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SHERBLOM-WOODWARD SISTERS MECHA GOOD
Blake and Taylor Sherblom-Woodward once again took us into the world of anime – this time to a realm of giant robots, aka mecha. “Mecha” is
short for “mechanical” and can refer to robots and androids of any size, although most mecha are as large as a skyscraper, and usually humanoid in
appearance. A mecha is a machine whose origins are either (1) mechanical and made by man or (2) mystical – in that they are made from a substance
or technology that is not fully understood or connected to an enemy or mysterious event. And to further subdivide the mecha categories, it’s also
important to note how mecha are controlled by their pilots – (1) by mechanical means, as in levers or buttons or (2) by a telepathic link. Mecha are
most commonly seen in Anime, or Japanese animated films and shows. Because Tokyo has often been invaded, mecha are frequently seen as
protective warriors against large armies or enemies.
We also saw ‘best of’ clips including an underwear thief, whiny boy mecha pilots and a very cool, dark mecha on mecha limb ripping battle.
It’s always a good time when club members share their passionate love for a genre with the club. Blake and Taylor, you were no exception – it was
an excellent presentation! Thanks for the mecha lessons!
PREMUTOS VS. DEAD-ALIVE
Those of you who left early missed the zombie film to end all zombie films. Our late night feature was PREMUTOS: LORD OF THE LIVING DEAD from German splatter king Olaf Ittenbach. We finally have a debate that tops ALIEN vs. ALIENS – it’s Ittenbach’s PREMUTOS vs. LOTR Peter Jackson’s DEAD-ALIVE!! The film is notable for terrible dubbing, crude and unintentional humor, non-stop violence and a body count odometer at the finale. Of course, we can thank Courtney Spies for bringing in this awful piece of cinema! Ok – you caught me pulling your leg… it really wasn’t an awful piece of cinema, it was an underground masterpiece.
WELCOME ROBIN RICHARDS!
Once again, the Charles Theater strikes! Our newest member, Robin Richards, found our flyer at the Charles and decided to give our anime night a whirl. Robin said she enjoys many genres. Luckily, so do the rest of us as evidenced by the diverse themes of our meetings. Welcome to the club, Robin!
PIZZA NIGHT – ALWAYS A SUCCESS!
August was our annual pizza night. There were about 6 slices left by the end of the night. It’s a great night to enjoy pizza and have a chance to mingle with the other club members. Thank to the board for arranging it!
Jim Childs and Troy Farwell have submitted front and back t-shirt designs for the club. We will have online voting set up on our website, www.icsfilm.net. More information will be forthcoming.
NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
Our next meeting will be held on Saturday September 24th 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.
Ignore the calendar – a night of Irwin Allen is on the wayside. This September, Gary Roberson is hosting a night of Butt-Kicking Babes. He requested that all female club members wear black leather to get into the spirit of the night. Better watch out, Gary – never tell a butt-kicking babe what to wear!
The October meeting pot luck tradition continues. It’s always a night of surprising dishes and good food. The sign up list is below. If cooking is not your forte, consider bringing in sodas or helping set-up or clean-up. Regina is keeping the list, so if you have an update or want to add yourself to a category, email her at RVALLER107@HOTMAIL.COM or see her at the next meeting.
• ??? – Doritos & onion/garlic
• Skip – Chicken Wings
• Sam Diblasi – Casserole?
• Donna – Chili
• Charlie – Hot Dog Extravaganza
• Norman – some random yummy thing
• Andrew – cake
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.
INVASION STRIKES CLOSE TO HOME
Shaun Cassidy, creator and executive producer of ABC's new SF series Invasion—which kicks off with a hurricane in Florida— told SCI FI Wire that he has a unique perspective on living through a hurricane, thanks to someone close to him. "There have been numerous disasters of late, and yet a lot of us are still here, and we don't know what the ramifications really are yet," Cassidy (American Gothic) said.
"That's the universe our show is set in. ... And it's also personal for me. My wife is from Homestead, Fla. She went through Hurricane Andrew," the real-life 1992 storm that helped inspire Invasion, well before Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the surrounding areas.
Cassidy said that his wife was a senior in high school at the time and had to live for months without electricity. He said her perception of what happens to a community when a hurricane hits has helped color his approach to Invasion.
Cassidy's description of the series sounds eerily similar to the real-life drama that is playing out on CNN in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Invasion is "a show about a family and community in recovery, post-hurricane, and a lot of people are traumatized by the initial event," Cassidy said. "It's really the aftermath that is the breeding ground for ongoing mysteries. Aberrant behavior in the population, changes in the population that initially are attributed to the trauma as a result of the hurricane."
According to Cassidy, the show's hurricane will lead to the quarantine of the small Florida town in the series "because of the stuff released from the hospital, and there are bodies missing. They don't know what the state of the water is. It serves to isolate a lot of these people, and there may be darker forces at work here. The sheriff seems to have another agenda beyond just protecting this community. He may want his community and the people to survive, but he may want certain things to survive more than others."
Cassidy said that he plans to keep his "suspense thriller" series as grounded in science fact as possible. "If at the end of the season it doesn't come off as science fiction at all, that would be fantastic," he said.
After Hurricane Katrina, ABC initially pulled all on-air promotion of the show, a companion to ABC's hit SF series Lost. But the network plans to go forward with Invasion's premiere, as planned, on Sept. 21; the show will air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT, immediately after Lost.
SCI FI ASKS WHAT IF?
SCI FI Channel announced that it is developing What If, a "speculative future" series that poses intriguing scenarios of alternate realities. The program, from NBC Universal Television Studio in association with New Line Television, asks, "What if a moment in time could change the world forever?"
What If is being developed as a weekly, one-hour series. Some scenarios: What would happen if the meteor had missed the Earth and dinosaurs co-existed with the development of humans? What if Germany had developed the first atomic weapon, bombed New York and was victorious in World War II?
"This project has universal appeal," Mark Stern, SCI FI Channel's executive vice president of original programming, said. "Who hasn't wondered what our daily lives might be like if certain moments in history had gone a different way? What If will take an exciting, thought-provoking approach to imagining such possibilities."
What If is inspired by the book series of the same name. The production will work with Byron Hollinshead, president of American Historical Publications and producer of the best-selling anthologies, which are published by Putnam in the United States.
GORSKI BONKERS FOR CAMPBELLS BRAIN
Tamara Gorski said that she had a blast filming the upcoming SCI FI original movie Man with the Screaming Brain and added that co-writer-producer-director-star Bruce Campbell has crafted a unique horror-action-comedy hybrid. "I had a really, really amazing time," Gorski said. "The further along we went in the shooting, the more I saw the layers being uncovered."
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, after they're both killed by Tatoya (Gorski), a mysterious Gypsy woman. Once they're merged by a mad scientist (Stacy Keach), William and Yegor seek revenge against Tatoya. Ted Raimi co-stars as Keach's hip-hop-loving assistant.
"There's some flat-out comedy," Gorski said. "Ted Raimi and I always said we were in two completely different movies. They were in a comedy, and I was in a horror-action film. There's stuff there for all kinds of audiences. It'll appeal to the SF people.
It's a horror film, but not in a classical sense. It's not blood-and-gore horror, but it's conceptually horrific. And it was not easy taking direction from Bruce with that pate on, that surgical pate, as it got more and more infected. He'd come up to me with this weird Three Stooges hair sticking out of his head. So I was appreciative and excited to find out what we were doing next and, at the same time, completely grossed out." Man with the Screaming Brain premieres Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
MEDIUM GETS HIGH CONCEPT
René Echevarria, creator and executive producer of NBC's Medium, said there are some high-concept episodes "coming out of the box." "The challenge for me is that I'd like to see a little bit more continuing storylines," Echevarria said. "One thing we're aware of: The first season was very much about Allison figuring out how this thing works."
Now that Allison (Patricia Arquette) understands her powers better, she still has to try to strike a balance between work and her family, Echevarria said. And her husband, Joe (Jake Weber), will be "continuing to deal with the fact that he married a witch," he said with a laugh. "We just want to be true to the reality of that."
In last season's cliffhanger, Capt. Kenneth Push (Arliss Howard) put his life in jeopardy to try to stop a serial killer. As season two kicks off, look for the completion of that story. Howard has also been tapped to direct an episode later in the season.
According to Echevarria, this season Allison will dream that she's in a mental asylum, and there will also be a 3-D episode. There's also "a show where Allison wakes up, and it starts with a musical number. And Allison is singing 'I Will Survive,'" he said with a laugh. "She wakes up from sort of a fantasy dream, and the song's still playing in her head, and she can't make it go away. The song is literally stuck in her head. She's like, 'Joe, you don't ... ' He says, 'Yeah, I've had that happen.' She yells, 'You don't understand! I can't hear you!'"
And look for baby Marie to finally get her first scripted line of dialogue. Season two of Medium premieres Sept. 19 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. NBC is owned by NBC Universal.
DON’T CALL SURFACE SCI FI
Jay R. Ferguson, who co-stars in NBC's new SF series Surface, said that the show has fantastic elements, but that he doesn't think of it as true science fiction. "To me, sci-fi is Star Trek or Star Wars," Ferguson said.
"This is almost like something that could be real. You think of a new species popping up in the ocean, and if you saw that in the headlines of today's paper, you wouldn't be that shocked. It's very, very likely, in fact, that there are several species and several animals that we have yet to see that are in the deep depths of the ocean."
When describing the show, Ferguson feels the term "speculative fiction" is more appropriate than science fiction. "To me, even as a sci-fi fan, speculative fiction sounds so much more interesting," he said.
In Surface, Ferguson plays an expert diver who believes his brother's death was caused by a mysterious sea creature. His storyline makes up one-third of the series, which also stars Lake Bell and Carter Jenkins.
"I suppose that while you have Lake's character, that's the brain, and Carter's character, who's kind of the heart, my character is kind of the muscle," Ferguson said.
Surface premieres Sept. 19 and will air Mondays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. NBC is owned by NBC Universal, which also owns SCIFI.COM.
LAWLESS INVADES GALACTICA
Lucy Lawless, who will guest-star in an upcoming episode of SCI FI Channel's original series Battlestar Galactica, told SCI FI Wire that footage she shot while playing a broadcast reporter actually makes it into the final cut, which airs Sept. 9.
"We were shooting video, and they are using footage that I and my crew actually shot," Lawless said. "It was really exciting, worrying about the camera angle you are getting, and you were truly being your character and fully concerned about shooting the footage. It was like shooting a movie within a movie."
Lawless guest-stars in "Final Cut," the eighth episode of Galactica's current second season, written by Mark Verheiden and directed by Robert Young. In the episode, Lawless plays reporter D'Anna Friel, who gets unlimited access to film aboard Galactica and documents the stress of military life during wartime.
The marines, led by Lt. Palladino (Jeremy Guilbaut), get widely criticized when his crew opens fire on civilian protesters, killing four and wounding 12. Then there's a death threat against Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan). Meanwhile, President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) and Cmdr. Adama (Edward James Olmos) offer Fleet News Service full access to the pilots and crew. Along the way, the reporter uncovers some major secrets and faces an ethical dilemma.
Lawless admitted that she wasn't familiar with the Galactica series before she landed the role, but said that she was impressed with the show's universe. "The sets weren't all shiny, like the previous Battlestar Galactica," she said. "They were grungy and all beaten up. It has that post-apocalyptic rawness. It's genius."
The episode also marks the first time in nearly two decades of acting that Lawless was allowed to use her native New Zealand accent. "I've never wanted to use my real voice before," she said. "It never seemed appropriate, and I was resistant to it. But for this role as a reporter, it seemed appropriate."
movienews movienews Silver Screen movienews movienews
NICOLE KIDMAN TO FIGHT THE INVASION
Nicole Kidman is set to play the lead in INVASION, a science fiction thriller being directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel for Warner Brothers. Originally billed as a remake of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, the project is now being touted as an original story. Apparently, when writer David Kajganich turned in his take, the studio thought it had something fresh on its hands.
INVASION takes place after a mysterious epidemic alters the behavior of human beings and follows a Washington psychiatrist (Kidman) who discovers that its origins are extraterrestrial. She must fight to protect her son, who may hold the key to stopping the invasion.
The movie is eyeing a late September shoot in Baltimore.
NEW HIGHLANDER SET TO SHOOT
HIGHLANDER: THE SOURCE, envisioned as the first of three new films in the popular supernatural franchise, will shoot in Lithuania starting in October. Brett Leonard (LAWNMOWER MAN) will direct, with Adrian Paul playing the immortal Scottish swordsman Duncan MacLeod. THE SOURCE will tell the story of the Immortals as they quest to locate the Holy Grail of their world. The entire series of films will chronicle the origins of the Immortals.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for a storyteller of this genre to take part in the mythology of 20 years," Leonard said in a statement. "HIGHLANDER is an amazing ongoing story that I can bring my visual style to. Everything I have done has led me to this kind of mythical fantasy."
Davis-Panzer Productions is also preparing an anime HIGHLANDER feature film, in partnership with Imagi and Madhouse of Japan, as well as a video game, in conjunction with SCI Games Ltd. of London. Lions Gate Films will distribute THE SOURCE in North America.
JACKSON HEADLINES AFROSAMURAI
Samuel L. Jackson is attached to star in and co-produce a live-action film to be adapted from the Japanese comic franchise AFROSAMURAI, created by Takashi Okazaki. Jackson is already signed to lend his voice to an AFROSAMURAI TV series, set to premiere on Spike TV next year.
AFROSAMURAI is the story of a warrior in feudal Japan who roams the country trying to avenge the death of his father, whom he saw murdered. His nemesis is a three-armed gunman.
Production is set to begin in 2006, with a U.S. release targeted for 2007. The television series, from Gonzo and Fuji TV, will premiere in Japan after airing on Spike.
CLONUS PRODUCERS SUE OVER ISLAND CLONING
Following much discussion among journalists and on-liners about the debt this summer’s Michael Bay actioner THE ISLAND owes to Robert F. Fiveson’s 1979 sci-fi chiller PARTS: THE CLONUS HORROR, Fiveson and CLONUS co-producer Myrl A. Schreibman have filed suit over the resemblances. Their movie, recently released on DVD by Mondo Macabro under the simpler title CLONUS, is about a futuristic compound where human clones live, unaware of their identities—until one of them (Tim Donnelly) begins questioning his existence. THE ISLAND tells a practically identical story for the first half, then jumps into big-scale action once its duplicated hero (Ewan McGregor) and a female companion (Scarlett Johansson) escape the colony.
Fiveson and Schreibman have sued production companies DreamWorks (which also released) and Warner Bros. over what they see as 90 points of similarity. “Somebody had written me asking if THE ISLAND was an official remake,” Fiveson said. “I then went to the ISLAND website and they had a trailer and I thought, ‘That looks like a trailer to my movie,’ right down to where key moments and shots were the same.” The filmmaker adds that when he saw THE ISLAND, “Honestly, I really liked it, because this is the way the movie should have been done,” but he couldn’t ignore the fact that the duplication went “beyond the premise. It’s specific characterizations, it’s specific lines, shot compositions and sequencing.”
DreamWorks, for whom THE ISLAND has been a box-office disappointment, states that the movie “was independently created and does not infringe anyone’s copyrights,” while Warners had no comment. CLONUS was scripted by Fiveson, Schreibman, Bob Sullivan and Ron Smith, while ISLAND was written by ALIAS’ Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, based off a script by Caspian Tredwell-Owen.
SCARY MOVIE 4 PREPARES FOR VANCOUVER SHOOT
Dimension Films' SCARY MOVIE 4 will shoot from September 15th through January 15th in Vancouver. David Zucker returns to direct the film that is aiming for a April 14th, 2006 release. Anna Faris is signed on to return and newcomer Shaun Landers has joined the cast.
CLIVE BARKER’S THE PLAGUE ABOUT TO SPREAD
Clive Barker’s new Midnight Picture Show label has cast and is gearing up to shoot its first feature film effort, THE PLAGUE. The “really intense” (per Barker) horror flick will star DAWNSON’S CREEK’s James Van Der Beek, Ivana Milicevic (USA Network’s FRANKENSTEIN) and Brad Hunt. Veteran scream star Dee Wallace Stone, best known for E.T., THE HOWLING, CUJO and THE HILLS HAVE EYES, will also be featured in the film. Shooting began August 22 in Winnepeg, Canada under the direction of first-timer Hal Masonberg (a ’90s-era Full Moon production assistant), who co-wrote the script with Teal Minton.
“All the children of the world under 8 years old fall into a coma,” co-producer Anthony di Blasi said of the film’s plot. “THE PLAGUE is essentially the story of the extinction of mankind. After 10 years, the children wake up and want to kill the world. The 10 years they were asleep served as an incubation period, where the children develop their powers. When they awake, the bloodshed begins. Basically, in this story, God cleans house.”
WEINSTEINS SNATCH UP ROGUE
With Harvey and Bob Weinstein readying to release Greg McLean’s shocker WOLF CREEK under the Dimension banner November 18, the brothers have also taken up the financial backing of the writer/director’s long-mooted killer-crocodile movie ROGUE. The Australian McLean first sold the script several years ago to the Down Under production/distribution outfit Beyond Entertainment, and the film went through a tortured development period—during which McLean expanded a supporting character intended for that movie into WOLF CREEK’s villain. Now the Weinsteins are putting up $10 million for ROGUE, in which a group of vacationers are terrorized by the monster reptile; an American is likely to have the lead role. Beyond and Mushroom Pictures will produce, with filming to take place in Melbourne and the Northern Territory.
YOUNG HANNIBAL READY TO ROLL
Producers Dino and Martha De Laurentiis (among several others) are preparing to shoot BEHIND THE MASK: YOUNG HANNIBAL beginning October 10 in Prague. Peter Webber (THE GIRL WITH THE PEARL EARRING) will direct from Thomas Harris’ script based on the author’s Behind the Mask novel, to be published by Bantam Dell this fall. Twenty-year-old French actor Gaspard Ulliel (BROTHERHOOD OF THE WOLF) has been picked to play the junior Lecter, who escapes from an orphanage and is taken in by Lady Murasaki (Chinese star Gong Li), whom he uses as part of a revenge plot. Also in the cast are Rhys Ifans (ENDURING LOVE), Richard Brake (BATMAN BEGINS) and Kevin McKidd (DOG SOLDIERS). The Weinstein Company has U.S. distribution rights and plans to open the film in summer 2006.
LAWRENCE TAKES ON LEGEND
Warner Brothers has set Francis Lawrence (CONSTANTINE) to direct I AM LEGEND, fast-tracking the long-gestating adaptation of the Richard Matheson sci-fi novel. Mark Protosevich (THE CELL) wrote the script.
Lawrence takes on one of the more ambitious films in Warner's repertoire. I AM LEGEND is a big project that has been at the studio for nearly a decade. At one time, it had Ridley Scott and Arnold Schwarzenegger attached, and another incarnation had Michael Bay and Will Smith set.
Set in Los Angeles after a biological war, the film centers on the sole healthy survivor, a man who finds himself in a battle against nocturnal mutants. The script will undergo a rewrite under the supervision of Lawrence and the producers, who eye a 2006 start date. Matheson's post-apocalyptic tale has been filmed twice before. Vincent Price starred in 1964's THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, and Charlton Heston starred in THE OMEGA MAN.
SKINWALKERS CASTS UP FOR SHOOT
A cast has just been sized up for the upcoming horror film SKINWALKERS, which begins shooting September 19th. Jason Behr (THE GRUDGE), Elias Koteas (THE THIN RED LINE), Rhona Mitra (NIP/TUCK), Natassia Malthe (ELEKTRA) and Lyriq Bent (SAW 2) have joined the cast of the film for Constantin Film and Lions Gate Films. Jim Isaac (JASON X) is directing the horror-thriller about a 12-year-old boy caught in a war between two factions of werewolves. Look for the film in theaters sometime in 2006.
Red Eye, a BULLSEYE!!!
By Dava Sentz
Flying is terrifying experience for many people.
Though it is quite safe, being thousands of feet above ground while the plane dips through a mass of clouds can be very unnerving for the traveler, especially if they're afraid of heights. Just the natural elements of air travel can be enough to send a passenger into a state of panic.
Toss in that the passenger you happen to be sitting next to a psychotic hit man, an already stressful situation becomes ten times worse. Wes Craven tackles this pulse -pounding dilemma in his latest nail-biting thriller, Red Eye.
I've always loved the 'edge of your seat' horror genre. There's something so fun about sitting in the dark, listening to the beat of your own heart as suspense builds on the movie screen. Wes Craven has forever attempted to keep this spirit alive and has enjoyed much success.
Still, I've never seen the appeal. Looking at his previous films, it is clear he loves what he does, but there is no imagination behind the fright. All he ever seems to accomplish in his work is a series of horror cliches coupled with high intensity screams. Red Eye does employ an air of predictability, as well as an overly used idea, but does so in a more subtle and entertaining fashion.
The idea that I'm referring to is what sports moguls call "the home court advantage" a theory stating that a team will play better if on their own soil. Lisa Reisert, Craven's high-flying heroine portrayed by Rachel McAdams, gives rise to this belief in the second half of the movie, when she finds herself back on familiar territory, back on HER territory.
While this is an idea both widely (and falsely) accepted for many years, Craven was able to work it to a flattering degree. In doing using this cliché, he created a female character that was crafty, assertive, as well as beautiful. As women are rarely shown this way on the big screen, (especially in horror films) this was a tremendous nod of respect.
The evil counterpart to which Lisa embraces her 'take no prisoners' attitude is the sadistic, yet enticing Jackson Rippner played by Irishman Cillian Murphy. True to most plots of this nature, 'Jack' Rippner appears to be both sweet and charming in the early stages of the film, armed with a flirtatious nature and charismatic sex appeal.
But, as the saying goes, if something's too good to be true, it probably is, and Jack shows his true colors all too soon, revealing a hidden agenda of murder and mayhem. Cillian Murphy seems to be the ideal person for this role, boasting an impressive display of creepy façade with soulful good looks.
This, in a round about way, adds to the fright. The audience can see this character on screen knowing full well the danger to come, yet sill are drawn in by the essence of deep eyes and chiseled features. Together, he and McAdam's are the dynamic duo of the skies.
One thing that sets this film apart from Craven's familiar world of teen slasher decadence is the inexplicable absence of a supporting cast. Red Eye is, primarily, a two-man operation consisting of Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, and a list of anonymous faces that, while memorable, were not important enough to earn a name in the credits.
These included Brian Cox as 'Dad', Angela Paton as 'Nice Lady' (aka Dr. Phil Groupie) and Max Kasch as 'Headphone Kid'. There was, however, one notable exception; the ditzsy Lux Atlantic receptionist, Cynthia played by Jayma Mays. New to the world of big budget films, this Heather Graham look-a-like gives a much-needed comedic element to this air born chiller.
As a viewer, you almost have to feel sorry for her character because Cynthia is new to her position at the hotel. On her first night alone she is not only charged with the handling of disgruntled, snotty patrons, but also with the lives of all of Lux Atlantic's guests. Such a thing is enough to drive anyone into insanity and she must be given credit for her capabilities. Well done!
Red Eye is hardly worthy of Oscar or any other form of strong cinematic praise. Still, it is definitely an enjoyable flick, one that I would deem as fun, sexy and, be it ever so mild, scary. If nothing else, you will come away from the experience having learned this very important lesson; never talk to strangers, especially in over crowed airports.
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ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS (Season 1) Release Date:
October 4, 2005
39 Episodes - 1003 minutes of wry, witty, myster thrillers that we grew up with! This is the real deal! (Universal DVD $35)
THE MAN WITH NINE LIVES (1939) Release Date: October
Stars Boris Karloff, Roger Pryor, Jo Ann Sayers and John Dilson. Boris Karloff tries to find the cure for cancer, but goes mad because of the circumstances he finds himself in. Holed up in a sub-basement of an old house he continues his experiments after being revived from a state of suspended animation. (Columbia Tri-Star DVD $15)
THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1945) Release Date: October 4,
Stars Dorothy McGuire, George Brendt, Ethel Barrymore, Kent Smith, Elsa Lanchester and Rhonda Fleming. A man returns to his home estate and killings begin around the town. An out of town doctor is trying to take root, and a servant is drunk...who is the killer? First class chills with a psychopathic murderer loose in a house on a stormy night. Every cast member is perfect. This is a classic. (Columbia Tri-Star DVD $15)
YOG - THE SPACE AMOEBA - Release Date: October 11,
Stars Taro Kudo, Atsuko Takahashi, Yog and Yukiko Kobayashi. A bunch of enterpenurs start work on a vacatuion resort only to find it infested with giant mutant alien monsters. The monsters are flotsam from the beginnings of an alien house-cleaning project. The aliens plan to gut earth, then take-over. It delays plans on the vacation resort. Includes English language version and original Japanese version. (Media Blasters DVD $20)
ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN - The First Season (Classic
TV - 1952) Release Date: October 18, 2005
Stars George Reeves. All 26 episodes from the first seaon of this truly classic TV show. Haunted lighthouses, aliens, thugs, gangsters and evil-doers at every turn. But, the man of steel, along with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen are on the scene! Also included in this set is the 1951 movie SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE MEN. Plus, a featurette, a George Reeves short and vintage Kellog's Corn Flakes commercials! (Warner DVD Set $35)
BATMAN (1943) - 15 Chaper Complete Serial. Release
Date: October 18, 2005
Stars Lewis Wilson, Douglas Croft, J. Carrol Naish and Shirley Patterson. The Bat Man of comic book fame debuted on the silver screen in this 15 chapter serial. Japanese criminal master mind, Dr. Daka, is portrayed by J. Carrol Naish. Daka is turning people into zombies, blowing up stuff with a death ray and needs to be stopped! Batman and Robin to the rescue, and watch out for Daka's alligator pit! (Columbia Tri-Star DVD $30)
KING KONG (1933) - Special Edition Release Date: November
The original 1933 classic with Robert Armstrong, Fay Wray and Bruce Cabot. An enterprising promoter (Armstrong) and a young beauty (Fay Wray) travel to Skull Island. Dinosaurs and the mighty ape -- KONG, preside there. Armstrong captures the giant ape and brings it back to New York. Kong escapes and knocks New York on its ear. A classic in anyone's book.This DVD includes the 104-minute restored and remastered B&W film on video in its original full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio and English, French and Spanish subtitles. Extras will include audio commentary (by Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston, with Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Ruth Rose, Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong), the 2005 I'm Kong: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper documentary, a gallery of trailers for other films by director Merian C. Cooper, the new RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World documentary by Peter Jackson (featuring the following featurettes: The Origins of King Kong , Willis O'Brien and Creation , Cameras Roll on Kong, The Eighth Wonder , A Milestone in Visual Effects , Passion, Sound and Fury , The Mystery of the Lost Spider Pit Sequence and King Kong's Legacy ) and Creation test footage (with commentary by Ray Harryhausen). (Warner DVD $25)
KING KONG (1933) - Collector's Edition Release Date:
November 22, 2005
The original 1933 classic with Robert Armstrong, Fay Wray and Bruce Cabot. An enterprising promoter (Armstrong) and a young beauty (Fay Wray) travel to Skull Island. Dinosaurs and the mighty ape -- KONG, preside there. Armstrong captures the giant ape and brings it back to New York. Kong escapes and knocks New York on its ear. A classic in anyone's book.This DVD includes the 104-minute restored and remastered B&W film on video in its original full frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio and English, French and Spanish subtitles. Extras will include audio commentary (by Ray Harryhausen and Ken Ralston, with Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, Ruth Rose, Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong), the 2005 I'm Kong: The Exploits of Merian C. Cooper documentary, a gallery of trailers for other films by director Merian C. Cooper, the new RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, Eighth Wonder of the World documentary by Peter Jackson (featuring the following featurettes: The Origins of King Kong , Willis O'Brien and Creation , Cameras Roll on Kong, The Eighth Wonder , A Milestone in Visual Effects , Passion, Sound and Fury , The Mystery of the Lost Spider Pit Sequence and King Kong's Legacy ) and Creation test footage (with commentary by Ray Harryhausen). In additional, this edition features a limited tin packaging that also features a 20-page reproduction of the original 1933 souvenir program, King Kong original one-sheet reproduction postcards and a mail-in offer for a reproduction of a vintage theatrical poster. (Warner DVD $35)
VAL LEWTON COLLECTION (9 Movie Set) Release Date: October
Includes: CAT PEOPLE (1942), THE CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE (1944), I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE (1943) , THE BODY SNATCHER (1945), ISLE OF THE DEAD (1945), BEDLAM (1946), THE GHOST SHIP (1943), THE SEVENTH VICTIM (1945) and THE LEOPARD MAN (1943). The nine movies with loads of extras and a documentary on producer Val Lewton! (Warner DVD $50)
MOVIE NIGHT MOVIE NIGHT MOVIE NIGHT MOVIE NIGHT
The Sound of Thunder
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. Oops.
September 16th Lord of War
Cast: Nicolas Cage (Yuri Orlov), Ethan Hawke (Jack Valentine), Jared Leto (Vitaly Orlov), Bridget Moynahan (Ava Fontaine), Eamonn Walker (Andre Baptiste),
Premise: A wily arms dealer dodges bullets and betrayal as he schemes his way to the top of his profession, only to come face to face with his conscience. But it's not easy to leave a life of girls, guns and glamour when no body wants you to stop, not even your enemies.
Cast: Jodie Foster (Kyle Sherin), Peter Sarsgaard, Erika Christensen (Fiona), Sean Bean, Haley Ramm (Brittany Loud), Marlene Lawston (Julia), Kate Beahan (Stephanie), Michael Irby (Obaid), Brent Sexton (Elias)
Premise: After the death of her husband, woman decides to return home to America with her young daughter, but while on the flight, the daughter mysteriously disappears. The flight attendants seem to think she never brought a child on board with her
Tim Burtons Corpse Bride
Cast: (voices) Johnny Depp (Victor), Helena Bonham Carter (The Corpse
Bride), Emily Watson (Victoria), Albert Finney, Christopher Lee, Richard E.
Grant, Joanna Lumley
Premise: (9/21/03) The core gist of the fairy tale this movie is based upon
is that a young man accidentally marries the corpse of a murdered bride, who
is then resurrected, expecting her new (living) husband to love her. Stop
Cast: Nathan Fillion (Capt. Malcolm Reynolds), Gina Torres (Zoe), Alan Tudyk (Wash), Sean Maher (Simon), Jewel Staite (Kaylee), Summer Glau (River), Ron Glass (Shepherd Book), Morena Baccarin (Inara), Adam Baldwin (Jayne)
Premise: Based on the tv series Firefly. .This is a long awaited and much desired Movie. When Captain Malcolm Reynolds takes on two new passengers - a young doctor and his unstable, telepathic sister - he gets much more than he bargained for. The pair are fugitives from the coalition dominating the universe, who will stop at nothing to reclaim the girl.
Mel Welles, 81, the character actor who played the florist Gravis
Muchnik in Roger Corman's 1960 black comedy THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS,
Welles appeared in dozens of movies, including THE GOLDEN BLADE, THE SILVER CHALICE, ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY, ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS, THE 27TH DAY, WOLFEN, CHOPPING MALL, INVASION EARTH and RAISING DEAD. He was also in the early rock movies HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL, and ROCK ALL NIGHT in which he played Sir Bop and for which he wrote the "Unabridged Hiptionary" to help moviegoers understand the dialogue.
Besides his acting, which included many television roles, he directed B movies, mostly in Europe; produced and directed concerts in Australia, did voice overs; was a teacher, and, in later years, was a script supervisor.
Alexander Golitzen, Academy Award-winning art director and production
designer who for 40 years made entire civilizations rise out of the back
lots of Hollywood, has died.
From 1953 the supervising art director at Universal Pictures, Mr. Golitzen is credited on more than 300 films. He was nominated for 14 Oscars and, with colleagues, shared three of them: for PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1943), SPARTACUS (1960) and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962). Active from the mid-1930's until his retirement in the mid-70's, Mr. Golitzen was responsible for the look of many classic films of the mid-20th century. He worked with some of Hollywood's most renowned directors, among them Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Ernst Lubitsch, Douglas Sirk and Fritz Lang.
His credits include such films as FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, THAT UNCERTAIN FEELING, SCARLET STREET, LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, THE FAR COUNTRY, WRITTEN ON THE WIND, TOUCH OF EVIL, IMITATION OF LIFE, THE BLACK SHIELD OF FALWORTH (“Yonda lies da castle of my fodda”), FATHER GOOSE, THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, MADIGAN, DEATH OF A GUNFIGHTER, AIRPORT and PLAY MISTY FOR ME.
And as far as Imaginative Cinema goes, he was responsible for the look of ABBOTT AND COSTELLO GO TO MARS, THIS ISLAND EARTH, ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY, TARATULA, THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US, THE MOLE PEOPLE, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, THE DEADLY MANTIS, THE MONOLITH MONSTERS, THE THING THAT COULDN’T DIE, MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS, CURSE OF THE UNDEAD, THE LEECH WOMAN, THE NIGHT WALKER, COLOSSUS; THE FORBIN PROJECT and SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE.
He was 97 years old.
Brock Peters, the versatile film and stage actor, singer and
producer who first rose to prominence in the 1960's and 70's with his powerful
singing voice and poignant screen portrayals of angry, belligerent black
men, has died. He was 78.
Mr. Peters was born Brock Fisher in New York City in 1927 and made his stage debut at 15 in the 1943 Broadway production of PORGY AND BESS in a minor role, as Jim. After attending the University of Chicago and City College of New York, he continued training for the stage in New York. He also honed his resonant bass singing voice as a member of the de Paur Infantry Chorus and toured clubs in the United States and Canada with a cabaret act. In 1953 he made his first television appearance as a singer on ARTHUR GODFREY'S TALENT SCOUTS.
His first screen appearances were in two lavish all-black musicals directed by Otto Preminger, CARMEN JONES in 1954 and PORGY AND BESS in 1959. His film roles include an award winning performance (All-American Press Association Award) in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD,
THE L-SHAPED ROOM, THE PAWNBROKER, MAJOR DUNDEE, LOST IN THE STARS, SLAUGHTER’S BIG RIP-OFF, THE MCMASTERS and TWO-MINUTE WARNING. Peters
appeared in such genre films as SOYLENT GREEN, STAR TREK IV, ALLIGATOR II and STAR TREK VI. His credits also include the television mini-series BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA and ROOTS: THE NEXT GENERATION, as well as the voice of Lucius Fox in BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and he was the sinister voice of Darth Vader in the NPR radio version of the STAR WARS trilogy.
Well, folks, it was bound to happen. After the last couple
of years of columns, through all the blather about STAR WARS, Star Trek,
James Stewart, drive-in movies, sports movies, Steve McQueen, monsters
galore, the magic ellipsis, and more lists than you can shake Gandalf’s
stick at, it has come down to this.
The 100 greatest movies ever made.
Wait, hold on – let me go back and fix that a little…
The 100 Greatest Movies Ever Made. Yeah, there ya go; a subject like that just begs to be capitalized.
I’ve been tossing the idea around for a while, jotting down a title here, a title there, just so I wouldn’t forget them. But I didn’t really get serious about it until I finished Roger Ebert’s second volume of The Great Movies, and started thinking, You know, I liked a lot of those. Just not as much as Roger.
So I started going through my video collection and wrote down about 25 titles that I couldn’t imagine ever losing. To that list, I added some titles from the all-time list of Academy Award-winning Best Pictures. (Not surprisingly, I didn’t add that many.) Then I cobbled from Ebert’s books, as well as the various AFI lists, and Entertainment Weekly’s The 100 Greatest Movies Ever Made. And finally, I just sat back and reminisced. It wasn’t as hard as I thought.
Now here comes the best part for me, the column-writer: the list is so long, and I’ve got so much to say (big surprise), that I’ve easily mapped out my next four columns! Right through December!! Good-bye writer’s block, helloooo, Mr. Deadline!! Seriously, I decided to do 25 movies a month, starting this month with 100 through 76, and so on, leading up to my all-time 25 favorite movies in December. Then January comes in with my Top Ten of 2005, February follows with my Oscar predictions…yep, life is sweet. Shoulda thought of this years ago. (Okay, months ago.)
100. THE GENERAL (1927) Buster Keaton’s masterpiece, and one of a very
few silent movies on my list. Keaton plays Johnny Gray, a sad sack
character barred from serving for the Confederacy during the Civil War,
who winds up saving a valued Confederate train from the Union Army.
The film is an extended comic chase sequence in which Keaton and his girlfriend
do everything possible to win the race, driving the train to safety, and
the logistics of the chase are mind-boggling.
99. YOJIMBO (1961) Akira Kurosawa’s samurai epic was the inspiration for Leone’s A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS. Toshiro Mifune plays a ronin samurai who comes to a village plagued by warring gangs, and proceeds to play the gangs against one another.
98. TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE (1948) John Huston directed Humphrey Bogart, Tim Holt, and his own father Walter Huston as three down-and-out prospectors looking to claim a legendary gold strike. Bogart’s descent into greedy madness as Fred C. Dobbs is one of his very best performances. You never really warm to Bogart’s slimy character, but you can’t help marveling over the acting.
97. BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (1925) A piece of political propaganda if ever there was one – the revolt of the sailors over poor conditions is viewed as justifiable – but it makes the list for one of the greatest moments ever put to film, the famed Odessa Steps sequence. Sergei Eisenstein’s camerawork was viewed as the hallmark of the Soviet montage, far ahead of its time in the world of filmmaking.
96. WHEN HARRY MET SALLY… (1989) I’d vote for this as one of the greatest date movies ever made. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan have wonderful chemistry as the title couple, who meet off and on over the years before developing first a friendship, then a love. Lots of funny dialogue between the sexes, and one of the great comic moments of all-time – Ryan’s fake orgasm in the restaurant. Director Rob Reiner’s mother spoke the punchline at the end of this scene!
95. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) One of the best of the “backstage” movies about theater life, centered on two powerhouse performances: Bette Davis as Margo Channing, the grande dame of Broadway, and Anne Baxter as Eve Harrington, the scheming newcomer out for Davis’ fame and fortune. The screenplay is one of the sharpest ever written, continually fascinating, with a low-key but fitting finale.
94. METROPOLIS (1927) The vision of Fritz Lang’s sci-fi epic is incredible: a futuristic society made up of two classes, the thinkers and the workers, who never seem to interact, until one thinker dares to enter the workers’ underworld. The imagery is far ahead of its time. Lang went on to direct the classic M, but this one is his masterpiece.
93. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937) Not my favorite Disney cartoon – two more are higher on my list – but this one makes the chart because, well, frankly, it was first. And let’s face it, that’s gotta count for something. No one had ever seen anything like SNOW WHITE before Walt and his nine old men brought her to life. The care that went into every colorful frame is very evident, and while the songs are pretty treacly, you can’t beat that ol’ witch for pure nastiness. My one quibble was that her demise happened so quickly. Oh, well.
92. ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1969) The greatest of the Sergio Leone westerns, and considering the trilogy that preceded it, that’s saying something. Leone holds your attention with long, slow sequences completely sans dialogue, allowing the camera to deliver close-up after close-up of sweaty, sunburned faces; the opening with the killers at the train station is a perfect example. Henry Fonda played against type as one of the all-time great villains. A gorgeous musical score, too.
91. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) This is the first of four Alfred Hitchcock films on my list, and the amazing thing is that he made them all in about a 7-year period. I don’t think anyone could match that for sustained brilliance; from 1954 to 1960, Hitchcock was probably the best director working on the planet. It’s a sin that he never won an Oscar. NBN is a flat-out blast, a popcorn movie of the highest order, acted to perfection by a flawless cast and filmed at a breakneck pace. Seldom has a chase film been so satisfying.
90. A CHRISTMAS STORY (1983) This warm and often hilarious movie is a Christmas tradition at our house, and deservedly so. Rarely has there been a “memory movie” that sounded so true, so honest, so real. The voice-over narrator (Jean Shepherd, who actually wrote the book on which the film was based) talks fondly of his childhood in late ‘40s Indiana, when all he wanted for Christmas was a Red Ryder BB gun. Peter Billingsley plays Ralphie, the narrator’s alter ego, with a disarmingly wide-eyed openness. Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon are perfect as his parents. It’s the only time I’ve ever heard a swear word provide the biggest laugh in a G-rated film.
89. VERTIGO (1958) Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece of paranoia, phobias, and deep, dark obsessions. James Stewart is an ex-cop hired to tail a woman suspected of cheating on her husband, but when he becomes infatuated with her, the case turns sour. Then the woman…well, how can I say more? It’s usually a cardinal sin to reveal much of the plot of a Hitchcock movie, and this is one that rewards the serious viewer.
88. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) One of the greatest film noirs ever made, featuring one of the best “bad couples” ever: Barbara Stanwyck as an ice- blonde femme fatale, and Fred MacMurray as the insurance salesman she ropes into a murder plot. The screenplay by Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler should have won an Oscar; the byplay between Stanwyck and MacMurray is consistently sharp and biting. Once they set eyes on each other, practically every other line becomes a double entendre. Edward G. Robinson, well known for playing bad guys, is excellent as the claims adjuster on their trail.
87. THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) Forget the remake; the original is still one of the best conspiracy movies ever made. Director John Frankenheimer’s thriller instincts were never better (although he appears again higher on my list). Frank Sinatra races to stop an assassination plot built around an old Army buddy, Laurence Harvey, brainwashed by the North Koreans to kill. Angela Lansbury plays Harvey’s mother – one of the greatest screen villainesses ever.
86. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) Steven Spielberg makes the first of five appearances on this list with his first science fiction movie, a tale of alien visitation that builds in intensity until you are left stunned in your seat, gazing in wonder at a truly breathtaking climax. Richard Dreyfuss is just right as the family guy coming slowly unglued by what he has seen and experienced, and French film director Francois Truffaut makes a rare acting appearance as a scientist investigating the phenomena.
85. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) This one might not have made the list if not for the circumstances under which I saw it: in a cavernous, old-time movie house, with accompaniment on a rainbow-lit Wurlitzer organ. Perfect. Lon Chaney plays arguably his greatest role as the tragic phantom, haunting the Paris Opera House. His unmasking scene has become legendary; the “Red Death” sequence (the only scene in the film that uses color) is also notable.
84. HALLOWEEN (1978) I thought hard about this one. My favorite John Carpenter movie has always been THE THING, and I doubt that will ever change. But this is the movie that made more of an impact. Look at all the movies that have followed – most of them junk, and very few even come close to approaching HALLOWEEN in terms of quality. You know the ones I’m talking about; the ones that sacrifice scares for gore. HALLOWEEN managed to stay frightening all the way through without resorting to buckets of blood, and it deserves all kinds of props for that.
83. INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (1956) You want to talk paranoia? This is the one to beat. Probably the second greatest science fiction film to come out of the ‘50s (the best is several months down the road on the list), and it gets that reputation with very little in the way of special effects. Unless you count lots and lots of big, rubbery seed pods. Kevin McCarthy plays a doctor, returning to his California town after a long absence, who slowly comes around to the realization that his neighbors have been taken over by aliens. This film contains one of the most heartbreaking kisses in screen history; you’ll know it when you see it. I’ve never seen the original cut, which did not feature the tacked-on ending designed to cheer nervous audiences. But what they released is still great.
82. GIANT (1956) I used to have a weakness for big, splashy prime time soaps, and it probably all started with this film – a big, splashy adaptation of the Edna Ferber novel, a commentary on race relations slyly disguised as a multigenerational Texas potboiler. It’s the last place you would expect to see James Dean’s final film role, an underappreciated, tragic example of the corruption of power. Great work from Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Chill Wills, and a young Dennis Hopper.
81. THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962) John Ford’s last great western, filmed on studio backlots with a minimum of fuss. All the attention is on the performances: James Stewart plays an idealistic lawyer, John Wayne plays the rancher who becomes his romantic rival and less-than-enthusiastic guardian angel, and Lee Marvin plays the despicable villain of the title. Wayne’s role is secondary to Stewart’s in the plot, but it is Wayne’s sacrifices that you remember after the movie is over.
80. THE UNTOUCHABLES (1987) The best film that Brian De Palma ever made was also one of his least original, a remake of the classic TV series that featured FBI agent Eliot Ness chasing depression-era mobsters. But it’s a masterpiece of style, cinematography, and filmcraft – especially the homage to Eisenstein in the train station. Sean Connery’s role as an honest Chicago cop supporting Kevin Costner’s Ness is wonderful – one of those times when a “career Oscar” was actually well-deserved.
79. STALAG 17 (1953) Billy Wilder makes the list again (and he’ll return) with a splendidly acted ensemble picture about life in a Nazi prison camp. Imagine Hogan’s Heroes with a lot fewer laughs, but much better acting. William Holden won an Oscar for his role as Selden, the camp fixer who only looks out for himself, and pays the price when he’s suspected of being a Nazi stooge. Holden kind of backs into his hero role here; you’re never sure if you like the guy. But the famous “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” scene that unmasks the real spy is a great movie moment. Outstanding support from Harvey Lembeck, Robert Strauss, Neville Brand, and Peter Graves as fellow prisoners.
78. PLANET OF THE APES (1968) This was one of the iconic science fiction movies of the ‘60s, with spectacular special effects make-up and great performances from Kim Hunter, Roddy McDowall, Maurice Evans, and even Charlton Heston, as the shipwrecked astronaut trying to survive on a world where Darwin’s theory of evolution has been knocked on its keister. If you have managed to get to this point in your life without ever having seen the film, and you know nothing about it, then go rent it. Now. The ending will knock you on your keister, too.
77. NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE (1978) What can I say? It’s a funny movie. A consistently funny movie. And who’s to say this isn’t what life was like on college campuses in the early ‘60s, before any of us had heard of Vietnam? A starmaking role for John Belushi, one of the most perfectly-cast ensemble comedies ever made, and a killer soundtrack. What more could you ask for?
76. McLINTOCK! (1963) I haven’t always agreed with John Wayne’s politics, but I have always loved his movies. This was the closest he ever came to making a flat-out comedy, but that’s not why I picked it for the list. (Trust me, there have been about 500 other movies that were funnier.) This is the one I point to as the quintessential “Duke Movie,” filmed in the early ‘60s at the height of his screen charisma and worldwide star power. He surrounds himself with all the members of his stock company, guys like Bruce Cabot, Chill Wills, Hank Worden, Patrick Wayne…heck; the only one missing is Ben Johnson. I wonder what he was doing at the time. Wayne and Maureen O’Hara have great chemistry together as a cattle rancher and his estranged, high-falutin’ wife. Their climactic brawl is a classic. Of all the films on my list, McLINTOCK! is the one film I am most confident will never appear on anyone else’s. Which is as good a place as any to stop for now.
Next month: Movies 75 to 51, including more comedies, more westerns, more thrillers, and maybe even a horror movie or two. See you then
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