The Official Newsletter of The Imaginative Cinema Society
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February 2007 98



ICS makes the Newspaper!
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Tasty Tidbits and Leftovers




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

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


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A New Look for the ICS Files
By Betsy Childs


As Editor and general cut and paster of this monthly newsletter, I am going to discuss some of the changes that will be coming.  We have had a wonderful rotating staff here and it has made for some interesting articles, reviews and news briefs.  They have been enjoyed by us all. The writings and reviews from many of the members has, in my opinion, been the heart of the newsletter. 

In keeping with that, ICS Files is going to be aiming more for even more member participation and less for news.  The TV and Movie news sections will basically be combined into one unit with news about both.  This will help me in getting the issues out a little faster and open the pages up for some new information. I was thinking about it when we received our Entertainment Weekly and I realized that most of us already know what is happening in the movies and the TV / Movie news is basically a rehash…and often a late news release.  I would like to keep this information, but in a smaller format because there are some who have mentioned that ICS Files is their form of movie news. 

What I would like to put in that place, will be our own ICS members thoughts in the form of movie reviews, personal views on the horror and science fiction genres and what is happening in their home theatre, TV set or visits to the theatre.  I will be emailing individuals and asking for some thoughts.  Don’t be surprised if you get an email from me asking about something you may have a focus on.  Be prepared John, to tell us all the abundant trivia from King Kong, or Gary to talk about collecting or Andrew about Zombie movies. 

I am hoping to get some more member awareness and involvement and get let us all know each other a little better through our love for the cinema. Please realize that giving us some trivia or cinema stories on your favorite films, may get us interested to go watch them. And that, in my mind is the core of our club. The love of the movies and the sharing of them with our friends.  I hope you will enjoy and hope even more that you will help out when your email arrives. 

Thank you.

 The Imaginative Cinema Society celebrated its 8th anniversary with a discussion “down memory lane,” led by club president Dave Willard.  Club members shared their stories of the past eight years.  Members also dug into the traditional “anniversary cookie,” this time in the shape of an 8. 

 Rick Arnold gave a presentation on the cult TV show DARK SHADOWS, which included a video interview with creator Dan Curtis.  Rick and fellow club member Dave Henderson pooled their resources to set up an interesting memorabilia display.  
 DARK SHADOWS was a daytime television soaper-shocker serial that originally aired on ABC from 1966-71.  In addition to its Gothic tales involving the supernatural, what set DARK SHADOWS apart from the other TV soap operas of its day was the remarkable cast, including famous and glamorous Hollywood screen star Joan Bennett (SUSPIRIA) as the aristocratic matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Oscar-nominated actress Grayson Hall (THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA) as Dr. Julia Hoffman, who tried to develop a cure for vampire Barnabas Collins but wound up falling in love with him instead, and, of course, the superb Jonathan Frid as reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins.  Made on a noticeably low budget, DARK SHADOWS concentrated on plot and character rather than cheap thrills, though there were plenty of eerie, spooky moments and a creepy Gothic atmosphere.  The primetime revival of the ever-popular series in 1991 featured more elaborate settings and special effects but was less successful and lasted barely two months on the airwaves.  The show's success led to two offshoot feature films starring a number of the series regulars. The first and most successful was HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS in 1970, followed by NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS in 1971. 
 Some DARK SHADOWS Trivia:
• For more than a year and a half the characters of "Dark Shadows" used almost every possible phrase to refer to Barnabas Collins ("He's not alive!" "He's one of the undead." "He walks at night but he ain't alive.") It wasn't until the 410th episode that the word "vampire" was actually used on the show.
• Ranked #19 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Top Cult Shows Ever!" (30 May 2004 issue).
• The role of Dr. Julia Hoffman was actually originally supposed to be "Julian" Hoffman, and portrayed by a man. In the first episode in which this character is mentioned (before she appeared on-screen), Dr. Hoffman is specifically referred to as a "he" and "one of the finest men I know." Before the role was cast however, a character description was typed up and the name "Julian" became "Julia" because of a typo. Producer Dan Curtis decided to change the gender on a whim, only after he noticed the typo.
• The role of Dr. Julia Hoffman, played by Grayson Hall, was only supposed to last a few weeks, but Hall's husband, Sam Hall, was a head writer for the show and eventually made a star out of the character.
• Since the show was canceled rather suddenly, viewers never learned Barnabas' fate. But according to one of the writers, here's what they had planned: Barnabas was going to marry his doctor, Julia Hoffman, and move to Asia, where she would eventually discover a cure for his vampirism.
• Jonathan Frid didn't pose for the famous portrait of him that hung in Collinwood. The line producer, Robert Costello, did. The face was left blank until the actor was hired. The portrait was the last image ever shown on the last episode.
• The first time Jonathan Frid appeared on Dark Shadows, he was so nervous that he put his fangs in upside down and chewed them to bits.
• The interior of the Collinswood mansion was actually built in a studio in New York City. The exterior was a real house, but it wasn't in Maine-it was in Newport, Rhode Island.
• Kathryn Leigh Scott was one of the first people hired for the show. A screen test was shot of her wearing a filmy, ghostlike costume-and it was later used on the air, with the explanation that she was the ghost of Josette Collins. They didn't let it die there. When Barnabas was introduced, it was further explained that Josette was his long-lost love, and Scott played that part when the storyline jumped back to the year 1795. They had her coming and going, so to speak.
• Barnabas always carried a silver wolf-head cane. It later revealed there was a sword inside, which came in handy in certain situations.
• Barnabas gave a music box to Josette as token of his love, and somehow, through the centuries, he always manages to have it on hand when he falls in love again (usually with someone he sees as Josette's incarnation).
• The portrait of Angelique was invested with certain powers, and when something happened to her, it faded and cracked. When her life was restored, the portrait was restored.
• Quentin Collins' portrait was the ultimate: they were doing Dorian Grey. He didn't age, the portrait did; and any injuries he suffered happened to the portrait instead.
• The one of Barnabas was usually in the foyer at Collinwood, and the camera would pan mysteriously to it when something ominous was about to happen (accompanied by eerie music)

 Thanks, Rick, for that entertaining look at a show that many of us remember watching – either after work or after school!  And thanks Rick and Dave, for sharing your memorabilia with us!

 Subsequently, the club screened HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS.  It follows the adventures of vampire Barnabas Collins.  Recently unleashed from his coffin by local drunk, Willie Loomis, the Barnabas goes on a killing spree, while at the same time charming his present day family members.  In the process he meets local girl Maggie Evans and notices that she looks exactly like his deceased fiancé, Josette.  Barnabas assumes that she is the reincarnation of Josette, and plans to make him his unholy bride for eternity because, after all, that’s what vampires do.

 The annual election was unanimous.  Because Jim Childs had to renounce his candidacy due to work obligations, the five remaining candidates were all given board member status.  Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2007 ICS Board consists of:
Andrew Kent Joe Plempel  Mike Schilling
John Ward  Dave Willard
 Congratulations to all new board members – we all appreciate your efforts to steer the club and hope to help out wherever possible.
 Along with the other fun January events, comes the annual audit of our books.  Jeanne Matcovich and Betsy Childs graciously volunteered to look over last year’s income and expenses and validate the ledger balance to the bank balance.  As expected, everything was in tip-top shape, thanks to our treasurer, Andrew Kent.  Thanks Jeanne and Betsy for taking time from the meeting to help with the audit.

 Dave Willard talked about an idea for “quickie trips”: short-notice announcements of movie get-togethers, with admission paid for by the club. We will try to vary the location of the get-together sites. The board sees this as another way to foster camaraderie among club members.
 Dave Willard proposed an idea for “Frame by Frame”: ICS members would take a night to discuss one movie in depth, along with that movie’s screening. This would be an opportunity to tear into the film, supplying lots of trivia and background info on the movie. This has already been tried successfully with films like THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME.
 New food choices available to club members – Rick Smith brought in a hot dog machine, and Tom Proveaux talked up the recently opened Great American Sandwiches restaurant at the entrance to the parking lot.
 Dave Willard talked about a “Sci-FiPedia” entry on the ICS as a “building block” of promotion for the club. Dave asked club members to provide content directly on the Sci-FiPedia’s ICS entry.

 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 please email him with your list ASAP at JOHN5509@COMCAST.NET.  And if you don’t feel like listing 100 movie titles, you can do as little as 5 or as much as 99 – he will count ‘em all.

 The board announced a special surprise to commemorate the upcoming 100th meeting: a field trip to the new Geppi’s Entertainment Museum at Camden Yards.  The field trip will take place on Saturday, April 7th.  All club members in good standing (with paid-up dues) will receive free admission, compliments of the club’s treasury.  An exact time has not been decided, but we hope to gather at another place, such as a Light Rail stop, and ride to the museum together. (This will relieve parking woes.)  
            The date was selected to take advantage of the Orioles’ out-of-town schedule.  A sign-up sheet was passed around.  Thus far, 19 people have committed to attending.  The March meeting is the final time that you can sign-up for the field trip.
 Let’s give a round of applause to The Board for thinking up such a fun treat!!

 John Ward announced the club's 6th annual Oscars Pool, with ballots available to all club members. Interested members are encouraged to complete their ballots available from John, or online at, and send them to John via email, or else bring them to the February meeting, the last deadline for accepting ballots.  Participation in the pool is $5 per ballot (please remit to Andrew Kent) – the winner gets half of the final kitty.

 Our next meeting will be held on Saturday February 24th at 5:30 P.M. at the church hall behind the Perry Hall Presbyterian Church located at 8848 BelAir Road.  Take Baltimore Beltway exit 32 north on Belair Road.  Turn left onto Joppa Road. Immediately past the miniature golf course turn left into the parking lot.  If you miss it there are ample turn-around opportunities.  If you get stuck, call 443-570-6455.  That's Dave Willard’s cell phone.  He'll talk you in.   

  Sam DiBlasi wants to give us the chills with a presentation on Haunted House Movies.  And heck, if it gets really scary, remember that we are meeting next to a church – there’s a pastor, plenty of holy water and religious paraphernalia to frighten away any ghosts – unless of course, the church was built on an ancient Indian burial ground… then we’re just out of luck.

  February is a second feature night.  There is no feature chosen at this time, so bring in your favorites and we will vote at the next meeting.

    This is just a reminder that dues expire on New Year's Day with an additional grace period until March 31, 2007. It will be time to pony up for the coming year. Individuals are $25. Couples are $40. Extra family members who reside at the same address are $15 each added the primary membership.  We hope that you decide to join us for an exciting year ahead.
Dues can be paid to Andrew Kent at meetings or sent via paypal to ICSFILM@HOTMAIL.COM or mailed to Andrew at:
 Andrew Kent
 5025 Green Mountain Circle Apt 6
 Columbia, MD  21044

All Checks should be payable to ‘ICS’ or ‘Imaginative Cinema Society’.

The following members have paid their dues.  If you are missing from this list, please contact Andrew.

Rick Arnold   Betsy Childs   Jim Childs
Vince DiLeonardi  Sam DiBlasi   Heather Fleming
Tim Fleming   James Gernert   Dave Henderson
Norman Jones   Andrew Kent   Mike Laird
Jeanne Matcovich  Tom Noll   Skip Phillips
Joe Plempel   Norman Prentiss  Justin Proveaux
Tom Proveaux   Robin Richards  Gary Roberson
Lisa Schilling   Mike Schilling   Brian Slanger
Richard Smith   Courtney Spies  Jack Tydings
Regina Vallerani  Teeka Vallerani  Beth Vaught
Steve Vaught   Neil Wagenfer   John Ward
John Ward (son)  John Weber   Dave Willard
Charlie Wittig

Feb 24 (*) Haunted House Movies, presented by Sam DiBlasi
March 31 Son of No-Stinkers Night, presented by John Ward
April 7 Field Trip to Geppi Museum at Camden Yards
April 21 (*) 100th Meeting  & Top 10 Genre Movies as picked by the club
May 26 ICS Cookout 
June 30 (*) 
July 28 
August 25 (*)  
September 30
October 27 (*)  Greg Mank Returns; Halloween Potluck Dinner & All-Nighter
November 17  
December 29 (*)  Yankee Swap                             (*) denotes Late Night Feature

     SCI FI Channel announced that it has renewed its Peabody-winning original series Battlestar Galactica, ordering 13 new episodes. Production will resume this summer in Vancouver, Canada, with an eye toward a January 2008 premiere. 
      The decision comes after the series' successful move to a new 10 p.m. timeslot on Sundays. Since moving, Battlestar Galactica's audience has grown over its third-season average by 8 percent in total viewers, by double digits in female viewers, by 19 percent in the show's target demographic of adults aged 18-49 and by 14 percent in adults 25-54. The Jan. 28 episode, "Taking a Break From All Your Worries," delivered 2.5 million total viewers and 1.6 million adults 18-49, the largest audience for any episode since the season-two premiere. 
        "We're thrilled to bring Battlestar back for another season," Mark Stern, SCI FI's executive vice president of programming, said. "This series has delivered on every level, from the writing to the acting to the production values. SCI FI is proud to be the home of the best show on television." 
          "While we never had any doubt that SCI FI would get behind a fourth season of Battlestar, it's thrilling to finally make it official, and for Ron and I to continue using this great genre to investigate the darker corners of society, politics and humanity," executive producer David Eick said. 

     Paul Davids, who wrote and directed the two-hour documentary The Sci-Fi Boys, said that he got in touch with his childhood love of special-effects movies for the special. The documentary—which features interviews with filmmakers Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, among others—makes its TV debut on SCI FI Channel at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Feb. 7. 
     "I think the first [goal] was to capture a moment in my own childhood, which was one of the most magic times I can remember and which was an experience that was shared by other kids across the country," Davids said. "It was a time when special effects were very new." 
      The documentary looks at the work of such special-effects wizards as Rick Baker and Dennis Muren, as well as directors such as Stephen Sommers, and recounts how they were influenced by film historian Forrest J. Ackerman and his magazine, Famous Monsters of Filmland, as well as by special-effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen. 
      Famous Monsters "was a 35-cent, black-and-white newsprint magazine with lots of pictures of monsters and spacemen and special effects and very funny quips about all this, all at the mentality of 10- or 12-year-old boys," Davids said. "Because of this, so many kids in my generation got to using their 8-millimeter home-movie cameras to make their own movies, their own productions of flying saucers and mummies and Dracula and dinosaurs and spacemen. And I found that a lot of the kids from that group at that moment in time, from the late 1950s to the early 1960s, became some of the biggest names in the world of special effects and science fiction movies. So part of my motivation was to capture that moment in time." 
       Davids' other goal was pay tribute to Ackerman, Harryhausen and SF author Ray Bradbury while they are still around. "A lot of the heroes of our youth are really getting on in years," Davids said. "Forrest recently turned 90 years old. When I started working with him on The Sci-Fi Boys, I think he must have been around 85. Two of his best friends from the early days, Ray Harryhausen and Ray Bradbury, are also now in their late 80s. I wanted to make an homage to them that really gave them the credit I felt they deserved for having launched the cinema of imagination that involved science fiction and special effects and that became this billion-dollar business that we have now. All of this was the story I wanted to tell." 

      "I was always a bossy little girl, and being David's older sister, I've bossed him around quite a bit," Arquette said. "Now that he'll be directing me it will be payback time”.
       Patricia Arquette will soon be taking orders from her little brother when David Arquette directs an episode of NBC's hit supernatural drama Medium. 
     “I think it will be really interesting being directed by David, because he knows me so well and I feel so safe with him. I think I'll be able to go to some of my darkest places." 
      David Arquette recently directed his first feature film, The Tripper, which is being released in April. 

      After an exhaustive search, NBC has chosen British actress Michelle Ryan for the lead role of Jamie Sommers in its upcoming Bionic Woman pilot. The network reported it considered better-known stars, but ultimately went with someone who'll be a newcomer to most American viewers.  
      Ryan is known in the United Kingdom for having spent five years on the long-running BBC serial EastEnders. 
     Aaron Eckhart (Paycheck) is in final negotiations to play Harvey Dent/Two Face in The Dark Knight, Warner Brothers Pictures' sequel to Batman Begins.
     In Batman lore, Dent is the district attorney of Gotham City and an ally of Batman. After half his face is disfigured by acid, Dent becomes the insane crime boss known as Two Face. He chooses to do good or evil by flipping a coin. Tommy Lee Jones played the character in 1995's Batman Forever. 
      Christopher Nolan is back in the director's chair, with Christian Bale reprising his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman. Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman are also returning. Heath Ledger joined the cast last summer, signing up to play the sardonic and murderous villain the Joker. 

     Danny Huston, who plays the villainous vampire Marlow in the upcoming film 30 Days of Night, said that he began to live the bloodsucker's life while shooting in New Zealand last year. "We shot a lot at night, and it was perfect: When you're playing a vampire, night is just right," Huston said when at the premiere of his new film, The Number 23. "When I'd be driving home in the morning, and the sun would rise, I'd be like, 'Ahh! Ooh!' [cowers] 'No sunlight!' I felt what a nightmare and how delicate vampires must be. I felt sorry for them." 
    In 30 Days of Night, based on Steve Niles' graphic novel of the same name, Huston is one of a band of vamps who descend on the Alaskan town of Barrow at the start of winter, when the sun sets and doesn't come up for weeks. 
     "It's quite a thrilling vampire story," Huston said. "It takes place over a period of time where there's only nighttime, which is a perfect feeding time for vampires like me”.
   . The movie of 30 Days of Night is slated for release Oct. 19. 
      Christopher Eccleston (Heroes) and Gregory Smith have joined the cast of The Dark Is Rising, 20th Century Fox and Walden Media's adaptation of Susan Cooper's best-selling fantasy books. Marc Platt and Ron Schmidt are producing the picture, which is being helmed by David L. Cunningham. 
      Dark tells the story of a teenager (newcomer Alexander Ludwig) who learns that he is the last of a group of warriors who have dedicated their lives to fighting the forces of the dark. Traveling back and forth through time, he hunts for clues while encountering the forces of evil and discovers that the future of the world rests in his hands. 
      Eccleston (Doctor Who) is playing the movie's villain, the Rider. Smith is playing the teen's older brother, an edgy young man with piercings and tattoos who questions their father's authority. 
      Also in the cast are Amelia Warner (Aeon Flux), Emma Lockhart (Batman Begins), Gary Entin, Edmund Entin, Jonathan Jackson and John Benjamin Hickey. Ian McShane and Frances Conroy have already been cast. The movie is slated to begin filming Feb. 26 in Romania. 
     Former Marvel Comics chief Avi Arad, who is now a producer, said that his plate is full with upcoming Marvel film adaptations through 2010, starting with Iron Man and the sequel The Incredible Hulk. That's in addition to the upcoming sequel for The Punisher, a possible fourth Spider-Man film and a second Ghost Rider; the first one opens Feb. 16. 
      "We have Iron Man starting in March, and The Incredible Hulk is starting in June, and across town somewhere happening right now is a meeting about Punisher 2," Arad said. "And we will see what happens to Ghost Rider [2], but I would like to get that going." 
      Coming in 2007 are Spider-Man 3 and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. 
      Further out are proposed movies based on Captain America, Bratz: The Movie and Ant-Man. Arad also confirmed that Wolverine and Magneto are coming as spinoffs of the X-Men movies. As for a fourth X-Men ensemble film? "That's a question for Fox," he said. 
      Films that seem less likely to be developed? Arad had nothing to say specifically about a Thor movie, which is also supposedly in the works. But Nicolas Cage, who stars in Ghost Rider, said that he is looking forward to Arad's proposed Sub-Mariner film. 

Tasty Tidbits and Leftovers
Guest Columnist - Ginger Diamond

ICS Files is pleased to have a column talking about our favorite genre.
Here they are – you can’t stop thinking about them, Horror-meister Clive Barker's 5 favorite films- straight from him to us.

THE EXORCIST: "The movie remains powerful no matter how many times you watch it. There's something about Friedkin's pseudo-documentary approach - the sense the sense that this is a real place and he happens to be in the corner with a camera - that gives the movie power.  It's immacuately performed, and the effects are extroidinarily good, even by today's standards. And it's about something that scares us all."  
ONIBABA: "I was 12 when I saw it and it introduced me to the idea that horror was a universal idea. It's a very human story about a mother's jealousy of her daughter's sexual freedom. They're surviving in what seems to be some kind of war, and they take a mask from a samurai they've killed, and in the end the mask and the mother's envy come into play in an incredibly powerful way. It's a subtle movie that every now and then becomes unbelievably harsh."  
PSYCHO: "The obvious one. It has this very flat, almost documentarty style, and then it suddenly turns a corner you don't expect. God knows what it must have been for audiences back in 1960, to find that the actress they've come to see was dead on the bathroom floor 25 minutes minutes into the movie. It must have been mind-blowing."  
AUDITION: "The last 20 minutes of this movie are the most intensel last 20 minutes that I know. I have seen grown men hide behind my sofa while watching it. I've seen it two or three times and I still squirm. It's something that bypasses any intellectual grasp, and it is just terrifying."  
SALO: "This is a movie you're either going to love or hate. It's based upon the Marquis de Sade's '120 Days of Sodom', which is a very organized listing of the terrible things one human being can do to another. It's set in the town of Salo, which was destroyed by the facists during WWII, and it's a political movie that says this is what happens when you give human beings the freedom to do their worst."  
Kudos, Clive!  In the same vein - Prince Charles is buying a place in vampire country to help promote tourism. The farmhouse is in the historical village of Viscri, Transylvania, a region in Romania listed as a world heritage site, also known as the birthplace of Vlad the Impaler - the 15th century ruler whose torturous ways gave rise to the Dracula legend. Forget Montery, it's off to Transylvania this year, Chuck!  
How about this from Bruce Dern's memoir, ''Things I've Said, But Probably Shouldn't Have.", due out in May. 

One of Steven Speilberg's biggest disappointments was never meeting Alfred Hitchcock. After "Jaws" triumphant success Dern tried to convince Hitch on numerous occassions to see him. "You're his idol.", he said. "He just wants to sit at your feet and chat with you for five minutes."  Hitch replied, "Isn't that the boy who made the fish movie? I could never sit down and talk to him because I feel like such a whore."  Later he revealed why he made that bizarre statement to Dern. "Because I'm the voice of the 'Jaws' ride ( at Universal Studios). They paid me a million dollars. And I took it and I did it. I'm such a whore. I can't sit down and talk to the boy who made the fish movie. I couldn't even touch his hand."   
I'll end with a quote from ”oh my heart be still” Christopher Walken: "I am lazy. I don't have hobbies. I don't have a kid. I don't have a computer. I don't like to travel. When I'm not going to work, I read a lot of magazines and eat ice cream and watch TV."  

Stick a fork in me - I'm done, GD


FEB 16th              GHOST RIDER
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Wes Bentley, Sam Elliott
Premise: Long ago, superstar motorcycle stunt rider Johnny Blaze made a deal with the devil to protect the ones he loved most. Now, the devil has come for his due. By day, Johnny is a die-hard stunt rider... but at night, in the presence of evil, he becomes the Ghost Rider, a bounty hunter of rogue demons. Forced to do the devil's bidding, Johnny is determined to confront his fate and use his curse and powers to defend the innocent.

 FEB 23rd              THE NUMBER 23 
Cast: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Danny Huston, Rhona Mitra
Premise: A man's life unravels after he comes into contact with an obscure book titled The Number 23. As he reads the book, he becomes increasingly convinced that it is based on his own life. His obsession with the number 23 starts to consume him, and he begins to realize the book forecasts far graver consequences for his life than he could have ever imagined. 

MARCH 9th          300
Cast: Gerard Butler, David Wenham, Dominic West, Lena Headey, Rodrigo Santoro 
Premise: The 1998 Dark Horse Comics limited series "300" written and drawn by Frank Miller and painted by Lynn Varley. Both the comic and this movie are based upon the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 B.C. in which a small band of 300 Spartans, led by King Leonidas, held defense against the massive armies of Persia's King Xerxes, sacrificing themselves so that the rest of Greece can rally and defend themselves.

 MARCH 30th         TMNT
Premise: Using CGI, the TMNT are back!  After the defeat of their old arch nemesis, The Shredder, the Turtles have grown apart as a family. Struggling to keep them together, their rat sensei, Master Splinter, becomes worried when strange things begin to brew in New York City. Only one super-ninja fighting team can stop it—those heroes in a half shell—Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael! With the help of old allies April O’Neil and Casey Jones, the Turtles are in for the fight of their lives.

farewellsfarewellsfarewells Good bye farewellsfarewellsfarewells

Robert Anton Wilson, a futurist, philosopher and coauthor of the Illuminatus trilogy, a cult science fiction series about a secret global society, has died. 
The author of 35 books, Wilson wrote about extrasensory perception, mental telepathy, metaphysics, paranormal experiences, conspiracy theory, sex, drugs and what he called quantum psychology. He explored outrageous ideas in a serious way and once described his writing as "intellectual comedy." 
He wrote the Illuminatus trilogy with Robert Shea in the late 1960s, when they were editors of the Forum department of Playboy magazine. The books The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple and Leviathan were published in 1975. 
They never hit the bestseller lists but have never gone out of print. Shea died in 1994. 
The trilogy is a dense tangle of conspiracy theories that was inspired by a thick file of letters the authors received from conspiracy buffs. 
It begins with the investigation by two New York City detectives into the bombing at the office of a leftist magazine and the disappearance of its editor. In the trilogy, a writer for the magazine falls into the hands of the Discordians, a secret society locked in battle with the all-powerful Illuminati, a group of elite authoritarians who control the world. The stories have been credited with inspiring many pop culture references to Illuminati, from THE X FILES to THE DA VINCI CODE. He was 74.

Lee Bergere, a veteran character actor who appeared in more than 200 television shows, including an episode of the original STAR TREK series in which he played Abraham Lincoln, has died. 
During his 60-year career which was almost exclusively in television he also appeared on STUDIO ONE, ALCOA THEATER, THE ALASKANS, WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE, WAGON TRAIN, BONANZA, T.H.E. CAT, HOGAN’S HEROS, ALL IN THE FAMILY and MURDER SHE WROTE. He also appeared in such imaginative T.V. shows as THE MUNSTERS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, MY FAVORITE MARTIAN, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., MR. TERRIFIC, SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and WONDER WOMAN. He was 88.

Tige Andrews, a character actor who earned an Emmy nomination for portraying Capt. Adam Greer, the officer who recruited the undercover cops of television's THE MOD SQUAD, has died. He was 86. 

 Donfeld, the Hollywood costume designer who was nominated for four Academy Awards and created wardrobes for films like THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? and PRIZZI'S HONOR, has died at age 72.
Born Donald Lee Feld in Los Angeles on July 3, 1934, Donfeld attended Chouinard Art Institute before he went to work for Capitol Records at age 19, designing album cover art. He changed his name early in his career, because his last name was often misspelled in print, he said. One of his first Hollywood assignments, in the late 1950s, was to create costumes for Academy Award show production numbers. 
Other films he designed for include MR. HOBBS TAKES A VACATION, DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES, ROBIN AND THE SEVEN HOODS, THE GREAT RACE, HOMBRE, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, SPACEBALLS and GLADIATOR. He also designed costumes for television, including episodes of WONDER WOMAN, a 1970s series starring Lynda Carter, which earned him an Emmy nomination in 1978. 


by John Ward

This year’s Oscar nominations revealed a number of simple truths, and one very big surprise.  First, the surprise, which was literally history making:  DREAMGIRLS became the first film ever to tally the most nominations (8) without the benefit of a single nom for Best Picture or Best Director.  It has an excellent chance to walk away on Oscars Night with the most awards, too, by virtue of its recognition in some minor categories.  But the fact that Bill Condon’s energetic adaptation of the hit Broadway musical was ignored at the top of the Oscars Food Chain made the race for the big prize much more difficult to predict.
 And now, the simple truths:  most of the acting categories (well, okay, all of them) are locked up.  That’s what happens when you sweep most of the major critics’ awards, the Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards.  People tend to think it’s a done deal, and many voters just rubber-stamp the decisions.
 Which brings us to this year’s Oscars Predictions column.  I think this year, more than any other in recent memory, the lesser categories will decide the eventual Pool winner.  I just can’t see much disagreement near the top.  Except for Best Picture, but more on that later.
 Here we go:

 To start, you’ve got a big wave, Superman saving a jumbo jet, and the creepy, crawly innards of Davy Jones’ locker room.  The jet scene was the best thing about SUPERMAN RETURNS, but I’m not giving the award for one scene.  Ditto POSEIDON’S wave.  I think PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST will take this award for its seemingly never-ending display of marvels.

 This is a no-brainer.  I don’t even know why CLICK is nominated here, because I thought the makeup was pretty bad.  While I loved APOCALYPTO, I certainly didn’t walk out of that movie thinking about the makeup.  No, I think this one will go to PAN’S LABYRINTH, far and away the best of a lackluster bunch.

 I think this will come down to the song stylings of DREAMGIRLS versus Clint Eastwood storming the beach at Iwo Jima in FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS.  I haven’t seen either movie, although I plan to catch up to both on my Netflix queue, eventually.  (Boy, is that becoming a common habit.)  My feeling is that DREAMGIRLS will take this one, although it could go either way.

 This category could basically be renamed “Best Sound Effects.”  If you take that definition literally, I don’t see how the voters can overlook PIRATES 2.  (I promised myself I’d only write the really long title once.)  Let’s face it – would you have any idea what a kraken sounds like?

 My personal choice here would be MONSTER HOUSE, but only if voters could see the film in Disney Digital 3-D.  Since that’s not going to happen, I guess I’ll fall back on this year’s Pixar model:  CARS.  And that’s only because I’m getting tired of hearing about penguins.  (Go ahead; pick HAPPY FEET if it’ll make you feel any better.  See if I care.  Geez!)

 I’ve read that some folks think THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL will win because it’s seen as the last gasp of 2-D animation.  The only problem with that theory is that it’s about a year too late; the plug has been pulled on 2-D’s life support.  I’ll go with LIFTED because I think it’s possible that Pixar could win twice in one night. Call it a hunch.  (I’m allowed one of those once in a while.  You don’t have to bet on it, of course.)

 Welcome to the return of the Haven’t-Got-A-Clue category.  Once again, an odd mix of titles:  BINTA AND THE GREAT IDEA, ERAMOS POCOS, HELMER & SON, THE SAVIOUR, and WEST BANK STORY.  I’ll vote for WEST BANK STORY because it sounds vaguely political.  Either that, or a failed attempt at another musical.  

 I haven’t heard much about these nominees, but the one title that does keep popping up online is THE BLOOD OF YINGZHOU DISTRICT.  So let’s go with that.  (There ya go:  a short comment for a short subject.)

 AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, the documentary about Al Gore and global warming, is clearly the favorite here.  It’s the only nominee in the category that has seen serious time in the theaters, which still counts for something.

 Traditionally, this has been my least successful category for picks; it was the one that I denied RETURN OF THE KING, after all.  This year, you’ve got a wildly eclectic mix:  CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER, THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, DREAMGIRLS, MARIE ANTOINETTE, and THE QUEEN.  My pick is DREAMGIRLS, for no other reason than I think it’s a bandwagon choice.

 My personal choice here would be PAN’S LABYRINTH, and I would be very happy if it won – an offbeat mix of brutal reality and imaginative fantasy.  But once again, I’ve got to go with DREAMGIRLS.  Its staging of musical numbers has received rave reviews.

 Who’da thunkit?  A relatively minor tech category turns out to be one of the toughest to call.  You’ve got a virtual three-way dead heat with BABEL, UNITED 93, and THE DEPARTED.  BABEL will rack up some CRASH-style votes for its ability to weave three disparate plot threads throughout its storyline, while UNITED 93 will score votes for its real-time impact and level of tension.  My personal choice is THE DEPARTED, and I will go out on a very short limb to pick it here, but either of the other two could also win.

 This category has become increasingly difficult to call in recent years, with more and more new faces – this year, the only recognizable names were Philip Glass (NOTES ON A SCANDAL) and Thomas Newman ( THE GOOD GERMAN).  Oscar pundits seem to be leaning toward BABEL, and I wish I could go along with them, but I liked the music from PAN’S LABYRINTH, so I’ll go with that.

 I predict that DREAMGIRLS will win this category.  Not such a tough call, when you realize the movie grabbed three of the five available nominations.  Remember last year, when there were only three nominees?  If it weren’t for DREAMGIRLS, this year there would have been only two.  The buzz seems to be building for “Listen,” from CARS.  (Just kidding – it’s from DREAMGIRLS.)

 Whaddayaknow, I’ve seen four of the five nominees in this category – and the buzz favorite seems to be CHILDREN OF MEN, the only nominee I haven’t seen.  It figures.  Another pick for my Netflix queue.  My personal choice, again, would be PAN’S LABYRINTH.  But I have a feeling that PAN will win somewhere else.

 And here’s the somewhere else.  I mistakenly thought PAN’S LABYRINTH was a product of Spain; it was set in Spain during the fascist Franco regime, after all, and the language is Spanish.  But it actually hails from Mexico, as does its gifted director, Guillermo del Toro.  I haven’t seen the other nominees, but I can’t imagine any of them stealing the spotlight from PAN.  

 On the surface, this looks like another too-close-to-call category, but I ‘m giving a slight edge to the witty LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE over the “bigger” picture, BABEL.  It’s possible, but less likely, that either THE QUEEN or LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA could steal votes in this category.  The outsider here looks to be PAN’S LABYRINTH, although I would love to see del Toro accepting the Oscar onstage.

 Forget about both LITTLE CHILDREN and NOTES ON A SCANDAL – most voters already have.  CHLDREN OF MEN has support, but I think the vote will come down to BORAT vs. THE DEPARTED.  The BORAT vote is misguided, because no one seems to be really sure just how much of the film was scripted.  I think THE DEPARTED will win here.

 Okay, repeat after me:  Eddie Murphy for DREAMGIRLS.  Bet the mortgage.

 Jennifer Hudson for DREAMGIRLS.  Bet the car payment.

 Helen Mirren for THE QUEEN.  Bet the cable bill.

  Forest Whitaker for THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND.  Bet the milk money.  (Only because Peter O’Toole will rack up some sentimental votes.  Otherwise, I’d bet next month’s mortgage.)

 Martin Scorsese for THE DEPARTED.
 Martin Scorsese for THE DEPARTED.
 Bet all the money you have, have ever had, or ever will have.
 Trust me.

 Which brings us to the final category, and this year, it’s one of the toughest to call.  David Poland’s Movie City News website says that you can talk to anyone in Hollywood on any given day and get an entirely different vote on how this one will go.  Tradition says that the Picture and Director usually go hand in hand, but after the last couple of years, that theory has lost quite a bit of its credibility.  (Just ask Ang Lee.)  I honestly think that all of the nominees have at least a smidgen of a chance, although if you put a gun to my head, I’d say that’s pretty much all that THE QUEEN and LETTER FROM IWO JIMA have: a smidgen.  At this point, I’m beginning to think BABEL is stalling; it might have outlived its welcome.  LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE is receiving fresh life on DVD, as is THE DEPARTED, although in the case of the latter, it’s probably not enough to matter.  I still think THE DEPARTED has enough juice to ride Scorsese’s coattails all the way to the stage.  But we’ll see.

 Special note to all club members:  it’s not too late to cast your ballot in the club’s annual Oscars Pool.  Just send me your picks via email by Saturday afternoon, Feb. 24, or give them to me at the February club meeting.  And stop back here next month for my second annual Oscars-by-the-Minute column.
 Damn, you know what?  Sometimes these things just seem to write themselves.


FEB 16th              GHOST RIDER

 FEB 23rd              THE NUMBER 23 

February 24th        ICS MEETING -  Saturday at 5:30 P.M.  

MARCH 9th          300

MARCH 30th         TMNT

Feb 24 (*) Haunted House Movies, presented by Sam DiBlasi
March 31 Son of No-Stinkers Night, presented by John Ward
April 7 Field Trip to Geppi Museum at Camden Yards
April 21 (*) 100th Meeting  & Top 10 Genre Movies as picked by the club
May 26 ICS Cookout 

More to come!