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


November 2006  #94



ICS makes the Newspaper!
Read all about it.


Whats happening with our faves


The hottest news out on ICS genre films



Old friends, now gone


From ICS member John Ward

See what’s happening!
Put this up on the Fridge!

Editor-Betsy Childs 
Staff Writers- 
Regina Vallerani, 
John Ward, Joe Plempel,
Mike Laird, Dava Sentz,
Jim Childs, Mike Schilling


ICSClubnewsClubnews All About Us ClubnewsClubnewsICS

 Our potluck spread was a sight to behold.  The dinner choices included lasagna, meat balls, chili, hot dogs, hot wings, salad, and Chinese food.  The Dessert table had the 3 C’s of chocolate - cakes, cup cakes and candy and a mystery cheese popcorn cake that was quite good.  Master chef Steve Vaught’s sushi bar was a special highlight.
 A number of club members took advantage of the holiday to dress in their Halloween best. Special recognition goes to Jim Childs’ Duff Man, Steve Vaught’s Samurai Chef, Neal Wagenfer’s Phantom of the Opera, and especially Robin Richards’ Zombie/St. Pauli Girl.
 Where else could you have so much food and fun except for the ICS.  Thanks to everyone who brought pot luck, helped to decorate, helped to clean up and dressed up.  Our Halloween party was a success once again!

 For his third Halloween appearance, Greg Mank discussed actor Lionel Atwill, who lived in Baltimore County for a few years in the early 1900’s.  Atwill was born into a wealthy family and was educated at London's prestigious Mercer School to become an architect, but his interest turned to the stage. He worked his way progressively into the craft and came to the US in 1915.  He appeared in some 25 plays on Broadway between 1917 and 1931, but he was already trying his hand in silent films by 1918.  Atwill had a sonorous and dictatorial British accent which served well for the stage and just as well for sound movies.  He worked steadily through the 1930s in such films as Captain Blood and Son of Frankenstein.  However, Atwill effectively ruined his burgeoning film career in 1943 after he was implicated in what was described as an "orgy" at his home, naked guests and pornographic films included - and a rape perpetrated during the proceedings. Atwill "lied like a gentleman", it was said, in the court proceedings to protect the identities of his guests, was convicted of perjury sentenced to five years on probation.
 He was thereafter kept employed only by his horror movie employer, faithful Universal Pictures, while the rest of Hollywood turned its collective back on him.  He is more remembered for the horror film genre than better efforts, but that has fueled his continued popularity and a bid by the Southern California Lionel Atwill Fan Club to petition for a Hollywood Blvd. star (he never received one).  Of late, the same fan club angered his only living son Lionel Anthony after revealing that his ashes resided at The Chapel of the Pines in Los Angeles.  The son had the ashes exhumed and taken to his home in Vermont.
 After his presentation on Atwill, Greg Mank took time to answer questions from the crowd and stayed around to chat with members later.  The ICS is very lucky to have Mr. Mank!  Thanks again for a wonderful presentation.

 We screened the 1933 Atwill vehicle, MURDERS AT THE ZOO.  It was a pre-code film and some of the violent scenes, while tame by today’s standards, would have been quite shocking to the audiences of the time.  In the film, Atwill plays a millionaire sportsman who delivers several animals from overseas to a zoo in the US.   However, he is a jealous husband and resorts to drastic measures by using his animals to kill any man who makes a play for his young wife (played by Kathleen Burke, the panther woman from ISLAND OF LOST SOULS).

 Following the business meeting, the club capped its Halloween festivities with the annual all-nighter.  Die-hards stayed to watch INNOCENT BLOOD, INFERNAL AFFAIRS, and LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN.  Iron Man awards will be handed out at the next meeting!

 Dave Willard passed around the sign-up sheet for the 2007 calendar.  The calendar is $15.

 Richard Smith - for volunteering to tote our utensils to/from meetings
 Tom and Justin Proveaux - for doing above job so well until the end of the year
 Lisa Schilling - for donating a coffee maker that was an extra wedding present

 John Ward is compiling a Top 100 Genre Movies for our 100th meeting in April 2007.  He will be accepting lists until our March 2007 meeting, so if you want to make John happy - email him with your list ASAP at JOHN5509@COMCAST.NET. 

 Our December meeting includes the infamous Yankee Swap.  In order to participate, you must bring a gift for $25 (receipts please) and put it on the gift table.  Each person who brought a gift will receive a number from 1 to # of participants.  The person who draws number 1 will pick a gift from the table.  The person who draws number 2 can either pick another gift from the table or steal number 1’s gift.  Gifts can be stolen a maximum of 2 times, then they belong to the 2nd stealer.  This process continues until everyone has a gift.  It’s always a lot of fun.

 Our next meeting will be held on Saturday November 25th 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. 

 Way back in 2005, Andrew Kent gave the goods on Jackie Chan’s early days in the biz.  In November, he will give us a look into Jackie Chan’s career from 1983 to today, where he gets more success in China with his POLICE STORY films and breaks into the US Market as a major star.

“ICS up Here  ^  and everything else down here _”    - Joe Plempel


ICS’ers left to right –
Neil Wagenfer, Steve Vaught, Andrew Kent, Regina Vallerani, Robin Richards, Charlie Wittig, Dave Henderson, Jim Childs


And for more great pictures – over thirty more photos of the fun that evening – go to the ICS Halloween 2006 photo gallery that Betsy created for your enjoyment.  The photos were sent in by Dave Henderson, Gary Roberson, Rick Arnold and Betsy Childs.  It was a great meeting and a fun party, thank you everyone!
or just type in -

tv news tv news tv news the glass teat tv news tv news tv news

   Jon Turteltaub, executive producer of CBS' hit SF series Jericho, admitted that real-life tensions about North Korea's nuclear test and fears of a possible nuclear attack help make the show more compelling. "If people had no fear of nuclear bombs, then this show would kind of suck," he told the trade paper. "But if America was in a panic over nuclear bombs, we probably couldn't make the show." 
   Turteltaub's intention isn't to prey on that fear in the name of easy scares. Instead, he aims to create intriguing stories that result from an examination of the way that the different characters—survivors left isolated in a small Kansas town—react in a crisis situation. 
   "I think what we have all really focused on is less the nuclear message and more of the sociology of how to behave when everything goes wrong," Turteltaub said. “True leadership appears, and really hard choices have to be made." 
   Jericho recently received a full-season order. Jonathan A. Steinberg, Josh Schaer and Stephen Chbosky are credited as creators. 
   "I like ideas where when I hear the initial part of an idea, it brings up thousands of other thoughts," Turteltaub said. "This spawned a rash of other ideas—everything from the fact that all of life would be changed by this event, through where life doesn't really change at all if you live in small town and are already removed from the nonsense of a big city." Jericho airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. PT/ET. 

   Marvel Comics has partnered with CBS' daytime soap opera Guiding Light to produce an episode in which a character is zapped by an electrical current and becomes infused with superpowers, including the ability to levitate and to conduct electricity, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 
   The episode, set to air Nov. 1, involves the show's Harley Davidson Cooper character, played by Beth Ehlers. As part of the deal, Marvel will produce an eight-page insert for some of its top comic titles that involves Marvel characters descending on Light's fictional town of Springfield to determine whether the new superhero is friend or foe. 

   Tad Stones, director of Cartoon Network's upcoming animated film Hellboy: Sword of Storms, said that the movie takes its story cues from Mike Mignola's Hellboy comics universe, though it also features the voices of actors from Guillermo del Toro's live-action 2004 Hellboy movie. "Our animated films are much closer to the comic," Stones said. "Basically, every [medium] has its own Hellboy universe, and Hellboy's creator, Mike Mignola, is very careful to keep his universe separate. In our case, our goal was to get [the characters], certainly, and the tone of the story to be as close to the comic as possible." 
   In Hellboy: Sword of Storms, a university professor reads aloud from a forbidden scroll and is possessed by the demons of thunder and lightning, who attempt to awaken dragons hidden around the world. Stones said, “The film is "kind of like a trip to Alice in Wonderland, but instead of seeing the Mad Hatter, Hellboy falls into the world of Japanese folklore,". He adds, "Hellboy doesn't know much of that, because he picks up this sword and is transported into this world and has these varied adventures. We find stories within stories, and he's trying to figure out what he has to do to return back to our world.". 
   Hellboy: Sword of Storms is the first of two animated Hellboy features to come from the mind of Mignola. "These movies are written [to be]—and the Hellboy comics themselves are—PG, PG-13 at most," Stones said. "These shows are like an animated X-Files, which has scares in it, has certainly suspense, has moments where you don't know what's going on, and that's OK." 
   Stones admitted that he defers to Mignola when it comes to the storytelling. "My job is to keep the uniqueness of Hellboy, which makes him different from any other comic character, and that's the point," he said. "There’s no point in taking Hellboy and turning him into the next mutant in line." Hellboy: Sword of Storms premieres on Cartoon Network Oct. 28 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT, during the network's Toonami programming block.

   SCI FI Channel and its parent network, NBC, put to rest fan rumors that SCI FI's original series Battlestar Galactica will make the move to NBC. "There is no truth to this rumor," a SCI FI spokesperson said. 
   The rumor has appeared on fans sites such as the Battlestar Galactica Site and been picked up by other entertainment news sites. "Word has begun to circulate that NBC's acquisition of Battlestar Galactica is in the 'waiting-for-the-ink-to-dry' phase at this moment, and an official announcement could be days away," the Battlestar Galactica Site said. 
   Battlestar Galactica returned for its third season on SCI FI on Oct. 6 and airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT. It was the number-one cable show in its timeslot for the night. 

   Its back and better than ever! SCI FI Channel has ordered up an expanded second season of its hit original reality series Who Wants to Be a Superhero?, starring Stan Lee. The second season, which is slated to air next summer, will expand from six to 10 one-hour episodes. The show is produced by Bruce Nash's Nash Entertainment and Lee's POW! Entertainment, Inc. 
   "Who Wants to Be a Superhero? was a success for us on many levels last summer," said Mark Stern, SCI FI's executive vice president, original programming. "The show garnered great reviews, attracted a record-breaking number of younger viewers to the channel and held its own against some very stiff competition on Thursday nights." 
   The first season of Who Wants to Be a Superhero? averaged a 1.1 household rating (1.5 million total viewers), more than doubled the year-to-date time-period average among viewers aged 18-34, increased the number of 18-49 viewers by more than 74 percent and grew the 25-54 audience by more than 44 percent. 

   Russell T. Davies, executive producer of Doctor Who, and star David Tennant insist they didn't consciously set out to make the 10th Doctor different from his predecessors. Tennant (U.K. TV's Casanova) took over the role from Christopher Eccleston, who left at the end of season one; the second season of Doctor Who airs in the United States on SCI FI Channel starting Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. 
   "To be honest, I write them the same," Davies said. "I think you can get very hung up on those adjectives: He's foppish, quirky, eccentric, but it's better not to talk about it. I write it, and he does it, and somewhere in the middle of that, it sort of works. I think it's a big mistake to sit down and say, 'Oh, let's make him allergic to bananas and left-handed,' because you just end up with a list of adjectives and not a character at all. He is a man reborn in some ways, so he's got a lot of energy, and it's interesting to watch that." 
   For his part, Tennant agreed. "I think there's always a danger with characters that are this kind of open-ended of being self-conscious and cocky," he said. "I think you can trap yourself in 'Oh, he must always hop on a Tuesday,' and you're then left with this rather ugly mannerism that you have to stick with for however long you're doing this." 
   Davies said that the Doctor is always the Doctor. "And there is a huge amount that you just can't change," he added. "He goes into a situation and is the hero and takes the moral high ground as well, and you're just not going to get away from it. There's no point to trying to come up with differences." 
      A longtime Doctor Who fan himself, Tennant grew up with the series, not realizing that he'd one day be starring in it. "Tom Baker was the one that I grew to love as a kid, and Peter Davison as well," Tennant said. "I was 10 when he took over. I haven't really drawn from either of them, but I suppose having a knowledge of the show and what's gone before [helps], and, as Russell said, the Doctor is the Doctor, so everything that he's been before feeds into what he is now in terms of the character and probably the performance. I don't consciously think, 'Oh, I'll do this bit like Tom did!' But I'm sure it's all in there." 

   Milo Ventimiglia, who plays Peter Petrelli in NBC's hit SF drama Heroes, said that viewers have only begun to see the extent of his character's ability to take on the powers of other superheroes. "There's a physical pressure that Peter feels if he were in the room with two superheroes," Ventimiglia said. "The physical, the mental overwhelming that it could possibly get him into, we do get into that. We do explore it. And also, is he ever going to retain [it], or is it just when he's nearby somebody?" 
   Ventimiglia agreed that his character has the potential to become one of the most powerful characters on the show, but won't be any more important than the other heroes on the show. "We all play our parts," he said. "And per the pilot, I think the storyline that was easiest served was the Petrelli brothers. But all these other characters unfold in interesting ways, and that's also what is part and parcel and integral to the show." 
   The series will also continue to explore the love triangle between Ventimiglia's character, art dealer Simone Deveaux (played by Tawny Cypress) and prophetic painter Isaac Mendez (Santiago Cabrera). "It's just one of those complicated triangles that add drama to any situation, any show," Ventimiglia said. "I think Simone's part in the show, with regards to Peter, it brings him back to that earnest point of, well, why is he doing this? She's actually the one that in future episodes kind of helps him along, and is understanding and taking charge of this situation, this opportunity, he's been placed in. And we'll definitely get into that more."

movie news movie news  Silver Screen  movie news movie news

   George Takei has agreed to play his Star Trek character, Hikaru Sulu, in an episode of the fan-produced Star Trek: New Voyages Web films. 
   Takei's character will age 30 years, with flowing hair and leather clothes, in "World Enough and Time," a 50-minute fan production being filmed at an old car dealership in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. 
   James Cawley, a fan who lives in nearby Ticonderoga, has financed 15 years of such Star Trek episodes from his earnings as an Elvis impersonator and plays Capt. James T. Kirk in this episode. Cawley said that the episode will be released in March as a free Internet download from his Web site. 

   Longtime James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli said that the upcoming 21st film in the longstanding series, Casino Royale, essentially reboots the franchise, right down to a new Bond: Daniel Craig, taking over from Pierce Brosnan. Casino Royale, based on the first of Ian Fleming's 007 books, also sets the stage for future adventures—but it's anyone's guess which direction the Bond films will head next, Broccoli. 
   "Well, that's going to be the subject of great debate over the next six months," Broccoli said. "We are already working on a screenplay, and I think we like the direction we are taking with Casino Royale, and we'll continue along in that direction." 
   Casino Royale goes back to the early stages of Bond's career, shortly after he achieved his "double-oh" status, and deals with an early romance, with British treasury agent Vesper Lynd, played by Eva Green. Unlike earlier Bond films, Casino Royale is grittier, more brutal and more realistic, with few of the trappings of previous films. 
   For example, one character fans will likely not see in the near future is Q, the MI6 quartermaster who created Bond's nifty gadgets and elicited moviegoer laughs as he introduced them to a seemingly uninterested 007.
   "I think in Casino Royale, he relies much more on himself than on gadgets, and I think that's worked very well," Broccoli said. "He does have things like the car [a 2006 Aston Martin DBS]. In fact, our stunt team was just presented with a Guinness World Record for spins, seven and a half rollovers, which was amazing. The thing is the stunts in this film are real, and I think the public loves that. I think they can tell when things are real. I think the public appreciates that more than him coming out with a gadget thatgets him out of a situation.".

   James Cameron will produce an as-yet-untitled 3-D adventure thriller movie for Rogue Pictures, Rogue co-presidents Andrew Karpen and Andrew Rona announced on Oct. 30. 
   The story takes place in the world of cave diving and will center on a father and son who become trapped and struggle to survive deep below the Earth's surface. 
   Rogue has worldwide distribution rights to the feature and will make the movie with Cameron's Earthship Productions, the production company that the filmmaker founded to advance his extensive underwater expeditions and documentary work of the past decade. 
   Emmy-Award nominee Gary Johnstone (Expedition: Bismarck) will direct, from a script by John Garvin. Andrew Wight, producer and expedition leader on all Earthship productions to date, will produce the film with Cameron. 
   Rogue and Cameron will search for a cast of actors who will be filmed in real caves in Mexico and Papua New Guinea. 
   The film will be shot with the 3-D Fusion camera system, developed by Cameron and Vince Pace. 

   Bryan Singer has signed a deal with Warner Brothers to direct and produce a sequel to Superman Returns, with Legendary Pictures expected to co-finance. 
   The sequel is tentatively intended for release in summer 2009, although the studio stressed that there's not even a script or budget yet. 
   The sequel is apparently at the very beginning of the development process, and, as with any other project, there are any number of factors that must be addressed before it is given a green light. 
   Superman Returns grossed more than $390 million worldwide, though it wasn't the performer the studio had hoped for. 
   In terms of casting, Warners has an option on Superman Returns star Brandon Routh. 
   Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris penned the script for Superman Returns based on a story they created with Singer. It's not clear whether Dougherty and Harris will return for the sequel. 

   Original Star Trek star William Shatner revealed that he had "a long talk" with Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams about his upcoming proposed 11th Star Trek movie, confirming earlier reports on and elsewhere. Shatner joked when asked who he thought should assume the mantle of Capt. James T. Kirk in the film, which is rumored to deal with Kirk and Spock's first meeting. 
   "I think it's essentially uncastable," Shatner answered with a wink. He also dismissed a suggestion that he have a cameo in the movie, which was also the subject of rumors. 
   Asked about his currently airing Trek-themed DirecTV commercial, Shatner admitted that visual effects shaved years off of him. "They've got me CGI'd," he said. "They've got a computer program trying vainly to make me look younger."

   IFC and the Weinstein Co.have teamed to pick up Black Sheep, a horror comedy about good sheep gone baaaaad, for North American distribution, Variety reported. (no really)
   Black Sheep follows two brothers on a New Zealand farm, one of whom has created genetically modified sheep who begin to run amok. 
IFC will handle theatrical release on its First Take label; TWC will release on DVD through its Genius Products homevid arm. The New-Zealand-shot Sheep was produced by Live Stock Films and Philippa Campbell; the New Zealand Film Commission financed and sold it. Jonathan King helmed from his own script. 

   Jim Caviezel, who stars in the upcoming SF action-adventure movie Outlander, dropped his usual reserve said that he's excited to be part of the epic tale. "It's going to be big," Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) said. "Outlander is going to be big." 
   Caviezel is now in Canada shooting the film, which is directed by Howard McCain and tells the story of a being from another galaxy who crash-lands on Earth during the time of the Vikings. "It's kind of like Braveheart and Highlander combined," Caviezel said. "Somewhat, and really not, and much bigger." 
   Outlander, which was written by McCain and Dirk Blackman, follows the story of a human-like alien on Earth in 509 A.D. and the monstrous alien creature called a Moorwen that has followed him, threatening to destroy all human life. Caviezel said that he has not yet seen the creature, which will be created by designer Patrick Tatopoulos (I, Robot), but added that it will scary. (Outlander is not related to the Diana Gabaldon book series of the same name.) 
   The Weinsten Co. started shooting Outlander in the Halifax area earlier this month. It co-stars Cliff Saunders, Patrick Stevenson and Ted Ludzik. Caviezel can next be seen in Déjà Vu, an SF action thriller that stars Denzel Washington and Val Kilmer and is directed by Tony Scott; it opens Nov. 24. 

   Hong Kong-based helmer Tsui Hark will direct Eye 3, third installment of the Chinese-language horror franchise, which has already given rise to two English-language remakes. 
   The sequel will again to be produced by Peter Chan's Applause Pictures. It tells the story of a woman whose photographer husband is killed in a mysterious diving accident and who is haunted by images of things she has never seen. Shooting begins this winter. Casting details are not finalized. 
   The first Eye is being remade into an English-language remake through Cruise/Wagner and Lionsgate. The second is in development at New Line/Gold Circle. The first two Chinese films were helmed by brothers Danny and Oxide Pang. 

   Strike Entertainment and Universal Pictures will remake John Carpenter's SF horror movie The Thing, with Battlestar Galactica executive producer Ronald D. Moore writing the script. The 1982 original dealt with a shapeshifting creature from outer space that terrorizes researchers at an Antarctic station. That film in turn was a remake of the 1951 classic SF movie The Thing From Another World, which was adapted from the 1938 short story "Who Goes There?" by legendary SF author John W. Campbell Jr. 
   Strike partners Marc Abraham and Eric Newman will produce, and David Foster, who produced the 1982 film, will executive-produce. 
   The producers said they consider the new film to be more "a companion piece" to the Carpenter film than a note-for-note remake.


Cast: Danny DeVito, Matthew Broderick, Kristin Chenoweth, Kristin Davis, 
Alia Shawkat 
Premise: Danny's latest dream - to create the biggest holiday light display in the world, visible from outer space - is turning Steve's disciplined world into a chaotic nightmare. As Danny's home explodes with festive lights of incredible design, increasing complexity, and exponentially-growing wattage, Steve becomes a man on a mission. At any cost, he will thwart Danny - or top him.

NOV 22nd    DEJA VU 
Cast: Denzel Washington, Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, Bruce Greenwood, Adam 
Premise:  That flash of memory when you meet someone new you feel you've known all your life. But what if the feelings were actually warnings sent from the past or clues to the future? It is déjà vu that unexpectedly guides ATF agent Doug Carlin through an investigation into a shattering crime.

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn, Sean Patrick Thomas 
Premise: Three parallel stories--about love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of existence--as told through the odyssey taken on by one man. From 16th century Spain thru modern day scientist to 26th century astronaut, he travels to save the woman he loves 

Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Gong Li, Liu Ye, Chen Jin, Jay Chou
Premise: A period high drama that concerns the volatile balance of power between the King and the Queen and his three sons, which entails betrayal, deceit and passion--pitting the King against Queen and father against sons. 

Cast:  Michelle Trachtenberg, Oliver Hudson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Katie Cassidy
 Premise- This is a remake of the 1974 slasher classic about a psycho terrorizing a sorority house during the holiday season.  Ho Ho Ho!

farewellsfarewellsfarewells Good bye farewellsfarewellsfarewells

Jane Wyatt, a three-time Emmy Award-winner for her portrayal of the patient, understanding housewife and mother on the classic 1950s family situation comedy Father Knows Best, has died at age 96. She also will be remembered by the ICS as Spock’s mother in the classic Star Trek TV series.
Wyatt was born Aug. 12, 1910, in Campgaw, N.J. Her father, Christopher Wyatt, was a New York investment banker, and her mother, Euphemia Van Rensselaer Wyatt, was a playwright, drama critic and editor. She majored in history and took drama courses at Barnard College, but she left after two years to become an apprentice at the Berkshire Playhouse in Stockbridge, Mass. Her first appearance on the New York stage was in Give Me Yesterday in 1931, and in 1933 she succeeded Margaret Sullivan in Dinner at Eight on Broadway.
Signed to a short-term contract by Universal in 1934, Wyatt made her screen debut that year playing the heroine's supportive sister in James Whale's One More River. Her first on-screen lead was in Great Expectations in 1934. Other of her films include lost horizon, hurricane smith, none but the lonely heart, gentleman’s agreement, house by the river, interlude and star trek iv.

Phyllis Kirk, the actress who played the damsel in distress stalked by Vincent Price in House of Wax, a horror movie considered the best of the 3-D films of the 1950s, has died. During the rest of the 1950s, she often appeared in television anthologies before being cast opposite Peter Lawford in The Thin Man, which aired from 1957 to 1959. The pair played Nick and Nora Charles in the TV series based on the Dashiell Hammett book and the MGM movies that had starred William Powell and Myrna Loy. She appeared in such films as three guys named mike, the iron mistress, thunder over the plains, crime wave, johnny concho and the sad sack. She was 79.

Tuba player Tommy Johnson, who brought to life the low and ominous notes of John Williams score for Jaws, sent a chill up the spine of anyone sitting in a darkened theater as the great white shark came near, cutting through the water in pursuit of its prey, has died.
The first movie Johnson played on was Al Capone, with a score by David Raksin. That 1959 film was followed by a seemingly endless list highlighted by The Godfather, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the Indiana Jones trilogy, the Star Trek movie series, The Lion King and Titanic. He was 71.

Arthur Hill, a veteran actor whose career spanned over 40 years and will be remembered by the ICS for his roles in the andromeda strain and futureworld, has died. He was 84.
Born in the Saskatchewan town of Melfort, he was the son of a lawyer. After serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, he earned his degree from the University of British Columbia. To support himself through school, where he planned to earn a law degree, he found work with the Canadian Broadcasting Co. performing in radio theater, and loved it. 
He won a Tony Award for his work in the groundbreaking Broadway production of Edward Albee's Virginia Woolf. 
Hill was in such other films as I was a male war bride (debut), miss pilgrim’s progress, the ugly american, harper, petulia, the chairman, a bridge too far, a little romance, the champ and making love. He starred in two TV series, owen Marshall and Hagen, and guest starred in such genre television shows as voyage to the bottom of the sea, the invaders, tales of the unexpected and murder in space (TV movie). 

Jack Williamson published his first science-fiction short story in 1928, a year after Charles Lindbergh made his historic solo flight from New York to Paris. The story, The Metal Man appeared in an issue of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories when he was 20.
A pioneer of the genre and one of the longest-active writers in the field, Williamson died of natural causes at his home in Portales, N.M. 
"Jack Williamson was one of the great science-fiction writers," said writer Ray Bradbury. "He did a series of novels which affected me as a young writer with dreams. I met him at 19, and he became my friend and teacher."
He once said that "science is the door to the future and science fiction is the golden key". He wrote more than 50 novels, including the alien intelligence, islands in the sun, Darker Than You Think, land’s end (with Frederick Pohl), demon moon and stonehenge gate. His series included legion of space, legion of time, humanoids, seetee and (with Frederick Pohl) undersea eden, starchild and saga of cuckoo.
The Oxford English Dictionary credits Williamson with inventing the terms “genetic engineering (in Dragon’s Island 1951) and “terraforming” (in Seetee Ship 1951). He was 98.

Jack Palance, the leather-faced, gravelly voiced actor who earned Academy Award nominations for Sudden Fear and Shane, and who finally captured the Oscar almost 40 years later as the crusty trail boss in the 1991 comedy western City Slickers, has died. He was 87.
He was one of the best-loved bad guys in motion picture and television history and kept acting well into his 80s.
He was born Feb. 18, 1919, and named Volodymir Ivanovich Palahniuk and hailed not from the West but from the coal country around Lattimer Mines, Pa.
A professional boxer in the early 1940’s, he became a bomber pilot in WWII and after crashing his plane had to have extensive facial reconstructive surgery. After the war he became a sportswriter for the San Francisco Chronicle, but unhappy with the $35 a week salary and on the advise of an actress friend, he decided to give acting a try. He debuted on screen in Elia Kazan’s Panic in the streets.
Other of his films include the silver chalice, attack, the barbarians, barabbas, the desparados, che!, portrait of a hitman and city slickers II. His genre work includes the shape of things to come (1979), without warning, batman, cyborg II and on T.V., dracula and dr.jekyll and mr.hyde.

Basil Poledouris, a composer whose sweeping score for the 1989 miniseries Lonesome Dove won him an Emmy and who became known for his bold orchestral sounds, has died. 
"When we were all beginners at USC, he was the most talented of any of us," said director John Milius, speaking of a 1960s film school class that included future directors George Lucas and Randal Kleiser (The Blue Lagoon).
Some of the films he scored were, extreme close-up, the blue lagoon, fire on the mountain, the hunt for red october, quigley down under, flight of the intruder, serial mom and cecil B. Demented (for John Waters). His genre films included conan the barbarian, conan the destroter, robocop and robocop III and starship troopers. He was 61.


Action movies are my vice.

 I’ve spoken before in this column about my passions for certain kinds of movies, starting with the Triple Play of our club: horror, science fiction, and fantasy.  I’ve talked about my love for westerns, and I’ve discussed the merits of sports movies.  I’ve even discussed comedies, and I’ve argued many times that they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.  But it’s an adrenalin-soaked, pyrotechnic action spectacular that really makes me sit up and beg for more.
 You want to know a secret?  It’s simply this:  Action movie lovers are not brain-dead idiots.  It’s just the movies in this category that sometimes flirt with frontal lobotomies.  It’s true what they say – that you often have to turn your brain off to enjoy an action film.  But when an action movie stumbles along that represents more than visual proof that stuff blows up real good, one is pleasantly surprised. 
 I thought I could go to the Internet Movie Database for help, but this time, the supersite failed me.  When I scanned the Top 50 list of action movies found on the IMDb website, I was slightly confused by the number of films that seemed to overlap.  THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy was cited as an action picture, but it rightfully deserves the crown as the all-time best fantasy movie ever made.  METROPOLIS is listed as an action movie, for crying out loud, and anyone with potty training and a brain can see that it stands as one of the greatest science fiction movies ever.  So I decided to skip the all-knowing, all-seeing power of the IMDb and go strictly by my wits on this one.  Which should make for a pretty short column.
 Where to begin?  I think it might start with one simple statement:  I hate to be bored in a movie theater.  If the moviemakers want to grab my attention, they have to do it pretty quickly, and if they want to hold my attention, they have to do it with style, flair, and imagination.  I like to be thrilled and surprised at the movies, and the older I get, the harder this task becomes, because I’ve seen a lot of movies.  (If you’re reading this column, you probably have, too.)
 This simple premise applies to all genres, by the way:  action, of course, but also horror, sci-fi, fantasy, noir, comedy, western, political drama, musicals, even romance.  (I’ve been known to sit through a few of those, usually to please my wife.)  When the movie stubs its creative toe, I wince – and I start looking at my watch.  Or, even worse, I fall asleep.  This happens most often at home, although I’ve logged sack time in the theater, too – whenever the film had the word Pokemon in the title, for example, or whenever the movie was a musical set in Chicago.  Here’s my point:  when the movie sucks eggs, it seems a little easier to disguise that fact when stuff is blowing up all over the place, and you’ve already turned your brain off, anyway.
 Don’t get me wrong; I’ve seen plenty of bad action movies, and just because they’re usually loud don’t mean they aren’t boring.  The worst action movies are the repetitious ones, the films that repeat the same stunts and bits over and over.  The best ones don’t repeat themselves.  Here’s where I agree with the ubercritic Roger Ebert, who loved DIE HARD 2 because it was able to show him something new.  I’m speaking of the scene with Bruce Willis’ John McClane trapped in the airplane cockpit, surrounded by grenades primed to explode.  He straps himself into the pilot’s ejector seat and launches a split-second ahead of the explosion.  The bird’s eye camera catches his figure as it shoots toward the camera lens before falling back, which impressed jaded ol’ Roger.  It impressed me, too – because I hadn’t seen anything like it before.
 While I’m always a sucker for something new and different, the best action movies are the ones that make me care about the characters.  Come to think of it, that rule applies to all the other genres, too.  It should be engraved somewhere on the Ten Commandments of Filmmaking:  Thou shalt create characters worth a damn.  You know who I mean – characters like John McClane, Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh, Ellen Ripley, Indiana Jones, Peter Parker, Sarah Connor, Roger Thornhill, the “Bride”…and a cop named Tequila.
 Here are my picks for the best of the best.  They all have Characters You Care About, Kinetic Action to the Max, and Stuff That Blows Up Real Good.

My only rule: when dealing with a series (which happens a lot in this genre), pick one title to represent them all.

1.HARD BOILED (1992) John Woo at the peak of his skills, and there was none better.  Chow Yun-Fat oozes machismo as rogue cop Tequila, trying to bring down crime triads and avenge his dead partner in the process.  Several dynamic set pieces, and the finale in a hospital is positively apocalyptic.
2.ALIENS (1986) Science fiction?  Only on the outside.  As soon as Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley returns to the alien planet with a cadre of overmatched Marines, it’s full throttle all the way.
3.RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) So masterful, so respectful of the genre, so dang much fun, that Paramount shoulda put up a “Republic Studios” logo at the beginning, just for kicks.  The movie that took us all back to the days when the heroes carried bullwhips and crawled under moving trucks and outraced giant granite boulders.  With apologies to the galaxy far, far away, this was the movie that made Harrison Ford’s career.
4.THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938) Probably the greatest of the costume spectaculars: all color, all daredevil wizardry, all romance, all movie magic.  The role Errol Flynn was born to play – and to think that Warners almost put Jimmy Cagney in the tights.
5.SEVEN SAMURAI (1954) More character interaction than any three other movies on this list, but the battle scenes are magnificent.  (Pardon me while I dig out my thesaurus; I think “spectacular” and “magnificent” might be heavily overused in this column before I’m done.)  Akira Kurasawa’s greatest achievement.
6.DIE HARD (1988) One of my all-time favorite poster taglines: Prepare to be blown through the back wall of the theater.  And how.  Thanks to smartass cop Bruce Willis and master villain Alan Rickman, the movie launched a whole sub genre.
7.KILL BILL VOLUME 1 (2003) I listed the first volume because there’s nothing in the second volume to compare with the fight in the House of Blue Leaves.  Actually, very little in action movie history can compare to that sequence, one of the greatest fight scenes ever.  Uma Thurman kicks butt better than any woman who ever wielded a samurai sword.
8.LETHAL WEAPON 2 (1989) The first movie introduced great chemistry, pairing Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as bickering cops.  The second film upped the action ante, added a wisecracking Joe Pesci as a mob informant, and that rare animal – a sequel better than its original – was born.
9.SIN CITY (2005) Honestly, I just didn’t see how Robert Rodriguez could do justice to the ultrastylish, ultraviolent comic art of Frank Miller.  Man, was I wrong.  Rodriguez solved the problem by keeping Miller on set constantly as a co-director, and filming exclusively on green screens to amplify the comic book effect.  The best use of CGI I’ve ever seen, next to Gollum.
10.TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991) James Cameron improves on the original by adding a couple of twists: making the Schwarzenegger cyborg a good guy, and making the bad terminator an unstoppable force that even Ahnuld would not be able to beat.

And ten more, in no particular order:

SPIDER-MAN 2 (2004)
FACE/OFF (1997)
SPEED (1994)



NOV 22nd    DEJA VU 


NOV 25th     ICS MEETING  5:30 pm.