Thursday, April 30, 2009

28 Days Later... animation

I have a sneaking feeling that I may be the last person on the web to find this animation, but it's pretty cool. Sorry about the link, but the embed code just will not work for absolutely no reason I can see.

28 Days Later: Full Animated Graphic Novel

Coincidentally, I was just talking about 28 Days Later/28 Weeks Later for the documentary Zombiemania, which will air later this year on Starz.

Coincidence or portent? You be the judge.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Miss FlickChick joins Horror Hacker

Just letting everyone know that I'm now editing Horror Hacker, the horror area (duh) of AMC-TV's movie site. I'll also be reviewing thatrical horror releases (I've already done Haunting in Connecticut and Last House on the Left)and contributing at least one piece every Friday.

The Friday piece is a breezy little trifle inspired by something showing on AMC's Friday night/Saturday morning horror-movie block. This week's subject: Who Was that Masked Maniac? I've also done The Horror Limbo... , a look at the genre's lower depths, from Queen Kong to Zombie Strippers, and the many faces of Bad Brains....

I hope you'll stop by, and that you'll check out some of the site's regular features, including the weekly Horror Power Ranking (new every Monday), and blogs by Scott Sigler (new on Thursday) and Stacie Ponder (new on Wednesday). I'm not shilling when I say they're both great -- they know their stuff and have very different and distinctive takes on the genre.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Norman Bates all over again...

Can someone explain to me why every time someone is arrested in connection with some awful — like, say, the alledged "Cragslist killer" -- someone steps up to say he "wouldn't hurt a fly"?

Yes, be supportive. But avoid the phrase that inevitably conjures images of Norman Bates from Psycho...

On another topic entirely, I apologize for not posting for several days. I plead technical difficulties in the first degree.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Miss FlickChick at the Avon Theatre...

Want to purge all thoughts of taxes from your mind?

How about taking in a special screening of the original Taking of Pelham One Two Three that I'll be introducing at the Avon Theatre in Stamford, Connecticut, on Wednesday, April 15.

The screening is at 7PM, I'll be doing a Q&A after the film, and here's the icing on the cake: It's free. You read right: No admission charge; that's a bargain even by 1970s standards, when you could see a Times Square triple-bill for $2.50.

I've done several of these events in the past, and the Q&A is always fun. Lively discussion that rises above the level of "Dude, that rocked!" (or sucked, as the case may be) — what more could a movie buff ask?

So stop by if you can — the Avon's website has travel directions and other info.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Is Billy Bob Thornton crazy?

I've been on all sides of the media shuffle: I've been interviewed, I've been an interviewer and I've been the publicist trying to keep the situation from ending in tears.

And all I can say is, "What the hell is wrong with Billy Bob Thornton?" This clip, broadcast on Canada's Q TV, reminds me of why I never, ever want to go back to working in public relations.

And why I'm happy I'm not one of the Boxmasters, the band with whom Thornton plays.

Nice shout out to the classic monster-movie magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland and the late, great Forrest J Ackerman, though.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

In Praise of Anna Faris...

Anna Faris was simultaneously great as a supremely self-absorbed starlet in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation and the only reason to endure those execrable Scary Movie movies. She was was the only funny thing about My Super Ex-Girlfriend (her delivery of the banal line "Why did G-Girl throw a shark at us?" is a thing of beauty), and her performance in Smiley Face will in time become the stuff of comedians'-comedian legend. In the meantime, it's one hell of a funny movie.

Sure, that played-for-laughs date rape scene in Observe and Report is way queasy making, but without Faris it would be flat-out repellent. Oh, and she can act: Check out her small but memorable part in Brokeback Mountain.

I don't know why Faris doesn't get the acclaim of Tina Fey or Amy Peohler, but this is my small attempt to celebrate Faris' uniquely warped genius... Let's hear it folks! A big hand for the little lady (seriously -- she's 5'5" tops) whose fearlessness should inspire us all!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Critic fired for writing a bad movie review!

That's how the story of entertainment writer Roger Friedman's firing is being spun. And if that ware the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth I'd be up in arms, not matter how much I despise the Fox News empire. But it's not.

What Friedman (who, just to be clear, isn't a movie critic -- he's a columnist who writes about entertainment-related issues) did do was write in his "Fox 411" column about the bootlegged copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine that was leaked and wound up online last week. Part of his copy was reporting -- that the movie had been available, that he had downloaded it himself and so on. Fair enough: It was news. He also made critical comments about the film itself, which I'd agree is not kosher, because it appears to have been clear to everyone who saw that copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine that it was a work print. Not finished... like, not at all finished, with placeholders slugged in for effects sequences that hadn't been done yet.

I first saw both The Matrix and Deep Blue Sea (that dumb movie about smart sharks, remember?) in unfinished form, under legitimate circumstances. In the case of The Matrix, producer Joel Silver was hosting way-in-advance screenings, complete with key cast members in attendance. He was concerned that the Matrix pictures were costing his company a ton of money and didn't have the advantage of being based on a book or other existing source that might help make it stand out, but was confident that even unfinished, The Matrix was sufficiently strong that giving critics and entertainment writers a sneak peek would help build positive professional buzz for the project. In the case of Deep Blue Sea, I was doing interviews at the press junket and an unfinished print was all they had to show writers before they talked to the cast and crew.

In neither case would I have considreed reviewing the movie until I had seen it again in finished form. So I think Friedman was dead wrong on that score though, ironically, what he said about the movie was positive, not negative, including that it "exceeds expectations at every turn." It's my understanding that not all the reactions were so positive (though a quick scan of the web turned up nothing but fan-boy raves), and my gut feeling that were X-Men Origins: Wolverine not a Fox film, Friedman might have gotten away with a reprimand. But with one arm of the Fox conglomerate waging all-out war on movie piracy, having a writer for another arm of the company review a bootleg of a hugely expensive, tentpole picture couldn't go unpunished.

So that's my two cents.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chasing Zombies in Canada....

So, I'm heading to the airport to catch my plane to Halifax, Nova Scotia, so I can be interviewed for a documentary called Zombiemania.

The funny thing is, I never really liked zombies. Vampires, yes. Werewolves, sure. Serial killers, count me in. But from the time I was 12 -- which is when I read a Roger Ebert article about seeing a kiddie matinee of Night of the Living Dead at a local theater; the piece was reprinted in Reader's Digest, to which my grandmother subscribed and which I always read when I was at her apartment on Sundays after mass -- zombies have always been my default dream trope for anxiety nightmares.

Other people dream about being naken in public or arriving for an important meeting or test five minutes before it's scheduled to conclude. I dream about cannibal corpses.

But over the last couple of years I've become really fascinated by zombies; Max Brooks' World War Z has become one of my favorite genre novels and I just started reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I love Grace Lee's American Zombie,, and 28 Days Later (I know the argument that they're not really zombies, but if you go back to their Haitian roots zombies actually aren't necessarily dead...) and Shaun of the Dead and George Romero's Diary of the Dead. I've been revisiting films like the French They Came Back (the living dead as a social services problem) and the UK Dead Creatures (see photo above), which I swear is the zombie movie Mike Leigh would make were someone to persuade him to make a zombie movie. Oh, and Fido, which I think got a bum rap as too twee.

More on this when I return....

Is it a Poster for the Remake of Fame or Coca-Cola Poster?

If you answered "remake of Fame," you're right. Oh, sorry — it's not a remake. It's a "reinvention" of Alan Parker's 1980 movie about teenagers attending Manhattan's High School of Performing Arts, a highly competitive, specialized public school that combined academic studies with training in music, dance and acting.

For those of you who don't remember, here's the original Fame trailer. Oh, and check out that goofy looking redheaded kid playing the guitar: He first appears around the 1:50 mark and, a few seconds later, delivers the line that prompts the "Hot Lunch" number. Do you recognize him? Here's a hint: He starred in a popular show that just went off the air after 15 years. Wow, that blows my mind. I was on set before the first episode aired.... anyway, trailer.

Even with a hint, bet you didn't guess that was [Paul McCrane -- see below] of ER, back when he had hair and looked about 12 years old, though he was closer to 18.

Curiously, the shots of school interiors in the teaser trailer look exactly like the old High School of Performing Arts building at 120 West 46th Street, which hasn't been the "Fame School" since 1984. Students now attend the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, which is house in a newer building and located behind Lincoln Center, on Amsterdam Avenue and 65th Street.

Here's the new trailer, featuring a reworking of the theme song that Irene Cara made into a hit:

On top of everything else, quite the little object lesson in how trailers have changed, isn't it? In any event, the reinvented Fame will be in theaters in September.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Mickey Rourke, Matt Dillon, Laurence Fishburne, Nicolas Cage: Can you name this movie?

A long email back-and-forth with a friend got me to thinking about Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 Rumblefish (the how is too complicated to get into), and I found myself mesmerized by this trailer, cut to Wall of Voodoo frontman Stan Ridgeway's "Don't Box Me In."

I felt compelled to share because virtually every one of the stars is not only still working, but working in high profile projects: Think Mickey Rourke, Matt Dillon, Laurence Fishburne, Nicolas Cage, Diane Lane and more.

Leaving aside the fact that I think Rumblefish is one of the great films of the 1980s and I never miss an opportunity to proselytize (just this Christmas I converted two friends), it's amazing to see them all so young. Dillon and Cage were 18, Lane was 17, Fishburne was 21 and Rourke was the old man at 30.

It's a great film, and this is a great clip:

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

There's an app for that... and it's x-ray spex!

So, I'm half watching Lost and trying to do a bunch of other things at the same time and I get to wondering who the voice of the "there's an app for that" ads is. And frankly, I still don't know, but I ran across this video and I love it.


And just on the subject of X-Ray Spex, I'd be remiss if I didn't post this video of the band of the same name:

Those were the days...