Saturday, September 29, 2012

Comic Book Villain of the Week

Asbestos Man

Not actually a man made of asbestos, but a man in an asbestos suit. Orson Kasloff was a scientist who felt he wasn’t earning enough money in the science business, so he turned to a life of crime instead, as you do.
Failing in an early attempt to rob a bank, he struggled to put together a crime posse. He then decided the best way to get some street cred was to defeat superhero the Human Flame

Apparently wealthy enough to buy a castle, he challenged the Human Torch to a fight. He made himself a suit made of asbestos, a shield made of Super Asbestos and a net that could catch fire balls and throw them back at his enemy.

He was able to defeat the Human Torch once using a trapdoor to drop him in his moat. Asbestos Man was later defeated, however, when the Human Torch returned and suffocated him by using up all the oxygen in his castle.

Nothing was seen of Asbestos for many years, until 2011, when he re-appeared, claiming to have survived cancer, to fight the Great Lake Avengers. None of them wanted to take Asbestos Man into custody for fear of becoming ill.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Some of My Favourite Infomercials

These days I find myself having to watch infomercials quite a lot, as is the nature of my job. Here are a few of my favourites...

Urine Gone

I’m all for naming a product after what it does, but maybe they should’ve picked something a little more nuanced? And I can’t help but feel, in the case of the woman who has lots of dogs, maybe she should just train them better?


Hold your own bad Italian stereotype parties with Pizzarette, as recommended by an anonymous chef with a very authentic accent. My favourite part is the bit when the woman has to yell “I love tuna”, just to get a word in. And how are you pronouncing Pizzarette again?

Potty Putter

Isn’t the risk with this product (and I accept there are a number of fundamental flaws) that every time you play golf, you’ll only be able to putt while squatting with your trousers down? Better make sure you wash the handle every time…

Uro Club

I imagine somewhere there in America there’s a golf fan who mends toilets for a living and suddenly stumbled onto a world of opportunity. If you’re going to stand in the bushes, you mays as well just have a slash anyway…

Hawaii Chair

I suppose a clinic specialising in the treatment of Parkinson’s might not be a good place to use it - but other than that, yeah, literally, you could just use it absolutely anywhere.

Comfort Wipe

I’m not convinced there are any advantages to being a “big guy” in this context. And even if there were, needing a pair of tongs to wipe your arse would pretty much cancel any of them out.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Comic Book Villain of the Week

The Fiddler  

A classic enemy, perhaps appropriately, of The Flash, Fiddler is an expert fiddle player (and not that other thing you were thinking of). His fiddle playing abilities allow him, amongst other skills, to hypnotise others, shatter solid objects and create force-fields. His fiddles can also conceal of variety of different weaponry. At one point he also drove his own Fiddle shaped guitar.

Though his origin story has changed somewhat over time, Fiddler’s basic background is that he was imprisoned in an Indian jail for theft. There, he learnt the mystic art of Indian music from a Fakir. He later escaped and decided to wreak havoc on The Flash’s home, Keystone City (and not specifically its children).

The character seems to have fallen from favour in recent decades. He was killed off, literally consumed in hellfire, in the early 90s, when his powers were revealed to have come from a demon. He was soon revived, but another death followed in 2005 when he was executed for ‘incompetence’ by members of the Secret Six team.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

August Film Highlights

There is a blog related to these posts, perhaps you should take a look at it.

Chinatown (1974) Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez, John Hillerman. Dir: Roman Polanski.

Chinatown 50 Word Film Review
A detective is employed to spy on a water company executive suspect of infidelity. Bleak even by noir standards. Shot out of shadows in baking sunlight, corruption is everywhere, but it’s a family secret that horrifies most. Scripted and acted to perfection, crime thrillers don’t get much better than this.


The 39 Steps (1935) Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim, Godfrey Tearle. Dir: Alfred Hitchcock. 
The 39 Steps 50 Word Film Review

A Canadian is plunged into intrigue when a spy is killed in his London flat and he’s prime suspect. Hitchcock discovers the perfect formula – an irresistible mix of suspense, thrills and comedy, with a little touch of sex thrown in. The pace is incredible; one witty set piece after another.


The Ipcress File (1965) Michael Caine, Guy Doleman, Nigel Green, Sue Lloyd, Gordon Jackson. Dir: Sidney J. Furie.

A low-ranking intelligence officer is tasked with tracking a missing scientist. A back-streets low-rent alternative to Bond, with a bit of Manchurian Candidate thrown in. A tense and suspenseful journey through the dirty work of spying, with plenty of risks, paperwork and backstabbing for a middling salary. Bleak but gripping.


 Ted (2012) Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel McHale, Patrick Warburton, Patrick Stewart. Dir: Seth MacFarlane.

Ted 50 Word Film Review
A boy’s delighted when his teddy comes to life; 27 years later, he’s starting to get in the way. The immature, scattershot gags are what you’d expect from McFarlane, but surprisingly this is a fully developed, almost vintage comedy. Characters are more than just cut-outs and played ably without mugging.


 Sons of the Desert (1933) Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charley Chase, Mae Busch, Dorothy Christy. Dir: William A. Seiter.

Sons of the Desert 50 Word Film Review

Stan & Ollie have to try to trick their wives into letting them go to their clubs annual conference. Frequently cited as the boys’ best comedy; it’s certainly their most consistent. A beautifully sustained idea played out with barely a food put wrong. Short but so very sweet.


Nostalgia for the Light (2010) Dir: Patricio Guzmán.
Nostalgia for the Light 50 Word Film Review

Astronomers seek life’s origins at a Chilean observatory, while others search for bodies buried in the desert. Philosophic exploration of the contradiction between searching for life’s answers in a country that can’t face its past. A rare look at the universe which doesn’t make you feel small. Worth seeing twice.


The Imposter 2012) Dir: Bart Layton.
The Imposter 50 Word Film Review

A French con artist convinces an American family that he is their missing son. True story about an incredible deception, one that could be too good to be true. Can someone’s desire to believe really blind them from the truth? Little is clear, besides the destructive power of lies. Fascinating.