Some people consider Psycho Alfred Hitchcock’s best movie (I’m torn between Rear Window and Vertigo). But there’s no denying the power of Psycho and its innovations. I picked up this new Blu-ray version at Wal-Mart for $9.95. Well worth it! The film never looked so good! And check out these extras:
The Making of Psycho
In The Master’s Shadow: Hitchcock’s Legacy
Hitchcock / Truffaut Interview Excerpts
Newsreel Footage: The Release of Psycho
The Shower Scene: With and Without Music
The Shower Scene: Storyboards by Saul Bass
The Psycho Archives
Posters and Psycho Ads
Feature Commentary with Stephen Rebello (author of “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho”)
If you’re a fan of Hitchcock, you’ll enjoy all the extra content on this disc. A great value at a great price!
The Bills committed 17 penalties in their loss to the Giants last week. Head Coach Rex Ryan “promises” the coaching staff will “clean things up” in time to take on the Tennessee Titans. We’ll see. The Bills lead the NFL with 58 penalties in four games. Not good. I’ll be flying back from the BOUCHERCON in Raleigh so I’ll miss the game unless I can find a sports bar in the Baltimore Airport (where I have a 2-hour layover). How will your favorite NFL team do today?
Philip K. Dick won a Hugo Award for Best Novel of the Year with The Man in the High Castle. The novel is an alternate reality SF novel where Nazi Germany and Japan win World War II. They divide up the United States. But Hitler’s health is poor and some of the Nazi elite want to claim all of North America. There’s an American resistance, but it’s weak and ineffectual. AMAZON Video is releasing a mini-series in November but the first episode is available right now. Just go to AMAZON and you can watch it for free. I liked the first episode so I’ll be coming back for more in November.
I grew up reading ACE Doubles and D-497 (1961) was always a favorite because of the cool cover on Ray Cummings’s Wandl the Invader. Wandl the Invader is a sequel to Cumming’s Brigands of the Moon. A mysterious “Tenth Planet” enters the Solar System and our heroes, Haljan and his friend Snap, battle against the Forces of Evil. Wandl the Invader was serialized in Astounding Stories in 1932 so you can gauge the amount of pulp in the story (a lot!). “Keith Woodcott” is a pseudonym of Science Fiction writer, John Brunner. A Federation of Worlds threatens Earth as it prepares to launch it’s first starship. The Federation demands Earth send them a “representative” who would live among Federation members for year so they could determine whether Earth is worthy of becoming a member or not. The leaders of Earth come up with a clever strategy to fool the Federation: they use psychic technology to house six personalities in one body (two of the personalities are females, the other four are males). Each personality has its own scientific expertise. I Speak for Earth has a clever ending that forecasts some of John Brunner’s later SF. If you’re a fan of classic SF, here are two good examples.
Greg Van Eekhout California Bones reminds me of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden urban magic novels. What attracted to me to this book was the cover blurb: “A novel of magic, a heist, and the unexpected things that change your life.” I like magic and I like heists. They rarely go together so I figured I’d give California Bones a quick read. Daniel Blackland had a father skilled as a wizard of osteomancy (and ability to absorb power). Daniel’s father embeds powers in Daniel. Then the evil Heirarch (master wizard and leader of the Kingdom of Los Angeles) kills Daniel’s mother and father. Fast-forward a decade and Daniel is a troubled youth. He’s challenged by a local gangster named Otis to break into the Heirarch’s treasure vault. That’s the heist. Plenty of magic and plot-twists result. Greg Van Eekhout has written Young Adult novels before attempting California Bones so there’s a youthful feel to the characters and story. The characters are engaging and the action held my interest. I plan to read the next book in this series, Pacific Fire. GRADE: C+
By the time you read this, I’ll be flying to Raleigh, North Carolina to visit with friends at BOUCHERCON. I’ve never been to Raleigh so I’m looking forward to seeing a new city. I’ve attended about a dozen BOUCHERCONs. Sure, the free books, panels, and activities are fun. But I go to BOUCHERCON to visit with friends like Bill Crider, Jeff and Jackie Meyerson, Maggie Mason, Patti and Phil Abbott. I work ahead so I have blog posts for time I’ll be in Raleigh, but my responses to your comments might be a little sporadic. Next week, I’ll have my BOUCHERCON report for you.
Sicario is Spanish for “Hit Man.” Emily Blunt plays an FBI agent recruited by a team who battles drug cartels. This elite government task force is led by Josh Brolin’s character. Their mission is to aid in the escalating war against drugs on the border of the U.S. and Mexico. A quirky consultant played by Benicio Del Toro has the the team set out on a secret mission that forces Emily Blunt’s character to question everything about the drug war. This narco-thriller is intense. I just wish they gave Emily Blunt more to do at times other than to stand around and look pensive. GRADE: B+
Newsies is a musical version of the Disney movie from 1992. Jack Kelly (no relation) is a leader of a ragged group of boys who deliver newspapers in New York City. The story is set in 1899. Joseph Pulitzer cuts the amount of money the newsies will receive. This enrages Jack Kelly and he organizes a STRIKE. There’s a lot of singing and dancing in this high-energy production. The choreography is inventive and gymnastic. There’s a love story between Jack Kelly and a woman reporter. If you’re looking for an uptempo, energetic musical, Newsies fits the bill. GRADE: B
After the Bills spanked the Miami Dolophins 41-14 last week, Bills fans are jacked up about this game with the New York Giants. However, running back LeSean McCoy and wide recover Sammy Watkins could be sitting out with injuries. Eli Manning could be running for his life if the Bills defensive line shows up like they did against Andrew Luck and the Colts a few weeks ago. With the weird weather and a possible hurricane effect, this game might be played in torrential rain. How will your favorite team do today?