Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tune in, turn on, pop off.


How often have you wished that you could relive the night of June 15th, 2016--or, at least, a very specific portion of it? Well, now you can do that last thing only thanks to kgpc969.org, where you can now stream last night's episode of Pop Offensive in its entirety. Not only that, but you can also view a complete playlist for the episode on the Pop Offensive Facebook page. Thrill again to Jeff's evermore baroque theme episode suggestions, Todd's unique pronunciation of Foreign names, and, of course, a lot of really fun and amazing music. It's all at KGPC's Pop Offensive Archives, where you can hear, not just this episode, but every other one of the surprisingly large selection of previous Offensives.

Friday's best pop song ever

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Wednesday! POP OFFENSIVE RETURNS!


We came very close to reaching "Peak Pop" with April's gala second anniversary episode of Pop Offensive. In its aftermath, Jeff and I had to take time off to regroup, with Jeff even fleeing the country. Now we are back and bringing you the first Pop Offensive in two months, which will be streaming live from kgpc969.org this Wednesday, June 15th, at 7pm Pacific time. This means that we have had twice the usual amount of time to prepare our playlist for the evening, with predictably phenomenal results. It turns out that, however long we do this, there will always be enough pulse-quickening pop perfection out there for us to consistently turn an otherwise unremarkable two hours of you life into an ass-quaking, era-bridging global dance party. Tune us in on Wednesday and hear for yourself.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Three Supermen at the Olympic Games (Turkey, 1984)


Three Supermen at the Olympic Games looks like what happens when the universe itself rises up in defiance at the existence of yet another entry in the Three Supermen series. One cannot so much review it as draw a chalk outline around it, so does it resemble a sloppy corpse left behind by a disorganized killer. Of course, many of its deficits can be understood when you consider that it was one of the few Turkish entries in the Three Supermen series, which seem to exist only to make the Italian Three Supermen films look like Avengers movies by comparison.

Still, Three Supermen at the Olympic Games is shoddy even by the standards of Turkish trash cinema. There is the usual needle-dropped score (mostly John Williams’ themes to Superman: The Motion Picture), but, beyond that, evidence of the film being used as a sort of clearing house for misbegotten footage from other films is plentiful. Actors were apparently asked to recite their dialogue in close-up against a plain green backdrop, presumably to serve as a kind of narrative glue for insertion into the film as needed. I can’t tell whether this was done out of ignorance of the meaning of the term “green screen”, or if there had been some intention to insert backgrounds behind the actors at some point and someone eventually just said ‘fuck it.” Whichever the case, this practice only serves to increase the disjointed feeling of the movie--with these pallid looking shots of the actors reciting their lines at an uncomfortably intimate remove frequently interrupting the already mismatched scenes.


Given all this, summarizing the plot of Three Supermen at the Olympic Games would be difficult under any circumstances – the IMDB threw up its hands with “Three supermen go to Olympics and mayhem ensues”—which means that watching it without English subtitles, as I of course did, makes it as indecipherable as an alien message in a Stanislaw Lem novel. Still, here’s my best shot:

The Three Supermen (Levent Çakir in a canary yellow wig; Yilmaz Koksal as the stuttering, mentally challenged Superman; and Stefano Martinenghi, the son of director Italo Martinenghi) somehow end up in the service of the Greek goddess Hera (Filiz Özten) and fend off an assortment of medieval knights and modern day gangsters before finally rescuing a stolen briefcase from some pirates. The end.


As you might have guessed from the above, Three Supermen at the Olympic Games’ sense of period is pretty fluid, allowing for elements of ancient Greece, Medieval Europe, and modern day Turkey to intermingle freely on the screen without any kind of visual transition. Probably the most welcome of these anachronisms is a LOT of recycled footage from the comparatively delightful earlier Supermen film 3 Supermen vs. Mad Girl. Returning for a well deserved encore are the colorfully garbed Mad Girl herself (Mine Sun), her army of minions in satiny green Klansmen’s robes, her boss in his dime store devil mask, and, most welcome of all, that silly cardboard box robot with his unmistakably phallic laser gun. The only problem with this footage is that it’s vibrant, comic book inspired color scheme makes the rest of Three Supermen at the Olympic Games look pretty drab by comparison.

You might think that I’m oversimplifying Three Supermen at the Olympic Games, and you’re probably right. For instance, you Syd Field acolytes out there might ask what the point of all its muddled action is—or, to put a finer point on it, what is exactly at stake in it. Could it be, as the title suggests, the Olympic Games themselves? It’s questionable, since we see only a little of those games at both the films’ beginning and end, and there’s reason to suspect that the stock footage used is not of the Olympics at all.


Also, I have to confess to my synopsis being marred by my inability to account for certain of the film’s repeated bits of business, such as the brief clip of Levent Çakir looking into the camera while “flying” (i.e. either being hoisted on a crane or lying on an elevated plank) over a small boat that pops up with numbing regularity. Especially vexing was the Fu Man-Chu wannabe using a mixing console for a control panel who shows up on a television screen at irregular intervals to spout a mouthful of (presumably) expository dialog. Admittedly, these bits, had I understood them, might have smoothed over some of the films more jarring transitions, and if so, that’s my bad. Or is it? Is it my fault that this movie was not in English? I’ll let you decide.

Three Supermen at the Olympic Games’ director Italo Martinenghi, a producer of the original Supermen films in his native Italy, had brought the series to Turkey in the hope of lowering production costs. Three Supermen at the Olympic Games’ stands as testament to the fact that he was resoundingly successful in achieving that goal. It’s hard to imagine it looking any cheaper. If I could recommend it for any reason, it’s that the footage from Supermen vs. Mad Girl it contains is, in most cases, much crisper than that seen in the version of Mad Girl that’s currently available. All the better to appreciate the mighty Dickbot in the light that he so deserves.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Podcast of Fire's Taiwan Noir Episode #22: Dragon Inn


With this latest edition of Taiwan Noir, I use host Kenny B. as a kind of father confessor--a sympathetic ear to pay witness as I struggle with my feelings about King Hu's Dragon Inn, which is arguably a canonical work of martial arts cinema. I think it makes for one of our better episodes, but you can judge that for yourself. Download or stream the episode here.