Heroes Walk Amoung Us

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What a great time to be a fan of superheroes! In any year having both Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Captain America: Civil Wars would be more than enough. But 2016 also has  X-Men: Apocalypse as well as Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles: Out Of The Shadows and Dr. Strange.

As a lifelong fan of comic books the last several years have been phenomenal and the future is looking even more so. Tonight I am going to see Batman v Superman. While I am watching the movie CBS will be airing Supergirl which will be featuring a crossover with The CW’s Flash!!! How cool is that!

At some point this superhero craze will slow down. With DC Comics heroes finally emerging the craze should continue a bit longer. In the meantime I will continue to watch and enjoy all of the great superhero movies and television shows with a huge grin on my face.

Bird Of Prey: A Show Ahead Of It’s Time

I just finished watching the first, and only, season of The Birds Of Prey on dvd. Loosely based on the DC Comics series of the same name the show originally aired on The WB network from late 2002 to early 2003. Being a lifelong comic book fan, I am not sure why I skipped the show when it originally aired. But apparently a lot of fans bypassed the show since it was cancalled after only 13 episodes.

Watching The Birds Of Prey in 2016 it is apparent that the show was ahead of it’s time. With television now full of successful superhero shows, (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Daredevil, Legends of Tomorrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Gotham and more too come), Birds Of Prey would have fit right in.

Overall it was an enjoyable show. The tone sits somewhere between Michael Keaton’s Batman and George Clooney’s far less serious Batman and Robin. The show centers around Huntress: (the daughter of Batman and Catwoman), Oracle: (formerly Batgirl) and Dinah Lance: (the daughter of the now deceased Black Canary). The setting is New Gotham, in a future where Batman has not been seen for years, since the murder of Catwoman. The date is never specified, but Batman is now an urban legend. To round out the main cast of heroes is Batman’s faithful butler Alfred Pennyworth.

Obviously the show was not 100% true to the comic books, but what Hollywood adaption is? The main cast is strong, along with the supporting cast of reoccuring players which includes Shemar Moore as a police detective.  Moore would later go on to Criminal Minds.    Of course there are plenty of bad guys and supervillians to fight.  Overall the action was very good, for a superhero show on a television budget.  If you are a fan of the genre I would definitely recommend The Birds Of Prey.

Goodbye George Martin

I just want to acknowledge the passing of music producer George Martin. Over the years many have called him the fifth Beatle.  I would consider myself a causal fan of The Beatles. I have heard many of their known and not so well known songs over the years.  I own  Rubber Soul and Revolver, both are fantastic albums.

In my opinion the Beatles are the most important band in rock and roll history.  It goes without saying that George Martin is a big reason for this fact. Love them or hate them The Beatles have pretty much influenced everyone in popular music, in some way, shape or form.

One of my all time favorite bands was heavily influenced by The Beatles and that would be Queen.  In simplistic terms one could describe Queen as The Beatles on steroids.  The Beatles were in many ways the foundation that Queen used to build upon their wild, over the top mix of Zeppelinish heavy rock, opera, classical, vaudeville, pop, gospel and progressive rock. Without George Martin’s innovative production of The Beatles, Queen would have been a very different sounding band, if they even existed at all.  Without George Martin popular music today would sound very different.

Sahara, An Overlooked Bogart Classic

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Last year Turner Classic Movies had a special theatrical showing to commemorate the 75th anniversary of The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart. I jumped at the opportunity to see a Bogart movie on the big screen.  The Maltese Falcon is hands down one of Bogart’s best movies. It is well made, with a great cast and a star turning performance by Bogart.  Watching The Maltese Falcon had me thinking about other great Bogart movies.

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Humphrey Bogart made many movies throughout his career from 1928 to 1956. Some of the movies are all time classics and a few are duds. But the period from 1941 to 1950 produced some absolute gems: The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, The Big Sleep, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, Key Largo and In A Lonely Place. Among the nearly 30 movies that he appeared in during this period there is one that is criminally overlooked. That movie would be the World War Two drama, Sahara.

In Sahara Bogart leads an eclectic ensemble cast of mostly lesser known actors. The supporting cast of characters are phenomenal. Even with the size of the cast Bogart is clearly the star. This is a well paced war movie, filled with action, tension and drama. Released in 1943, this is Bogart at the top of his game.

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I consider Sahara to be one of Bogart’s best movies. The storyline and the acting are top notch. I would place this compelling film among my top ten favorite Bogart movies. If you have not seen Sahara, I highly recommend it.

Troy T.