4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Morgan Freeman Edition

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today is Morgan Freeman’s 83rd birthday!

Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors but then again, I think he’s one of everyone’s favorite actors.  He’s an icon, not just for that famous voice but also because he’s a damn good actor.  Though he seems to get cast in a lot of mentor roles, he’s shown that he’s capable of playing a wide variety of roles, from heroes to villains to Gods.

(I have to admit that I would be so intimidated if I ever met Morgan Freeman, if just because I know that if I accidentally said something stupid, he’d probably give me a look of such utter disappointment that it would probably haunt me for the rest of my life.)

Here are….

4 Shots From 4 Films

Seven (1995, dir by David Fincher)

The Dark Knight (2008, dir by Christopher Nolan)

Invictus (2009, dir by Clint Eastwood)

Now You See Me (2013, dir by Louis Leterrier)

Two From Brian Canini : “Across The Diner”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

A simple story, well told, is always worth its weight in gold — a sentiment that’s perhaps never been more true than in these troubled and troubling times — and when he’s really hit on a nugget of an idea, when he’s firing on all cylinders creatively, a simple story, well told, is precisely the kind of thing that Columbus, Ohio’s Brian Canini excels at. Guess what? In his latest self-published (under the auspices of his Drunken Cat Comics imprint) mini,  Across The Diner, he’s hit on a nugget of an idea and is firing on all cylinders creatively.

Still here? ‘Cuz, I mean, I just pretty well gave away the game, which — at least according to what passes for conventional “wisdom” — is supposed to be seriously poor form. Even if what you’re saying is true — which, in this case, it absolutely is — you’re…

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Two From Brian Canini : “Four Stories”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Apropos of perhaps nothing in terms of the overall scope of this review, but definitely worth a mention : Brian Canini is the most organized cartoonist around. Every few months, like clockwork, I get a nice little package from him containing his latest review submissions, complete with a little letter containing a brief synopsis of each. This is the kind of critical outreach that is very appealing to me and, I would guess, other critics, as it shows he is downright eager to have us check out his stuff, and he’s always been more than magnanimous about any critiques I may have about his work, taking them in the constructive manner in which they’re intended. And if that isn’t a natural segue right there, I don’t know what is.

Cutting to the chase, then, one of the two new minis from his own Drunken Cat Comics imprint that I sat…

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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Ep 3.6, (Dir. Michael Goi)


I couldn’t totally tell if I was being entertained by this episode. I’m gonna say no because it’s taken me a week to write this. I have to review Sabrina in stages like getting oral surgery. They root canal you- Sabrina Season Opener, They put bone and hardware up into your gums – mid-season Sabrina, and finally you get a new fake tooth and it’s over- Sabrina Season Finale.

If it weren’t the live tweet sessions with Lisa, I would’ve lost it long ago.  Those banter sessions make the show pretty fun; it’s a shame that the writers and directors can’t achieve that on their very own. In that same vein, if Harvey gets to be any more boring, he’s just going to be recapping his favorite scenes from “How it’s Made” on the Science Channel.  Hey Sabrina, you know what’re swell? Diving Helmets!

At least in this episode, Sabrina didn’t have to find anything. FFS, every episode has been

I miss Nick. But, Sabrina the Town. NIIIIIIIICK!  Sabrina wait….

NO, I’ve to find Judas’ silver, a stop sign, and an Easter basket and have it back at the rec center by Midnight!

Meanwhile courtly intrigue, Caliban is proposing to Sabrina to be his Queen of Hell and he’ll prove he’s on the up and up by making a crappy spell to turn Roz back from stone.  To do this, Harvey has to give up the thing he loves most – his 19th Century Danish Coin Collection.  He actually had to kiss Roz and it would make her not want to have anything to do with him anymore.  They should’ve just had Harvey try express a fully formed thought- she would’ve rolled her stone body the hell out of Greendale lickity split! The kiss didn’t work because he supposedly still loves Sabrina.  Instead, they just capture Circe and she changes everyone back from stone. Oh well.

Hilda is super-gross and nearly full-on spider. She puts a glamour on and decides to hang out with Dr Cee.  Unfortunately, she losses her glamour and he sees all of her spiderness.  He does what any fiance would do and gets her some fast food.  Why not?  While he’s gone, she eats a guy who must be 90% balloon, given the blood splatter.  When he does return, Hilda corners Dr Cee, has him fertilize her eggs (somehow yeech), and kills him.  Hilda tells her sister to come and bring a gun and Zelda kills Hilda.  Afterall, Zelda used to kill Hilda once a month; so, Zelda puts Hilda in the resurrection plot device out front and waits for Hilda’s return.

Lastly, Lilith seduces father Blackwood so that she will have a Satan baby to keep Lucifer from killing her.  Why not?

This episode was not terrible, but not great.  It kind of made me sad for Hilda and the actress herself because she rarely gets to show any range.  In this episode, we find out that she has a broadway quality voice. Oh well, Lisa’s got the next one. Tag, you’re it!

Groovy, Spooky, “Spewey”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

If there’s one thing you can say for the work of Seattle-based cartoonist Jason T. Miles, it’s that his art is consistently challenging. And surprising. And pretty near indescribable. At times even indecipherable. And, yeah, I realize that’s more than the promised “one thing.”

Still, in my own defense, if I only had one thing to say about it, that wouldn’t really make for much of a review, would it? And I actually have a fair amount to say about the retrospective collection Spewey, a 44-page assemblage of some of Miles’ more idiosyncratic work from the past decade published in late 2019 by “boutique” riso-printing house Cold Cube Press. It’s deciding how to say what you want to say that’s always the trickiest part of reviewing any of Miles’ comics, though, and that’s what makes the prospect of attempting to do so such an exciting proposition.

As a general…

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Moonrunners (1975, directed by Gy Waldron)

Does this sound familiar?

Grady and Bobby Lee Hagg (played by Kiel Martin and Jame Mitchum) are just some good ol’ boys, never meaning no harm, but they’ve still been in trouble with the law since they day they were born.  They live in rural Georgia, on a farm owned by their Uncle Jesse (Arthur Hunnicutt).  Uncle Jesse’s an expert on two things: the Bible and how to brew the best whiskey.  Uncle Jesse is moonshiner with integrity.  No one knows his formula and he won’t sell his moonshine to just anyone.  He doesn’t want anything to do with the New York mob and their efforts to move in on the moonshine racket.

Uncle Jesse’s main rival is Jake Rainey (George Ellis), the corpulent county commissioner who used to be Jesse’s business partner but who now is in league with the Mafia.  Jake and the Hagg boys have a rivalry that is sometimes friendly but still dangerous.  Helping Jake control the county is a formerly honest lawman named Rosco P. Coltrane (Bruce Atkins).

The Hagg boys are on probation so they can’t leave the county and they can’t carry guns.  Instead, they hunt with bow and arrow.  They drive a fast car that they’ve named Traveller (after General Lee’s horse).  Grady dreams of going to Nashville with Beth Anne Eubanks (Chris Forbes) and becoming a country music star.  Bobby is a laid back race car driver who is having an affair with Jake Rainey’s wife.

The film follows the Hagg boys as they transport moonshine, outrun the police, and occasionally get into bar fights.  The movie was shot on location on Georgia, features several car chases, and it’s narrated by country singer Waylon Jennings.

Moonrunners was filmed in 1973 but not released until 1975.  It didn’t get much attention when it was released but it did go on to inspire a television series called The Dukes of Hazzard.   Even considering the show’s popular success and current cult status, Moonrunners is still a largely unknown film.  (It’s so obscure that Warner Bros. was reportedly shocked to discover that they were required to pay several million in royalties to the film’s producers before they could move ahead with their own film adaptation of The Dukes of Hazzard.)  However, Moonrunners is superior to The Dukes of Hazzard in every way.

Of course, being better than The Dukes of Hazzard may seem like a low bar to clear but Moonrunners is still one of the better moonshiner films out there.  The car chases are genuinely exciting and well-filmed and the cast feels authentic.  Arthur Hunnicutt and George Ellis both seem like they naturally belong next to a still while James Mitchum and Kiel Martin are well-paired as Grady and Bobby Lee.  Mitchum, in particular, channels the laconic charisma of his father, Robert.  Not surprisingly, Moonracers is far rougher and has more of an edge than The Dukes of Hazzard.  The TV show may have been for kids but the movie is not.

It’s a B-movie, of course.  The soundtrack, which is full of outlaw country, is sometimes obtrusive.  I burst out laughing at the film’s most dramatic moment because Waylon Jennings suddenly started singing a song called “Whiskey Man.”  The DVD release appears to have been copied straight from a VHS tape so the images were often grainy.  It’s not a perfect movie but I still enjoyed Moonrunners for what it was, a celebration of fast cars, pretty girls, and rebellious attitudes.  Your collection of car chase films is incomplete without it!

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Peter Cushing Edition

4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today is a very special day for fans of horror cinema.  It’s Peter Cushing’s birthday!  Peter Cushing was born 107 years ago today, in Surrey.  As an actor, Cushing appeared in a wide variety films but he’s probably destined to be forever remembered for playing Baron Frankenstein and Prof. Van Helsing in several Hammer films.  (He also apparently played a villain in an obscure sci-fi film in the 70s.)

By most accounts, Cushing was the kindest of men and quite a contrast to the villains that he often played.  My favorite Peter Cushing performance is his definitive interpretation of Van Helsing in The Horror of Dracula.  Cushing brought so much authority to the role that he not only made you believe in vampires but he also made you believe that he was the only person who could possibly defeat them.

One final nice note: Cushing and Christopher Lee were often at odds on screen but they were the best of friends in real life.  Lee, in fact, often said that he never recovered emotionally from Cushing’s death in 1994.

In honor of Peter Cushing, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Films

Hamlet (1948, dir by Laurence Olivier)

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957, dir by Terence Fisher)

The Horror of Dracula (1958, dir by Terence Fisher)

Scream and Scream Again (1970, dir by Gordon Hessler)