The Ten Percent: M (1931)

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1931 German poster for Fritz Lang’s M.

“Ninety percent of everything is crud.” – Theodore Sturgeon

Hello and welcome to another installment of “The Ten Percent,” a regular column here on Biff Bam Pop! where every other week K. Dale Koontz and I take a look at the inverse of Sturgeon’s Law; in other words, the ten percent of everything which is not crud. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that for each film or television show that gets people talking years after its premiere, there are hundreds of others that barely cleared the horizon before being (thankfully) shot down. The works that soar above the rest – well, those are the works that stand the test of time. The Ten Percent last for two reasons: (1) they are high quality productions which demand more of their viewer than simple passive reception and (2) they somehow manage to capture something fleeting and rare and preserve it for the lucky viewing public.

Fritz Lang’s M (1931) fulfills both of these criteria, and then some. The scene is late 1920s Berlin, a city supposedly gripped by fear in the wake of a series of brutal child murders (and, it is intimated, horrific sexual assault). The police are working overtime, and using the latest techniques in criminal investigation, including fingerprints, handwriting analysis, and an early form of psychological profiling – all to no avail. They are also “rounding up the usual suspects,” conducting raid after raid on known criminal hangouts and operations. Yet the killer remains uncaught. More than the first police procedural (which it is), or the first serial killer film (which it also is), M is a portrait and condemnation of German society in the late Weimar Republic.

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The Endless Possibilities of No Man’s Sky

Pink Floyd is my favourite band. I’ve been listening since back in 1990, when a girl I was going to high school with loaned me a cassette copy of The Wall to listen too. I dubbed it, and while I didn’t really understand what I was listening to at the time, I still found myself transfixed by the double album, enough so that I began exploring the band’s entire catalog. I feel in love with the trippiness of albums like The Dark Side of the Moon, Animals, Wish You Were Here, and Meddle. There were layers to all these recordings – explorations of sounds and lyrical meanings. I didn’t need to “get it” to get into it.

And that, my friend, is how I feel playing the new galaxy exploration video game, No Man’s Sky.

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Their End Is Your Beginning In The Collected “The Omega Men: The End Is Here” On The Wednesday Run

The Omega Men-The End is Here coverBack in the early 1980’s, when I first began reading comic books, I was immediately drawn to titles firmly based in the science fiction genre. Of course, that was right after the caped crusader, Batman, naturally.

Yep, comic books like Dredstar and Killraven and Star Trek were my monthly fancies. I even started picking up Epic Illustrated and Heavy Metal magazines. Somehow the comic book shops I frequented allowed those more mature titles to be purchased by a young looking (but well-read and mature) kid.

One of the books I remember reading regularly and sharing and trading with like-minded pals was The Omega Men – a fantastic and exciting romp through DC Comics’ outer space universe, overflowing with wild characters, aliens and villainous despots. In 2015, as part of their short-lived DC You initiative, publisher DC Comics revived that series to critical acclaim, and more importantly, positive fan reaction.

In fact, fans saved the series from early termination.

Today sees the eagerly anticipated release of the entire series of The Omega Men: The End Is Here in a paperback compilation!

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Travel Back in Time with “Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders” in November

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When Ben Affleck was first announced as portraying Batman in the recent DC Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, plenty of Batman fans expressed outrage. It was just a few years after Christian Bale hung up his cowl there was yet another version of the Caped Crusader hitting cinemas? Not to mention that contingent of fans who were still invested in Michael Keaton as Bats (or George Clooney… or Val Kilmer… I mean, those people exist, right?).

What about those old school diehards who still think Adam West was the best Batman of all time? (Hey, there’s room for all of us in the Batverse!) Well, good news, Batfans! There’s a new movie with Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin. And if you’re wondering how much CGI it will take to erase 50 years, there’s an answer: none.
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Creations of Chaos: Laputa: Castle in the Sky

When I grow up I want to be a pirate airship captain. On this edition of Creations of Chaos, it’s Studio Ghibli’s Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

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The “Grotesque” Cost of Survival on Fear The Walking Dead

 

nick-ep-8On the last episode of Fear the Walking Dead our team was split up in the melee of Daniel’s death and the burning down of Thomas’s home. While Travis tries to keep Chris from hurting himself and others, Nick is more comfortable living among the infected. Read the rest of this entry

“Suicide Squad” Holds Off Newcomers to Win the Weekend

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There was noting terribly notable about this weekend at the box office – three new films debuts but none could unseat last week’s top two. Here’s what went down:

Suicide Squad managed to hold on to the top spot at the box office for the third weekend in a row, bringing in $20.7 million to raise its total to an excellent $262 million. For all the critical drubbings the film has taken, the fact that it’s narrowing in on $300 million is a good thing and demonstrates that Will Smith made a good move passing on Independence Day: Resurgence for entry into the expanding DC Universe.

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The Avengers Assemble to Face “The Conqueror”

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Folks who know me know that Kang the Conqueror is my favorite Avengers villain. They also know I believe that he is their ultimate archenemy, not Ultron, not the Masters of Evil, not Zodiac, and certainly not Thanos or the Squadron Supreme, but Kang. Here in the twelfth episode of the third season, he finally makes his Avengers Assemble debut. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “The Conqueror.”

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“The Kids Are Alright” on Avengers: Ultron Revolution

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The Inhumans are still among us on Avengers: Ultron Revolution as we meet more new Inhumans in the persons of the new Ms. Marvel and the Ghost, along with Inferno, in this plot to steal Tony Stark’s AI Friday. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on season three’s eleventh episode, “The Kids Are Alright.”

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Pump Up The Jam: August 19, 2016

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Marching Church: The stars we are (photo by Elizabeth Peyton)

This week’s edition of “Pump Up The Jam” features A Band Aparte, Myrkur, Marching Church, Axis: Sova, Vallens, and more.
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