Category: Movies

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.
Frankenstein.
Dracula.
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!

“Once Upon a Time in Mexico” / Z-View

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!

John Ritter, Johnny Cash and The Falling Man

Remembering three who died:

John Ritter died suddenly last night from a heart attack. He was only 54 years old. Although best known for his role as Jack Tripper on “Three’s Company” and the star of “8 Rules for Dating My Daughter,” I believe his best work was not in either of these sitcoms. It wasn’t even a comedy. I thought his best performance was as Vaughn in Sling Blade. Perhaps I’m in the minority with this opinion, but I know that we all agree that he was loved by his fans and will be missed.

Johnny Cash was known as the Man in Black. I remember as a child singing many of his songs… “A Boy Named Sue”“Burning Ring of Fire”… “Folsom Prison Blues”… A new generation had discovered the Man in Black and he recently won an award on MTVMTV! I’m so happy that he lived to see it and that we’ll always have his music.

The Falling Man. I just read a piece from Esquire magazine about the search to discover who was photographed jumping from one of the twin towers on 9-11-01. Tom Junod wrote such a compelling piece. Here are the first few opening lines:

In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying. He appears relaxed, hurtling through the air. He appears comfortable in the grip of unimaginable motion. He does not appear intimidated by gravity’s divine suction or by what awaits him.

I read the article and it stayed with me throughout day. The combination of my memories of that horrific day, combined with the beauty and horror of the photo and the eloquent text by Junod just kept coming back to mind time and time again as the day moved on.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of John RitterJohnny Cashthe Falling Man and all of the victims of 9-11.

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.

“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! ; )

Gibson, Wyle & More

  • Mel Gibson spent nearly $30 million of his own money to produce, co-write and direct “The Passion.” Some say it is a classic, while others hate it. Before I form my opinion, I think I should at least see it.
  • Noah Wyle will be taking a break this season from NBC’s top-rated drama ER. Wyle is not leaving for good but will take a break this season to spend more time with his wife, and their nine-month-old son. I’ll miss him but family has to come first!
  • Eighty-four prisoners escaped from a maximum security prison in northeastern Brazil early on Saturday through a 50-yard tunnel they dug to the jungle outside, police said. Colonel Klink is said to be shocked!
  • A burglar who took a nap after breaking into an elderly woman’s house in Amsterdam was arrested after she found him asleep on her couch. He’s hoping that he’s assigned to the prison in the item above!
  • A Japanese expedition equipped with infrared cameras will scour the Nepali Himalayas for six weeks starting Sunday in search of the legendary Yeti, or abominable snowman. I don’t know who will be happier if they find proof… them or Jazz!

Odd But True

  • Let’s start off with a strange trailer today… “Bubba Ho-Tep” is a horror-comedy starring Bruce Campbell as an old Elvis impersonator who has to fight off evil… well, take a look. If you like it, you’ll say, “Thank you… thank you very much.”
  • Michael Crichton’s best seller, Timeline, is coming to the big screen! The trailer rocks! See it and then check out the book before the movie premieres!
  • I’ve been talking about how cool “Underworld” looks — any movie with vampires and werewolves has gotta be at least somewhat cool — anyway, there’s a new trailer online now. This one just keeps looking better and better!
  • BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – Ozzy Osbourne’s tour manager, in town for the Ozzfest heavy metal music festival, was found dead in his hotel room, the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office said today. You just know this is going to mess Ozzy up.
  • ROCKY M0UNT, Va. (Reuters) – Prosecutors accused three teen-age boys of promoting fist fights between boys who were in their care at a summer camp and charging other campers admission to watch the boxing matches. Only in America!
  • LONDON (Reuters) – An elderly British man who lived in a run-down house, bought second-hand clothes and watched television at his neighbor’s to save on electricity left a million pounds to a dog charity and nothing to his daughters, newspapers reported on Friday. Well, dogs are man’s best friends!
  • BERLIN (Reuters) – A giant catfish that ate a dog and terrorized a German lake for years has washed up dead, but the legend of “Kuno the Killer” lives on. Well, dogs are not catfish’s best friends!
  • SAN FRANCISCORick Beal wanted to grab some cash on the way to the airport — so he hired a limo and allegedly robbed a bank on the way. “Just leave the motor running… I’ll be right back!”

Rumors, Dumb Criminals & More

  • From Dark Horizons: Looks like Tuesday’s rumor about “Big Trouble in Little China 2” was just a rumor. That’s too bad since it was such a good rumor!
  • There’s been a lot of discussion about Mel Gibson’s next film, “The Passion.” Mel hosted a special preview and the crowd reaction was very strong and very positive. I, for one, can’t wait to see it!
  • The Z Review posted an interesting tidbit: “There’s no truth to the rumor that Sly Stallone is attached to star in “Beverly Hills Cop 4”. The idea did come up, and I believe it was mentioned to Sly as part of a new 3-pic deal Para has talked to him about but word is he … passed.” Interesting to note that Paramount may have floated a 3 picture deal at Sly! [A tip of the hat to Dark Horizons]
  • From Yahoo’s “Notable Quotes for today: “I went to check with my 6-year-old about whether I should take the job… . They (his children) don’t like to sit through my other films. But this they think is great.” — SYLVESTER STALLONE telling The Philadelphia Inquirer about playing the villain in “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.”
  • OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) – What was that again? Julia Roberts accused Richard Simmons of stealing her car and wanted Ronald Reagan to arrest him. Believe it or not this is a true story! [Although those named above are NOT the celebrities but every day people caught up in life.]
  • FORT WORTH, Texas – A bank robber made the ultimate bad career move when he wrote a holdup noteon the back of his resume. OK… so now he has something else to add to his resume.

Carpenter/Russell, Hanks/Spielberg & More

  • Dark Horizons posted an item from Wing King that talks are underway for a “Big Trouble in Little China” sequel with John Carpenter and Kurt Russell returning and Jackie Chan may be in the mix as well! Russell and Carpenter with Jackie Chan — yeah, I’m in!
  • Dark Horizons posted an item from Filmrot.com showing some new pics from the Hellboy set. This one keeps looking better and better!
  • Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg are gearing up for new 10-part WWII miniseries, which at this point is called “Untitled World War II Pacific Theater Project.” Perhaps a better name would be “Untitled Award Winning Money Making Project.”
  • LOS ANGELESLeah Remini plays a wife on the CBS sitcom “The King of Queens” was recently married in real life. I don’t watch her show but I gotta tell ya, there is something very appealing about her…
  • LONDON (Reuters) – Criminals could avoid being taken to court if they agree to apologize personally to their victims, under plans outlined by the UK government Tuesday. “I’m really sorry I stole your money, burned down your house and kicked your puppy.” Yeah, that ought to do it.
  • SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A California man accused of stealing heads and other human body parts from a local hospital and stashing them at his house, posted $10,000 bail over the weekend, police said on Monday. Maybe he could just say he was “sorry.”
  • SALT LAKE CITY – The security chief for the 2002 Winter Olympics was pickpocketed while he attended the Moscow-Utah Youth Games. So how secure do you feel now?

BB2, 28 Days & The Goon

  • I didn’t care much for “Bad Boys” but I really, really enjoyed “Bad Boys II.” Will Smith and Martin Lawrence have that rare screen chemistry that makes you enjoy just watching them interact. Add a script that is pedal-to-the-floor action with a good mix of humor, then throw in director Michael Bay and you have two and a half hours of fun. I”m not the only one who feels this way… BB2 opened at #1 this weekend! This movie gets a big thumbs up and a spot in my dvd library!
  • Remember when I told you about that great little zombie flick, “28 days later”? I’ve seen it twice [which is rare for me these days] and can’t wait for it to arrive on dvd. If you haven’t seen it yet, but decide to, be sure you wait through the credits! Starting July 25th an alternate ending will run!
  • Another thing that I’ve been talking up forever is The Goon comic by Eric Powell. Well, the July 25th issue of Entertainment Weekly lists The Goon at #4 in its “Must List” column. The Goon also gets an “A” rating in the same issue’s review section. ZONErs are always ahead of the curve!

Movies, TV, Novels & More

  • “Identity” features John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet in a sweet little mystery directed by James Mangold of “Cop Land” fame. It reminded me of something that could have been an episode from the classic years of “Twilight Zone.” It’s got a twist ending… followed by another. It’s definitely worth a rental.
  • “The Hunted” stars Benicio del Torro as a special forces soldier who has gone off the deep end and Tommy Lee Jones as the man who trained and therefore feels compelled to bring him in before more people are killed. This movie features some of the most brutal and realistic knife fights ever put on film [way to go Rafael!] If you like action/adventure then this one may be worth a look.
  • “A Man Apart” could have been so much better. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great. Vin Diesel plays a cop whose wife is murdered after he brings down a drug lord. Vin then goes after his wife’s killers. I’m glad I saw it and you may be too if there’s nothing better on…
  • Michael Crow has with just two books, become one of my favorite authors. I told you about him after I’d finished his first book, Red Rain. It was one of the best crime novels I’d read in years. Well, I’ve finished his second, The Bite, and it is just as good. Check him out, you’ll thank me later!
  • Miramax Films and Quentin Tarantino,the writer-director of ’90s landmarks “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs” have announced unusual plans to splice his long-awaited new action film, “Kill Bill,” into two movies and release them within months of each other. It’ll be interesting to see if fans will turn out since “Kill Bill” doesn’t have the built in fan base of “The Lord of the Rings” or “The Matrix.”
  • NEW YORK – One of Sharon Osbourne’s dogs was eaten by a coyote — and husband Ozzy Osbourne managed to save another dog from a similar fate. As a dog owner, I can imagine the pain that they’re going through.
  • The Emmy nominations have been announced and here’s who I’m pulling for… Best Drama Series: “24” / Best Actor in a Drama: Michael Chiklis for “The Shield” / Best Actress in a Drama: Jennifer Garner for “Alias” / Best Supporting Actor in a Drama: John Spencer for “The West Wing” / Best Supporting Actress in a Drama: Lena Olin for “Alias” / Best Comedy Series: “Everybody Loves Raymond” / Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Ray Romano for “Everybody Loves Raymond” / Actress in a Comedy Series: Patricia Heaton for “Everybody Loves Raymond” / Supporting Actor in a Comedy: Peter Boyle for “Everybody Loves Raymond” / Supporting Actress / Comedy: Doris Roberts for “Everybody Loves Raymond”
  • Since we’re talking about the best in television… one of the best shows on tv will soon become a comic. “The Shield” is going to be published by IDW — the same people who publish the comic adaptation for “CSI” and Steve Niles’ novels [like Guns, Drugs and Monsters and Savage Membrane]. This could turn into something very cool.
  • SANTA FE, N.M (Reuters) – A New Mexico family is suing their local Catholic church over a funeral Mass in which they claim a priest said their relative was only a middling Catholic and going straight to hell. And that was the nicest thing he could find to say??
  • ALBANY, N.Y. (Reuters) – A convicted murderer wants the state of New York to pay $500,000 for his sex change and a key ruling in his case has moved him closer to his dream of serving the rest of his sentence in a women’s jail. Yeah, he’s a convicted murderer, let’s help him achieve dream. Yeah, that would be REAL justice.

Hello Parker, Bye Buddy & More

  • Jeff Parker, creator of Interman [which you really ought to consider picking up], has written up his Heroes Con Report. StalloneZone is mentioned… Even if you don’t like comics. I’ll bet you’d get a kick out of his Con Reports.
  • LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter)Matthew McConaughey is in talks to star in “Tishomingo Blues,” an adaptation of the Elmore Leonard best seller that will mark Don Cheadle directorial debute. Although I haven’t read the book, I do like the work of McConaughey, Leonard, and Cheadle.
  • LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Cable news channel MSNBC on Monday fired Michael Savage after the controversial talk show host wished AIDS on a caller whom he dismissed as “one of the sodomites.” And I’ll bet Savage was surprised.
  • LOS ANGELESBuddy Ebsen best known for his roles in “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Barnaby Jones,” has died. He was 95. Harry Knowles has written a nice tribute over at Ain’t It Cool News. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and fans.
  • LOS ANGELES (Reuters)Police and prosecutors met in Colorado on Monday to discuss filing sexual assault charges against Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant as his lawyers said he was innocent and accused the local sheriff of “bias.” It’s pretty strange that the DA and sherrif are not on the same page with this one.
  • LONDON (Reuters)British police investigating how a young sky diver plunged 13,000 feet to his death revealed on Monday his parachute cords had been deliberately severed. That sounds sounds like something out of a tv mystery… but what a scary thought when you really consider it.
  • SEOUL (Reuters) – A South Korean man angry with his daughter’s Web surfing faced possible charges on Monday after he threw a computer monitor out of his 12th-floor apartment, hitting a four-year-old girl below on the head, police said. I would think that he would face more than “POSSIBLE” charges.
  • MONTPELLIER, France (AFP) – A shopper in southern France literally named his own price when he visited several supermarkets near here. According to police, the 22-year-old suspect fabricated barcode labels on his home computer, and by using them to replace the originals was able to acquire goods for a fraction of their real prices. I wonder how that system works out in jail?
  • HELLAM, Pa. – House hunters and footwear fanatics, take note: A three-bedroom, two bath house that happens to be shaped like a giant shoe is up for sale. I’ll be some old lady buys it — she’ll have some many children she won’t know what to do.
  • EAST DUBLIN, Ga. – There was bobbin’ for pigs feet and hubcap hurling. Grown men competed against each other by belly-flopping into a mud pit. This year’s Redneck Games at Buckeye Park in East Dublin drew thousands of spectators. As stupid as it sounds, I’ll bet everyone had a lot of fun!
  • ROSWELL, N.M. – The sports editor of the Roswell Daily Record has been fired for fabricating part of a news story about a golf tournament in which he quoted a fictional character from the movie “Caddyshack.” And I’ll bet the editor was surprised.

28 days, Return of the King & More"

  • I saw a great little horror film today. If you enjoy a good “zombie” flick in the vien [pardon the pun] of “Night of the Living Dead” then you’ll love this! “28 days later…” should be seen now not later!
  • USAToday ran a picture of the advance poster for “The Return of the King,” the next installment in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The poster can also be seen at theonering.net. Peter Jackson [director] said it was his favorite of the three… I know I’m looking forward to it!
  • Chris Tucker is in line for another $20 million-plus payday to co-star in “Rush Hour 3.” If he makes the movie it will be his third film since 1998 [with the other two being “Rush Hour” and “Rush Hour 2”]. It’s good work if you can get it!
  • MESA, Ariz. – City officials in Mesa have mistakenly installed two bus shelters where no buses run. Can’t you just imagine some poor soul… “Uh… I’m sure it’ll be a long any minute now.”
  • Singapore unveiled Friday plans for a $114 million, 558-foot Ferris wheel that would swing 114 feet above the current world record holder. “C’mon mom, don’t worry about SARS, I just GOTTA ride that Ferris wheel.” Yeah, that should bring in the tourists.
  • HANOI (Reuters) – A Vietnamese man passed off a lump of iron as valuable black bronze found buyers — but was paid $64,000 in counterfeit bills. Talk about poetic justice!
  • PARIS (AFP) – Bean-lovers, rejoice: the embarrassing side-effect of your favourite food may soon become a distant memory. Big Beatty can go back to eating chilli on his omlettes!
  • NEW YORK (AFP) – New York police rescued and then arrested a red-faced burglar after he managed to get himself stuck in the chimney of the restaurant he was trying to burgle. Another criminal mastermind brought to justice!
  • BERLIN (Reuters) – A German thief has had to call the police to rescue him after becoming trapped during a bungled break-in. Still another criminal mastermind brought to justice!
  • STOCKHOLM, SwedenVodka-flavored ice pops won’t be available on store shelves in Sweden after regulators said Tuesday they were worried that young kids might eat them. Guess that means no crack flavored cupcakes either!

28 days later; Return of the King; Rush Hour 3 and More!

  • I saw a great little horror film today. If you enjoy a good “zombie” flick in the vein [pardon the pun] of “Night of the Living Dead” then you’ll love this! “28 days later…” should be seen now not later! 
  • USAToday ran a picture of the advance poster for “The Return of the King,” the next installment in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The poster can also be seen at theonering.net. Peter Jackson [director] said it was his favorite of the three… I know I’m looking forward to it! 
  • Chris Tucker is in line for another $20 million-plus payday to co-star in “Rush Hour 3.” If he makes the movie it will be his third film since 1998 [with the other two being “Rush Hour” and “Rush Hour 2”]. It’s good work if you can get it! 
  • MESA, Ariz. – City officials in Mesa have mistakenly installed two bus shelters where no buses run. Can’t you just imagine some poor soul… “Uh… I’m sure it’ll be a long any minute now.” 
  • Singapore unveiled Friday plans for a $114 million, 558-foot Ferris wheel that would swing 114 feet above the current world record holder. “C’mon mom, don’t worry about SARS, I just GOTTA ride that Ferris wheel.” Yeah, that should bring in the tourists.
  • HANOI (Reuters) – A Vietnamese man passed off a lump of iron as valuable black bronze found buyers — but was paid $64,000 in counterfeit bills. Talk about poetic justice! 
  • PARIS (AFP)Bean-lovers, rejoice: the embarrassing side-effect of your favourite food may soon become a distant memory. Big Beatty can go back to eating chilli on his omlettes!
  • NEW YORK (AFP)New York police rescued and then arrested a red-faced burglar after he managed to get himself stuck in the chimney of the restaurant he was trying to burgle. Another criminal mastermind brought to justice!
  • BERLIN (Reuters) – A German thief has had to call the police to rescue him after becoming trapped during a bungled break-in. Still another criminal mastermind brought to justice!
  • STOCKHOLM, SwedenVodka-flavored ice pops won’t be available on store shelves in Sweden after regulators said Tuesday they were worried that young kids might eat them. Guess that means no crack flavored cupcakes either!

Interman, Hellboy & More

  • Jeff Parker’s The Interman rocks. It is one of the most intelligently written graphic novels that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Check it out. I’ll bet you’ll like it too!
  • CHUD has a nice interview with Ron “Hellboy” Perlman. Now, this is a comic movie that I can get behind!
  • Ashton Kutcher must be living right. He co-stars in “That 70’s Show,” hosts MTV’s “Punk’d.” Kutcher is up against Prince William in an online vote for People magazine’s top bachelor of the year, and is dating Demi Moore. Wouldn’t you think that dating Demi Moore would be enough?
  • A woman has claimed that Ozzy Osburne is the father of her six year old child. I guess she didn’t know that Ozzy had a vasectomy 17 years ago.
  • Seahorses are their own worst enemy. They’ve been fished to the point of extinction, yet they mate for life and their unwillingness to seek new partners after being separated has done little to improve their chances of survival. Seems the seahorses don’t believe until “death do us part.”