French Headshot

On Wednesday, reported that Warner Bros had acquired the rights to a French 3 issue graphic novel series called “Headshot.” It’s about a hitman and cop who, when their partners are killed, form an uneasy alliance to get revenge on the powers that set them up. You just know this story sounds like something I’d dig. And I the art, by Alexis Nolent, looks to sweeten the deal. I’d love to see an English edition… and plan to keep an eye out on the movie’s progress.

ST Covered by EW

I’ll bet it’s not to hard to guess what will be the cover story of next week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. That’s right, ZONErs, the new “Star Trek” movie will get the EW main feature treatment. The issue hits newsstands this Friday and will contain exclusive set visit photos.

I’m a huge fan of the original “Star Trek” in whatever form, tv series, cartoon or movie. I never gave any of the other incarnations of “Star Trek” more than a occasional glance. I am looking forward to the new movie though. It’ll be interesting to see if the magic can be recaptured. Perhaps the Entertainment Weekly cover story will give us a hint.

Do You Believe in Magic?

Tonight, my son, Chris and I are heading over to Orlando to watch the Magic play a pre-season game against CSKA Moscow. Chris is a huge sports fan and the Magic are his favorite B-Ball team, so when I was able to score free tickets, it was a given that we’d go. It’s always a blast to see a game live… even if it is pre-season.


Empire’s 500 Greatest Movies of All Time

Empire Magazine recently posted their list of the 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. 500 is just too big a list to deal with… so, using just THEIR TOP 50, I made a list of MY TOP 10 of EMPIRE’s TOP 50. Without further adieu, here they are in alphabetical order:
  • Aliens (James Cameron, 1986): Took the Alien concept and made it a franchise… and the best movie of the series.
  • Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942): Bogie at his best.
  • Die Hard (John McTiernan 1988): Redefined the action genre and turned Bruce Willis into a star.
  • Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964): “There’s no fighting in the war room!” — Need I say more?
  • Godfather, The (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972): Perhaps the best cast movie of all time.
  • Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974): One of the rare movies that is as good as the original… especially when the original is as good as The Godfather.
  • Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, The (Sergio Leone, 1967): Classic title + classic theme + Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach, and Sergio Leone = All Time Greatest Movie
  • Matrix, The (The Wachowski Brothers, 1999): Redefined the action genre. If only the sequels had been as good.
  • Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994): Made Tarantino a star… and rightly so.
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day (James Cameron, 1991): Like Godfather II and Aliens, a sequel that was as good as the original.

Hammer Sound

Over at Zuda comics, they’ve started their October 2008 competition. Evan Bryce [an artist whose praises you’ve heard me sing before] has teamed up with Doug Wagner and Vin-Luan Luu to create a crazy mix of action /adventure / scifi that they call Hammer Sound.

If you’ve got a few minutes, I’d appreciate it if you’d take a look at Hammer Sound. If you like what you see go ahead and rate it. If you really like what you see, then by all means rate it as one of your favorites. [That’s the rating that will help Evan and company the most.] Tell your friends and encourage them to vote. Then take a look around at some of the other comics at Zuda. Who knows? You may find some others that you dig… but not quite as much as Hammer Sound.

Kimbo Falls

That’s Kimbo Slice at the press conference following his fight last night. Kimbo was knocked out in 14 seconds by a last minute replacement for Ken Shamrock. Shamrock sustained a cut to his eye in a warm-up session just hours prior to the fight. State officials wouldn’t clear him. So Seth Petruzelli, scheduled to fight on a non-televised undercard match, was brought up to the headliner.That’s when a funny thing happened. Kimbo Slice, who had always proclaimed that he’d fight anyone, anytime, anywhere, almost didn’t take the fight. I can understand hesitation if you’re a fighter and train specifically for one individual and then have to face another. It happens all the time in boxing and MMA. However, if your reputation is that you are the baddest brawler on the planet and you will indeed fight anyone, anywhere, anytime; then you’d better be prepared to do just that! According to reports, it wasn’t until twenty minutes before the show was supposed to go live that Kimbo agreed to the fight – perhaps it was the substantial cash bonus that swayed him. Still, he seemed pretty upset in his brief pre-fight interview.

The crazy thing is, the brief interview lasted longer than the fight itself. Kimbo rushed across the ring and was clipped with a short right to the chin, he went down and was pummeled by Petruzelli until the ref stepped in to save Kimbo from worse punishment. The emporor was shown to have no clothes. Kimbo had no clue how to protect himself once he was down. He didn’t cover up, he didn’t try to grab and close the distance so Petruzelli would have no punching room, he simply laid there taking shots.

All great fighters have lost. There is no shame in losing if you’ve prepared and give it your best. I credit Kimbo with preparing and giving it his best. Unfortunately, it became clear last night what his best is. Don’t get me wrong, if Kimbo walked into any bar across America, he could probably whip 19 out of 20 in there… maybe even 20. Walking into the octagon is a different story.

I don’t fault Kimbo for taking advantage of the opportunities that have come his way. What’s happened with Kimbo is very similar to what’s currently going on with Brock Lesnar. Kimbo did show class after the fight. He credited Seth for taking the fight and thanked the fans for coming out to see the show. He then left the octagon… maybe for the last time.

End of an Era or Two

Tomorrow night Ken Shamrock steps into the octagon to face “Youtube” superstar Kimbo Slice. There’s a whole lot riding on the outcome of the match, and I’m not just talking about either of the fighters’ reputations. In fact, who wins won’t impact either of the combatants as much as the number of viewers who tune in to watch the fight who airs for free on CBS.

EliteXC is the company promoting the event. They had a three fight agreement with CBS. This is the third fight of the contract. Although the first card [which featured Kimbo] was the most watched MMA event ever, the second show tanked. So unless the fights tomorrow night bring the viewers to the tube, it’s over for EliteXC. Without a network sponsor, word is the company will fold.

Now, there’s no doubt that folks will tune in to watch Kimbo fight. He’s the one MMA fighter that everyone knows. Kimbo is the big, tough, brawler who knocks people out. The trouble is, in reality, Kimbo is over-rated. He hasn’t fought a single ranked fighter. In fact he’s yet to fight a fighter who’s on the way up. Look at the “name” fighters Kimbo has fought. Ray Mercer was a 46 year old former boxer. Mercer lost in the first round. Tank Abbott was 46 years old, had lost 5 of his last 6 fights and had only fought once a year in that time. Abbott also fell in the first round. Ken Shamrock is 44 years old and has lost 8 of his last 10 fights including his last five. Shamrock’s most recent victory was over 4 years ago.

So, who will win?

My guess is Kimbo. If he does, it doesn’t really hurt Shamrock’s reputation. The guy is already a Hall of Famer. A Kimbo win over Shamrock would also add a bit more luster to Kimbo’s figher cred, but mainly with folks who don’t really follow MMA. Finally, a Kimbo victory coupled with enough viewers could entice CBS to extend their contract with EliteXC.

If Shamrock wins, he could retire [hopefully] with a win that ended the era of Kimbo Slice. Unfortunately for EliteXC, it would probably also end their era as well.

Paul Newman: RIP

As you must know by now, Paul Newman passed away late Friday. The world mourns not just for a great actor, a movie icon, but also a truly remarkable human being. He starred in over fifty feature films and quite often was the best part of the movie, irregardless of who else co-starred, wrote or directed. Mr. Newman was that good.But Paul Newman was much more than a silver screen superstar. He was a man of character, not just a man who played characters. Paul Newman was a person who truly wanted to leave the world a better place because he passed through it. He created a foundation that has donated over 100 million dollars to charitable organizations. Mr. Newman was married to Joanne Woodward for fifty years. That’s her pictured with Mr. Newman shortly after they were married in 1958. Perhaps George Clooney said it best: “He set the bar too high for the rest of us. Not just actors, but all of us.”

I actually met Paul Newman. Well, maybe met is too strong a word… more like had an encounter with him. Let me explain. Some thirty years ago, when I was just getting out of high school, I worked at the Treasure Island Inn in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida. It was one of the better places to stay when in the Daytona Beach area. For that reason, we would get quite a few celebrities as our guests. Anyway, we received word that Paul Newman was going to be staying with us when he came in town for the races. We were all informed that he was NOT to be bothered in any way — no autograph requests, no telling him how much we enjoyed his movies, no pointing him out as he came through the lobby [like that would be needed], etc.

Once Paul Newman arrived everyone, especially the ladies, wanted to catch a glimpse. Of course he was just there to sleep and spent most of his time at the track. So not many employees had seen him. Anyway, I had just taken a couple up to their room and got on the elevator to head back to the lobby. Instead of going down, it went up to the penthouse. The doors opened and in walked three guys and one of them was Paul Newman. I’m sure my face at least briefly allowed a look of surprise or at least realization that Cool Hand Luke aka Butch Cassidy aka Fast Eddie had entered the elevator with me. The doors closed and down we went. Being the good employee that I was, I knew that I was not going to speak to Mr. Newman, or tell him how much I enjoyed his movies, and of course I wouldn’t yell out when the elevator doors opened, “Hey! Paul Newman is HERE!” No. I would just be quiet and not bother him.

As all of this crossed through my mind, Mr. Newman looked directly at me and said, “Good Morning.” Houston, we have a problem. All employees had been directed not to speak to Mr. Newman — they never said anything about if he spoke to us first. I responded with “Good morning.” Mr. Newman then made a comment about the weather — something to the effect of it looked to be a nice day. I was still reeling from the fact that I was in an elevator with Paul Newman but somehow came up with the intelligent response that it was a very nice day. One of the other two guys with Mr. Newman said something and then we were at the lobby. As the doors opened Mr. Newman made a point to tell me to have a good day — and then the three of them were out of the elevator and literally off to the races.

Of course those working the front desk saw me come out of the elevator with Paul Newman. “Did you talk to him?” “What was it like?” “Are his eyes really that blue?” Thirty plus years later it still seems surreal. I think the fact that Mr. Newman took the time to speak to me, a high school kid working at a hotel, shows the kind of person he was. Sure, it was just small talk, but he could have easily ignored me all together. Instead, he took the time to acknowledge and even wish me a good day before walking away.

On that day in the elevator, I knew that I was in the presence of a great actor. Thirty plus years later, I know, more importantly that I was in the presence of a great man.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Newman’s family, friends and fans.