Barking Up The Right Tree : Christopher Adams’ “Dog Book”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I’ve reviewed a number of cat-centric comics on this site, so it’s time to even the score a bit — and there’s no more intriguing and unexpected a person to bring our canine friends to the table (errrmm, maybe that came out wrong) than Christopher Adams, whose Tack Piano Heaven manages to thematically encompass just about everything under the sun without confining itself to “be” any one thing in particular. Adams’ work is a constantly-shifting series of surprises, the very definition of “no solid ground,” so seeing him narrow his focus onto a singular subject is sure to yield interesting results — which brings us to his latest self-published ‘zine, Dog Book.

Strictly speaking, this is a 20-page “suite” of illustrations featuring, you guessed it, dogs, but it doesn’t take long to figure out there’s a lot more going on here than that. Utilizing any number of tools, including…

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A Time To Die (1991, directed by Charles T. Kanganis)


Jackie (Traci Lords) is a single mom and a photographer who loses custody of her son when she’s framed for cocaine possession by a corrupt cop named Eddie Martin (Robert Miano).  Jackie is released from jail early, on the condition that she do 400 hours of community service.  Specifically, she is ordered to take pictures of the LAPD doing a good job and not killing people.  Captain Ralph Phibbs (Richard Roundtree) makes it very clear that she is to take only positive pictures of the LAPD or she could go back to jail and end up never seeing her son again.

However, even while doing community service, Jackie’s a rebel.  She decides to follow around Eddie and get pictures of him engaged in the same type of corruption that got her sent to prison.  Jackie manages to get Eddie on film murdering a pimp but, instead of going to the authorities, she wants to use the picture to blackmail Eddie into clearing her name.  Eddie, who has a cocaine problem, doesn’t respond well to being blackmailed and he decides to get the negatives and kill Jackie, not necessarily in that order.

While Eddie’s trying to kill Jackie, Frank (Jeff Conaway), another cop, is trying to maneuver his way into Jackie’s bed.  At first, Jackie doesn’t trust Frank because he’s a cop but then Frank takes her on a date to a domestic disturbance call and soon, she’s falling for him.  Frank, though, might not be as trustworthy as he seems.

This is one of the many direct-to-video thrillers in which Traci Lords appeared in the years immediately following her forced retirement from the adult film industry.  As was often the case with her 90s films, Lords is the best thing about A Time To Die.  In this film, Traci Lords again shows that she was a good actress.  Unfortunately, because of her past, she never got the type of roles that she really deserved.  In A Time To Die, she is believably tough and she makes the clunkiest dialogue credible.  Unfortunately, the other members of the cast don’t try anywhere near as hard as Lords does to bring some sort of reality to their stereotypical roles.  Conaway and Miano both sleepwalk through their roles while Richard Roundtree is reduced to getting mad and doing a lot of shouting.  Though the plot is sometimes predictable and it doesn’t take a psychic to know that Eddie is eventually going to go after Jackie’s son, the story is still interesting enough to hold your attention while your watching the movie.

A Time To Die is an occasionally interesting B-thriller that is elevated by the efforts of Traci Lords.

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions for September


As of a few weeks ago, West Side Story is now officially out of this year’s Oscar race.  Steven Spielberg’s musical was one of the many major studio productions to be moved all the way back to late 2021.  So, scratch West Side Story from your lists, everyone.  It’s gone for now.

The more I think about it, the more I think the Academy made a mistake extending the eligibility window.  As you may remember, this year’s eligibility window now extends to February of 2021.  When this was first announced, I felt that it was the Academy’s way of keeping the big studios happy.  “You folks don’t want the Oscars to be dominated by streaming films,” the Academy seemed to be saying, “so we’ll just give you some extra time to get your movies out into the theaters.”  Well, joke’s on the Academy because, even with the extended time period, it still looks like the Oscar race is going to be dominated by streaming titles.

Personally, I wish that the Academy would just admit they made a mistake and go back to the old eligibility window.  Or, at the very least, just answer the question as to whether or not the 2021’s Oscar eligibility period is going to end at the end of December of that year or in February of 2022.  I’m a big believer in having a set schedule so all this uncertainty is annoying the Hell out of me.

Anyway, with all that in mind, here are my updated predictions for September.  After looking at these, feel free to check out my predictions for JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJune, July, and August!

Best Picture

Da 5 Bloods

The Father

Hillbilly Elegy

Mank

Minari

News of the World

Nomadland

One Night in Miami

Respect

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director

David Fincher for Mank

Paul Greengrass for News of the World

Ron Howard for Hillbilly Elegy

Spike Lee for Da 5 Bloods

Chloe Zhao for Nomadland

Best Actor

Tom Hanks in News of the World

Anthony Hopkins in The Father

Delroy Lindo in Da 5 Bloods

Gary Oldman in Mank

Steven Yeun in Minari

Best Actress

Viola Davis in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Jennifer Hudson in Respect

Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

Kate Winslet in Ammonite

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen in The Trial of the Chicago 7

Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods

Bill Murray in On The Rocks

Leslie Odom Jr. in One Night In Miami

David Strathairn in Nomandland

Best Supporting Actress

Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman in The Father

Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite

Debra Winger in Kajillionaire

Helena Zengel in News of the World