Category: Movies

Kirk, Spock Are Back, Baby!

The big entertainment news this week is that J.J. Abrams [the creative mastermind behind Lost, Alias, and Tom Cruise‘s lastest turn in Mission Impossible III ] will produce, direct and cowrite what looks to be a rebirth of the Star Trek franchise Abrams is planning for a big-screen 2008 release which will focus on the early adventures of James T. Kirk and Spock [sorry Bones, no mention of you].

I’ve got to admit that this news has caught my interest. I was a HUGE fan of Star Trek during it’s initial run on tv. Then again, I was just seven years old. Still, Star Trek did capture my attention and I made a point to watch it each week. I was never a Trekie, but I did see and enjoy the Star Trek movies [well… except for the first one] that featured the original cast.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Liotta is out of Control

Control totally slipped by me… waaaaay under the radar. I don’t remember reading anything about it before, during, or even after it’s release. [And I’m talking theatrical and dvd]. That’s surprising not only because it stars Ray Liotta, Willem Dafoe and Michelle Rodriguez, but also because it’s a pretty decent movie.

Ray Liotta plays a sociopath on death row who is given a last minute, and I mean LAST minute, reprieve, if he will participate in an experimental group testing a drug that might be the key to a cure. Given the set up, I thought that the movie might be a preachy “we can cure them” take on the death sentence. Boy, am I glad that it turned out to be much more than that.

Ray Liotta is one of the most underrated actors working today, and Control provides him an opportunity to show his chops. DaFoe and Rodriguez are welcome additions, but it is the script that really works for me. What could have been a really over the top action-adventure is instead so much more.

Control isn’t the best movie you’ll see this year, but I bet you’ll enjoy it if you give it a shot. “Control” rates a B+.

Sharky’s Coming Back

Director, Phil Joanou, is set to direct a remake of Sharky’s Machine, a 1981 movie that starred Burt Reynolds as a vice cop who puts together a team to bring down a powerful mobster who controls politicians, the city’s drug trade, and a psychotic assassin.

Sharky’s Machine is my favorite Burt Reynolds movie, so you might think that I’d be upset that it’s being remade. You’d be wrong.

The cool thing about re-makes is that they bring new attention to the original movies. It’s usually a win-win situation.

If the new movie kicks butt, then fans may decide to check out the original. If the new movie tanks, it doesn’t change the fact that people are still going to be talking about the original film and better still, there’s a good chance that a new dvd release of the original film with extras will come heading our way in time to celebrate the theatrical release of the re-make.

Now if they’d only remake Nighthawks

Samuel Hiti and his Rambo Quotes of the Week!

Samuel Hiti is a 30-year-old artist, who made his graphic novel debut in New York with his Xeric Award-winning End Times/Tiempos Finales.”

One of the biggest buzz books of 2004, Mike Mignola, creator of the cult favorite “Hellboy,” said it was the best graphic novel of the year; and Samuel was nominated for “Best New Talent” for the 2005 Harvey Awards. Samuel has worked for major companies such as Nike, The New York Times, Disney, and adapted The 2004 Paramount/Dreamworks movie of “Lemony Snicke t- SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS” into comic book form for Nickelodeon magazine.

I discovered Samuel’s site while surfing the web. While enjoying Samuel‘s art, I also learned that he’s a Rambo fan. Samuel recently drew a scene from Rambo and had so much fun with it, that he now does a Rambo Quote of the Week. Samuel graciously agreed to me posting a couple of examples here on the SZ. If you want to see more of Sam‘s work [and more Rambo] then click HERE. Drop Sam a line and tell him I sent ya! – Craig

Raf’s Blog

My buddy, Rafael Kayanan has started his own blog. Raf‘s a really talented individual. He’s a highly skilled martial artist who trains celebrities and works as a technical advisor in the film industry. Raf‘s also an accomplished artist who has illustrated for comic books, film, games and tv.

And now Raf has started his own blog. It’s going to be on my daily read list. Check it out and you may find it on yours as well!

It’s Not Your Dad’s Running Scared

Up until a few minutes ago I don’t think I’d ever even heard of Running Scared. No,. it’s not that old Billy Crystal movie, this “Running Scared.” is being released on February 24th and stars Paul Walker.

It’s not that I’m a big Paul Walker fan [although I did like him in The Fast and the Furious].

It’s not that I’m a big Wayne Kramer fan [although The Cooler did get very good reviews].

What it is, is… I thought the trailer looked pretty interesting and the website even better. Let’s hope that the movie doesn’t let us down.

Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Roy Rogers… Bill Black

My buddy, “Wild” Bill Black is a writer, penciler, inker, editor, publisher, chief cook and bottlewasher for AC Comics, an independent comic company that he created over 20 years ago. Bill has been favorably compared to Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Roy Rogers — and that’s just the comparisons that Bill uses when talking about himself!

Okay, okay… all kidding aside. Bill has been running AC Comics [the company that he really created] for over 20 years, but now he’s bringing his comic creations to the silver screen… or at least your tv screen… if you have a dvd player.

I guess now Bill will add Roger Corman to his list of comparisons!

Grizzly Man: Questions…

Last night I watched a riveting documentary called “Grizzly Man” which is running on the Discovery Channel. For thirteen years, Timothy Treadwell spent his summers living among Alaskan grizzly bears. Treadwell went in armed with just a camera and no backup. The footage that he captured is amazing. What’s even more amazing is that quite often Treadwell was within feet of the bears as the rested, fought, and ate. On more than one occassion Treadwell would reach out and touch them.

As I said, the footage was riveting. Knowing Treadwell‘s story takes it up another notch. You see, he and his girlfriend were killed [and eaten] by a grizzly. The documentary makes this clear from the very start. It also lets you know that the deaths were recorded but that you would not hear the sounds in the documentary. [You do see Werner Herzog, the man who created the documentary listening to them — and that is quite enough for your imagination will do the rest.]

Treadwell‘s story is compelling and Herzog doesn’t sugar coat the man. Treadwell had issues, and definitely was a bit off center, but he lived and died doing what he loved. And that is where the controversary begins…

Should he been allowed to follow his dream? Was he violating the law? Was he helping or hurting the animals that he so dearly loved?

I’d love to hear reactions from anyone who has seen the film. “Grizzly Man” rates a B+.

Who is Keyser Soze?

The February 10, 2006 issue of Entertainment Weekly is a special double-sized issue which looks at the Academy Awards. That’s not why I’m suggesting that you check it out though. The reason that I think that you might want to pick it up is for the article that tells the story behind the making of “The Usual Suspects.”

Chris Nashawaty‘s excellent article takes us back to the very origins of the screenplay and then sheds light on the process that brought it two Academy Awards. Part of the fun is Nashawaty provides us with little tidbits that fans of the movie will love. [Did you know that Keyser Soze‘s name was based on a real person? That Christopher Walken, Tommy Lee Jones, Jeff Bridges, Charlie Sheen, James Spader, Al Pacino and Johnny Cash [Johnny Cash!] turned down role offers?]

Reading Nashawaty‘s piece not only reminded me how much I enjoyed “The Usual Suspects” but makes me want to pull it off the shelf and watch it again. “The Usual Suspects” rates an A+.

Despite the Weird Hairpiece and Mustache

I’m a huge Bruce Willis fan. Same goes for director, Richard Donner. Let’s not leave out actor, David Morse, who I think is one of the most under-rated actors in Hollywood.

So, yeah, I’m real excited about “16 Blocks” which will feature this trio working together to bring us thrills and chills.

Don’t believe me?

Then check out the one sheet poster and the trailer.

Now, what do you say?

Yeah, you’re right. Bruce Willis does look kind of weird with that hairpiece and mustache. Still, I’ll bet the movie rocks.

The Sleaze-Filled Saga

I like M&Ms. I like peanuts. I really like M&Ms with peanuts. I like peanut butter and I like chocolate… but I really like Reese’s Cups. See a pattern?

Ok… now try this…

I like Quentin Tarantino movies and I like Robert Rodriguez‘s movies… but I really loved From Dusk Til Dawn.

Here’s another…

I like movies and I like books about movies… so I really loved Rebel without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez.

So what does all this have to do with today’s post?

Well… Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez are joining forces to create a movie called “Grind House.” The cool thing is that “Grind House” will actually be divided into two separate movies [like a double feature that you could have seen at the drive-in, back when they had drive-ins]. Tarantino’s will be called “Death Proof” and Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror.” They’re even going to make some fake coming attractions trailers for the complete “drive-in” experience.

So how could this get any better, you ask [and I’m glad that you did]. Tarantino and Rodriguez are going to team to create a 250 page hardcover titled GRIND HOUSE: THE SLEAZE-FILLED SAGA OF AN EXPLOITATION DOUBLE FEATURE that will be filled with cast and crew interviews, hundreds of full-color photographs, never-before-seen conceptual art and an in-depth history of the grindhouse genre by the directors themselves.

So we’ve got the movie and the book… now if someone will just remember the candy!

Rafael Kayanan and Lord of the Rings

I first met Rafael Kayanan somewhere around thirty years ago. He was a young aspiring artist. But even then he had the talent and you just knew that this kid was going to make it.

And boy, did he make it!

Raf‘s had quite an interesting career so far. He’s worked for most major comic publishers, served as a fight trainer on George Clooney‘s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind;” did the storyboards, served as a trainer, technical advisor and fight choreographer on “The Hunted” starring Tommy Lee Jones and Benicio del Toro; worked on developmental art for the upcoming “Princess of Mars” movie… and so much more.

I recently touched base with Raf and found out he’d just completed art on 250 Lord of the Rings collector cards which will be out in February. He sent me a scan and permission to share it — so click HERE to see the larger version.

I don’t know about you, but I think that someday this kid may go places.

The Best Comics to Movie Adaptation Ever

Frank Miller’s Sin City is the best comics to movie adaptation ever.

Sure, arguments can be made for Superman [the first with Christopher Reeve and directed by Richard Donner], the original Crow movie [with Brandon Lee] and even this year’s Batman Begins. But for my money, Sin City is the cream of the crop as far as getting to the screen what was on the comic page.

That may change next year when Warner Brother’s releases 300. Interestingly enough, 300, like Sin City is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller. What’s also interesting is that Zack Snyder, 300’s director, will make extensive use of the same “green screen” techniques employed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller when they brought Sin City to life for the big screen.

Zack Snyder really impressed me with his work on the Dawn of the Dead remake. Not only did he have the stones to take on the job of updating Romero’s cult classic, but he succeeded!

Check out the official 300 web site and you’ll see that Snyder is a huge fan of Frank Miller‘s work. I believe that Snyder will bring the same sense of respect and ability to 300 that he brought to Dawn of the Dead. And if that’s the case, we’ll not only get a great movie experience but also possibly the best comics to movie adaptation ever.