Saturday, March 31, 2007

Stern vs American Idol

Howard Stern, the self-proclaimed, "King of All Media" has encouraged his fans to vote for Sanjaya Malakar since the general consensus is that Sanjaya is the worst singer currently on the show. Stern has repeatedly told his listeners to go to Vote for the and also to call in to vote for Sanjaya.

So now that Sanjaya has avoided the boot and made it into the top nine, Stern is crowing. He told his listeners, "We're corrupting the entire thing. All of us are routing American Idol. It's so great. The No. 1 show in television and it's getting ruined."

Okay. Let's look at the facts: 1] American Idol is still the top rated show on television. 2] American Idol's ratings are up! [More viewers means more earnings -- just the opposite of what Stern is trying to achieve] 3] Vote for the doesn't get anywhere near the number of hits it would take to keep Sanjaya on -- and that's even counting the bump in votes brought in by Stern's listeners.

It's interesting that Stern is actually helping American Idol by claiming he will be behind it's downfall. Perhaps it's even more interesting that Stern's getting publicity while at the same time failing at his mission. I guess that's why he's the King of All Media.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"28 weeks later"

Here is the new trailer for "28 weeks later". I really liked "28 days later" a lot. I plan to see "28 weeks later" but wonder if it will be as good... or at least nearly as good as the original. From the looks of the trailer it's hard to tell.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Marshall Rogers - RIP

Marshall Rogers has died. He was 57 years old. The cause of death is not known at this time.

What is known is that Rogers burst onto the comics scene in mid 70's and became an immediate fan favorite. Best known for his work with writer, Steve Englehart and inker, Terry Austin, the trio redefined Batman and his cast of supporting characters in Detective Comics #471-#476. Rogers then went on to do more groundbreaking work on Mr. Miracle and later Dr. Strange. In addition Rogers worked on the Silver Surfer, Detectives, Inc. [graphic novel and comic series], The Coyote, and his own creations Captain Quick and the Foozle, and later Scorpio Rose as well as other series.

Rogers left comics in the early ‘90s but later returned and even followed up on his classic Batman stories by reteaming with Englehart and Austin on Batman: Dark Detective.

I was a huge Marshall Rogers fan. I loved his work on Batman, Mr. Miracle, and even Dr. Strange [not one of my favorite characters, but Rogers made him work!]. Detectives, Inc. with Don McGregor is a fondly remembered graphic novel. As is Rogers great "Strange" portfolio. I followed Rogers work on everything he did until he left comics. Like everyone, I strongly recommend his Batman stories. They are easily found and definitely work looking up. Another title worth searching out is the Demon with a Glass Hand graphic novel adaptation that he penciled and inked from an original story and script by Harlan Ellison. It's great stuff... which is to be expected since Marshall Rogers worked on it.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Marshall Rogers fans, friends and family.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Mackey is Back

April 4th can't get here fast enough. Mackey is back... with a vengeance. Click HERE if you want to see the first 14+ minutes of the premiere episode. You know you can't wait. [Don't feel bad, neither could I.]

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Condemned Breaks Out!

Hey, you probably saw a preview for "The Condemned" when you saw "300", right? Yeah, I know, it looks like predictable fun. But, did you see the cool poster for it? Neat concept. I like it. What'd you think?

Entertainment Weekly

I love Entertainment Weekly. Truely. I look forward to it's arrival each week and it never disappoints. Last week it featured a great cover and story on "300". This week EW gives the same treatment to "Grindhouse".

I've been an Entertainment Weekly subscriber since issue one and don't plan to let my subscription lapse anytime soon. That may not sound like much of an endorsement, but it is. I used to subscribe to a ton of magazines, but its the only one I've kept. Entertainment Weekly has outlived People, US, Interview, Premiere, Prevue, Rolling Stone, The National Enquirer, Star, Sports Illustrated, Writer's Digest, The Comic Buyers Guide, Movie Collectors' World, TV Guide, The Comics Journal, Muscle and Fitness, Sly, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Cinescape and who knows what else.

Entertainment Weekly covers [in each issue] movies, dvds, television, music, books, comics, and features a monthly column by Stephen King [who is always entertaining]. While I don't always agree with their reviewers' opionions and sometimes couldn't care less about their cover feature, I always find something in the magazine of interest. Especially when they cover features like "300" and "Grindhouse".

Friday, March 23, 2007

Harry Houdini Lives!

Like most kids, I went through a period where I was really into magic. I had a magic set [a real cool one that came in a pretty good-sized suitcase] and put on shows for family and friends [and even strangers]. I read books on magic and magicians. And like most kids into magic, I became fascinated by Harry Houdini.

Houdini was like a rock star in his time. He traveled the world and was known where ever he went. Houdini's shows were the talk of the town no matter what continent he was on. In fact if you ask anyone today [over 80 years after his death] to name five famous magicians, Houdini will probably make the list.

Houdini was not only famous for his magic. He also gained noteriety for debunking spiritualists. Houdini despised those who claimed that they were in contact with the dead and in turn would bilk grieving families who had lost loved ones. In fact, Houdini would often use his stage act to show just how these con artists would perform their "miracles". Needless to say, this created a lot of hostility towards Houdini from the Spiritualists and their followers. Death threats were issued and even Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle, said Houdini would "get his just desserts very exactly meted out ... I think there is a general payday coming soon."

Most folks know that Houdini died on Halloween, 1926, from peritonitis. Or did he? Rumors have long circulated [from just days after he died] that Houdini was murdered. Now, 81 years after his death, Houdini's great-nephew wants to exhume the magician's body and see if the cause of death can be determined. He's gathered a team of experts and hopes to definitvely lay to rest the cause of Houdini's death.

I think that regardless of what they find, Houdini [the showman that he was] would be amused to learn that in the 21st century he was still making headlines.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Russell: "I am Snake Plissken!"

The other day I mentioned that Gerard ["300"] Butler had signed on to play Snake Plissken in a new movie. My ZONE message board lit up with people [myself included] saying that Kurt Russell should be the one to play Snake.

Well, it seems Kurt Russell agrees. Entertainment Weekly posed the question, "What if they asked you to do a cameo in the new Escape from New York, or play the Ernest Borgnine role?" Here's Kurt's reply...

"F--- that! I am Snake Plissken! It's like Sean Connery always watching someone else do their version of Bond. I think one of the things, for instance, about Escape From New York that appealed to me was that it wasn't a special effects extravaganza. It's a quiet, dark world and it revolved around watching the behavior of this one guy. He's a fascinating character. In fact, he's the most complex character I've ever played."

And if you wonder what Kurt thinks about Scottish actor Gerard Butler playing Snake, the EW interview clears it up when Kurt says, ''Oh, man!'' [Russell winces]. I do think that character was quintessentially one thing. And that is, American."

I have nothing against Gerard Butler. I think he was great in "300" and I expect him to do other cool projects. And, while the remake of Snake Plissken is definitely cool, Russell is still THE MAN to play him. For the whole EW interview, click HERE.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Blake Lewis' Amazing Time

I don't think that he's going to win. He may not even be in the final three, but I doubt that anyone will turn in a better performance than Blake Lewis did when he sang "Time of the Season" last night on American Idol.

Click HERE and judge for yourself.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

We Want to Pump You Up!

According to a Sports Illustrated report, Evander Hollyfield is just one of many professional athletes linked to a nationwide steroids investigation. Several professional wrestlers including Randy Orton, Adam Copeland, a.k.a. "Edge," and Shane Helms, a.k.a. "The Hurricane," Kurt Angle, Oscar Gutierrez aka Rey Mysterio join other pro athletes such as Jose Canseco, John Rocker, Jerry Hairston Jr., David Bell, and bodybuilder Victor Martinez on the list. You can read the full story HERE.

Honestly, the only name on the list which really surprises me is Hollyfield's.

Monday, March 19, 2007

It Wasn't All Bad

This past Saturday my wife and I decided to ride down to the inlet. There was an art show going on and we figured that we could walk around, check out the art and then have some lunch at one of the seafood joints nestled in the inlet.

It was a beautiful afternoon with clear skies and a light breeze. I was surprised that we were able to walk through the entire show in less than an hour. We did see a couple of nice pieces by Florida artists and photographers, but nothing that really knocked us out.

We decided to grab a bite and headed over to one of the better seafood establishments in the area. We'd never had a bad meal there... until that afternoon. The baked potato was cold, the cocktail sauce was near frozen, there was a piece of shell in the fried oysters and the waitress disappeared at about the same time my soda ran dry. Still, the shrimp were delicious and the company was great. And I did like the way this photo turned out.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

"300" Still #1

"300" continues to rake in the dough at the box office. It was number one for the second-straight weekend bringing in $31.2 million. This shoots it past the $100 million mark [$127.5 million] after only a week in theaters.

"300" was also number one at the box office overseas, bringing in $15.6 million and topping the charts in thirteen countries. The overseas total so far is $24.6 million and has yet to open in Britain, France, Spain and Mexico!

If you're a "300" fan, then be sure to keep an eye out for the March 23, 2007 issue of Entertainment Weekly which should hit the stands early this week.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

EW: 1st Look @ 28 Weeks Later Poster

The March 23, 2007 issue of Entertainment Weekly has a cover story on "300" [more on that later] and features a first look at the poster for "28 Weeks Later" the sequel to the cult hit "28 days later." Look for the issue to hit news stands this week. It's always more than worth the price of admission and especially so this week.

Friday, March 16, 2007

There's a New Snake in Town

Variety announced yesterday that New Line won the bidding war to remake "Escape From New York." Gerard Butler [star of the fan favorite and record setting "300"] is set to take on the role of Snake Plissken which Kurt Russell made famous. Ken Nolan ["Black Hawk Down"] is on board to produce the screenplay which will update the 1981 John Carpenter script.

I have mixed feelings about this. One one hand, Kurt Russell is still around and in good enough shape to play Plissken again. I'll miss his "Clint Eastwood" delivery as Plissken. On the other mitt, I've always thought a more realistic and gritty Snake Plissken would be very cool. It'll be interesting to see what direction this updated "Escape from New York" will take. The good news is that even if the new version bombs, it won't change one frame of the orginal movie in my collection.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Must Love Jaws

One of the cool things that you can find at is fan made trailers that have been edited to change the genre of the movie. I've seen The Shinning made to look like a romantic comedy, The 10 Commandments to look like a teen comedy [complete with a hip hop soundtrack] and many others. Perhaps the best of all is Must Love Jaws. If you know of any other good ones, please post the links!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

American Idol Down to 11

Tonight the American Idol 12 will become 11.

Before I say who I think will be going home, let me compliment Chris Sligh. Not only can the young man sing, but he did exactly what the judges have been encouraging the contestants to do... and then got slammed for doing it.

Week in and week out, we hear the judges say, "make the song your own... don't be an imitator... show your personality." It was Diana Ross week and Chris took took "Endless Love" and modernized it. Was it as catchy as the original version? No, but then again we've heard the original for over 20 years. It's engrained in our memory banks so no new version will initially sound as good. Still, Chris took the judges' advice to heart and made the song his own and he sounded really good in doing it. So it ticked me off to hear the judges slam him when it was their suggestions that led him down that path.

Sanjaya Malakar should be the next contestant to leave [and Brandon Rogers needs to kick it up a few notches or he'll soon be on the bubble], but my guess is it will be Haley Scarnato. Haley forgot her words and appeared to be really nervous. Still, I felt it was one of her better performances and hope that she gets another chance to prove herself. Unfortunately I think that Sanjaya has a teeny-bopper fan base that will keep him around for another week.

Monday, March 12, 2007

30 Strangest Deaths in History

If you have to go, you have to go... but would you want to die because...
...You tripped over your own beard?
...You were demonstrating how a man accidently killed himself with his own gun?
...Your combination overcoat and parachute failed to open when you jumped off the Eiffel Tower?
Read about these and 26 other strange deaths by clicking HERE.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

"300" is 1

It's been announced that "300" made an estimated $70 million during its first three days of release. This not only catapults "300" to the coveted #1 spot in its opening weekend, but sets a new record for a March release. What makes this even more impressive is that the previous record-holder was the family-friendly "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown" that took in $68 million in March 2006. "The Matrix Reloaded" ($91 million) and "The Passion of the Christ" ($83 million) are the only R-rated movies to have bigger openings than "300."

To add icing to the cake, most reviews have been positive and women are also giving the movie high marks [which is especially nice to hear since most critics felt that the movie would have very limited appeal to females].

I saw the movie in a packed theater at the first showing on opening day and loved it. In fact, I plan to see it again on the big screen... which is rare for me in this age of quick to dvd releases.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Miller Doubles Up on the Spirit

It's going to be interesting to see what Frank Miller does when he takes The Spirit to the big screen. Miller will not only write the screenplay, but direct the film as well. For more details, click HERE.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Couture Shocks the World!

Last night 43-year old UFC Hall of Famer, Randy Couture shocked the world by not only winning, but by dominating Tim Sylvia for all five rounds to take back the UFC heavyweight championship belt.

Going into the fight most people in the know were predicting another win for Sylvia. At 6'8" and 263 pounds, Sylvia had a 6" height advantage, a 40 pound weight advantage and was 13 years younger than Couture. The word on Couture was that he didn't do as well when he fought as a heavyweight and he didn't do well against strikers... and Sylvia is one of the biggest and hardest hitting strikers in the game. All of that didn't matter though once they were in the ring. BIG PROPS to Randy Couture!

[And for those interested, Rich Franklin and Matt Hughes both won their comeback fights! For full card results, click HERE.]

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Lost in a Speed Painting

As most of you know, I really enjoy art. It amazes me to watch a talented artist create a great sketch, drawing, or painting... a blank piece of paper to a work of art. It's always fun to watch... especially if it's a speed painting!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Crimes of the Century

On the 75th anniversary of the Lindbergh kidnapping, TIME magazine decided to look back at The 25 Most Notorious Crimes of the Past Hundred Years. Using just their list, I decided to rank my top five... starting at the bottom...

5. The Black Dahlia, 1947. Ask most folks who Elizabeth Short was and few will know. Ask them about the Black Dahlia and it's a different story. How can it be that a murder committed over 60 years ago still grabs our attention?

4. The Murder of Jonbenet Ramsey, 1996. Little Jonbenet was found murdered in her own house the day after Christmas. As the case first unfolded it appeared that her killer would be caught and evidence seemed to point to her own mother. The police botched the investigation, her parents left the state and no one was ever charged or convicted of the murder.

3. The Tate - LaBianca Murders, 1969. I was ten years old at the time of the killings and living half a continent away. Still, I remember the concern in the voices of the adults as they discussed the murders. Charlie Manson's cult of followers brutally murdered six people and created a climate of fear that was felt across the country.

2. Columbine Massacre, 1999. There had been school shootings prior to Columbine, but none before had such a high casualty rate, nor did they receive as much media coverage. The fact that Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 of their classmates, one teacher and wounded 24 others, coupled with security video of them as they moved through the school brought the reality of the murders into our homes. We realized just how much damage two lonely, isolated kids could bring down on a school. It was frightening. And even more so when we contimplated how many lonely isolated kids could be in EACH school in America.

1. The OJ Simpson Case, 1994. Consider this: Time magazine didn't list the double-murder of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman as the notorius crime, but instead labeled their choice The OJ Simpson Case! It's funny that the OJ case even made the list since the trial itself wasn't a crime, [perhaps a travesty, but not a crime]. It's even a stranger choice when you consider that OJ was found not guilty! Despite all of that, The OJ Simpson Case is my #1 most notorius crime of the last 100 years. Not only did it involve the murder of two people, but it brought down a legend [OJ], brought into question the integrity of a city's police force [LA], created doubt about the sanctity of our judicial system, and expopsed just how differently two groups of people could view the same evidence. Here we are over a decade later and people still get heated talking about the case.

Those are my top five based on Time's List. So, what are yours?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Once More with Feeling

American Idol makes the ZONE yet again.

I'm really surprised to say that Antonella Barba has avoided the boot once again. I was pretty sure if the "racy picture" scandal didn't catch up with her tonight, her singing would. There's no doubt that she's a pretty girl, but I didn't think her perforamce was good enough to save her. And some folks say ya can't get by on looks.

If you watched American Idol tonight you know that Alaina Alexander, Leslie Hunt, AJ Tabaldo and Nicholas Pedro were voted off. I can't really argue with those choices [unless it would be to keep Leslie and say goodbye to Antonella]. I'm not ready to pick a winner yet, but I will say that I'll be surprised if it's not one of the ladies.

One final comment about tonight's show... I believe that Alaina was the first contestant in the show's history to be so emotional [after being told that she was leaving] that she wasn't able to immediately sing her last song. It was touching to see all of the girls come out to comfort her... and did you notice that Sundance was tearing up as well?