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TREATS AND TRICKS
The guest speaker for our Halloween meeting certainly was a
treat and no trick. Film historian Greg Mank returned to give a talk on
old Hollywood actor Laird Cregar and showed the film HANGOVER SQUARE.
It was a wonderful presentation with Greg recalling many film facts and
sharing some amusing stories about Laird Cregar and other actors/directors
from that era. And while making movies, the tricks they played on each
other. Thank you Greg!
IRONMEN OF 2005
As the tradition continues, the Hallween meeting also asks –
how many movies can be watched in one night and by how many people?
We bring you this news, the all-nighter movies included CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST,
DEAD & BREAKFAST, APPLESEED, and CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF. With the 2005
Iron-Man Plempel awards go to Tom and Justin Proveaux, Skip Phillips, Joe
Plempel, and Steve Vaught. (Andrew, Ironman 2004, as the projectionist,
was traditionally disqualified.)
FULL BUFFET TABLE
ICS members stepped up to the deed and we had a great selection
of food for the Pot Luck dinner. From the Hot Kosher Dogs from Charlie
to the Cold Suishi from Steve, chicken casserole, meatballs, ham, cake,
chips, brownies, it seemed all the tastebuds were satisfied. Thanks to
all that participated!
WELCOME TO TIM, HEATHER AND KYRA!
ICS lifetime members Heather and Tim Fleming stopped by the East
Coast and made a point of joining us for the Halloween meeting. We love
it when they visit their favorite film club. With them was Kyra Fleming
– our youngest club member! She was in a dragon costume and can be seen
in the Photo Gallery. Thanks for stopping by, Flemings! As always,
it was wonderful to see you
Look over Sam’s shoulder and what do you
see? Two Andrews are better then one?......
NEWS OF OUR NEXT MEETING
Our next meeting will be held on Saturday November 19th 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.
A METAL GEAR NOVEMBER
Solid Snake, everyone's favorite mullet-sporting supersoldier,
is coming to visit the ICS meeting , along with many other familiar faces
and voices – one of them, ICS’s own Justin Proveaux. The November presentation
and movie will be given by him and is about Metal Gear Solid and all that
encompasses that – the game, the movie, the wacky wild fun. Gear up and
be ready to roll folks!
LOOK TO THE FUTURE
Our December meeting will be held on December 17th with
the movies brought in from John Ward and our January meeting will be held
on January 28th with a presentation and movies from Tom Proveaux.
THE SUE FEDER DVD FILM LIBRARY
In memory of Sue Feder, the ICS members voted to name the ICS dvd Library
that Joe Plempel has been accumulating, in honor of our much missed member.
The Sue Feder Film library has dvds available for members to borrow. No
KING KONG @ THE SENATOR
Saturday, January 7, 2006 – keep that date
in mind. It will be our 3rd trip to the Senator – this time for KING
KONG. We will be reserving the balcony level for the club.
Tickets are $10 each. Regina is collecting at meetings, or else payments
can be made via www.paypal.com to ICSFILM@hotmail.com.There are still seats
left for you!
DECEMBER YANKEE SWAP
Coming up – another annual event - the December Yankee Swap on December
17th. Please select a gift up to $25 in value. Don’t forget
the new rule - please include either a receipt or gift slip with your Yankee
Swap contribution. In case someone receives a second copy of BATMAN
BEGINS or a Jim Carrey movie, they can graciously accept it in the swap
and exchange for the gift of their choice later on. We appreciate
The annual ICS Election is coming up at the January meeting.
If you are interested in running, please let Dave Willard know.
They’re creepy and their kooky, they’re all together spooky, it’s the
ICS Halloween Paarrttyy!…
ICS Halloween Party 2005 Photo Gallery
We had good Friends, lots of good Food and a great guest speaker!
And there were movies till Dawn – what more could you want!!
Our Guest speaker- Greg
A new member of the WWF!
Should we be changing to the IBS….Imaginative Bearded Society?
Good food table – very important.
Members all the way from NM!
Yes Medusa Robin, we love new members!
tvnewstvnewstvnews TheGlassTeat tvnewstvnewstvnews
CORTESE ATE UP LOCUSTS
"I like SF and I like the escapism of it, but what was
attractive to me about Locusts is that it's not asking the audience to
suspend disbelief too much," Dan Cortese said when talking about the new
movie that he stars in. It’s the upcoming SCI FI original movie Locusts:
The 8th Plague; he said he was most intrigued with the project because
the story isn't out of the realm of possibility. "You watch it and you
go, 'That could possibly happen.'"
Cortese co-stars with Julie Benz (Angel), David Keith
(Path of Destruction) and Jeff Fahey (The Lawnmower Man) in Locusts, which
was written by D.R. Rosen and directed by Ian Gilmour.
In the movie, an eco-activist (Cortese) and his fiancée,
a U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher (Benz), work with a team of
government agents led by Kirk B.R. Woller as they race to stop a breed
of mutant locusts that's devouring crops and cattle and seems ready to
hunt a new prey: humans.
"These bio-engineered locusts were designed to eat the
bugs off of crops rather than eat the crops themselves," Cortese said.
"As it turns out, they also end up eating anything that eats the crops.
So you're dealing with carnivorous locusts, and the fun ensues after that.
My character is a pain-in-the-ass hero. He's a guy who's
caught between a rock and hard place, and he's trying to save the day.
David Keith and Jeff Fahey own the company that created these locusts,
and I actually worked there with them and knew they were doing some testing
like this. I told them it was the wrong thing to do and quit, so even though
we don't get along and are at odds, we have to try to come together in
the end to do the right thing and fight the locusts." Locusts: The 8th
Plague premieres Nov. 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
The hit tv show is now releasing its first season on DVD.
This special DVD collection includes every episodes from season one of
the hauntingly 100% REAL, smash hit reality show from the SciFi Channel.
Ghost Hunters introduces Jason and Grant, plumbers by day – GHOST HUNTERS
by night! Hold onto your seat and enjoy this hair raising thrill ride with
a group of real-life ghostbusters as they investigate haunted houses throughout
Plumbers by trade, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson head-up
a group of intrepid souls that are far from the usual collection of bespectacled
Ph.D.s. The Special Edition features that is released has some of the most
bizarre and scariest moments trapped on it. You can join the duo on their
greatest hunts including the investigation of a little girl who sees dead
people, a ghost bride in a haunted honeymoon suite, and a tavern haunted
by the spirit of a tormented child! The DVD also has the our television
crew members encounter actual paranormal entities as they are filming.
BLACKTHORNE TO PLAY DRESDEN
SCI FI Channel has cast Paul Blackthorne (24) as Chicago-based
wizard and detective Harry Dresden in its upcoming TV movie The Dresden
Files. David Carson (Star Trek: Generations) has been tapped to direct
the two-hour backdoor pilot.
The pilot which will commence production in Toronto later
this month, plans for a summer 2006 premiere. Blackthorne is perhaps best
known as the villainous Stephen Saunders on Fox's 24.
The Dresden Files is based on the best-selling series
of novels by Jim Butcher. It is being produced by Lions Gate Television,
in association with Nicolas Cage's Saturn Films. Hans Beimler (Profiler)
and Robert Wolfe (The 4400) will serve as executive producers alongside
Cage, his Saturn Films partner, Norm Golightly, and Morgan Gendel. Beimler
and Wolfe wrote the script.
The Dresden Files centers on Dresden, a private eye with
extraordinary abilities. Where others see typical crimes of assault, kidnapping
and murder, he sees otherworldly forces at work.
LOST – WHERE IS THAT BATTERY?
ABC announced that it will launch the first official Lost
podcast series on Nov. 8. The first podcast will be available on ABC.com's
official Lost Web site and future podcasts will be available on both ABC.com
and Apple's iTunes.
The first podcast will feature Josh Holloway (Sawyer)
and Daniel Dae Kim (Jin) offering insights into filming raft scenes. Creator/executive
producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse will discuss
the first season, music and the upcoming episode "Abandoned," which airs
on Nov. 9.
Each week throughout the November sweeps, Lost cast members
will tease the week's upcoming episode and answer fan questions. Lost,
on iPod. That sounds great! Now, if only they had an iPod on the Island
(and batteries). Lost airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m.et/pt.
FOX OKS TERMINATOR PILOT
Fox has committed to a pilot for a Terminator-themed TV
show tentatively titled The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Variety reported.
Andy Vajna and Mario Kassar's C2 Pictures, which produced Terminator 3:
Rise of the Machines, has struck a deal wiith Warner Brothers Television
and writer Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds) for the series, which will
focus on Sarah Connor and her savior son, John Connor.
Fox declined to comment to the trade paper about the project,
which attracted serious interest from several networks.
Friedman is aboard to write the pilot and serve as executive
producer-show runner of the series, which would take place in the fictional
time frame between the second and third Terminator movies. Vajna and Kassar
will serve as executive producers, with C2 senior vice president of development
James Middleton also producing.
Meanwhile, Vajna confirmed to Variety that C2 is in "the
final phases of development" of a fourth Terminator movie, and the series
will have a link to what's being envisioned as a new feature trilogy.
Neither Linda Hamilton, who played Sarah Connor in the
first two Terminator movies, nor Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who played
the title character in the films, will be a regular part of the series
Middleton said the series will explore what happened to
Sarah Connor after the end of T2, when the character went on the run.
WITH MEDIUM YOU CAN SEE IT ALL
The November 21st showing of MEDIUM will make you jump
out of your seat. That is if you have your 3-D glasses on. The show will
be filmed in an eerie supernatural. The show, “Medium,” a chilling drama
series was inspired by the real-life story of research medium Allison DuBois.
Patricia Arquette stars as a young wife and mother who, since childhood,
has been struggling to make sense of her dreams and visions of dead people.
Sprint and NBC have teamed up to offer the 3-D -look out
for Sprint street teams in the following markets to get your 3D glasses
Austin, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington DC,
Minneapolis, St. Louis, San Francisco, Columbus OH, Houston,Los Angeles,
Nashville-Davidson, New York, Miami & Orlando. The glasses will also
be offered in the 11/21 Tv Guide. Medium is on 10pm et/pt.
GALACTICA OFFERED ON DEMAND – CYLONS PAY EXTRA
NBC Universal struck a deal with DirecTV to allow viewers
to pay to watch and download reruns of its shows hours after they air,
including SCI FI Channel's Battlestar Galactica.
NBC will charge 99 cents per episode to access such series
as Surface. The news coincides with a similar announcement from CBS and
Comcast and follows a widely reported deal between ABC and Apple's iPod.
NBC's deal with DirecTV, which will offer the programs
free of commercials, will cover not only NBC shows such as the Law &
Order series, but also a few shows on its cable networks, including USA
Network. The NBC-DirecTV programming will be available only to subscribers
who purchase the new DirecTV Plus Interactive DVR, which will begin rolling
out in stores and online during the next few months.
THRESHOLD TO STREAM ON WEB & MOVE ON TV
CBS will stream three episodes of its SF series Threshold
on the network's official Web site, beginning Nov. 2. The streams mark
the first time CBS has offered episodes of scripted series programming
on the Internet via free video streaming. The episodes will stream commercial-free.
The initial offering will be the third episode, "Blood
of the Children," and will be available for three days
Also of note, CBS is moving its SF drama Threshold to
Tuesdays at 10 p.m., et/pt, following The Amazing Race, from its current
Threshold moves to Tuesdays on Nov. 22 and 29. (The Tuesday slot is
pre-empted on Nov. 8 for a two-hour Race and on Nov. 15 for the Country
Music Awards.) If all goes well, the show will move in permanently, the
trade paper reported.
Threshold has performed decently, but not tremendously, in the ratings.
Executives reportedly feel that the SF thriller could potentially hold
on to more Race fans than those of Whisperer, who skew more female. Threshold
stars Carla Gugino as the head of a super-secret government team trying
to contain an alien infection.
BUFFY A DARKHORSE CHOICE
Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel
said that he will be continuing the story of the Slayer in a series of
Dark Horse comics, which he will write. "Speaking of Dark Horse Comics,
they are starting a new Buffy comic, and as I understand it, it will take
place after the end of Buffy and Angel and be canon in the Buffy world.
And I understand it that way 'cause I'M WRITING IT. I'm kicking off the
book with a four-issue arc that finds Buffy—you guessed it—living in Italy
with The Immortal.”
Whedon also said that he's still working on a TV movie
featuring the character of Spike (played by James Marsters). "The infamous
Spike movie. Still haven't finalized anything, but I feel that very soon
I'll be able to go to James and say something a lot more interesting than
'Wouldn't it be cool if ... .' 'Course, I just hope he's free some time
this decade. See how my peeps is all actifying!" Marsters currently has
a recurring role in The WB's Smallville.
Whedon, an avowed fan of comics, is no stranger to that
world, having authored the Buffy-related Fray series for Dark Horse and
the Astonishing X-Men series for Marvel.
HELLBOY TOONS DEVELOP
IDT Entertainment has licensed the animation rights to
Hellboy from Revolution Studios and is starting production on a direct-to-DVD
feature film and series.
IDT, a telecom giant that has moved into digital animation
in recent years mainly via acquisitions, is in talks with a cable network
to debut the series in late 2006 or early 2007. The animated movie, which
will be distributed on DVD by IDT-owned Anchor Bay, will likely see release
in 2007. Both projects will be animated in a traditional 2-D style, not
Talent from the 2004 hit Hellboy movie, including Ron
Perlman and Selma Blair, will do voice work for the animated feature and
series. Film helmer Guillermo del Toro and comic-book creator Mike Mignola
will consult as creative producers.
The projects are being produced in Los Angeles by the
animation house Film Roman, which IDT bought in 2003. Disney Animation
veteran Tad Stones will be supervising director.
Revolution is also developing a live-action Hellboy sequel
film, and IDT will likely attempt to tie some of its properties into the
unscheduled release to take advantage of the marketing push.
Favorite LOST quotes
Hurley - "Wow, man. That was awesome. I mean, that was like a...
Sawyer - "Baby, I am tied to a tree in a jungle of mystery. I just
got tortured by a damn spinal surgeon and a gen-uine I-raqi."
Claire - "You made glue? Wow. You should have one of those shows where
you fix up houses for people."
Locke - "Everyone gets a new life on this island. Maybe it's time you
start yours." [
Charlie - "If you guys are finished verbally copulating we should get
a move on."
Desmond - "I push this button every 108 minutes. I don't get out much.
Sawyer – “What are you going to do? Splash me?
Locke – “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”
movienewsmovienews Silver Screen movienewsmovienews
Zellweger Has Eye On Remake
Renee Zellweger is attached to star in a remake
of the Pang brothers' psychological thriller The Eye. The original 2002
Hong Kong thriller, titled Jian Gui, centered on a woman who sees more
than she bargained for when she regains her vision after a cornea transplant.
Tom Cruise, who co-starred with Zellweger
in Jerry Maguire, is producing the film. Hideo Nakata, who directed the
Japanese horror hit Ringu, as well as the English-language remake The Ring
and its sequel, has signed on to direct. Paramount is targeting an early
2006 start date.
THE EYE 2 Being Remade Too
While the Pang Brothers’ THE EYE is being
given a U.S. makeover by Paramount, Asian remake specialists Vertigo Entertainment,
and producers Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, it has now been reported that
Gold Circle Films and Vertigo are teaming up to remake the Pangs’ sequel
THE EYE 2. New Line is set to release in the U.S. Perhaps due to
the different studios involved, this remake is titled IN-UTERO and not
linked to Paramount’s THE EYE. Todd Stein is adapting THE EYE 2 storyline,
in which a pregnant woman’s near-death experience causes her to be plagued
by the spirits of the dead. Vertigo’s Roy Lee and Doug Davison and Gold
Circle’s Paul Brooks are producing; a director has yet to be chosen. The
original THE EYE 2 was recently released on U.S. DVD by Lions Gate Home
Courtney Crumrin and the Hollywood Thing
Fox 2000 and New Regency are teaming to produce
a feature film adaptation of Ted Naifeh's comic book Courtney Crumrin and
the Night Things. Graham Tallman has been hired to write the script. The
comic follows the story of a young girl who moves into her eccentric uncle's
house, where she's thrown into a world of warlocks, witchcraft and goblins.
Meanwhile, she must solve the mystery of why all her classmates are disappearing.
Jackson & Walsh to Exec. Produce Halo
Peter Jackson, who directed of the Lord of
the Rings trilogy and the upcoming remake of King Kong, will serve as executive
producer of the upcoming film based on Microsoft's Halo video game. Jackson's
wife and partner Fran Walsh, who served as writer and producer on his previous
films, will co-executive-produce under the team's WingNut films banner.
Jackson's New Zealand-based Weta companies will also provide creatures,
miniatures and visual effects for the production.
Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox, the
companies behind the project, hope to be in production in the spring with
an eye toward a summer 2007 release. Prior to Jackson's involvement, Microsoft
hired Alex Garland (28 Days Later) to write the screenplay and will have
its own consultants on the production, along with the game's developer,
The movie will be shot entirely in the New
Zealand capital of Wellington, with a budget of more than $100 million.
Universal Pictures will handle domestic distribution and Fox will distribute
Favreau Goes To Mars
Jon Favreau (Zathura) will direct the upcoming
film adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs' story John Carter of Mars for
Paramount. The serialized story centers around a Civil War veteran who
retreats to a cave to escape a group of Indians and discovers a time portal
to another planet, where he's taken prisoner by 12-foot-tall green men.
The studio is hoping to build a franchise
out of the 11 volumes written by Burroughs. Ehren Kruger (The Skeleton
Key) rewrote a script by Mark Protosevich. Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool
News is co-producing. Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) and Kerry Conran (Sky
Captain and the World of Tomorrow) were formerly attached to direct.
Museum Director Hired
Shawn Levy (The Pink Panther) has signed on
to direct A Night at the Museum, a live-action and computer-animated family
comedy. The 20th Century Fox project centers on a goodhearted but bumbling
security guard at the Museum of Natural History who accidentally trips
an ancient curse that causes the animals and insects on display to come
Director Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) was originally
attached to the project, but stepped aside to write and direct the upcoming
sci-fi thriller When Worlds Collide for Paramount. The film is set to begin
shooting early next year for an intended holiday release in 2006.
WB Engineering Species X
Kurt Sutter (The Shield) has been hired to
write the sci-fi screenplay Species X for Warner Brothers, about a police
detective who realizes he might be from another world. David Goyer (Blade,
Batman Begins) will executive-produce the film along with Basil Iwanyk
(Laws of Attraction).
The story centers around a murder investigation,
during which the detective discovers his extraterrestrial origins and becomes
involved in a struggle between good and evil aliens. The idea is the brainchild
of Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment's Jason Hall and Nathan Hendrickson,
who are simultaneously developing the concept as a video game titled The
Condemned: Criminal Origins. The studio hopes to introduce the game first,
followed by a movie release to coincide with a sequel game that expands
Rogue Ushers In Doomsday
Rogue Pictures has joined forces with Crystal
Sky Pictures to back Doomsday, the next project from British writer-director
Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers). Doomsday is described as a futuristic action
thriller with political overtones, set in northern England and Scotland.
"It's in the vein of Mad Max, set in the near future, when the world has
become a very intense place to live," Rona said. "A disaster threatens
the future of mankind, and a team of people have to stop it."
Gnomes! Coming To Theaters
Vanguard Films has struck a deal with writers
Micah Herman and Kyle Newman to produce their feature comedy script Gnomes!.
Herman and Newman will also co-direct the project. The story centers on
a boy who discovers that the garden gnomes in his backyard actually are
alive. When he starts to suspect that his mom's new suitor is a gnome-eating
troll, the boy enlists the help of the gnomes.
Daniel Craig is New 007
English actor Daniel Craig (Layer Cake) was
announced as the new James Bond on Oct. 14 in a news conference in London,
ending months of speculation over who would take over from Pierce Brosnan
as 007. The 37-year-old actor swept up the River Thames on a power launch
to a news conference, escorted by Royal Marines boats. Craig will become
the first blond Bond and told reporters: "I'm kind of speechless at the
The casting of one of cinema's most iconic
characters closes the successful four-film run of Irishman Brosnan. Craig
will make his debut as the martini-swilling super spy in Casino Royale,
the 21st Bond film, which starts shooting in January.
Craig's hiring ends months of speculation
about who would replace Brosnan. Candidates included Britons Clive Owen
and Jude Law, Australia's Hugh Jackman and TV's Goran Visnjic.
Only five actors have played Bond since the
first film, Dr. No, more than 40 years ago. Brosnan, Sean Connery and Roger
Moore were well-loved mainstays as the secret agent, while George Lazenby
and Timothy Dalton were less successful.
Biopic on 007 Creator Ian Fleming Coming
Warner Bros. has made a deal to develop a
movie about James Bond creator Ian Fleming. Fleming has been written by
Damian Stevenson and will be produced by Andrew Lazar through his Mad Chance
company. The film tells the story of how the author's own experiences with
womanizing and spying shaped his signature secret agent creation.
Born into a privileged English family, Fleming
began as a comparative underachiever until a stint as a journalist covering
the Soviet Union led him to begin spying on that country for the Foreign
Office. Fleming was the mastermind of numerous clever spying schemes, some
deemed too outlandish to use. He unveiled 007 in Casino Royale in 1953,
and that book has been dusted off for the 21st film in the series.
Lazar also is producing another film on a
classic secret agent for Warner Bros., Get Smart, with Steve Carell attached.
Horror Hangs on THE THREAD
A new psychological chiller called THE THREAD
is currently nearing completion in London, following weeks of filming in
India and also on the Isle of Man. The film stars BATMAN BEGINS’ Linus
Roache, Saffron Burrows (DEEP BLUE SEA) and pop star Andrea Corr in the
story of a London-based businessman named Ram (Roache) who suffers from
bizarre visions and strange occurrences, which finally push him to the
edge of sanity. Summoned back to India by his father, a holy man who is
suffering from his own problems, Ram is unable to make it to his home country
before his parent’s unfortunate death. Mourning the loss of his dad, Ram
becomes spooked by the sudden appearance of the dead man and also a shadowy
and mysterious figure. This glimpse into the supernatural leads Ram and
his wife Jenny, into a terrifying journey.
THE THREAD is directed by Mahesh Mathai, whose
sole previous credit is the David Lynch-approved BHOPAL EXPRESS.
Creepshow Rises From Dead
Warner Brothers is developing a remake of
Creepshow, the 1982 horror anthology movie written by Stephen King and
directed by George A. Romero. Unlike the original film, in which the stories
were unconnected, the plan is to structure the new movie a la Go, where
individual stories will have interconnected characters and situations.
The project is putting the call out to writers.
Thora Birch in the DARK
Thora Birch (GHOST WORLD) is starring with
Toby Stephens (DIE ANOTHER DAY) in a new horror film called DARK CORNERS,
which just filmed in London under first-time writer/director Ray Gower.
The co-production of Matador Pictures and Shoreline Entertainment marks
the second British chiller that the American Birch has got top billing
in (the other being THE HOLE.)
Birch is playing Karen, a mortuary worker
who is terrified when corpses begin talking to her, strange creatures led
by a monsters called the Needlelooth start to stalk her, and she wakes
up every morning bruised and battered. Her only respite is when she sleeps,
and dreams of an existence as a normal young woman named Susan. But which
is her real life, and which is the dream one?
Eisner To Direct Creature
Breck Eisner is returning to the director's
chair for Universal's remake of the classic monster movie Creature From
the Black Lagoon. Gary Ross is producing via his Larger Than Life banner.
The son of former Disney chief Michael Eisner
made his feature directorial debut on last spring's Sahara and also directed
a segment of the TV miniseries Taken. Ross wrote the current Creature draft,
a present-day update of the 1954 monster classic. He has a particular interest
in the project because his father, Arthur A. Ross, wrote the screenplay
for the original film.
The original movie introduced the Gill Man,
who terrorized archaeologists exploring the Amazon. Plans for the update
call for shooting in the U.S. as well as in a Central or South American
Who Paid the Rent?
Drugs, poverty, AIDS, sex, and the bonds of friendship. Mesh it all
together and bring to a boil: This story is white hot! New York City is
the unholy mistress of reality in a country full of pain. It’ll chew you
up and spit you out in a heartbeat. People can adapt to living there because
of hope. The American Dream is a role everyone wants to play, and ‘the
big apple’ is center stage. But, to make it there, you’ve got to have love.
Finally, the Tony award winning sensation comes to the big screen, bringing
with it all the harsh elements of NYC. Break out stiff tissues kids, Rent
Rent is a powerful story of eight friends as they struggle to
deal with the issues of love, poverty, and terminal illness. Though conversion
from stage to film may have been rough, it all seems to flow together rather
well. Yet, it would never have been possible without the vision of Jonathon
Larson, the play’s brilliant lyricist.
It would take seven years for Larson to bring Rent into being.
Armed with a great ambition and a strong will, Larson set forth to create
a musical based on his bohemian lifestyle. He sought the help of playwright
Billy Aronson, producer Jeffery Seller, director Michael Greif, and long
time mentor Stephan Sondheim. After some debate and creative compromise,
the team invented a production of epic emotion and dept: One that would
take Broadway by storm.
Unfortunately, Jonathan Larson did not live to see his creation officially
realized. Larson died on January 25th, 1996: The evening of Rent's final
dress rehearsal. An aneurysm brought on by Marfan’s Syndrome was the cause
of death. Though only 35 years old at the time of his passing, Larson’s
legacy lives on through his timeless music, his co-creators, and the incredible
cast and crew that brought his award winning play into theaters.
Chris Columbus, director of such heart-warmers as Home Alone and Step
Mom, takes on the challenging venture. Most of the stage cast reprises
their original roles for the film, including Anthony Rapp as Mark Cohan.
A documentary filmmaker on the rebound, he is the unofficial leader of
the group and Jonathon Larson’s alter ego. Mark is charged with task of
capturing life with his friends, before the plague of AIDS and drug addiction
take them away. Other principle players include Adam Pascal, Wilson Heredia,
Jesse L. Martin, Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms, Idina Menzel, and Taye Diggs.
This talented group of people lights up the screen with their natural chemistry,
passion, and flawless vocal styling.
Having never seen the stage play, any constructive criticism
offered here would be of ill use and speculation. Yet, it can't be argued
that emotions will run high on either end of the cinematic scale. No matter
what the viewpoint, Rent is certain to provoke a reaction from its audience,
upon its release on November 23rd.
IMAGINATIVE CINEMA COMING SOON
MUST SEE MOVIES FOR YOU!
Nov 11th Zathura
Cast: Tim Robbins, Josh Hutcherson, Jonah Bobo, Dax Shepard, Kristen
Premise: Two brothers discover an oblong box in the park, which they
dismiss as "just some dumb old game." The boys turn their attention away
from the game's "jungle adventure" board to discover a second game board
inside with an outer-space theme and a colored path leading to the purple
planet, Zathura. Mayhem ensues each time one of the boys draws a game card
or rolls the dice. Facing meteors and giant robots, the brothers begin
to appreciate each other and their sibling rivalry dissolves.
Nov 18th Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), David Bradley (Argus Filch),
Richard Bremner (voice of Voldemort), John Cleese (Nearly Headless Nick),
Michael Gambon (Professor Albus Dumbledore), Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley)
Premise: It's Harry's fourth year at Hogwart. Harry wants to
get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch
Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang,
his schoolboy crush. He wants to find out about the mysterious event that's
supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other
rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred
years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. Unfortunately
for Harry Potter, he's not normal, even by wizarding standards.
Dec 9th The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion,
the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Cast: Tilda Swinton (Jadis, the White Witch), Georgie Henley (Lucy),
William Moseley (Peter), Skandar Keynes (Edmund), Anna Popplewell (Susan),
Liam Neeson (voice of Aslan)
Premise: A childhood favorite, we have all read. (I hope) Written
by C.S. Lewis, it is a story of four children (Peter, Susan, Edmund and
Lucy Pevensie) who are sent to live with an old professor in the country
during World War II air raids on England, and soon discover that they can
walk into a strong wardrobe closet and find themselves in a strange fantasy
land called Narnia filled with a wide variety of magical and fantastic
people and creatures. With Narnia frozen over by a winter that never stops,
the children are enlisted to help Aslan (the Great Lion who founded Narnia
hundreds of years ago) defeat the evil White Witch, break her evil spell,
and free the people and magical beasts of Narnia.
Dec 14th KING KONG
Cast: Andy Serkis (photo-mapping basis for Kong's face and movements,
Lumpy the Chef), Naomi Watts (Ann Darrow), Jack Black (Carl Denham), Adrien
Brody (Jack Driscoll), Thomas Kretschmann (Captain of the Venture)
Premise: As if this needs ANY introduction. Set in the 1930s, this
is the story of a group of explorers and documentary filmmakers who travel
to the mysterious Skull Island (near Sumatra) to investigate legends of
a giant gorilla named Kong. Once there, they discover that King Kong is
a real creature, living in a massive jungle where creatures from prehistoric
times have been protected and hidden for millions of years. As the explorers
search for the great ape, their quest puts them up against both Kong and
his dinosaur enemies. Ultimately, it is the attention of a beautiful human
woman (Watts) that soothes Kong long enough for him to be subdued by the
explorers and shipped back to New York, where his bleak future involves
being put on display in front of humans... but how long can even the mightiest
shackles of man hold back an ape 25 feet tall?
Naomi Watts gets carried away in Peter Jackson's upcoming remake of
the classic creature feature King Kong. The film opens Dec. 14.
DVD news dvd news dvd news dvd news dvd news DVD news
The Devil's Rejects (Unrated Widescreen Edition) (2005)
Starring: Sid Haig, Bill Moseley Director: Rob Zombie
Looking for some fun? Well, the sequel to 'House of 1000 Corpses' –
The Devils Rejects may or may not be it.
This is set some months later with the Texas State Police making a
full-scale attack against the murderous Firefly family residence for the
1,000+ murders and disappearances of the past several years. But three
of the family members escape, including Otis, Baby Firefly and Baby's father
The evil trio go on a road trip, leaving dozens of mangled bodies in
their wake. Evading a massive Texas Rangers dragnet as well as a group
of equally murderous bounty hunters led by Ken Dwyer who's obsessed with
finding the deadly killers, the surviving Firefly clan gather at a run-down
amusement park owned by Captain Spaulding's half-brother, Charlie Altamont,
whom offers them shelter and a new base of operations for their killing
spree as Sheriff Dwyer, the Texas Rangers, the FBI and others slowly close
Doctor Who - City of Death (Episode 105) (1975)
Starring: William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton Director: Christopher
Barry, Morris Barry
The Doctor is a renegade Time Lord: an eccentric, highly-intelligent
scientist from a distant planet. He travels through time and space in the
TARDIS, a curious device, larger on the inside than on the outside, which
was designed to change its appearance to suit its surroundings. Unfortunately,
the Doctor's TARDIS seems to be broken, and always appears as a blue British
police box. The Doctor has a soft spot for the planet Earth, and often
visits there, either to save it from various alien threats or to whisk
a choice few inhabitants away to the distant parts of the galaxy to help
him fight evil there. The Doctor has many foes, including Daleks (led by
Davros), and The Master, another renegade Time Lord. Time Lord biology
enables them to regenerate their bodies, and so both the Doctor and the
Master appear evolve over the years...
Resistance is Futile
Well, it's official. After seven years of releases, Paramount Home
Entertainment has finally released all of Star Trek on DVD; all ten movies.
All seven hundred four episodes. What could they possibly do now? Best
of sets. Star Trek: Borg - Fan Collective is coming to DVD this spring.
The new 4 disc set will come with ten of the most popular Borg themed
episodes from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager. No
word on extras as of yet.
The set will arrive in stores on March 7th of 2006. Now if Paramount
would only get around to releasing the animated show from the seventies...
Serenity the motion picture follow-up to the cult TV show Firefly is
making its way to DVD thanks to the folks at Universal Home Entertainment.
The new DVD will contain the film in anamorphic widescreen along with
audio commentary and an introduction from director Joss Whedon, deleted
scenes, outtakes and featurettes. Arriving December 20th, the disc
will retail at $29.98
The Corpse Bride rises
Tim Burton's return to the world of creepy puppets comes to DVD early
next year with the arrival of The Corpse Bride from Warner Home Entertainment.
Set in a 19th century European village, this stop-motion, animated
feature follows the story of Victor, a young man who is whisked away to
the underworld and wed to a mysterious Corpse Bride, while his real bride,
Victoria, waits bereft in the land of the living. Though life in the Land
of the Dead proves to be a lot more colorful than his strict Victorian
upbringing, Victor learns that there is nothing in this world, or the next,
that can keep him away from his one true love.
The disc will come in seperate fullscreen and anamorphic widescreen
versions, both in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX. Extras on the disc include the
three documentaries Tim Burton: Dark vs. Light, Voices from the Underworld
and Danny Elfman Interprets the Two Worlds, the featurettes Making Puppets
Tick and Inside the Two Worlds, interviews, art galleries and an isolated
With a $29.98 suggested retail price, the DVD arrives on the 31st of
farewellsfarewellsfarewells Good bye farewellsfarewellsfarewells
Michael Piller, a writer and producer best known as one of the creative
forces behind the Star Trek television franchise and whose scripts brought
a human touch to the intergalactic saga, has died.
When Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry asked Piller to become a staff
writer, Piller recalled being scared and saying, "I don't know anything
about sci-fi, but I can help your characters evolve”.
He wrote his first episode for the syndicated Star Trek: The Next Generation
in 1989. Piller eventually became the head writer and executive producer
of the series. He co-created and produced the syndicated Star Trek: Deep
Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. He also wrote the 1998 film Star Trek:
Insurrection. Other credits include cagney and lacey, miami vice, probe,
hard times on planet earth, legend, the dead zone and wildfire. He was
Lloyd Bochner, an actor best known for sophisticated roles he played
in dozens of movies and television series, has died at age 81. A native
of Toronto, Canada, Bochner began his acting career on stage, often performing
at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival in Ontario, in the 1950s. He moved
to Hollywood in 1960.
A familiar face on television from the 1950s, he made guest appearances
on Bonanza, Mission: Impossible and many other shows. He played Cecil Colby
on Dynasty for two years.
He earned cult classic status for a 1962 episode of The Twilight Zone
titled To Serve Man. In it, aliens come to Earth with a book to offer.
Once decoded, it proves to be a cookbook with humans as the main ingredient.
Bochner's character boards the spaceship not knowing that he will become
Other genre T.V. included voyage to the bottom of the sea, battlestar
gallactica and batman.
Bochner’s movie roles included harlow, Point Blank, and the naked
gun 2 ½. Some of his genre films were The Night Walker, millennium
and legend of the mummy.
Sheree North, the platinum blond bombshell of 1950s musical motion pictures
remembered by younger audiences for her continuing television roles as
Lou Grant's sultry girlfriend on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Kramer's
mother Babs on Seinfeld, has died at age 72. Born Dawn Bethel in Los Angeles
on Jan. 17, 1933, she danced as a youngster with USO shows during World
War II. Hollywood insiders originally whispered that 20th Century Fox hired
North only as a threat to their troublesome star Marilyn Monroe — whom
she did replace in the 1955 How to Be Very, Very Popular, in which she
outdanced and outshone Betty Grable. North not only shared Monroe's blond
coiffure but almost exactly matched her height and measurements.
She made her film debut in the 1951 Excuse My Dust starring Red Skelton
and went on to appear in such films as the lieutenant wore skirts, in love
and war, destination inner space, madigan, then came bronson, charley varrick,
the shootist and telefon. She also was a fixture on television from
the 1950s in such shows as playhouse 90, the untouchables, gunsmoke, the
fugitive, McMILLAN AND WIFE, kung fu, kojak, murder, she wrote, seinfeld
and many others.
William Michael "Bill" Hootkins, an actor who appeared in more than
40 motion pictures and recorded such books as Moby-Dick, has died. He was
a native of Dallas, Texas and began acting in high school. As a student
of Oriental studies at Princeton University he also acted in that campus'
Theatre Intime. He went on to study at the London Academy of Music and
Dramatic Arts, and enjoyed a multifaceted career in film, television, stage
and recorded books in the U.S. and Britain.
Among his motion pictures were trail of the pink panther, curse of
the pink panther, a river runs through it and the yet to be released, Colour
Me Kubrick. His genre films include Star Wars, flash gordon, Raiders of
the Lost Ark, dreamchild, superman iv, batman, neverending story iii, island
of dr. moreau, evil dead ii and everquest ii. His TV credits cover Cagney
& Lacey, taxi with appearances in such genre series as tales
of the unexpected, hammer house of mystery & suspense, young indiania
jones, and justice league. In the early 1990s, Hootkins expanded into recorded
books, beginning with The Case of the Haunted Husband (1991). Among others
were White Fang, the unabridged Moby-Dick, and The Pillars of Hercules.
He was 57.
THE LAST WARD . . .
By John Ward
Welcome back for Round Three of my four-month-long ramble through
some of the best films ever made. The more I look at the list, the
smaller I feel when I stare in the movie-lover’s mirror, because it seems
I’ve led a pretty sheltered, Americanized life at the movies. Only
one foreign film (YOJIMBO) is in the bottom 25, and danged if that very
same director doesn’t return next month. But you won’t find any Truffaut,
any Herzog, or any Godard on my list. I don’t think I’ve ever seen
a Truffaut film, although I’ve seen Truffaut in a film (CLOSE ENCOUNTERS).
So I guess my list is pretty lacking in terms of global appeal.
But I stand by my original notion: It’s a movie lover’s
list. It’s got all kinds of genres, dating from the silent era to
the new millennium. It’s definitely a lowbrow list. There are
a lot of popular successes, plenty of blockbusters, and more than a handful
of movies that you really don’t need brain cells to watch. But I
can come close to guaranteeing that you won’t fall asleep watching the
flicks on my list. Try saying that about the films of…oh…Rainer Warner
Fassbinder. (I looked him up. He’s some German guy.)
So here are 50 through 26:
50. RESERVOIR DOGS (1992)
This had to be one of the most startling “breakthrough” films
ever. Before the Sundance Film Festival in 1992, Quentin Tarantino
had soaked up all the film lore he could stomach - and then some, probably
- slinging rentals in an LA video store. Then he found financing
for this talky-yet-kinetic story about a jewel heist gone terribly wrong.
Most of the film takes place in an abandoned warehouse, where the surviving
members of the gang show up to count their losses and try to figure out
which of them is the rat who set them up. But Tarantino is wily enough
to step away from the plot to deliver some sharp flashbacks. The
ensemble cast is first-rate, especially Steve Buscemi as Mr. Pink, Tim
Roth as Mr. Orange, and Michael Madsen as Mr. Blonde.
49. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)
Easily, SILENCE is the creepiest movie ever to win the Oscar
for Best Picture. (Not counting THE SOUND OF MUSIC.) Director
Jonathan Demme took Thomas Harris’ source novel and worked it into a furious
two-character study, a psychological cat-and-mouse exercise, and a taut
thriller. Anthony Hopkins won his Best Actor Oscar for playing the
charismatic psychopath Hannibal Lecter, which has to go down as one of
the all-time con jobs in Academy history, since Hopkins only gets a little
over a half-hour of screen time. But his performance is so powerful
that it seeps into every other corner of the movie. Hopkins and Jodie
Foster, as FBI trainee Clarice Starling, were great together.
48. ANNIE HALL (1977)
You know, I’m sitting here right now wondering how this film
made it to such a lofty position on my list. It’s Woody Allen…it’s
a romantic comedy…and you actually need a brain cell or two to fully appreciate
it. But this is one of those movies that I’ve grown to enjoy more
and more as the years have passed. I remember actively hating this
film when it first came out for the petty reason that it beat STAR WARS
at the Oscars. I couldn’t see how dead-on perfect Allen was at sketching
the lifespan of a relationship, from the tentative, fumbling first attempts
at conversation, through a misguided stab at neurotic cohabitation, to
the eventual implosion of it all. Woody Allen and Diane Keaton were
meant for each other.
47. CHINATOWN (1974)
Jack Nicholson has won three Oscars and been nominated for several
more, but when I think of the screen Nicholson, I don’t think of the Joker
or McMurphy or the guy on the back of the bike in EASY RIDER. Nope,
my persona of choice would be J.J. Gittes, he of the shady private eye
rep and the mega-sized bandage across his sliced nose. Which he received,
of course, from director Roman Polanski himself, playing a bit part as
a thug in this fantastic homage to film noir. Faye Dunaway is just
right as the femme fatale.
46. TRUE GRIT (1969)
Talk about personas; when it comes to the western, they don’t
make ‘em any more iconic than John Wayne as Marshal Rooster Cogburn, eye
patch and all, yelling, “Fill your hand, you sonuvabitch!” putting the
reins in his teeth, and riding straight at Robert Duvall’s gang of bad
guys with both guns blazing. Irascible, profane, and bigger than
life, Cogburn was the part that Wayne was born to play. The storyline,
about a young girl’s search for the man who killed her father, takes a
backseat to Wayne’s characterization. It’s really what people remember.
45. SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1964)
John Frankenheimer’s political thriller, about a planned military
coup of the Presidency, has held up surprisingly well over the decades.
I enjoyed its inside look at Oval Office politics, as Fredric March, in
one of his last great roles, plays an embattled, peace-loving President
who runs afoul of the extremely popular head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
played by Burt Lancaster. It’s up to Lancaster’s aide, a Marine colonel
played by Kirk Douglas, to bail March out. Very little action, lots
of talk behind closed doors – and suspenseful as hell.
44. E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL (1982)
Sure, there are moments in this Spielberg classic that are corny
as can be. But I can’t remember another movie of the past thirty
years that was so full of wide-eyed, youthful wonder. The story of
a boy and his alien tugged shamelessly at the heartstrings. In this
age of CGI, I am amazed what Spielberg and his special effects wizards
were able to pull off with simple animatronics. We really wanted
to believe that E.T. was real, and when they took off on that bicycle,
well…it was every boy’s dream come true. I’m happy that TOY STORY
was my son’s first real movie experience in a theater; if he had been born
15 years earlier, I’m sure it would have been this one.
43. SLAP SHOT (1977)
Here’s another movie that won’t appear on many other lists, but
certainly not for lack of craft. George Roy Hill, who had previously
directed Paul Newman in BUTCH CASSIDY and THE STING, turned the trick once
again with this profane, hilarious, and very real look at minor league
hockey, the kind of hockey played in dirty, grimy Northeastern steel towns.
For my money, it’s the greatest sports movie ever made.
42. THE WILD BUNCH (1969)
I had a friend in college who sang the praises of RIDE THE HIGH
COUNTRY, calling it one of the greatest westerns ever, and he always rated
it as the best thing Sam Peckinpah ever did. Well, I’ve never seen
HIGH COUNTRY – I hope to, someday – but this would have to be near the
top of any Peckinpah list. THE WILD BUNCH basically rewrote the book
on westerns in 1969, the last truly great year for the genre. The
heroes of BUNCH were bad men trying to stay alive in an era when old traditions
were dying out, and they were played by one of the finest ensembles:
William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates, Robert Ryan, Ben Johnson,
Edmond O’Brien…the list goes on. Peckinpah always had an eye for
41. BAMBI (1942)
I know I’ll hit a nerve with this one, but here’s my choice for
the greatest animated film ever made. Movies like FANTASIA might
be more eye-popping, but BAMBI is the ultimate proof that in the end, it
all comes back to the story. And what a timeless tale it is:
the story of Bambi, the deer prince of the forest, who survives the pitfalls
and pratfalls of childhood (including one of the most tragic moments in
movie history) to become a hero. If you haven’t seen this in a long
time, or –heaven forbid – you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend Disney’s
recent 2-disc special edition DVD. It’s full of behind-the-scenes
40. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974)
Mel Brooks hit two out of the park in 1974, a nearly unprecedented
feat for any director, and here’s one of them. It’s one of the funniest
comedies ever made, but at the same time, it’s a loving, respectful homage
to the classic Universal monsterfests of the Thirties. Brooks even
got to use Kenneth Strickfaden’s original laboratory equipment from the
Karloff days. Highlights, of course, must include the “Puttin’ on
the Ritz” duet between Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle, but I’ve always had
a soft spot for Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher, whose very name would
drive the horses into a frenzy.
39. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)
To paraphrase your typical Top 40 disc jockey, the hits from
Steven Spielberg just keep on coming. RAIDERS was actually a comeback
film of sorts for Spielberg, whose previous film had been 1941, a rare
over-the-top misfire. Imagine all twelve chapters of A Republic serial
being crammed into a two-hour running time, and you kind of get the idea
of RAIDERS’ appeal. Harrison Ford created one of the screen’s
most iconic heroes in Indiana Jones, a globe-hopping adventurer out to
stop a Nazi plot to seize the lost Ark of the Covenant. Why not?
There’s a lot to recommend about this film, but I always come back to the
truck chase, with the “under the chassis” stuntwork. It has to be
one of the greatest stunts in movie history.
38. BEN-HUR (1959)
Of course, that truck chase in RAIDERS was strictly small scale.
If you want grand scale, then you’re talking the chariot race in BEN-HUR.
This “Tale of the Christ” won a whopping 11 Oscars in 1959, a feat matched
by only two other films (ahem). Its appeal is timeless, as many of
those Biblical epics are, but director William Wyler managed to inject
a down-to-earth humanism with his characters that really anchors the story.
Lots of folks remember the chariot race and the naval battle, but I remember
Charlton Heston’s agony upon discovering that his mother and sister have
been placed in a leper colony. A great movie.
37. DIE HARD (1988)
Just as THE WILD BUNCH rewrote the rulebook on westerns, so did
DIE HARD come up with a whole new way to do action pictures, by placing
a very fallible hero in the middle of a nightmarish hostage situation and
have him spend two hours making it up as he goes along. It was enough
to create a whole subgenre. Bruce Willis was perfect as John McClane,
the hero cop, and Alan Rickman matched him as Hans Gruber, a world-class
heist artist knocking over an L.A. skyscraper. Almost literally,
36. GETTYSBURG (1993)
I’ve said it many times before that I have been very lucky with
my all-time favorite books; they have all been transformed into wonderful
movies, every single one of them. Here, we have the screen adaptation
of Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels, about the Battle of Gettysburg as
seen through the eyes of the officers who led the armies. Ronald
F. Maxwell’s direction has been praised in some circles as thoughtful and
in others as plodding. It should be clear where my sentiments fall.
I loved the casting, especially Jeff Daniels as Col. Joshua Chamberlain,
leader of the 20th Maine regiment at Little Round Top. I never get
tired of driving through the Gettysburg battlefield, and it’s partly due
to this movie. A near-perfect examination of the human cost of war.
35. THE EXORCIST (1973)
Well, here’s another rule-breaker. Director William Friedkin,
fresh off his multiple Oscar-winning cop thriller THE FRENCH CONNECTION,
linked up with author William Peter Blatty to bring Blatty’s potboiler
possession thriller to the screen, with just about all of the sensationalism
intact, and then some. American movie audiences simply weren’t prepared
for the level of scares that THE EXORCIST delivered. Often forgotten
among the shocks and screams were some high-quality acting performances,
notably Ellen Burstyn as the distraught mother and playwright Jason Miller
as the faith-shaken priest. I remember seeing the reissued version
in a theater several years ago, and smiling at how shell-shocked all the
Gen-Y folks looked on their way out. That’s right, kids! You
don’t need hockey masks and machetes to scare people!
34. HEAT (1995)
It’s funny how things work out. Ten years ago, I picked
TOY STORY as my movie of the year, with this epic Michael Mann cops-and-robbers
thriller a close second. Now that I’m trying to pull together this
list, I noticed that HEAT has leapfrogged TOY STORY by about 15 slots.
That’s quite a switch. I chalk it up to two powerhouse performances
from Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, two individuals obsessed with the need
to be the best. It’s too bad that one’s a cop and the other’s a burglar.
HEAT represents the only onscreen meeting of these two actors, and their
coffee shop conversation comes at the midpoint of this highly stylized
film. Watch it to see two actors at the top of their games.
33. L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (1997)
I must have a serious jones for L.A. cop thrillers. The
appeal of this film is in its labyrinthine plot, shot through with femme
fatales, double crosses, sleazy nightlife, and all sorts of sordid characters.
Not to mention a dead-on recreation of the neon glare of Los Angeles in
the early 50s. Everything works, with starmaking performances from
Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce as two young detectives in way over their
heads. Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, and James Cromwell add strong
32. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (1960)
Westerns don’t get much better than this, and the proof is in
the list: I have only one western rated higher, and you’ll find it
next month. For now, I’m singing the praises of this ensemble classic
that made the careers of Steve McQueen, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson,
to name three. Then there’s Yul Brynner as Chris, the leader of the
Seven, and Eli Wallach in an Oscar-caliber performance as Calvera, the
bandit leader whose manhandling of a poor Mexican village draws the attention
of Brynner’s group. A remake of Kurosawa’s SEVEN SAMURAI, which IMHO
scores points for choosing great material to rip off. One of the
greatest musical scores ever written.
31. DIRTY HARRY (1971)
Here it is, my all-time favorite Clint Eastwood movie, both in
front of and behind the camera. Eastwood’s directing mentor was Don
Siegel, the man behind INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, who directed him
in this “clintessential” cop thriller of the 70s. And no, it’s not
L.A.; it’s San Francisco. So we’re back to BULLITT country.
Eastwood’s Harry Callahan was the epitome of the maverick cop, dialing
Steve McQueen’s BULLITT persona even further down. Andy Robinson
played one of the all-time great villains, a sicko named Scorpio who runs
afoul of ol’ Clint’s righteous justice. Best scene: the face-off
in Kezar Stadium, when the camera pulls up and away from the confrontation.
30. HARD BOILED (1992)
Well, I guess this shows I’m not a completely Americanized snob
when I comes to film. Of course, it helped that huge, bloody chunks
of John Woo’s action masterpiece were without any dialogue whatsoever.
Most films of this caliber and genre are lucky to have one memorable set
piece; HARD BOILED has at least four. The finale, a gigantic, operatic
gun battle set in a hospital, is the capper. Chow Yun Fat oozes machismo
as the maverick cop Tequila, working to bring down the syndicate hoods
who killed his partner. I don’t what it is about maverick cops; I
guess the ones who go by the book aren’t that interesting on film.
29. THE STING (1973)
This has to be one of the most enjoyably fun times I’ve ever
had at the movies, because all I knew about it was that Paul Newman and
Robert Redford were teaming up again. It came out at Christmas; the
theater was packed, and every single member of that audience was laughing
and cheering by the end. We all walked out grinning from ear to ear;
I remember brushing a finger past my nose at a friend who was waiting in
line for the late show, a silent tribute to the movie. A great character
actor cast (Robert Shaw, Ray Walston, Harold Gould, etc.), a gorgeously
detailed Depression era set, a superb musical score (which I still use
as my cellular ringtone), and probably the best poker scene ever.
28. BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)
This was the top of the line for Universal’s classic monster
movies of the 30s and 40s. Boris Karloff was probably one of the
most underrated movie actors ever, and I truly think he deserved Oscar
consideration for what he was able to pull off in this film. BRIDE
is a testament to his versatility. Karloff’s monster makes you squirm,
makes you cringe, and even makes you sympathize. Rarely has an actor
been able to achieve such a range in one picture. Colin Clive returns
as the good doctor, this time dragooned by the evil Dr. Pretorius (Ernest
Thesiger) into yet another life-giving experiment. The finale, with
Karloff’s classic line “We belong dead,” is a great moment.
27. PSYCHO (1960)
After spending much of the previous decade globe hopping with
bigger budgets and a Technicolor camera, Alfred Hitchcock came back down
to quick-and-dirty-land for one of his greatest masterpieces. The
shower scene is justifiably famous, of course, but I think the entire movie
is an exercise in mood, setting, and pinpoint camerawork. Anthony
Perkins is creepily effective as Norman Bates, the motel operator desperately
trying to rein in his “mother’s” psychopathic tendencies. Hitchcock’s
rule-breaking dispatch of his “star,” Janet Leigh, was echoed by Brian
De Palma twenty years later in DRESSED TO KILL.
26. ON THE WATERFRONT (1954)
Marlon Brando will return to my list next month, but that other
picture featured Brando as part of a grand ensemble. Here, Brando
is center stage as Terry Malloy, an ex-boxer and small-time thug working
for union boss Lee J. Cobb. Director Elia Kazan made wonderful use
of his locations, choosing to film right down on the docks with the workers,
but the most memorable moment of the film was the scene with Brando and
brother Rod Steiger in the taxicab. In terms of acting, it doesn’t
get any better than that. A hard-hitting film for its time, and still
pretty timely today.
Which brings us down to the final 25, folks. I’ve dropped
hints along the way about several of my top 25, but I think you’ll find
a few surprises in there, too. See you next month!
ICS CALENDER –the Month in review!
Nov 11th Zathura
Nov 18th Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Nov 19th ICS MEETING!!!
Nov 24th THANKSGIVING
Dec 9th The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion,
the Witch and the Wardrobe
Dec 14th KING KONG