RIP Evel Knievel

Robert Craig Knievel aka Evel Knievel died today. He was 69 years old. Many of you younger ZONE readers may not remember Evel, but my guess is you know something about this outrageous daredevil whose biggest claims to fame came from unsuccessful jumps.

In 1965, Knievel led a group that he named Evel Knievel’s Motorcycle Daredevils. They would travel from town to town performing typical motorcycle stunts of the era: riding wheelies, driving through fire walls and jumping things. Knievel had a knack for self-promotion and a talent for jumping his motorcycle over things. In 1966 he began touring alone and his jumps continued to become bigger.

On New Year’s Day in 1968 he failed in his attempt to jump the fountains at Caesar’s Palace. Although the jump nearly killed him, it also launched him in to popular culture history. In the years to follow there would be more jumps, astronomical paychecks, tv and movie appearances, Evel Knievel toys and collector cards and an ever growing legend. Most kids my age went through a period when they considered Evel Knievel to be “the man.” He was outrageous, traveled where he wanted, had tons of money and beautiful women and risked his life doing what he wanted.

In 1974, Knievel was paid $6 million dollars by ABC for the rights to televise his attempt to jump the Snake River canyon in a rocket-motorcycle. I remember watching the show live and my total disappointment when the chute malfunctioned almost immediately. Although Knievel continued to make big jumps and big money, I had lost interest. Knievel retired from big jumps in 1976, but continued touring into the 1980’s. He had been in failing health in recent years.

In 2006, Evel was quoted as saying, “No king or prince has lived a better life.” Evel lived his life doing things his way and for a several years he was as popular as any rock star. It’s hard to imagine that a guy who jumped his motorcycle over things could have had such an impact on popular culture, but Evel Knievel did.

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

Soloman Kane

ComingSoon.net scored a first look at the Soloman Kane poster above. Kane was created by Robert E. Howard [the pulp writer best known for Conan].Raf and Chris Mills are our experts on Soloman Kane. My experience with Soloman Kane is from a couple of Marvel comics [written and drawn by the great Howard Chaykin] from the 70’s… and maybe a story or two from one of the Marvel Conan or Savage Sword black and white mags. I enjoyed the character enough to read those stories when I came across them, but never felt compelled to seek out more. Maybe this movie will change that.

Children of Men

I’d wanted to see “Children of Men” for sometime now. Last night I got the chance. Wow! What an amazing movie. Set twenty years in the future at a time when there have been no babies born into the world for 18 years. It’s a bleak, repressive, dreary and totally believable future.

Clive Owen plays Theo a normal man suddenly thrust into a role that possibly entrusts him with the future of humankind. Although Owen gets top billing [along with co-stars Julianne Moore and Michael Caine], it truly is director [and co-screenwriter] Alfonso Cuaron who is the star of this movie. His vision is so truly realized that we feel as if we are in the center of this nightmare world. His use of handheld cameras, long continuous shots, and harrowing set-ups leaves viewers on the edge of their seats and breathless.

The Good: Cuaron’s direction; sudden twists; Michael Caine’s character; Owen’s first escape with the woman; how/why Owen avoids execution in the city; Owen’s resolve to get to the woman despite the war raging around him; the Gypsy woman; the refugees’ and soldiers’ reaction to Owen leading the woman out of the building; ALL of the background details [kept in the background] that make the future despair seem so real; the fact that Owen isn’t a super hero and never picks up a gun — he’s a normal man who rises to the occasion.

The Bad: a world without children… the scene with the empty elementary schools and playground… that such a world of despair could be so believable

The Ugly: People wounded/dying from the battles.

Children of Men is an amazing film.

 

Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that you and yours have one of the best Thanksgiving Days ever. Count your blessings, eat too much turkey, ignore that family member who irritates you, make big plans, eat too much pie, doze in front of the tube, have a bit more turkey, and remember to watch a bit of the parade!

Cloverfield Trailer & Questions

There’s a new high definition trailer available HERE for JJ Abram’s top secret monster movie, “Cloverfield.” Now that we can see the trailer in high def [with the ability to go frame-by-frame] more questions than answers come to mind.

My two big questions are:

1] Why is the actor’s face pixelated out? I’ve posted a screen shot above. We hear his voice, but are not allowed to see his face. Is he a surprise star? I have no clue.

2] Did you notice that one of the women in quarantine seems to blow up? I’ve posted a screen shot below. She is being moved by men in HAZMAT gear and appears to be a normal woman, but suddenly her body starts to expand. Perhaps the monster is able to infect humans and create others like it? PURE speculation on my part… but she does appear to be blowing up.

So watch the trailer and let me know your thoughts.

RIP Dick Wilson aka Mr. Whipple

Dick Wilson the actor who played tv icon Mr. Whipple in over 500 commercials spanning 21 years died today. Mr. Wilson was 91. If you grew up in the 60’s, the 70’s or 80’s you knew Mr. Whipple and not to squeeze the Charmin [at least when he was around].

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

Riddick’s Return?

One of my favorite movies is “Pitch Black.” I loved how it came out of nowhere, without a big name writer, director or stars and nailed it. Everything about the movie worked for me. Especially Vin Diesel as Riddick. I also thought it was cool that writer/director, David Twohy and Vin Diesel were in sync with the character of Riddick; so much so that they planned to bring him back in a trilogy.I have to admit that “The Riddick Chronicles” was a bit of a let down. Suddenly we learn that Riddick isn’t human and will play a role in saving the universe. Argh. I liked Riddick as a tougher than nails, human ex-con on the run who cares for no one except himself and his own survival… and yet risks his life to save a child. Still, “The Chronicles of Riddick” had it’s moments [and enough of them to earn the movie a place in my dvd library]. And yeah, I’d still like to see more of Twohy and Diesel teaming to bring us further adventures of Riddick. Two movies and an animated adventure just weren’t enough. There was so much untapped potential with Riddick that there had to be another movie. That seemed unlikely since “The Riddick Chronicles” didn’t do as well at the box office as hoped.

Maybe things have changed. David Twohy recently announced on his website: “All I can say now is ‘We’re talking about it.’ The DVD numbers were really good – we know that, and some potential financiers know that. But if another movie surfaces, it probably won’t be a Universal movie and probably will be an independent movie. Which means we’ll have to make it for substantially less than the last installment. That’s okay. ‘Pitch Black’ was $22 million all in. Maybe it’s time to go back to our roots – as we go on to The UnderVerse. “

Now THAT’S what I’m talking about.

UFC 78 Results

Let’s take a look at the results of last night’s UFC 78 matches.

Michael Bisping vs. Rashad Evans was the main event. Evans scored a split decision victory to remain undefeated. Both Chris and I picked Evans to win [although Chris thought it would be by a 2nd round TKO and I felt it would be by decision… still Chris and I are 1-0 with our picks].

Thiago Silva vs. Houston Alexander – both Chris and I went with Alexander. Chris thought it would be a quick KO and he was right. Unfortunately, it was Alexander who was KOd making Chris and I 1-1 with our predictions.
We had the fight as David Terrell vs. Ed Herman, but it ended up being Joe Doerksen losing to Herman so our predictions are out the window.

Chris predicted Ryo Chonan to upset Karo Parisyan. That didn’t happen. Parisyan won by unanimous decision. So I’m 2-1 and Chris drops to 1-2 with our predictions.

Frank Edgar defeated Spencer Fisher by unanimous decision. Chris took Fisher making him 1-3 while I went with Edgar leaving me 3-1. If only we’d made a bet…

UFC 78 Predictions

UFC 78 takes place on Saturday. Let’s take a look at who’s fighting and who I and our guest commentator, my son Chris aka Coach Shooter pick…

Michael Bisping vs. Rashad Evans is the headline fight pitting two undefeated fighters [and winners of the Ultimate Fighter title]. Coach Shooter takes Evans in a 2nd round TKO. I’m going with Evans as well, but I think it’ll be a decision… if it ends early it could be Bisping getting the W.

Thiago Silva vs. Houston Alexander – both Coach Shooter and I are going with Alexander. Coach Shooter says that it’ll be a quick KO within the first two minutes.


David Terrell vs. Ed Herman: Coach Shooter and I differ on this one. He thinks Herman will win a bloody decision, but I see it going for Terrell.

Ryo Chonan vs. Karo Parisyan. In what I think could be the most exciting fight of the night, Coach Shooter is predicting an upset win for Chonan. I’ll stick with Parisyan winning by submission.

Frank Edgar vs. Spencer Fisher. Spenser “the King” Fisher will get his crown knocked off according to Coach Shooter. I’m not so sure. Okay, to make it interesting, I’ll go with Edgar.

Tune in Sunday to see who wins the fights and the predictions!


Revolver: Hit or Miss?

Have you seen THIS TRAILER for Revolver? I hadn’t until just a few minutes ago.

It looks like it could be really good. With a screenplay by Guy Ritchie and Luc Besson and a cast that includes Jason Statham, Ray Liotta and Vincent Pastore, you’d have to believe it’s going to be good, right? Then when you read THIS PLOT SUMMARY you have to ask, how can this not be a winner?

So why do I still have some doubts?

7 Deadly Wonders

Reading books written by Mathew Reilly is like watching an all-out action movie while riding a rollercoaster. His books are bigger than life, move at breakneck speed, keep you turning the pages — and just when you then there is no way out for the hero, Reilly kicks it up a notch and comes up with another over the top set piece as the story hurtles forward.

Whew!

Reilly’s books are fun and his latest 7 Deadly Wonders is no exception. A rare solar event called the Tartarus Rotation is set to occur shortly. Several teams are racing to gather 7 pieces of a capstone hidden around the world. If they can recover and join the pieces in time for the Tartarus Rotation they will be given power such as the world has never before seen. There’s a team from the United States, a team from England and a team of multi-national adventurers. [We’ll be pulling for the multi-national team not because they’re outgunned and out manned, but because they’re the good guys.]

And that’s all you really need to know. If you’re in the mood for an adrenaline-charged roller coaster ride that’ll make you put down the video game paddles and keep turning pages, then give Mathew Reilly’s 7 Deadly Sins a try.

PS – I just discovered that Amazon has it on sale at a HUGE DISCOUNT — click HERE for full details!