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Showing posts from December, 2005

Danger: Diabolik: Honor, Romance, and Sensory Overload Among Thieves

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Sometimes calling a movie 'stylish' seems like damning with faint praise. But Danger: Diabolik earns bragging rights as one seriously, sublimely stylish pop art explosion. It plays at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum until January 5, and its marriage of comic book zing and paisley-hued trippiness couldn't be more irresistible. Based on a popular Italian fumetti (comic book), this 1968 opus details the adventures of Diabolik (John Phillip Law), a world-class thief who defies authorities with increasingly courageous (and outrageous) jobs. There really isn't a plot to speak of; just a succession of heist sequences and eye-popping hues and imagery as Diabolik slinks his way into and out of scrapes. Danger: Diabolik was directed by Mario Bava , a humble but extremely talented Italian with an uncanny knack for sculpting ostensibly formulaic films (horror movies, crime flicks, action programmers) into distinctive works of visual art. He found an ideal avenue for his pa

Passings: Herbert L. Strock, Director

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The high-fallutin' fools who write cinema history for the ages probably won't give much cop to the passing of film and TV director Herbert L. Strock. But Strock, who passed away on November 30 at the ripe old age of 87, slugged it out in the business for six decades, kept working it right to the end, and birthed some of the most entertaining horror and sci-fi efforts during the heyday of '50's drive-in cinema. He was also a genuinely nice, sweet guy. Strock began his career as a newsreel cameraman for Fox Movietone News before being drafted into the military in World War II. After completing service, the budding filmmaker found work as an editor on several films (including assistant-editing the 1944 classic Gaslight ). Strock logged time in the director's chair on various early television programs before helming Gog , his first solo directorial project, in 1954. The next three decades saw Strock direct all manner of film and television projects, impressing produc

Someday, I'll update this damned thing, I swear...

Some Bloggers have the super-strength to be able to compose great Blog entries on a daily basis. Or even a weekly basis. Not me, obviously. My apologies for disappointing the four of you who regularly read the Petri Dish. Lame as it sounds, I've been really, really busy of late. And being the earnest basher that I am, I can't just bang out a few sentences and go on my Bloggy way. I've gotta do a decent-length piece. I promise that, within the next week or so I'll post something up to my usual windy-but-thoughtful standards. In the meantime, I'll just make a random plug for one of the places I've been hanging out in of late, namely a fine Podcast called The Pop State Show . Pop State's hosts, Bob Bohan and Bob Suh, are funny guys who really know their stuff, pop-culture-wise, and they occasionally invite this fellow dork to partake in the fun. All of the episodes are great listening, but in the newest, Episode 1540: A Wrinkle in Time , we divulge scoop on