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, July 28, 2014

The Comic Critic Reviews Battle of the Damned

I had such high hopes for Battle of the Damned. I’m a big fan of both zombies and robots. After I saw both in the preview for Battle of the Damned when I was sharing it with my friends—that is, my zombie- and robot-loving friends, they too voiced their excitement. As a zombie film connoisseur, I will tell you what I look for in a zombie film. The first thing it should have is an interesting premise. An example would be the film Zombie Strippers, in which the Zombie Apocalypse starts in a strip club. The second thing it should have is some interesting zombie death scenarios that have either never been seen before or which pay homage to previous memorable death scenarios. The third thing is at least a couple of lines of memorable dialog. I got excited because Battle of the Damned had a great premise: Zombies vs. Robots, but the movie falls apart because all the fighting between the zombies was mundane. There were no uniquely memorable kills. All it would have taken to fix this flick was a few thoughtful shots using some practical special effects. That, along with strained, not memorable dialog, let this movie flounder. As a result, Battle of the Damned is doomed not to become a cult classic—but just a footnote in bad zombie film history.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Comic Critic Reviews Charlie Chaplin's "The Kid"

I’m compelled to confess that I’ve not seen many Charlie Chaplin films. I blanch when I consider my knowledge of the sum of his work comes from odd clips seen in documentaries are recreated for dramas about his life. As an enjoyer of silent films, a deep fan of black and while movies, and a self proclaimed critic of the medium, my lack of viewing of Charlie Chaplin films is almost horrific. I’m seeking to remedy this, and what better way than to start with The Kid, a movie which prove to Hollywood that Charlie Chaplin was a force to be recon with. This movie was longer than his previous films. Chaplin won his battle to be paid for the higher reel count. He also won the heat of the movie going public. In 1921 The Kid was the second highest grossing picture. The highest grossing picture was The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, which became the sixth highest grossing silent film. Yet The Kid’s heartwarming story would prove to have the longer legs. It’s regarded not merely as an American classic, but one of the most influential films from the silent era. If your Chaplin education needs improvement – I recommend The Kid as a starting point.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Comic Critic Reviews Foreign Correspondents

Not only is the Fourth of July a time to celebrate American Independence, but it is also the date my wife picked for our anniversary. She figured I would never forget our anniversary if it was also a National Holiday - plus she would get work off. Needless to say I was busy with other things other than drawing up a movie review. So I'm digging into the archives to bring you Foreign Correspondents. This film was created by Mark Tappio Kines, and I have to confess that we are friends. But, before you start thinking that this is one of those crappy made at home movies I'd like to say the following: It ain't. This film was on of the first movies to be funded via the web before Kickstarter was even a thing. It also has talented actors who you will recognize. And I think that Mark's writing and directing holds up too.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Return of Stickman #1541

When I read the news story about a bear falling through a skylight into a birthday party and then sticking around to eat all the cupcakes, all I could think about was the poor kid whose party was crashed. I wonder just how good of a sport he or she was about it?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Return of Stickman #1540

This strip was inspired by real life events. Out of the blue my wife asks me, "Whatever happened to Geena Davis?" And then the next moment the movie trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy shows on the television. This strip instantly mashed itself together in my head. I added the bunnies because - well - bunnies.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Comic Critic's Movie Review of Coonskin

Commonly labeled as racist, Coonskin did not receive favorable reviews upon its release. The negative commentary around it led to meager distribution. I have to confess I missed seeing it. I was too young at the time to frequent the grindhouse theaters it might have played, and while my other portals of cable television and video stores were beginning to have it in stock, Coonskin never appeared on my radar. This was odd because I’ve seen the bulk of Ralph Bakshi’s work, a great deal of it as I was growing up. Bakshi, an American animator, continually pushed the envelope of the medium. I have to confess Coonskin caused me to squirm. I can easily remember those years with society’s easy acceptance of racism, gay bashing, and bigotry. To see this ugly visual portrayal in a style so tied to my youth struck home. I know that it’s a lampoon of Blaxploitation, a Minstrel Show meant to provoke laughter and reveal the ugly underbelly of society. But I just  couldn’t laugh–all I could do was wince. But I am glad that I find Coonskin far more offensive at age fifty than I would have at fifteen. For those now curious to see Coonskin, I give this warning: Prepare yourselves; you will hear the N word more times in the first five minutes than you have in the last five years.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Comic Critic's Movie Review of Top Gun

In 1986, I was fresh out of college and sharing an apartment with a roommate who had three great passions: 1. His stereo system. 2. His advanced skill with electronics. 3. Using those skills to improve said stereo system to replicate as nearly as possible, not only the deep bass, but also the bone-rattling thunder produced by Top Gun’s F14As. And as often as he played Top Gun, and it was quite often, somehow it never got old. Maybe it was because I was a young guy just starting out, and that testosterone-fueled movie was a fun way to enjoy that time. Or maybe it was simpler: Top Gun is just a great movie. At any rate, after having been brainwashed by its throbbing soundtrack, I’m hardly in a position to provide an unbiased opinion. So, when I sat down with a critical eye to write this review, I realized how completely distracted I had been by the horrendous amount of effort and money it took to get the US Navy involved in making that decade’s possibly best-ever recruitment tool. Top Gun is a thinly veiled cop-buddy movie, plain and simple. Once I made that discovery, the strip quickly wrote itself.