The Home of the Creative Mind

Welcome to PooBahSpiel, the online voice and home of the creative mind of Mark Monlux, Illustrator Extraordinaire. Prepare yourself for an endless regaling of art directly from the hand of this stellar artist. And brace yourself against his mighty wind of pontification. Updates are kinda weekly and show daily sketches, current projects, and other really nifty stuff.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Comic Critic Reviews "The Creation of the Humanoids."

I really was very young when I saw The Creation of the Humanoids. It had a very lasting effect on me. Until then, I never considered what a thin line there might be between man and machine. How much of a person’s personality is nature and how much is nurture? What defines a creature as being biological? Is being biological a requirement for consciousness? It was all very heady stuff. It’s a good thing The Creation of the Humanoids didn’t have dazzling special effects, roaring chase scenes, or fireball explosions to distract me from those talking heads. My young mind was doing its best to keep up with the implications of their discussions. The acting in this film is very stiff. It’s not improved by the cinematography. Nearly all the scenes are unanimated people talking to each other. But as I watched The Creation of the Humanoids again, all these decades later, I was  struck by how many of the film’s predictions or concepts have came true. I’m also amazed at how the dialog, while a bit uninspiring, continues to touch on relevant social issues, such as surveillance, sexual freedom, relationships, and what constitutes a partnership. You might find The Creation of the Humanoids a clunky old sci-fi movie, but I challenge you to compare it to modern science fiction movies. See if current productions touch on as many social issues, or if they are just eye candy. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Comic Critic reviews The Big Sleep

I can understand the need for a director to call an actor back after filming to add some voice-over. Sometimes this is crucial. But what drives me to distraction is that too often it’s used as a lazy shortcut. I dislike movies that are whittled down to the lowest attention-span denominator. The audience doesn’t need to be led by the hand through each and every scene. And when it comes to the genre of Mystery, it’s an absolute crime. What I love are movies that forge ahead with the understanding that the audience has enough intelligence to keep up, or at least will put in an effort to see where the pieces fit. The Big Sleep keeps the viewer riveted because it’s not easy to follow, or even keep up with the events unfolding. When you do receive an exposition, it’s only at the end. Also, the number of tricks and lazy shortcuts of familiar tropes is kept to a minimum. Because The Big Sleep is so well constructed, it has held up over the decades. On top of that, you have superb acting—not only by the stars, but also by some of the best character actors in the business. If you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a real treat.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Comic Critic Reviews "Frank" 2014

Frank is a tale of a quirky weirdo. Or I should say it’s a quirky weirdo story. Such stories generally fall into three categories:
• The quirky weirdo who is completely confident in who they are.
• The quirky weirdo who’s trying to find out who they are.
• The quirky weirdo who confuses striving to be something with striving to be something other than who you are. Frank dips into all three categories. The movie has us guessing which is being employed at any given time. Along the way, the audience gets to vicariously revel in the antics of the characters. The hope of the quirky-weirdo genre fan is to experience a new series of outlandish events that show whimsy and odd humor. While there is some whimsy involved, Frank’s odd humor has a nihilist feel with all of the appeal of an old ashtray. Utilitarian if you’re a smoker, a little distasteful if you aren’t.

RR Anderson, fellow CLAW founder, and proprietor of Tinkertopia, asked me to do this review. Other movies he asked me to review were Rubin & Ed and Rubber.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Comic Critic Reviews V/H/S

I enjoy watching anthologies. Perhaps it’s because my first anthology viewing experience was the thoroughly entertaining 1972 release of Tales from the Crypt. I can’t remember how my ten-year-old eyes managed see this treasure, but I was the perfect demographic for the stories it told. I’ve been a sucker for horror anthologies ever since. VHS does a superb job of following a theme for its anthology. Yes, it falls into the “found footage” genre, but the use of dated video equipment was purposeful, giving a vintage feel to the worst aspects of home recording. The footage itself is humanity at its worst: sleazy hidden-camera shots, captured public sexual assault, vandalism, and other assorted activities that, when found by the police, usually land the scuzballs involved in jail. What actually does find and collect these videos, well, I won’t spoil it for you. I’m not a fan of the “found-footage” genre, but VHS did okay sticking to its theme. It’s a solid enough film that it launched a franchise.

BTW: This is my 1,000th blog posting on eBlogger.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Comic Critic reviews The Grey

Amongst wilderness-survival films, The Grey is unique. The genre’s formula includes a journey of self-discovery for the cast. This is superbly done in The Grey by the clever use of literal metaphors crafted so well into scenes that audiences are not bludgeoned with their meaning during the action. Viewers do catch up, but by then another action sequence with more hidden metaphors is underway. By the end of the film, audiences are coming to grips with the experience. They are left mulling what they discover with what might still be hidden. Any survival film that makes you think that much is well worth seeing.

Only four more days to Emerald City Comic Con. Woo Hoo!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

“The Comic Critic Presents Blockbusters” will make its official debut at Emerald City Comic Con.

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Since the release of my first book, “The Comic Critic Presents Seldom Seen Films,” I’ve received numerous requests for a collection of movie reviews featuring big hit films. I’m proud to say that said book is finally here. For my second, and newest book, I picked not only top grossing films, but also films the public loved. Not all of these blockbusters are Oscars, but nearly all of them are, and many received nominations.

I also listened to my fans and added new features to “Blockbusters.” I still rate the movies on a scale of one-to-ten, but now these ratings can be found in the index as well as in the review. The commentary for each cartoon will let you know how many Oscars the movie won, and if it won best picture. I made a few other improvements as well. But I want you to see them for yourself when you pick up a copy.

My table at Emerald City Comic Con is B-04. Once you go up the escalators turn left and enter via the Atrium Lobby. Once you’re through the doors turn left you will find me almost immediately along the wall on the left. I’m situated equal distance between the Ladies and the Mens, so I’m sure you will be visiting me more than once.

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