|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.
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!
|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
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
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.
|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
*Free admission for JHU students, faculty, and employees with valid
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
Resort, Lake Harmony, PA
Guests: James Marsters ("Spike"), Anthony Stewart Head ("Giles"), Andy
Hallett ("Lorne"), Danny Strong ("Jonathan"), Tom Lenk ("Andrew"), Adam
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
|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
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
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.
|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
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
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
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
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
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,
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,
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
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
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
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..
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,
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,
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
"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."
|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
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
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
group of seven young agents discover that one of them is a serial killer,
and is setting about slaying the others.
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
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
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
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.
THE LAST WARDTHE
LAST WARDTHE LAST WARDTHE LAST WARDTHE LAST WARD
|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
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
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 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
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
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.
|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!!!