Book Report: Making Records By Phil Ramone & Charles L. Granata

making-records-by-phil-ramone-and-charles-l-granataI usually start a post like this commenting on where or when I got the book I’m reading, which is, in this case, Phil Ramone’s Making Records: The Scenes Behind The Music with Charles L. Granata. Honestly? I can’t remember in this case. The book came out in 2007 and I’ve had it in my garage for a while, so maybe it came from the discount area of Barnes & Noble or…who knows? What does matter, is that I moved this to the top of the To Read pile because, well, I wanted to.

I love reading books about music like Sonic Boom or Off My Rocker because everyone who was super into music has wildly unique stories about not just the making of records, but the people they worked with. As it happens, Phil Ramone not only helped revolutionize how records were made, but also worked on records by some of the most iconic and beloved musicians in the history of music including Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Barbara Streisand, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Elton John and plenty of others.

Continue reading Book Report: Making Records By Phil Ramone & Charles L. Granata

Revving Up With The Wraith

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Don’t you hate when a quick synopsis of a film completely undercuts the actual story? That’s what happened when I decided to watch Mike Marvin’s 1986 teen drama/sci-fi/car/revenge film The Wraith on Netflix. In one sentence, the streaming service undercut a major plot point in the film, albeit one that will probably draw people in. Then again, looking at the film’s advertising campaign, they weren’t exactly trying to keep the identity of the film’s mysterious strange much of a secret. Continue reading Revving Up With The Wraith

My New Favorite Thing: Italian Action Films

1990-bronx-warriors-ridersIt all started at a New Year’s Day party this year. We packed up the kids and headed down, with everyone having a great time. There, on the wall I saw the poster to a film I’d heard about, but never fully watched: 1990: The Bronx Warriors. Soon after, I started looking around on Amazon Prime and found that both that film and its sequel Escape From The Bronx were on there along with The New Barbarians.

I added all three and watching the first one lead me down a tour of Italian cinema from the 70s and 80s that has encompassed sci-fi, action, adventure, crime, mafia and the awesomely bizarre. Even with the less than easy to follow plots, bad dubbing and frameworks that feel very similar to more famous American films, I love how these writers, directors, actors and everyone else just went for it. The key here is that, even though the springboards feel familiar, the dives are completely different making for a group of films awesomely enjoyable in their own ways. Continue reading My New Favorite Thing: Italian Action Films

Four Books I Liked By Joe Hill, Erik Larson, Tina Fey & Roger Moore

Like any hopeful reader, I have boxes of books just waiting to be read in my garage and even a fair number waiting in the digital realm. There’s not much rhyme or reason to which ones I choose or why they take me so long to read, but I figured I’d put a few thoughts down about these four books I’ve finished in the relatively recent past including books by Joe Hill, Erik Larson, Tina Fey and Roger Moore. Continue reading Four Books I Liked By Joe Hill, Erik Larson, Tina Fey & Roger Moore

My New Favorite Things: Paper Girls, Greydon Clark & Box 13

favorite-things-paper-girls-hi-rider-box-13I’ve had a lot of good luck when it comes to entertainment choices lately and wanted to talk about them all in one place! First, let’s talk about comics. In addition to reading a ton of Guardians of the Galaxy and monster comics for Marvel.com I’ve also been going back through the 90s Aquaman series (which will get a post of its own soon) and also the first two volumes of Paper Girls from Brian K. Vaughan, Cliff Chiang and Image Comics. Continue reading My New Favorite Things: Paper Girls, Greydon Clark & Box 13

I Didn’t Love The New Ghostbusters, But Love That It Exists

ghostbusters-2016-posterSo this new Ghostbusters film was kind of a lightning rod, huh? It shouldn’t have been, of course. Grown-up human people should be able to understand that 1) a group of female Ghostbusters doesn’t threaten them in any way and 2) the existence of a remake in no way takes away from the original, but the last few years have gone a long way to prove that rationality and insight might not be as prevalent as I previously thought.

It feels like I’ve been excited for some kind of new Ghostbusters film for forever. I actually interviewed Harold Ramis back in my ToyFare days and he talked about a Ghostbusters film being written by a pair of writers from The Office. Between his unfortunate death a few years after that and a variety of studio concerns, that never happened. Then it turned out that the super talented Paul Feig would do an all-female take. By then I was covering stuff like this for Spinoff and writing about this movie on what felt like a nearly constant basis. Still, I was stoked. Only a fool would be bummed out by a film starring the ridiculously funny Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon. Continue reading I Didn’t Love The New Ghostbusters, But Love That It Exists

Trade Post: Frank, Midnighter, Constantine, Spirit & Batman/TMNT

trade-pileAnother week has gone by and I’ve knocked out another pile of comics, most of which came from my local library system. As you can see, we’ve got a mix of amazing indie artists, classic comic visionaries, crossovers and newer books. Hit the jump to see what I had to say on this batch! Continue reading Trade Post: Frank, Midnighter, Constantine, Spirit & Batman/TMNT