The Official Newsletter of The Imaginative Cinema Society
The love of many, the work of a few....

June 2004  #65

 
 
 
CLUB NEWS
JUST READ ALL THE CLUB NEWS

TV NEWS
BABYLON 5’s BELOVED DOCTOR GONE 
HALL BACK IN THE ZONE 
TURNER STAKES OUT BLADE 3 
FANS HELPED RENEW ENTERPRISE 
STARGATE SG-1 CHANGES COMING 
BUFFY SCHOLARS CONVENE 
DOOHAN BIDS FANS FAREWELL 
WYLE BOOKS THE LIBRARIAN 
BAKULA EXCITED

EVENT NEWS
June 4-6: Moonlight Rising 2004: 
July 9-11: Shore Leave 26
July 30-August 1: Otakon 2004, 
August 13-15: Horrorfind, 
September 2-6: The Worlon - Noreascon 4. 
September 17-19 CineMedia Expo 04
October 15-17: Capclave 2004 
October 29-31: Chiller Theatre

ACTION FIGURE NEWS
COLLECTIBLES CORNER

LITERARY NEWS
FULL DARK HOUSE  Author Christopher Fowler       REVIEW BY JEANNE

MOVIE NEWS
FORD RETURNING TO SPACE 
VINTAR ADAPTS FOUNDATION 
STAR WARS FAN FILMS SOUGHT 
MUMMY RIDE OF THRILLS! 
POTTER STARS PREDICT FATES
MARVEL, SONY CALL A TRUCE 
COLTRANE PRAISES 
IS FRASER FANTASTIC? ONE OF FOUR? 

DAVA’S DELVINGS….
MOVIE REVIEW  by Dava Sentz
A Lord of the Rings musical review
 
 

MUST SEE MOVIES
June 4th HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
June 4th  MINDHUNTERS 
June 16th AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS 
June 18th  DARKNESS 
June 30th SPIDER-MAN 2 
July 16th  I ROBOT 
 
 

INTERNET NEWS
UNLIMITED PHONE SERVICE FOR $30?
SPAM SPAM, SPAM- WONDERFUL SPAM! 
CHEAPER HDTV?
STRAWBERRY POP TART BLOW TORCH
 
 

FAREWELLS
Tony Randall,Nelson Gidding, Tommy Farrell, Anna Lee,Author Basil Eugene Wells, Lincoln Kilpatrick
 

THE LAST "WARD"
 

ICS CALENDER
Review and/or Post it on the fridge
 
 
 


Editor-Betsy Childs 
Staff Writers- Regina Vallerani, Andrew Kent John Ward
Dava Sentz, Mike Laird, Joe Plempel, Gary Roberson, Charles Wittig
Taylor Sherblom Woodward, Jim Childs, Jeanne Matcovich, Mike Schilling

 
 
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MANK: HE SHINES!
Author Greg Mank was our featured speaker for the April meeting.  Mr. Mank is well known for his seeking out many of the famous old movie stars and getting first hand accounts of their experiences from them.  His writing flair fleshes out their stories, including the highlights and lowlights of the many famous actors and directors who populated Hollywood in its glory days. Mr. Mank has also done commentary for many DVD releases, including the recently released Fredric March version of “Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde”, the only horror movie to ever receive an Oscar!
Mr. Mank regaled us with history and anecdotes from the Karloff / Lugosi vehicle, THE BODY SNATCHER.   Afterwards, we watched the film and finished with a Q & A session.  What an amazing evening!  Those who attended will not soon forget it. 
Thanks to Mr. Mank and the board for putting this evening together.

FLEMING V2.1 
  Our favorite New Mexico members, Heather and Tim Fleming have a new addition to the family.  Kyra Amara Fleming was born on April 12th at 6:30 am.  Congratulations Tim and Heather!

MORE SCHILLINGS IN MAY
  Club members Lisa Casper and Mike Schilling are making it official – they are tying the knot on May 8th.  Let’s wish them much happiness on their new life together!  Best wishes Mike and Lisa!

COLLECTOR EDITON CALENDARS AVAILABLE
 The theme for the 2004 calendar is TV Shows of the 60’s and is now available.   The suggested retail for the calendar is $15, but we’re willing to negotiate!  We have 5 remaining.  If you want one, please (PLEASE…) see Regina.  There’s a printing error in the calendar that makes it one of a kind.

NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
 Our next meeting will be held on Saturday May 22nd at 5:30 P.M. (*** PLEASE NOTE:  THIS IS NOT THE LAST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH AS PER OUR USUAL MEETING DATES***) 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 443-570-6455. That's Dave Willard’s cell phone. He'll talk you in. 

THE RISE OF SILENT CINEMA
  Dave Willard is doing part 1 of a 2 part series on silent cinema at our May meeting.  Part 1 will cover the rise of silent cinema.  So, let’s go back in time for the night (but just keep calm when the train chugs toward the camera).  It will be an informative evening – so mark May 22nd on your calendar!

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VAN HELSING SPINOFF ON TV 
   Bob Ducsay, producer of the upcoming monster movie VAN HELSING, said that NBC is developing a spinoff television series called TRANSYLVANIA, set in the universe of the summer movie. TRANSYLVANI is related to the film, [but] it's not the movie for television," Ducsay said. "It's the world of VAN HELSING. It takes place in the late 1800s, like VAN HELSING, and it takes place in Transylvania. But none of the characters intersect. It's actually a new idea that just takes place in the world [of the movie]."
   Stephen Sommers, writer-director of VAN HELSING, said that he got the inspiration for the proposed TV series on the movie's elaborate Prague set. "One day we were just sitting on the set, which [production designer] Allan Cameron had built this fantastic village for, and I'm like, 'I'd hate to tear this down,'" Sommers said. "I mean, it's so fantastic, and I'd hate to bulldoze it. 'We ought to do something with it. Let's do a television show!' And that's when my wheels start spinning."
   VAN HELSING stars Hugh Jackman as a vampire hunter in 19th-century Europe. Kate Beckinsale co-stars as a gypsy princess. The film features several classic monsters from the Universal Studios film vault, including Frankenstein's monster, Dracula and the Wolf Man. Sommers and Ducsay are executive producing TRANSYLVANIA for NBC, which is in the process of buying Vivendi Universal, the parent company of Universal and SCIFI.COM.
   NBC had great enthusiasm for TRANSYLVANIA and brought on board TV veteran David Fury, one of the executive producers of UPN's BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, to help out. "I wrote the pilot about five months ago, and NBC got all excited," Sommers said. The network ordered six more episodes and asked Sommers to start writing them right away. But Sommers was still in the middle of making VAN HELSING and told the network, "'Well, um, I've got this movie that's kind of big and is taking up a lot of my time, so, ah, no.'"

GALACTICA STILL FLIES!
   Noting the start of production of its new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA TV series this week, The Sci Fi Channel had this to say about the show's progress. First off, the mini series director, Michael Rymer, is returning behind the camera to direct the show's first episode.
   "The new GALACTICA series will pick up where the mini left off," the Sci Fi Channel states. "After engaging in a losing battle against the Cylon robots, humanity's last remnants fled in search of a new home, a mythical planet called Earth. With waning supplies, weapons and hope, Commander Adama (Olmos) and President Laura Roslin (McDonnell) realize that their problems are far greater than the immediate threat of Cylons. On their shoulders rests the very survival of humankind."
   Also confirmed was the appearance of guest star Richard Hatch in an early episode of the new GALACTICA (rumored to be the third episode to be filmed.  Hatch's character is described as follows: "A Nelson Mandela-like figure, 'Peter Zarek' is a political prisoner who has spent the last 20 years in jail for inciting civil unrest against the government of the 12 Colonies of Kobol. In the new world order, he and his followers riot against the leadership of the ragtag fleet, taking over the vessel on which they are being held and creating a hostage situation which Adama and President Roslin must resolve."
   13 episodes of the new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA have been ordered so far. All of
the cast from last year's mini-series are returning to reprise their roles, and the first episode will be broadcast on the channel sometime in 2005.

BUFFY/ANGEL TV FILM POSSIBLE?
   The WB has approached BUFFY and ANGEL creator Joss Whedon about doing at least a movie-of-the-week or two-and possibly as many as six-next season, thanks in large part to a fan campaign organized by Saving Angel. But despite Herculean efforts by fans to save the canceled vampire show, ANGEL won't be coming back as a regular series, either on the frog network or on UPN or Fox, which have both passed.
   "I think a BUFFY movie is more likely to happen now," ANGEL cast member James Marsters (Spike) said. "And they may be given better budgets, seeing this kind of interest, because there's a feeling that there's a guaranteed audience. So the effort that I've seen, it is not in vain."

SILVER SCREAMS TO THE TV
   Joel Silver's Silver Pictures (The Matrix) and Orchid Ventures have partnered to form SCREAM, a 24-hour cable TV network dedicated to horror, suspense and thriller-oriented entertainment, boy that sounds like an ICS favorite. The channel is slated for a January launch.
   Silver and Robert Zemeckis' Dark Castle Entertainment (Gothika) is on board to create and develop original content for the channel.
   Scream will feature a branded Dark Castle Presents night, which will highlight top-tier genre programming, including hit Dark Castle films such as Ghost Ship, Thirteen Ghosts and House on Haunted Hill. In addition, the network is in final talks with two studios to license libraries of film titles related to the horror and suspense genres.

WB CLOSE TO JACK & BOBBY 
   The WB is close to picking up JACK & BOBBY, a drama pilot about two brothers, one of whom is set to be elected president of the United States in 2040. Christine Lahti stars as their single mother, a hard-nosed college professor who's reluctant to let her oldest son take on the job of shaping his younger brother.
   WBTV is producing, along with former West Wing helmer Thomas Schlamme's Shoe Money Productions and Everwood creator Greg Berlanti's Berlanti-Liddell company. Schlamme and Berlanti are executive producers, as are Vanessa Taylor and Mickey Liddell. Brad Meltzer and Steve "Scoop" Cohen have been part of the project since its inception two years ago. The WB makes its official schedule announcement on May 18 in New York.

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April of 2004: Johns Hopkins Film Festival 2004.
For information about submitting films, check out the submissions page.
Please note that the submission address and JHFF phone number have changed since last year. The fest will be held during.
Exact dates will be posted as April approaches. 
Prices : $3 – Show   $5 - Day Pass   $15 - Festival Pass
*Free admission for JHU students, faculty, and employees with valid Hopkins ID..

May 28-31 2004: BALTICON 38 At the Wyndham Inner Harbor Hotel.
Maryland's Regional Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention
Guest of Honor: Lois McMaster Bujold
Artist Guest of Honor: Dave Seeley
Music Guest of Honor: Heather Alexander

June 4-6: Moonlight Rising 2004: A Con for all you Buffy Fans
Split Rock Resort, Lake Harmony, PA
Guests: James Marsters ("Spike"), Anthony Stewart Head ("Giles"), Andy Hallett ("Lorne"), Danny Strong ("Jonathan"), Tom Lenk ("Andrew"), Adam Busch ("Warren")

July 9-11: Shore Leave 26, Hunt Valley, MD

July 30-August 1: Otakon 2004, The Baltimore Convention Center

August 13-15: Horrorfind, Hunt Valley, MD.
Guests include: George Romero, Adrienne Barbeau, Jeffrey Combs
and a boat load of more celebrity guests

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From Jeanne Matcovich– 

The Beast Master by Andre Norton

   Mankind's interstellar war with the humanoid Xiks is over, and Hosteen Storm, Beast Master and Commando, is ready to be mustered out. But Storm, a Navajo, cannot return to the beloved land of his birth, for in a final blow, the Xiks have destroyed Terra entirely. Storm opts then to resettle on the world of Arzor, taking with him his four wartime animal comrades:Baku the eagle, Surra the panther like feline, and meerkats Hing and Ho. Ostensibly he arrives on Arzor seeking to homestead. But in reality, he is searching for a mortal enemy, Brad Quade, who owes a blood debt to the Storm family.
   Once on Arzor, Storm easily gets a job as a cowboy, driving a herd of horses to auction. He becomes familiar with the natives—Norbies—whose culture resembles the Amerindian model. He makes friends and enemies, the worst of the latter being one Coll Bister. Almost at the end of the drive, Storm is recruited by an archaeologist named Sorenson, who wishes to use Storm's skills on an expedition to the Sealed Caves—remnants of an ancient and vanished forerunner culture that once threaded the stars.
   Having arrived at the valley of the Sealed Caves, Storm is separated from the rest of the expedition by a monsoonlike deluge. When he finds his comrades again, he discovers them butchered, ostensibly by rogue Norbies. The only survivor of the archaeological mission is a Norbie friend, Gorgol. Gorgol informs Storm that the real butchers were not Norbies, and Storm soon discovers the true culprits: a surviving party of Xiks, who intend to foment war between humans and Norbies. Gorgol and Storm rescue a human captive of the Xiks, and Storm is disconcerted to learn the identity of the man: Logan Quade, the son of his mortal enemy.
   In escaping the Xiks, the trio are forced to plunge deep into the Sealed Caves, where they discover a miraculous secret refuge of the forerunners. Intent on delivering their information to civilization, Storm and his friends will face a gantlet of trials, including poisonous dragonoids, Xiks, headstrong anti-Norbie humans and Coll Bister, who is more than he seems.
   An admired book never properly translated 
   Norton, the grandmistress of young-adult SF novelists, published her first SF novel in 1952. By 1959, the year when The Beast Master appeared, she had already become an expert storyteller, able to mix up just the perfect blend of action, mysticism, deep backstory, empathy-attracting characters and alluring SF milieus that would earn her her reputation. She would go on to write better, more classic works, such as Witch World
(1963) and Moon of Three Rings (1966). But The Beast Master stands as a certain milestone in her prowess. 
   First in the novel's list of impressive assets is the character of Hosteen Storm. An orphan of the most drastic sort—his entire world is dead—Storm is also a veteran, scarred by all the carnage he has seen. Amazingly, considering her venue, Norton imparts an almost noirish cast to him. Norton makes much of how he has erected a barrier between himself and other people, open only to his animals.
   Storm's telepathic bond with his furred and feathered companions is Norton's next masterstroke. This ancient dream of a real human-animal concord, mythic in its resonance, finds its first mature expression in SF here. 
   Norton's weaving of all her novels into a diffuse future history—sometimes contradictory, but always simpatico—benefits the book as well. Her universe is one rich with history and other races, lending an air of enigmatic complexity to the simplest tale.
   With its protagonist of color and its emphasis on the spiritual side of life as a counterweight to science, The Beast Master—and its sequel, Lord of Thunder (1962)—seem from this remove to dimly adumbrate the New Wave. Norton's best books struck a chord with readers that still thrums down to the present day, due to the salient features sketched above. 
It's just too bad that the Beastmaster movies and TV show inspired by the book threw away everything that counted in favor of dumb sword and sorcery.
 

From Mike Laird 

Nighttime is My Time – by Mary Higgens Clark 

   Ms Clark is always known for a great suspense story and this latest one (2004) is one of her best. I think it'd make a good movie. 
   Stonecroft Acadamy is having a 20 year reunion. And guess who's invited? A serial killer named the Owl. He has killed 5 women from a lunch table who used to laugh at him in high school. 
   Then a sixth Laura Wilcox, a fading actress disappears. Is she trying to get publicity or is she the next victim of the Owl? Dr Jean Sheriden, a best selling author, also sat at that table and is getting threatening notes about a child she gave up for adoption. Will she find her child or will the both end up dead? 
   Is the killer the comic, the millionaire land owner, the play write, the guy who played Romeo in the senior play, or someone else entirely? 
It will keep you guessing!
 
 

If any ICS members would like to share their view on a recent book that they’ve read – fiction or non-fiction, please email it  attn betsy at ICSBETSPOTS@aol.com.

We are a cinema club, but many movies we watch were started in book form with our own imaginations creating the images that come to life in the films we love.
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SKY CAPTAIN HONORS SERIALS
   Terry Conran, the novice director of the upcoming live-action/computer-animated SF movie SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW, said that he intentionally set out to ape the old film serials of the 1930s and their modern-day counterparts. "I grew up loving the STAR WARS movies and RAIDERS [of the Lost Ark] and these kinds of films," Conran said in an interview. "And [I] grew up with a lot of those old influences in the serials as well, and it was just incredible fun."
   Conran started SKY CAPTAIN as an experiment: to see if he could create an entire feature film by himself, using a computer. "What drew me to the serials in particular was when I actually sat down and did indeed intend to kind of do this by myself, I was a bit intimidated by the notion of actually creating a hundred minutes of footage for a film," he said. "I thought I could make five short films. So the notion of dividing this up in chapters and only having to kind of like take on maybe 12 minutes at a time seemed more doable. ... Each chapter would have been a victory unto itself."
   Eventually, SKY CAPTAIN morphed into a big-budget Hollywood movie, with stars such as Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, who were undaunted by the movie's unusual production process: acting in front of a green background that will be replaced by computer-animated environments. "They completely embraced this whole process and knew the limitations," 
   Conran said. "They were generous and kind with me to a fault. I think they were sensitive to everything about this process and made it easy, and ... it wasn't incumbent upon me to kind of like pull performances out of them. They're just such terribly skilled people that I just got to sit back and marvel at them."
   Rather than risk being overshadowed by other movies, SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW will air this September instead of this Summer as planned.

WHERE SCIENCE MEETS IMAGINATION
   The Museum of Science offers visitors a first peek at an exhibit called “STAR WARS: WHERE SCIENCE MEETS IMAGINATION”. This exhibit under development by the Museum of Science and Lucasfilm" 
   To herald the creation of the STAR WARS: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit, today the Museum of Science unveiled the Naboo Royal N-1 Starfighter, a full-scale prop featured in STAR WARS: Episode I. The stunning, silver-and-yellow starship will be on display at the museum until the new exhibit opens. The final chapter in the STAR WARS saga, STAR WARS: Episode III, is scheduled for release in May 2005, about five months before the museum’s exhibit premieres in October 2005. 
   STAR WARS: Where Science Meets will highlight numerous parallels between technologies in the STAR WARS films and real-world technology. Visitors will be able to glimpse the future by exploring amazing prototypes in progress and learning about the engineers and designers who are creating new technologies. 
   In addition, they’ll witness first-hand intriguing similarities between how scientists and filmmakers think. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), STAR
WARS: Where Science Meets Imagination will use the six films in the STAR WARS saga as a gateway to examining real-world technologies and understanding the important role of technology in our future. 
   The exhibit will include artwork, props, models, film clips and documentary footage from the films, combined with hands-on science and technology components, discussion forums, and interactive engineering and computer technologies, to engage both children and adults. 
   In the next few months, the Museum of Science Exhibition Team will develop prototypes for STAR WARS: Where Science Meets and invite a variety of audiences to give feedback— with the goal of making the exhibit accessible to everyone. More on prototyping and the dates and times when the general public can prototype will be available on the website at starwars.mos.org. 

TREKKIES 2 SEQUEL FOR FANS 
   Star Trek stars Denise Crosby, Dominic Keating, Casey Biggs and others joined fans for a screening of the straight-to-video sequel documentary TREKKIES 2 at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles on April 14. Documentary director Roger Nygard and producer Michael Leahy were also on hand to unveil the documentary, a tongue-in-cheek homage to Trek fandom worldwide and the follow-up to 1997's original TREKKIES.
   In the 90-minute documentary, Crosby (Tasha Yar from STAR TREK: TNG again acts as the on-camera host and interviewer as the film chronicles Trek fans in Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Serbia, Brazil and the United States and catches up with Trek Fans interviewed in the original documentary in 1996.
   Fans featured in both the first and second films also attended the screening, including a grown-up Gabriel Köerner (who also did the sequel's visual effects), the Rev. Bernie Carman and members of the Sacramento, Calif.,-based Star Trek tribute bands No Kill I, No Kill I: The Next Generation, Stovokor and Warp 11.
   No release date has been set for TREKKIES 2, but the documentary will screen at selected film festivals in the coming weeks.

HELLBOY TWO FOR SURE 
   HELLBOY director Guillermo del Toro that plans are in the works for a sequel and other projects based on the film. "Yes, we are talking about a second movie," del Toro said. "The [box-office] numbers make perfect sense, since we were a relatively 'inexpensive' movie at under $70 million, and we will make enough domestically."
   Del Toro added that he and Mike Mignola, creator of the Hellboy graphic novels on which the film is based, "are fleshing out ideas and storylines we've been discussing for some time now. Mike thinks there will be no Lobster (sob), but Roger is in for sure," referring to popular comic characters Lobster Johnson and Roger the Homunculus. Del Toro said that the sequel could contain plot elements from the Hellboy graphic novels Almost Colossus and Conqueror Worm.
   Del Toro added that there are plans for a HELLBOY anime series, from Gonzo Anime, and that producers are seeking possible video-game publishers. "Mike Mignola and I will be involved in the plotting of [the game] to make sure that it flows with the mythology of the movie, anime, comic, etc.," he said.

SCANNER CAST - INTERESTING
   Winona Ryder, Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson and Rory Cochran will join Keanu Reeves in A SCANNER DARKLY, the Warner Independent Pictures movie based on a Philip K. Dick novel. Richard Linklater will direct and wrote the adaptation.
   Linklater will shoot the actors in scenes that will later be turned into animation, much as he did with Waking Life.
   Section 8 partners George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh are producing, along with Jonah Smith and Palmer West, whose company Thousand Words is co-financing the film with WIP. Tommy Pallotta and Anne Walker McBay are also producing. Bob Sabiston is animation director, a job he held on Waking Life.
   Reeves plays an undercover drug officer in the future who becomes addicted and develops a split personality.

DOUBLE OH NO!
Britney, you are no Pussy Galore.
   A recent "Extra" television report revealed that Britney Spears has had the gall to approach Barbara Broccoli, a producer of Bond films, with a view to becoming the next Bond Girl. (Broccoli is working on the 21st installment of the film franchise, slated for a November 2005 release.)
   With Spears' brazen request on the table, perhaps it is time for a refresher on what a Bond Girl is - and what SHE is not.

   A new coffee-table book, "Bond Girls Are Forever: The Women of James Bond" by John Cork and former Bond Girl Maryam d'Abo (Kara Milovy in 1987's "The Living Daylights"), breaks down the Bond Girl mystique.Those who pigeonhole Bond Girls as mere sex objects are guilty of reducing complex female characters to one rather boring dimension, the authors argue. Bond Girls are the quintessential alpha females, melding masculine confidence with feminine manner.

   The classic Bond Girl's sex appeal, says Graham Rye, publisher of Britain's 007 Magazine and author of "The James Bond Girls," is "drawn from an air of classy sophistication, partnered with independence, intelligence and toughness and complemented by a face that turns heads - and a great body," he said.
   "There isn't a girl next door in the entire lot," Sean Connery once said.
   Rye reacted with horror to the idea of Spears as Bond Girl. "Britney Spears may well be suited to an appearance in a 'Cody Banks' movie swigging from a can of Pepsi, but James Bond? Never! Unless 007 goes undercover as a pimp," he said. So what are the precise ingredients for a sublime Bond Girl?

A Bond Girl has sex appeal - Her allure stems from her classic beauty - tall, lithesome, elegant. Ursula Andress (Honey Ryder) rose from the sea like a knife-wielding Aphrodite in 1962's "Dr. No." Another "Dr. No" Bond Girl, Sylvia Trench (played by Eunice Gayson), is described in the screenplay as "willowy, exquisitely gowned, with a classic, deceptively cold beauty." Britney is already looking over the hill at 22. 
A Bond Girl is exotic - She usually has an accent and speaks at least three languages - her native tongue, English and the language of love. She is from Shanghai, Istanbul, Brussels or Belarus. Britney is from Dadgummit, La.
A Bond Girl is smart. - Mollie Peters (Patricia Fearing in 1965's "Thunderball") is an osteopath, Lois Chiles (Dr. Holly Goodhead) is a Vassar-educated astronaut (and secret CIA agent) in 1979's "Moonraker." Britney is, well, let's just say she probably hasn't cracked a Dostoevsky novel since college. Oh, wait . . .
A Bond Girl is powerful - In his novel "Live and Let Die," Ian Fleming describes Solitaire (played by Jane Seymour in the 1973 film) thusly: "Part of the beauty of her face lay in its lack of compromise. It was the face born to command." Author Camille Paglia describes Pussy Galore as played by Honor Blackman in "Goldfinger" (1964) as "one of the most commanding, authoritative women in popular culture for the time." Granted, Britney once sold a lot of Pepsi. But it's not quite the same.
A Bond Girl is sassy - Sarcasm is one of her sharpest weapons. She uses it to pierce James Bond's ego at every opportunity. Britt Ekland, who plays Hong Kong spy Mary Goodnight in "The Man With the Golden Gun" (1974), chides Bond, "Oh darling, I'm tempted - but killing a few hours as one of your passing fancies isn't quite my scene." Britney has never been known for her devastating repartee.
A Bond Girl keeps her wits about her -  So sometimes she is drugged, poisoned, shot or covered with suffocating gold paint, but she can’t help that. She would never get drunk in a Vegas club and marry some schlub wearing a baseball cap. Unless she killed him afterward. Which brings us to: a Bond Girl can hold her liquor.
A Bond Girl is sophisticated and classy - She knows how to dress to impress and how to dress to kill; she knows which fork to use and never eats with her mouth open. Bond Girls are daughters of diplomats, royalty and top scientists. Britney thinks a corset and a python make good accessories.
A Bond Girl is talented - She can pistol-whip a criminal mastermind with one hand while whipping up a prize-winning chocolate soufflé with the other while stomping out a fire caused by a mysterious chemical from an Eastern European country. D'Abo's Kara Milovy, for example, is a world-class concert cellist. Britney can, um, what is it she can do, exactly? Shimmy?
A Bond Girl is a man-killer - Literally, of course, but she also gets the richest, the smartest, the most dangerous men in the world. Until she tires of them, or they try to feed her to sharks, or vice versa. Honey Rider in "Dr. No" describes to Bond killing a rapist: "I put a black widow [spider] under his mosquito net, a female, and they're the worst. It took him a whole week to die . . . Did I do wrong?" Britney couldn't even hold onto Justin Timberlake. Or dispatch him in a suitably creative manner.
Britney, live and let this dream die.

HELSING AVOIDS CAMPY DRACULA 
   Richard Roxburgh, who plays the legendary Count Dracula in Universal's monster-filled VAN HELSING, said that he tried to find the man behind the vampire. "There were some human qualities I wanted to find," the Australian actor said in an interview. "It was a matter of trying to find things that I could to tap into, that I understood, that made sense to me, like the nature of frustration at finding yourself in a position of living forever."
   Roxburgh admitted that he took cues from Bela Lugosi's classic portrayal of Dracula, not only because he "absolutely loved Legosi as the count," but also "because [writer-director] Steve [Sommers] was interested in pursuing a sense of the old Universal films," from which Van Helsing drew many of its iconic monsters. I always felt that I wanted to anchor the character in the sense of an actual human being, a person who feels that frustration and is terribly tired of the situation that he finds himself in, three wonderful brides notwithstanding."
   Roxburgh added, "One thing that's always interesting to bear in mind is that, in the great history of [Dracula movies], I think almost without exception, their releases have been surrounded by controversy and at times disdain. Certainly Bela Legosi's Count Dracula, at the time, was regarded as essentially a kind of B-movie piece of junk, whereas now it has real luster and appeal to people."

LOOK ANEW AT HELSING MONSTERS 
   Shuler Hensley (Frankenstein's monster) and Will Kemp (Wolf Man) said that their performances in the upcoming monster movie VAN HELSING don't incorporate much from previous movie versions of their iconic characters. Kemp, who comes to film from the world of ballet, said in an interview that he "watched all the old [werewolf movie] classics, which were fantastic," but added that he was "very keen to not use anything from or be swayed by anyone else's performance." 
   Kemp added that previous depictions of the Wolf Man's transformation-such as that in the 1941 George Waggner film THE WOLF MAN-were "all about the makeup. And so during that transformation [Lon Chaney] hardly moves," he said. "Whereas we were able to do the opposite. I was able to move, to flail around and portray that transformation very physically."
   Hensley, whose background is mostly in musical theater, echoed Kemp in saying that he wasn't influenced by previous film incarnations of his famous character. "My first and lasting impression of Frankenstein's monster was not a film, it was the book [Mary Shelley's original SF novel]," he said. "It was one of the first books I read as a kid."
   Hensley added that he didn't think it necessary to do much more research than that. "These monsters are such a part of our culture," he said. "We all grew up with them. We all dressed as Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolf Man at Halloween. They're so ingrained in us, such a part of all our lives in unique ways. So Frankenstein was a part of me, which is why I didn't do much film-watching."

SPIDEY WON’T BE AT THE BALL GAME?
   The news was issued that SPIDEY lost his ticket to the baseball game. 
   For weeks there has been talk about the advertising that was sold for SPIDEY 2 – the three bases would all have the movie logos on them and it was hitting every radio talk show in America. Debates online were heating up about whether this was good or bad for baseball. Good or bad for Movie adverstising.  Taking it too far! Well, the Baseball guys gave in and recinded the advertising that was sold. They told Hollywood they would NOT display the SPIDEY 2 logos on the bases and the pitchers mound. 
DAVA’S DELVINGS
 Of Elves, Men, and Hobbits –
A Lord of the Rings musical review by: Dava Sentz

 Over the last few years, I have written several essays and reviews on The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Within each of those assignments I spoke, with great love and affection, of my favorite characters, performances, scenes, and the beautiful landscapes of New Zealand. Indeed, all three stories are very dear to me. 
   The Fellowship of the Ring so beautifully captured the innocence and strength of Middle Earth. It introduced its audience to remarkable people, and was responsible for installing in me an undying respect for the genius of J.R.R. Tolkien. As it was the one that started it all, I believe it will forever have a special place in the minds and hearts of its fan base. The Two Towers, released a year later, proved to be even more worthy than its predecessor. It was to become my favorite of the novels, revealing a darker, more obvious inner struggle among the characters I knew and adored.  From an on-screen aspect, the Helms Deep saga was incredible, and the movie provided a unique and emotional reunion that was simply not present in films one or three. The Return of the King, on the other hand, boasted a mournful tone. It was here that the characters were at their strongest, as well as their most venerable. In the final chapter, fate would be decided and pulses ran high. It was truly the best of the films. All of these parts have something to offer its audience, an element that sets them apart from one another. Yet, aside from the on-going plot, there is something that bonds them together. The Lord of the Rings trilogy host a series of instrumental soundtracks, composed by Howard Shore.
 Just like the films that inspired them, the trilogies score holds its own fantastic emotions, worthy to inspire and entrance its listener. The music of The Fellowship of the Ring boasts a vibe of glorious sounds, perfectly capturing the wonder of the first film. It began with Concerning Hobbits, a wonderfully bright chorus of violins so joyous and so peaceful. 
    One could almost see the hairy-footed halflings running through the South Farthing of Hobbiton. Strong brass instruments and heavy percussion also play an important role, suggesting the coming of great doom to the film's many protagonists. Perhaps there is a wicked alliance at work or a painful stabbing upon a mountaintop, the horrid birth of a newly formed evil. Tremendous fear can be felt as battle rages on through our eardrums. Then, hope begins anew with the returning of strings. A heavenly choir sings of a forbidden love. As the score plays on, you can see Lady Arwen emerge from the darkness. Her white glow illuminates the forest clearing. 
     You watch the glory of Rivendell woven in colorful splendor. You experience the beauty, the grace of the Elven race, as women sing forth in their native tongue. But, just as violins and cellos create peace and good tidings, so can they produce heartache. Through the plucking of these instruments, we will hear the tale of a wizard's lament and a warrior's fall. Lastly, when the fellowship is broken, soloists Enya and Edward Ross sing of eternal hope, undying faith. It is a magnificent ending.
 With The Two Towers, musical vibrations were much more straightforward. While the score did possess some moments of Rohirrim glory, the overall mood was quite dark, eerie in fact. Pounding drums and sounding bassoons burst from the lands of Isenguard and Mordor. Great horns sounded, as well, from the fortress of Helms Deep, paying tribute to an epic battle that could never be won. The highly regarded string ensemble spoke of a kingly shield maiden, both lovely and fierce, who was ready and able to fight for those she loved. 
     A familiar comfort could be found with the string family in the first film. But here, such pieces coupled with an Elvish-speaking choir more often meant tragedy and death. They brought forth a mournful end to the brass orchestra's deadly swordplay. To put it simply, brass instruments usually signified war. Violins and others musical descendents of its heritage represented death. 
     And lastly, the styling of a choir and/or lone soloist signified a kind of fictional Oedipus complex, alerting their listeners of a former hobbit's fall from grace and dignity. Indeed, about the only hope that can be taken, from the music of the central film, is the re-occurring theme of our noble fellowship. An elf, a man, and a dwarf ride out in desperate search for their friends. As the music draws to a close, we may cross our fingers in hopes that Frodo and Sam find safe passage through the Black Gate.
 The Return of the King's score goes back to the emotional flip/flop of The Fellowship's. But, rather than being presented as a carbon copy, it's sound is very much its own. As the soundtrack begins to play, the air is, once again, filled with a sense of peace. A lighthearted theme of piccolo and traditional string ensembles give way to the hope we may have lost in films one and two. But, before we can blink, the brass orchestra rises to its most frightening, and evil times have set in. It will pick up the pace, in the early stages of the score, boasting a tale of brave Rohirrim riding out to certain death. War is on the horizon, and they must travel to Gondor to fight. 
     Brass, percussion, strings, and choir tell the listener that the beacons of the white city have been lit, and aide is on the way. Lord Denethor stews in his golden hall while Billy Boyd lends his angelic vocals to a ballad of lingering doubt in a weary world. Renee Fleming's words give life to a heart-wrenching tale of a beautiful Elf Princess, her light fading into shadow as her now mortal life slips away. Shortly thereafter, a soft-spoken orchestra tells of her worried and desperate father reforming the blade of kings.
      It should be clear to the listener, at this point in the soundtrack, that morale is quite low. A loud, speedy ensemble provides thought to a fearful chase in a monstrous lair. Brass and choir are ever so much more present here, only to be occasionally interrupted by the dark chorus of strings. 
     The evil of Mordor should be closing in, a brief moment of glorified trumpet made scarce by mournful violin. And, when all hope has vanished from our ears, the Black Gate opens to the ring-bearers through flute and triumphant chorus. Renee Fleming's powerful voice is now standing between our protagonist and Mount Doom. 
     A Brass Orchestra will soon ring clear through the stereo, symbolic of the ultimate victory. And lastly, a string quartet reunites our heroes, Viggo Mortensen sings of a hope restored to the kingdom of Gondor, and Annie Lennox's Into the West welcomes the elves home. There at last, on the shores of the sea, comes the end of the musical trilogy.
 It will be difficult to bid farewell to a story that has touched my life so profoundly. But, their soundtracks have allowed me to view them from a wonderful new perspective. When I play them, I will remember the incredible times these films have given me, each in their own way. They are truly remarkable and it pleases me greatly that they have made such an end as to be worthy of remembrance..

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COLLECTIBLES CORNER  by G. Roberson
 COLLECTIBLES CORNER  by G. Roberson –
No Gary this month, - be sure to tell him how much you miss his columns at the meetings…. but subbing for him is a fun story of two “action figures come to life!”
 

Holy Blimey Batman!

Batman and Robin fighting crime - in Whitley, England

   Two mystery men dressed as Batman and Robin have been fighting crime and saving damsels in distress in a small English town. 
   The pair have been spotted springing into action a number of times in recent weeks on the streets of Whitley, near Reading.
   T he Reading Evening Post asked readers for news of the duo after they dealt with a pair of streakers at a local football cup final. 
   And the newspaper was besieged with calls from residents who claimed to have seen the 'superheroes' in action.
   Michelle Kirby was stranded when her Peugeot 206 ran out of petrol on Easter Sunday - until Batman and Robin appeared out of nowhere and pushed her car to the nearest petrol station. She said: "They just appeared. I saw them running down the road in Batman and Robin outfits - I was laughing so much. 
   "It was like a scene out of ‘Only Fools and Horses’ (a brit show) and but they stayed in character the whole time.
   "They said, "I'm Batman, and the other said and I'm Robin" and I said, "No, you're not" and asked them if they were going to a fancy dress party, but they said they were going back to Gotham City."
   Ray Cox, 61, spotted the caped crusaders at about 11.30am after doing his morning shopping.  "I said to my wife, it would make it a better and safer place with these men," he said. 
   "Batman was quite a broad chap. They would scare a few muggers off and I'd feel safer in Whitley."

IMAGINATIVECINEMAIMAGINATIVECINEMAIMAGINATIVECINEMAIMAGINATIV
May 14th     TROY 
Cast:  Brad Pitt (Achilles), Eric Bana (Prince Hector of Troy), Orlando Bloom (Prince Paris of Troy), Diane Kruger (Helen of Troy), Peter O'Toole (King Priam of Troy)
Premise: In 1193 B.C., Prince Paris (Bloom) of Troy stole the beautiful Greek woman, Helen (Kruger), away from her husband, Menelaus, the king of Sparta, setting the two nations at war with each other, as the Greeks began a bloody siege of Troy using their entire armada, led by Achilles (Pitt), that lasted over a decade... 

May 21     SHREK 2 
Cast: (voices) Mike Myers (Shrek), Eddie Murphy (Donkey), Cameron Diaz (Princess Fiona), Julie Andrews (Fiona's Mother, the Queen), John Cleese (Fiona's Father, King Harold)
Premise: Picking up exactly where the first movie left off, this movie takes us to the kingdom as Shrek and Fiona return to her homeland to tell her parents the good news.

May 28th      THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW 
Cast: Dennis Quaid (Professor Adrian Hall), Jake Gyllenhaal (Samuel Hall)
Premise: From the director Independence Day this movie shows the coming of the new ice age and how it will effect all involved. Terror rages throughout the land as this is fought by scientists and regular joes alike. It is the end of the world, coming soon.

June 4th     HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley), Gary Oldman (Sirius Black), David Thewlis (Professor Remis Lupin)
Premise: Starting during the summer before Harry's third year at Hogwarts, this is the adventure that happens when he has to go on the run after an incident where he was unable to control his anger... getting on a bus, he hears about Sirius Black, a renegade wizard who was a Prisoner at Azkaban. What Harry doesn't suspect is that Black escaped to look for... him. 

June 4th       MINDHUNTERS 
Cast: Val Kilmer (Harris), LL Cool J (Gabe), Christian Slater (J.D.
Reston), Eion Bailey (Bobby Whitman), Clifton Collins, Jr. (Vince
Sherman), Will Kemp (Rafe Perry) 
Premise: On a remote island, the FBI has a training program for their
psychological profiling division, called "Mindhunters", used to track
down serial killers. The training goes horribly wrong, however, when a
group of seven young agents discover that one of them is a serial killer,
and is setting about slaying the others.

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TWO EXORCISTS?
   It's enough to make your head spin. 
   Morgan Creek-which shelved director Paul Schrader's unseen EXORCIST prequel movie and ordered it remade under helmer Renny Harlin-now says it may want to release both versions of the movie on DVD. Schrader shot an entire version of EXORCIST: The Beginning last year before Morgan Creek scrapped it and ordered a new version from scratch, including a new script, new cast and director Harlin. Harlin's EXORCIST: The Beginning heads for theaters on Aug. 20.
   Now, Morgan Creek chief James Robinson is saying that he's seeking to have Warner Brothers release both directors' EXORCIST movies on DVD simultaneously. That could raise a credits arbitration issue with the Directors Guild of America.
   Schrader said that he's agreed in principle to the arrangement with Morgan Creek in order to get his version seen and as a way of settling the contractual issues of his being owed a preview and an official screening. "I'm very proud of my film, and I think it deserves to be seen," Schrader said. "If I get the DVD, I can say 'God bless you, Renny; may your film do well.'"
   It's unclear whether Warner would bundle both films in one DVD or simply make both films available individually. A spokesman for the studio said that Morgan Creek hadn't yet discussed the DVD plan with anyone 

STAR WARS DVD EXTRAVAGANZA
   Lucasfilm has finally lifted the curtain and released the content details to be found on their forthcoming STAR WARS trilogy DVD set, arriving this September 21. The new bonus features will constitute over 10 hours worth of material, ranging from all-new featurettes made exclusively for the DVD release to hundreds of images from the original STAR WARS trilogy.
   The largest feature is the two-and-a-half hour documentary "Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy" found on the set's fourth disc.
   Featuring interviews with creator George Lucas and over 40 principal members of the cast and crew of EPISODE IV, V and VI plus other filmmakers talking about the impact that Lucas' vision has had on the world of cinema. "Empire of Dreams" will also include never-before-seen footage showing the making of the first three STAR WARS movies.
   Other featurettes included on the fourth disc: "The Birth of the Lightsaber"; "The Characters of Star Wars"; "The Force is With Them: The Legacy of Star Wars"; a preview of EPISODE III showcasing the new Darth Vader costume worm by Hayden Christensen in the film.
Also included on the disc will be a never-before-seen production gallery made up of hundreds of rare images from the Lucasfilm archives; posters and print campaigns for all three films; movie trailers and television ads; a demo and trailer for the new STAR WARS BATTLEFRONTS video game; a preview of the EPISODE III video game in development for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox consoles; and DVD-ROM content.
   Commentary tracks for all three films will be included on each of the movies. The tracks will feature Lucas, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK director Irvin Kirshner, actress Carrie Fisher, sound designer Ben Burtt, and ILM supervisor Dennis Muren.
   The DVD set of the STAR WARS Trilogy, featuring the digitally remastered and restored movies, goes on sale September 21. The movies will be available in both widescreen and full-screen formats.

MUNSTERS CREEP TO YOUR HOUSE ON DVD 
   A DVD set of the first season of the classic 1960s monster sitcom THE MUNSTERS is headed for DVD on Aug. 24, in time for its 40th anniversary, Universal Home Entertainment announced. The show, starring Fred Gwynne and Yvonne De Carlo, aired from 1964 to '66 on CBS and dealt with a family of wacky monsters and their seemingly normal niece. The DVD set will carry a suggested retail price of $59.98 and includes the previously unaired pilot episode, plus all 38 episodes from show's first season.
   The company will also release a DVD set of the first season of Rod Serling's 1970 supernatural horror anthology series, NIGHT GALLERY, which includes a segment directed by a young Steven Spielberg. The set features 20 stories hosted by Serling.

V SERIES DVD LANDING 
   Warner Home Video will release on July 27 a three-disc DVD set for V: THE COMPLETE SERIES, featuring all 19 episodes of the 1984 alien-invasion TV series that originally aired on NBC, the company said. The series, based on an earlier miniseries, dealt with an invasion by reptilian aliens disguised as humans and its aftermath.
   V: THE COMPLETE SERIES stars Marc Singer, Lane Smith, Robert Englund, Michael Ironside, Faye Grant, Jennifer Cooke, Michael Wright, Jane Badler and Jeff Yagher.

FAREWELLSFAREWELLSFAREWELLSFAREWELLSFAREWELLSFAREWELLSFAREWELLS
Carrie Snodgress, the actress who was nominated for a best actress Oscar and won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in 1970's DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE, has died at age 57.
Snodgress attended Northern Illinois University and began acting in Chicago, where she studied at the Goodman School of Drama. Success in various plays in Chicago brought her to Hollywood and a contract with Universal. 
She appeared in such 1960s TV series as THE VIRGINIAN and JUDD FOR THE DEFENSE and the T.V. movie THE WHOLE WORLD IS WATCHING. After making her film debut in RABBIT, RUN she went on to appear in such other films as the FURY, THE ATTIC, A NIGHT IN HEAVEN, PALE RIDER, MURPHY’S LAW, BLUEBERRY HILL, THE CHILL FACTOR, 8 SECONDS and WHITE MAN’S BURDEN.

Richard Wilson, 46, an administrator for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who was keeper of the Oscar statuettes, has died. An employee of the academy since 1988, Wilson logged the whereabouts of previously awarded statuettes, ordered and maintained the inventory of new Oscars and managed their distribution backstage at each year's awards show. He also coordinated the personalization of the blank statuettes for each year's winners.

Composer Fred Karlin, who scored more than 130 motion pictures and movies for television, has died. He shared an Academy Award for best song in 1971 for the song, "For All We Know" from the 1970 film LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS and earned an Emmy for his score for the 1974 television presentation THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MISS JANE PITTMAN. He has written several books on music in film including a textbook on film scoring (with Rayburn Wright) called On the Track, and Listening to Movies: The Film Lover's Guide to Film Music. He had completed another book, 100 Great Film Scores, scheduled for publication next year.
Karlin wrote the music for such movies as UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE, YOURS, MINE AND OURS, THE STALKING MOON, THE STERILE CUCKOO, THE LITTLE ARK and LEADBELLY. He also composed the music for ICS favorites WESTWORLD and FUTUREWORLD. He was 67.

THE LAST WARDTHE LAST WARDTHE LAST WARDTHE LAST WARDTHE LAST WARD
THE LAST WARD…
by John Ward

This month, I want to talk about guilty pleasures.
No, I’m not talking about scarfing down a mega-bag of pork rinds when you should be on a diet.  I’m not even talking about the smell of gasoline when you’re filling up at the local Exxon, a pungent aroma that nearly everyone admits to liking, but no one admits to sniffing for very long.  Nope, I’m talking about the cheap, nearly indefensible thrills you get from watching a particularly shameless piece of celluloid.  The kind of movies you like to trash when amongst friends, then go home and pop in a DVD of said trash when you don’t think anybody’s looking.
There are lots of different types of guilty pleasures out there, ranging from kid movies you loved when you were, well, a kid, up to sequels that go on past the point of no return (and then some), and on to the star vehicles that seem best suited to having their favorite folk heroes decked out in all their requisite battle gear.
All of those types made the list at the heart of this column, supported by cheesy special effects, outdated dialogue, gory violence, the naked female form, and cliché after cliché after cliché.  I’ve just scanned the titles on this list one more time, and upon painfully slow, careful research, I’ve concluded that the only thing these cinema classics have in common with each other is an almost uncanny ability to make their biggest fans defensive.  Many of you might secretly agree with a few of my choices, but I doubt if any of you would publicly cop to admitting you liked all of the same movies.  So consider this month’s column a vicarious trip to the cinema confessional booth.  Promise to do five “Hail Tarantinos” when you leave.
These films aren’t in any particular order; they’re just listed in the order that they came to mind.  And I wouldn’t read anything into that, either; after watching all of these movies again and again, and many more just like them, my mind doesn’t exactly qualify for steel-trap status.
I’ll start with THE OMEGA MAN.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a positive review of this movie. Whenever it’s been discussed in context, there’s usually a reference to Richard Matheson’s seminal vampire novel I Am Legend somewhere in the discussion, and how this lame Charlton Heston sci-fi flick just can’t hold a candle to it.  THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, an Italian import from the ‘60s with Vincent Price in the title role, is actually much closer in tone and approach to Matheson’s source novel than THE OMEGA MAN.  I have that one in my collection, too; it’s made on the cheap, but still pretty effective.
But there are moments in THE OMEGA MAN that still hold in my memory.  The deserted streets of Los Angeles, decimated by biological warfare, predated a similar opening in 28 DAYS LATER by over 30 years, and I loved the scene in which Heston watches WOODSTOCK.  (“Third great year!”)  I was also fascinated by what Heston’s Robert Neville character was able to create for himself:  a townhouse fortress that pretty much doubled as his prison.  There is, of course, the film’s notorious “crucifixion” tableau at the finale, which I still have a hard time swallowing.  But it fits in with Heston’s martyr phase, a string of movies he made in the early ‘70s that, well…check out BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES and you’d see what I mean.
Since I brought it up, I might as well mention my fondness for all those PLANET OF THE APES sequels.  I always thought the screenwriters deserved some kind of “imagination award” for figuring out how to keep milking that particular cash cow after they blew up the planet in the first sequel.  (Oh, please.  I’m not giving anything away here.  If you’re reading this newsletter, then you’re the type of person who knows what happened.)  Even as the series got sillier and sillier, I kept coming back.  They let Ricardo Montalban chew the scenery for two sequels, and I came back.  They put songwriter Paul Williams in a midget orangutan suit, and I came back.  When the APES franchise moved to television, I followed it there.  I just loved that John Chambers make-up, and I thought Roddy McDowall was a real trouper, too.
About the time the APES movies were winding down, the DISASTER MOVIES phenomenon was in full swing.  I saw most of them.  One in particular, THE TOWERING INFERNO, was one of my favorite movies of the decade.  Many folks over the years have lambasted it as one of the most undeserving Best Picture nominations ever, but I disagree.  The combined star power of Paul Newman and Steve McQueen trying to out-hero each other was a treat to watch, and the movie did have some incredible stunt work.  But it also suffered from an abundance of stock-character stereotypes and soap opera subplots, the true curse of the genre.  There were THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, all the AIRPORT movies, EARTHQUAKE, THE SWARM, WHEN TIME RAN OUT, TWO-MNUTE WARNING… After a while, they all started to run together.
I guess the ‘70s ranks as probably the go-to decade for guilty pleasure movies.  That’s when Clint Eastwood and his mentor, Don Siegel, made DIRTY HARRY.  No, I’m not labeling that one a guilty pleasure; it’s one of the best cop movies ever made, a triumph of style and technique.  But for sheer, in-your-face action, with very little socially redeeming value, ALL THOSE DIRTY HARRY SEQUELS have to count for something.  I have a particular affection for MAGNUM FORCE, one of the first R-rated movies I remember bluffing my way into without an adult in tow.  It was exactly like every TV cop show of the period.  Except for the blood, the drugs, the violence, the language, the gore, the nudity, the sex, the carnage, and Suzanne Somers flashing her breasts right before getting blown to smithereens in her swimming pool.
Now, if you were a young guy in the early ‘70s who loved movies, really loved horror movies, and especially loved horror movies with breasts, then Hammer Studios was the place for you.  It didn’t get any better than THE VAMPIRE LOVERS, the epitome of the Hammer formula:  sex, blood, monsters, nudity, and truly wanton behavior.  Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing sustained the studio through much of its heyday in the ‘60s, but a decade later, you had a rush of titillating sleaze:  TWINS OF EVIL, HANDS OF THE RIPPER, VAMPIRE CIRCUS, DR. JEKYLL AND SISTER HYDE, LUST FOR A VAMPIRE, HORROR OF FRANKENSTEIN…the mind boggles.
But I just can’t leave the ‘70s behind without mentioning one of my guiltiest pleasures:  MOTHER, JUGS AND SPEED.  Now there was a cheap thrill!  For the uninformed, the movie featured the unlikely trio of Bill Cosby, Raquel Welch, and Harvey Keitel in the title roles as three paramedics working for a private ambulance service.  There was a trifle of a plot involving a competition between feuding ambulance companies, but the characters made the movie interesting.  Cosby did this around the time he did those “uptown heist” films with Sidney Poitier, and the same seen-it-all attitude works here.  Welch plays against type, which means she tries her best to downplay her looks, an impossible task.  The supporting cast was excellent:  L.Q. Jones, one of Peckinpah’s favorite actors, as the local police captain, Allen Garfield as the high-strung owner of the company, a young Bruce Davison and a just-retired Dick Butkus as fellow drivers, and Larry Hagman preparing for future Dallas villainy as the sleaziest driver on the block.  It’s all layered over with a Cheez-Whiz ‘70s soundtrack of disco blasts – not for the faint of heart.
We drift further back beyond the ‘70s, and things get even guiltier.  1969, as genre fans are well aware, was a watershed year for the movie western.  Never again did the genre enjoy such a sustained burst of excellence:  THE WILD BUNCH, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, TRUE GRIT, and BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.  But lost among the riches was the other western John Wayne did that year:  THE UNDEFEATED, co-starring with – oh, my dear sweet lord – Rock Hudson, Roman Gabriel, and Merlin Olsen!  Gabriel played Wayne’s adopted son, a Sioux Indian with uncanny tracking skills who falls for Confederate general Hudson’s teenage daughter.  The “Duke Wayne Stock Company” was all over this movie, including Bruce Cabot as Hudson’s aide and grizzled Dub Taylor as Wayne’s fry cook.  Taylor had a perfectly hilarious death scene, begging Ben Johnson to look after his cat.  (The cat didn’t make it, either.)  It was mainly a drama, but there was plenty of comedy, too, and everyone seemed to have a good time.  But it’s not one of the Duke’s more fondly remembered pictures.  Except by me, that is.
But for the truest examples of ‘60s guilty pleasures, I have to cite two early HAYLEY MILLS COMEDIES:  THE PARENT TRAP and THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS.  The former stands alone as my all-time favorite live-action Disney movie. When Disney brought it out of the vaults as a 2-disc special edition last year, I jumped at it.  I’m not sure why I’ve always loved that film, while other folks joke about it; it might have something to do with the main characters coming from a broken home, and I related to that.  Now, the second title is harder for me to defend, but I’ve seen it countless times over the years, and the huge helpings of schmaltz never fail to suck me in.  THE TROUBLE WITH ANGELS covers the three years spent by Mills’ rebellious teen at a old-fashioned Catholic girls’ school.  It starts out as a generation gap comedy, with Mills butting up against Rosalind Russell’s “Reverend Mother.”  But the schmaltz starts to creep in around the edges, and pretty soon your heartstrings are tugged in about 30 different directions.  I don’t think I’ve really explained why I like this movie; it’s just there.
Don’t go anywhere; I’m not done confessing yet.  (You know, Mel Gibson was right; confession really is  good for the soul!)  I also have a soft spot for CLIFFHANGER, the last truly enjoyable action flick that Sylvester Stallone ever made.  Okay, back up…maybe that one doesn’t quite qualify, since it really does have fantastic scenery, sharply edited action sequences, an over-the-top villain in the person of John Lithgow, nice support from Michael Rooker (proving once again that I’m a sucker for movies where bad guys play good-guy roles), and a fairly modulated performance from Sly himself.
And finally, as a more recent guilty pleasure, I submit for your approval BOTH FINAL DESTINATION MOVIES.  The first one actually got decent reviews, but let’s face it – it’s still a “teen stalker” film.  The difference, of course, is that the stalker is untouchable… and damn near unbeatable, a fact that tends to depress most moviegoers.  It was extremely unsettling to watch the usual assortment of idiot teens get snuffed by an abstract concept!  The sequel got some truly awful reviews, but it also had some of the best gore effects in recent movie history, and those pleasures don’t come much guiltier, let me tell you.
There’s plenty more where these came from, but I’ve ransacked my DVD collection to find the cheesiest, and I’ve already said my Hail Tarantinos, thank you very much.  So I’ll leave it at that.
Now, if you want to share some of your guiltiest movie pleasures…hey, I’m all ears.
I promise not to tell a soul.

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ICS CALENDER –the Month in review

May 14th     TROY 
 

May 21     SHREK 2 
 

May 22nd Saturday at 5:30 P.M.   ICS MEETING 
*** PLEASE NOTE:  THIS IS NOT THE LAST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH AS PER OUR USUAL MEETING DATES***
Dave Willard is doing part 1 of a 2 part series on silent cinema at our May meeting.  Part 1 will cover the rise of silent cinema
 

May 28th      THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW 
 

May 31st       MEMORIAL DAY       yes, take a moment and stop stuffing your mouth with hot dogs and remember those that fought hard to allow you the freedom to do just that!  Thanks to all that have Served!!!