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

May 2005  #76


Editorial special

What is happening with our faves

The hottest news out on ICS genre films

A Review from the eyes of an ICS member

Movies for May

Old friends, now gone

From ICS member John Ward

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

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 Now you probably thought the movie night was supposed to be “Hammer Frankensteins”. Due to a last minute wedding invitation, SKIP “Get me to the church on time” PHILLIPS was unable to be there. So DAVE “Hendo” HENDERSON switched months with him. So next April, you’ll get to hear about Hammer Frankensteins!
  Is there anyone out there who ever wondered what would happen if they drank Alka Seltzer and red-tinted Seltzer water?  DAVE “what he’ll do for a laugh” HENDERSON did (to illustrate a scene from Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale, not just for kicks) and within seconds, he was grimacing, his teeth rotted and his eyes bugged out.  But, luckily for us, his personality didn’t change.
  The term ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ has become part of our collective culture.  Most people know that it refers to a person who seems to possess two opposing personalities. Hendo gave a brief background on how Robert Lewis Stevenson literally dreamt up the idea for his short novella. He turned to science as a means of splitting one’s good side from their evil side. Unfortunately for Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll, it took stronger and stronger doses for the good doctor to shed his evil Mr. Hyde persona!  And eventually, he transformed into Mr. Hyde without the drug!
 Movie producers have made several versions of the film, with the good doctor turning into ape-like neanderthals, handsome fellows, elephantine-man characters, and even into women!  Over 50 variations of the movie have been made. And Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde recently showed up in the movies “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” and “Van Helsing”. 
 Hendo had a fine selection of movies representing the many incarnations of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, and the club voted to see the one considered the “classic” version- the one with Frederick March. Still the only Oscar winner for a role in a horror movie.
 In addition, there was a search for the elusive Mr. Hyde in the building. Hendo had posted a wanted poster on the front door, announcing a reward for the capture of Mr. Hyde.  He was found hiding in a drawer by JIM “Hey, that’s Super, man!” CHILDS, who collected the reward of a $20 Best Buy gift card. 
 As an extra bonus feature, the after-hours club members decided to watch “Kung Fu Hustle” instead of “Ong Bak”.  
Chairman DAVE WILLARD had to miss the meeting last month, so “Jumping” JOE PLEMPEL stepped up and did an admirable job chairing the meeting.  Three issues were put to the members for discussion and voting:

1.The meeting day. The idea of changing our current meeting day policy of moving meetings for holidays was brought to the floor. Pros and cons of all possibilities were considered (move the meetings for holidays, move the meeting to the third Saturday, not move the meetings except for Christmas, and don’t really care), and when it came time for a vote, the members voted to always leave the meetings on the last Saturday (except for Christmas). Moving to the third Saturday came in second. Hendo the Magnificent was talking with Helen the Church Secretary, and has informed her that next year the schedule won’t be moving for holidays, which she said was great. 
2.Voting on the second movie. At the previous meeting, “Jovial” JOHN WEBER asked why the members who stayed for the second movie couldn’t vote on it that night, rather than having a rigid standard of being voted on advance. The notion was put to the club, and they overwhelmingly agreed to vote for the movie the night of the second movie.
3.Moving Pizza Night. Since we are having a special Zombie Night in July, it was suggested that Pizza Night be moved to August. It takes a lot of effort to plan and arrange pizza night, and the members agreed to the move. 
 Speaking of Zombie Night, on July 30th we have a special guest presenter. We have Dr. Peter Dendle, an Associate Professor of English from Penn State’s Mont Alto campus.
       According to the university’s catalogue, Dr. Dendle’s fields are Old English language and literature, World Folklore and Zombie Movies and Literature. Dr. Dendle is the author of the work that’s considered to be the definitive work on undead movies – The Zombie Movie Encyclopedia.  He will discuss zombie films from the early WHITE ZOMBIE days to current films like 28 DAYS LATER and DAWN OF THE DEAD 2004.  The presentation couldn’t come at a better time being that Romero’s LAND OF THE DEAD is due to be released in October 2005.  
 To prevent Zombie Overload, on June 25th, we will have another change. ANDREW “The Copperhead Encounter” KENT, who was going to be presenting an evening of Zombie films, will now be offering an evening of Jackie Chan.  My question is, will it be the Sydney Toler or Warner Oland Chan?

This month, BARRY “You Will eat the Salad!” MURPHY is presenting “Are they ICS-Worthy?”. Considering the movies we’ve seen over the past few years, it’s hard to believe that ANYTHING would NOT be ICS-Worthy! 
 Remember, the meeting will be held on May 21st   - check the ICS calendar at the end of the Newsletter! 

JOE “the good ol’ shmoe” PLEMPEL mentioned that the board has been considering the idea of doing a one day mini-con to get some notoriety (you know, the good kind) for the ICS. The idea is to do a small one day convention in an area where there is a lot of people traffic. Not far from where we meet is the newly built Honeygo Community Center. 
The idea is to rent the place one afternoon. Cost would be $200 for 4 hours. We are looking for any ideas or suggestions. If you have done something like this before with another group and can help, it would be appreciated. Any thoughts on this idea? Direct them to any board member in person or via email. 
The ICS is having a pledge drive from now until May to collect funds to donate to the Save The Children Tsunami relief charity.  There will be a cigar box at the May meeting where donations may be dropped.  We are accepting checks made out to “Save the Children” (put "Tsunami Relief" in the memo line).  Your cancelled check is your receipt if you want to include it as a 2005 charitable donation.   Save the Children told us that they will also try to send individual receipts to those who send checks.  We are also accepting cash in the cigar box and pay pal over the net (to ICSFILM@ HOTMAIL.COM).  Regina can provide a receipt for any cash or pay pal donations, but we do not know if the IRS will accept an ICS receipt as proof of a charitable donation.   
If you’d like to donate, but cannot attend a meeting, please send checks payable to “Save the Children”/memo line “Tsunami Relief” to:

 Regina (“and Teeka, too!”) Vallerani 
 1 E Chase St Apt 405
 Baltimore, MD 21202

We will hold all donations until after the May meeting.  Then, we will bundle your individual checks and write a check from the ICS checking acct for cash/pay pal donations and send them to Save the Children on behalf of ICS. Every little bit helps, and for the cost of a few missed meals at Wendy’s you can help make a difference.
JOE “Retired Man” PLEMPEL has generously agreed to match up to $1000 of funds donated by club members.  Thanks, Joe!  

   The ICS is going to participate in the Horrorfind convention from August 19-21. We'll need folks to staff the table. We will be passing out a list to see who’s interested in helping out and who can confirm to a time.  
 We will also be collecting movies to sell at Horrorfind.  No books or collectible figures or toys, please.  Those items are harder to sell and take up more space.  Again, MOVIES- VHS or DVD ONLY please.  Now’s a good time to do some “Spring Housecleaning” and get rid of some of those VHS tapes that you’ve replaced with DVDs. ANDREW “The Audio-Visual Man” KENT assures me that DVDs are a stable format that should last longer than those VHS tapes! So feel free to give up your VHS copy of “Cannibal Holocaust”!  
 As for helping out, it’s really a blast! As JOHN “Nobody beats ME at the Oscar Pool” WARD once said, half the fun is just socializing with other people.  If you can spare an hour or two, then come join in the fun! As always, if you’re at the con and can spare an hour or two but didn’t sign up to help, stop by our table to volunteer. Somebody’s bound to need to use the bathroom! 

 Yes, the 900 pound gorilla of the Summer season opens May 19th.  Now maybe you’re not one of those (like our own editor Betts) whose idea of a good time is camping out a month in advance where having to relieve yourself is always an adventure. 
     Well, you can join your ICS bijou-buddies at ICS Night at the Senator to see STAR WARS- Revenge of the Sith! None of that camping out crap! Be a real girly man or manly girl and relax in the comfort of the Senator’s private balcony! This time, popcorn and soda’s on you, but that’s not a problem because the Senator now has an in-house Loan Department to assist you in buying snacks!
      See our treasurer Regina “Teeka hates Theater of Blood” Vallerani at the next meeting. 

 Our next meeting will be held on Saturday MAY 21st 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.  
Please note: This is NOT the last Saturday of the Month – see the ICS calendar at the end of the Newsletter and make a note!

 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.  Here is the current month status:

   JANUARY  Dave Willard
   FEBRUARY  John Ward
   MARCH  Steve Vaught
   APRIL   open
   MAY   open
   JUNE   Lisa Schilling
   JULY   open
   AUGUST  open
   SEPTEMBER  Andrew Kent
   OCTOBER  Regina Vallerani
   NOVEMBER  Jim & Betsy Childs
   DECEMBER  Masked  Auxecutioner & Minimum Bid Kid
   BACK COVER  Sue Feder

A Special Editors Note - The Star Wars Craze –

As a self proclaimed Star Wars Fan and a member of the DC Star Wars Collectors Club, I wanted to add a special editors column about the upcoming Star Wars movie and my love for it and all that surrounds it….please note this is one time event, not a new monthly occurrence.

   This commercial has probably been driving you all nuts the last month or so. It’s the one that has Chewie on the Cingular ads- some sound director going: “now happy” Chewie: “Arrawwhh” Sound Director: “that’s great, now one without the accent”.  Or you might see Darth looming as you walk into Burger King, or at the Target or Walmart. The Dark side has even taken over Mr. Potatohead and the M&M’s.  There is no escape. It is your destiny. So, what is next? For a collector it could be anywhere. So, allow me to introduce myself, Betsy Childs, Star Wars Collector.
   The collecting craze hit me hard this past week. It was starting slow and just building up over the last month or so, but this past week has been bad. Then finally, Boom. Like a Tie fighter on a strafing run. I got that urge. 
   On May 7th it hit full blown. 
   That was the date that a bunch of us stood in line to get tickets at the Senator. Yes, yes, me too. I stood in line with a whole bunch of other people to those special tickets to the Midnight show of the very first showing of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (the showing that was not a charity showing a week before). 
   Actually though, you would all be proud of me. I did it the smart way. The years that have passed since the last SW movie came out that I wanted to stand in line for – Return of the Jedi, so I got some of the youngsters to do the dirty work – that is- stand in line FOR me. They bought me the tickets and from me they got coffee that evening and donuts the next morning. They were happy. Of course, they were 22 and I am 42. Oh what a difference just 20 years makes.  They are still kids.
   The collecting craze came upon me as we were sipping coffee and comparing what SW stuff we had and what we needed, wanted and what they should make. I looked around at all the things these kids had bought. Silly things. Droid Pez, R2 Goldfish crackers, Vader M& M’s. It was then that I remembered the collectors golden rule - you had to have one of exceptions. (sometimes two if you want to open a package) And I have boxes in my basement to prove it.  I don’t follow that rule, anymore, but I remember it.
   See, the craze of buying all the paraphernalia in sight passed me by during the last two movies. I really didn’t get into them that much. The movies yes, the stuff that came with them, no. Just a tad here and there, but not as fervently as in the past. Collecting was one thing I had learned how to do very well. But In the last 10 years of ‘real’ life and those horrible things called bills, it had to ease off.  
   So to feel the craze again, is great, to just take a moment and go driving by the local Burger King and get the special Star Wars toy. To ask them if it is okay to go thru the box of them to see what toys they have and grab the Darth Vader! Oh boy! He is a rare one! And I got him!
     And the joy of standing in the Target to look at Action Figures. Compare Storm Troopers and try to find a #41 (they have their numbers on the sides you know). Then turn to the little kids next to me. And feel good to a help them find it up on the top row that their Dad wouldn’t reach for them. There is a Lava Darth. He is a rare one. Good catch kid! And the kid doesn’t mind discussing the differences in minor equipment variations that the Storm Troopers have – yep, makes me feel good - try to explain that to a mundane Dad, and you can’t. So, I just smile and shrug my shoulders.
   Please understand, in some ways I am also very particular about what I collect, I am not just a grab it all kind of gal.  It must be some of the unique and individual things.  But once the Craze hits…it hits.  Do you remember when you might have felt this way?
   When you have to have those B-movie one sheets or anything that said Dracula on it or all the Harryhausen models that came out.  We all have an itch like that. It seems that mine is the Star Wars itch.
     Now we have a movie coming that will hopefully tie up the loose ends and answer the questions. Though by now we all know the answers. 
   I find as I look back, that some of the best parts of my Star Wars collection is not found in the resin toy but in the memory.  A Star Wars Memory.
   I can remember going to see the original Star Wars movie when it came out in 1977 with my best friend. She and I went to the same theatre in Easton MD for about 3 weeks straight that summer, almost every night and saw it twice a night. The theater manager and her dad were friends/ drinking buddies, so after the third or fourth night the manager came to us and said “Cindy, I can’t make you pay for seeing this darn ole movie again….get in there.”  So we saw it over and over for free.  
   Star Wars is a movie that just makes me stop and go ‘wow’ every time I see it. But even now, as I sit in front of the computer screen, I don’t need a vcr or tv or theater. 
   I can close my eyes and see various scenes that come to mind – the movie is in my mind.  I can see Luke looking at the double sunset and hear the music, can hear Luke’s voice as he tries to con Han into helping him rescue the Princess...”She’s rich….” He drowls, and see/hear the pain in Lukes face/voice as he cries “NOooo…” when Obi Wan is fighting and takes the final cut from Darth Vaders lighsaber and the cloak falls. It is all real to me.  It was a beautifully orchestrated piece of film. And I mean that both musically and filmatically.  I love to watch it even many years later.
   I have tried to explain to people how it has touched me. The only analogy I can come up with is to try and see if there is a movie that has touched them at one point in their life.
It is not the same genre or acting style as say Ben Hur or Gone with the Wind or Pyscho or Saving Private Ryan, but it was one of those to me. And as a film, it became an unexpected wild card in the realm of movie history. And I am glad. 
     How to explain to someone what it was like to kiss Mark Hamill. I kissed Mark Hamill! On the lips and everything – right here in Baltimore. It was after Star Wars and just about the time Empire came out. He was doing a play called Amadeus and my Dad gave me and my friend Cindy tickets to see it.  My Dad was impressed I was interested in classical music history. Ha ha. Well, we met Mark at the backdoor of the stage and I got him to sign an autograph for me. After that, a picture and a kiss. I was just 21 maybe and I floated for days.  Cindy and I didn’t sleep the rest of the night.  We just talked and talked about it. I look at those pictures now and will never forget that moment.  
That is the best part of my Memory Collection.
     I told my boss today I was taking off work to see Star Wars. She seemed to understand. Or at least didn’t seem to be too upset. I told her I needed May 19th off almost two months ago, so she can’t complain. I just never told her why I needed it off. 
     So by my viewing the Last Star Wars Movie, at the Senator, it seems appropriate. It is a big old classic theatre and a great one to see a movie like this. In fact I love this theatre because it so reminds me of my theatre back in Easton where I saw the First Star Wars. (yes, I refuse to call it the Lucas name of a new hope) It is a big screen, old seats, a huge bathroom and even a balcony. 
    I look forward to seeing the Movie again. Not only on the 19th, but also in June with my ICS family. It will become even more special then.  And a great memory. Thank you.


Zombie Wars - “And after 7-11 has the Vader & Yoda mugs, next comes the Padme and Obi head cups. People will feel the force flowing as they drink from your brains….”

Here be Zombies? Try they might, take my brains they won’t! Hrmph.
tv news tv news tv news the glass teat tv news tv news tv news

    Bravo will air a three-part special, Ultimate Super Heroes, Ultimate Super Villains, Ultimate Super Vixens, on three consecutive nights starting May 26 at 10 p.m. ET. Narrated by Adam West, who played Batman in the hit TV series, Ultimate Super Heroes celebrates the heroes, villains and vixens who have created powerful impressions on fans throughout the years. 
    The special features more than 50 experts, including comic-book creators, filmmakers and producers and actors who brought these characters to life, as well as a top-20 countdown in each category. Lou Ferrigno will discuss The Hulk's relatable human side, and Mark Hamill will talk about his total commitment to creating the fantasy that surrounded Star Wars. 
    Ultimate Super Heroes will look at characters from comic books, movies, television and video games, based on their longevity, iconic pop-culture status and their overall "cool factor.”
    Site of a real-life witch hysteria in 1692—are wrinkling their noses at a proposed statue honoring the 1960s sitcom BEWITCHED. The TV Land cable network wants to erect a 9-foot bronze statue in a city park honoring the late Elizabeth Montgomery, who played Samantha Stephens in the sitcom, about a witch married to a mortal man. 
    But residents like Jean Harrison said the statue would be insensitive. She said that Montgomery played a fictional comic witch, but those who were condemned to die in the Salem witch trials weren't witches at all. Others point out that BEWITCHED had no connection to the city other than a visit by the cast in 1970. 
Mayor Stanley Usovicz strongly supports the statue, saying it would be a fun spot for tourists to stop and have their pictures taken. He also says it would be located far from Gallows Hill, where 19 accused witches were hanged.

   "Each of us has an hour to shoot in 10 days," says Director John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) about the episode that he will helm of the new Showtime anthology series MASTERS OF HORROR. Carpenter said on the set of the upcoming remake of his 1980 film The Fog. He added, with tongue in cheek: "The first director that they got was John Landis, who's now way over budget and way over schedule. So there may not be any more MASTERS OF HORROR. He may do them in. ... They've pushed me later in the schedule, because they're going to take all the money out of my show and put it into everyone else's." 
    Carpenter will film a script titled "Cigarette Burns," written by Drew McWeeney, better known as Moriarty of the Ain't It Cool News Web site. "I've never seen anything else like it," Carpenter said. "I'll be shooting in July at some point. As I say, the first director up was John Landis. Last night I had dinner with Dario Argento. He's the second one up. They're going to kick the crew's ass. [But] it'll be fun." MASTERS OF HORROR begins airing on Showtime later this year. 

    J.J. Abrams, co-creator of ABC's hit LOST, said that the upcoming season finale will strike a balance between revealing and concealing. "That was one of the, I think, requirements of the finale, was to answer some questions and keep others out there and open," Abrams said. "So, you know, like with everything, that's the ambition, and I believe we've succeeded. But ultimately the fans are the judge." 
    LOST wraps up its first season on May 25 with a two-hour finale. In the finale, they go back to the pilot episode and some revelations are made with characters. “Answers we have been waiting for all season occur. Some mysteries are not answered yet” Abrams says. 
   Abrams, meanwhile, said that he's recently completed a global location scout for his upcoming feature-film directorial debut, Mission: Impossible 3. "All over the world," he said. "It was like insane. But it's a trip. I mean, literally, it was a trip. ... I'm so excited. 

   Star Trek: Enterprise producers Brannon Braga and Rick Berman said that they understood the recent disparaging comments made by cast members about the final episode, but stood by their execution of the series finale. "You have to remember, under normal circumstances, most people probably would have thought this was a very cool episode, because it has a great concept driving it," Braga said in a conference call with reporters. "But when it's the final episode of a series, emotions are running very high." 
   The most vocal objection came from cast member Jolene Blalock, who plays T'Pol on the show. "I don't know where to begin with that one," she recently said of the finale. "The final episode is ... appalling." 
   The episode, titled "These Are the Voyages," features Star Trek: The Next Generation stars Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis, who reprise their roles as Commander Riker and Deanna Troi. The pair will view the episode's historic events through a holodeck recreation. Berman said he thought that the opinions expressed by Blalock had to do with the episode's references to the previous Trek series. "The feeling was that if this was going to be the finale of Enterprise, then why bring characters in from another series?" he said. "But I think when people see the episode and realize that to be able to truly pay the respect to our characters that we have, we've couched it in a unique fashion of being able to look back on them, and I think it's going to be a very positive response towards the Enterprise crew." 
   Braga said that he was aware that the Enterprise cast had some minor issues with the storyline, but there were no serious objections during the production. "There were a couple of people who were slightly uncomfortable with the fact that we have Next Generation characters in the show, and it is a different kind of episode," he said. 

   David Arquette and Courteney Cox are producing a quirky live-action/animated pilot for MTV tentatively titled DIRT SQUIRREL. The project, which is the first partnership between MTV and Arquette and Cox's Coquette Productions, features a mix of animated and live-action animal and human characters against an animated background. 
   The pilot, which already has been shot, stars Arquette as crime-fighting superhero Dirt Squirrel, who takes on neighborhood villains with his own martial-arts style while spewing snappy one-liners. 
   Arquette performs in a costume with prosthetics. Dirt Squirrel also gets help from a crime-fighting squadron known as the League of Super Nuts, which includes two teens: skateboarder Merlin Ipswich (Jeff Braine) and "rebel grrrl" Jeanie Ipswich (Brittany Finamore). The pilot also features Cox, Paul Reubens and Lukas Haas as a trio of villains.  Look for some Action figures soon!

   Former Farscape star Claudia Black said that her character in the upcoming ninth season of Stargate SG-1 will bedevil Michael Shanks' Daniel Jackson for the season's first six episodes. Black reprises the role of the mischievous Vala first introduced in last season's "Prometheus Unbound." 
   "I've come to make Michael Shanks' life a misery," Black said in an interview at the Saturn Awards in Los Angeles this week. "The character I'm playing is sort of the hair-pulling variety. She's really infuriating, but, I hope, funny." 
   Black added: "She's the naughty kid that says everything that everyone else is thinking, but doesn't dare say. Everything she says is to get a rise or reaction out of someone. ... She's also a highly comedic character. She provides a lot of energy and comedy." 
   Black finds herself again sharing a show with Farscape's Ben Browder, who joins the regular SG-1 cast as Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell, a new member of SG-1. But Browder said that he won't share much screen time with his former Farscape on-screen flame. "They're trying to keep us apart," Browder said. "But we'll break them down eventually. They've got to give us one scene together!" 
   Black added: "There's a good reason, though, for keeping us separated," she said. "It underlines how obviously different our characters are this time around. It's a whole different ballgame." 
   Browder said that the SG-1 cast has been nothing but welcoming. You know, it would be hard to ask for much more in regards to the cast taking us in. 
   Black and Browder added that they hope Farscape lives on, though it ended its run on SCI FI Channel last year with the miniseries Farscape: Peacekeeper Wars. (The miniseries won three Saturn Awards.) "I'd love to see a Farscape feature film, but for now I'm very happy launching the ninth season of Stargate [SG-1] with Beau Bridges who joins the cast as Maj. Gen. Hank Landry." He added: "Beau Bridges is running the show. Every time he comes into the room, I stand at attention." 
"We all do," Black added.
movienews movienews  Silver Screen  movienews movienews

New Line Bites Into Meg
     New Line has acquired Steve Alten's best-selling novel Meg, about a voracious prehistoric shark, and slated the film adaptation for release in the summer of 2006. The film, which will have an estimated budget of $75 million, has been fast-tracked after languishing at Disney's Hollywood Pictures for more than a decade. The title refers to the carcharodon megalodon, an 80-foot-long ancestor of the great white shark, which terrorizes the California coast in the novel. 
     Jan de Bont (Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Speed) is set to direct, with Shane Salerno (Armageddon) rewriting Alten's original script. De Bont will also produce along with Larry Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Guillermo del Toro, Ken Atchity, Chi-Li Wong and Nick Nunziata.

Sommers Collides With Worlds
     Stephen Sommers, director of The Mummy and Van Helsing, will write and direct a remake of the classic 1951 sci-fi film When Worlds Collide for Paramount. Sommers will also produce the film, alongside his partner, Bob Ducsay. 
     The original film centers on a scientific discovery that another planet is on a collision course with Earth and the race to save a handful of humans from the inevitable destruction. The project will reportedly be ambitious in scale and budget. 
     Worlds is the most recent project to come out of the newly formed Sommers Co., which announced last week that it will be producing a feature adaptation of the Top Cow comic series Proximity Effect for Universal.

Sony Snatches Grudge 2 and Pang Brothers Film
     Sony Pictures Entertainment has signed a two-picture distribution deal with Ghost House Pictures to release The Grudge 2 as well as the English-language debut film from the Pang brothers, entitled SCARECROW. 
     The agreement comes on the heels of a number of successful collaborations between the two partners, including the release of last year's The Grudge and the recent Boogeyman. Columbia Pictures execs Matt Tolmach, Doug Belgrad and Shannon Gaulding will work with the Ghost House team to develop The Grudge 2. Sarah Michelle Gellar, who starred in the first film, has not yet committed to the sequel. Director Takashi Shimizu, the creative force behind the Grudge / Ju-On franchise, is back at the helm, and will re-team with writer Stephen Susco; producers Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert and Taka Ichise; and executive producers Roy Lee and Doug Davison.
     The Pang Brothers rose to success with their Hong Kong blockbuster THE EYE.  They hope to translate their Asian box-office appeal to the US market with SCARECROW. Mark Wheaton is the new writer. The movie, about a family encountering supernatural forces when they move onto a rundown sunflower farm, is based on an original script by Todd Farmer (JASON X), which was given a rewrite by Stuart Beattie (COLLATERAL), before Wheaton came on board.

Ray Harryhausen sets sail with new SINBAD
     Rob Cohen, director of Columbia’s new THE 8TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD, just revealed that FX guru Ray Harryhausen will be a consultant on the film. "I met with him and said, ‘I really would be honored if you would be with me on this, since none of us would be here without you,’" Cohen said. "What Ray understood in movies like 1958’s THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD was how to do action-fantasy-adventure at a time when there was no CG. So he’s coming out of retirement to be our creative consultant, our godfather."
     The director says it was his choice of actor to play the monster-battling hero—Keanu Reeves—that helped inspire Harryhausen to join the project. "He just laughed and went, ‘Oh, that’s so brilliant.’ Ray thinks Keanu [could be] the greatest Sinbad ever." Cohen also wants Ziyi Zhang (HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) to play the female lead, and adds, "Sinbad’s got a crew, so it’s gonna be a whole interesting group of actors. I’ve talked to Jet Li, Djimon Hounsou and Hayden Christensen." 8TH VOYAGE, set in 10th-century China, will film in January and, according to Cohen, "I’m gonna make it PG, so that everyone can go!"

     Universal must be asking themselves what the hell they waited so long for in the first place. After years of no one giving him a break, George A. Romero finally got to make his fourth zombie film through the studio, and it seems they’re so damn pleased with the results that they’ve moved it’s release date up an unprecedented 4 months.
     Originally slated to open October 18th, 2005 (though that date was always tentative), Land of the Dead will now shamble it’s way into theaters on June 24th, 2005, according to Universal’s official site. 
     That gives them just over two months to market the living hell (or would it be living dead?) out of this movie, a formidable task since we haven’t even seen a teaser poster or official site for the film yet. Get psyched, folks, cause this summer’s going to stink of the dead!

     Seems being in a top TV show has its advantages- you get paid to die on film. Josh Holloway (LOST) and Sarah Wayne Callies have been cast in the supernatural thriller Whisper. Stewart Hendler is making his directorial debut on the film for Gold Circle Films. Callies plays the girlfriend of a convict/kidnapper, to be played by Holloway, in the story of a New England-set kidnapping of a young boy. The screenplay is from producer-turned-writer Chris Borrelli. The producers are Gold Circle president Paul Brooks and H2F partner Walter Hamada and Deacon head Damon Lee."

     Olivier Martinez (S.W.A.T.) and Agnes Bruckner (The Woods) have signed on to star in MGM/Lakeshore's werewolf film Blood and Chocolate. Adapted by Ehren Kruger, Blood and Chocolate is based on Annette Curtis Klause's novel about a teenage werewolf who has spent her life trying to hide the fact that she is part wolf. She must choose between her love for a human and her family after her relationship with a visiting American threatens to expose her secret. 
     German helmer Katja von Garnier directs. Lakeshore is co-financing and co-producing the picture, which will likely be released through Sony. Lakeshore's Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi will produce alongside Daniel Bobker. Kruger will exec produce. Bruckner's recent credits include Haven and Stateside. She will also be seen in The Woods. Martinez' credits include Unfaithful, Before Night Falls and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.

     Nearly three years after Paul Schrader began production on his prequel to The Exorcist, Morgan Creek Prods. has decided to give the pic a theatrical life. It will bow May 20, the same day as Star Wars – albeit in considerably more limited release.
     Warner Bros. Pictures will handle the pic's distribution, under its former arrangement with the shingle. Schrader's movie began production in November 2002 and Morgan Creek left the Warners lot for Universal Pictures in late 2003.
     Morgan Creek's Jim Robinson pulled the plug on Schrader's nearly finished film in September 2003 over creative differences -- Robinson wanted pea soup and Schrader didn't. The producer shelled out another $35 million to have Renny Harlin take another stab at it, with Stellan Skarsgard once again starring as troubled Father Merrin. Harlin's film was released last August and earned about $80 million worldwide.
     That might have been the end of the story had Schrader not decided to take his finished film to the Brussels Fantasy Film Festival last month for its world premiere. Morgan Creek Intl. handled the pic's foreign distribution, and Schrader's film has already been released in the Netherlands. Now all that remains is the matter of a title. Harlin's pic took the original title of Exorcist: The Beginning. In Brussels, Schrader's movie screened as Paul Schrader's The Exorcist: The Original Prequel. Now Morgan Creek is leaning toward Dominion: A Prequel to the Exorcist. Confused yet?

Diesel Iced In xXx Sequel
     Lee Tamahori, director of the upcoming sequel film xXx: State of the Union, said that he had a hand in getting Ice Cube to take over the starring role from Vin Diesel, who headlined the first installment of the action franchise. "I was undecided as to whether I would do it or not," the New Zealand-born Tamahori said in an interview. "I had just made another of those big, giant movies [Die Another Day], and I didn't know if I wanted to go straightaway into another one." 
     Tamahori said that a script for xXx: State of the Union was already written, tailored to Diesel's character, extreme athlete Xander Cage. But, the director said, "If I had Vin in the picture, I would have had to do extreme sports again, and I did not want to do a retread." 
     That is when "the ground shifted rapidly," Tamahori said, and he was offered "a hook" that made him change his mind. "The studio cinched the deal by telling me that I did not have to do the movie with Vin," he said. "They said that the initial idea for the XXX franchise, as conceived by the first film's director, Rob Cohen, was to not have the same lead actor each time out. That immediately made it more interesting for me, because it would allow me, as a director, to go someplace else." 
     A substantial rewrite of the script eliminated Diesel's character altogether and bumped a secondary character, Darius Stone, to the lead role. Stone is a man recruited to stop a covert takeover of the United States government. Tamahori, long an advocate of dramatic action pictures and a fan of such '70s thrillers as Three Days of the Condor and All the President's Men, felt that the rewrite made the sequel a smarter movie. "This is definitely a much more intelligent movie," he said. "It's not brainless, and it's not another Bond movie. This is a homegrown story with a lot of '70s dark, thriller, paranoid concepts in it. And, no, I'm not worried about it being too smart for its target audience. Teenage audiences are not stupid. I think they'll get it." xXx: State of the Union opens April 29.

No Todd in Final 3
     Glen Morgan—who with partner James Wong is returning to the Final Destination franchise by writing and producing the upcoming third installment—said that the sequel will feature an all-new cast and that Tony Todd won't appear. "You know, I think Tony's a great actor," Morgan said, referring to the actor who played a creepy mortician in the previous two installments. "I like that character a great deal. [But] I kind of felt that even in both films, it kind of brought the movie to a stop. And I don't know what to do with that character, other than to make it … that he's Death or some kind of goofy thing like that." 
     Todd played a mortician who explains the rules of the franchise to the young stars "and to give you a little clue, that guy at the edge of the dark forest kind of thing," Morgan said in an interview during a break in filming in Vancouver, B.C., last week. "And you know, I think that people kind of get what the ... series is, and I don't really know if he's needed." 
     The new cast includes Ryan Merriman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, both of whom appeared in The Ring Two. The cast also includes Kris Lemche, Alexz Johnson and Texas Battle. But FD3 won't feature either A.J. Cook—whose character, Kimberly, survived the last Final Destination film—or Ali Larter—whose character, Clear, died. 
     "We wanted to ... sort of do it over again with somebody new," said James Wong, who is again directing the film. Wong added: "Because you have the first two movies, you can just sort of skip over a lot of the exposition about what is going on, because now the character can say, 'I read this on the Internet. This happened.' And that's it. That's all you have to deal with it, and then you get on with your own story." Final Destination 3 is now filming with an eye to a 2006 release date.

Jennings Guides Hitchhiker In-Jokes
     Garth Jennings, director of the upcoming film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, said that fans of late author Douglas Adams' original book and other versions of the story should be on the lookout for in-jokes and insider references. For example, Simon Jones, who played the main character, Arthur Dent, in the British television series, can be seen and heard briefly as a Magrathean announcer. "Simon Jones was just great as Arthur Dent, and we needed a face and voice for that sequence," Jennings said. "We actually shot it in 3-D, so if you wear red and green glasses, he actually jumps out. I haven't really told the studio that I did that. I thought it'd be more fun if we just did it. No one really knows. But I just couldn't resist doing it." 
     Jennings added: "The original Marvin robot that was used in the TV series, we managed to track down at the BBC studios. It was all in pieces, like this dismembered body. It was really grim. And they got him out and polished him up and made all his lights work and everything, and it was great. We put him on set in the queuing group, where Arthur [Martin Freeman] is queuing up to save Trillian [Zooey Deschanel]. He's just in there, volunteering up, and Arthur looks at him. He was quite an icon when I was growing up, that Marvin robot. He even had a record on the charts. He was a smash hit when you were a kid." 
     And there's more, Jennings said. Images of Douglas Adams are scattered throughout the movie. "He had cyberscanned his head for a computer game," Jennings said. "We had access to his data, so when we built the Temple of Deep Thought, which is this giant nose and nostrils, etc., it's actually Douglas' nose, perfectly rebuilt 30 feet [high]. Not that anyone is going to go, 'Hey, that's Douglas' nose,' but it just felt like quite a fun thing to do. And then one of the planets, as they're flying through the planet factory, is Douglas' whole head that just is this giant planet. It's quite lovely." 
     Jennings added: "At the end, the final improbability effect is Douglas' face. It disappears and says 'For Douglas.' His mom and family are in it. His mom is the old lady reading the newspapers who couldn't really care less as the Earth is being destroyed, and she's in it again at the end. Douglas' daughter and sister and everybody are around the table. There are tons of things crammed in there. Basically if we needed a prop or a name for something we just used the original material as a reference." 

Threesome Aboard Fincher's Zodiac 
     Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo will topline serial-killer thriller Zodiac, the Paramount and Warner Bros. co-production to be directed by David Fincher (SE7EN, FIGHT CLUB.)
     The production is slated to start in mid-August, with Phoenix Pictures producing. Screenwriter Jamie Vanderbilt is adapting from Robert Graysmith's 1986 true-crime book Zodiac and 2002 sequel Zodiac Unmasked: The Identity of America's Most Elusive Serial Killer Revealed.
     Gyllenhaal will portray Graysmith, a San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist who began tracking the mystery of the serial killer. The Zodiac killer terrorized the San Francisco area from 1966-78, committing at least 37 murders and documenting his exploits in taunting letters sent to the Chronicle. Graysmith believes he identified the killer, but competing investigations and other circumstances prevented the suspect, who died in 1992, from ever being apprehended. Ruffalo will portray the lead investigator in the case, Downey a reporter.

Bettis and McKee Team Up Again for Roman
     Fans of Lucky McKee’s unsettling psychochiller MAY will be pleased to know that the writer/director has paired once again with May herself, actress Angela Bettis, for a new digitally lensed feature titled ROMAN, currently shooting in Los Angeles. This time around, though, there’s a twist to the arrangement: Bettis is directing the film from McKee’s script, while the latter steps in front of the camera to play the title character, who might be best described as May’s more disturbed sibling. "It’s about a lonely guy who has nothing in his life except for looking out a window after work," McKee said. "He watches the same girl go by every day, but he never talks to her, until he meets her by chance. Unfortunately, he’s obsessed so much over her that things go horribly wrong."
     Kristen Bell, star of TV’s VERONICA MARS, and Jennifer Carpenter from the upcoming THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE round out the cast; both co-starred with Bettis in the Broadway revival of The Crucible. Longtime McKee collaborator Kevin Ford handles cinematographer duties ("He’s a genius with digital," McKee says), while Dean and Starr Jones, late of Tobe Hooper’s TOOLBOX MURDERS and MORTUARY, handle the special FX.

Hutton in The Kovak Box
     Spanish horror factory Filmax International has begun shooting its new horror thriller THE KOVAK BOX. Directed by Daniel Monzón, THE KOVAK BOX stars Timothy Hutton (THE DARK HALF), Lucía Jiménez, David Kelly and Gary Piquer. Scripted by Monzón and director Alex de la Iglesia’s longtime collaborator Jorge Guerricaechevarría, THE KOVAK BOX concerns a science fiction writer who is invited to an island to host a conference. Next, according to the official synopsis, “a series of tragic and mysterious events cause him to try to escape but it proves impossible. However illogical it might seem, he cannot help but ask himself: Could it be that somebody or something is making people commit suicide?"
     Filming on THE KOVAK BOX will last eight weeks in various Spanish locations in Mallorca, followed by another three weeks in Madrid. No word on U.S. distribution yet.
Bava is Back
     Lamberto Bava, son of Mario and director of DEMONS among many others, is returning to horror features for the first time in many years with a project called THE TORTURER. Based on a story by veteran Italian screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti, Luciano Martino and Michele Massimo Tarantini, the movie was scripted by Bava with Diego Cestino and Andrea Valentini. Here’s the questionable English synopsis: "A dark and gloomy theater set for strange castings. An awful and neglected villa. A stage writer who pushes young actresses to put themselves at risk in morbid auditions thick with physical pain and pleasure. Around the writer stir his ancient and sick mother, his agent/stepfather, the aspiring actors and a young actress with whom he falls in love. Who is the torturer who tears to pieces the bodies of the actresses?"
     Filming is scheduled to begin this May, with DUE P.T. Cinematografica, Dania Film and Surf Film producing. THE TORTURER will be shot in English in anticipation of international release. 

     Production begins Monday on the slasher flick HATCHET. The film stars the man behind the Jason hockey mask, Kane Hodder, Tony Todd (CANDYMAN), Josh Leonard (BLAIR WITCH PROJECT), Mercedes McNab (ANGEL) and Robert Englund. Filming will be split between Los Angeles and New Orleans on the indie production, under Adam Green’s direction. John Carl Buechler handles the makeup FX on HATCHET, about a group of tourists lost in the haunted swamps of New Orleans.
     "We are having a blast so far," producer Sarah Elbert said. "We have created a real sense of family with our crew and cast. It’s kind of ironic to be working on a horror film where everyone is smiling and joking around. Everyone is very happy to be here, and I am sure it will show on the screen. Adam took some of the cast members to see AMITYVILLE HORROR over the weekend, and we had a great time."
     Elbert reveals that the shooting of HATCHET will be fully documented on the web. "We are also doing a journal/blog at our website that recounts the day-to-day events of producing a low-budget horror movie," she says. "Cast and crew will be posting thoughts and stories about the making of the film." 

Rock Joins Southland Tales
     Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will star opposite Seann William Scott and Sarah Michelle Gellar in the science-fiction thriller Southland Tales for writer-director Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko). The Cherry Road Films production is slated to begin Aug. 1 in Los Angeles. 
     Southland Tales is set in Los Angeles on July 4, 2008, as the city stands on the brink of social, economic and environmental disaster. Johnson will star as an amnesiac action star whose life intertwines with an adult film star developing her own reality television project and a Hermosa Beach police officer who holds the key to a vast conspiracy. 
     Southland Tales also will be presented as a nine-part interactive experience, with the prequel saga to be published as six separate 100-page graphic novels written by Kelly. These will be released over a six-month period early next year leading up to the film's release, with the feature film covering the story's final three chapters.

Will Ferrell Travels to Land of the Lost
     Will Ferrell is attached to star in the comedy Land of the Lost, based on the 1974-77 television series of the same name for Universal Pictures. Adam McKay, a former Saturday Night Live writer who directed Ferrell in Anchorman, is attached to direct, with Chris Henchy and Dennis McNicholas signing on to adapt the screenplay.
     The series revolved around forest ranger Rick Marshall and his children, Will and Holly, who are caught in a time vortex while rafting on the Colorado River and transported to a mysterious world populated by dinosaurs.
     Ferrell will next be seen in Universal's comedy Kicking & Screaming and will star opposite Nicole Kidman in this summer's Bewitched. He is playing Franz Liebkind in the film version of Mel Brooks' Broadway hit The Producers for Universal.

SIN CITY  - A Movie Review by: Dava Sentz

   Comic book movies have become something of a cliché in recent years. With the possible exception of Spiderman, I've found that if a movie is based on a comic or graphic novel, it is usually not worthy of all the praising and hype it receives. They're quite often just a series of cheesy comic lines with cheesy comic plot lines. Fortunately, I was able to find another comic book film to add to my enjoyable list, Sin City.
   It may not be the best film I've seen all year, but it was certainly very impressive. Directed by Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, Sin City was not only based on a graphic novel, but it was actually presented like one. Filmed almost entirely in black and white, Sin City was depicted in the same chapter splicing fashion that we've all come to love so much. 
   This film interweaves the lives of six principal characters. The heroic cop and his innocent young hostage, the corrupt cop with a thirst for revenge, the crooked mayor with a cannibalistic plan, and of course, the take charge hookers of downtown. A graphic tale of sex and violence, the CGI and dark animation that illuminated the actors gave this movie a highly original look. It was anything but dull, moving at a fast and intriguing pace. Unfortunately, this made for a highly confusing journey.
   To begin with, cannibalism has always made for great filmmaking. The Silence of the Lambs trilogy is genius, aided considerably by Anthony Hopkins as the charmingly creepy Doctor Lector. As much as I've enjoyed his work in the past, I really don't think the cannibalistic plot line works with a former hobbit as the cannibal. This is not to say he didn't do a great job. But his sweet baby face and irresistible blue eyes give him a rather innocent persona, so to cast him as a martial arts doing, head-mounting psychopath is almost laughable.
   Then there was the whole Marv/Goldie/Wendy story. Again, this was a very exciting thrill ride. It was even romantic, from a Tarantino perspective. But, to be perfectly honest, I wasn't really sure how it tied in with the rest of the film. The same thing can be said for Hartigan and Nancy, Gail and Becky, Shellie and Jackie Boy, and all but especially "The Man". Josh Hartnett's presence in this film made very little sense to me. Perhaps the reason why I had so much trouble following it is because I've never read the novels, so I don't know exactly how all of these characters relate to each other. Clearly, all of these stories connect somehow. There is a common factor that unites them, as in the grand tradition of such Tarantino/Rodriguez classics as Pulp Fiction and Four Rooms. But, I just didn't see it. And as a viewer, I should.
   But, on a positive note, I have to give major props to the directors for creativity. I can honestly say that this is the most original format I've ever seen in a movie. While Sin City boasts an eclectic and talented cast featuring the likes of Bruce Willis, Elijah Wood, Mickey Rourke, and Alexis Bledel, when you watch the movie it's not as if you're watching the actors, but rather dark animated versions of the actors. It felt very much like being in the middle of a virtual reality, part comic book and part video game. The principal players were all highlighted in silhouettes, magnifying the brightness of their eyes. This technique not only gave the film an eerie glow, but it also was a terribly clever way of disguising the violence. Sin City is graphic in every sense of the word, so much so that presenting the film any other way would've no doubt given it an X rating. This means "straight to DVD" which would be a tragedy on behalf of the film industry. To get the full effect, Sin City is best viewed on the big screen.
   I hope get to see it again before it leaves the theaters. While I was never bored and enjoyed my visit to Sin City very much, I must admit there is still a lot I have yet to understand.         


Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson 
The third and final installment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy - the sixth Star Wars movie overall. Anakin Skywalker's turn to the Dark Side of the Force, the continuing Clone Wars and the final fate of the Old Republic should be revealed. 


Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala, Kenny Baker as R2-D2, Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, 
Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa and Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in 
20th Century Fox's Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith - 2005 

MAY 6th           HOUSE OF WAX  
Cast: Elisha Cuthbert (Carly Jones), Jared Padalecki (Wade), Paris Hilton (Paige Edwards), Chad Michael Murray (Nick Jones), Jon Abrahams (Johnson Chapman), Damon Herriman (Lester), Emma Lung, , Brian Van Holt
Premise: A group of friends on their way to a college football game falls prey to a pair of murderous brothers in an abandoned small town. They discover that the brothers have expanded upon the area's main attraction - the House of Wax - and created an entire town filled with the wax-coated corpses of unlucky visitors. Now the group must find a way out before they too become permanent exhibits in the House of Wax.

Cast: Orlando Bloom (Balian), Eva Green (Sibylla), Marton Csokas, Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Irons (Tiberias), Liam Neeson (Godfrey of Ibelin), Alexander Siddig 
Premise: Set during the 12th century in the holy city of Jerusalem, a young peasant blacksmith (Bloom) becomes a knight so that he may help join the Crusades as they attempt to repel the Muslim forces of Saladin who are attempting to take control of the city of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, the young knight also falls in love with the city's beautiful princess (Green). 

Cast: Stellan Skarsgard (Father Lankester Merrin), Gabriel Mann (Father Francis), Clara Bellar (Rachel Lesno), Billy Crawford (Cheche), Ralph Brown (Sergeant Major), Israel Aduramo (Jomo), Andrew French (Chuma)
Premise: Three years after a traumatic experience at the end of WWII, Father Lankester Merrin is working as an archeologist in British East Africa. His team uncovers an ancient Byzantine church, preserved in pristine condition, and buried beneath the church is an ancient crypt that contains the remnants of Satanic ritual and brutal sacrifice. The locals are convinced that uncovering the church has unleashed a demon, and young Father Francis believes that a boy has been possessed by it. Father Merrin realizes that he must try to recover his lost faith if they are to have any hope of overcoming the encroaching evil.

Attention ICS Memorabilia Collectors –
Got this email and wanted to share it. It HAS been checked to be valid. 

   Discovery Channel’s new show “Pop Nation” is coming to Baltimore!  We are looking for pop culture collectors (extreme and amateur) as well as buyers of these collectables.  We are looking for items that fit into the following categories: TV, Toys, Movies, Sports, Sci-Fi and Technology, Music, Fashion, and Housewares.  
   We are focusing on the era from 1960’s to late 1980’s.  We will be filming at the Baltimore Convention Center on June 4th. If you or anyone you know is interested in showing off their collection, having an item appraised or buying items, please go to our website and register (link below).  For people with huge collections (our extreme collectors), we may want to visit their homes/etc. where they house their collection.  
   If you have a mailing list or web site that you can pass this along on it would be extremely helpful. Contact  
There, you can register to attend one of the 4 events around the country, including for Baltimore.

farewellsfarewellsfarewells Good bye farewellsfarewellsfarewells

Yoshitaro Nomura, one of Japan's most prolific post-World War II directors, who made 89 films over three decades and was also a fantastic pioneer of Japanese film noir, has died at age 85.
Born in Tokyo, Nomura joined Shochiku, a major Japanese film studio, when he was 22. Twelve years later, he made his directorial debut with Hato (Pigeon). His films ranged from samurai dramas to musicals to crime stories, including harikomi (stakeout), kage no kuruma (the shadow within), suna no utsuwa (castle of sand), jiken (the incident), kichiku (the demon) and giwaku (suspicion).
In 1995, the Japanese government awarded him an Order of the Rising Sun, one of the nation's top honors.

Ruth Hussey, who was best known for her Oscar-nominated role as James Stewart's sassy photographer girlfriend in the classic 1940 film The Philadelphia Story, has died. Ruth Carol Hussey was born Oct. 30, 1911, in Providence, R.I., and graduated from Pembroke Women's College at Brown University. She studied acting at the University of Michigan and became a contract player for MGM when she was spotted by a talent scout while in Los Angeles with the road tour of Dead End.
Her first film was an uncredited role in The Big City in 1937. She has appeared in such other films as Northwest Passage, Flight Command, Our Wife, Tennessee Johnson, The Uninvited, Bedside Manner, I, Jane Doe, The Great Gatsby, Stars and Stripes Forever and her last feature film The Facts of Life, playing Bob Hope's wife.
She was 93 years old.

George P. Cosmatos, the director of such hit films as Rambo: First Blood Part II starring Sylvester Stallone and Tombstone starring Val Kilmer and Kurt Russell, has died. As a boy in his native Italy, Cosmatos loved the 1940s-era American movies he saw, he never planned on a film career until he met filmmaker Otto Preminger during a summer vacation on Crete. Preminger hired him as assistant director for Exodus and Cosmatos never looked back.
Some of his other films included the beloved, the cassandra crossing, escape to athena, cobra, leviathan, and shadow conspiracy. 
He was 64.

Sir John Mills, the Academy Award-winning actor and father of actresses Hayley and Juliet Mills, has died at age 97.
Mills won an Oscar and a Golden Globe as best supporting actor for his role as the brain-damaged mute villager in Ryan's Daughter, David Lean's 1970 romantic drama set in Ireland during World War I. Mills started his career in London’s West End theatre district as a musical comedy song and dance man. His versatile career spanned more than 70 years and more than 100 movies. 
His filmography includes goodbye, mr. Chips, in which we serve, great expectations, war and peace, around the world in eighty days, swiss family robinson, the singer not the song, king rat, Quatermass, murder with mirrors and BEAN.
He was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1976. 
Mason Adams, the veteran character actor best known as the compassionate newspaper managing editor on Lou Grant and for 30 years the voice of Smucker’s T.V. commercials, has died. Born in Brooklyn, Adams received a bachelor's degree in theater and speech from the University of Wisconsin in 1940 and a master's degree in theater arts a year later. He also studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. He made his Broadway debut in Get Away Old Man in 1943 and acted frequently on radio, including roles in Big Town, Gasoline Alley, Inner Sanctum, Grand Central Station and Superman, on which he played the Kryptonite-powered Atom Man. Though Adams appeared prolifically on T.V. and stage, his film career was not large and tended to be “Imaginatave” cinema such as demon, omen iii, f/x, toy soldiers, not of this earth, and the lesser evil. He was 86 years old.

By John Ward

 By the time you read this, a certain space opera will have premiered around the world to the tune of millions and millions of tickets sold, or it will be about to premiere, and the lines will be long, I can assure you.  For those out there who don’t know what movie I’m talking about – and if that’s true, then what are you doing reading this newsletter, for Chewbacca’s sake? – note this:  STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH is here.
 Hide your wallets.
 It seems that not a day goes by that there isn’t some report in the news or online about folks lining up for tickets across the country.  I had to laugh at the uberfans in L.A. who stubbornly set up housekeeping on the pavement outside the theater after having been told REVENGE OF THE SITH would be playing at the theater down the street.  They weren’t buying it, since 20th Century Fox had pulled a similar tactic on a previous release.  I tip my hat to them; there but for the grace of God, 3,000 miles, 25 years, and a passel of family responsibilities, right there with them I might be, as a certain green-skinned walking walnut would say. 
 It’s hard to believe that we’ve come to the end of the road – in a cinematic sense, of course.  There’s talk of the franchise setting up shop on TV, focusing on minor characters in the STAR WARS universe.  But it wouldn’t be the same.  True fans know it will end where it began:  in the hands and imagination of George Lucas.
 Twenty-eight years ago, I had just finished my freshman year at Penn State.  It was late May, and I was spending a few days at my cousin’s house near Pittsburgh.  STAR WARS (which was all it was called back then) had opened at the Showcase Cinemas in suburban Monroeville, a new state-of-the-art multiplex, and we were eager to see it.  I knew exactly three things about it:  the guy who did THX-1138 and AMERICAN GRAFFITI directed it, it was set in outer space (because of the title, I figured) and it had Peter Cushing in it.  Hell, he was the only recognizable name in the cast.  Well, there was Alec Guinness, but neither my cousin nor I had seen THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, so we weren’t impressed.  But I was a big Hammer fan, so I knew about Peter Cushing.
 I don’t remember fighting for a ticket.  We walked right up to the window, paid our money, and walked in.  I was actually a tad more impressed by the lobby of the theater – Wow, this place is cool, nothing like what we’ve got back in Indiana – than I was by the movie we were about to see.  I was even smitten by the tableful of souvenir books for sale.  Yes, I bought one.  It cost me a couple of bucks, it was only about 20 pages, and I don’t remember what happened to it.  But in hindsight, it probably could have paid for grad school.  How was I to know that little four-color brochure would be the first taste of the mother lode of collectibles?
 We settled into our seats, my small-town values still shaken by the price of city popcorn and soda, and we waited.  I passed the time by leafing through the pamphlet.  Each time I leafed, I felt like I had been screwed in the wallet.  This movie better be good, I told my cousin.  
            I mean, it’s true that THX-1138 was the first time I had ever seen nudity in a movie, I said, but this one was rated PG, so there was no hope of…and then the lights went down.
 And the world changed.
 Two hours later, I knew a lot of things.  I knew I wanted to swing a lightsaber like Luke Skywalker.  I knew who Harrison Ford was.  I knew that C-3PO was the most effeminate robot I had ever seen, and I didn’t care, because Princess Leia was macho enough to balance him out.  I knew that Darth Vader was one of the greatest screen villains of all time.  I knew about Jawas, Tusken Raiders, the deserts of Tatooine, Wookiees, space cantinas, Death Stars, X-wing fighters, and a lot more.  And if it wasn’t for the fact we had to meet my aunt and uncle for dinner, we’d be turning around and going right back into the theater.  That’s a feeling I’ve had maybe a half-dozen times in my life, the need to see the movie again right now.  It’s a feeling that there’s nothing more important in life than the desire to experience the film all over again.  There have been many great films over the years that have made me think, and ponder, and smile, and contemplate – THE GODFATHER, for one, comes to mind – but those films that grab you and don’t let go of your conscious will – man, they’re rare.
 We simply weren’t prepared for the phenomenon.  STAR WARS wasn’t the first of the summer blockbusters – Spielberg’s JAWS created that monster two years before – but STAR WARS was unlike anything that had come before it.  I think it was too easy to pigeonhole it as a sci-fi flick.  Sure, there were spaceships and far-off planets and “lightsabers,” but there was also the Force, a quasi-mystical creation that refused to be categorized.  It was truly the stuff of magic.
 When Lucas announced plans for a sequel, expectations were jacked.  THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK came along three years later, containing one of the greatest plot twists in the history of cinema, and many people to this day consider it the best film of the series.  They might have a point.  My favorite film changes with my mood; one day it’ll be the original (renamed EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE), the next day it’ll be EMPIRE.  Two things are clear: the first two were great, and the third just didn’t measure up.
 Of course, not being able to measure up to two of the greatest films of their genre still made for a pretty good movie. RETURN OF THE JEDI was a lot of fun, some of it dumb, but it provided appropriate closure to the series.  This was around the time I really started to notice the trinkets trade.  I remember Burger King ran a series of drinking glasses for JEDI, and I seem to recall getting the one with Leia in harem girl garb.  Or was it the one with Jabba the Hutt?  Who knows?  It disappeared down a deep, dark hole with that original STAR WARS brochure.
 Around this time, Lucas spoke imaginatively in interviews about making three trilogies:  a prequel trilogy explaining how Vader came to the Dark Side, and a sequel trilogy showcasing the future exploits of Luke, Leia, Han, and their offspring.  But somewhere in the intervening years, Lucas set aside the idea of a sequel trilogy.  I think he recognized that RETURN OF THE JEDI represented the endpoint of a journey, and he needed to fill in the beginnings of that journey.  Too bad it took him 16 years to do it.
 In those 16 years, the STAR WARS phenomenon was kept vibrantly alive with all sorts of additions, some great (many of the novels fit this bill; a couple, like Heir to the Empire, even went to no. 1 on the best-seller list) and some far-from-great (anyone remember that TV travesty, The Ewok Adventure?)  Not much of it was connected directly to ol’ George.  He was too busy running things at Industrial Light and Magic, the groundbreaking special effects company he created with STAR WARS money.  And Lucas’ creative jones continued to be satisfied by his collaboration with Spielberg on the INDIANA JONES movies.  But fans kept hoping for the STAR WARS thrills to return to the screen.  What we got was THE PHANTOM MENACE.
 In hindsight, I think we were all looking for a miracle:  a movie on the level of the original series.  Not even Lucas’s fertile imagination could keep that promise.  Which doesn’t mean he didn’t try, but for every Darth Maul, there was a Jar-Jar Binks.  Actually, there were thousands of the Jar-Jars, since we’re talking about an entire race, and all of them were obnoxious.  By the end, with everyone gathered together on the dais in a direct steal from the final shot of A NEW HOPE, I thought they were just going through the motions.
 Which brings me to EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES.  This remains as my least-watched installment of the series.  My son has it on DVD, but I haven’t seen it since I saw it in the theater in 2002.  We plan to watch it this week, in preparation for EPISODE III, but it’s quite possible I won’t watch it again for a long, long time.  For some strange reason, I remember liking it more than PHANTOM MENACE, but still feeling like there could have been more.  Maybe I was just bummed that Yoda’s lightsaber duel lasted about three seconds.
 So, here comes the finale.  Only George Lucas could put together a final chapter that ends in the middle.  But advance buzz has been very positive, so I’m cautiously optimistic, maybe delusionally so.  But I’m not alone.
 For the first time since RETURN OF THE KING, my son and I are hotfooting it over to the theater right after school, not bothering to wait for trivial little scheduling quirks like weekends.  We’ll be there with tickets in hand at Loews for the late afternoon show on the 19th, hoping against all hope that the long wait will be worth it.  The final chapter.  The last bite of the enchilada.  (By the way, did you notice I never mentioned the souped-up versions of the original trilogy that Lucas pumped through the theaters in 1997?  I have my pride, after all.)
 My partner in “columnist crime,” Mr. Kent, has joked that after he sees REVENGE OF THE SITH and George Romero’s LAND OF THE DEAD, he’ll never have to go to the movies again as long as he lives.  At least, I hope he’s joking.  Because watching movies like STAR WARS explode across a big screen in a darkened theater are what it’s all about.  Movies like STAR WARS are what keep my imaginative fires burning, long after the last reels have rolled.
 As a special added extra (kind of my own EPISODE II), I’ve put together a list of my STAR WARS favorites.  You’ll notice a pronounced slant toward the older stuff.  It wasn’t accidental.  Enjoy:


10.  THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK:  Han Solo is frozen in carbomite.  I remember reading that Harrison Ford ad-libbed his farewell to Leia.  When Leia says, “I love you,” Han deadpans, “I know,” as he sinks out of sight.  It fit his character perfectly.

9.  A NEW HOPE:  Darth Vader’s first appearance, through the smoke at the end of the corridor, right up to the point where he throttles an unlucky rebel, lifting him about two feet off the ground with one hand.  Whoa, baby!

8.  A NEW HOPE:  Obi-Wan Kenobi’s final lightsaber duel with Vader, when he sacrifices himself so that Luke and the others can escape.  27 years later, and I still can’t accept that he’s dead.  Look at the scene:  it appears that Vader swipes through empty air.  Yeah, that’s it!  He disappeared!  He’s still out there, folks!

7. RETURN OF THE JEDI:  Luke and Han escape from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt and his minions.  This is one long scene of slam-bang derring-do, featuring everything from walking the plank to the Sarlacc pit to Leia’s killing of Jabba to the death of Boba Fett.

6.  THE PHANTOM MENACE:  Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon’s duel with Darth Maul.  Of all the scenes from the last two movies, this is the only one, IMHO, that approaches the operatic heights of the original series.  You sense the impending tragedy as the scene unfolds, with Obi-Wan helpless, watching the action through the force field doorways.

5.  THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK:  The attack of the Imperial Walkers on Hoth.  The first glimpses of the walkers are downright eerie, through long-range binoculars, nothing more than tiny specks.  But they grow in size, and the tension grows, as well.  The rebels bring out their snowspeeders, and the battle is joined.  I actually liked this battle scene more than most of the outer space duels, where it was often hard to tell the ships apart without a scorecard.

4.  RETURN OF THE JEDI:  Luke and Vader face off in their final duel.  This was the battle that most fans had been waiting for since the beginning of the series.  Despite the pure evil of the Dark Side, we bought into Vader’s rehabilitation.  It made for a truly tragic ending.

3.  THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK:  Yoda raises the ship from the bog.  I liked just about all of Luke’s training scenes with Yoda on Dagobah, but my favorite had to be the moment when tiny little Yoda closes his eyes, extends his three fingers, and the X-wing fighter rises from the muck.  Luke expresses his disbelief, and Yoda simply replies, “That…is why you fail.”

2.  A NEW HOPE:  Luke blows up the Death Star.  It was the best of all the space battles, featuring a ticking clock, one last fighter, one last proton charge, and the last-second heroics of Han Solo.  Not to mention Vader spinning away into the ether.  “It’s all yours, kid!  Now blow this thing, and let’s go home!”

1.  THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK:  Vader’s final, familial revelation.  Come on, fess up:  did you see it coming?  I didn’t.  But it set the scene for the rest of the series, the next four movies, the next 25 damn years.  What better legacy is there than that?

 The movie opens on Thursday, May 19th.  Our next club meeting is Saturday, May 21st.  If there aren’t at least a dozen people at that meeting ready to talk about what they’ve already seen, I’ll be flabbergasted.
 See you on the 21st!


MAY 6th           HOUSE OF WAX  



MAY 21ST    Our next ICS meeting - Saturday at 5:30 P.M  


Remember those Americans who
ARE serving in foreign lands this holiday.

And those who Have served.

“Of all the wars we’ve been in, only 5 were declared by Congress”- Barry Goldwater.