Monday, September 28, 2009

TONIGHT on Heroes... "INK"

The fine folks at NBC say it better than I...

Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) faces unexpected consequences for his heroic acts and encounters a reluctant new hero (guest star Deanne Bray). As Claire (Hayden Panettiere) continues to adjust to college life, she must figure out how to deal with her ability having been revealed. Meanwhile, Samuel (Robert Knepper) moves heaven and earth to recapture the memories of his late brother Joseph. Elsewhere, Matt (Greg Grunberg) struggles with his internal demons as Sylar (Zachary Quinto) mysteriously resurfaces. Jack Coleman also stars. Assaf Cohen and Rick Worthy also guest star.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Where Are They Now (BSG Edition)

Mo Ryan at the Chicago Tribune talks about a charity project involving Katee Sackhoff, and runs down the current activities of Battlestar Galactica's writers, producers and cast... people are managing to keep pretty busy!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Proof Of Goodness In The World #5

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is stately, elegiac, compelling movie. I've seen it five times and intend to see it again.

The Black Knight Marvel Masterworks (Atlas era) hardcover! Reprints all of the great Black Knight stories from the 1950's, with art by Joe Maneely, Jack Kirby and others.

The brand new CD by pop master David Grahame! It appears to be untitled and has only two very long melody tracks, so there are multiple songs, but you can't skip through them. Hmm!! Only 75 copies (!) produced, order quick from!

There is a table at the El Cholo restaurant in Santa Monica where, if you're lucky enough to be seated there, you automatically get free nachos!

The My Name Is Bruce 12" action figure is due out any day now!

Star Trek The Original Series Season 2 - blu-ray! Shipping this week!

There's a brand new Jason (Jellyfish) Falkner CD, All Quiet On The Noise Floor! It's only been released in Japan, but it's also available at!

The Psychedelic Furs are touring!

The new issue of Beatlefan is out... I really enjoy the fanzine-ey feel of this mag!

More goodness to come!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fun With Steven Seagal

One thing I always admired about the early Seagal movies, in a "gee, how come he can get away with it" fashion, was the way he would break out of various death traps. Sad screenwriters like yours truly spend hours wracking our brains trying to figure out clever and new ways for our characters to evade, escape, discover, unleash and generally "do stuff", but Mr. Seagal often eschewed all that nonsense for the direct approach.

In Above The Law, Steve gets captured by the evil Henry Silva and his henchmen, who bind Steven to a chair with plastic handcuffs (like the zip-ties police use), shoot him full of some noxious drug and quasi-strangle him with a cord. Pretty tough situation, huh?

How does Steven escape? Well, he feigns being dazed by the drug, then, when Henry's guard is down, he summons up super-human strength, snaps the plastic ties and kills everyone in the room.

In Marked For Death, Steven is captured by the unfortunately named "Screwface" and strapped to the floor for some serious killin'. But when the going gets tough, guess what? Steven summons up that super-human strength again, snaps the straps and kills everyone in the room.

But this isn't just limited to old Steven Seagal movies. In the very entertaining Taken, Liam Neeson is captured by the bad guys and hand-cuffed to a metal steam pipe in the bowels of a pleasure cruiser. Liam's about to be strangled when, *whew*, the pipe breaks (!) and he, well, kills everyone in the room.

I guess the good guy deserves a break here and there, but really? The pipe breaks? But I guess we have made some progress, since super-human strength was not employed, but still... I don't think I could get away with it!

Headlines You Don't Want To See...

"Insane Killer Escapes During Field Trip." Things must be exciting in Spokane today!

It reminds me of the headline I saw many years ago when I was living in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles. "Highland Park - Gang And Satanist Hub Of Los Angeles". At least we were famous for something...

Friday, September 18, 2009

HEROES IS (almost) BACK - Season 4, "Redemption"

Season four kicks off this MONDAY on NBC at 8:00PM with a two, count 'em, two hour premiere. When last we touched base with our intrepid crew, Senator Nathan Petrelli had been murdered by the relentlessly nasty Sylar. Usually that would be the end of the road for a character, but Nathan's Mother Angela was having none of it. She convinced Matt Parkman to use his mental abilities to plant Nathan's personality and memories into a defeated Sylar, who then shape-shifted into Nathan's form. She got her son back, but...

Now, most of the time when you implant another person's memories into a super-powered serial killer, everything works out just fine. But this being Heroes, it probably won't surprise anyone to learn that a glitch or two develops...

But that's just one story! All your faves are back, including Claire, H.R.G., Peter, plus there's an intriguing new "force" in the Heroes world, led by the charismatic Samuel (played by Robert Knepper). And a new friend for young Claire...

I resumed my consulting producer position on the show around episode 7 of this season, so I get to enjoy the first few episodes a (small) step removed. "My" first episode for this season, co-written with my very good friend and fellow Cantina margarita connoisseur Rob Fresco (it's only a block away from the studio, and oh so convenient!), started shooting today. It features some really fun/bizarre/intriguing/emotional scenes. Unfortunately, even running down the cast list might give something away, so... I won't. You'll have to watch it!

That's HEROES! NBC! Monday at 8:00PM! In living color! HD! Be there!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jim Carroll R.I.P.

Poet/novelist turned rocker turned spoken word performer Jim Carroll died of a heart attack on 9/11 at age 60. The Basketball Diaries, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was based on his life and book, but I was a big fan of his short-lived rock and roll career. His three studio "song" albums, Catholic Boy, I Write Your Name and Dry Dreams, are all sadly out of print, but there's a pretty good "greatest hits" compilation still available. Probably his most famous song was "People Who Died", which I'm sure will be used as a semi-snarky headline on a few obits...

60. WAAAAY too young.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Proof Of Goodness In The World #4

Beatles remastered! I don't like the box the stereo set comes in, but otherwise, the new editions are definitely sharper and cleaner and probably as good as they're going to get until the next wave of sound reproduction technology kills CDs. And that's really good! (The sound, not the death of CDs.)

Magazines like Mojo are full of Beatles articles!

Cinema Retro's new issue is totally devoted to Where Eagles Dare, one of the greatest and most blood-thirsty war movies of all time. Clint Eastwood and Richard Burton!

I'm having my original Argentinean "Plan 9 From Outer Space" one-sheet framed!

A week and a half until Heroes premieres!

Charles Bronson in The Mechanic and Chato's Land have been on the MGM HD channel! I am gaining new respect for director Michael Winner, really! Talk about your downbeat, terse, morally complicated movies! (And not just because Bronson plays the unlikeliest Apache ever in Chato's Land.)

Michael Mann's Thief, also in high-def!

The Yayhoos (a band) covered the O'Jay's "Love Train" on their last album, and it's great!

Green envelopes! (WGA members who get residuals will know what THAT means!)

The paperback novelization of The Werewolf Versus The Vampire Woman, by Arthur Scarm, is amazing!

It's Friday! That means it's margarita night!

More goodness soon!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

My Name Is Bruce and Battlestar Galactica are SCREAMING

The inimitable Bruce Campbell (well, I suppose he IS imitable, on some level, but... oh never mind) has been nominated for "Best Horror Actor" for his fine work in a little movie I like to call My Name Is Bruce. It appears just about any screw-head can vote (I just did!), so feel free to visit their site and make Mr. Campbell the apple o' your Scream Award eye!

Speaking of inimitable, Battlestar Galactica is also up for three Screams -- best science fiction project, Katee Sackhoff for Best Science Fiction Actress and the whole darn cast for Best Ensemble! Vote vote vote!

Writing Stuff...

A few days ago I was chatting with a fellow with a long background in "the biz" who had recently shifted more into the writing arena. He was having trouble getting going on a project and asked for my advice.

Mistake number one is asking ME for advice. There's a reason the Wikipedia entry on "well adjusted movie and TV writers" is blank... we're all a swirl of mixed emotions, self-doubt, casual/cocky self-assuredness mixed with grim dark nights of the soul. Anyone who says different is lying. And if they're not lying, I hate them.

(Note: this is not whining. Writing for a living definitely beats spreading asphalt, working at McDonalds and fixing copying machines, just three of my pre-writing jobs. I fully appreciate how fortunate I am to have actually managed a career in this insane field. Though I did get all the free hamburgers I could eat when I was working at Macs...)

Anyhow, my advice to my friend was pretty simple. Just start. Sit in front of the computer, type the title and then write something, anything to get the ball rolling. Fully understanding that those first words will probably never make it to the final script, let alone to the screen.

Breaking the ice is always the hardest, and it doesn't get any easier even after many years and many scripts. In fact it may get a little harder, because if experience teaches anything, it's that writing this stuff is hard. So you're not just looking at the project when you're starting, but you have a full understanding of the amount of thought and butt-in-the-office-chair time it's going to take to finish something worth reading. The trick is to STOP thinking about that and just keep going...

And if you can't get started, you can always kick-start the process by writing on your blog, he said optimistically...

Saturday, September 05, 2009


That's how many books have entered the world as of last Friday, according to the "metadata" division at Google. How they divined this figure is another story, but as always, there are issues and complications afoot...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Proof Of Goodness In The World - #3

The Twin Peaks two hour pilot has been playing on a high def channel and it's as cool as I remember.

Criterion just released a new 2 DVD edition of My Dinner With Andre, with a second disc of commentary. It's still in the wrapper so I can't comment on the transfer or the extras, but I'm still excited. Andre is one of my favorite movies!

Cheap Trick has released a live CD of the band doing the entire Sgt. Pepper album, Cheap Trick style. Me like.

The Bottle Rockets, "Lean Forward." It's a CD, produced by Eric Ambel, and it's darn good in that roots rock/kick ass way.

Glenn Beck is still losing sponsors!

Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield (creepy music from The Exorcist), 2009 remaster/remix, with the original mix included on a second CD.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are still touring!

Under The Covers 2 by Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs. Very cool covers of various 70's-ish songs by two very good singer-songwriters.

The Norton Records company. They put out such amazing stuff, from Hasil Atkins to a 3 CD Benny Joy (!) collection. Buy things from them so they keep releasing stuff --

Not Lame music finds the greatest power-pop music in the world! Support them!!

Guy Ritchie's Snatch (hmm, that doesn't sound right!) is coming out on Blu-Ray Dec. 1!

Star Trek Season 2 (the Shatner original, for Christ's sake!) on Blu-Ray is coming soon!

Heroes Season Three Blu-Ray is out now!

And finally, there's a 3 day weekend!!