Confessions of a TV Addict #11: The Small Screen Adventures of Larry Cohen!

cracked rear viewer

I was a Larry Cohen fan before I even knew there was a Larry Cohen! Before IT’S ALIVE! , before  BLACK CAESAR , I was watching the following Cohen Creations on my parents big, bulky TV console:

BRANDED (ABC 1965) – Cohen’s first series as creator debuted as a midseason replacement for Bill Dana’s failed sitcom. THE RIFLEMAN’s Chuck Connors  returned to TV as Jason McCord, a disgraced Cavalry officer court martialed and drummed out of the service after being falsely accused of cowardice. McCord then wanders the West getting involved in a new adventure every week while trying to clear his name. Viewers welcomed Connors back to the small screen, and the half-hour black and white Western was renewed for a full season – this time “in living color”! The show featured a memorable opening theme song by Dominic Frontiere and Alan Arch…

… unfortunately, Jason McCord never did…

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Lisa Marie Picks The 16 Worst Films Of 2012

Let’s be honest: 2012 sucked.  In fact, and I can say this because I’m secretly a history nerd, 2012 was the worst year since 1934.  Who needs a zombie apocalypse when you’ve got 2012?

At the same time, it was also a strangely bland year for the movies.  Just as there weren’t any massively brilliant films, there weren’t that many huge disasters.  Instead, it was a year that celebrated blandness.  Fortunately, for me and my love of making lists, there were still just enough remarkably bad films for me to make out my annual worst of the year list.  Yay!

Listed in descending order, here are my picks for the worst of 2012.*

16) The Paperboy

15) Seeking a Friend For The End Of The World

14) Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

13) The Raven

12) The Trouble With Bliss

11) Savages

10) A Thousand Words

9) 96 Minutes

8) Haywire

7) Dead Season

6) This Means War

5) Rock of Ages

4) Project X

3) The Devil Inside

2) The Wicker Tree

And my pick for both the worst film of 2012 and perhaps one of the worst films ever made…

1) Branded

Tomorrow, I’ll be continuing my look back at 2012 with my picks for the 10 best songs of the year.


* Needless to say, these picks reflect my opinion and my opinion alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the other writers here at the Shattered Lens.  Hopefully, some of them will post their own lists.

12 Random Things That I Am Thankful For In 2012

So many things to be thankful for!

Today is the day that I (and perhaps a few others) look over the past year and ask myself, “What am I thankful for?”  I am happy to say that I have a lot to be thankful for right now.  I’m thankful for my family, for my friends, for my readers, and for my love.

Believe it or not, I’m even thankful that I’m now 27 years old!  When my family gathered together earlier today, I actually got to hang out with the grown ups!  Seriously, being an adult was a lot more fun than I was expecting.

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is also the day when I do a post entitled “10 Things That I Am Thankful For.”  So, here we go.  As I stated previously, I’m thankful for a lot of things in 2012.  Here, in no specific order, is twelve of them:

1) I’m thankful that The Cabin In The Woods and Sinister reminded me of why I love horror films in the first place.

2) I’m thankful for the Snarkalecs on twitter, the best group of people that a girl could hope to watch a SyFy movie with.

3) I’m thankful that this current season of Survivor is one of the best yet.

4) I’m thankful that someday, when I do have a daughter, I’ll be able to watch films like Brave and The Hunger Games with her.

5) I’m thankful that Richard Linklater directed Bernie and let the true citizens of Texas speak for themselves.

6) I’m thankful that Sarah Polley wrote and directed Take This Waltz.

7) I’m thankful for the TCMParty on twitter, the best group of people that a girl could hope to watch a classic film on TCM with.

8) I’m thankful that the final season of The Office is turning out to be a good one.

9) I’m thankful that Skyfall reminded us of why we all love James Bond in the first place.

10) I’m thankful that Branded eventually ended.  Seriously, I was worried that film was never going to come to a close.

11) I’m thankful that The Avengers turned out to be a lot more fun than even I was expecting.

12) I’m thankful that even a generally disappointing film year can still see the release of films like Life of Pi and The Master.

What do you think, Trailer Kitties?

Don’t worry, kitties!  Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Film Trailers will return next week!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Film Review: Branded (dir by Jamie Bradshaw and Aleksandr Duleyran)

Is it too early to declare that Branded is the worst film of 2012? 

Probably.  After all, there’s still 3 more months left in October and who knows what could happen.  I’m still holding out hope that Zero Dark Thirty will be just as bad as I’m expecting it to be and I recently realized that I find the trailer for The Sessions to be kind of annoying.  There’s still a slight chance that I’ll see a film worse than Branded before 2013.

However, I do think that it’s safe to say that Branded is the worst film of 2012 so far.

At the very least, Branded deserves the award for 2012’s most deceptive trailer.

On the basis of the trailer, you would be perfectly justified in expecting Branded to be a rip-off of John Carpenter’s classic They Live.  You would be justified in expecting that the film would be a thriller, involving aliens using advertising to control people’s minds.

What you would not expect is that Branded would turn out to be an overlong, extremely preachy and didactic film about a Russian advertising guru who, after producing an ill-fated reality show, spends 6 years living as a shepherd until he happens to ritualistically sacrifice a red cow and is therefore inspired to lead an advertising war against fast food companies.  You wouldn’t expect the film to be such a confused mess that, while watching it, you actually find yourself standing up to leave the theater because you’ve mistakenly assumed that the film is over (as I did several times).  You also probably wouldn’t expect that the entire film would be narrated by yet another cow, this one floating around in the night sky and sending down lightning bolts to both enlighten and destroy various advertising gurus.

All of that happens and more!  And you know what?  As interesting as it may appear to be in writing, it’s all unbelievably dull when watched on-screen.  The Russian advertising genius is played by Ed Stoppard and his American girlfriend is played by Leelee Sobieski and, as a couple, they have absolutely zero chemistry.  You never believe their relationship and, as such, it’s difficult to understand why Sobieski’s character is so determined to make things work with a guy who appears to be insane.  Sobieski’s father is played by Jeffrey Tambor.  Whereas everyone else in the film underplays to the point that they sometimes appear to be sleepwalking, Tambor overplays every scene, as if he thought he was appearing in an episode of Arrested Development instead of this movie.  In the end, the best performance in the film comes from the talking cow in the sky, even if she seems awfully proud for a character who spends the entire movie spouting banal clichés.

(Seriously, did you know that advertising is a form of manipulation?  Well, you do now!  Thanks, Space Cow!)

For no particular reason, Max Von Sydow is in the film as well.  His role is really just a cameo and the entire time he’s on-screen, he’s got a small smile on his lips as if he’s saying, “Did you really pay money to watch this crap?”

In its defense, there is one — and only one — impressive scene in Branded but you can see that scene in the trailer for free.

There might be a worse film than Branded released this year.

But I doubt it.

Trailer: Branded (Official)

Lisa Marie mentioned a particular film trailer that she sawfor a film coming out soon that reminded her of a classic John Carpenter scifi film. This film was Brandedand from looking at it’s official trailer one does see some major similarities between this Russian/American scifi production with the Carpenter subversive scifi film.

The premise looks and sounds interesting but I must admit that the CG aliens/monsters/overlords look to be very subpar in comparison to most CG-effects work nowadays. Another note of interest is that it stars Leelee Sobieski who was once seen by Hollywood as a rising superstar when she first hit the scene over a decade ago. I don’t think I’ve seen her in anything of note until this trailer came along.

Now I won’t say that this film is a straight rip-off of Carpenter’s They Livebut if it includes an extended scene between two men fighting it out in an alley then I shall declare shenanigans.

Branded is set for a September 7, 2012 release date.