Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kanai Katsu Retrospective

How I would have liked to attend this! I think Katsu is one of the great overlooked talents of Japanese cinema.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Hunt Continues

Just when I thought that I had tracked down every television adaptation of David Goodis's work that there could be, I came across three more. Another episode of "The Edge" from HBO and two episodes of "Lux Video Theater":

  • "The Edge" - "Black Pudding" (23 August 1989) with Alan Sharp teleplay from the 1953 Goodis short story, features Brad Davis as an ex-prisoner seeking revenge on his former boss and unfaithful ex-wife (Kelly Lynch).
  • "Lux Video Theater" - "Ceylon Treasure" - (14 Jan 1952) with Irwin Lewis teleplay, directed by Seymour Kulik. Starring Edmund O'Brien and Maria Riva. Adapted from the short story "The Blue Sweetheart"
  • "Lux Video Theater" - "The Unfaithful" - (12 Jan 1956) directed by Earl Eby. Starring Jan Sterling. Benjamin Simcoe adapted the Goodis-James Gunn story and screenplay for the hour-long play.

This blog entry does a great job bringing up a few other dark alleys like an adaptation of Nightfall on "Sure as Fate."

And, so, I dive back into this dark David Goodis world to keep on researching the adaptations of his work for the screen. My research never stops, even after the article's been put to bed.

New Website Idea

My idea for a new website is -- a place where geeks can post all of the cool stuff that they've collected over the years. The interface will look a lot like eBay and people would be able to enter what they'd be willing to pay for things but the geeks who post would never sell their items. It's just a place for geeks to brag and feel good about themselves.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Avery Schreiber

One of my favorite '70s actors, Avery Schreiber, here as a pitch man for Doritos.

Skizz, TV Star... Kinda

Just got word of this video over on the SlamDance site which features several VIPs including Skizz Cyzyk and Blake Myers. Episode 8: Day 2 in Park City

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

This Week's Reviews!

This week's batch of movie reviews!

Michigan's Joke of a Primary

I got up early yesterday and carted my ass through gunk of a freshly fallen snowfall to make it to my local polling place with time enough to wait in the long line with hopes of casting a vote in the Michigan Primary.

I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to vote at all as I heard one has to be a registered Democrat or Republican to fill in the appropriate ballot. My voter registration card reports that I'm neither as, when I turned 18, I wrote "ABOLISH THE TWO PARTY SYSTEM!" on my initial application.

The last few times I had managed to find my polling location -- they like to change it up to keep things "fresh" every few years apparently -- there were kids in the hallways selling baked goods and coffee for everyone waiting around. This time there were no kids. But, then again, there were no people. It was me and the quartet of gray-haired ladies that ran the joint.

I won't make it a secret. I opted to fill in the Democratic ballot. It took me longer to walk to the little desk with its "hood" that gave me privacy than it did to blacken my selection. When I took the ballot to the auto-counter and slid it in, it told me that I was the ninth person that day to do so!

In short, this whole primary thing feels a little bit like a joke, especially when Michigan moved its date and pissed off the Democratic and Republican parties, leaving the Democratic ballot without some of the biggest contenders in their's party's bid for presidency. It all felt like a tremendous waste of time.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Geek Love: See You Next Wednesday

American Werewolf In London: See You Next WednesdayWhenever there's a holiday or vacation where I can use it I throw out the line, "See you next Wednesday," and chortle silently to myself. I'm a geek and I know it.

I was bouncing off my theater seat a few weeks ago when I caught the preview for HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY and saw the nod to John Landis's trademark. Rather than rehash, check out this nice writeup about the phrase, its origin, and its use in Landis's films as well as other places.

Here's a still where you can see it pretty clearly on a marquee on the left side of the frame.

Hellboy 2: See You Next Wednesday

Here's the full preview - quite a few clips take place in front of the marquee.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

AVPR: "I ain't got time for plot."

Alien Vs Predator Requiem

Let's start with the title, shall we? Tacking the word "requiem" to this sci-fi schlocker is even more annoying than refusing to put numbers on the DIE HARD films. Perhaps meant to recall ALIEN IV (AKA ALIEN: RESURRECTION), when I read "requiem" I'm constantly reminded of Mandy Patankin from THE PRINCESS BRIDE admonishing, "I don't think that word means what you think it means." Or, perhaps, it was used to let audiences know that this is the death knell for two franchises which might have spawned a third.

Picking up where ALIEN VS PREDATOR left off (with the final "shocker" shot of an Alien/Predator hybrid bursting out of a dead Predator's chest), the effects-team-turned-"director" Strause Brothers's flick strongly recalls the opening of ALIEN3* (not a good sign). The Predator ship crashes in Colorado where a small cache of face-huggers survive. Back on the Predator home world, a distress signal is picked up by one lone Predator. He brazenly goes off on his own to exterminate the beasts.

In the meantime, the audience is introduced to what feels like about a hundred stock characters--the sheriff, the ex-con (Ripley), the upstart brother, the misunderstood pretty girl, the war veteran (Hicks), the innocent little girl (Newt), the dumb jocks, the homeless people, and more. This goes to the heart of AVPR's problem: too many humans, not enough Predators. None of the human characters is in the least bit interesting. I'd say that they're "face-hugger fodder" but that'd be a misnomer. The Aliens in the film don't seem too interested in populating Earth with their progeny. Only the "PredAlien" seems capable of laying eggs and does so in a way completely different than we're used to seeing Aliens reproduce.

I've always been troubled by the notion that an Alien that gestates in a creature other than human somehow adopts the host's physical characteristics. This feature of Alien reproduction would doom the race, mucking up their DNA irrevocably. How a host's DNA interferes with a "chestburster" is beyond me. Aliens simply use creatures to host, not to mate. Regardless, this seems to be a moot point as the PredAlien's progeny are lacking the creature's outward Predator characteristics (the four-pronged jaws) and seem to be "normal" Aliens.

Giving the physiology of the Aliens any thought at all is more hack screenwriter Shane Salerno did at all. The Aliens of AVPR are few in number and weak of blood. Other than the head dumb jock getting a face full of acidic blood, there seems to be little concern about getting their green goo on anything and everything else. The film's eventual human "hero," Dallas (Steven Pasquale) practically bathes in the stuff with no ill effects.

There are about fifteen good minutes of action in AVPR which might be salvaged by fan editors at some point and tacked on to the end of Paul W.S. Anderson's superior ALIEN VERSUS PREDATOR. Even at 86-minutes, AVPR is an excruciating watch which often had me recalling the plot, dialog, music, and direction of the previous Alien and Predator films and wondering how the mighty could have fallen so far. AVPR, you are one ugly motherfucker of a movie.

* For more of my ranting about Alien3, visit The Metamorphosis of Alien III from Cashiers du Cinemart #12.

Friday, January 04, 2008