Author: Craig Zablo

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+.

RIP Al Lewis aka Grandpa Munster

Al Lewis [born Alexander Meister ], who was best known as Grandpa Munster, died yesterday at the age of 95.

I can remember watching Lewis on “Car 54, Where Are You?” and later “The Munsters” when I was very young. Lewis seemed old then… but as the years passed he didn’t seem to age. Another benefit of growing older was that with each passing year Lewis seemed to get more and more popular. He was always a LIVELY guest where ever he appeared.

Lewis is survived by his wife, three children, four grandchilden and generations of fans. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone of them.

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+.

A Hamner Trifecta

Today’s comic book cover features the work of one of my favorite comic artists, Cully Hamner.

Probably best known for his excellent work on the Batman miniseries Tenses, my personal favorite Hamner artwork can be found in the Red miniseries that he did with writer Warren Ellis.

I absolutely loved Red… so much so, that I’m going to give you a look at the covers for each of the three issues [ 1, 2, 3].

Don’t Go Swimming…

Don’t go swimming if you don’t want to get wet.

It never fails to amaze me when people know that if they take a particular course of action that the end result is going to displease them, and yet they take that course of action. Shouldn’t that be the definition of insanity?

If people from the Jerry Springer show call and invite you on as a guest, the ONLY logical response should be “No.”

Everyone who has ever seen even one episode of Springer knows that guests aren’t going to be treated as guests and more than likely are going to be repeatedly insulted and even physically attacked. EVERYONE KNOWS THIS… and yet, Springer continues to find people who are willing to show up and learn [along with millions of strangers] some personal secret that is guaranteed to shock, hurt and embarrass them.

“Yeah Craig,” you say, “but the people who appear on Springer are uneducated folks who don’t know better.” Ok then, what about the folks who go on the Dr. Phil show, or any of the “reality” court shows. They know that they’re going to come off looking foolish, but still they line up to be guests.

I guess they want to get wet.

Blue Belle Scores Two

While thinking about some of my favorite comic book covers yesterday, my mind switched gears and began to ponder about some of the covers to novels that I also love.

The first one that came to mind was the art on the hardcover to Andrew VachssBlue Belle. The jacket design is by Carol Devine Carson and the photograph is by William King.

This was the first Andrew Vachss novel that I ever read and of course he quickly became one of my favorite authors. I don’t know what it is about the cover that I love so much. Maybe it’s the noir-mystery vibe that it gives off. My guess is the cover would still be a favorite even if the novel wasn’t.

Splash That Left No No Doubt

Christopher Mills is currently posting some of his favorite comic book covers on his forum. Never let it be said that I don’t know a cool idea when I see it. I’m going to adapt Chris‘s idea a bit so that I can bring in interior art like the cool Paul Gulacy splash page to Master of Kung Fu #29.

I was already a fan of Doug Moench‘s work on Master of Kung Fu, but when Paul Gulacy came on board it was obvious that something magical was taking shape. Paul had pencilled several issues before #29 rolled around, but with that issue Paul was also able to do his own inks.

Now there was no doubt that this was a series to watch.

How ‘Bout Some Free Cell?

Remember last week when I was telling you about how cool Stephen King‘s new novel, Cell, sounded? [If not click you can click HERE.]

Anyway, if you think that Cell is something that you MAY like, then you might want to pick up the current issue of Entertainment Weekly [the 2006 Preview issue]. It features the first two chapters of Cell with some cool illustrations by Tomer Hanuka.

My guess is if you’re interested enough to read this far, you’re going to love the novel.

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.

RIP Shelley Winters

Academy Award-winning actress Shelley Winters, who appeared in over 125 movies during her career, died today at the age of 85.

I’m not the biggest Shelley Winters fan in the world, but I did admire her ability to morph throughout her career so that she could continue to act well into her 70s.

Before making it in movies, Winters worked as a chorus girl and on the stage. When Winters first came to Hollywood she roomed with another future star by the name of Marilyn Monroe. Although Winters started out as another blonde bombshell, her best roles and recognition came when she worked as a supporting actress.

Not content to just act, Winters also wrote two popular biographies in which she talked about her intimate affairs with many of Hollywood’s leading men, including Sean Connery, Errol Flynn, William Holden and Burt Lancaster [among others]. Shelley was a playa before the term was invented.

My two favorite Shelley Winters roles occured in movies that were made 17 years apart.

In “Night of the Hunter” Shelley played Willa Harper who falls victim to the wonderfully evil preacher, Harry Powell [Robert Mitchum in perhaps his greatest performance]. The scene of Winters dead and strapped in a car at the bottom of a lake… with her hair floating in the currents is one of the most haunting images ever. In 1972, Winters was no longer the young wife, now she was the aging overweight wife, Belle Rosen, whose ultimate sacrifice [she dies of a heart attack after a long underwater swim to save Gene Hackman] allows others to survive. Looking back now, I find it somewhat strange that she dies in both of my favorite roles and ends up underwater.

Shelley Winters died today. She leaves behind many wonderful family members, friends, fans and movie roles.

Chuck Norris is a Bad Man

Chuck Norris is a real life tough guy. Of course, he also plays one in movies and on tv. Here are a few facts that show just how tough Chuck is:

* Chuck Norris ordered a Big Mac at Burger King, and got one.

* Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

* Chuck Norris can touch MC Hammer.

If you want to see more Chuck Norris facts, then click HERE.

Stephen King and Zombies

Civilization doesn’t end with a bang or a whimper. It ends with a call on your cell phone.

So begins the book description for Stephen King‘s latest novel, Cell, which will be released later this month.

I first talked up Cell last August. At that time I posted:

King describes Cell as “a violent piece of work, which comes complete with zombies set in motion by bad cell phone signals that destroy the human brain. Like cheap whiskey, it’s very nasty and extremely satisfying.” Stephen King and zombies! Count me in.

This is the first Stephen King book that I’ve been excited about in years. I can’t wait to read this bad boy.

Stephen King and zombies. Why that’s a combo right up there with M&Ms and peanuts.

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!

Conscience is a Killer

The Shield returns for its fifth [5th!] season, this Tuesday at 10pm on FX. And I can’t wait. The tag line for The Shield this season is “Conscience is a killer.”

While The Shield isn’t for everyone, it’s definitely my cup of tea. It has characters that you care about [and not always in a good way], stories that have twists, and actors [and writers] that are at the top of their game.

Emmy award-winning actor, Forrest Whitaker joins the cast this season as a tough internal affiars agent out to bring down Mackey [Michael Chiklis].

You just know that the screen will sizzle when Chiklis and Whitaker collide. [Anyone remember the great acting in True Romance when Dennis Hopper verbally jousted with Christopher Walken? My guess is that Chiklis and Whitaker will take it to that level.]

Tune in on Tuesday at 10. You won’t be disappointed.