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Our newest honorary member, Dr. Peter Dendle, breathed new life
into our view of the Zombie film. His scholarly presentation began
with the early genre films WHITE ZOMBIE and OUANGA. The films
of the 30’s and 40’s concentrated on zombies created by Haitian voo-doo.
These films had common themes – they exploited the fear of losing one’s
individualism (i.e. zombies have no free will) and they commented on the
state of relationships and marriage. A typical plot element consisted
of a man attempting to win the affections of an uninterested woman by zombie-fy-ing
her and making her subject to his every whim… yet, still ending up disappointed
by her lack of passion. The opposite relationship of husband to (zombie)
wife was illustrated by a surprising clip from Hepburn and Tracy in WOMAN
OF THE YEAR.
From the tame films of the 40’s, we next visited the Italian
Zombie ‘80’s, with clips from Bruno Mattei’s exploitation extravaganza,
NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES (aka INFERNO DEI MORTI-VIVENTI). The film blatantly
ripped off the DAWN OF THE DEAD soundtrack and spliced in National Geographic
style footage of jungle natives in between scenes of zombie attacks and
people running for shelter in a misguided attempt to make the natives seem
dangerous. Need I also add that there was gratuitous nudity and gore?
Ah…those were the good old days.
Dr. Dendle ended his presentation with by answering audience
questions and he was kind enough to autograph our copies of his book –
THE ZOMBIE MOVIE ENCYCLOPEDIA. If you’re out there somewhere, Dr.
Dendle, the ICS thanks you for your time and for sharing your knowledge
THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE
After a presentation on Zombie cinema, you didn’t think we’d
end up watching ON GOLDEN POND (despite the Hepburn connection), did you?
Of course not. What we saw was a many-titled film with the official
name of THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE. It is a 1974 film that
is loose remake of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. It takes place in the
English countryside. A farmer and two government workers are in the
process of testing out a new device designed to kill insects and lower
life forms by emitting ultrasound and radiation that causes the insects
to attack and kill each other. Of course, what they all fail to realize
is that this procedure also brings the recently dead back to life—and with
a huge hankering for human flesh. For FX work that’s over 25 years
old, it holds up quite nicely. Fans of zombie carnage and mayhem
were not let down, as several people are eviscerated on camera, a woman
has her breast ripped off and devoured, eyes are gouged out and eaten,
a guy takes an axe to the head, and various zombies are set on fire (that’s
right—head shots won’t kill the undead in England, only fire will).
If you have any interest in the zombie genre, this film is a must-see.
Good offering, Dr. Dendle!
HORRORFIND – COMING SOON!!!
We are going to participate in the Horrorfind convention
from August 19-21. If you’ve signed up to help at the table, look
for us in the dealer’s room.
We have a collection of VHS and DVD at our table and we also
have some ICS flyers created by Dave Henderson (thanks!) for prospective
new members and buyers.
SUMMER MEANS ONLY ONE THING…
… and that is the Annual ICS Pizza Night! A growling
stomach is your best accessory for our August meeting where will we have
plenty of cheese, pepperoni, mushroom, and sausage pizza for all.
NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
Our next meeting will be held on Saturday August 27th 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.
Our favorite anime experts – Blake and Taylor Sherblom-Woodward
– are going to give their second Anime presentation in August. Their
first presentation included a detailed booklet and consisted of clips from
the different categories of Anime films. This time, they are concentrating
on cinematic Giant Robots. It is sure to be a high-energy presentation,
so be prepared for a good time – or else!
SPECIAL NOTICE FOR ICS MOVIE FANS
Inspired by the dark and seamy streets of turn-of-the-century
London, 'London After Dark' is curated by the Charles Theatre's John Standiford
and runs in conjunction with the BMA's fall exhibition, Monet's London:
Artists' Reflections on the Thames, opening October 2.
These rarely shown classic reels will be screened in the
BMA's Auditorium on October 7, 14, 21 & 28 at 8 p.m. Admission is $7
per film and $20 for a series pass (Free for BMA Members). For tickets,
call the BMA Box Office at 410-396-6001.
"There are a lot of 19th century references to the Thames
and London as being filthy and corrupt," said John Standiford, co-owner
of the Charles Theatre and curator of the film series. "These four directors
seem to share this sentiment, and in these films a dark and mysterious
London becomes a character in itself."
October 7 Night and the City (film noir, 1950)
This film noir masterpiece is one of director Jules Dassin's crowning
achievements. Two-bit hustler Harry Fabian (Richard Widmark) aches for
a life of ease and plenty. Tailed by a history of go-nowhere schemes, he
stumbles upon a chance of a lifetime in the form of legendary wrestler
Gregorius the Great (Stanislaus Zbyszko). But there is no easy money in
this underworld of shifting alliances, bottomless graft, and pummeled flesh--and
Fabian soon learns the horrible price of his ambition. This dark and moody
drama by a blacklisted American director was shot on the streets of London.
October 14 Peeping Tom (thriller, 1960)
Although this ahead-of-its-time shocker nearly ended the career of
British director Michael Powell upon its release, Martin Scorsese hailed
the film as a masterpiece and rescued it from obscurity a decade later.
It has since developed a cult reputation and remains the definitive film
about the voyeuristic nature of cinema and its effects on the human psyche.
Subjected to bizarre experiments by his scientist-father as a boy, Mark
Lewis (Carl Boehm) works as a focus-puller for a London movie studio and
murders women using a camera to film their dying expressions of terror.
October 21 The Servant (drama, 1963)*
The first of directorJoseph Losey's collaborations with playwright
Harold Pinter, this tightly woven psychological thriller was nominated
for eight British Academy Awards, and won three. Flamboyant playboy Tony
(James Fox) hires Barrett (Dirk Bogarde), a seductive and insidious manservant,
to take control of his newly established household. The servant gradually
takes over the life of his master. Rarely screened in the United States,
the print of this film is being specially shipped from England.
October 28 Frenzy (thriller, 1972)*
Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy is a masterpiece crime thriller from the
end of this career. While London is being terrorized by "the necktie murderer,"
down-on-his-luck Richard Blaney (Jon Finch) is suspected of being the killer.
He goes on the run, determined to prove his innocence.
*Recommended for ages 17 & older.
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LAND BEFORE TIME HITS TV
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has begun production
on 26 episodes of an animated Land Before Time TV series, based on the
hit franchise that has sold more than 60 million units on DVD and video.
The series of direct-to-video sequels to 1988's The Land Before Time, directed
by Don Bluth and executive-produced by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg,
has sparked the development of the new series, which is slated to debut
on the Cartoon Network in the first half of 2007, the trade paper reported.
After the series airs, episodes will be released on DVD.
The Land Before Time TV series will feature many of the
same characters that appeared in the theatrical movie and its 10 direct-to-video
sequels, including such lovable animated dinosaurs as Littlefoot, Cera
and Petrie. New characters also will be introduced. The series will be
created using a combination of 2-D and 3-D backgrounds, the trade paper
Universal is also preparing a 12th Land Before Time feature
film, entitled The Land Before Time: Day of the Flyers, which will be released
ALIAS BEGINS SHOCKING FIFTH SEASON
ABC's Alias began production in Los Angeles on its upcoming
fifth season. The new season will pick up the cliffhanger of last year,
which ended with a shocking revelation by Vaughn (Michael Vartan) to Sydney
(Jennifer Garner) and a sudden car crash.
Here's how ABC describes the upcoming season: "After they
both survive the crash, [Sydney] learns that the man she has known as Michael
Vaughn is under investigation and suspected of being a double agent. She
questions whether their business and personal relationship over the years
had all been a lie. When Sydney discovers that she is pregnant with Vaughn's
baby, she is determined to uncover the truth about him”
“Meanwhile, because of Jack's [Victor Garber] past betrayal
by Irina [Lena Olin], he begins to worry that his daughter may suffer the
same fate as he did. He will also have to deal with the fact that he will
soon become a grandfather, while still learning how to be a dad. Sloane
[Ron Rifkin] will have to do some soul-searching of his own, as he makes
an unholy alliance in his desperate fight to find a cure for Nadia [Mia
Maestro], who is still in a coma."
As previously announced, new regular cast members will
include Rachel Nichols (The Inside) as Rachel Gibson and Élodie
Bouchez as Renée Rienne.
LUCAS INTERESTS TURN TO TV
Star Wars creator George Lucas told a conference that
he will turn his attentions more to television projects, including two
Star Wars-themed series, Variety reported. Lucas made the comments in a
keynote talk at the annual Siggraph computer graphics conference and trade
show. "My life's too short to become a film studio," he reportedly said.
Lucas added: "Lucasfilm is going more into television,
but it's not a vision I'm running, either as executive producer or by laying
out the groundwork."
The first series is a 3-D animated Clone Wars series that
will be made at Lucas Animation's Singapore facility. He said he'll start
scouring Asia for talent and try to build up 3-D animation there. In his
proposed Star Wars live-action series, he said: "We're going do something
that would normally cost [$20 million-$30 million] and try to do it for
$1 million." Lucas said he'll shoot the series on a Sony digital camera
system that anyone can buy at an electronics store.
MCGAVIN MAKES STALKER CAMEO
Darren McGavin, who starred as Carl Kolchak in the 1970s
Night Stalker made-for-television movies, was digitally inserted into the
season premiere of the updated version, which airs on ABC this fall. Executive
producer Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files) said that the cameo was his tribute
to the original character.
"I was intent on doing it," Spotnitz said "It was not
cheap to do, but it was very important to me to do that because I loved
him. And I got to meet him doing The X-Files, because I cast him in that.
And I loved the show so much, I just felt like you needed that respect
to him in the pilot. So we went and we looked at every shot at him in the
original Night Stalker movie. And we looked for shots that were lit and
could be framed properly to insert into the newsroom, and got the negative
out of a vault and digitized it and put it in there."
McGavin's appearance isn't the only reference to the original
that can be seen in the pilot of the new series, according to Spotnitz.
"You'll see some other little nods to Darren McGavin in the pilot," he
said in a panel session. "I don't want to give them all away, but there
is a straw hat somewhere in there."
The new Night Stalker stars Stuart Townsend as Kolchak,
a newspaper reporter who investigates unexplained phenomena. Unlike his
predecessor, Townsend will not be wearing a straw hat, Spotnitz said.
LOST FINDS ANOTHER NEW ISLANDER
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje will be joining the cast of the
hit ABC series Lost in the second season. Akinnuoye-Agbaje will be playing
Emeka, a mysterious man dwelling on the island whose intentions are revealed
in early episodes of the second season.
Akinnuoye-Agbaje is best known for his role in the HBO
series Oz. He has also had roles in The Mummy Returns and The Bourne Identity.
Lost returns for a second season on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.
CASSIDY GROUNDED INVASION
Shaun Cassidy, creator of the new ABC SF series Invasion,
said that the show will be grounded in reality. "I like dealing in sort
of a heightened reality," Cassidy said. "It's fun. I like it to be grounded.
I like it to have plausible deniability, and that's what I strive for.
I don't want people to go, 'Oh, no, that couldn't happen.'
There might be a moment or two where they go, 'I don't
quite buy that,' but if you can actually support it and explain it, in
time people might come around if you give them enough truth."
Cassidy acknowledged that the success of Lost helped him
get the show on the air, but the only thing they will have in common is
the serialized nature of the storylines. "Studio men are salesmen, and
they want to sell what they can sell," he said. "If the cop show is the
order of the day, they'll go to who's written the cop shows. I've worked
in this kind of stuff before, and I like it. Charles Dickens is my favorite
writer, and he did serialized work. He'd send a little installment to the
paper or to the magazine once a month and people would hang in because
they like the characters. I get invested with characters."
One of the challenges Cassidy has found is balancing those
serialized stories with more episodic ones to give the audience a sense
of satisfaction at the end of each episode. "It's the biggest challenge,
because you never know how much to give and how much to withhold," he said.
"And we go through the script. Sometimes we throw everything in the script
and we pare away, pare away. And again, you have to give room for the actors
and the characters to have the moments. You can't just be doing plot things,
following plot points. And the breathing room scenes can sometimes be the
most interesting, especially if you have interesting characters and good
actors, and we do." Invasion will follow Lost this season on Wednesdays
at 10 p.m. ET/PT. It premieres Sept. 21.
GALACTICA WILL ENCOUNTER PEGASUS
David Eick, co-creator and executive producer of SCI FI
Channel's original series Battlestar Galactica, offered SCI FI Wire a few
more details about the introduction of the Battlestar Pegasus, a returning
element from the original series, which co-creator Ronald D. Moore revealed
in a panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego. "This really came out
of a conversation Ron and I had early on about the episodes we had seen
of the original show and what felt like they might be well served by a
fresh interpretation," Eick said.
He added: "The storyline that we thought was interesting
was the Battlestar Pegasus. And so, naturally, we put a pretty unexpected
and, I think, pretty subversive spin on it. But it's definitely going to
be a fixture for a while." The Pegasus appears beginning in the 10th episode
of the second season.
The arrival of the Pegasus will launch a complex story
arc inspired by current events, Eick said. "It stands to reason that in
a show that's all about how we're all trying to survive this horrific attack
by this inhuman enemy, that the thing that we're really exploring is not
that threat from without, but how it turns itself inward and how it becomes
insidious and internal, and how it begins to break us down from inside
ourselves," he said. "And what better way to take that idea to the next
level than to introduce another human being who, on the face of it, is
going to help us defeat the Cylons, defeat that third outside enemy, once
and for all, but in reality serves to only remind us once again that the
biggest enemy is really us?"
Eick also hinted that the Pegasus will be involved in
a multi-episode arc, though its crew may not be around as long. "It's not
going to go away as quickly as people might think," he said. "That's not
to say that the folks involved in bringing the Pegasus to us are going
to remain indefinitely. But for sure it's going to be a fixture for some
CAMPBELL SCREAMS ABOUT BRAINS
Bruce Campbell—who wrote, directed and stars in the upcoming
SCI FI Channel original movie Man With the Screaming Brain—said that he's
thrilled the film is receiving a theatrical release in advance of its September
debut on the network. "It is SCI FI Channel's first movie ever to be in
a theater," Campbell said in an interview. "So I'm very OK with it. We
were wailing and gnashing, but we got it into theaters."
For 16 years, Man With the Screaming Brain was a dream
project for Campbell, star of the Evil Dead pictures and a regular in the
films of his friend, director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man). In Brain, Campbell
plays William, a snooty American industrialist, who has part of his brain
replaced by that of Yegor (Vladimir Kolev), an Eastern European taxi driver.
Campbell said that the version of Brain that will air
on SCI FI in the fall is very close to the one currently playing in theaters.
"SCI FI doesn't like swearing and stuff like that, and we've got swearing,"
Campbell said. "Some of the holes we put in there for commercials are gone,
and now it plays through like a feature. It was always designed as a feature
film. It was designed with a three-act structure. So basically SCI FI is
getting a TV version of that. The plan was always to treat it as a feature,
but we knew it was being done for the SCI FI Channel. And so there's not
any gore or blood missing. We actually held back on that. Really, at the
end of the day, the movie is PG-13. There are no beheadings or s--t like
Right now, Campbell is going theater to theater, city
by city, with Brain, essentially taking it with him as he criss-crosses
the country on a promotional tour for his latest book, Make Love the Bruce
Campbell Way. "We're actually doing book signings at the theaters," Campbell
said. "The coolest thing about Screaming Brain is that it's given me a
chance to see these great old revival houses and art houses. That's where
it's been playing, which really makes me happy. So far as releasing it
wider, they're playing it by ear."
Campbell added: "This was all a grand experiment. The
bottom line is this was meant to promote the showing on SCI FI and also
the DVD, which comes out in October. Some theaters have done well enough
that they're bringing it back and doing midnight screenings in the weeks
following my going through town. So we're just going to see how it goes.
There are no plans. We're just staying loosey-goosey with it."
ACADEMICS EXAMINE SUPERHEROES
About 200 academics converged in Australia for a conference
on superheroes entitled "Holy Men in Tights," sponsored by the University
of Melbourne on June 9-12. "The superhero has been a persistent theme in
American popular culture since the 1930s," keynote speaker Henry Jenkins
III, professor and head of the comparative media studies program at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology said.
"During this time, these characters have continued to
be re-framed and re-invented, reflecting shifting notions of what constitutes
a hero. The surprise is not that academics are studying superheroes; the
real question is why it has taken so long for serious research on this
topic to emerge."
The conference featured the presentation of papers covering
themes of gender identity, mythology and ethics. John Lenarcic of RMIT
University (formerly the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology), presented
a paper on "Computer Ethics through Superhero Comics." "It was interesting
to see the take on comics as metaphors to explain the human condition,"
The conference concluded with a costume ball. "Who says you can't mix
work and fun?" Jenkins asked.
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Go Ask Nispel and Gellar About ALICE
Marcus Nispel (TEXAS CHAINSAW remake) will
direct and Sarah Michelle Gellar will star in ALICE, the film adaptation
of American McGee's Electronic Arts video game. Originally developed at
Dimension, the project is now at Universal. Erich and Jon Hoeber are scripting
from McGee's scenario, a dark takeoff on Lewis Carroll's classic in which
Alice is the only survivor of a catastrophe that destroys her home and
kills her family. Traveling back to Wonderland, she finds it's now a scary
place full of fearsome beings. Nispel also directed last year's modern-day
FRANKENSTEIN made-for-TV movie for the USA Network, while Gellar recently
wrapped a still-untitled supernatural thriller for Rogue Pictures.
BENEATH Arises via Paramount & MTV Films
Paramount Classics and MTV Films are teaming
up on the horror film BENEATH. Directed by Dagin Merrill from a script
he wrote with Kevin Burke, the movie focuses on Christy, who has a car
accident that disfigures and kills her older sister. When she returns home
years later, Christy begins to have visions of the accident and comes to
believe that her sister was buried alive.
Merrill was one of the four director finalists
in the second season of PROJECT GREENLIGHT, and is the son of Academy Award-winning
filmmaker Kieth Merrill. He also has a project in development at Kismet
Entertainment's Graveyard Filmworks, producers of BOO and the upcoming
DOG SOLDIERS: FRESH MEAT.
Underdog Flying To Theaters
Walt Disney Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment
are developing a live-action feature based on the classic Saturday-morning
television cartoon series Underdog. The studio is eyeing a November start
for preproduction, with filming to commence in Canada in January.
The original animated series, created by Buck
Biggers and Chet Stover, ran from 1964 to 1973. It centered around a mild-mannered
beagle named Shoeshine Boy (voiced by Wally Cox) who transformed into the
caped canine crusader Underdog and often uttered the line "There's no need
to fear, Underdog is here!"
In the feature adaptation, written by Joe
Piscatella and Craig A. Williams, a little pooch named Shoeshine gets super
powers after a lab accident and is adopted by a 12-year-old boy who discovers
his secret. Other characters from the cartoon—including mad scientist Simon
Barsinister and Underdog's love interest, Sweet Polly Purebred—may also
appear in the film. Producers are planning to use an actual dog for the
main character, with computer-generated enhancements.
Don't Look Now, It's Another Remake
Mark Gordon is planning to produce a remake
of Don't Look Now for Paramount Pictures. The 1973 film, directed by Nicolas
Roeg and based on a story by Daphne Du Maurier, created a sensation in
the early '70s thanks to a highly erotic love scene featuring Donald Sutherland
and Julie Christie. Andrea Berloff will write the screenplay for the adaptation,
which centers on a couple, John and Laura Baxter, who go to Venice, Italy,
to recuperate after the sudden death of their daughter only to encounter
strange visions that suggest their daughter's presence.
Goyer To Helm Invisible
David Goyer, who wrote all three films in
the Blade trilogy and directed the final installment, has signed on to
direct the supernatural thriller The Invisible. It will be the third film
Goyer has directed, the second which he did not write himself.
The story follows a teenager who, after being
attacked and left for dead, finds himself in limbo, invisible to the living
and racing against time to find his body before he truly perishes. The
only living person who might be able to save him is his attacker, a troubled
girl who is on the run from the law.
The original English-language script by Mick
Davis was translated into Swedish in 2002 and directed by Joel Bergvall
and Simon Sandquist. The upcoming English-language adaptation was written
by Christine Roum. Spyglass Entertainment (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
Galaxy) is financing the project.
Garner Agrees To Be With You
Jennifer Garner (Elektra, Alias) will produce
and star in a remake of the 2004 Japanese hit Be With You. The original
film was directed by Nobuhiro Doi from a novel by Takuji Ichikawa. It centers
on a dying woman who pledges on her deathbed to return to her husband and
young son. A year later, the father and son happen upon a woman who bears
an uncanny resemblance to the dead woman. Warner Brothers is close to announcing
a director for the project.
Dungeon Cast Announced
Jason Statham (The Italian Job) leads the
cast of schlock director Uwe Boll's upcoming Dungeon Siege, a sword-and-sorcery
movie based on Gas Powered Games' video game of the same name. Dungeon
Siege follows Farmer (Statham) on a mission to save his wife and child
as an evil army rampages across the land, destroying everything in its
path and focusing on conquering the Castle Ehb.
The cast also includes Leelee Sobieski, Ron
Perlman, John Rhys-Davies, Matthew Lillard, Kristanna Loken and Burt Reynolds.
Uwe Boll (HOUSE OF THE DEAD, ALONE IN THE DARK) directs from a screenplay
by Doug Taylor, David S. Freeman and Glenn Benest.
Paul Producing Highlander 5
Highlander TV star Adrian Paul said that he
will executive-produce and star in a fifth movie in the sci-fi franchise,
which is currently in script stage, with an eye to a production start in
Eastern Europe later this year. "David Abramowitz [a writer on the Highlander
TV series] is putting the final touches on the script, and, once approved,
it will go into preproduction later this year," Paul wrote on his website.
Paul played Duncan MacLeod in the popular
television series, which ran from 1992-'98, based on the series of movies.
He also appeared in the last Highlander movie, 2000's Endgame, opposite
Christopher Lambert, who played Connor MacLeod. "I always said I would
never do another one unless I had more control over the final product,"
Paul said. "Well, this time I am executive-producing it. Brett Leonard
[Lawnmower Man] is set to direct. Be ready to see a new Highlander film
that has the quality of [the] television ... series, with a new sound and
look for 2006. Everyone is excited to be able to produce something that
we have more control over and to revamp such a successful franchise. Once
the rights fell back to Davis-Panzer Productions, Peter Davis approached
me to star and executive-produce."
The Future Looks Dark for DANIKA
The psychological chiller DANIKA has begun
shooting. Marisa Tomei stars in the title role of a woman whose overwhelming
fears for her children lead her to experience premonitions of terrible
events. Craig Bierko also stars as Danika’s husband, with Regina Hall (SCARY
MOVIE) as her psychiatrist. Ariel Vromen, who has won notice for short
films like JEWEL OF THE SAHARA, is directing from a script by Joshua Leibner.
The executive producer is Maryland-based Michael Urbanski, whose credits
include Lions Gate’s upcoming DARK RIDE and who is developing another genre
feature called INVISIBLE DARKNESS.
Thurman Stars As Super-Ex
Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson will star in Super
Ex, a romantic comedy Ivan Reitman will direct for Regency Enterprises.
Don Payne (The Simpsons) wrote the script, in which Thurman plays a superhero
who falls for a regular guy. He's OK with her superhuman abilities, but
can't take her neediness. When he dumps her, she uses her powers to turn
the guy's life into a nightmare. Super Ex will shoot in New York this fall.
Reitman directed Evolution, with David Duchovny
and Julianne Moore.
Transformers Set To Roll
Transformers will roll into movie theaters
on July 4, 2007, according to a statement from DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount
Pictures and Hasbro, Inc. Further, Michael Bay (Armageddon and the upcoming
The Island) is now officially on board to direct the film, which will be
based on the adventures of the Hasbro/Takara toy line that debuted in 1984
and has already spawned comic books, animated television shows and an animated
"Under the direction of Michael Bay, and with
Steven Spielberg executive-producing, we know that Transformers is going
to be the kind of explosive action movie that is perfect for the height
of the summer movie season," DreamWorks' head of distribution, Jim Tharp,
said. "By staking our claim on the Fourth of July, 2007, we ensure that
we not only have the time to make this movie the way it should be made,
but also to build excitement and awareness leading up to its release."
DreamWorks will release Transformers domestically,
while Paramount will handle it internationally.
Body Snatchers Gets a Director
German director Oliver Hirschbiegel (Downfall)
will direct an Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake for Warner Bros. Written
by Dave Kajganich, the new version centers on a female protagonist who
uncovers a conspiracy in a small town where the inhabitants' personalities
seem to be changing. In Don Siegel's original 1956 sci-fi/horror film,
a hysteria spreads through a small California town after townspeople appear
to their relatives and friends as strangers while retaining their outward
The studio owns the remake rights to the film
after making 1993's Body Snatchers, directed by Abel Ferrara. Production
on the new version will start this October in Baltimore.
John Moore bedeviled by The Omen 666
John Moore, who directed Behind Enemy Lines
and Flight of the Phoenix, has been named by 20th Century Fox to helm a
remake of the 1976 horror classic THE OMEN about the arrival of the Antichrist
in the home of an unsuspecting family. Dan McDermott is writing a script
that will contemporize the tale. The studio has set a tentative Oct. 3
start date. The remake is titled THE OMEN 666 because it has a planned
release date of June 6th, 2006 (6/6/06.)
Richard Donner directed the original, which
starred Gregory Peck as an ambassador whose dark secret --allowing a baby
to be substituted for the one his wife (Lee Remick) lost in childbirth
-- comes back to haunt him when the hellish prodigal son begins to hit
his evil stride.
A remake of the 1987 thriller FATAL ATTRACTION
will be the first film in a multi-year, multi-production deal that rapper/actor
LL Cool J has signed with Lions Gate Films. Cool J, who has previously
starred in DEEP BLUE SEA and HALLOWEEN: H20, will be taking on bigger roles
than he has with his previous films.
First on the actor’s plate will be an “urban
version” of FATAL ATTRACTION, which starred Michael Douglas as a philandering
husband who is stalked by his jilted mistress (Glenn Close). Cool J will
play an everyman who gets into serious trouble when he engages in an extramarital
A Tale of 2 Wonkas
By: Dava Sentz
Everyone knows the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory;
a charming rags to riches story of a little boy who suddenly gets everything
his heart desires, by way of a golden ticket.
This beloved children's tale was first introduced to the
screen in the 1971, with Gene Wilder as the eccentric chocolatier and Peter
Ostrum as the kind-hearted Charlie Bucket. Like the novel, the film became
an instant classic, hosting an array of colorful characters, whimsical
settings, and memorable tunes.
Here and now, new blood can be found within the factory
gates. Johnny Depp and Tim Burton are a genre unto themselves and, in my
opinion, the perfect modern day duo to introduce this story to the next
generation of kiddies.
While I don't believe it's fair to pin Johnny Depp and
Gene Wilder against each other, I know that anyone who's fond of the original
version will not be able to help him or herself. Gene Wilder's performance
was truly unforgettable; warm and genuine, funny and strange. He was everything
anyone could ever want in a candy maker. The true Wonka fan would definitely
say that it was done right the first time, that if it ain't broke don't
fix it. I very much agree with this viewpoint and no one, not even an actor
as cool and unique as Johnny Depp, will ever replace Gene Wilder in my
mind and heart. He was, is, and will always be Willy Wonka. Still, the
remake demands a great deal of respect.
To begin with, Tim Burton is an extraordinary director.
His wild, dark, and often morbid imagination has been responsible for creating
some of the most memorable films in modern day cinema. It is for this reason
that I see him as the ideal person to take on the imaginative, zany, and
magical world of Willy Wonka.
No one else could've captured its splendor in quite the
same way. Remaining faithful to the overall charm and mastery that the
original film installed, Burton merely added touches of his classic, unmistakable
style to the plot, making the film distinctly his. The world that he created,
from the harsh jungles of Lumpaland to the delectable goodness of the chocolate
room was reminiscent of the original's sweetness and light blended with
the bizarre fright night fun one would expect from him.
Johnny Depp is wildly original actor with an unusual blend
of charisma, emotion, and style. Perhaps this is why he seems to connect
so well with Tim Burton. Each are quite unique in their abilities, sinister
and dark yet soulful and humorous. Depp's portrayal of Willy Wonka serves
as no exception. While it lacked the compassion of Gene Wilder's character,
Depp's performance was anything but dull. His Wonka was very funny and
energetic, coupled with Burton's morbidly gothic dialogue. It was delightfully
refreshing and highly entertaining.
Freddie Highmore, a veteran co-star of Johnny Depp, (you
may remember Freddie from 2004's Finding Neverland) turned out a terrifically
endearing performance as Charlie Bucket. There's a lot to be said about
child actors. Many are all too aware of the cameras in front of them. As
a result, they either over act in a pathetic attempt to prove their worth
in show business, (case in point: "Richie Pettrie" from The Dick Van Dyke
Show) or they under act, mumbling incoherently to their television audience
as they laugh and sigh at their innocent banter.
Every so often, however, a child will come along with
a certain spark, a kind of natural ability that only comes from the gifted.
Freddie seems to be one such actor, as to his pint-sized co-stars, most
of who are making their film debuts.
"Because of Winn Dixie's" Annasophia Robb gave a very
loud, very determined, and highly driven performance as the film's resident
champion Violet Beauregarde. While her rendition was vastly different than
the original's portrayal, Annasophia most certainly added a distinct life
force the character. She reminded me very much of the over achieving athlete
who works so hard to win her parent's approval. While these traits were
also present in 1971, they are much less subtle in 2005 which in some ways
this makes the character all the more thorough.
Julia Winter, a newcomer, was a very entertaining Veruca
Salt. Though Veruca was, is, and always will be a spoiled brat with way
too much time on her hands and not enough parental structure, her Wonka
fan base will always adore her. The classic temper tantrums of the original
were sorely absent, but it didn't really matter. Winter's unrealistic and
ungrateful demands were very much alive and quite amusing.
Philip Wiegratz newcomer number two turned out a highly
convincing portrayal as everyone's favorite glutton, Augustus Gloop. Not
only did he also have the German accent and horse-like appetite down to
the letter, but he also bore an absolutely striking resemblance to the
original Augustus, played by Michael Bollner. I believe "Grandma Josephine"
said it best, "What a repulsive boy!" That's exactly what Philip was, repulsive,
greedy, and very entertaining. I think his presence in this movie will
definitely pave the way for bigger and better things.
The last member of Wonka's parade of morality and innocent
is Jordan Fry, newcomer number three, giving an extremely funny, cocky,
and overall scary performance as Mike Teavee. In the 1971Mike Teavee was
the ultimate couch potato, a little boy who knew next to nothing about
3-dimentional life. Jordan's Mike Teavee, however, was modernized. Not
only was he the ultimate couch potato but he was also hopelessly addicted
to violent video games, making him much more aggressive. It was so much
fun to watch, reminiscent of the stereotypical male that we've all come
to know so well. I loved every minute.
Joined by such supporting actors as David Kelly, Deep
Roy, and Christopher Lee, this remake of Roald Dahl's book provided a much
more detailed look into the world of Willy Wonka. There are pros and there
are cons and everyone has their preference. Yet, there is absolutely no
reason why both movies can't be enjoyed for years to come. It is a classic,
after all, and you can't go wrong with a classic.
MOVIE NIGHT MOVIE NIGHT MOVIE NIGHT MOVIE NIGHT
August 19th Red Eye
Cast: Rachel McAdams (Lisa Reisert), Cillian Murphy (Jackson Rippner),
Brian Cox (Joe Reisert), Kyle Gallner (Kevin)
Premise: One a jet, moments after takeoff, Lisa's seatmate, Jackson
menacingly reveals the real reason he's on board: He is an operative in
a plot to kill a rich and powerful businessman, and Lisa is the key to
its success. If she refuses to cooperate, an assassin awaiting a call from
Jackson will kill her father. .
August 19th Valient
Cast: Ewan McGregor (Valiant), Ben Kingsley (General Keyserlingk),
Broadbent, John Cleese, Tim Curry, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, John
Premise: This film is (very loosely) based upon the true story of the
carrier pigeons that the United Kingdom did use during World War II
communicate with the French Resistance and the Allied troops.
August 26th Brothers Grimm
Cast: Matt Damon (Will Grimm), Heath Ledger (Jake Grimm), Monica Bellucci
(The Evil Queen), Jonathan Pryce (Delatombe), Lena Headey (Angelika)
Premise: Brothers Jake (Ledger) and Will Grimm (Damon), renowned collectors
of folklore, have made a career out of traveling from village to village
pretending to rid them of "enchanted" creatures. Their bluff is called,
however, when they are forced by Napoleon's French government to investigate
a haunted forest where girls have been disappearing mysteriously
August 26th The Cave
Cast: Morris Chestnut (Buchanan), Eddie Cibrian (Tyler), Kieran Darcy-Smith
(Vince Strode), Cole Hauser (Jack), Lena Headey (Katherine), Marcel Iures
(Dr. Nicolai), Daniel Dae Kim (Alex Kim), Piper Perabo (Charlie), Brian
Premise: A rescue team is sent down into the world's largest cave system
to try to find the spelunkers who first explored its depths. But when the
group's escape route is cut off, they are hunted by the monstrous creatures
that live down below.
September 2nd The Sound
Cast: Edward Burns (Travis Ryer), Ben Kingsley (Charles Hatton), Catherine
McCormack (Sonia Rand), Wilifried Hochholdinger (Dr. Lucas),
Premise: Based on A Ray Bradbury story. Set in a near future
where time travel is possible, this is the story of a travel agency, Time
Safari Inc that arranges hunting trips for wealthy customers back in time
to hunt dinosaurs. However, in this case, a nervous hunter steps
off the trail, and steps on a butterfly.
The historical repercussions of the death of a single
butterfly, compounded by millions of years of effects, leaves the hunters
to return to a future that is not quite the one they came from. So they
must stop the "time waves" that are rippling up from this event, threatening
to erase humanity from existence.
farewellsfarewellsfarewells Good bye farewellsfarewellsfarewells
James N. Aparo, an illustrator for DC Comics for more than 30 years
has died at age 72. Mr. Aparo worked on comic books featuring classics
such as Batman, Green Arrow, Aquaman, The Brave and the Bold, The Phantom
Stranger and The Spectre.
His big break came in the late 1960's when he was working for Charlton
Comics and his editor, Dick Giordano, got a job at DC and took Mr. Aparo
with him. He grew up in New Britain, Conn. and brought characters to life
in his home studio in Southington, corresponding with DC through the mail.
He retired about four years ago.
Matthew McGrory, the deep-voiced 7-foot-plus actor in the high-profile
role as a gentle giant in the movie Big Fish, has died. He attended law
school and showed up in music videos before starting his career in B-movies.
He played a human Sasquatch in 2001's Bubble Boy, an alien in Men In Black
II (2002) and Tiny in the Rob Zombie horror movies House Of 1000 Corpses
(2003) and its sequel, The Devil's Rejects. He was also in the dead hate
the living, big time, constantine (as a demon) and shadow box. He was 32
George D. Wallace, a versatile actor and ICS favorite who starred as
Commando Cody in the Republic serial Radar Men from the Moon, has died.
An eight-year Navy veteran, Wallace was tending bar in Hollywood in
the late 1940s when gossip columnist Jimmy Fidler discovered him singing
to the juke box for tips and helped launch his career in show business.
Wallace had made only a few small appearances in films and on TV when he
went up for a character part and instead landed the starring role of Commando
Cody in the 1952 motion picture serial Radar Men from the Moon. As Cody,
the brilliant scientist, Wallace donned a leather jacket, a bullet-shaped,
silver helmet and an atomic-powered rocket pack with an amazingly simple
control panel on his chest: One dial said Up / Down; a second dial said
Fast / Slow; and the third dial said On / Off.
During his varied career he appeared in film, on Broadway and on T.V.
In the 50’s and 60’s he was in numerous television western series episodes
and in a broad range of shows after that. He was in episodes of such genre
T.V. as Ghost Story, buffy the vampire slayer and he even played God in
a joan of arcadia. His films included submarine command, kansas city confidential,
destry, texas across the river, towering inferno, defending your life and
nurse betty. His genre films included ghost buster, forbidden planet,
bicentennial man and minority report. He was 88.
James Doohan, best known to Imaginative Cinema fans as Scotty (Montgomery
Scott), the chief engineer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise in the original
Star Trek series has died at age 83.
He also appeared in the first seven Star Trek motion pictures.
Born in 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia, he fought in World War
II at age 19 and was wounded in the arm and hand.
After the war he won a two-year scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse
in New York City, were he trained under Sanford Meisner, alongside such
future stars as Leslie Nielsen, Tony Randall and Jackie Gleason.
His versatility and talent as a dialectician helped him earn parts.
He appeared on television in episodes of SPACE COMMAND, Tales of Tomorrow,
voyage to the bottom of the sea, the man from u.n.c.l.e., Outer Limits,
The Twilight Zone and many others. As well as in films such as test pilot,
bus riley’s back in town, one of our spies is missing, pretty maids all
in a row, double trouble and loaded weapon 1.
Of course, there is the old standard that was actually never said, but
is still known throughout the galaxies –
“Beam me up Scotty!”
And some favorites –
“On Earth, we have a saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice,
shame on me.”
[and Scotty when faced with a 20th century computer doesn’t pause]
Scotty: Computer. Computer? [Bones hands him a mouse and
he speaks into it]
Scotty: Hello, computer.
Dr. Nichols: Just use the keyboard.
Scotty: Keyboard? How quaint.
Scotty who was known as “the Miracleworker” in Star Trek because of
his engineering abilities, also had his wit and charm to which James Doohan
added a wonderful sense of feeling to this great character. Both Scotty
and James will be missed.
THE LAST WARD . . .
By John Ward
My family and I are vacation travelers, no doubt about it. When
my wife gets her two weeks off in the summer, we don’t stay home and loaf
around the house. That might be your idea of a fun vacation, but
it isn’t ours. We’d much rather hit the open road, see the sights,
and show our son parts of the country that he’s never seen before.
When I was my son’s age – thirteen – I had stepped foot in exactly two
states: Pennsylvania and New Jersey. My son has been through
34 of ‘em.
We’ve just gotten back from the Ward Vacation: 2005 Edition and
I’m still trying to catch my breath. If you’ve been a frequent reader
of the ICS Forum, then you’ve probably already read some of what I’m about
to describe from my “Postcard from London” thread. No sweat; my objective
in this column is to try and relate our vacation escapades from a moviegoer’s
point-of-view. That puts a slightly different spin on things.
I was frankly amazed to think back on just how closely our family vacations
have touched on the movies.
In 1999, for example, we headed out to the upper Midwest, and
visited several notable film landmarks: Mt. Rushmore, site of the
climactic scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, and
Devil’s Tower, Wyoming, where Steven Spielberg landed the alien mothership
in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. You must understand that my
wife never saw it as a film-lover’s journey. (If she had, we might
have gone somewhere else.) No, she just saw it as really breathtaking
scenery. Truth to tell, most people would see it that way.
(“Hey, Jimmy! Look at those presidents up there! Doesn’t Lincoln
have a big nose?”)
But let’s face it, fellow club members: We aren’t most
In 2000, we went to Disney World. Heck, that place was
built by the movies! Every time you turned around, there was a reminder.
It wasn’t Big Brother; it was Big Mickey. Ironically, the most disappointing
part of the whole week – for me – was the day we spent at the Disney-MGM
theme park. I was expecting much more than I got, although the Twilight
Zone Tower of Terror was my single favorite moment of the whole vacation.
The Backlot tram ride at Disney was a painfully lacking imitation of Universal’s
older, longer, and much more historically significant tour. After
leaving Disney-MGM, I had a sour look that didn’t go away until we hit
the Magic Kingdom.
In 2001, we took a movie break and did a week in Ocean City.
I think most Marylanders hit the beach at least once every five years or
so; it must be some kind of state law. Let’s face it, people don’t
go “down the ocean” for the movies. Have you ever seen the theaters
at the beach? They haven’t exactly kept up with the times.
Air conditioned, sure, but no stadium seating, no cupholders, and lots
and lots of sand on the floor. (People are slobs on vacation.)
Forget it. I wouldn’t touch ‘em if it rained for forty days and forty
nights. Given a choice, I’d pick Yahtzee in the condo with my wife.
(Yes, I said Yahtzee. Give me a break; this is a family column.)
In 2002, we drove to Canada and came home through New England.
We spent a few days in Niagara Falls, where the Burger King featured a
giant Frankenstein Monster munching a Whopper on the roof. We blitzed
through Toronto, home to one of the finest film festivals in the world.
And we spent four days in Boston, Beantown itself, where we took pictures
of the Cheers bar and eyeballed a whole lot of history. (Hey, history
counts; they have made a lot of historical pictures.)
In 2003, we went to New York City, where we checked out Madame
Tussaud’s Wax Museum – lots of creepy-yet-lifelike movie folk there – and
saw The Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast, two incredibly movie-related
musicals. Whenever we visit New York, I always hope we’ll stumble
across a film crew somewhere. It would be fantastic to watch a crew
filming Law and Order, for example, or maybe even a Scorsese movie.
I’d even settle for Woody Allen. But with our luck, we’d probably
get the Olsen Twins in NEW YORK MINUTE.
Last year, it was back out west, this time by the southern route.
If it was big, rocky, and scenic, with a National Park Service sign out
front, we probably saw it. I’m sure there have been movies with the
Grand Canyon or the Rocky Mountains as a backdrop, but right now, all I
can recall is a Very Special Episode of The Brady Bunch with Jay
Silverheels as some little Native American kid’s grandpa. However,
we did stop for lunch at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, where
Stephen King was inspired to write The Shining, and where they did indeed
film the TV movie remake. Talk about a high-falutin’ place:
$12 for a souvenir keychain. I contented myself with some photos
This year, we hit the movie motherlode: 8 days in London,
with a day trip to Paris thrown in for good measure. Talk about your
cinematic delights; what self-respecting film buff could look at Notre
Dame and not imagine Lon Chaney (or maybe Charles Laughton) swinging around
the bell towers? We also visited the Louvre Museum, which by this
time next year will be on everyone’s minds, thanks to Ron Howard, Tom Hanks,
and THE DA VINCI CODE. And of course, the Eiffel Tower, which I reminded
my less-than-impressed wife Terri was the backdrop for a particularly exciting
scene from SUPERMAN II.
But that was just one day in Paris. Eight days in London
gave us so much more: the Tower of London, where they beheaded ANNE
OF THE THOUSAND DAYS and a clubfooted Boris Karloff did the bidding of
Basil Rathbone in – well, the TOWER OF LONDON. Madame Tussaud’s,
the British original this time, with plenty of movie stars to go around.
A fascinating walk through the Whitechapel district with a Jack the Ripper
historian who was so well-respected that Johnny Depp sought him out before
filming FROM HELL. A walk along the Thames, where I could almost
picture the woman’s corpse being fished out at the beginning of Hitchcock’s
FRENZY – a memory that I did not share with Terri.
Not to mention Westminster Abbey, where THE DA VINCI CODE reared
its ubiquitous head again, and lots of rides on the London Underground.
Once, on our way to the British Museum, we made a connection at the Tottenham
Court Road tube station (locals call the subway the “tube”) and I mentioned
that we were walking along the very same hallway that had been used as
the site of one of the AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON murders. She was
only slightly less impressed than she was by Superman and the Eiffel Tower.
For film geeks, of which we are legion, the highlight would be
our visit to the Forbidden Planet flagship store, on Shaftesbury Avenue,
just off Charing Cross Road. My son and I thought we’d died and gone
to heaven. Even my normally less-than-impressed wife said – and I
quote – “You know, even though this isn’t my cup of tea, this is a really
nice store.” The upper floor was packed with movie collectibles and
memorabilia, while the downstairs level was a book-lover’s dream.
I picked up one movie tome after another that I wanted to buy, but it was
near the end of our vacation, funds were running low, and I already had
a Toy Biz action figure of Peter Jackson in my hand, so all the books went
back on the shelf.
But my favorite movie memory of this year’s vacation was one
that I enjoyed alone. On a Sunday afternoon, while Terri and John
decided to crash in the hotel room, I grabbed my tube pass and hurried
off to the West End, where I found a movie theater showing THE DESCENT.
It was the second feature from the director of DOG SOLDIERS, and
it was a real walk on the wild side, a kind of weird hybrid of ALIEN and
DELIVERANCE. Six extreme sports enthusiasts, all buff women, on a
caving expedition, wind up trapped underground, fighting for survival against
a horde of sightless critters who reminded me of the Orcs scuttling all
over the Mines of Moria in THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING. THE DESCENT
was a great horror movie, and I hope it gets a stateside release.
But I digress.
The movie theater showing THE DESCENT was state-of-the-art –
the Apollo West End, an underground movie house with six screens and plenty
of stadium seating. I walked in off the street, bought my ticket,
and the elevator took me two floors straight down, where I bought a Diet
Coke without ice. (Here’s a tip if you go to London: request
ice. They don’t give it to you unless you ask, and sometimes not
even then.) The theater was absolutely silent – none of that godawful
“Loew’s Music Network.” The floors were carpeted, the seats were
upholstered, and even the armrests were plush. The cupholder was
in the seatback in front of me. Sweet.
Unfortunately, state-of-the-art does not mean they skip
commercials. The only difference is that they rate the ads in Britain
the same way they rate the movies. Most of the ads (there were about
5) were rated “U” for Unrestricted, although there was one ad rated “15”
that featured a couple of gorgeous models on a foxhunt who get a whiff
of some guy’s deodorant and are immediately overcome with the need to take
off their clothes and mud-wrestle. Of course. More ads like
that one and I could almost learn to accept the practice of ads in theaters.
Yep, it’s amazing how our vacations reflect the movies.
Next year, we’re talking about flying out to California, renting a car,
and driving up the coast. I wonder if my wife remembers that Clint
Eastwood was once the mayor of Carmel? Or that they filmed DIRTY
HARRY in San Francisco? Come to think of it, they filmed BULLITT
No, I don’t think I’ll bring that up.
ICS CALENDER OF EVENTS
August 19th Red Eye
August 19th Valient
August 26th Brothers Grimm
August 26th The Cave
August 27th ICS
Meeting at 5:30 P.M. - the Annual ICS Pizza Night!
September 2nd The Sound of Thunder