Thursday, December 18, 2008

The You Betchum Depot: JAWS Action Figures



Being a life-long JAWS fanatic, I always wanted a toy line.
Forget the Matchbox Amity Police car or even the McFarlane Orca scene, I just wanted some damn action figures to fit nicely with the giant, snapping shark with the rubber-banded-jaws from my ol' JAWS game.

Apparently other finatics have wanted the same thing. Some have even gone to the lengths of creating them for themselves.

Here's a link to an article at JAWSmovie.com showcasing the devotion of one such fan, Mike Lorenz.

Pretty damn cool, but I can't help remarking that the Hooper fig looks nothing like Richard Dreyfuss to me. Resembles either Hugo Stiglitz or a bearded Cornel Wilde. Perhaps a series of TINTORERA or SHARK'S TREASURE figures are in Lorenz's future?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

No laughing matter...



I recently came across this DVD at a video store and a cringe-inducing moment ensued.

Of course, I didn't bother with the first SLAP SHOT sequel/abomination, but this latest entry makes that film look appealing... nearly THE GODFATHER, PART II-like by comparison.
Oy.

Anyhow, I couldn't help scouring the IMDB boards for the eventual reviews by those who fell victim to the curse of the extremely bad straight-to-video sequel. You know, the morons who weigh in with "This was horrible!" Yeah, no shit. Maybe it's my street skills, but I gathered that by simply looking at the cover. (Key words: Universal Family Home Entertainment)

Below is my reply in response to an IMDB thread titled "Where Are The Hanson Brothers?"

How about, where are the Hanson Brothers right at this moment? Perhaps, they're in an office somewhere, going over DVD sales totals and signing contracts for:
SLAP SHOTS 4: BROKEN ICE & FART JOKES
SLAP SHOT 5: BENEATH ALL EXPECTATIONS
SLAP SHOT 6: TO THE NUTS
SLAP SHOT 7: IS THIS THING ON?
SLAP SHOT 8: STEPHEN BALDWIN'S BACK!
and, the oft-anticipated 9th entry...
HANSONS GO TO HELL: THE FINAL SLAP SHOT

In closing, a reply to another thread on the subject...
It's best not to associate this film with Paul Newman's legacy, in any way. SLAP SHOT was never meant to be THE BAD NEWS BEARS and finally we have a fate worse than viewing the original in it's crudely edited-for-television form... a wholesome, family-friendly sequel.

But, that's just my opinion.
(And, yes. I doctored the DVD image above ...appropriately.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

IMDB Idiot of the Moment: sirbingo

The following was originally posted on IMDB
The place: Message board for Paul Verhoeven
Look for me, "johnmorghen"!

sirbingo:
What happened? Where has Paul V been? I like his movies...sci-fi, violent, action...But I have not seen a new film by him in years. Does he do these type of films anymore.

Grimlocksnewbrain:
After Hollow Man, he became bored with how he wasn't able to express himself properly with Hollywood films and he returned to Holland and made Black Book, which came out last year.

sirbingo:
Or maybe it was b/c Hollow man was a hollow movie. Face the facts his movies became flops. Look I once was beet up in a basketball playground...I stop playing basketball not because I did not like b-ball but b/c I had my a$$ handed to me. Same thin is for Paul.. I know more Paul V backhistory then you.

Grimlocksnewbrain:
Oh-kayyy... I bow to your superior knowledge...

johnnysnatchclub:
That was weird. First post and second post by that guy are completely different.

johnmorghen:
Dearest sirbingo,

Since you "once was beet up in a basketball playground," what detergent did you use to get the beet stains out of your clothing? I'm only asking this because I had a similar situation, but, it involved the sport of badminton. My opponent thought he was the court jester and launched a juicy beet rather than a birdie, during play. Luckily, I was able to salvage the situation by making a joke. I grabbed the nearest mic and belted out, "Ladies & Gentlemen, The Fabulous Beet Stains!" and the crowd went positively cuh-razy! Guess which celebrities were at the event? Diane Lane and Paul V.! Not Paul Verhoeven, but Paul Vermicelli, the man who invented vermicelli! Call that my purple moment! It was so embara$$ing, but fun!

Sincerely,
johnmorghen


P.S.
I love your grammar!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

MST3K Turkey Day Tribute

Let's go back in time, shall we?
Circa the mid-1990s...

If you're anything like me, then you might have been a die-hard MSTie during this period and craved only one thing on Thanksgiving... Comedy Central's annual promise to air a continuous 28-hour marathon of arguably the best television series of all time, MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000.

Like me, you probably have terrific memories of this annual event and long for a revival as the years go by. While we've had a resurgence with Mike Nelson's Rifftrax and work for Legend Films, and MST creator, Joel Hodgson's return to form with his CINEMATIC TITANIC (which reunites many of the original show's cast and crew) we've never had it as good as we did back in the MST3K salad days... and, unfortunately, never will again.

So, here is my feeble attempt to recreate that honored tradition in viral/bulletin/blog form. (Please excuse the extreme lack of a full 28 hours of programming.) A hearty thanks to all those wonderful MSTies that have uploaded these nuggets of hilarity to the monster of wonderment that is YouTube. I couldn't have done this without you! (Of course, it's highly illogical that you know me or that you would actually be reading this, but thanks anyway!)

Okay, here's a somewhat sequenced set list of clips (including commercials!) and my humble advice is that viewers allow each vid to load in order of appearance before jumping in.

We're about ready to start our adventure! Insert your choice of time machine sound effect here. Perhaps a "whhrrrrring" humming-type sound mixed with possibly a garden trowel scraping the inside of a toilet bowl will do.

Without further ado...
Turn down your lights (where applicable)

TURKEY DAY Intro


"Zombie Nightmare" Part One


"Zombie Nightmare" Part Two


"Zombie Nightmare" Part Three


"Zombie Nightmare" Part Four


"Zombie Nightmare" Part Five


"Zombie Nightmare" Part Six


"Zombie Nightmare" Part Seven


"Zombie Nightmare" Part Eight


"Zombie Nightmare" Part Nine


"Zombie Nightmare" Part Ten


Assorted Turkey Bits


Commercial Block #1


Hour Six...


"Jungle Goddess" (due to poor video quality) has been replaced with...
"Hercules Against The Moon Men" Part One


"Hercules Against The Moon Men" Part Two


"Hercules Against The Moon Men" Part Three


"Hercules Against The Moon Men" Part Four


"Hercules Against The Moon Men" Part Five


"Hercules Against The Moon Men" Part Six


"Hercules Against The Moon Men" Part Seven


"Hercules Against The Moon Men" Part Eight


"Hercules Against The Moon Men" Part Nine


"Hercules Against The Moon Men" Part Ten


Commercial Block #2


"Operation Double 007" Part One


"Operation Double 007" Part Two


"Operation Double 007" Part Three


"Operation Double 007" Part Four


"Operation Double 007" Part Five


"Operation Double 007" Part Six


"Operation Double 007" Part Seven


"Operation Double 007" Part Eight


"Operation Double 007" Part Nine


"Operation Double 007" Part Ten


Poopie Parade Of Values, Part One


Poopie Parade Of Values, Part Two


BONUS CLIPS!
The Sandy Frank Theme Song (from "Time Of The Apes")


The Torgo Sketch (from "Manos: Hands Of Fate")


There you have it, folks!
Happy Turkey Day & Keep circulating those tapes!


Happy trails...
-Nathan

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Defending Larry Bishop's HELL RIDE



I recently had the pleasure of viewing HELL RIDE, the latest film written, directed and starring a man so well-versed in the hey-day of the biker film trend of the '60s and early '70s, Larry Bishop. Here, it's my belief that, Bishop has succeeded in providing a welcome return to this bygone grungy, fuel-charged film craze.

Despite Bishop's well-intended efforts, there are plenty of naysayers out there, picking and prodding at the film's story, characters, et cetera. Who in the hell cares about these things?! It's a BIKER film! This was never a style of film known for it's complex characterizations or astounding dramatics. A biker film is an acquired taste, and I'm not referring to the most famous film of all, EASY RIDER, the one that broke through those conventions.

The key ingredients to any worthwhile biker flick are: sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Bishop's film contains all of these elements and more, including a great cast of scene-chomping veterans: Michael Madsen, Dennis Hopper, David Carradine and Vinnie Jones. Not to mention, there are several nods to earlier films in the genre, including musical cues from THE WILD ANGELS, HELL'S BELLES, THE SAVAGE SEVEN and "Jenny Take A Ride" by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels, which was featured in the notorious Joe Namath/Ann-Margret biker flick, C.C. & COMPANY. So, I have to ask, what more could a biker film enthusiast want?!

Wait a minute, could it be that none of these naysayers have seen a true biker film, after all? Would they know who Adam Roarke is? How about other genre staples like William Smith, Ross Hagen, Luke Askew or John "Bud" Cardos? I'm sure they're aware of Peter Fonda, Hopper and Jack Nicholson, but I'm sure they'd be hard pressed to name the other biker flicks these actors had done previous to EASY RIDER.

If you are a true biker film fan, then I'm willing to bet you will get a nice jolt of nostalgia from HELL RIDE. Bishop is in top form with this one. Sure, the character's backgrounds may come off a bit hazy and could have been lost in the milieu of creating the film's authentic vibe (enter style vs. substance argument here) but, ultimately, such details are not that big of a concern to the overall experience.

At any rate, the film serves as a nice capsulization of Bishop's involvement in the genre and marks the 40th anniversary of his first cycle flick, THE SAVAGE SEVEN. In fact, HELL RIDE almost serves as a sequel to that film, as links are clearly evident. The pivotal "Cherokee Kisum" character is a perfect example. In THE SAVAGE SEVEN, Adam Roarke portrays the leader of a biker gang who infiltrates a Native American community. His character, "Kisum," falls for a local Indian girl named "Maria". Had the script for HELL RIDE been tweaked a bit, "Cherokee Kisum" could have been the offspring of these characters, adding further substance to her already symbolic role.

Whatever the case, I felt this HELL RIDE was an enjoyable one and I'm a sucker to see these cats on screen together, knowing full-well that they all had a blast making the film. It would be nice if someone out there had the sense to put on a Larry Bishop biker film marathon, showcasing the AIP trinity: THE SAVAGE SEVEN, ANGEL UNCHAINED and CHROME AND HOT LEATHER. Then, top it all off with HELL RIDE as the main attraction. Biker flick Heaven... count me in!





Sunday, November 09, 2008

Pazz de Mondo!



My new cyber-chum, Heather, has quite the impressive credentials. Not only does she know her stuff, she applies said knowledge in a desirable fashion: creating an appreciative ode to all things cult, kitsch, grotesque, beautiful, bizarre and mind-blowing in the form of a public access series hell-bent on delivering the goods, entitled MONDO PAZZO.

Check out these tasty segments from Heather's YouTube channel:

"Mondo Pazzo" Show Intro


"Images of Redux"


"Open The Door"


"Pleasure Victim Collage"


And, lastly...
Some much deserved Joe Spinell appreciation...

"Maniac" Tribute


"The Fanatic" Tribute


Viddy well, I must say. Wouldn't you?!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's Alive-like!



I've never been a big fan of children and I wasn't sure if I wanted one of my own... until now!
The IT'S ALIVE Baby Latex Puppet!

How cool is this?! An item I never knew existed, I now must own.
Let me get this straight... Sixty-two dollars for an official life-size puppet/replica of the infamous mutant baby, created by Rick Baker, from IT'S ALIVE?!
SOLD.
My only suggestion, would be to add a built-in sound machine, featuring those ghastly vocal effects from the film. Perhaps, I'll have to do that myself. And, then, I'll have to purchase a crib. I'll make sure to hang a special radio off the side (it will play nothing but Bernard Herrmann lullabyes).

And, the baby... I think I'll name him Larco.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

007 Royale



For today's post, I thought I might steal a passage from another blog and I will not credit the author for their own sake (as said person is clearly a moron). Note that I've copied and pasted it "as is" and had nothing to do with the misspelling of "colony" or the completely wrong middle initial for Albert Broccoli. My comment/rebuttal follows.

The credit of being the worst Bond movie should go to Casino Royale. The review sites that gave high ranking to this dumb movie were surely bribed by the producer.

Why this movie sucks? Very simple. There's no Q, no gadgets, no Miss Moneypenny, and no action scenes except for the one in the first 15 minutes. Disgrace to the name of Albert I. Broccoli... he would surely had a heart attack if he got the chance to watch this movie. Even the 20 year old Bond movies featured underground bunkers, underwater action, hand to hand combat in sky, space collony, what not? It featured sexiest girls, stunning cars, an array of high-tech equipments, guns, explosives, and much more. And Casino Royale? Nothing! Bond drives a Ford, gets beaten by the baddie on the balls, plays card for eons, and amazingly falls in love! He couldn't even save his girl... how pathetic is that? Is this the James Bond 007 that we've seen in the last 20 movies? Surely not. Casino Royale has surely killed the image of James Bond.And by the way, the new hero Daniel Craig looks a lot like one of those Russian baddies from the previous movies... doesn't he've a lot of resemblance with President Vladimir Putin?

To which I wrote:
You've missed the point of the film entirely. Perhaps you prefer special effects-laden films like "Moonraker" and "Die Another Day" to the grittier character-driven pieces such as "From Russia With Love" and "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". "Casino Royale" belongs to the latter category and serves as a welcome take on a great character which has suffered total exaggeration (bordering on absurdity) over the years. Back to basics, pure and simple.

Ugh. Whether you enjoyed CASINO ROYALE or not, the fact remains that it is one of the best Bond films. Series inconsistencies aside, CR is faithful to the original template of the secret agent found in the writings of its creator, Ian Fleming. It has always been astonishing to me, the level of so-called "Bond fans" who haven't read a single Fleming novel. Granted, the films are elaborations on ideas introduced in his works, but the source material is important to fully comprehend the initial scope of the character.

When Steven Spielberg's JAWS was the first film to break the 100 million box office mark, the Hollywood blockbuster was born. As a result, the Bond franchise took on a much grander scale in order to compete. The first Bond film since that period was THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (which ironically introduced a new villain by the name of "Jaws"), establishing a new trend in over-the-top "Bondian" trademarks. FOR YOUR EYES ONLY was intended as the next adventure brought to the screen, but a change of plans quickly put MOONRAKER into development as a deliberate move to benefit from the then-fresh STAR WARS phenomenon.

Bond didn't truly get back to basics for another ten years (FYEO being a bit of an exception) with Timothy Dalton's arrival to the role in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS. After Dalton's second film, LICENCE TO KILL, and a series hiatus that lasted six years, a new decade and the potential for a whole new generation of fans prompted the Bond to, once again, become larger than life. GOLDENEYE was the result. Just as the Roger Moore films had done, the Pierce Brosnan films continually topped each other (TOMORROW NEVER DIES being, probably, the most realistic) until the point of CGI absurdity with DIE ANOTHER DAY.

Having said that, being the die-hard Bond fanatic that I am, there's not a film in the series that I don't enjoy (my least faves being MOONRAKER and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH), but a re-haul of the franchise had to be done and the casting of a new Bond proved as the perfect impetus and opportunity to do so.

To say that I've been excited by the upcoming release of the new 007 adventure, QUANTUM OF SOLACE, is an understatement! I'm confident that Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli will deliver the goods, once again.

ON TO FURTHER MATTERS...

Here is the latest replacement DVD coverart I've been working on, a custom cover for the upcoming 3-disc "collector's edition" of CASINO ROYALE (Bond 21), designed to match the "ultimate edition" releases of the previous Bond films...



You're entirely welcome!

For added fun, try working any of these Bond titles into a conversation, as if they're common catch phrases:
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
DIE ANOTHER DAY
LIVE AND LET DIE
NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN
TOMORROW NEVER DIES
A VIEW TO A KILL
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
A few examples:
  • "Well, it turns out the tumor is benign. I guess you'll have to die another day, Phil!"
  • "Remember, today is the first day of the rest of your life and tomorrow never dies. Therefore, you're pretty much immortal!"
  • "I'll be paying off that Zale's receipt for the rest of my life. Oh well, diamonds are forever!"
And, if you're writing a love letter whilst vacationing in Russia (or your name is Russia), then you're clearly ahead of the game!

Jaws TV



I came across these YouTube offerings recently and I can't stop watching them. First of all, I'm a sucker for all things JAWS and second, I remember (and relish) the times when "network television premieres" were treated as an event.



I was born in late '76 and far too young to see ABC's network premiere of JAWS in 1979, but I do remember seeing the premiere of JAWS 2 in '81... and it was a big deal.



Here was an era when you knew weeks in advance (via television ad saturation) that a certain film was going to air and nearly everyone you knew were also planning to watch it. If it was a Sunday night thing, then you most definitely talked about it at school the next day. Not to mention those terrific TV Guide ads that, depending on the film, could take up an entire page. Great, great stuff. I miss those salad days!



Special thanks to YouTube user KLXT77 for posting these gems!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Leprechaun: An Appreciation



True confession time, folks!
Over the past few weeks, I've become quite the fanatic of the LEPRECHAUN film series. Whuh?
I know, I know. Believe me, I know.

Here was a series of films that I truly had no interest in, for whatever reason, I can't recall. Perhaps, because they were so corny, but that's never stopped me before! I honestly avoided these films and never considered them worth my time. I was wrong. Dead wrong.

I'm proud to finally say that I love these damn flicks! I cannot believe I've been missing out on their gleeful nature this entire time. What a fool I've been. I've always been a fan of Trimark Pictures and if New Line Cinema is the house that Freddy built, then Trimark is certainly the house that Lep built. A steady breadwinner of a franchise, and very much like the aforementioned Freddy flicks.

Why love it so much?
Two words... well, one full name, really:
Warwick Davis.

Davis makes these films so much fun to watch based on the fun he's having in them. If you don't take everything to heart and are out for a fun time, his vibe is truly infectious. He is the sole reason the franchise can go from film to film consistently being inconsistent and embracing the virtue.

The most basic premise ever has a century-old Leprechaun who wants his gold. That's all. And nearly, every film centers around one gold schilling gone missing and his horrific efforts to retain his bank. Film after film, plot lines and characters are interchangeable, situations and places arise out of nowhere, but the central point is good ol' Lep. Take him to Vegas, take him to the outer reaches of space, the hood, back 2 tha hood, whatever, wherever.

Fifteen years after the original, I've finally gained an appreciation for a series of films that I never thought I would. After six films, I want more. And, more and more. Now that Trimark has faded away and their library has since been absorbed by Lionsgate, the possibility of these films continually being pumped out is much less likely (Lionsgate did produce one post-Trimark sequel in 2003), but it's my belief that LGF has got nothing to lose. Take a lucrative brand with straight-to-video production values, a built-in fanbase and one central idea milked over and over again and you've got... dare I say it... gold.

As the Lep himself would say, "I want me gold!"
That makes two of us!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

CineCraze Trailer Park



I've been harboring this one for a while now...
CineCraze Trailer Park

Basically, I've created a sub-blog to this one, the sole purpose being to serve as a resource for trailer listings. Whuh? You see, I'm obsessed with movie trailers and I'm forever on the quest to find certain ones. For example, if I wanted to find the trailer to Mike Nichols' WOLF, I'd be out of luck on the laserdisc and DVD release. But, the trailer is available on other Columbia/TriStar releases, such as THE KING OF MARVIN GARDENS and THE LAST DETAIL (both featuring Jack Nicholson). But, if I wanted the original teaser, I'd have to seek out a rental videocassette (circa 1994) which might feature it as a "coming attraction".

Early rental VHS copies of PITCH BLACK contain the teaser to Rob Zombie's HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES. Notable, as the film was produced by Universal and later dropped, leaving the film in distribution limbo for the next three years until Lionsgate embraced it.

Why the obsession with movie trailers? I suppose I've been spoiled by the riches of DVD and LD over the years and come to expect these things. As of late, trailers seem to be left out of prominent DVD releases. Paramount is notorious for leaving these elements out of their releases (especially when they release classic films to DVD). Great example: Peter Bogdanovich's TARGETS contains no trailer, yet a clip of it(!) is shown in the retrospective featurette provided on the disc! WTF?! When I picked up their first DVD issue of SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL, I wasn't shocked that no extra features were offered, but it wasn't as if they had no access to the material. The teaser for the film can be found on the initial home video of the John Hughes/Howard Deutsch sister production, PRETTY IN PINK. "Hey Paramount, would you like to borrow my copy of the VHS you manufactured?!" One better, a few years after the initial release, a "special edition" was released with a load of supplemental material, yet still no damn trailer! Argghhh!

At any rate, the sub-blog that's really not a blog, but a listing of VHS (thus far, I'll move on to LD and DVD later) is a pet project of mine and perhaps I can make into into a valuable database at some point, as I have yet to encounter one with the same focus.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More Rosario, Please!



You asked for it and here it is! (When I say "you," I really mean "me," thereby creating a mystical demand of myself and honoring said demand at the same time for the sake.)
It's time for more wallpaper mania, folks!
Click below for more info!
(When I say "info," I really mean "larger version of wallpaper".)





You're* welcome!


*I'm

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wanted: Rosario Dawson!



Admittedly, I'm not steeped in comic book knowledge, so when I first saw the over-the-top, we're-still-doing-Matrix-type-shit style of WANTED in the trailers for the film, I did not know the origin of the concept and wasn't sure what to make of it. Having since learned about the graphic novel and having seen the film, I can't quite shake the failings of casting Angelina Jolie.

Don't get me wrong (or DO, it won't matter since I'll explain my way out of it anyhow), I enjoyed the film enough and Jolie was good in it. But lately, there has been some controversy over casting her in a role originally written as African-American. I tend to agree with that. Generally, my belief lies within the actor and their interpretation of the role. I really don't care who you are or what your role entails, as long as you are able to bring something rewarding to the performance and ultimately pull it off. The true controversy lies in the fact that Hollywood would rarely cast in the opposite route. Imagine them not casting Jolie in the Lara Croft role and going with a black actress instead. Such an idea wouldn't occur to them and therefore, the argument is valid.
The truth is, there are plenty of African-American actresses out there who could easily pull off the WANTED role.
i.e. Rosario Dawson.

Think about it. She's beautiful, sexy and can kick ass proper. So, why not? Sure, Jolie is a bigger name, which might guarantee a bigger draw, but since the film has it's own vibe and will find it's audience no matter what, I don't think casting someone else in the role would affect it's chances at succeeding. Besides, Dawson already has a loyal fanbase (and has major comic book cred) and I truly feel this as a missed opportunity. Better fit begets better film.

AND NOW, ON TO SOME ROSARIO DAWSON WALLPAPERS!
TAKE ONE!





LIFE IS GOOD!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Happy 50th, Kevin Bacon!



Ah, yes. We all know him. We all love him. It's everyone's favorite footloose, quicksilver, he-said woodsman, Kevin Bacon and today marks his 50th birthday! Hard to believe it was 30 years ago that he made his film debut in NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE ("Thank you, sir! May I have another?!") and that is, of course, one hell of a start-off point.

As a sidenote, I've provided some pics I came across during a recent Google binge to be filed in the "Kevin Bacon Hangs With Random Cartoonish Mascots" gallery. Enjoy!



Thursday, July 03, 2008

Broadway Joe



For the most part, I am not a sports fan. But, I do appreciate the legends of the past and for some reason, am always a sucker for a good sports-related movie. Anyhow, when I heard there were plans to make a film based on "Broadway Joe" Namath's legacy in the AFL, I was excited. When I soon found out the pick to play Namath was Jake Gyllenhaal, my enthusiasm quickly began to deflate. Seriously? I really don't see him as Namath. Hell, I can't really see anyone as Namath. It would have been a much smarter move to cast an unknown. Perhaps, the film might be worthwhile, depending on the filmmakers behind it, but truthfully, I just don't want to see Gyllenhaal as Namath.

Maybe after the biopic is complete, Jake could join Lindsay Lohan for an inspired "re-imagining" of C.C. & COMPANY. Okay, that actually doesn't sound half bad. Nevermind. Yes, it does.

Hollywood's Candy Bar



I saw Peter Berg's latest film, HANCOCK, today. In it, there's a scene which involves Hollywood's turn-to candy bar, Zagnut.

Coincidentally, I recently viewed Walter Hill's 48 HRS. again, a film which contains one of the more classic Zagnut-related scenes where Eddie Murphy complains of not getting fed to which Nick Nolte responds by handing him a Zagnut from a vending machine and barking, "There's your fucking dinner!"

So, why Zagnut? I never understood that. I've never consumed a Zagnut bar in my life, and can't remember having ever seen one, although I know they do exist. Hollywood used to have a similar fascination with Tab Cola. With as much product placement these two brands have received in films and television over the past thirty years, it amazes me that there has never been a cross promotion of any kind. I realize Hershey's owns Zagnut and Coca-Cola owns Tab, yet to my knowledge, there has been no direct tie-ins with either of these products. Seems strange.

Just an observation, not a revelation.



Speaking of Eddie Murphy...
MEET DAVE? Really? I mean, REALLY?!
O' how I miss vintage Eddie.
He used to make entertaining films.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Those Two Coreys!



Okay, I admit it. I'm a fan of the two Coreys, not only the A&E reality series, but also the films that got them to this point.

Flashback to the 1980s when I became a fan of both Corey Feldman and Corey Haim, based on the fact that they appeared seperately in films that appealed to me. So, it was a no-brainer when they collided on THE LOST BOYS. As my father would say, "That's a Nathan movie!" Well, father, that's actually a Richard Donner/Joel Schumacher movie, but I understand what you mean. Next came the second and third entries in their "good quality" trilogy, LICENSE TO DRIVE and DREAM A LITTLE DREAM, respectively.

While watching the previous season of THE TWO COREYS, I had to complete my Coreys DVD collection. That's right. I broke down and bought the iffy-ones. You know, DREAM A LITTLE DREAM 2 (the one that has the plot about finding... wait for it... a pair of magic sunglasses) and the dreadful (and not just in a DREAD ZEPPELIN sort of way) NATIONAL LAMPOON'S LAST RESORT. If you're thinking, "What about BLOWN AWAY?" Are you kidding? Seriously?! Isn't it obvious that it would have already been in my collection based on the Nicole Eggert factor? She nice, ya' know.

Where was I? Oh yes, the fresh season of THE TWO COREYS. The entire reason for a second season (that rhymes) is for those two crazy kids to patch up their differences, move on and more importantly (in a most absurd way) to film the long-awaited sequel to THE LOST BOYS.

At first, I certainly had my reservations about such a sequel existing, but they were quickly put to rest upon viewing the initial trailer on YouTube which contained footage of Corey Feldman in his Edgar Frog garb (and looking like he stepped right out of a time machine) to the beat of a great new cover of "Cry Little Sister" performed by Aiden. I have to say that it all works. I want to see it.

Well, that was the original trailer to the original movie, which has since been revised post-WGA strike to include scenes involving newly-cast Corey Haim. I'm curious to see how this all will come together. THE LOST BOYS: THE TRIBE goes straight-to-video (as was always intended) and streets July 29th, the same day as another '80's straight-to-video sequel, WAR GAMES: THE DEAD CODE.
Whuh? Yeah, I know.


  • UPDATE (07/30/08)

LOST BOYS: THE TRIBE stinks.
Such a failed opportunity.
Pure poo, folks.
And, yes, I should have known.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

"The Nude Bomb"



As much as I did enjoy the latest film based on the GET SMART series, I quickly realized one thing: I'll forever miss Don Adams. Credit goes to Steve Carell for not completely trying to ape Adams' brilliance and lending his own style to the role, but still...

Anywayz...
The good thing when it comes to remakes is that the mass audience hasn't the slightest clue that their witnessing a remake (that's not the good part) and Hollywood must then tap into the exploitive vein by reissuing those prior influences (the good part). As is the case with Universal's big screen 1980 film, THE NUDE BOMB.

The VHS has been out of print for several years (I should know since I sold it for a nice chunk o' change on eBay a long while back) and this is the first release to DVD. Over the past few months, the film has received a few airings on HBO and I've caught fragments of it, causing me to want to see it again. It was never a great film, doomed from the start by it's lack of connection to the original series, but it is a chance to see Adams revisit his iconic character of Maxwell Smart, which, to me, is worth the price of admission alone.

Upon purchasing the DVD and viewing the film all over again, it still seems like a combination of light-hearted and somewhat half-assed entertainment, yet now with Adams' passing a few years ago, the end result is bittersweet. If handled properly (i.e. employing the talents of Mel Brooks and Buck Henry in some capacity), this film could have been greatness. Adams wins all the laughs here (not too many, really) and his fellow female agents, played by Andrea Howard, Pamela Hensley and Sylvia Kristel, are definite eye candy. Kristel receives second billing here, but is barely used (not in that way) and her role here is a direct result of her appearance in the previous Jennings Lang production, THE CONCORDE: AIRPORT '79.

My favorite moments of this film still hold up. Without question, the chase sequence taking place at Universal City Studios is the one element that grabbed me when I first saw the film as a kid. For me, Universal City Studios spells PSYCHO and JAWS and you get to see a bit of both here. My other favorite scene involves Agent 86 attempting to rescue Agent 22 (Howard) in the film's finale. 22's legs are "numb" and is helpless to run away, from the mere-moments-away explosion, on her own. 86 lifts her up into his arms, exclaiming, "Jesus!" as he cannot hold her weight. She begins to fall through his arms while he continues "trying" to help by unsuccessfully lifting her over his shoulders, faintly pushing her and eventually resigning to dragging her across the floor. Finally, she says, "Max, I think I'm getting some feeling down there!" to which 86 brilliantly responds, "There's no time for that now, 22." Dead-pan, uncomfortably awkward comedy. I loves it!

The DVD boasts a fine 1.85:1 transfer with the original mono soundtrack intact, unfortunately there are no supplemental features available. The theatrical trailer would have been nice.

Also, I've often wondered if this film served as some sort of inspiration to David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker when titling the big screen adaptation of their POLICE SQUAD! series, THE NAKED GUN. Probably not the case, but an interesting comparison.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

JAWS Rip-Offs



Steven Spielberg's JAWS has always been one of my favorite films, certainly the one I've been most obsessed with and have seen more than any other. To me, it's a perfect film. And, there's always been this unwritten rule that if I'm flipping through the channels and come across a showing that's about to begin or already in progress, I simply must cave-in and watch it. The same rule applies to THE BLUES BROTHERS and Spielberg's other epic, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.

That being said, it's always proved to be a successful blueprint for exploitative producers to steal a little thunder here and there. Of course, the best era for the JAWS rip-offs were during the JAWS craze which spans roughly from when the original JAWS premiered in 1975 to the release of one of the last directly-inspired films from the over-bled trend, Lamberto Bava's DEVILFISH in '84.

So, being a JAWS fan, I've always loved all FOUR films (Yeah, I said it!) and most of the rip-offs from that period.

If you love them too, then it's time to test your noggin' on my masterful (not really) quiz!

TAKE THE BLOODY QUIZ, ALREADY!

Enjoy and best of luck!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Are you down with QT DVD?



So, let me get this straight. QuikTrip is not only a great place to get gas, beer, air fresheners, energy gum and slushies, but also, the ultimate video store?! WOW! Why go anywhere else for those awesome completely over-saturated DVD releases designed for mass market appeal, when I can get them at the QT! Not only that, but look at how thrilled my girlfriend will be when I come home with a QT DVD! I'll make sure to call to give her a "heads up" to get that microwave popcorn started! "But, honey, we're all out of microwave popcorn!" "Whuh? Why I bet the QT has some! And, they do! They're simply the best! Better than all the rest! Better than anyone! Anyone I've ever met! Ah, they're the best!" Insert me dancing like a wacky doorknob here.
Yet another way for gas stations to make a little more coin, since $4 per gallon of unleaded just ain't cuttin' it. Those poor saps!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

1989: Year of the Sequel


Few years have contained as incredible an amount of sequelitis as the final year of the 1980's. Quite fitting, as this was the decade in which the commercialization of the Hollywood blockbuster had truly flourished. Without further ado, here's the gigantic list of 1989's franchised follow-ups...
  • AMERICAN NINJA 3: BLOOD HUNT
  • BACK TO THE FUTURE, PART II
  • BARBARIAN QUEEN II: THE EMPRESS STRIKES BACK
  • BEYOND THE DOOR III
  • C.H.U.D. II: BUD THE C.H.U.D.
  • COBRA MISSION 2
  • DANGER ZONE II: REAPER'S REVENGE
  • EDDIE AND THE CRUISERS II: EDDIE LIVES
  • FLESH GORDON AND THE COSMIC CHEERLEADERS
  • FLETCH LIVES
  • THE FLY II
  • FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART VIII: JASON TAKES MANHATTAN
  • GHOSTBUSTERS II
  • GNAW: FOOD OF THE GODS II
  • THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY II
  • GODZILLA VS. BIOLLANTE
  • HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS
  • HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD II
  • THE HORROR SHOW (HOUSE III)
  • HOWLING V: THE REBIRTH
  • INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE
  • THE KARATE KID, PART III
  • LETHAL WEAPON 2
  • LICENCE TO KILL (BOND 16)
  • NATIONAL LAMPOON'S CHRISTMAS VACATION
  • A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET: THE DREAM CHILD
  • OUTLAW OF GOR
  • POLICE ACADEMY 6: CITY UNDER SIEGE
  • THE RETURN OF SWAMP THING
  • THE RETURN OF THE MUSKETEERS
  • SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT III: BETTER WATCH OUT!
  • SILK 2
  • SLEEPAWAY CAMP III: TEENAGE WASTELAND
  • SPEED ZONE! (CANNONBALL RUN III)
  • STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER
  • STEPFATHER II
  • STRIPPED TO KILL II: LIVE GIRLS
  • THE TOXIC AVENGER, PART II
  • THE TOXIC AVENGER, PART III: THE LAST TEMPTATION OF TOXIE
  • WIZARDS OF THE LOST KINGDOM II

'89 also saw the launch of franchises that would inspire their own continuations over the following years, such as: Tim Burton's BATMAN, BEST OF THE BEST, BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, DEEPSTAR SIX, Disney's HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS, K-9, KILLER CROCODILE, LOOK WHO'S TALKING, MAJOR LEAGUE, MOONTRAP, RED SCORPION, SAVAGE BEACH, WARLOCK and WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S.

From 1987 to 1989, the amount of sequels seemed to increase little by little. Naturally, I've gone to great lengths (not really) to include lists for years '87 & '88, as well...


1988

  • ANGEL III: THE FINAL CHAPTER
  • ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS
  • BILOXI BLUES
  • BLACK COBRA 2
  • BRADDOCK: MISSING IN ACTION III
  • CADDYSHACK II
  • COCOON: THE RETURN
  • CRITTERS 2: THE MAIN COURSE
  • 'CROCODILE' DUNDEE II
  • CURSE II: THE BITE
  • THE DEAD POOL
  • DEATH NURSE 2
  • DEATHSTALKER AND THE WARRIORS FROM HELL
  • THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION, PART II: THE METAL YEARS
  • EMMANUELLE 6
  • ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS
  • FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART VII: THE NEW BLOOD
  • FRIGHT NIGHT, PART 2
  • 'GATOR BAIT II: CAJUN JUSTICE
  • HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS
  • HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II
  • HOWLING IV: THE ORIGINAL NIGHTMARE
  • IRON EAGLE II
  • L.A. CRACKDOWN II
  • A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER
  • NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER II: RAGING THUNDER
  • PHANTASM II
  • POLICE ACADEMY 5: ASSIGNMENT MIAMI BEACH
  • POLTERGEIST III
  • RAMBO III
  • RETURN OF THE KILLER TOMATOES!
  • RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, PART II
  • RETURN TO SNOWY RIVER
  • SATURDAY THE 14TH STRIKES BACK
  • SHORT CIRCUIT 2
  • SLEEPAWAY CAMP II: UNHAPPY CAMPERS
  • THUNDER WARRIOR III
  • THE UNDERSTUDY: GRAVEYARD SHIFT II

1987

  • AMERICAN NINJA 2: THE CONFRONTATION
  • BENJI THE HUNTED
  • BEVERLY HILLS COP II
  • BIG BAD MAMA II
  • THE CARE BEARS: ADVENTURE IN WONDERLAND
  • CREEPSHOW 2
  • CRIMINALLY INSANE II
  • DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN
  • DEATHSTALKER II: DUEL OF THE TITANS
  • EMMANUELLE V
  • EVIL DEAD II: DEAD BY DAWN
  • GHOULIES II
  • HELLO, MARY LOU: PROM NIGHT II
  • HOUSE II: THE SECOND STORY
  • HOWLING III: THE MARSUPIALS
  • IT'S ALIVE III: ISLAND OF THE ALIVE
  • JAWS: THE REVENGE
  • THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (BOND 15)
  • A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS
  • PENITENTIARY III
  • POLICE ACADEMY 4: CITIZENS ON PATROL
  • A RETURN TO SALEM'S LOT
  • REVENGE OF THE NERDS II: NERDS IN PARADISE
  • SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT, PART 2
  • SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE II
  • SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE
  • TEEN WOLF TOO
  • THEY STILL CALL ME BRUCE

You're welcome.

1979: Year of the Vampire



According to the Chinese astrological calendar, 1979 was officially the "year of the ram," but in cinemas and on televised screens worldwide, it most certainly was the "year of the vampire".

Being that it was the end of the '70s, it could be argued that this was the best period for vampires on film. However, spoofs like DRACULA SUCKS and the much more successful LOVE AT FIRST BITE pretty much killed the movement. On with the list...

  • THE CURSE OF DRACULA (T.V.)
  • DRACULA (John Badham)
  • DRACULA BITES THE BIG APPLE
  • DRACULA BLOWS HIS COOL
  • DRACULA SUCKS
  • FASCINATION
  • THE HALLOWEEN THAT ALMOST WASN'T (T.V.)
  • LOVE AT FIRST BITE
  • NOCTURNA
  • NOSFERATU, THE VAMPIRE (Werner Herzog)
  • SALEM'S LOT (T.V.)
  • THIRST
  • VAMPIRE (T.V.)

According to some sources, VAMPIRE HOOKERS and DRACULA'S LAST RITES might have been included in that same year of release, however, both films have conflicting release dates accredited to them. (1978 & 1980, respectively.)

Monday, May 19, 2008

"42nd Street Forever, Vol. 3"

If you know me, then you know that I love movies. And, if you know me more than those who only know that I love movies, then you also know that I love movie trailers. And, if you know all (both) of those wonderful facts about me, then you are holding the very knowledge that very few can claim to have held. That, in itself, is a remarkable achievement. Perhaps not. I might be giving too much credit. You might know this, simply from reading my "about me" bio. If that is the case, then, you must be an acquaintance! Nice try, deep fry. I'm onto your shifty business and kuh-niving ways!

Anyway, with that said, I L-O-V-E the 42ND STREET FOREVER series of DVDs from Synapse Films. Yesterday, upon my DVD buying travels, I finally came across the latest volume entitled EXPLOITATION EXPLOSION. After reading the contents on the back of the case, I could hardly wait to get home and pop the disc in my player, thereby losing myself in an array of movie trailer madness. It's as if the good folks at Synapse have harnessed the ability to read my mind. "Hey, hasn't Nathan been longing to see some of these trailers and/or TV spots since the dawn of his existence?" "Yes, Synapse Films, I have!" It's as if Synapse is the Superman to my Lois Lane. "Can You Read My Mind?" reference. You're welcome.

In addition to reading my thoughts, Synapse also has a know-how on when to release a trailer that has not been previously released on the respective DVD of the film in question. One example from the previous volume is the inclusion of the trailer to Abel Ferrara's vigilante classic, MS. 45, a feature which is sorely lacking from the DVD released by Image Entertainment (yet another reason not to buy the disc, the other is that the film itself is NOT uncut). Synapse has done the same good deed once again here on Vol. 3, by adding the trailer to Jeanott Szwarc's BUG. Paramount released the film to DVD years ago, and we all know those mountain folk be skimpin' on the extras, especially in the theatrical trailer department.

Here is the "track listing" in the order they appear on the DVD (titles ending with an asterisk are those which I was particularly excited about, having not seen them before)...

Theatrical Trailers:

  • SUDDEN DEATH
  • THE ONE-ARMED EXECUTIONER *
  • JAGUAR LIVES!
  • ENTER THE NINJA *
  • LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH
  • FIVE FINGERS OF DEATH
  • THE STRANGER AND THE GUNFIGHTER
  • BEYOND THE DOOR
  • DEMONOID *
  • THE NIGHT CHILD
  • DEVIL TIMES FIVE
  • PATRICK
  • JENNIFER *
  • PHASE IV *
  • BUG *
  • THE UNCANNY *
  • THE PACK *
  • ALLIGATOR
  • KILLER FISH *
  • SHARK'S TREASURE *
  • BLOOD BEACH *
  • HOT T-SHIRTS *
  • CHEERLEADERS' WILD WEEKEND *
  • SUMMER SCHOOL TEACHERS *
  • GORP *
  • KING FRAT *
  • PRISON GIRLS
  • 1000 CONVICTS AND A WOMAN
  • CHAIN GANG WOMEN
  • THE PENTHOUSE
  • THE HOUSE BY THE LAKE *
  • NIGHT CALL NURSES
  • THE YOUNG NURSES
  • CANDY STRIPE NURSES
  • THE LIFE AND TIMES OF XAVIERA HOLLANDER
  • THE HAPPY HOOKER GOES HOLLYWOOD *
  • SURVIVE! *
  • GUYANA: CULT OF THE DAMNED *
  • SEVEN
  • SCORCHY *
  • SAVAGE STREETS *
  • CONVOY *
  • HIGH BALLIN' *
  • FROM NOON TILL THREE *
  • TELEFON *
  • LIES
  • TATTOO *

Vintage Television Spots:

  • JAGUAR LIVES!
  • HIGH BALLIN' *
  • CHAMPION OF DEATH
  • THE SENIORS *
  • THE LAST SURVIVOR
  • THE JESUS TRIP
  • NAKED ANGELS
  • BILLY JACK *
  • GOLDEN NEEDLES

Of course, I can't wait for Volume Four! Keep 'em comin'!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Jolt Cinema


For nearly a year, I've been on a Jolt Cola kick (not every second, mind you, my heart would explode) and it's been quite the mission to find actual businesses that carry Jolt products.

And now, a short history of Jolt Cola...
Born in 1985, it was first advertised as the ultimate cola providing twice the sugar and twice the caffeine. This, of course, shocked most parental groups and the product went from being easily accessible to scarce in seemingly no time at all. (I think I only had the privilege to consume one six-pack during that decade.)

Always soldiering on, the brand has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Jolt was clearly a signature of the '80s, but also clearly ahead of it's time. Fast forward to the current world of energy drinks, Jolt now seems to fit right in. While you can find their energy gum in many locations, their drinks are slowly becoming more and more available. But, there is hope. Walgreen's, the major drug store chain, began carrying Jolt's special energy drinks (Super Cola, Passion Fruit, Blue Raspberry, etc.) a few months back, which could lead to a lot more "Jolt awareness". Fingers crossed!

So, what does all of this have to do with cinema? First off, I always felt that it was a missed opportunity that New Line Cinema never struck a cross-promotional deal with them in the '80s for their "Nightmare On Elm Street" films. The connection is obvious. Perfect Freddy repellent! Secondly, the fine folks at Jolt Energy have created a website, which welcomes participation from the fan community in the form of stories, photos, advertising, et cetera. So, that's where I came up with the Jolt Cinema line of advertising.

On my own time, without endorsement nor compensation from the Jolt brand, I've created a few movie tie-in ads and am offering those ads here, because I'm not sure if the Jolt folks will dig them or not.





Monday, May 12, 2008

He's a Fly Guy!



Today was my second viewing of Jon Favreau's IRON MAN. Damn good stuff. Certainly the best Marvel comics-inspired film (not a truly difficult feat when you stop to think about it) and a nice little "I told you so" memo to those who never thought Robert Downey, Jr. could pull it off.

The IRON-ic matter is that these naysayers and newcomers are "discovering" or re-discovering Downey and seeking his previous work. On one hand, I believe it's a good thing, on the other, it reminds me of the mass audience that Johnny Depp gained with his "Pirates Of The Caribbean" films. "His other films are so weird!" Whatever. Get used to it. It's called a "filmography" filled with "smart acting choices". Weird!

Of course, the success of IRON MAN has everything to do with the collaboration of some truly gifted individuals who actually "care" about making a quality film with staying power, rather than the conventional flavor-of-the-month summer blockbuster. Terrence Howard, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges are all excellent in their roles and the creative partnership of Favreau and Peter Billingsley strikes gold once again.



Looking forward to that inevitable sequel!
GO FAVS!

Friday, May 09, 2008

"The Legend Of The Lone Ranger"

A couple years back, I posted about my wanting to re-watch THE LEGEND OF THE LONE RANGER, the 1981 film starring Klinton Spilsbury in the title role. After purchasing a couple of VHS copies, I tried and tried to watch the film again. The pan & scan-ness of the presentation and my knowing that the film was shot and intended for Panavision 2.35, kept me from digging in completely. Fast forward to early '08 when I came across a widescreen DVD transfer from the fine folks at Flesh Wound Video.

From a collector-to-collector DVD-R basis, FWV clearly leads the pack with their beautiful, painstakingly restored presentations and attractive packaging. In the case of LONE RANGER, the disc contains a correctly framed anamorphic widescreen print with two great bonus features: the film's original theatrical trailer and an extensive photo gallery. Very nice.

After finally taking the time to give it another shot (it's been at least twenty years since my last viewing), my opinion of this film hasn't changed all that much. I enjoyed it back then and, with some minor criticisms, I still do.

By far, this is not a perfect film, but by no means is it as bad as some have criticized. For the most part, it has everything going for it. Stunning cinematography by Laszlo Kovacs, great locations, yet another memorable score by the always impressive John Barry and despite being dubbed by another actor, Klinton Spilsbury's turn as the masked avenger does work. The film also benefits greatly from a few stand-out performances, mainly Christopher Lloyd putting true evil into his Butch Cavendish characterization (an icy-ness absent from previous portrayals) and Michael Horse's interpretation of Tonto, in which Horse not only expounds the dignity and integrity of the role, but also supports Spilsbury's RANGER to the point that his performance does not falter.

THE LEGEND pertains to how John Reid became the masked man and the vengeful mission that drives his hero-like persona. After the origin and events leading up to his mission are presented (within the film's first half), the film begins to fall apart and feels quite rushed when it should not be. At the moment when Spilsbury first turns to the camera in full "LR get-up" to the familiar tune of the William Tell overture, the momentum seems lost. And, the events that transpire from that point, during Reid's quest for justice, never fully satisfy.

The inclusion of the overture unbalances the mood a bit. Sure it's identifiable to the character, but it would have been nice to get a new theme composed by Barry (not unlike the revisionistic interpretations of John Williams in SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE or Jerry Goldsmith in STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE). I get the "return to yesteryear" vibe that the film tries hard to perpetuate, but it clearly does not compliment the mounting, slow burn style the film has already established. Imagine if the central theme music of the 1960's BATMAN series had been incorporated into Danny Elfman's score for Tim Burton's BATMAN and you'll get the idea. I presume this has to do with Jack Wrather's hold on the character from the original television series to this feature film version, but cross-breeding an epic western film with the conventional trappings of a Saturday afternoon serial doesn't even out.

So, there's my main gripe. A great build-up with little pay-off. This should have been at least a two-hour film, rather than one that runs 98 minutes. The first half takes it's time and deserves a respectful, fleshed-out continuation of the storyline. Also, James Keach's dubbing of Spilsbury's vocals is glaringly obvious and while it is done well, it's still hard to get past this fact, making it difficult to embrace the character in a relatable fashion.

Drawbacks aside, overall, I found the film enjoyable and it brought back a lot of good memories. With so much potential, THE LEGEND OF THE LONE RANGER is difficult to resist and worthy of a second look.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Al Pacino in "88 Minutes"



He has 88 minutes to solve a murder. His own.

And, I have 108 minutes in a theater, all to myself, to watch him do it!

YIKES! Give me more time!
But seriously, I did see this film and it's probably my biased Pacino appreciation talking here, but I did enjoy it. Nothing original, but it's Pacino running around with a cell phone and talking (and sometimes, more than talking) to some tantalizing females in a NICK OF TIME-esque plot riddled with bullets and wet streets. Also, Pacino reunites with previous co-stars, Amy Brenneman of HEAT and William Forsythe of DICK TRACY. A double WHAM-BAM, right in line with the recent double Pacino reunion in OCEAN'S THIRTEEN with Ellen Barkin of SEA OF LOVE and Andy Garcia of THE GODFATHER, PART III. And, yes, both of them were in that HBO film, CLINTON AND NADINE! I know! It's insane!

Speaking of reunions (and who isn't), Pacino's next film is a re-teaming with his 88 MINUTES director, Jon Avnet. The film is RIGHTEOUS KILL featuring another Pacino reunion, with fellow titan Robert De Niro of THE GODFATHER, PART II and Michael Mann's HEAT. This time around, they're due to share much more screen time... AND, the Pacino reunion continues with the additional casting of his CARLITO'S WAY co-star, John Leguizamo. (Remember the SUPER MARIO BROS. reunion he had with Dennis Hopper in George A. Romero's LAND OF THE DEAD? How could you not?! Everyone's talking about it! When I say "everyone," I'm speaking specifically of "me".)

AND, speaking of CARLITO'S WAY...

88 MINUTES felt like a Brian De Palma film, which reminds me... he and Pacino need to do another film. Let's make it a trilogy, fellas!


Sincerely,
-Cuckoo for Pacino Puffs*



*A new cereal idea that I'm working on.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fright Night Focus



Announcing my newly launched sub-blog, FRIGHT NIGHT FOCUS!
A site devoted to the resurgence of Tom Holland's classic vampire flick in the form of a Special Edition on DVD and Blu-Ray. My hope is to motivate enough of the fan base to sway the "powers that be" at Sony to make such a release a reality.

I have also created a MySpace page.
So, let us Fright Nighters become great cyber-chums! In the words of John Lennon, I hope some day you'll join us ...and the world will be as one! Too heavy? Okay.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Screen memories of Roy Scheider

Originally posted at THE JAWS BOARD on Wed. Feb 13, 2008 @ 4:12 am

My name is Nathan and this is my first post here at The Jaws Board. I learned of Roy Scheider's passing late Sunday nite and the sadness was overwhelming.

I was born in late '76, so I was far too young to experience JAWS, but I became quite aware of the film since my father owned the soundtrack album. The cover scared the hell out of me, but with that fear came a fascination. Couple that with the eventual mass marketing of JAWS 2, I was hooked before I saw either film. I'd imagine not unlike any kid my age who shared the same fascination, Roy became a highly recognizable figure in my early childhood, along with the likes of John Belushi, Bill Bixby, Lynda Carter, Chevy Chase, Richard Dreyfuss, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Goldie Hawn, Mark Hamill, Dudley Moore, Jack Nicholson, John Travolta, Frank Langella, Christopher Reeve, John Ritter and Robin Williams... just to name a few! These were my heroes.

Roy, of course, would go on to do so many great films. ALL THAT JAZZ, COHEN & TATE, 52 PICK-UP, LAST EMBRACE, SORCERER, STILL OF THE NIGHT, 2010 ...terrific performances. And, we all know an Oscar should have been awarded to him for ALL THAT JAZZ. Of course, BLUE THUNDER was such a dream film for me, too. Scheider, McDowell & Oates in the same film? Are you kidding me?! Not to mention possibly the coolest piece of machinery to grace the silver screen! Where do I sign?!

His prior JAWS screen record was equally impressive in such works as THE FRENCH CONNECTION, KLUTE, THE SEVEN-UPS and a great turn as the "heavy" in the underrated THE OUTSIDE MAN. Roy steals that one, completely. Simply put, Roy had an undeniable screen presence. His appearance in any film solidified my need to see it and such further opportunities will be sorely missed.

In an earlier post by Doug, he describes Roy as an "icon". Spot on. I cannot think of a better way to encapsule the memory of this wonderful, talented actor.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

BFI: The Free Cinema Movement



Just came across this terrific interactive "education" on Britain's "Free Cinema" film movement of the mid-1950s thru early 60's. Yes, it's informative. But, the best part is that it's hosted by the great Malcolm McDowell. McDowell is the perfect host for this tour, being that he is a protege of legendary filmmaker Lindsay Anderson, one of the innovators of the movement.

On the first go through, I was able to answer most of the questions correctly, but then, I found much more amusement in deliberately answering them wrong or taking way too long to make a move, because the ritualistic reward of being berated by McDowell is priceless.


Then, do yourself a favor and check out the complete collection of films on DVD:


UPDATE
I've since had the opportunity to meet Mr. McDowell at this year's Texas Frightmare Weekend in Grapevine. Needless to say, he was extremely cool. I mentioned how much I enjoyed the BFI Free Cinema thing, to which he replied, "You saw that?!"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

National Rambo Day is nigh!



Since Lionsgate is releasing the lastest installment of Sylvester Stallone's lucrative RAMBO franchise on January 25th, it's my belief that this day should be forever regarded as National Rambo Day. In fact, I'm going to go on record as the guy who declared it that way. You're welcome!

In less than 30 hours, I will be enjoying the first showing of RAMBO at a midnite screening, which I'm more than ecstatic about. I've been waiting a year for this. The last time I was this excited about a film (year long anticipation, mind you) was in 1995, with Michael Mann's HEAT. Mark my words, this film will be good.... damn good.





"Murdock... I'm comin' to get YOU!"

Stallone is back and I feel like an 8-year-old, all over again.
Hell yes.