Bye-Bye Blogger - Enough is Enough.

Folks, this is the final post on this version of KQEK.com's Editor's Blog at Blogger because I've had it with the serious issues programmers create when they do an upgrade at Blogger. This time their bungling's created so much extra work for me, there's simply no point in posting things via Blogger anymore.

Here's the process I go through to place hyperlinked words on this page:

- text written in MS Word (or Notepad) is placed into Dreamweaver. Links are adjusted, and the *code* is pasted into a Word Press post

- further edits are finished, the intro image is added, and that version of the Editor's Blog goes live. Within Word Press, the only tweaks I have to do because of code issues is created double-line spaces with white-coloured dots, and delete within the code an unnecessary double-space Word Press adds between by byline.

- once the HTML code is pasted into a new template in Blogger, I have to backspace the byline to the last sentence in the blog, and add three fresh lines to create a similar-formatted gap as it appears in the Word Press version. Blogger will also not recognize any italicized text done in Word or Dreamweaver.

- the top image, as part of the imported code, is a mess, so I have to delete it, upload it to the Blogger archive, and then place it in the blog. Blogger allows me to centre at the top of the page, but it doesn't permit text-wrapping unless you manually add it into the code. If I want to use a prior image within the Blogger image archive - like a CD image, related to soundtrack reviews - I have to wait until ALL IMAGES are displayed before I can pick the one I need. They appear in no particular order, so it's a waiting game until I find what I need, and can place it in the blog. This is called "inefficient" and it's baffling why this system of archiving images was never fixed.

- I can create teaser text by adding a page break so the first few lines in a blog appear under the image when the main blog page opens. Problem: once you place that "jump break" icon, you have to flip once to HTML view and back to Compose view because Blogger will add an extra blank line that appears in the full body of the new blog - which I don't want.

They may have fixed some of these grating bugs (all CMS setups have their share), but as it stands, if I paste a hyperlinked blog from MS Word, there are no links; if I past a hyperlinked blog from Dreamweaver, there are no lines between paragraphs; and if I paste a blog in HTML code into Blogger in HTML view, it appears as one solid stream of text.

I have neither the time to deal with fixarounds, nor the patience anymore. Congrats, guys, you've lost me - unless you read this and fix the fuck-ups that currently reside in 'the new look.' The visual continuity with Google + makes sense, but your new coding is a disaster.

Why didn't you test it before forcing this change? Do you know how much time I spent finding a new blogger mobile-friendly template and making specific modifications so it would display properly?

Lastly, the entire publishing layout for bloggers is too lean & clean. Take the page where I can write a post: I see an orange Publish tab and several tabs for previewing, etc. the blog... but how can I see the damned thing? Where the View Post or View Blog tab? Why do I have to navigate through 2 unrelated pages? Who hired you guys? Or perhaps I should ask Who's your supervisor who signed off on the interface modifications? because I don't think he uses Blogger to blog.

Those who've enjoyed the Editor's Blog can still read further blather at www.mondomark.com, where it resides in a Word Press format that's mobile & main friendly. The Blogger version will remain for a while, because it contains a batch of older posts that I wasn't able to import into Word Press.

Because of a bug.


Mark R. Hasan, Editor
KQEK.com ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

Bouchet-Tolo Double-Bill = Quadruple-Trouble!

Mademoiselles Bouchet et Tolo - très fierent de leurs cheveux magnifiques.

Yeah, the header's a cheap shot, but given the focus is two B-movies made between 1968-1969 - Stoney / Surabaya Conspiracy [M] (1969), and The Killer Likes Candy / Un killer per sua maestà [M] (1968) - which co-starred (respectively) Euro babes Barbara Bouchet and Marilu Tolo, why not highlight each film's most important actress?

The Titanic Legacy, Part I

Well, it’s Friday the 13th (boo!) and tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary the Titanic struck an iceberg and went down, marking the beginning of an eternal fascination with the tragedy, the people, the ship, and human hubris.

I’ve no intention of revisiting James Cameron’s film anytime soon – it, er, hasn’t aged that well since I last watched the monster hit – and there’s frankly other more fascinating documentaries and dramatizations out there to see.

The Erotic Shades of Zalman King, Part I

I’ll always contend that somewhere during the run of Red Shoe Diaries, the 1992-1996 erotic series conceived by Zalman King for Showtime, King realized he was a brand name, and spent much of his remaining years exploiting that brand in lesser creative venues.

Prior to his passing at the age of 69 in February, King seemed to be prepping an extension of his brand via a new website, zalmanking.com, which espoused “It’s not just a website. It’s a lifestyle.”

It’s a tagline that’s catchy, cheeky, but also saddening because it represents the final shift for a filmmaker who had creatively downsized from theatrical feature films to an interactive internet venture that’s plainly undistinguished. Whatever the site may have ultimately matured into, at least from the wan promo tease, it’s as indistinct as generic softcore fodder, with cheap reality-based, interactive extras ranging from ‘never before behind-the-scenes’ materials to “Amateur video submissions from the girls next door hoping to be discovered by Zalman.”

The promised site is neither interesting nor particularly creative, and it makes you wonder how the former TV actor, who successfully journeyed into writing and directing, lost his mojo as a brand supervisor.

Twisted Metal's Michael Wandmacher + Grant Kirkhope's Reckoning

This one's a quickie, due to a backlog of good stuff on the way.

Just uploaded are sound track reviews for two videogames: Grant Kirkhope's Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning [M] (Sumthing Else), featuring the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Nic Raine, and Michael Wandmacher's guitar-heavy Twisted Metal [M] (Sony, digital album).

Also uploaded: an interview [M] with Wandmacher discussing the minutia of scoring videogames, and some teaser details regarding his next horror score, The Haunting in Georgia.

Yes, I really am that busy today.

Darrell Wasyk's The Girl in the White Coat

A colleague wandered into the old Ammo Video store on College last fall and came across a VHS copy of something called H, and found the basic premise – two heroine-addicted characters attempt to kick the ugly habit – intriguing, but didn’t know much else about the film, hence the hesitation to purchase the tape. When he returned a few months ago, the store was locked, and most likely so went an easy chance to snap up some vintage Canadiana because H doesn’t exist on home video.

The Films of Frankie-Boy, Part I

'Pardon me: I'm lookin' for Vanessa the Undressa. Have you seen her?'

Whether or not Frank Sinatra knew it early into his acting career, he was a good dramatic actor, and while the studios recognized his name on the marquee sold tickets and soundtrack albums, Sinatra could carry a picture in almost any genre.

During the forties he was naturally cast in musicals, and that’s where he honed his affable persona, but in the early fifties he need to prove he could in fact tackle other roles besides being the A-side of a happy-go-lucky couple, or as a member of a bunch of good guys.

Genre Variations, & System Adjustments

"Mmm... the other white meat..."

Sorry about the conk-out – the websites & blog are back online, but it might be a day or three before the domains are propagated by search engines. (In Inglaisio: main index page urls may not load, but if you Google the site or load from an existing hyperlink, the site should pop up.)

Now then.

Now live are a quartet of horror-ish reviews for specific genre splinters, each done fairly recently:

We interrupt programming due to technical difficulties...

Whoops! At the present time, neither KQEK.com's main & mobile sites, nor the Editor's Blog at mondomark.com are working due to technical difficulties. Hopefully the problem(s) will be fixed for Tuesday. Stay tuned for further updates.

What to expect when regular programming is restored?

In the genre update department, reviews of Contagion, The Dead, Frat House Massacre, and Gurozuka. In the Frank Sinatra department, reviews of Assault on a Queen, Come Blow Your Horn, and Pal Joey.

More info to follow Tuesday. Hopefully a Shaman won't be necessary.



Swining' like you wouldn't ba-lieve!

Spring brings birds, colours, and warmth, and the un-merry, midnight clamor of raccoon sex (which sort of sounds like a cat being beaten to death with a baseball bat), but we also get the phenomenon known as ‘overlapping film festivals’ and special screenings. This isn’t to say there’s less to see & do in the winter, but certainly in the coming months, there will be no shortage of films from every culture in every genre in and around Toronto.

Before I get into the current & upcoming crop, this past Wednesday yielded a screening at the Gendai Station of Carl Michael von Hausswold and Thomas Nordanstad’s short film Hashima, Japan 2002.

Critical Thoughts: Gerald Peary on American Film Criticism

This past Sunday For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism (2009) screened at the Bloor Cinema, and writer / director Gerald Peary was on hand to introduce the film and take part in an audience Q&A, followed by a panel discussion with several Toronto film critics.

I’ve uploaded a review [M] of the film, which also includes details on the 40 mins. of bonus interviews on the DVD, available exclusively from the film’s website. Additionally, I’ve uploaded edited excerpts from both Peary’s pre-screening intro and post-screening audience Q&A, archived at my YouTube Channel Big Head Amusements.

Jean Renoir in America, Part 1

J'approve le Ray-de-Bleu, mes petites mignons cineastes!

As the basic details go, esteemed French director Jean Renoir hopped over to Italy to make the film Tosca when his latest, Rules of the Game (1939) was met with distate by critics and the establishment. Then Mussolini sided with Hitler, and Renoir decided to abandon his stake in Tosca (a film eventually completed by  Carl Koch, and released in 1941) and return to France, only to flee to American when the Nazis invaded his homeland.

Renoir would eventually return to more personal fare in 1951 (some filmed in English, most in French), and his American films (1941-1947) are more interesting for the way in which Renoir's own themes and interests transcended straight Hollywood genres, insofar as the studios under which he was contracted tried to render his films more palatable to average audiences.

Renoir purists may regard his U.S. period as less than stellar, but I think time's been rather kind to most of his works - each somewhat compromised, but still quite distinct from the generic southern dramas, anti-Nazi thrillers, and melodramas in production during that period.

‘Swell Welles’ Part II – Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, The Battle Over Citizen Kane, and RKO 281

Citizen Gulliver stands proudly above the small farming community he led prior to beginning his quest for global media domination.

Flipping back to the beginning of Orson Welles’ film career (minus Hearts of Age, his 1934 sophomoric short film effort), Citizen Kane [M] which as been called the greatest most awesome untouchably perfect supremely brilliant most genius creation ever-ever.

I say this in jest, but it is a conundrum for anyone presenting this at a screening, in class, in a documentary, on home video, or even discussing it in writing: how do you not bring up that ‘greatest ever’ branding?

The alternative is ‘Here’s a little known film made by the guy who used to advise us that Paul Masson’s wines are never sold prior to their time’ on TV, or got very angry during the taping of a frozen peas advert.


Soundtrack Reviews + News

Just uploaded is a quartet of reviews for ongoing (and likely eternal) franchises:

Doctor Who continues to steam through new seasons, and Silva Screen’s latest release features 2+ hours of Murray Gold’s music from Season 6 [M]. Also from Silva is music from Sherlock: Season 1 [M], composed by David Arnold and Michael Price, who do a pretty good job aurally linking the series with the current feature film franchise, scored by Hans Zimmer.

'Swell Welles' Part I: Orson Welles' Magnificent Ambersons (1939, 1942, and 2002) & More!

The standard approach to tackling Orson Welles on home video is to start from scratch and begin with his first film, Citizen Kane (1941), but I’ve decided to begin this review wave of Wellesian material on DVD and Blu-ray with his 1942 adaptation of Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons, partly because it’s so imperfect.

The Oscars, and the quiet emergence of the Standard International Edition

Due to a lack of contextual images, we're using the Random Actress Heliometer (RAH). Illustrated: Senta Berger. Happy, isn't she?

Well, Sunday’s show was pure Meh: familiar, bland, safe, non-threatening, blah, and as many viewers seemed to predict, er, predictable. Having seen none of the films so far (I have more matter to see, but I’ll get there in bits & pieces), I still had an inkling The Artist would win the major prizes, making Harvey Weinstein very, very happy. Not bad for a guy who started out in the business with The Burning in 1980 (and a film, quite frankly, that’s more fun that it deserves to be).

Picnic (1955), The Roots of Heaven (1958), and Twilight Time’s Julie Kirgo

"My... What big wet biceps you have... but how did you get all those wrinkles?"

Once upon a time during the peak years of DVD, studio and indie labels were packaging their DVDs with booklets bearing liner notes, mini posters, and stills, and the catalogue titles sometimes included commentary tracks, featurettes, and documentaries.

No this isn’t the beginning of another rant - I made the point tenfold in the Editor’s Blog for Part 1 of our Twilight Time label profile - but I raise the issue here a little differently. While Universal’s first DVDS – Waterworld, The Paper – were released full screen and in jewel cases, other labels like Criterion and Warner Home Video figured there was more than enough room to not only present a film widescreen (technically speaking, anamorphic transfers take up less space than full screen & non-anamorphic widescreen), but create new / port over laserdisc extras, and for a while this was the norm for many new and older films.

Festivals-a-Go-Go + Battle Royale

Although the Shinsedai Cinema Festival runs July 12-15, the organization alerted fans  on their website of a special screening next week of Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale (2000), presented in conjunction with Fangoria’s Fright Nights at the Projection Booth, and to help launch Anchor Bay’s long, LONG awaited North American home video release.

Suburban Tales IV: Durham County, Season 3

"For God's Sake, someone love me"

Out this week is Canada’s Durham County: Season 3 (Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada / Muse International), probably the final time we’ll see how worse things can get for the Sweeney family unless the series creators go for a fourth season, or a possible feature-length film (which, quite frankly, is possible, since there’s only one really big loose end left).

Festivals-a-Go-Go + Francis lets Napoleon return to the Big Screen

A swingin' week if there ever was one!

Running Wed. February 22 thru Sun. Feb. 26 is the Reel Artists Film Festival, with documentaries and assorted shorts practitioners in painting, photography, and other visuals arts. From a quick gleaning of the roster, most of the docs are about the artists, and several films come from Germany. A full listing of the intriguing programme is at the organization’s website, and the films are being screened at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Interview with composer Andrew Lockington + Soundtrack News & Reviews

Because of time, I must restrict all editorial blather to bare minimums, so this one’s going to be quick!

New stuff:

Just uploaded an interview [M] with Andrew Lockington, were he discusses travelling to Papua, New Guinea, for research prior to writing the full score for Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, the sequel to 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. Both were filmed in 3D, and feature standout, full-blooded orchestral scores by Lockington.

Festivals-a-Go-Go + Robert Bresson, Part I

This past Thursday the TIFF Bell Lightbox began their latest series, the much-touted The Poetry of Precision: The Films of Robert Bresson, the first retrospective of France’s idiosyncratic director in 15 years, and the offering is every one of his films. (Only his debut, the 1934 comedic short Public Affairs / Les affaires publiques, was unavailable).

The series of 13 films begins with A Man Escaped [M] (1956), his best-known work, and perhaps the prototypical prison escape  drama. Naturally, it's not available on DVD in North America; alongside L’Argent (1983) and Lancelot of the Lake (1974), Escaped was released by New Yorker, but perhaps it may reappear, now that the once-dead label has been resuscitated by new owners.

Mysterious Island (1961), Twilight Time’s Nick Redman, and readjusting the concept of MODs

PART I:  Mysterious Island on Blu, and Twilight Time Turns One

In less than a month, indie home video label Twilight Time will celebrate its 1 year anniversary, and I’m pretty sure its founders, employees and contributors will look back with pride at what was accomplished.

This could apply to any label that aspires to essentially fill a void that’s kept niche fans hungry for ages. I use the term niche deliberately, and with some regret, because that’s what seems to happen as a generation of film fans (or film music fans) age, and titles that were once cherished just doesn’t impact people the way they used to.

Return of Intruder (1989)

Yup, you get to see the before, the during, and the after of this poor chum.

Scott Spiegel’s Intruder [M] (1989) is more notorious for its gore sequences and the casting of brothers Sam and Ted Raimi (both of whom die violently as night shift workers in a soon-to-be-shuttered grocery store), but shorn of these key elements, Spiegel’s directorial debut is pretty much a ‘meh’ effort; not awful, but not brilliant, even though there are several strong aspects to the film (notably the location).

For Raimi fans, Synapse’s new Blu-ray is a welcome addition to the collection, given the film’s first VHS release was snipped of its nastiness, and the prior uncut DVD edition from Wizard was a bare bones release. This is the definitive release, and it helps fill in those little gaps that make up the early efforts by members of Sam Raimi’s filmmaking clan.

Festivals-a-Go-Go: Feb. 3-5 + R.I.P. The Cinesphere?

Before I roll off a quick tally of interesting things screening at interesting venues this weekend (bobby-pins, please), here’s a video released by NASA this week showing the dark side of the moon, proving Pink Floyd does not have a secret base in crater XB-14.

Yilmaz Güney, Part II: The Poor Ones (1975)

Not a happy dude. At all.

The screening of The Poor Ones / Zavallilar [M] (1975) marks the approximate midpoint in the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s current retrospective of Turkish actor, writer, director Yilmaz Guney, and although not as powerful as his Cannes-winning Yol [M] (1982), Poor Ones has its moments of sharp social commentary. It’s also one  mother of a bleak film, yet Guney clearly took a popular genre from one country and created his own hybrid, infusing it with the so-called mirror images of Turkish society as filtered through his sensibilities.

A production affected by a major incident – Guney’s arrest and incarceration – the film features one of his last major roles in front of the camera before he switched to writing and directing, most of those efforts done from behind bars.

Ti West’s The Innkeepers

Just uploaded is a review of Ti West’s latest horror film, The Innkeepers (2011), which opens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox Friday February 3rd, and whose soundtrack is available January 31st.

I loved West’s last film, the salute to eighties slashers The House of the Devil (2009), and appreciated the bulk of his little-seen forest thriller Trigger Man (2007), and in all three films one can trace his gradual recognition of tighter & coherent plotting – aspects largely absent in his debut feature The Roost (2005), a film that does have admirers, but it’s a film hampered by the kind of contrived scenes and slow pacing that can become interminable.

John Guillermin at Fox

Just uploaded are a reviews of Rapture [M] (1965), making its premiere Blu-ray release via Twilight Time, and Guns at Batasi [M] (1964) from Fox, a still-timely drama set in an African country trying to assert itself in spite of lingering effects of British colonial rule.

Both films, alongside The Blue Max (1966), were directed by British import John Guillermin, best known as the actor-friendly co-director of The Towering Inferno (1974). That film was his reward for building up a strong body of work in various genres in film and TV, but it also arrested any chance of tackling the kind of small dramas with which he excelled.

Festivals-a-Go-Go --- Cold War Sci-Fi on the Big Screen

Swinging to the Politico-Trippy-Headiness of Cold War Wow!

In perusing the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s latest catalogue, alongside retrospectives of Turkish filmmaker Yilmaz Guney and French filmmaker Robert Bresson (starting next week), some may have noticed a splashy section devoted to sci-fi films produced during the Cold War era in Eastern Europe, when Soviet and Soviet-style regimes were in power, and the mandate of the Party was mirrored in government-approved films.

The attraction to these films isn’t tied down to one reason. They’re artifacts of dead regimes, perhaps politicized representations of man’s place in the cosmos, subversive efforts by filmmakers to explore themes and critiques in B-movie scenarios, or outright escapism with trippy visuals, set designs, shiny spacesuits and bulbous helmets, and music that’s either dead serious, cerebral, or wacked-out.

The best-known director among the 17 represented films - spanning the former USSR, East Germany, the former Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Estonia - is Andrei Tarkovky, via Solaris and Stalker, and while these two films may receive the lion’s share of attention, there’s a whole slew of works by directors few have ever seen, or seen on DVD.

Screening from January thru March, the movies that make up Attack the Bloc: Cold War Science Fiction from Behind the Iron Curtain are largely anchored around Fridays, which tends to be TIFF’s cult film slot, and I think that’s a programming error in the sense that it restricts the wackier, B-movie efforts for the Friday crowd, and deliberately redirects the more intellectual, genre-transgressions to Sundays.

Soundtrack Reviews & Score Release Tally

You might think that with us now in the middle of winter, and with the U.S. Congress wrestling with SOPA, an anti-piracy bill symbolic of the corporate paranoia where entertainment is being being stolen by all / bought by none, that there would not only be fewer releases each year, but less labels surviving, but as this month's tally indicates, people are still interested in film music releases, be it classic or new material in digital or physical form.

Yilmaz Güney, Part I - Yol (1982)

No, that isn't Sean Connery carrying Isabella Rossellini.

Spanning January and February, the TIFF Bell Lightbox is running a retrospective of Turkish director Yilmaz Güney, best known for his international and Cannes-winning hit Yol (1982).

The retro, The Way Home: The Films of Turkish Master Yilmaz Güney,  consists of 8 films: Hope, The Herd, Yol, The Poor Ones, Elegy, Bride of the Earth, The Hungry Wolves, and The Friend, and with the exception of a French Region 2 DVD release of Yol, apparently none of his films are available on video in North America (and probably the same in Europe, Yol excepted).

Jan Kadar does CanCon - Lies My Father Told Me (1975)

As happens with most Canadian films produced during the seventies, their eventual DVD release takes decades, and Lies My Father Told Me [M] (1975) finally emerges via Ergo Media.

If you’re counting, that’s 36 years for an Oscar-nominated film with an Oscar-winning director to reach audiences again, after disappearing from circulation, except on TV airings and rare screenings (such as the recent Canadian Open Vault showing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox).

Just Don't Go There...

Still sick with this cold thing, and while not a full-blown monster, it’s the more stealth version: exhausted, pounding headaches, and pounding headaches. Did I mention pounding headaches?

The plus side is when not holding my cranium until the Advil kicks in, I can do things, so in addition to more tests with the camera, there was cooking silver beet soup, which may not be heavy on protein, but is almost as soothing as chicken soup (of which I have none because I never replenished the chicken stock that had to be turfed when the fridge died a few months ago. But that’s another story for another cold day).

When Henry Frankenstein decided it was worth risking everything to create his monster, he pretty much deserved everything that ensued; had he stuck to studying mould /mold on cheddar cheese as original planned, he and Elizabeth would’ve wed, and the two could’ve started their own firm, beating Kraft and Black Diamond to the finish line as the dominant cheese manufacturer.

But no, Henry wanted to play with dead things, reanimate them into something better than reconstituted beef, and move on to a bride for his all-singing / all-dancing creation, losing everything he was destined to enjoy had he stayed on the straight and narrow path of orange cheese products.

Horror Tales + Desert Noir

Normally I’d blather a bit about the thematically grouped film reviews that are now live, but I’m coming down with a cold thingy, and until the mega-dosing of Vitamin C & ginseng kick in, I’m condensing two posts into one, and keeping things brief (which may actually please readers wanting less blather, and just the facts).

Suburban Tales III


Belated wishes for a Happy New Year, as we’re finally rid of 2011 and it’s now a fresh year! I did fulfill a few small resolutions this past weekend, and aim to scratch a few more the list, and among them will be a handful of short films that I’ve been working on.
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