2.NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
3.JUNE WILL BE A MONTH OF SERIALS AND CULTS
4.CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SHORE LEAVE
5.TWO OTHER NOTES ABOUT SHORE LEAVE
6.GOTTA PROBLEM? SEE A BOARD MEMBER
9.PANEL THEMES, MOVIE THEMES AND MARKETING
10.THE GLASS TEAT
With news about BUFFY, ANGEL, STRANGE FREQUENCY, BUZZ LIGHTYEAR OF STAR COMMAND, X-MEN EVOLUTION, ROMEO & JULIE-CAT, David Boreanaz's WB fireworks, THE IRON CHEF, INNOCENT BLOOD: THE TRUE STORY, BALL AND CHAIN and the BATTLEFIELD EARTH animated series.
11.AFI SALUTES A CENTURY OF THRILLS
12.A PAIR OF ANGEL'S WOMEN FACE AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE
13.BABYLON 5: LEGEND OF THE RANGERS CAST AND CREW
14.WHEDON SAYS BUFFY WILL DEFINITELY RETURN
15.BIGGER MONEY FOR BUFFY TRANSLATES INTO SMALLER BUDGETS
16.BUFFY FOR NEXT SEASON
17.A POSSIBLE U.K. BUFFY SPINOFF
19.UPN ENTER'S THE DEAD ZONE
22.PAX TV IS LEFT BEHIND
23.A GLIMPSE AT FALL: WHO'S IN?
24.A GLIMPSE AT FALL: WHO'S OUT?
25.A GLIMPSE AT FALL: WHO'S CHANGED
26.HERE'S WHAT FALL LOOKS LIKE FOR IMAGINATIVE TV
27.WHAT'S HAPPENING THIS SUMMER?
WITCHBLADE PICKS UP WHERE IT LEFT OFF
28.X-FILES RETURNS FOR YEAR 9
29.DUCHOVNY: FROM "X" TO EX
30.WHO'LL LET THE DOGGET OUT?
31.THINGS TO COME
With news on the ASIAN FANTASY FILM FILM EXPO, FANEX 15, SHORE LEAVE 23, OTAKON, HORRORFIND and THE MILLENNIUM PHILCON.
32.THE STOKER AWARDS ARE PRESENTED
33.AN EVENING WITH ARTHUR C. CLARKE
34.THE LAST OF DOUGLAS ADAMS
35.JOSS WHEDON GIVES US TALES OF THE SLAYER
36.JOSS WHEDON ENTER THE "FRAY"
37.JACKIE CHAN AND THE ART OF WAR
38.BLADE 2 TURNS THE BEAT AROUND
39.COPPOLA SAYS "I HATE THE MOVIE INDUSTRY"
40.NICK NOLTE CONDEMNS THE 'IGNORANCE' OF HOLLYWOOD'
41.CUBE 2: HYPERCUBE
42.THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER IS IN TROUBLE
43.THE EXORCIST SUIT - THE POWER OF BUCKS COMPELS YOU!
44.HALLOWEEN, THE FRANCHISE THAT WOULDN'T DIE
45.HAMMER, THE STUDIO THAT WOULDN'T DIE
46.PIERCE BROSNAN WANTS TO SPELL BOND WITH AN "R"
47.LORD OF THE RINGS GETS PREVIEWED AT CANNES
48.LORD OF THE RINGS GETS AN UNUSUAL SCORE
49.THE FIRST MATRIX SEQUEL TITLE IS ANNOUNCED
50.ROBERT RODRIGUEZ IS MAKING A DESPERADO SEQUEL
51.MIKE MYERS FOLLOWS THE TRAIL OF PETER SELLERS
52.A POLITICALLY CORRECT PEARL HARBOR
53.NEWSWEEK SPOOFS PEARL HARBOR HYPE
54.PLANET OF THE APES IS ALMOST COMPLETELY NEW
55.SAMSUNG GETS INTO THE MOVIE BUSINESS
56.SHREK SEQUEL IS PLANNED
57.LUCAS CONTEMPLATES STAR WARS EPISODE III
58.EWAN McGREGOR COMPLIMENTS THE EPISODE II SCRIPT
59.EPISODE II SNEAKS AT THIS YEAR'S DRAGON*CON
60.SIMON WELLS RAN OUT OF TIME
61.ANGELINA JOLIE'S LARA FLINT DOLLS ARE ANATOMICALLY CORRECT
62.A NEW LOW HAS BEEN SET
63.TREK X FOCUSES ON TROI
64.DUCHOVNY SAYS, "WHAT, ME MULDER?"
65.HUGH JACKMAN MEETS SOME SERIOUS WOLVERINE FANS
66.R-RATED REVENUE HAS FALLEN THANKS TO ENFORCEMENT
67.PRODUCERS AND ACTORS RACE AGAINST A LOOMING DEADLINE
68.IMAGINATIVE CINEMA FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE
With news on EVOLUTION, SWORDFISH, TOMB RAIDER, ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE, DR. DOOLITTLE 2 and A.I:ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.
69.MAKE YOUR OWN JAPANESE SCI-FI MOVIE
70.GEOCACHING TO PROMOTE PLANET OF THE APES
71.CARS, ACTION, MARKETING, FAME AND THE INTERNET
72.STUDIOS MAY HELP THEATERS CONVERT TO DIGITAL
73.ROGER EBERT SAYS DIGITAL PROJECTION COULD BOOST INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS
74.COMING SOON: MOVIE TICKETS ON YOUR CELL PHONE
75.DISNEY AND VIACOM BUDDY UP ON VOD
76.THE COST OF DVD'S
77.LORD OF THE RINGS DVDs ARE ALREADY PLANNED
79.THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
We remember Douglas Adams, Jason Miller, Gary Wissner and Maurice J. Noble.
The May meeting was sensational! We had our first ever literary night! Our creative minds got to display their wares with poetry and works of short fiction. Gary Roberson wrote a story (dedicated to the Seaview's favorite son, Dave Henderson) called, "Late Night Liberty," that had members of the Seaview's crew acting the way boastful and boisterous tars behave when they're defending the honor of their ship in a bar. Norman Prentiss read a trio of wonderfully eerie poems - "The Heaven of Severed Arms," "In Case of Accident" and "Dead Animal Remover." Dave Henderson wrote the piece that he'd been dared to write - "Ode to Admiral Nelson." Yours truly rounded out the evening with a story called, "A Bust at the F.V.I.," that I wrote after wondering just where all those frightened villagers come from in movies. Do you know the ones I mean? The screaming multitudes that become speed bumps and chew toys for fearsome critters. I created the "F.V.I." (Frightened Villagers, Inc.) to explore just how they got in that situation.
Charlie Wittig supplied the films. His theme was "No Stinkers Night." We wound up watching the unstinkiest science fiction film of all time - THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. Plus we reviewed and passed our "Code of Conduct,". We spoke about calendars, dealing with problems and movies that we've seen. We ate too much, talked too much and laughed too hard! It was great!
|NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
Our June meeting will be held on Saturday June 30th at 6:00 P.M. at the church hall behind the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church located at 8848 BelAir Road. Take Baltimore Beltway exit 32 north on Belair Road. Turn left onto Joppa Road. Immediately past the miniature golf course turn left into the parking lot. If you miss it there are ample turn-around opportunities. If you get stuck call 410-598-8005. That's Dave Henderson's cell phone. He'll talk you in.
|JUNE WILL BE A MONTH OF SERIALS AND CULTS
June will kick off with Episode 2 of Barry Murphy's serial presentation: CLIFFHANGER CORNUCOPIA. Chapter 1 was "THE SKIPPER STRIKES." Chapter 2 is "MEN WITH HATS." Its a celebration of the great stunt work in classic serials (you know, the ones where the combatants never loose their hats no matter how ferocious the battle). Maybe we can get him to throw Joe Plempel out a window!
Vince DiLeonardi will be bringing in the movies. His theme will be "50's Cult Sci-Fi." He was still getting his titles together when we spoke but, knowing Vince, I'm sure that it will be good.
|CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SHORE LEAVE
Our June 30 meeting will be our final gathering before Shore Leave. If you have anything to contribute to the club that we can sell please bring it by then. The Board will meet the following day to price everything and prep it for the show. If you're looking to clean out your collections, this is the time to do it.
We'll also need contributions of manpower. We still need folks to volunteer to staff the booth during the three days of the show. Long stretches of time are great but if you can only sit in here and there, that's fine too. It might give someone who's been at the table for hours a chance to stretch their legs and look around.
|TWO OTHER NOTES ABOUT SHORE LEAVE
First of all, if you'd like to assist us at the table but don't wish to attend the show, no problem. I think Shore Leave is an excellent show but, for those of you who don't want to pay to get in there's no charge for people just visiting the Dealer's Room. For people who are somewhat curious about the show but don't want to spend a lot of time there, we'll have a couple of complimentary passes to attend the show that come with the table. We'll need to rotate them so that we can assure that everyone who wants them can have them but if you just want a quick peek, that's the way to go.
Secondly, there's been a change in the guest lineup. William Campbell, an actor who's guested on the original TREK as both a Klingon and the Squire of Gothos (he reprised the Klingon role on DS9) has had to cancel due to health reasons. He's been doubly replaced with the additions of both Jerry Doyle (Security Chief Michael Garibaldi on BABYLON 5), and Mary Kay Adams (of both DS9 and BABYLON 5).
|GOTTA PROBLEM? SEE A BOARD MEMBER
If you're at a meeting and something or someone is really bothering you, you've got three options: (A) do nothing and later whine and complain to everyone about it, (B) leave and never come back or (C) tell a Board member about it. This is not a guarantee that the problem will magically go away, but there's a chance it will. If you notice things such as rude behavior (in violation of out Code of Conduct), the room temperature is too hot or too cold, there's a problem with seating or anything else that's seriously impairing your enjoyment of a meeting, don't gossip about it to other members. Don't leave in a rage. Tell a Board member. We'll do our best to remedy the situation.
|Cynthia Gaver promised to donate some items for sale to support the club for Shore Leave. She wasn't able to make it to the May meeting when some out-of-town guests arrived. She knew she'd be unavailable to get them to us later (she's spending the summer in Russia). She showed off her school spirit by sending a fairly heavy box of goodies through the mail. Way to go Cynthia! Thanks, and let us know if you can get an ICS chapter opened in Moscow!|
Work has begun on our 2002 calendar. This will be our first themed-calendar. This one will be in honor of Universal monsters. It will have a series of images from classic Universal films and dates commemorating that studio and its stars. Of course we'll also have meeting dates, ICS anniversaries and notes about conventions in the Mid-Atlantic area. We should have the calendar in you hands by the early Fall. We're taking orders now.
|PANEL THEMES, MOVIE THEMES AND MARKETING
The Board would like to start planning ahead when it comes to themes for movies and planning panels. If we know in advance what themes we'll be focusing on in a movie and a panel we'll be able to send more effective notices and press releases. We have planned our roster of people bringing movies until May 2002 ! We'll need to start booking ahead on panel presentations as well and come up with themes for both.
Our current list of movie people for the rest of this year are:
|THE GLASS TEAT
Spike is L.A. bound. BUFFY's current resident vampire Spike, played by James Marsters, is said to be abandoning his nice cool crypt in Sunnydale. Look for him in next season's ANGEL. . . . VH1 has announced casting for STRANGE FREQUENCY. VH1 is casting guest stars for its upcoming STRANGE FREQUENCY, a TWILIGHT-ZONE-like half-hour anthology series premiering in September. The supernatural series will air on Saturdays at 10 p.m. Guest stars will include Ally Sheedy, Stuart Margolin, Peter Strauss, Wendie Malick, Patsy Kensit and Roger Daltrey. Super hero Emmies. Animated super hero shows were among the winners of creative daytime Emmy awards, which were presented over the weekend in Los Angeles. BATMAN BEYOND took an award for best music direction and composition. BUZZ LIGHTYEAR OF STAR COMMAND won an Emmy for sound editing, and X-MEN EVOLUTION took home an award for sound mixing. . . . "Out damn Spot! You too Fluffy!" Hallmark Entertainment is developing ROMEO & JULIE-CAT, an animated movie based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet that will be retold using cats and dogs. Okayyyy. . . . Boreanaz was no Angel at a WB celebration. David Boreanaz caused a tense moment at The WB's fall schedule presentation to advertisers. He appeared on-stage and said, "This isn't the UPN." The WB boys were not happy. . . . MTV does TIME BOYS. MTV is developing a half-hour animated sci-fi show called TIME BOYS. It's about three kids who live with their parents and tinker with a time machine in the garage. . . . Captain Kirk pulls K.P. William Shatner has signed on to be in a cooking show. It will be an American version of THE IRON CHEF next fall on UPN. The show, initially a special airing the Friday before Labor Day, will likely become a regular series. With Shatner hosting, maybe they'll specialize in ham dishes. . . . INNOCENT BLOOD at CBS. CBS is making INNOCENT BLOOD: THE TRUE STORY, a four-hour mini-series about the Salem witch trials. Kirstie Alley, Shirley MacLaine, Gloria Reuben, Rebecca De Mornay, Alan Bates, Peter Ustinov, and Henry Czerny will star. . . . BALL AND CHAIN casting set. The female lead role in the upcoming BALL AND CHAIN TV pilot will be played by Myndy Crist. She and Dan Cortese play a divorcing couple who become endowed with superpowers that function only when the bickering couple is together. . . . Love is a BATTLEFIELD. This is an amendment to an earlier story about my favorite cinematic punching bag. Earlier I'd reported that BATTLEFIELD EARTH is going to poison the soft little brains of our younger generation as a Japanese cartoon. Sadly, this is still true. Japan's Pine Com International intends to take a lemming-like plunge on thirteen episodes of a BATTLEFIELD series (a word of advice - I'd keep those hara-kiri swords sharpened, no sense adding discomfort to your dishonor). However, earlier I'd reported that Chow Yun-Fat would be voicing Travolta's character of Terl. That's still true, but that's for a Chinese language version of the show. Somehow, the geniuses over at Pine Com figure that nothing says genocidal alien better than the presence of GRIZZLY ADAMS on you resume'. Dan Haggerty will be voicing Terl for us lucky Americans.
|Harrison Ford will host the AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE'S 100 YEARS . . . 100 THRILLS, the fourth installment of AFI's salute to American Cinema, which will air on CBS at 8 P.M. on Tuesday, June 12. The show, a tribute to 100 American thrillers, will also feature Steven Spielberg, Sandra Bullock, Charlton Heston, Carl Weathers, Jamie Lee Curtis and others.|
|A PAIR OF ANGEL'S WOMEN FACE AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE
ANGEL's two blondes, cop Kate (Elizabeth Rohm) and vampire Harmony (Mercedes McNab), have uncertain futures on the series. Rohm recently started work as the new assistant district attorney on NBC's LAW & ORDER, which shoots in New York - a continent away from ANGEL's L.A. set.
"I think [the ANGEL brass] want me to [return], but it would be so hard just because it's on the opposite side of the country," Rohm said. "In all perfect worlds, I think I'd like to continue, because it would be great to do two different parts at the same time. But it is a little hard geographically."
As for Harmony, McNab told the site that she has hopes of reappearing on ANGEL as the ditzy bloodsucker. "Joss [Whedon] is just very loyal to the people who work for him," said McNab, who initially auditioned for the role of Buffy Summers. In Harmony's last appearance on ANGEL, she joined a vampire cult. "They ended up cutting the final scene of [the episode]. I was in Mexico, recruiting people for the cult," she said. "I don't know if that's indicative of what's going to happen, or if that was a tiny thing. . . . But they were talking about [bringing back Harmony]. It's just all up in the air right now."
|BABYLON 5: LEGEND OF THE RANGERS CAST AND CREW
The Sci-Fi Channel has announced casting for its upcoming original television movie BABYLON 5: LEGEND OF THE RANGERS. Dylan Neal, Alex Zahara (whose had occasional roles in DARK ANGEL and STARGATE SG-1), Myriam Sirois, Dean Marshall, Warren T. Takeuchi, Jennie Rebecca Hogan, David Storch, Enid-Raye Adams and Gus Lynch will join Mackenzie Gray and Andreas Katsulas (G'Kar) in the movie.
The Emmy-nominated Gajdecki Visual Effects (you may have seen their work on TOTAL RECALL 2070) will provide the computer graphics and other effects for RANGERS. Gajdecki received an Emmy nomination and a Gemini Award nomination for its work on Showtime's STARGATE SG-1. The company also won Gemini Awards for the miniseries THE ARROW and the television series TEKWAR.
Production is underway in Vancouver, B.C. The air date is not yet definite.
|WHEDON SAYS BUFFY WILL DEFINITELY RETURN
Joss Whedon has reassured fans that the events in the May 22 fifth-season finale don't mean the show's over. The finale seem to depict the demise of a Buffy. The closing shot was of her tomb stone. But Whedon tells fan don't worry - be happy.
"Just want to say again, finally, definitively, and in living color, that BUFFY will be back next season, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar on UPN, Tuesdays at 8" p.m., Whedon wrote.
"How will we bring her back?," he asked. "With great difficulty, of course. And pain and confusion. Will it be cheesy? I don't think so. (I've loved some of the theories . . . on how it might be done.) The fact is, we've had most of next season planned before we ever shot this ep. Same writers you know, same actors you love, same crappy little warehouse we've been shooting in for five years. . . . Different network. But we've never been controlled by the network - WB was great about that; UPN has already shown they will be too. The only difference is that Marti [Noxon] will share [executive producer] credit with me, and it's about time she did. I'm in charge. Okay, that's a lie. The story is in charge, the story that keeps on speaking to me, that says there is much more to tell about all these characters. An ensemble this brilliant could easily carry the show even without the Slayer - but the fact is, even though she reached some beauty closure, Buffy's story isn't over. When it is, I'll know. And we'll stop. 'Til then, have faith. (Not Faith the character - she's making movies and stuff.)"
|BIGGER MONEY FOR BUFFY TRANSLATES INTO SMALLER
UPN will pay BUFFY studio 20th Century Fox Television as much as $2.3 million per episode, well above the amount The WB paid. Don't expect the big bucks that UPN's ponying over for BUFFY to translate into big budgets for the show. Producer Marti Noxon has said that the show will continue as before. She denied suggestions that the series' higher licensing fees will mean more production money.
"Some of that money will go to pay back Fox's [production] deficit," Noxon said. "So it's not like we'll be getting all that for our budgets. We probably would have seen larger budget cuts if we'd stayed at The WB. That was one of the reasons why budget was such an issue, and the licensing fee was such an issue. . . . Any show that goes on the air as long as ours sees some budget cuts in the fifth or sixth year. We'll be looking at less money next year. . . . God willing, hello UPN!, we will not be looking at major cuts, but we will be working with less next year, not more. So there will be probably a couple of shows where the villain is a tiny bug or a hand puppet. A couple of sock puppet villains next year will be fine," she laughed.
|BUFFY FOR NEXT SEASON
Marti Noxon has said that writers have already begun planning the season's story arc. "I think 'oh grow up' is a great way to [describe] it," she said. "The season-long themes for everybody will be about sort of getting kicked into the adult world, in some cases, kicking and screaming as you go. But it's time for everybody to make some decisions and take on some more adult responsibilities. So that's going to be stuff that's going on thematically next year. Obviously with Joyce's death, Dawn and Buffy and all of the members of the Scooby Gang are going to be dealing with Buffy and Dawn, at least, having to live in a much more adult world. There's no buffer. Buffy has no buffer next year. So obviously that's really going to change the way she has to face the world, and the way that everybody else does, because it's a real reality check for all of them."
One of the surprises next year: a musical episode. "It is an all-singing, all-dancing Buffy, with music written completely for the show by Joss," Noxon said. "Because he doesn't have enough to do, what with seven or eight television shows on the air, or whatever he's got, and the comic books he writes and the movies, he decided he wanted to learn how to play the guitar and piano, and now he's composing incredible music."
Joss Whedon advises us to not hold our breaths for a crossover episode between the WB and UPN shows. "There's acrimony here, and I like to kid myself and say it'll fade," Whedon said. "A lot of people got bruised. I haven't broached the subject yet [of future crossovers], and now's not the time." He added that one crossover had been planned for next season, but was recently dumped: Angel was scheduled to drop in on the Buffy gang, but another character will fill that role. "[Buffy and Angel] will and can reference each other, but the big emotions can't be about each other. They haven't been for the past year. There will always be a lingering tie, but both do have to move on."
According to Whedon, one of the major differences next season will be a lot less Giles. "Giles will be recurring next year, instead of a regular, because [Anthony Stewart Head is] going to live in England," he said. "We're working on a BBC [spinoff] show for [that character]." See the story below for more details.
|A POSSIBLE U.K. BUFFY SPINOFF
Joss Whedon is talking with the BBC about a spinoff series centered on the character of Giles. Whedon is in talks with the BBC for six episodes of the show, which would star Anthony Stewart Head. According to Marti Noxon, "There is the possibility of a limited series with the BBC, starring Anthony Head. It's not a done deal, but this is in discussion. There's an idea of taking the Giles character and doing a limited series in Britain next year, maybe just a limited run. . . . like a miniseries, perhaps, turning into a series."
The discussion is a reaction in part to Head's previously stated desire to remain closer to the United Kingdom and his family, Noxon confirmed. "It may not come to pass, but it's being discussed," she said. "It would be really awesome if it did happen, and I'm sure there'd be a way that people here would see it too. We'd hope."
Anthony Stewart Head has said that the proposed series would be based on his character Giles and would be titled either RIPPER or WATCHER. The series would deal with ghost stories and inner demons. Joss Whedon has already written the first episode. Head and Whedon had held talks with the BBC about the spinoff series.
Joss Whedon has said that the proposed British series, based on Giles will be more of a "grown-up, quiet show about a cool, grown-up, non-teen-age man quietly solving ghost stories." The Giles show "would be very different in tone: slower, more like the series already on TV there. But not too British." It's not clear whether Buffy cast members might make guest appearances on the proposed show.
Whedon is looking for a U.K. partner to oversee production. Whedon would hammer out storylines and draft scripts with the current BUFFY writing staff, perhaps shooting an initial episode in L.A. before production shifts to England.
| Joss Whedon has said that
he's hoping to sign the cast to voice characters in his upcoming animated
version of the show. No deals have been struck, "but I'm hopeful that we
can get our cast to do it. It wouldn't be the same without them."
The Fox show won't hit the airwaves until February 2002 at the earliest. But Whedon said he's already contending with the network over budgets. "I thought, 'No, we won't fight over budgets,'" he said. "But you're never not going to fight over budgets. They're like, 'If you want seven dragons [instead of one], you have to draw them all, and it'll cost more. But I want the show to look as good as it can, and that's going to cost money."
Still, Whedon is enthusiastic about returning to Sunnydale High. "We're getting to do what we wanted to, the things that you can't do on the [live-action version]," he said. "It's slightly more off-center . . . whimsical. . . . It's nice to go back to the well of adolescent stories, and the very basic dynamic of Willow likes Xander, Xander likes Buffy, and Buffy can't admit that she's attracted to that Angel guy."
|UPN ENTER'S THE DEAD ZONE
UPN offered a first glimpse at its upcoming midseason replacement series STEPHEN KING'S THE DEAD ZONE, starring Anthony Michael Hall, during its presentation to advertisers in New York. The new series, based on King's best-selling novel and the 1983 film of the same name, comes from STAR TREK producer Michael Piller; his son, Shawn; Kevin Beggs; and Lloyd Segan.
Hall stars as Johnny Smith, "a young man who awakens from a coma to discover that he has the power to see the past and foretell the future," UPN entertainment president Tom Nunan told the audience. "But with this power comes a price. Johnny now sees more and knows more than he every wanted."
A video preview of the show contained scenes borrowed from the 1983 film, as well as new ones reminiscent of early X-FILES episodes. Hall is paired with DS9 alumna Nicole deBoer, who plays Smith's fiancee, Sarah Bracknell. The cast also includes Michael Moriarty as televangelist the Rev. Gene Purdy, Smith's stepfather and beneficiary of his deceased mother's sizable estate.
Scott Bakula has an idea for the middle name of his character, Capt. Jonathan Archer, for the new STAR TREK show, ENTERPRISE. "The best way to please everybody would be to make my middle name Beckett and just let everybody put it together," He's referring to his QUANTUM LEAP character, Dr. Sam Beckett. "I threw it out there. It wasn't met with a lot of response. It's a possibility. It would certainly get people to talking. Who more logical, right? You would think that's where the Beckett genes would land at some point."
Bakula won't say much about the new series.
Bakula's said he's also mulled a possible Enterprise guest star - his QUANTUM LEAP co-star, Dean Stockwell. "I thought about that," Bakula said. "Wouldn't that be fun?"
1. What's the setting for this new STAR TREK?
1. ENTERPRISE will take place in the 22nd century, about 150 years before the events in the original series and about 100 years from now. According to the Paramount press release, "ENTERPRISE explores the history of intergalactic upheaval that eventually leads to the formation of the Federation. The combination of science fiction, action/adventure and compelling stories of collective bravery and individual heroism remain true to the spirit of one of television's formidable brands." According to Rick Berman the show will depict the genesis of the TREK universe. "You'll see the first guys who go out into space, the Chuck Yeagers of space exploration. Fans will see all the things they recognize from STAR TREK, but in the developmental phase."
2. Will this show be a departure from Roddenberry's
3. How will the level of technology differ
on the show?
4. Who will be on the crew?
5. What will their uniforms look like?
6. When and where will the show air?
|PAX TV IS LEFT BEHIND
PAX TV has announced its Christian drama, based on Tim F. LaHaye's LEFT BEHIND series of speculative novels, will air this January as a mid-season replacement. The storyline is based on some Christian's notion of the Rapture. In the plot the Rapture has happened. Abruptly driverless cars are crashing all over as segments of the population (the saved) disappear. A slick, sinister Romanian named Nicolae Carpathia plans to use the UN to establish one world government and religion. Resembling "a young Robert Redford" and silver-tongued in nine languages, Carpathia is named People's "Sexiest Man Alive." A Tribulation Force forms as an underground of left-behind penitents battling the Antichrist. The books have subtitles like The Tribulation, The Rise of the Antichrist and The Beast Rules the World. It would be easy (and tempting) to insert a joke here. I won't. This doesn't happen to be my cup of tea but, for those who are drawn to it, bon appetit!
|A GLIMPSE AT FALL: WHO'S IN?
SMALLVILLE: The new series stars Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang and Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor. The show alters and expands the mythology of Superman from its DC Comics origins. Among other things, Clark arrived in Smallville amid a meteor shower that rained destruction on the small town, killing Lana Lang's parents in the process. Luthor, meanwhile, is a wealthy town resident and one of Clark's high-school friends. The series deals with Clark's struggle to come to terms with his superhuman powers while dealing with the usual pressures of being a teen-age boy.
THE TICK: It's based on Ben Edlund's comic book series and animated show of the same name, and was originally slated to debut at mid-season this year. "Spoon!" Patrick "Puddy" Warburton finally makes his debut as the quirky cult superhero, in Barry Sonnenfeld's live-action adaptation. David Burke costars as Arthur, the former accountant-turned-sidekick who leaves his job to fight evil and dress like a moth.
WOLF LAKE: Lou Diamond Phillips (once named as a possible replacement for David Duchovny on THE X-FILES) jumps into his own imaginative drama set in the Pacific Northwest. The series, costarring Tim Matheson (THE WEST WING), revolves around a pack of wolves "living in human form in the small Seattle suburb of Wolf Lake." The truth, presumably, is out there.
Absent from the expected schedule is the supernatural anthology series NIGHT VISIONS.
|A GLIMPSE AT FALL: WHO'S OUT?
7 DAYS: After three seasons 7 DAYS is out of time. With the ephemeral nature of network-produced imaginative TV, three seasons is pretty good.
LONE GUNMEN: This show had great ratings - for about a week. Afterwards its fabulous mid-season premiere it saw its ratings plunge, never to recover. That's what made it what it is today - a smear on the television highway.
It's already been announced that 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN, ALL SOULS, BATMAN BEYOND, CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH, CLEOPATRA 2525, FREAKY LINKS, FREEDOM, JACK OF ALL TRADES, LA FEMME NIKITA, LEVEL 9, FREEDOM, STAR TREK: VOYAGER and XENA: THE WARRIOR PRINCESS are either canceled or coming to the end of their runs.
|A GLIMPSE AT FALL: WHO'S CHANGED
ANGEL: Is staying put on the WB for the moment (though UPN has a standing commitment for two years if, and when, the WB gives it the ol' heave-ho). The librarian from L.A. that we met in the season-ending arc, Fred, played by Amy Acker, will be a new regular. As for the main character himself, according to the man who plays him, "Angel is going to be a little bit more of an action hero, rather than a slumping depressed person. He's going to break out of that, and I think his humor will also come out more and more." Rumor has it that Spike will be changing his mailing address from Sunnydale to L.A. ANGEL will now occupy ROSWELL's old timeslot, Mondays at 8:00.
BUFFY, THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: This series has undergone the best publicized change with a change of address from the WB to UPN. They'll keep their old 8:00 Tuesday time.
CHARMED: Shannen Doherty's gone. No reason was given for the departure of Doherty (she was fired in 1994 from BEVERLY HILLS 90210). There had recently been some tension on the set involving Doherty. Earlier this month, she pleaded no contest to charges of drunken driving stemming from an arrest in December. There's a lot of speculation on who'll replace her. Stand-by.
DARK ANGEL: Fox Friday nights aren't very good to most shows that occupy it. I think that if they were serious about the conflict in the Middle East they'd stick on it Fox on Friday. It'd be over in no time. Well, DARK ANGEL is now hoped to be the newest defribulator to Fox's sputtering Friday night carnage. Look for it on 8:00 Fridays starting this fall.
ROSWELL: The series got dropped by the WB and picked up by UPN. Fans of ROSWELL mailed more than 12,000 bottles of Tabasco (the aliens' favorite condiment) to UPN in hopes of persuading them to pick the show up for a third season. The "Spice Up Your Lineup--Add ROSWELL to UPN" campaign was organized in part by denizens of the ROSWELL2 fan Web site. ROSWELL executives went to UPN and dropped off an online petition to save the show that was signed by about 30,000 fans. "Aren't these the kind of fans that networks pray for?" executive producer Kevin Brown asked. UPN committed to pick up 22 episodes of ROSWELL. Fans have expressed their thanks by making a charitable contribution in UPN's name to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation instead of writing more letters.
|HERE'S WHAT FALL LOOKS LIKE FOR IMAGINATIVE TV:
|WHAT'S HAPPENING THIS SUMMER?
ANGEL: The WB will move ANGEL re-runs to its new timeslot of Mondays at 9 p.m. for the summer.
BLACK SCORPION: New episodes debut on the Sci-Fi Channel's Saturday Prime beginning on June 16.
BUFFY: UPN hoped to have a smooth BUFFY transition by airing the show in the Tuesdays at 8:00 timeslot that fans are used to. The WB seems to have been looking for a get-even divise since loosing the series. First came the rumor that they air no re-runs at all this summer. Then they announced that they would show re-runs but not at the old time (presumably to throw a wrench into UPN's works) but at Wednesdays at 9:00. Now it looks as though the series will air on Sundays at 7 p.m., starting June 24, AND on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. The double-run strategy is a ploy to depreciate the value of a series' reruns before the show moves over to UPN in the fall.
THE CHRONICLE: This is a new Sci-Fi Channel summer series, debuting on Saturday, July 14.
DEAD LAST: A duo of wannabe rockers suddenly become very popular - among the dead. They come across an amulet that allows them to interact with the dear departed. This hour-long drama debuts on the WB this summer.
DOCTOR WHO: The Sci-Fi Channel will broadcast this TV movie, starring Paul McGann as The Eighth Doctor, on Sunday, July 15th at 9 pm. If you want to see it catch it now! This is the first time it has been broadcast in the U.S. since it originally aired on FOX. It has not yet been released on video domestically, either.
FARSCAPE: New episodes debut on the Sci-Fi Channel's Friday Prime beginning on June 15.
FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE: The Sci-Fi Channel will repeat the miniseries between June 12 and 15 at 9:00 and again at 11:00. They'll re-run the whole thing as a marathon on Sunday, June 17.
FREAKYLINKS: Even though the show's been canceled there are still four unaired episodes. Fox will air them on the deadly Fridays at 9:00 timeslot, starting on June 1.
INVISIBLE MAN: New episodes debut on the Sci-Fi Channel's Friday Prime beginning on June 15.
LEXXX: The new season starts on July 13.
THE MISTS OF AVALON: The four-hour miniseries, based on the Marion Zimmer Bradley classic, airs on TNT on July 15 and 16. It revisits the court of Arthur from a different point-of-view.
THE OUTER LIMITS: New episodes debut on the Sci-Fi Channel's Friday Prime beginning on June 15.
ROBO-COP: PRIME DIRECTIVE: This is a miniseries, comprised of four two-hour films featuring our favorite tin star/steel-good-guy combo. The Sci-Fi Channel will air each movie at 9 pm Mon July 16 through Thursday July 19th.
ROSWELL: Since canceling the show, the WB won't air any re-runs of the show this summer. Look for new episodes in the fall on UPN.
THE SECRET ADVENTURES OF JULES VERNE: New episodes debut on the Sci-Fi Channel's Saturday Prime beginning on June 16.
STARGATE SG-1: Showtime cranks up season five on June 29.
TWILIGHT ZONE MARATHON: Declare your independence from mediocre television. The Sci-Fi Channel will run classic episodes of this legendary series on July 4.
WITCHBLADE: New episodes follow the TNT movie that played last August. The TV-movie will air on TNT on June 5. Look for new episodes starting on Tuesdays at 9:00, beginning on June 12 (and see the story below).
WITCHBLADE PICKS UP WHERE IT LEFT OFF
|X-FILES RETURNS FOR YEAR 9
A ninth season of THE X-FILES will be coming our way this fall. Chris Carter will return to run the show, after extensive negotiations with Fox. There are still a ton of unanswered questions. Viewers still don't really know who's the father of Scully's baby, for example. Duchovny's off the series completely (see the article below for details). "I think it's really premature to talk about what next season's going to look like creatively," Fox chairman Sandy Grushow commented. "Chris and his folks at 1013 are all very excited and enthusiastic about doing another season. That they feel like they reinvented the show this year, that they feel like they can go even further in terms of its reinvention next season."
Gillian Anderson comes back next year, along with Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish. Anderson is, apparently, none too happy with the prospect of doing it again. Anderson said, "For a lot of people, if you don't like your job, you can quit your job. I don't necessarily have that option." She remains locked in a contract that expires two years after costar David Duchovny's. She said that she would like to leave because "eight years is a long time."
So, this show, that was about Fox Mulder's obsessive search for the truth is missing Mulder. The woman who was at his side is an unwilling holdover, now forced to play den mother to the new troupe. The man who's vision first conceived the show had to be given numerous contract-sweeteners to remain. The question arises, when the producer and original cast have either baled out or would like to, why is anyone still watching?
|WHO'LL LET THE DOGGET OUT?
Robert Patrick just wants to know one thing about his X-FILES character, John Doggett - when are they going to take the leash off? He wants his character to have a chance to go nuclear in the show's ninth season. "They haven't let me get mean yet, when Doggett starts to get mean. . . . I can't wait," Patrick said. "I want to pull a little COPLAND action in there. I want to start getting mad. He's going to go one of these days. [He'll go] ballistic on somebody. I keep saying that to [producer Frank Spotnitz] and the guys: 'When are you going to let me loose?' They keep going, 'It's just better to keep it in check.'"
|THINGS TO COME
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 email@example.com 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!
SHORE LEAVE 23
OTAKON is being held on August 10-12 at the Baltimore Convention Center. This is the East Coast's largest Japanese animation and East Asian cultural convention. This convention started as a small affair in a Day's Inn near Penn State in 1994. Now they're renting out the whole Baltimore Convention Center! Last year they had 7,500 attendees. This year should top that. Guests include Fred Perry (best known for his work on the "Gold Diggers" and "Legacy" manga series'), Scott Frazier (who describes himself as an "animation director, artist, storyteller, libertine, Princess of Canada, TG, Extreme Con Guest, fashion disaster, lunatic"), Gilles Poitras (an anime lecturer who has written much about anime, including the Anime Companion and Anime Essentials), Scott Houle (operates Coastal Carolina Studios, which produces anime), Pamela Wiedner (editor, director and voice artist), Adam Warren (comic book artist), Steve Bennett (founder of Studio Ironcat), Ian Kim (anime artist) and Shin Kurokawa (anime artist). Otakon's got seven video theaters offering a variety of anime in all genres, and a full video theater dedicated to live action films from all of Asia. There will also be a variety of panels and workshops on topics such as cel-painting, drawing, music video editing, modeling, voice acting, and more. They'll be holding MYSTERY ANIME THEATER 3000, with a special appearance by Crow and Tom Servo. There will be a large and lavish masquerade on Saturday evening and late night dances on Friday and Saturday. They'll have Live Action Role Playing (LARP) going on that could take you any where from a few hours to all weekend. They'll also have a special karaoke room, an anime music contest, video gaming and an anime trivia game show. If you're considering going registration lines can be very lengthy. Pre-registration for the weekend can be done until July 21. The cost for the weekend is $45. The admission remains the same at the door, but there you'll have the option of Friday only for $25, Saturday for $30 or Sunday for $15. To register or for more information contact OTAKONTM 2001 Registration/ 491 Baltimore Pike #689/ Springfield, PA 19064-3810.
HORRORFIND takes place on August 24-6 at the BWI Marriott located at 1743 West Nursery Road Baltimore, Maryland 21240. The hotel is five minutes from BWI Airport, 12 minutes from downtown Baltimore. There is a broad range of guests appearing. Actors include Bruce Campbell (of the EVIL DEAD movies), Lou Ferrigno (tentatively scheduled), Brinke Stevens: (classic scream queen, star of NIGHTMARE SISTERS), Linnea Quigley: (classic scream queen. star of PUMPKINHEAD 2), Dick Warlock: (HALLOWEEN's Michael Myers), Tom Morga (FRIDAY THE 13TH's Jason Voorhees), Michael Berryman (THE HILLS HAVE EYES), Doug Bradley: ("Pinhead" in the HELLRAISER movies), Ben Chapman: (the Gill-Man in THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON), Lara Parker (Angelique in DARK SHADOWS), Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans in DARK SHADOWS), Tom Savini (make-up artist and actor) and Dick Dyszel (Count Gore De Vol, TV's CREATURE FEATURE Horror Host). Authors appearing include Douglas Clegg (author of Mischief), Jack Ketchum (author of The Girl Next Door), Barry Hoffman (author of Born Bad), Jack Passarella (author of Wither), Mark McLaughlin (author of Shoggoth Cacciatore), Gerard Houarner (author of The Beast That Was Max), Karen Taylor (author of The Vampire Legacy series) J. F. Gonzalez (author of Shapeshifter), Weston Ochse (author of Natural Selection), Holly Newstein & Ralph Bieber (authors of Out of the Light), Brian Keene (author of No Rest for the Wicked) Mason Winfield (paranormal investigator, occult writer and the author of Shadows of the Western Door), Linda Addison (author of Animated Objects), Feo Amante (creator of feoamante.com),and short story writers Geoff Cooper, Michael T. Huyck Jr., Michael McCarty, Eoghain O'Keefe, Michael Oliveri and John Platt. Special events include a haunted house in the hotel, a live seance conducted by paranormal investigator and occult writer Mason Winfield, ghost stories, non-stop horror movies, a costume ball, a hearse show, Ouija tables, haunted attraction seminars and author readings. There will also be numerous prize giveaways such as a standup of THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON autographed by creature-actor Ben Chapman and a trilogy of EVIL DEAD DVD's autographed by Bruce Campbell. The show's hours are Friday August 24 (evening events to be scheduled), Saturday August 25 dealer's and celebrity Rooms Open 10:00am - 6pm followed by special events, shows, movies and party from 6pm on and Sunday August 26 with the dealer's rooms open from 11am to 5pm. Tickets prices are $15.00 for a single day or $25.00 for the entire weekend. Advance ticket can be purchased either by clicking on the link (for those of you reading this on an HTML-capable computer) or mail your payment and make it payable to HORRORFIND.COM LLC/ 9722 Groffs Mill Drive PMB 109/ Owings Mills, Md 21117.
THE MILLENNIUM PHILCON, which is the 59th World Science Fiction Convention, will take place August 30, 2001 - September 3, 2001 (Labor Day weekend) at the Pennsylvania Convention Center & Philadelphia Marriott Hotel in Philadelphia, PA. It's impossible, in the space that we have, to list and describe all of the guests and participants. This is after all a World Con! I reviewed what was noted as a partial list of names and their accomplishments. Their were over 260 people listed! Among them are some of the best and brightest in the field of science fiction. Like many conventions this will have a strong literary bent, but not to the exclusion of film. There will also be scientists on panels discussing science-based approaches to favorite sci-fi topics like space exploration. At this writing the schedule is still being ironed out but a few of the highlights include the opening ceremony, continuous film showings, auctions, presentation of the Hugo awards and the RetroHugos, a dance, a masquerade and something called the "Million Wizard March" (!?). The cost to attend, at this point, is $170 (that price will go up before the convention). To attend, or for more information either write to The Millennium Philcon/ P.O. Box 310/ Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006-0310 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
|THE STOKER AWARDS ARE PRESENTED
Read any good horror lately? Would you like to? If the answer's "yes" then pay attention to this next piece. The Horror Writer's Association presented its Bram Stoker Awards for superior achievement on May 26. The awards, named for the author of Dracula, honor superior writing in the genre of horror and dark fantasy. A full list of winners follows.
Novel: The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon/ First Novel: The Licking Valley Coon Hunters Club by Brian A. Hopkins/ Long Fiction: "The Man on the Ceiling" by Melanie and Steve Rasnic Tem/ Short Fiction: "Gone" by Jack Ketchum/ Fiction Collection: Magic Terror by Peter Straub/ Anthology:The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, 13th Annual Collection, ed. by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling/ Nonfiction: On Writing by Stephen King/ Illustrated Narrative: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore/ Screenplay: SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE by Steven Katz/ Work for Young Readers: The Power of Un by Nancy Etchemendy/ Poetry Collection: A Student of Hell by Tom Piccirilli/
Other Media: Chiaroscuro Web site by Patricia Lee Macomber, Steve Eller and Sandra Kasturi/ Lifetime Achievement Award: Nigel Kneale/ Specialty Press Award: Subterranean Press, William K. Schafer.
So there you have it - the latest and greatest in the fields of fantasy and horror fiction. Now GET READING!
|AN EVENING WITH ARTHUR C. CLARKE
On a pleasant evening in early June I got to spend a fascinating evening at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington as science-fiction author Ben Bova, astronaut Gene Cernan and scientist (and advisor on 2001) Fred Ordway dialogued with Arthur C. Clarke from his home in Sri Lanka. Following are some notes that I took from that evening.
Speculation: Of alien life Clarke said, "The best proof that there's intelligent life in space is that it hasn't some here." . . . He said that our destiny is in space. He cited Carl Sagan, who declared, "Any civilization that doesn't become space-faring, dies." He went on to talk about our drive to venture forth and said that if we'd stayed in a small cluster in Africa that we'd have been wiped out by some disease. He referred to the Earth as "a dangerous neighborhood" and said that as long as we're locked in here mankind faces the same danger of an asteroid collision as the dinosaurs. Had it not been for that, he said, the first words uttered on the moon might have been, "That's one small step for Tyrannosaurus, one giant leap for Triceratops." . . . He thought that rockets would play the same role in space travel as balloons did in aviation. He thought that there'd be something much better in the future. . . . When asked about traveling through time he pointed out that we're doing that now - at the rate of 60 minutes an hour. He thought that that might change in the future.
Films: Morgan Freeman has optioned out RENDEVOUS WITH RAMA. Clarke has high hopes that he'll succeed with the project. . . . He's actually working as an advisor on a film now. It's a Slovakian film that features ballet in zero gravity. These planes that go into dives only enable passengers to attain weightlessness in 30 second intervals. He offered that 30 seconds was probably about as long as any ballet should be. . . . When asked by the moderator to explain 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY he said, "You must see the film, read the book and repeat the dose as often as necessary." He referred to the black monolith in the film as "a cosmic Swiss Army knife." . . . Clarke said that he never watches science-fiction films. He said the only thing interesting in them is why they're so bad. He did have kind words to say, though, about FORBIDDEN PLANET, 2010 (naturally), CONTACT and THINGS TO COME. That last one he insisted Kubrick watch. The great director discovered he hated it so much that he declared that he's instantly hate any film that Clarke recommended to him. It turns out that Kubrick had a passion for sci-fi "B" movies.
|THE LAST OF DOUGLAS ADAMS
Below you'll find an obituary for someone that I never expected to have to write an obit for. Douglas Adams, the brilliantly anarchical mind behind The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is gone. But we haven't quite seen the last of him yet. His final works are to be published this fall. The collection will contain an unfinished new novel and the screenplay to the proposed film of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. A number of e-mail essays will also be published. Publishers Pan are scanning the author's personal computer to help piece together Adams's final novel. Salmon Of Doubt was to be his first new novel since Mostly Harmless, the fifth volume in The Hitchhikers' Guide "trilogy," which was published nine years ago. Adams is thought to have started work on Salmon Of Doubt in 1995.
|JOSS WHEDON GIVES US TALES OF THE SLAYER
On BUFFY we're often reminded that the central character is simply the latest of a long tradition of young women who've been trained to give their lives in the war against vampires. We've gotten glimpses of these other women over the years on TV, in comics, and in books. Now for the first time, the writers from the television series, including the show's creator, Joss Whedon, and one of its stars, Amber 'Tara' Benson, present the tales of these girls, with the help of several well-known comic artists. Look for the graphic novel, Tales of the Slayer, to debut on October 26, 2001. It'll sell for $14.95.
|JOSS WHEDON ENTER THE "FRAY"
Joss Whedon said that his upcoming "Fray" comic series fulfills a dream. "I've always wanted to write comics, and after establishing this relationship with Dark Horse on the BUFFY books, I was thinking about it even more. I also saw how much fun the writers, including guys like Doug Petrie, who works with me on the show, were having with the comics, so I decided to abuse my vast power and force Dark Horse to let me do a series."
"Fray" is set in the BUFFY universe, but in the distant future. The world is a man-made hell, riddled with radiation and disease and populated by the masses who suffer from mutations. A young girl, Melaka Fray, is called as the Slayer to battle vampires, demons and other supernatural forces that still threaten humankind.
"I wasn't comfortable with launching some completely new thing and starting something that I wasn't sure where it would go," Whedon said. "So when I was talking to Scott [Allie, Whedon's editor on the series], I explained that I wanted to do something based on the mythology of the Slayer. That way I would have some grounding for the story, and I wouldn't be driven insane by looking at a page and drawing a complete blank."
Whedon added that writing for comics feels familiar. "I think it works for me because I always write visually," he said. "If it doesn't make sense to me visually, I can't imagine it, and I can't finish it. So hopefully it works out. But with comics, it's a totally different discipline. Do I show her, you know, in the middle of the action, or has she already landed and is recovering? Which is it, how is it done? Which gives the moment the best impact? It's kind of neat, because I don't really know what I'm doing [laughs]." "Fray" features art by Karl Moline, with inking by Andy Owens and coloring by Dave Stewart.
The eight-issue supernatural suspense miniseries debuts June 6.
|JACKIE CHAN AND THE ART OF WAR
Jackie Chan has announced that he will star in an epic Mandarin-language film for Hong Kong's Golden Harvest Studios. With a budget of $78 million, it will be more than twice as costly as the most expensive film previously produced in the Asian film center. Titled THE ART OF WAR (and not to be confused with a Wesley Snipes title of the same name), it is to be based on the 2000-year-old writings of Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu. Chan will also serve as executive producer. In addition, the actor said that he has agreed to appear in what Golden Harvest is now calling UNTITLED JACKIE CHAN ACTION ADVENTURE (snappy title - hope they keep it). This one is to be filmed in English.
|BLADE 2 TURNS THE BEAT AROUND
BLADE 2 turns things around according to writer and executive producer David Goyer "If you consider [TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY] and ALIENS TWO of the best sequels, what they both did in some ways was they kind of turned the first movie on its head. They didn't just do 'OK, it's an alien again.' We tried to do something similar. OK, what would be the last thing you would expect Blade to do? That is to have him to team up with the vampires."
In BLADE 2, Snipes as Blade faces a threat greater than vampires: the Reapers. To conquer them, he joins forces with his sworn enemies. "This film has more action, more humor, but it also has a whole level of suspense and tragedy that was missing from the first film," Goyer said. He added, "Also with this film, we've already dealt with Blade's backstory. He's made peace with who he is. In the first movie, we learned that there's this whole vampire subculture. In this movie, we delve even deeper into that, the way the vampires get their money and their language. There's barely any humans in the second movie, because the vampires are the ones being hunted, and not just by Blade. The Reapers are hunting the vampires in the second film."
Director Guillermo del Toro is shooting BLADE 2 in Prague, and production on second-unit material is expected to last into July. New Line is aiming at a spring or summer 2002 release.
|COPPOLA SAYS "I HATE THE MOVIE INDUSTRY"
Francis Ford Coppola was at Cannes in May, screening a director's cut of APOCALYPSE NOW. He said that he had personally been forced to guarantee the budget of the film. "The truth is, APOCALYPSE wouldn't have been made if I hadn't put up the money. . . . The same is true today: you can't do anything unless it makes money. These people are not in the movie business, they're in the money business. . . . I hate the movie industry. If you ever want to know who runs the world, just look at who is employing the artists."
|NICK NOLTE CONDEMNS THE 'IGNORANCE' OF HOLLYWOOD'
Nick Nolte has slammed Hollywood's major studios for being motivated only by money. Nolte claims the thirty-somethings who run them are ignorant about cinema and literature, and says their films are little more than cartoons. Nolte said, "It's difficult to find a good movie in America. The old guys that had an interest in film are gone. The heads of studios are 35. They don't know anything about literature. It's predictable stuff they're turning out. I don't want just to be thrilled by a film. I want to toss something around my head for a few days afterwards. I want to be surprised, awed, moved." Nolte, 60, also said he was dismayed by the American star culture. He claimed films were "geared around" the stars, who would go home as soon as they had done their part, leaving the other actors to shoot their scenes with extras standing with their back to the camera. "The old traditional values have gone," he said.
Is this the Nick Nolte - former (I guess) Hollywood Bad Boy and hell-raiser? He's the one lamenting the passing of "old traditional values?" God, sometimes I feel so old!
|CUBE 2: HYPERCUBE
Last fall a few of us stuck around for a second feature at a meeting. The movie was a Canadian sci-fi suspense film called THE CUBE. A group of people each wake up, in individual cube shaped rooms. The rooms are actually interlocked in an enormous puzzle. They have to choose which of six adjoining rooms to move to next if they have any hope of finding freedom. If they choose poorly they'll step into a death-trap room and die a hideous death. As they travel from room to room they encounter each other, discover that if they pool their knowledge that each of them has some piece of expertise that can assist in their quest for freedom.
Plans have been put in motion for a sequel. It's to be called CUBE 2: HYPERCUBE. It will be written by Sean Hood (HALLOWEEN: THE HOMECOMING). This time around the concept of four dimensional cubes will be combined with the story of the first movie (i.e.. a group of people trapped). A hypercube (also known as a "tesseract") is a real concept in physics. Supposedly it exists in the fourth dimension, and the shadow it creates results in a hypercube appearing in our three-dimensional space. Got that? No? Ok, Let's try it again. A cube has three dimensions: Length, width and height, right? Now suppose the shadow of the three-dimensional cube falls on a surface - essentially, two dimensions. If you were a two-dimensional being looking at that shadow you'd never be able to see the full image of the cube because it exists in three dimensions. And that's the same concept behind a tesseract/hypercube: the solid image we see is just the shadow of the four-dimentional object.
Shooting is to start this summer. I'll keep you posted as details become available.
|THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER IS IN TROUBLE
Alec Baldwin has devastated the producer of THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER by quitting over unpaid bills. Baldwin abandoned David Glasser's project, a film which Baldwin directed, after being forced to bring in hotshot Hollywood lawyer Marty Singer to get hold of money from Cutting Edge Entertainment needed to complete the film. Singer claims, "When the filming finished, Alec was owed $550,000." Baldwin, who was an actor, director and creative producer on the film, now refuses to proceed with editing without assurances he'll be paid for the 10 weeks he was contracted to bring in a director's cut, as well as the 21 total weeks of post-production to come. But Glasser, who raised $28 million so Baldwin could make the picture, is bitter about his lack of faith. He complains, "Alec tried to get this movie done for seven years. I'm the guy who stepped up to the plate. We've been behind him from the beginning. I don't think I've done one wrong thing." The remake of the 1941 film about a writer who sells his soul to the devil also stars Anthony Hopkins and Jennifer Love Hewitt. Cutting Edge insist THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER will definitely be finished with or without Baldwin's participation.
|THE EXORCIST SUIT - THE POWER OF BUCKS COMPELS
William Blatty and William Friedkin, the writer and director of THE EXORCIST, have filed suit against Warner Brothers and its affiliates, Turner Network Television and Turner Broadcasting System, seeking tens of millions of dollars. Blatty and Friedkin are claming breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty and seek imposition of trust and accounting concerning revenues gained from the original film and THE EXORCIST: THE VERSION YOU'VE NEVER SEEN.
The suit clams that Warner improperly allocated to the film unreasonably low shares of the total license fee paid by licensees where the film is sold as part of a package, particularly in licenses to companies that are part of the AOL Time Warner corporation. In one instance, the suit alleges, THE EXORCIST was licensed to TNT in 1997 within a package of 114 other films for only $110,000 - a third of its license fee four years earlier. This is a very common practice in Hollywood. As the motion picture industry gets increasingly consumed by corporate conglomerates look for more of these kinds of suits - undervaluing assets to corporate owned franchises means you've got a lot less residuals to pay to creators of a work. It was the basis for David Duchovny's suit against Fox, claiming that they undersold the syndication rights for THE X-FILES to the Fox-owned F/X.
A Warner spokeswoman responded, "We never comment on matters of litigation, especially those that are ludicrous."
|HALLOWEEN, THE FRANCHISE THAT WOULDN'T DIE
Little did John Carpenter suspect in 1978, when he released the first HALLOWEEN movie that he'd be providing an old-age pension for Jamie Lee Curtis. She's signed on to lead the cast of the eighth HALLOWEEN film. This one revolves around an Internet site's plans to stage a Webcast at the home of mental patient Michael Myers. Maybe one day we'll be able to marvel at the sight of a trembling arthritic Michael Myers struggling to hold onto his knife while he's chasing people in the nursing home and clinging to his walker.
This one also stars Tyra Banks, Busta Rhymes, Sean Patrick Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Bianca Kajilch (BOSTON PUBLIC) and Brad Loree. No word as to when it'll be hitting theater screens.
|HAMMER, THE STUDIO THAT WOULDN'T DIE
The legendary British horror studio Hammer Films will return to film production in a partnership with FirstSight Films. FirstSight and Hammer will develop and produce six horror movies budgeted at $10 million-$20 million.
It has been previously reported in "The ICS Files" that Hammer was acquired last year by a group of investors intent on reviving the most venerable brand in British horror. They hope to shoot two films a year, starting in 2002. Some may be drawn from Hammer's gallery of traditional horror characters, but most will be original stories.
|PIERCE BROSNAN WANTS TO SPELL BOND WITH AN "R"
Pierce Brosnan is urging 007 film bosses to spice up his sex life - on the big screen. Brosnan, 48, demanded the producers dump the movies' kid friendly PG-rating and raunch things up. Expected to quit the role next year, he reckons bed scenes are a key part of the dashing spy's appeal, saying, "If you took the rating off, you could do great things. The sex could be done in a much more interesting, exciting way without being damaging to children." He adds, "In THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH Sophie Marceau and I had to do 15 takes of our bedroom sequence just because we saw a beautiful nipple. It's crazy. It's OK to shoot someone, but don't show her nipple." His plea was backed by ex-007 actor Roger Moore, who romped on screen with several babes, including Britt Ekland and Maud Adams. The 73-year-old Moore scorns, "Those love scenes were so tame. The raciest things about them were the titles (of the films)."
|LORD OF THE RINGS GETS PREVIEWED AT CANNES
A very nervous Peter Jackson screened a twenty-six minute montage of scenes from the LORD OF THE RINGS. It consisted of behind-the-scenes footage and some scenes from the films. Jackson said, "It's . . . kind of scary showing what we're showing here. It's weird, because it's not the movie. . . . LORD OF THE RINGS is such a rich book with great plot machinations and characters. It's a little bit painful to just show a seven-minute kind of sketchy montage of the story."
The footage included scenes of Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood); a 14-minute excerpt of a chase sequence in the Mines of Moria; and previews of the second and third installments of the trilogy, due in December 2002 and 2003. The scenes also included battles with Orcs, a computer-animated cave troll and a Balrog fire demon. The fans lavished exuberant praise on the previewed scenes. The first Rings film, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING, premieres Dec. 19.
|LORD OF THE RINGS GETS AN UNUSUAL SCORE
Anyone who's ever read LORD OF THE RINGS knows that they're highly musical works. Throughout the novels characters burst out in songs that's evocative of their culture and status. Composer Howard Shore will incorporate texts from J.R.R. Tolkien's trilogy in the score for the films based on the books. The score will feature a 300-member all-male Maori choir singing Dwarvish-language versions of the Tolkien texts, as well as choruses in other Tolkien languages. Choral music backed the Mines of Moria chase sequence that was part of the Rings preview screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
|THE FIRST MATRIX SEQUEL TITLE IS ANNOUNCED
Apparently, despite the flack they took after the Columbine shootings, judging from the newly announced title, the brothers Wachowski have not decided to scale back the violence on their sequels to THE MATRIX. The title of the first MATRIX sequel will be THE MATRIX RELOADED. RELOADED is expected to open internationally on December 25th, 2002. Since the two sequels are "shooting" at the same time we should soon have details on the other title.
|ROBERT RODRIGUEZ IS MAKING A DESPERADO SEQUEL
Production will begin later this month on ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO: DESPERADO 2, the third film in a trilogy which began with EL MARIACHI. Robert Rodriguez and Antonio Banderas will both reunite for the film. Mickey Rourke and Quentin Tarrentino will also star, and Salma Hayek could return as well. MEXICO is loosely based on THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY, just as EL MARIACHI was inspired by A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and DESPERADO from A FEW DOLLARS MORE.
|MIKE MYERS FOLLOWS THE TRAIL OF PETER SELLERS
Producer-director Ivan Reitman (who's given us ANIMAL HOUSE and GHOSTBUSTERS) has said that his planned PINK PANTHER movie with Mike Myers in the Inspector Clouseau role is "in pretty good shape to go into production." Reitman said, "We want something fresh and new. Mike has to find a whole new character for Clouseau that is not Peter Sellers but is also not Austin Powers." Reitman also indicated that the animated Pink Panther character, heretofore only seen in the title sequences, may be used "more fully" in the plot itself.
|A POLITICALLY CORRECT PEARL HARBOR
Disney has reedited PEARL HARBOR for its Japanese and German releases in order not to offend America's World War II enemies. A source at the studio has said that a closing speech by British actress Kate Beckinsale has been cut for the Japanese version. "They are a huge market and accounted for 20% of profits for TITANIC," the source said. "The film barely refers to the Germans but we have cut the speech for them, too. It won't make a big difference, most people know who won the war." In addition producer Jerry Bruckheimer provided a script of the movie to John Tateishi of the Japanese American Citizens League before shooting began and made changes to it that Tateishi recommended. Bruckheimer said, "[Tateishi] had very legitimate concerns and we wanted to honor them. . . . If we feel suggestions don't hurt us artistically, then we try to make changes."
It's ashamed that the Axis forces didn't review their battle plans with us. I'm sure that being bombed and strafed must be quite offensive.
|NEWSWEEK SPOOFS PEARL HARBOR HYPE
"Newsweek," is usually not known for its keen rapier wit. They may be changing their image with their recent wink and nudge regarding the over-the-top hype of PEARL HARBOR. The magazine, in an apparent spoof of itself, began running a "Web Exclusive" on its Internet site, saying that the Walt Disney Co. is planning to spend an additional $145 million on an "enhanced edition" of PEARL HARBOR that will be "longer, louder and dumber" than the original and will be the "most historically inaccurate" movie ever made. The article said that a number of big stars will be added to the film, including the musical groups 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys "who will appear together in an exciting 'battle of the bands' sequence during which they will be struck by Japanese bombs and perish. "The sequence 'tested through the roof,'" according to the satirical piece, which Newsweek credited to "The Borowitz Report."
|PLANET OF THE APES IS ALMOST COMPLETELY NEW
Tim Burton said that he went back to the drawing board when re-conceiving the 1968 PLANET OF THE APES. "You can't really remake PLANET OF THE APES, because the whole vibe and feeling of the original movie was very '60s. You have to look at it from a different perspective, and I saw something oddly compelling about the concept of talking apes. When you do primate research, you start thinking how weird our perception of apes is - that they're kind of close to us, yet they can rip you to shreds [hey Tim, sounds my family to me]. That's kind of frightening. Even when they smile at you, they don't really mean it" in the way humans do. You put all that into the mix, and sometimes things that don't seem like a good idea become exciting, because there's something risky about it."
PLANET OF THE APES screenwriter William Broyles Jr. added that he kept only the premise from the original film and Pierre Boulle's French-language novel La Planète des Singes, upon which the movie was based. "I thought it would be very intriguing to create this movie from scratch," Broyles said. Among other things, the new version does not take place on Earth, which provided the surprise ending of the first film, and the characters and locations are all new. Broyles based his story in part on his research of Roman history. "What I described was a structure and class system on the ape planet, how its economy worked, what their religion was like, and how humans fit in as the slave culture. I had a great deal of fun with it."
Very soon you'll be able to see how much fun you'll have with it. PLANET OF THE APES opens July 27.
|SAMSUNG GETS INTO THE MOVIE BUSINESS
Perhaps its because its Japanese rival, Sony, is already there. Perhaps its for the honor of Korea. Or maybe it looks like a good way to turn a buck. For whatever reason, the Korean conglomerate Samsung will finance the sci-fi animated movie SKYQUEST, which is likely to become the most expensive Korean film ever made. Moon S. Kim will direct the film in English and hopes to complete it by early 2002.
The overall budget of the film, which has been in production for some time, is likely to start at $20 million and could go higher. SKYQUEST tells the story of a future policewoman, whose job is to defend a planetary protection zone, and her romance with a man who is leading a rebellion from the outside.
|SHREK SEQUEL IS PLANNED
For most of the five years it took to bring SHREK to the screen DreamWorks considered it a troubled production and a bona fide pain in the neck. As Liz Taylor once said, success is the best deodorant in the world. DreamWorks is so happy they want to do it again. They've announced plans to develop a sequel to SHREK. Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (two of the seven writers credited on SHREK) will write it.
In addition to having the biggest opening for any animated film in the studio's history, SHREK was also the first animated feature film in 18 years to screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. The movie shows all the signs of evolving from a run-away hit to an all time classic.
The sequel will stay true to the characters in the first movie, but Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow have not yet been approached to reprise their voice roles. No final decisions have been made as to when the sequel will head into production or when it will hit theaters.
|LUCAS CONTEMPLATES STAR WARS EPISODE III
STAR WARS EPISODE II is heavy in post-production, but director George Lucas is already looking ahead to the next film, according to producer Rick McCallum. "George is starting to think about EPISODE III . Hopefully we're going to start in September on conceptual work and start on animatics [moving storyboards] for some of the larger sequences for EPISODE III . We'll try to lock down the costumes by December 2002 so we can make it easier for wardrobe staff to start constructing costumes in Sydney for January 2003."
In the meantime, a rough cut of STAR WARS EPISODE II has been readied for June, and dozens of visual effects shots have been completed, McCallum said. Industrial Light & Magic "has completed about 160 shots, which is a lot better than what we had at this time for Episode I," he said. "Then, we were at about 63 shots. Our next goal is to have 1,100 shots done for early fall. We're looking at about 2,200 shots total - virtually every shot in the movie."
McCallum, who is on his way to Sydney to supervise dialogue looping, added that the film is on track for its planned 2002 release. "The game plan's there," he said. "We're very goal-oriented now. We have calendars everywhere. We know what we're doing next Friday. We know what we're doing the Friday after. We know what cut we have to get to."
|EWAN McGREGOR COMPLIMENTS THE EPISODE II SCRIPT
Ewan McGregor recently complimented the quality of the script for STAR WARS: EPISODE II by comparing it unfavorably to its predecessor. Its unusual in Hollywood to hear an actor speak unkindly of a high-profile mega-bucks project. He said that George Lucas' script for the second installment is an improvement on the first one. Ewan says, "It's just a better script. EPISODE I could have been better. Could have been a lot better."
|EPISODE II SNEAKS AT THIS YEAR'S DRAGON*CON
Lucasfilm will offer a sneak peak at the upcoming STAR WARS: EPISODE II at Dragon*Con 2001, Aug. 31-Sept. 3 in Atlanta. The convention is America's largest annual convention for fans of science fiction, fantasy and horror, comics and art, games and computers, animation, science, music, television and films.
Steve Sansweet, director of fan relations for Lucasfilm, will present a look at the entire STAR WARS saga and how EPISODE II will fit in. The presentation will include special footage that will be shown only at Dragon*Con.
|SIMON WELLS RAN OUT OF TIME
With only 18 days of principal photography left, director Simon Wells has abruptly dropped out of his directing role for THE TIME MACHINE, to be replaced by Gore Verbinski (THE MEXICAN). Wells, who's making his live-action directoral debut with the movie version of his grandfather H.G. Wells' classic science-fiction novel, was diagnosed with "extreme exhaustion" and was ordered by doctors to rest for a minimum of two weeks.
Verbinski will finish filming and hand the movie back to Wells, who plans to oversee all post-production. There's a rumor that Verbinski's taking a long time because he's had to go back and re-shoot several badly done scenes that had been done by Wells. Wells has directed several animated features, including DreamWorks' THE PRINCE OF EGYPT. THE TIME MACHINE, starring Guy Pearce, Mark Addy, Philip Rosco and Jeremy Irons, has been shooting in New York and Los Angeles since February.
|ANGELINA JOLIE'S LARA FLINT DOLLS ARE ANATOMICALLY
TOMB RAIDER babe Angelina Jolie made sure her breasts were perfectly rendered when they were immortalized for a selection of Lara Croft action figures. Jolie in a number of different get-ups and the dolls feature the full range of outfits - a Combat Pack complete with training robot, combat gear, Siberian gear, motorcycle gear and in her classic Tomb Raiding outfit. There are seven dolls in total, which come equipped with four different sub machine guns, a shotgun, grenade launcher, rocket launcher and her trademark twin silver pistols. Gavin Waxkirsh, spokesman for toymakers Vivid, says, "Angelina was very involved with the dolls and wanted to make sure everything was just right. I mean, everything is correct in every detail. There's going to be more than a few adults buying the dolls and I can reassure them that they won't be disappointed. Angelina insisted they were right first time - she was there for ages saying, 'bigger, bigger, no smaller!'"
I'm sorry. I seemed to have missed something here. Is this a conventional doll, or one of those life-sized inflatable kind?
|A NEW LOW HAS BEEN SET
It's tough to have a hit. Now, thanks to Warren Beatty it's just gotten a little bit tougher to have a really grand flop. There's a new bar under which your production must sink. TOWN AND COUNTRY is now the worst flop in movie history. It was pulled from release after earning only $6,712,451 in four weeks. The $80-million film takes the reigns as the biggest turkey in movie history. This must have been accompanied with hurrahs and tears of joy from Kevin Costner. It bumped his record stinker, the 1998 film THE POSTMAN, to number two.
|TREK X FOCUSES ON TROI
John Logan, screenwriter for the upcoming 10th STAR TREK movie, said that the film will focus in part on the character of Deanna Troi. "The movie will focus on Picard and Data, [and] I think the other characters, particularly Deanna, have more to do than they have in the other movies," Logan said.
He said that he's looking forward to mixing it up with the Romulans. "I was delighted with the chance to get to play with the Romulans, and I don't think they've quite been explored enough," he said. "In the original [Gene] Roddenberry universe, the Klingons represented Soviet Russia, and the Romulans represented the Communist Chinese. For me the Communist Chinese is a really interesting world that was never fully explored, certainly in the movies, and not even as much as I would have liked in the series, except for individual episodes. I've always found that sort of Byzantine structure of Chinese Communism very interesting and very provocative and lethal in a way I never found the Klingons. There is so much duplicity and mendacity and cleverness in the way the Romulans move through their world with very strategic chess moves. And also they are an old and ancient race, like the Vulcans, so they have gravitas to them, which I find very interesting." Logan has completed a second draft of the movie.
|DUCHOVNY SAYS, "WHAT, ME MULDER?"
There's been a lot of talk about a coming X-FILES film. Chris Carter's talked about it. Gillian Anderson's talked about it. Supporting cast members have talked about it. Fans have talked about it, A LOT. Pretty much everyone's talking about it. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be talking to David Duchovny. Duchovny has said that he doesn't know if he'll reprise his X-FILES role of Fox Mulder in another feature-film installment of the series. "There are no plans [to do an X-FILES movie sequel] as far as I know," he said. "I don't have a script. I haven't been asked to do it. But I imagine there will be one at some point. I don't know when."
|HUGH JACKMAN MEETS SOME SERIOUS WOLVERINE FANS
Hugh Jackman, who you might remember as Wolverine in X-MEN, said that his new fame has earned him some overeager fans. At dinner one night, "I noticed the [restaurant] manager slowly approaching my table, all trembling. He suddenly took off his shirt, and he had a Wolverine tattoo all over his back and chest. He told me that meeting me had made his millennium, and I think he meant it, because he was bathed in sweat."
Another time, an obsessed bodybuilder put him in an affectionate headlock while Jackman was grocery shopping. "Pressing in my face was a Wolverine tattoo on his enormous biceps," he said. "I did not hang around to purchase my groceries, and I just ran for the exit."
Jackman added that he has a female following as well. "The Wolvie Women, they have their own Web site, where they post their wolf-sex fantasies, all about howling during sex and clawing frantically," he said. "I've met a few of these ladies also, but fortunately, I can tell them that I am a married man, and that seems to keep them at a distance."
|R-RATED REVENUE HAS FALLEN THANKS TO ENFORCEMENT
Ticket sales for R-rated films have plummeted since movie theaters, bowing to political pressure, began tightening their enforcement of age restrictions, according to a study by the research group MarketCast. The study concluded that "significant numbers" of children under 17, especially girls, were being deterred from seeing R-rated movies. The theaters' policies, the study said, caused the recent releases THE MEXICAN, starring Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt, and ANGEL EYES, starring Jennifer Lopez, to lose a major share of the audience that ordinarily would have been attracted to them. It estimated that the movie TOMCATS from Joe Roth's Revolution Studios lost 30 percent of its potential audience because of theater enforcement of age restrictions.
According to Michael Schwartz, the research director for Market Cast, "I think the implications are that studios will take a hard look at movies that could be cut to be PG-13. They'll ask whether the R-rated scenes will gain them enough appeal to offset the losses, especially where there is strong teen interest."
In all likelihood, Mr. Schwartz is probably, and unfortunately, correct. Hollywood will further dilute its product so that no over 18 would WANT to go to see their movies. The question that they should grapple with is, how can we make better films so that we don't have to rely on 12-year-olds seeing movies that they shouldn't be watching? If they made movies that people that have emerged from puberty actually wanted to see, they wouldn't have to rely on corrupting children to turn a profit.
|PRODUCERS AND ACTORS RACE AGAINST A LOOMING DEADLINE
Producers are rushing to come to an amicable agreement with actors before the June 30 deadline arrives. Some tensions have surfaced in the contract talks but sources close to both sides still believe a strike this summer is highly unlikely. These sources characterized the negotiations as typical by historical standards, with the parties starting far apart and circling each other cautiously before making any dramatic progress.
It also is expected that both sides won't start closing the gap until the contract expiration date of June 30 approaches. Talks are likely to go down to the wire.
Despite a self-imposed news blackout, behind-the-scenes spin has already started. Sources close to studios, for example, say actors surprised them with demands for a package valued much higher than had been expected, especially in the area of residuals paid for reruns. Studios have been hoping to use their recent deal with the Writers Guild of America as a template for a deal with the two acting unions. Sources close to the unions counter that their requests are reasonable and tailored to their needs, adding that studios are asking for some lower-paid actors to take a financial hit.
One area of contention is a desire by studios to establish a lower rate for actors with three lines or less on a TV show, which actors consider a financial rollback. Studios argue that the current system encourages studios to eliminate those limited speaking roles to save money, adding that having a lower rate in place would create jobs because there would be an incentive to keep the small acting parts in a script. Actors counter that studios will be tempted to cut the number of lines actors have in a script to three or less so they won't have to pay them as much.
Actors are likely to be sensitive to any pay issues affecting lower-paid actors. A major goal this year is to improve the lot of so-called "middle-class actors," who make $30,000 to $70,000 a year. SAG earnings reports show that 70 percent of the guild's 100,000 members make less than $7,500 a year as actors. Those reports show that SAG members earned nearly $1 billion from film and TV roles last year, but that those earnings are becoming concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer film and TV stars.
To accomplish their aim of increasing pay for mid-level actors, the unions say they'll come to the table with considerably fewer contract proposal than in past negotiations. Typically, the unions have presented as many as 100 proposals covering stunt persons, dancers, background actors and other membership groups; this year, however, the simplified package is meant to focus the broad ranks of lower-paid performers.
|IMAGINATIVE CINEMA FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE
JUNE 8TH: EVOLUTION shows chaos breaking out when a meteor crashes on Earth, bearing one-celled organisms. The problem is that they begin evolving at a pace much faster than what happened on our world. Changes that took billions of years happen in one month. As the film starts, they're kept within the confines of a cave, but what's going to happen when they get out? Four of the people investigating the cave are a community college professor (David Duchovny), his geologist buddy (Orlando Jones), a "wannabe" fireman (Sean William Scott), and a government scientist (Julianne Moore). The film was directed by Ivan Reitman.
Don Jakoby, who created the story and co-wrote the script for the film, said that he originally intended the film to be serious. "I wrote the screenplay called EVOLUTION, which was a serious, dramatic science-fiction set piece, a big movie, and it came into Ivan's hands through [producer] Tom Pollock," Jakoby said. "We had a big meeting with Tom and Ivan and all of their people, Joe Medjuck and all of Ivan's producers. And they brought me into the room and said, 'Look, we love this script. Here's the thing, we want to'- and then [Reitman] made a sort of a tilting motion - 'we want to camp this thing 20 or 30 degrees. We just want to take it slightly off center.' And I said, 'You mean, GHOSTBUSTERS 2001.' He said, 'Yup. Do you mind selling it to us and letting us do that and helping us do that?'" Jakoby said he had no problem with the suggestion. "I knew Ivan was capable of doing that kind of a movie, certainly. I happen to think GHOSTBUSTERS is one of the best movies of the last 20 years."
SWORDFISH is the story of the world’s most dangerous spy (John Travolta), a charismatic, multifaceted man hired by the CIA to coerce a computer hacker (Hugh Jackman) recently released from prison to help steal $6 billion in unused government funds. In exchange, the hacker can regain custody of his daughter and start a new life. The movie also stars Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Vinnie Jones, Sam Shepard and Nick Loren. It was directed by Dominic Sena (the director of the recent remake of GONE IN 60 SECONDS and the creepy KALIFORNIA).
JUNE 15TH: TOMB
RAIDER Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) was born into wealth and groomed
at the most elite schools. She travels to dangerous and mysterious locales
around the globe in search of rare, lost crypts and long-forgotten empires.
She speaks numerous languages and is highly trained for combat. She must
face her greatest challenge yet: to find two halves of an ancient artifact
buried in space and time. To possess it means ultimate power for its possessor.
But to get there, she must first take on a powerful and dangerous secret
society. The fate of mankind rests in the hands of Lara Croft. The movie's
directed by Simon West (director of THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER and CON-AIR).
JUNE 22ND: DR. DOOLITTLE 2 once again finds Eddie Murphy as the good doctor. His patients are getting a little more demanding. They require more than just his medical services. They need him to save their forest from unscrupulous human developers. He discovers an endangered species living in the forest that may be enough to enable him to get a restraining order. But of course, it's not that simple. The humans are threatening to ruin him and the animals are threatening to go on strike.
JUNE 29TH: A.I:
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE is set sometime in the future of the 21st century.
It's a time when the Greenhouse Effect has melted the ice caps, submerging
many of the coastal cities in water, mankind depends upon computers with
artificial intelligence to maintain our way of life. Man has also found
new friends in A.I., in the form of robots that are used for a variety
of functions. This story is about a boy robot (Haley Joel Osment), and
the emotional journey he makes toward becoming something more.
|MAKE YOUR OWN JAPANESE SCI-FI MOVIE
Do you love (I mean REALLY, REALLY love) Japanese science-fiction films? Do you wake up every morning, soaked in sweat, after running away from oversized Tokyo-trottin' critters in your dreams? Oy! Have I got a site for you!
Get out that monocle. Dust off that director's chair. Blow the cobwebs from your megaphone. Thanks to Web and television studio Submarine and their debut of AbsolutDirector.com, you can practice your arrogant little director's strut in front of your computer and make those fevered Japanese sci-fi dreams a frightening reality. This offbeat site allows aspiring filmmakers to make their own movie using 36 film clips from an obscure 1960s Japanese sci-fi movie. A user can choose the scenes he wants, set the running order, write the dialogue for each of the 11 characters, select voices and background music and even create title and credit screens.
Director Spike Lee is the first filmmaker to premiere his work on the site, A WOMAN IN A RUBBER SUIT. The site is also launching with short films by acclaimed directors Mary Harron (AMERICAN PSYCHO) and Chris Smith (HOME MOVIE).
|GEOCACHING TO PROMOTE PLANET OF THE APES
Fox hopes to ride the wave of "geocaching" to promote its upcoming PLANET OF THE APES movie. Geocaching is a recent Web-based scavenger hunting phenomenon. Project A.P.E., for Alternative Primate Evolution, offers visitors the chance to hunt for "cultural objects" of "unknown origin" related to an alternative theory of the evolution of apes, as depicted in the upcoming movie.
The promotion makes use of a new Internet-based game phenomenon in which competitors make use of Global Positioning System units to find caches of items hidden somewhere in the world. In the case of the A.P.E. project, gamers are invited to search for items related to the storyline of Tim Burton's upcoming film.
The site will post weekly clues to the GPS coordinates identifying the location of a new cache of items. Visitors to the site are able to compete for a Garmin eTrex GPS unit in weekly drawings. PLANET OF THE APES opens July 27.
|CARS, ACTION, MARKETING, FAME AND THE INTERNET
BMW Films is bringing high profile directors to your modem. Usually Online-movies are from young independents or older works from established artists. Under the Site's "THE HIRE" series, they've got high-profile internationally known directors shooting short action films specifically for them. STAR is from director Guy Ritchie (SNATCH and LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS) AMBUSH is from director John Fankenheimer (THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and RONIN), CHOSEN is from Ang Lee (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON), THE FOLLOW by Chinese action director Wong Kar-Wai and POWDER KEG by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu. What do all the films have in common? They all feature action-sequences involving BMW's. Apparently the car-company feels that there's a close tie in demographics between the testosterone-lure offered by the high-action films and their target market. Also the Online films are more appealing to people with high-speed connections. Studies show that this population is more technology-saavy and is more apt to spend money on luxury items.
|STUDIOS MAY HELP THEATERS CONVERT TO DIGITAL
Executives of four of Hollywood's major studios have held discussions about forming a nonprofit company that would help financially troubled theater chains replace traditional film projectors with digital ones. Disney, Sony, Warner Bros. and Paramount have been involved in the discussions, with Universal and 20th indicating that they may also participate. "We think the studios need to play a role in accelerating the deployment of digital cinema on favorable terms to theater operators," Phil Barlow, according to executive vice president of Walt Disney Motion Picture Group. However, the the chains are worried about giving studios too much control over how films are exhibited. "Whatever structure is developed has to leave the existing players in the same position as they are today, vis-a-vis the relationships on film booking, control of the projector within the theaters and so on," United Artists Theatre Co.'s CEO Kurt Hall said.
|ROGER EBERT SAYS DIGITAL PROJECTION COULD BOOST
Roger Ebert suggests that digital projection could be a boon - indeed, perhaps the savior - of independent filmmaking. "If films were supplied [to theaters] on cheap high-definition discs, the same title could play simultaneously in 50 cities, with a national publicity campaign," Ebert writes. "Even as an opponent of digital projection of big-screen, mainstream movies, I can see how this would help the indies sneak around the multiplex gridlock."
|COMING SOON: MOVIE TICKETS ON YOUR CELL PHONE
Polaroid is expected to unveil a pocket-sized system called Onyx that will produce black-and-white images from PDAs and cell phones in about three seconds. Polaroid said that it could eventually enable people to call for movie tickets in advance and print them out without having to wait in line. Now, if I can fit it with a Tazer to zap the person behind me who won't shut up, I'll buy it!
|DISNEY AND VIACOM BUDDY UP ON VOD
Disney and Viacom (the giant media conglomerate that owns Blockbuster Video, MTV and several other high-profile holdings) have partnered up to work on an Internet-based Video-On-Demand system. They have not explained if this will be older catalog titles that have been through traditional theatrical/video/cable release or if this will be new content. One thing's for sure - VOD is the shiniest gleam in the eyes of studio entrepreneurs. It's not a matter of "if." It is definitely a "when."
|THE COST OF DVD'S
The next time you grouse about the high cost of DVD's remember that those extras that everyone is nuts about cost some bucks to add. A disc with only a few frills might have cost an additional $80,000. Tack on Dolby sound, DVD-ROM, documentaries, games and a commentary track and you've got $250,000. Put out something that's ultra-loaded with lots of premium features, we're looking at $500,000 or more. Features are getting dense enough that some DVD labs have put training teams out in the field to show retailers how to guide their customers through the maze of extras. So remember, those bells and whistles are tacked on because of consumer demand. When it comes time to pony up for a new disc, grin and bear it.
|LORD OF THE RINGS DVDs ARE ALREADY PLANNED
The first LORD OF THE RINGS movie doesn't hit theaters until December, but director Peter Jackson is already planning for the DVD release, slated for 2004. The boxed set will contain director's cuts of the three upcoming movies.
The DVD versions of the trilogy will probably contain more extreme footage than the tamer version released in cinemas to earn a PG rating. New Line Home Video also hired a crew to film behind-the-scenes details in New Zealand, during the nearly two years the films were in production.
Rental titles releasing 6/5: CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON comes to VHS and DVD today. Little remains to be said about this classic title except, if you haven't seen it, watch it. If you have seen it, watch it again! The VHS is a rental. The DVD is $27.95.
Rental title releasing 6/12: CASTAWAY, the movie that takes a very non-GILLIGAN look at being lost on a deserted island, comes out today. The VHS is a rental. The 2-disc DVD set sells for $29.98. . . . OH BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?, the quirky hit that set Homer's Odyssey in the Depression-era American South, releases today. The VHS is a rental. The DVD sells for $32.99. . . . GUARDIAN is about a former Marine working for the LAPD, who must battle against an evil spirit who had abducted a young child years before. It stars James Remar, Ice T and Mario Van Peebles. The VHS is a rental. The DVD sells for $24.99.
Rental titles releasing 6/19: EVIL SISTER 2 is the story of a quest, as a young woman and her father go in search of the twin sister who appears in her dreams. The VHS is a rental. The DVD sells for $19.95. . . . WITCH HUNTER has a group of theater students who buy an old stage and discover an ancient evil. The VHS is a rental. The DVD sells for $19.95. . . . THE LOST EMPIRE was originally a Hallmark presentation which aired on NBC in March. American journalist Nick Orton (Thomas Gibson) is caught up in the world of Chinese gods and monsters while on a search for a lost manuscript. He is accompanied on his journey by a humanoid ape with incredible strength and magical powers, a humanoid pig-man, and his brother-in-arms, an ex-cannibal. This is based on a classic Chinese story. The VHS is a rental. The DVD sells for $19.98. . . . PANIC is a movie about the choices that we make and the consequences with which we live. Donald Sutherland plays a domineering father insisting that his weak-willed son, William H. Macy, carry on the family business. The business is that of professional hit-man. Barbara Bain plays Sutherland's wife, Macy's mother. Tracy Ullman plays Macy's frustrated wife. Neve Campbell is Macy's girlfriend. This movie got enthusiastic critical acclaim and fell victim to very poor distribution. The VHS is a rental. The DVD sells for $24.98.
Rental titles releasing 6/26: UNBREAKABLE, the latest from M. Night Shyamalan, releases today. The VHS is a rental. The double-disc DVD sells for $29.99. . . . DEEP CORE is a disaster film set below the Earth's surface. Deep oil drilling finds the richest vein of oil yet discovered. It also triggers a series of reactive cataclysms across the globe. A special drilling vessel has to burrow below the Earth's surface to trigger a controlled nuclear explosion to off-set the pressure. Two of the members of the crew will look familiar to STAR TREK fans. Terry Farrell played Dax on DS9. Will Wheaton played Wesley Crusher on TNG. The VHS is a rental. The DVD sells for $29.99. . . . THE ALCHEMISTS gets released today. This 1999 British made-for-TV movie is about a leading pharmaceutical company that is involved in creating a mysterious fertility drug that causes severe deformation and mutation. Two of its employees are tipped off by a newspaper reporter and together they search for the answers and who's behind the conspiracy. It stars Grant Show, Ruth Gemmell and Edward Hardwicke. The VHS is a rental. The DVD sells for $24.95. . . . RANDOM FACTOR is not just a bad movie or bad science-fiction. It's a bad Canadian science-fiction movie. This is the country that gave us ABARXAS, GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE; BLOODY BIRTHDAY and STARSHIP INVASIONS. There's a special cold maple-leaf strewn place in Hell for films of this ilk. Those damned Canucks never miss a chance to stick it to their neighbors to the south for treating them like the fifity-first star on our flag. Well they got us good this time! In this SLIDERS-wannabe a guy ends up in mirror world. He becomes one a handful of people trapped there and trying to get back. The logic and science of the plot are pathetic. The acting's cheesy The fight scenes are done with the enthusiasm of an asthmatic doing aerobics. The weapons look like something from a toy store. The music's corny, though beautifully crafted and inspirational compared to that stupid theme song. The evil computer is voiced by Dan Akroyd (he must have lost a bet and got stuck to lending his voice to the film). Look, Canada, we're sorry. We'll be nicer. Just stop dropping these bombs on us! The VHS is a rental. The DVD is $19.95.
Sell through titles releasing 6/5: A collection of Midnite Movies make their way to DVD today. THE THING WITH TWO HEADS, DONOVAN'S BRAIN, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE, THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM, VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS and X-THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES all come to disc today. They're selling for $14.95 each. . . . . BLUE VELVET's famous opening has a young man returning to his home town after being away and discovering a severed human ear in a field. The discovery leads him to becoming entangled with a beautiful and mysterious woman and a violent and perversely evil man. The bad man, the role of "Frank," was a difficult one to cast. Several of the actors who were considered for the role found the character too repulsive and intense. Dennis Hopper, by contrast, is reported to have exclaimed, "I've got to play Frank. Because I am Frank!" The VHS is $14.98. . . . THE HANDMAID'S TALE is set in a bleak future where most women are infertile. An extreme right-wing theocracy forces the few that can have children into slavery as "handmaids" who are conscripted into bearing children. The VHS is $14.98. . . . SHADOWS AND FOG is a very surrealistic and overlooked film of Woody Allen's. A timid business clerk gets woken up in the middle of the night by an angry mob and joins them in searching the streets for a killer. As the movie progresses we begin to understand that this "killer" is not your garden variety nutbag. This killer is God. The VHS is $14.95. . . . SHALLOW GRAVE has three pals finding their roommate dead of a drug overdose and a bag of loot nearby. They decide to hack up his body and bury it and divide the cash. The decision has disastrous results. The VHS is $14.98. . . . INDEPENDENCE DAY gets released today, in plenty of time for the 4th of July. Re-watch the nasty aliens get an Earth shoe up their gnarly keesters for $9.98 on tape. . . . PYTHON gives us a champion of direct-to-video B movies, Casper Van Dien, taking on a giant genetically engineered title-serpent as it begins killing residents in a small American town. The VHS is $9.98. . . . Who is the man who would give his life for his brother, man? SHAFT (Can ya' dig it?). The latter day incarnation of this black detective classic hits the streets today. The VHS is $14.95. The DVD sells for $29.99. . . . Four off-the-wall comedies release to DVD today. DR. DOOLITTLE (with Eddie Murphy), DOCTOR DOOLITTLE (with Rex Harrison), ME, MYSELF & IRENE and BIG all come to the wide-world-of-discs today. Your admission price is $22.98 each. . . . STAR TREK VOYAGER has a mess of episodes releasing today. There's episode 37, "Deadlock;" 38, "Innocence;" 39, "The Thaw;" 40: "Tuvix;" 41 "Basics I"; and 42 "Basics II." The VHS are $14.95 each. . . . A batch of new-ish action films are hitting shelves today. THE ART OF WAR, BAIT, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, BATTLEFIELD EARTH (gulp), THE NEGOTIATOR, RUSH HOUR, THE FUGITIVE and U.S. MARSHALS all go out for $14.95 on VHS. THE ART OF WAR releases for $19.98 on DVD. . . . DEMOLITION MAN; the 1993 futuristic film with Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes and Sandra Bullock; gets re-released today. The VHS is $9.95. The DVD is $19.98. . . . BLADE has Wesley Snipes as a half-human/ half-vampire warrior fighting to save humanity from bloodsucking fiends. The VHS is $14.98. . . . THE CELL blurs the borders of fantasy and sci-fi in this tale of a psychiatrist (Jennifer Lopez) journeying into the mind of a maniac to find the location of his latest victim. The VHS is $14.95. . . . THE CORRUPTER pairs Mark Wahlberg, a young cop with a secret, with Chow Yun-Fat as a tough New York cop who cuts corners. Together they have to handle a violent war in Chinatown. The VHS is $14.98. . . . SE7EN is an edge-of-the-seat thriller. An old soon-to-retire cop (Morgan Freeman) pairs with a young partner (Brad Pitt) to track a serial killer basing his crimes on the Seven Deadly Sins. The case will change their lives forever. The VHS is $14.98. . . . SOLDIER gives us Kurt Russell as a laconic gentically-bred killing machine who has been declared obsolete. When his superiors go to scrap him they discover that he's not quite as obsolete as they thought. The VHS is $14.95. . . . PLEASE DON'T EAT MY MOTHER SPECIAL EDITION is a DVD of this 1972 cult classic. A middle-aged man buys a plant with a sexy voice that develops a craving for insects, frogs, dogs and humans (particularly sexy centerfolds). This DVD sells for $24.99. . . . Something Weird Video gives us MONSTER NUDIE DOUBLE FEATURE. They offer 1964's KISS ME QUICK and 1962's HOUSE ON BARE MOUNTAIN. This is probably a DVD that should not be viewed with (a) children present, (b) women present, (c) anyone with a modicum of taste present and (d) anyone sober present. If you can see through your beer buzz to find your wallet, give the nice man $24.99. . . . PREDATOR is the 1987 film that pits a group of marine commandos on a top secret mission in a Central American jungle against an unstoppable alien predator. The movie stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers and the Governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura. It sells on VHS for $9.98.
Sell through titles releasing 6/12: A new STANLEY KUBRICK COLLECTION is due out on VHS and DVD. All of the titles are digitally restored and remastered. The titles offered include BARRY LYNDON, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, FULL METAL JACKET, THE SHINING, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, LOLITA and EYES WIDE SHUT. The VHS are $19.98 each or the set for $149.92. The DVD's are $24.98 each or the whole shootin' match for $199.92. When you buy the sets you'll also get a special edition of DR. STRANGELOVE and a new documentary called STANLEY KUBRICK: A LIFE IN PICTURES. . . . Anchor Bay has some bleak views from the U.K. They're releasing DVD's of THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE (1961), FINAL PROGRAMME (from 1973, it was released in the States as THE LAST DAYS OF MAN ON EARTH) and MEMOIRS OF A SURVIVOR (1981). The three discs are selling for $24.98 each. . . . THE BLACK CAT is a 1981 British film. A man with psychic powers telepathically controls his cat and trains it to murder his enemies. He discovers that telepathic control works two ways. I wonder if the cat makes him eat plants and puke them up? It stars David Warbeck, Patrick Magee and Mimsy Farmer. The VHS sells for $14.99. The DVD is $29.98. . . . Six volumes of the animated X-MEN release today. They're selling for $9.98 each. . . . I VAMPIRI is a 1956 film from director Mario Bava. When the French police discover the blood-drained bodies of young women floating in the river Seine, a journalist undertakes a personal investigation into the "Vampire Murders." His work is forever being interrupted by the unwanted advances of a beautiful and wealthy woman who, unbeknownst to him, is, the vampire ringleader of a criminal underground of mad scientists and re-animated corpses, devoted to keeping her forever young! This DVD-only release sells for $24.99. . . . THE TWILIGHT ZONE VOL. 43 includes four episodes from the classic series, including the first episode, "Where is Everybody?" This DVD sells for $14.99.
Sell through titles releasing 6/19: Tai Seng has a bunch of martial arts films coming out. A LIFE OF NINJA and MANTIS COMBAT are both $9.95 for the VHS and $14.95 for the DVD. THE SIXTY MILLION DOLLAR MAN sells for $19.95 for the tape and $24.95 for the DVD. Releasing to DVD only are LOVER OF THE LAST EMPRESS, MAGNIFICENT WARRIORS (with Michelle Yeoh), EASY MONEY (with Michelle Yeoh), RICH AND FAMOUS (with Chow Yun-Fat), ROYAL WARRIORS (with Michelle Yeoh) TRAGIC HERO (with Chow Yun-Fat), LEGEND OF THE FLYING SWORDSMAN, POWERFUL FOUR and THE THREE SWORDSMAN, all for $19.95 each. Finally, releasing to DVD at a higher price are RETURN TO A BETTER TOMORROW for $24.95 and FOR BAD BOYS ONLY for $29.95.
Sell through titles releasing 6/26: Last year the movie TRAFFIC got a lot of attention. Now meet the British mini-series upon which the film was based. It's called TRAFFIK. It focuses on the drug trade between Britain and Pakistan (the theatrical version looked at the U.S. and Mexico). Just as in the film, the war on drugs takes on tragic personal overtones for a government official overseeing drug policy. It aired on PBS in the early 90's. This version contains footage not seen on the PBS version. You can buy it on three cassettes for $49.95 or two DVD's for $39.95. . . . BLESS THE CHILD SPECIAL EDITION drops to sell-through today. Kim Bassinger plays a nurse struggling to rescue her sister's daughter from a group of Satanists who are bent on using her special talents for the destruction of humanity. The VHS is $14.95. The DVD sells for $29.99. . . . THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE once again become available for sale. This combined live action/animated feature sells for $14.98 for the VHS and $26.98 for the DVD. . . . BLOOD ON THE SUN is a unique 1945 James Cagney gangster film. It differs on some crucial points from the run-of-the-mill gangster movie. First of all, it's based on a true story. Secondly, the gang that he's taking on is the Japanese Imperial Government. Cagney seems willing to take on the whole Imperial concept of Japanese rule which began prior to World War Two in his portrayal of an American editor in pre-war Japan who discovers a plan for Japanese world domination, including invading China and bombing America. He's pursued by a beautiful Japanese secret agent (Sylvia Sidney) sent to ensnare him before he can leak the information. This noir-like classic comes to DVD for just $19.99. . . . CHARLIE'S ANGELS makes its ultra-chic way to VHS sell-through today. This 2000 theatrical tape on the 70's TV icon boasts a killer cast, including Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bill Murray, Tim Curry, Crispin Glover, John Forsythe, LL Cool J and Tom Green. It sells for $19.96. . . . DOGMA: SPECIAL EDITION releases to DVD today. This controversial film, written and directed by Kevin Smith, pokes fun at Catholic cosmology. The last known descendant of Christ is called upon to save the existence of humanity from being negated by two renegade angels trying to exploit a loophole. Its tagline is "Don't get touched by an angel." It stars Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, George Carlin, Salma Hayek, Jason Lee, Kevin Smith, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock, Bud Cort, Alanis Morissette and Janeane Garofalo. The special edition includes such goodies as 100 minutes of deleted scenes, cast and crew outtakes, Jay and Silent Bob's secret stash spot, and more. This DVD sells for $29.95. . . . HOUSE and HOUSE II: THE SECOND STORY come to us as a DVD double feature. The original feature stars William Katt as a recently divorced writer who moves into his aunt's home. He discovers that the house doesn't want him there. The second movie is a sequel in name only. The new owner of a sinister house gets involved with reanimated corpses and demons searching for an ancient Aztec skull with magic powers. The price on this double feature is $29.98. . . . THE TENTH VICTIM is a 1965 film that is either a boring, dated piece of Italian crap or a brilliant, witty classic. You watch it and figure it out for yourself. It's about licensed killing celebrated in the 21st-century media as a spectator sport. Victim and Hunter (played by a platinum blonde Marcello Mastroianni and Ursala Andress) run around Italy trying to score a kill in front of the movie crews they arranged so they could make commercials from the footage. It's an adaptation of Robert Sheckley's memorable story "The Seventh Victim." The VHS is $14.98. The DVD is $24.95. . . . ULTRAVIOLET is an exceedingly well-done British piece that straddles horror (vampires) and the science-fiction (these are not you garden variety vamps). A young detective-seargent is unwillingly thrust into the nightmarish world of vampires when the man who is his best friend and partner disappears under suspicious circumstances on the eve of his wedding. He discovers a secret organization, made up of the British government and the Catholic Church, operating undercover within the police. The adversaries are never called "vampires." They're referred to as "leeches" or "code-5." This six-part British mini-series The two-tape VHS boxed set is $24.95. The two-disc DVD boxed set is $34.95. . . . URBAN LEGENDS: FINAL CUT features someone who is determined to win the best film award at any cost at Alpine University (though probably not by showing this film). They seem willing to eliminate the competition. The VHS is $14.95. The DVD is $19.95.
|THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
Anyone who has had the good sense and good fortune to read the wildly inventive science-fiction novel, The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or any of its sequels, will lament the passing of the author, Douglas Adams. In the original novel we discovered that the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything is "42" (a meaningless solution, we're told, without the ultimate question). Sadly, the ultimate answer for Adams was 49 - his age at the time of his sudden death while working out in his home gym in Santa Barbara, California.
Adams recalled how he first thought of the book during a teen-age trip around Europe. "I was hitchhiking around Europe in 1971, when I was 18, with this copy of A Hitchhiker's Guide to Europe," he said. "At one point I found myself lying in the middle of a field, a little bit drunk, when it occurred to me that somebody should write a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It didn't occur to me that it might actually be me years later."
Adams has been working for years trying to get a movie shot of Hitchhiker. He said, "It's the nature of the story, which is picaresque, which translates to one damn thing after another, and another, and another. It's very hard to translate that to a 100 -minute feature film," he said. "Every script has a beginning and a middle and an end."
So, the voices of Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Slartibartfast and Marvin the depressed robot have fallen silent. Their father is gone. So long Douglas Adams and thanks for all the laughs.
Jason Miller didn't do a lot of horror movies, but what he did was memorable. In 1973 he received a nomination for best supporting actor for his portrayal of Father Karras in THE EXORCIST.
TUE 5TH: VIDEO RENTAL - CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON releases today.
VIDEO SELLTHROUGH - BLUE VELVET, THE HANDMAID'S TALE,
SHADOWS AND FOG, SHALLOW GRAVE, INDEPENDENCE DAY, PY-
THON, SHAFT, STAR TREK VOYAGER 5 episodes, THE ART OF WAR,
BAIT, THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT, BATTLEFIELD EARTH (gulp),
THE NEGOTIATOR, RUSH HOUR, THE FUGITIVE, U.S. MARSHALS,
DEMOLITION MAN, BLADE, THE CELL, THE CORRUPTER, SE7EN,
SOLDIER and PREDATOR all go on sale today.
DVD SELLTHROUGH - CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, THE
THING WITH TWO HEADS, DONOVAN'S BRAIN, THE FALL OF THE
HOUSE OF USHER, DR. GOLDFOOT AND THE BIKINI MACHINE, THE
PIT AND THE PENDULUM, VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS and X-THE MAN
WITH THE X-RAY EYES, SHAFT, DR. DOOLITTLE, DOCTOR DOOLITTLE,
ME, MYSELF & IRENE, BIG, THE ART OF WAR, DEMOLITION MAN,
PLEASE DON'T EAT MY MOTHER SPECIAL EDITION and MONSTER
NUDIE DOUBLE FEATURE, hit sale shelves today.
WED. 6TH: COMICS - "The Fray" releases today
TUE. 12TH: TV - A.F.I. 100 YEARS . . . 100
THRILLS, CBS 8 P.M.
TUE. 12TH - FRI. 15TH: TV - The Sci-Fi Channel re-airs FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE.
FRI 15TH - SUN 17TH: EVENT - ASIAN
FANTASY FILM FILM EXPO in Saddle
SAT. 16TH: TV - New season for Sci-Fi Channel
shows - BLACK SCORPION, THE
SUN. 17TH: TV - The Sci-Fi Channel runs a marathon of FRANK HERBERT'S DUNE
TUE 19TH: VIDEO RENTAL - EVIL SISTER 2, WITCH
HUNTER, THE LOST EMPIRE,
FRI. 22ND: MOVIE - DR. DOOLITTLE 2 debuts.
TUE 26TH: VIDEO RENTAL - UNBREAKABLE, DEEP
CORE, THE ALCHEMISTS
FRI. 29TH: TV - STARGATE SG-1 starts a new
season on Showtime.