1.FEBRUARY WAS SERIAL-ISTIC
2.WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST MEMBER: DAVID DELLMAN
3.WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST MEMBER: RUTH ROBERSON
4.NEWS OF OUR MARCH MEETING
5.GET READY FOR ACTION - ICS ACADEMIC IS COMING IN MARCH!
6.THE ICS WELCOMES OUR GUEST FOR MARCH: ED HELLMAN
7.INVITE YOUR FRIENDS TO OUR APRIL MEETING!
8.WELCOME TO OUR NEW FOOD COORDINATOR - SUE FEDER
9.THE LATEST ON RALPH GERVASIO
11.HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU!
12.THE OSCAR POOL
13.THE GLASS TEAT
With news on ENTERPRISE, ANGEL, ROSWELL and WOLF LAKE.
14.KEVIN SORBO'S HAPPY, BUT. . .
15.THE CHRONICLE FOLDS
16.THE SCOOBIES SING AGAIN!
17.ABC ORDERS MORE DINOTOPIA!
18.EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT HEADS TOWARD ITS FINAL CONFLICT
19.ENTERPRISE'S DOC IS AS HAPPY AS A CLAM
20.BRAGA HOPES SEX SELLS
21.FIREFLY CASTING BEGINS
22.FIRESTARTER IGNITES IN MARCH
23.FUTURAMA HAS A LIMITED FUTURE
24.MEET GREG THE BUNNY
25.MR. STRACZYNSKI'S SUBMERSIBLE CAT
26.ROSWELL SETS TO GO
27.A NEW SNOW WHITE AIRS ON ABC
28.ANGRY FANS REVOLT OVER STARGATE MEDDLING
29.NEXT STOP - THE UPN ZONE
30.X-FILES TWO HOUR FINALE WILL AIR MAY 19
31.THINGS TO COME
With news on JOHN CON, JOHNS HOPKINS FILM FESTIVAL, FILMFEST DC, CHILLER THEATER SPRING EXPO, THE MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL and BALTICON 36.
32.IS STEPHEN KING RETIRING?
33.THE END OF MARVEL COMICS' GREATEST CHARACTERS
35.RECENT TITLES: BOOKS ABOUT MOVIES
36.RECENT TITLES: MEDIA TIE-INS
37.RECENT TITLES: OTHER BOOKS OF INTEREST
With news on CHARLIE'S ANGELS sequel, ALICE, SUPERMAN LIVES, STAR WARS EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES, TERMINATOR 3: THE RISE OF THE MACHINES, THE TWO TOWERS, THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, ROLLERBALL, HART'S WAR and THE WIZARD OF OZ.
39.ONE FILM TO RULE THEM ALL
40.22ND ANNUAL RAZZIE NOMINATIONS
42.BLADE'S SCREENWRITER PONDERS THE FUTURE
43.BLAIR THREE SPUTTERS
44.GIBSON'S STILL HOT ABOUT FAHRENHEIT 451
45.MAGIC BEATS THE FORCE
46.JACKSON TALKS RINGS
47.ET AND THE MATRIX
48.THE MATRIX RELOADED SITE IS ONLINE
49.TWO MOVIES VIE FOR THE TRIPLE WORD SCORE
50.STRAIGHTENING OUT A JEDI FAMILY TREE
51.McGREGOR SAYS, "WITH A NAME LIKE ATTACK OF THE CLONES, IT'S GOTTA BE GOOD!"
52.AN EARLY LOOK AT EPISODE II
53.AHNULD TALKS FEMBOT
54.VAN HELSING'S BACK!
55.WHO'S THE SCARIEST MOVIE VILLAIN?
56.THE CORPORATIZATION OF HORROR FILMS
57.IMAGINATIVE CINEMA FOR THE MONTH OF MARCH
News on the premiere of WE WERE SOLDIERS, THE TIME MACHINE, ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS, ICE AGE, RESIDENT EVIL, BLADE 2, E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION, PANIC ROOM and CLOCK STOPPERS.
58.DAVID LYNCH'S NEW SUBSCRIPTION WEBSITE
59.OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS ONLINE
60.TREKKING THROUGH CYBER SPACE
61.HELP FOR YOUR FAVORITE FAN SITES
62.FORMAT WARS: IS THAT A DVD IN YOUR POCKET, OR ARE YOU JUST GLAD TO SEE ME?
63.FORMAT WARS: IF YOU LOVED DIVX, YOU'LL LOVE ViDVD
64.FORMAT WARS: D-VHS TAKES A GREAT LEAP FORWARD
65.FORMAT WARS: HIGH DEFINITION DVD'S - THE FIVE YEARS IS UP!
66.FORMAT WARS TAKE A CASUALTY
67.VIDEOS ON YOUR CELL PHONE
68.TNG BEAMS TO DVD
69.HOW MUCH SHOULD A DVD MOVIE SELL FOR?
70.HOW MUCH SHOULD A VHS MOVIE SELL FOR?
71.VHS HANGS TOUGH
72.BUY - BEST BUY
73."DON'T JUST SIT THERE, RENT SOMETHING!"
74.VIDEO STORE SHELVES ARE LINED WITH ACADEMY GOLD
75.COLUMBIA'S NEW DESTINATION
76.THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
We remember Chuck Jones, Lucille Lund, Irish McCalla, George Nader, Kevin Smith, John Thaw and Lawrence Tierney.
77. MARCH CALENDAR
|FEBRUARY WAS SERIAL-ISTIC
Our February meeting was the final serial presentation of Barry Murphy in what he referred to as THE SKIPPER'S LAST STAND. Barry walked us through the odds and ends that he'd missed in his previous talks, including a demonstration of how villain's are slowly revealed (he conveniently discovered a dastardly plan, labeled "Dastardly Plan," to destroy the ICS - we eventually discovered - thanks to Barry's Atomic Villain Detector - that the cur in our midst is Sue Feder).
We got to see the final chapter of "The Crimson Ghost," and chapter one of the our new 15-chapter "The Mysterious Doctor Satan" (vintage 1940). We got to watch the 1940 Bob Hope movie, GHOST BREAKERS. We capped all that off with a lively business meeting (see below for details).
WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST MEMBER: DAVID DELLMAN
The ICS is pleased to welcome David Dellmman to our ICS family. He came to us because of a flier he picked up at Farpoint in February. David said, "I loved the meeting and the people I met were the best. In fact, I have never had a more
friendly greeting from any group and I very much appreciate it!"
We appreciate you David. Welcome aboard!
WELCOME TO OUR NEWEST MEMBER: RUTH ROBERSON
If you notice our new member, Ruth Roberson, on the arm of a handsome devil that's just Gary Roberson proudly escorting his mother to our meetings. Ruth is making the pilgrimage to distant lands (all the way from just outside the City of Brotherly Love) to come to our Baltimore meetings. We really appreciate it!
We're looking forward to getting to know you better, Ruth. When we heard you loved Steven Segall and action movies we knew that you'd joined the right club.
Welcome to the ICS Ruth.
NEWS OF OUR MARCH MEETING
Our March meeting will be held on Saturday March 23 at 5:30 PM 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 for Dave Henderson or 443-570-6455 for me (David Willard). We'll talk you in.
GET READY FOR ACTION - ICS ACADEMIC IS COMING IN MARCH!
Those of you who played our Jeopardy-like movie trivia game last year, ICS Academic, remember what fun it was. We had a great time quiz show for trivia experts and inspired rookies. This year we'll have a buzzer system that will make the game a little more equitable for participants (last year THE SHE DEMONS killed the poor BRAINS THAT WOULDN'T DIE). You can thank Charlie Wittig, and his friend Bob Lee, for working a long time to concoct the system that Charlie likes to simply call, "Brainniac."
Here's a hint if you'd like to excel - go back and watch and study all three dozen films that we've watched as a club. There'll be at least one question about each of them in the game.
THE ICS WELCOMES OUR GUEST FOR MARCH: ED HELLMAN
Ed Hellman is a local filmmaker. He'll be coming to our March meeting to show us his movie, GENERIC MAN'S NOTEWORTHY EXCURSION. He'll be talking to us about the movie and what it's like starting out as a young auteur. This will be a special night. Plan on being there!
INVITE YOUR FRIENDS TO OUR APRIL MEETING!
We always encourage our members to invite their family, friends and co-workers to our meetings. If there was a moment you were waiting to do that, our April 27 meeting would be that time. They'll be a movie marathon, plenty of food, laughs, movies AND an auction. It should be a memorable meeting.
Here's the tentative schedule:
12-2:30 Serial and bad movie (bring along the worst movie you've
We hope that you bounce back Ralph and we hope
that you don't drive your nurses (Peggy and Diane) nuts. Get well soon.
HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU!
|THE GLASS TEAT
Stockwell leaps into ENTERPRISE . . . Scott Bakula will reunite with longtime friend and former QUANTUM LEAP co-star Dean Stockwell in an episode of ENTERPRISE. Stockwell will appear in the episode "Detained," directed by David Livingston. He'll play Grat, a Tandaran colonel who deals with Capt. Archer and Mayweather after they enter Tandaran airspace. The episode will air in April. . . . ANGEL is about to go M.I.A. Attention ANGEL fans: your favorite vampire is about to go on holiday. In their infinite wisdom the boys at the WB have decided to put ANGEL on hiatus for five weeks, from March 11 through April 15. I don't know if this is indicative of the apparent low regard that it seems the WB has for the series. If they ultimately cancel the series, UPN has an option to pick it up for two seasons. . . . ROSWELL takes a holiday. ROSWELL will be on hiatus until late April/early May while UPN runs its new sitcoms that it has been heavily promoting. This is not a cancellation. At this time UPN hasn't announced plans for renewal of the series. . . . Return to WOLF LAKE. UPN will air episodes of the canceled CBS series WOLF LAKE starting on April 3, in the post-ENTERPRISE timeslot (Wednesday nights at 9) that was formerly the home of SPECIAL UNIT 2. They'll start with the pilot and then run four never-before-seen episodes.
KEVIN SORBO'S HAPPY, BUT. . .
Kevin Sorbo is one happy guy, but he could be happier. He's happy that Tribune Entertainment and Fireworks Entertainment have renewed his show, GENE RODDENBERRY'S ANDROMEDA, for two more seasons. He'd be even happier if the show was more widely embraced by the public. "It's pretty amazing, but I will still battle with the powers that be," Sorbo said. "I think the show should be a much higher-rated show. Yes, it's the number 1 show in syndication, but I look at it and think it's a really good show. The trouble with syndication is that you're not on Tuesdays at 8 o'clock across the country. We're on at different times in different cities, pretty much Saturdays and Sundays. You don't get that [tune-in] unless people are looking in their TV Guide. People get lost looking for the show. So I'm trying to do what I can to get the studio to promote it better. That's why I'm doing a lot of promotional stuff right now in New York, Chicago and out in L.A."
Looking ahead to next season, Sorbo reported that changes are on the horizon, especially with Robert Engels stepping in to replace the recently dismissed Robert Hewitt Wolfe as the series executive producer. "We're going to get away from the Commonwealth," Sorbo said. "We've kind of said, 'The hell with it.' Dylan's got to come to the point where he realizes that he can't save the universe on his own by restoring it to where it was, with a million member worlds. So he pretty much decides that, 'You know what? We've got this ship and a pretty good crew. Let's just go out there and help people who need our help.' That's right back to the Gene Roddenberry concept [of the series]."
THE CHRONICLE FOLDS
The Sci-Fi Channel announced that it's canceling THE CHRONICLE, which will air its last episode, "Snitch in Time," on March 22. "THE CHRONICLE was a good show with a talented cast and creative production team that unfortunately didn't find the audience it deserved," Sci-Fi president Bonnie Hammer said. "Sci-Fi continues its commitment to original programming with FIRESTARTER: REKINDLED in March; new seasons of the hit series FARSCAPE and exclusive originals of STARGATE SG-1 this summer; the original movie RIVERWORLD, based on Philip José Farmer's classic books; and Steven Spielberg's TAKEN, an unprecedented 20-hour, 10-night epic miniseries. Sci-Fi is increasing its commitment to original programming in 2002 and 2003, with a development slate of series, movies and miniseries that reflect the current mass popularity and broad appeal of the sci-fi genre."
THE CHRONICLE, about a tabloid newspaper that covers real paranormal phenomena, stars Chad Willett, Rena Sofer, Reno Wilson, Curtis Armstrong and John Polito. The first of the series' 22 episodes debuted July 14, 2001. The Chronicle will continue to air new episodes through March in the same timeslot, Fridays at 9 PM.
THE SCOOBIES SING AGAIN!
Anthony Stewart Head, aka "Giles" on BUFFY, has enlisted several BUFFY colleagues, including Joss Whedon, on his new CD, "Music for Elevators," created with composer George Sarah. Head provides vocals for the CD, which electronic musician Sarah produced. Head also wrote the lyrics.
Head is joined on some tracks by BUFFY co-stars James Marsters (Spike), Amber Benson (Tara) and Alyson Hannigan (Willow). Whedon, who composed the music for this season's musical BUFFY episode, also wrote a song on Head's CD.
ABC ORDERS MORE DINOTOPIA!
I guess you could say that the boys at ABC are high on the coming DINOTOPIA miniseries. With months before it airs in May they've already ordered thirteen one-hour episodes of the series, which features an entirely different cast from the miniseries. Erik von Detten (THE PRINCESS DIARIES) and Shiloh Strong will lead the cast of a new show.
Like the miniseries, the DINOTOPIA series is based on James Gurney's best-selling children's books, about a secret island where people and dinosaurs coexist peacefully. The series will pick up the storyline of the miniseries.
Von Detten and Strong will play teen brothers. Georgina Rylance has been tapped to play a love interest for both. The cast also includes Michael Brandon, Sophie Ward, Jonathan Hyde and Lisa Zane. Principal photography on the series gets under way this month in Budapest, and it may be ready to air as soon as mid-season 2003.
EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT HEADS TOWARD ITS FINAL CONFLICT
Paul Gertz, executive producer of GENE RODDENBERRY'S EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT, said that the final episodes will have some surprises, but he added that he believes fans will enjoy the way it ends. The storyline will pay off all the key players as they "get their moment to shine."
While Kevin Kilner (William Boone) won't return, other key players will. The syndicated series is in its fifth and final season. "It's been great, but it hasn't been the easiest show," Gertz said. "Part of the challenge was everybody had a view of what they wanted the show to be, and since it was created by Gene Roddenberry, who is no longer with us, he wasn't there to say, 'Well, this is what I meant it to be.' So actually the first year was the year that I felt was closest to what Mr. Roddenberry envisioned. So there's been obviously a lot of tinkering with the premise over the last five years. I've had a great time, and you sit back and there are things you wish you could change. But you can't look backward. You can only look forward [laughs]. We've already shot the last episode, and it was quite emotional."
ENTERPRISE'S DOC IS AS HAPPY AS A CLAM
Though some ENTERPRISE fans are grousing that John Billingsley, who plays the potential breakout character Dr. Phlox, isn't getting enough to do, the actor refuses to complain. "I'm having a great time," Billingsley said. "The people are sweet as hell. I've spent so many years doing this kind of work that, to me, just to have a regular gig is heaven. I would like more to do, of course, but I recognize that one of the things [the producers] want to do and need to do, and I think they're wise to do this, is to establish the triangular relationship between the captain [Scott Bakula], T'Pol [Jolene Blalock] and Trip [Connor Trinneer]. I think in that way they are reflecting some of what made the original show work. I think that's very prudent. They've got the fire-in-the-belly engineer, the cool and cerebral Vulcan and the captain, who is the balance between the two. I think that's exactly what they had in the first show, and it's one of the things people like about Enterprise. McCoy is Trip. The captain is the captain, and Spock is T'Pol. That will always be the ace, and what I hope they do is find a way to give the rest of us more to do than Sulu and Chekov and Uhura got to do."
BRAGA HOPES SEX SELLS
Brannon Braga said that he and partner Rick Berman aren't shying away from sex in ENTERPRISE. "Sensuality is sexual tension," Braga said. "And there's a lot of sexual tension between Trip and T'Pol and Archer and T'Pol. Trip got pregnant. There was a lot of sensuality in that one, and we have a show coming up where T'Pol gets nasty with a Vulcan. And that's a real sexy show."
Maybe the boys at Paramount haven't gotten over Seven of Nine's pheromones. They've gone from a Borg in a catsuit and pumps to dudes in their draws. Braga explains, "You see our people in their underwear. You see Archer in the shower. There's an episode where the Ferengi take over the ship, and Trip spends the entire episode in his underwear, running around the ship like Bruce Willis [like in DIE HARD except I suspect they don't want anything hard while he's flopping around in his BVD's]. Sensuality can be humorous. It can be obvious, and it can be subtle. Rick and I have been allowed to bring our own sensibilities to the show in a more natural way, which we haven't been allowed to do in some of the other shows."
FIREFLY CASTING BEGINS
Unless you regularly watched ONE LIFE TO LIVE from 1994-97 or happened to watch TWO GUYS A GIRL AND A PIZZA PLACE in 1998, the name "Nathan Fillion" may not mean much to you. He played a priest in DRACULA 2000, an ex-boyfriend in BLAST FROM THE PAST and the wrong Pvt. Ryan in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. If Joss Whedon's new series, FIREFLY is a breakout hit, you may soon come to know him very well.
He's been cast in the lead role of upcoming Fox series. He'll play Capt. Malcolm (Mal) Reynolds in the series, which has a 13-episode commitment from the network.
Other casting includes Adam Baldwin (FULL METAL JACKET), Alan Tudyk (28 DAYS), and Sean Maher (BRIAN'S SONG), Gina Torres (DARK ANGEL) and Ron Glass (Detective Ron Harris in BARNEY MILLER).
It's set almost 500 years in the future in a newly established Union of Planets. Firefly centers on Reynolds, the owner and the captain of a small "Firefly"-class transport spaceship named Serenity. The time period in the series is a version of the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, with Reynolds as a disillusioned war veteran. "He's a very dark, driven guy," Whedon said.
FIREFLY is filming now. It's set to premiere in the fall, with a two-hour pilot written and directed by Whedon. Speculation is that the show might inherit THE X-FILES' Sunday 9 PM timeslot.
FIRESTARTER IGNITES IN MARCH
The Sci-Fi Channel will present FIRESTARTER: REKINDLED, a four-hour miniseries based on Stephen King's classic book Firestarter, on March 10 and 11 at 9 PM. The miniseries, starring Marguerite Moreau (QUEEN OF THE DAMNED), Malcolm McDowell, Dennis Hopper and Danny Nucci, picks up the story of Charlie McGee (Moreau) 10 years after the events in the book and the 1984 movie it spawned. The miniseries will be presented in widescreen format.
McGee, who has the ability to start fires with her mind, has spent the past 10 years on the run from the unscrupulous government agents who created her. But now she's through running. FIRESTARTER: REKINDLED is written by Philip Eisner (EVENT HORIZON), directed by Robert Iscove (SHE'S ALL THAT), produced by Jeff Morton and executive produced by Tom Thayer.
FUTURAMA HAS A LIMITED FUTURE
The bad news is FUTURAMA has been canceled, sort of. The good news is the show has at least two more seasons on it. Here's how that works.
Fox isn't ordering new episodes of the show but the network hasn't canceled it. A Fox spokeswoman said, "Fox has decided not to order more episodes at this time, but we may do so in the future."
The series co-creator and executive producer David X. Cohen explained that the series hasn't been canceled - exactly. "We're in what is basically an unprecedented situation in that we have so many new episodes that haven't aired yet, literally enough episodes to run the rest of this year and all of next year at the snail's pace that they run the show at. So we're not canceled in the sense that we're still on the air. We still expect to be on the air next year. We may even have a few more episodes than . . . the number necessary to run this season and next season. We're still on the air. I'm still incredibly busy working on the episodes that people haven't seen yet. The show gets better and better. There are a lot of great episodes that are still going to be on."
Great, so the show might have a long life yet, right? Well, maybe, but not likely. "Obviously, they are letting us go out of production, which means we're going to lose all of our writers and probably all of our animators. In the event - which is probably a long shot, but by no means zero chance - that they do decide they do want more episodes down the line, a whole new team would have to be put together, which is a big task. It's obviously a big blow, but I hope people will remember the show is still on, and the best episodes are yet to come. So stick with it. You will be rewarded."
If you're a fan of the show and would like to ask Fox to reconsider go to the GotFuturama? fan Web site. They've started an online petition to save the show, which pulled over 20,000 signatures after just 17 hours.
MEET GREG THE BUNNY
On Wednesday, March 27 at 9:30 PM an unusual new series debuts on Fox. It's called GREG THE BUNNY.
GREG THE BUNNY is an innovative look at a randy Larry Sanders-esque world where puppets (a-hem, I mean "fabricated-Americans") are living, breathing creatures capable of independent actions, thoughts and emotions. The series follows the adventures of Greg (newcomer puppet Greg the Bunny), a not-so-innocent, yet undeniably cute, bunny puppet. Greg lands his dream job on the long-running children's show, “Sweetknuckle Junction,” a series populated by neurotic puppets and the humans who both love and abuse them. Greg must rely on the savvy of his human roommate and best friend Jimmy Bender (Seth Green) to navigate the tricky waters of life and Hollywood. Resting on Greg’s furry little shoulders are the livelihoods of Jimmy’s father – and “Sweetknuckle’s” blundering executive producer/director – Gil Bender (Eugene Levy), aggressive network executive Alison Kaiser (Sarah Silverman), the show’s human co-stars – Junction Jack (Bob Gunton) and Dottie Sunshine (Dina Waters) – and fellow lead puppet actors Warren “The Ape” Demontague and Count Blah (playing themselves).
Mixing live action and puppetry, GREG THE BUNNY is based on characters and concepts from the Independent Film Channel series of short films. They grew out of “Junktape,” the super-low-budget half-hour show produced for New York City public access in 1997.
MR. STRACZYNSKI'S SUBMERSIBLE CAT
J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of the new sci-fi series, JEREMIAH, said that he looked to history for inspiration for the post-apocalyptic show. "I sat down and said, what might make this interesting is to do what hasn't been done before, which is a post-apocalyptic show about hope," he explained. "And that kind of show is like designing a submersible cat. The concepts don't really work that well together. But I thought, as with the Black Death, which hit in the medieval period, they thought it was the end of the world. People were dying left, right and center. This was going to be it. But in point of fact, what followed the Black Death was the Renaissance. In fact, some historians said if you hadn't had the Black Death, which kind of cleared the field a bit, you wouldn't have had the Renaissance. So I wanted to do a show where that event became a catalyst for a new beginning rather than an end."
Based on a European comic series, JEREMIAH stars Luke Perry and Malcolm-Jamal Warner in a story of a near-future world in which a plague has killed off adults, leaving behind only those who have not yet reached puberty. Straczynski said he used the comic as "a leaping-off point, because I needed to adjust the concept. So I took away from the concept . . . the two guys. I took the names, that it was a post-apocalyptic environment, although theirs was a racial war. This was something else. And they end up driving around this environment and sort of seeing what's there. And the rest of it came out of my head."
JEREMIAH premieres at 8 PM March 3 with a two-hour movie, then moves to Fridays at 10:45 p.m. with one-hour episodes.
ROSWELL SETS TO GO
Majandra Delfino, who plays Maria in the series ROSWELL, told fans on her Web site that the network has ordered the show's sets to be dismantled, a sign that the series is headed for cancellation. ROSWELL is slated to wrap production on its current season in March.
"News is [that] UPN has ordered the sets to be struck (that means to be torn apart)," Delfino wrote. "Bahhhd sign for you ROSWELL lovers. So I may be out of a job - oh well, on to the next. Those 14-hour days for nine months straight did get a little taxing, so I'm looking forward to taking it easy."
Delfino added that she's looking forward to leaving a gig that she described as becoming more of a job than a joy. "Gotta tell ya it's gonna be nice not having to wear that Maria clothing and that Maria face all the time," she wrote. "Whew. She was just so different from me, it became a little frustrating after a while, and one starts to feel robbed of their own personality and persona. Time for a little Majandra yo. Heh. Well let's see about that, now without someone writing those lines that pleased some so much."
Someone should let Ms. Delfino know that if she doesn't like wearing the persona of another person for periods of time, she may have chosen the wrong profession. That's essentially what actors do. I have little patience for well-paid actors complaining about their jobs. Fear not, Ms. Delfino, Walmart's hiring. You can be yourself in the big blue smock as you direct shopper's to the appropriate department.
A NEW SNOW WHITE AIRS ON ABC
Fans of fantasy and fans of the TV show SMALLVILLE might want to check out SNOW WHITE: FAIREST OF THEM ALL airing on THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY in March. SMALLVILLE's Kristen Kreuk takes on the title role in this new live-action version of the classic fairy tale. Tyron Leitso (THE JOHN DENVER STORY) plays Prince Charming, while Miranda Richardson (MERLIN) is Queen Elspeth, Snow's wicked stepmother. The updated story includes additional plot details, such as Snow White's mother dying during childbirth and her father being granted three wishes from an evil source.
ANGRY FANS REVOLT OVER STARGATE MEDDLING
In the months following MGM's decision to reshape the premise of its Showtime sci-fi series STARGATE SG-1 and the resulting decision of series co-star Michael Shanks (archeologist Daniel Jackson) to leave the show, ratings for the series have plummeted and former fans - particularly female fans - have mounted a prodigious protest campaign. "To many fans," one angry fan posted, "the creative changes that drove both Shanks and the core viewership away from STARGATE SG-1 seemed to stem from TV programmers' undying obsession with the young male demographic." By August of 2000, the series had lost 26% of its adult audience from the previous year, although the young male demo was up. One female viewer, in a message posted on a protest website, commented that when Shanks' character was killed off, "it seemed more real to me than the passing of other characters on television. And infinitely more tragic, because the wonder and passion of the show died with him." A full page ad taken out in the Hollywood Reporter proclaimed "STARGATE without Daniel is like STAR TREK without Spock." Some fans have been standing behind the show's changes, but they seem to be in the minority.
The fan insurrection began in earnest when the episode "Meridian" was seen by British viewers on Jan. 30. (at this writing it has yet to air in the U.S.) With little advance warning, viewers saw their beloved Daniel Jackson receive a lethal dose of radiation and ascend to a higher plane (like a lot of science fiction, no one ever exactly dies on STARGATE SG-1.) It was this episode that triggered the initial cascade of phone calls to MGM president Hank Cohen.
The "Daniel debacle" comes at a sensitive time for MGM; the company is preening in preparation for its expected multibillion-dollar sale (although no buyer has yet come forward and some observers speculate that the asking price is too high). So far MGM has sought to downplay the extent of the some groundswell of support" for Shanks. Others at MGM have said that by mid-afternoon on the day after "Meridian" was broadcast in the U.K., more than 1,000 protests had been phoned into Cohen's office.
Shanks' departure also falls, somewhat uncomfortably, on the eve of STARGATE's transfer from Showtime to the Sci-Fi Channel, where the series will play out its final season before the long-contemplated leap into feature films. Just a few months ago, SciFi president Bonnie Hammer was gushing over the network's substantial female audience and the loyal viewership of STARGATE. But in the wake of the show's controversial creative changes, STARGATE has been shedding its female and adult audiences like water from a seal pelt. Shanks' departure may be the final straw for that demographic. Hammer, as one fan suggested on Sci-Fi's own message board, might consider asking for her money back.
NEXT STOP - THE UPN ZONE
UPN has ordered a pilot for a new version of the classic THE TWILIGHT ZONE. Pen Densham is writing and executive producing the new project, which his New Line-based Trilogy Entertainment Group is producing.
Pardon my pessimism, but this strikes me as the sort of show that it would be easy to get wrong. Networks can bring back a show called THE TWILIGHT ZONE. They can't bring back the genius of Rod Serling. They likely won't be getting scripts from writers the caliber of Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson or Serling himself. They probably won't be getting performances that will live for all time like they did with Burgess Meredith, Fritz Weaver, Jack Klugman, Art Carney and company. Here's hoping that Densham and the folks at Trilogy Entertainment make a liar out of me. Here's hoping they get it right.
X-FILES TWO HOUR FINALE WILL AIR MAY 19
FOX announced that they will air the series finale of THE X-FILES as a two hour event on Sunday, May 19. This will air opposite the finale of the latest edition of SURVIVOR on CBS. Of course this means that the "13 straight weeks" of THE X-FILES advertised during the Super Bowl will now have a pre-emption in mid-March.
David Duchovny will return to being Fox Mulder in the upcoming two-hour finale. Duchovny will also direct the episode that is scheduled to air April 28, based on a story idea he co-wrote with Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz.
As the series winds to an end, the final five episodes will begin to answer many of the show's most-asked questions, culminating in the finale, in which Mulder is reunited with Scully. The final episodes will also readdress the show's long-running mythology. Carter will write the finale.
THE X-FILES will be giving Online fans a chance to have their names appear in the opening credits. Seventy-two fans will see their screen names appear on the FBI Contacts, Witnesses and Contributors - Confidential" memo.
|31.THINGS TO COME
JOHN CON is an annual gaming convention held on the Johns Hopkins University campus in Baltimore. Hosted by the university's anime and science-fiction/fantasy clubs, JohnCon runs 48 hours NON-STOP beginning at 4 PM on March 1 and ending at 4 PM on March 3. They offer a dealers' room, plenty of games (everything from board games to LARPs), a B-movies theater and 48 non-stop hours of yummy anime goodness. If you pre-register before February 14 the cost is $9. After that both pre-registration and the at-the-door charge is $12. If you need further information you can drop a note to JohnCon '02/ c/o SAC/ Johns Hopkins University/ 3400 North Charles Street/ Baltimore MD 21218 or send an e-mail to JohnCon@jhu.edu.
JOHNS HOPKINS FILM FESTIVAL will take place from April 11-14 on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. Stand by for further details as they become available.
FILMFEST DC will hold its fifteenth annual festival beginning on April 17, running to the 28. They'll be bringing thirteen days of outstanding new cinema from around the world to the nation's capital. The screenings will take place throughout the city. The list includes theaters, clubs, museums, the French Embassy and the World Bank. Details of the festival will be posted on the festival Web site as they become available. The complete catalog will be distributed as an insert in The Washington Post on Friday, April 13. Tickets are moderately priced at $8.00 for most screenings. Advance ticket sales will be available starting April 5 through Tickets.com at (703) 218-6500. If you'd like more information go to the link provided. You can also contact Diana T. Kaiser via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 202-466-6286.
CHILLER THEATER SPRING EXPO will take place April 19 - 21 at the Sheraton Meadowlands, Rt. 3 East in E. Rutherford, NJ. Guests at this point include Ben Chapman (THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON), Beverly Washburn, (STAR TREK, SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE PEOPLE), Bill Moseley (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE II, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD-1990), Virginia Hey (FARSCAPE, THE ROAD WARRIOR), Richard Kiel (MOONRAKER, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME), Sarah Douglas (SUPERMAN, SUPERMAN II, CONAN THE DESTROYER), Charles Napier (THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, SUPEVIXENS), Darlene Thompkins (BEYOND THE TIME BARRIER), David Carradine (KUNG FU), David Hedison (THE FLY, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA) David Prowse (STAR WARS), Denise Crosby (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION), Ethan Phillips (STAR TREK: VOYAGER), Deana Lund - Don Marshall - Don Matheson (all from LAND OF THE GIANTS), Ed Lauter (FAMILY PLOT, THE LONGEST YARD), Joe Turkel (THE SHINING, THE KILLING), Kathy Garver (FAMILY AFFAIR, THE EXORCIST II), Ken Foree (DAWN OF THE DEAD, FROM BEYOND), James MacArthur (HAWAII FIVE-O), Ken Weatherwax & Lisa Loring (THE ADDAMS FAMILY), Mark Goddard (LOST IN SPACE-TV), Ruth Buzzi (LAUGH-IN), Linda Blair (THE EXORCIST), Lou Ferrigno (THE INCREDIBLE HULK), Lynn Stewart (PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE), Paul LeMat (AMERICAN GRAFITTI), Julie McCullough (Playmate of the Year 1986, BLACK SCORPION), Remy Marks (model and Playmate), Bernie Wrightson (comic artist who created "Swamp Thing"), Jeff Pitarelli (illustrator), Ray Manzarek (founding member of The Doors) and Richie Scarlet (guitarist Ace Frehley's Comet, Leslie West Band). General admission tickets in advance are $10 per day, or $25 for all three days. At the door they're $15 per day. You can pick up pre-show tickets to give you access to the show one hour earlier than the general public on Friday night or Saturday morning. In advance (by 3/22) $20 per day. At he door they're $30 per day. You can get (in advance only) pre-show & VIP Tickets for the entire show plus one hour early on Friday or Saturday is $35. Pre-show both days, plus all day Sunday is $45 US Funds. To order by mail, send all payments to Chiller Theatre, Inc./ P O Box 23/ Rutherford NJ 07070. For room reservations, call The Sheraton at (201) 896-0500 and ask for the Chiller rate.
THE MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL will be held May 2-5 in Baltimore. At this writing details are a little sparse. Stay tuned for details on location, tickets and the program.
BALTICON 36 will be held Memorial Day Weekend, May 24 - 27 at the Wyndham Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore. They offer activities and guests for a wide range of interests for science fiction fandom. Their literary programming will feature philosophical debates, story crafting tips and ideas, author readings and book signings. There will be separate poetry, academic, literary and media tracks, including an writer's workshop. Their science program continues with the kind of briefings you see for industry, academic and government leaders. Topics include NASA and space industry planning, launch systems, paleontology, DNA research and more. There will also be special sessions about art, costuming and children activities for kids 4-12. There'll be filking (science fiction-oriented folk music), a masquerade, a large dealer's room, a gaming room, a computer room, L.A.R..P. (Live Action Role Playing gaming), a gaming room and live theater (a LORD OF THE RINGS parody). Tickets are $40 until 3/17, $45 until 4/30 and $50 at the door (children 6-12 are $20/$23/$25). For tickets or answers to questions contact BALTICON 36/ P.O. Box 686/ Baltimore, MD., 21203-0686 or phone (410)JOE-BSFS [410-563-2737], e-mail: BSFS@balticon.org, fax # 410-879-3602 or go to the above link.
|IS STEPHEN KING RETIRING?
In the last issue of The ICS Files it was reported that Stephen King has announced his imminent retirement. King was quoted as saying that he would soon be "done" with "writing books," adding that he didn't "want to finish up like Harold Robbins," who continued writing into his 80's. His editor at Scribner, Susan Moldow said no way. "This story gets recycled all the time, and I put no more credence in it now than the last time."
So, where does the truth lie? A trip to Stephen King's website deals with the rumor. It answers the question, "Is it true that he has retired?" It answers, "That hasn't happened yet. There are still books coming out through both Scribner and Pocket Books and plans to complete The Dark Tower series, so there will be new books for several more years to come." Two things stand out from that response. First, it says, "That hasn't happened YET" [caps and emphasis added], implying that it's not out of the question for the future. Second, that question and response were originally posted in 1997. In the intervening half decade he suffered a serious accident, his eyes have continued to deteriorate (he's slowly going blind), and, like the rest of us, he's aged five more years.
So, is Stephen King retiring? Probably. When something definitive comes around I'll let you know.
THE END OF MARVEL COMICS' GREATEST CHARACTERS
Marvel Comics is considering a series of comic stories that would imagine the final installment of several of their most popular franchises. Peter David and Dale Keown are already working on "The Last Hulk Story," the site reported. "There is no timeline with these stories, because the stories are really creator-specific," Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada said. "The reason the Peter David Hulk story works so well is because he and Dale have a particular tie to that character, so it makes perfect sense. We will do these stories, and they're always on the table, but it really depends on the creators that want to come over and do them. For example, I think I'd like to see Chris Claremont do 'The Last X-Men Story.' But again, it doesn't take much imagination to try to figure out which creators would work in these kinds of scenarios. So it's definitely something that's always there and ready to go, but there's no real timeline on how many and when."
The comics industry will sponsor a Free Comic Book Day at participating retailers on Saturday May 4, during which visitors will receive Star Wars, Spider-Man, Justice League and other comics free of charge. Comic publishers have committed more than 200,000 comic books for the promotion, which is supported by publishers, creators, retailers and others in the industry, organizers said.
The Free Comic Book Day comes a day after the opening of Sam Raimi's upcoming SPIDER-MAN movie. A database of participating retailers will be posted online in mid-March.
RECENT TITLES: BOOKS ABOUT MOVIES
The Independent Film Experience: Interviews With Directors and Producers by Kevin J. Lindenmuth, Fred Olen Ray (Foreword), $35.00
This book focuses on a fascinating group of independent film directors and producers, who, in interviews with the author, discuss their work and the state of the independent film industry at the end of the 20th century. Joe Bagnardi, Dennis Devine, Andrew Harrison, Jeff Leroy, Andrew Parkinson, Brett Piper, and 23 others cover such topics as the increased interest in independent films and how they are changing thanks to high-tech advances. These filmmakers vary widely in age, experience, formats and budgets-and choice of subject matter-but they all have a great passion for their work.
Reading the Vampire Slayer: The Unofficial Critical
Companion to BUFFY and ANGEL by Roz Kaveney (Editor), $14.95
Blade: Duel With Dracula by Marv Wolfman, Tom
Palmer (Illustrator), Gene Colan (Illustrator), $17.95
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Journals of Rupert
Giles by Nancy Holder, $5.99
Doctor Who: Drift by Simon A. Forward, $6.95
Doctor Who: Hope by Mark Clapham, $6.95
E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial by William Kotzwinkle,
Melissa Mathison, $14.00
E.T. : The Book of the Green Planet by William
Kotzwinkle, Steven Spielberg, $14.00
Planet of the Apes, Volume 1 by Ian Edginton,
Star Trek: S.C.E., Book 2: Miracle Workers by
Keith R.A. DeCandido, Kevin Dilmore, David Mack, Dayton Ward, $6.99
Star Trek, the Next Generation: Immortal Coil
by Jeffrey Lang, $6.99
Star Wars: Infinities - A New Hope by Dark Horse
Comics (Editor), $12.95
Star Wars: Tales, Volume 1 by Dark Horse Comics
Star Wars: Zam Wesell by Ron Marz, Ted Naifeh
Witchblade: Talons by John De Chancie, $6.99
Tolkien's Ring by David Day, Alan Lee (Illustrator),
JAMIE FOXX WILL BE BOSLEY - THE NEXT GENERATION Jamie Foxx is sizing up a part in the upcoming CHARLIE'S ANGELS movie - as Bill Murray's replacement. As mentioned in our last issue, Murray has chosen not to reprise his role of ANGELS' sidekick Bosley in the new film. However, Foxx will not portray the same Bosley as Bill Murray, but as a 'go-between's' son - a character he attributes to, "a hot little night back in the 'hood.'" . . . WES CRAVEN GOES DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE! . . . Wes Craven will direct ALICE, the feature film based on American McGee's twisted video game of the same name. Jon and Erich Hoeber will write the script for the movie, a dark take on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Craven said, "I can't wait to follow Alice down the rabbit hole for a completely new and nightmarish journey." . . . SUPERMAN LIVES AGAIN? Director McG (CHARLIE'S ANGELS) has clinched a deal to direct the next installment of the SUPERMAN film franchise. McG (whose real name is Joseph McGinty) will direct the film to be written by J.J. Abrams (creator and producer of TV's ALIAS). Between 1996 and '98 there were reports of three separate scripts for SUPERMAN LIVES written by Kevin Smith, Dan Gilroy and Bill Wisher. Tim Burton was supposed to direct and Nicholas Cage was supposed to be the Big Fella. Warner pulled the plug on preproduction for SUPERMAN LIVES in April 1998 because of budget concerns. We'll have to wait and see if these reports are any more credible. . . . ATTACK OF THE ANALOG CLONES. Lucasfilm speculated that STAR WARS EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES would debut in 2,000 theaters in a sparkling digital image of a satellite download. Looks like those projections were a tad optimistic. It's not 2,000 or even 200. Try 20. There hasn't even been two dozen theaters across the country that have begun digital projection. With the terrible fiscal problems that have plagued theaters they simply haven't been able to adapt to the new standard yet. Lucasfilm president Gordon Rodley said, "It's disappointing to think that it continues to take digital cinema longer to come to fruition than it should." . . . AHNULD DREAMS OF THE STATEHOUSE. Production is about to begin on the $180 million dollar sequel, TERMINATOR 3: THE RISE OF THE MACHINES. Schwarzenegger realized that if the film was partially shot in Canada (as were the plans) there'd be charges that he was part of another runaway production (productions that are shot outside the states, depriving the area of the economic benefit associated with a movie being filmed). He thought that this may come back to haunt him in a future governor's race. He's having the movie shot in and around L.A. To make up for the added expense he's agreed to shave his $30 million paycheck. . . . TWO TOWERS TRAILER WILL APPEAR ON FELLOWSHIP. Peter Jackson has confirmed that the 3 1/2-minute trailer for the second RINGS film, THE TWO TOWERS, will appear in mid-March, attached to prints of FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. . . .CONNERY IS QUARTERMAIN. Sean Connery has signed to star in the upcoming movie version of THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. He'll play British novelist H. Rider Haggard's character Allan Quatermain in the film adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel. Connery's deal includes sequel commitments. The comic, set in the Victorian era, unites several fictional characters, including Capt. Nemo, Dr. Jekyll, Quatermain and Mina Harker, in the service of Queen Victoria. . . . MGM GETS BURNED. Reeling from back-to-back failures of ROLLERBALL and HART'S WAR, MGM issued an earnings warning for its first-quarter and annual results, saying that the tanking of the two movies will result in wider-than-expected losses. ROLLERBALL, which is believed to have cost $85 million to make, has, at this writing, earned only $17.3 million at the box office. HART'S WAR, which opened in mid-Februaury, has earned just $13.9 million by the March 1. We can but hope that MGM gets the message - not that science-fiction and war movies perform badly - but that lousy movies beget lousy earnings. . . . THE KILLER OF OZ. This is something making its way around the Internet. This is supposed to be an actual listing in the TV section of the Marin (CA) Independent-Journal for THE WIZARD OF OZ. "Transported to a surreal landscape, a young girl kills the first woman she meets, then teams up with three complete strangers to kill again." . . . STAR WARS TRAILER ALERT. The full trailer for STAR WARS: EPISODE II - ATTACK OF THE CLONES will debut not in theaters but on the Fox TV. Look for it on March 10, between episodes of MALCOM IN THE MIDDLE and THE X-FILES. The 2 1/2-minute trailer will then begin appearing in theaters with the debut of Fox's ICE AGE on March 15.
ONE FILM TO RULE THEM ALL
By now you've had the chance you learn about the nominated films for Academy Awards. It's amazing - the film that was chosen by the Imaginative Cinema Society as the best of 2001, THE LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING - seems to have also won the hearts of Hollywood. Hollywood was captivated by a three-hour epic about elves, dwarfs, wizards and small, hairy-footed hobbits that is just the first chapter in a trilogy of films. Sir Ian McKellen observed, "This is a film that didn't have an international star in it. It had a director whose track record in this genre was nonexistent. And of course, this is a movie that doesn't have an ending. Only a fool would have put money into it. Fortunately, New Line Cinema was foolish enough to take the risk." It's thirteen nominations is nearly a record for a single film.
22ND ANNUAL RAZZIE NOMINATIONS
Well if this is Oscar season it must also be time for Oscar's maniacal evil twin - the Razzies! The Golden Raspberry (Razzies) are film fan's annual payback to Hollywood for the mediocre, the banal and the downright awful!
This year's awards were overshadowed by one giant in the field - Tom Green and his classically hideous FREDDY GOT FINGERED. Few films were hammered as hard by the critics last year. But it's by no means a lock. There's plenty of drek to go around, as the following list will show.
The 500-member voting Razzie foundation (which is 400 more bodies than the Golden Globes judging panel) is open to anyone paying $25 dues. It boasts lots of show-biz folks, including screenwriters, publicists, art directors and actors.
All of the people nominated refused to comment, except for Tom Green. "I am very proud and honored to be nominated for these awards," he said, gushing over his eight nominations. "I've never won an award before. I hope there is an actual trophy because I've already dusted off my mantel. I guess dreams can come true."
The award ceremony is usually pretty shy of celebrities. The Golden Raspberry foundation only has one trophy on hand since the nominees don't show. The only winner to ever appear – and who took home the prototype Golden Raspberry after a standing ovation – was a good-natured Paul Verhoeven, Worst Director for 1995's SHOWGIRLS. Robert Conrad so loathed the 1999 movie version of THE WILD, WILD WEST with Will Smith that he attended so he could publicly rip the all-around Razzie fav.
Worst Picture: FREDDY GOT FINGERED, DRIVEN, GLITTER, PEARL HARBOR,
3000 MILES TO GRACELAND
MARCH 8: THE
TIME MACHINE is about a man (Guy Pearce) in the 1890's who builds a
time machine that sends him progressively farther in the future. He eventually
ends up in a strange time 800,000 years from now when mankind has evolved/devolved
into two races: the Eloi and the Morlocks. The Eloi are funloving layabouts
who live in a tranquil world; the Morlocks are hideous monsters that live
underground, coming at night to snatch the Eloi. What dark secrets lie
beneath it all...?
MARCH 15: ICE
AGE is an animated film set (as you could have guessed) during the
Ice Age. This is the story of a human infant who is found by a group of
animals that includes a woolly mammoth, a sabre-toothed tiger, and a giant
sloth. Together, they try to reunite the baby with his parents. The voice
talent includes Ray Romano as Manfred the Mammoth and John Leguizamo as
Sid the Sloth. This movie is 20th Century Fox's toss of their hat in the
growing animation ring (after the stellar box-office of titles like SHREK,
MONSTERS INC. and A BUG'S LIFE - ironically one of the few not to do well
was Fox's TITAN A.E.).
MARCH 22: BLADE
2 features an unlikely alliance. A new blood virus that turns humans
and vampires alike into monsters called Reapers (led by Nomak, played by
Luke Goss) leads vampire hunter Blade (Snipes) to form a reluctant partnership
with a group of vampires called the Bloodpack (led by Ron Perlman). Reapers
suck blood, but not through their mouths . . . instead, they have suckers
on the palms of their hands (which means if they can get their hands on
a victim, they're toast). Rescuing his old friend, Whistler (Kris Kristofferson),
from vampirism, along with a new machinist sidekick named Scud, Blade is
ready to kill mutant vampire scum. The director is Guillermo del Toro (MIMIC,
CRONOS). The screenwriter is David Goyer (BLADE, THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS).
MARCH 29: PANIC
ROOM centers around a divorced woman (Jodie Foster) in her 30's and
her daughter, who are caught up in a cat-and-mouse game inside their new
New York brownstone when three burglars (Forrest Whitaker, Dwight Yoakam,
and Jared Leto) come looking for a hidden cache of cash. Mother and daughter
hide in the "panic room," a secret room designed for just such a purpose,
but still end up fighting for their lives. The lead in this film was originally
Nicole Kidman. A knee injury she suffered during the filming of MOULIN
ROUGE and that troubled her on THE OTHERS forced her to drop out of this
production. The director is David Fincher (SE7EN, FIGHT CLUB, THE GAME,
ALIEN³). The screenwriter is David Koepp (JURASSIC PARK: THE LOST
WORLD, STIR OF ECHOES, THE SHADOW).
|DAVID LYNCH'S NEW SUBSCRIPTION WEBSITE
Director David Lynch has opened a subscription-only Web site offering original series and other content for $9.79 per month. At the moment you can see installments of "Dumbland," "Rabbits" and "Axxon N." with more original series promised. You can go to the David Lynch store and buy hats, posters, pins, buttons, t-shirts, DVD's and all manner of Lynchian googaws and jimcracks. If you're an ardent Lynchite, this is the site for you!
OSCAR NOMINATED SHORT FILMS ONLINE
Through recent Oscar seasons a Web site was launched as a central point where all animated and live-action nominated short films can be seen. No such clearinghouse exists this year. However, some of the film have, in whole or in part, made it to ol' WWW. Here's a list of movies and where to find them.
PERCENT GREY (available in its entirety at iFilm.com)
|FORMAT WARS: IS THAT A DVD IN YOUR POCKET, OR ARE
YOU JUST GLAD TO SEE ME?
Pocket DVD's, those diminutive three inch discs, may have crossed your path before. You may have seen them being used handed out for promotional purposes or found them inserted in a magazine. Come March 12 we'll see them in a whole new light. Columbia's releasing a two-volume anime' release of METROPOLIS onto this pocket format.
This mini-format is well-suited for portable pocket DVD players. These player are often used as external DVD drives for notebook computers. However, these discs can be played on any standard DVD player. New hardware is driven by software - the more software's that's available the more likely we'll see wide-scale adopting of the new technology. We'll keep an eye on this tiny upstart to see if there's any further developments.
FORMAT WARS: IF YOU LOVED DIVX, YOU'LL LOVE ViDVD
Late last year ViDVD players hit the market. They offer traditional DVD playback, Internet connectivity and the ability to play MP3s, Karaoke discs and display digital photos. They sell between $279 and $299.
Now, the company that makes them, Vialta, is taking the next step. Come May 1 they'll be issuing ViMagazine discs (initially free for people who've bought their machines). This will offer consumers a chance to unlock hours of movies, music and other entertainment content to either rent or buy. Each disc operates on a variant of DVD technology that comes loaded with 14 hours of content.. Some of the content will be free, the rest of it will be on a pay-to-access basis. Consumers will need to go Online to pay for unlocking the codes. Currently the company is negotiating with major studios for the right to release their films on this new format.
FORMAT WARS: D-VHS TAKES A GREAT LEAP FORWARD
When last we left our hero, digital-VHS had just promised that it had taken significant steps to assure that consumers could not hook two of their machines together to create pristine copies. With a picture quality four times better than DVD, JVC (the company that holds the D-VHS patent) was begging the studios to come onboard and get the revolution underway before HDTV gets established (D-VHS has a picture comparable to HDTV broadcast, DVD does not).
Four studios have agreed to give it a try. Artisan, DreamWorks, Fox and Universal will begin to issue limited releases on this new format. It should come as no surprise that Warner and Sony (owner of Columbia/Tri-Star) have been dragging their feet. They each hold patents on aspects of DVD technology. They don't want to anything that might cool down the DVD fires. They make money on every disc sold.
At this point D-VHS is being seen as a special attraction luring high-end early adapters that don't mind spending high dollars for entertainment. It's in its early niche-market phase (even though, ironically, it pre-dates DVD). They'll be releasing big-budget action and sci-fi titles from catalog. Eventually they might consider day-and-date releases with new titles.
Will it succeed? Perhaps - at least until HD-DVD is perfected. According to industry experts that will probably take another five, or more, years to iron out and put on the market. . . .
FORMAT WARS: HIGH DEFINITION DVD'S - THE FIVE YEARS IS UP!
Nine electronics companies have agreed on standards for high-capacity digital video disc recordings that will enable two hours of an HDTV movie to be recorded onto a single disc or 13 hours of standard video. The companies include Sony, Matsushita Electric (which sells products in the U.S. under Panasonic), Hitachi, Pioneer, Sharp, Philips, Thomson (which sells its products under the RCA brand) Sharp, LG Electronics and Samsung. The format, Blu-ray Disc, won out over two other competing recording standards.
The new invention is the same size as a CD and a DVD. The Blu-ray will use a blue laser to burn codes on to the disc instead of red - multiplying the maximum data capacity of a single density, one-sided disc by five, to 27 gigabytes. A DVD can only store 4.7 gigabytes of information.
Current DVD's can record just 133 minutes of regular TV broadcasts. The companies also plan a double density disc with a 50-gigabyte capacity that will increase the capacity by twice as much again.
It's possible for the Blu-ray Disc to record digital high definition broadcasting while maintaining high quality and other data simultaneously with video data if they are received together. In addition, the adoption of a unique ID written on a Blu-ray Disc realizes high quality copyright protection functions (keeping the studios happy and helping to assure they'll use it to release movies). It's also possible for the Blu-ray Disc to record digital high definition broadcasts or high definition images from a digital video camera while maintaining the original picture quality. In addition, by fully utilizing an optical disc's random accessing functions, it can easily edit video data captured on a video camera or play back pre-recorded video on the disc while simultaneously recording images being broadcast on TV.
The Blu-ray Disc is a technology platform that can store sound and video while maintaining high quality and also access the stored content in an easy-to-use way. This will be important in the coming broadband era as content distribution becomes increasingly diversified. The nine companies involved in the announcement will respectively develop products that take full advantage of Blu-ray Disc's large capacity and high-speed data transfer rate. They are also aiming to further enhance the appeal of the new format through developing a larger capacity, such as over 30GB on a single sided single layer disc and over 50GB on a single sided double layer disc. Adoption of the Blu-ray Disc in a variety of applications including PC data storage and high definition video software is being considered.
The executive corporate engineering adviser to Pioneer Corp, Masao Sugimoto, said the format would be able to take advantage of the spread of high-definition television, which had reached some 2.3 million Japanese households by the end of 2001. "(The Blu-ray) is of great significance in terms of the further development of the electronics industry and the high definition broadcasting sector," Sugimoto said.
However the companies, wary of alienating DVD fans, said the new technological products could be made to be compatible with DVDs. "It is possible," Sugimoto said. "These discs are based on a major base of infrastructure (to support DVDs) and the spread of high-definition television may not be all that sudden. We cannot simply disregard that." But he said each company would decide individually whether to make the Blu-ray compatible with DVDs. "This is a technological format and product planning is up to each company," he said. There are 25.5 million DVD owners who would like to think that their present technology will compatible with the new stuff.
Jan Oosterveld, representing Dutch partner Royal Philips Electronics from the Netherlands, said the companies wanted to avoid the struggle over standards that plagued DVDs. "You all know the struggle we had to come to one format in DVD. We wanted to avoid that right away," he said.
FORMAT WARS TAKE A CASUALTY
Nuon was set to light up the heavens. We reported on it here over a year ago. This is technology from VM laboratories that was designed to enhance DVD pictures and to allow users to get extra features from players equipped with a Nuon chip.
VM Labs declared bankruptcy in December. Their assets were auctioned on Feb. 28. It seems that with the race to make the cheapest DVD players, a player with premium features and a modestly higher price just couldn't compete in today's market.
Fox and MGM have released a few titles that can only be viewed with a Nuon player. We'll have to see if, in the fire sale, the patent for the Nuon chip gets recycled on the market.
VIDEOS ON YOUR CELL PHONE
RealNetworks is now selling software today that will allow consumers to receive high-quality audio and video on mobile devices. The software, RealSystem Mobile, operates on new wireless systems based on 2.5G (a transitional system) and 3G (third-generation) standards, permitting access speeds up to 384 kbps, about the same as land-based DSL systems. Such systems are slowly being rolled out in the U.S. Meanwhile, with sales of handsets reaching saturation levels in some parts of the world, analysts are predicting that new color-screen models being introduced this year will propel a huge demand for replacements.
So you can't make it to an ICS meeting? No problem. We'll phone it to you!
|TNG BEAMS TO DVD
Paramount will release the entire first season of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION on DVD on March 26. The seven-disc set will include all 26 episodes of the season, plus four newly created documentaries and other extras.
Following the season-one set, a new season will be released every other month. All seven sets will be presented in newly remixed Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound. The sets will be packaged in a collectible box, with a pull-out booklet of episode information and a panoramic montage of the crew.
If you want the season be ready to pay for it. The set is reatiling for $139.99.
HOW MUCH SHOULD A DVD MOVIE SELL FOR?
The major motion picture studios are "at loggerheads" over how to price DVD versions of their movies - with Warner Bros. "crusading" to drive prices down and other studios wanting to hold the line. Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Video, remarked: "It's like we're in a race to the bottom" of prices. Ann Daly, who heads DreamWorks' home-video unit, said that the outcome of the struggle between the studios over pricing "will determine the future profitability of the film business." But Warren Lieberfarb, Warner Home Video's chief, has indicated that he wants to see an end to video rentals, pricing DVDs so that anyone who wants to watch one can buy one. He said, "Those people who are not [lowering prices] are basically surrendering their business to Blockbuster."
HOW MUCH SHOULD A VHS MOVIE SELL FOR?
As a former president of ours was wont to say, let me make one thing perfectly clear - VHS is still the dominant format. It outsells DVD's in both the rental and sell-through fields. Of every dollar generated by prerecorded video sales, 68¢ of that comes from VHS. As for rental, VHS brings in 79¢ out of every dollar spent. Ninety million American homes have at least one VCR in them.
So, the question arises, with all of the attention and special pricing going to DVD's, what should be done with VHS pricing? Until this year studios were giddily charging up to $100 for a new VHS hit, repricing it about 12 weeks later. It wouldn't drop to at or below the DVD price for (sometimes) nearly a year.
Those days are not quite gone - but they're going. Smaller companies; Lions Gate, Artisan and MGM; are issuing new titles at somewhat lower prices. One of the bigger players, Warner's, is trying to get more companies to join them in a pricing de-escalation. One industry analyst figured that there's be wide scale repricing of new "A" titles at $25-30. Look for discounters to put them out a little over or under $20.
VHS HANGS TOUGH
DVD has pummeled VHS. Video-On-Demand (VOD) has poached its once exclusive domain. Online downloads is another young upstart that threatens it. Cable, satellite and the time demands of the Internet are all competing with this once supreme ruler of America's short attention-span. So where does that leave it? In decline. That's not surprising.
What is surprising is the rate of decline. In 2001 duplicators produced 920 million VHS tapes. By the end of 2003 projections are that number will drop by 15%, to 780 million. First of all, given the ferocity of the competitors, that's an insignificant drop. Secondly, 780 million is still a lot of tape.
Nevertheless, retailers everywhere are hustling VHS off the shelves, making way for DVD's. As mentioned before, I predict that when VHS dies it will not be of natural causes. It will be strangled by over-anxious retailers terrified of getting caught in a format version of musical chairs.
BUY - BEST BUY
The boys at Best Buy have decided that they want to be THE premiere source of James Bond movies. They're linking themselves to 007 with the idea of cross-promoting the next film. The film's due in spring 2003. Their promotion starts shaking and stirring us this coming summer.
They'll create Best Buy Bond stores within their 1,800 Best Buy, Sam Goody and Suncoast stores. They'll do a Bond re-issue to celebrate the 40th anniversary of DR. NO and the James Bond character to the silver screen. They'll be offering the James Bond interactive product line and electronic gadgets that would thrill "Q's" heart. They'll have soundtracks, posters and anything they can find to tie in to Mr. Bond. If you're Jonesing for Bond your quest is over!
"DON'T JUST SIT THERE, RENT SOMETHING!"
That above line is the battlecry for small mom & pop video retailers across the nation participating in a new program sponsored by their trade group, the Video Software Dealer's Association (VSDA). In the coming weeks your favorite video store (provided it's not a national chain) will be offering value-added gift cards to try and put them on a level with the big boys. Look for incentive programs popping up soon.
VIDEO STORE SHELVES ARE LINED WITH ACADEMY GOLD
The Academy Award nominations are the annual wake-up call for all those movies that we've been meaning to watch that slipped through our fingers. What should we do if we want to check it out but it's gone from local theaters? Wait for the rental.
Following is a look at what's out and what's on its way that has captured Oscar's attention.
Already in release we've got MOULIN ROGUE (eight nominations, including Best Picture), PEARL HARBOR (four nominations), MEMENTO (two nominations), SHREK (two nominations), BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY (Best Actress), GHOST WORLD (Adapted Screenplay) and LAGAAN (Best Foreign Film).
In March there's A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (on the 5th, with two nominations), SEXY BEAST (on the 12th, with a Best Supporting Actor nomination), TRAINING DAY (on the 19th, with Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominations) and THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE (on the 26th, with one nomination).
In months to come, MULLHOLLAND DRIVE and NO MAN'S LAND are both April 9. ALI is April 30. GOSFORD PARK and HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE are both May 28. MONSTER'S BALL will be out June 11. I AM SAM is due June 18. The other titles are still pending definite release dates.
COLUMBIA'S NEW DESTINATION
Columbia Tri-Star Home Entertainment is about to introduce a new label called "Destination." Destination will be for edgier, avant-garde fare. Some of it will have had (probably limited) theatrical distribution. Much of it will be direct-to-video. These will be the sorts of movies that are high quality but just don't get much national attention. They'll be releasing one to two titles a month.
At the moment their release schedule includes the Japanese anime' METROPOLIS, BLACK MASK 2 (a martial arts film by Tsui Hark), FULL CONTACT (martial arts action from Ringo Lam), ONCE A THIEF from John Woo, the anime' feature COWBOY BEBOP: THE MOVIE, SHIRI (Korea's biggest box-office hit ever) and Jackie Chan's original DRUNKEN MASTER.
|THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
Chuck Jones, the animator who helped give life to that wascally wabbit, the portly pig, the lisping duck and the tormented coyote, is dead. The three-time Oscar winner, had a career that spanned more than 60 years and involved the creation of more than 300 animated films,
While he will always be remembered as the animator who helped create Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and Wile E. Coyote, among many others, he most recently began to dedicate himself to fine art drawing. His work has been exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide, including a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Still, Jones considered his cartoon characters as real as any subject he depicted in his museum pieces.
"Animation isn't the illusion of life," he said in a biography on his Internet page. "It is life."
His wife said Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and other characters all represented a part of her husband and his fun-loving sense of humor. "All the characters came from inside of him," she said Friday night. "That was him, and he was amazing."
Jones' fans included such contemporary filmmakers as George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. Film director Peter Bogdanovich described Jones' work as "like all good fables and only the best of art, both timeless and universal."
Just last year, Jones was inducted into the Animation Hall of Fame in Los Angeles, along with Walt Disney. Among animators, Jones was considered "the father of contemporary animation," said Terry Thoren, a longtime friend who heads the animation studio that produces the Rug Rats cartoons. "He was the true leader of our industry after Walt Disney passed away," Thoren said. "The fact that he is gone creates a big void in our industry."
In 1996, he was presented an honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. Among his many awards and recognitions, one of those he most valued was the honorary life membership from the Directors Guild of America.
He also produced, directed and wrote the screenplays for DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, as well as the feature film THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH.
The animation pioneer stayed active throughout his life. In 2000, he launched a new character, Timber Wolf, who appeared in a series on Warner Bros. Online and Entertaindom.
One of his films, the 1957 Wagnerian mini-epic "What's Opera, Doc?" was inducted in 1992 into the National Film Registry, being praised as "among the most culturally, historically and aesthetically significant films of our time."
Perhaps no one wrote more movingly of Chuck Jones's passing than the Washington Post's TV critic, Tom Shales. Shales observed that Jones's death "ends not just a career but the journey of a rollickingly restless mind, the kind of mind that never stopped searching for the humorous possibilities in people, situations, objects and facts of life that could just as easily have inspired bitterness or depression." Shales recalled that Jones refused to take anything seriously - even himself, remarking at one tribute, "The nice thing to remember about me is that deep down, I'm shallow."
Chuck Jones was 89. The cause of death was congestive heart failure. His wife of 20 years, Marian, was at his side.
Lucille Lund achieved
minor cult status for her dual roles in THE BLACK CAT, a 1934 horror classic
that paired Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi for the first time. She signed
with Universal in 1933 after winning the studio's nationwide beauty and
talent contest, died of natural causes in Torrance, California.
Irish McCalla may
be recalled by members of the Imaginative Cinema Society as "Jerrie Turner,"
the tall plucky blonde heroine from SHE DEMONS. She's more widely remembered
as the voluptuous actress who brought the comic book Tarzan-like heroine
SHEENA, QUEEN OF THE JUNGLE to television in the 1950s.
George Nader, whose
beefcake image made him a popular leading man in movies of the 1950s, died
of pneumonia at the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, California.
Kevin Smith (no relation
to the American director), the handsome young New Zealand actor who played
the recurring role of Ares, the God of War on the syndicated TV series
XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS and HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS has died of
brain injuries in Beijing following a fall.
John Thaw, known
to millions of TV viewers worldwide as the grumpy, music-loving detective
in ''Inspector Morse,'' died at his home in London. He was a respected
stage actor and had been a leading television actor for many years. But
he was indelibly identified with ''Inspector Morse'' after creating a complex
character whose flaws appealed to fans as much as his better qualities
wasn't stretching much to appear as a hard-as-nails tough guy in his movies.
His drunken brawls landed him in courts, jail cells and hospitals (particularly
when he got stabbed). He was questioned extensively by police (but never
charged) when a 24-year-old woman he was visiting flew out a fourth floor
window to her death.
FRI. 1-SUN. 3: EVENT - JOHN CON will be held.
SUN. 3: TV - JEREMIAH premieres on Showtime.
FRI. 8: MOVIE - THE TIME MACHINE and ALL ABOUT THE
SUN. 10: TV - FIRESTARTER: REKINDLED debuts on the Sci-Fi Channel
FRI. 15: MOVIE - ICE AGE and RESIDENT EVIL premiere.
FRI. 22: MOVIE - BLADE 2 and E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL
FRI. 29: MOVIE - PANIC ROOM and CLOCK STOPPERS premiere.