Friday, May 13, 2016

First trailer for Neil Gaimin's "Likely Stories"


Neil Gaiman's Likely Stories is a unique collection of extraordinary short stories from the pen of Neil Gaiman, starring a host of British acting talent led by Tom Hughes, Johnny Vegas, George MacKay, Rita Tushingham and Kenneth Cranham.

Hear a BBC Radio 4 documentary about the simultaneous release 50 years ago of "Pet Sounds" and "Blonde on Blonde"

Listen here.

On Monday 16th of May, 1966 two of the greatest albums of all time were released. Through archive, interviews and music from The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, we tell the story of the music from that momentous day.

For the American music lover, the two albums would come to shape music history. Blonde on Blonde is considered Bob Dylan's magnum opus, while Pet Sounds is The Beach Boys' epic journey into the musical mind of Brian Wilson.

Fifty years on, we hear from those who remember that day - musicians who worked on the albums, and teenagers who saved up to buy the records but had a choice to make, Pet Sounds or Blonde on Blonde.

We hear of two lovers who danced in the kitchen to Pet Sounds. Wouldn't it Be Nice played as they talked of the future. On that day in 1966, Bob Dylan was playing in Sheffield, one of his forty or so worldwide shows. One Dylan fan remembers it like it was yesterday. The next day Dylan would play Manchester and be called "Judas".

One day, two musical visions.

Pop Culture Roundup: Marvel bumper stickers; Gil Kane; Stan Lee

Via Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool: Marvel bumper stickers.


Via Diversions of the Groovy Kind: Gil Kane original art.


Stan Lee's daughter, J.C., has penned a comic-style book about her parents' nearly seven-decade marriage.
Filled with never-before-seen, black-and-white and captioned family photos, Lee's book, which took three years to complete, gives fans unprecedented access into the lives of this mostly private family, headed by the creator of such popular Marvel Comics titles as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, X-Men, and Captain America, whose film sequel Captain America: Civil War has already raked in approximately 200 million in box office opening weekend.

"It was difficult, because we didn't take photos as much back then, so there weren't very many to choose from," she says. "But just through going through them and ages and dogs, I found the flow. It's like decorating a room, where once you start, the room tells you. You don't tell it. But I have to credit it to The Man Upstairs. I would not be able to do any of this without Him. I'm just a vehicle."

New Music Friday: Allen Toussaint; Corrine Bailey Rae; New Order

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Meanwhile in 1966 ... Modesty Blaise: The movie!

See more at Pop '66!

Comic art: Alex Toth original splash page "The Loveliest of All"

Pop Stuff: Captain America - Civil War

"Captain America: Civil War" may be the most Marveliest Marvel movie to date.

With it's cinematic universe firmly established, Marvel can now tell stories much like it's always done in the comics - by leaping straight into the action and catching up newcomers with exposition delivered between the punches.

That's just with "Civil War" does. There are no tedious re-hashings of previous movies or, God forbid, origin stories. Marvel knows that the masses have already seen the movies, or can catch up if they need to. We're all True Believers now.

Just as in a good Marvel Comic, Cap's new epic includes lots of costumed folks popping up - some by surprise - and joining in the action. There's plenty of humor and brief interactions that remind us of different relationships and move them forward.

While no individual hero gets a ton of alone time on screen, including Cap, no one is short-changed. Each member of this huge cast is unique in his/her powers and personality - not just another cardboard character.

Highlights include the introduction of Black Panther and - sorry, it's already been spoiled - Spider-Man, along with Ant-Man's first interaction with the Avengers. I was left wanting to see more of all three characters, particularly Tom Holland's Spider-Man.

Finally, a real teen is playing Peter Parker (though Marisa Tomei's casting as Aunt May makes me feel ancient). He's instantly likeable and electrifies each scene he's in, even those in which he's most likely just a bunch of CGI code swinging on a CGI web.

Chadwick Boseman delivers an understated performance as the Black Panther, very dignified and appropriately royal. He's a much-different superhero than we've seen on screen before and I think the first Black Panther film is full of promise.

It's cool, too, how the different fighting styles of each hero are all faithfully depicted in the film: Cap leaps into dynamic two-footed, Kirby-esque high kicks, shield on his back, while Black Panther's movements are sleek and silent and Spidey glides acrobatically through the action It all underscores the impression of a comic book come to life.

The focus of this movie is on bringing in the second wave Marvel movie heroes and introducing them to the old-timers. And of which is so much fun that it's fairly easy to forgive the plot, which isn't much different from the previous Captain America film. He's fighting, and trying to protect, his pal Bucky, who's become a brainwashed assassin. What's new is that now everyone is part of the fight, which has split the Avengers into two factions, one led by Cap, the other by Iron Man.

But after all those characters engage in battle, the last third of the movie gets a bit lackluster. We're left missing Spidey and the rest, and end up counting down the minutes until Cap and Iron Man, sort of resolve things, and finally the TWO inevitable post-credits scenes.

Still, it's all highly entertaining and, like I said, leaves you eager to see what's next.

New on DVD and Blu-ray: Deadpool; Where to Invade Next; Scream

Click the links to order discounted DVDs or Blu-rays from Amazon.