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

December 2004  #71

 
 
CLUB NEWS  
JUST READ ALL THE CLUB NEWS!

How to Join the Message Board Instructions

TV NEWS
Whats happening with our faves
 

MOVIE NEWS
The hottest news out on ICS genre films
 

EVENT NEWS
Cons & Fandom events
 

MUST SEE MOVIES 
Movies for Dec & Jan.
 

INTERNET TECHNOLOGY 
Charlie is back with great tips!

FAREWELLS
Old friends, now gone
 

THE LAST WARD
John’s thoughts on Oscars
 

ICS CALENDER
Put this up 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

 
 
ICSClubnewsClubnews All About Us ClubnewsClubnewsICS
 
THE ULTIMATE PREY
 John Weber gave an informative talk on the background of one of his favorite films, THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME.  It had a budget of $202,000 and Fay Wray worked simultaneously in this film and KING KONG.  In fact, for GAME, she kept her natural  brunette locks and switched to a blonde wig for KONG.    The alternate title for this film is THE HOUNDS OF ZAROFF, so called because the film-makers borrowed 20 hounds from comedian Harold Lloyd.  Mr. Lloyd was not too happy when his great danes were returned dyed dark brown.  Originally, they wanted to use a big cat for the final hunt, but it proved to be too unmanageable.   Also important to note is that the trophy room, which consisted of human heads on Count Zaroff’s wall, was censored. 
 Thanks for the presentation, John – and for the great props! 

MOST COPIED FILM OF ALL TIME?
After the presentation, it was time for the movie, the original version of THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME.  Even club members who were seeing this film for the first time were familiar with the story from A GAME OF DEATH, HARD TARGET, GET SMART or THE PEST. 
 
WELCOME KYRA AMARA FLEMING!
Heather and Tim Fleming stopped by the East Coast for the Holidays and visited their favorite film club.  In tow with them was our newest honorary member – Kyra Amara Fleming – our youngest club member!  Once she gets out of the bib stage, she can think about what she wants on her badge.
Thanks for stopping by, Flemings!  As always, it was wonderful to see you!
 
BADGE MASTER 2 : THE LASER PRINTER OF DEATH
Dave Henderson has performed many thankless tasks over the past 6 years.  One of them is maker of badges.  Now that Dave is stepping down from the board, it’s time to turn that responsibility over to someone else.  Lucky for us, Steve Vaught volunteered!  
Thanks Dave, for all of your work.  You have a great knack for finding pictures of the obscure films and actors (not to mention your freehand skills)!  And Steve, thanks for stepping up – we’ll look forward to seeing your artistry.
 
THE ENVELOPE PLEASE!! 
We had so many night owls at the Halloween all-nighter, that we ran out of Iron-Man Plemplee awards.  Once again, Mr. Henderson saved the day with certificates of Merit which can be displayed proudly.
Our winners are:  Kim Bartenslager, John Clayton,  Andrew Kent, Justin Proveaux, Tom Proveaux, Skip Phillips and Steve Vaught.  Honorable mention goes to Dava Sentz, who had all intentions of staying all night, except that her mom, Donna Burke picked her up before the last film credits rolled!   
And let us give a little thanks to our original Iron Man, Joe Plempel, without whom the entire all-nighter would be impossible.  

HELP WANTED: FOOD CO-ORDINATOR 
So, what’s a food co-ordinator?  Someone who makes sure that food is opened in a logical order.  If we have two bottles of coke, make sure the first one is done before opening the second.  Keeping extra food either in the kitchen or in the ICS storage box until what’s on the counter has been consumed.  John Ward is in this temporary role right now – but we are looking for his replacement.  If you have good organizational skills and a dose of common sense, think about applying!  If you are interested, you know the drill - contact a board member.     

DECEMBER YANKEE SWAP – NEW RULE!
Coming up – another annual event - the December Yankee Swap on December 18th.  Please select a gift up to $25 in value.  There is one additional rule.  Please include either a receipt or gift slip with your Yankee Swap contribution.  In case someone receives a second copy of KILL BILL or a Jim Carrey movie, they can graciously accept it in the swap and exchange for the gift of their choice later on.  We appreciate your co-operation!

NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
NOT THE LAST SATURDAY---NOT THE LAST SATURDAY !!!
 Our next meeting will be held on Saturday December 18th at 5:30 P.M. at the church hall behind the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church located at 8848 BelAir Road. Take Baltimore Beltway exit 32 north on Belair Road. Turn left onto Joppa Road. Immediately past the miniature golf course turn left into the parking lot. If you miss it there are ample turn-around opportunities. If you get stuck call 443-570-6455. That's Dave Willard’s cell phone. He'll talk you in.   

CREATURES I HAVE LOVED
  With a topic like that, who knows what Sue Feder has up her sleeve for the December meeting.  Sue’s night has been postponed for about a year, so she’s had a lot of time to think this one over.  Hmmm.,. wouldn’t it be something if she loves DRACULA’S DOG (but who wouldn’t)!
 
FORKLIFTS AND DAGGERS
It’s time to test our new Midnight Movie policy:  Second features will be shown on even months.  On the month preceding, we will vote on the feature to be shown at the subsequent meeting.   Does that sound confusing?  Well, it isn’t.  
At our November meeting, we voted on what to watch in December.  The winners are:  STAPLEFAHRER KLAUS, a 9 minute German film on forklift safety with more gore than DEAD-ALIVE, from Regina’s collection and the ICS premiere of the new wire-fu flick from Yimou Zhang (HERO), HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, courtesy of Andrew Kent!  I can’t imagine any other lineup that would put us in a Holiday mood!
 
 
 

CALENDARS AVAILABLE
  2005 Calendars are now available.  The theme is big Japanese Monsters.  Steve Vaught was the first to spot the naked lady hidden amongst the monster pics.  Calendars are $15.  See Regina at the next meeting to pick up yours if you have reserved one.  There are no extra calendars available.

DECISION 2005
  The annual ICS Election is coming up at the January meeting.  Dave Henderson, who has been on the board since day one of the club, is ending his term as a board member.  Over the past several years, he has contributed much as a board member, such as securing our current location, arriving early to set up the building, participating in all conventions, and handling reservations for the 5th anniversary bash at the Senator.  And this is just a small representation of what Hendo has done over the past 6 years.  
 The current list of candidates is: Jim Childs, Andrew Kent, Joe Plempel, Regina Vallerani, John Ward, and Dave Willard.  If you are interested in running, please let Dave Henderson know.

DUES NEWS
  It’s time to renew your dues.  The Cost is $25 per person or $40 per couple.  Family memberships are available at $25 for the initial family member and $15 each for the second to nth family member.
 Dues can be paid in one of the following 3 ways:
Cash or Check to Regina at a meeting
Mail a check to Regina at:  
REGINA VALLERANI
1 E CHASE ST APT 405
BALTIMORE, MD 21202
Via Paypal to ICSFILM@HOTMAIL.COM.  There is a Paypal link from the ICS Website (WWW.ICSFILM.NET).

 This is the list of people who have paid their dues.  If you have paid your dues, but are not on this list, please contact Regina at RVALLER107@HOTMAIL.COM to correct the omission.

Donna Burke
Sue Feder
Heather Fleming
Kyra Fleming
Tim Fleming
Andrew Kent
Joe Plempel
Gary Roberson
Ruth Roberson
Dava Sentz
Courtney Spies
Regina Vallerani
Beth Vaught
Steve Vaught
Neil Wagenfer
Dave Willard
Charlie Wittig
 
 
 
 
 

SO YOU WANT MORE ICS?   BE A PART OF THE ICS MESSAGE BOARD!

   What a wonderful club we have, meeting people that are interested in some of the same things you are – movies, TV shows and then willing to talk about them ad nauseaum!
   Well, it doesn’t have to be just once a month either! 
   Come to the ICS message board and join up, then you can stop in, read and comment on the threads or create your own – the ICS message boards can be a fun daily addiction.
   The Message board is a great way to talk about movies you have just seen or tv shows that are on or DVD’s you have picked up and want to share with others and just can’t wait until the meeting to expound about. It is divided into sections for TV & Movie talk, DVD talk and then just General discussion where we can bring up anything. We have a lot of laughs and want to encourage our members to join up- the more the merrier!
   Charlie was even nice enough to write up some instructions on ‘how to join up’ for anyone slightly befuddled.  It is pretty easy and once you are a member there you can log in at any time and read the message board and share your views. 

ICS Forum Registration Instructions

1. Go to our website, www.icsfilm.net and then up at the top, click on ICS forum box. This takes you right to the forum page. On the ICS Forum page, look for the link in the upper right under the picture that says: Register Your Free Account (Required). Click it.

2. Choose Global Account if you want to use other Ezboard forums.   Choose Local Account if you just plan to use the ICS Forum.  You will probably have a better chance to pick the user name you want using the Local Account option.

3. Type in the desired user name, password, and retype the password.  Pick a “secret question” which will help if you forget your password.  Fill out the rest of the profile information then submit the application.

4. If you get a page that has “Free Sponsors” with check boxes, click the “No thanks” link on the bottom right side of the page. You will be registered.

5. Check your email for a validation message that reads something like this:
Your ezboard User Account is ready!
To validate your free ezboard.com account, please click 
on the URL below. You will also receive a second email 
with your User Name and Password once you are validated.
6. Follow the instructions for the validation link and you will be registered.  You’ll also get another email with information like your user name and password.  Just remember, that if you have a GLOBAL account, you only have to type in the user name.  If you have a LOCAL account, you have to type in the user name followed by @theicsmessageboard
Example: elmerfudd@theicsmessageboard.

If you need help, email Charlie Wittig at charliewittig@verizon.net
   tvnews tvnews tvnews  TheGlassTeat  tvnews tvnews tvnews

ALIAS WANTS ROSSELLINI BACK 
   Isabella Rossellini said that she's been asked to reprise her role as Katya on ABC's spy drama ALIAS, which kicks off a fourth season in January. "They called me the other day to see if I was available in January, so I hope they'll make me kill someone else soon," Rossellini said. "I did say that I was available, so hopefully [it will work out]."
   Rossellini guest-starred three times last season as Katya, the sister of Irina Derevko (Lena Olin). In her first episode, "Crossings," Katya informed Jack (Victor Garber) that Sydney (Jennifer Garner) was still alive, and offered to do everything in her power to save Sydney, so long as Jack agreed to kill Sloane (Ron Rifkin). Later, Katya tried to kill Sydney and made romantic advances toward Jack.
   "My character is pretty mysterious, and we're all very devious," Rossellini said. "So the moment you think you get your character—'I'm bad at this, but good at that'—uh-uh. The next script arrives, and you're betraying [someone]. We're meaner than the public can even imagine."
   Rossellini added that playing so mysterious and devious a character wasn't unusual or difficult, as she's played dark characters before. But she said that perpetrating Katya's brand of violence did not come easily. "I had to take my chopsticks and put them [through] somebody's hands," Rossellini said, referring to a scene in "Crossings." 
   "There were all these special effects, and I wasn't hurting the person, but even just doing it I flinched a little bit. So the director said to me, 'Isabella, you have the accent. If you get the violence, you can be governor. So go. Go for it.' 
   They're a great bunch of people. [Executive producer] J.J. Abrams and Jennifer Garner, they're so great. It's fun to be with them." 
   ALIAS begins its new season with a two-hour premiere on Jan. 5 and moves to a new timeslot, Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT, following Abrams' other hit series, LOST.

LIKING THE SMALLVILLE CHANGES 
   Kristin Kreuk, who plays Lana Lang in The WB's Superman series SMALLVILLE, said that the show is entirely different this season and that her character has undergone changes as well. 
   "That's actually quite fun for me," Kreuk said. "I enjoying changing it up."
   Among other things, Kreuk's Lana has developed a new relationship with Jason Teague (Jensen Ackles), a storyline that will continue to develop. "The show has evolved a lot," Kreuk said. "They were going darker last year, which I actually thought was quite interesting, going more adult and a little darker. But it wasn't appealing to the same audience anymore. So they brought it back to being more youth-oriented, and there's more sex, and I think the storylines are starting to shift again. There were a lot of shuffles in The WB itself this year, so powers were kind of shifting, and I think the direction of the show got confused. But now it's coming together, and all these really great storylines that we have are being fleshed out a little more."
   Kreuk declined to discuss details. "I'm just going to be selfish about this, because I really only know where I'm going, mostly," Kreuk said. "But we've got the storyline with Lana's tattoo. Jane Seymour has come onto the show to play Jason's mother. Jane's character is quite evil and complex, and Lana has dreamt of her in her past, from when she was a witch. It's all convoluted, but they're going to flesh out that storyline and see how it connects to the mythology and to Superman and to these crystals. And that will eventually lead to ... well, that's the secret.".

DOCTOR WHOOOOO….DR. WHO. –  THE TEASER GOES LIVE 
   The BBC has posted a teaser trailer for its upcoming new DOCTOR WHO TV series, which premieres next year. Christopher Eccleston will play the new Doctor, alongside Billie Piper as the Doctor's companion, Rose Tyler.
   The Doctor and Rose will come face to face with a number of new monsters, as well as battling with the Doctor's archenemy, the Daleks, BBC reported. 
   Filming in Cardiff, U.K., until 2005 for BBC One, DOCTOR WHO is written by Russell T. Davies, Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Paul Cornell and Robert Shearman.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

EVENT NEWS HAPPENING FANDOM THINGS EVENT NEWS
 

December 10th-12th, 2004: Philcon 2004, Marriott Center City Hotel Philadelphia, PA
 

February 11-13, 2005: Farpoint 2005, Hunt Valley Inn, Baltimore, MD
 

February 18-20, 2005: Katsucon 2005, Arlington, VA
 

movienews movienews  Silver Screen  movienews movienews

RAIMI AUCTIONS UP EBAY HORROR
     Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert’s Ghost House Pictures will produce DIBBUK BOX, from a script by Stephen Susco, who penned Ghost House’s hit THE GRUDGE. The new project is based on an article from the Los Angeles Times by Leslie Gornstein called Jinx in a Box, about an antique wooden box sold on eBay that contained an evil spirit and was brought to America by a Holocaust survivor after WWII. BOX will be about a woman who buys a similar cursed item and then has to uncovers its secrets to save her family’s lives. "Gornstein’s article is ideally suited to be retold in a film that distinctively captures and magnifies the most chilling aspects of this story. We envision this as a unique horror feature that is fundamentally engaging and frightening," Raimi explained.
     Ghost House, which is still plowing ahead with 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, scripted by Stuart Beattie(COLLATERAL) from Steve Niles’ comic, for Columbia, is also developing another horror feature with a Beattie script for the Danny and Oxide Pang (THE EYE) to direct. And, of course, a sequel to THE GRUDGE is also in the works, though a storyline and filmmakers have yet to be announced.

DAWN OF THE REMAKE SEQUEL
     Director Zack Snyder said that Universal Pictures has already approached him to make a follow-up to his hit zombie remake Dawn of the Dead, but that the movie won't be a remake of George Romero's own sequel, Day of the Dead. "It's fascinating, because it's the sequel to our movie," Snyder said in an interview. "I was like, 'We should do a sequel to Day,' but they [weren't interested]."
     Snyder said that he and screenwriter James Gunn diverged from the rules Romero created for the original Dawn, which rendered it difficult to continue remaking Romero's movies. "Inadvertently we created a whole different world," Snyder said. "We went off, and in a lot of ways the rules that George created don't apply at the end of this Dawn." Snyder said that his original idea for the remake may have made subsequent films harder to develop. "I always wanted to make a movie where the zombies won from the beginning," he said. "I think I demonstrated that in the first 10 minutes. It doesn't take long for them to really kind of win. It's more about, like, you're [in] an air bubble."
     Snyder said that talks have begun with Universal, but the project does not have a definite start date. "We kicked around some ideas, but I don't know what we're going to do with it," he said. "We've talked about it. I met with James. I met with the producers. The heat comes on and off of that. I think Universal wants it bad."

HEYMAN ON AN ODYSSEY
     Harry Potter producer David Heyman has set up The Odyssey, based on Homer's epic, at Regency Enterprises. British screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce will adapt the epic poem for the screen. The Odyssey centers on Odysseus and his 10-year journey home after the Trojan War, during which he is confronted by natural and supernatural threats, including shipwrecks, battles, monsters and the sea god Poseidon. Heyman wants to tell the story from the point of view of Telemachus, Odysseus' son.

20TH CENTURY ARGONAUTS
     Another Greek legend is on its way. Argonauts will delve into the famous legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece although don't expect any togas here. Michael Cooney (Identity) will script the feature for Dreamworks which describes the project as in the vein of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Taking place on the eve of WWII, a group of treasure hunters think they've figured out the location of the fabled sunken ship of the Argonauts. The Mummy man Stephen Sommers is set to produce - in fact he was originally going to direct but has pulled back to simply produce. A draft by Cooney is expected by early next year. DreamWorks is hoping for a 2006 holiday season release.

INDY IV WHIPS UP ANOTHER WRITER
     George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have hired Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me If You Can) to pen a new draft of a proposed fourth Indiana Jones movie. Nathanson has a track record with Spielberg, having written Catch and co-written The Terminal. If Lucas, Spielberg and star Harrison Ford approve of the draft, Spielberg would still have to make the film a priority to get it into production anytime soon.
     The Indiana Jones project seemed all but dead in February, when Paramount Pictures called off a summer production start because a script turned in by Frank Darabont didn't get a unanimous thumbs-up from Lucas, Spielberg and Ford, the trade paper reported. The trio has worked toward a fourth Indy film for a decade, with the understanding that each had to approve the script or they wouldn't go forward.

BRIGHT LIGHTS UP ULTRAVIOLET
     Cameron Bright recently wrapped production on the upcoming SF-horror-adventure movie Ultraviolet, in which the 11-year-old actor co-stars with Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil). "I play a boy—a petri-dish boy—who was created in a lab," Bright said in an interview while promoting his latest film, the controversial drama Birth. "And in my blood I hold the antigens that can destroy the human race. Milla is Ultraviolet, and she's trying to save me, trying to protect me."
     Bright is best known to genre audiences for his performance as the title character in Godsend, as well as for The Butterfly Effect and his roles in such television shows as Dark Angel and Night Visions. He and Jovovich filmed Ultraviolet in Shanghai and Hong Kong in China. Written and directed by Kurt Wimmer (Equilibrium), Ultraviloet will be released in August 2005.

GREENLIGHT FOR FEAST
     FEAST, the latest Project Greenlight movie, has begun shooting in LA for Dimension release. Starring in the film, being directed by John Gulager from Marcus Dunston and Patrick Melton’s screenplay, are Krista Allen (PAYCHECK), Balthazar Getty (LOST HIGHWAY), Navi Rawat, Josh Zuckerman, Eileen Ryan (EIGHT LEGGED FREAKS), Jenny Wade, rocker/actor Henry Rollins, Judah Friedlander, Jason Mewes and Anthony "Treach" Criss. The director’s pop, actor Clu Gulager (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD), has a cameo.
     FEAST, a mix of horror and gory humor, takes place at a rural bar, where the patrons fall under siege by a flock of flying, flesheating creatures. It’s the first genre outing for Greenlight, the on-line contest set up to seek out up-and-coming directors and screenwriters. Greenlight originators Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Chris Moore return as executive producers, this time joined by fright master Wes Craven, while Dimension’s direct-to-video sequel king Joel Soisson and his frequent partner Michael Leahy are producing. Gary Tunnicliffe (EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING) tackles the makeup FX chores. Bravo airs the PROJECT GREENLIGHT series beginning next February, while FEAST will open in theaters sometime in the spring.

GHOST RIDER REVS UP
     An information session on the Ghost Rider film being shot in Melbourne Australia was recently held at ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) and featured writer/director Mark Steven Johnson and producers Bennett Walsh and Gary Foster. Amongst topics discussed were the long development process that the film had undergone, which was relatively fast tracked once Mark Steven Johnson came aboard the project and offered his take on the story. LA based company Imageworks was confirmed as the effects house for the production and the casting of Nic Cage was effectively confirmed, although apparently no official announcements have been made. 
     Johnson stated that he will be keeping as faithful to the comic book concepts as possible, while trying to make the concept of a demonic character fighting evil more plausible within the logic of his story. To this end, he is approaching the Ghost Rider as a "Bounty hunter for the Devil", and he described the feel of the film as a modern day western with supernatural elements. 
    The story will feature the Johnny Blaze version of the Ghost Rider and will also feature Mephistopheles and Blackheart as villains, and was described as a "Faustian" tale. It was confirmed that CG effects will be used for the Rider character (no surprise given the flaming skull). 
    Costume-wise the look of the Rider will continue to develop over the course of the movie, so we'll get to see him in stunt-rider gear as well as the chains and spike look from the 90's comics version. The film will start filming in Melbourne on January 31 in locations around Melbourne and Broken Hill - including a stadium shoot - quite probably for one of Johnny Blaze's stunt shows. An 80 day shoot is planned.

RETURN TO THE PRECINCT
     The remake of John Carpenter’s ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 is nearing completion in post-production. Director Jean-Francois Richet (All About Love) directed from a script by James DeMonaco (The Negotiator).  The cast includes Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne, Maria Bello, John Leguizamo, Drea de Matteo, Ja Rule, Gabriel Byrne, and Brian Dennehy. The flick is billed as an action-thriller set in the present day, in an about-to-be-closed police precinct building. During a snowy New Year's Eve, a most-wanted mobster, Nicholas Zambrano (Fishburne), is temporarily incarcerated at the doomed Precinct 13 - and the address received renewed, unwanted attention from all sides of the law. As the sun sets and a long night begins, a motley crew of policemen and prisoners, reluctantly captained by cop Jake Roenick (Hawke), must band together to fight off a rogue gang that wants to extract Zambrano at any cost. Assault on Precinct 13 hits theaters in January 2005.

THE FOG ROLLS AGAIN
     Revolution Studios has acquired rights to remake John Carpenter's 1980 horror film The Fog. Cooper Layne (The Core) will write the script. Debra Hill and Carpenter, who wrote the original, will produce the remake with David Foster. John Carpenter commented, "I have done it once, and I don’t want to do it again. I did my FOG, and now it’s someone else’s time. It’s very flattering. It’s terrific that they want to make it. We have been thinking of doing THE FOG over for some time, as maybe a sequel. But now is the season of the remake." The Fog centered on a Northern California town and its inhabitants, who bear some responsibility for a shipwreck 100 years earlier, and the spirits of the drowned seamen, who return in a mysterious fog to wreak vengeance. The Fog is slated for a February production start.

SCI-FI UNDER GLAZER’S SKIN
     Jonathan Glazer (Birth) said that he plans to direct a big-screen version of Michael Faber's sci-fi novel Under the Skin. Set in Scotland, Under the Skin tells the story of an alien living on Earth in human female form, who plucks hunky male hitchhikers from the road, fattens them up, kills them and then ships them to her home planet to be served as a delicacy for the upper class. 
   "The heart of the story is really about the fact that we're not necessarily the top of the food chain," Glazer said. "That's the prose of the piece, but the poetry of the piece is everything that spins from that. For us, it's about the little man versus the corporation. It's about the fact that the pursuit of money is a universal thing, and that in our search for light we find the dark." Glazer added, "I think it's a very powerful political piece, actually, and I'm very excited about it." 
     Glazer said that Under the Skin is in the earliest stages of development and that he's not yet finalized a script, selected a cast or envisioned the look of the aliens. "I'm thinking hard about that, actually," Glazer said. "That's a very difficult question to answer. The aliens are the hardest thing to do, because we want to do them in a way that's never been seen before." If all goes according to plan, Glazer hopes to roll camera on Under the Skin in November 2005.

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN KUNG-FU DWARFS
     Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon will write Snow and the Seven, a martial-arts/Chinese fantasy retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, for Walt Disney Pictures. Yuen Wo Ping, the choreographer of groundbreaking action films The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, will direct the live-action movie. Previously known as Snow White and the Seven Shao Lin, the movie will mark Yuen's English-language directorial debut. The original draft of the script was written by Josh Harman and Scott Elder. The project will be set in 1880s British colonial China and will have fantasy and martial arts elements, with the "seven" being Shaolin monks. The story also will hearken back to aspects of the original Grimm Brothers' fairy tale. Chabon is the author of Wonder Boys and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, which won him the 2001 Pulitzer for literature. Chabon also was a writer on Spider-Man 2.

THE BLOB OOZES AGAIN
     Paramount Pictures and producer Scott Rudin will remake The Blob, the 1958 camp sci-fi movie that launched the career of Steve McQueen. The movie centers on a jelly-like substance that crashes from space and grows as it consumes every human in its path. Paramount is picking the project up from Warner Brothers, where the film's original producer, Jack Harris, set it up. No writer has yet been set for the remake, which will be updated. The original movie launched several spin-offs and was remade in 1988, when Frank Darabont wrote the script with Chuck Russell, who directed.

MEMOIR OF A TEEN-AGE CANNIBAL
     Film rights for a new Hannibal Lecter novel, Behind the Mask, have been acquired by the Dino DeLaurentiis Company, which produced the Hannibal movies, Red Dragon and Hannibal. The book is scheduled for release next Fall. Harris has written three previous Lecter books: Red Dragon, Hannibal and The Silence of the Lambs, which was adapted into an Academy Award winning movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. Dino De Laurentiis, who first introduced Hannibal Lecter to the big screen in MANHUNTER and also produced its remake RED DRAGON and HANNIBAL, inspired Harris to pen MASK in the first place, convincing the author that there was demand for more of the cannibal’s exploits. MASK, for which Harris is scripting the film version concurrently with writing the novel, will expand on a passage from the HANNIBAL novel which describes how Lecter watched his young sister being murdered and eaten by soldiers in WWII Lithuania. "It is a revenge story that shows why he became a cannibal," De Laurentiis explained. "But he kills people that audiences want to see killed. So while there is a natural revulsion, the sympathy toward Hannibal remains."
     Continuing the trend of directors from outside the horror genre tackling the good doctor’s exploits, De Laurentiis has already signed Peter Webber to helm the feature; Webber’s credits include THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING and episodes of SIX FEET UNDER. De Laurentiis’ wife Martha will join him on the producing side, and the movie will roll in May for summer 2006 release; Universal and MGM, which partnered on HANNIBAL and RED DRAGON, will have the first shot at domestic distribution rights. The film will be shot in Europe, and three different actors (yet to be cast) will play Lecter at different times in his life. 

HANKS FUELS EMBER
     Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman have bought Jeanne DuPrau's young adult SF best-seller The City of Ember to adapt into a movie. The partners are in talks with Edward Scissorhands screenwriter Caroline Thompson to adapt it and Gil Kenan (upcoming MONSTER HOUSE) to make his live-action directorial debut. Walden Media is coming aboard as co-producer and financier. The sci-fi fantasy adventure is set in a future when Earth's citizens have moved underground to escape the planet's toxic atmosphere and deals with two teens: one who longs to be a messenger to venture above ground, and another who dreams of working underground to repair a generator whose failure will doom the city's power supply. The deal includes an option on a sequel novel DuPrau is writing.

THE LEGEND GROWS
     Justin Theroux (MULHOLLAND DR), Brooke Adams (THE UNBORN) and Mark Boone Junior (VAMPIRES) have been added to the cast of THE LEGEND OF LUCY KEYES, the supernatural chiller reported last month in the ICS Files. Theroux joins previously cast Julie Delpy as a couple from the city who move into a new rural home, and find a 250-year-old local myth about a missing girl repeating itself when their young daughter vanishes. Writer/director John Stimpson began shooting the indie feature during November in central Massachusetts.

TARANTINO TALKS MANDARIN
     Director Quentin Tarantino says he's planning a kung-fu film with all the dialogue in Mandarin Chinese and out-of-sync English dubbing in homage to many such films in the past. In an interview with Total Film magazine, Tarantino said he decided to do the kung-fu movie instead of Inglorious Bastards, the working title of his long-expected movie based on World War II. "I enjoyed shooting all the Japanese stuff in Kill Bill so much that this whole film will be entirely in Mandarin," he said. "If you're not up to watching it with subtitles, I really want to do a full-on dubbed version."

SHARK BOY SWIMS INTO DIMENSION
     Sony is in talks with Dimension to co-finance Robert Rodriguez's family movie The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl IN 3-D. Under terms of the deal Dimension would handle domestic distribution and Sony would take international. George Lopez  and Jacob Davich are starring in the film, which is about a 10-year-old outcast forced to spend summer vacation alone who teams up with two imaginary friends to go on a mission to prove dreams can be reality. Newcomers Taylor Dooley, Taylor Lautner and Cayden Boyd also star. Rodriguez wrote the script and is directing the movie, which is aiming at a June 2005 release date.

TRANSFORMERS MORPHS ON
     John Rogers (Catwoman) is writing Transformers, a DreamWorks/Paramount live-action SF movie based on the popular Hasbro toys. Steven Spielberg is executive producing the movie, which is slated for a summer 2006 release and is being eyed as the start of a franchise. Angry Films chief Don Murphy and Tom DeSanto, who executive produced the two X-Men films, are producing the movie, along with Lorenzo Di Bonaventura. DeSanto wrote the story that Rogers will adapt. Transformers, which were popular in the 1980s, are giant robots that morph into cars, trucks and planes. Rogers is also working on Rush Hour 3 for director Brett Ratner at New Line, due out next year. At DreamWorks, he's producing Fatal Frame, based on the Japanese video game.

LINNEY DEFENDS EXORCIST
     Laura Linney said that she's just started work on her next movie, a horror-thriller entitled The Exorcism of Anneliese Miche (reported last month in the ICS Files.). "The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel is based on a trial that happened in Bavaria in the late '70s," Linney said in an interview. "It will not take place in Bavaria, nor will it take place in the late '70s, but it's about a woman who went through a series of exorcisms and then died a young girl of 22." Linney, whose previous genre credits include Congo and The Mothman Prophecies, added, "The priest [who led the exorcism] was arrested and put on trial for negligent homicide. Tom Wilkinson (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) is playing the priest. Campbell Scott (Dead Again) is the prosecuting attorney, and I'm the defense attorney." The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel will be released in 2005.

AMERICA LULLED INTO DEATH TRANCE
     Media Blasters has announced that it is co-producing DEATH TRANCE with Japan’s Media Suits, Inc. The film is the first in a deal to co-produce three features, budgeted at $3-$5 million, over the next five years. DEATH TRANCE is a supernatural samurai adventure to be directed by Yuji Shimomura, the action choreographer on Ryuhei Kitamura’s VERSUS and ALIVE (both out Stateside on Media Blasters DVDs) as well as BATTLEFIELD BASEBALL (coming to US DVD soon from Subversive Cinema). Tak Sakaguchi, from VERSUS, BATTLEFIELD and Kitamura’s upcoming GODZILLA: FINAL WARS will star, and executive producer Yoshinori Chiba also has a long list of genre credits, including Keita Amamiya’s ZEIRAM, the EKO EKO AZARAK series and Takashi Miike’s FUDOH. The release of DEATH TRANCE will be accompanied by a manga book series that will also be distributed Stateside by Media Blasters.

BARKER STARTS PLAGUE
     Clive Barker's Midnight Picture Show has teamed with Armada Pictures to produce the SF horror thriller film Plague. Hal Masonberg will direct the film from a script he wrote with Teal Minton (the duo are former casting agents turned scriptwriters). The film is in pre-production for a February start. Plague is set in the future, when a mysterious apocalypse has left the world's children comatose and unresponsive. Trouble starts when the grownup kids wake up and lash out against their parents. Barker, Jorge Saralegui and Tim O'Hair are producing. Midnight Picture Show is the joint venture between Barker's Seraphim Films and Saralegui. Barker (Hellraiser) is currently producing Dread for 20th Century Fox, based on his short story of the same name. He's also writing Tortured Souls for Universal and is attached to direct.

GELLAR TO SHOOT REVOLVER
     Fresh off the success of her hit horror film The Grudge, star Sarah Michelle Gellar has signed on to headline Revolver, a supernatural thriller film, for Focus Features' Rogue Pictures. Asif Kapadia (The Warrior) will direct Revolver, which follows a tough, successful saleswoman whose vivid nightmares drive her to investigate the mysterious death of another young woman 25 years earlier. Adam Sussman wrote the script, and Aaron Ryder will produce through his Raygun Productions company. No start date has been set. Ryder is also working on Rogue’s English-language remake of the Korean chiller PHONE. 
     It's not clear whether Gellar will star in The Grudge 2, the upcoming sequel film from Senator International and Ghost House Pictures. Stephen Susco, who wrote The Grudge based on the Japanese horror film Ju-on, has been hired to write The Grudge 2. It's also not clear whether Grudge director Takashi Shimizu will be part of the sequel. Shimizu directed the first installment, as well as Ju-on, the 2003 Japanese film on which it's based.

SERENITY FLIES TO THE BIG SCREEN
     Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed the upcoming sci-fi movie Serenity, claims it's been a challenge adapting his low-rated Fox TV series Firefly for the big screen. "It's incredibly hard, you know, building a story that doesn't repeat or contradict what we've already done, that satisfies the fans, and yet is really made for people who have never seen the show," Whedon said in an interview on the film's set at Universal Studios in Los Angeles last August. "[It's] incredibly tricky. There's pitfalls everywhere."
    Serenity, set 500 years in the future, picks up the story of the intrepid crew of the Firefly-class transport ship Serenity. Fox canceled Firefly in the middle of its first season, but fan enthusiasm for the show and its subsequent DVD release persuaded Universal Pictures to green-light a movie adaptation. 
   "It's the hardest story I've ever had to structure," Whedon said. But, he added, "once I get writing these people, it's the easiest thing in the world, because I know them so well. The other thing is, a TV show is built around slow development of character. A movie ... is built around momentum. They're very different things. So ... you have to let some things drop, and you have to speed some things up, and you have to sort of know which ones are which." 
   Serenity also marks longtime TV veteran Whedon's feature-film directorial debut.

DIMENSION PULLS STRINGS ON DOLL MASTER
     Dimension Films has acquired the rights to remake the South Korean horror film THE DOLL MASTER (INHYEONGSA). Written and directed by first-timer Jeong Yong-ki, the movie is about a group of people invited to a remote art museum, where dolls are to be created in their images. After meeting the museum’s weird inhabitants (human and doll), they start getting killed off one by one. Dimension also bought North American and Australian distribution rights on the original.

DROP THE BOLL
     HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2, the upcoming sequel to Uwe Boll’s original arcade-like zombie shoot ‘em up, has landed a different director to breath new life into the franchise. Taking over (many would say thankfully) for Uwe Boll (with ALONE IN THE DARK completed and awaiting release he is currently finishing BLOODRAYNE) is Mike Hurst, a Britisher who previously scripted and helmed the 1999 crime thriller NEW BLOOD, starring John Hurt, Nick Moran and THE MATRIX’s Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano, and this year’s crime comedy THE BABY JUICE EXPRESS, also starring and co-scripted by Moran. The new HOUSE began rolling the last week of November for Lions Gate release.

LEVEN IS PEN OF STEEL
     DreamWorks has tapped Jeremy Leven (The Notebook) to write the robot-boxing movie Real Steel and is in talks with Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) to direct. DreamWorks launched the project last year when it bought Dan Gilroy's spec script for Robert Zemeckis' ImageMovers company to produce. DreamWorks-based ImageMovers, Don Murphy and Rick Benatar are producing.
Real Steel takes place in a future in which 2,000-pound robots resembling humans battle in a boxing ring. The story revolves around a promoter who takes his fighter to the championships

ALBA GOES SONIC
     Jessica Alba will get $3 million to star in and produce the Regency Enterprises sci-fi drama Sonic, written by newcomer Kirsten Elms. Sonic is set in the not-too-distant future and follows a young waitress who dies suddenly, but is brought back to life by her lover, the trade paper reported. Alba (Fantastic Four) and her Thruline Entertainment manager Chris Henze have been developing the project with producers John Davis and Wyck Godfrey after reading it as a writing sample for another project earlier this year. Alba and Henze will executive produce, while Davis and Godfrey will produce. The former Dark Angel star recently completed the 2005 releases Sin City for director Robert Rodriguez at Dimension Films and Into the Blue for director John Stockwell at MGM. Fantastic Four is currently in production.

BLADE SPIN-OFF?
     Blade: Trinity writer/director David Goyer is contemplating a spinoff movie centering on the Nightstalker characters of Abby Whistler (Jessica Biel) and Hannibal King (Ryan Reynolds) if Trinity does well. "When New Line read the script, they said, 'Wow, these characters are really great. We love these characters. We'd love to see them again for sure,'" Goyer said in an interview. "And then when we cast Ryan and Jessica, they just said, 'Well, ... should they be successful, let's put something in place. Let's put a deal in place just in case.'"
     In Trinity, Reynolds (Van Wilder) plays King, a former vampire who now hunts them with Biel's Abby, the daughter of Kris Kristofferson's Whistler character, and the duo hook up with Blade (Wesley Snipes) to tackle a group of ruthless bloodsuckers who have resurrected Dracula. Both Reynolds and Biel have signed contracts to appear in a spinoff film. "I loved working with Ryan and Jessica, would work with them again in a heartbeat," Goyer said. "And so if the will of the people dictates it—if [Blade: Trinity]'s successful, and people really respond to the characters—then we'll try a movie with them. It wouldn't involve vampires, though. It would be something else." Blade: Trinity, the third movie in the vampire franchise, is being released by New Line on Dec. 8.

SOYLENT GREEN IS STILL PEOPLE
     Blade: Trinity writer/director David Goyer said that his proposed remake and update of the classic 1973 SF movie Soylent Green will pick up where the original film left off: with the well-known revelation that "Soylent Green is people!" "I will say that the reveal at the end of the first movie happened at the end of our first act," Goyer said in an interview. "So the first movie is kind of the first act of our film, and then it's about what happens afterwards." 
    The first movie, set in a dystopian future, centers on a cop (Charlton Heston) who investigates a murder, leading to the gruesome discovery about the principal food source of the overburdened population. 
     The film's surprise ending is by now familiar to audiences, "of course, which is why you can't have that be the punch line anymore," Goyer said. Goyer added that he won't write or direct the remake, but will instead act as producer under his just-signed one-year first-look deal with Warner Brothers.

ALLEN ZOOMS TO SCI-FI
     Tim Allen said that he'll begin work on his next movie, the sci-fi comedy Zoom's Academy, after he completes work on a remake of The Shaggy Dog. Based on Jason Lethcoe's comic book, Zoom's Academy is "about an aging superhero [Allen] who has lost his powers and is forced to mentor a group of very gifted young people," Allen said in an interview. "He has to encourage their handicaps, which are, in a sense, super powers. But on the surface they're handicaps." Allen added, "He tells them that all super powers are that, handicaps on the surface. And by this resurrection of his caring spirit and a big, huge villain, I get my very powerful powers [back], and we save the world."
     Lethcoe's comic is targeted at young adults, and Allen said that the story blends elements of X-Men, The Incredibles and the Spy Kids adventures. "I told them when I signed on, ... ‘I don't want it as dark as the X-Men or as fanciful as Spy Kids,’” Allen said. "It's in between there. These aren't mutants. These are handicapped children, but the handicaps are special abilities. Of course, I'm from the '50s in the movie, and I say things like, 'And we just have to irradiate them!' I just want to bombard them with gamma rays. And they go, 'No, we don't do that anymore!' That's how I got my powers, but it also made me very sick. It's just terrific. It's so warm and different. I love science fiction. It's in the vein of Galaxy Quest, and that's another reason why I signed on. We're going to start in March, the week after I wrap The Shaggy Dog." Peter Hewitt (The Borrowers, Garfield: The Movie) is set to direct Zoom's Academy, which will be released in 2006, with its title possibly shortened to Zoom.

D-WAR ON THE FRONT BURNER
     Jason Behr (THE GRUDGE) has the lead in the upcoming dragon invasion film D-WAR. A Korean/U.S. co-production based on a legend from the former country, the movie (a.k.a. DRAGON WARS) is about a plague of winged, fire-breathing monsters attacking Earth. Behr plays reporter Ethan Kendrick, who teams with a girl named Sarah (Aimee Garcia), who’s stricken with a strange illness, to stop the creatures from destroying Los Angeles. The cast also includes TWIN PEAKS’ Chris Mulkey and Matthias Hues (I COME IN PEACE); the director is Hyung-rae Shim, who previously unleashed a scaly city-smasher in YONGGARY (a.k.a. REPTILIAN).

POTTER SCRIBE STEPS DOWN
     According to producer David Heyman, Steven Kloves, who wrote the first four Harry Potter screenplays will be stepping aside for the fifth installment in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, to return to directing. Kloves wrote and directed the 1989 film The Fabulous Baker Boys and he is anxious to get back into directing. Heyman will be working with writer Michael Goldenberg on the script for Order of the Phoenix, with the usual final approval by J.K. Rowling herself. Goldenberg wrote Jodie Foster's Contact, the 2003 adaptation of Peter Pan, as well as the screenplay for the upcoming Where the Wild Things Are film, which is to be directed by Spike Jonze. At the time of this writing, the plans are to start shooting Order of the Phoenix in January 2006 for a Spring or Fall 2007 release. A director should hopefully be announced by the end of the year.

SPIERIG BROTHERS FIND THE DAY
     Lions Gate Films said at the American Film Market that it has acquired the horror spec Daybreakers, written and to be directed by Australian filmmaking twins Peter and Michael Spierig. Daybreakers explores a near-future world conquered by vampires, where a small band of humans are fighting to bring back humankind. The Spierig brothers directed the cult horror film Undead, which Lions Gate previously acquired. Brothers Sean and Bryan Furst, who paired up with Lions Gate to distribute The Cooler, are producing.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR CAGE
     Nicolas Cage will star in and Lee Tamahori will direct the sci-fi action thriller Next, based on the short story The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick. Cage will also produce the film for Revolution Studios. Gary Goldman, who adapted the Dick story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale into 1990's Total Recall, wrote the script for Next. Tamahori directed Die Another Day.
     Cage will play a man who can see the future and change events before they happen. Eventually, he is forced to choose between saving the world and saving himself. Next is expected to start shooting next summer. Cage will produce, along with his Saturn Films partner Norm Golightly. Goldman will be an executive producer, along with Jason Koornick, who holds the rights to Dick's short story.

TINGLER SCREAMS AGAIN
     Neal Moritz is set to bring back the 1959 horror classic The Tingler for Columbia Pictures. Greg Pace is set to write the feature. The original movie starred Vincent Price as a scientist who discovers an organism that grows along a person's spine when that person enters a state of extreme fear. One way to defeat the creature is to scream. The movie was directed and produced by horrormeister William Castle, who was known for his promotional gimmicks: For The Tingler, Castle wired theater seats so that audiences felt a jolt when a scream occurred during the movie. The new version will follow a scientist who, in the search for a medical cure for fear, unleashes the Tingler, an entity that kills its victims with fear.

THE URBANE DOUG BRADLEY
     Park Entertainment has picked up the worldwide distribution rights to URBANE, a horror feature starring Doug Bradley. The movie, currently in development, was written and will be directed by Frazer Lee, who previously made the short films ON EDGE and RED LINES, both featuring Bradley and released on DVD together. It’s set at a medical school where a student named Lili is drawn into the horrific world of the titular sect after the suicide of her roommate; Bradley will play the owner of a fetish club, and another HELLRAISER veteran, Bob Keen, is on board to create the makeup FX. An URBANE graphic novel is also in the works.

UNIVERSAL STRANGERS
     Universal has bought the horror script THE STRANGERS by Bryan Bertino for Vertigo Entertainment to produce. A semifinalist in the recent Nicholl Fellowship screenwriting competition, first-timer Bertino’s work is about a couple who return from a wedding to their isolated house and come under attack by a trio of mysterious people. Vertigo currently has a first-look deal with Universal after setting up Asian-remake projects all over Hollywood, including THE RING and its sequel at DreamWorks, THE GRUDGE at Columbia and the upcoming DARK WATER at Disney. The company’s Roy Lee and Doug Davison will produce THE STRANGERS, along with Senator Entertainment, parent of Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert’s Ghost House Pictures, which produced THE GRUDGE.

SOPRANO ON A DARK RIDE
     Jamie-Lynn DiScala, who plays Meadow on THE SOPRANOS, is starring in DARK RIDE, a horror film currently shooting in LA (at Universal Studios and elsewhere) for My2Centences in association with Blue Omega Entertainment, with Lions Gate set to release. DiScala plays one of a group of college students on a road trip who stop in at an abandoned amusement park in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The film is largely set inside a horror attraction there, where the youths are stalked and slain by a vicious murderer. The cast also includes Patrick Renna, Alex Solowitz (GHOST WORLD), David Rogers, Jennifer Kelly Tisdale and Andrea Bogart. Craig Singer is directing from a script he wrote with Robert Dean Klein, with Chris Williams producing. Patrick Magee of Magee FX, who has worked on real haunted attractions as well as the unofficial superhero shorts BATMAN: DEAD END and WORLD’S FINEST, is creating the special makeup.

GREENGRASS LOOKS TO WATCHMEN
     Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy) will direct Watchmen, a film adaptation of Alan Moore's classic superhero graphic novel, for Paramount Pictures, stepping in for Darren Aronofsky. David Hayter wrote the screenplay for Watchmen, which Paramount was eager to put into production. With Greengrass aboard, the project is now eyeing a possible 2006 release date. Writer Moore and artist Dave Gibbon created the comic in 1986, and Aronofsky had been attached to direct, but bowed out because of scheduling conflicts. Aronofsky is shooting The Fountain, starring Hugh Jackman.

DEL TORO JAMS ON HELLBOY 2
     Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro said in a recent interview that he is actively developing a sequel film for a 2006 release, again based on Mike Mignola's graphic novel series. "The storyline for this one is going to be created both by Mike Mignola and [me], and we've been on the phone [talking] about it and just jamming," del Toro explained. "We have one idea that we have been nurturing since the early stages of the first film, and we're fleshing it out. Definitely, it's been a very active communication." 
     In addition to bringing back Hellboy (Ron Perlman), Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) and Abe Sapien (Doug Jones, with a voice by David Hyde Pierce), Hellboy 2 will also feature other characters from Mignola's universe, del Toro said. "You will get new characters from the B.P.R.D. comics," del Toro said, referring to Hellboy's organization, the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. "You're going to get Johan, the guy with no body, which is a really great character. And we're going to have a little surprise cameo from one of the villains from the first film."
     Mexican-born del Toro said he wants to begin production on Hellboy 2 after he shoots a smaller, Spanish-language movie first. "We're going to be thinking about late 2005 at the earliest to start pre-production," he said. "You never know with these things, but that would be a good guess."

KILLER RIPTIDES CRASHING IN
     With the completion of SATAN’S PLAYGROUND, which apparently looks like it’s headed for theatrical release, writer/director Dante Tomaselli is next tackling a project that will take him from PLAYGROUND’s Pine Barrens to the sea. "I’m prepping THE OCEAN right now," Tomaselli tells the site. "It’s about supernatural riptides terrorizing a coastal community. Expect plenty of drownings, possessions and spooky haunted-house scenarios. I’m writing the script and designing the soundtrack right now. I plan on shooting THE OCEAN in the summer of 2005. [PLAYGROUND star] Felissa Rose plays a religious woman haunted by the drowning deaths of her husband and son. She inherits a mansion overlooking the crashing surf. It’s a dreamy, disturbing horror film with chills galore."
     Rose isn’t the only genre veteran Tomaselli is aiming to cast. "I would love to have [SUSPIRIA’s] Jessica Harper play Felissa’s mother in the film," he says, "and I think I’m going to pursue that. I already have Judith O’Dea [NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD] committed for a role. Obviously, I’m the kind of director who’s more impressed with actors like Ellen Sandweiss [the EVIL DEAD vet who also stars in PLAYGROUND] than Meryl Streep."

RAVIN RIDES SANTA’S SLAY
     Emilie de Ravin (ABC's Lost) said that her next project is a horror-comedy feature film entitled Santa's Slay. "It's a black-comedy Christmas movie," de Ravin said in an interview. "That was a lot of fun to shoot. I have some comedy to work with, which I hadn't really explored too much before." Written and directed by first-timer David Steiman, Santa's Slay posits that Santa Claus (professional wrestler Bill Goldberg) is actually a demon who lost a bet with an angel and has spent a near-eternity spreading joy and doling out presents. When the bet ends, however, the demon returns to his wicked ways.
     "I play Mac, who's a high school student," de Ravin said. "My friend Nicholas [Douglas Smith] and I pretty much save the day in the movie, or at least we're trying to. It turns out that Nick's grandpa [Robert Culp] was actually the angel, and he gave up his eternal life to marry his wife. And all is being revealed now because Nick has found the “Book of Claus,” which is pretty much the book of secrets to do with what actually happened. So he's back, and now we're trying to save the day and kill Santa. It was fun playing high school again [as she had on The WB's Roswell] and being the kids on the run." Santa's Slay will be released in 2005.

TURTURRO LEADS FEAR  X
     The indie company Silver Nitrate (DEAD BIRDS, FRANKENFISH, Chris Fisher’s HILLSIDE STRANGLER) has acquired the nightmarish psychological thriller FEAR X and will release the film theatrically in New York and Los Angeles on January 21, 2005. FEAR X stars SECRET WINDOW's John Turturro as a man obsessed with finding the true circumstances surrounding the murder of his wife.
     FEAR X, which co-stars CRASH’s Deborah Kara Unger and James Remar (WHAT LIES BENEATH), marks the English-language debut of Denmark native Nicolas Winding Refn. The film was scripted by Refn and the late author Hubert Selby Jr. (LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM)—marking the latter’s first original screenplay—and music great Brian Eno (DUNE) of Roxy Music created the original score. The surreal, haunting drama, which resides squarely in TWIN PEAKS territory, has won kudos from genre fans on both sides of the Atlantic. 

DEAD RISES AGAIN
     After years of rumors and speculation about an EVIL DEAD 4, Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert will instead oversee a remake of their gruesome classic via their Ghost House Pictures banner, producing the new film with series star Bruce Campbell. Raimi won’t direct, and a script won’t be written until a new filmmaker is chosen to helm the project; it’s not likely Campbell will star either. "THE EVIL DEAD is such a special film to Sam, Rob, Bruce and horror fans that we are going to take great care in renewing this franchise," Joe Drake, president of Ghost House parent company Senator International, explained. "By keeping its original formula intact and given audiences’ appetite for horror, we expect that we’ll have a real hit on our hands." The original movie spawned Evil Dead II (which was essentially a remake of the first film) and Army of Darkness, all of which starred Campbell as the demon-fighting Ash.

WHISPER GETS HEARD
     Gold Circle Films, H2F Entertainment and Deacon Entertainment are teaming to produce the supernatural thriller Whisper. Gold Circle is fully financing the project.
Scripted by producer-turned-writer Chris Borrelli, the New England-set story revolves around the kidnapping of a young boy by a former convict and three friends. After a series of unexplained events, they begin to realize that the child is less innocent than he seems. No director has been set yet, nor has a distributor, though Gold Circle currently has an output deal with Universal.

WAR WARPS INTO PRODUCTION
     Steven Spielberg will make his upcoming H.G. Wells adaptation War of the Worlds in a breathtaking eight months, from the start of filming Nov. 7 to the June 29, 2005, release date. Shooting in New York and New Jersey, the director will film the movie's big action sequences first, to give Industrial Light & Magic time to complete the estimated 500 visual-effects shots. Principal photography will take 75 days.
     In the first weeks of shooting, production included action sequences with alien forces bombing streets, ripping up sidewalks and blasting apart buildings in industrial-type areas. By the second week of filming, sequences were already being shipped to ILM, and by the time production wraps, ILM will either have finished or be working on at least half the effects shots. Tom Cruise stars in the update of Wells' classic Martian-invasion story.

TODD PROMISES MORE CANDYMAN
     Final Destination star Tony Todd got talking recently about Candyman 4. "Yeah, I've been meeting with Clive [Barker], his representatives, and the production team. I know their was a rumor when the whole Freddy vs. Jason film came out that Miramax wanted to do a ‘Candyman vs. Hellraiser.’ I think Clive wisely opted against that. He didn't want either of those two characters to sell out for a commercial gain. He is very strongly interested in CANDYMAN 4. That problem that is going on much like many backstage workings, is determining who owns the CANDYMAN franchise. Which is strange to me because it's Clive's Character? But in dividing the first CANDYMAN's profits, the ownership went from Propaganda, to Sony, to Columbia, then to Artisan. Then Artisan became Lions Gate. As soon as it's all straightened out and it's determined who has to be paid before the film even gets written, then the movie will move forward. …We've been in active discussion about doing it. …And if for some reason we can't get the character back from the powers that be, then we're going to re-create it."

BLACK HOLE GAINS INERTIA
     The independent sci-fi movie Black Hole began production on Nov. 28, months earlier than the original early 2005 start date, because of healthy foreign presales at this year's American Film Market. Black Hole, budgeted at $3.5 million, will be shot in St. Louis and stars Kristy Swanson and Judd Nelson in a tale about an experiment at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island that goes horribly awry, resulting in the formation of a black hole on Earth.

THE POP-GOTHIC JIM CARREY
     Julia Pistor, executive producer of the upcoming fantasy film Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, thinks the movie stays true to the darkly comic tone of Daniel Handler's best-selling books. "I think it's more pop-gothic than dark, because it's funny," Pistor said in an interview. "Someone wrote that it's a gothic left-of-center fantasy. That's really what the books are, and that's really what we've delivered with the film."
     In Lemony Snicket, the Baudelaire children go to live with their greedy relative, Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), after their parents die in a mysterious fire. Pistor said the books appeal to kids and adults, because they don't pander to the audience and they champion the child characters as heroes. "The 'series of unfortunate events' in the books is that in every book, these orphans are sent to a different guardian, which is just ridiculous, because the Baudelaires are so smart, and every adult around them is just an idiot," Pistor said. "They get sent to a guardian who says, 'You will be working in my mill!' And then Count Olaf shows up in disguise, and the orphans are like, 'That's Count Olaf!' And all of the adults are like, 'What are you talking about?' It's universal. Don't we all feel like everybody else is an idiot, and we're the only ones who see what's going on?"
     Pistor added that Lemony Snicket treads the line between dark and darkly comic. "I don't even like using the word dark, because it makes fun of all of those Grimm's fairy tales, if you think about it," she said. "Cinderella is forced to sit in ashes all day, and the Baudelaire children are forced to eat gum for, like, three weeks. It's dark, but that's pretty silly. It's very witty and irreverent, and I think it taps into a universal theme. But it's fresh, and it's not afraid to be gothic." Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events opens Dec. 17.

LAST WINTER TO RESUME AFTER THIS WINTER
     Cult director Larry Fessenden (WENDIGO) has quietly begun 2nd-unit shooting on THE LAST WINTER, a genre yarn he co-wrote with Robert Leaver. Fessenden’s being very cagey about plot details of the new film, but it will involve some of his usual dark passions, he says. "THE LAST WINTER is a menacing apocalyptic ghost story set in a remote arctic outpost," he said. "The story calls for a lot of snow and ice, and Iceland has a lot of snow and ice," Fessenden notes. THE LAST WINTER is being produced by WENDIGO’s Jeff Levy-Hinte and Joni Sighvatsson, whose credits include Clive Barker’s LORD OF ILLUSIONS and the first two CANDYMAN films.

ROBOTS TO THE BIG, BIG SCREEN
     Imax and 20th Century Fox have reached a deal to release the computer-animated movie Robots in both Imax and conventional theaters simultaneously on March 11, 2005. Robots is the first so-called "day-and-date" Imax release to open during the spring, marking a change to a year-round release strategy for the Canadian large-screen exhibitor. In the past, Imax movies opened only during the summer and holiday seasons. Robots reteams Academy Award-winning animation director Chris Wedge (Ice Age) with Fox. Robots is voiced by Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Greg Kinnear, Drew Carey, Jim Broadbent, Amanda Bynes and Robin Williams.

ENGLUND GOES BEHIND THE MASK
     Horror icons Robert Englund and Zelda Rubinstein (POLTERGEIST) are starring in BEHIND THE MASK (no relation to the upcoming Hannibal Lecter prequel), an independent low-budget mockumentary that "satirically and cerebrally deconstructs the horror genre." BEHIND THE MASK is currently being filmed in Portland, Oregon under the direction of Scott Glosserman. "It’s BLAIR WITCH meets SCREAM meets BEST IN SHOW," Glosserman tells Fango. The project co-stars Scott Wilson (MONSTER), Julliard grad Nathan Baesel and Angela Goethals (24). Neverland Films is executive-producing. Glosserman, who is also producing and scoring BEHIND THE MASK, co-wrote the film with David Stieve as well.
     "Robert Englund plays Doc Halloran," Glosserman says. "He’s going against type. In BEHIND THE MASK, Robert plays the conventional Donald Pleasence-type psychiatrist who’s desperately trying to track down and capture [the villainous character] Leslie Vernon before he kills again…" Portions of BEHIND THE MASK are being shot in digital video, while others are being shot on film. A significant section of the movie will be shot through two first-person points of view. The filmmakers intend to enter BEHIND THE MASK into festivals next year in order to generate interest in both foreign and domestic theatrical distribution.
 

IMAGINATIVE CINEMA COMING SOON
MUST SEE MOVIES FOR ICS MEMBERS LIKEYOU!

 DEC 3rd   HOUSE OF THE FLYING DAGGERS
Cast: Zhang Ziyi (Mei), Andy Lau (Leo), Anita Mui, Takeshi Kaneshiro (Jin), Dandan Song (Yee) 
Premise: Near the end of the Tang Dynasty, police deputies Jin (Kaneshiro) and Leo (Lau) tangle with Mei (Ziyi), a dancer suspected of having ties to a revolutionary faction known as the House of Flying Daggers. Enraptured by her, the deputies concoct a plan to save her from capture, and Jin leads her north in what becomes a perilous journey into the unknown. 
 

DEC 17th       LEMONY SNICKET’S - A Series of Unfortunate Events  
Cast: Jim Carrey (Count Olaf), Liam Aiken (Klaus Baudelaire), Emily Browning (Violet Baudelaire), Kara Hoffman and Shelby Hoffman (Sunny), Jane Adams, Cedric the Entertainer, Billy Connolly (Uncle Monty), Jude Law (Lemony Snicket), Meryl Streep (Aunt Josephine), 
Premise: This is the story of the Bauedelaires, three young orphans, Violet (Browning), Klaus (Aiken) and Sunny, looking for a new home, who are taken in by a series of odd relatives and other people, including Lemony Snicket, who narrates the film, and starting with the cunning and dastardly Count Olaf (Carrey), who hopes to snatch their inheritance from them. Violet is the oldest of the Baudelaires at 14, and is their brave and fast-thinking leader. The only boy is middle child Klaus, 12, who is intensely intelligent and obsessed with words. The youngest is infant Sunny, who speaks in a language only her siblings can understand, and she has a tendency to... bite. 
 

DEC 17th      AVIATOR   
Cast:  Leonardo DiCaprio (Howard Robard Hughes, Jr.), Alan Alda (Senator 
Brewster), Alec Baldwin (Juan Tripp), Kate Beckinsale
Premise: Focusing on his early years (from the 1930 production of 'Hell's 
Angels' to the 1947 test flight of the Blue Spruce, when he was 42), this is 
the story of how young Howard Hughes transformed a small fortune into a 
massive one.
 

DEC 22nd     FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX 
Cast: Dennis Quaid (Captain Frank Towns), Tyrese Gibson, Miranda Otto, 
Giovanni Ribisi (Elliott), Scott Michael Campbell, Tony Curran, Hugh Laurie, 
Jared Padalecki, Jacob Vargas;
Premise:   When a C-119 cargo plane full of oil workers crashes in 
Mongolia's Gobi Desert during a sandstorm, the survivors attempt to build a 
new plane from the parts they find in the wreckage to escape. Its an old friend remade.
 

DEC 25th        DARKNESS  
Cast  Anna Paquin (Regina), Lena Olin (Maria), Iain Glen (Marco), Stephan 
Enquist (Paul), Giancarlo Giannini (Albert Rua), Fele Martinez, Fermi 
Reixach (Villalobos)
Premise:  A teenage girl (Paquin) moves into a remote countryside house with 
her family, only to discover that their gloomy new home has a horrifying 
past that threatens to destroy the family.
 

JAN 7th      WHITE NOISE  
Cast:  Michael Keaton (John Rivers), Deborah Kara Unger (Sarah), Chandra 
West (Anna Rivers), Ian McNeice, Amber Rothwell (Susie), Aaron Douglas 
(Frank Black), Micki Maunsell (Edith Tomlinson)
Premise: A man is contacted from beyond the grave by his murdered wife through the "white noise" on the radio. Communication with the dead through tv or other electronic media. But if the good can come through, what else can?
 

JAN 14th     ELEKTRA  
Cast: Jennifer Garner (Elektra Natchios), Goran Visnjic (Mark Miller), Terence Stamp (Stick), Will Yun Lee, Kristin Prout (Abby), Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (Roshi), Lina Teal (Typhoid Mary), Colin Cunningham, Hiro Kanagawa, Bob Sapp 
Premise -Following the events of Daredevil, Elektra Natchios (Garner), sai enthusiast and assassin for hire, is revived by the Order of the Hand, a group of assassins who helped train her. Assigned by the Hand's current leader, Kirigi, to kill a man, Mark Miller (Visnjic), and his 13-year-old daughter, Abby (Prout), Elektra soon befriends them and decides to stand up to her ninja peers. Together, the foursome must take on Kirigi's lethal quartet (which includes Tengu and Typhoid Mary), before Elektra ultimately takes on Kirigi himself.

computers computers Internet/Technology computers computers

ON-DEMAND services on the movie, er move
   Most of you are aware of the ability to watch movies and other content over a broadband (DSL/Cable) connection using a PC.  There are now ways available for the discerning video enthusiast to download content and view it on their TV after downloading.  
   Simply put, a digital video recorder is used to record the downloaded content, then play it back on a TV system.  In case you don’t know about digital video recorders (DVR), it is like a VCR without the tape, but with a large computer hard drive that digitally stores the content.  So having said all of this, the latest news is of a partnership between TIVO, a leader in digital video recording and content delivery and Netflix 
   A similar service is available now for downloadable / play on your TV content via http//:www.akimbo.com.  Akimbo offers their own player that interfaces between your PC and TV system.  Be aware that there are several catches to this newly emerging technology.  
   There are monthly fees for these services and the equipment can be proprietary ergo, the Akimbo player works only with the Akimbo internet service.  Who knows how this will affect Hollywood.  
   This video geek predicts limited first run features from Hollywood being made available in the next few years.  The only caveat here is that instead of the normally high eight bucks we have to shell out to be insulted at Loews, we will probably be asked to shell out $19.95 to download a widescreen, Dolby Digital 5 to 1 feature.  It’s a brave new world.

Blu-Ray and HD-DVD
   Ok, so you finally got the concept of a CD-R containing 750 megabytes of data.  Some of the more technically minded geeks know all about the DVD-R/DVD+R ability to store 4.7 gigabytes of data per disc or in the case of dual layer DVDs, double the 4.7 gigabytes.  Now comes Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs. 
   This next generation, due out next year can get up to 25 gigabytes per disc.  That’s enough for 4 or 5 feature length DVD quality movies on one disc!  Now, lemme get your little heads spinning.  
   At a recent data storage conference in Taiwan, a physicist named Dr. Peter Török said that research was being conducted in the possibility of storing 1000 gigabytes or one terabyte on one 5 inch optical disc.  That’s enough to store 236 two hour films on one disc.  
   Sheesh, I give up.

farewellsfarewellsfarewells Good bye farewellsfarewellsfarewells

Marion Shilling, leading lady of 1930s B-movies, mostly westerns, who appeared opposite Buck Jones, Hoot Gibson and Tim McCoy has died at age 93. The Denver-born actress launched her film career in 1929 in MGM's Wise Girls. She co-starred in 10 B-westerns, most notably the 1934 serial THE Red Ryder with Jones. Other cowboys she appeared with were William Boyd, Tom Keene, Guinn “Big Boy Williams, TomTyler, Charles Starrett and Divin’ Dave Sharpe. She also showed up in pictures with stars such as William Powell, Jackie Cooper, Boris Karloff, Joel McCrea, Constance Bennett, Louise Beavers, Gilbert Roland and Betty Furness. Best title in her filmography, the amazing exploits of the clutching hand (1936 serial). After appearing in 40 films, Shilling left the business in 1936 at age 25. In 2002, she received a Golden Boot Award from the Motion Picture and Television Fund for her contributions to the western genre.
 

French film director Philippe de Broca, best known for his eccentric comedies and swashbuckling adventure movies, has died. De Broca was an assistant to directors Francois Truffaut and Claude Chabrol before he made about 30 films of his own. His films include the games of love, cartouche and that man from rio with a young Jean Paul Belmondo, the king of hearts with Alan Bates and Genevieve Bujold and 1001 nights. He was 71.
 

John Drew Barrymore, whose name and ancestry were far better known than his own credits in the acting profession that made his family famous, has died at age 72. Born in Los Angeles in 1932, he was the son of legendary actor John Barrymore, and his third wife, actress Dolores Costello, and the nephew of Lionel and Ethel Barrymore. His mostly lackluster career was marred by a continual battle with substance abuse and a volatile temper, which often brought him into conflict with the law in the U.S. and abroad. His daughter is actress Drew Barrymore.

Dayton Allen, a comedian and actor who lent his voice to a variety of characters on the original Howdy Doody Show and was the voice of the cartoon character Deputy Dawg, has died. He was the voice of the cartoon magpies Heckle and Jeckle, and many other Terrytoons characters. He was also a regular on The Steve Allen Show, where he often played a bogus expert or had roles in comic "Man on the Street" interviews.
He was 85 years old.
 

Harry Lampert, the illustrator who co-created the DC Comics superhero The Flash and wrote books on bridge, has died at age 88. 
Lampert began inking cartoon characters such as Popeye, Betty Boop and KoKo the Clown for the Fleischer Studios. In 1940, he teamed with writer Gardner Fox to create The Flash and their Flash Comics. They based their speedy superhero on the mythological character, Hermes. 
 

Ed Kemmer, who played the steel-jawed Cmdr. Buzz Corry on the popular 1950s SF TV series SPACE PATROL, died Nov. 9 in New York after suffering a stroke on Nov. 5. He was 84. Kemmer died at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York.
Television was still a novelty when SPACE PATROL debuted on March 9, 1950, as a 15-minute show that aired live five days a week on Channel 7 in Los Angeles. By the end of the year, a weekly half-hour SPACE PATROL was being broadcast live on the ABC television network, where it ran until 1955, the newspaper reported. Kemmer was ideal for the heroic lead role of Corry, who policed the solar system as commander of the 30th-century battle cruiser Terra V.
But Kemmer was also a real-life hero, having been a World War II fighter pilot who spent 11 months in a German prisoner of war camp. After the war, he studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse on the GI Bill, the newspaper reported. After SPACE PATROL, Kemmer played villains in episodes of PERRY MASON, GUNSMOKE and MAVERICK. In the early 1960s, he played a Cape Canaveral flight engineer on the live soap opera CLEAR HORIZONS on CBS and eventually moved to New York in 1964 and spent the next 19 years as a regular on the soap operas THE EDGE OF NIGHT AND AS THE WORLD TURNS and others.
Kemmer, who retired from acting in 1983, is survived by his wife of 35 years, former actress Fran Sharon, and three children: Jonathan, Todd and Kimberly.
 

THE LAST WARD . . .
By John Ward
 

           Even though the Academy Award nominations won’t be released for another six weeks, I’m going out on a pretty short limb to make three predictions.  First, Martin Scorsese will be nominated for Best Director for his film about Howard Hughes, THE AVIATOR.  Second, he will finally win the Oscar.  Third, he won’t deserve it.
 I’m sorry if that sounds a tad harsh to all you Scorsese fans out there, but the truth is, he really doesn’t deserve it.  I’m not talking about the movie, you understand.  (Heaven forbid.)  I’m talking about the reason why so many Academy members will cast their ballots for Mr. Scorsese:  he’s overdue.  Way overdue.
 It’s very possible that THE AVIATOR is a good movie, maybe even a great one; as I write this, the film is still a week or two away from opening in Baltimore, and no one I know has seen it yet.  I’ll probably check it out myself, and it may even impress me enough to make my Top Ten list for the year.  (You’ll have to check this space next month to find out.)  But I’ll still be disgusted when it gets nominated for a passel of Oscars, with Scorsese leading the way.  Because it will be the latest example in a long string of Oscar snubs and flubs, screw-ups that are as much a part of Oscar lore as David Niven and the streaker.
 Let’s start with Scorsese himself.  A lot of folks have said his first well-received film, MEAN STREETS, is still his best.  Maybe so; I can’t comment because I haven’t seen it.  What I will say is that three films that came later – TAXI DRIVER, RAGING BULL, and GOODFELLAS – are three of the very best films of their respective decades.  And in each case, by a weird coincidence, Martin Scorsese’s Oscar chances were done in by movies either directed or written by actors.  For example, Sylvester Stallone’s ROCKY in 1976 knocked out (pun intended) any hope for a TAXI DRIVER Oscar.  (For the record, I think ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN  should have won that year.)  In 1980, RAGING BULL hit the canvas thanks to Robert Redford’s first directing job, ORDINARY PEOPLE.  And ten years later, GOODFELLAS (my personal favorite Scorsese picture) was blown out of the water by Kevin Costner’s labor of love, DANCES WITH WOLVES.  Is it any wonder that Scorsese has never really shown a lot of warmth around actors?
 Now, 14 years after GOODFELLAS, comes  THE AVIATOR.  The early buzz is quite good, and some folks in Hollywood are saying that it’s the most commercial “studio” picture Martin Scorsese has ever made, which is another point in his favor.  It’s just going to seem like a case of too little, too late.
 Turn that theory around to the acting side, and the very best example that comes to mind is Henry Fonda, who almost didn’t live to see his Oscar for playing the crotchety old coot married to Katharine Hepburn in ON GOLDEN POND.  I always saw POND as something of a vanity picture, a way to showcase two cinema legends in the twilight of their respective careers.  It was a folksy comedy at best, a shameless tearjerker at worst.  And Fonda simply meandered through his unchallenging role, playing himself.  For this, the Academy saw fit to give him his overdue Oscar.
 In reality, Fonda should have won at least four – count ‘em, four – times before.  He was memorable as the haunted Tom Joad in John Ford’s THE GRAPES OF WRATH in 1940, but was denied the Oscar thanks to James Stewart, who grabbed Best Actor for THE PHILADELPHIA STORY basically as a sop for getting screwed out of the award a year earlier for MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON.  In the previous case, Stewart lost to Robert Donat for GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS.
 Starting to see how this whole Oscars thing works now?
 Fonda went on to a spectacular but unrewarded career.  There was his title role in MISTER ROBERTS, the classic World War II comedy-drama that gave a young and energetic Jack Lemmon his big break (and his first Oscar).  Fonda wasn’t even nominated for that one, believe it or not; Ernest Borgnine won the Actor award that year (1955) for MARTY.  Fonda was spectacular two years later for his righteous turn as Juror no. 8 in TWELVE ANGRY MEN, yet once again the Academy ignored him.  The Oscar that year went to Alec Guinness for THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI.
 I also think Fonda deserved consideration in 1969 for his about-face portrayal of one of the all-time great screen villains in Sergio Leone’s masterpiece, ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.  Compared to some of the other Oscar snubs Fonda had received, however, WEST barely registered on anyone’s radar.
 But the other big western role of 1969, the one that overpowered Fonda’s, was itself a sop “career” award.  John Wayne flew high on everyone’s radar as Marshal Rooster Cogburn, the centerpiece of TRUE GRIT.  There was no denying Wayne’s charisma as Cogburn, and many people felt that the Duke was overdue for some recognition.  Since I loved his performance in TRUE GRIT, I’m not going to begrudge the man his award.  But it doesn’t change the fact that, by this time, Wayne wasn’t acting so much as building on his persona.  He could have won the Oscar several times before in a long and distinguished career, and should have won it in 1956 for his performance as Ethan Edwards in John Ford’s western classic, THE SEARCHERS.  The Oscar that year went to Yul Brynner for his career role in THE KING AND I.
 Sometimes the Oscars just seem like one big, fat, vicious circle, don’t they?
 I can think of at one more glaring example of Oscar ignorance in the Best Actor category.  Paul Newman’s career has rivaled that of Fonda’s and Wayne’s for length and memorable roles, and his Oscar snubs have been notable, too.  Newman’s first truly great role was as “Fast” Eddie Felson in THE HUSTLER, and he probably should have won, but for some strange reason, the Oscar went to Maximilian Schell for his portrayal of the unsympathetic defending attorney in JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG.  It was strange because Schell won the Best Actor Oscar for what was essentially a supporting role:  he was fourth-billed in the cast.
 Newman was cheated again in 1967 for what was arguably his greatest performance as COOL HAND LUKE.  It was a pretty crowded field that year, including star-making roles for Warren Beatty (BONNIE AND CLYDE) and Dustin Hoffman (THE GRADUATE), as well as a career send-off for Spencer Tracy GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER).  Not to mention Newman.  In one of the all-time great Oscar upsets, Rod Steiger won for IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, considered one of the least deserving Best Picture winners.  And I won’t even mention the Academy’s failure to nominate Sidney Poitier’s performance in TO SIR WITH LOVE.  (But that’s just me.)
 After years of iconic but ignored performances in movies like BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID, THE STING and SLAP SHOT, Newman was memorably ripped off once again in 1982 for his portrayal of alcoholic lawyer Frank Galvin in THE VERDICT.  Newman never had a chance that year; too much press was going Ben Kingsley’s way for another one of those career-making performances the Academy loves, as the title character in Richard Attenborough’s bloated biopic, GANDHI.  (On a side note, 1982 probably ranks as one of my all-time least favorite Oscar years.  Not only did Kingsley win for what was no better than the third best performance – I’d also cite Dustin Hoffman’s TOOTSIE role as a classic Oscar snub job – but GANDHI managed to thumb its nose at THE VERDICT, TOOTSIE, and E.T., too!)
 So how did things finally turn out for old Paul?  Well, it took Martin Scorsese, of all people, to steer Newman to his overdue Oscar, reprising his Eddie Felson character for Scorsese’s THE COLOR OF MONEY.  Newman never even showed up for the ceremonies; he’d been quoted previously as saying he was tired of showing up as the favorite and walking out as the big loser.
 At various times in its history, the Academy Awards have presented “Special Awards” for careers, usually as a gee-we’re-sorry-we’ve-ignored-you to make up for the slights.  Famous “Special Award” recipients – who incredibly, tally exactly zero competitive Oscars among them – have included Charlie Chaplin, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Greta Garbo, Kirk Douglas, Mickey Rooney, Lillian Gish, and Barbara Stanwyck.  There’s probably more, but it’s a long list, and my typing fingers are getting tired.
 Which brings us back around to Martin Scorsese, this year’s Overdue Poster Child.  Best wishes to ya, Marty.  You shoulda been a contender – and a winner – sooner.

 
 

ICS CALENDER –the Month in review!
 
 

DEC 3rd   HOUSE OF THE FLYING DAGGERS
 

DEC 17th       LEMONY SNICKET’S - A Series of Unfortunate Events 
 

DEC 17th      AVIATOR  
 
 

Dec 18th    ICS meeting – NOTE It is NOT the Last SATURDAY this month!
 Our next meeting will be held on Saturday December 18th at 5:30 P.M
            This delightful Holiday meeting will have the annual December Yankee Swap and the movie theme is CREATURES I HAVE LOVED with Sue Feder presenting.
 

DEC 22nd     FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX
 
 

DEC 25th         MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!