't from Eurospy films - there's a few television shows and American movies - there's even the theme from The Satanic Rites of Dracula - but I have gone for feel, rather than strictly adhering to Eurospy.
TRACK LISTING: 01 Satanic Rites Of Dracula 02 Dialogue ‘There’s a dead American in my flat!’ 03 Seven Golden Men Underground 04 Tony's Magnum 05 Maggie's Theme (Girl on My Mind) 06 North By North West - Overture 07 Lapagan Island 08 Theme from 'Department S' 09 Dialogue- 'I Just Love The Army.' 10 The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three 11 Showgirl Walk 12 Liquidator (Reprise) 13 Arabesque 14 Escape Into Hyperspace 15 Modesty Blaise (Main theme) 16 MMM Missione Morte Molo 83 (Nothing To Fear) 17 Agente 077 dall'Oriente Con Furore 18 Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die (MainTitle) 19 Dialogue- 'Lose yourself. 20 Murderers Row Title Theme 21 Cool Bossa Source 22 Phantom Riders 23 The Mad Mad Doctor 24. Connery Is Back 25 The Big Escape 26 High Wire (Secret Agent) 27 The Prisoner (first version) 28 Theme from Joe 90 29 But Not a Lot of Sex (The Burglars) 30 Dialogue- 'I like birds best.' 31 Let's Find Out 32 Rape 33 Matalo
After more then two years and several postpones Renee Olstead’s new album “Skylark” will be released by Reprise Records on January 27h, 2009. This second album is produced by David Foster and will contains both new songs and covers.
1. Midnight Man 2. Lover Man 3. Stars Fell On Alabama 4. My Baby Just Cares For Me 5. When I Fall In Love (featuring Chris Botti) 6. Thanks For The Boogie Ride 7. Hold Me Now 8. Skylark 9. Midnight In Austin Texas (special guest Robert Randolph) 10. Hit The Road Jack 11. You’ve Changed 12. Ain’t We Got Fun 13. Nothing But The Blame
RENEE OLSTEAD - THROUGH THE FIRE ~ FROM DVD “HITMAN - DAVID FOSTER & FRIENDS!
The Lovers, The Dreamers And Me, Jane Monheit's eagerly anticipated new CD, is set for release on Concord Records January 20th, 2009. An ode to songwriters past and present whom Monheit greatly admires, The Lovers, The Dreamers And Me is a sumptuously sung passionate song cycle of 13 tracks produced by jazz veteran Matt Pierson.
The Lovers, The Dreamers And Me is Monheit's ninth CD and will be accompanied by a world tour starting in New York City on release date.
The Lovers, The Dreamers And Me features the songs of contemporary songwriters such as Fiona Apple ("Slow Like Honey"), Corrine Bailey Rae ("Like A Star") and Paul Simon ("I Do It For Your Love"), alongside such jazz and pop classics as Cole Porter's "Get Out Of Town," Jimmy Dorsey's "I'm Glad There Is You," Leonard Bernstein's "Lucky To Be Me," William C. Barnes' "Something Cool" (the June Christy classic) and the Brazilian gem, "No Tomorrow," by Ivan Lins.
"I wanted to do something different with this record," says Monheit, "and so I chose songs that meant a lot to me in many different ways and from a wide range of songwriters and genres - from female artists my age to celebrated legends."
Accompanying Monheit on The Lovers, The Dreamers And Me are long-time Monheit band-members Michael Kanan (piano and Fender Rhodes), Rick Montalbano on drums, and Neal Miner on bass, who were joined on the CD by musicians Peter Bernstein (guitar), Stefon Harris (vibes), Seamus Blake (saxophone), Frank Vignola (guitar), Gil Goldstein (piano, accordion), Romero Lubambo (guitar), Antonio Sanchez (drums), Scott Colley (bass) and Bashiri Johnson on percussion.
TRACK LIST: 1. Like a Star 2. Something Cool 3. Slow Like Honey 4. This Girl's in Love with You 5. I'm Glad There Is You 6. Get Out Of Town 7. I Do It For Your Love 8. I Ain't Gonna Let You Break My Heart able 9. Ballad of the Sad Young Men 10. No Tomorrow 11. Lucky to Be Me 12. A Primeira Vez 13. Rainbow Connection
30TH ANNUAL VINTAGE PAPERBACK COLLECTORS SHOW & SALE!
Sunday March 29, 2009 9am - 4:30pm GUEST HOUSE INN (formerly Mission Hills Inn) 10621 Sepulveda Blvd Mission Hills, CA 91345 (818) 891-1771
Admission - $5 Free Parking
PAPERBACK BOOKS DIGESTS PULPS - MAGAZINES ORIGINAL ART SIGNINGS
GUEST AUTHORS AND ARTISTS: Alan Adler, Karen Anderson, Ann Bannon, Peter Beagle, Ray Bradbury, Gary Brandner, Jon Brean, Stuart Byrne, Louis Charbonneau, Arthur Byron Cover, Dennis Etchison, Laura Freas, Bill George, David Gerrold, Mel Gilden, Tony Gleeson, Donald Glut, Barbara Hambly, Jim Harmon, George Clayton Johnson, Earl Kemp, Bruce Kimmel, Michael Kurland, Mike Lester, Richard Lupoff, Jerry Murray, Larry Maddock, Larry Niven, William F. Nolan, Charles Nuetzel, Patrick O'Connor, Felice Picano, Frederik Pohl, Robert Reginald, Frank Robinson, Harry Turteldove, Stephen Woodworth.
For further information call Tom Lesser at 818.349 3844, or call Black Ace Books at 323.661 5052.
EDITOR DAVID CRANMER FILLS US IN ON BTAP’S LATEST ENTRY ~
When picking year-end ‘Best of’ reviews, many of us tend to forget all the great short stories we’ve read on blogs and e-zines. Last year, I found some sharp, poetic writing on Charles Gramlich’s Razored Zen. Just before Halloween, he opened the floodgates to anyone wishing to leave a horror short and posted several dark tales himself. One in particular, ROADKILL, is still circling in the darker regions of my noggin. We’re grateful Charles was able to carve out a bit of time from his schedule to contribute the hardboiled “Whiskey, Guns, and Sin” for BTAP.
About the Author
Charles Gramlich grew up on an Arkansas farm but moved to the New Orleans area in 1986 to teach psychology at a local university. He's since sold four novels and numerous short stories. His stories, while mostly Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy, have included Westerns, Children's stories, Mainstream, Slipstream, and experimental tales. Charles has also published poetry and nonfiction. He is assistant editor for The Dark Man: The Journal of Robert E. Howard studies, and produces a regular column on writing for The Illuminata, an online newsletter. He lives with his wife in Abita Springs, Louisiana, and has a son named Joshua.
Casino Royale was the first action-packed novel by Ian Fleming, paving the way for 11 more spy novels, and a catalogue of iconic films charting the adventures of secret service agent James Bond.
But it is also the name of the very latest in a line of yachts owned by renowned yachtsman John A. Staluppi -- all of which have been named after one of the Bond tales.
They may well be tributes to 007, but Octopussy, Moonraker, Thunderball and The World is Not Enough are also some of the fastest super-yachts in the world. Octopussy was built in Holland and Moonraker in Norway, both from plans drawn by the innovative Dutch naval architect Frank Mulder, and Thunderball was designed and built by Dennison Yachts in Fort Lauderdale.
To build The World is Not Enough, John created Millennium Superyachts in 1998, a company that will be a vehicle for future builds.
It was the 43.5 meter Octopussy, which broke the 50-knot barrier 18 years ago, that first brought the name of New York-born John Staluppi to the attention of super-yacht aficionados.
The self-made millionaire left school when he was 16 and worked as a mechanic in Brooklyn before going on to start up one of the most successful car dealerships in North America -- a business that enabled him to indulge his passion for racing fast boats, and then later for super-yachts. TO READ MORE CLICK HERE
Diamond-tooth gangsters, Chinese gangs, deadly double crosses, stolen opium shipments, plenty of tommy guns, and of course the flirtatious and sexy girlfriend of the mob boss. This is the world of New York City in the Roaring Twenties. Known for its sinister and treacherous underworld, there's a new power waking up the city that never sleeps. His name...John "The Hand" Smith.
An outcast and an orphan, Smith has a massive right hand nearly twice as large as his left, and when push comes to shove, you'd pity anyone that gets in its way. When a rumble at the docks lands Smith on the local mob boss's payroll, it could be the break he's been waiting for. Along with his quick-witted best friend Bootsy and the martial arts femme fatale Ring-A-Ling, Smith and his crew are taking a big bite outta the Big Apple. But with the Italians wanting him dead and the boss's girl wanting him in her bed, has Smith bitten off more than he can chew?
This collection features issues 1-5 of ED BURNS' DOCK WALLOPER, the acclaimed comic book series of which Variety writes: "If you like Martin Scorsese's films, this is the comic for you."
Not even Agatha Christie was immune to bribery. She sold the serial rights in The Man in the Brown Suit to The Evening Standard for £500 even though they published it under the title she hated: Anna the Adventuress. However, the fee meant she could buy a car...
Agatha Christie was very interested in the Supernatural and to give you a flavour try reading The Pale Horse and Endless Night . HAVE YOU READ THE CHRISTIE PAPERS?
Informed articles by those who love to write about Christie are available with regular additions. Don't forget you can access the archive by clicking on a month on the left hand side bar. Click here to read the Christie Papers
EXERCISING THE LITTLE GREY CELLS!
The answers to all these questions are somewhere on the website - you just have to find them! Correct answers will be given next month. 1 - What were the titles of the first and last novels that Poirot and Hastings both appeared in? 2 - Which real life island provided the setting for And Then There Were None and Evil Under the Sun? 3 - Which Parker Pyne short story was published under the title Siren Business? DECEMBER'S ANSWERS WERE:
1 - Parker Pyne, 2 - Sven Hjerson, 3 - A Caribbean Mystery
DIANA KRALL WEAVES TOGETHER A SENSUOUS BLEND OF BALLADS AND BOSSA NOVAS FOR HER CD ‘QUIET NIGHTS’ OUT MARCH 31ST, 2009 ON VERVE
Verve Records will release Diana Krall’s new album ‘Quiet Nights,’ on March 31st. The romantic album combines Brazilian and west coast jazz styles and features three recordings of songs by bossa nova legend Antonio Carlos Jobim.
‘Quiet Nights’ reunites Krall with arranger Claus Ogerman for the first time since the multi-platinum 2001 album ‘The Look of Love.’ The GRAMMY Award winning pianist and vocalist adds Paulinho Da Costa on percussion to her already outstanding quartet of Anthony Wilson (guitar), John Clayton (bass) and Jeff Hamilton (drums).
Krall co-produced the album with Tommy LiPuma, the tenth time they have worked together, and returned to Capital Studios in Hollywood with Al Schmitt engineering and mixing.
‘QUIET NIGHTS’ TRACK LIST: 1. Where Or When 2. Too Marvelous For Words 3. I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face 4. The Boy From Ipanema 5. Walk On By 6. Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry 7. Este Seu Olhar 8. So Nice 9. Quiet Nights 10. You’re My Thrill
‘Quiet Nights’ is Krall’s 12th album and her first full length studio release since 2006’s ‘From This Moment On.’ That album garnered her a third consecutive Top 10 Billboard 200 chart position as critics deemed “This is Krall at her best.” (Christian Science Monitor, 9.22.06). In 2007 Verve released ‘The Very Best of Diana Krall,’ the first career retrospective of Krall’s music, which featured three previously unreleased songs.
Diana Krall has topped both the pop and jazz charts, played sold-out amphitheatres in multiple countries and sold millions of records worldwide since her debut in 1993. She has proven her genuine talent and credibility as a mold-breaking jazz musician time and time again.
RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY IS OFF TO CONFRONT HIS FINAL JURY. FOR ME RUMPOLE IS ONE OF THE MOST ENDEARING CHARACTERS IN CRIME FICTION ~ SERVED NOT ONLY BY THE NOVELS PENNED BY HIS CREATOR JOHN MORTIMER, BUT ALSO IN LEO MCKERN'S FULFILLMENT OF THE ROLE ON TELEVISION.
MORTIMER MAY BE GONE, BUT RUMPOLE LIVES ON.
John Mortimer, barrister, author, playwright and creator of Horace Rumpole, the cunning defender of the British criminal classes, died on Friday at his home in Oxfordshire, England. He was 85.
His death was confirmed by his agent, Katherine Vile, who said he had been ill for some time.
Mr. Mortimer is known best in this country for creating the Rumpole character, an endearing and enduring relic of the British legal system who became a television hero of the courtroom comedy.
But as a barrister in Britain, Mr. Mortimer came to be known in the 1960s as a defender of free speech and human rights for taking up cases that he said were “alleged to be testing the frontiers of tolerance.” He became a Queen’s Counsel just in time to tackle some of the civil rights cases that arose in Britain in that decade, all the while writing fiction, nonfiction, drama and comedy.
To read Rumpole, or to watch the episodes of the popular television series “Rumpole of the Bailey,” is to enter not only Rumpole’s stuffy flat or crowded legal chambers but also to feel the itch of his yellowing court wig and the flapping of his disheveled, cigar-ash-dusted courtroom gown.
END OF AN ERA: FOLIES TO CLOSE AT TROPICANA! After almost 50 years in Las Vegas, the topless show 'Les Folies Bergere' is closing its doors. Yesterday, the casino executives at Tropicana announced that the show will close on March 28th this year. In its place will be a new undisclosed production.
Folies started in the late 50s and actually came from Paris. It opened under the Tropicana entertainment director at the time, Lou Walters. Yup, Babs Walters father.
Reports are that showgirl performances in Vegas have started to decline due to all the Cirque du Soleil shows dominating the strip.
The closing of Folies also means that Bally's Jubilee show will be the last full-scale showgirl event on the Vegas Strip.
End of an era...
Current Tropicana President Ron Thacker didn't explain the decision in a statement, though he did say the casino is "extremely proud to have been part of such an iconic Las Vegas production.”
INTRODUCING ZACH ROLF, HITTING THE JACKPOT IN SEX AND SLAUGHTER!
A Nickel Jackpot was the first of three paperback originals by J.J. Lamb featuring Zachariah Tobias Rolfe, a gaming consultant out of Las Vegas. Published in the mid-seventies, the term gaming consultant was simply shorthand for a private eye who specializes in the gambling industry.
In previous Forgotten Book posts, I’ve written about the Operation Hang Ten series and The Bodyguard series. Like those series, the Zach Rolfe books are more compelling in their promise than in the actual execution of the writing. They are also seriously dated by their groovy language (Las Vegas’ coolest P.I.) and their promise of wanton sex.
Still, there is something about these series which has kept them on my shelves when other series have made their way to the Friends of the Library bookstore. Like the pulps, it is the whole package which makes them appealing.
If I remember right, J.J. Lamb was active in Mystery Writers of America for a while and was a very nice guy. He loved driving his Porsche, as does his character Zach Rolfe. As a result, some of the best parts of the books are the esoteric driving tips.
The books themselves are actually several cuts above similar fare. The first two books in the series, A Nickel Jackpot and Chinese Straight, were part of Ballentine’s Suspense line. The third book in the series, Loser Takes All, while actually the best of the series, was released by Carlyle – a lower end publishing house known for eye catching covers.
Here’s the back cover and interior page hype for A Nickel Jackpot:
Name: Zachariah Tobias Rolfe Profession: Freelance Snoop Hobbies: Gambling, racing cars, and sex. Pay Scale: High Odds Against Survival: Even Higher
They were playing their cards close to their chests.
Carol – A fantastic creature whose chest was spectacular indeed, and who wouldn’t reveal why she was in such a hurry to get Zach Rolfe into bed.
Carl – A high rolling businessman in a make-or-break casino gamble, who was putting his money and Zach’s life right on the line
Mathis, Stein, and Schulyer – A trio of syndicate tycoons who spend their time playing nickel slot machines in public, and making vicious, bloody, payoffs in private.
Barbra – a liberated young lady who came on like a cheerleader for the sexual revolution , but turned out to be playing the game by her own kinky rules.
Zach Rolfe couldn’t be sure of the plays any of them were making, but he could be certain of one thing : when showdown time came, death would be in the hole.
First came a plea for help from the scared owner of a plush new casino. Next a proposition that couldn’t be turned down from a gorgeous blond shill. Than a vicious beating by a hired goon and his gleeful girlfriend that demanded to be paid back with interest. And suddenly Zach Rolfe was playing a lone hand against an underworld octopus whose tentacles reached from the glitter of the gaming rooms to the soft lights of bedrooms to the deadly darkness of an abandoned gold mine in the legendary Comstock Lode.
You’ll dig the action when Zach Rolfe dices with death – and you’ll look forward to his next jolting adventure.
Lots and lots of cliches in the cover copy, but the books themselves outshine the low class hype – can you dig it?
Orson Scott Card had this to say about a new young adult novel in his weekly Rhinotimes column, Uncle Orson Reviews Everything…
Australian writer Alison Goodman has written an absolutely stunning fantasy novel that deserves a wide readership, among both adults and children.
The trouble is that several curses have been put on the book.
First, there's the title: Eon: Dragoneye Reborn. "Eon" is not a word dealing with a vast passage of time, it's the main character's name. And "Dragoneye Reborn" suggests that this is a sequel to some earlier book.
It isn't a sequel at all. While there will be more books, this is the first in the series.
Who was marketing this? While the title makes perfect sense after reading the book, it's a terrible thing to put in the title, because it makes would-be readers think they've already missed the first book, and since they will never find an earlier "Dragoneye" book by Alison Goodman, a significant number of casual readers will pass it by.
Second, the book was actually released to the public on Dec. 26, 2008.
You do understand, don't you, that this is the worst day on the calendar for release of a novel? Did you go to the bookstore looking for something new to read on the day after Christmas?
OK, yes, I did, but I'm sure we can all agree that I'm odd.
Despite these curses, however, I think this book will do very well – because the curses only affect a book that has no word-of-mouth publicity going for it.
And Eon will have no lack of that, because it's the kind of book that both teenagers and adults will want to press on their friends.
This Brazilian-born, New York-based singer-pianist has spent much of the last two decades minimizing the distance between the jazz and pop of her homeland with that of her adopted country.
A sort of reverse-image companion to 2007's Something for You: Eliane Elias Sings & Plays Bill Evans, Bossa Nova Stories (on Blue Note) seems to approach that stylistic equation from a more distinct angle than is typical for Elias: The new set opens with The Girl From Ipanema, as clear a suggestion as any that we're in for an exercise in roots music.
Yet the appealing result is less straightforward than it first appears; in Elias' view, tradition needn't stifle the will to renovate. Here she refreshes the Gershwins' They Can't Take That Away From Me with a deliciously soft-pedaled groove, while Stevie Wonder's Superwoman gets a tasty piano-bar make-under.
In contrast, Elias envelops some of the Brazilian material, including Desafinado, with lush Old Hollywood string arrangements that emphasize its drama rather than its delicacy.
HOT ON THE HEELS OF PATRICK MCGOOHAN'S PASSING COMES THIS PIECE FROM WIRED ABOUT THE REMAKE OF THE PRISONER . . .
HOLLYWOOD — The Prisoner's bold ambition and cult celebrity earned the '60s show a spot in TV history. Now the creative team rebooting the sci-fi spy classic for the 21st century is hoping to recapture both the dystopian fear and the cultural cachet of the original.
Rather than replicating the source material's essentially British mainframe, the team is going international, in cast, location and geopolitical concern. Instead of juxtaposing totalitarian surveillance society against bright color schemes, ubiquitous marching bands and enforcer balloons called Rovers, the new Prisoner miniseries is striving toward domestic normalcy in a world torn apart by terrorism, technology and the idea that being an individual just isn't what it once was cracked up to be.
"We're all total fans of the original, but we couldn't copy it," producer Trevor Hopkins told a crowd gathered Thursday at the Universal Hilton to preview the new Prisoner for the press. "We wanted to reinterpret it as a thriller. We wanted it to be as unfathomable as the original."
Pulp legend Lester Dent, best known for Doc Savage and many other pulp heroes created during the 1930s, didn’t often venture outside the world of the pulp magazines.
According to the Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers, Dent started to turn his hand to crime fiction in the mid-1940s, selling a hardboiled novel called Cry at Dusk to Gold Medal in 1952. And then, that was it. Dent retired from the pulp and paperback game... until now.
Charles Ardai, somehow, has managed to find an unpublished hardboiled Dent novel called Honey in His Mouth, which Hard Case will publish this October.
Ardai is rapidly becoming a mystery icon for both his efforts as a publisher and for his own novels. He clearly loves his work.
Starz's new series version of Spartacus will be "a totally R-rated-hard-hard show," say producers Rob Tapert and Steven S. DeKnight.
THIS IS REALLY TOO BAD. CAN ANYONE EXPLAIN TO ME HOW “AN ODE TO VIOLENCE ... [WITH] DECAPITATIONS, PEOPLE BEING SPLIT IN HALF” ADDS TO THE ENTERTAINMENT VALUE OF A MOVIE OR SERIES?
The producers say they see an opportunity for an intensely graphic action-drama series in the TV universe. The first draft of the script, they say, was basically “NC-17” in terms of sex and violence and is being toned down – slightly.
“Much like ‘300,’ there will be a visual beauty to the way it is shot,” says showrunner DeKnight. “There’s an ode to violence ... there are decapitations, people being split in half ... we don’t want to shy away form violence or sexuality. The beauty of being on premium cable is there is no story we can’t tell.”
Still, even premium cable has limits, and a separate international version seems likely, producers say, since “American standards and practices are the most severe and draconian of anywhere in the world.”
THEY SAY THAT LIKE IT’S A BAD THING
The 100% green-screen production will “never go outside” and will take its visual cues from the comic-book styling of movies such as “Sin City.” Yet producers agreed they’ll have to find a fresh balance between realism and style, that watching a landscape as severely tricked-out as “300” could be a bit much week after week.
I'LL BE STICKING WITH THE ORIGINAL KIRK DOUGLAS SWORD AND SANDAL EPIC.
LOS ANGELES – Patrick McGoohan, the Emmy-winning actor who created and starred in the cult classic television show "The Prisoner," has died. He was 80.
McGoohan died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a short illness, his son-in-law, film producer Cleve Landsberg, said.
McGoohan won two Emmys for his work on the Peter Falk detective drama "Columbo," and more recently appeared as King Edward Longshanks in the 1995 Mel Gibson film "Braveheart."
But he was most famous as the character known only as Number Six in "The Prisoner," a sci-fi tinged 1960s British series in which a former spy is held captive in a small enclave known only as The Village, where a mysterious authority named Number One constantly prevents his escape.
McGoohan came up with the concept and wrote and directed several episodes of the show, which has kept a devoted following in the United States and Europe for four decades.
Born in New York on March 19, 1928, McGoohan was raised in England and Ireland, where his family moved shortly after his birth. He had a busy stage career before moving to television, and won a London Drama Critics Award for playing the title role in the Henrik Ibsen play "Brand."
He married stage actress Joan Drummond in 1951. The oldest of their three daughters, Catherine, is also an actress.
His first foray into TV was in 1964 in the series "Danger Man," a more straightforward spy show that initially lasted just one season but was later brought back for three more when its popularity — and McGoohan's — exploded in reruns.
Weary of playing the show's lead John Drake, McGoohan pitched to producers the surreal and cerebral "The Prisoner" to give himself a challenge.
The series ran just one season and 17 episodes in 1967, but its cultural impact remains.
He voiced his Number Six character in an episode of "The Simpsons" in 2000. The show is being remade as a series for AMC that premieres later this year.
"His creation of 'The Prisoner' made an indelible mark on the sci-fi, fantasy and political thriller genres, creating one of the most iconic characters of all time," AMC said in a statement Wednesday. "AMC hopes to honor his legacy in our re-imagining of 'The Prisoner.'"
Later came smaller roles in film and television. McGoohan won Emmys for guest spots on "Columbo" 16 years apart, in 1974 and 1990.
He also appeared as a warden in the 1979 Clint Eastwood film "Escape from Alcatraz" and as a judge in the 1996 John Grisham courtroom drama "A Time To Kill."
His last major role was in "Braveheart," in what The Associated Press called a "standout" performance as the brutal king who battles Scottish freedom fighter William Wallace, played by Gibson.
In his review of the film for the Los Angeles Times critic Peter Rainer said "McGoohan is in possession of perhaps the most villainous enunciation in the history of acting."
McGoohan is survived by his wife and three daughters.
Decoder Ring Theatre brings us another case of P.I. Black Jack Justice.
The life of a detective has its ups and downs to be sure. Some might even argue that the downs held a pretty strong grip on the majority. But every so often a client like Midge Crocker opened the door and made it all worthwhile. A girl who was equal parts helpless doe-eyed bunny rabbit and hard, practiced liar. Now all Jack and Trixie had to do was figure out if the too-good to be true story was just that, or if they really were after... The Family Jewels
VULGAR, STINKY GLADIATORS TO RETURN TO ROME'S COLOSSEUM!
If you're in Rome this summer and in need of an outlet for your bloodlust, you're in luck. Gladiators will return to the Colosseum for the first time in 2,000 years, thrilling crowds once again with their depraved acts of violence. Due to liability issues, the modern fighters won't be allowed to kill each other, but they'll hew as close to the original battles as possible, using historically-accurate armor and weapons and fighting with the same techniques used by the combatants of yesteryear.
It's all part of an effort to bring the "sights, sounds, and smells" of ancient Rome to the five million people who visit the Colosseum every year, according to city officials, who told msnbc.com that the violence of these evening battles will be counterbalanced by readings of the poems of Latin writers such as Seneca the Elder (54 B.C. - 39 A.D.). Still, expect plenty of punching, kicking, poking, slicing, and smashing, as the fights are designed to portray an authentic version of history, rather than a sanitized retelling. In the words of the head of archaeology for Rome's city council: "The gladiators themselves were vulgar. They were sweaty, they stank and they swore. Why not show them as they really were?" We think that describes the fake Gladiators who have been harassing tourists outside the Colosseum for years, and if we get to see those guys knocked on their asses, it will be worth the price of admission. A TIP OF THE SHIELD TO BILL CRIDER
BRUCE GROSSMAN HAS A REVIEW OF THIS CRIME NOVEL AT HIS BOOKGASM SITE ~
Mick Callahan is a radio talk show host and psychologist whose friends seem to get into trouble faster then you can say “drug deal gone bad.” ONE OF THE WICKED is Harry Shannon’s third book to feature Callahan, a man who can never turn down a friend when help is needed.
This time, it’s a pal of his nicknamed Bone, a former SEAL who got ripped off on what was to be a quick deal. The major problem is that Bone borrowed half the cash from one of the local mafia biggies who doesn’t want any excuses — just his money. So Bone asks Callahan to look after his mistress while he comes up with the cash. Of course, nothing goes right for anyone, or it would not be a crime novel.
If you remember (or still play) the board game Clue, you know there are nine possible crime scenes. Today’s Lunchtime Quiz at Mental Floss challenges you to name them all in under two minutes. No fair pulling the game out! TO TAKE THE QUIZ CLICK HERE
NEW YORK MAGAZINE BOOK SECTION HAS A GREAT SLIDE SHOW OF THE FIFTY HARD CASE CRIME NOVEL COVERS ALONG WITH A SHORT ARTICLE ~
Entrepreneur and author Charles Ardai has created a tiny time machine, and he’s selling it himself. “It’s a doorway into old New York that you can buy for $7.99,” Ardai says. He’s referring to his new novel, Fifty-to-One, a screwball-noir set 50 years in the past, in the sooty postwar city of boxing broads, mobsters moored at sea, and graveyard horse races—published by Ardai’s own paperback house, Hard Case Crime.
Five years ago, Ardai and writer Max Phillips founded Hard Case Crime in the long-shot effort to revive pulp fiction of the fifties. Phillips exited early, but Ardai persevered, printing lost classics by the likes of Lawrence Block and the (now much-missed) Donald E. Westlake, plus new titles by Domenic Stansberry, the team of Ken Bruen and Jason Starr, even noir neophyte Stephen King. Subscription sales have kept Ardai in the black, and Fifty-to-One, the landmark 50th book from Hard Case Crime, is a reward for loyal readers. In spinning his vintage yarn—a dame in distress must claw her way through the city’s underbelly to beat the mob—the ever-assiduous Ardai takes great pains to weave in the mythos of golden-age detective fiction
Just out – and a must for every mystery fan – is a comprehensive and lavishly illustrated A-Z guide from Russell James: Great British Fictional Detectives, featuring over four hundred Great British Detectives, and highlighting their characteristics, books, TV appearances and films.
It’s a little late, but here’s a list of films I enjoyed in 2008, along with some other dubious honors ~
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE Hands down the best film, best director, and best screenplay of the year. Nothing else come close to touching this amazing film. I was swept away by its story, by the film’s structure, and by the performances – especially those of the youngest actors. A true accomplishment. Warner Bros. has got to be kicking its own corporate butt for turning down the American distribution rights. As a result, this film is only playing on the art theatre circuit. Make the effort to find where it is playing and go, now. The only film I have seen in years in a sold out theatre.
MONGOL A major epic with stunning cinematography. Genghis Kahn, a love story – who knew? A terrific screenplay, with wonderful set pieces. One of the best foreign films I’ve ever seen.
DOUBT Perfect casting, a pitch perfect script, and a film you will argue about with everyone with whom you see it. Doubt pulls off an intense story while leaving much to the discerning viewer’s opinion of the events. For me – Phillip Seymour Hoffman is as guilty as sin.
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON A curiously languid, yet involving experience. A two hour and forty minute movie that never lags. Brad Pitt proves again he is the real deal as an actor and not just a pretty boy gossip machine.
GRAN TORINO This feature is more than simply Dirty Harry in retirement, but it does not rise to the level of Million-Dollar Baby – even though Eastwood does a great job as director and star. Some people are surprised by the ending, but I saw it coming from the very beginning. As a result, I needed more to raise the film from the level of good to great. The screenplay needed another pass to bump up the impact – adding more to the final role played by the Hmong community.
FLAWLESS This little British gem of a caper film set at the end of the ‘60s may not be flawless, but it’s close. Michael Caine delivers his usual exemplary performance, this time as a janitor at the London Diamond Exchange with an ax to grind. As an executive at the Exchange, Demi Moore has an ax of her own. Together, they keep us on the edge of our seats, especially when the twist in the tail hits at the end of the second act. I’m not particularly a Demi Moore fan, but in this film she shows her acting chops as many of the scenes need her to emote silently – which she pulls off without going over the top.
APPOLOSA Brought to the screen by actor/director Ed Harris from the Robert Parker novel, this movie doesn’t add anything new to the western genre, but it does remind us why we used to love westerns. Character driven, beautifully filmed, and completely involving.
TELL NO ONE This French adaption of a Harlan Coben thriller does exactly what it should – thrill. You have to watch closely as everything, every scene, is connected despite initial appearances. A thoroughly enjoyable cinematic experience.
FIREPROOF An unashamedly Christian movie about turning to God to strengthen marriage. What is most surprising are the top notch cinematic values, acting performances, and tight script. Far from the embarrassment of most films in this genre. Catch the video.
TWILIGHT Best novel to screen adaption I’ve seen in a long while. If you’re a fan of the book, you’ll enjoy the film. If you have no idea what the fuss is about, you’ll still probably enjoy the film if you can put yourself in the collective mind of its target audience.
FOREVER STRONG A cool sports film featuring Rugby. As much about individual values as sports, this is a traditional sports movie enjoyed by fans of the genre, but won’t reach much beyond.
GHOST TOWN I’m not a fan of Ricky Gervais’ character from the British version of The Office, but here he pulls off a humorously controlled performance that had me chuckling all the way through the film. A solid comedy, with a couple of twists you won’t see coming.
THE CHROINICALS OF NARNIA ~ PRINCE CASPIAN A beautifully filmed sequel that lives up to the promise of its predecessor. A family action film that truly works for all generations. I was very disappointed to hear Disney has dropped its support for further sequels. Hopefully a new home for the remainder of the stories can be found.
HAPPY-GO-LUCKY A quirky slice of life film featuring a self-aware heroine who will let nothing get her down. A pitch perfect performance by Sally Hawkins in director Mike Leigh’s most upbeat film.
IRONMAN The most fun superhero film in recent memory. It is really the humor that sets this film apart from its contemporaries. The special effects and other cinematic qualities are top notch, but the entertainment value is where this film sets the standard.
BOTTLE SHOCK Alan Rickman is perfectly cast in this enjoyably low key film in the sort-of true story of the laid-back California wine industry taking out the French in a blind taste test. Rickman carries the film on his broad comedic shoulders, giving us Snape’s alcoholic, clueless, brother.
OTHER FILMS I ENJOYED:
STEP UP 2 THE STREETS I’m a sucker for any dance film, but this sequel to 2006’s Step Up pulls off the rare accomplishment of being better than the original. There is little basis in reality here, but who cares – my world was rocked for a couple of hours.
VALKYRIE Better than the reviews suggested, I enjoyed this film despite knowing the historical outcome. “They all die at the end,” has been used as a humorous family catch phrase around the Bishop hacienda for generations – when applied to Valkyrie it’s true.
KUNG-FU PANDA I laughed my butt off and had a great time. An entertaining animated film that works on both adult and kid levels. Jack Black was perfect voice/personality casting. A fun film all around.
THE BANK JOB I’ll watch just about anything with Jason Statham in it – even when he only gets to punch out one guy during the course of the movie. Couple Statham with a caper film, and I’m first in line for a ticket. This little British caper flick, based on a true story and a few assumptions, has its moments, but not as many as Flawless.
LEATHERHEADS I’m a sucker for sports films and screwball comedies. This isn’t great film making, but I had fun while it lasted.
GET SMART A better than average remake, which is actually saying a lot when comparing this film to the disasterous track records of most remakes (I Spy, Wild Wild West, etc.). This is not Don Adams’ Get Smart, and probably better for it. Not a perfect film, but an amusing one.
WANTED The best pure action film of the year. I enjoyed this probably more than I should have, but I thought it kicked ass. There is pervasive language and violence, but the action and twists sweep you along to the over the top conclusion. I loved every second of it, and will probably burn in hell for doing so.
HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 3 A movie-for-television brought to the big screen, but enjoyable if you’re capable of channeling your inner pre-teen.
YES MAN For Jim Carrey fans only. This lightweight comedy barely makes the grade due to a gross out sex scene, but is eventually reprieved by a climax that fits perfectly, but comes right out of left field. Also, like Ironman, it’s worth sticking around for an additional scene in the middle of the final credits.
QUANTUM OF SOLACE I’ve written in detail in prior posts about my disappointment in this blockbuster. I’ll simply recap here by saying this is not a James Bond film and should be removed from the Bond canon. It made a lot of money because of Casino Royale, not because it was a good film. Daniel Craig is the best Bond since Connery – partly because he is the least like Connery – but he is wasted in this car crash of a film. Worst ever Bond soundtrack. Worst ever Bond theme song. Worse ever Bond villian. Worst ever Bond villian’s headquarters. Most confusing Bond chase scenes ever. Most delayed use of the Bond gunbarrel logo. Least humor of any Bond film. Flimsiest excuse for a plot of any Bond film. Should I go in?
THE DARK KNIGHT And the award for darkest, most sadistic, assault on your senses of the past year goes to . . . The Dark Knight. Heath Ledger’s performance stands out a mile in this otherwise useless waste.
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL Everyone connect to this film should be drawn and quartered. So stupid, it stopped being fun after the first five minutes. I’d rather stick a needle in my eye than sit through this travesty ever again.
WORST MOVIES OF THE YEAR:
AUSTRALIA Two and a half hours of my life I will never get back. My wife will watch anything with Hugh Jackman in it. She liked this film, but from now on, we’re sticking to X-Men and Wolverine.
SOUL MEN A potentially truly funny, entertaining, clever film destroyed by crude pervasive language and cruder sex. I really wanted to like this film, but every time it appeared to be getting on track, some tasteless joke or other vulgarity knocked it off course again.
WALL-E This film infuriated me. The first half was exemplary film making. The second half, like 2007’s Happy Feet, ambushes the viewer with liberal, ecological, claptrap. Just kill me now.
STILL TO SEE:
DEFIANCE THE WRESTLER THE READER CADILLAC RECORDS FROST / NIXON MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY YOUNG @ HEART MAN ON A WIRE TRAITOR THE EXPRESS
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Get upset if you're too busy to talk to them for a week. POLICE FRIENDS: Are glad to see you after years, and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having the last time you met.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry. POLICE FRIENDS: Have cried with you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back. POLICE FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.. POLICE FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing. POLICE FRIENDS: Will kick the crowds' ass that left you behind.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are for a while. POLICE FRIENDS: Are for life.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have shared a few experiences. .. POLICE FRIENDS: Have shared a lifetime of experiences no citizen could ever dream of...
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you've had enough. POLICE FRIENDS: Will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, 'You better drink the rest of that before you spill it!' Then carry you home safely and put you to bed...
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will talk crap to the person who talks crap about you. POLICE FRIENDS: Will knock them the hell out for using your name in vain.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will ignore this. POLICE FRIENDS: Will nod their heads in agreement.
Welcome comrades. My name is Svetlana Vladimirovna Slutskaya, and I am a real Russian agent. This is a new album from Spy-Fi. They made a collection of songs for you to listen to while you finish your espionage work. They call this song Black Tie Spy.
You may think that this is referencing that British man James Bond. No, this Black Tie Spy is entirely female and has everything to prove it. Look at the cover; I don't even have to explain.
Have fun listening to songs like Perry Mason Theme, you remember, he is that capitalist lawyer that always wins because he makes his witnesses confess.
But that's not important. If you want more information about Spy-Fi go to www.spy-fi.com
THE STORY OF BLACK TIE SPY
Black Tie Spy [BTS] is the latest CD offering from Spy-Fi, Cleveland, Ohio’s spy-detective band. With the band’s first two releases (2004), “Music for Spies, Thighs and Private Eyes Volumes 1 and 2”, Spy-Fi concentrated on interpreting classic spy and detective themes.
This time Spy-Fi gathered a collection of original compositions interspersed with select cover tunes. Those covers include a wide variety of styles and influences, not necessarily from the spy-detective genre. They include the classic Perry Mason Theme by Fred Steiner, Rumble by Link Wray, Apache by the Shadows and Wave by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Also included is a snippet of Edvard Grieg’s Anitra’s Dance from Peer Gynt.
The album is organized around the diverse moods and moments one might encounter in a movie soundtrack. Finished thematic ideas are separated by short song sketches which then segue back into more produced and finished tracks. Some tracks also include spoken word segments in Russian, which lend to the air of mystery and intrigue that one may find in a spy saga.
The album is named after its opening track; a collaboration between Spy-Fi and Vic Flick. Mr. Flick is best known for his contributions to the original James Bond Theme and 11 other James Bond soundtracks. Together they have penned Black Tie Spy. Spy-Fi is honored to have Vic involved with the CD and Vic plays guitar on the title track.
At face value, a Black Tie Spy might suggest a male James Bond type character in the usual tuxedo and black tie. But as one can see on the CD cover, all is not what it seems. This Black Tie Spy is a woman, and she means business – and says so in Russian throughout the CD.
The alluring woman is none other than Kay O’Hara; who hails from Hamilton, Ontario Canada. Kay is a successful pinup model who is involved with a variety of modeling work and was happy to be involved with the new Spy-Fi project. The great Russian vocals were provided by Alla Agafonov, a good friend of Spy-Fi.
Recently Spy-Fi underwent some personnel changes due to the relocation of its drummer and keyboard player. Bob Yeager, the drummer, moved to Austin, Texas in 2006 and Scott Anderson, the keyboard player, moved to Naples, Florida in 2007. They are still contributing to the overall effort, but distance has obviously limited their involvement on a day-to-day basis. Both Tom Pervanje and Mick Zofcin are still in the Cleveland area and are included on the CD.
A number of other local musicians were invited to sit in and assist BTS:
Bill Capuano, from Blue Taxi, contributed a number of guitar tracks including leads and rhythm. In addition, he and Tom Pervanje penned “Memory Burn”, a track previously included on the Deep Eddy Records compilation, “Big Wave Rider”.
Hank Levine, the very first drummer for Spy-Fi, has a big presence on this album. His contributions to the jazzier themes are just what the tunes needed.
Other musicians include mandolinist Bob Rericha from the Knights Tempo, drummer Denny Melreit from Code Blue and drummer Bob Capuano from Blue Taxi. Bob Capuano is the drummer on Apache. Sadly, Bob passed away on October 29, 2007. This version of Apache is his last recorded work. He was an outstanding human being and this tune is included as a tribute to him. His brother Bill Capuano provides the soaring lead guitar work on the track.
The album has a total of 20 tracks, running for almost 48 minutes. There is a great variety of moods and themes ranging from spy to surf and from Latin to jazz. It is intended to be listened to in its entirety. We hope that you enjoy this latest offering, and thank you for your continued support of Spy-Fi.