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DON’T SIT DOWN JOE!
The fifth annual ICS Yankee Swap began our evening. Presents
were stolen at the speed of light, especially from Joe Plempel, who opened
at least 8 (very desirable) presents. And had them stolen from him.
If you missed the swap, you missed applause, cat calls and great
presents. Afterwards, of course, there was the second swap and there
were some who were appreciative of the gift slips/ receipts. Thanks
to everyone who participated.
CREATURES I HAVE LOVED
After the swap, Sue Feder gave a run through of films for the evening.
The winner was… ta-dah!... THE CRAWLING EYE (AKA THE TROLLENBERG TERROR).
The film dealt with alien eye creatures who like to decapitate humans.
John Carpenter has said that this film, with its creatures hidden in the
clouds, was the inspiration for his film The Fog.
LATE NIGHT EXTRAVAGANZA
Those who stayed late were treated to 2 special films. The first
was STAPLEFAHRER KLAUS, a parody of corporate safety films that featured
the don’ts of Forklift Safety. Later on, we viewed HOUSE OF FLYING
DAGGERS, where the martial arts took the background to a love triangle.
It was a beautifully filmed gem.
Hopefully, that will inspire you to think about our next Late Night
in February. We will vote at the next meeting for the February show.
SUE FEDER, PLEASE GET BETTER
If you're wondering where Sue Feder is over the
next few months, she will be undergoing treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndrome,
a long-term complication of her previous treatment for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
As you may recall from prior meetings, Sue is a cancer survivor and a great
supporter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk as
well as a fan of creature B-movies. By late Spring/early Summer,
the treatments should be completed and Sue hopefully can join us again
for a summer of Barry Murphy bad films, Zombies and Anime.
Get well wishes may be sent to:
3 Goucher Woods Ct
Towson, MD 21286
Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Sue.
NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
Our next meeting will be held on Saturday January 29th 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.
WHITE HELL FROM ABOVE
Now that we are entering winter, it’s time to re-iterate the
snow policy. If there is a cancellation due to inclement weather,
we will send out email and update the website. If you are not able
to check email, you may call a board member.
SUPERHEROES IN THE CINEMA
Betsy Childs has waited and waited to take a turn to show movies.
So, come January 29th, be prepared for Superheroes in Cinema. You
are encouraged to dress up as your favorite Superhero to support Betts
with leotards, capes or even a nice fedora and a a simple pair of glasses
to disguise your super-self. Be your true Super self this night!
2006 CALENDAR NEWS
For 2006, we are trying a new approach with the Calendar theme
– call it Pot Luck. The months and front and back covers are for
sale to members for a fee. If you decide to purchase a month, you
must provide a movie still by the August meeting (nothing objectionable
please – some calendars are kept in places where young, impressionable
children can see them). You will get credit on the calendar for that
month. The Front Cover, and months March, June, September and December
are $15 and are color months. The back cover and remaining months
are $10 each and will be printed in black and white. So far, the
following months have been purchased:
MARCH Steve Vaught
JUNE Lisa Schilling
NOVEMBER Jim Childs
DECEMBER Masked Auctioneer & Minimum Bid Kid
2005 Calendars are still available for those who have reserved
them. See Regina at the next meeting to pick up yours.
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, Barry
Murphy, Joe Plempel, Regina Vallerani, John Ward, and Dave Willard.
If you are interested in running, please let Dave Henderson know.
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:
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.
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
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
5. Check your email for a validation message that reads something like
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
If you need help, email Charlie Wittig at firstname.lastname@example.org
tvnews tvnews tvnews TheGlassTeat tvnews tvnews
NBC, SCI FI TO AIR TSUNAMI BENEFIT
The NBC Universal Television Group, which includes SCI
FI Channel, will air a live special on its broadcast and cable TV networks
to benefit victims of the South Asian tsunami at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Jan. 15,
the company announced. Jeff Zucker, president of the group, made the announcement.
The hour long broadcast, featuring music and celebrities,
will air live on the East Coast and will be tape-delayed in the West on
NBC, USA, Bravo, Trio, SCI FI, MSNBC and CNBC, with phone lines remaining
open throughout the evening, the company said.
Clear Channel has signed on as promotional partner and
will promote the broadcast on its radio stations across the country. The
special is being executive produced by Dave Broome of 25/7 Productions
and Tony Eaton and Larry Kline of Tall Pony Productions.
NBC Universal Television Group is owned by NBC Universal,
which also owns SCIFI.COM.
SMALLVILLE GUEST NOW WANTS MORE
Erica Durance, who is playing Lois Lane in The WB's Smallville,
said that she'd love to reprise the role in the show's fifth season. "I
would be interested in coming back, of course,” Durance. "That would be
wonderful, to be able to be on this show for another season."
The Canadian Durance was signed to play Clark Kent's (Tom
Welling) future love interest in 13 of the current fourth season's episodes.
As for next season, she said, "I think they're working on that right now
and deciding how much of next season Lois might be back and where they
could take the character. I know they'd love to bring her back, but there's
the film coming up [Superman Returns] and there are all sorts of things
in the upper echelons that I don't know reasons for, but I'll probably
know what's happening for in [the] next couple of months."
Durance next appears in the Smallville episode "The Recruit,"
which airs Feb. 9. Smallville airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT
ARQUETTE TALKS MEDIUM WELL
Patricia Arquette, star of NBC's supernatural series Medium
was a little worried about taking on the job of portraying a real person,
Allison Dubois, who says she has psychic abilities. The series, based on
Dubois' life, explores what happens when an average wife and mother begins
to work with the police to help solve missing-persons and murder cases.
"Before we even shot the pilot," Arquette said in an interview,
"I went out to meet her and said, 'Are you really ready for this? This
is going to be very weird. Pretty quickly things are going to have to separate
off from you. And I don't want you to have your feelings be hurt or have
you upset if you call and say, "Me and [my husband] Joe didn't have that
fight."' I'm not having that problem, because at a certain point they're
going to have to go with dramatic license."
Arquette added, "Right away I said, 'Here's some aspects
of your personality that I know right off the bat I'm going to change,
just because for TV it will be clearer in some kind of way' or 'These are
things that I want to experiment with.' Yeah, there's a fierce responsibility,
but we had that conversation early on, and we knew what we were getting
into here, I hope."
For Dubois, who says she has seen ghosts and asserts that
she has been able to tap into the thoughts of the living since she was
a child, talking to the dead isn't nearly as strange as watching her life
being played out on television. "Seeing my life on TV," Dubois said in
a separate interview, "it was very profound for me when I watched the pilot
for the first time, because I felt that I had this whole world inside of
me that other people didn't understand, and to see it laid out in front
of my eyes, I've never had to look at who I am before. In that respect,
it was very moving to finally ... feel understood on many levels."
BLACK AND BROWDER REUNITE – SG-1 STYLE
Farscape fans don’t have to despair. Their heroes are
Robert C. Cooper, executive producer of SCI FI Channel's
original series Stargate SG-1, said that Farscape star Claudia Black will
reunite with her co-star Ben Browder in several episodes of SG-1's upcoming
ninth season. Black will play Vala, a human character who will be introduced
in the 12th episode of season eight, "Prometheus Unbound," which airs early
next year when SG-1 resumes original episodes.
"It will air in January ," Cooper said. "It'll be
the second episode back in our run on SCI FI. And we thought she was absolutely
wonderful. The character really worked out. She had wonderful chemistry
with Michael Shanks. She plays opposite [Shanks'] Daniel Jackson in the
Black will return to SG-1 in five of the season nine episodes,
which begin shooting in March. "We are having to ... deal with a brief
absence of Carter, [played by] Amanda Tapping, who's pregnant," Cooper
said. "And we had already discussed a storyline that involved the return
of Vala, ... the character played by Claudia. And so we thought it worked
perfectly to have that sort of miniarc play out maybe while Amanda was
less available to us."
Cooper added that Black will play several scenes with
Browder. "She's a human from another planet," he said. "And she's a bit
of ... an enigma. You're not quite sure what her true story is in the episode
'Prometheus Unbound.' She's a bit of a rogue who tells a long story about
her planet and her people and her past, and then in the end you're not
really quite sure whether it's true or not. So she's a bit of a wild card.
She's a very ... sexy character, who isn't afraid to take whatever ...
she wants in any given situation. And we had a lot of fun writing the role,
and I know she had a lot of fun playing it, and we're going to try very
hard to maintain the integrity of that character and still have her sort
of join up with the team, but still sort of keep the essence of that wonderful
friction that went on between her and Daniel, and I'm sure it'll continue
to sort of play out with the rest of the characters as well."
From 1999 to 2003, the Australian-born Black played Officer
Aeryn Sun in Farscape against Browder's John Crichton. The two reprised
their roles in this year's SCI FI miniseries Farscape: The Peacekeeper
Wars. The remaining new episodes of Stargate SG-1's eighth season kick
off Jan. 21, 2005, in a new Friday 8 p.m. ET/PT timeslot, followed by the
new episodes of Stargate Atlantis at 9 p.m. and the new original series
Battlestar Galactica at 10 p.m. The ninth season of SG-1 will begin airing
in the summer
NBC PICKS UP DANIEL
NBC has picked up Book of Daniel, a one-hour religious-themed
pilot from Titus creator Jack Kenny, contingent on casting. The darkly
comedic drama, which Kenny wrote on spec, centers on an Episcopalian minister
and father who finds himself conversing with a hip, modern Jesus who helps
navigate family problems, church politics and even his nagging reliance
on prescription painkillers, the trade paper reported.
Kenny is executive producing Book of Daniel, along with
Flody Suarez (8 Simple Rules). Kenny's spec script impressed NBC to take
the rare step of buying a finished script not developed through the network's
traditional process. Book of Daniel will be produced through the peacock's
studio sibling, NBC Universal Television Studio.
ENTERPRISE LOOKS TO THE FUTURE
Manny Coto, the executive producer of UPN's Star Trek:
Enterprise, said that he wants to explore the founding of the Federation
if the ratings-challenged series makes it to a fifth season next year.
That's a big "if," Coto told the newspaper: "I haven't spoken to anyone
[about] the [ratings] performance, so I'd be talking in the dark. I don't
know if they're happy or not. It's still pretty much up in the air [whether
there will be a season five]."
Enterprise's fate won't be announced until May. But UPN
head Dawn Ostroff told the newspaper: "We've gotten great feedback from
fans. … The show is at a great place [creatively], and we're very happy
with the ideas and execution."
Enterprise reportedly has fewer viewers in its new Friday
8 p.m. timeslot, but UPN is earning higher ratings on that night than it
did before Enterprise moved. As for the show's creative direction this
season, which has included a guest stint by Brent Spiner, Coto said: "We
consciously set out to make this season a real prequel, to really embrace
the prequel concept. We've got ... great stories coming up, and I think
there's a whole season's worth of great stuff, the founding of the Federation."
Coto added: "That's not something that can happen in three
episodes at the end of the season, but we'll be headed toward the founding
of the Federation [toward the end of season four]. I would love to make
that a season-long arc. What's great about it is that it's a positive arc,
instead of a story of pure conflict [like the Xindi arc]. It becomes an
arc about trying to bring different cultures together, .... which is a
really resonant idea for our time. I would love to come back, and we would
do some serious research on the founding of the U.N., how that came together."
CLONE TEES UP EPISODE IIII
Animator Genndy Tartakovsky, who created Cartoon Network's
cult animated series Star Wars: Clone Wars, told of shorts will bring fans
right to the beginning of next summer's Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge
of the Sith. "Basically, if you cut out the scroll [from the beginning
of Episode III], it would be completely seamless where we end and the movie
starts," Tartakovsky said.
Tartakovsky added: "We're doing five 12-minute episodes.
[The original episodes] were like three minutes. It's harder, but in a
way it's easier, because in the three-minute ones it's basically just piling
in a bunch of action. But in these new ones, we have a lot of character
and still a lot of action, but we were able to really do some more acting
and relationship-building. So it was much more fun to do, and that way
it didn’t seem harder."
The new episodes will be darker as they lead in to the
prequel about Anakin Skywalker's descent into the Dark Side, Tartakovsky
said. "I think the tone is a little darker initially. We're kind of carrying
all the ideas from Episode II that were established: the secret marriage
of Anakin and Padmé and his relationship with Obi-Wan progressing
beyond just bickering. That was one of the main things that we tried to
focus on. They maybe become more friends than simply master and padawan.
It's a little bit more [like] a movie. It feels more like one story [than
the first series did]. We have one story building into the climax, and
then there are a couple of side stories, but they're all very interrelated."
The newest batch of Clone Wars episodes is set to debut
on March 26.
POTTER FOR THE SUMMER
The sixth novel in J.K. Rowling's blockbuster Harry Potter
series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," will go on sale in Britain
and the United States on July 16, publishers said Tuesday.In other words,
her fans will have to take the book off their Christmas gift lists, and
make it part of their New Year's resolutions."We are delighted to announce
the publication date."
"J.K. Rowling has written a brilliant story that will
dazzle her fans in a marvelous book that takes the series to yet greater
heights. 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' delivers all the excitement
and wonder of her best-selling Harry Potter novels," they said.
In an earlier message on her Web site, the British author
wrote: "I know you all expected this to happen on Christmas Day, but I
was sure that those of you who celebrate Christmas have better things to
do on the day itself than fight your way into my study, whereas those of
you who DON'T celebrate Christmas would definitely prefer not to wait until
The 2005 publishing date means that fans will be spared
the seemingly interminable three-year wait between Potter IV, "Harry Potter
and the Goblet of Fire," and Potter V, "Harry Potter and the Order of the
Phoenix," which came out in summer 2003.
The publishers' statement and Rowling's Web site did not
say whether the new book's length would top the industrial-sized 870 pages
of "Order of the Phoenix."
The new book in the series should be great news for booksellers,
who have endured another year of slow sales. More than 100 million copies
of the fantasy series, which debuted in 1997, are in print, and "Order
of the Phoenix" sold an astonishing 5 million copies within 24 hours of
Sales have remained phenomenal even as Rowling's books
have grown longer and darker, reflecting the boy wizard's maturation into
adolescence. The first three Potter books have been made into hit movies.
The books also have inspired countless Potter paraphernalia, including
candy, cakes, capes and toys.
Rowling has said that one of her characters will not survive
her sixth book, but she refused to identify that character.
Potter himself is safe, at least for now. Rowling has
said her teenage hero will survive until the seventh and final book in
the series, but has refused to say whether he will reach adulthood.
Only recently, the book's completion seemed far away.
In a message posted Dec. 10, Rowling said she had nothing
"noteworthy to report, because I have been spending nearly all my time
sitting in front of my computer writing, rewriting and taking the occasional
break to bang my head off the desk in frustration or else rub my hands
together in fiendish glee (I think the latter has happened once)."
Shaun of the Dead is a very clever horror "slash" romantic
comedy. This is dedicated to it and all the other great Zombie flicks
that we fans love.
The Top 9 Signs a Zombie Is in Love - Shhh. We're eating.
9> Seems to have a spring in his shuffling stagger.
8> Stays and cuddles after eating your brains.
7> Dots her "i"s with little hearts. Little, beating, kitten
6> No matter how bad he looks, thanks to Chapstick his lips are
always kissably soft.
5> He isn't interested in hanging out with his friends at the
4> She arranges the dead skin falling from her face into little
3> He's wearing his heart on his sleeve. Well, somebody's
2> "Why do birds suddenly appear, every time zombie is near?
Just like zombie, they long to be, …close
and the Number 1 Sign a Zombie Is in Love...
1>Enjoys, doesn't eat, viewers of, Wimbledon.
WWW. TOPFIVE.COM'S LITTLE FIVERS -- MOVIES
movienews movienews Silver Screen movienews movienews
CALLEY DISHES DA VINCI
John Calley, producer of the upcoming film
version of Dan Brown's best-seller The Da Vinci Code, said that Akiva Goldsman
successfully adapted the novel, despite its complex story. "It's been done
by Akiva Goldsman, and it's quite wonderful," Calley said in an interview.
"It's very hard to describe it, but somehow he's able to compress it. All
the salient stuff is there, but it's not as long."
The Da Vinci Code tells the story of Harvard
symbologist Robert Langdon as he races across Europe to decipher a series
of clues hidden in Leonardo Da Vinci's artwork and solve a murder. Calley
said that Goldsman's script stays faithful to the original book. "It's
as the book is," he said. "There's not a significant difference. I mean
there's not a huge amount of action: no jets crashing or anything like
Calley added that shooting of the film—to
be directed by Ron Howard and likely to star Tom Hanks as Langdon—is scheduled
to start as early as next summer. Calley said the movie will shoot in the
actual locations mentioned in the book. "We're thinking June, so that means
July," Calley said. "Certainly we'll shoot the exteriors [at the Louvre
museum in Paris], but we might want to build the interior aspects of the
Louvre, because we'll need walls to come out to be able to shoot."
AMERICAN MCGEE AND THE LAND OF OZ
American McGee, creator of the offbeat video
game Oz, has been hired by producer Jerry Bruckheimer to write the script
for the film adaptation of his game. Bruckheimer has the option for a trilogy
of films based on the property, a prequel to the classic L. Frank Baum
book The Wizard of Oz. "What Jerry Bruckheimer was able to do with Pirates
of the Caribbean was simply brilliant," McGee said. "And since Oz is similar
in tone to that film franchise, I'd like to follow that model."
The story centers on a young boy named Arthur
who is called upon to save the troubled Land of Oz, a considerably darker
place than the one known to fans of the book and the classic MGM film.
McGee, a first-time screenwriter, is set to write the script for the first
OZ film and an outline for its two sequels. He previously collaborated
with writer Camden Joy on an illustrated 500-page novelization of the game.
McGee's other current projects include the PC game American McGee's Scrapland,
which will also be available for Xbox early next year, and the original
script The Forgotten Faery Tale.
Cassavetes Forging Iron
Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook) is in talks
to direct the film based on the Marvel Comics character Iron Man. Cassavetes
will also polish the script originally written by David Hayter (X-Men,
X2) and writing team Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Spider-Man 2, Smallville).
The comic book, which made its debut in the 1960s, revolves around billionaire
industrialist Tony Stark, who fights villains with the help of a specially
designed armored suit. The film version will reflect modern technological,
political and societal trends.
Avi Arad, head of Marvel Studios and executive
producer of the film, said that he had no reservations about hiring a director
without experience on a big-budget film. "We have a good track record of
getting directors that get the material," Arad said. "[Iron Man] is a huge
movie, with big action and incredible technology, but without understanding
and loving Tony Stark, then all the money in the world isn't going to get
you where you want to go. It all starts with the emotional mix."
Olguín heeds the call of the sea
Jorge Olguín, who helmed SANGRE ETERNA
(ETERNAL BLOOD) and the slasher film ANGEL NEGRO, talked recently about
his upcoming opus, CALEUCHE: EL LLAMADO DEL MAR (CALEUCHE: THE CALL OF
THE SEA), which he's getting ready to roll early next year. For Olguin,
it all began with his deep love for the films of John Carpenter. "As a
child, I rented THE FOG on video, and I was totally blown away by it,"
Olguín said. "Then, at school, I had to read a Chilean novel that
told the tale of a ghost ship that traveled through the fog in the south
of Chile. I was fascinated by the material and wanted to know more about
this supposedly real story. It became more and more fascinating as I dug
up more information."
As a result of that growing interest over
the years, Olguín is now in pre-production on the movie, with Leonor
Varela (BLADE II) on board as star and co-producer. Varela will play Isabel,
a biologist who travels to the Chilean island of Chiloé, in the
south of the country, where her family comes from. Once there, she finds
out about the legend of the Caleuche, a ghost ship whose crew consists
of wizards and spirits of castaway sailors. She also discovers the dark
secret that links her family to the ship.
With local backing (Olguín and Varela
are associated with the Chilean company Chilefilms) already settled and
the possibility of taking on a foreign co-producer (most likely from Spain
or Los Angeles), the director is very confident about this project. "I
want the rest of the world to get to know one of the most extraordinary
myths of South America," he says. "I want to make a movie with the quality
this legend deserves."
Filmmaker William Moreing is working on a
film version of Scared Stiff, the Scholastic "tween best-seller" (apparently
the new euphemism for "young-adult fiction") by Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm
Hillgartner, who write under the name Jahnna N. Malcolm and will also pen
the screenplay. Moreing said, "There are many R-rated horror films released
every year but virtually none made for younger teens and preteens." STIFF’s
plot, about a teenaged brother and sister who live above their parents’
mortuary and have to stop a deceased mass murderer who has returned from
the dead for a new rampage, sounds like the stuff of R-rated splatter-fests.
Nonetheless, the movie will tone down the violence for a PG or PG-13 rating
and instead focus on the bond between the siblings. Laura Weil Gleason
is producing the movie.
UNDERWORLD 2 OFF AND RUNNING
Shane Brolly and Michael Sheen, who played
the vampire Kraven and the werewolf (or Lycan) Lucian in UNDERWORLD, are
encoring in the cast of the sequel, which began shooting in Vancouver on
Monday for Screen Gems release November 23, 2005. They join the returning
Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman and Bill Nighy, along with Sir Derek Jacobi,
playing the role of Marcus. Len Wiseman and Danny McBride are also back
to respectively direct and script UNDERWORLD 2.
WAINWRIGHT TO DIRECT FOG
Revolution Studios has signed Rupert Wainwright
to direct its remake of THE FOG. John Carpenter, who directed the original
version of The Fog, in which long-dead mariners rise from a watery grave
to terrorize a Northern California town, will produce the remake along
with Debra Hill and David Foster. Wainwright, whose credits include the
Patricia Arquette-starring occult chiller STIGMATA, "came in with a take
that honors the original but builds on it and stamps it as his own," Hill
explained. "For us as filmmakers, the opportunity to use special effects
to enhance the fog and make it an actual character in the film is very
appealing." Part of that approach will also reportedly involve dramatizing
the back-story of the lepers whose shipwreck 100 years ago leads to the
present-day curse. Cooper Layne (The Core) will adapt the earlier film's
script, which Carpenter and Hill wrote in tandem. Wainwright was previously
attached to MGM's long-in-development youth-werewolf film BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE
but will have to drop that project; no doubt inspired by the strong box
office of Sony's THE GRUDGE, Revolution is fast-tracking THE FOG for a
March start date and an October 21, 2005 release.
BUTLER SLAYS THE BEAST
Gerard Butler stated that he has high hopes
for his upcoming film, the medieval adventure Beowulf & Grendel. "I
think it's going to be like nothing you've ever really seen before," the
Scottish actor said in an interview while promoting his latest film, The
Phantom of the Opera. "This movie has probably the most un-formulaic script
I've ever read, especially coming from America, and that's what grabbed
me about it."
Directed by Sturla Gunnarsson and based on
the epic poem Beowulf, the film follows the saga of the Norse warrior Beowulf
(Butler) as he leads the charge against Grendel (Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson),
a massive and deadly troll. "From the first word, from the first description
of the characters I realized that I was reading something very different,"
Butler said. "I had to read it twice before I really got it, but when I
got it I could see just what a powerful thing this could be as a film.
And I got to be so closely involved in it. I got to sit down with the director
and we talked about his visions of Bergman and Kurasawa, and we talked
about going widescreen on the Icelandic landscape."
Butler added, "It's this Viking story which
is based on a fable, but in actual fact we've gone back and said, 'Just
imagine that there was a troll,' and we're saying, 'Imagine this troll
isn't really a monster, but just another form of human.' He's like a Neanderthal
man, more like a primate. So, there's just really good meat on the bones.
And Beowulf is a hero. It's like the original hero story, but with a twist."
Beowulf & Grendel will be released in 2005.
CHAMELEON TAKING SHAPE
Writer-director Tim McCanlies (Secondhand
Lions) will adapt the Piers Anthony fantasy novel Spell for Chameleon for
Warner Brothers and director Wolfgang Petersen. The film centers on a young
man who lives in a country where everyone possesses magical powers, and
who faces exile if he can't figure out what his own powers might be. Spell
for Chameleon is the first of Anthony's 30-book Xanth series.
THE G-FORCE IS WITH BRUCKHEIMER
Jerry Bruckheimer will produce G-Force, a
live-action/computer-animated fantasy family feature film for Disney. G-Force,
which centers on a group of intelligent animal commandos, marks the directorial
debut of visual-effects supervisor Hoyt Yeatman, who has worked on a number
of Bruckheimer's films, including Armageddon. G-Force follows a group of
animals who work for a government agency trying to prevent an evil billionaire
from taking over the world. Yeatman's credits as a visual-effects supervisor
include Mighty Joe Young and Mission to Mars, and he won an Oscar for his
work on James Cameron's The Abyss.
Columbus Dives Into Sub-Mariner
Chris Columbus will direct and produce a film
featuring the Marvel Comics aquatic superhero Sub-Mariner for Universal
Pictures. Marvel Studios chairman and chief executive Avi Arad and former
Universal production president-turned-producer Kevin Misher are producing,
along with Columbus and his 1492 Productions. Columbus directed the first
two Harry Potter movies. David Self (Road to Perdition) wrote the script
and is executive producing the film. Sub-Mariner is based on Marvel's first
superhero, Prince Namor, a half-amphibian man from the kingdom of Atlantis.
A troubled rebel with a fierce temper, he has both helped the human race
and fought against it when humankind polluted his underwater kingdom.
THERON IN FLUX
Charlize Theron, who plays the title role
in the sci-fi movie Aeon Flux, said that she took the part—her first futuristic
sci-fi project—on the heels of her Oscar-winning performance in Monster
to change things up. "Odd is good, don't you think?" Theron said with a
laugh in an interview during a break in filming on the Berlin set of Aeon
Flux, which is based on the MTV animated series. Karyn Kusama (Girlfight)
Theron, dressed in a black catsuit and with
her normally blond hair dyed black in an asymmetrical bob, plays the top
operative in a rebellion 400 years in the future against the scientist
leaders of the walled city-state of Bregna. The film has been shooting
in and around the German capital city, including the famed Babelsberg Studios.
"It's not a genre that I'm familiar with,"
Theron said. "So the element that really attracted me is the fact that
at end of the day, it's bottom line a love story. It's a human story, and
the struggles and the things that this so-called futuristic story takes
place in had all the elements of human struggle that I'm really interested
in, you know? I'm not interested in playing a robot. These are real people
struggling with things that I think a lot of people can relate to."
EXORCIST BEGINS AGAIN
Director Paul Schrader’s version of EXORCIST:
THE BEGINNING, which was scrapped by production company Morgan Creek, will
see the light of a projector after all. "Paul is currently in postproduction
on the movie, as we’re anticipating a limited theatrical release in the
United States sometime in 2005," a Morgan Creek rep said. That would explain
why this cut isn’t included on Warner Home Video’s upcoming EXORCIST DVD,
despite the hopes of many fans. Schrader’s version, purportedly takes a
more subtle, psychological approach than Harlin’s movie.
FRIEDMAN IMPRESSED BY MANIACS
During a phone interview last summer, legendary
BLOOD FEAST producer David F. Friedman expressed his excitement at the
prospect of finally seeing a cut of Tim Sullivan's 2001 MANIACS, the first-time
helmer's re-imagining of Friedman and director Herschell Gordon Lewis'
cult splatter classic TWO THOUSAND MANIACS! "I really liked the script
Tim and Chris [Kobin] came up with, as it really honored the original,"
he said in August. "And I've been hearing great things from Chris Tuffin,
one of the film's producers, so I can't wait to see it."
On Friday, December 3, the filmmakers privately
screened the film for Friedman, who was in LA for a showing of his SHE
FREAK at the fourth annual Shock-A-Go-Go cult movie marathon. Friedman
was very impressed with what he saw. "I can understand why there's so much
buzz in the industry over the movie, because it exceeded my expectations,"
he said. "Tim has managed to remake a classic exploitation movie and create
a modern movie with the joke intact. I think audiences will be thrilled
when they see it."
Following the film's British sale during the
recent American Film Market, American distributors have been champing at
the bit to see the film, according to Friedman. The demand has been so
great that a special Los Angeles cast and crew screening is currently being
scheduled for early January, he said. "I'm hearing that Robert Englund
will be there and most of the other cast members," he says. "If this film
turns out to be my final hurrah," adds Friedman, who will celebrate his
81st birthday December 24 and has actively retired from film producing,
"then I'll go out on a blaze of glory."
HARLIN DEVELOPS THE FEVER
Renny Harlin will develop and helm a movie
based on the upcoming sci-fi graphic novel Full Moon Fever. Joe Casey wrote
the graphic novel for publisher AIT/Planet Lar, set in the not-too-distant
future and centering on a group of blue-collar workers who are sent to
repair the deserted first lunar base on the dark side of the moon and who
fall prey to a pack of ravenous werewolves.
Casey, who has written X-Men and Superman
comics, pitched the project at this summer's Comic-Con International and
will write the adaptation while working closely with Harlin and producers
Adrian Askarieh and Daniel Alter. Full Moon Fever has not yet landed at
a studio. Askarieh and Alter also plan to develop a Full Moon Fever video
game to bow simultaneously with the film's release.
LOGAN RUNS AGAIN
Dan Harris, writer of the upcoming Logan's
Run remake, confirmed that director Bryan Singer is still planning on helming
the film after he completes work on Superman, despite speculation to the
contrary. The new Logan's Run will combine elements from both the 1976
film and the original book by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson,
Harris said. "[The script] takes the original and melds it with a re-imagining
of the book," he said. "It kind of takes it into a third big idea and puts
it in a place that you've never seen before and tries something new."
The original Logan's Run movie dealt with
a future society in which citizens were killed upon reaching the age of
30 (in the book, it was 21). Harris said that the update places the original
ideas in a new fictional context. "It's not rooted in the real world,"
Harris said. "It's completely science fiction, and its core takes place
somewhere else. I don't think we dive into the anti-aging of it quite as
much, because it's more about the mechanics of the world, the mechanics
of forced suicide. It becomes less thematically about that and more about
the science fiction of it."
Harris added that the script is only in the
beginning stages of development. But he said he was excited to remake a
movie that has not aged well itself. "We'll figure everything out when
we see the movie," he said. "But we've developed a new world and its morals.
Maybe the original pushed a little further, [but] the cool thing is everybody
nowadays is remaking all these great movies. Why not remake some movies
that weren't so great that could be great?"
Darkness Falls On Dimension
Platinum Studios and comic publisher Top Cow
Productions announced a deal to sell Dimension Films the film rights to
the comic series The Darkness, which centers on a young assassin who possesses
a mystic power. The deal for a live-action feature film is the first since
Platinum Studios acquired the film and television rights to Top Cow's comic-book
library in July, the companies said. The Darkness was created by Marc Silvestri,
Garth Ennis and David Wohl and boasts print sales of more than $25 million,
Platinum said. The comics' popularity has prompted inter-company crossovers,
the latest with Superman in a two-issue series shipping this month. Platinum
chairman Scott Mitchell Rosenberg and Silvestri will be co-executive producers,
with Matt Hawkins.
Butler Ignored Phantom Pressures
Gerard Butler, who stars in Joel Schumacher's
upcoming big-screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical The
Phantom of the Opera, said that he chose to ignore the inevitable comparisons
to previous versions of the show and earlier interpretations of the central
character. "You just focus on your performance and block out everything
else," Butler said in an interview. "It's not that you don't feel the pressure
at times; you do, but you have to use it to prove people wrong."
Butler steps into a role played onstage by
dozens of leading men, including, most famously, Michael Crawford, who
at one point was considered for the role in the long-in-development movie.
Butler also uses his own voice in the all-singing role, a first for him
in a movie. Butler, whose credits include Timeline and Dracula 2000, added,
"You adapt to everything else, working with Joel, mixing with the other
actors. I was never doing Phantom for anyone else other than Joel, Andrew
Lloyd Webber and the cast. If you think about anything else it just gets
you in knots. Having played iconic figures before, people like Attila or
Dracula or Beowulf, who I've just played, or the Phantom, I think you can
only do what is physically possible." The Phantom of the Opera opens in
limited release on Dec. 22 before haunting additional theaters in early
CURSED WITH A PG-13?
The long, troubled odyssey of Wes Craven’s
werewolf epic CURSED may be about to suffer yet another indignity—a ratings
slash. Craven explained, "At this point, [Dimension chairman] Bob Weinstein
is talking about wanting to make it a PG-13 film. Now I saw the film on
Saturday [Dec. 4th], and it looks terrific. It’s a good little movie. But
if he starts coming in, trying to make it a PG-13, it’s going to look chopped
up." Dimension recently pared down Jaume Balagueró’s DARKNESS for
the less restrictive rating. Whatever form it takes, CURSED is scheduled
to open nationwide February 25, 2005.
Episode III Reshoots Scheduled
Samuel L. Jackson, who reprises the role of
Mace Windu in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith,
said that he will return to shoot additional scenes in London after the
New Year. "I just got a call last week," Jackson said in an interview.
"I've got to go back to London in January [for reshoots]. That's what George
does," he added, referring to director George Lucas.
As Revenge of the Sith is said to be the darkest
of the Star Wars films, Jackson said that an unhappy fate awaits his character.
"Dying!" is his response when asked what Windu is up to in Sith. "Yeah,
like all of the rest of the Jedi. I can't tell you [the specifics], but
yeah, it's an awesome death." Jackson added, "Well, when [Episode IV] starts,
there are only, what, four Jedi left. There's Luke, Obi-Wan, Yoda and Darth
Vader, is it? Everybody else has been assassinated, killed, wiped out,
something." Jackson said that Lucas gave him a cool keepsake. "Yes, I did
get to keep [my lightsaber]," he said with a smile. "Yes, I have it." Episode
III opens May 19, 2005.
HAIG IS IN THE HOUSE
Looking to win over fans from the get-go,
HOUSE OF THE DEAD 2 has cast Sid Haig (HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES) as a featured
zombie. The Mindfire Entertainment/Lions Gate sequel, which began shooting
in LA in December under British helmer Michael Hurst’s (NEW BLOOD) direction,
will also star Emmanuelle Vaugier (RIPPER), Sticky Fingaz (LEPRECHAUN BACK
2 THA HOOD), James Parks (KILL BILL VOL. 1) and Victoria Pratt (KILL BILL
VOL. 1). Producer Mark Altman returns as scripter, with Almost Human’s
Robert Hall supplying zombie FX, a service he also provided for Altman’s
recent ALL SOUL’S DAY, as well as the low-budget LAST RITES.
Le Guin's LEFT HAND Optioned
Sandra Schulberg's Phobos Entertainment has
picked up all media rights to Ursula K. Le Guin's science fiction novel
The Left Hand of Darkness. First published in 1969, The Left Hand of Darkness
is set on Winter, a lost planet whose inhabitants defy standard gender
roles and even physically change genders. The story follows a human emissary
who must bridge a cultural gulf to fulfill his mission to bring the planet
back into the galactic fold. Schulberg plans to exploit the property as
both a feature film and a video game. Schulberg's credits include Quills
THE ESPERANTO CONNECTION
As BLADE: TRINITY was still in production,
Anthony Taylor, producer of the 1966 cult movie INCUBUS, got a strange
request. "A little over a year ago, I received an e-mail from a woman who
handles movie clearances. She said they wanted to use a clip from INCUBUS
in a scene they were shooting in Canada in two days, and asked how much
would I charge them. I probably asked too little, as they agreed right
away," Taylor jokes. It turns out that TRINITY writer/director David Goyer
wanted to use a scene from INCUBUS–the only feature with dialogue entirely
in Esperanto—featuring stars William Shatner and Allyson Ames. "They then
contacted Shatner, who also agreed on his price," Taylor continues. "They
could not contact Allyson directly, but she will be paid through the Screen
But the question remains: Why did Goyer decide
to use a clip from INCUBUS specifically? Well, the answer can be found
at the film’s website, where Goyer answered fan questions, among them "Where
are the Blade films set?" "The first one is simply a no-name city," Goyer
responded. "The second one is set in Prague. The third is set in a different
no-name city, though I’ll give you a funny tip to check on. We decided
that many cities are essentially bilingual and that this new city should
have two languages spoken. The second language spoken in our new city is
Esperanto. Look carefully—most of the ads and signs are in English and
Esperanto, and there’s even a scene where two characters speak it and there
Magneto Spinoff Develops
Sheldon Turner will write the script for Magneto,
a film spinoff based on Ian McKellen's character from 20th Century Fox's
hit X-Men series of films. The project marks the second extension of the
studio's X-Men comic-book franchise, following a Fox deal with Troy screenwriter
David Benioff to write Wolverine, who is played by Hugh Jackman in the
films. The studio is developing the spinoffs as it separately develops
X-Men 3. Simon Kinberg is writing the third installment. Magneto will likely
be produced by the X-Men duo of Lauren Shuler Donner and Marvel Studios'
THE DOG IS UNLEASHED
Platinum Studios, Relativity Management (executive
producers of George Romero’s LAND OF THE DEAD) and the Vancouver-based
Shop Animation Studios will collaborate on the long-mooted movie version
of Tiziano Sclavi’s popular Italian horror-comic character Dylan Dog. The
movie, titled DYLAN DOG: THE FOURTH KINGDOM, is billed as the first CG
thriller and will be directed by Shop co-founder Ian Pearson from a script
he wrote with Gavin Blair, in which occult investigator Mr. Dog takes the
case of a supernatural killer whose actions could lead to the unleashing
of hell on Earth. Production is set to begin in March; no word yet on whether
Rupert Everett, who served as Sclavi’s model for the Dylan Dog character
and starred in the film version of the author’s novel DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE
(a.k.a. CEMETERY MAN), will be involved. Platinum previously attempted
to launch a Dylan Dog feature called DEAD OF NIGHT with Dimension, which
is not involved in the new project.
Selick To Direct Coraline
Henry Selick said that he'll write and direct
a big-screen adaptation of Coraline, based on the children's fantasy novel
by Neil Gaiman. Selick, an animator and director who specializes in stop-motion
animation, is best known for The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and
the Giant Peach and Monkeybone. "Neil Gaiman approached me to ask if I'd
like to get on board the project before it was published," Selick said
in an interview. "That was three and a half years ago." Selick added, "I
saw the galleys and took it to Bill Mechanic, the producer, and convinced
them both to give me a crack at writing it. It took a year and a half for
me to actually get a draft that worked."
Selick described Coraline as an Alice in Wonderland-esque
story. "A little girl discovers a passageway in her house where [there's]
kind of a mirror of her own life where her other mother and other father
live. And it's a fantastic world that's been created for her. You think
it's about making a choice between her normal boring life or this other
world where this other version of her mother, this much better version,
[lives]. Everything is set up to please her, but really it's more of a
spider's-web trap for children. It's very scary and dark and fun."
Selick credited The Incredibles with paving
the way for Coraline to become a reality. "I think animation can be many
things," he said. "I think the mold is definitely getting broken. I think
The Incredibles has knocked out one of the walls for the types of stories
that can be told. The acting level of some of these scenes in The Incredibles
certainly equals [that in] some live-action films." Selick wasn't sure
when Coraline will go into production, as he may collaborate first with
Wes Anderson on The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Ringers Hits Slamdance
Ringers: Lord of the Fans, a documentary about
the fans of the Lord of the Rings books and movies, will premiere at the
Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 21, 2005. Dominic Monaghan,
who played the hobbit Merry Brandybuck in the Rings film trilogy, narrates
the documentary. Ringers is executive produced by Tom DeSanto (X-Men) and
directed by first-time writer/director Carlene Cordova. The feature-length
documentary explores how The Lord of the Rings has influenced Western popular
culture for the past 50 years.
ANDREWS TO HOST WIN, LOSE, OR DIE
Actor Giuseppe Andrews (CABIN FEVER’s party-hearty
Deputy Winston) has been cast in the lead of the BloodWorks production
of Herschell Gordon Lewis’ WIN, LOSE OR DIE. Andrews also plays one of
the lead homicidal lunatics in Tim Sullivan’s 2001 MANIACS. His other genre
credits include INDEPENDENCE DAY and SLEEPSTALKER.
In a statement, WIN, LOSE OR DIE producer
Christopher Tuffin says, "We considered a number of actors for the role
of Jackie, but having worked with Giuseppe on MANIACS, I knew he’d be ideal
for the part." Andrews’ character is the mysterious, madcap MC of the gruesome
titular game show on which contestants bet their limbs and other body parts
for big prizes.
Also recently cast in the film—Lewis’ first
as both writer and director since 1971’s THIS STUFF’LL KILL YA!—are THE
X FILES’ Cigarette Smoking Man William B. Davis and rising actress Brande
Roderick (DRACULA II: ASCENSION). "We wanted an eclectic cast that would
complement the range of characters Herschell has written for the film,"
Tuffin adds. WIN, LOSE OR DIE begins shooting early in 2005.
AFTER SUNDOWN SHOOTING BEGINS
Dallas-based Windblown Films and ThinkTank
Entertainment have begun principal photography on the horror film AFTER
SUNDOWN on locations throughout Texas. Susana Gibb, Reece Rios, Natali
Jones, J. Christopher, Jamie Amaral, Joey Galt, Jeff Griffin and SURVIVOR:
THAILAND’s Jake Billingsley star in the story of a young woman who "is
plunged into a gory battle with a predatory vampire from the Old West who
has the power to create undead zombie slaves that assist him on his search
for his vampire offspring," according to writer/co-director Christopher
Abram. "With the help of Texas locals, our heroine ends the growing threat
in a wild clash of vampires and zombies, sending the creatures straight
to hell!" Abram recently scripted and directed the Asylum release THE FANGLYS;
award-winning theater veteran Michael W. Brown is his co-director, with
Keith Randal (THE DARK DEALER) Duncan producing and Joshua Fread creating
the makeup FX.
THE MIST RISES TO THE SCREEN
Frank Darabont, responsible for the critically
acclaimed non-horror Stephen King hits THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and THE
GREEN MILE, is bringing the King story The Mist to the silver screen.
"I am at this very moment writing the adaptation
of THE MIST," Darabont said in a recent interview. The novella, featured
in King’s Skeleton Crew collection, concerns a group of strangers trapped
inside a supermarket by a bevy of giant monsters that arrive in an unworldly
fog. The story has been a favorite of fans for nearly two decades, including
Darabont. "Depending on a few factors, it may well be the next movie I
direct, possibly next year," he says. "Whether it’s a studio picture or
not, I want to go with a very gritty, low-budget indie approach," he says.
"Big-budget gloss would work against the material, plus I’m excited about
trying my hand at a more seat-of-the-pants filmmaking approach on this
one than I’ve used in the past."
THE MIST calls for a return to the kind of
creature magic featured in the Darabont-co-scripted remake of THE BLOB
from 1988, in which the titular menace was created via animatronics, miniatures
and clear bags of goo. Perhaps THE MIST will inspire a return to ’80s-style
monster magic, as opposed to today’s overreliance on computer pixels. "I’ll
use whatever approach works best," Darabont says. "so probably [expect]
a mix of things. But I want to go as old-school as possible with the effects.
It’s a rather old-school story anyway; it feels like a movie that might
have been made in the ’50s. The thing to bear in mind about THE MIST is
that you don’t actually see that much as King wrote it; it’s the stuff
you don’t see that scares you, sort of like in JAWS. I want to maintain
the tension of King’s story rather than overload the screen with CGI monsters."
Movie review from Dava Sentz
Unless you're a vampire or a disease spreading possum,
you might well prefer to stay out of the darkness. In fact, if you are
one with the darkness, or fond of negativity, you might also prefer not
to read the following review, in which I plan to document my cinematic
adventures, guided by the imagination of Mr. Lemony Snicket.
If fact, the delights I've encountered on December 26th
are too numerous to list. And, I very much doubt you would want me to spoil
the wonders of this film, which include a greedy Count, some clever orphans,
a three-eyed frog, a two headed cobra, and an incredibly deadly viper.
As a dedicated critic who has pledged to document a series
of honest and informative opinions, I must continue to venture out to the
cinema, diving headfirst into the risky talents of Jim Carrey and others
of his comedic stature. You, on the other hand, may choose to take a gamble
on a film of less eccentricity, in order to keep your dark, nocturnal souls
from being lightened.
With all due respect,
As you may have guessed from my letter, I finally made
it back to the movies. It happened on December 26th, after about three
months of cinematic hibernation, a word which here means "hiding out from
dreadful fall movies." Now that the blessings of winter break are upon
us, my friend and I were ready for an afternoon of freedom. What we found
was a day of unique and surprising adventure in this charming rendition
of a classic children's book. I am talking, of course, about Lemony Snicket's
A Series of Unfortunate Events.
I wish I could tell you that the story of Violet, Klaus,
and Sunny is a happy one, that they all lived together in a happy little
cottage, with happy little elves, living happy little lives. Sadly, this
is not the case. The Baudelaire children are orphans, a word, which here
means "children with no parents or reliable guardian."
And, since their parents died in an unfortunate fire,
these three children were placed in a series of unfortunate houses with
three very unfortunate caretakers. The first of these unfortunate guardians
was the unfortunately greedy Count Olaf.
Count Olaf was a very terrible actor and a very terrible
man. He did not love the children as he always pretended. What he loved
was money, and it so happened that the three Baudelaire orphans were left
with plenty of it, as their parents were very wealthy.
All he asked was that the children did every single thing
he asked while he basked in the glow of the enormous fortune their parents
left behind. The phrase "basking in the glow" is one, which here means
"enjoying the benefits of someone else's misfortune." Yet, I am happy to
report that the orphans quickly realized the true nature of Olaf, and they
were soon sent to live with another guardian.
When I say that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny went to live
with another guardian, I am referring, of course, to their beloved Uncle
Monty. Life with Uncle Monty was much more pleasant than it was with the
Count. Uncle Monty studied reptiles and was preparing to embark on a long
expedition, a word which here means "long educational journey" to Peru.
Nothing would please me more than to say that the Baudelaires
now had everything they ever needed, that they went to Peru with Uncle
Monty and were never bothered by Olaf again. This is not the case, however.
Sadly, Uncle Monty met with a most unfortunate accident, resulting in his
most untimely death. This left the orphans with no alternative but to change
homes once more.
Aunt Josephine's house worked very much like a haven for
the scaredy cats of society, a phrase which here means "frightened people
of the world." Josephine was a woman of many fears, both rational and irrational.
Her home very much reflected this, perched dangerously
above a dank and dingy river. But, I don't think it would be fair of you
to judge her for this. After all, if a swarm of flesh eating leeches ate
your husband, you'd probably be afraid too. I am sorry to report that the
Baudelaire's stay here was very short lived, as they were quickly placed
back in the clutches of our villainous friend, Count Olaf.
Assuming I have not bored you with my boring plot summary,
you are probably wondering how a movie with so many unfortunate events
could be considered delightful. The answer is rather obvious, a word which
here means "quite simple". It is delightful because there is a series of
adventurous adventures and comedic comedy, led by known other than Count
Olaf himself, Jim Carrey.
While Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire only had to
endure Olaf's parenting for a short while, his exceedingly arrogant presence
never fully left the orphans or the many guardians in whose care they were
If you were ever unfortunate enough to encounter an exceedingly
arrogant person, you would probably consider he or she to have selfish
qualities with little to no regard for the welfare of others. Such a description
cannot only be said of Count Olaf, but quite often of the actor who embodies
This is not the case in the affairs of Lemony Snicket,
however. The reason why a villainous villain such as Olaf is well received
is because he is very colorful and amusing without stealing focus from
those in his company, a phrase, which here means "to hog the spotlight
from his talented costars." You may enjoy the traits of this character
while, at the same time, giggle at the strength of young Sunny's infamous
When I speak of Sunny, I am of course referring to the
youngest Baudelaire orphan. She is a toddler, played by the adorable twins
Kara & Shelby Hoffman. And, while I confess to know very little about
her biting abilities, I've come to be quite familiar with her strange baby
chatter and the talent for cooking she will develop later in this series
of unfortunate books. Speaking as a young woman of childbearing age, I
feel no guilt in saying that I wouldn't mind having five just like her.
Violet Baudelaire, the oldest of the children is said
to be the world's youngest and most clever inventor. Whether you are lost
in the pages of one of Snicket's novels, or staring at this image on a
movie screen, you know when Violet is about to invent something exciting.
She tends to express this desire by tying her long, brown hair into a neatly
Played by Australian actress Emily Browning, Violet is
not only a brilliant scientist, but also a devoted sister with a strong
moral conscience, a word which here means "little voice inside your head
that tells you right from wrong." If I were a teacher, I'd probably assign
an essay on "People I admire most" to which I'm sure Violet would be the
Finally, what kind of critic would I be if I failed to
mention Klaus, the middle child of the Baudelaire family? In his rather
unfortunate series, Snicket regards Klaus as a bookworm with a super and
almost unnatural thirst for knowledge.
This simply means that the boy is fond of learning. And
being fond of learning, Klaus has read many books on virtually every subject
matter known to man or creature kind. Even more remarkable is Klaus's ability
to retain, a word which here means "to store" all of the information he
receives. In fact, Mr. Snicket has made a point in saying that anything
Klaus has read, he has remembered.
Liam Aiken has done a magnificent job in bringing
this character to life, and I feel sure that Klaus's book smarts will continue
to come in handy as the children find themselves in further impossible,
Being a new visitor to Lemony Snicket's world of delightful
doom and gloom, I have not learned all of his intriguing secrets. He has
yet to reveal why it is that all of Baudelaire's guardians carried those
mysterious spyglasses. He has failed to explain the reason for Count Olaf's
ankle tattoo. He has not said what is inside that strange sugar bowl, nestled
deep within the Gorgonian Grotto. But, the unfortunate events that have
taken place have certainly been worth the time.
I believe imagination is a precious thing not to
be wasted on a wasteful film about happy little elves. I'm glad I took
EVENT NEWS HAPPENINGS IN FANDOM EVENT NEWS
January 7, 2005: Chiller Theater, East Rutherford, NJ.
February 4-6: Creation , Arlington, VA
February 11-13, 2005: Farpoint 2005, Hunt Valley Inn, Baltimore, MD
Come see ICS member Jim Childs in the Sunday special play “Idylls
February 18-20, 2005: Katsucon 2005, Arlington, VA
February 25-27, 2005: SheVaCon 13 , Roanoke, VA
Guests, Tim Hildebrandt, L.E. Modesitt, Rikk Jacobs
IMAGINATIVE CINEMA COMING SOON
MUST SEE MOVIES FOR ICS MEMBERS LIKEYOU!
JAN 7th WHITE NOISE
Cast: Michael Keaton (John Rivers), Deborah Kara Unger (Sarah),
West (Anna Rivers), Ian McNeice, Amber Rothwell (Susie)
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
JAN 14th ELEKTRA
Cast: Jennifer Garner (Elektra Natchios), Goran Visnjic (Mark Miller),
Terence Stamp (Stick), Will Yun Lee, Kristin Prout (Abby)
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. Elektra soon befriends those
whom she was to kill and together, the foursome must take on Kirigi's lethal
quartet (which includes Tengu and Typhoid Mary), before Elektra ultimately
takes on Kirigi himself.
JAN 28th HIDE & SEEK
Cast: Robert De Niro (Dr. David Callaway), Dakota Fanning (Emily Callaway),
Famke Janssen (Katherine)
Premise: A father discovers his 9 year-old daughter has come up with
an unexpected and terrifying way of dealing with her mother's death through
an imaginary friend. The daughter has come up with an imaginary friend
named Charlie, and the girl's father soon realizes that Charlie isn't make
FEB 4th BOOGEYMAN
Premise: A young man (Watson), emotionally traumatized by memories
of terrible things he experienced in his bedroom as a little boy, decides
to return to the house he grew up in to try to face his fears of that bedroom;
fears of a mysterious being he thinks are his imagination. Unless, of course,
the Boogeyman is real. Not to be confused with the boogyman movies of the
FEB 18th CONSTANTINE
Cast: Keanu Reeves (John Constantine), Rachel Weisz (Angela Dodson),
Max Baker, Djimon Hounsou (Papa Midnite), Shia LeBeouf (Chaz), Gavin Rossdale
(Balthazar), Peter Stormare (Satan)
Premise: John Constantine (Cage) is a world-travelling, mage-like
misfit who investigates supernatural mysteries and the like, walking a
thin line between evil and good. Constantine teams up with a female police
detective, Angela (Weisz), who seeks Constantine's help while investigating
the suicide-like death of her twin sister. And what is it about Constantine
that puts him in a position where he is making deals with representatives
from both Heaven and Hell?
farewellsfarewellsfarewells Good bye farewellsfarewellsfarewells
Will Eisner, a titan of the comics world who in the 1940s brought to
life characters such as The Spirit and Sheena, the Jungle Girl, and three
decades later pioneered the graphic novel, has died.
The artist's body of work began in earnest in the 1930s with the swashbuckling
Hawks of the Sea and will be capped by the May release of the graphic novel
Plot. The book, published by W.W. Norton & Co, is his personal take
on the history of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a weapon against
Jews. Eisner's work was marked by a feel of sophistication; his Spirit
newspaper strips are still hailed as a great melding of German Expressionist
imagery and the sly worldview of Hollywood's wild screwball comedies. He
always was experimenting in the use of panels, lettering and even format.
The Spirit could be found published in newspapers from 1940 to 1952 in
a self-contained, four-color insert.
Eisner would test the boundaries of comic books in 1978 with Contract
With God, in a collection of illustrated stories about real people that
he was the first to call "a graphic novel", marking a new era and direction
in comics. Since 1978 he has published about a book a year and has devoted
his recent decades to graphic novels about poverty, aging and despair in
such titles as The Tenement and The Invisible People.
In what became industry legend, Eisner started a comics production
company with friend Jerry Iger in 1937on a $15 investment. Eisner &
Iger recruited a number of their peers including Bob Kane, Jack Kirby and
Lou Fine and the studio became a factory. Its output included Sheena, Blackhawk
and Dollman. The shop did have one historic misstep — Eisner declined a
crude character sketch presented by a pair of youngsters, Jerry Siegel
and Joe Shuster, who took their Superman pitch elsewhere.
"There's no question, he was one of the most important figures in comic
books", said author Michael Chabon. Art Spiegelman, who won the 1992 Pulitzer
Prize for Maus, a graphic novel about the Holocaust, once called Eisner
a "genius cartoonist who changed the vocabulary of comics". Cartoonist
Jules Feiffer declared Eisner a national treasure. He was 87.
Frank Kelly Freas, an artist and illustrator who earned 11 Hugo awards
for his imaginative science fiction illustrations, has died at age 84.
The versatile artist bridged the worlds of science fiction and science,
cartoons and art. He designed astronauts' crew patches and posters for
NASA, and his works were exhibited in the Smithsonian Institution and New
York's American Museum of Natural History. But he was far more at ease
— and greatly revered — in the world of pop and pulp art. Freas illustrated
stories by such renowned science fiction authors as Isaac Asimov, Arthur
C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein.
"All I wanted to do was science fiction illustration," Freas said in
2003. "I'd been reading science fiction since I was 10 years old — everything
I could find. I never wanted to do anything else."
Larry Buchanan, writer-producer-director, who created such critically
panned but highly successful television movies as Mars Needs Women, Curse
of the Swamp Creature and the Thing From Venus, has died.
Born Marcus Larry Seale Jr. in Mexia, Texas, and orphaned in infancy,
Buchanan grew up in a Dallas orphans' home, where he developed a love of
movies in the facility's theater. During a visit to Hollywood he landed
a job in 20th Century Fox's prop department. The studio gave him a new
name along with minor acting roles. After a stint in the Army Signal Corps
during WW II he returned to Texas and set himself up as an independent
filmmaker. His credits include such other T.V. ventures as the eye creatures,
in the year 2889, creature of destruction and it’s alive. Theatrical releases
include Free, white and 21, the trial of lee harvey oswald, a bullet for
pretty boy, goodbye, norma jean, mistress of the apes and the loch ness
horror. He made roughly 30 pictures over four decades, horrifying critics,
delighting fans and gratifying financial backers with his one-man, self-described
“guerrilla filmmaking”. He was 81.
Actor Jerry Orbach, who played jaded, been-there-done-that cop Lennie
Briscoe on TV's Law & Order and had great success on Broadway as a
song-and-dance man, has died. He came to prominence in the long running
off-broadway show the fantasticks and went on to such Broadway musicals
as carnival, chicago, 42nd street and promises, promises for which he won
a Tony award. He also appeared in movies like mad dog coll, ensign pulver,
annie get your gun, prince of the city, f/x, dirty dancing and mr. Saturday
As well as law & order, he starred in the TV series the law and
harry mcgraw and turned up on such series as buck rogers, murder, she wrote,
tales from the darkside, Golden girls, kojak and the adventures of the
galaxy rangers. He was 69 years old.
THE LAST WARD . . .
By John Ward
2004 was another great year for movies. My overall movie
going slipped just a tad, from 46 movies seen in 2003 to “only” 40 this
year, but the quality of those films remained relatively high. I
just looked over my 2004 list, and once I separated them into my Top Ten,
my “Eleventh Place” category, and my “Good Things” category, there weren’t
a lot of movies left. Take out the stinkers, and the number drops
to almost zero. What’s it all mean? For one thing, I think
the rising cost of going to a theater has made us all just a little choosier
when it comes to picking out a flick. So we’re less likely to be
disappointed when we do go. But I’m still trying to live down ALEXANDER.
As always, the calendar criteria for making my list is relatively
simple and insanely unfair, when you get right down to it. To be
considered, a movie has to be seen by me in the calendar year it was released.
Which is why you won’t see movies like THE AVIATOR and MILLION DOLLAR BABY
on my list; I haven’t seen ‘em yet, folks. I have tweaked the rule
this year to include movies seen by me on video that have NOT been widely
released in the U.S. yet. Two such movies made my top ten list.
Once again, my list is top-heavy with genre favorites, because
frankly, that’s what I usually go to see. There is only one film
in my top ten that would not be considered a genre film, but as you’ll
see, it holds a special place in its own particular category. One
more surprise: my list, which has been known to reflect an over-abundance
of family fare in recent years, sports just three titles that I saw with
my son in tow. As it turns out, all three of those titles have shown
up on many other top ten lists, too.
And awaaaay we go:
10. HAUTE TENSION
This was one of the two films responsible for tweaking my calendar
rule. I watched a borrowed all-region DVD copy of it last month;
as far as I know, it will be released stateside to theaters this spring,
possibly around Valentine’s Day -- which would be the ultimate sick joke,
IMHO. Because HAUTE TENSION frightened me, creeped me out, just plain
got under my skin like no other horror movie I saw this year. I will
try to see it again on the big screen, just to see what the effect will
be like. I imagine I might be looking through my fingers at odd moments.
The plot, in a nutshell: two French college girls visit
one girl’s family for a weekend of studying before finals. In the
middle of the night, the girl’s father gets up to answer the door.
From there, it’s a nail-biting shock-a-thon that doesn’t let up until the
final bizarre twist. I watched it with subtitles, but HAUTE TENSION
is one of those creepshows that really doesn’t require the assistance of
the English language to reach you. It was the second-best horror
movie of 2004.
MIRACLE is the “non-genre” film on my list, but only as far as
what our club calls a genre: horror, sci-fi, suspense, action, etc.
The sports film is a genre, too, ladies and gentlemen, and as sports films
go, MIRACLE is one of the very best. It’s a rousing underdog story
about one of the greatest moments in U.S. sports history, with a center-stage
performance by Kurt Russell that has to rank as one of the finest performances
of the year.
Russell plays hockey coach Herb Brooks, plucked from obscurity
by the U.S. Olympic Committee for what was considered a near-impossible
task: to mold a bunch of college kids into a team capable of competing
against the unstoppable Russian hockey machine. Russell disappears
into the persona of Brooks, at times a dictator, at other times an S.O.B.
with a nasty case of tunnel-vision, a man who never loses sight of the
possibility that his players might… just might have what it takes.
The miracle of MIRACLE is that it manages to build an exciting, suspenseful
movie from a well-known piece of American sports history. We might
already know how it turns out, but it’s still an enjoyable ride.
8. HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS
One of two great Asian imports on my list, and the other film
responsible for tweaking the calendar rule. I was one of the lucky
ones who stayed to watch HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS after the December meeting,
and I was captivated. This film has only recently been released in
the U.S. and probably won’t play Baltimore for a few weeks yet, but I definitely
plan to see it again, because the cinematography of this film deserves
to be seen on the big screen. It’s an exciting action tale with a
star-crossed love triangle at its heart, which places it at odds with the
other Asian import on my list, but more on that later.
Ziyi Zhang stars as a blind courtesan in feudal China suspected
of being a member of a rebel group, the House of Flying Daggers.
She is investigated by an undercover policeman who falls hard for her,
and they go on the run, from one thrilling set piece to the next.
A sword battle in a forest, with the attackers dropping silently from the
trees, is a visual marvel. And that’s only one scene. The movie’s
climax is quietly tragic in a way no other film this year could touch.
7. DAWN OF THE DEAD
Here’s a surprise, although I hope club members who have seen
it will agree that DAWN OF THE DEAD was simply one of the most enjoyable
thrill rides of the year. It wasn’t long on character development,
it didn’t have an especially deep screenplay, but so what? It was
fast, funny, violent, and in your face, and DAWN OF THE DEAD wore these
criteria like a blood-soaked badge of honor. First-time director
Zack Snyder remade George Romero’s classic zombie thriller by taking just
three things – the title, the zombies, and the mall – and crafting a hybrid
of shoot-em-up action picture and horror film that really moves.
The first DAWN (which received a nice DVD reissue of its own
this year) will always be remembered as a classic of the genre, but the
new DAWN had some great touches of its own, notably the long-distance relationship
with the gun shop guy. It had a sense of humor missing from the first
film, and it was the best horror movie of the year.
Michael Mann returned to the crime world of Los Angeles he had
depicted so convincingly in HEAT with this taut thriller, featuring two
powerhouse performances by Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. Come Oscar
time, Foxx is most likely to be recognized for his star turn in the title
role of RAY, but I think his work in COLLATERAL is equally noteworthy.
He plays a simple, down-on-his-luck L.A. cabbie, dreaming of a better life
yet still living from fare to fare, and Cruise plays Vincent, a routine
airport pickup that turns out to be something much more. Vincent
is a contract killer in town for a night of business, and he forces Foxx
to drive him from target to target.
Before the night is over, the audience is taken on a ride straight
down into L.A. hell, and Mann is the tour director. Foxx is a marvel,
yet Cruise commands the screen in one of his very best performances, right
up there with BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY. He edges out David Carradine
and Alfred Molina as my pick for the year’s best villain.
5. HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
Here is the movie that should have been made first. The
first two HARRY POTTER movies were fun to watch, especially for fans of
the novels, but they weren’t quite so entertaining for non-readers.
In fact, sifting through all that exposition proved to be a bit of a slog.
Not so with Alfonso Cuaron’s wonderful addition to the POTTER mythos.
AZKABAN had a wicked sense of humor, a healthy respect for the source material,
and a couple of fine additions to the cast: David Thewlis as Professor
Lupin and Gary Oldman as Sirius Black. Both men turned out to be
“not quite as they seemed,” although Oldman didn’t come on until the third
act. The POTTER movies continue to amaze me with their perfect track
record for casting.
The three young leads – Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma
Watson – have taken over their roles so vividly that it is impossible to
picture anyone else playing Harry, Ron, and Hermione. And Michael
Gambon proved to be a perfectly acceptable replacement for the late Richard
Harris as Dumbledore. I am sorry that Cuaron won’t be returning to
direct HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE – British director Mike Newell
is at the helm – but he has clearly left the series riding a pretty high
wave of quality.
Like its compatriot HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS, HERO impressed with
its cinematography, its color, and its sheer spectacle. The two movies
shared one director: Zhang Yimou, who immediately set some kind of
small record by being one of a very few directors (Spielberg also comes
to mind) to place two films on my best list in the same calendar year.
At least HERO was around long enough to impress folks with its story, a
Rashomon-style chess game between a warrior (Jet Li) and the emperor he
wants to kill. The action scenes were each filmed in separate color
schemes, from silver-gray to green to blue to red, and on and on.
The effect was quite literally breath taking, actually one-upping its predecessor,
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON.
HERO was not as much of a character study as its follow-up, HOUSE
OF FLYING DAGGERS. After a time, audiences weren’t sure which of
the multiple plotlines to believe, and they simply gave themselves over
to the images. This is the film that deserves to win the Oscar for
Cinematography. At least, it’s got my vote.
3. SPIDER-MAN 2
This is, to put it as simply as possible, the greatest live action
super-hero movie ever made. In a year of quality sequels, it was
the best of them all. (For those who have already seen my no. 1 pick
and are going, “Hey, wait a minute,” read on.) As a lifelong lover
(if not always a buyer) of comic books, it made me very happy to see what
a talented director like Sam Raimi could do with a great character; probably
the most conflicted and tormented superhero ever created. Tobey Maguire
and Kirsten Dunst returned to enrich their roles as Peter Parker and Mary
Jane Watson, and Alfred Molina stepped to the forefront as Otto Octavius,
one of the best supervillains ever.
There are more than a few nods to the original storyline; the
one that comes most readily to mind is the image of Peter dumping the Spidey
costume in the trashcan, one of the iconic moments of the book’s early
days. Granted, the action takes a bit of time to get going, but once
we’re on that elevated train with Spider-man and Dr. Octopus, it’s all
stops out. I loved this movie: I loved the characters; I loved
the screenplay, the story, the fast action, and the just-right (but slightly
2. THE INCREDIBLES
Who would have expected not one, but two outstanding superhero
movies in the same year? Not me, that’s for sure. But Pixar,
the animation studio par excellence, just seems to have the magic touch.
THE INCREDIBLES was all sorts of movies tied into one incredibly vibrant,
colorful package. It was a comedy. It was an adventure.
It was a James Bond film. It was a satire, and a brilliant one at
that. Heck, it was even a family drama. But most of all, it
was the brainchild of Brad Bird, who proved beyond a shadow of a
doubt that THE IRON GIANT was no fluke – and Bird is one of the finest
directors of animation around. He even found time to lend his voice
to the superhero’s costumer, an Edith Head send-up that stole the film.
THE INCREDIBLES outshone SHREK 2, the year’s other big animation
film, in one very important aspect: it proved that you don’t need
megamillion stars to do voiceovers for this kind of thing. Craig
T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Wallace Shawn, etc. did just fine “behind the
lines,” and THE INCREDIBLES was so much the better for their efforts.
It was far and away the family film of the year.
And the number one –
1. KILL BILL VOLUME 2
It was overdue, but well worth the wait. In all honesty,
I placed this film at the top of the heap not simply because it was an
exceptionally made film (which it was), but because it did such a splendid
job of completing what I consider to be Quentin Tarantino’s “master homage”
to his roots. VOLUME 1 showed Tarantino’s love for the Hong Kong
“grindhouse” cinema of his youth, while VOLUME 2 showcased his deep affection
for the films of Sergio Leone. The image of the lone heroine, Uma
Thurman, trudging relentlessly through the dusty desert was powerful; nearly
its equal were her training scenes with “Pei Mei,” the martial arts master.
Thurman was absolute perfection as the Bride, an extremely wronged woman
out for revenge. She carried both parts of this epic with equal grace
and conviction, and it’s a damn shame she probably won’t be recognized
with any kind of Oscar nomination.
VOLUME 2 was just as notable for the comeback of David Carradine,
one of Tarantino’s idols from the ‘70s. He was great as Bill, the
former flame of the Bride, and the ultimate object of her revenge.
I think it was a sign of Carradine’s acting skill that he kept us wondering
about his true motives (and his final fate) right to the end. I’m
looking forward to seeing KILL BILL VOLUME 2 eventually paired with its
predecessor as one giant epic. I know this is coming down the road,
eventually; and I’m sure it’ll be worth it. For now, KILL BILL VOLUME
2 stands alone as my film of the year.
Once again, it was tough to choose, but in almost any other year,
any of the following films might have made my top ten list. They
were that good. THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST was proof that a filmmaker
would go to just about any length to put his vision on the screen, especially
if that filmmaker had the clout of Mel Gibson…THE BOURNE SUPREMACY was
another film that helped shape 2004 as the Year of the Quality Sequels,
and Matt Damon staked his claim as an action star for the new millennium…SKY
CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW was sadly overlooked by movie audiences
last fall, but it was a beautiful example of what CGI can do in the hands
of a director with a vision as exciting as Kerry Curran’s…FRIDAY NIGHT
LIGHTS was another splendid sports film, once again based on a true story,
with a sensational performance by Billy Bob Thornton…SAW was an incredibly
intense horror film with an ending that hits like a brick to the skull…and
SHAUN OF THE DEAD was, well, SHAUN OF THE DEAD. What more needs to
GOOD THINGS IN SMALLER PACKAGES
I found quite a bit more to like about the films of 2004.
The following films didn’t have quite the staying power of my top ten,
or even my “11th Place” films, but there was something special about each
and every one of them. I left the theater smiling after seeing THE
BUTTERFLY EFFECT, HIDALGO, HELLBOY, MAN ON FIRE, SHREK 2, THE DAY AFTER
TOMORROW, DODGEBALL, NATIONAL TREASURE, and FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX.
Hooo, boy. Once again, it wasn’t even close. In a
year that saw SCOOBY DOO make a sequel, CGI basically ruin all of the classic
Universal Monsters, the ALIEN and PREDATOR franchises water down to a PG-13
level, and Tom Hanks take up cutesy residence in an airport lounge… well,
Oliver Stone’s ego trumped them all. ALEXANDER turned out to be a
crashing bore that not even the nutball talents of Angelina Jolie could
save. People started walking out about two-thirds of the way through
this bloated swords-and-sandals monstrosity, and in hindsight, I’m surprised
they lasted as long as they did. Come to think of it, how did I make
THE YEAR IN DVDs
As an added bonus, I couldn’t resist throwing in my choices for
the best DVD packages of the year. Here are my favorites, in alphabetical
THE COMMITMENTS: COLLECTOR’S EDITION
DAWN OF THE DEAD: UNRATED DIRECTOR’S CUT
DR. STRANGELOVE: 40TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL EDITION
ENTER THE DRAGON: 2-DISC SPECIAL EDITION
FIELD OF DREAMS: 2-DISC ANNIVERSARY EDITION
FREDDY VS. JASON (NEW LINE PLATINUM SERIES)
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY SPECIAL EDITION
JONNY QUEST: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
MYSTIC RIVER: 3-DISC DELUXE EDITION
PLANET OF THE APES: 35TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
THE RETURN OF THE KING: SPECIAL EXTENDED EDITION
Whew! I’d say it’s time to close. 2004 was a great
year at the movies, which reminds me – the Oscar nominations come out in
a couple of weeks. I’d better get some rest now, if I want to make
the next column deadline. See you next month…
ICS CALENDER –the Month in review!
JAN 7th WHITE NOISE
JAN 14th ELEKTRA
JAN 28th HIDE & SEEK
JAN 29th ICS MEETING - January 29th
at 5:30 P.M.
Superheroes in the Cinema by Betsy Childs, voting for
new Board members and renew your dues, all here, all tonight!!