Thursday, July 12, 2018

First "official" image from the Shazam movie

Unfortunately this is just further confirmation this is going to be Curse of Shazam: The Movie.

In the Entertainment Weekly interview, director David Sandberg mentions the costume's shorter cape, as if that is the thing that will keep us long time Captain Marvel fans happy and quiet: “It makes him feel a bit more Golden Age superhero, which is the vibe I’m going for.”  And yet everything else, so far, appears to be ripped directly from the New52 reboot, which the majority of long time Captain Marvel fans detest.

The first teaser trailer will be released next week.  It is going to have to be ... well, marvelous, to win me over.

UPDATE:  a second official photo has been released, also featuring Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer, confirming a thought I had when it was revealed the talented Grazer was cast as Freddy, while lightweight Disney Channel personality Asher Angel was cast as Billy: Freddy is going to get a lot more screen time than Billy.
And a new photo for the cover of EW, which is cringe worthy of where this movie is going.

Friday, June 15, 2018

D.J. Fontana, R.I.P.

Dominic Joseph "D.J." Fontana, Elvis Presley's long time drummer, passed away on June 13, 2018 at the age of 87. The trio of Elvis, Scotty Moore, and Bill Black met D.J. during their year-plus stint on the Louisiana Hayride radio program, where D.J. was a staff drummer.  He joined the group, which was informally known as "the Blue Moon Boys", and continued to play with Elvis until 1968.  Arguably the first rock 'n roll drummer, one of his best known drum fills is from Hound Dog.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, let perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Review: Three Stooges Slaptastic Special

The latest issue of American Mythology's series of Three Stooges one-shots is once again by the standard team of writer S.A. Check and artists Brian and Brendan Fraim.  The first story has the Stooges entering the world of virtual reality. Even though it includes a cameo by Shemp, this type of "modernizing the Stooges" formula just does not work, and this story falls flat.  The second story has the boys as window washers on a skyscraper, and fares much better.  This story is classic, entertaining, and funny.   The issue's third story is a vintage reprint written and drawn by Moe's son-in-law Norman Mauer, featuring Shemp as the third Stooge, and is top notch. Overall, this issue earns a B-.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Shazam! wraps filming

Director David F. Sandberg announced filming on Shazam! has ended on May 11, 2018.  He also seemed somewhat confused as to why an official photo of Captain... Shazam has not yet been released.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

The Columbia "Blondie" film series

Recently, Turner Classic Movies aired the first six Blondie movies. Starring Arthur Lake as Dagwood, Penny Singleton as Blondie, Larry Simms as Baby Dumpling and Jonathan Hale as Mr. Dithers, these high quality films are a cornerstone of the family sitcom genre, and hold up very well, with classic comedy that is as funny today as it was in the 1930s and 40s.   It was great to see them on television again, but I'm disappointed TCM aired the edited TV prints. When AMC aired the Blondie film series about 15 years ago (back when AMC was an alternative to TCM and likewise didn't air commercials), many of the films were restored with the original Columbia titles and a couple minutes of footage edited out of the TV prints.

I hope Sony Pictures (Columbia's parent company) and King Features (or its parent company Hearst) will team up to restore all 28 Blondie movies to their original state, with the Columbia titles and missing footage restored, and release it in HD in a Blu-ray box set.

Icing on the cake would be to include bonus discs of all the episodes of the two short lived Blondie TV series from 1957 and 1968. The former with Arthur Lake reprising his role as Dagwood and Pamela Britton taking over the role of Blondie, included 27 episodes plus a pilot filmed in 1954 with Hal Leroy as Dagwood.
The latter was in color, and starred Will Hutchins as Dagwood, Patricia Hardy as Blondie, Jim Backus as Mr. Dithers, Pamelyn Ferdin as daughter Cookie, and had Bruce Lee as a guest star in one episode.  Only 14 episodes were produced.

And perhaps some extra bonus features could be Meet The Family, Arthur Lake's own 1954 Blondie-inspired pilot co-starring his real life wife and kids, and may be a few of Lake's silent two-reel shorts from the 1920s.

You can voice support for such a project by emailing Hearst/King Features at
and Sony/Columbia at

Friday, April 27, 2018


Avengers: Infinity War is an epic event, but what it is not is a true Avengers movie. Captain America: Civil War was more of an Avengers movie.  What this movie accomplishes is being the cinematic equivalent of a comic book multi-title cross over story arc. What directors Anthony and Joe Russo have done is capture each of the individual franchises' tone for the segments featuring those characters. The segments featuring Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy feel like they were directed by James Gunn.  The segments featuring Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Dr. Strange feel like they were directed by Jon Watts or Scott Derrickson.  But unlike Justice League, where the clash of styles of Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon caused a disconnect, Infinity War still holds together, and builds upon the diversity of styles, much like a multi-title cross over comic book arc does with different creative teams on each title building to the singular plot line.

The plot line here, is of Thanos, who bears more than a passing resemblance to pro-wrestler Kurt Angle, collecting the various infinity stones for his gauntlet for the purpose of wiping out half of existence. Truth be told, that's established in the first half of the movie, while the second half is one big battle royal across different locations.  At times, Infinity War starts to look more like a video game than a movie, with all the excessive CGI, as Justice League and the third act of Wonder Woman did, but over all, the Russos pull it off better than their DC counterparts. Still, it would be nice to have a superhero movie that does not feel the need to turn into a video game for the climax.

The large cast gives nearly everyone at least a few seconds to shine (the only ones not attending are Ant-Man, Hawkeye, the Agents of Shield and the Netflix heroes), but the characters that get the most screen time are Thor, the Guardians, Iron Man, Dr. Strange, Spider-Man, Bruce Banner, and of course Thanos.  The one character that I thought that got the short end of the stick is Captain America.  Despite one cool bit that is really a Batman rip off of Steve Rogers appearing seemingly from out of nowhere under cover of a passing train, he has little to do other than to lead his team of heroes into battle for the second half's mega fight scene.  After all the previous films where Steve dominates, its weird to have him pushed into the background for this go round.  The Scarlet Witch gets to have the most emotional role, and surprisingly the comedy, which has moved to the forefront in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and the Guardians movies, is reined in to a certain extent this time. But then again, there is the running gag of Thor constantly referring to Rocket as a rabbit- perhaps a House of Mouse dig at Bugs Bunny?  There are some deaths of significant characters, and the movie ends on a cliffhanger to be continued in the next Avengers movie due one year from now. This conforms to the original reports that it would be a two-part film, although the Russos later denied this claiming the third and fourth Avengers movies would be separate installments. Infinity War is a satisfactory ten year milestone for the MCU.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The role Zachary Levi was born to play (and it ain't Captain Marvel)

The comic character Zachary Levi was born to play is not Captain Marvel (or, more accurately, the inferior New52 Shazam, which is the character that will be used in the movie instead of Captain Marvel).... the role Levi was born to play is..... Dagwood Bumstead!

Just compare him to Arthur Lake, who played Dagwood in Columbia Pictures' long running Blondie film series, the simultaneous radio program, and reprised the role for a short lived TV sitcom in 1957.

So now, the thing I want to see most is not for there to be Shazam! sequels, but rather for Levi to be cast as Dagwood in a new Blondie movie, preferably opposite Brittany Daniel, who is a Penny Singleton look alike.
In fact, if and when I see Shazam!, every time Levi appears on screen, I may just see Dagwood Marvel.