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Saw first three episodes of The Punisher on Netflix. It ain’t your father’s Punisher. They’ve updated it and put most of the focus on the plight of veterans and PTSD. Frank Castle seems more stressed and confused than the original character, who was a single-minded vigilante dedicated to killing as many mobsters and bikers as he could.

Too many flashbacks to his military service in Afghanistan and the SOBs who sent him on a suicide mission. Most amazing, it wasn’t the blood-fest, bullet-riddled mess I expected from the early reviews I read. But there were the usual Netflix/Marvel darkness and torture scenes. And when Frank goes ballistic it’s like watching a butcher wielding a meat tenderizer. Another example of a comic book character being taken way too seriously.

Still, it’s an interesting interpretation of the concept, and the New York location shooting is reminiscent of the old Naked City, only this time in Dolby Vision. Could be worse.

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My Netflix subscription won’t expire until Dec. 12 so I will be able to get a look at the new Punisher series. Early reviews aren’t too promising. Sounds like one long bloodbath. They had to postpone the release a month after the Las Vegas massacre. A friend of mine suggested they better get it on quick before the next mass shooting happens and they have to postpone again.

Anyone old enough to remember when television was controlled by sponsors and not the networks? Shows like Wyatt Earp and Meet McGraw always began with the announcer saying, “And now Procter and Gamble bring you . . .(insert name of show). And usually the star of the series would do a plug for the product, holding up a bottle of Shampoo or whatever.

Just think if they did that now and gun manufacturers were allowed to advertise on TV. You’d have the guy from SWAT doing commercials for AR-15s, and telescopic lenses.

“This semi-automatic rifle is one of the best ways to take down a perp on the run. You have options for the the kind of ammo you want to use. Hollow point can be nasty but if there’s more than one terrorist in your sites, it will shake them all up when you hit one of them…”

“This telescopic lens will let you shoot the eyebrows off a mosquito. Think what it will do to …” etc, etc.

Of course that will never happen. We’re too civilized a society to allow something like that. We’d rather just show the weapons in action every night without the commercials and real-life messy reality of it.

I had a new review up on Cinema Retro a little while ago and forgot to mention it here on the blog. So for those of you who read them, here’s a link to my take on THE LAW AND JAKE WADE, a western from the fifties starring Robert Taylor and Richard Widmark. The big mystery in this movie is how did Robert Taylor manage to keep his cowboy hat on in all that wind?

Click here to read the review.

                       Horoscope of Donald J. Trump

Yesterday’s election is some indication that “Trumpism” may be on its way out. Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for Governor in Virginia, tried to distance himself personally from President Donald J. Trump, but he made the mistake of adopting a divisive, Trump-like campaign style. He bombarded the local media with some really nasty ads that tried to depict his Democratic opponent Ralph Northam as a man soft on crime. It was a campaign based on creating fear in the minds of voters. It didn’t work. The voters rejected him. But it was not just him. He ran a pretty weak campaign and as many commentators have suggested the voters weren’t really voting for him, they were voting against Trump. The Dems not only won the Governorship, but also Lt. Governor, and Attorney General. They also won in New Jersey with Phil Murphy winning the Governor’s slot.

I’ve been blogging since November 2016 that I had doubts Trump would be unable to complete a full term as president. The astrological indications favored his election but also showed that his troubles would commence almost immediately upon taking office. The transits of Saturn over his Sun and Moon were signs that his problems would mount as questions would be raised about his connections with Russia and possible collusion with Moscow in the election. As the year progressed a special counsel was appointed and since Robert Muller began his work, the investigation has mushroomed out to include not only campaign irregularities but probes into Trump’s finances, and possible obstruction of justice.

The August total eclipse of the Sun hit Trump’s horoscope very hard, aspecting his Ascendant and Mars. Late summer, as predicted, was a difficult time for his administration, as more revelations concerning his son and son-in-law emerged. More recently, Muller’s probe has resulted in indictments and arrest for top campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, and a guilty plea from campaign aide George Papadopoulis.

Trump has managed to keep a lid on everything so far. One way he has managed to do that is to distract the public’s attention by making threats of “fire and fury” against North Korea. He’s currently on an Asian tour where he visited South Korea and plans to meet in Vietnam with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump’s strategy appears to be to keep as many balls in the air as he can, to keep attention away from what is going on in the Russian investigation. So far it has worked. And he can feel safe about remaining in office as long as he holds onto his base, and Republicans control Congress. As long as there is a Republican majority the likelihood of impeachment is pretty small. However, Tuesday’s election must have the Republican anxious. They have seen the results in Virginia. It isn’t enough to keep your distance from Trump, you’ve got to disown his world view and the divisiveness with which he gained and keeps office. If Republicans don’t get the message they will lose big in the mid-term 2018 elections.

Calls for impeachment could come not just from Democrats, but the Republicans themselves, who will see him as a dead weight, pulling them down to defeat. How could this happen?

All it will take is more indictments, arrests, and charges imposed by the special counsel. The August eclipse planted the seed for Trump’s downfall. The next eclipse occurs January 31, 2018. This one is a full moon lunar eclipse that will conjunct Pluto in Trump’s Twelfth house– the house of secrets and self-undoing. Revelations will erupt like a volcano during this period that could present Trump’s greatest challenge to remaining in office. The accusations may not be limited to collusion and obstruction of justice. Don’t forget, there are still the unresolved accusations made by a number of women alleging sexual misconduct. Trump is a pretty resourceful man, capable of pulling off some spectacular surprises, so this could be a very interesting time. The new Moon Solar Eclipse of last August was the time of greatest impact on his horoscope, and only he really knows how hard he was hit. But when the full moon eclipse comes next January, it will all come out.

Here are links to earlier blogs on this subject:

https://johnmwhalen.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/donald-trump-and-the-august-eclipse/

https://wordpress.com/posts/johnmwhalen.wordpress.com?s=trump

 

 

 

I hadn’t paid much attention to the fact that CBS was remaking SWAT, the 70s TV series, so I was surprised when I just happened to catch it last night. I was really surprised to find that the pilot episode was produced and directed by Justin Lin, who has directed a couple of Fast and Furious movies. The episode, starring Shemar Moore, from CRIMINAL MINDS, was fast paced with some of the best action scenes I think I’ve ever seen on a network TV show. The stunt work was as good as any feature film– not the usual TV fare. The story was a mix of surprises and cliches, with modern sensibilities about the relationship between cops and the black community added. Best of all at the very end they brought back the old theme song by Barry Devorzon. I don’t know if Lin will be directing any future episodes, (probably not) and it’s likely the series will fritter out to nothing, as most of them do, but I’ll tune in to find out for sure.

Things are almost normal after the lightning storm destroyed or damaged my electrical appliance and computer. I may actually get back to working on my book soon. Meanwhile, here’s a link to my latest movie review for Cinema Retro. It’s a 1953 western starring Rock Hudson. “Gun Fury.”

 

Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, mad men threatening the world with nuclear annihilation. We’re in trouble. Where’s Superman?

In case you’re been wondering where I’ve been lately, I haven’t been able to blog recently for several reasons. First I’ve been busy working on a new book, and second my house got hit by lightning about a month ago. The lightning hit the telephone pole across the street and sent three powerful surges across the wire to my electric meter. It blew the meter off the side of the house and sent it flying into my neighbor’s yard. No fire damage to the house but every appliance in the house was fried, including my computer. I’m currently working on my laptop.

The damage to the computer was potentially disastrous in that I had not stored the latest draft of the new book to an outside drive for about two weeks. I would have lost two weeks worth of work if not for the Geek Squad which was able to extract the file from the computer’s hard drive. Phew. That’ll teach me not to back up every day.

What remains is getting everything either repaired or replaced and dealing with my home owners insurance company. I’m slowly getting back on the keyboard, getting back into the flow of the novel, and writing some new movie reviews.

In fact, today, you can click over on the Cinema Retro page and read my review of Sunset in the West, the first Blu-Ray of a restored Roy Rogers Trucolor Western. It’s glorious. Happy Trails!

barbarosaYou can read my review of BARBAROSA today on the Cinema Retro Website. Willie Nelson and Gary Busey play an outcast and an outlaw caught in a legend that is bigger than both of them. Remember what Barbarosa said: “The Mexicans have a saying. What cannot be remedied must be endured.”

Anthony Scaramucci uses vulgarities, insults, and flame throwing in his attacks on other White House staffers. He’s from New York, but he’s just like the greasy goombas I knew in South Philly in the olden days. Wise guys. He’s the COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR. And that’s the best he can do, communications-wise? Ay, paisan. Fuggedaboudit.

But what makes it worse, is when Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is asked to comment about it, instead of saying this represents a new low, that a WH official would speak publicly, on the record , in such a disgusting manner, is unconscionable and should be condemned in the most forceful way, he says: “I’ve heard worse.” I’m sure he has.

So now Saturn is almost standing still as it nears the ends of its retrograde phase. Saturn, the truth planet, the planet that demands we make an accounting of ourselves, the planet that hands you your final Nielsen rating, is sitting there atop Trump’s Moon and opposed to his sun. His emotions and ego are at maximum stress point. He’s cracking.

The planets find surrogates in our lives, and in this case Robert Mueller is Trump’s Saturn. The pres is feeling the pressure. He knows what Mueller can uncover if he digs hard enough. He would like to fire him or have the AG do it. With Congress in recess in August, he may try to use a recess appointment to replace Sessions. If he dumps Sessions, the Republicans in Congress will finally realize they must do something. The solar eclipse of Aug. 21 will be the point of no return. Eclipses are wild cards. Anything can happen.

But you still won’t have seen everything yet. Following that when Mars transits to the eclipse point during the early days of September, when Congress returns, all hell may break loose.