Book Review: ‘Opening Wednesday at a Theater or Drive-In Near You: The Shadow Cinema of the American ’70s’ by Charles Taylor

What I love about books like this, is that it doesn’t matter how far I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of film history, I always learn about something new that I’ve never seen or heard of. This solid book about ’70s non-mainstream cinema provided me with a lot of cool motion pictures worth checking out.

Additionally, this was well written and not a single page was wasted.

Charles Taylor has a real passion for this stuff and it shows. He delves deep into all the movies he chose to talk about and gives the story behind their creation a lot of depth and context.

The end result is that he sells these pictures to you and makes you want to see them. That is, assuming you’re into these types of films but if you’ve gone out and bought this book, why wouldn’t you be?

Point being, Taylor really did his homework and he accomplished what he set out to do with this book, which is to get those reading it to have a passion for checking out these movies.

This was a really cool read and I’m glad that I checked it out. I kind of hope there is a second volume, at some point, as there are so many worthwhile films from this era that need a broader spotlight and should be on other film lovers’ radar.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: any of Joe Bob Briggs’ books about movies, as well as Celluloid Mavericks and Sleazoid Express.

Vids I Dig 039: Comic Tropes: Atlas/Seaboard: The Company That Failed to Spite Marvel

From Comic Tropes’ YouTube description: Atlas/Seaboard is a fascinating short-lived publisher from the mid 1970s that tried to compete with DC and Marvel. They offered the best page rates and other incentives to attract some top talent like Steve Ditko, Neal Adams, Russ Heath and more. But the men running the show, Martin Goodman and his son Chip, were just trying to beat Marvel Comics overnight.

This episode explains the history of Atlas/Seaboard and reviews one of their comics, Tiger-Man, to show how troubled the comics they made were.

 

Documentary Review: Comic Book Kingdom (2018)

Release Date: May 25th, 2018 (Brighton Rocks Film Festival)
Directed by: Marius Smuts
Music by: Maz Iannone
Cast: Edward Bentley, Laurence Campbell, Matt Hardy, Kev Hopgood, Inko, Chie Kutsuwada, Ian Sharman, Zara Slattery, Myfanwy Tristram, Nigel Twumasi

MSP, 61 Minutes

Review:

Surprisingly, this has been out for a year and it doesn’t even have a rating on IMDb. Also, I couldn’t find a trailer for it, so one won’t accompany this post.

This was a short, one hour documentary that focuses on indie comic creators from the UK.

For the most part, this was enjoyable and interesting. Most of the people featured I had never heard of but this delves into a myriad of indie comic book styles, as well as some manga.

The documentary is mostly just a bunch of talking head interviews cut together but it’s at least well organized and edited decently, even though it jumps back and forth. A lot of these comic book talking head pieces can be all over the map; this one isn’t.

My only real complaint with it, is I wish that it edited in more footage of artists creating, as they talked. It does show some of that but nowhere near enough. I’m always into seeing how artists create, as they create, and it feels like that’s an afterthought here.

But this wasn’t a bad way to spend an hour and it’s streaming for free on Prime Video if you have an account.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: other recent comic book documentaries, many of which I have already reviewed.

*NO TRAILER AVAILABLE*

 

Documentary Review: The Madness of Max (2015)

Release Date: August 1st, 2015
Directed by: Gary McFeat, Tim Ridge
Written by: Gary McFeat, Tim Ridge
Music by: Gary McFeat
Cast: George Miller, Mel Gibson, Steve Bisley, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Joanne Samuel

Macau Light Company, 157 Minutes

Review:

Being a big fan of Mad Max, I’ve wanted to see this documentary for awhile. While it has a lot of information and stories, it’s way too long for the subject matter, moves pretty slow and is actually a bit boring.

For something that’s over two and a half hours, this could have had some stuff in it about the sequels but those aren’t really mentioned, as this focuses solely on the first film and its creation. It’s an interesting story, for sure, but this documentary’s pacing and length sucked my interest right out of the room.

This thing is more than an hour longer than the movie its talking about, which is kind of mad, pun intended.

I like the insight from George Miller, as well as the cast but all this is, is 157 minutes of talking heads cut together into sections about certain subjects in regards to the film’s production.

A lot of this felt like interviews that could have been whittled down and better edited. A lot of people rehash the same things, again and again, and a lot of the details don’t need to be presented multiple times. But maybe the filmmakers wanted to give everyone an equal amount of time. But in doing that, it makes the flow and quality of this picture suffer.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: other “making of” movie documentaries.