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Everything posted by Chadzilla

  1. Chadzilla

    Episode 122

    FYI, Kensington Books will be releasing an omnibus edition of John Russo's novels Night of the Living Dead and Return of the Living Dead in September of 2010. Whether or not Return will be Russo's original novel, or the novelization of O'Bannon's film, remains to be seen. But I suspect that it will be the former, instead of the latter. The book is available for pre-order from Amazon, which is where I found it.
  2. I know what I think, "Come on, folks. Let's go ask HARLAN ELLISON!"
  3. I have heard numerous theories and apologetics about the destructive power of money, success, etc, in Hollywood; each one tailored to a particular viewpoint or critical theory. I also have a friend that has worked in the industry and, after leaving it, actually made his own low-budget horror film (called In Search of Lovecraft). So I have heard a lot of different opinions on the matter. What does that mean? Time to pontificate! Yay! The other day I was reading the Dellamorte Does Box Office prediction article over at CHUD (which is, quite possibly, the only article at the sight that can be considered required weekly reading for Industry geeks) and the subject was Peter Jackson and just how wretched the word of mouth is for The Lovely Bones. One critic has even gone so far as to call it the worst film ever to be made by an Oscar winner. Ouch! The reason for this is that Jackson’s film is almost entirely about the tech; the eye popping special effects. Dellamorte made some rather interesting points about, and comparisons between, Jackson and other “gifted” directors that have gone big and disappeared into tech obsessions. He pointed out how, as their careers grind on, each seemed to lose touch with their storytelling ability and instead become obsessed with the tech. (Aside: character actor Tom Atkins told an interviewer that John Carpenter did not talk, or give direction, to him when filming The Fog, that Carpenter was focused almost entirely on “the toys.”) Whether or not Jackson has reached that point remains to be seen, but he is far from being finished as a director. Those comments nudged a left field memory about some comments that I have heard about young (or simply inexperienced) directors. On the commentary track for the film Shock Waves (still the best Nazi zombie movie ever made, as far as I am concerned) director Ken Wiederhorn continually apologized for all the technical mistakes that he made in the film, despite the fact that those doing the commentary with him kept pointing out to him that it was those very same mistakes that made the film so unique. Which reminded me of a comment about why the films of young and “gifted” directors films are so unique looking, while many of their later films appear so pedestrian in comparison. When they are just starting out they don’t know what they are doing, so there are countless “lucky” mistakes in the framing of scenes and blocking, etc. As they make films, the truly gifted learn and grow, but their films become more polished and neat in the process. (Some, like Uwe Boll never seem to learn, or suffer from some wretched form of developmental talent delay.) They grow “slick” and appear to lose their artistic “character.” Whether or not this is true, I don’t know, but there does seem to be some factual evidence to back it up. Other reasons that directors might become obsessed with the tech could be 1) that they are geeks at heart and who wouldn’t love a blank check in order to play with the coolest electric train set (or video game) on the planet? 2) Film making is a long, boring process (especially if you are making an action or effects heavy picture) and fiddling with the tech is a great way to keep yourself preoccupied, especially if you don’t work with actors all that well. (Cameron and Lucas both are well known for not dealing with their actors all that well; Lucas doesn’t talk to them, while some of Cameron’s abusive techniques have become the stuff of Hollywood legend.) Sure, Lucas talks about doing this small, money losing art house pictures, but he clearly has no intention at making them, as he is going to making money off of Star Wars forever. But it should be noted that each and every one of the prequels was made with his own money, making them the most expensive independent films of all time. What that has to do with the Avatar sequel, I don’t know. I just get distracted by the shiny.
  4. August 27 is the new release date. While Piranha 3-D might not be what many consider an Independent movie, the studio releasing it is, and it looks to be going down. This is also the second time that I have heard the rumor/theory/excuse/reason that a studio does not have the money needed to market the movie. First time was when Paramount (after the collapse of the Paramount Vantage "Indie" wing) announced that they would be bumping Shutter Island from its early Oscar season November release in 2009 to February 2010, because they did not have the money needed to push the movie. Paranormal Activity put the cash in the coffers, though. The Weinstein Company has not been as lucky, every movie they have released has done only fair to poor.
  5. What do you think about the remake made just seven years later? EL DORADO w/ John Wayne, Robert Mitchum and James Caan. For me it's one of the rare times that a remake is just as good as the original. But I think Robert Mitchum as the drunken sheriff edges out Dean Martin slightly. El Dorado also has that great exchange between Caan and Wayne regarding Caan's character horrible shooting. Caan: The guy was limping when he left! Wayne: HE WAS LIMPING WHEN HE GOT HERE!!!
  6. More like four good movies: Aliens, Terminator, Terminator 2, and True Lies. And though I've never seen all of it, a lot of people would toss The Abyss in there, too. Oh, I would toss The Abyss in there. It's my favorite Cameron movie. Haven't seen True Lies, though. And I liked Titanic.
  7. He's talking more like the seasoned Hollywood professional that he is, although that is pure producer talk, not the talk of a writer or director. I do not believe for a minute that he was ever planning for a sequel, as the story is completely self-contained and does not require one. This is a cash cow that I fully expect to be milked dry for years to come. Like I said in Avatar thread, I see a comic book series, a Saturday morning (or Cartoon Network) series, and maybe a Baby Avatar movie all on the way. It is the way the business works. Cameron's comment makes him sound like George Lucas, or Charles Band, who refers to his movies as "product." Kind of explains why so many Full Moon Pictures are the way they are, right?
  8. The movie is "bumped" to August. Maybe.
  9. It's been a very long winter for Haley, one that included a turn as the bad guy in Dollman, of all things, so I say pump that cash cow for all that it's worth, dude. Besides, he is at the age where aged character actors become genre superstars playing heavies in big and small budget B-movies.
  10. That and the fact that it is one of the best (if not THE best) comic book movies ever made. (I have do have a greater fondness for Iron Man.)
  11. My biggest issue with Terminator: Salvation was that it didn't do anything to advance the story to the point where Reese meets Connor, not does it really play off of Connor knowing Reese is his dad, nor does the future shown resemble the future glimpsed in the previous films. It just didn't feel right to me. Never could get into TSCC, though. But I am stoked to see what Zack Whedon will be doing with the new Terminator comic series he has been assigned.
  12. Punisher: War Zone contains high doses of pure, undiluted awesome in it. Like the moment where Frank Castle, while cradling a young girl in his arm, shoots a scumbag in the face. At point blank range. Awesome. I’m so getting that movie on DVD. Now, some blathering and pontificating about the Spider-Man reboot and comic book movies in general (WARNING, it may not make sense): 1) Who knows what will work and what won’t. William Goldman said it best, in regards to Hollywood, “No one knows anything.” No one in Hollywood knows what will and will not work. Scripts are constantly altered to fit in the whims of the producer, the talents (or lack there of) of the actors casts in the roles, and also the very strict limitations of both time and money. This movie, like all others, will be a creative crap shoot, regardless of what they do and who they hire to do it... Which brings me to... 2) Who will they hire? Will the director be the “muscle” (the one in charge) or will it be the producer or the studio? Avoiding Raimi apologetics, it is not a good sign that a studio scraps a major franchise picture simply because the director refuses to budge regarding what villain will be in the film. To me that is a crystal clear sign that the studio will be the muscle on the next production, which means hiring a director that won’t fight over whatever villain the studio wants (and, with a Venom picture announced, it is pretty much a done deal that there will be some sort of acknowledgment of, or set-up for, that character in the reboot). However, the producer controlling the production is not necessarily a bad thing. David O. Selznick was the muscle behind Gone With the Wind, and just about every other movie he produced, while Val Lewton is the only producer to ever be considered a genuine cinematic auteur. Then again, there’s the producer muscle of Dino De Laurentis, or the late Irwin Allen... Oh, and speaking of cinematic auteurs... 3) Cinematic adaptations (and adaptations in general) are not transcriptions. (Hello, Mr. Obvious.) They are creations filtered through the subjective and idiosyncratic talents of (or lack of) the writer, the actor, the set designers, the director, the producer, etc. No one adapting a novel, a play, or a comic book to the big screen is required to be faithful to the source material, and they are going to want to put their own personal stamp on it. Both Jaws and The Shining ignored or reinvented their source material, and both are fine films. The mini-series adaptation of The Shining also showed that simply being faithful to the source material is not an assurance of quality. The characters, their origins and their motivations, will no doubt be altered and tweaked to fit into a new kind of story dynamic based entirely on who is making the movie (See #2). Will it work? (See #1.) Speaking of working... 4) Ah, what works for some will not work for others. Bruce Campbell as Mysterio (long shot to snowball’s chance in hell, IMHO) sounds great (I’m all for it) but what if the muscle doesn’t like or want Campbell? Maybe The Chin’s too busy... Yeah, right. The fact that he’s best buds with Sam Raimi (and appeared in each of the three previous films) really works against him, though. Then again, Judi Dench survived the Bond reboot. But Dench is a Dame and The Chin isn’t. So maybe they get Alan Cumming (currently playing the Green Goblin on Broadway, “Wait!” screams the reboot producer, “Cumming is playing that Goblin guy on Broadway!?! Get me a production assistant to go and see how he is, maybe we’ll get him to play the Gobbler in the movie...if he wins a Tony for it, that is. Then for sure we’ll get him.”) or Hugo Weaving, or maybe that guy who played McLovin can be Mysterio. Each of those actors would play the character in a unique way that will bring the character to life for some, and nuke it into oblivion for others. So it goes. One of my more interesting cinema going experiences of late was seeing The Dark Knight with a female friend that I was “dating” at the time. (Man, what a clusterfuck of a romantic dalliance that was, but I digress.) She was a literate and intelligent woman, a political activist with long and storied connections to the anti-war, peak oil, and 9/11 truth movements, with a sharp critical eye. Now, I enjoyed TDK (although it was way too long and that final half hour was almost painful in its unnecessary twists and turns) but she did not. When Batman captured the Joker for a second, or third, time and saves the Clown Prince of Crime’s life in the process, my friend sneered at the screen, “Oh just fucking kill the son of a bitch already.” After the film had ended we discussed it, and her comment came up. I explained that Batman does not kill people, to which she replied “that character [the Joker] was so obviously unredeemable and completely evil, there was no logical or sane justification in keeping him alive.” He was never going to stop, she argued, and he was never going to get better. To her, not killing the Joker off was just a foolish waste of future time and energy. The only reason they kept that idiot alive (her descriptive, not mine) was so they could have him in the sequel. And, to be the devil’s advocate, she was, to a certain extent, right. Seen from the viewpoint of the movie as a stand alone story removed from its comic book origins, not going Dirty Harry on the Joker was foolish. My female friend had no vested intellectual or emotional interest in the character’s origins or back story, which is something that she shares with the majority of the movie ticket buying public. Don’t believe me? Just compare sales of comic books with theater ticket sales, and the fact that a hit movie adaptation of a comic book will sell more video games and action figures than it will comic books. Me? I loved the fact that he had no origin story and no one could figure out who he was or where he had come from. It not only made him iconic, but mythic, as well. To her it just made him a one dimensional and annoyingly contrived cardboard cutout of a psycho killer. Between us, and past us, are millions of points on a reactionary scale, each on unique to the certain individual. What does this all mean? Nothing, really. No one knows how the movie will play out with the general audience until it plays. Will I see it? Hard to say. It depends on the creative team assembled and, shallow as it sounds, the villain that they choose to use. My interest has already waned considerably knowing that non-human villains are off the table entirely, which means no Lizard. If they opt to redo either the Green Goblin, Doc Ock, or Venom, it will wan even further. I have already seen them, give me something, or someone, new. Something other than a retelling of the origin story (which looks to have been pretty much stated outright as to what is going to happen) and someone other than the same old villain, but with a brand new face, in 3-D. Who knows? (See #1) Maybe we will get more than that. Chances are very good that we will. The studio and the producers are not fools. The current script rumor has a “love rectangle” between Peter Park/Mary Jane and Flash Thompson/Gwen Stacy. Whether that story is one that will actually wind up being in the movie? Just see #1. Damn, I should have posted this on my blog. I am so sorry for prattling for so long.
  13. Terminator: Saw Tyler Perry's Madea Meets A Terminator
  14. Although The Seeds of Death isn't the best of episodes (fun, yes, but not great fun) it does contain my all time favorite Doctor line. "YOU CAN'T KILL ME, I'M A GENIUS!!!"
  15. The "leaked" trailer. It looks to be precisely what I expected it to be (over-the-top and cheesy as all get out) and I love that they kept in the inner tubes.
  16. Official release version. Oh, this should fun!
  17. Cameron had been developing a Spider-Man film back in the 90s, I believe.
  18. Zac Efron is sure to be on the list.
  19. Chadzilla

    Episode 124

    My reaction was a tad cooler, but your commentary regarding the cultural differences was spot on. I did prefer Dark Water and disliked the American version (the original was a quiet horror masterpiece worthy of Val Lewton).
  20. Not entirely true. Certainly that is more true today than it was in the days of the Old Studio system, where producers ruled with an Iron Fist and directors (with the exception of a precious few) were just their glorified gophers, but it is still not outside the realm of possibility. George A. Romero had to make a film titled Day of the Dead, because he signed a three picture deal with United Film Distribution that stated he would do so (and thus granting him the artistic freedom to make Knightriders). Although the stories have changed somewhat and become factually muddled, it was pretty much said outright in 1986 that Tobe Hooper took over the directing chores of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2 because he wanted to do his third picture for Cannon and finish off his three picture deal. Granted those examples were from 1984 and 1986, and times and the industry has changed since then... But you are rig... NO, I refuse to give up my apologist delusions! Damn your logic, it BURNS!!! I’m melting, oh... But, yes, you are right, sir. Raimi made a bad movie. A very, very bad movie. A movie so bad that it soured me on the character and the series (and do NOT get me started on the “erasing” of Spider-Man’s marriage in the comics; my head exploded with a childish rage of atomic proportions about that, but I digress). I’m also just pissed that Sony has made comments that it does not want non-human villains in its Spider-Man movies. So that means no Lizard... and I love the Lizard...
  21. I'm still of the opinion that the reason Spider-man 3 sucked was because Sony forced Raimi's hand to do Venom in the movie and it was something he really didn't want to do. I think Raimi could have done good work, his first 2 movies were pretty focused. Sony just doesn't like the classic characters. My gut (and it’s starting to get a bit big these days, damn middle aged spread) is telling me that Sony just didn’t want to dick around with Raimi, who - if rumors and certain comments are true - was truly and bitterly burned during the making of Spider-Man 3. Raimi himself has stated that he lost control of the production process (unlike the first two, where he claimed to have creative control) and that he would do another only if he had the same amount of control over the final product that he had with 1 and 2. When a director apologizes for the kind of movie he made, although it made $339 million of “Fuck you, Fanboys” money, it makes me think he truly cares about making a good movie, not just a successful one. What ultimately sunk Spider-Man 3 was that Raimi was forced to make a movie about a character he was on record as saying he neither liked nor understood. Sony wanted Venom. No Venom, no movie. Raimi made the error of going with the latter instead of the former (but he might have had to do the movie due to a contractual obligation, he HAD to give the studio a movie). But it was so clear that Raimi’s directing heart was only in the Sandman sequences, while the Venom story line (save for the notorious dance sequence and the Bad Peter montage, where Raimi indulged his love of old school slap stick and blunt force parody) just sat there. Also, I don’t think that Raimi’s heart was really in doing Spider-Man 4. I think he was trying to do it more or less to “fix” the errors in SM3 and Sony was, “Errors? What errors? Look at the bank account for this one!” Whether or not the reboot will actually be a good movie, one that brings the character to a whole new generation of fans (yep, by the time 2012 rolls around there will be plenty of kids seeing their very first Spider-Man movie, ever...hard as that is to believe) depends entirely on the creative team the studio assigns to make it. If the studio hands the project over to a strong director, swell. But if the studio hires someone like the Hill Street Blues chick that directed Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel or someone that will simply film the movie they want, not swell.
  22. Chadzilla

    Episode 123

    Ah, Lifeforce... I read Wilson's book and, despite there being some staggering liberties taken with the material (the victims do not reanimate and spread the vampirism, nor does London get destroyed), it remarkably faithful. Everything from the discovery of the alien spacecraft up to the mental asylum sequence is lifted directly from the novel. Some trivia: Lifeforce was a Cannon Group production (that'd be Golan/Globus, the same studio/producers that would bring us Superman IV: The Quest for Peace some two or three years later) but was distributed by Tri-Star Pictures. The announced budget was $30 million US dollars (Tobe Hooper called the film his Ben-Hur of the genre) and only grossed $5 million during its theatrical release. (OUCH!) Dan O'Bannon (and Don Jakoby) is rumored to have hated the movie (as several liberties were taken with their script during production*) but he hated Invaders from Mars (which was produced by Cannon and directed by Hooper the very next year) even more, going so far as to tell one magazine (and I paraphrase a tad, due to the magazine not being in front of me and having read it years ago, but it is the kind of statement that sticks in ones memory): "I wrote this amazing script that Tobe Hooper proceeded to turn into complete and utter garbage, and you can quote me on that." *Ah, the production history. Hooper wanted to craft an epic, Golan/Globus wanted an exploitation picture. Hooper's final cut (as reported in Cinescape and Fangoria magazines back in the day) was two hours and ten minutes long. But Golan/Globus demanded recuts to quicken the pace of the film. The first round resulted in the what, up until the domestic United States release, was referred to the International cut. This version runs close to two hours, features a longer sequence in the alien spacecraft and expanded dialogue snippets here and there that flesh out the characters and story line. If the version of Lifeforce you are watching begins with a credit sequence featuring Henry Mancini's memorable theme and a tracking shot across the comet, then that is the Internationl cut. But Golan/Globus were not satisfied with that cut. They demanded even further cuts, chopping the movie down to a sparse one hour and forty minute running time. Mancini, fed up with all the butchering being done to his score so that it would fit the new version, left the movie (with Hooper's full understanding and blessing) and Michael Kamen came into to rescore several sequences. This truncated cut was what Cannon opted to release to US theater in 1985 and, as far as I can tell, has been removed from the market in favor of the superior International cut.
  23. The only thing about this that would not make me angry would be if Marvel Studios was doing the film, they aren't.. so foul-foul-filth-and-foul and they can go suck some filth while dropping some foul. As much as his childish and attention craving digs at fandom irk me, Devin at CHUD pretty much says what bothers me so much about why this really happened. Going back to high school is probably code for SONY going all Twilight with the series. Something that does not interest me, at all. Excuse me for being a cranky middle aged father of a teenager, but I don't give a shit about High School and what goes on there.
  24. Star Trek The Next Generation: The Space Between #4: Light of the Day This story had great potential, having almost equal parts creepy horror story and morality tale (hey, it's Star Trek, after all) but it falls short simply because the story is so frakking rushed. Comics: 7 Trades: 1