It’s a fire sale at a Books-a-Million that led me to Henry Rollins. I found an audiobook of Get in the Van, his stories from his time with Black Flag. It was on cassette, even. (Kids, ask your parents.) I discovered that Rollins had what would later be used to describe John Wick–“sheer fuckin’ will”–and I have admired that ever since. From there, it only made sense to see him live on stage with a microphone, talking instead of shouting.
If you have never seen Rollins give one of his spoken word shows, I advise you: I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It’s part storytelling, part stand up comedy, part travelogue and part “meeting down at the docks.” If you only knew Rollins from his time in Black Flag or Rollins Band, you might not ever know that the guy is funny as hell. Not to mention inquisitive, well-read and owner of a well-used passport.
There are many questions I have pondered during my sojourn. Some of them are new, such as “Why was there never a Scooby-Doo Movie where they teamed up with P-Funk?” Some of them are as old as time. Okay, maybe not that old. But this one dates back to the time of Heraclitus.
Rejoice! You have survived 2017! All the natural disasters, all the important people whipping their dick out without permission, and all the bat shittiness from the Orange Julius Caesar. You’re still here. So relax, have a glass of eggnog, and watch a holiday classic. Like The Thin Man, Die Hard, or even Batman Returns. I’m currently waiting for Krampus for our usual round of reindeer games. I’m making some birch switches and Krampus is bringing his manacles. He’s a traditionalist but I’m sure he’ll some of the other… devices I have in store. A silver lining to this year being so evil, it gives Krampus more energy and stamina. He likes it when I wear some scent, especially since we get all sweaty from all the naughty naughty things we do. I’d tell you but Widge gets all sensitive and prudish. So I will tell you about the scents that Black Phoenix offering this Yule season for when you kiss (or other amorous act) Santa Claus. He could use some attention too.
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the third title featured below. The opinions I share are my own.
Starting with its premiere feature film Castle in the Sky in 1986, Studio Ghibli has enjoyed decades of producing highly popular anime feature films, including The Cat Returns, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, The Secret World of Arrietty, Spirited Away, and the highly celebrated Princess Mononoke, which marks the twentieth anniversary of its release this year. Castle in the Sky follows the adventures of a young boy and girl as they try to protect a magic crystal and find a mysterious floating island all while dealing with pirates, a group of military agents, and a weapon of mass destruction, among other challenges. Another adventuresome pair appear in Princess Mononoke, which tells the story of an unlikely partnership between a cursed prince (Ashitaka) and a feral girl (San / Princess Mononoke) as they join forces in an attempt to stop the destruction of the wild lands. Now out from Viz Media are hardcover picture books of Castle in the Sky and Princess Mononoke, which feature the stories from the films presented in a family-friendly oversized hardcover format along with easy-to-read text and full-color pictures from the films themselves. Both publications are currently on Amazon: the Castle in the Sky Picture Book (112 pages) is available for $13.59 and the Princess Mononoke Picture Book (232 pages) is available for $20.39.
Out now on 4K Blu-ray are the first four Transformers films, each in a 3-disc combo pack which includes a digital copy and a host of extras. Transformers (2007) features audio commentary from director Michael Bay, a Transformers Heads Up Display, and featurette compilations “Our World” (exploring the world of Transformers), “Their World” (examining the Autobots and Decepticons), and “More than Meets the Eye” (a look inside the desert attack scene, including concept boards), along with some Easter eggs. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) boasts an audio commentary by Michael Bay, Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman along with deleted and alternate scenes, Easter eggs, and multiple featurettes (including “Deconstructing Visual Bayhem” with commentary by pre-vis supervisor Steve Yamamoto, “25 Years of Transformers”, and “The Matrix of Marketing”, among many others. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) doesn’t have the audio commentary or Easter eggs featured in the previous two sets but does include multiple featurettes— notable among them are “Above and Beyond: Exploring Dark of the Moon”, “Uncharted Territory: NASA’s Future Then and Now”, and “The Art of Cybertron.” Rounding out the release is Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), which (like Transformers: Dark of the Moon) doesn’t have audio commentary, Easter eggs, or alternate and deleted scenes. Extras on this one include the behind-the-scenes special “Evolution with Extinction: The Making of Transformers: Age of Extinction” along with some featurettes about the design of the film and the action sequences. You can find the Blu-ray 4K Combo sets of Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, andTransformers: Age of Extinctionon Amazon for $19.99 each.
No, not a hallucination. Not an alternate reality. It’s the 33rd day of 32 Days of Halloween, because it’s Thanksgiving, which I celebrate as 2nd Halloween. Trust me, it’s therapeutic. For our opening salvo of goodness, we have an episode of the anthology series Telephone Time from 1958. It stars Boris Karloff and if Wikipedia is right (which it always is) then this was a back door pilot for the never-broadcast Karloff-hosted The Veil. This is “The Vestris.”
So today marks an American tradition. Not only is it the day that we celebrate everything that we’re thankful for by stuffing ourselves with ridiculous amounts of food but it’s the official start of a holiday season filled with family, family discord and other sources of unnecessary stress. (Please note: I realize you probably started seeing Xmas directions back in July, but I’m talking about the official start.)
Three Halloweens is my own particular way of dealing with this mayhem. Thanks to this brilliant suggestion by The Oatmeal, instead of being said that Halloween disappears November 1st, I have two more Halloweens to look forward to! It has saved my sanity. I hope it helps you as well.
If you’re someone who enjoys period foreign films, you’ll be excited to hear that The Sissi Collection starring Romy Schneider is now out (for the first time in a Blu-ray set) from Film Movement. Throughout the trilogy, Schneider portrays Princess Elisabeth (“Sissi”) of Austria, whose 44-year reign from 1854-1898 made her the longest serving Empress in the country’s history. The collection includes the three titular Sissi films directed by Ernst Marischka (and produced almost exactly one hundred years after Elisabeth became Empress): Sissi (1955) Sissi: The Young Empress (1956), and Sissi: The Fateful Years of the Empress (1957). All three films have been restored in 2K and are presented in both 16:9 widescreen and the original theatrical full screen aspect ratios. As a special bonus, the collection also features the 1962 film Forever My Love (a condensed version of the Sissi trilogy dubbed into English and originally released by Paramount Pictures) and the 1954 film Victoria in Dover (where Schneider stars as Princess Victoria of Britain).
Bonus content also includes “From Romy to Sissi” (a 20-minute behind-the-scenes featurette) and “Sissi’s Great-Grandson at the Movies” (an excerpt from the documentary film Elisabeth: Enigma of an Empress). In addition, the five-disc set is presented with a twenty-page collector’s booklet, which includes a new essay by critic Farran Smith Nehme. It is important to be aware that the trilogy of Sissi films (along with Forever My Love and Victoria in Dover) were already released as a DVD set back in 2007, so be aware before purchasing for your home library or a gift that the main difference between the two releases content-wise is the “Sissi’s Great-Grandson at the Movies” feature and the collector’s booklet (the previous set was also only available in DVD format). The new release of The Sissi Collection is currently available on Amazon with the DVD set priced at $39.99 and the Blu-ray set at $48.42.
I don’t know if I should be worried or impressed that the bunny is scarier
I’m getting worried about our dear leader, Widgett Walls. I sent him a email saying my post about the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Halloween perfumes would be late, he said I have pretty of time because we’re coming up on Second Halloween. I spent like a half an hour trying to remind him that it’s actually Thanksgiving. He has taken The Oatmeal’s suggestion WAY too seriously. I know the last couple of years haven’t been easy but I am concerned. Mostly that I might have to take over if Widge “takes a vacation” and I don’t need that kind of pressure.
(Widge’s Note: Too Seriously? He has NO idea… Moohoohahaha.)
Disclaimer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment requests we note that it provided a free copy of the first two titles featured below. The opinions I share are my own.
In a time when Artificial Intelligence has gone from science fiction to a viable business tool, “Westworld” is an immersive fantasy role-playing game where guests have the opportunity to explore the best and worst sides of themselves without moral or legal consequence— as far as they know. Based on the 1973 Michael Crichton film of the same name, the HBO series features an awards-laden cast led by Oscar winner Sir Anthony Hopkins, Golden Globe winner Ed Harris, Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Evan Rachel Wood, and Golden Globe nominee Thandie Newton. Westworld: Season One is now available on 4K Blu-ray, regular Blu-ray, and DVD. The 4K and regular Blu-ray sets also include a collectible booklet that mimics a corporate guidebook for new Westworld employees and the 4K is housed in a special limited-edition tin. All three formats boast a wide array of bonus features, including featurettes about the main title sequence, the symbolism of the player piano and Ramin Djawadi’s score, Artificial Intelligence, and the Westworld set. Additional extras include a behind-the-scenes look at the first week of filming, examinations of key scenes from the season, an audio commentary on the season’s final episode by the co-creators and showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, and a gag reel. Amazon and iTunes both offer the season digitally (for $38.99 and $32.99, respectively), with Amazon including the Westworld Comic-Con panel and season trailer and iTunes including no bonus features. If the (almost two hours of) bonus features are important to you, though, the best option is still getting the season in disc format— on Amazon you can get the 4k Blu-ray set for $44.99, the regular Blu-ray set for $36.99, and the DVD set for $34.99.