Saturday, September 20, 2003


I saw Underworld today [which fits right in with our monster movie theme of late].

Underworld tells the story of a centuries old war between vampires and werewolves. It has tons of action and effects but feels like it could have been shortened a bit. Also, with Underworld, the more you think about it, the more you find to question. It's fun while it's going on, but doesn't hold up under examination. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, yet if you like this sort of thing, then it's probably the sort of thing that you'll like. ; )

On another note, the trailer for the new
Texas Chainsaw Massacre played before Underworld. I haven't seen the orginal in years [and didn't really care for it when I saw it], but this remake looks interesting... As does Gothica with Halle Berry [both of which also fit our continuing horro theme].
"Underworld" rates a C

House of the Dead

Well, it seems I'm not alone in my love of horror movies. That being the case, I thought I'd tell you about another monster movie that you may be interested in.

It's called
House of the Dead and looks like something that I'd have caught as the second feature back in the day of drive-ins. [Man, how I miss those days!]

House of the Dead has an
interesting trailer and a classic plot. A group of young people find themselves stranded on an island with a group of zombies that want to kill / eat them.

If I go to see it, am I expecting a classic? No. An award-winning film? No. A scary good time? Yeah. And what more should you ask from a drive-in movie?

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Frankenstein, Wolfman & Dracula: Together Again!

As most of you know, I love a good horror movie. I'll watch most any kind of horror film from the giant bug movies of the 50's to the unstoppable serial killers of recent days. But my favorite type of horror movies are ones with great monsters.
Especially the classic monsters.



The Wolfman.

These are the big three. The kings of the hill. The monsters that other monsters aspire to be.
And next summer they'll all be in the same movie!

Van Helsing stars Hugh Jackman as the famed vampire killer, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing.

In the screenplay, written and directed by
Stephen Sommers, Van Helsing goes to Transylvania to hunt down and kill Count Dracula, and finds himself up against the Wolf Man and Frankenstein's monster as well. How cool does that sound?

Cool enough that even though the movie doesn't come out until May of next year,
they're already planning a tv series "based" on the idea and leaving the door open for sequels.

And that's just great news for horror movie fans like me!

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

I am Spartacus!

Entertainment Weekly has a "First Look" at USA Networks' upcoming Spartacus mini-series which stars ER's Goran Visnjic in the title role. It's always adanger to remake a classic like Spartacus. There's no way it can be as good as the original, but I'll bet that I'll be watching in April. Will you?

Monday, September 15, 2003

J-Ville Trip Report

Last Saturday, John Higashi, John Beatty and I drove up to Jacksonville, Florida to attend a benefit for the Tourette Syndrome Association sponsored by Big City Comics. Several comics pros were to be on hand signing autographs and sketching. There were a lot of other activities scheduled and John Higashi had his eye on a couple of pieces in the art auction.

The drive up was great. John H. was at the wheel, Beatty was in the back seat doggin' John H's amazing collection, and I got to ride shotgun, laughing at all of the nonsense. We made it up in record time, or maybe time just flew by because we were laughing so much.

When we arrived things were just getting set up. A couple of tables had been set up inside, so we joined Don Perlin (Marvel Comics), Duck Edwing (MAD Magazine), Ed Hall (political cartoonist), and Jason Sobel (Fuzzy Dice Studios). Robert Smith was out in the crowd set up to do caricatures.

John H. wanted to speak to Mr. Perlin about a Star Wars comission, but told me that I should try to commission him up for a Stallone sketch first. Unfortunately for both of us, Mr. Perlin had a line already. But sitting directly in front of me was Ed Hall. I really enjoy his work and so I approached him about doing a Stallone piece. He agreed and the result was really cool. I'll post it with next weekend's update. Ed was amazing in that he was able to draw so many caricatures of famous people without any reference.

Seeing that I had popped for a piece, John H. approached Duck for a Spy vs Spy commission. John asked for a panel gag and offered four times the going rate for a sketch. Duck agreed and then to our surprise said, "You know I'm the writer for the strip, not the artist, right?" To John's credit, he said, "that's cool" and went ahead with the commission. Duck drew him a funny seven panel Spy vs Spy strip. John then kicked in an extra $20 toward the charity so Duck came back and drew him a large executioner!

The crowd was constant throughout the day. "Soft Spike" jokes were flying from everyone. Big Beatty did some really nice sketches. He started off with a nice Captain America and Deathlock. He also did cool sketches of Iron Man, Green Goblin, and others!

Jason Sobol was sitting in front of me with his portfolio and a great sense of humor [especially when I called him Josh a couple of times]. At any rate, he didn't soft spike me [you'd had to have been there] and drew me a cool Sly as a young Judge Dredd. I'll post that this weekend.

As the show wound down it was time for the auction. John H. had his eye on two pieces, the Kubert "Sgt. Rock" and a Beetle Bailey Sunday page. It came down to the wire between John and another guy for the Kubert piece, but I'm happy to say that John won! Man, the Sgt. Rock is even more impressive in person. It could be the cornerstone of ANY collection! [John also won the Beetle Bailey page!]

I was happy that I had been able to get two new sketches for my Stallone theme, and John H. had won the two pieces in the auction that he was after... but we weren't done yet. After a short discussion, we approached Mr. Perlin about doing commissions for us. He agreed! So in two weeks John and I plan to drive back up to J-ville and pick up our Don Perlin originals! [We'd go next weekend but John H. will be in Baltimore getting even more art!]

All in all it was a great little event that raised a fair amount of money for a very good cause. I hope that they're able to put it on again next year. If they do and you live within driving distance, you should plan to attend... you'll get to meet some really nice people, possibly pick up a sketch or orignal art and maybe, just maybe, find out what it means to be soft spiked!

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Once Upon... Mexico

I saw Robert Rodriguez's "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" today. I'd really been looking forward to it. I first saw "El Mariachi" years ago and became a Rodriguez fan. Then came "Desparado," and "Dusk Til Dawn" and Rodriguez was on the "A" list. So when Rodriguez decided to create an epic "Mariachi" film, he was able to get Johnny Depp, Mickey Rourke, Reuben Blades, and Willem Dafoe, to join the returning Antonio Bandaras, Salema Hayek, and Danny Trejo.

With a cast like that and Rodriguez at the helm, it just had to be good, right? Yeah, but I was really hoping it would be so much better. Bandaras is back as THE Mariachi but this time he's gonna save Mexico.

Ok, cool. An epic film should have a huge story and what could be bigger than saving your country? [Yeah, Bond would save the world but this isn't Bond.] So the story idea works.

Next there are a bunch of characters. Johnny Depp steals every scene as a rogue CIA agent. Mickey Rourke has an interesting role as American criminal who has escaped to Mexico and has joined Willem Dafoe's cartel. Both Rourke and Dafoe are under-used. Dafoe plans to take over Mexico by bankrolling a coup using an evil General. The General killed Bandaras'... hey!

Wake Up!

Yeah, now I see the problem. Although there's a huge storyline and a lot of interesting characters, the story kind of bottoms out. Still, it was fun and ya gotta love the action... and did I mention that Johnny Depp absolutely rules in this movie?

"Once Upon a Time in Mexico" rates a "C."

On a side note - there was a preview for a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. Jack Nicholson's line, "We're not all doctors, baby" left me laughing out loud. You have to see it, since telling it wouldn't be as funny, but when you do see it, make sure you're not drinking anything!

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Bale is Bruce

Christian Bale has been cast as Bruce Wayne in Warner Bros. Pictures' upcoming Batman movie, to be directed by Christopher Nolan ["Momento"].

Principal photography is expected to begin in early 2004. The movie is written by David Goyer and Nolan, and will follow the early career of The Dark Knight.

Christopher Nolan is quoted as saying, "What I see in Christian is the ultimate embodiment of Bruce Wayne. He has exactly the balance of darkness and light that we were looking for."

I totally agree.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

New "Must See TV"

As the new tv season draws near, these are the shows that interest me the most:

Everybody Loves Raymond: Believe it or not, I had never watched an episode until this summer. I found it to be one of the best comedies going and am looking forward to the new season.* Vegas: This is a new show and I may find myself checking it out even though it goes up against Everybody Loves Raymond

24: The third season looks to come back as strong as the first two. 24 was one of my top two favorite shows last year. [Unfortunately The Shield won't return until January!]

The West Wing: Always in my top three "must see tv" shows... but this season could be different with the lose of it's creator. Still the last season's finale left me wanting more.* Karen Sisco: Based on the Elmore Leonard's character [from the book and movie], this is the new show that I'm most looking forward to.

Survivor: This is a family viewing event each week which makes it a lot of fun.* ER: Although not as good as it once was [few shows are], it still makes it to the "must see tv" weekly list.

Boston Public: Moving the show to Friday's isn't going to help. I'm just hoping that it hasn't jumped the shark.

SATURDAY* I usually watch a bad sci-fi movie on, oddly enough, the SciFi channel or maybe even rent a dvd since there's not much on except Cops and that's not "must see."

Alias: Yeah, I'm coming back for more... who can blame me?* The Lyon's Den: I saw a preview of this before "28 days later" and was sold!

Well, at least it looks like there's a little something every night worth checking out. Have I missed anything?

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Rundown the Most...

Over the next two months at least one movie premieres each week that I really want to see. The one I'm most looking forward to is The Rundown.

Yeah, I'm as surprised about that as you.

With all of potentially cool movies during this time period,
[Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Underworld, Cold Creek Manor, The Human Stain, Out of Time, Kill Bill Volume 1, Mystic River... well you get the idea], I want to see the movie starring The Rock!

Actually, The Rock is a talented performer and this movie looks to fit him perfectly.
The trailer rocks. [Yeah, I know, bad pun.] There's action, comedy, and a great supporting cast. This could be a real surprise hit. And speaking of surprises, one of the worst kept secrets is the surprise cameo by... well, if you don't know I don't want to ruin it for you. It might make you mad enough to throw an egg at me! ; )

Friday, September 05, 2003

Egging on Arnold!

Did you happen to see the video of Arnold Schwarzenegger getting hit by a egg? If not, I've posted a pic of the incident. At any rate, the egg came flying from the crowd, and hit Arnold splattering his coat with egg and yolk.

Arnold looked down, saw the mess, and as he continued walking, shaking hands and greeting fans, took his jacket off without missing a beat.

There were a lot of ways that he could have handled it. Panic is one. Anger is another. Yet, the way Arnold dealt with the situation was very calm and cool. Impressive even.

I usually don't deal with politics in my blog, but I felt that this really deserved a mention. I'm not sure how the election will turn out, but win or lose, I'll bet Arnold doesn't end up with egg on his face!

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Playmakers Scores!

Have you checked out ESPN's new original series, Playmakers? If not, you should. So far two epsiodes have aired and they were both great!

Playmakers features an ensemble cast, with all of the characters played to perfection by mostly little known actors. The production values are first rate, but special mention should be given to the writing and direction. What could be a typical tv series about a football team is instead a compelling drama about the intertwining lives of characters who happen to play football for a living. But don't get me wrong, the professional football backdrop is almost a character itself. I'm actually surprised at how real it all looks, sounds, and feels.

Playmakers is on Tuesdays at 9PM on ESPN. I give it my highest recommendation.
Check it out... even if you don't like football, I'll bet you'll like Playmakers.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Thinking About "Jerry's Kids"

For 38 years Jerry Lewis has hosted an annual telethon for muscular dystrophy and I've always had mixed feelings about it.

I like the idea of people opening their wallets to help those less fortunate. It's fun to see the variety of acts. You know, stuff that would't have a chance on tv since the days of Ed Sullivan. And I always have the hope that this year, with the money the telethon raises, a cure will be found.

Then there are the other parts. Like when the handicapped are rolled out and talked about as if they're just to be pitied. Or when they're referred to as "Jerry's Kids." That title, at least in my mind, conjures up images of handicapped children thrown out of society only to be saved after becoming one of "Jerry's Kids."
Jerry's telethon
raised a record $60,505,234 this weekend. No doubt that outweighs any negative thoughts I may have about it... at least until next year.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Charles Bronson - RIP

Charles Bronson has passed on.

I don't remember the first time that I saw Charles Bronson in a movie. It may have been in
"The Dirty Dozen," or "The Magnificant Seven," but more likely than not it was in the horror film, "The House of Wax." When I was a little kid, it seems as if Bronson was always popping up in a co-starring role and making a bigger impact that the stars of the films. And for a period of time in the 70's, Charles Bronson was my favorite actor.
Charles Bronson starred in some great movies.
"Hard Times," "The Mechanic," and of course "Death Wish" are my personal favorite Bronson staring roles. You knew any movie he was in, was worth the price of admission. What more can you ask from a star?

Charles Bronson has left us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and fans.