1.THE MARCH MEETING WAS AMAZING!
2.NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
3.BARRY MURPHY REIGNS OVER MOVIE MAYHEM AT OUT APRIL MEETING
4.A MEMBER IN NEED
5.CALLING ALL AUTHORS!
6.WHAT KIND OF MOVIES DO MEMBERS LIKE?
7.SHORE LEAVE: THE ICS NEEDS YOU
8.SHORE LEAVE: THE ICS NEEDS YOUR STUFF!
9.WELCOME BACK TO GARY ROBERSON
10.GREETINGS TO RICK RIEVE
11.THE GLASS TEAT
With news on DARK ANGEL, THE DEAD ZONE, ANDROMEDA, HONEY VICARRO, THE DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN and the proposed Wes Craven series.
12.NEW BABYLON 5 MOVIE TO AIR ON SCI-FI
13.BATTLESTAR GALACTICA PROGRESS REPORT
14.FANS LOBBY FOR AN EMMY FOR BUFFY
15.CHAOS OVER THE FUTURE HOME OF BUFFY
16.JOSS WHEDON NONE TOO HAPPY WITH FOX EITHER
17.BUFFY'S ANIMATED LIFE
18.FIRESTARTER SEQUEL IN THE WORKS
19.A&E MAKES A NEW LATHE
20.LOOK FOR GUNMEN/X-FILES CROSSOVERS
21.THE KID'S WB IS SCHEDULING SOME VERY HIP PROGRAMMING
22.MID-SEASON DEBUTS: ALL SOULS
23.MID-SEASON: SPECIAL UNIT 2
24.SAINT SINNER COMING TO SCI-FI
25.CAPTAIN SULU ADVOCATES SHIFT GEARS
26.DE LANCIE SAYS TOODLE-OO TO Q
27.THE BORG WILL BE ON HAND FOR THE END OF STAR TREK: VOYAGER
28.LOOKS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE WILL BE AROUND FOR VOYAGER'S END AS WELL
29.ENSIGN KIM PLAYS THE RACE CARD
30.TREK V: RUMOR CENTRAL
31.TREK V: THE OFFICIAL WORD FROM ON-HIGH
32.THE SCI-FI CHANNEL IS TAKEN WITH DREAM WORKS MINI-SERIES
33.THOR IS MISSING IN ACTION
34.WEAVEWORLD IS (FINALLY) ON ITS WAY
35.THINGS TO COME
News on THE JOHNS HOPKINS FILM FESTIVAL, FILMFEST DC, CHILLER THEATER TOY, MODEL, AND FILM EXPO, BALTICON 35.THE MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL, and THE ASIAN FANTASY FILM FILM EXPO.
36.NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2001 NEBULA AWARDS
37.DEL REY BOOKS IS HELPING TO GROW A NEW BATCH OF SCIENCE FICTION AUTHORS
38.THE COMPLETE WAR OF THE WORLDS!
39.BENSON CO-WRITES BUFFY COMIC
40.2001: A PAPAL ODYSSEY
41.SPIELBERG FOLLOWED KUBRICK'S PHOBIA FOR PUBLICITY ON A.I.
42.ALIEN PING PONG
43.AWARDS NEWS: DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA AWARD
44.AWARDS NEWS: THE RAZZIES
45.DUCHOVNY SAYS ENOUGH WITH THE ALIENS ALREADY
46.NOW A THIRD BATMAN MOVIE'S IN DEVELOPMENT!
47.THE CORPSE VANISHES!
48.FINAL FANTASY MAY SEND A VIRTUAL CHILL THROUGH ACTORS
49.NEARER MY GODZILLA, TO THEE
50.HANNIBAL SAYS "EYE, EYE"
51.JURASSIC PARK III'S DIRECTOR SAYS HIS MOVIE AIN'T BAD
52.EVEN WILLIAM MACY SAYS JURASSIC PARK III AIN'T BAD
53.HOLLYWOOD ONCE AGAIN RE-WRITES HISTORY
54.THE LOUISIANA JUDGE THAT KILLED THE KILLERS CASE
55.PLEASE DON'T USE THE WORD "REMAKE" ABOUT PLANET OF THE APES
57.STEVEN SODERBERGH'S SCHOOL OF FILM DIRECTION IS SPELLED "DVD"
58.TREK X: THE DEATH OF PICARD?
59.THE DE-EVOLUTION OF STAR WARS
60.THE WOMAN BEHIND THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK
61.MISSING IN ACTION: TERMINATOR 3
62.TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES OFFERS FILM APPRECIATION 101
63.A PEEK AHEAD AT X-MEN 2
64.MAKING LEMONADE OUT OF LEMON THEATERS
65.STRIKE NEWS: THE FOREIGN DREAM OF PROFITS BURSTS
66.STRIKE NEWS: "IT'S LIKE A DE FACTO STRIKE"
67.STRIKE NEWS: THE WGA SAYS THE PRODUCERS WERE UNREASONABLE
68.STRIKE NEWS: THE AMPTP SAYS THE WRITERS WALKED
69.STRIKE NEWS: THE WGA SEEKS A COMPROMISE ON THE POSSESSORY CREDIT
70.STRIKE NEWS: THE DGA REJECTS ANY DEALS THAT MIGHT AFFECT THE POSSESSORY CREDIT
71.STRIKE NEWS: SAG SAYS "AFTER YOU" TO THE WGA
72.IMAGINATIVE CINEMA FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL
This month we see the bebut of ALONG CAME A SPIDER, BLOW, JUST VISITING and THE FORSAKEN.
73.A NEW WRINKLE IN MOVIES' INTERNET DISTRIBUTION
74.AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT I: CINEMA LEGO
75.AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT II: SPOCKTAILS!
76.HUGO AWARDS GIVE A NOD TO THE WEB
77.OWN YOUR OWN AWARD-WINNING WEBSITE!
78.APRIL FOOLS ON THE STAR WARS SITE
79.DON'T THROW OUT THAT ANALOG TV YET
80.DIGITAL THEATER PROJECTION HAS JUST BEEN GIVEN A BOOST
81.THE KING OF VOD: BLOCKBUSTER TWISTS ARMS, EYEING THE THRONE
82.THE KING OF VOD: BLOCKBUSTER IS DEPOSED
83.BLOCKBUSTER FINDS A NEW ALLY
84.STUDIOS BEGIN TO NOTICE DVD EXTRAS
85.DVD PRICE WARS
86.VHS PRICE WARS
87.PRE-ODER YOUR NEW DVD'S WITH AMAZON ANYTIME!
89.THANKS FOR THER MEMORIES
We remember Sally Mansfield, John Alonzo, Norma Macmillan, William Hanna and Donald Reed.
|Our March meeting was incredible! We started off
with a new quiz show called "ICS Academic."
It's a game of knowledge and trivia about the movies that we love. The
club divided into two teams, "The Brains That Wouldn't Die," vs. "The She
Demons." Just like in the movie that inspired the title, The Brains That
Wouldn't Die did eventually die in the end though, thankfully, not in a
laboratory fire after the evil genius wrestles with a monster. However,
they were "smoked" by the smarty pants on The She Demons by a score of
41 to 10. The Board will be tinkering with the game and bringing it back
sometime later this year.
The meeting continued under the guidance of the King of the Rocket Men himself, Barry Murphy. Barry gave a wonderful account of his life long fascination with serials. It was both a history of the cliff hanger and how they shaped his imagination as a young boy. We got to see samples of several serials and then all of episode one of the 1946 Republic serial, "The Crimson Ghost."
We finished off with a lively business meeting and then, for ten of us, closing the Double T Diner at a little past midnight. It was a blast!
|NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
Our April meeting will be held on Saturday Appril 21st at 6:00 P.M. at the church hall behind the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church located at 8848 BelAir Road. WE'VE MOVED THE DATE OF THIS MEETING BACK A WEEK FROM ITS ORIGINALLY ANNOUNCED DATE. 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.
|BARRY MURPHY REIGNS OVER MOVIE MAYHEM AT OUT APRIL
In April Barry Murphy will have a selection of movies that he didn't get to show us in March. Below is a list of choices that we have to look forward to:
THE APE MAN, IT! THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE, ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS, KISS OF THE VAMPIRE, FLASH GORDON, THE MAD GHOUL, SON OF FRANKENSTEIN,
FROM HELL IT CAME
Maybe, just maybe, we can talk him into bringing another serial chapter. What do you think?
|A MEMBER IN NEED
Some time during the month of March Bob Thompson had a stroke. He's currently in a nursing home located near the intersection of Joppa and Loch Raven. Barry Walker reported his condition to us at our March meeting. Bob could use cards, flowers and visitors as he works to get back to health. The name and address of the home is GENESIS CROMWELL CENTER/ 8710 EMGE RD/ BALTIMORE MD 21234-3599. You can call them at 410-661-5955.
|CALLING ALL AUTHORS!
During our last meeting we discussed what a talented pool of people that we're privileged to have in the club. We're encouraging everyone to show their talents off in May (and possibly future months as well if we get good participation) by bringing in and reading short works of fiction that they've written. We're encouraging members to write movie-related fiction (although it doesn't absolutely have to be) and poetry.
Be creative! Write scenes for movies that were never shot. How about a holiday dinner at the Skywalker residence with Luke, Leia and Darth Vader. Maybe the story of the perfect Tokyo bank heist, interrupted when Godzilla comes to town. Mix stories up if you like. Have the STAR TREK's Borg try to assimilate one of the aliens from ALIEN. Have one of BABYLON 5's Vorlon programming the Obelisks from 2001. Have one of the hunters from PREDATOR stalking E.T. Let your imagination run wild and share it in May. The only thing that we ask is that you try to keep it reasonably short (if it's too long, unless it's a ripping good tale, you might tend to lose your audience).
So, you've got your assignments, you've been meaning to write for a while, now DO IT! See you in May.
|WHAT KIND OF MOVIES DO MEMBERS LIKE?
An informal poll was conducted at our March meeting asking members present to vote on their favorite movie genre's. We seem to have a membership that enjoys more than science-fiction, horror and fantasy films. Keep in mind a couple of things: first, not everyone was present and secondly, the absence of a vote doesn't mean that those voting didn't enjoy that type of film. They may like it but on a more selective basis, depending on things like cast and plot. This is only a rough guide. It would have been impossible to break it down to sub-genre's like "Screwball Comedy," "Slasher Films" and "30's Gangster Films." When it's your turn to bring in movies you might want to consider these results (and go easy on the romantic musicals).
|SHORE LEAVE: THE ICS NEEDS YOU
We've purchased a table at the Shore Leave convention, scheduled for July 13-15. We'll need volunteers who can help us staff it. We'll have a sign-up sheet at the next meeting. Please consider dropping in and giving us a hand.
|SHORE LEAVE: THE ICS NEEDS YOUR STUFF!
Because of that above announcement, we'll be looking for things to sell at the table. Please start bringing in anything that you can spare that's movie or sci-fi related. You don't have to wait until the June meeting (the meeting closest to the convention). We'll graciously accept your donations anytime!
|WELCOME BACK TO GARY ROBERSON
After missing several meetings due to a work scheduling conflict Gary Roberson; the pride of Broomall, Pa.; is back. It looks like he's resolved the past conflicts and he hopes to start attending regularly once again. Welcome back Gary. It's good to see you again!
|GREETINGS TO RICK RIEVE
Taking Gary's place for a while on the roster of work-related-absences is Rick Reive. Rick is working on Saturday nights now. We won't be seeing him until the summer. We'll miss you Rick. It's just one more reason for us to look forward to the summer!
|THE GLASS TEAT
Visitor to DARK ANGEL. Nana Visitor, who played Bajoran Major Kira Nerys in STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, has signed on to appear in the final five first-season episodes of DARK ANGEL.Visitor will play the villainous Madam X. . . . THE DEAD ZONE lead cast. UPN's new series, THE DEAD ZONE, based on Stephen King's best selling novel, has cast Anthony Michael Hall in the leading role of psychic Johnny Smith. You might remember him, as a much younger actor, in NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION in 1983 and THE BREAKFAST CLUB in 1985. . . . ANDROMEDA ratings drop. Despite a promising early start, ANDROMEDA wasn't able to match its November sweeps ratings, with new shows airing during the February sweeps. They even set a new record low for a first-run episode with an episode they thought would be a ratings grabber. . . . Fox synthesizes TV history. Jenny McCarthy is in talks to play the lead role of a sexy crime-fighting FBI agent from 1966 in HONEY VICARRO, a "lost" series with a premise that the spy show was so controversial, it was pulled from the air 35 years ago and can only now be seen. . . . The WB spurns PERN. The WB has pulled the plug on the pilot for a proposed DRAGONRIDERS OF PERN television series. A spokeswoman laconically announced, "It's no longer in development at The WB," without giving a reason. The cancellation came just as the pilot was slated to begin shooting. . . . UPN ain't craving Craven. UPN has passed on the untitled pilot director Wes Craven. The show focused on an entrepreneur and his partner, an artificial intelligence specialist, as they investigated the supernatural. Craven was to produce and direct the pilot. He'll now pitch the series to other networks as a midseason replacement series.
|NEW BABYLON 5 MOVIE TO AIR ON SCI-FI
BABYLON 5's creator J. Michael Straczynski is working on a two-hour TV-movie called BABYLON 5: THE LEGENDS OF THE RANGERS that will premiere on the Sci-Fi Channel later this year. The film will take up the story of the legendary Ranger fleet as it attempts to restore order to hundreds of civilizations devastated by the Shadow War.
This new chapter of the BABYLON 5 story finds the mysterious Ranger force faced with deadly challenges in its attempt to create peace out of the war's destruction. They're a combination of humans and aliens trained in space warfare as well as the unique Minbari philosophy of the Rangers and just about every conceivable form of martial arts.
BABYLON 5 cast members may appear in the movie, which will also serve as the pilot for a potential Sci-Fi Channel series. Douglas Netter is executive producing the series along with Straczynski.
According to Straczynski, "It's set in the B5 universe just under 3 years after the events of "Objects at Rest." At this point there's one major character from the B5 universe in the script (a fan favorite). Where B5 was a heavy drama with some adventure/action elements, this one is a little more skewed toward adventure with underlying drama (which is about what you'd expect from the Anla-Shok.)"
|BATTLESTAR GALACTICA PROGRESS REPORT
Tom DeSanto, who is developing The Sci-Fi Channel's update of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA with his X-MEN partner Bryan Singer, has said that the project is moving forward. "We opened offices on [March 19], which is a good sign. Right now, we have outlines and a bible we're working on, characters and all that stuff. We've got a bunch of ideas for the pilot. The basic storyline is all done, and where we're taking it for the first season, hopefully. . . . [The timeline] will be a bit ahead. I won't say how many years, but it will be a little bit ahead." DeSanto declined to say whether the show would bring back characters from the original 1970s series. "That I can't discuss," he said. But he added that the title starship will be back, as will the old series' cyborg enemies. "I promise. . . . I will leave the show if there is not a Battlestar Galactica on the show. Cylons will be back. But this time they won't be clunky. But they'll still be cool."
DeSanto said that reviving the show fulfills a long-standing dream. "It was a project, like X-MEN, which was something from a kid that I wanted to do," he said. "Fortunately, X-MEN was a hit, so now it affords the opportunity to go and pull GALACTICA out of mothballs. . . . It's something I'd been working on, probably, since I was, like, 20 years old, just sketching Vipers. And I'd always write storylines and figure things out. . . . All of those things that I had done behind a cash register when I was working retail - sketching new designs for Vipers - I can use them now."
DeSanto added that he's willing to sit down and talk with original series star Richard Hatch, who has been pursuing his own efforts to resurrect the show and who recently penned an open letter to Singer and DeSanto. "I'm looking forward to sitting down and talking with Richard, because I think he's got such passion," DeSanto said. "Anyone who's really carried the banner for the show that he's done, I think he's really done an amazing job with the novels and the comics and all that stuff."
|FANS LOBBY FOR AN EMMY FOR BUFFY
Fans must have enjoyed the BUFFY episode, "The Body," about the death of Buffy's mother. They've set up a Web site to start a campaign to collect donations for a full-page ad in "Variety" to get Joss Whedon Emmy consideration for both Best Direction and Best Writing.
Speaking personally, between 1986 to 1993 I lost my mother, my father and my younger sister, all to cancer. Even if you're not a BUFFY fan I highly recommend catching this episode on re-run. Television generally never gets death right. This episode did. The disbelief, the awkward calls, the silences, the incongruity of a world that moves on when yours has stopped and the relegation of one of the most crucial people in your life down to the status of "body," a thing that is suddenly a common noun, a thing that needs to be hauled off, stored and "dealt with" - this episode struck every chord perfectly. It was some of the most gripping television that I have ever seen. If there were an honor higher than "Emmy" that could be bestowed on Whedon, on Sarah Michelle Gellar's amazing performance and on the entire ensemble cast that made that episode happen I'd say do it. Since an Emmy seems to be as good as it gets, bring it on.
|CHAOS OVER THE FUTURE HOME OF BUFFY
BUFFY's creator and executive producer, Joss Whedon has said that remarks by The WB's chief executive have angered him to the point that he's ready to move the show to another network. The WB's Jamie Kellner has gone on record as saying that the show wasn't the network's top ratings earner and that it appealed mainly to teens. That drew fire from Whedon. "It makes me angry to see this show belittled. For Jamie Kellner to call it a teen show and dismiss his own product angers me. It doesn't breed love."
As regular readers know, feelings have been running high between The WB and Fox, which produces the show. A deadline has passed for contract renewal negotiations between them, leaving Fox free to shop the series to another network. "If we end up somewhere other than on The WB, we'll be the exact same show, and producers at 20th Century Fox have supported us on everything," Whedon said. "I think the fans will find it. I keep thinking it will be best for everyone if the show stays where it is, but ultimately, I don't know if that will happen."
Meanwhile, the show finds itself the object of a bidding war among rival networks. UPN has made a serious offer for it. Speculation is that UPN is considered a long shot to acquire the show. Of course The WB remains in talks with Fox. NBC has also put an offer on the table. ABC has apparently dropped out.
|JOSS WHEDON NONE TOO HAPPY WITH FOX EITHER
Joss Whedon said that he's upset at Fox for putting DARK ANGEL on against his show, even though Fox produces all of them. The scheduling has caused ANGEL's ratings to suffer. "The fact that they put [DARK ANGEL] on opposite a show that they produce, thereby hurting it, shows that they really don't care," Whedon said. "Their big picture is clearly so big that whatever I think and whatever I am doing doesn't matter, and I resent that. But I am not the big-picture guy. I'm just making my shows."
Whedon says that he hasn't asked Fox to move DARK ANGEL. "I don't deal with that," he said. "I have no control over that. I am not someone that can say, 'Work your schedule.' Ultimately I am not going to ask them to do anything. As long as I get to make my shows, the people who want to watch them will."
|BUFFY'S ANIMATED LIFE
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER will definitely turn up on the Fox network next year - as an animated series. Joss Whedon has said that producing an animated series, which will put Buffy back in high school, will provide "an opportunity to take our characters back to the beginning of their adulthood and tell the stories we never got to tell about Buffy and her friends. . . . It's a chance to recapture those years of heartache and confusion and do the stories we never could afford to do in live action."
Jeph Loeb, the executive producer for the animated series, has said that the new show will take BUFFY fans to a new place. Loeb is working with Joss Whedon. "Buffy fans should be very pleased with what he has in mind," Loeb said. "What is so exciting is that animation allows Joss' imagination to go in even more extraordinary directions. We're currently writing episode one, putting together the bible [the handbook for the show] and coming up with stories for other fantastic new episodes."
Loeb added that the animated series will have its own life. "But we will be keeping the tone and seeing the characters who have made BUFFY such an enormous hit - Xander, Giles, Willow and . . . a few surprises, too. Joss came up with a very unique way that will allow us to stay within continuity and still tell tales BUFFY fans don't yet know. Folks who know my work from "Superman For All Seasons," "Batman: The Long Halloween" and "Batman: Dark Victory" will have an idea as to how we're going to pull it all off. At the same time, if you've never seen the live-action show, it will be very accessible. We want to break down the same walls that [the] BATMAN animated [series] did originally, both in terms of style and content. So Joss really has set the bar very high. The truth is, he doesn't want to do the show if it can't stand toe-to-toe with BUFFY and ANGEL, his live-action shows. His hallmark is quality, and this is no exception." The show could air as soon as February.
|FIRESTARTER SEQUEL IN THE WORKS
The Sci-Fi Channel has announced development of FIRESTARTER: THE NEXT CHAPTER, a four-hour miniseries based on the Stephen King novel Firestarter and the 1984 movie version of the book, which starred Drew Barrymore. The miniseries picks up the story 20 years after the events in the movie.
In the new miniseries, Charlie has stayed on the run from the government that created her and killed her parents. With her enemies using their own arsenal of human weapons, Charlie must find the answers to her own dangerous abilities before they find her.
FIRESTARTER: THE NEXT CHAPTER is green-lighted and expected to go into production soon. Tom Thayer will executive produce and Robert Iscove will direct.
|A&E MAKES A NEW LATHE
The Arts & Entertainment Network (A&E) will produce a new television version of THE LATHE OF HEAVEN, based on Ursula K. LeGuin's science-fiction classic. In 1980, PBS adapted the book in a low-budget but critically acclaimed television film, which was recently re-released.
A&E's version will star James Caan as Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist whose patient George Orr (Lukas Haas) has the ability to alter reality through his dreams. Lisa Bonet will portray Heather LeLache, Orr's attorney and confidante. Production will begin in May in Montreal with an eye to a late-2002 air date. It will be directed by Philip Haas from a script by Alan Sharp.
|LOOK FOR GUNMEN/X-FILES CROSSOVERS
THE LONE GUNMEN executive producers Frank Spotnitz and Vince Gilligan have said that the new series will feature some crossovers with its parent-show, THE X-FILES. "There will be crossovers in terms of characters and some storylines that involved the Lone Gunmen when they were on THE X-FILES," Spotnitz said. "So you'll see some comic characters from THE X-FILES crossing over, as well as some serious ones getting a chance to show how funny they can be. Case in point. Mitch Pileggi, our own favorite assistant director of the FBI, Walter Skinner. He'll be joining The Lone Gunmen in an upcoming case."
"It's top secret," Spotnitz said. "But you get to see Skinner like you've never seen him before."
|THE KID'S WB IS SCHEDULING SOME VERY HIP PROGRAMMING
The WB network's Kids WB! unveiled its fall schedule, which includes several new animated genre series, plus a live-action show from Goosebumps author R.L. Stine. THE NIGHTMARE ROOM, based on Stine's new book series, is an anthology show about a teen-ager with eyeglasses that penetrate the masks people hide behind. It is slated to air in the fall on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. They've also got THE MUMMY, an animated series based on the Universal Pictures theatrical release, which will air at 9 a.m. Saturdays. CUBIX, a futuristic show about a 13-year-old robot whiz, will air at 10:30 a.m. Saturdays. Still awaiting time slots are SHERLOCK HOLMES IN THE 22ND CENTURY, which will blend 2-D and 3-D computer animation, and PHANTOM INVESTIGATORS, about four seventh-grade private investigators of the paranormal.
|MID-SEASON DEBUTS: ALL SOULS
Serena Scott Thomas, one of the stars of UPN's upcoming midseason series ALL SOULS, warns viewers that the paranormal series isn't a typical medical drama. Scott Thomas plays Dr. Nicole De Brae, the chief of staff of a mysterious Boston hospital with a colorful past.
"This is a hospital drama, but with supernatural elements, which is intriguing," Scott Thomas said. "Sometimes [in medicine], the supernatural does seem to enter, . . . and usually in a good way, . . . so there's a great potential for interesting debate, I think, in the premise of this."
The series, from producer Aaron Spelling and creators Stuart Gillard and Stephen Tolkin, tells the story of the medical staff in a massive hospital in which good and evil forces manifest in mysterious ways. "The premise is a hospital, a building that was built in 1850 or something," Scott Thomas said. "It's built on, I believe, an old burial site, where there is a merging of lines of energy, . . . and the result of this merging is that there is a kind of vortex, whatever that is - a place where this energy merges - where the potential for evil is as great as, if not greater than, the potential for good. People who find themselves there find themselves pulled one way or another."
Scott Thomas' character remains an enigma, at least at first. "I loved my character," she said. "She's smart, strong, intelligent, successful. . . . It's quite rare for a woman character. I really liked the way that the writers wrote Nicole De Brae. I like that she keeps herself to herself, and doesn't give everything away. She's very self-contained, but she's not a bitch. A lot of the time, when a woman is strong, she's written or portrayed as a bitch, and [De Brae]'s not, and I like that. . . . I like that she constantly questions herself, but she's still a strong woman."
UPN has ordered six episodes of the hour-long ALL SOULS, which will air Tuesdays at 9 p.m., starting April 17.
|MID-SEASON: SPECIAL UNIT 2
Alexondra Lee, who stars on UPN's upcoming sci-fi comedy series SPECIAL UNIT 2, says that the show combines elements of several types of shows. Lee plays Kate Benson in the series. It's about a squad of monster-hunting Chicago cops.
"It's a whole bunch of genres in one, but it's a completely different show from anything I've ever seen on television," Lee said. "It's definitely got an action side to it, like a BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER or an ANGEL, but there's a real funny side to it, like MEN IN BLACK, though our humor is a bit more dark and twisted."
Lee added, "There are so many different elements. You've got the buddy-movie thing going for it as well. Essentially, it's about an underground police unit that fights monsters - werewolves who are stockbrokers by day, kung-fu mummies and spiderwomen - in Chicago. So you can go pretty much anywhere with that." UPN has ordered six hour-long episodes of SPECIAL UNIT 2, which premieres April 11.
|SAINT SINNER COMING TO SCI-FI
Clive Barker will work with The Sci-Fi Channel to develop a two-hour TV-movie based on his SAINT SINNER comic series. He's used the comic as a starting point. SAINT SINNER tells the story of a 19th-century monk who unwittingly unleashes two female demons and must pursue them through time to present-day Los Angeles to stop them from wreaking havoc. The project is slated to premiere in 2002.
Barker has remained elusive on plot and premise. "What I think is fun about it, is it's metaphysical, it's horror, it's a little science-fiction all mingled together: a very powerful combination, I think. I want to be a bit of a tease about it. It's about a pursuit through time, initially, by a monk of a very strange and potentially heretical order, of two female entities whose origins and nature I don't want to go into, but who end up in our culture. And they end up doing great harm here. So the first story, at least, is a sort of time travel story involving monks and female demons."
|CAPTAIN SULU ADVOCATES SHIFT GEARS
The International Federation of Trekkers fan group is redefining its campaign to persuade Paramount to base a film or television series on the STAR TREK character of Hikaru Sulu and the crew of the U.S.S. Excelsior. The group is apparently acknowledging its failure to affect the upcoming fifth Trek series and is now focusing on keeping alive what it sees as TREK creator Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future.
The group's Excelsior Campaign has been renamed the Guardians of the Dream campaign. The campaign's Web site will offer addresses for fans who wish to write to Paramount to suggest an Excelsior-based online fiction series, an original art gallery and other initiatives.
|DE LANCIE SAYS TOODLE-OO TO Q
John de Lancie, who plays the recurring character of the omnipotent Q on STAR TREK, said that his next appearance as the all-powerful alien will likely be his last. De Lancie reprised the role in the "Q2" episode of VOYAGER, co-starring with his real-life son, Keegan, who played Q2. He reflected "It's been 14 years since I first played Q, but I've only done a total of 10 or 12 episodes. . . . I was just a little relieved after that last scene in 'Q2.' I don't think I will be playing Q again. I could be wrong, but I'm not counting on it. The character has come from the bad boy to being the status quo, really."
This of course does not mean that will never see a member of the continuum again. He said, "If anything, I felt I had kind of done a hand-off with `Q2.' I'd be surprised if they brought a Q character back, but if they did, there's now another Q, and that person, who happens to be Keegan, could go off and play it."
|THE BORG WILL BE ON HAND FOR THE END OF STAR TREK:
The two-hour finale of STAR TREK: VOYAGER will feature the Borg, according to executive producer Ken Biller. "I can tell you this, the finale will involve the Borg, which has always been VOYAGER's arch-nemisis," Biller said. "It's going to be a rip-roaring, slam-bang action adventure full of twists and turns and surprises." Biller should know. He wrote it.
It's definite that VOYAGER's May 23 series ender will not lead into the new TREK series, which is currently in development. "It's certainly been a challenge to end this series in a way that is both satisfying and surprising," he said. "Hopefully, we'll give you that."
|LOOKS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE WILL BE AROUND FOR VOYAGER'S
END AS WELL
Robert Duncan McNeill has disclosed that none of the regular crew members dies in the upcoming May 23 VOYAGER finale. That contradicts rumors from last summer that someone would meet his demise in the two-hour show. "Without giving anything substantial away, I can tell you it's got a lot of action in it, which STAR TREK has become known for," McNeill said. "It's got great space battles and action scenes. It's also got some wonderful emotional, charged scenes. Every character on the show gets real attention, and their stories come full circle by the end of it, and it really brings together every character in a strong, emotional way. I'm very excited about the last episode. I think the fans are going to love it. For the show and this premise and what we set out to do, I think it really wraps it up in a wonderful way."
|ENSIGN KIM PLAYS THE RACE CARD
Garrett Wang STAR TREK: VOYAGER's Ensign Harry Kim is yet another disgruntled voice in the cast. TREK has had a program going for sometime of training interested cast members and giving them episodes to direct. He's disappointed at being rejected for director training. "I'm the first actor to be turned down for a directing gig. . . . Is this a racial thing? I truly wonder. I don't know. I'm sitting here thinking, 'Well, why else?' Other than during season two and season three, where I had some problems not being punctual, which got me in hot water at one point in time. . . . But I've grown past that. I first asked in year five, then again during year six, and they said no again. The beginning of this year I asked a third time, and again I was told no."
Co-stars Robert Duncan McNeill and Roxann Dawson have been allowed to direct. "One by one they all got their slot, and I had always said to myself, 'Save the best for last. I'm going to come in there, show them little old Garrett, the youngest one on the show coming up with this amazing episode.' . . . I waited, but when I did ask, I was turned down by [executive producer] Rick Berman. . . . I know that Rick Berman said something to the effect that he's not running a directing school here. Well, you could have fooled me! Everyone from NEXT GENERATION gets a guest shot. Everyone from [DEEP SPACE NINE] who has an inclination gets a shot, and everyone but Garrett from VOYAGER gets a shot. You put two and two together and try to figure it out. It's unfortunate, it really is, but all I can really do is wait until the next series begins, and go and ask again."
|TREK V: RUMOR CENTRAL
Scott Bakula (Dr. Sam Becket of QUANTUM LEAP) is in negotiations to play the lead in the new STAR TREK series. Bakula is currently negotiating for the role of Jackson Archer, who in the Series V casting sheet is described as a physical, intensely curious captain with a bold personality. "Unlike the Starfleet captains in centuries to come," the casting sheet reads, "he exhibits a sense of wonder and excitement, as well as a little trepidation about the strange things he will encounter. He holds a grudge against the Vulcans, who he blames for impeding humanity's progress. But his science officer is Vulcan, and he's struggling to reconsider those preconceptions. Although he has a strong sense of duty, he's a bit of a renegade - he's not afraid to question orders or even disobey them if he feels in his gut that he's right."
|TREK V: THE OFFICIAL WORD FROM ON-HIGH
The Manhhatan-Project-like veil of secrecy still encases the new TREK series. Following are recent comments from producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga about the coming series.
According to Berman, "What Brannon and I will be doing on SERIES V is trying to bring in as many new voices as we can, in terms of directors, new writers and new elements of design, whether it's costumes or makeup or sets or music," he said. "We are trying to put together a younger, less-experienced-in-STAR-TREK team of people, to give this show a completely new feel and look. We want this to be not your father's STAR TREK, so to speak."
Brannon Braga, who is co-creating the next STAR TREK series with partner Rick Berman, said that Paramount will announce details of top-secret show in the next few weeks. In an interview at the Grand Slam STAR TREK convention in Pasadena, Calif., Braga also deferred questions about the upcoming show, except to say that everything is up in the air, though he said the studio is aiming at a fall premiere on UPN. "All that I can tell you on the record is that Rick Berman and I have written a pilot, and we're gearing up to make the pilot," Braga said. "But in terms of the dates and in terms of when the show would premiere and where it will be, I don't know. I don't really know at this point. It depends on a lot of variables. The [impending writers' and actors' union] strikes, definitely - if there are two strikes, that's going to have a huge effect."
Braga would not confirm or deny rumors circulating on the Internet about the new show. "Well, you know, I haven't seen it, so I don't know if it's accurate or not," Braga said. "I would be surprised, because very few people have [the script]. We've been very careful about who we've given the script to. Just a handful of people have it. But it's possible. I am reading the Internet rumors, with some amusement, just like everybody else. I kind of follow it too." He acknowledged amazement at the level of detail in the rumors. "But this is nothing new for STAR TREK, you know? I remember the day after we wrote the movie FIRST CONTACT. A day later, the whole story was on the Internet. I don't know how it gets out. And initially, you're kind of upset when it does. But then you realize, 'Thank God people are interested enough to go to those lengths.' It's publicity. And better obsessive interest than no interest at all."
|THE SCI-FI CHANNEL IS TAKEN WITH DREAM WORKS MINI-SERIES
The Sci-Fi Channel has announced that it will produce TAKEN, a 20-hour original dramatic miniseries from Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television. The previously announced project has moved from development to preproduction, Sci-Fi said. The miniseries will weave together more than 50 years of alien abduction accounts into the story of three families' experiences. The miniseries is slated to begin production later this year. Les Bohem will executive produce and write TAKEN.
|THOR IS MISSING IN ACTION
Sometime back, in the wake of the furor over last year X-MEN movie, there were several Marvel-comics related projects announced. One of them was a live-action TV series based on THOR. Marvel Studios' Rick Ungar has said that no network picked up the proposed series for next season. "Thor, right now, is nowhere at this moment," according to Ungar. "The script did not get picked up for a pilot. So we're looking at what we want to do with it. That's the way things work. They all can't go." UPN had considered the series, which is part of Marvel's deal with Artisan Entertainment, but passed.
Meanwhile, Ungar said Marvel is still developing other TV projects, including its live-action MUTANT X: DAUGHTERS OF THE DRAGON, based on characters in the Iron Fist comic series; Nick Fury; and Bloodstone.
|WEAVEWORLD IS (FINALLY) ON ITS WAY
After years of rumors, announcements, false starts and languishing in Development Hell, Clive Barker's
WEAVEWORLD is in the process of becoming a six-hour Showtime miniseries under the direction of Russell Mulcahy. "It's looking extremely good, finally," Barker said. "We're looking at probably shooting it in Australia. Russell Mulcahy will shoot the first two hours and, I hope, the entire thing. I've known him since his HIGHLANDER days. He's just a great guy."
Barker added that the series hasn't been cast yet, and that he foresees a two-year production period to incorporate the story's elaborate special effects. "Because it's a big book, preproduction will be enormous," Barker said. "There are special effects up the gazoo - physical effects, [computer-animated] effects, a whole world to create. I think it will be a marvelous project, and I'm very pleased Russell's going to do it."
WEAVEWORLD is based on Barker's novel of the same name, about a mysterious world woven into a magical rug. The world is populated by the Seerkind, a people who possess raptures, the power to make magic, and who have woven themselves into the world to protect themselves from an unspeakable horror known as the Scourge.
|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.
THE MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL is being held May 3-6. They'll screen over 100 movies. It will be one of the largest gatherings of filmmakers on the East Coast. These films come from all over the world. They're films from other great festivals including Sundance, Slamdance, Rotterdam, San Francisco as well as through various other film contacts. Each screening is unique because every film will be hosted by filmmakers and other special guests. For anyone interested in the world of movies, this is a unique opportunity. Standby for more information.
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,
G. Hemry, Peter Knapp, Eric
Kotani, Steve Lubs, Wendie Old, Darrell
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
ASIAN FANTASY FILM FILM EXPO will hold its second annual convention on June 15th and 16th at the Holiday Inn & Conference Center in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. It's sponsored by Club Daikaiju. This is not an anime' convention! This is for lovers of Japanese science-fiction (that is, giant-monsters-stomping-Tokyo) movies. It's being held in North Jersey, near New York, in an area with a large population of Japanese businessmen and their families. Guests include Hiroko Sakurai (Akiko Fuji in ULTRAMAN), Tomoo Haraguchi (the man responsible for Gamera in his recent films), Shinichi Wakasa (whose creature shop, Monsters, are best known for having created the new Godzilla seen in GODZILLA 2000 and GODZILLA X MEGAGUIRUS as well as Space Godzilla from GODZILLA VS. SPACE GODZILLA, Destroyah from GODZILLA VS. DESTROYAH, Soldier Legion from GAMERA 2 (1996), Death Ghidora from MOTHRA (1996) and King Ghidorah from MOTHRA 3), Shinichi Yokokawa and Nobuhiro Arai of Bandai's entertainment toy development division in Japan (the folks who market many of the toys based on Japanese monsters), Carl Craig (who played the American boy scout in the 1968 GAMRA VS. VIRUS a.k.a. DESTROY ALL PLANETS) and Bob Eggleton (credited with being America's leading Godzilla artist). For general questions e-mail Jim Cirronella at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact 201-587-8112 or 201-587-8114 or write to Asian Fantasy Film Expo/ P.O. Box 1614/ Fort Lee, NJ 07024. If you buy in advance a one day pass is $10, a two day pass is $18. You can follow the above link and pay through Pay Pal or call (201) 587-8112 to order your advance tickets over the phone with VISA or Mastercard. One-Day Passes are valid for either day of the convention, and will be available at the door for $12.00 each. Two-Day Passes are available by advance order only. Children age 5 and under are free!
|NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2001 NEBULA AWARDS
The Science Fiction Writer's of America have announced their nominations for the 2001 Nebula Awards. Since 1965, the Nebula Awards have been given each year for the best novel, novella, novelette, and short story eligible for that year's award. An anthology including the winning pieces of short fiction and several runners-up is also published every year. This is one of science fiction's most prestigious awards.
Novels: Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear, A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold, Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson, Crescent City Rhapsody by Kathleen Ann Goonan, Infinity Beach by Jack McDevitt and Forests of the Heart by Charles de Lint.
Novellas: "Fortitude" by Andy Duncan, "Ninety Percent of Everything" by Jonathan Lethem, James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel, "Hunting the Snark" by Mike Resnick, "Crocodile Rock" by Lucius Shepard, "Argonautica" by Walter Jon Williams and "Goddesses" by Linda Nagata.
Novelettes: "Daddy's World" by Walter Jon Williams, "Stellar Harvest" by Eleanor Arnason, "A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows" by Gardner Dozois, "How the Highland People Came to Be" by Bruce Holland Rogers, "A Day's Work on the Moon" by Mike Moscoe, "Generation Gap" by Stanley Schmidt and "Jack Daw's Pack" by Greer Gilman.
Short Stories: "macs" by Terry Bisson, "Scherzo With Tyrannosaur" by Michael Swanwick, "You Wandered Off Like a Foolish Child to Break Your Heart and Mine" by Pat York, "The Golem" by Severna Park, "The Fantasy Writer's Assistant" by Jeffrey Ford and "Flying Over Water" by Ellen Klages.
Scripts: GALAXY QUEST by David Howard and Robert Gordon, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH by Charlie Kaufman, THE GREEN MILE by Frank Darabont, from the novel by Stephen King, DOGMA by Kevin Smith, PRINCESS MONONOKE by Hayao Miyazaki and Neil Gaiman and UNBREAKABLE by M. Night Shyamalan.
|DEL REY BOOKS IS HELPING TO GROW A NEW BATCH OF
SCIENCE FICTION AUTHORS
Del Rey Books launched the newly enhanced Del Rey Digital Writing Workshop, an Online service to nurture new writers of fantasy and science fiction. Growing out of its first online workshop, which ran from March 1999 to September 2000, the new workshop offers a new interface and more resources for aspiring writers and reviewers.
The free service offers writers a place to receive constructive feedback and a venue to post original works, to which they will retain their rights. Once a month, the Del Rey Digital Editorial Board - made up of Del Rey editors and writers - will select the most promising three submissions from the categories of science fiction novel, fantasy novel and short story, and highlight them as editors' choices.
Twice a year, the editors' choices in the categories of science fiction and fantasy novel will be showcased on the site. Readers will be invited to vote for their favorites, and winners in each category will be offered the chance to have their novels published as original Del Rey e-Books.
|THE COMPLETE WAR OF THE WORLDS!
Chicago publisher Sourcebooks has published The Complete War of the Worlds: Mars' Invasion of Earth from H.G. Wells to Orson Welles, edited by Brian Holmsten and Alex Lubertozzi, with a foreword by Ray Bradbury and an afterword by Ben Bova. For the first time, one book captures the story behind Orson Welles' radio adaptation of H.G.Wells' classic tale of Martian invasion and the immediacy of the 1938 Halloween eve panic broadcast itself. The Complete War of the Worlds, in words and on two audio CDs, tells how Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre drove 1.2 million people into a panic over something that never happened.
Included in the book is the complete text of H.G. Wells' original novel, The War of the Worlds, along with the complete radio performance by The Mercury Theatre On the Air. Two audio CDs feature the original broadcast of October 30, 1938, by the Mercury Theatre; the Orson Welles press conference of October 31, 1938; a 1940 interview with H.G. Wells and Orson Welles; various interviews with Orson Welles and John Houseman (cofounder and producer of The Mercury Theatre On the Air) and clips from the 1978 disco stage musical War of the Worlds, with Richard Burton. Come on people, classic science-fiction, an event that set popular culture on its ear, Richard Burton and disco ! What more do you want?
The book is available in hardback for $39.95.
|BENSON CO-WRITES BUFFY COMIC
Amber Benson; who plays Willow's love interest, Tara, on BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER; has co-written a Willow and Tara comic book for Dark Horse. Benson has joined Buffy comics writer Christopher Golden and Terry Moore on the one-shot book.
The comic centers on the relationship between UC Sunnydale students Willow and Tara, which is complicated by the arrival of an overeager new Wicca. "This comic is about the special friendship between Tara and Willow," Benson said. "So, Chris Golden and I really tried to [imbue] our story with the idea that friendship, when put to the test, can help us overcome anything."
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara went on sale April 4 for $2.99.
|2001: A PAPAL ODYSSEY
Stanley Kubrick's classic 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY was screened at the Vatican in March for an infallible film fan, His Holiness Pope John Paul II. In an unprecedented collaboration between Italian film distributor Istituto Luce and papal officials, the screening is taking place in the Palazzo San Carlo, a chapel in the Vatican City which doubles as a screening theatre for films of particular interest of the Pope. Members of the audience included Italian TV chiefs and film director Franco Zeffirelli. In all likelihood Stanley Kubrick would have been delighted with the screening. At the time of his death his dealings with the Catholic hierarchy dealt with another of his films. His 1962 film LOLITA was once the subject of a ban from the Catholic League Of Decency on the grounds of immorality.
|SPIELBERG FOLLOWED KUBRICK'S PHOBIA FOR PUBLICITY
Stanley Kubrick may be dead, but his influence lives on through Steven Spielberg. Spielberg reveres the late filmmaker and is determined to honor Kubrick's memory on the set of his new movie. As many of you know, Spielberg is currently making A.I. - a project Kubrick was developing when he died in 1999. And since taking over, Spielberg has insisted on the same high levels of secrecy Kubrick himself employed on most of his films. Spielberg ordered Jude Law to cover up while on the set, walking around with an umbrella so aggressive paparazzi couldn't snap pictures of him in character. Law says, "Kubrick's movies were always made under these rules and Steven just wants to respect that. I had to walk around with an umbrella during shooting so people couldn't see what I looked like. The week before we started shooting there was the release of photos of all the characters from the new STAR WARS set and Steven really didn't want any photos going out." So I had to walk from the trailer to the studio with an umbrella."
|ALIEN PING PONG
There have been (and will continue to be) a lot of contradictory stories out there, traceable to Sigourney Weaver, about the fate of another entry in the ALIEN franchise. If Ms. Weaver were running for public office her opponent would accuse her of "flip-flopping." Since she in the arena of entertainment we'll simply attribute her remarks to a sort of mental ping pong in which she seems to be inexorably locked. Let's go back and review some of her greatest hits.
APRIL 27TH, 2000: Sigourney Weaver said that she believes the ALIEN movie series has run its course. "Well, you know, as far as I know, that's it," Weaver said. So never again. No more ALIEN.
FEBRUARY 5TH 2001: This news story came out - Following a year of negotiations, Sigourney Weaver has agreed to appear in ALIEN 5 and will executive produce the movie. She reportedly will receive $15 million. However, the quotes that attributed to Weaver are virtually identical to those that appeared in a 1999 interview. At that time she was certain of another ALIEN movie.
FEBRUARY 6TH 2001: Sigourney Weaver, through a spokesman, denied widespread reports that she was going to be paid $22 million to reprise the role of Ellen Ripley in a fifth ALIEN movie. No new ALIEN movie is in the works, and her quotes came from an old press junket interview.
MARCH 16TH 2001: Sigourney Weaver again denied rumors that she's being paid $25 million to appear in a fifth ALIEN movie. "The amount was thrilling," Weaver said. "I would have to kill a few people to get that salary." But she said there are no plans for a fifth ALIEN movie. "As far as I know, there is no truth to any of it. My agents both called me and said, 'This is in the paper,' and I said, 'You've got to be kidding me!'" So read my lips, NO NEW ALIEN!
MARCH 21ST, 2001: Sigourney Weaver is tempted by the idea of doing an ALIEN sequel - if there's enough cash involved. Weaver, 51, says, "I'm in good shape but it's going to be a question of the script and the budget. These movies cost a lot of money. But if everything is in place, why not? I think there is room for another story, perhaps a final glorious chapter."
Okay, there's only one way to resolve this. One more movie and the Aliens win. They take over the universe and devour anyone who might be tempted to clone Ripley back, retrieve her from the past, create an android of her or recall her spirit in a seance. That will be the only thing that's going to put an end to endless rumors.
|AWARDS NEWS: DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA AWARD
There were a couple of items of interest in the recent DGA awards. The 53rd annual awards ceremony were held last March 11. Recognition for "outstanding directoral achievement in a feature film" went to Ang Lee for CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. The recipient of the President's Award, recognizing lifetime achievement, was Robert Wise for leadership and extraordinary efforts in enhancing the welfare and image of the Directors Guild of America and the Industry.
|AWARDS NEWS: THE RAZZIES
When a movie sweeps Tinsel Town’s Tackiest Trophy Derby, should it be considered a “winning” streak or a losing streak? That’s just one of the questions the makers of the Big Budget Sci Fi Fiasco BATTLEFIELD EARTH must be asking themselves in the wake of their domination of the 21st Annual Golden Raspberry (‘RAZZIE’) Awards. Their film, based on a best-selling novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and starring an unrecognizable John Travolta as a Rasta-Haired, Yellow-Toothed, Cackling Psychotic Alien, took home spray-painted gold trophies in seven of the nine categories Dis-Honored in ceremonies held the traditional day before the 73rd Annual Academy Awards.
BATTLEFIELD EARTH "won" worst picture, worst actor for John Travolta (both for this movie and LUCKY NUMBERS), worst screen couple for John Travolta and anyone sharing the screen with him, worst supporting actress to Travolta's wife and co-star Kelly Preston, worst supporting actor for Barry Pepper, worst director for Roger Christian and worst screenplay for writers Corey Mandell and J.D. Shapiro. EARTH’s seven statuettes pull it into a dead-even tie with All-Time RAZZIE Champion SHOWGIRLS (which won Worst Picture of the Decade at last year’s 20th Annual RAZZIE Awards).
The only two awards NOT given to BATTLEFIELD were in categories where it wasn’t even nominated. Worst actress went to Madonna (who the Razzies "honored" last year as "Worst Actress of the Century") for THE NEXT BEST THING and worst remake or sequel for BOOK OF SHADOWS/BLAIR WITCH 2.
|DUCHOVNY SAYS ENOUGH WITH THE ALIENS ALREADY
David Duchovny has said that he's ready for a break from the genre. "I don't think there will be aliens in the next movie I do," Duchovny said. "It's going to start to be suspect. I need to go to a shaman and be healed of this energy that keeps attracting movies with aliens."
In his next movie, EVOLUTION, Duchovny must struggle against rapidly evolving microbes. "One of the great pleasures of acting is getting away from whatever the hell bothers you," Duchovny said. "That's the hidden perk. Although I would say that even if a movie is goofy or funny, it's not goofy or funny to make. I felt uncomfortable and challenged, which is good."
The film makes ample use of Duchovny's dry wit. "In ALIENS 3, the aliens looked cool, and the fact that people didn't laugh didn't make it a failure," he said. "But in this case, it would. For example, today I've been fighting with a big blue monkey - and that's not even on the set!" EVOLUTION is slated to open in June.
|NOW A THIRD BATMAN MOVIE'S IN DEVELOPMENT!
Ashley Judd will play the title character in Warner Brothers' upcoming film CATWOMAN, based on the character in DC Comics' Batman series. There was no mention of anyone cast as Batman, possibly suggesting that he could be a supporting character.
This marks the third BATMAN movie under development at Warner. The others include BATMAN: YEAR ONE, from director Darren Aronofsky and a live-action version of The WB's animated television series BATMAN BEYOND. There hasn't been this much development since Anna Nicole Smith hit puberty!
|THE CORPSE VANISHES!
Universal has decided not to release rock musician Rob Zombie's $7-million horror film HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES. Studio Chairman Stacey Snider said, "We have the utmost respect for Rob, who made a really intense and compelling movie, but . . . when I looked at the cumulative effect of the entire film, it was clear that the best version of the movie would end up getting an NC-17 rating, and we felt that would make the marketing and distribution of the movie impossible for us." For his part, Zombie said that making the film for Universal (he records for Universal's Geffen Records) "felt weird from the get-go. If you look at the history of horror films, the really scary ones like TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE were made by little independent companies, not big corporations." We'll probably see it turn up as a cable TV and direct-to-video feature.
|FINAL FANTASY MAY SEND A VIRTUAL CHILL THROUGH
FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN may send a chilling message to actors that they, too, can be replaced by computers. The $65-million movie is the first to completely replace human actors with computer-generated ones. Japanese producer Jun Aida said, "Recreating the natural human facial expressions was the most difficult aspect. . . . No one has done this before, so we couldn't hire anyone to show us how. We had to put an extensive amount of effort into developing it." One Hollywood insider said that the advent of computer-generated actors has been "a worry for all those second-division stars who behave like spoilt brats and piss everyone off. A lot of directors are going to fall in love with these computer actors because they're cheap and reliable." The movie is set to open in the States on July 13th, coincidentally just after the Screen Actors Guild may be going on strike.
|NEARER MY GODZILLA, TO THEE
What's that strange rumbling I feel? It can only mean one of two things - either a bowl of hard boiled eggs wasn't the best choice for breakfast or Toho Studio's making their 25th Godzilla film. The catchy title for this one is GODZILLA - MOTHRA - KING GHIDRAH: DAIKAIJU SOUKOUGEKI (now that's clever!). The film will shoot from May to July (there's been no talk of a strike with gigantic atomic-breathed lizards so the production ought to go unhindered). It will be in Japanese theaters in December. No telling when it will wash up on our shores.
Don't look for a sensitive new age Godzilla here. According the film's director, Shusuke Kaneko, "Recent Godzilla films have shown Godzilla in a sympathetic light. I believe this to be a mistake. Godzilla was born of the spirit of the war dead and is in a sense a specter of war. I will make Godzilla a monster, one that is cruel and strong." This film sets out to answer a pair of questions that are on the tips of the medulla oblongata of every one of Big Green's fans. Why do weapons only seem to be a minor irritation to him? And what the f*** does he have against Japan? Why doesn't he find another slice of the atlas to pick on?
Stay tuned for these and other answers. [THANKS TO LINDA CONRAD FOR TURNING ME ON TO THE SITE AROUND WHICH THIS STORY IS WRITTEN].
|HANNIBAL SAYS "EYE, EYE"
When broadcast networks get their hands on a violent movie fans generally groan with all of the deletions. Well, here's a case where a violent film is off to the "Eye" network and will become longer, rather than shorter. Ridley Scott will add around an hour of deleted footage to HANNIBAL when the film makes its TV premiere on CBS in November 2003. The network is envisioning the movie (swollen both with its additional scenes and advertisements) as a four-hour mini-series! The USA Network, which will be able to premiere the film in May 2004, also has the rights to air a longer version.
|JURASSIC PARK III'S DIRECTOR SAYS HIS MOVIE AIN'T
The JURASSIC PARK III director Joe Johnston has defended his movie against complaints by star William H. Macy that the movie was plagued with problems. Macy has that he felt the movie was a "$100 million ship without a rudder," and that "someone's going to loose their job over this," in part because of frequent delays and script rewrites during production.
Johnston denied the charges. "Regarding the negative comments by Bill Macy, you have to keep in mind the incredible hardships the cast went through during the making of this film. They were in constant discomfort in rain, mud, cold night exteriors and dangerous stunts, many of which were performed by the actors themselves. . . . Conditions like this can wear anyone's patience to the breaking point, and I think Bill was simply letting off a little steam, deservedly so. . . . The entire cast was consistently professional under extremely difficult conditions. Not one member of the cast ever said, 'I can't do another take.' More often than not, they volunteered another take, in order to improve the scene. As for the snail's pace of production, Bill may be exaggerating a little. We went a very few days over schedule, due mostly to weather and unforeseen technical problems. Under the circumstances, I'm very happy with where we ended up, schedule-wise. The cast and crew made a truly heroic effort to bring the picture in on time and to make it something to be proud of, and I am. The movie is scary, funny, intense, moving, startling and contains just the right amount of barely controlled chaos. As they say, you'll have to pay for the entire seat, but you'll only need the edge. Hope you like it."
|EVEN WILLIAM MACY SAYS JURASSIC PARK III AIN'T
Every now in then, in Tinsel Town, someone makes a mistake and tells the truth. That may sound like naked cynicism but, think about it, if you're in a big-budget movie that you begin sending warning signs about before its release, a whole lot of cell phones, Palm Pilots and personal organizers are going to start to delete your agent's number very quickly. That's especially true for an actor slightly lower down on the food chain like William H. Macy. He's not a must-have marquee name whose presence will put a picture in the black.
So perhaps it should come as no surprise when Macy suddenly finds good things to say about the movie that he'd described as a run-away production, one for which "someone ought to get fired" over. In a carefully choreographed interview, he did not retract his prior statements or claim that they were quoted out of context. Instead he reminisced about what a high old time he had on the fun-filled set of JURASSIC PARK III. He said that he had fun on the set, despite earlier reports that had him fuming about the production. "I've never done one of these [big-budget, special-effects features], and I've always wanted to - it's Hollywood at its pinnacle," he reveled. "It turned out to be one of the funnest things I've done in years. I can't tell you what it's like to be someplace where the best and brightest are doing the best work they've ever done. It's mind-boggling."
On July 18th we'll be able to see for ourselves. Is this is a bunch of high-paid boat people huddled together in misery or a pack of giddy pals off on a lark?
|HOLLYWOOD ONCE AGAIN RE-WRITES HISTORY
The boys in Hollywood have never been bashful about redrafting history. Centuries slosh together, various people become one and whole populations of people get minimized or deleted, all at the whim of moviemakers. But this one is different. This time a well-known queen undergoes a name change to avoid middle-school cafeteria jokes from flying around about a character and an actress. The makers of THE MUMMY RETURNS have felt compelled to change ancient Egyptian history - because they don't want their film to become one long-running joke about breasts. Rachel Weisz's archaeologist character in the sequel actually turns out to be a reincarnation of Nefertiti, the wife of King Amenhotep IV but director Stephen Sommers feared the Egyptian queen's name would be used for boob gags. Weisz explains, "They changed my name to Nefeteri and I thought it had something to do with superstition, but they were just worried that Nefertiti sounded like 'titties'."
|THE LOUISIANA JUDGE THAT KILLED THE KILLERS CASE
A Louisiana judge has tossed out a lawsuit that claimed that an Oklahoma couple who shot and paralyzed a store clerk had been influenced by NATURAL BORN KILLERS, the movie that's been the favorite piñata of commentators on the ills of Hollywood. State District Judge Bob Morrison ruled that lawyers for the victim and her family had failed to show that Stone or the studio had intended to incite violence with the film. Zazi Pope, the senior vice president and assistant general counsel for the film's distributor, Warner Bros., proclaimed the ruling "a real victory for artistic expression. If artists need to worry about the risk of crushing civil liability for their works, what would that mean for our culture?"
|PLEASE DON'T USE THE WORD "REMAKE" ABOUT PLANET
OF THE APES
Tim Burton, director of the upcoming PLANET OF THE APES movie, said that he's not directing a remake of the 1968 movie of the same name. "PLANET OF THE APES is basically about reversals," Burton said. "I don't want it to be a sequel. It's not a remake. There's something about the material of PLANET OF THE APES that is very strong, and the idea of sort of re-imagining this mythology and just coming at it from a different way and looking at it from a different way was very exciting to me. . . . It's a way to see the humanity in ourselves, but in a different way."
At least five different ways, that is. According to Michael Clarke Duncan, who plays a gorilla general, the director shot five different endings. Duncan added that he knows which ending Burton has picked but won't say. It's "fantastic" and "will blow your mind," Duncan said. "We filmed about four or five different endings, and Tim Burton picked the best one. I wish I could tell you, but it is so good. Take my word for it. You will not believe it."
Quentin Tarantino is set to resurrect the stars of PULP FICTION in a prequel to the 1994 movie. The director is currently writing the follow-up to the cult classic. Provisionally titled THE VEGA BROTHERS, the prequel is thought to be based on the characters of Vincent Vega - played by Travolta in PULP FICTION - and Vic Vega - played by Michael Madsen in Tarantino's earlier film RESERVOIR DOGS. Both actors are expected to appear in their original roles. The film should begin production next year.
|STEVEN SODERBERGH'S SCHOOL OF FILM DIRECTION IS
The Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh can teach "anyone with a brain" how to be a director in just one hour. Soderbergh, who was recently chosen as Best Director for TRAFFIC, believes that directing is the easiest thing in the world and can be taught to virtually anyone in only 60 minutes. Soderbergh says, "I can get you on your feet in 60 minutes guaranteed. The rudimentary aspects of how to put a scene together can really be taught to anyone with a brain in about an hour, and the rest of it is a question of whether or not you are an artist in that particular venue."
For those without access to Soderbergh's private mentoring, the director suggests would-be filmmakers invest in a DVD player to help with their craft. He adds, "If you have a DVD player, that's the best film school in the world. I wish I'd had DVDs when I was coming up; those commentaries by terrific filmmakers telling you how they did everything - you can't put a price on that."
|TREK X: THE DEATH OF PICARD?
In preparation for the next TREK movie, Patrick Stewart has written a treatment in which his character perishes. "With the movie, I have very strong feelings that it should be the last for THE NEXT GENERATION, at least the last for Jean-Luc Picard," Stewart said. "We have at the moment a 28-page storyline, which sounds really exciting. I have written an ending for Picard in which we finally kill him off, and producers are looking over it now."
He went on to drop a few teasers about the film. "All I can say is that this film will deal with a supreme and hopefully memorable villain [to be played by Alan Rickman]. There's some cloning involved, and enemy Romulans. But I will say no more."
Picard's death scene is only one of a number being considered by executive producer Rick Berman. Berman has supposedly agreed that Picard must die. The proposed 10th TREK movie is currently being written and likely won't begin production until after impending writers' and actors' strikes this spring and summer, with an eye to a 2002 release.
|THE DE-EVOLUTION OF STAR WARS
The STAR WARS: EPISODE II artist Jay Shuster said that he is designing an early version of a machine that appears later in the film series. Though Shuster won't say what the machine is, he described it as a weapon of sorts that helps decide a critical battle, the first generation of a tool seen later in the series. "It follows the formula for a lot of the prequel trilogy," Shuster said. "Take something preconceived in the existing trilogy and degenerate it."
Shuster is also working on architectural designs for EPISODE II. "EPISODE I was so action-packed, we rarely had the opportunity to stop and look around at the amazing environments and sets," he said. "In EPISODE II, we get a chance to peer into and get involved with the lives of their characters and their personal dwellings and spaces. I've always loved architecture. As a kid, it was one of my first aspirations in the realm of design."
"I enjoyed working on Padme's bachelorette pad on Coruscant," Shuster added. "There are Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired forms throughout. There are majestic spaces and sweeping archways. You'll see a lot of sky, filtered sunlight and the dense cityscape beyond. The designs also tell us about Padme's lifestyle. We interpret who the character is through the space they live in and the various articles with which they surround themselves."
|THE WOMAN BEHIND THE MAN BEHIND THE MASK
There's been an interesting leak about a key plot point involving the next entry in the STAR WARS cycle. Ordinarily George Lucas keeps a strict lockdown on any plot information before films release. This little gem comes to us via R.A. Salvatore, who is writing the novel based on the screenplay. He revealed that the story will deal in part with how Anakin Skywalker was drawn to "the dark side," ultimately to become Darth Vader. Salvatore indicated that the changeover will be triggered by Skywalker's relationship with Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman.) "Their relationship is very complex," Salvatore is quoted as saying. "People don't snap like that and go over to the dark side. Maybe they have temporary rage, but they don't become Darth Vader because of that. But with Anakin, there's a LOT more to it. That's the real beauty of it. She's a big part in what's going on in him."
Face it guys, we all knew that no man could be that evil on his own. It had to be a woman that drove him to it!
|MISSING IN ACTION: TERMINATOR 3
For the past several months there's been a lot of chatter about a new entry in the TERMINATOR series. Pre-production has been (and is probably still) bubbling along. Unfortunately, the production has hit a wee speed bump lately.
During the last week of February what was intended to be a major event, an industry-only festival called The American Film Market, took place in Santa Monica. This is supposed to enable filmmakers and distributors to connect. One of the highest profile projects on the block was TERMINATOR 3. Maybe it was the soaking rains with which California's been pummeled, perhaps it was paralysis from strike fears or it could be concerns over a slumping economy but for some reason relatively few people showed up. Projects that, in years past, would have been fought over were left sitting. T3 was one of them.
As far as we know the movie's still going ahead and efforts are still being made to shop the picture around. As things develop I'll let you know.
|TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES OFFERS FILM APPRECIATION
Okay, here's the scene. You're at a party. A friend or relative introduces you and says, as an interesting fact about you, that you really like movies allot. Like a scud missile, some big galoot arcs across the room, pumps your hand like he's trying to extract water from a dry well, and says, "You're inta movies? Well gawsh. I love movies! Well ya' musta' seen ______, " and he says the title of a film that virtually every sentient creature in the universe has seen twice. "Well, what d'ya think of it?" You confess that that's one you've never gotten around to taking a look at. He gives that stunned stare usually reserved for people who've publicly wiped themselves on the American flag. An incredulous bray erupts from his throat as he announces to all within earshot (which for him is anyone in a five county radius) that you're supposed to like movies but you've never screened this cinematic classic. You start looking around for a gas can and a lighter, figuring that an incendiary immolation would be less painful than your present disgrace.
Relax. As usual, the answer to all of your problems can be found on television. In this case, Turner Classic Movies. Starting this month, every Sunday at 6:00 P.M., TCM is running a new cinema showcase simply called "The Essentials." Rob "Meathead" Reiner will host this series comprised of movies that are so essential to our culture that everyone should have seen them at least once. This month they're running CITIZEN KANE, CASABLANCA, THE PRODUCERS, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and NORTH BY NORTHWEST. So put down that pack of matches and reach for your remote. Help is on the way.
|A PEEK AHEAD AT X-MEN 2
X-MEN 2 director Bryan Singer has said that the next film will pick up themes from the first X-MEN. "I think one of the key phrases in the X-MEN movie is when Magneto [Ian McKellen] acknowledges that a war is coming, and I think that that's where the world is headed," Singer stated. "I don't know if it will be a full-scale war in the conventional sense, but I think that what we saw in the first movie was a skirmish. I think that the tension between good mutants, not-so-good mutants and humans will only escalate. I think that's where it's going to go."
As mentioned in past issues, the cast from the first movie is scheduled to return in the sequel. "I can't give you any hints as to whether the Sentinels and Dark Phoenix will turn up," Singer said. "I'd like to explore Wolverine [Hugh Jackman] and a bit of the mystery of his past. We hinted at that in the first film, and I'd like to explore that a little further. And I'd like to see a bit more of Xavier [Patrick Stewart]."
As for Beast, Singer said, "Yeah. Hope so. We'll see. I'm just developing the story, just coming up with the structure of the story that I like. It's material you can use in X-MEN 2, and if you don't use it in X-MEN 2, you can use it in X-MEN 3, 4, 5. . . . I'm thinking of it in terms of a universe, like the comic. It has room for expansion, if it's cared for and nurtured properly."
|MAKING LEMONADE OUT OF LEMON THEATERS
Investor Philip Anschutz is showing true Ferengi ingenuity in his approach to the current crisis facing movie theaters. He has quickly been grabbing control of major movie exhibitors and is planning to be the first to convert multiplexes to digital projection and add sports, theater and rock concerts to movie fare. Anschutz apparently plans to lure audiences to megaplexes between Mondays and Thursdays, when business is slow. "Right now the exhibitors are stuck," Lipman remarked. "They can only show movies, and the distributors of movies know it. The balance of power changes when the exhibitor can show other forms of entertainment."
|STRIKE NEWS: THE FOREIGN DREAM OF PROFITS BURSTS
Some members of the British film industry have been hoping for a surge in local production should a strike by writers and actors hit Hollywood. In March they were informed that such a strike could cripple U.K. production. The Screen Actors Guild has sent out notices to non-American members warning them that if a strike occurs in the U.S., they will only be able to work on films shot outside the U.S., financed without U.S. funds and without distributions rights pre-sold to a U.S. company. "Even films shot in Britain with British casts could be hit," one British observer complained. "The majority of British films with a budget of £10 million ($15 million) . . . have American money and have rights pre-sold to a US company." Industry executives expressed anger. One senior British film exec said, "The whole thing is illegal. This could have serious consequences for the U.K. film industry and represents an unacceptable export of U.S. trade disputes."
|STRIKE NEWS: "IT'S LIKE A DE FACTO STRIKE"
Hollywood actors, writers and other personnel who are not already employed on motion pictures will have to wait until new labor contracts are signed before they'll be able to work again. The major studios had set March 30 as the last date for starting new productions pending an outcome of negotiations with the unions representing writers and actors. "Right now, it's almost like a de facto strike," according to casting agent Janet Hirshenson. Productions failing to make the deadline include CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND, starring Johnny Depp and BASIC INSTINCT 2, starring Sharon Stone.
|STRIKE NEWS: THE WGA SAYS THE PRODUCERS WERE UNREASONABLE
"While the suspension of these talks will not inevitably lead to a strike we are deeply concerned that the companies have rejected our last package of economic proposals. Our package would grant writers an additional $60.9 million in residuals over three years, an increase of 11.3% of the total residuals collected by the WGA, averaged over the term of the next contract. When we include our proposals for increases in minimums (initial compensation) and pension and health to these gains in residuals, the total cost of our economic package to all the companies over three years would be $99.7 million. This represents an average annual increase in total compensation to writers of 2.7%."
|STRIKE NEWS: THE AMPTP SAYS THE WRITERS WALKED
"Negotiations between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) broke down . . . when WGA negotiators walked away from a compensation package that would have given writers a net gain of $30 million over a three-year period, which represents an increase of 11 percent. The WGA rejected the AMPTP's latest proposal . . . AMPTP negotiators stated that their package was reasonable given the challenges facing the entertainment industry, and said that the WGA's demands remained unjustified throughout the talks. WGA negotiators have held fast to economic demands that ask for increases of nearly 40 percent in minimum compensation and residuals - a $112 million economic package over three years that is unrealistic given the current economic climate."
|STRIKE NEWS: THE WGA SEEKS A COMPROMISE ON THE
"On the 'A Film By' credit, while many writers believe it is a credit that should not be used, we have acknowledged it is unrealistic to expect anyone who has been receiving a possessory credit to not continue to receive it throughout the remainder of their career. To this end, we have proposed the 'grandfathering' of the possessory credit for all of those directors now receiving it. We also believe it is inappropriate for writers to suggest criteria for how the credit should be awarded in the future. We call upon our brothers and sisters in the DGA to establish measurable criteria to award the credit to those filmmakers contributing to the language of film and advancing the cinematic art."
|STRIKE NEWS: THE DGA REJECTS ANY DEALS THAT MIGHT
AFFECT THE POSSESSORY CREDIT
"The idea that the possessory credit should be subject to arbitrary percentages and not freely negotiable is unacceptable to us. In addition, everyone involved in the negotiations knows full well that the WGA’s 'grandfathering' idea is an old one. In fact, the WGA tried to put a similar clause limiting the possessory credit with a 'grandfathering' provision in its contract over 30 years ago but it was resoundingly rejected by Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean, Frank Capra, Robert Wise and Fred Zinnemann, among others. The reason to reject this notion remains the same today: we are not going to sell out the future for the past. . . . The WGA possessory credit proposals are unacceptable, and we have made our feelings known in these negotiations. In fact, the Directors Guild will not accept any provision in the WGA’s Minimum Basic Agreement that affects what credit a director may take."
|STRIKE NEWS: SAG SAYS "AFTER YOU" TO THE WGA
The Screen Actors Guild has indicated that it will delay its negotiations with TV and film producers until May in order to give the Writers Guild of America a chance to hammer out its own agreement. (The current one expires on May 2.) SAG spokesman Greg Krizman observed that the union would "defer" to the WGA since the actors' contract does not expire until June 30. Meanwhile, screenwriter Nicholas Kazan has indicated he sees a bright spot in the studios' rush to complete new movies and television shows by the strike deadline. He observed, "With a deadline, maybe the studios will rush a few films into production that they don't think are ready because they haven't been rewritten until they're obliterated. That might be better!"
|IMAGINATIVE CINEMA FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL
APRIL 6TH: ALONG CAME A SPIDER features the same central character as the 1997 film, KISS THE GIRLS. Two children are kidnapped from an upper class Washington D.C. private school. One of them's the daughter of a United States Senator. Soon Dr. Alex Cross (once again played by Morgan Freeman) is on the case, teaming up with a female Secret Service agent (Monica Potter), with clues pointing to the missing girls being connected to a streak of murders taking place in the city. All signs lead to someone by the name of Gary Soneji (Michael Wincott), who may be the greatest criminal mind Cross has come up against yet. Penelope Ann Miller plays the mother of one of the missing girls.
BLOW according to director Ted Demme says this film (which is based on a true story) will be "a depiction of when and how this country switched from pot to coke, and how a small town boy trying to make it big by breaking the rules ends up losing it all and hurting an entire generation." It's the 1970's, and George Jung (Johnny Depp) is a drug dealer who is involved with the import and popularity of cocaine, which soon went from obscurity to drug of choice of the rich and famous. Penelope Cruz plays Depp's wife; Franka Potente, his girlfriend; Ray Liotta his father; Ethan Suplee his pot-selling boyhood friend.
JUST VISITING is a remake of a French film. An 11th century French knight (Jean Reno) and his squire (Christian Clavier) are accidentally transported to modern America by a wizard (Malcom McDowell), leading to great, copious amounts of high jinks and fish-out-of-water hilarity. Christina Applegate plays the dual roles of both both the knight's 11th century lover, Lady Rosalind, and a modern woman named Maureen Malfete. The director is Jean-Marie Poiré, who directed the two French originals, LES VISITEURS and THE CORRIDORS OF TIME: THE VISITORS 2.
APRIL 27TH: THE FORSAKEN is the story of a war on vampires and an unwilling conscript in that struggle. Driving from L.A. to Florida to deliver a vintage Mercedes and attend his sister’s wedding, Sean (Kerr Smith) does the one thing he wasn't supposed to do - pick up a hitchhiker. From that moment on, his cross country road trip is transformed into a surreal and blood-soaked nightmare. Sean's new companion Nick (Brendan Fehr) is not the laid back, aimless traveler he seems. He's a Hunter. His prey are a vicious band of vampires. If the two of them are to survive they have to learn to trust each other and work together. The movie was written and directed by J.S. Cardone, whose experience previously has mostly been with direct-to-video features.
|A NEW WRINKLE IN MOVIES' INTERNET DISTRIBUTION
Within the next four to six months at least three major studios will begin making movies available over the Internet using a coding system that will allow downloaders to record a film onto a CD that can only be played back on the PC that downloaded it, according to MPAA chief Jack Valenti. Valenti indicated that studios are attempting to make certain that the encryption technology is unbreakable. Analysts expressed skepticism about such a service. Their thinking is, ok, it's about to be available. Will people actually pay for it? More as this develops.
|AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT I: CINEMA
How many times have you left a theater and thought, gee, that was pretty good. If only I could hold onto to my favorite scenes forever. If only I could cherish them - as Legos! Once again, the World Wide Weird hasn't let you down. Visit the Cinema Lego site and see scenes from movies like THE MATRIX, DESEPERADO and MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL re-enacted in Legos. A million years of storytelling has led mankind to Legos. It somehow seems like we've zigged when we shoulda' zagged somewhere along the path.
|AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT II:
Spocktails is the site for the logical lush! It's the site to visit for everyone who thought that beneath that cold Vulcan exterior beat the heart of a party animal. This TREK-inspired potent potables detour on the Web has recipes for things like "The Vulcan Highlander," "The Spockmopolitan," "The Lost Probe" and the ever-popular "Spock's Balls." Just do us all one small favor, don't bring any of these concoctions to a meeting. We don't have anyone handy to mind-meld back all those burned out brain cells it would take to get everyone home.
|HUGO AWARDS GIVE A NOD TO THE WEB
One of the highest honors science-fiction is to receive a Hugo Award. The Hugo Awards are presented for achievement in the fields of science fiction and fantasy literature, both to professionals and fans. They are given by the World Science Fiction Society and are presented at the society's annual convention (Worldcon). Starting next year the Hugo, not usually known for accepting new innovations very quickly, will recognize the Internet.
ConJose, the 2002 World Science Fiction Convention, announced that it will present a special Hugo Award for best Web site. The award will be open to any Web site primarily related to the fields of science fiction, fantasy or fandom and will be given for material displayed on the World Wide Web during the calendar year 2001. The 2002 Worldcon, known as ConJose, will take place in San Jose, Calif., from August 29 through Sept. 2, 2002.
|OWN YOUR OWN AWARD-WINNING WEBSITE!
The guys at Timmybighands.com are offering their Website; lock, stock and domain name; for sale on e-Bay. They're looking to get at least $15,000 for it. For the fans of their old television show, the closure and sale of this site marks the final end of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 and the probable parting of a very funny creative team.
|APRIL FOOLS ON THE STAR WARS SITE
The official STAR WARS Web site went back in time to 1979 for an April Fools joke, transforming the site to one promoting THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. The site parodied itself, offering tidbits on the production of EPISODE V, cast lists, preview photos and even questions from fans.
A question even made fun of the obsession with proposed STAR WARS DVDs, translating it into 1979 terms: "Why hasn't Lucasfilm released STAR WARS for the Betamax?" The answer: "We understand the desire to watch STAR WARS in the comfort of your own home on the best home video format available. However, George Lucas is very busy now, overseeing the production of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Lucasfilm will release STAR WARS on Beta when we have the time to devote to it. We have something special planned for its release. As Obi-Wan said to Luke, 'Be patient.' Until then, keep on truckin'!"
|DON'T THROW OUT THAT ANALOG TV YET
In a development that could have a far-ranging impact on television broadcasting, the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory announced that it has successfully compressed a high-definition television signal into the space reserved for conventional analog channels. The result is that viewers with analog TV sets can continue viewing broadcasts as usual while those with specially equipped digital HDTV receivers will be able to view a movie-like 1,280x720-pixel display. The HDTV signals can be broadcast using existing transmitters, the lab indicated.
|DIGITAL THEATER PROJECTION HAS JUST BEEN GIVEN
Technicolor, whose name was once synonymous with color motion picture film, has offered a plan to convert U.S. movie theaters to digital projection. Technicolor's Digital Cinema unit (a partnership with Qualcomm, the wireless communications giant), outlined a strategy that it said "will help transform the way movies are delivered and viewed at theaters." Dave Elliott, president of Technicolor Digital Cinema, said, "By putting digital cinema in theaters nationwide, we are demonstrating that this is indeed a superior product whose time has come." News reports said that Technicolor was offering to pay for the digital projectors, worth about $150, 000 apiece, in return for 12.5 cents for each ticket sold. (Boeing Digital Cinema is reportedly planning to offer a similar arrangement.) Technicolor is being acquired by France's Thomson Multimedia SA, which manufactures consumer items for the U.S. under the RCA brand.
Digital cinema will have a bumpy ride over the next few years, but by 2004 "will be on a fast track to long-term commercial viability" and by 2006 will share in $6.5 billion in increased movie-industry revenue, according to a new report from Cambridge, MA-based Forrester Research. The report, titled Movie Distribution's New Era, predicts that by 2006, one-third of the country's movie screens will be converted to digital, providing theater chains with new revenue opportunities including premium sporting events.
|THE KING OF VOD: BLOCKBUSTER TWISTS ARMS, EYEING
Blockbuster has dreams of power in the new realm of Video-On-Demand (VOD). Blockbuster CEO John Antioco stated, "It would be much better for the studios to work with us rather than force us, in order to survive, to compete directly against their own VOD efforts by cutting prices or rewarding customers for not using VOD." Readers might remember the deal that they forced on Universal, reported in our last issue, by withholding their new releases from rental shelves. Blockbuster seemed poised to make a bid to aggressively dominate this new technology as totally as they've seized the video-rental market. That is, until . . .
|THE KING OF VOD: BLOCKBUSTER IS DEPOSED
In a sudden and surprising reversal, Blockbuster and Enron Broadband Services have come to a parting of the ways. The two companies had been working on developing a VOD service that would allow consumers to receive movies over the Internet and play them back much the way they would on a VCR - with pause, rewind and fast-forward functions. Tests of the VOD trial are currently being conducted by the two companies in Seattle, Portland, New York City and American Fork, ID. Apparently, when Enron saw that Blockbuster's strong-arm coercion was still meeting with stiff resistance, they backed out. Enron's CEO, Kenneth Rice, said, "The exclusive relationship [with Blockbuster] has not yielded the quantity and quality of movies needed to drive demand for this exciting new on-demand service." Blockbuster chief John Antioco issued a separate statement saying "We continue to believe VOD will eventually become a commercial reality and that Blockbuster will have a considerable presence in this arena. However we also believe that there will be multiple technologies that make this service available in the home. Based on this, our plan . . . is to remain technology agnostic and open to all sorts of alliances."
|BLOCKBUSTER FINDS A NEW ALLY
Blockbuster has gotten a new buddy - Radio Shack. Starting this summer, Radio Shack will launch sections in 130 Blockbusters spread across four markets - Las Vegas, Tulsa, Austin and Norfolk. The sections will range from small kiosks to 600 square feet mini-stores. They'll be manned by Radio Shack employees. A nationwide rollout will be completed during 2002. After the U.S. is complete the new couple are looking to take their act internationally. The arrangement will promote digital entertainment (including DirecTV), telephone services, high-speed Internet connection and other emerging new technologies.
Where will the video stores find space to place these new ventures? Some of it will come at the expense of a declining VHS market. According to Blockbuster chairman, John Antioco, "We carry 7,000 VHS titles which, on the whole rent very well. But there's certainly some pruning that can be done with that inventory."
|STUDIOS BEGIN TO NOTICE DVD EXTRAS
THE MEXICAN opened theatrically on March 2. Studios began planning its DVD extras months prior to that. SPIDER-MAN has just started production. There's been a flurry of activity considering its extra features for the DVD release since last November. Studio execs are beginning to wakeup to the fact that there's all this lovely space on a disc that they hadn't really thought about before. As a result, look for increasingly tantalizing side dishes as the months go on. Let's just hope that they don't decide to use that space for more marketing and advertising.
|DVD PRICE WARS
As reported in our last issue, Blockbuster demands two-tiered DVD pricing that would favor them as a rental store (a high initial price with an eventual bump down to sell-through). BestBuys likes things just the way they are now, thank-you very much, since it plays to their strength as a sell-through store. The studios are stressed out trying to keep two very big customers satisfied. They could keep the current model (approximately $24.95 suggested retail with a store like BestBuy marketing it for $19.95), knuckle under to the two-tiered system or review each title on a case-by-case basis. At the moment look for the studios to do nothing. But that won't last forever. As one exec put it, "The bottom line, it's a power struggle. By the end of the year, it's going to be very difficult to keep everyone happy."
|VHS PRICE WARS
Word's beginning to leak of some pricing changes on the horizon for VHS. In 1997, thanks to a baffling array of buying incentive programs, VHS wholesale prices started to fall, even though consumers didn't see much of a drop. Studios are beginning to consider scrapping the whole idea of rental pricing and to release all VHS titles at sell-through pricing. They've already begun to feel the pricing pinch between VHS and DVD. Some retailers are beginning to pass an expensive VHS title altogether, for non-essential releases, and stocking it on the cheaper DVD format. It's difficult to know how this will effect video retailers. On the one hand, their cost of inventory will fall. On the other hand, they'll lose their protective rental window, meaning that many people will go to discounters like WalMart and buy an inexpensive title rather than rent it.
If there is a massive pricing change it will probably be about two years before we see it completed. I'll keep you posted as it progresses.
|PRE-ODER YOUR NEW DVD'S WITH AMAZON ANYTIME!
Amazon.com has gone into the business of prognostication. They're reviewing current and recent theatrical releases, movies that are months away from being released onto video, guestimating what the price and possible release date will be, and taking pre-orders on the DVD's. You can prebook titles like CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON; CAST AWAY; HANNIBAL and HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS even though some of them aren't expected to release until the end of this year. Their feeling is that this is an ideal way to capitalize on a title while its theatrical marketing is still circulating.
Rental titles releasing 4/3: ANATOMY is about an ambitious medical student who gets accepted into a prestigious anatomy class. There's just one little problem - her classmates are turning up as dead as their anatomy subjects. She discovers a secret society in which the members like to perform autopsies on live subjects. This is a German film. You can rent either a dubbed or subtitled VHS or buy a subtitled DVD for $24.95.
Rental title releasing 4/10: TOKYO RAIDERS has a reputed gang leader who has crossed the wrong people. Now a rival gang, the police and a powerful businessman are out to find him. They're all hoping that his beautiful girlfriend will inadvertently lead them to him, but in this high-stakes world, the players are not always who they appear to be. The VHS is a rental. The DVD sells for $29.95. . . . ARMAGEDDON is coming to VHS. This one does not have Bruce Willis spraying testosterone all over a tumbling space rock. This one is Chinese. In this version (from 1989) the end of the millennium is coming and 10 scientists are mysteriously incinerated one-by-one. One of the last survivors must try to solve this mystery and deal with the end of the world as well. If you want to see how this two-fisted scientist makes out, rent the tape today (see sell-through for 4/24 for the DVD release).
Rental titles releasing 4/17: SPACE COWBOYS was directed by and stars Clint Eastwood. It also stars Tommy Lee Jones , James Garner , James Cromwell and Donald Sutherland. Four men who gained notoriety during the 1950s in the Air Force as the country's bravest and most daring test pilots, must regroup 40 years later to become astronauts and repair a Russian satellite in space that is almost as old as they are. The VHS is a rental. The DVD lists for $26.98.
Rental titles releasing 4/24: LITTLE NICKY, the Adam Sandler film from last year that tanked at the box-office, sees if it can do better as a VHS rental today. The supporting cast includes Patricia Arquette, Rodney Dangerfield, Harvey Keitel, Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, Quentin Tarantino and Reese Witherspoon. . . . IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE is the story of a suburban family who is held hostage and terrorized by three nasty intruders. Their sixteen year-old daughter hides at first. She then exacts her own brand of terror on the assailants. The VHS is a rental. the DVD is $24.98. . . . A CRACK IN THE FLOOR teaches us all a lesson that we should never forget - don't ever go camping in a low-budget movie. It's just not fun! In the plot, three couples (who just haven't learned this lesson well enough) go on a hiking trip. So what do you think they get - maybe a cardio-vascular workout and a little slap & tickle in the great outdoors? Nope. They get an exercise in terror when they set up camp in an abandoned cabin. This being a low-budget film, zoning requires that a tormented and evil man lives secretly in the basement. You figure it out from there. The VHS is a rental. The DVD sells for $19.95. . . . THE RANDOM FACTOR is sort of a low-budget Canadian rip-off of the TV show SLIDERS. A man awakens from a deep coma to find himself in a parallel universe that is entirely backwards to all he knows (I wonder who won the last U.S. presidential election over there - Pat Buchannan?). It features the voice of Dan Akroyd as the computer that controls it all. It's available only as a VHS rental. . . . WITCH HUNTER tells the story of a group of college students who go on a search for treasure deep in a primeval forest. They unknowingly trespass on an ancient Native American burial ground and awaken a 6,000 year old evil spirit that is thirsty for blood. This is a VHS rental. . . . XCHANGE is a very exciting movie. In the near future, a company called Xchange owns a mind transference technology that enables instantaneous travel by swapping bodies with someone at the destination. A member of the privileged corporate class ("Corpie") Xchanging for the first time unwittingly switches bodies with a terrorist. Forced to hide in a limited life span cloned body with just 2 days remaining, he races against time to stop the terrorist and regain his body. Check it out. This is a movie that actually requires the audience to use their brains! The VHS is a rental. The DVD is $24.98.
Sell through titles releasing 4/3: Five volumes of STAR TREK: VOYAGER release today. Episode 32 is "Lifesigns," 33 is "Meld," 34 is "Dreadnaught," 35 us "Investigation" and Episode 36 is "Lifesigns." . . . Several high-profile titles from Warner Brothers release to VHS today. FREQUENCY, PLEASENTVILLE, and THE MASK are in the mix. They're $14.98 each. . . . SCARY MOVIE is heading to VHS sellthrough today. The original tagline for the film was "No mercy. No shame. No sequel." On this edition the word "no" in front of "sequel" has been crossed off. The sequel to this phenomenally successful little film is in the works. Enjoy the original for $19.99. . . . SOUTH PARK: TIMMY features the enigmatic (even by SOUTH PARK standards!) title character in three episodes. The VHS goes for $14.95. . . . THE LOST WORLD gets re-issued today. We're not talking JURASSIC PARK here. We're talking the 1925 silent version with Wallace Beery as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's hero, Professor Challenger. The special effects were done by Willis O'Brien. This is the only version done during Conan Doyle's lifetime. This is the restored version, not the badly butchered one from the thirties. The VHS is $19.98. The DVD is $24.98. . . . Speaking of classics, FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER from 1928 comes to DVD today. This short (15-minute) film borrowed heavily from the sort of german abstract expressionist cinema that produced THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI. Last year USHER was placed on the list of films to preserved for all time by the Film Preservation Board. You can own it for $24.99. . . . PEE WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE gets re-issued today. It's fun to see this twisted universe concocted by Paul Reubens and Tim Burton. The VHS-only release is $14.95. . . . THE BEAST THAT KILLED WOMEN/THE MONSTER OF CAMP SUNSHINE make up a double heap of DVD exploitation dung from the sixties. BEAST (from 1965) is, simply, a giant gorilla who terrorizes women in a nudist camp. The best line from the movie? "At first I thought it was some guy in a monkey suit!" In MONSTER (from 1964) A scientist carelessly dumps some toxic waste into a river. The gardener at a nudist camp drinks the water, turns into a monster and attacks all the (female) nudists. Feel like you're getting a deja vu between the two movies? The double-whammy DVD sells for $24.99. . . . A trilogy of the disturbing films of Brazilian horror star and director, José Mojica Marins (better known as Coffin Joe) arrive on DVD today. AT MIDNIGHT I'LL TAKE YOUR SOUL, from 1963, marks the debut of the Coffin Joe character (and of Brazilian horror cinema). Coffin Joe is a funeral agent who terrorizes a small town. He mocks people's beliefs and is obsessed with the idea of generating the perfect son. He pursues his goal endlessly and cruelly, not knowing of the consequences with which he'll have to bear. THIS NIGHT I'LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE, from 1966, is a sequel to the 1963 film. The story starts exactly where the first movie left off, with Coffin Joe surviving the supernatural attack of the first movie. Being absolved of the crimes he committed, he returns to his city, still in search of the ideal woman to bear him a perfect son, this time aided by the hunchback servant Bruno. Joe kidnaps and tests several women who may prove worthy of bearing his offspring. All of them fail, and as they are being eliminated (with real live snakes!) a curse is set upon Coffin Joe . . . a curse that will send the funeral agent to hell! The movie suffered cuts to appease the military dictatorship in control of Brazil at the time. AWAKENING OF THE BEAST from 1970 is the third part of the trilogy. Here's where the wheels come off the cart. This film departs from the others and focuses in on bizarre drug experiences and rituals. Cinematically though, it might be the best of the litter. Each disc is $29.99 each. . . . DEFENDING YOUR LIFE is the Albert Brooks fantasy/comedy about a man, killed in a car accident, finding himself forced to justify his life before a heavenly tribunal. This DVD-only release sells for $19.98. . . . KRULL is a 1983 sword-and-sorcery flick coming to DVD today. Look for a pre-Oskar Schindler and Qui-Gon Jinn Liam Neeson making one of his earliest screen appearances. The disc sells for $24.95. . . . THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR, a movie about the discovery of self-contained worlds of virtual reality, gets released today on VHS. It sells for $9.95. . . . DELICATESSEN is a surrealistic French film set in a post-apocalyptic world. It's takes place in a run-down, quirky apartment building where the landlord (who is also the butcher in his downstairs deli) kills visitors to feed his tenants. This doesn't seem to bother the residents, who belly up to the deli counter on mornings after a murder to get their share of meat. Some of them even help the landlord when it comes time to kill. You see, times are tough, and people are hungry. (even human flesh can provide sustenance in the world of surreal make believe). But there's a new visitor in the building, a circus performer who signs-on as a handyman. He hits it off with the landlord's daughter. They become attached. But the residents get hungry for meat, and chaos ensues. It's yours, on VHS, for $7.95. . . . DUST DEVIL features a demonic entity that hitchhikes across the desert taking possession of bodies with which to commit ritualistic murders. He leaves behind crime scenes with their walls minutely detailed with glyphs and signals painted in the victims' blood. A skeptical detective finally enlists the help of an old shaman who knows the creature's vulnerabilities and the killer is stopped - or is it? This is a dark, gory, mystical film with a strong, haunting atmosphere. It's yours on VHS for $7.99. . . . IDLE HANDS centers on a lazy, pot-smoking teenager who develops a strange disease. His right hand becomes a killing machine with a mind of its own. His hand murders his parents and his best friends. Somehow, it has to be stopped. This VHS is $9.95. . . . OPTION ZERO is a Chinese film set during the 1997 departure of English government from Hong Kong. With the change of governments an elite secret police force is also on its way out. However, this team of highly trained cops discovers that they have one final mission together. This one puts them in the fight of their lives! This on DVD-only for $24.95. . . . ROUGE is a romantic and tragic Chinese ghost story. It tells the story of an ill-fated romance that takes place in Hong Kong during the Thirties. A courtesan in a lavish brothel begins a relationship with a wealthy and troubled young man who stands to take over a lucrative family business. Unfortunately, this cross-class pairing is doomed. On the eve that he's to return home to marry his cousin, she makes a desperate bid to stay with her lover through a suicide pact, in the hopes of meeting in hell (the Chinese terminology for the afterlife). Sadly she never meets up with him, and ends up returning to Earth to find him. By now, fifty-three years have passed, and the Hong Kong that she knew is long gone. Disoriented by the unfamiliar surroundings, she asks for help from a newspaper reporter and his girlfriend. Together, they begin a search of Hong Kong that uncovers some disquieting truths. You can own this movie on DVD for $24.95. . . . STARSHIP TROOPERS comes to VHS today. Cheer mankind's fight against the bugs for $9.95. . . . THEFT UNDER THE SUN is a Chinese action film with a possibly crooked undercover cop. When a police bust on the infiltrated gang goes wrong and the boss escapes, the undercover agent takes the heat. While he's on leave, he realizes that the police are watching him as if he were a criminal. When he runs across the crime boss, the cop decides to join him in his newest venture. But has he actually turned to life of crime, or is he engaging in some unauthorized undercover work in an attempt to clear his reputation? That is the question his superiors must answer as he prepares to smuggle a truckload of missiles into the city. It's on DVD for $24.95. . . . WINGS OF FAME is the ultimate obsessed fan story. Peter O'Toole plays a Hollywood movie star hounded by an avid fan. When the fan kills the star, the obsession doesn't stop there. He follows the object of his fascination into the afterlife and keeps after him. This is said to be a very sharp and funny film that suffered from poor distribution. You can own it for $7.99 on VHS.
Sell through titles releasing 4/10: THE BEAST MUST DIE is a 1972 film. A half a dozen people have been invited to a fine estate. One of them's a werewolf and will be hunted down by the end of the night. Peter Cushing plays an expert on lycanthropy. The VHS is $19.98. This DVD is $24.99. . . . CHILDREN OF THE CORN, from 1984, is based on a Stephen King short story of the same title. It's hard to believe that this movie sparked a five volume series! Peter Horton (from TV's thirtysomething and BRIMSTONE) and Linda Hamilton (from the same year she did THE TERMINATOR) are travelers who get stuck in a creepy Midwestern town populated by a cult of children who've murdered all the adults. The VHS is $9.99. The DVD sells for $24.98. . . . CREEPSHOW 2 is a 1987 anthology film that features three creepy stories from Stephen King and George Romero. The VHS is $9.99. The DVD is $24.98. . . . MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE is, arguably, the worst Stephen King work ever brought to the screen. Its nastiness is made all the more pungent by the identity of its director - King himself! This flick, with a wafer thin plot of cars, trucks and other machinery coming to life and attacking their owners, quickly became notorious as a jack-knifed, overturned wreck along the cinematic highway. Catch the mayhem on video for $9.99 or DVD for $24.98. . . . TANK GIRL is an apt name for this turkey. "Tank" is what it did at the box office when it was released in 1995. Tank Girl and her cohort Jet Girl are among the humans struggling to survive on post-apocalyptic Earth. They steal a tank and a jet and go up against the existing government who control all the remaining food and water on the planet. For $19.98 you can atone for your past abstention and sit down and enjoy (or at least watch) this movie on DVD. . . . PIN is one of those movies that gets these disquieting adjectives affixed to it. People who've seen it describe it as "disturbing," "weird," "off-putting" and "unsettling." It's a 1988 Canadian production about a boy named Leon and his doll named "Pin" (as in "Pinnochio"). Who is butchering all of the boy's enemies? Is it Leon? Or is it Pin? Find out for yourself. The VHS is $9.99. The DVD is $24.98. . . . FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC is a 1987 movie that stars Louise Fletcher, Victoria Tennant and Kristy Swanson. Based on the novel by V.C. Andrews, it's about a deranged woman who keeps her children locked in the attic for years. This DVD release sells for $24.98. . . . As we so often have here in the VIDEOCY section, from this point on for the remainder of this day we'll be globe trotting around the planet in search of the perfect video-rush. We start with our great neighbors to the north, Canada. LEONARD MALTIN'S ANIMATION FAVORITES is the perfect DVD for lovers of high-quality innovative animation. These are all from the National Board of Canada. It sells for $24.99. . . . From here we go to Asia. There are a pair of inexpensive martial arts films hitting the sale bin today. THE DEATH DUEL OF KUNG FU has an army of Kung Fu warriors that are on a mission to Taiwan to search out and destroy a general who is planning an attack. FLASH: FUTURE KUNG FU is set in a future where martial arts turns into the only way to survive. It features a boxing match between a man and a kangaroo. You'll have to check the fine-print yourself to see if any marsupials were harmed during the making of this movie. Both movies are English dubbed with the VHS at $9.95 and the DVD for $14.95. . . . Continuing in China, we have TOWER OF DEATH. It contains previously unused footage of Bruce Lee in this actioner in which a man is searching for the killer of his older brother. It includes scenes cut from Lee's movies (some of which were made when he was still a kid) and even parts of his funeral. To cover up the use of old footage (as if we didn't know that already) they chose to use a stand-in in some of the scenes. Add to that the dreadful acting, directing, music (also stolen from other movies) and camera-work and you've got an instant kung-fu-trash classic. The result has to be seen to be believed. It's in Chinese with English subtitles. This DVD sells for $19.98. . . . ZERO WOMAN is a popular Japanese series offering erotica and action mixed together in this story of a special unit of the Tokyo police. There are two titles from the series being released today. In ZERO WOMAN: ASSASSIN LOVER, our main character, Rei is a lethal undercover agent working for the Zero Department, a deadly shadow division of the police force. When memories of her father's death begin to surface, she finds comfort in the arms of a fellow assassin. In ZERO WOMAN: THE ACCUSED men are turning up dead - brutally murdered with a precision worthy of the Zero Division's finest assassin. Now, undercover agent Rei is on the run from her own kind and hot on the trail of a cold-blooded killer who is her equal in every way. . . . LEGEND OF SURAM FORTRESS is a 1985 Russian film. It's a story of exiles, poverty, serfdom, murder and the supernatural, with stories within stories, and an almost buoyant ending celebrating resistance and culture. It tells the surreal story of an ancient legend about a human sacrifice required of ancient Georgian warriors. This DVD also includes a 19th century romance, Ashik Kerib. It's yours for $29.95. . . . ORLOFF AND THE INVISIBLE MAN is an ultra-useless French flick from 1971. A mad scientist creates a marauding invisible creature. Once baby powder's thrown on him it turns out to be an invisible gorilla. So I guess the guys who owned those gorilla suits that low-budget U.S. movies from the forties and fifties and idiotic TV shows from the sixties loved to use had a final fling at French poverty-row productions in the seventies. The VHS is $19.98. The disc is $24.99.
Sell through titles releasing 4/17: CONEHEADS, the SNL sketch that became a movie, becomes a DVD today. You can watch the misadventures of Beldar, Prymatt and Connie for $29.99. . . . DEAD FIRE is a cheap little sci-fi action flick. Matt ("Max Headroom") Frewer and C. Thomas Howell star in this story of a futuristic ship that's been besieged by an evil commander who plots to stop the ship from its important mission of repopulating the Earth. The VHS is $9.99. The DVD is $14.99. . . . THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PHILIP K. DICK takes an in-depth look at one of the most popular and successful Science Fiction writers, Philip K. Dick. He wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which was filmed as BLADE RUNNER. His story "I Can Dream It for You Wholesale" was filmed as TOTAL RECALL. The VHS is $24.95. The DVD is $29.95. . . . GREEN SNAKE takes place in the enchanted mystical China found only in myths and film. Two snakes transform themselves into two beautiful women. White Snake bonds with a scholar named Xian Xu as her husband and enjoys human life. Green Snake enjoys a life of pleasure and burns with jealousy aimed at White Snake. Green Snake goes behind her friend's back and flirts with Xian Xu. When he eventually discovers that they're both snakes he enlists the aid of a monk. Then the battles start and things get interesting. This is adapted from an old Chinese folk story. It's only available exclusively on DVD and sells for $19.95. . . . SUGAR - HOWLING OF ANGEL is an Asian action picture with a different sort of twist to it. After the death of her husband and child, a young woman becomes an assassin dealing with drugs and prostitution. This DVD-only release sells for $24.95.
Sell through titles releasing 4/24: THE MUMMY ULTIMATE EDITION is the ultimate promo dream. It includes the recent "incarnation" of THE MUMMY, a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of the sequel, a link to a live Webcast of the premiere and an interactive PC MUMMY Game. This DVD goes for $29.98. . . . THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR. T. is a classic 1953 fantasy that makes its way to DVD today. It's from the wildly inventive mind of Dr. Seuss. A young boy dreams of a fantasy world that is ruled by his eccentric piano teacher (Hans Conried at his nasally best!). The DVD includes a bonus cartoon "Gerald McBoing's Symphony" and a link to the official Dr. Suess Website. It sells for $24.95. . . . ARMAGEDDON comes to DVD today. This ain't the Bruce-Willis-and-his-merry-men-whup-the-space-rock-movie. See rental titles for 4/10 for a description. The disc sells for $29.95. . . . A BLADE IN THE DARK is a 1983 Italian movie, subtitled in English. A composer, working in isolation on a score for a horror movie meets two women who used to know his house's former tenant. When the women disappear, he's forced to look into the film he's working on to determine what happened to them, and who's responsible. The VHS is $14.95. The DVD is $24.98. . . . BLAST FROM THE PAST is about a family that spends 30 years in a bomb shelter, based on a false alarm, and their son's wonder at the world that awaits him when he emerges. This VHS-only film is $14.98. . . . DIGITAL SEX: THE SEX FILES sleazes it's way off of late-night cable and onto VHS today. A new, powerful virtual reality technology pits two couples against each other. They each want it for their own and will do just about anything to get it. Gee, I wonder what they want it for. Pony up $14.98 and find out for yourself. . . . GHOST, the 1990 film with Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg comes to DVD today. While watching it ask yourself the question, if you were dead and wanted to communicate with the living which would you work on - spinning your ectoplasm on moving a penny around or focusing on picking up a pen and jotting a note? Oh well. The disc sells for $29.99. . . . LOST IN SPACE, from 1998, managed to make the Irwin Allen 60's series look good. Join Gary Oldman, William Hurt, Matt Leblanc, Heather Graham, Mimi Rogers and their lovable space monkey, Blawp, as they journey forth in a futile attempt to guide this movie away from red ink and into the black. This VHS can be yours for $9.98. . . . MAIL ORDER MAIDEN 28 is about a lonely guy who fears he'll never find a girl. His prayers are answered with a new service that provides mail-order girls who happen to be androids. The VHS is $19.98. The DVD is $24.98. . . . THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER is a 1982 sword-and-sorcery film. A mercenary with a three-bladed sword rediscovers his royal heritage when he is recruited to help a princess foil the designs of a brutal tyrant and a powerful sorcerer in conquering their land. Some folks laud this film as a rip-roaring, pulse-pounding adventure thrill ride. Others call it a low-budgetd simple-minded CONAN-wannabe. Decide for yourself. The VHS is $9.95. The DVD is $24.98.
|THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
Sally Mansfield is an actress whose worked livened up many a Baby Boomer's childhood, though her name is little remembered now. She was a contract player with Paramount for a while. Her principal role was as Vena Ray, the navigator and assistant aboard the United Worlds rocketships Orbit Jet and Silver Moon in the syndicated television series ROCKY JONES, SPACE RANGER. There were only 15 episodes of the show ever filmed, but thanks to syndication (yes, there were bad sci-fi shows in syndication even then) the programs cycled endlessly across program-starved local stations. Dress me and my two older sisters in ski pajamas and I'd get to be Rocky Jones while my sisters were the nice Vena Ray or the evil Cleolanta. Thanks Sally. Whether you were on the tiny round screen of my parents old Bendix television or serving as a template for one of my sisters jumping up and down on a mattress, you were always a great second-banana to the guardian of the universe.
got to do something that very few people get to do. He let the world see
through his eyes. And even more remarkable is what those eyes saw. His
reputation was as one of Hollywood's most thorough cameramen. He was well-known
for his gifted eye for light and color demonstrated in such films as CHINATOWN
(1974), CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977), SCARFACE (1983), STAR
TREK: GENERATIONS (1994) and the black and white 2000 TV production of
the voice of television's CASPER THE FRIENDLY GHOST, GUMBY and other animated
characters, has died of a heart attack. She was 79. Macmillan entertained
a generation of children by giving a voice to popular cartoon characters
such as Casper, the mild-mannered ghost who refused to frighten children,
and Sweet Polly Purebread of the UNDERDOG series.
Hanna comprised the half of the team of Hanna & Barbera.
They revolutionized television animation by creating hundreds of enduring
characters such as Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, the Flintstones, Scooby
Doo, the Jetsons and numerous others. Mr. Hanna was 90.
Donald Reed founded a club quite similar to the Imaginative Cinema Society. He was the founder and president of the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films. Born in New Orleans, Reed grew up in Los Angeles, where he became a film buff. He earned a bachelor's degree from Loyola Marymount University and a law degree from USC, but devoted most of his time to writing and promoting genre films. He wrote several books, including The Vampire on the Screen and Science Fiction Film Awards. In 1962, Reed founded the Count Dracula Society, a literary group that studies gothic literature. In 1980, he founded the Academy of Family Films and Television and two years later the Council of Film Organizations. But he was best known for the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, which he founded in 1972 and ran until his death. He developed the Saturn Awards to recognize outstanding science fiction films. Nominations for the 27th annual Saturns will be reported in next month's "ICS Files." The awards ceremony will honor Reed. One of Reed's favorite films was the original 1977 STAR WARS, which he said brought respect to the genre film. "The year 1977 was the turning point of my life," he once said. "It put me on the map." After that, Reed found it easy to syndicate his annual Saturn Awards on television, and overnight became a nationally known consultant on science-fiction. He died at his home in Los Angeles. He was 65.
TUE. 3RD - VIDEO RENTAL: ANATOMY becomes rentable today.
VIDEO SELL-THROUGH: Five volumes of STAR TREK: VOYAGER,
FREQUENCY, PLEASENTVILLE, THE MASK, SACRY MOVIE, SOUTH
PARK: TIMMY, THE LOST WORLD, STARSHIP TROOPERS, PEE WEE'S
BIG ADVENTURE, THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR, DELICATESSAN, DUST
DEVIL, IDLE HANDS, and WINGS OF FAME all go on sale today.
DVD SELL-THROUGH: ANATOMY, FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER,
THE LOST WORLD, THE BEAST THAT KILLED WOMEN/ THE MONSTER
OF CAMP SUNSHINE, AT MIDNIGHT I'LL TAKE YOUR SOUL, THIS
NIGHT I'LL POSSESS YOUR CORPSE, AWAKENING OF THE BEAST,
DEFENDING YOUR LIFE, KRULL, OPTION ZERO, ROUGE and THEFT
UNDER THE SUN go on sale today.
FRI. 6TH - MOVIE: ALONG CAME A SPIDER, BLOW and JUST VISITING debut today.
MON. 9TH - TV - CRUSADE the companion series to BABYLON 5, debuts
on the Sci-Fi
TUE. 10TH - VIDEO RENTAL: TOKYO RAIDERS and ARMAGEDDON hit rentals
WED. 11TH - TV: SPECIAL UNIT 2 debuts on UPN at 9:00 P.M.
THUR-SUN. 12TH-15TH - EVENT: THE JOHNS HOPKINS FILM FESTIVAL
TUE. 17TH - VIDEO RENTAL: SPACE COWBOYS hits rental shelves today.
THUR. 17TH - MON. 29TH - EVENT: FILMFEST DC
TUE. 24TH - VIDEO RENTAL: LITTLE NICKY, IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE, A
FRI. 27TH: MOVIE - THE FORSAKEN debuts today.
FRI-SUN 27TH-28TH - EVENT: CHILLER THEATER TOY, MODEL, AND FILM EXPO