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.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Comic Critic Reviews "Crimson Peak"

Guillermo del Toro said that he wanted to do a Gothic-Romance with a big dash of horror to pay homage to, and to break a few rules of the genre. Crimson Peak starts off right away setting the tone by showing you a ghost within the first five minutes. We get a long creepy look as it utters a cryptic warning. We are then left wondering if perhaps showing a ghost so early in the production was too much of a reveal. But, hey, Hamlet started with a ghost as well and things got very dicey afterwards in that story. The audience is pulled into a Victorian setting with social parties and customs of the time. We wonder if the love our heroine feels is doomed from the start. And how can it possibly thrive when it’s nested in a grand house whose better days are well behind it? The house is like a gigantic decaying body, and we quickly come to feel that the tenants are worms. Crimson Peak is very pretty to look at—in a dusty, antique way. But we’re onto the hidden elements of the story early. The excitement comes from not knowing how the final cards are played. Black, white, gray, sepia, and red, lots of red, fill the color palette of this film. I give this nice homage to the Gothic Movie a solid five points, and then add a point for its having a dog with a name, and another point for easily passing the Bechdel Test.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Comic Critic Reviews "Little Dead Rotting Hood"

I’m sure the title of Little Dead Rotting Hood was meant to appeal to the zombie-loving crowd as well as trying to spin the folk tale of Little Red Riding Hood in a new direction. I know that’s what lured this fish to take the hook. The first five minutes of Little Dead Riding Hood told me that I was set for a world of boredom and disappointment. Be warned, you will need to keep yourself alert; otherwise, you will find yourself yawning through the crucial few minutes of exposition that actually explains what is meant to be going on. As is often the case with a gimmick-titled movie, Little Dead Rotting Hood lacks substance. If you want to see a great horror film with a Red Riding Hood spin, I suggest you watch The Company of Wolves (1984). If you want a straight-to-tape zombie movie that at least won’t bore you to tears, I suggest The Video Dead (1986). Which just goes to show that practical special effects from decades ago can still beat the pants off bad editing and CGI.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Comic Critic Reviews "The Thin Man"

Originally slated as a B-movie by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, The Thin Man was quickly completed in less than two weeks. The film then surprised the studio by becoming a box-office hit. I’d like to remind my readers that Prohibition was repealed on December 5th, 1933. The Thin Man, which features a tremendous amount of drinking, was released in the spring of 1934. A few audiences complained about the excess, but a thirsty country coming off a dry spell waved them off. Perhaps it was this new tolerance that kept the censors from applying their scissors to the innocent innuendo, often ad-libbed, found in the merry banter of a loving, married couple. The true fun ofThe Thin Man is that the main characters of Nick and Nora have such on-screen chemistry that they come across as intoxicating instead of intoxicated. The dialog provides the humor, not the alcohol. The grace of the performers, William Powell and Myrna Loy, made a statement the audience could rally behind. Smart, happy people could indulge and could still be smart, happy people. Now my theory might seem half-cocked. There’s a mountain of reviews about why The Thin Man was a good movie in 1934. But everyone agrees the movie has legs. You will find it just as clever and entertaining today was when it was released.

You might even be inclined to check out its six sequels:
After the Thin Man (1936) 
Another Thin Man 
Shadow of the Thin Man 
The Thin Man Goes Home
Song of the Thin Man

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Comic Critic Reviews "It happened One Night"

It Happened One Night was the first movie to win all five major Academy Awards: Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay. Not bad for a film that initially didnt fare well when it first hit the theaters. It was when it began its round at second-run theaters and small theaters out in the sticks that audiences started attending en mass. Theres a theory that folks who lived in rural areas identified with the settings of bus travel and pop-up roadside cottage inns. Its said that tickets on Greyhound buses had a bump in sales as a result of the film. But what I want to talk about is how It Happened One Night influenced popular culture. Clark Gables character, Peter Warren, talks while filling up his mouth with carrots. Another character who addresses Warren as Docis then asked by Warren if hes heard of Bugs Dooley. Six years later, these various tidbits would flow into a cartoon character called Bugs Bunny. Moments, lines and scenarios from It Happened One Night have been paid homage in a slew of films and cartoons. It Happened One Night is a fun romp that audiences went crazy for back in the 30s, and its well worth your time to watch and see how it became the source of so much material used later in film.

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Comic Critic Reviews "Clockwork Orange"

Originally, Anthony Burgess released his novel A Clockwork Orange in 1962, well before the Summer of Love. The book was inspired by the published results of a series of scientific experiments exploring social conditioning. Kubrick discovered the book some years later and was both fascinated and inspired by the multiple ideas the novel put forward as how politics would take advantage of social conditioning. When Kubricks film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange was released in 1971, its portrayal of vicious youth, extreme violence, and political manipulation stuck a nerve. People saw a future they didnt like. If you place the iconic imagery and the violence aside, A Clockwork Orange still serves as a portent to how political factions do their best to mold the minds of the public. The only catch now is that their methodologies are subtler and far less obvious than the conditioning chair we see in A Clockwork Orange.