Sunday, February 27, 2011

Falling Skies - The Many Promos Of...

Tired of me talking about Falling Skies? Well, all sorts of Falling Skies trailer fun can be SEEN here at Slashfilm...

I saw two more mostly finished episodes last week (as in, with most of the finished FX, music, color timing, etc.) and yep, they're looking good. Only two more to go, coincidentally the two I actually wrote as opposed to "overseeing" in my co-exec producer capacity. No spoilers allowed, but one of the two is the season finale, which involves quite a bit of FX excitement. There are actually scenes from many episodes sprinkled through the trailers... it's fun for me to go, "hey, that's episode #103, and that's #109, and that's #106!" Of course, I am easily amused!

I Saw This...

I was in my standard position (in front of the TV in the front room), when I saw this puppy sail overhead and head out toward the ocean.

Are the Meteorite Men far behind?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Falling Skies Update...

I realize that some of the folks checking out this blog are probably more interested in hearing the latest developments regarding Falling Skies than reading reviews of movies from 1975... shocking!

But the truth is, the latest developments are simply "more of the same." Very interesting to me, of course, but... in short, FX are still being created, episode cuts are being locked... all the finalizing work is "in process."

Of course I've seen all the episodes in various phases of development, and five or so that are now more or less finished (FX done, music locked and the color properly timed). As usual, I am mightily impressed with the amount of effort that goes into polishing these shows to a shine. In virtually every instance, what I am seeing is better than I imagined when I was writing/producing, so that's been really fun. And trust me, it's not always the case!

We're still on target for a Summer 2011 unveiling... as we get closer to the date hopefully I can start spilling a little more info, and when the show actually hits air I can finally talk about the shows themselves with more specificity. Right now I just want the surprises to remain surprising...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sometimes It's Just Hopeless...

I watched most of 1975's "Capone" the other night, a baffling case of fascinating material coupled with a pretty incredible cast producing... a thoroughly uninteresting movie. The great Ben Gazzara plays Al Capone with a gruff bluster that never suggests the charisma a guy like the real Capone must have had to hold together a massive criminal operation. John Cassavetes, Susan Blakeley, John Campanella and even a very young, pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone are given little to work with. The result? Repetitive scenes of Capone yelling about some competitor, goons going to work with dynamite and machine guns, then more yelling, shooting, stabbing, etc.

Even more curious is the total contempt shown to any version of Capone's actual history. I mean, the guy was a murderous mob Kingpin. The real story of his rise and syphilitic fall aren't interesting enough? Unfortunately, the fictionalized version, despite an amazing cast, is even LESS interesting than his real life.

Also, watching this is a reminder just how ground-breaking Gordon Willis' moody photography was in "The Godfather." "Capone" is all brightly lit, gaudy color, where the blood is candy apple red and Capone plays one scene in a bathrobe that would have been gaudy in a Cirque Du Soleil show. Pixar movies look positively drab compared to this.

This one gets one and half Bronsons... the extra half because I like movies where the young Stallone gets to streak his hair with a little gray to play "older." ("F.I.S.T." rates four Bronson's on the white-stuff in young-Stallone's hair rating system!)

San Diego Con Memories...

At the link below writer/artist Evan Dorkin offers some fond memories of the San Diego ComicCon from years past, specifically 1987-ish. I was there but since I was just barely in the biz at the time (the first issue of my first comic, The American, was released right around that convention) I missed most of the parties and the excitement... or did I? I vaguely remember some hotel room antics, but *sigh*, it's all so long ago. I certainly would have remembered my pal and American artist Chris Warner picking up a chair to fend off some punk kids.

Last year around this time I posted something about how the convention had become just too big and complicated to navigate and that I probably wouldn't go. Then I went to work on a little show called "Falling Skies" and suddenly I was doing a panel and some interviews and other stuff. Between that, seeing old friends and enjoying the San Diego weather, I had a great time. And frankly, for me, it's NOT that complicated to attend the show these days. I live within driving distance, as an Inkpot Award winner I have a free pass for life, and (because of the recession?) rooms at the closest hotels are still available, albeit for a price. So I'm all booked up.

I have no idea what I'll be doing at the show this year professionally, but barring disaster I'll be there doing something... meanwhile, for a taste of the way it was, check out the link:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Film Fun!

I've been catching up on some of the cinematic goodies (old and new) that I missed while doing the ol' 24/7 in Toronto on Falling Skies. Here are some more thoughts...

WAR OF THE COLOSSAL BEAST: TiVoed off AMC-HD, I'm sure I saw this on regular TV way back when, but this is the first time in a LONG time I've been able to revisit the entire sequel in the saga this IS poor Col. Manning. Blasted by a plutonium bomb in a scene that looks like it heavily inspired the creation of The Hulk, poor Manning grew to 60 feet (more or less) and got himself shot off Hoover Dam at the end of the first movie.

In this follow-up, Manning's devoted sister suspects the big guy is still alive because a Mexican village has been plagued by trucks disappearing without a trace. Naturally, the only possible answer is that a 60 ft man is picking them up and walking off with them. When the police find a footprint the size of a Volkswagon, the growling, badly scarred and still 60' Manning goes "rrRRRRRRrrr!" He's knocked out, tied up (badly), escapes, then havok ensues. Clocking in at under 60 minutes and making absolutely no concessions to science or biology, it's still a fun movie and the "Colossal Beast" (beast? Really? People can be so cruel!) is a great monster.

LET ME IN: The American remake of the great Swedish vampire film, and just as cool and creepy as the original. My only comment/caveat is that I preferred the handling of the infamous swimming pool scene in the Swedish version. Still, both versions have much to recommend them.

PIRANHA 3D: Maybe Alexandre Aja's 3-D remake (?) plays better when you're wearing the glasses, but I saw this in 2D blu-ray and couldn't finish it. I thought Aja's "High Tension" was a taut horror movie, and it's interesting to see Kelly Brook, who played Lex Luthor's wife back in my Smallville days. And I always liked Elizabeth Shue. But sadly a Richard Dreyfuss cameo is the highpoint of what I saw. Oh well. They can't all be "Dolph Lungren Is The Killing Machine."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dolph Lungren IS The Killing Machine

I believe that's the real title of this direct-to-DVD epic, since there's a "behind the scenes of 'Dolph Lungren Is The Killing Machine'" feature included. I don't think this one requires much of a review... Dolph is a former KGB assassin who continues to do hits while posing as a real estate salesman in Vancouver B.C. It's never really explained, but somehow he gets under kingpin and former best-buddy Bo Svenson's skin, so Bo sends out an army of killers with tragically bad aim to take Dolph down.

Three points of interest: one, they actually let Vancouver B.C. play as Vancouver B.C. Usually filmmakers screw a few New York license plates on passing cars and to pretend Vancouver is somewhere else, but not this time. Kudos for displaying this lovely city at its best, director Lungren!

Two, I really hope that if my past as a mass-murdering Russian hitman is revealed after my ex-wife's new boyfriend is murdered in front of her eyes, my ex will be as forgiving as Dolph's. And boy, this gal is REALLY forgiving. I envision a sequel where the ghost of her dead boyfriend comes back from the grave and says "hey, I'm dead two hours and you're already getting it on with the guy responsible for my murder?! Sheesh!"

Three, would somebody please get me the number of the employment agency where Lungren's family found their nanny? Multiple choice question: When Dolph is forced to slaughter a half dozen mob assassins (including shoving one of them eye-first onto the shaft of a bar-bell) in front of his 8 year old daughter and Hispanic nanny, does the nanny

a) Run away screaming and call the police?

b) Seriously, run away screaming and call the police?

c) Meekly tell her mass murdering employer that she'll take care of his little girl, up to and including going to a safe-house run by other Russian mobsters?

If you guessed C, you win! I guess jobs really ARE hard to get these days.

"Dolph Lungren is the Killing Machine" gets three out of five Charles Bronsons from yours truly. Unlike most of these direct-to-DVD epics at least this one has plenty o' action, reasonable production values and a hardcore stoic "hero." And it's only 90 minutes...

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Spit On Your Motivation

I am impressed with good actors. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to stand in front of a crew of (more or less) strangers and finding the right emotional key.

So I am especially sympathetic to the cast in the new 2010 remake of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. I mean, there are some things you probably never prepped for in acting school. Like doing a lengthy scene with a shotgun shoved up your kiester, or being the revenge seeking individual doing the shoving. It can't be easy to find your emotional center while fish-hooks are yanking back your eyelids so crows can peck out your baby-blues. And what exactly is the correct amount of consternation after some rusty garden shears get busy on your privates? Just another day in the movie trenches, I guess.

I'm not sure what I think about the movie, but actors, I doff my chapeau at your endeavors!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Howlin' For You

This fooled me for a minute... wanna see Tricia Helfer of BSG fame get medieval on some bad guys? With a soundtrack by the Black Keys?

Monday, February 07, 2011

Jack Kirby For Sale...

From Antique's Roadshow, an examination of unique Jack Kirby art and artifacts. But I wonder, is Jack Kirby's grandson (they're his items) really unclear about how much this stuff is worth? I hope not!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Howl Along With Huck

The internet is full of memories, like this piece on "Howl Along With Huckleberry Hound", a 33 RPM "Golden Record." My brothers and I used to spend hours listening to this record. (Note: we, and especially yours truly, were very very young.) I recently found a nice vinyl copy, as I continue to gradually restock my childhood, and I wonder when some enterprising soul will release this stuff officially. Oh well...

Records like this are what that ignited an early sense of the absurd in yours truly. As the review states, there's a character named "Orville" who repeatedly interrupts the orchestra and gets his ass chewed by Huckleberry Hound. Orville's only retort is to say "Nee-no noni nee-no." I have no idea what that means, but it was sure funny to a little kid.

All the details are at:

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

What I Learned Watching The Mechanic (2011)

I liked this updated version a lot! Jason Stathem is always great and so is Ben Foster. Okay, so they ain't Charlie Bronson and Jan Michael Vincent, but then who is?

And I learned so much -- for instance:

Rich drug lords buy fancy black bottom swimming pools at their peril.

Never trust the unctuous man who is willing to have a telephone argument with his teenage daughter in front of you.

If you are a member of a super bowl football team who then gains employment as the aforementioned unctuous man's bodyguard, you might want to leave the bejeweled ring at home. (According to Pawn Stars, those rings are actually worth quite a bit of money! Something to think about!)

Attractive woman love beat-up, scabby looking guys who can power back half a bottle of bourbon in ten minutes at a noisy bar.

Lovemaking is clearly better when it's with a thoroughly drunk stranger and consummated in an alley surrounded by garbage cans.

Incredibly attractive women like the slightly less scabby guy.

Chihuahuas are cute.

Decorating tip: if you're inviting over new friends, put away the tools, especially all your long, sharp screwdrivers.

Ditto for fireplace shovels and pokers.

Basically it's just hard to meet nice people these days.

When working for any group that calls itself "the organization" or "the agency" or "the group", there probably isn't much use discussing their long-term pension plan.

For dramatic effect, always announce yourself to your prey before initiating an assault. You won't believe the look on their faces!