THE ICS FILES
BIG NEWS ON THE PROJECTOR!
As those of you who attended the last meeting heard, the Board has decided to use money from our general fund to buy the video projector. Once the projector's purchased we'll have to beef the general fund back to strength. Our current balance is $1,843.30. We'll need to leave $250 in the account to keep the checking account free of service charges. So presently we have $1,593.00 toward the projector! Our current graphic looks like this:
Keep up the good work everyone! We're about $400 away from our goal. Let's try to secure that projector by April.
THE MARCH MEETING WAS TERRIFIC
We had a great time at our March meeting. Thanks to GARY ROBERSON, who provided an interesting panel topic of changes that we'd make to the movies and to MIKE SCHILLING who provided the videos for the evening. We started out with the 1945 Three Stooges short IF A BODY MEETS A BODY as an appetizer and enjoyed THE IRON GIANT as our entree. I think that it's safe to say that these may have been the best films that we've ever seen as a club. We followed up with a lively business meeting and a fun trip to the diner.
NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
Our April meeting will be held on Saturday April 29th at 6:00 P.M. at the church hall behind the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church located at 8848 BelAir Road. Take Baltimore Beltway exit 32 north on Belair Road. Turn left onto Joppa Road. Immediately past the miniature golf course turn left into the parking lot. If you miss it there are ample turn-around opportunities. If you get stuck call 410-598-8005. That's Dave Henderson's cell phone. He'll talk you in.
SNACKS AT MEETINGS
We're fortunate to have a room where we can bring unlimited snacks to meetings. They're always well received. To review the snack policy, the club does not provide snacks--they're contributed by people who attend the meeting. Folks, if we don't bring'em, we can't eat 'em. There's been a diminishing array of snacks at some of our recent gatherings. please try to remember to tow along your favorite munchie or beverage when you're heading out the door on the last Saturday of the month.
Please remember, when you do your Spring cleaning, we have our auction coming up at our next meeting. We agreed that if there were certain items of special value that didn't get the price that the donor deemed worthy we'd offer them on eBay. Bring your stuff. Bring your money. Services can also be offered for auction. For example, if you wanted to offer labeling someone's video library with computer labels, that would be fine. Be creative! Be there.
GREETINGS TO OUR NEWEST MEMBER!
Welcome to our newest member: DIANE GERVASIO! She's been Ralph and Peggy's pride and joy. Now she's ours too. Welcome Diane. It's good to have you with us.
GET WELL WISHES TO JOHN CLAYTON
AND SUE FEDER !
JOHN CLAYTON was one hurting cowboy. He didn't know he had a herniated disk until he fainted in public and wound up in an emergency room! Ouch! We hope that he returns to us in one un-herniated piece.
SUE FEDER has been undergoing cancer treatment for some time now. We hope that she's doing well. Sue, we just want you to know that we haven't forgotten about you. We hope that you can join us again soon.
Below you'll find a list of people who we're listing as paid members. If you do not find your name on this list and you feel that it's been omitted in error please let us know and we'll make the correction. If you've been meaning to re-join please get your check in to John Clayton as soon as possible. He's at 10354 Windstream Drive/Columbia, MD 21044. If you're leaving us, thanks for coming along this far. We hope that you consider dropping by some last Saturday night of the month and letting us know how you're doing. We'll be there.
|Jeff Barker||Leith Lomakin|
|Tom Burke||Lorne Marshall|
|John Clayton||Barry Murphy|
|Linda & Lee Conrad||Mark Piasecki|
|Vince DiLeonardi||Jerry Pleines|
|Brian Smith & Cindy Collins||Joe Plempel|
|Sue Feder||Gary Roberson|
|Kevin Flynn||Mike Schilling|
|Ralph & Peggy Gervasio||Courtney Spies|
|Diane Gervasio||Jack Tydings|
|Dave Henderson||Regina Vallerani|
|Kevin Hoffman||John Ward|
|Bob Kuzyk||David Willard|
|Bill Littman||Charlie Wittig|
ANYONE GOT A SPARE BED?
Gary Roberson is one of our most loyal members. Few of us would drive to a gathering in Philadelphia every month. Yet Gary seldom misses a meeting, making the trek down from the City of Brotherly Love (hmm, that has an odd ring in today's culture) each month. He's willing to spend money on a hotel room, if he has to, to break up his trip. Does anyone have a place where he can stay one Saturday night a month? It doesn't have to be the same person. If we could get a few volunteers we could rotate places for Hotel Roberson. You can call Gary at 610-359-9576 or contact any member of the Board.
THE GLASS TEAT
They'll be back. The syndicated television series RELIC HUNTER, BEASTMASTER and THE LOST WORLD will all return for a second season. The freshman shows are currently signing up television stations. RELIC HUNTER has been signed by stations representing 80% of the country's TV markets for the Fall. BEASTMASTER returns with a clearance of 87%. THE LOST WORLD has cleared 86% of the country for its second year. PETER BENCHLEY'S AMAZON hasn't been given approval for a second season, but a decision is expected soon. THE BACK2BACK ACTION HOUR, featuring CLEOPATRA 2525 and JACK OF ALL TRADES, is doing well in the ratings and is contracted to run through January. . . . Good-bye GORILLA. UPN has scrapped the Todd McFarlane GORILLA WORLD series. They said that it was just a coincidence that the announcement came just after lawyers from Twentieth Century Fox fired off a protesting letter that the series sounded too much like PLANET OF THE APES (which will be revived as a feature film under Tim Burton). UPN hopes to do some other series with McFarlane. . . . PERN in peril. The much anticipated fantasy show based on Anne Macaffery's THE DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN has taken a strange twist. Executive producer Eric Weymueller announced that the company responsible for syndication, Alliance Atlantis, let their rights go and that he hoped that PERN could still find its way to TV screens, perhaps by Fall 2001. A puzzled spokeswoman for Alliance, Pam Wilson, responded that as far as she knew nothing had changed and they were still looking forward to PERN on the air this Fall. I'll keep you posted. . . THE MUPPET SHOW will return. Now that Jim Henson Productions has been purchased by the Munich-based EMTV (for $680 million), plans are underway to do new episodes of THE MUPPET SHOW. It will be a similar format, featuring the Muppets with celebrity co-stars. The show will be done in English and distributed worldwide. . . . NIGHT TERRORS on Fox. Fox will offer a new anthology show called NIGHT TERRORS. It will consist of two half hour episodes, said to be in the tradition of THE TWILIGHT ZONE. . . . James Cameron's DARK ANGEL. Details are emerging about a new series that James Cameron is doing for Fox. It's to be called DARK ANGEL. It's set in 2020, after an electromagnetic pulse has wiped out all electronics. In a chaotic San Francisco, the narrative centers on a 20-something female motorcycle messenger named Max, who possesses special night vision. She and her friends navigate an underworld of homeless people, criminals and corrupt cops while eluding a mysterious villain named Lydecker. It seems Max is some kind of escapee from a top-secret military experiment, and Lydecker's trying to get her back. No word as to when the series will air. . . . Holy Kolchak Batman! NEWS FROM THE EDGE, a proposed Sci-Fi television series, is shooting a pilot for NBC in Vancouver. The series was pitched as a cross between the 1970s series KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER and the movie MEN IN BLACK. The pilot, written by producer Silvio Horta (URBAN LEGEND), tells the story of a tabloid cub reporter following up reports of a monster dwelling in the New York City sewers. Government of, by and for BABYLON 5. Jerry Doyle, former star in BABYLON 5 (Security Chief Michael Garibaldi) came a step closer to being the only member of Congress with his own action-figure. He won the Republican primary in Sherman Oaks in March. He'll face incumbent Rep. Brad Sherman in November for the right to represent California's 24th district in Congress. . . . FARSCAPE gets special commentary. In a first ever move, producer's commentary will be available simultaneously with a live broadcast of FARSCAPE. Fans who log onto Sci-Fi.com can hear producer Rockne S. O'Bannon's live commentary about the show as it airs. FARSCAPE's second season began March 17th. . . . FIRST WAVE star stays the course. Sebastian Spence, who stars as Cade Foster in the Sci-Fi's Channel's show, FIRST WAVE, has re-signed for another season. The third season started filming the last week of March. . . . DAY ONE on the WB. The WB network has ordered the most expensive pilot in their brief history--a proposed science fiction series to be called DAY ONE. It's about a group of train passengers catapulted into a chaotic future trying to rebuild a new world. . . . VOYAGER's end. Tom Noonan, a programming exec with UPN, decided to be coy at a recent convention. He simply said that when STAR TREK: VOYAGER ends next year it will conclude with a "smashing finale." Hmmm. . . . UPN ponders life after VOYAGER. STAR TREK: VOYAGER was one of the only things keeping the United Paramount Network on the air until their recent contract with the WWF. When it concludes its run on UPN next year, it may be replaced by a live-action show based on the MORTAL KOMBAT video game franchise. UPN is readying a special called THE MORTAL KOMBAT FEDERATION OF MARTIAL ARTS that will air this May and may go on to become a regular series. This will be a scripted program in which fighters square off against "dark warriors" in arena battles. The show will make its debut following a one-hour WWF wrestling special. UPN's KOMBAT show is not directly related to the syndicated series MORTAL KOMBAT: CONQUEST, which aired briefly before being canceled. . . . The Paramount shuffle. Executive Producer Brannon Braga is leaving STAR TREK: VOYAGER to work full time on the next Trek series. He's being replaced by Ken Biller, who has both written and produced NEXT GENERATION and VOYAGER. . . . Berman hints at the next Trek. Rick Berman coyly hinted at the next STAR TREK series in development. He said that it had Paramount's full support. He did not have any indication as to when it would begin preparation for filming. According to Berman it will be quite different. "The only thing I can say about the series is that it's definitely STAR TREK, but it is dramatically different. It is going to be far more different than really all three of the last series have been from the original." . . . . God is dead. The quirky NBC show, GOD, THE DEVIL AND BOB has been canceled. It was boycotted by over a dozen NBC affiliates and it performed poorly in the other markets in which it was placed. . . . Mr. Smith vs. the Mouse. Director Kevin Smith was slated to debut his primetime mature-themed animated series based on his 1994 movie, CLERKS. Disney opted to pump out more airings of WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE instead and bump CLERKS back to summer. Smith is taking his problems with Disney public. He's shared his feelings on his NewsAskew website and published his correspondence with the powers-that-be at Disney. We'll see what happens. . . . BABYLON 5 has a new home. Beginning on September 25th, re-runs of BABYLON 5 will air every weekday on the Sci-Fi Channel.
THE X-FILES AUCTION
Amazon.com is hosting an online auction of props from THE X-FILES to benefit the Variety Club of British Columbia, a children's charity. The props--including Fox Mulder's desk nameplate, a package of the Cigarette Smoking Man's Morleys and costumes worn by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson--is being conducted by Legends in Time, an online dealer. The auction ends April 6. Other items include Mulder's tie, Scully's blouse (unfortunately, without Scully in it), a copy of The Lone Gunman newspaper, the license plate from JFK's assassination car and several "X-Files."
FAILSAFE REMAKE TO AIR ON CBS
CBS will be airing a made-for-TV re-make of the 1964 nail biter, FAILSAFE. The new version (still set in the Cold War) features George Clooney, Noah Wyle, Richard Dreyfuss, Harvey Keitel, Hank Azaria, Don Cheadle, Brian Dennehy and Sam Elliott. It's directed by Stephen Frears. It's about a routine scramble on Startegic Air Command bombers armed with nuclear weapons that goes horribly wrong. It set for April 9th at 9:00 P.M.
Forrest J. Ackerman, godfather FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine and curator of the Ackermansion (in Horrorwood, Karlofornia), has filed suit against Ray Ferry over ownership of the magazine. Ferry took over the magazine in 1995 after a bitter struggle with Ackerman. "Forry" will be calling witnesses like director John Landis, KISS bandmember Gene Simmons, author Ray Bradbury and Boris Karloff's daughter, Sara
MST3K: FROM OUTER SPACE TO CYBER
As of April 1st Mike Nelson, Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo will be appearing at a terminal near you! The site is WWW.TIMMYBIGHANDS.COM. They'll review stuff. Lots of stuff. They praise the Statue of Liberty, for example, but reduce the points given because of the poem on her base. They rate human hands for design and efficiency. They'll also feature a cartoon family ("The Cliparts"), feature a serial novel, short animated films and a chance to win money! The first 500 people to log on get a check for $1.18. They become eligible to win the grand prize--12 bucks!
SCIFI.COM TO PUBLISH SF STORIES
SCIFI.COM, the Web site of The SCI FI Channel, plans to begin publishing original and classic SF stories, the company announced. The venture will be shepherded by Ellen Datlow, a World Fantasy Award-winning editor who oversaw the science fiction content at Omni magazine for 16 years and is credited with discovering SF author William Gibson. The new venture is planned as a springboard to the cross-medium production of science fiction in film, in print and on television. In addition to appearing online, selected stories from the site will also be spun off into a series of yearly print anthologies. SCIFI.COM intends to adapt at least one short story each year for film, and certain works may be adapted for SCIFI.COM's growing lineup of online original programs. The new area will also serve as a premiere programming resource for development executives at The SCI FI Channel.
KING CONTEMPLATES FURTHER WRITINGS
The Stephen King novella, "Riding the Bullet," was a huge success online. So much so that he's contemplating a serialized novel on the Web. He'd like to alter people's reading habits, compelling them to read some of the many small authors that only publish online. He's still uncertain as to the Internet's impact on publishing. "There's a lot of plumage here, but I wonder if the beast underneath isn't still pretty scrawny." Ironically King, a Macintosh user, couldn't download his own story, which came out only in PC-readable formats.
THINGS TO COME
APRIL 21st-23rd: BALTICON 34 at the Omni Inner Harbor Hotel. Their highly literate guest line-up includes the authors Nina Boal, Octavia Butler, Jack L. Chalker, Robert R. Chase, Brenda W. Clough, J.L. Comeau, Michael Flynn, Richard Garfinkle, Alexis Gilliland, Marvin Kaye, Eric Kotani, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Paul Levinson, Joe Mayhew, Ron Miller, Severna Park, Darrell Schweitzer, Hannah M.G. Shapero, Charles Sheffield, Bud Sparhawk, Josepha Sherman, Susan Shwartz, Nancy Springer, James Stoddard, Cecilia Tan and John C. Wright. They'll also include an array of scientists from various fields, musicians, scholars, artists and editors. They'll host dances, a magic show, a costume ball, art demonstrations, writer's workshops, young writer's workshops, a 4,500 sq. foot dealer's room, a computer room, a gaming room, video showings and much more. Call them at 410-563-2737. You can write them at Balticon 34/ P.O.
Box 686/ Baltimore, Md. 21203-0686. Or e-mail them at BSFS@ Balticon.Org. Weekend attendance is $45 at the door.
APRIL 27th-30th: MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL offers a chnce to view independent and foreign films that would, otherwise, be impossible to find. It will take place at the Charles and Senator theaters, in Bawlmer. You can buy an all-access pass for $250 that gets you into premium events, Opening Night, Closing Night and all 44 (and counting!) features. Or you can spend $10 per admission (with the special nights costing more). One special event that might interest members is the American Magic Lantern Show by Terry Borton. The magic lantern is the precursor to motion picture. Slides would be placed in front of a special oil lantern (closed off on all but one side, with a round aperture produding from it) that would produce pictures on the wall. They'd be accompanied with music and sound effects. Terry Borton will be presenting Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" as well as "The Star Spangled Banner." Check out the Festival (but excuse yourself to come to our meeting on Saturday night).
NEWS FROM THE OSCARS
Imaginative cinema made a strong representation at this year's Academy Awards. The film that won the second most awards (behind AMERICAN BEAUTY with five) was THE MATRIX, winning all four of the categories in which it competed (Sound, Sound Effects Editing, Visual Effects and Film Editing). SLEEPY HOLLOW won for Art Direction. You could complain that the other nominated films--THE GREEN MILE, THE SIXTH SENSE and BEING JOHN MALKOVICH were shut out and that we were consigned to the technical awards. The amazing thing to me is that imaginative cinema titles were even nominated for such key awards. When THE GREEN MILE and THE SIXTH SENSE are considered two of the five Best Pictures of the year--the times they are a-changin'.
NEWS FROM THE RAZZIES
The annual Razzie awards were held during our last meeting, flipping an affectionate bird to the worst of Hollywood over the preceding year. The big winner/loser this year was THE WILD WILD WEST, claiming 5 awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Screen Couple (Kevin Smith and Will Smith), Worst Director, Worst Screenplay and Worst Song. Adam Sandler won for BIG DADDY. Heather Donahoe got Worst Actress for THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. Jar-Jar Binks got the richly deserved Worst Supporting Actor. Special Razzies went to SHOWGIRLS as Worst Picture of the Decade, Pauly Shore as the Worst New Star of the Decade and to Sylvester Stallone and Madonna as the Worst Actor and Actress of the Century, respectively.
EDDIE MURPHY GETS SMALL
Eddie Murphy has signed up to star in a remake of the 1957 classic THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN. The director will be Peter Segal (maybe you caught his work on TOMMY BOY) and the screenplay is by Fred Wolf (former head writer on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE). I wonder if it will be a serious re-interpretation of Richard Matheson's novel?
STAR TREK: THE NEXT MOTION PICTURE
Producer Rick Berman stated recently that there would definitely be another STAR TREK movie. He would not give any further details other than it will feature the cast of NEXT GENERATION. I'll keep you posted.
THE UPS AND DOWNS OF AMERICAN
First the good news for theater owners: in 1999 box-office revenue was up to $7.5 billion dollars, an 8.7% increase over 1998. Now the bad news: that was mainly due to the average 8.3% increase in ticket prices. Actual movie attendance dropped by 1.1% last year, despite the rash of new mega and multiplexes dotting the cinematic map. Now the good news, overall in the past eight years the's been a 25% increase in attendance. And, so that they don't feel left out, some good studio news: the average cost of a movie has dropped (!) to a mere $78 million, including decreased marketing costs of $780 million.
RETURN TO FORBIDDEN PLANET
New Line Cinema has purchased the rights to re-make FORBIDDEN PLANET, the 1956 classic with Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pidgeon and Anne Francis. The studio's giving the project a big budget and high priority. We'll probably see something the fourth quarter of 2001.
M. NIGHT SHYAMALAN'S NEXT FILM
Shyamalan was the writer and director of THE SIXTH SENSE. In an interesting twist, his next film, UNBREAKABLE, features Bruce Willis as the only survivor of a train wreck (for a change he lives and everyone else dies!). A stranger, played by Samuel L. Jackson, offers an explanation that Willis and his family struggle to come to terms with. Look for the movie to debut this November.
BLAIR WITCH 2--THE STEALTH PRODUCTION
Filmmakers have quietly returned to the Maryland woods to begin production on THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT 2, the much-anticipated sequel to 1999's surprise hit THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. A crew of nearly 300 actors, photographers, directors, cameramen and lighting technicians shot in Seneca Creek State Park in the middle of March. Blair Redux Productions also set up a base camp in nearby Germantown and were filming scenes around Montgomery County, close to the location of the original film. After encountering hostile reactions recently from the residents of Burkittsville--the "Blair" of the original movie--filmmakers have been keeping a low profile about the production and a tight lid on details of the plot. BLAIR 2 is slated for a fall release.
THE FUTURE OF THE MOVIES: MOVIES
AND THE NET
Roger Ebert has a fascinating article in the March issue of "Yahoo! Internet Life." He speculates on the growing role that the net will have on how movies reach us. There are currently small sights that offer independent productions in their entirety online. As bandwidth and signal quality grow, Ebert foresees a time when major studio sneak previews and premieres will occur online to a very carefully selected demographic that in turn will spread word-of-mouth publicity for the film. They may even let it play for some time to wider audiences and, if it does well, pull it off, do some more post-production work on it, and release it theatrically.
THE FUTURE OF THE MOVIES: THE
For a few years now several small moviemakers have been lauding the advantage of "filmless film making." The revelation has spread to directors with Hollywood credentials. Bernard Rose (CANDYMAN, IMMORTAL BELOVED) has completed IVANSXTC (pronounced "Ivan's Ecstacy") on high-definition video. The film, which stars Peter Weller and Danny Huston, was shot for $250,000 using a crew of nine. Instead of the normal $20 million allocated to promote the film, they're strictly advertising through their Web site. They intend to show it theatrically.
Director Mike Figgis (INTERNAL AFFAIRS, LEAVING LAS VEGAS) has just completed TIME CODE entirely in digital video. It unfolds entirely in carefully choreographed split screen, encouraging the eyes of the viewer to be the editor. Figgis is also looking toward a theatrical run.
There are major stars and more well-credentialed film makers heading for what looks like the next land rush. The time may be at hand when, instead of a hundred films with budgets of $50-$250 million, we'll see a thousand films each year made by very talented people, unfettered by the pressures of mega-budgets.
IMAGINATIVE CINEMA FOR THE MONTH
APRIL 14: AMERICAN PSYCHO is set in the long ago year of 1987. It offers us a monster for our time--a smooth young executive (Christian Bale) who moonlights as an unbelievably vicious serial murderer. The film may receive an NC-17 rating.
APRIL 21: U571 tells the story of the mission to capture the German Enigma machine during World War II. With it all German codes can be deciphered. They capture the U-Boat successfully but find themselves stranded on it facing Allied forces. It stars Matthew McConaughey, Jon Bon Jovi, David Keith, Harvey Keitel and Bill Paxton.
APRIL 28: THE FLINTSTONES IN VIVA ROCK VEGAS is set a little earlier in prehistory than its predecessor. This tells the story of a younger Fred Flintstone (Mark Addy of THE FULL MONTY) wooing and wedding Wilma Slaghoople (Kristen Johnson of 3rd ROCK FROM THE SUN). The cast also features Stephen Baldwin as Barney and Joan Collins and Harvey Corman as Fred's reluctant in-laws.
FREQUENCY is a TWILIGHT ZONE-style fanatsy about reaching back through time and speaking with those now gone. In the movie a young policeman (Jim Caviezel) acquires a ham radio and discovers he can talk to his father (Dennis Quaid) in 1969. The two conspire to change history. They encounter unintended consequences.
MEGA HITS OF THE RECENT PAST
HEADED FOR DVD
Studios are finally realizing the potential behind the power of DVD. They're looking to release some recent hits that came out before the new format caught on. Some time this summer, look for JURASSIC PARK on disc. Sometime in June look for INDEPENDENCE DAY as a two disc set for $34.98. They'll be jammed with extra features, including a DVD-ROM interactive link to a never-before-seen ID4 video game. Sometime in the early Fall we'll see MEN IN BLACK in both a collector's edition and a limited edition. I'll let you know in the "Videocy" section of future "ICS Files" when they release.
LOOK CLOSER AT THE AMERICAN BEAUTY
At the moment director Sam Mendes is too busy basking in the glow of the accolades to his movie, AMERICAN BEAUTY, to spend much time working on the DVD. DreamWorks has, however, given it some thought. Sandy Friedman, head of worldwide operations, has announced that he wants to feature the multiple endings shot for the movie as a DVD extra. Mendes is opposed to it. We'll see who wins the tug-of-war.
DINNER AND A MOVIE DELIVERED
TO YOUR DOOR
Blockbuster.com has bought an interest in Food.com. Food.com has purchased Takeout Taxi, the nation's largest restaurant delivery service. When patrons visit the Food.com site and enter their zip code area restaurant menus pop up. After placing your order a window will appear and ask if they'd like a movie with their meal. They'll then be linked to a Blockbuster page to place their video order. This system will be tested in select markets in June and will go nationwide by the end of the year.
REMEMBER THIS WORD--"ANAMORPHIC"
Traditionally we've had a choice of two flavors when we buy a pre-recorded movie--letterbox or pan-and-scan. There's a new word to watch out for--"anamorphic." Anamorphic DVD's are the next step up in the struggle for a pristine image on your television. As you know, because movie screen aren't shaped like TV screens, we loose portions of the picture on a conventional TV screen. We're about to convert over to digital televisons. Digital TV's are wide screen. A digital television will deliver a widescreen image on it's screen when playing an anamorphic disc. It will not be letterboxed (with big gray bars on the top and bottom of the screen). It will look almost as good as a 35 mm projected movie image. Your digital TV will run into difficulty when it plays a current letterboxed video or DVD. The gray bars will appear on all four sides of the image, which has been adjusted for a small rectangular picture. There is a zoom option that will cancel out the gray and fill the screen, but it will magnify any imperfections in the picture. Anamorphic also looks wonderful on your current set. Look for labels that say "anamorphic," "enhanced for widescreen TV's" or any reference to adjustments for 16x9 or 16.9 TV's. It's a way to (somewhat) future-proof your movie purchases from obsolescence by the advent of new technology.
DON'T LOOK FOR VHS TO GO AWAY
ANYTIME SOON . . .
There have been gloom & doom rumblings about VHS since the advent of DVD. Industry analysts have been predicting a dark future for the format. Well, it appears rumors of its imminent demise are slightly premature. Currently 93% of all U.S. households have at least one VCR. Some 53% have two or more. There are a total of 200 million in use. Estimates of a 25-30% drop in VHS sales have been revised. Last year there were a total of 1.06 billion tapes cranked out. Current estimates are for 1.04 billion this year. Despite the slight drop, there is a $600 million rise in revenues expected. So VCR owners take heart. Your machine still have plenty of life left in them.
. . .BUT DVD MAY TRIUMPH IN THE
According to a study by the London-based Baskerville Communication Company, worldwide spending on DVD players will overtake VCR's by 2003. There are expected to be 625 million players in use by decade's end. The study feels that recordable DVD's will be responsible for a major spike up in sales--provided that manufacturers agree on a single standard to use.
Rental titles releasing 4/4:THE MESSENGER: THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC releases today. The movie stars Mila Javovich, Faye Dunaway, John Malkovich and Dustin Hoffman.
Rental title releasing 4/11: THREE KINGS releases today. It's the story of a treasure hunt gone astray during the Gulf War. The DVD goes for $24.98. . . . THE INSIDER, a true story about a tobacco company employee whose life is ruined when he tries to do the right thing, releases today. . . . WEBMASTER releases today. This appears to be a direct-to-video MATRIX knockoff. A hacker in a futuristic cyber world confronts an evil tyrant controlled by an advanced artificial intelligence. Been there. Done that. . . . ICE FROM THE SUN tells the story of a young woman recruited against her will by a supernatural power (after her death by suicide) to combat a disruptive force of nature. Until she does she cannot pass into the afterlife. . . . THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED is about a frustratingly blocked writer renting a haunted house for inspiration. He gets more than he bargained for. . . . THE MINUS MAN, the thriller about a mysterious stranger who seems to be the harbinger of troubles, arrives today. It stars Owen Wilson, Janeane Garofolo, Sheryl Crow and Dwight Yokam.
Rental titles releasing 4/18: END OF DAYS, the flick where Ahnold whups the Devil, releases today. . . . The 1999 re-make of HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, with Geoffery Rush and Famke Jansen, gets released today. . . . THE CORONER is about an impatient doctor who just can't wait to get his hands on his vict-, uh, patients. He has a bad habit of not restricting his autopsies to the dead. . . . BELIEVE features the mysterious wailing ghost of Wickwire House. A young man has rigged the house to appear haunted as he takes a group of friends out for a dare. He's not prepared for how successful he'll be. Jan Rubes, Andrea Martin and Ben Gazzara star. . . . BEYOND REDEMPTION is the story of a cop (Andrew McCarthy) finding his faith challenged by a sadistic serial killer. The killer loves to prey on highly respected people and is inspired by a higher power. . . . BOYS DON'T CRY, featuring an Academy Award-winning performance by its star, Hilary Swank, releases today.
Rental titles releasing 4/25: THE FIGHT CLUB with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, releases today. . . . FORTRESS 2: RE-ENTRY, with Christopher Lambert and Pam Grier, hits the streets today. This one is set in a prison floating 26,000 miles above the Earth. . . . IT CAME FROM THE SKY features Christopher Lloyd, John Ritter, Jobeth Williams and Yasmine Bleeth in a story about strange people coming into their lives who ain't from around here. . . . I MARRIED A STRANGE PERSON may be a lament that most members of couples have voiced from time to time. In this animated feature that strangeness takes the form of a growth on a man's neck that enables him to will his fantasies to life. . . . THE HORRIBLE DR. BONES certainly taps into one of my secret fears. A sinister hip-hop record producer uses a musical group in his plot to dominate the world. . . . RKO-281 is a fact-based account of what happened when boy wonder Orson Welles defied the most powerful man in America by making CITIZEN KANE. It's worth seeing just to see what "rosebud" really means.
Sell through titles releasing 4/4: STAR WARS, EPISODE I gets an unusual
worldwide release today. The pan-and-scan version goes for $24.98. The
"Widesreen Collector's Edition" sells for $39.98 . . . Warner Brothers
is re-issuing several films today. Among those of interest to club members
are PLEASENTVILLE with Reese Witherspoon and Toby Maguire, THE MASK with
Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz, AUSTIN POWERS with Mike Myers and Elizabeth
Hurley and RUSH HOUR with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. PLEASENTVILLE sells
for $19.98. The rest of the tiles list for $14.98. . . .
Sell through titles releasing 4/11: DOGMA, the story of rebellious angels and the rag-tag band that sets out to thwart them, comes out today. . . . STAR TREK VOYAGER makes it onto video for the first time. Episode 1 & 2 are together on volume 1, at $19.95. The remaining episodes 3-6 are on their own cassettes and sell for $14.95 each. . . . THE BUDDHIST FIST, a kung fu classic, is available today. It's the story of a pair of orphaned brothers, raised separately by monks and trained to fight from infancy, meeting in a battle to the death. It's directed by THE MATRIX's second unit director (who choreographed all the fight scenes), Yuen Wo Ping. It sells for $19.95. . . . THE GHOST GOES GEAR is an extremely obscure 1966 cult classic that featured the rock group, The Spencer Davis Group. Spencer and the Band go to the mansion of their band manager. A ghost appears and sings a pop song. All of a sudden the "haunted house" becomes a big tourist attraction. The Spencer Davis Group and a gaggle of obscure mid-60's Brit bands show up and give a concert. Gee, I wonder why a film with a plot like this went obscure? You can own the video for $19.95, the DVD for $24.98.
Sell through titles releasing 4/18: CARNOSAUR, Roger Corman's series of bargain-basement of JURASSIC PARK'S, re-releases today. You can buy 1, 2 and 3 individually for $9.98 each or inflict a world of pain on yourself with a $24.98 box set. . . . THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN (Hammer-1957) gets unleashed upon the world once again, by Anchor Bay Entertainment. We see what happens when a good man (Peter Cushing) and corrupt man (Forest Tucker) seek the elusive Yeti across the Himalayas. . . .
Sell through titles releasing 4/25: Next month there will be a major re-issue of James Bond titles to accompany the release of THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH (the first Bond title ever to release directly to sell-through). To get us ready, we have the release today of THE JAMES BOND STORY. It contains interviews with all of the actors who've portrayed him. We also get to see Desmond Llewelyn, Cubby Broccoli, Ian Fleming, Jane Seymour, Terence Young and Maude Adams. The tape is $14.98. The disc is $19.98. . . .
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
JOHN COLICOS passed away on March 6th at the age of 71. If you watched the original STAR TREK you may remember him as the Klingon, Kor, on the show (a role which he reprised on DEEP SPACE NINE). He was the first actor to play a Klingon and actually designed their look (he wondered once when they'd mutated into lizards). He also played the villain Count Baltar on BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA.
STANLEY RALPH ROSS, an actor and producer who wrote scripts for the original 1960s BATMAN television series, died Thursday, March 16, of cancer in Los Angeles. He was 64. Ross developed, created or wrote for shows including WONDER WOMAN and THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. His 30-year career also included acting stints in films such as Woody Allen's SF spoof SLEEPER.
CHARLES GRAY the venerable British character actor whose chillingly villainous roles included James Bond's archenemy Ernst Stavro Blofeld, has died at the age of 71. A versatile and admired character actor, Gray excelled as a villain and as a colonial type but also portrayed a range of sadistic generals and old-school men of property. His resume encompassed horror films and television series, and he most recently appeared in the TV miniseries "Longitude." He was best known to international audiences as Blofeld, the villain with the white cat in his arms, in the 1971 DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER up against Sean Connery. Just as the Bond character was essayed by different actors, so too was the villain Blofeld, as head of the evil criminal organization SPECTRE. Gray, who played the part with high camp, was the third and final Blofeld. He won major international attention in 1975 as the sibilant narrator of the cult film THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW. Gray also became the Black Werewolf in THE BEAST MUST DIE in 1974 and Satan's emissary in THE DEVIL RIDES OUT, another British offering in that period. In 1976, Gray starred as Sherlock Holmes' brother, Mycroft, in the THE SEVEN-PER-CENT SOLUTION alongside Nicol Williamson and Robert Duvall. He returned to the same role years later, with the late Jeremy Brett, in ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES and THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES. ROCKY HORROR creator Richard O'Brien said that in real life Gray could not have been more different from his on-screen persona. "He was a charming man with a dry wit and a low tolerance of pomposity in others," said O'Brien.
TUE 4th: VIDEO RENTAL-:THE MESSENGER: THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC
VIDEO SELL-THROUGH-STAR WARS, EPISODE I, PLEASENTVILLE,
THE MASK, AUSTIN POWERS and RUSH HOUR release today.
SUN 9th: TV-Remake of FAILSAFE on CBS
TUE 11th: VIDEO RENTALS-THREE KINGS, THE INSIDER, WEBMASTER,ICE
FROM THE SUN, THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED and THE MINUS MAN
VIDEO SELL-THROUGH- DOGMA, STAR TREK VOYAGER, THE BUDDHIST FIST
and THE GHOST GOES GEAR release today.
FRI 14th: MOVIE- AMERICAN PSYCHO
TUE 18th: VIDEO RENTAL- END OF DAYS, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, THE
CORONER, BELIEVE, BEYOND REDEMPTION and BOYS DON'T CRY release today.
VIDEO SELL-THROUGH- CARNOSAUR 1, 2 and 3 and THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN
FRI 21st-SUN 23rd: EVENT-BALTICON 34
FRI 21st: MOVIE- U571
TUE 25th: VIDEO RENTAL-THE FIGHT CLUB, FORTRESS 2: RE-ENTRY, IT CAME
FROM THE SKY, I MARRIED A STRANGE PERSON, THE HORRIBLE DR.
BONES and RKO-281 release today.
VIDEO SELL-THROUGH- THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH and THE JAMES BOND
STORY release today.
THUR 27th-SUN 30th: EVENT-MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL
FRI 28th: MOVIE-THE FLINTSTONES IN VIVA ROCK VEGAS
SAT 29th-I.C.S. MEETING 6:00 P.M.