Monthly Archives: February 2012



Horror-film addicts will go to great lengths to get their fix, and if that means that we– er, they must travel 4,000 miles to the mountains of Norway, so be it.  Because it turns out that hidden somewhere in the icy peaks north of Oslo there is an abandoned ski lodge.  And living in that lodge is ….

The Norwegian slasher flick Cold Prey is a lot of fun, but not right away.  It begins with a slew of horror-movie clichés:  We listen to ominous news reports about missing skiers;  we meet a carload of attractive-but-vapid young people on their way to a snowboarding holiday; and, naturally, the kids’ cell phones don’t work.

But if you can make it past those too-familiar opening scenes without throwing your cell phone at the screen, the movie delivers some nifty chills once the youngsters arrive at Jotunheimen, a frigid, beautiful mountain range where Cold Prey was filmed.




After that trite opening, director Roar Uthaug makes some good decisions.  For one, he cast Ingrid Bolso Berdal as his heroine.  It’s immediately clear that if anyone can survive an upcoming bloodbath, it’s this steely-eyed brunette.  Berdal is to Scandinavian psychopaths what Sigourney Weaver is to scaly aliens.

Second, Uthaug tapped Norwegian beauty Viktoria Winge to play the other girl in the small party of stranded snowboarders.  Winge is in the movie to suffer a gruesome death — but not before she spends a fair amount of screen time prancing about in skimpy panties.  That is, admittedly, odd behavior for a woman stuck in a heatless lodge in the mountains of Norway.  But who’s complaining?




You might notice that I haven’t yet described the movie’s plot.  You might also have seen one or more of the Friday the 13th flicks, in which case you already know the plot.  Plot doesn’t really matter in a film like this; in fact, too much story can be a detriment.  What matters are goosebumps.  Uthaug sets a leisurely pace as the kids take refuge in a gloomy, 1970s-vintage lodge, exploring its dim hallways and common areas, generating a delicious sense of isolation.  The director is also smart enough not to show too much of the killer, too soon.

Cold Prey was a big hit in Scandinavia, spawning two sequels.  It’s no classic, but it’s better than most films in the much-maligned slasher genre.  And did I mention Viktoria Winge in her panties?        Grade:  B


Prey4 Prey5


Director:  Roar Uthaug   Cast:  Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Rolf Kristian Larsen, Tomas Alf Larsen, Endre Martin Midtstigen, Viktoria Winge, Rune Melby   Release:  2006




Watch Trailers  (click here)




Prey8           Prey9




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Panetta1      Wynn1


Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has been in the news.  Why, when I see Panetta, am I reminded of the late, great Ed Wynn?


     Panetta2            Wynn2




Rihanna2            Rihanna1


I was thumbing through Entertainment Weekly when a picture on page 32 caught my eye.  “Hmmm,” I thought, “I wonder why this photo of pop star Rihanna catches my eye.”  Rihanna looked fetching in fishnet stockings as she performed on stage, but then a lot of celebrities have nice-looking legs — even some female celebrities.  So why was I struck by this particular picture?  Somehow, it seemed familiar.

I did some detective work.  And this is what I found in my recent issues of Entertainment Weekly:

Nov. 25:  three pictures of Rihanna in a sexy bikini-thingy and fishnet stockings, featured in the “Must List.”  On page 68, Rihanna in shorts and fishnet stockings.

Dec. 16:  picture of Rihanna in a leotard and fishnet stockings

Dec. 23:  Rihanna in the bikini-thingy and fishnets again.  And again on page 120.

Jan. 27:  Rihanna in fishnets

Feb. 3:  Rihanna in fishnets

Someone at Entertainment Weekly really, really likes Rihanna.  Or fishnet stockings.






They say that fashion trends begin in Europe.  I’m still waiting for this “topless women protestors” look to catch on over here.






The Super Bowl is tomorrow.  For the first time in my adult life, I am seriously considering skipping it.  I might just watch the latest episode of Downton Abbey, instead … aw, who am I kidding?






Someone at Urban Financial Group thought it was a good idea to have actor Robert Wagner sell “security” to Americans while standing beside a large body of water.  No comment.


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by Philip Coppens



I’ll admit it, this stuff fascinates me:  rocks weighing hundreds of tons that our ancestors were somehow able to move; cryptic references to “gods from the heavens” found in many ancient manuscripts; science’s acknowledgment that there is likely life out there in the universe.  So when I pick up a book like Coppens’s The Ancient Alien Question, I try to have an open mind.  But then ….

There are so many problems with this book.  For starters, it should be called The English Language Question.  I don’t know if it was poorly translated, edited, or written, but much of it is incomprehensible, crammed with irrelevant (at least to the layman) details about disputes within the scientific community, or dull minutiae, such as the components of old cement.  Coppens’s favorite adverb is “clearly,” but there is very little I’d consider “clear” about many of his conclusions.

Consider this example:  On page 202, Coppens cites “evidence” that nuclear technology existed in ancient India by quoting an expert named Francis Taylor.  On the following page, Coppens writes this:  “The first question is whether the named archaeologist Francis Taylor existed.  Alas, no one has ever been able to identify him.”  In an attempt to confer an air of impartiality and credibility to the author, the publisher’s blurb claims that Coppens is “labeled a skeptic by the believers, and a believer by the skeptics.”  Don’t buy it:  The man is “clearly” a believer.

It’s too bad this book is such a mess, because there are a lot of mysteries from antiquity, and it seems unlikely that humans could have accomplished some of their amazing feats without help – from someone or something.  There must be better books on this subject.  Clearly.


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