#26-March 2001
CLUB NEWS
1.OUR FEBRUARY MEETING WAS B-A-A-A-A-D
2.WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST MEMBERS, CYNTHIA GAVER AND GWEN GROGAN
3.MISSED US BY THA-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-T MUCH!
4.GREETINGS TO OUR FRIENDS AT THE BALTIMORE SCIENCE FICTION SOCIETY
5.DUES NEWS
6.FAREWELL TO OLD FRIENDS
7.NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
8.GET READY TO PLAY ICS ACADEMIC!
9.MEMBER E-MAIL ACCOUNTS
10.SCREENING PASSES FOR CLUB MEMBERS
11.LORNE MARSHALL SAYS RUN TO SUNCOAST
12.THE ICS GOES ON SHORE LEAVE!
TV NEWS
13.THE GLASS TEAT
With news on THE DEAD ZONE, WITCHBLADE, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, ANDROMEDA, EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT, BEASTMASTER, THE LOST WORLD, COLISEUM and MATTHEW BLACKHEART, MONSTER SMASHER.
14.BATTLESTAR GALACTICA IS BACK
15.RICHARD HATCH WRITES AN OPEN LETTER ABOUT THE NEW BATTLESTAR
16.THE COUNTDOWN CLOCK TICKS AWAY FOR BUFFY
17.THE LAST CRUSADE
18.IT MAY BE TIME FOR FIRST WAVE TO WAVE GOOD-BYE
19.WILSON READY TO SAY AU REVOIR TO NIKITA
20.THE LONE GUNMEN WILL PREMIERE IN MARCH
21.PERN COMES TO THE WB
22.GEEZ, DIDN'T THIS GUY EVER RUN OUT OF IDEAS?
23.SON OF TABASCO!
24.SPECIAL UNIT 2 COMES TO UPN IN MID-SEASON
25.STAR HUNTER'S TAKES THE WESTERN INTO SPACE
26.RICK BERMAN AND CHINESE WATER TORTURE
27.DR. OF TREK?
28.TRACKER - THE HUNT IS ON!
29.THE X-FILES MAY BECOME AN EX-SHOW
30.XENA, THE SINGING BARBARIAN
EVENT NEWS
31.THINGS TO COME
News on THE JOHNS HOPKINS FILM FESTIVAL, FILMFEST DC, CHILLER THEATER TOY, MODEL, AND FILM EXPO and BALTICON 35.
 LITERARY NEWS
32.THE ROBERT HEINLEIN CHAIR COMES TO ANNAPOLIS
33.SOMETHING NEW FOR B-5 FANS
34.THE NEBULA COLLECTION GETS RE-ISSUED
SPECIAL SECTION: HOLLYWOOD S.O.S.
35.HOLLYWOOD: THE TOWERING INFERNO
36.THE AMAZING COLOSSAL INDUSTRY!
37.THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING INDUSTRY
38.THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH
39.THE INVISIBLE INVADERS
40.ALTERED STATES?
41.THINGS TO COME
MOVIE NEWS
42.THE ACADEMY AWARDS NOMINEES ARE IN
43.THE GOLDEN RASPBERRIES NOMINEES
44.RAZZIES/SATURN MERGE - ALMOST TOO CLOSE TO CALL!
45.RIDLEY SCOTT LOOKS BACK IN ANGER AT THE BLADE RUNNER DIRECTOR'S CUT
46.CHICKEN RUN GETS A NOD FROM THE ANIMAL RIGHTS COMMUNITY
47.DISNEY DOES IMAX
48.I TAWD A SAW A SERIAL KILLER
49.THE NITPICKERS BRIGADE TAKES ON HANNIBAL
50.ANTHONY HOPKINS ENJOYS TERRIFYING PEOPLE OFF-SCREEN
51.JURASSIC NOIR?
52.THE LEGEND OF ZU
53.PETER JACKSON WANTS TO BRING GIVE HIS FANTASY THE FEELING OF REALITY
54.THE MATRIX WORKOUT PLAN
55.WHAT I WOULDN'T GIVE TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL HERE!
56.TIM BURTON DISCUSSES DETAILS ON PLANET OF THE  APES
57.DAVID PROWSE'S CONDITION WORSENS
58.RESERVOIR DOLLS
59.GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER
60.TREK X COULD WIND UP STARING AT THE BUSINESS END OF A LIGHT SABER
61.THE TIME MACHINE RACES THE CLOCK
62.THE FILM GOLD RUSH IS ON IN AUSTRALIA
63.STRIKE NEWS: WRITERS CONTINUE THEIR NEGOTIATIONS
64.THE THEATER BUSINESS: THE TIDE RISES, THE TIDE FALLS
65.IMAGINATIVE CINEMA FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH
With news on the premieres of 15 MINUTES, ENEMY AT THE GATES and EXIT WOUNDS.
INTERNET NEWS
66.NEW TRAILER AVAILABLE ONLINE
67.LIONS GATE BREAKS NEW GROUND
68.THE FUTURE OF STREAMING VIDEO
69.WHO'S WATCHING STREAMING MOVIES NOW?
70.FREE MOVIES OVER THE WEB
71.TUNE INTO AN ONLINE FILM FESTIVAL
72.BECOME A STALKER FROM THE PRIVACY OF YOUR HOME!
73.STEPHEN KING WILL DEBUT HIS NEWEST ONLINE
74.FAREWELL TO TIMMY BIGHANDS
TECHNOLOGY NEWS
75.THE PERFECT GIFT FOR MINI-ME!
VIDEO NEWS
76.BLOCKBUSTER TWISTS UNIVERSALS ARM OVER VOD
77.DVD WARS: BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO PUSHES STUDIOS FOR DVD RENTAL PRICING
78.DVD WARS: BESTBUY SAYS KEEP DVD'S AS A SELLTHROUGH
79.DVD'S VS. VCR'S
80.NETFLIX SAYS, "SAY GOOD-BYE TO DVD LATE FEES"
81.THANKS TO THE CENSOR, FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!
82.TWICE UPON A TIME
83.VIDEOCY
FAREWELLS
84.THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
We remember Gordon R. Dickson, Stanley Kramer and Howard W. Koch.
IN REVIEW
85. MARCH CALENDAR
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OUR FEBRUARY MEETING WAS B-A-A-A-A-D 
    At our February meeting we specialized in "Le Bad." Our panel discussion was on "BAD MOVIES" led by yours truly. We chose from a field of films that included BOOGIE MAN II, GLEN OR GLENDA, HILLBILLIES IN A HAUNTED HOUSE, IT'S ALIVE, KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE, KING OF THE ZOMBIES, THE KLANSMAN, NAVY VS. THE NIGHT MONSTER, ORGY OF THE DEAD, PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, RAT PFINK A BOO BOO, ROBINSON CRUSOE ON MARS, SCHLOCK, SHE DEMONS, TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE, TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and WHAT ABOUT BOB. In the end it was KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE that "won."  The movie was brought in by Mitch Klein, who also showed us a brief homemade BLAIR WITCH parody (shot in the same house as the conclusion of the feature film) and some CGI work that he's done. Our business meeting was favored with a very exciting guest - Andrew Bergstrom of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS). He extended a very generous hand to us on behalf of BSFS (more on that later). He also brought along amazing replicas of Tom Servo and Crow from MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000. In addition to all of that, we had a very spirited discussion on several other topics (see below for the results).
WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST MEMBERS, CYNTHIA GAVER AND GWEN GROGAN 
    We were very fortunate at our February meeting to acquire two new members, Cynthia Gaver and Gwen Grogan. I've asked them to tell us a little about themselves. Here is their introduction in their own words. 
    Cynthia says, "I'm an English teacher at Baltimore County community college and a part time graduate student.  I've shot, directed, produced and written a few things, mostly documentary work and some commercial stuff.  I got out of it a few years ago, moved around the country and came back to Baltimore to be near family and finish/restart my graduate degree.  I've collected soundtracks for probably some twenty years and though I'm not a musician, I think the music for a film is one of its most important aspects.  My father was a photographer, so I learned to shoot and appreciate the art of  cinematography through him." 
    Writing about her friend Gwen, Cynthia has written, "Among other talents and abilities, Gwen is a graphic artist.  We talked about a design for a t-shirt as kind of high visibility item that could promote the club and bring in some money at the conventions.  If you and the board are interested, she'd be happy to design it for you.  She's also a CPA who recently graduated with a JD and passed the Maryland Bar. I'm telling you these things because she'll probably be too humble to convey them!" Writing on her own behalf Gwen tells us, "I enjoy film in general, but have been unable to take in as much as I would like over the last few years as I've balanced working full-time down in DC with the federal government as a financial institutions regulator with attending law school as UM at night.  I've started to dabble a bit in art once again and am looking to explore other interests as they present themselves." 
    Even though they're new to the club they've already been discussing ways to help us with fund raising. They've sent some interesting ideas to us that the Board is reviewing now. We're very lucky to have two such talented and intelligent new members. Please do everything you can to make them feel welcomed when you see them at meetings.
MISSED US BY THA-A-A-A-A-A-A-A-T MUCH! 
    History, legend and myth is crowded with tales of great wanderers. There's Moses, taking forty years to lead his tribe from Egypt to the neighboring land of Israel. There's the ghostly ship, The Flying Dutchman, doomed to wander the seas for eternity. There's Homer's tale of Odysseus and his ten years of travel to return to Ithaca after the Trojan Wars. And of course many of us have witnessed the brave ship Voyager, lost in the Delta quadrant, attempting to reach out 70,000 light years to home. Well, there's a new name to add to this roster of adventurers - Beverley Palasik. 
    Beverley was attempting to make it to our last meeting. As she says, she "missed that sharp left turn by a long shot." She wound up somewhere near Frederick. What's so noteworthy about her isn't that she got so lost, that could happen to anyone, it's that when she wrote me about it she was able to rise above her frustration. She wrote about what must have been a very distressing evening with charm, humor and grace. Beverley, we'd love to have you come by. Just make sure that your friend (and ours), Cynthia Gaver, drives. 
GREETINGS TO OUR FRIENDS AT THE BALTIMORE SCIENCE FICTION SOCIETY 
    As mentioned above, Andrew Bergstrom of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society visited us at our last meeting. Presently our Board is looking for creative ways to work with our new friends at the BSFS. We appreciate their outreach. We'll be keeping you posted on this as things develop. 
    Starting with this issue of "The ICS Files" we'll start to post items from the BSFS calendar onto our calendar at the end of each issue. Check it out.
DUES NEWS 
    The dues countdown clock continues! Club members who'll be renewing have until the March meeting to renew. Individual memberships are $20. Couples are $30. Below is a list of everyone that our records show as having already renewed their memberships. If anyone feels that their name has been accidentally omitted please contact our treasurer, Regina Vallerani.
 
John Clayton Norman Prentiss
Vince DiLeonardi Rick Rieve
Sue Feder Gary Roberson
Tim & Heather Fleming Michael Schilling
Cynthia Gaver Courtney Spies
Gwen Grogan Bob Thompson
Ralph & Peggy Gervasio Jack Tydings
Dave Henderson Regina Vallerani
Mitch Klein Steve & Beth Vaught
Kelly Linenberger Barry Walker 
Jeanne Matcovich  John Ward
Joe Plempel David Willard 
Charlie Wittig 
If you'd like to send your renewal in by mail contact Regina Vallerani/ 221 Ridgemede Road #508/ Baltimore, MD/ 21210. If you're Online you can reach her at:  RVALLER107@EARTHLINK.NET
FAREWELL TO OLD FRIENDS 
    Some folks, in some cases people who've been with us for a while, apparently won't be renewing their memberships. For those people, this will be your final edition of "The ICS Files." We hope that you'll stay in touch and let us know how you're doing. And, if some last Saturday of the month you've got some opening on your dance card, we hope you drop by and say hi. We'll be happy to see you.
NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING 
    Our March  meeting will be held on Saturday March 31st 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. 
    Movies in March will be brought in by Barry Murphy. We'll also hear (at least the beginning) of a talk that Barry's been meaning to do for a while on classic serials.
GET READY TO PLAY ICS ACADEMIC! 
    At our March meeting we'll be testing out a new quiz show called "ICS Academic." We'll be playing in teams. We encourage everyone to participate. Even if you feel like you don't know very much, you'll be surprised that your one key bit of information may be the very thing that everyone else on your team's lacking. It should be fun! Come on in and bring your brains with you.
MEMBER E-MAIL ACCOUNTS 
    Charlie Wittig, our resident Webhead, is perfecting a way that, anyone who wants one, can have a special e-mail account that will say "[yourname]@icsfilm.net." We'll be letting you know the details on this by our next meeting.
SCREENING PASSES FOR CLUB MEMBERS 
    Once we're done with membership renewals, after our next meeting, I'll get in touch with an organization here in town that oversees most of the sneak previews for coming films. I'll give them a revised roster of member names so that we can all start regularly receiving passes to features that will soon premiere in the Baltimore area. If anyone would prefer not to have their name on the list, let me know.
LORNE MARSHALL SAYS RUN TO SUNCOAST 
    We got a heads up from old friend Lorne Marshall about blow-out deals going on at Suncoast Video (possibly in connection with their new owner, BestBuys). Here's Lorne, "If you haven't been to a Suncoast store lately, you may want to reconsider.  At both the Owings Mills and Security Mall stores, I've seen some Hammer horror films on Anchor Bay for super, super cheap.  If you're like me, you love DVD; but if you're also like me, you love super cheap VHS equally.  For some reason, some Suncoast stores are selling off factory-sealed Anchor Bay Hammer titles on VHS for 99 cents (yes, you read that right).  I've gotten their widescreen offerings of FOUR-SIDED TRIANGLE, FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN, and PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES for a buck each.  Check out the store nearest you. . . . I may not have bought all of these tapes yet!"
THE ICS GOES ON SHORE LEAVE! 
    The Board has decided to acquire a table at Shore Leave 23. It will be held July 13 to 15th. We'll need folks to continue to bring in their contributions of books, videos, cd's etc. We'll be taking a break from selling them at meetings to offer them at the coming convention. We'll also need folks to staff the table. You don't have to commit to the entire weekend. Fill-ins are fine. The hours are Friday 2 PM - 8PM, Saturday 10 AM - 7PM and Sunday 10 AM - closing. The table comes with two admissions to the convention so if there are a couple of people who agree to spend decent blocks of time at the table, we'll see to it that you get in for free.
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THE GLASS TEAT 
THE DEAD ZONE is coming. As mentioned in our last issue, UPN has formerly green-lighted a pilot for a television series based on the Stephen King's novel The Dead Zone. The approval is contingent on casting. Former STAR TREK producer Michael Piller will executive produce THE DEAD ZONE with his son, Shawn Piller. Lion's Gate Television will produce the show. . . . WITCHBLADE starts production. TNT began production of its original series WITCHBLADE in Toronto on Feb. 20. The network has ordered 11 episodes of the show, based on the Top Cow series of the same name; the show is scheduled to premiere in June. Toronto will stand in for New York, the setting of the story of NYPD detective Sara Pezzini (Yancy Butler) and her supernatural gauntlet. TNT was very pleased with the performance of the WITCHBLADE TV movie that aired last August. . . . BUFFY goes to syndication. Reruns of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER will hit the syndication this fall. It will be the same pattern as THE X-FILES re-runs. They'll be shown on basic cable on F/X on weekdays and on broadcast stations on weekends. . . . They'll be back! Four syndicated shows have been given firm commitments for renewal for this fall season (if there is a fall TV season with the pending strikes). The four are ANDROMEDA, EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT, BEASTMASTER and THE LOST WORLD. We'll keep you posted as more shows jockey for position. . . . No "Dice." The Andrew Dice Clay series, COLISEUM, about a modern-day New York hustler winding up in ancient Rome promoting events, will not be happening. It seems that not enough stations picked it up. . . . MATTHEW BLACKHEART, M.I.A. MATTHEW BLACKHEART, MONSTER SMASHER looks like it might be dead in the water before its debut. It has failed to line up any additional financing after the bankruptcy of its producing company, Telescene.  There's been some reports that Germans weren't interested because of BLACKHEART fighting Nazi's in the pilot.  Others who've seen the pilot have said that there weren't any Nazis in it. Unfortunately, there also wasn't any good acting or writing in it either. You might be able to see for yourself. The pilot might pop up on Sci-Fi or TNT.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA IS BACK 
    For years there's been a war going on over who'd get to do a new version of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. The combatants were the old series' producer and creator, Glen Larson and its star Richard Hatch. The dispute has finally been settled by Studios USA, the folks who actually own the rights. The BATTLESTAR GALACTICA universe will be re-imagined by X-MEN director Bryan Singer and his X-MEN partner Tom DeSanto. Singer will also direct the pilot if it doesn't conflict with his plans to helm X-MEN 2. The studio is finalizing deals with Singer and DeSanto and will shop the series to networks shortly, though USA said it might work out an arrangement to share the show with The Sci-Fi Channel. 
      USA Television Production Group president David Kissinger said that he receives frequent e-mails from fans, but never considered reviving the series until Singer approached him. "I never dreamed a filmmaker of Bryan's stature would be enough of a hard-core fan that he saw this as a franchise that could be reinvented. In the initial meeting, I was wary that he might be just another feature guy looking to slap his name on a TV project, but it was immediately clear this wasn't so. He's got a whole mythology and arc for the series already worked out." 
    According to Dan Pasternack, the Studios USA television executive who is shepherding the project along, the show will likely pick up the story after the events of the original 1970s series. "It's a little bit premature, and we're in the very early creative inception. I will tell you that Bryan Singer's intent is to be very faithful to the spirit and legacy of the original show. I think his intent is creatively to go forward in time as the saga has continued in his mind." 
    Pasternack said that it's likely the show will not feature characters from the original series, except the Cylons. "I think it's safe to say you can't do BATTLESTAR GALACTICA without Cylons," he said. "But what our relationship to the Cylons will be, I can't say." He said that no one involved in talks about the new series has had any conversations with original star Richard Hatch (Apollo). But series creator Glen Larson is on board in an advisory capacity. "Bryan and Glen sat down," Pasternack said. "We wanted to make sure this union was very blessed by Glen. . . . He has blessed this and wants to see it go forward. We want to make sure that respect is paid." 
    Because of the lag time in producing the effects-heavy show, and the prospect of writers' and actors' strikes this spring, Pasternack said that BATTLESTAR GALACTICA won't appear any earlier than mid-season 2002. "It's pretty epic stuff we're going to do," he said. "We're committed to doing it right, now that we have Bryan. It's waited some 20-odd years to be reborn. We're committed to doing it right." 
RICHARD HATCH WRITES AN OPEN LETTER ABOUT THE NEW BATTLESTAR 
    Richard Hatch, "Apollo" from the original series; has written an open letter; dated February 24, 2001; about the new incarnation for  BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. The letter was very carefully worded. It seems to be his way of blessing the new enterprise and affirming his ties with the show. Below are excerpts. Those of you reading this Online can see the full text by clicking HERE
    "I just wanted to quickly comment on the latest news concerning Bryan Singer and Tom DeSanto. First of all I'm elated that two such talented and passionate artists have decided to bring this beloved show back to the world. What a wonderful surprise that someone of their stature in the industry seems to understand what all of you fans out in the world have always understood and have been screaming at the studios for years.  BATTLESTAR GALACTICA is truly a sleeping giant and I'm sure under their guidance - and with your support - will finally achieve the level of success that such a wonderful story deserves. . . . I was very pleased to find out that Tom and Bryan have a genuine love for the show and that they care about the fans and preserving the integrity of the show. I have no idea what they have in mind, but I feel that we should all support them in their quest and give them time to develop their own unique vision. . . . No one knows more than me that there are many ways to bring back  BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and that their are many talented and gifted individuals with a wonderful vision for BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. . . . Tom and Bryan are entitled to their vision for the show. I have always respected any creators' right to explore their own, unique ideas. . . . Hopefully the new producers will be open to listening and taking [fans' opinions] into account. My position is to give Tom and Bryan the respect they are due - and to share insights and opinions only if asked. No one likes to be second-guessed. I'm sure they will have to contend with more than their share of creative challenges and adversarial opinions. . . . 
    "Once again, congratulations to Tom DeSanto and Bryan Singer and also to Glen Larson. I'm sure that he must be excited to have their creative talents bringing his show back to life. I know Glen thinks that I have tried to steal his show, but the truth is, I have always believed in his story and have only wanted to honor and give life to his original premise and wonderful characters."
THE COUNTDOWN CLOCK TICKS AWAY FOR BUFFY 
    As a deadline looms, observers are not optimistic that Fox and The WB will hammer out a contract renewal to keep BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. The WB's exclusive renegotiation period for the series that Fox produces expired March 1. 
    The WB has offered to pay 20th Century Fox Television $1.6 million per episode - a half-million-dollar increase, but less than Fox wants. Fox reportedly wants the full production costs, plus a premium, or between $2.3 million and $2.5 million. If no deal is reached, Fox will be able to shop BUFFY to other networks; ABC and UPN are both anxiously waiting in the wings. The WB still has the option to match any other offer. 
THE LAST CRUSADE 
    The Sci-Fi Channel has bought the rights to air the thirteen episodes of CRUSADE, the sequel to BABYLON 5. The episodes will begin airing on April 9th. Tim and Heather Fleming have made CRUSADE their crusade. They're referring to this as "The final battle for CRUSADE." Here's what they need us to do. Watch CRUSADE. Get your friends, family, and any other potentially interested parties to watch it too when it airs Monday through Thursday at 8:00 P.M. Send cards and letters to Ms. Bonnie Hammer/ Executive Vice President and General Manger/ Sci-Fi Channel/ 1230 Avenue of the Americas/ New York, New York 10020-1513 and let her know that you'd like to to see new episodes of this series. There's a chance that Sci-Fi will consider re-assembling the cast and starting the series up again. For more information on this go to Tim and Heather's site, "CRUSADE FOR CRUSADE." It's at http://www.astro.umd.edu/~fleming/
    Originally the episodes will be shown full-screen. If they do well they'll be shown widescreen, the way that the BABYLON 5 reruns are supposed to be airing now. 
IT MAY BE TIME FOR FIRST WAVE TO WAVE GOOD-BYE 
    Chris Brancato, creator and co-executive producer of FIRST WAVE, said that he's still waiting for word on whether the show will be renewed for a fourth season. The series began airing its third season in January. "The decision comes from Sci-Fi here domestically and also from Pearson Television, who distributes our show in all other territories in the world. It would be a combined decision between the two of them." 
    Brancato said that the show's ratings have suffered. "Our ratings were hurt last year here in the U.S., because we were moved from Friday nights, where we were on with FARSCAPE, to stand alone on Sunday nights. Our ratings went down about a 10th of a point on average every episode, because we were just sort of all alone on Sunday night with HIGHLANDER and THE CROW reruns. And now, we're part of a new block of programming on Monday nights, with a couple of other new shows. Hopefully we'll do well there. Our initial commitment to the Sci-Fi Channel was to do three years. I think what we've been able to do is create a wonderful season finale for season three. Should we continue, that's going to require a lot of discussion about where we're going with the show. . . . I don't have in mind yet what the [series] finale of the show is going to be; however, I feel the finale of season three is very effective to end the season. We'll see what happens after that."
WILSON READY TO SAY AU REVOIR TO NIKITA 
    Peta Wilson, the star of LA FEMME NIKITA says that she's grateful fans who lobbied to resurrect the show for a brief fifth season, but added that she's ready to move on. "Those people worked so hard to bring us back, it's a real compliment to the entire cast and crew, but I think NIKITA's done," Wilson said. "As an actress, it's time for me to move on and create something new." 
    She said that the fifth season's eight episodes should satisfy fans. "All the loose ends are tied up, and all the questions are answered," she said. "Maybe now they can let it go." 
THE LONE GUNMEN WILL PREMIERE IN MARCH 
    THE X-FILES spin-off, THE LONE GUNMEN, will premiere on March 4th, airing for three Sundays in THE X-FILES timeslot. It will be moving to Friday nights at 9 starting March 16th. As most of you know, this comedic thriller follows the trio of computer-hacking geeks as they investigate conspiracy after conspiracy. THE X-FILES will return with new episodes featuring the return of (a deceased?) David Duchovny on April 1st. 
    The new show follows the course of the central characters lives when they're not assisting Mulder and Scully. Did you ever wonder how they came to be known as "The Lone Gunmen?" It's the name of the newspaper that they publish. The show will focus on their investigation of bizarre stories for the paper and the misadventures that they get tangled in as a result. 
    One thing the show won't feature is aliens! Actor Dean Harwood explained "Though our characters came around to the idea of UFOs on X-FILES, when we first came around, we didn't believe in them, and we laughed at Mulder for believing in them." His co-star, Bruce Haglund, added, "If we did include storylines about UFOs and aliens, we'd have to acknowledge Mulder's abduction and Scully's abduction and acknowledge the whole arc of the alien genetic takeover of the planet, which really doesn't say comedy to me." 
PERN COMES TO THE WB 
    Ronald D. Moore, formerly with STAR TREK and presently producing ROSWELL, has just been given the green light from the WB to produce a series based on the Dragonriders of Pern novels. Moore intends to remain as faithful as possible to Anne McCaffrey's books, with some concessions to TV. "The show will be an interpretation of Anne's books, my take on Anne's world. It's how I see it successfully moving into television. I have a great deal of respect for what she's done and the world she's created. I want to make the transition successfully into the filmed environment, which does require some interpretation and moving pieces around. But by no means do I want to reinvent the world or throw things aside." 
    He is now in pre-production on the pilot, which he hopes to shoot around the end of March or the beginning of April. Filmmakers still haven't selected a cast, crew or filming location. The series will be live-action, with computer-animated dragons. "We're going to be pushing the envelope on what we can do on TV, and deliver creatures that haven't been seen before and in a way that hasn't been seen before," he said. The series' fall start could be delayed by impending writers' and actors' strikes this spring, Moore added. 
    The pilot will be based on McCaffrey's first Pern novel, Dragonflight which introduces the central character of Lessa, the daughter of a noble family of Ruatha Hold. Her family is killed, and she journeys with F'Lar, F'Nor and Kylara to Bendan Weyr to reclaim her title and eventually return as a dragonrider, Moore said. "Lessa is the character who stuck with me the most when I read the first books," he said. 
    Moore said that fans of the Pern books should reserve judgment on the upcoming TV show. "I just want to get people in the mindset that, look, we want to bring this property to television, but we want to give you what you love about the books. . . . Anything you hate about [the TV show], you can lay at my doorstep. . . . I'm not trying to outdo Anne at her own game, or improve the books, because I don't think they need improvement. . . . It's a translation into a different medium. . . . It requires looking at it through different eyes. . . . You have to make choices: which characters to include, which not to, which standing sets you have, where's the home of the show, who do we follow each week, what span of time.I'm very excited. It's a unique property. . . . When we pitched it, I had the pleasurable experience of pitching something they've never heard before. There's this really interesting sort of science-fiction take that she found, this thing that looks like fantasy on its surface, but is really science fiction underneath, with really strong and interesting characters. The response to the pilot script is very gratifying. People walk away saying, 'Can you really do it?' And we said, 'Yes.'  It's really an exciting time. It's been really fun. We're trying something new and really different. I guarantee there's not going to be another dragon show on the air. It's not like we're doing another cop show. This is going to be the only one, so it will be kind of cool, and will get a lot of attention, and I think we have a real shot at making it a success." 
     Moore's series is not related to a previous DRAGONRIDERS series that never got out of development at Alliance Atlantis Entertainment and Zyntopo Teo. But that show's champion, Eric Weymueller, will act as an executive producer on Moore's show. We can only hope that it's in no way related to that unwatchable stinker of last year, DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS.
GEEZ, DIDN'T THIS GUY EVER RUN OUT OF IDEAS? 
    Gene Roddenberry's nickname was the "Great Bird of the Universe." He must have earned it based on his ability to hatch ideas. His widow, Majel Barrett Roddenberry, has secured a decent pension by involving herself in projects that are based on ideas of her dear departed spouse. She's the executive producer of GENE RODDENBERRY'S ANDROMEDA,  GENE RODDENBERRY'S EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT, as well as overseeing comic book series and novels, all based on his ideas. Now she's prepping two more series based on ideas developed by the late Mr. Roddenberry. GENE RODDENBERRY'S STARSHIP is a science fiction adventure with a twist. "It's being written specifically for animation," according to the Widow Roddenberry. "We're developing it with Stan Lee, who is wonderful." The series will focus on a starship with an environmental mission, she said. "They're saving worlds, but it will be different from STAR TREK. Much of it will come off as Gene would have done it, but there's enough that's different to make it novel." She's also hoping to take a fresh look at GENESIS II. You may remember it as an early '70s pilot about a 20th-century scientist who awakes from suspended animation into a post-apocalyptic future. She's dusting off the idea and trying to get the project made.
SON OF TABASCO! 
    The ratings for the WB show ROSWELL are, what is euphemistically known in the "biz", as "soft." That could mean anything from "they don't quite meet the exorbitant expectations that we've been nursing for it" to "its fetid maggot-infested corpse is about to become a carrion appetizer for the scavengers." Needless to say, what fans the show has are distraught. And they're still savoring the nasty little snap afforded them by tabasco. 
    Last year, when the show had been given up by the producers for shark chum, legions of crazed fans flooded the WB with little bottles of tabasco sauce. The zippy little condiment is the drink of choice of the aliens who reside in ROSWELL. Networks suits soon smelled more than tabasco in the air - they caught the scent of a groundswell of popularity. They decided to give it another season. During this season the shows behaved not like the ratings champion that they'd hoped for, but like a punch-drunk boxer in the 11th round who spends most of his time either kissing the business end of a glove or the sweat soaked canvas beneath him. Once again the show is headed for extinction. 
    More than 4,300 fans of ROSWELL have signed an Online petition asking the network to renew the series for a third season. The petition is being shown to The WB, Warner Brothers, Fox, Regency and Time Warner "to show them how many fans want ROSWELL to come back for a third season," the fans write. We'll keep you posted as to the status of the resurrection. 
SPECIAL UNIT 2 COMES TO UPN IN MID-SEASON 
    Evan Katz, executive producer of UPN's upcoming midseason series SPECIAL UNIT 2, said that the series deals with a top-secret squad of monster-hunting Chicago cops. "It's sort of a black comedy, action-adventure creature show," Katz said in an interview. "It's fun and a little weird. It's basically an attempt to give genre fans what they want, but also give the audience a really good time." 
    The series, which doesn't have a premiere date yet, stars Michael Landes as Detective Nick O'Malley and Alexandra Lee as his new partner, Kate Benson, who investigate mysteries involving "links," as in missing links. Patrick Tatopoulos (GODZILLA) provides creature design and Syd Mead (BLADE RUNNER) created the space-age weapons, Katz said. "It's a real visceral show, with lots of stuff blowing up. We have gargoyles. Instead of a regular mummy, we have a samurai mummy, a martial-arts expert. We have stockbroker werewolves and a creature made up of human liposuction fat." 
    Nick and Kate provide an alternative to the familiar skeptic vs. believer, Katz added. Nick "is the wish-fulfillment character. He does what other people wish they could do and says what they wish they could say. Kate represents more the voice of reason, the brains. And we gave them a gnome version of [STARSKY AND HUTCH's] "Huggy Bear," Carl [played by SEINFELD alumnus Danny Woodburn]." 
    Katz added, "I can't say there's a great plan involved. I wanted to do a monster show. I wanted it to be reality-based, so that SPECIAL UNIT 2 is a police precinct. I didn't want to do aliens. And I wanted to mix comedy with drama, particularly black-comic elements, and wanted a medium to do that in. It's a real hard tone to pull off, because it can get stupid easily. And I think we did it. Time will tell." 
STAR HUNTER'S TAKES THE WESTERN INTO SPACE 
    This is a space-based action/adventure drama series with an attitude. The series takes place in the dangerous frontier of space where there aren't many rules, and few to enforce them. The year is 2275. Earth has more or less successfully colonized the entire solar system.  But our reach has surpassed our grasp. As in the American 'Old West', the "law of the land" is spotty and unreliable.  Things are dangerous out there . . . it has become the Wild West of outer space.  As the colonies continuously push farther and further out from Earth, lawlessness and crime expand too. With the vast distances between Earth and its colonies, the abilities of basic policing services are maxed out. The use of private forces like bounty hunters, known as 'starhunters', has become common practice. Their job is to bring to justice, for the monetary reward, the epidemic of criminals terrorizing the colonies. On STAR HUNTER, Bounty Hunter Dante Montana (Michael Pare) along with his niece Percy (Tanya Allen) and his mysterious munitions expert Lucretia Scott ("Luc," played by Claudette Roche) and the holographic first mate, Caravaggio (Murray Melvin) take their aging hunter ship, the Tulip, in pursuit of interplanetary criminals. 
    The greatest evil force is a group known as The Raiders, Dante Montana's archenemies.  Ten years earlier, they stole Dante's son, Travis, and killed his wife, Penny along with Percy's parents. Dante roams the galaxy in search of Travis whom he believes is still alive and living amongst the Raiders. 
    The show is created and produced by Daniel D'or and G. Philip Jackson. Its executive producers are Elaine Scott and Stefan Jones and co-Producers George Campana, Alain Bordiec and Andrew Somper. The show's being offered for syndication for this fall.
STAR HUNTER'S TAKES THE WESTERN INTO SPACE 
    This is a space-based action/adventure drama series with an attitude. The series takes place in the dangerous frontier of space where there aren't many rules, and few to enforce them. The year is 2275. Earth has more or less successfully colonized the entire solar system.  But our reach has surpassed our grasp. As in the American 'Old West', the "law of the land" is spotty and unreliable.  Things are dangerous out there . . . it has become the Wild West of outer space.  As the colonies continuously push farther and further out from Earth, lawlessness and crime expand too. With the vast distances between Earth and its colonies, the abilities of basic policing services are maxed out. The use of private forces like bounty hunters, known as 'starhunters', has become common practice. Their job is to bring to justice, for the monetary reward, the epidemic of criminals terrorizing the colonies. On STAR HUNTER, Bounty Hunter Dante Montana (Michael Pare) along with his niece Percy (Tanya Allen) and his mysterious munitions expert Lucretia Scott ("Luc," played by Claudette Roche) and the holographic first mate, Caravaggio (Murray Melvin) take their aging hunter ship, the Tulip, in pursuit of interplanetary criminals. 
    The greatest evil force is a group known as The Raiders, Dante Montana's archenemies.  Ten years earlier, they stole Dante's son, Travis, and killed his wife, Penny along with Percy's parents. Dante roams the galaxy in search of Travis whom he believes is still alive and living amongst the Raiders. 
    The show is created and produced by Daniel D'or and G. Philip Jackson. Its executive producers are Elaine Scott and Stefan Jones and co-Producers George Campana, Alain Bordiec and Andrew Somper. The show's being offered for syndication for this fall. 
DR. OF TREK? 
    The University of California campus in Riverside, Calif., will pay full fellowships and provide jobs to two German graduate students who want to write a three-volume doctoral thesis on the religious content and structure of STAR TREK. UCR has promised Sabine Thuerwaechter and Bernhard Janzen full payment of their annual $15,300 graduate student fees as they pursue their doctorates in comparative literature. 
    Janzen, 38, is a Roman Catholic friar from Muenster who already holds a Ph.D. in theology. Thuerwaechter, 37, is an archaeologist and an expert on Middle Eastern cultures and the ancient writing of cuneiform. The pair found a sympathetic mentor in the person of UCR professor George Slusser, curator of the university's J. Lloyd Eaton Collection, the world's largest catalogued library of science fiction, fantasy and horror. 
    The graduate students are especially interested in STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, which features an emissary who is a mediator for a persecuted group's salvation, and STAR TREK: VOYAGER, which Thuerwaechter said echoes the ancient Greek epic the Odyssey.
TRACKER - THE HUNT IS ON! 
    If you miss the old TV show BRIMSTONE, you might want to check out TRACKER. It stars Adrian Paul as an alien bounty hunter that has come to Earth to track down escaped criminals. According to the promo literature, "There's been a prison break. Over a hundred dangerous convicts have escaped.  They're led by Zin, the smartest and most ruthless felon known to man. But these criminals aren't from any world we know . . . they're from planets that could eat us for lunch.  Zin has devised a wormhole in space that transported all of them to Chicago, where they've set up shop and now traffic in every kind of criminal activity imaginable. They have powers that are no match for us: the ability to take the form of any human or animal super strength; superior intelligence;and something even more frightening - each one of them is a different kind of alien being-and they each have powers that are individual, unique and immense! But the prison has sent help.  A TRACKER.  His mission is to capture each and every one of them, dead or alive.  He teams up with Mel, a hard-luck girl who is finally on the road to salvation as a cub reporter for a Chicago newspaper. They're a kickass couple, an alien and an Earthling, fighting the evils of the universe and, at the same time, fighting something even stronger - an attraction to each other." 
    Executive producer/Show Runner is Gil Grant, executive producer of RELIC HUNTER. The show's being offered for syndication by Lion's Gate Television. No mention of who would be Mel or how many markets it has been sold to.
THE X-FILES MAY BECOME AN EX-SHOW 
   Chris Carter is pondering the future of THE X-FILES. He's concentrating on THE LONE GUNMEN. He says that if the new show is a success, THE X-FILES might end in May. A second X-FILES film is planned for this year. He says, "May's two-hour season finale will be a cliffhanger either for next season, if we return, or for the movie. My preference is to do THE X-FILES next year, if we can find a way to do it right, to make it creatively interesting for ourselves. I think the stories are out there to be told, but when you get to the ninth year of a show, you need resources to keep doing the same good work. The costs go up. So my preference is do THE X-FILES next year, but there are things that need to be hammered out between all the participants in the process." David Duchovny is not expected back for a new season, but has agreed to appear in the film.
XENA, THE SINGING BARBARIAN 
    Look for something a little unusual as XENA draws to a close. "We're doing one of the last four episodes as a musical," she said. "I know musicals don't rate particularly well, but we don't care. We always made the show to express our ideas. There is no stopping us now. Plus, I think what has made us so successful are the wild ideas. On XENA, you'll have heavy drama and then slapstick comedy. And then every now and then you'll do a musical. We're going to do a take-off of "The Donkey Show," which is a disco version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." There are all sorts of relationship mix-ups and gender-bending. All kinds of crazy stuff."
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THINGS TO COME 
    THE JOHNS HOPKINS FILM FESTIVAL will take place on April 5-8 at Johns Hopkins' Homewood Campus, in Baltimore.  The festival will display some of the most surprising and controversial documentaries, features and short films to hit the independent scene. They'll also present the little seen films of budding local, national, and international filmmakers. It will take place at numerous screening rooms on the Homewood campus, including Shriver Hall, the largest screening facility in Maryland. For more information either click on the above link or contact  JHFF2001 c/o Wil Ryan/ Gilman Hall PO #960/ JHU/ 3400 N. Charles Street/ Baltimore MD, 21218/ 410-889-9596. 

    FILMFEST DC will take place from April 21 to May 2 at various sites around the nation's capitol. They'll offer a rich mix of old and premiering films. This year they're offering a special selection of recent films from South America. There will be other films from the rest of the globe as well, including the U.S. of A. Tickets are $7 per film or $60 for a book of ten tickets. For more information call 202/628-FILM. 

    CHILLER THEATER TOY, MODEL, AND FILM EXPO will be held in at the Sheraton Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 27-29. The guests include Walter Koenig, of both STAR TREK and BABYLON 5. There'll be a BABYLON 5 REUNION with Claudia Christian (Susan Ivanova), Mira Furlan (Dellenn), Stephen Furst (Vir Cotto), Jerry Doyle (Michael Garibaldi), Richard Biggs (Dr. Stephen Franklin), Carrie Dobro (Dureena Nafeel from CRUSADE), Iona Morris, Marjorie Monaghan (Tessa Holloran/Number One), and Julie Caitlin Brown (Na'Toth). As far as non-BABYLON 5 guests, there's Michael Berryman (THE HILLS HAVE EYES) Michael Callan (MYSTERIOUS ISLAND) Joanna Cassidy (GHOST OF MARS, BLADE RUNNER), Yvonne Craig ("Batgirl" from the original BATMAN TV series), Lou Ferrigno (THE INCREDIBLE HULK), Julian Glover (FIVE MILLION YEARS TO EARTH, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK), Mark Goddard (LOST IN SPACE), Gunnar Hansen (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE), Jonathan Harris (LOST IN SPACE), James Hong (BLADERUNNER, BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA), Suzanna Leigh (LUST FOR A VAMPIRE), Yvonne Monlaur (THE BRIDES OF DRACULA), Caroline Munro (GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD), Jon Provost (star of the original LASSIE TV series), Ted Raimi (XENA), Yutte Stensgaard (LUST FOR A VAMPIRE), Edy Williams (BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS), Bernie Wrightson (legendary horror artist), and of course, Zacherley: The Cool Ghoul  (T.V. Horror Host Legend). General admission in advance is $10 per day, or $25 for all three days. General admission at the door is $15 per day. Entry for the entire weekend plus ONE HOUR EARLY on Friday OR Saturday is $35 US Funds. Pre-show both days, plus all day Sunday is $45 US Funds. To order contact Chiller Theatre, Inc., P O Box 23, Rutherford, NJ 07070.

    BALTICON 35 is being held on a new date this year. Normally they go on during Easter Weekend. This year it will take place on Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-8. Their guest of honor is author Hal Clement. Other author-guests include Nina Boal, Jack L. Chalker, Dan Cragg, John G. Hemry, Peter Knapp, Eric Kotani, Steve Lubs, Wendie Old, Darrell Schweitzer, David Sherman, Bud Sparhawk, Louise Titchener, Shane Tourellotte, Mark Wheatley, John C. Wright, Jagi Lamplighter Wright, author and editor of "Anotherealm" Jean Goldstrum, editor and Heinlein scholar Yoji Kondo and editor and author Susan Schwartz. As usual they'll have a group of guests who are scientists. That includes NASA scientist Dave Kratz, pioneer of the Klingon Language
Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen, SETI executive director Dr. H. Paul Shuch, Muriel Hykes (a.k.a. the Internet's Dr. Mom), Bill Linthicum, MD, Perrianne Lurie, MD, Physicist and Juggler Extraordinaire Andrew Love and Dr. Robert D. Shull who's with the Magnetic Materials Group, NIST, and is a leading nano-technology expert. The artist-guest-of-honor is Halla Fleischer. The filk-guest-of-honor is Frank Hayes. The 2000 Compton Crook Award Winner, Stephen L. Burns, will be there (the 2001 winner will be announced at the show. Special Anime guests will be Kara Dennison and Shawn the Touched of White Radish. There'll be panels, a dealers room, poetry readings, a writers workshop, science programming, an art show, filking, a live fantasy combat demo, dances on both Friday and Saturday nights, a masquerade and costume show, a sci-fi trivia contest, live theater, a live radio play, a computer room, a gaming room, L.A.R.P. (if you don't know what that means you probably wouldn't be interested), anime' and video shown, a young writer's contest and special children's programming. Full weekend membership, if paid by 3/15, is $35. If paid by 4/30 it's $40. At the door it's $45. For more information either click on the above link, write to BALTICON 35/ P.O. Box 686/ Baltimore, MD., 21203-0686, phone Phone(410)JOE-BSFS [410-563-2737] or e-mail: BSFS@balticon.org 

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THE ROBERT HEINLEIN CHAIR COMES TO ANNAPOLIS 
    The United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., is taking applications for its first Robert A. Heinlein Endowed Chair in aerospace engineering, named in honor of the famed science fiction novelist and a class of 1929 alumnus. The inaugural Heinlein Chair "will provide vision and direction for the USNA's astronautical engineering curriculum, our small satellite program and our satellite ground station," the academy said in a statement. Applicants must have a strong background in designing, building, testing, launching and operating spacecraft, along with demonstrated research ability, a strong commitment to undergraduate teaching and excellent communications skills. An earned doctorate is desirable, but applicants with strong industrial or laboratory experience will be considered, the academy announced. Probably mentioning membership in the Imaginative Cinema Society wouldn't hurt either.
SOMETHING NEW FOR B-5 FANS 
    For fans of the late, lamented BABYLON 5 series, particularly for folks who can't get enough of the race of Techno-Mages, there's a new series of novels for you. Babylon 5 Casting Shadows : The Passing of the Techno-Mages, Book I has just hit the stands. This novel, by science fiction author and astrophysicist Jeanne Cavelos, tells the story of Galen (from CRUSADE) and his fellow Techno-Mages as they witnesses the ancient enemy, known only as the Shadows, begin to once again emerge and make their presence felt after a millennium of hibernation.
THE NEBULA COLLECTION GETS RE-ISSUED 
    Stealth Press announced that it has re-issued the out-of-print first volume of Nebula Award Stories, containing the first stories to receive the Nebula Awards as the best science fiction of the year. Damon Knight - founder and first president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America - edited the anthology, which was originally published by Doubleday in 1966. On a personal note, this collection of excellent stories really shaped me as a fan. It directed my tastes in reading and movies for years to come. 
    The anthology includes "The Saliva Tree" by Brian W. Aldiss, "He Who Shapes" by Roger Zelazny, "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth" by Roger Zelazny, "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison, "The Drowned Giant" by J.G. Ballard, "Balanced Ecology" by James H. Schmitz, "Computers Don't Argue" by Gordon R. Dickson and "Becalmed in Hell" by Larry Niven. 
    Stealth will follow up the first anthology with eight more over the next 18 months. Each embossed, cloth-bound book's full-color dust jacket will feature artwork by Frank R. Paul. If you haven't read these stories, or if you haven't read them for a while, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to the best in science-fiction literature.
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HOLLYWOOD: THE TOWERING INFERNO 
    In our January, 2001 issue of "The ICS Files" we looked at the problems of Hollywood from the point-of-view of a movie-goer. We talked about our disappointment with their output over the prior year. In this third of our trilogy of special sections to start off the year we'll look at Hollywood from another viewpoint - from the inside. 
    Fans aren't the only ones to know that something is terribly wrong with the movie industry. Movie execs and their corporate bosses are beginning to look more like mourners at a wake instead of stewards of our collective cinematic dreams. 
    In this special section we'll examine what's wrong, how its effecting the movies, who's in charge and what the future may hold in store for the notion of filmed entertainment.
THE AMAZING COLOSSAL INDUSTRY! 
    The year is 1978. Most of the big players in town haven't seen it coming, but Hollywood is about to be shocked by one hell of a boom. The letters "V," "C" and "R" are being grouped together to make a very sweet ring in the ears of studio accountants. The old Hollywood dream of "pay-TV" is increasingly becoming a reality with the advent of cable television. Up to that point the only markets for film were theatrical exhibition and showing badly chopped versions of films on broadcast television. Now two virgin markets have opened their arms. Hollywood was about to throw a 21 year drunken party - a party during which a tidy 12% per year growth rate would expand a $3 billion industry into a $33 billion behemoth. 
    It was an amazing party. But, like all parties, at some point it had to end.
THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING INDUSTRY 
    It's not easy to understand why the party ended. It may be the maturation of the very alternatives that sparked it in the first place - video and cable. As people have grown accustomed to these other avenues of filmed entertainment the growth of new avenues will eventually slow down. It may be distraction from the newest medium, the Internet. It maybe shifting demographics. It could be any combination of these. One thing is certain - nothing will continue to spiral up forever. If you've been used to living off the growth rate of a business, eventually that growth rate will slow and stop. But corporate interests weren't ready for that. 
    The movie business was growing so rapidly (and was so cool and sexy) that studios became the natural targets of corporations looking to put a little pep in their steps. Warner's is owned by AOL Time Warner. Sony owns Columbia. Paramount is owned by Viacom. Twentieth Century Fox is a division of News Corp. Universal's the property of Vivendi. And, of course, Walt Disney Pictures is owned by  Disney Corp. Only the perennially struggling MGM and the new kid, Dream Works, have avoided conglomeration. 
    The companies were bought with the expectation that their parent corporations could expect handsome returns on their investments. Three years ago Warner's film and television division contributed 30.4% to the company's total revenue. Most recently it was 22.9% and shrinking. Sony expected Columbia to generate a quarter of its total business. It remains stuck at about 7%, much of which comes from TV. The same story's being echoed in the other corporate boardrooms. Tom Pollock, a former producer affiliated with Universal, said that the corporate view of each studio is that they're an, "annoying and pesky tiny little division that does nothing but eat capital that could just as well be spent on more cable channels."
THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH 
    Compounding Hollywood's troubles are a new set of accounting procedures that are being enforced. They virtually guarantee that studios will be stuck in the red with every picture. 
    Studios are now forced to write off the entire cost of marketing a feature film as soon as that film's released, instead of the old system where expenses were amortized for up to seven years. With a typical movie costing $55 million dollars, and then costing tens of millions of dollars to advertise and market, it's impossible for movies to appear as anything but a loss. Last year, using the new procedure, Disney took a $221 million hit. Fox got nailed for $494 million. Sony wrote off $926 million. All three parent corporations saw their stocks take a dive on the news. Last year's disastrous release of LITTLE NICKY was so dismal that AOL Time Warner's stock dropped 13% in anticipation of the loss! 
    The result has been corporations that are terrified to greenlight anything but the surest of sure things. The result has been the release of bland unimaginative movies that too often range from mediocre to unwatchable. The result has been cinema year 2000.
THE INVISIBLE INVADERS 
    Who are these people making all of these odd decisions? It shouldn't be a news flash for most movie fans that the days of the Hollywood tyrants presiding over their little fiefdoms is long past. Louis B. Mayer, Harry Cohn, the brothers Warner and their ilk are long gone, resting fitfully in Forest Lawn Cemetery. Fans may not know that the young Turks of the eighties, people like Michael Ovitz, Peter Gruber and David Geffen, are a few generations of studio execs in the past. 
    Anyone out there ever hear of Amy Pascal? She's the chairman of Columbia Pictures. How about James Gianopulous and Tom Rothman. They co-chair Fox Filmed Entertainment. Stacy Snider? She chairs Universal Pictures. The list goes on, all anonymous faces and names, all of them controlling the movies that we'll see and the fate of the movie industry itself! 
    Bill Mechanic, the fired chairman of Fox, has said, "The best job in Hollywood is no longer being head of the studio. . . . The industry is in the hands of extremely weak and ineffectual people, afraid of taking chances, afraid to stand out. . . . The owners aren't interested in the business and thus hire people and don't allow them to grow." He's talked about how movie managers operate in a BRAZIL-like existence in which parent companies extinguish any spark of creativity. He's very pessimistic about the future of the current studios. "All you can hope is that the current owners crash, and the next generation of owners is better."
ALTERED STATES? 
    There are some possibilities out there for rosier alternatives. Now that a 60-year-old Screen Actors Guild agreement has expired there may be some possibility of actors banding together to finance and distribute their own movies. If Video-On-Demand (VOD) takes off, studios will be offering large selections of new and catalog titles directly to consumers on a pay-per-view basis. There's been talk of extremely sophisticated polling that would tailor films exactly to narrowly targeted demographics. Several studios have been looking to cut distribution costs by digitally beaming movies directly to theaters. 
    Look for an increasing presence of studios reaching out to film fans via high-speed broadband connections. Of all of the options out there, this seems to be the one that's shining brightest. Elizabeth Daley, the dean of USC's school of Cinema-Television, has likened living on the edge of the broadband revolution as "almost like the beginning of TV or sound film." For a fuller discussion of this see the "INTERNET NEWS" section below.
THINGS TO COME 
    Look for the next couple of years in film to be interesting, if bumpy. Studios will have to re-invent themselves if they're to survive. The 21-year party mentioned at the outset of this section has come to a close. If the movie industry navigates carefully through its present rough waters, the next party may make the last one look like a cupcake with a sputtering candle. If they don't, well, we'll have to see what forces rush in to fill the vacuum. Either way, it won't be boring.
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THE ACADEMY AWARDS NOMINEES ARE IN 
    Spring must be at hand. Daffodils are pushing their first tentative greens through the frozen soil. The first few red, red robins are bob-bob-bobbin along. The Orioles are getting ready to find new ways to loose. And groggy celebs are whining about how early it is in L.A. as they read aloud lists of the best and the brightest of the current crop of Tinsel Townians. Following is a list of titles considered for Academy Awards. This list is made up of titles that appeared in last year's "ICS Files" for Imaginative Cinema that debuted through 2000 (and these are also from the same list that everyone had on their survey from last December's meeting). 
THE CELL: Makeup 
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON: Best Picture, Director, Screenplay (Adapted), Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Best Foreign Film, Score, Song 
DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS: Art Direction, Costume Design, Makeup, 
GLADIATOR: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Director, Screenplay (Original), Cinematography, Editing, Art Direction, Costume Design, Score, Sound, Visual Effects 
HOLLOW MAN: Visual Effects 
THE PATRIOT: Cinematography, Score, Sound 
SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE: Best Supporting Actor, Makeup 
SPACE COWBOYS: Sound editing 
U571: Sound, Sound editing
THE GOLDEN RASPBERRIES NOMINEES 
    As a service to our loyal readers, we forthwith and hereforth present the list of the Golden Raspberries nominees (the award is nicknamed "The Razzie"). This is an award that recognizes the depths of bad achievements and ersatz ideas with which film fans are pummeled and celebrates them with an award all their own. We might be smelling "sweep" in the air. The worst of 2000 is up against one of the worst of all time - BATTLEFIELD EARTH! The Psychlo-drama is going to be a formidable adversary in all eight of its categories. Take notice of how Schwarzenneger's pulled a coup, earning noms for both Worst Actor and Worst Supporting Actor for THE 6th DAY. Ata' boy Ahnie! 
    BATTLEFIELD EARTH - 8 NOMINATIONS 
    Worst Picture, Worst Actor - John Travolta,Worst Screen Couple - John Tarvolta and anyone sharing the screen with him, Worst Supporting Actors for both Barry Pepper and Forest Whitaker, Worst Supporting Actress - Kelly Preston, Worst Director - Roger Christian and Worst Screenplay. 
    BOOK OF SHADOWS: BLAIR WITCH 5 NOMINATIONS 
    Worst Picture, Worst Remake or Sequel, Worst Screen Couple - Any two actors, Worst Director - Joe Berlinger and Worst Screenplay. 
    LITTLE NICKY - 5 NOMINATIONS 
    Worst Picture, Worst Actor - Adam Sandler, Worst Supporting Actress - Patricia Arquette, Worst Director - Steven Brill and Worst Screenplay. 
    THE NEXT BEST THING - 5 NOMINATIONS 
    Worst Picture, Worst Actress - Madonna, Worst Screen Couple - Madonna & EITHER Rupert Everett OR Benjamin Bratt, Worst Director - John Schlesinger and Worst Screenplay. 
    THE FLINTSTONES IN VIVA ROCK VEGAS - 4 NOMINATIONS 
    Worst Picture, Worst Remake or Sequel, Worst Supporting Actor - Stephen Baldwin and Worst Supporting Actress - Joan Collins. 
    THE 6th DAY - 3 NOMINATIONS 
     Worst Actor - Ahnold Schwarzenegger, Worst Screen Couple -  Ahnold (As The REAL Adam Gibson) & Ahnold (As The CLONE of Adam Gibson) and Worst Supporting Actor - Ahnold Schwarzenegger (As The CLONE of Adam Gibson). 
    Some of the other notable nominations included Kim Basinger's two worst actress nods for BLESS THE CHILD and I DREAMED OF AFRICA, Brian DePalma for MISSION TO MARS and 2000's two biggest money-makers, DR. SEUSS'S HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 each getting two nominations.
RAZZIES/SATURN MERGE - ALMOST TOO CLOSE TO CALL! 
    For the past thirty years the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films has been handing out Saturn Awards to recognize the finest achievements in imaginative cinema. As noted above, the Golden Raspberry Awards have been going for the past twenty years as a nudge in the ribs and an upraised middle finger for the worst of Hollywood each year. A satirical science fiction and fantasy site called "Zealot" has run an article claiming the two awards have merged. While the story is clearly satirical (it runs along side pieces like "Ten Things The Klingon Empire Does Not Want You To Know") it comes uncomfortably close to reality. 
    It quotes a Saturn spokesman as saying, "We give up. This is a year where, for the life of us, we can't find a single science fiction, fantasy, or horror film worth seeing at discount matinees, and we can't continue to pretend that RED PLANET, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, HOLLOW MAN, and LOST SOULS are worthy of awards. As it is, we're certain that we're going to spend eternity in a lake of burning Tasmanian devil dung in the deepest pits of Hell for nominating EMPIRE OF THE ANTS for a Saturn in 1978 and CREATURE in 1985, and we can't stand the thought of Brian DePalma actually expecting to win a Saturn for MISSION TO MARS. . . . I mean, George Lucas nominated for Best Director and Jake Lloyd for Best New Actor? What the f**k were we thinking? . . . well, it just made more sense to admit that science fiction film sucks these days and pack it in. Either that, or admit that we were willing to endorse anything so long as it had lots of flashy special effects or dopey fannish in-jokes." 
    This parody brings to mind the immortal words of Dudley Manlove in his portrayal of "Eros" in PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. Just after he's avoided death at the hands of the Tor Johnson zombie he gasps, "That was too close!"
RIDLEY SCOTT LOOKS BACK IN ANGER AT THE BLADE RUNNER DIRECTOR'S CUT 
    Ridley Scott will always be angry with himself for being talked into ruining his ending to his cult classic BLADE RUNNER. Ridley "corrected" the happy ending, which featured a "ridiculous voiceover" in his Director's Cut of the film, after giving in to Hollywood topdogs - but he's still angry the original ended so badly. He says, "I was just really British, just grateful to be there. Now, I think back and think, 'F**k them.' I should have said, `No voiceover, no happy ending.' We had Harrison Ford and Sean Young heading off into the mountains. If you've got mountains like that, why the f**k are you living in that dark, rainy city? There's no logic to that ending."
CHICKEN RUN GETS A NOD FROM THE ANIMAL RIGHTS COMMUNITY 
    CHICKEN RUN was chosen the outstanding film of 2000 by the Ark Trust, an animal-rights group. The hit claymation film will be honored March 10 at the group's 15th annual Genesis Awards, presented to news and entertainment media for championing animal issues. The Ark Trust selected CHICKEN RUN for its "creative and empathetic insight into chicken farming from the chickens' point of view." Past winners of the Genesis Award include THE IRON GIANT, INSTINCT, ANIMAL FARM, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, BABE and PLANET OF THE APES.
DISNEY DOES IMAX 
    Imax, the Toronto-based chain of gigantic special-exhibition theaters, needs all of the friends that it can find at the moment. They haven't been immune to the carnage to which other movie exhibitors have fallen prey. There must have been sighs of relief when Disney announced that it plans to release an Imax version of its 1991 animated feature BEAUTY AND THE BEAST on March 8, 2002 and will include a new musical number, "Human Again," from the stage version of the musical. The studio said that it had never before added a new sequence to a previously released film. It marks the second time that Disney has teamed up with Imax. Last year it released FANTASIA/2000 on 75 Imax screens, where it took in $64.4 million during a four-month run. In a statement Dick Cook, chairman of Walt Disney  Motion Pictures Group, said: "The success of FANTASIA/2000 clearly indicates that Disney entertainment and giant-screen showmanship go together like Mickey and Minnie, and this is a relationship we want to continue." Disney also indicated that it is planning to produce Imax versions of the Broadway musical BRING IN DA NOISE, BRING IN DA FUNK, a prequel to THE BLACK STALLION, a nature-adventure film called BIRDS OF PREY and a film about the X Games.
I TAWD A SAW A SERIAL KILLER 
    Next time you're giving Tabby a rub behind his ears, or chuckle at Sylvester, remember that you're enjoying the same critter that inspired the portrayal of one of the most gruesome movie monsters in the cinema. Sir Anthony Hopkins has revealed that his secret inspiration behind his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter is a cat. The 63-year-old Welsh actor said that as he roamed around the streets of Florence during filming, he deliberately gave his character feline qualities. Hopkins says, "I got to move around a lot more this time, and I sort of modeled my walk on a cat's. I like cats, and I love the way they pad around." So remember, should you encounter Dr. Lecter in your travels, dangle a piece of string in front of him, rub his belly, then run like hell.
THE NITPICKERS BRIGADE TAKES ON HANNIBAL 
    Sharp-eyed moviegoers have managed to find 22 "continuity errors" in HANNIBAL. They include a sequence in which the Clarice Starling character's earrings change from studs to hoops and back again three times. In another scene, Hannibal Lecter is heard, in a voice over, reading a letter to Starling that closes with his saying, "Your good friend, " before the signature - but those words are not evident in the letter on the screen. Most curious may be a sequence in which Lecter and Starling are handcuffed together and Lecter, in one of the more gruesome incidents, manages to escape, leaving Starling in the 'cuffs. But when FBI agents arrive moments later and instruct her to put her hands in the air, the handcuffs have disappeared.
ANTHONY HOPKINS ENJOYS TERRIFYING PEOPLE OFF-SCREEN 
    Anthony Hopkins uses his terrifying Hannibal Lecter character to terrify kids he meets in elevators. The actor admitted that he's thrilled that people are scared of him now that he's back as Lecter in HANNIBAL - and he's using their fear to have a little morbid fun. When Hopkins first saw the movie with an audience in New York he admits that he deliberately increased tension in the audience. He says, "I crept in and sat at the back and watched everyone jumping. At one point I leaned forward and whispered, `Are you enjoying the film?' in Lecter's voice. The person in front was terrified." And Hopkins is also finding he only has to stand in elevators to scare the wits out of hotel guests. He explained, "This woman and her son got in and I was standing towards the back of the lift. Her son said it reminded him of Hannibal Lecter's glass cage in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and at that point the lady turned round, saw me and screamed. The poor boy was terrified. He's probably scarred for life."
JURASSIC NOIR? 
    Ed Verreaux, production designer on the upcoming JURASSIC PARK III, says that the third installment in the dinosaur film franchise will be darker than its predecessors. "I think it's going to be a little bit darker, a little bit more moody," Verreaux said. "Shelly Johnson, the [director of photography], has just really done a great job at photographing [the film]." 
    The film features Sam Neill, reprising his JURASSIC PARK role of Dr. Alan Grant, and Téa Leoni, William H. Macy, Michael Jeter and Trevor Morgan. In one scene, "our band of survivors [has] been traipsing across the island, and they come across another Ingen compound," Verreaux said. "And what they find is that the Ingen people have been breeding dinosaurs in a big laboratory." 
    Verreaux is bringing to bear his experience from the first JURASSIC PARK film. "That's been a real help for me," he said. "I haven't had to find guys who have to reinvent the wheel. . . . It's like, 'We've already done this, we know what this set looks like.' The thing is, we did try and make this look different from I and II. Hopefully, we were able to succeed." JURASSIC PARK III opens July 14.
THE LEGEND OF ZU 
    In the wake of the unexpected success of CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, Miramax is in final talks to acquire the North American and Mexican distribution rights to THE LEGEND OF ZU, the Chinese-language fantasy film starring Zhang Ziyi (the actress who played "Jen" in CROUCHING TIGER). The film, which also stars Sammo Hung, tells the story of the ancient mythological province of Zu, with Zhang as a warrior princess who battles an evil lord. Tsui Hark directed the film, which features martial-arts choreography by Yuen Wo Ping (CROUCHING TIGER, THE MATRIX). The film is in post-production. We could be seeing more of these Chinese martial-arts imports if long strikes occur this year.
PETER JACKSON WANTS TO BRING GIVE HIS FANTASY THE FEELING OF REALITY 
    Peter Jackson, director of the upcoming LORD OF THE RINGS film trilogy, says that he faces a year's worth of post-production now that principal photography has wrapped. The challenge is to keep things real and faithful to J.R.R. Tolkien's original books, he said. "The one thing I've always been consistently going for in the style of the shooting and the performances and the design is to make Middle-Earth feel real and lived-in . . . And whether it's an elf or a dwarf or a hobbit or a human, I think it's important for us to convey that the character is real and exists at a particular moment in time." 
    Conveying the reality of the films means pushing the envelope in terms of violence, Jackson said. "It's going to be PG-13. Again, it's part of making it real. The material we've shot would easily give us an R-rated movie if we chose to cut it that way. We haven't shot anything that is disturbing or horrific or nasty. We're just trying to depict battles realistically. But we'll be very circumspect with how we edit the material. We're aiming for the tougher end of a PG-13 - we'll try and push the envelope a little bit." 
    Jackson will add something missing in most stories of fairies, elves and dwarves - ambiguity. "Real life is quite complex, nothing is ever black and white. And even though we are dealing with good and evil in a very clear-cut way, as Tolkien wrote, we're trying to capture some of the story's complexity. For example, the character of Boromir. He is a fundamentally good person - good at heart - but he does things villains would do. He tries to take the Ring forcibly from Frodo. It's fun to film good people doing bad things, and it makes for a movie that has a little more interest and psychological content." 
    The other challenge is to keep focus through all three films. "The difficulty is you have to imagine the momentum of the films as a whole," Jackson said. "I always find it's very easy to lock yourself into making a shot feel nice, but lose the big picture. You forget that the camera should move faster, because when you cut it, you want this to be a part of a fast scene. Momentum is a very hard thing to maintain." The first RINGS film, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, opens Dec. 19.
THE MATRIX WORKOUT PLAN 
    To be in the coming sequels to THE MATRIX requires more dedication than most of us have. You have to be willing to complete re-make yourself. Keanu Reeves recently spoke about what it's like. He has just recovered from a broken ankle, suffered in training for the two films. Monday through Friday, from 9:30 to 5, Reeves and the cast are doing one thing - training. "Basically, you come in in the morning and work with the Hong Kong action team, the fight choreographers. . . . You stretch for about an hour and a half. And then you kick. You go through a series of exercises that you do every day. And then after that, you go into specialized training. Every person gets another person to work with, . . . and you go through whatever particular training you need for the fights. And then after that, generally, we do choreography, which is learning the fights, and then we do wire work." The movies should be a lot more fun to watch than they were to make.
WHAT I WOULDN'T GIVE TO BE A FLY ON THE WALL HERE! 
    Okay, free association time. ODD COUPLE - quick, what comes to mind. Tony Randall and Jack Klugman? Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau? Tom Green and a funny idea? Well when I hear ODD COUPLE I'm thinking Jack and Marlon - as in Nicholson and Brando. The Old MISSOURI BREAKS co-stars have set up house, temporarily. Jack Nicholson has moved in with his neighbor Marlon Brando after splitting from his girlfriend of 11 years. Nicholson, 63, stormed out of the Los Angeles, California, home he shared with on-off lover Rebecca Broussard, 37, when she called in lawyers after a particularly vicious row. Jack immediately moved in with the Hollywood heavyweight next door in order to remain close to his two young children by Broussard, Lorraine, 10, and Raymond, eight. A friend says, "Jack and Marlon have lived next to each other for 25 years. They don't pop round much for cups of sugar but have always been friends." The pal adds, "Jack's furious that Rebecca consulted lawyers. He wanted to sort it out amicably but knows with them involved it's going to get nasty." 
    So here's what I'd like to see - Nicholson from CUCKOO'S NEST sitting having breakfast with Brando in his moo-moo from THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU. It just doesn't get much better than that.
TIM BURTON DISCUSSES DETAILS ON PLANET OF THE  APES 
    Tim Burton, director of the new version of PLANET OF THE  APES, has said that his film will differ from the original. "We're trying to be completely respectful of the original, but we've added new characters and new story elements," Burton said. "You could say we are keeping the essence of the original, but inhabiting that world in a different way." 
    Mark Wahlberg stars in the movie as air force Capt. Leo Davidson, a pilot who is AWOL from an Earth-launched space station and finds himself on a planet in which apes are the dominant species. Tim Roth's chimpanzee General Thade is the leader of the ape society, Burton said. He is "definitely the villain of the piece. And a really clear-cut villain." Paul Giamatti plays the orangutan Limbo, providing most of the film's comic relief. Canadian supermodel Estella Warren plays Wahlberg's love interest. There's no word on how this might effect that controversial love scene that was to occur between Mark Wahlberg's character and Helena Bonham Carter's.
DAVID PROWSE'S CONDITION WORSENS 
    David Prowse, the man behind the Darth Vader suit in the original STAR WARS trilogy, has had his mysterious bout of paralysis worsen, spreading to his back. The former champion bodybuilder had to be taken to the hospital last week after suddenly losing the use of his arm while on a trip to Germany. He has since been resting at the hospital in Croydon, south London, while doctors carry out tests, although they have now ruled out a stroke. His spokesman, Phil Day, says, "The paralysis he had has now spread to his back so it is not looking good at the moment."
RESERVOIR DOLLS 
    Usually when a much-loved film has a significant anniversary of its release there's a special video or DVD edition released. In some cases there's a theatrical re-release. Well, the film that first put Quentin Tarantino on the cinematic map, RESERVOIR DOGS, a film celebrated for its raw brilliance and made notorious for its depiction of darkly sadistic violence, is getting a somewhat different form of commemoration. The characters from this grim cult film  are making a comeback - as dolls. Artisan Entertainment has unveiled dolls of the colorful criminals played by Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel and Steve Buscemi to mark the 10th anniversary of Quentin Tarantino's classic heist movie. The 7-inch figures cost from $10-$12 each, and will hit novelty stores in America in April. Artisan plan to follow up their distribution by releasing 12-inch figures this summer of Keitel's character Mr. White, Michael Madsen's Mr. Blonde, and his abused-cop victim Marvin Nash - accessorised with the psychopathic criminal's trademark torture tools - a straight razor, gas can, and radio. Artisan's marketing head Amorette Jones, referring to the torture scene, says, "We're going back on forth on whether to make the ear detachable!"
GOVERNOR SCHWARZENEGGER 
    The folks in California may have to get to use to hearing those two words together. Ahnold Schwarzenegger is ready to terminate politician Gray Davis' career by standing against him for the post of California's Governor. Ahnold is (of course) an ardent Republican. He's long been inclined to take up office one day. Now he says if Gov. Gray can't solve the state's electricity crisis and keep his promises, he'll consider standing for election against him. He says, "It comes down to leadership. You have to take risks and be able to just say, 'I've taken my best shot.' And that is what is lacking. It's upsetting to everyone right now. And Ahnie says he'd love to go into politics because he just wants to help people out. He adds, "I saw in the last 10 years that I'm getting much more pleasure out of helping people than making money and making movies. And it's increasing my desire to do that. It can lead - and will lead, probably - to some political office. I haven't really said this is the time. But, you know, the bottom line is if Davis goes on the way he is - then eventually there will be a vacuum in a year and I could [fill it]."
TREK X COULD WIND UP STARING AT THE BUSINESS END OF A LIGHT SABER 
   Rick Berman has said that TREK X is aiming at a 2002 release - which could put it head-to-head with STAR WARS: EPISODE II, debuting in May of that year. "Our last three movies have all been released at Thanksgiving time, and that is certainly a possibility with this film, but in their infinite wisdom, the marketing people at Paramount might decide to release this earlier in 2002. I think that how it matches up with other films being released in that year will be an important part of that decision." 
    Production of the film depends on this year's impending actors' strike, and no director has been chose yet, Berman said. Jonathan Frakes, who directed the last two TREK movies, "is still being considered," Berman said. "There has been no discussion at this point on directors, but Jonathan is about to start directing another movie called CLOCKSTOPPERS, and I don't know what his schedule is like. We don't know when this movie is actually going to go into production, because of the impending Screen Actors Guild strike, so there really has not been any discussion about a director yet." 
    Berman also clarified the role of the Romulans, who will make an appearance. "What I said was that we would be seeing the Romulans in this movie, which we are, but I did not necessarily say that they were going to be our main villains," Berman said. "We are going to be seeing a new race of villains that I am tempted to talk about, but I won't just yet. We also have a specific villain that we hope will be every bit as exciting and memorable as Khan. . . . We always like to tweak some of the alien races, and I'm sure you can expect a fresh, updated look for the Romulans. We have done it before such as when Denise Crosby played a Romulan and we have her a look that was somewhat unique. I think there will be some surprises as to what the Romulans will look like."
THE TIME MACHINE RACES THE CLOCK 
    Production has begun on director Simon Wells' updated movie version of his grandfather H.G. Wells' classic SF book The Time Machine for DreamWorks. They'll be rushing to get it done for any strike deadlines are reached. Principal photography began on location at Vassar College in upstate New York, with additional location filming to be undertaken in Albany, Troy and Schenectady. The film then returns to Los Angeles, where shooting will be completed on soundstages at Warner Brothers studios. 
    It stars Guy Pearce as Alexander Hartdegen, a scientist and inventor who tests his theories about time travel by hurtling 800,000 years into a future. The cast includes Jeremy Irons, Mark Addy, Philip Bosco, Phyllida Law and Sienna Guillory. John Logan (GLADIATOR) wrote the screenplay.
THE FILM GOLD RUSH IS ON IN AUSTRALIA 
    With the threatened writers' and actors' strikes forcing studios to step up production, Australia has seen a 75% rise over last year in the number of U.S. movies being shot there. Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance official Simon Whipp said, "It used to be that there would be one offshore film every two years, but now there are two or three going at any one time." Kingston Anderson of the New South Wales Film and Television Office added, "Hollywood producers are now aware of what we have to offer. . . . Before they didn't believe it, but now they know we have the talent."
STRIKE NEWS: WRITERS CONTINUE THEIR NEGOTIATIONS 
    The Screenwriters Guild is continuing its negotiations with the the producers. This is a hopeful sign. The negotiations, which began January 22nd, were to end February 1st unless they seemed to be going in a positive direction. They have been dealing with a full slate of issues. At this point both sides are wisely staying silent on the details of the results of each day's bargaining. Word has it that on the key issues they've moved a little closer but they're still far apart. I'll keep you posted as things develop.
THE THEATER BUSINESS: THE TIDE RISES, THE TIDE FALLS 
    A few years ago there were approximately 25,000 movie screens in the United States. They were doing well - very well. Investors spotted a bonanza. Across the country there was a fever to build new theaters. The aggregate number swelled to half again as many screens as we once had, soaring up to 38,000. And then the bubble burst. Four of the six major theater chains are in bankruptcy. Others are dancing drunkenly around their open graves, ready to fall in at any moment. Where will this leave us? When the dust has settled and the smoke has cleared, estimates are there'll be approximately 25,000 screens, but not the same ones with which we started this madness. 
    Here in "The ICS Files" we have faithfully chronicled the demise of these giants. One by two by three by more we've watched once untouchable forces of theatrical distribution stumble and fall. I have decided to stop this running obituary. It becomes repetitive from issue to issue. My heart goes out to all those left jobless as a result of the cut backs. But there are too many other things to focus on. From this point on, unless the story takes a wicked new turn, we will simply expect the air to continue to be let out of the theatrical balloon.
IMAGINATIVE CINEMA FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH 
    MARCH 9TH: 15 MINUTES pits a decorated police detective (Robert De Niro) and a fire department investigator (Edward Burns) against a killer with an unusual motivation. The murder was committed by someone who was seeking their "15 minutes" of fame. As the investigation proceeds, the case receives over saturation from local media, bringing the detectives in conflict with an abrasive talk show host (Kelsey Grammer). The film also features STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE's Avery Brooks. It was directed by John Herzfeld. 

    MARCH 16TH: ENEMY AT THE GATES is a true story from the epic Battle of Stalingrad during World War II. While Germany and Russia hurl armies of men at each other, one man seeks his targets one at a time. This is the story of  Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law). He's credited with 140 kills during that historic battle. The Germans responded by sending their own sharpshooter, Major Koenig (Ed Harris), to seek out and kill Zaitsev and any other snipers he might find. Soon, Zaitsev and Koenig are locked in an elaborate chess game of death . . . two men amidst the ruins and slaughter seeking to put a bullet in the other's skull. Meanwhile, the sniper is also competing with a party official (Joseph Fiennes) for the love of a Russian-American female sniper, Tania Chernova (Rachel Weisz). Ron Perlman plays Vassili's mentor. Bob Hoskins plays Nikita Kruschev, who'd been sent by Stalin to oversee the campaign. The director and writer is Jean-Jacques Annaud (who's directed THE NAME OF THE ROSE and SEVEN YEARS IN TIBET). 
    EXIT WOUNDS is a cop-kicks-other-cops-butts movie. Orin Boyd (Steven Seagal), is a tough cop in an inner-city precinct. He discovers a web of dirty cops and corruption. That's when the serious butt-kicking starts! The hip-hop star DMX plays a crime lord who helps Seagal do his thing. Isaiah Washington plays a cop who saves Seagal's life. The director is Andrzej Bartkowiak (who last directed the Jet Li film, ROMEO MUST DIE and was the cinematographer for THIRTEEN DAYS).

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NEW TRAILER AVAILABLE ONLINE 
    Trailers are now available Online for PLANET OF THE APES, the new vampire film THE FORSAKEN, A.I. (which is noted in the trailer as "A Stephen Spielberg Film") and THE MUMMY RETURNS. Check them out and get a head start blasting or praising these coming box-office hopefuls.
LIONS GATE BREAKS NEW GROUND 
    The independent film distributor, Lion's Gate Entertainment, is breaking new ground in the field of Internet availability of titles. Through CinemaNow (which is majority-owned by Lion's Gate) there's already about 1,000 titles available for streaming from Lion's Gate, Trimark, Avalanche, Allied Artists, Tai Seng and Salvation libraries. Now Lion's Gate is making new titles available as they go to video. THE LAST SEPTEMBER with Maggie Smith, STEAL THIS MOVIE, with Vincent D'Onofrio, MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL with Mel Gibson and THE BOGUS WITCH PROJECT with Pauly Shore have recently made their way Online. 
    Expect to see more of this from all the studios as time goes on. If they can eliminate movie theaters, video stores, cable operators and all the other costs involved with mass distribution, they'll do it.
THE FUTURE OF STREAMING VIDEO 
    The studios want you. They want to reach through your computer modem (if you've got one) and pull you in by the wallet. As of this writing there are 110 million homes in the United States Online. Of those 12 million have broadband connections (this means a cable modem or a DSL line - something that can receive a lot of data very quickly). Over the next four years that number's excepted to triple to 36 million. At the moment studios are making some of their catalog available Online. As we've already seen (see above and our last issue) that's changing quickly. 
    The shift is on now to think of the Internet as a new ancillary market. It will become another outlet in the same way that theatrical, video, pay-per-view and premium cable channels are now. In these first few hesitant steps forward we've seen movies distributed on a pay-per-transaction basis. This will soon change. A monthly or yearly fee to a particular studio will get you access. Finally, look for the re-emergence of short films. It's ironic that it was the short films that was the staple of the studios in their infancy. Now that we're in a new digital infancy a film with a faster download time may be more desirable.
WHO'S WATCHING STREAMING MOVIES NOW? 
    Streaming video has its own unique demographics. Movie theaters and video stores often have mobs descend upon them on the weekends. Not so streaming media providers. The peak time is 6 P.M. Tuesday evenings. According to Curt Mavis of CinemaNow their customers are still at work when they get their film fixes. Part of this is because more jobs have broadband hook-ups. "Our core demographic is still males between 16 and 32," he said. They make up 80% of CinemaNow's audience. "They are early adapters of technology and their viewing habits are geared more toward action films, although dramas like WHORE are very popular." 
    As this market matures, look for these numbers to shift toward women and children. It should happen fairly quickly.
FREE MOVIES OVER THE WEB 
    You might want to check out MovieFlix.com for a look at free flicks via the Internet. At the moment they're offering over 2,000 classic movies for free downloading. That includes about three dozen sci-fi films and about six dozen horror titles. So put up your feet, grab your mouse and get ready to spend a lot more time in front of your monitor.
TUNE INTO AN ONLINE FILM FESTIVAL 
    Yahoo Internet Life is holding an Online Film Festival. You might want to check it out at their site (http://www.zdnet.com/yil/filmfest/index.html). Fresh entries will be posted up to March 15. Winners will be announced on March 22. Unlike most film festivals there are no long line, no one (other than you) will be talking during the films, no one will be kicking the back of your seat and, best of all, it's free!
BECOME A STALKER FROM THE PRIVACY OF YOUR HOME! 
    Did you ever toss and turn in bed, sleepless with worry on how Jennifer Love Hewitt was doing? Did you ever get that worried acidy feeling down deep in your tummy because you didn't know exactly where Ewan MacGregor was at the moment? Well now your worries are over. You, my friend, are a psychopath. What you need is somewhere to serve all of your sociopathic needs. Well, thanks to ol' WWW, your days of obsessive anxiety have reached their end. Just surf over to Entertainment Sleuth. This site was tailored with your mind in mind. Register for free, plug in the celebrity names of your choice, and you'll be sent regular updates on how the objects of your misspent attention are doing. It's like the progress reports you get after adopting a child in a Third World country except here the pictures are cooler and it doesn't cost you anything. So hang up your binoculars. Put away that stained raincoat. Take off that aluminum foil hat (it can't really block the Russian satellites monitoring your brain waves anyway). Sit back and let those reports roll in.
STEPHEN KING WILL DEBUT HIS NEWEST ONLINE 
    Stephen King will preview his upcoming Dreamcatcher novel on the Web. Time magazine's Web site has been running a 6,000-word excerpt starting on March 5, a few weeks ahead of its publishing date. Excerpts will be released in three weekly installments. Dreamcatcher is scheduled to be published by Scribner's on March 20.
FAREWELL TO TIMMY BIGHANDS 
    The lovable lunatics who were responsible for MST3K (if you don't know what that means it's too late to find out) went on to establish themselves on the World Wide Web with their site, TimmyBighands.com. Well the site is a minor demise in the dot com casualty list. In their farewell they said, "tens of thousands of people will be laid off, as well as many stock animals; the battleship-sized, steam-driven servers will be auctioned off to the U.S. armed forces; and Kevin will be taking his small purple transistor radio home "for private use," as he puts it, a bit haughtily in my opinion, since it only gets one station, and that station mostly plays scratchy old polka classics." 
    The site will remain up for an indefinite period of time with no new material. Take a look at it. It's a hoot.
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THE PERFECT GIFT FOR MINI-ME! 
    Later this year Warner Bros. will be introducing DVD "minis." The minis will be three inches across (instead of the standard five inches). They'll be used for items that require an hour or less playing time. Initially you'll see them containing children's programming and promotional items. The lower duplication costs will not likely be passed on to us. All DVD players are supposed to be able to accommodate this size disc. At least one DVD duplication executive was worried about compatibility, fearing that some DVD hardware manufacturers may not have tested their equipment for the smaller format.
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BLOCKBUSTER TWISTS UNIVERSALS ARM OVER VOD 
    Blockbuster decided to use its considerable buying clout to strong-arm Universal into an agreement to allow them, through their video-on-demand (VOD) arm, to distribute Universal's titles. Normally video retailers are terrified of VOD. It enables consumers to view new releases through a pay-per-view system. Blockbuster bought Enron to anticipate the coming trend (for a fuller discussion on this see "The ICS Files" #19, item #56, "IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM, BE THEM!"). Copies of BRING IT ON and ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE sat under store counters until Universal knuckled under. It took Universal 24 hours after the two titles released to capitulate. The new releases promptly hit the shelves.
DVD WARS: BLOCKBUSTER VIDEO PUSHES STUDIOS FOR DVD RENTAL PRICING 
    Blockbuster Video has been pushing Hollywood studios to discontinue the wide pricing disparity between new rental VHS releases and the same titles on DVD. Blockbuster is the king of rental video and they've positioned themselves to be extremely competitive on DVD rentals. They're losing market-share to places like BestBuy, WalMart and various Web e-tailers that specialize in selling DVD's. If they can bar the door on affordable new DVD titles (whose VHS version may list a retail of $99, if one is listed at all) they could stage a major coup in the field of DVD's. Since studios tremble at the thought of displeasing Blockbuster, look for DVD rental titles to emerge soon.
DVD WARS: BESTBUY SAYS KEEP DVD'S AS A SELLTHROUGH 
    BestBuy has positioned itself on the frontline of DVD sales. They're the leading seller of DVD's in the United States (and, in all likelihood, the world). Before the launch of the new format, just four years ago, CD's and tapes outpaced VHS sales by a ratio of 5-1. Thanks to DVD's the sales pace between music and VHS/DVD is now even. They report that 75% of all video revenue is now generated through DVD's. Joe Pagano, BestBuy's merchandising v.p. is none too happy with the thought of Blockbuster getting its way and turning DVD's into a rental format.  He said, "The format was established as a sellthrough entity. . . . I'm not sure the [video rental] community embraced the format as diligently and with as much enthusiasm and passion. There's no reason to distort the model [by favoring rentals over sales]. The consumers would be done a disservice if either option were unplugged."
DVD'S VS. VCR'S 
    Okay, quick quiz question - which player sold more units over the holidays, DVD players or VCR's. If you answered VCR's you were overwhelmingly right. VCR's outsold the upstart by a margin of more than 2 to 1. DVD's are getting all of the attention. This new technology has done extremely well over a short period of time. However, don't count VCR's out of the race. If recent sales figures are any indication, VCR's aren't ready to join the ranks of the wax cylinder, the vinyl record and the eight-track. They seem to have a lot of years left on them.
NETFLIX SAYS, "SAY GOOD-BYE TO DVD LATE FEES" 
    Truth be told, video rental stores don't mind if you're late getting a movie back. In fact, they welcome it. The dirty little secret of the video rental business is that late fees constitute a major share of retailer's income. Last year 20% of Blockbuster's $4 billion dollars revenue came from late fees (that's $800 million!). Netflix is re-writing those rules. 
    They have almost every title ever to be released on DVD (at the moment that's about 10,000 titles). They're growing at a rate of about 70 new titles a week. Submit a list of the titles that you want to see. You can easily change it. For $19.95 a month they'll mail you three titles. Keep them as long as you like. When you're done with them drop them in the prepaid return envelope and mail them back. They'll send out more titles. You can drop out at any time. Simple as that. No late fees - ever! 
    Blockbuster is apparently not happy with these upstarts. They're probably what prompted them to start their $20 a month for unlimited rentals (their new plan still includes late fees). Blockbuster even took out bus ads in Los Gatos, California (where Netflix is based). Instead of being alarmed or upset they were delighted. It meant to them that were doing something right!
THANKS TO THE CENSOR, FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! 
    New Line is submitting some of its titles to the Dove Foundation for editing parts that may be offensive to some families. So far three titles; LOST IN SPACE, BLAST FROM THE PAST and THE BACHELOR; will sport the "Dove Foundation's Family Edited Seal." All three titles will be available on April 24. I'll let you know when they announce CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and I EAT YOUR FLESH, I DRINK YOUR BLOOD.
TWICE UPON A TIME 
    Disney has something new that is being test marketed in The Netherlands. They're releasing COYOTE UGLY on a "2view" cassette. The video will cost consumers the equivalent of $6.50 by U.S. currency (although many retailers will probably discount it down to $4). The film can be watched exactly twice. After that it goes blank. It can be used as a blank tape afterwards. The initial plan was to release the special cassette several days after the rental hit the streets on April 3rd. Area retailers complained that it would cut the legs out from under the rental. Disney changed the 2view release to eight weeks after the rental title. 
    This has taken the intention behind the extinct limited-play Divx DVD-discs and given it a VHS twist. There've been no announcements yet as to when we can expect to see these tapes on this side of the pond but rest assured - they're coming. They picked a great title to test. Most people couldn't make through COYOTE UGLY once.
VIDEOCY 
Rental titles releasing 3/6: LEVITATION is about a pregnant teenager with strange powers. She has no control over her ability to levitate things. She searches for her biological mother with the help of her guardian angel. This is exclusively available as a VHS rental. 

Rental title releasing 3/13: THE SIXTH DAY has a pair of Arnold Schwarzenneger's mixing it up (see above for how this film did in the Razzie nominations). You can rent the video or buy the DVD for $27.96. . . . DARK STORIES releases today. It purports to be in the tradition of CREEPSHOW and TALES FROM THE CRYPT. It's a collection of terrifying tales of horror, mayhem and destruction. The VHS is a rental. The DVD sells for $24.95. . . . IMORTALITY is a vampire film that stands apart from most of its kind - its vampire is subtle. Jude Law is the vampire in question. He's not an old-fashioned long-toothed, coffin-dwelling, sun-fearing vampire. He's modern: he's got a well-paying job, a nice flat, and can travel as he wishes. But he needs to feed. Without the blood of a woman in love with him, his health deteriorates. So, his life becomes a series of seductions, betrayals, and murders. Clearly this disturbs him (he may be a vampire, but he's not a bad guy) but he sees no option. This is before he meets Anne, a strong woman who is different. She's better than the others. However, soon it becomes clear that this is a relationship that only one of them will survive. This film marked the English language debut for the brilliant Chinese director, Po-Chih Leong. The VHS is a rental. The DVD sells for $32.99. . . . THE LEGEND OF DRUNKEN MASTER is comes out today. This Jackie Chan epic has him pitting his considerable talents against conspirators who are bent on exporting China's treasures for their selfish goals. At the same time he's trying to stay on his stern father's good side. The movie is meticulously done. The amazing seven minute fight at the end took daily filming for four months to complete! This is Chan at his best. The VHS is a rental. The disc is $29.99. 

Rental titles releasing 3/20: AMERICAN VAMPIRE stars Carmen Electra and Adam West. It centers on two friends who've decided to spend the summer partying. They invite three strangers to join the fun. They soon discover that their new pals aren't quite human. They seek out a famous vampire hunter for help. To see how it turns out rent the VHS or buy the DVD for $19.99. . . . THE APOSTATE arrives today as a VHS rental. It's the story of a spiritually tormented serial killer and the priest who helps the police to track him. . . . . THE SPECIALS is the seldom seen cousin of the THE MYSTERY MEN. This is about a group of not-very-super superheroes struggling to take their places in the competitive world of comic books and action figures. The tagline of the movie proclaims that they're "Not as good as regular superheroes, but slightly better than you." You can just for yourself by renting the VHS or buying the DVD for $24.98. . . . THE CROW: SALVATION wings its way to store shelves today. The VHS is a rental. The DVD is $29.99. 

Rental titles releasing 3/27: CHARLIE'S ANGELS kicks, punches and glams its way onto video shelves today. The cast includes "Angels" Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu with Bill Murray as Bosley and John Forsythe's voice as Charlie. The VHS is a rental. The DVD is $27.96. . . . APPETITE is a quirky thriller from the U.K. Guests at a strange hotel gather over a high-stakes card game. The loser will be the first person to sleep in the haunted room 207 in 20 years. The challenge exhumes the varying depravities, lusts, addictions, madnesses and weaknesses of the guests. This VHS-only release is available exclusively as a rental. . . . RED PLANET, the story of a flawed mission to Mars, comes out as a VHS rental today. Many club members who saw this film were less than thrilled. Check it out and make up your mind for yourself. . . . GONIN is a rapid-fire Japanese neo-Noir thriller. Five men, down on their luck, decide to get money by robbing a local Yakuza gang. The Yakuza aren't very happy about this. They hire a pair of professional killers to eliminate the five. The body count runs high and the blood runs red. This is exclusively a VHS rental. 

Sell through titles releasing 3/6: There's a deal on classic Hitchcock titles, many of which are new to DVD. The titles are two volumes of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, FAMILY PLOT, SHADOW OF A DOUBT, ROPE, TOPAZ, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, VERTIGO, TORN CURTAIN, MARNIE, THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY, SABOTEUR, FRENZY, THE BIRDS, REAR WINDOW and PSYCHO. The VHS are $14.95 each. The DVD are $29.98. There are also various pre-pack deals available of assorted Hitchcock titles. . . . If you're looking for a cute and charming vampire tale, today is your day! You need look no further than THE LITTLE VAMPIRE. An American boy who's family has recently moved to Scotland, befriends a family of friendly vampires. Scottish vampires? Well if given a choice of blood or haggis I might become a vampire too. You can buy the video for $19.96 or pick up the DVD for $24.98. . . . ANACONDA comes to DVD today. If you like your snakes large and animated, this is your movie. Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube and Eric Stoltz wander the screen for two hours, in search of a movie. The DVD is $19.95. . . . THE BISHOP'S WIFE, the classic Christmas movie, arrives in time for St. Patty's Day. An angel (Cary Grant) is sent from above to teach a mortal clergyman Harry (David Niven), an immortal lesson about love after Harry neglects his loving wife Julia (Loretta Young). This DVD sells for $19.98. . . . JOHNNY MNEMONIC has Keanu Reeves as a courier of information, embedded in his brain. If he doesn't download it soon, it will kill him. This DVD sells for $14.95. . . . JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT / BLAST-OFF GIRLS SPECIAL EDITION is a double helping of Hershell Gordon Lewis. JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT is a 1968 film about a pair of the baddest of the bad juvenile delinquents. 
BLAST-OFF GIRLS is a story about those favorite three horsemen of the Apocalypse - sex, drugs and rock 'n roll in the year 1967. This double feature DVD sells for $24.99. . . . THE MAD BUTCHER: SPECIAL EDITION is a 1971 Italian film that stars American Victor Buono. He's just been released from the insane asylum. His new position is the town butcher. He's created a new sensation with a new line of delicious fresh sausages. Their introduction co-incides with the mysterious disappearances of several folks around town. This DVD-only release is $24.99. . . . THE MEN IN BLACK: COLLECTOR'S SERIES is a film that needs no introduction. Watch Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith whup alien butt on DVD for $19.95. . . . THE NET debuts on DVD today. Sandra Bullock stars as a reclusive software engineer type who works from home and has few friends outside of cyberspace. When she takes her first vacation in years she becomes embroiled in a web of computer espionage. It retails for $14.95. . . . THE REPLACEMENT KILLERS comes to DVD today. Chow Yun-Fat plays a hitman with a conscience. He refuses to kill a seven year-old boy, who is the son of a cop who's antagonized his boss. The boss sends another team to kill him and then take his place with the original hit. He enlists the help of a forger, played by Mira Sorvino, to help him escape these "Replacement Killers." The DVD sells for $14.95. . . . THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS gets re-released on DVD today. Jodie Foster (as the original Clarice Starling) is an FBI forensics cadet who makes a name for herself during a serial murder investigation by being the only person who can get valuable information out of the cannibalistic Dr. Lecter. It sells for $19.98. . . . SOLO has Mario VanPeebles as an android assassin. He begins to develop a conscience about taking human life. He hides out in a South American jungle before the government can deactivate and replace him. The DVD-only release sells for $14.98. . . . STARMAN is a 1984 film with Jeff Bridges as a gentle alien who visits our planet - a planet that isn't quite ready to meet him yet. The price is $14.95. 

Sell through titles releasing 3/13: BEDAZZLED, the Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley fantasy/comedy from last summer, made its VHS debut last month. The DVD comes out today. It sells for $26.98. . . . THE BLAIR WITCH EXPERIENCE is a special collector's DVD box set available today. Both BLAIR WITCH DVD's are included. In addition there'll be three BLAIR WITCH PC games included - Volume1 :Rustin Parr, Volume 2: The Legend of Coffin Joe and Volume 3: The Ely Kedward Tale. To top it off, there's a pewter stickman necklace. This $110 value is yours for just $39.99. . . . You can also buy BOOK OF SHADOWS: BLAIR WITCH 2 by itself on DVD today for $24.95 . . . .GLADIATOR, one of last year biggest hits (and one of this year's Oscar contenders), goes up for sale today. This VHS-only release sells for $13.95. . . . ROUGHNECKS: STARSHIP TROOPERS CHRONICLES, THE PLUTO CAMPAIGN is five episodes of the gritty 3-D animated series from 1999. This VHS is $14.95. . . . THE TIME MACHINE, George Pal's 1960 classic, gets a VHS re-release today. It will cost you $14.95 to cheer the Eloi and boo the Morlocks. . . . GULLIVER'S TRAVELS was a milestone in American cinema. Disney was the first to do an animated feature with SNOW WHITE (in 1937). GULLIVER'S TRAVELS was Fleischer Studios answer to Disney. It was the second animated feature ever done. Fleischer was trying to breakout of the short cartoon business in which they'd been firmly established with ongoing series like "Popeye," "Betty Boop" and "Koko the Clown." Take a look at their efforts today, with both the VHS and DVD selling for $9.98. . . .  OZ ENCOUNTERS could be subtitled "of the third kind." This is a look at the encounters that Aussies have had with little green men. Check out the interviews, where our neighbors down under talk about abductions and seeing "broit loits." Some of the narratives are illustrated with 3-D animation to give us a better idea of what went on. Both the VHS and DVD are selling for $9.98. . . . CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON is the story of a colony of randy cat-women on the moon who haven't seen a man in centuries. If I was a ferocious love-starved honey I know what I'd want. . . . a double scoop of American beefcake served in the form of Sunny Tufts and Victor Jory. So what if they got to wrassle a giant rubber spider or two. It's worth it! Watch this 1953 marvel on DVD for $24.99. . . . Okay folks, fasten your seatbelts. We're off to Asia! First, Tai Seng is releasing a mess o' kung fu flicks on DVD today. These are all period pieces, set in China's past. We've got DIRTY KUNG FU (1984); DIRTY TIGER, CRAZY FROG (1978); FIST AND GUTS (1984); THE SHAOLIN DRUNKEN MONK (1983); WAR OF THE SHAOLIN TEMPLE (1986) and THE WARRIOR FROM SHAOLIN (1984). They're selling for $14.95 each. . . . Don't think we're done with Asian cinema for today. We still have DRAGON INN from 1992. This was a big hit at the Sundance Film Festival. It had audiences on their feet cheering. It's set during the Ming Dynasty. It tells the story of a power-hungry eunuch who employs an evil sect in his quest to rule China. It's got an extravagant climax that features dizzying acrobatics and is filled with masterful fight sequences. The DVD-only release sells for $29.95. . . . We're still not finished with Asian action. We've got a pair of gangster movies. There's A HEARTY RESPONSE, with Chow Yun Fat as a driver who has been deceived into thinking he's hit a woman and is tricked into helping her - not knowing that she's a smuggler evading her enemies. Then there's  FIRST SHOT from 1992. It's a story of police corruption and triad control in Hong Kong. Both DVD-only releases are $19.95. . . . Continuing in China, we've got 13 DRUNKEN EAGLES coming to DVD. When a mysterious killer gang appears, it's up to a handful of brave martial artists to confront the ruthless gang members. It sells for $24.95. . . . And finally, we end our Far Eastern sojourn with TIGER ON THE BEAT. It's a classic Hong Kong action flick from 1988. It stars Chow Yun-Fat. The highlight is an amazing fighting scene where two guys (one of them is Conan Lee) take on each other with chainsaws. One warning for female Chow Yun-Fat fans though, in this movie he beats up a chick. Catch the carnage! On VHS for $19.95 and DVD FOR $29.95. 

Sell through titles releasing 3/20: FARSCAPE 2 comes out today. This ongoing story of an American astronaut surviving adventures on an alien ship goes for $14.98. . . . FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE, the miniseries that aired on the Sci-Fi Channel, releases on DVD today. The two-disc set sells for $24.98. . . . Porn director Radley Metzger (a.k.a. "Henry Paris") takes some shots at the classics today. CAMILLE 2000 was a futuristic re-telling of the Alexander Dumas story of CAMILLE, made famous for movie audiences with the 1937 Greta Garbo version. This 1969 film was set in the distant year 2000. CARMEN, BABY, from 1967, is his hep cool-cat version of Prosper Merimee's novel Carmen which served as the inspiration for Bizet's opera and countless movies. Carmen is a 'working girl' who casts a spell on a green police officer in a small Spanish port town. The cop wants to possess her, but Carmen must be free. Her need for freedom drives the cop insane. THE CAT AND THE CANARY is a full-color remake of this classic stage play by John Willard (ahem). It's an old-dark-house comedy/mystery (the I.C.S. saw a 1927 silent version of this a couple of years ago). The cast includes Honor Blackman, Olivia Hussey, Edward Fox and Carol Lynley. These are VHS-only releases. They sell for $19.95. . . . VELOCITY TRAP is a sci-fi/action/thriller VHS-only release. It's the story of an honest cop who's been set up to take a nasty fall. His punishment is to ride this space transport filled with hard currency through a dangerous sector of space. As you may have guessed, it ain't easy. It's $19.95. 

Sell through titles releasing 3/27: ALIEN NATION, the movie, not the TV show, gets re-released today. It stars James Caan and Mandy Patinkin. The DVD is $24.98. . . . ENEMY MINE, is a 1985 film of a bond that forms between disparate warriors - human Dennis Quaid and alien Lou Gossett jr. This DVD-only release sells for $24.98. . . . ZARDOZ is the disquieting 1974 science-fantasy set in 2294 with Sean Connery as a barbarian named "Zed" who ends up changing the world forever. It's a tad strange but, hey, any movie that opens with the line "The gun is good . . . the penis is evil" can't be all bad. This DVD-only release sells for $24.98. . . . Zombies are shuffling onto DVD today. We have a pair of low budget stinkers from France. ZOMBIE LAKE, released in 1980, is not a new ballet. It sports a bunch of guys with green face paint, in German uniforms, rising up out of a lake and terrorizing nude and semi-nude women. In OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES, from 1983, an army of Nazi Zombies gets very territorial about some treasure they're protecting in the desert. Their strategy seems to be to bore their adversaries (including the audience) to death. These digital darling are available for $24.95 each. . . . Full Moon Productions offers us a bouquet of titles today that are rich in their usual mix of blood and bare skin. They've got AUDITIONS FROM BEYOND, BLOOD DOLLS, DIARY OF LUST, RETRO PUPPET MASTER, SHANDRA: THE JUNGLE GIRL, WITCHOUSE and ZORRITA: PASSION'S AVENGER. These titles are exclusively on VHS for $7.98 each.

farewellsfarewellsfarewellsfarewellsfarewellsfarewellsfarewellsfarewellsfarewellsfarewellsfarewells
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
The field of science-fiction literature lost one of its bright lights with the passing at 77 of Gordon R. Dickson, an author who'd won three Hugo Awards. He'd written more than 80 novels and 100 short stories. 
    The series he is best known for is his Childe Cycle Series (perhaps better recognized as the Dorsai series). This military science fiction epic must certainly have been an inspiration for many of the tactical or mercenary series that came after it. It contains both full novels and short story collections, all of which paint a picture of the universe and the tacticians within it. 
    Dickson, however, was hardly an island unto himself. He collaborated with a number of the genre's finest, including Poul Anderson and Harry Harrison. The former was his most frequent partner in crime, and the two wrote the entire Hoka series together. They didn't stop there, publishing a number of two-man efforts through the years. 
    His first award came in 1965, with a Hugo for the short story "Soldier, Ask Not." Two more Hugos followed in 1981, for the novella "Lost Dorsai" and the novelette "The Cloak and the Staff." In 1966 he won the Nebula award for his novelette "Call Him Lord." Finally, the 1977 British Fantasy Award, the August Derleth Fantasy Award for Best Novel went to The Dragon and the George. 
    He was very involved in the writing community. At one time, he was the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and remained active in that community until his death. His peers commend him as a fine, caring man with a real passion for the genre and industry. Interestingly, although perhaps not surprisingly, he was a strong supporter of the space program, and attended most of the Apollo launches. 
    It isn't every day that someone of the caliber of Gordon R. Dickson comes along. He will be missed, not only by his peers but by his fans. Those of us who enjoyed his writing will mourn his passing each time we go to a bookstore, looking for a new old-favorite to enjoy. 
    Wherever you are, Mr. Dickson, we miss you already. 

    Stanley Kramer, the classic Hollywood director and producer, whose works included the fantasy/musical THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T, has died. Through his long career his films explored everything from racism (THE DEFIANT ONES and GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER), to the Holocaust (JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG), to narrow-minded fundamentalism (INHERIT THE WIND) and the danger of nuclear war (ON THE BEACH). Yet he never saw himself as someone who made "message" films. "He never thought he was a message filmmaker; just a man who believed very strongly in social conscience issues," according to his widow, Karen Sharpe Kramer. 
    One of his most famous films, HIGH NOON, portrayed a man standing up to evil while others in his community cowered in the shadows. Kramer's wife said such behavior typified her husband as well. "What epitomized Stanley Kramer as a man and a father and as a filmmaker was that line from JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG, which is, 'Let it be known this is what we stand for: Truth, justice and the value of a single human being,"' she said. 
    Steven Spielberg said of him, "Stanley Kramer is one of our great filmmakers, not just for the art and passion he put on-screen, but for the impact he has made on the conscience of the world." Thank-you Mr. Kramer for your outstanding legacy of thought-provoking finely crafted films. You've left the world better off for your efforts. 

    Howard W. Koch, a veteran producer and director, a man who was widely thought of as one of the best-loved figures in Hollywood, has passed away from complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 84. 
    As a producer, he counted the classic 1962 film THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE among his credits. Fans of imaginative cinema will remember his productions of THE BLACK SLEEP (the 1956 film in which he also had a small uncredited role), VOODOO ISLAND (1957), PHARAOH'S CURSE (1956) and DRAGONSLAYER (1981). As a director, he was responsible for such successful TV series as MAVERICK and THE UNTOUCHABLES, as well as feature films including the 1958 film FRANKENSTEIN 1970. 
   A native New Yorker, Koch worked his way up in the business, which he entered in the 1930s. At his death, he was a producer at Paramount, where he was head of production from 1964 to 1966, after which he became an independent producer at the studio. He occupied the same office - and had the same personal assistant - for 35 years. 
     Under his aegis, the studio turned out movies such as BECKET, ALFIE and BAREFOOT IN THE PARK. As an independent producer, he was responsible for films such as THE ODD COUPLE and AIRPLANE!, two of his favorites. 
    He served as president of the motion picture academy from 1977 to 1979 and produced eight Oscar shows. Koch also served on the boards of the Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America and the Motion Picture and Television Fund, which gave him the Silver Medallion Award of Honor in 1985, along with Edie Wasserman. Koch also received the Producer of the Year Award from the National Assn. of Theater Owners in 1980 and the Directors Guild's Frank Capra Award in 1991. 
    "I've had the most wonderful career in the motion picture industry," he said. "There is not much I haven't done." And what was the secret to his long career and his great success? "I guess I have more friends than enemies," he said.

inreviewinreviewinreviewinreviewinreviewinreviewinreviewinreviewinreviewinreviewinreviewinrevie
MARCH CALENDAR
SUN. 4TH: TV - THE LONE GUNMEN debuts on Fox 
TUE. 6TH: VIDEO RENTAL - LEVITATION comes out today. 
           VIDEO SELLTHROUGH - ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, FAMILY 
                  PLOT, SHADOW OF A DOUBT, ROPE, TOPAZ, THE MAN WHO KNEW 
                 TOO MUCH, VERTIGO, TORN CURTAIN, MARNIE, THE TROUBLE 
                 WITH HARRY, SABOTEUR, FRENZY, THE BIRDS, REAR WINDOW, 
                 PSYCHO, THE LITTLE VAMPIRE and STARMAN all go up for sale today. 
           DVD SELLTHROUGH - ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, FAMILY 
                 PLOT, SHADOW OF A DOUBT, ROPE, TOPAZ, THE MAN WHO KNEW 
                 TOO MUCH, VERTIGO, TORN CURTAIN, MARNIE, THE TROUBLE 
                 WITH HARRY, SABOTEUR, FRENZY, THE BIRDS, REAR WINDOW, 
                 PSYCHO, THE LITTLE VAMPIRE, ANACONDA, THE BISHOP'S WIFE, 
                JOHNNY MNEMONIC, JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT / BLAST-OFF GIRLS 
                SPECIAL EDITION, THE MAD BUTCHER: SPECIAL EDITION, THE MEN 
                IN BLACK: COLLECTOR'S SERIES, THE NET, THE REPLACEMENT KIL- 
                LERS, THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and SOLO are all available today. 

FRI. 9TH:  MOVIE: 15 MINUTES debuts.

SAT. 10TH - EVENT: BSFS Business Meeting, 3310 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 

TUE. 13TH - VIDEO RENTAL - THE SIXTH DAY, DARK STORIES, IMORTALITY and 
                       THE LEGEND OF DRUNKEN MASTER is comes out today. 
           VIDEO SELLTHROUGH - GLADIATOR, ROUGHNECKS: STARSHIP 
                       TROOPERS CHRONICLES, THE PLUTO CAMPAIGN, THE TIME 
                       MACHINE, GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, OZ ENCOUNTERS and TIGER ON 
                       THE BEAT come out today. 
           DVD SELLTHROUGH - THE SIXTH DAY, DARK STORIES, IMORTAL- 
                       ITY, THE LEGEND OF DRUNKEN MASTER, BEDAZZLED, THE 
                       BLAIR WITCH EXPERIENCE, GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, OZ ENCOUN- 
                      TERS, CAT-WOMEN OF THE MOON, DIRTY KUNG FU, DIRTY TIGER 
                      CRAZY FROG, FIST AND GUTS, THE SHAOLIN DRUNKEN MONK, 
                       WAR OF THE SHAOLIN TEMPLE, THE WARRIOR FROM SHAOLIN, 
                       DRAGON INN, A HEARTY RESPONSE, FIRST SHOT, 13 DRUNKEN 
                      EAGLES and TIGER ON THE BEAT go on sale today. 

FRI. 16TH - MOVIE: ENEMY AT THE GATES premieres. 
                    MOVIE: EXIT WOUNDS premieres. 

TUE. 20TH - VIDEO RENTAL - AMERICAN VAMPIRE, THE APOSTATE, THE SPE- 
                      CIALS and THE CROW: SALVATION become rentable today. 
           VIDEO SELLTHROUGH - FARSCAPE 2, CAMILLE 2000, CARMEN, 
                     BABY, THE CAT AND THE CANARY and VELOCITY TRAP go on sale today. 
           DVD SELLTHROUGH - AMERICAN VAMPIRE, THE SPECIALS, THE 
                      CROW: SALVATION and FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE hit DVD sales shelves 
                      today. 

SAT. 24TH - EVENT: BSFS Social Meeting, 3310 East Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 
                    EVENT: Golden Raspberry Awards 

SUN. 25TH - EVENT: 73RD ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS 

TUE. 27TH - VIDEO RENTAL - CHARLIE'S ANGELS, APPETITE, RED PLANET and 
                      GONIN debut today as VHS rentals. 
             VIDEO SELLTHROUGH - AUDITIONS FROM BEYOND, BLOOD 
                       DOLLS, DIARY OF LUST, RETRO PUPPET MASTER, SHANDRA: 
                      THE JUNGLE GIRL, WITCHOUSE and ZORRITA: PASSION'S AVEN- 
                      GER all hit the sales bins today. 
            DVD SELLTHOUGH - CHARLIE'S ANGELS, ALIEN NATION, ENEMY 
                     MINE, ZARDOZ, ZOMBIE LAKE and OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES, all go 
                     on sale today. 

SAT 31ST: ICS MEETING