Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, Sharpen Your Knives!

Hoo hoo ha ha! It's my favorite time of year! Welcome, all you newcomers! In the words of Flounder, oh boy is this great!

I thought I'd do a little roundup for the new folks, go over the nuts and bolts.

SCORING

If you click here you will see the Horrorthon Score blog (the link is also conveniently located in our links sidebar on top of the main blog here, just beneath the now huge list of contributors). I've made a post for everybody's individual list of movies viewed and a scorekeeping post on top. I'll go in and add titles and numbers as the reviews pop up ( and please let me know of I make a mistake, as I'm not infallible). You can scroll down to see the scores and lists from the previous few years.

Horrorthon began in 2000 as a contest between JPX and Johnny Sweatpants, who are brothers. I maintain that only a pair of brothers would be nutty and competitive enough to start such a thing, but who am I to judge when I jumped in so readily four years later?

In 2003, a year before I joined, the reviews started as one-paragraph capsules the boys would email back and forth to 1) warn each other about horrible movies that must be skipped, 2) tempt one another with news of good deaths, a decent amount of skin or, occasionally, a good movie, and 3) as proof that the movies had actually been viewed, since as lifelong siblings they had a healthy mistrust of each other.

In 2004 I joined in the contest, which reached a fever pitch that year that has yet to be matched. Not counting that year, the highest Horrorthon scores in its history are in the 60's, but in 2004 all three participants scored more than 90. Crazy.

Since we started the blog in 2005, it's become more a forum for chatter about movies, celebrities both loved and despised, strange technology, our common disregard for organized religion, keeping in touch with each other -- basically a place for flexing our weird and personal artistic brain muscles. In this light I am sooo amped to have so many new players joining us, and remind you to please not be put off by any competitive elements you might see. At its heart the contest is about the numbers, but these days that's mostly to provide an impetus for fun and good writing.

REVIEWS

While required for scoring purposes, the review requirements should be considered as friendly and inviting as the player should want. A couple of sentences is fine, providing a brief plot description and your opinion of the whole affair.

Format for the reviews is pretty basic: the movie title is the title of the post, the post starts with the year the movie was made, then your rating out of five stars, then whatever you want to say about it.

Mr. Sweatpants (who in his earlier blog incarnation was known as Summerisle) put together this scale in the pre-blog days, and although we always talk about amending his movie examples, we still haven't. Here it is yet again:

***** -- A horror masterpiece. Absolutely essential viewing. (Wickerman, The Omen, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, The Ring, JU-ON, Dawn of the Dead)

****1/2 -- Brilliant (Halloween 2, Exorcist, the Shining, Hellraiser, Evil Dead, Suspiria, The Others, Inner Senses, The Eye, Kairo )

**** -- Excellent (Blair Witch 2, the Craft, Phantasm, Poltergeist, Evil Dead II, Race with the Devil)

***1/2 -- Great, fun, worth watching (Candyman, Elm St.1, Friday the 13th 4, Return of the Living Dead)

*** -- Good, watchable, no real surprises though (Friday the 13th part VI, Elm St.2-4, )

**1/2 -- No big deal if you miss it, barely adequate (I Know What you did Last Summer, Bride of Chucky)

** -- Pretty lame (Scream 3, Leprechaun, Pumpkinhead, Motel Hell, Gothika)

*1/2 -- Really bad (Martin, Last House on the Left)

* -- God-awful, virtually unwatchable - save for the absolute bottom (Shocker, Return to Horror High, Return of the Killer Tomatoes)

It's generally understood that 3 stars is the base level for something worth one's viewing time. If you want to check out the reviews of years past, check the blog archives for October and November for 2005 and 2006.

MISCELLANEOUS RULES

There aren't many. The contest starts at midnight, right after October 1st begins (which as I write this has already happened on the East Coast and in Belgium -- oooooohhh, I so excited!) The contest ends midnight on October 31st -- but, if you start a movie before midnight that night you can use the little bit of November to finish it off.

As of this year, we're imposing a deadline of November 15th to get all the reviews in to count for your score, which the veterans among us will, I think, all agree is a good idea. Once the buzz of October has past it's hard to keep typing.

Also as of this year, we're limiting the number of movies you can watch with under an hour of running time to five. Watching short movies is a time-honored strategy for getting your numbers up, but before last year there weren't really that many coming in at less than 60 minutes. Then the Masters of Horror series titles came out on dvd, all of which clocking in at an hour exactly. Even the cheapest stuff you find out there will be pushing 80 minutes, so this rule isn't too much of a hassle.

FINALLY, WHAT MAKES A HORROR MOVIE?

I refer you again to the Horrorthon Score blog, where the full lists of all movies viewed for the past two years can be seen. That might help. Anything that imdb or Netflix tags as "horror" also counts. But basically, it's any movie designed to have some kind of scary thrill. There's a fair amount of spillover between horror and genres of action, sci-fi, thriller, suspense and comedy. We're going with a loose definition of things this year to be encompassing, so go ahead and use your judgement.

(Of the genres I just listed, I'd say that maybe comedy is the one to best avoid, as it sort of subverts scary. But not always. Shaun of the Dead counts because it's actually pretty scary, but in my opinion outright parodies like the Scary Movie titles wouldn't. A lot of the crappy movies that have shown up on Mystery Science Theater 3000 count, but watching them with the MST3K commentary would defeat the purpose. Again, in my opinion.)

Most of all, don't be afraid to experiment. We've never disqualified a movie after the fact, and I don't really see that happening in the future. The point here is to have fun.

What am I saying? The point is to CRUSH YOUR OPPONENTS!!!

HorrorTHOOOOOOON!!!

I love October.

Jordan 07 Horrorthon Preview Post


1) I will watch horror movies. I will not get anywhere near the sheer volume of titles watched by the other participants. I will review the movies as is appropriate.

2) I will comment on other reviews. I will in so doing occasionally express a certain amount of (for example) extreme contempt for certain movies or filmmakers or (alternatively) extremely long-winded adulation for others; this should be interpreted within the framework of Horrorthon wherein it's just a bunch of half-assed opinions and nobody gets hurt except the unlucky victims in the movies.

3) I'm interested in certain extremes of the genre: multiple generations of the same idea; flashes of modernism in very old horror movies; rationalist vs. Jungian or Freudian horror; thematic connections between stories; and, especially, moments of unusual technical brilliance or imagination that make all the difference.

In 23 minutes...

Smile!

I blundered across this weird short film on YouTube a week or two ago. I figured I'd post it now as a little horror apertif. It's only six minutes long, and it will get you in the mood. Check it out here.

Tick-Tock...Tick-Tock...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Local Nerd Totally Psyched To Be Here

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I would formally like to thank JPX for the invitation I just received to enter the enveloping, ensnaring, hypnotic folds of Horrorthon. I've often felt like Eric Idle in Life of Brian: "Can I...join your group?"

I have, for the other eleven months out of the year, been increasingly more reliant on Horrorthon for the very latest in Those Things That Are So Super Cool That We Would Never Speak At Length To Any Woman About. Unfortunately, it is during the one month of October (the very lifeblood of Horrorthon itself) that I feel I will never be able to equal the Founding Fathers or contribute or compete on any competitive level. Yes, that's right - I said "compete on a competitive level." The guys that commentate on NFL games also write my posts for me.

Due to my work on real-life movie sets and the intervening time spent with Girlfriend, my hours are severely preventative when it comes to watching more than one horror movie per year, let alone per month or per day. What I most humbly offer to the Elder of Horrorthon for the upcoming 2007 season is a handful of brilliantly written insider-perspective reviews of choice-cut horror movies from the last half-century, written from the point of view of a guy who spends upwards of 80 hours a week on movie sets. (For instance, that scene in Dawn Of The Dead where the zombie stands up into a helicopter blade and gets his 6-inches-too-high-forehead cut off? How would you like to be THAT stunt guy? I don't care if I have TWO FEET of fake forehead on top of me, there isn't any amount of money in the world that would get me to willingly stand up INTO a full-speed whirling helicopter blade. I hope that guy got a piece of the residuals or something, because I'd like to talk to HIM at a comic book convention sometime. ("So dude, you must have totally shit your pants. But I bet that clip gets you laid a lot.") And yeah, I put a parenthetical inside a parenthetical. You can expect this kind of grammatical and punctuational wizardry all the time. I bet I was supposed to use brackets somewhere, but fuck that.)

The picture up there refers to the fact that I am currently working on Pink Panther 2 in Boston, and reflects nicely my thoughts on joining the blog. If you want any insider scoop on this Notly-anticipated sequel, I'd be happy to tell you what's happening on set. There's actually some really funny shit in this one. JPX will probably also remember badgering me for details on Spiderman 2 when I worked on that one, and I can only tell you that what's happening to that Indiana Jones extra is precisely what I feared. Fear will keep the local star sytems in line. I could only tell JPX at the time that standing on a New York City street with Spider-Man himself swooping four feet over my head on cables was one of the cooler moments in my career.

That, and also when George Clooney threw a bra at me during my karaoke rendition of Poison's "Nothin But A Good Time."

Horrorthon!!!

Happy to be here, everybody!

Ridley Scott advances his bad argument


Wired has posted a new interview with Ridley Scott about the upcoming theatrical re-release of Blade Runner. Scott gets into various interesting subjects, including, of course, the "Deckard is a replicant" debate.

Scott believes that Deckard is a replicant and convincingly portrays himself as having advanced this idea all along and having deliberately put clues into the movie to make the point. I maintain that he's got it wrong (and I remember examples of Scott statements from the Alien commentary track not gibing with what I'd heard elsewhere). Comments at the end of the article by irate readers seem to suggest that not everyone is onboard with the "Deckard is a replicant" lunacy. It's a good read, though.

It's almost time


“When hinges creak in doorless chambers and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls, whenever candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still, that is the time when ghosts are present,practicing their terror with ghoulish delight.

Welcome, foolish mortals, to Horrorthon 2007. I am your host,
your Ghost Host. Kindly step all the way in please, and make room
for everyone. There's no turning back now.”

Can you believe a year has passed since the great Horrorthon 2006; you know, the one where I swept the competition? My Horrorthon tee shirt is in the mail, I’ve started putting up Halloween decorations, and most importantly I’ve been creating my horror movie inventory, which I plan on diving into October 1st, 12:01am. I’ve been training really hard for this.

People often ask me (okay one person asked me exactly one time), “What’s your strategy this year, JPX?” I don’t like to give away my strategy. Just know that I have a few tricks up my sleeve (okay, I’ve got nothing).

With Jordan participating, as well as the addition of several new reviewers, the Blog is going to be a fun place to visit for the next 31 days. As has been the case in previous Horrorthons, I will not be posting any of my usual plagerized movie/Hollywood items for the next month.

"It's almost time, kids. The clock is ticking. Be in front of your TV sets for the Horrorthon, followed by the Big Giveaway. Don't miss it. And don't forget to wear your masks. The clock is ticking. It's almost time."

I think I'll skip the happy ending


From geekology,If you have the $5,799 for this Robo Massage Chair, then you’ve got more money than I'll ever see in my life. You also probably get massages from real people, likely beautiful ladies with long eyelashes and soft, well proportioned breasts. Anyways, this chair is voice activated, and looks like a torture device. The 3D Roller Mechanism adjusts to rub you hard or soft, whatever your preference. It can programmed to save up to 20 massages of your design. Just be careful if you ask it for a happy ending. Because from the look of it it'll probably tear your dipstick off and jam it up your ass. Some happy ending that'll be.

And all I have is a crappy Civic




From geekology, The Aptera hybrid is actually being produced. You can put down your $500 deposit now, and see your car in about a year. It hits 60 mph in ten seconds, and is governed at 95 mph. It comes in two versions. The all electric version ($26,900) has 120 mile range, and is plugged in at night. The Hybird version ($29,900) has an efficient gasoline powered generator that achieves over 300 mpg. Not bad. I want one. Mostly because I'm growing fond of the planet and want something that makes me feel like I'm in the Jetsons. Not because I wanted a flying car or to live in the future -- I just wanted to hump the nuts and bolts loose on Rosie the Robot Maid.

Has anyone ever watched The Man From U.N.C.L.E?

'South Park' team backs new show


By David Bauder, AP Television Writer

NEW YORK — The current kings of juvenile humor on Comedy Central, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are pitching in to bring a series of silly competitions to the cable channel.
Comedy Central has acquired rights to a Canadian series, Kenny vs. Spenny, and fans Parker and Stone agreed to help produce new episodes.

The series essentially consists of two friends, Kenny Hotz and Spencer Rice, who engage in all manner of silly competitions for bragging rights. Some of the challenges: Who can stay naked the longest? Who can sell more Bibles? Who do gay guys like more? Who can wear a dead octopus on their heads the longest?

An episode about which man could stay awake the longest — Spenny ate health food for help, Kenny (the winner) kept gobbling caffeine — caught Parker and Stone's eyes as they were pulling all-nighters to finish the movie Team America: World Police.

"It touched our hearts because we had just gone through that," Stone told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Separated at birth?


More Indy 4 rumors


From AICN, Okay, this is just too good to keep to myself.

A trusted source got in touch with me yesterday, a wee bit nervous after all the hullabaloo over the loose-lipped INDY 4 extra who blabbed a bunch of spoilers and ruined his own career in the process. That extra was an idiot for violating his non-disclosure agreement so prominently, and I’ll bet he didn’t even know he was being an idiot.

So my source is under deep deep deep cover, but they’ve always been reliable in the past and they’ve been contributing to the site for years. When they say something, I can trust it to be accurate and well-intentioned.

My source got in touch to ask if I knew what was being filmed by the INDY 4 crew now that they’re on the Downey soundstages. Based on what I’d heard about the script, I was starting to think that something we’d heard about the film was completely wrong, but now I know there’s something to it, and I’m intrigued. Even knowing as much as I know about the film, it’s obvious there are going to be surprises for me, and that’s exciting. I’m not sure how it all ties in, but sure enough... as rumored (and I never really believed it until now), on a soundstage in Downey... they’ve evidently built a reproduction of the warehouse from the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and they’re staging a sequence there even as you read this.

I would lovelovelovelovelovelove to see what this warehouse looks like, considering it’s one of the most iconic locations in any of the three movies so far.

It all sounds exciting to me, and my natural cynicism about this project is slowly eroding in the face of some of the groovy choices they're making as they put this together.

Blessed be them that watch all those scary movies.

The bloodthirsty Americans have invited me into their curious culture. I am reporting undercover from the bowels of the Wallonian front and the main discovery is that these "bloggers" have no moral values! All they do is write about trivial matters such as the next horror movie out and which actor is the ugliest. I shall remain as my alias, demented anus, but little do they know a hoard of our finest Belgian penguins is nearing their eastern coast.
Soon the savages in this "blog" place will start their month long brainsucking feast. I have understood that they will then delight on the souls of the tortured and the banality of B-movie gore. Actually... that sounds kind of like fun.


What the hell.


Count me in!
Oh yeah, and thanks for the invite :)

Coming soon

The Mist poster is kind of lame

Padme naked, sorta


From iwatchstuff, Good news if you ever wanted to know exactly what Natalie Portmans ass looks like, because the short film "Hotel Chevalier" - starring Portman and Jason Schwartzman, directed by Wes Anderson as a companion piece to "the Darjeeling Limited" - is now online for free on iTunes (or you can download it for extra free from rapidshare). In the movie, Portman plays a girl who brushes her teeth, Schwartzman plays a mustachioed stranger with a nice hotel room, and I play a handsome Navy SEAL from the wrong side of the tracks, out to set things right with punches and the truth. In the movie, you ask? No, my friends, in my amazing real life.

Superman's Return to Krypton Sequence in Sequel?


From SHH, Scooper 'Retroman' pointed out a great interview with concept illustrator Ben Procter at XSI Base in which he talks about the possibility of the cut return to Krypton scene being in the sequel. Here's a clip:

Sadly, much of my work on Superman Returns never ended up in the final film, because at the last minute a big introductory sequence where Superman returns to the shattered remains of Krypton was dropped to help keep down the running time. But at any rate, I worked on a variety of elements for this lost sequence, including the destroyed planet itself and both the exterior and interior of a large crystalline ship which has carried Supes from earth. The interior was fully built and photographed as a translucent, glowing set which I've only seen in one photograph in the Art of Superman Returns book. Bryan Singer's group has made noises about including the lost sequence in a sequel film, and I sure hope they do that so I can see how it turned out! Also cut from the release was a scene where teenage Clark Kent discovers the hidden remnants of the Kryptonian space pod which brought him to earth as an infant. I modelled the pod in 3D, once again working within a crystalline, alien style of construction.

Tinsel Town

Check it out! It's a set of a flipped over cement truck, smack dab in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard. Took this with my phone on the way home from work. It's a scene from that Will Smith movie John Hancock that we reported on a few months ago. I wasn't able to hang out for any of the action, but the block was closed off for four days.

In other news, Wil Wesley Wheaton was at the comic book shop the other night when I picked up the new Ultimate Spider-Man. He was signing something or I don't know. I honestly didn't clue in to what was going on until I was cashing out. "Hmm, a flyer for an event. Wil Wheaton's coming...that date is today...hmm." Sure enough, he was in the back at a table, smiling and chatting with some comic fan. He looks pretty much the same as he did at the end of Next Gen. I was gonna grab a picture but my phone camera was full and I had an unexpected flash of sympathy for the guy. He just seemed like a good sport.

The Trouble With Gretchen

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Why?

NBC to remake crappy show


NBC is bringing back "Knight Rider," tapping Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) to produce a "Transformers"-inspired reworking of the 1980s hit action-drama series about a man and his indestructible supercar.

The network is readying a two-hour backdoor pilot for the project, with tentative plans to air it as a telepic later this season. Liman is open to the idea of directing, assuming his feature schedule allows. If the telepic clicks, a new-model "Knight Rider" could be on the air as early as next fall.

Dave Andron ("Raines") is writing the pilot script and will serve as supervising producer alongside exec producers Liman and Dave Bartis ("The O.C.," "Heist") for Universal Media Studios and Dutch Oven Prods.

Success of "Transformers" had a role in inspiring NBC Entertainment chief Ben Silverman's decision to revive "Knight." The thinking is that smallscreen f/x have advanced to the point where it'd be feasible to have a weekly series in which cars shift shapes.

It's also likely the new show will explore the idea of "evil" cars to offset the heroic talking K.I.T.T. car of the original series, which starred David Hasselhoff. That said, the show is expected to essentially remain focused on the story of a single man fighting for justice with the help of his superadvanced car.

My Sweet Lord


By Mike Bruno

Scorsese helming Harrison documentary

Martin Scorsese will direct an as-yet untitled documentary about former Beatle George Harrison. Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001 at the age of 58. The Harrison family will supply materials from its archive to help tell the story of the guitarist's Beatles career as well has his later years, which included a successful solo music career and movie production — Harrison's Handmade Films made Monty Python's Life of Brian and Time Bandits, among others. Scorsese will also focus on Harrison's Eastern spiritual pursuits. The director also will produce with Harrison's widow Olivia and Nigel Sinclair in a co-production between Scorsese's Sikelia Prods., Harrison's Grove Street Prods., and Sinclair's Spitfire Pictures. Surviving Beatles bandmates Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr will likely participate, as well as the Beatles' Apple Records, which counts Olivia Harrison as a partner. The documentary will be constructed for theatrical release with interviews and early production set to begin later this year. The film will take several years to complete. (Variety)

Boring movie poster alert


From iwatchstuff, Besides sounding like a Taco Bell knock-off, Bordertown stars The J.Lo as a journalist investigating a series of murders at the US/Mexico border and Antonio Banderas as someone not mentioned on the poster. If they effect they were going for was "poster for an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger," they f'in nailed it.

Schwartzman and Murray Predictably Join 'Mr. Fox'


From iwatchstuff, Speaking to MTV Movies, Wes Anderson revealed some details about his upcoming adaptation of The Fantastic Mr. Fox, including the addition of Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray to the voice cast. The director said:

George Clooney is going to be Mr. Fox. Bill Murray has a part. Jason [Schwartzman] is doing a voice. That’s our team.
It will take a couple years to do the animating. It’s stop-motion. It’s like ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ or those Christmas specials. These [characters] have fur, so it’s not like claymation.

The settings will be very natural. We want to use real trees and real sand, but it’s all miniature.

Now, if I'm not mistaken, I do believe Wes Anderson has used these actors before. If this entire week hadn't already been spent tearing him apart for making movies with the same themes, actors, and style of deadpan comedy, I'd probably have more to say about this, but now it just seems like shooting fish in a barrel. Will Owen Wilson play the estranged father character's voice, Wes?

Kate Hudson is missing something


From thesuperficial, Kate Hudson went out for a stroll in New York City yesterday, but it looks like she's missing something. I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s something I usually look for in a woman. Personality? No, that can’t be it. In fact I’m pretty sure I just made that word up. It’s almost like there should be two objects in her general chest vicinity. And, in an ideal world, those objects should almost suffocate Kate when she jogs. Man, what are those things called?

Gere ruins actresses career


MUMBAI, India (AP) — Five months later, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty is still feeling the effects of a kiss from Richard Gere.

Immigration officials at Mumbai airport briefly detained Shetty, saying she was still wanted for obscenity charges filed in the wake of the public kiss with the Hollywood star, her publicist, Dale Bhagwagar, said Thursday.

Shetty was in tears late Wednesday after being stopped at the airport while on her way to Berlin where the musical Miss Bollywood opens this weekend, said Bhagwagar. Shetty plays the musical's lead role.

"She called me in the middle of the night and was in tears," said Bhagwagar, adding Shetty was finally permitted to join her dance troupe after prolonged questioning.

"I can understand something like this if I'd committed a criminal offense. But what was my offense, when I'm just an actor, going to perform a musical on foreign land," Bhagwagar quoted Shetty saying.

Gere embraced and kissed Shetty on her cheek at a public AIDS awareness event in New Delhi in April, sparking an outcry among conservative hardline Hindus, who claimed the pair had violated the country's strict anti-obscenity laws.

A regional court issued arrest warrants against Gere and barred Shetty from leaving the country. The order was soon overturned by the Supreme Court.

But the Supreme Court ruling didn't show up in the immigration department computer system, Bhagwagar said.

Immigration officials at Mumbai's international airport couldn't be reached for comment, but Bhagwagar said Shetty's lawyers would take up the matter with authorities.

Shortly after the April brouhaha erupted, Gere apologized for any offense he may have caused. But the actor also said the controversy had been manufactured by a small hard-line political party.

Gere, 58, is a frequent visitor to India, promoting health issues and the cause of Tibetan exiles, tens of thousands of whom live in India.

Shetty, a well-known actress in India, became an international star after her appearance on the British reality show Celebrity Big Brother.

Coppola robbed!


By BILL CORMIER

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) - Armed bandits raided Francis Ford Coppola's Argentine headquarters and stole a computer with the screenplay for the upcoming feature film "Tetro," according to local news media.

The director of "The Godfather" apparently was not in Buenos Aires at the time of the robbery Wednesday night.

A federal police spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give his name, confirmed that a robbery had occurred and a judge was investigating, but he said he could not give details.

The independent news agency Noticias Argentinas reported at least five people entered the offices of Zoetrope Argentina, tied up employees and took computers, cameras and other valuables.

Noticias Argentinas said one of the stolen computers contained the 68-year-old director's script for "Tetro," a story about Italian immigrant artists set to begin shooting next year and starring Matt Dillon.

Calls by The Associated Press to Coppola's New York-based representative were not returned.

Grisel Raynoldi, a 21-year-old university student who lives across the street from Coppola's headquarters, said she heard no unusual noises Wednesday night.

"People get held up in the street a lot at night but normally they (criminals) don't go into the houses. So I was surprised," she said, adding she had seen Coppola on several occasions coming and going from the building in a chauffeured car.

The house is set in the Palermo neighborhood of chic boutiques and trendy restaurants interspersed among homes and abandoned warehouses.

13 Arrested In Connection With Can Scam



Authorities: Smuggling Rings Defrauded Mich. Bottle Deposit Fund

DETROIT -- Authorities said they arrested 13 people and seized more than $500,000 in cash after breaking up a smuggling ring that collected millions of beverage containers in other states and cashed them in for 10 cents apiece in Michigan.

A total of 15 people were named in a 67-count warrant issued as part of Operation Can Scam, Attorney General Mike Cox said Wednesday. Some suspects were members of two smuggling rings based in Ohio and others were Michigan merchants who took part in the scheme, he said.

Investigators alleged that millions of non-redeemable out-of-state cans were collected, crushed, packaged in plastic bags and sold at a discount to merchants who then redeemed them. Bulk redemption payments from the state are based on weight.


The scheme defrauded the Michigan Bottle Deposit Fund, whose proceeds are used to pay for environmental cleanup efforts, Cox said in a statement.

"Each year, this type of activity defrauds the state approximately $13 million," said Col. Peter Munoz, Michigan State Police director.

The charges include maintaining a continuing criminal enterprise, a 20-year felony, and fraud, a 5-year felony, the statement said.

The probe recalled a 1996 episode of "Seinfeld" in which two characters learn about Michigan's 10-cent deposit law and head there with a truckload of 5-cent New York cans, hoping to cash in on the difference, before getting sidetracked.

"A half-million in cash is not 'Seinfeld' humor," Cox spokesman Matt Frendewey said.

G-Force and Astro Boy posters revealed



From collider, Gatchaman, scheduled for release in early 2009, originated in Japan in the early 1970s as the television series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. Aired in the U.S. as Battle of the Planets and G-Force, it soon became a widely popular syndicated TV series.

Featuring some of the most ambitious action sequences ever seen in animation, Gatchaman is set in a future world grappling with environmental and technological issues. The story focuses on five reluctant heroes whose remarkable genetic code makes them Earth’s only hope of defeating extra-terrestrial invaders. Kevin Munroe (TMNT) is the director, with Lynne Southerland producing.

Slated for release later in 2009, AstroBoy was created by the “god of manga,” Japan’s Osamu Tezuka, in the early 1950s. The animated television series first aired in 1963 in Japan and found great acclaim and success around the world. In the U.S., it quickly became a top syndicated children’s show. The iconic character’s fame grew in the 1980s and 2003 with two new AstroBoy TV series attracting new generations of fans.

AstroBoy tells the story of a powerful robot boy created by a brilliant scientist in the image of the son he has lost. Our hero journeys to find acceptance in the human world, and ultimately discovers true friendship as he uses his incredible powers to help others and save Metro City from destruction. Colin Brady (Toy Story 2, Everyone’s Hero) directs, and Maryann Garger is the producer.

Transformers 2


From CHUD, In a move that will surprise only the very stupid, Dreamworks and Paramount have called dibs on July 29, 2009 for Transformers 2, which will be directed by Michael Bay (unless his nearly closed deal suddenly falls apart) and star Shia LaBeouf (such are the wages of sin, m'lad). While making the release date is contingent on the summer 2008 strike getting settled in a timely fashion (and a number of other variables falling into place, including a screenplay that isn't too embarrassingly awful), the studio(s) seem cool with starting principal photography pre-stoppage and finishing once the actors and writers tuck tail and accept a major curtailment in residuals. (My money is on the strike not happening, but I'm a veritable Hurstwood when it comes to gambling.)

The big question is whether Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman will be able to clear room on their crowded dance card for the second film. Between Star Trek and Eagle Eye, the A-list writing team is booked pretty solid through June; not that it matters, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them contribute the story, which will then get passed off to another pair of ex-television writers who don't know how to write for movies.

In case you were wondering, Transformers has amassed a worldwide theatrical war chest of $700 million, most of which has already been donated to the United Negro College Fund per Bay's request.

The new Kirk?


From filmstalker, There's a heavy rumour around that the actor to play James T. Kirk in J.J. Abrams Star Trek has been found, and although there's nothing but those pesky "sources" to go by, it seems as though there are a few of them saying the same thing.

With Zachary Quinto cast as Spock along with Leonard Nimoy playing his older self, Zoe Saldana as Uhura and Anton Yelchin as Chekov, we're already seeing the cast building, but who's going to play the big character of Kirk?

Well the rumours that IESB have been hearing have Mike Vogel playing the Captain. Mike Vogel has played in Poseidon and Texas Chainsaw Massacre and is set to appear in J.J. Abrams Cloverfield.

IESB spent some time time to track down some confirmation but they say that Paramount Studios had no comment, and the actor's agency similarly had none, in fact they asked Robert where he had heard that news.

Now Robert suggests that this was a nervous question, however I think that this could also be taken as them being totally broadsided by the news and being on the ball enough to try and find out if it were true and worth pursuing, so there are two radically different options to go for.

So as usual it will have to remain a rumour for now that we'll come back to. Time will tell. Is he your Kirk though?

Meanwhile MTV Movies Blog has one of those inaccessible videos that are, according to them, legally not viewable by anyone outside of the U.S. and Canada. Yes, I'm sure that's a legal thing since you filmed the interview and put it up on your site. (This is perhaps why I'm not getting added to their blogroll!).

Anyway, they have a video where Adrien Brody confirms that he did talk to Abrams about the role of Spock and that it would have been cool to play the role, it just never worked out.

Uwe Boll to Helm "BloodRayne 3"


From worstpreviews, Director Uwe Boll is great at turning video games into terrible movies, and even though he has already made two "BloodRayne" flicks, he is currently planning a third. According to GameDaily, Boll will begin filming the third "BloodRayne" movie next year, likely in Croatia.

The recently released "BloadRayne 2: Deliverance" DVD is selling well. Boll said that retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy have sold over 35 percent of their copies of the straight-to-DVD release in the first three days. He said 275,000 copies of the DVD were sent to retailers and the numbers, so far, look good enough to green light a third and final "BloodRayne" movie.

The original "BloodRayne," which actually appeared in theaters last year, went on to earn a whopping $3.6 million in total worldwide ticket sales. All on a $25 million budget.

Irish Zombies Plague Town


From cinemablend, If there is one thing I love more than a town full of zombies it’s an Irish town full of zombies. I love zombies who wear green, grow potatoes, and do other stereotypical Irish things I learned in Bugs Bunny cartoons. First time writer/director David Gregory also loves Irish zombies and wrote a whole horror movie about them called Plague Town.

The film began shooting this week in Connecticut, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The story is about a family going on vacation and entering the aforementioned town gets the bejesus scared out of them by the aforementioned zombies. Gregory has previously produced and directed documentaries in Britain and the production company involved, Dark Sky Films, previously on distributed films and DVDs. So everyone is breaking their cherry.

I’m assuming that after this article we won’t hear much if anything about this production ever again. The cast includes such perennial Oscar contenders as Josslyn DeCrosta, Erica Rhodes, David Lombard, Robert DeNiro, Lindsay Goranson, Hillary Swank, and James Warke. I made up the part about Swank and DeNiro to see if you were paying attention. You weren’t, and neither will anyone once this movie gets made.

Zac Efron is confusing Master Chief


From thesuperficial, Zac Efron helped launch Halo 3 at Universal Studios yesterday. Interesting choice. When I think of Halo, I think of crazy guns, ridiculous combat and ignoring your significant other. You know, guy stuff. When I think of Zac Efron, I think of ballet slippers, pixie dust and fruit smoothies. I also feel strange feelings – down there. I mean, I feel strange feelings because I’m hunting. Yes, hunting. I grow a beard and wrestle bears deep in the wilderness. Then I go to a bar where women dance naked on poles for dollar bills. Yes, I totally do all that stuff and did I mention I smoke cigars in my sleep? Just want to make sure I’m getting my point across.

Victoria Beckham looks like a Nazi – literally


From thesuperficial, Victoria Beckham decided it’d be cool to dress like a Nazi as she flew from LA to Japan. Some say she’s basing her look on Tom Cruise’s new role as a Nazi colonel. Victoria and Tom's wife Katie Holmes are close friends. So close, that Katie is coaching Posh Spice’s career that can’t seem to take off. A source close to Victoria spoke to the The Daily Mail:

“Katie Holmes had been helping her with scripts and perfecting her acting but even that has not helped the situation. Victoria had hoped to be picking and choosing presenting roles too. She had wanted perhaps to guest host on Larry King - in the way that Heather Mills did. But that has not worked out either. She had been hoping that the documentary about the Beckhams moving to America would be made into a series, but it was cut right back too. Victoria had also set her sights on getting the cover of American Vogue but that too has proved elusive. Basically she pinned her hopes on offers of work coming flooding in but that just has not happened.”
Victoria Beckham is making all the right moves. First she seeks advice from Katie Holmes whose career was quietly murdered in its sleep by Tom Cruise - right after he stole Katie’s looks. Then Victoria dresses like a Nazi in public. Smart, smart move. She’s on her way to being the hardest working woman in Hollywood. Posh’s publicist must be the best in the biz. Or a ham sandwich. I can’t decide.

Exclusive: Emmerich to ruin another beloved property


From empireonline, As you may have heard, Roland Emmerich, the man who obliterated The White House in Independence Day and flooded much of Manhattan in the unfairly maligned Day After Tomorrow, is planning a remake of camp sci-fi classic Fantastic Voyage. Empire sat down with the director recently and he talked about his long history with the project and some major changes he's planning to the film before he gets behind the camera.

“I was attached to this project 15 years ago with [former producing partner] Dean Devlin and then we gave it back because we wanted to do some other original projects we had developed,” Emmerich remembers of his long association with the much mooted remake of the 1968 movie, in which a titchy crew in a tiny submarine is injected into a human body to do battle with corpuscles. “Then James Cameron came in and worked on the project. Two years ago Jim called me up and said ‘Roland I want you to look at the script for Fantastic Voyage – it’s not there yet’. And he sent it over and I hated the script.”

Key among Emmerich’s gripes was the screenplay’s futuristic setting. “ I said why have you put this in the future? I said let this happen now. It’s so much more cool and fun when we can say to a normal person from now, 'well we’re going to make you microscopic and put you in some submarine which we will shrink down and you have to do this stuff inside a body.’"

The signature Cameron militarism also didn't sit well with Emmerich's vision. “There were two submarines in the body. It was like a Navy SEALS film. And then the president of production at Fox – me and my partner and him all go surfing together – says 'Well, will you do it with a page one rewrite and we won’t start until you’re happy with the script?' So then I said yes. The key is I won’t do it unless it’s going to be a good movie.”

Marianne and Cormac Wibberley (National Treasure 2) are currently rewriting the script. It seems unlikely that shooting will commence pre-strike, so we could potentially be looking at a 2010 release for the movie.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Justice League sounds cool!


From filmstalker, Apparently there were spoilers galore all over the Interflab for Justice League of America, and so when I struggled with myself to open the window you can imagine my disappointment when I read what looks more like the average plot line than spoilers.

The good news is the guy that has the spoilers for us has held back on the biggest one, the one he says is like the end of Seven or The Usual Suspects, that kind of spoiler. So what we are left with is a plot outline really, and there's nothing really that I would judge a spoiler.

Of course I could be wrong, perhaps there are parts of this that are major league spoilers, perhaps some of these things don't out till the latter half of the Justice League of America script with big fanfares and flourishes.

So if that is the case and you're slightly concerned, then I suggest you read no further. Otherwise here we go.

The Justice League are together and it seems to comprise of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash and Martian Manhunter with the word being that John Stewart is going to play the Green Lantern.

The Flash has a crush on Wonder Woman and is played as a young character. Let's face it though, who wouldn't have a crush on Wonder Woman, and she is the one that acts as the public face for the JLA.

Here's the bit that could be considered either the plot or a spoiler.

Batman has created a device called Redeye which allows him to spy on people without them knowing. This allows him to gather secrets about the rest of the League to keep in case they are ever needed as insurance to protect the other members or to keep someone in line.

However the evil characters of the series, no that isn't revealed, get hold of it and start to use it against them all. Meantime one of the JLA turns bad.

That's about it, but you can read more detail of the Redeye and a bit more detail around that plot device over at UGO who broke the story, found through the excellent JoBlo.

I have to say though that the Redeye sounds a bit poor in my eyes. It's just too “all seeing”, if you'll pardon the expression. Batman sticks to real world equipment, sort of near future, and this just seems a little too much for me.

Of course I haven't read any of the JLA work, so for all I know that's how the Batman there is, but it does seem a little too big for the Batman I know. However with a group of such all powerful characters, I always wondered what they could possibly be up against that could defeat them, and this certainly could in the wrong hands.

Oh those silly Harvard students!


Fro geekology, Some Harvard gamers, stoked about the release of Halo 3, dressed up the John Harvard statue in Harvard Yard with an assault rifle and Spartan helmet. Making him infinitely cooler in everyone's eyes. I'm glad they didn't change his shoes though, because they're sweet. I need a pair of those. This is pretty much the opposite of what happened here, which I continue to be pretty broken up about (still crying a lot), if you want to know the truth.

Return to House on Haunted Hill on DVD Oct 16th


From moviesonline, Warner Premiere, the direct-to-consumer production arm for Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Home Video, creaks open the doors for the highly anticipated sequel Return to House on Haunted Hill, produced by Joel Silver’s genre banner, Dark Castle Entertainment. A roller-coaster ride of terror, the film exhumes the evil spirit of Dr. Vannacutt and his diabolical nurses and orderlies. Unimaginable horrors are unleashed on a whole new group of unsuspecting victims on October 16, 2007, just in time for Halloween. Made for those who think they can handle a slaughterhouse of blood, gore and terror, the film will be released in R-Rated, Unrated and HD/BD Unrated Disc versions.

From award-winning director Victor García (El Ciclo), Return to House on Haunted Hill features an ensemble cast including Amanda Righetti ("Entourage,” "The O.C.”), Erik Palladino ("CSI,” "Over There,” "ER”), Cerina Vincent ("Bones,” "Toxic,” Cabin Fever), Tom Riley (I Want Candy), Andrew Lee Potts (Primeval) and Steven Pacey ("Spooks”). Horror icon Jeffrey Combs (House on Haunted Hill) reprises his role as the evil Dr. Vannacutt.

"Return to House on Haunted Hill is a thrilling, edge-of-the seat ride that will allow fans to unleash their imaginations in the same vein as the original Vincent Price film, appealing to true die-hard horror fans,” said Diane Nelson, President of Warner Premiere. "This is the first title tied to the Warner Premiere partnership with Joel Silver’s Dark Castle Entertainment and the hands-on guidance of Joel and director Victor García has delivered a truly entertaining horror film unlike what has been seen before from direct-to-DVD titles. We are prepared to deliver a truly unique DVD with never before used Navigational Cinema technology to offer an interactive viewing experience supported by a comprehensive strategic marketing campaign to ensure success.”

Return to House on Haunted Hill is a sequel to the theatrical hit House on Haunted Hill, a remake of the Vincent Price horror classic from 1959. House on Haunted Hill (1999) starred Geoffrey Rush, Famke Janssen, Taye Diggs, Peter Gallagher, Chris Kattan, Ali Larter and Bridgette Wilson. The story revolved around a millionaire who offers a group of diverse people $1,000,000 to spend the night in a haunted house with a horrifying past. The film had a box-office gross of $41MM, and has sold-through over 1.1MM DVD units to date in the U.S.

"Timing is the key to all success and it is due time to unlock the doors to the House on Haunted Hill franchise with this technologically advanced sequel for Halloween. WHV has planned an extremely targeted marketing and promotional campaign that will drive awareness, as well as take advantage of this exciting time when high-def applications can be used in new ways to appeal to tech fans who want more from their DVD entertainment,” said Jeffrey Baker, General Manager and Senior Vice President of WHV Theatrical Catalog. "Our sales team will be providing incentives tailored specifically to retailers’ unique needs, which will allow for increased visibility in-stores. Additional marketing and promotional strategy will heighten consumer awareness and anticipation for the title.”

Mary Jane


From iwatchstuff, I don't know what this poor bastard did to deserve this, but Snaggletooth had the nerve to kiss someones hand yesterday in LA, a fate I hope to avoid at all costs, mostly because I would rather punch a bear in his balls than have this fug sea monster ever touch me. If she ever kissed my hand, I would chop my damn arm off, then burn it, then seal the ashes in a safe, then throw the safe in a volcano. Even if she were touching my hand to pull me from a cougars mouth, I would poke her in the eys until she let go, then, as the cougar dragged me away and ate my leg, my last words on earth would be, "Oh ... my god ... she's ... so ugly ... why is she so ugly..."

Wow, he really does believe this shit, huh?


Star magazine, via Celebitchy, says that Tom Cruise is planning to build a ... wait for it ... wait for it ... a 10 million dollar underground bunker in Colorado to prepare for the arrival of Xenu, his alien god who is at the heart of scientology. Star says:

Devout Scientologist Tom Cruise plans to build a $10 million bunker under his Telluride, Colorado, mansion, a source tells Star! Equipped with a high tech air-purifying system, “it’s a self-contained underground system where up to 10 people can survive for years.” Apparently, Scientologists believe that the evil deposed galactic ruler Xenu is set to attack Earth, and they’ll need a safe place to survive.

I'm pretty sure that when someone is this dumb, they can be declared legally dead. So, it's with great sadness that I report the passing of Tom Cruise: Actor, Father, Beloved Husband. The End.

Uwe stages a Massacre


From darkhorizons, Much-maligned filmmaker Uwe Boll ("Alone in the Dark," "Bloodrayne") is planning yet another video game adaptation - "Zombie Massacre" says Game Daily.

1988 Games is bringing the shooter game exclusively to the Nintendo Wii shortly, and Boll will shoot the $6 million project in Vancouver in 2009.

The goal of the game is to drive a fully-armed nuclear warhead (that's stowed in the trunk of their vintage 1950s convertible) into the center of a city overflowing with zombies.

After depositing the weapon, players will then have to make it out of the city just as quickly as they entered it before the warhead detonates.

"I'd like Zombie Massacre to be a harsh zombie movie like 28 Days Later" says Boll who's also developing adaptations of Sabotage 1943 and Legend: Hand of God. He's currently finishing up work on Far Cry, which he shot in Vancouver this Summer.

The Simpsons DVD Specs


From moviesonline, The Simpsons is coming to DVD Dec 18th and we have your first look at all the DVD Specs. This bad boy has a whack of goodies including a whole handfull of deleted Scenes. As the fates of Springfield and the world hang in the balance, Homer embarks on a personal odyssey of redemption - seeking forgiveness from Marge, the reunion of his splintered family, and the salvation of his hometown.

Worldwide special features include:
Commentary by, James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, Mike Scully, David Silverman, Dan Castellaneta, and joined by Yeardley Smith

Directors Commentary by David Silverman, Mike B. Anderson, Steven Dean Moore and Rich Moore

Deleted scenes

Russ Cargill - "Levels”

Springfield News

DMV

Sausage Truck

Emperor Moe

Alternate Ending

Special Stuff

Homer’s Monologue On The Tonight Show

The Simpsons Judge American Idol

Homer Introduces American Idol

Let’s All Go To The Lobby

Alternate Character Designs by the Directors and Matt Groening