Sunday, November 28, 2010

College Freshmen? Justin Long (in the tooth) and Jonah (over the) Hill?

Accepted  (Universal, 2006)

Before the Camera:

Justin Long (Live Free or Die Hard)
Jonah Hill  (Superbad)
Adam Herschman  (The Sprint guy in the old Chad Alltel commercials)
Columbus Short  (Armored)
Maria Thayer  (Hitch)
Blake Lively  (The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants)
Mark Derwin  (The Minus Man)
Ann Cusack  (Tank Girl)
Anthony Heald  (Red Dragon)
Travis Van Winkle  (Friday the 13th '09)
Lewis Black  (Hannah and Her Sisters)
Behind the Camera:
Directed by Steve Pink
Produced by Michael Bostick, Louis G. Friedman, Brian Lutz, Amanda Morgan Palmer, Mark Perez, Tom Shadyac, Jonathan Watson, and Jason Wilson

Written by Adam Cooper, Bill Collage and Mark Perez

    Upon his graduation from high school, perennial ne'er-do-well Bartleby Gaines (Long) gets rejected by every college he applied to, which does not please his parents. So, turning from his fake ID business, he instead fakes an acceptance letter from the fictitious South Harmon Institute of Technology, allowing him to keep his folks at bay while he figures out what to do next. He also fakes acceptance letters for his pals Hands (Short), Rory (Thayer), and Glen (Herschman), whose college plans were also crushed.  However, his parents want to see the school their boy will be attending, and to meet the dean. So now he gets pal Sherman (Hill) to throw together a fake website while Bartleby and the other chums take out a lease on an abandoned mental health facility and fake a small college campus with spit and baling wire.
    For the Dean of the college, they are forced to go with Sherman's Uncle Ben (Black), a former teacher now turned professional disgruntled layabout. Then, it turns out that fake website had working buttons and links, and the gang find themselves swamped with hundreds of students who show up having been accepted to the S.H.I.T. (pun intended) Bartleby decides to go forth with the pile of tuition money the new students brought and turn the fake school into a real college.
    But nearby Harmon College Dean Van Horne (Heald) is not going to let a new college spring up in his backyard without checking into it, especially when the new campus sits right on the chunk of land he wants to use for his new garden and gates. So while Bartleby and his pals design their curriculum and get down to some serious partying, Van Horne sends his minion Hoyt Ambrose (Van Winkle) to find out what's going on over at the S.H.I.T. so he can figure out how to shut them down...

I don't think you can make a college comedy without resorting to a play on the word Dean,
though this flick gets extra points for subtlety.
As college flicks go, this one turned out to be okay. The premise is farfetched, to say the least, and does borrow the old "let's fake something using a really inappropriate authority figure" plot used back into the misty depths of history, and for the Disney movie Camp Nowhere. But it's plays out fairly well here, with Long a pretty good Screen Smartaleck. The rest of the junior cast is decent, though if I'd known the world needed a Jonah Hill I could have provided one 25 years ago and been graduated to playing this one's father by now. Herschman is solid as the whacked out Glen, but because he still has the hair (which I always assumed was a wig) from the Alltel ads it gets a little surreal at times. As far as the rest of the cast goes, standouts include Heald, always well heeled when playing a heel; and Van Winkle, who manages to not play his jerk antagonist character as a comic book, giving the guy some shading not often seen in this stock character. But far and away the biggest prize goes to Lewis Black, hilarious as the... well, Lewis Black-like Uncle Ben! I enjoy his humor, and he's used well here, bombastically bellowing about any old thing at the drop of a hat and providing solid support but not on screen every second, which leaves the viewer wanting more, just as it should be.    
    On the downside, the film is a bit wholesome for a college raunchfest, with the PG-13 rating keeping too many clothes on and even causing an actual, no-kidding bleep on Black's second of two F-Bombs! You do get 62 S-Bombs, though, thanks to that school acronym getting a workout in the script.
    And just to justify that title, at the time of this flick's release, Justin Long was 28 years old, and Jonah Hill was a couple of months shy of 24. Not the oldest filmic high schoolers - the movie record might still belong to Matt Lattanzi, who was 31 when Diving In was released in 1990, or if you want to go TV Stacey Dash was 33 (!) when the last episode of the Clueless TV series aired in May 1999.
    Summing up, if you're a fan of any of the actors, or a Lewis Black devotee, or want to see something that is in the vein of Animal House, only cleaner, there's enough here to warrant a watch. But if you're looking for a good R rated grossout college comedy, may I recommend a couple of the direct-to-DVD American Pie Presents movies, specifically The Naked Mile or Beta House?

Let's Get Out of Here ?

It takes a while, but finally at around 1:05:50, Travis Van Winkle, tired of being pwned by Justin Long's superior insulting ability, throws out The Line to his compadres.

Eye Candy ?

The ladies in the film are cute and all, but none have that special spark. Sorry, ladies.

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says: "Accepted is acceptable."
 Thank you o wise golden one. Til next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

To Sleep, Perchance to Die...

Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy  (1428 Films, 2010)

Part of the 2010 Halloween Film Festival

Before the Cameras:

More than 100 cast and crew members from A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) through Freddy vs Jason (2003)

Behind the Cameras:

Directed by Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch

Produced by Robert P. Atwell, Steven Barton, Daniel Farrands, Thommy Hutson, Heather Langenkamp, Bill Philputt, Annette Ashlie Slomka, Jamie R. Thompson, and Lito Velasco

Written by Thommy Hutson

This documentary ode to one of the biggest horror movie series of the 1980's does everything exactly right. It starts out with the first movie going into production in 1984, and works its way chronologically through each and every film in the series (stopping with little to no mention of this year's reboot). And this isn't a case of brief sound bites from six or seven people either. The main feature runs 4 hours (!) and everyone gets to have a good long say (broken up through editing into smaller pieces relevant to each film or topic, but you get the idea). Documentaries are a different animal to review, so here's my breakdown on each section of this movie with some info on my personal experiences seeing each film back in the day. After all, it is my blog...

A Nightmare on Elm Street  (1984)  This section runs the longest at about 45 minutes. All of the main cast is present except for Johnny Depp and Ronee Blakely (who isn't mentioned as missing in any of the reviews of this thing I've read while Depp is always singled out). You also get lots of Wes Craven, Robert Shaye, and other New Line execs. Some excellent stories, and they set the tone for the whole doc by being warts and all.

I was supposed to see this movie in Harrisburg Illinois (south of my town McLeansboro) with some friends soon after it opened, but the evening started at Pizza Hut, and ended in the emergency room when a friend visiting from Oregon stepped off the curb at the restaurant wrong and twisted her ankle badly. She tried to press on and we actually paid and went in the theater, but she was in agony, so we left (I don't remember if we got refunds, but I'm thinking no) and took her to the hospital. She'd cracked a bone and was off her feet for the rest of her trip. After she got on the plane to go home, we went to see the movie finally over in Harrisburg. We were all wowed by it but I'm kind of glad she didn't see it with us - she was a very 'interesting' young lady who had a lot of belief in dreams and the spirit world - she believed she was the sister of then-recently deceased guitarist Randy Rhoads, and that his ghost was with her all the time, even taking over her body at times to write letters and such - so I'm not sure what kind of an effect this movie would have had on her. I'm sure she saw it later, but we lost touch not long after that, so I don't know how it ended up affecting her. I liked the movie though, a lot.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) This is an interesting part of the show; the movie is not remembered as a high point in the series, and everyone discussing it here eventually admits that, which is refreshing. It also gets examined for the incredible amount of gay subtext (and not so subtext) it contains. Some people still deny any belief that it has a gay theme running through it, but writer David Chaskin admits he was putting it into the script, the lead actor is openly gay, and the gay production designer stuck in a lot of stuff like a poster on the character's door that originally read No out of town Checks but has been altered to read No blahblahblah Chicks. Hmmmmb. Everyone you'd expect turns up here with no major no-shows.

I went to see this sequel with my usual movie pals in Mt. Vernon Illinois (northwest of McLeansboro) on opening night. I didn't care for it from early on in the picture through the ending. It just didn't have the mood of dread of the first movie, and scenes like a parakeet exploding in flames followed by the line "Parakeets just don't explode!" didn't help matters. Knowing now what I do about the movie, it's entirely possible my chock-full-o-teen-homophobia self was having a subconscious reaction. I dunno. Nobody much liked it in the group of people who went with me to see it either.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987)  Everyone onscreen agrees (as I do) that Part 3 rocks, and it's really great to see all of the Dream Warriors here in the documentary again, except for Patricia Arquette, who apparently didn't have the greatest time on the picture, and started not participating by not coming back for Part 4 and finishing by being a no-show here, too. Then again, maybe she was afraid to come back, since nearly every male interviewed admits to a longing crush on the young actress at the time. (Stalker anyone?) Also missing from the interviews are Craig Wasson and Laurence Fishburne. (Once again, I'm the only one who seems to have noticed that Wasson "Wasson" here).

I saw Dream Warriors in a PACKED theater in my college town, Carbondale Illinois, in early 1987. I went by myself and was late, coming in a couple of minutes after the picture had started and finding a seat closer than I would have liked and off to the right side as Kristen's nightmare really gets going. I thought this was a fantastic sequel, with lots of imaginative dream imagery and Freddy really scary for what turned out to be the last time that decade.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master  (1988)  The best stories about this entry are how director Renny Harlin got the job. All of the major players show up for this segment, and everyone agrees this one was rushed a bit as well. But it didn't hurt the box office as this became a HUGE hit for New Line Cinema.

I was in Winter Haven, Florida when I went by myself to see Part 4, and it was watchable, but the nightmare/death scenes were not being played as spooky, just weird, and Freddy was onscreen and brightly lit a lot, so it didn't work as well for me. And like the actors who played them, I wasn't fond of the original Dream Warriors meeting their ends so quickly in this film.

Freddy's Nightmares: A Nightmare on Elm Street - The Series   Premiering in October 1988, this anthology show about the terrors lurking in Springwood was hosted by Freddy, and he also appeared in several segments as well. I was amazed at how much gore they got away with when I watched this.  I saw several episodes, but did not see them all across two seasons, as this was really starting to be Freddy overkill in my book.

 Everyone interviewed from the series agree that they had a lot of freedom to do what they wished because New Line viewed it only as a new udder on the Freddy cash cow and had no interest in it otherwise. This made the show fun for the filmmakers to work on, but the tight budgets and lack of quality control ultimately didn't make the series as much fun to watch. Still, they got two seasons out of it, and I'd enjoy sitting down with a complete series DVD set now.

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child  (1989)  Released less than a year after Part 4, and right in the midst of the Freddy glut from the TV series, this series entry is considered by all to be one too many trips to the well. But it's still a good segment of the documentary, and all the main faces appear.

Because I'd reached my saturation point with Freddy, I actually skipped this in theaters. I finally caught up with it on video sometime in 1990 or 1991. I liked it about as much as I liked Part 4, which was to say, not a whole lot.

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare  (1991)  The main point of this piece of the documentary is to praise Rachel Talalay, who'd been a production manager on the previous films as she took over the director's chair for what was to be the last Elm Street movie, touted even in the title. They truly believed this would be the last one, and did it up big, both on camera and off. A lot of the usual suspects are here, but it turns out several people who might have had something to say about this picture are missing from the doc: Breckin Meyer, Yaphet Kotto, Elinor Donahue, and celebrity cameo artistes Tom Arnold, Roseanne Barr, and that double no-show Johnny Depp again! And once again, it's cool to hear the people involved admit this didn't turn out as they had hoped.

I was lured back to see this one because I'd been there at the beginning, I wanted to see what I also believed would be the end. And it didn't hurt that the final 10 minutes were in 3-D! So I trekked to the theater in Gary Indiana (!) (it was nearest my home in Crown Point, Indiana at that time) I plunked my money down again, but as it turned out, I found this one wanting as well, and now call it Freddy's Dead for Now: The Final Misfire. I reviewed this one for the late lamented M5 newsletter, though

Wes Craven's New Nightmare  (1994)  After a few years off, Robert Shaye lured Wes Craven back with the promise of picking up the franchise and taking it anywhere he wanted. He agreed, and they were off and running. This segment has no major no-shows, and is equally as entertaining to watch as the previous pieces.

I saw the New Nightmare in Wilmington NC by myself as a part of my then job of reviewing movies for a local entertainment guide, Encore Magazine. I gave it a negative review, because although I appreciated what Craven was trying to do, I didn't think it worked all that well. However, of all the Elm Street movies, this is the one I most want to revisit to see what I think of it now.

Freddy vs Jason  (2003)  I think this one wins for most missing talking heads, as only a couple of on camera types show up to chat about the Horror Brawl for it All, though the behind the camera contingent is well represented, especially the writing staff, since this gestated for about ten years before rolling film and had a couple of dozen script drafts written. The biggest missing presence is this film's Jason, Ken Kirzinger. Weirdly, the man he replaced, four-time Jason Kane Hodder, did show up to talk about not getting the part. Maybe Ken was avoiding this turning into a "he said, he said." Dunno. Good stories about some of the other potential storylines make this piece, although I really wish someone would have spoken David Schow's name so I'd know how it is pronounced. But, (and surprisingly it took me this long!) I digress.

I love crossover movies and books and comics, so I was there on opening day for this one in High Point, NC. Although I found the script plot heavy in tying the two terror titans into the same story, and needlessly explanatory, having the characters rehash that complicated plot verbally a few too many times across the running time, I still thoroughly enjoyed this flick, which had the gore of the Ft13 films mixed with some good nightmare imagery direct from Elm Street and now enhanced by some solid CGI. Both Mr. Krueger and Mr. Voorhees get some prime moments, with Englund still terrific under the all that latex and Kirzinger fitting right in as possibly the largest Jason ever. It's a battle royale, letting each monster have a round on his home court so each gets to use his strengths while the other is at a disadvantage. Great fun all around. Interesting to me too, that the seven movies (of eight) that I saw theatrically were each in a different city across four states...I guess I've gotten around a bit...

There is a wrapup after FvJ is put to bed, with a very funny segment over the credits of each actor saying one of their signature lines. All in all, a must see for fans of the series, and probably a good choice for anyone who likes horror films or how they are made.

After the four hour main documentary there's a whole second disc in the special edition, with extended interviews (including apparently at least one cast member from one of the sequels who didn't make it into the regular movie for some reason) and several other small pieces about the series, from the knife glove, to superfans, from the musical highlights of composer Charles Bernstein (and the Nightmare theme is one of the best of all time! And Bernstein even wrote a new score for this project!) to the great poster artwork (by the same man for the first five movies. And he too provided the documentarians with brand-new poster art - seen at the top of this post!) I haven't even dug into the second disc yet, but I've heard there's at least another couple hours of worthy material here.  So in the end this fan made documentary gets my highest recommendation for those so inclined.

Let's Get Out of Here ?

It's a documentary - the guests are invited, they want to be here. So Never Sleep Again gets a pass.

Eye Candy ?

There are several attractive ladies involved in the Elm Street movies, so I'll call this one a Whitman Sampler.

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says: "Never Sleep Again is well worth missing a few winks to watch."

Thanks as always, BM - Happy Thanksgiving all! And til next time, you Can Poke Me With A Fok Cause I Am Outta Here!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Beneath the Planet of the Buddha Man!

Who da Man? Buddha Man!

My eyes and ears were made happy.

Part of the 2010 Halloween Film Festival
Horror of Dracula  (Hammer Studios, 1958)  Hammer Studios had been making various potboilers and British film noir crime flicks for several years when they decided to do a new version of Bram Stoker's oft-filmed epistolary concoction and struck filmic gold. The script (by Jimmy Sangster) makes some large, but fairly comfortable changes to Stoker's story in the interests of compression and budget. We start off as usual with ol' Jonathan Harker travelling to Dracula's castle, but it seems a bit closer to Germany than Transylvania if you go by the local villagers. Dracula is very tall and not very Romanian, as he's played by Christopher Lee here; but all is forgiven because he's played by Christopher Lee here. And this time, Harker turns out not to be the Count's real estate agent and pawn, but a vampire hunter (!) employed by Van Helsing and well aware just where he's temporarily hanging his hat. He's all ready to lay down some serious stakage, however, he's no match for the Big D, and soon the Big Fanghuna has settled in near Jonathan's hometown in England, the better to put the bite on his fiance. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) shows up searching for Harker, hangs out a bit with Harker's pal Arthur (Michael Gough), and soon is in for the fight of his life with the Grand Poohbah of Vampires.

While Dracula avoids working on his tan, Van Helsing suggests some
decorating touches that are not well received.
This is a tasty little horror treat, done to a turn by the fine folks at Hammer. The cast is impeccable, the direction tight, the production atmospheric and there are some solid scares to be had. Both Cushing and Lee play their parts very well, and this was the first time of several for each (though they each took at least one picture off featuring the other before coming back together for the last couple 15 years later). Titled simply  Dracula in its native land before coming here to have Horror of added to avoid the ire of Universal Studios, this had some scandalous onscreen blood and bosomy cleavage (though no nudity) for the 1950's, but obviously those aspects come off a little more tame more than 50 years later. If you have ever or have never enjoyed any of the various Dracula movies, you should really check this one out, you'll be glad you did!

Cavegirl  (Crown International, 1985)  I saw this movie was playing at a local theater back in 1985, and I skipped it. I caught up with it on USA Up All Night several years later, but it just didn't send me. I recently gave it another try from a DVD collection of Crown International's filmic jewels, and watching it uncut in its proper widescreen ratio, it seemed a whole new movie! Daniel Roebuck (in his first role!) plays Rex, a nerdy high school guy who gets picked on at his school a lot. The best gag the pranksters pull is when they switch the signs on the rest rooms, and despite Rex being a student there for 3 or 4 years he walks right in to the women's room because it says '  men' on the door. But I shouldn't complain, because he runs into a bevy of topless women in there (including LG Fabulous Babe Michelle Bauer!) and is chased around by them, getting us an eyeful. Then, it's time to settle in for some plot as Rex and his classmates head out on a field trip to a pile of rocks outside of town while some jetplanes fly over conducting some kind of experiment. About the time Rex steps inside a cave, the planes fly over again, fire off a missile, and with a huge rumble the cave collapses! Rex fights his way out, but things have changed. He meets up with some cavemen, and quickly realizes he's somehow travelled back in time! After some slapstick encounters with the rest of the cavemen tribe and a local bear, Rex comes upon Eba (Cindy Ann Thompson), a luscious yet perky blonde in an animal skin bikini. Rex and Eba strike up a friendship, which Rex hopes might lead to something more, if he can just keep them both alive from the elements, the bear, and the neighbor tribe of cannibals!

Rex wonders if he can get the hat off or if Eba's already seen it and marked off for it.
 This is just a fun little movie, buoyed immensely by the presence of Roebuck and especially Thompson, sweet and vivacious and gorgeous as the innocent Eba. Not a whole lot happens, really, but there's some amusing character comedy bits, with Eba's tribe pretty funny at the ol' slapstick. There's also a fair amount of nudity, though some of it more eye comedy than eye candy. But it is an entertaining little flick, well worth  a watch for fans of Roebuck or anyone who wants to see a little piece of the 80's and the start of a career that's gone on for 25 years now, from Cavegirl to Matlock, from The Fugitive to Agent Cody Banks, from Lost to Glee!
I did a career-spanning interview with Daniel Roebuck for Psychotronic Video magazine a few years ago - here is what he had to say about his whole experience working on Cavegirl:

    "I moved to Los Angeles shortly before my twenty-first birthday. I was there for eight months, doing all the struggling actor things, including getting Dramalogue, which has all the latest stuff on auditions and things. There was an ad in there for a movie called Primal Urge that was looking for someone to play a high school archeologist. I get a call weeks later that they want me to come in for a film audition, for one of the smaller parts. We I was just like (awed voice) 'I got my first film audition!' On the way there, I stopped off at the bank and ran into Carl Ballantine!" (The comedian and magician). "So to this day I feel that Carl Ballantine is one of my guardian angels! So I went into this audition, and got called back for one of the smaller parts." Along the way Primal Urge changed titles to Cavegirl. "Cavegirl is an amazing thing because what happened with it could never happen again. Here I was, a kid, I've never done anything, and the way I got the lead is, all the actors were together in a big room for the second audition. All the actors, for the small parts, the big parts, all of them, and we're reading together, like you would in a community theater. The director, David Oliver, said 'Is everyone happy? Has everyone read for what they'd like to?' I'd read for the character of Ralph, a small part. I raised my hand and asked if I could read for the lead. Afterwards, I told him that I'd be happy to do anything on the film, and he told me he thought there'd be a place for me in the cast. Now, the part was written to be a really good-looking guy who would wear glasses and act nerdy. Then after he travels back in time he loses his glasses and becomes more 'cool.' So David was really taking a chance with me when he gave me the part! No experience, on my first audition, and I got the lead!"
    "The production of Cavegirl was unlike any other movie. We didn't know what call sheets were (production schedule guides that lay out each day's shooting, what and who is needed). The director would walk out, look up in the sky, play with his beard and say 'I don't know, we may not be shooting anything today.' That happened for a few days. We were all staying at a dude ranch that used to be a gay dude ranch in Caliente California. In the cement behind the ranch were imprints of hands, feet, butt cheeks, and... other things. About that last, I'm not sure how you could put it in cement and not worry! But we were all staying together in this place. We'd all have breakfast together in the morning, then go out and shoot all day. At the end of the day, there were no TVs, so we'd all sit around and talk, and people would play guitars, and stuff like that. An amazing experience."
    "Cindy Ann Thompson was a very nice girl. She was at that time dating Peter Paul, of The Barbarian Twins. Always very interesting to have him on set. I could have kicked his ass though. Just kidding! When the film was finished, the producer watched a rough cut. Then, cigar in mouth, he says 'Needs more tits in it!' So we we back to the high school and shot the locker room scene." I asked him about Michelle Bauer. "I remember Michelle Bauer for two very good reasons! (laughs) And as bad as people may perceive Cavegirl to be, it opened the door to the rest of my career, because I got representation from it, and River's Edge for that matter, because someone had seen it. And then it became this thing that Gilbert Gottfried made fun every month when they showed it on USA Up All Night!"

As I said before, it's actually a very cute movie, recommended to those so inclined. One sad note, I just found out that Cindy Ann Thompson passed away about a year ago, way too young. She had retired from acting in the late 80's, married a man named Gary Glum, and had two children Knokos and Brittania. She is missed.

This post is respectfully dedicated to Cindy Ann Thompson (6/24/59 - 10/9/09)

Thank you for reading, and always remember, hug the ones you love every chance you get.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tenlist Presents: The Same Name Game!

10 Performers Who Changed Their Names Because Someone Was Already Using Theirs...

1. Michael J. Fox - Michael Fox was an American actor who played the coroner on Perry Mason and continued acting into the 1990s. So when Michael Andrew Fox came to America from Canada to seek his fortunes in acting, he had to register a different name with the Screen Actors' Guild (SAG). He chose a J. over an A. to honor character actor Michael J. Pollard and the rest is history.

Michael Fox                                    Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Pollard

2. William H. Macy - William Macy played the husband on TV's Maude, so William Hall Macy kept the middle initial so he could star in Fargo and many other great movies.

William Macy

William H. Macy

3. Stewart Granger - British movie star Stewart Granger was born James Stewart.

Stewart Granger                                     James Stewart


4. Vanessa A. Williams/Vanessa L. Williams - Both of these ladies took the middle initial route, A. first to distance herself from the Miss America scandal L. was embroiled in back in the day, and L. to make sure you knew she wasn't A.


5. Michael Keaton - was born Michael Douglas, as in both the talk show host and the son of Kirk D.
Michael Keaton

Michael Douglas
Mike Douglas

6. Nathan Lane - born James Lopez, he changed his name when he got into acting because there was already a James Lopez registered with SAG. But that guy only apparently made a couple of movies; way to be a spoiler, bro!

But then again, Nathan Lane really fits him, doesn't it?

7. David Tennant - our erstwhile Doctor Who star was born David McDonald, but with another DMcD in the Equity union in the UK, he got inspiration from Smash Hits magzine and The Pet Shop Boys performer Neil Tennant and the rest is Whostory.

8. Katy Perry - she was born Katherine Hudson. Just like Goldie Hawn's daughter.

9. Terry O'Quinn - Was originally O'less, but a Terrance Quinn in SAG prompted our favorite Locke to buy a vowel.

And once again, just like the cases of Nathan Lane and David Tennant, the guy who prompted the change is so not famous you can't even find a picture of him.

But you can find a picture of me and Terry O'Quinn. If you look on my computer, that is.

10. Albert Brooks - well, let's put it this way. His actor brother is Bob Einstein, and he didn't change his name.

Albert Einstein, now known as Albert Brooks.
Albert Einstein, satisfied with his victory.

Albert's brother Bob Einstein, aka Super Dave Osborne

As always, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brought to you by the fine folks at Garmin!

Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead  (20th Century Fox, 2009)

Before the Camera:

Tom Frederic  (Blood Trails)
Janet Montgomery  (Black Swan)
Gil Kolirin  (Return to the House on Haunted Hill)
Jake Curran  (Robin Hood '10)
Chucky Venn  (The Dark Knight)
Tamer Hassan (Layer Cake)

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Declan O'Brien

Produced by Jeffery Beach, John Cappilla, Erik Feig, Robert Kulzer, and Phillip J. Roth

Written by Connor James Delaney - based on characters created by Alan McElroy

Part of the 2010 Halloween Film Festival

The third flick in the series opens in that same deadly neck of the woods as four vacationers have the time of their deaths before the plot kicks in. Then the plot kicks in. This time out, a prisoner transfer from Grafton Penitentiary runs into trouble when their chosen route takes them through hillbilly mutant Three Fingers' hunting grounds. One rammed and crashed bus later, ol' TF has a gaggle of hardened prisoners and three guards as potential ingredients for his favorite stew running loose in his woods; let the mayhem commence!

This shows the movie as the slice of life picture it is.
Yep, it's just that simple - as Joe Bob would say: "there's no plot to get in the way of the story" and both of us mean it as a compliment! I enjoyed the first Wrong Turn movie when I saw it in the theater - found it a terrifically dark and nasty “backwoods cannibal mutants” horror flick. I was therefore quick to see Wrong Turn 2 when it came out, and also enjoyed it - another extremely gruesome splatter flick with some of the most graphic kills I’ve ever seen. I held off on Wrong Turn 3 for a while, figuring it had to be a step down - third movie, third director, plus a friend at work informed me it wasn’t up to the other two in quality. I went ahead and scheduled it in for this year’s Halloween film festival, hoping it would be a worthy watch. Well, it was a half step down, not quite as good as the previous two movies (which would have to fight a death match to pick a winner, in my opinion) but still a pretty well done Three B's movie (that's Blood, Breasts, and Beasts, for the uninitiated). Director Declan O'Brien, working on a fairly modest budget, keeps things moving, and brings in a fair amount of action and special effects on top of the slicing and dicing. It turns out my friend at work was disappointed because the bulk of this film's Hunting-Killing-Eating (HKE baby! HKE!) is handled by Three Fingers, and she likes her Wrong Turn pictures populated by mass quantities of inbred killers, but what could you expect after the credits rolled on Part 2? So I had no problem with TF taking center stage here. The acting is not bad - with the biggest surprise being that pretty much everyone in the cast is British, (as can be seen in the behind the scenes features on the disc) but they all do credible American accents in the movie! The kills are zippy, with lots of CGI mixed in with the blood and latex, but that keeps things popping, since pretty much anyone can die at anytime. It is very gory, but I hope no one would rent this looking for a kitchen sink drama with Ian McKellen and Judi Dench, so you know going in what you're going to see: people wandering around the woods and stepping into horrendous deathtraps while being hunted by a killer wielding all manner of bladed weapons and bow and arrow. All in all, this is worth a watch by anyone who enjoyed either or both of the previous Wrong Turn movies, or even someone wacky enough to start a series by watching Part 3 first. Check it out!

Let's Get Out of Here ?

We have another contender here: at 25:54, Tamer Hassan grows weary of escaping overturned buses and dodging arrows and throws out The Line. It is repeated twice more at around 45:00, and Janet Montgomery waits until around 1:04:00 before saying it, and finally Tom Frederic throws out a climactic Line at 1:21:27.

Eye Candy ?

Louise Cliff is only around briefly, but she's also dressed only briefly. Welcome to the list, Weezy!

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead is the right
destination for those looking for gory thrills."

Thanks Buddha Man! Til next time, you Can Poke Me With a Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ninja. Code. Heroes. Death. Warrior. Fire. Squad. Pick Three. Instant Movie Title!

Ninja Death Squad  (Filmark International, 1987)

Before the Camera:

Glen Carson (Ninja 8: Warriors of Fire)
Joff Houston (Ninja Phantom Heroes)
John Wilford (Death Code: Ninja)
Jonathan Isgar (Ninja: American Warrior)

Actually, all of the above guys are in all of the above movies. Except that punk Wilford, who broke out on his own with that Death Code: Ninja movie...

Behind the Camera:

Directed by Tommy Cheng (Godfrey Ho)

Produced by Tomas Tang (Godfrey Ho)

Written by   no one would take the blame credit, but I bet it was Godfrey Ho, too tired to come up with another fake name  - you know, something like "Thommy Pong".

    Legends tell of a movie producer who went mad in the 80's and shot about a million feet of film showing nothing but crazy ninja action. Ninjas fighting, ninjas battling, ninjas wrestling, ninjas tussling, ninjas killing, ninjas dying. Then he shot several "plot" sequences using about 6 actors and about 1 plot. He then disappeared into the mythical Editing Room of Mora Tau, and emerged a few months later with more ninja movies than anyone had ever seen, or would ever want to. (Except for me). His name? Godfrey Ho. (Well, of course!)
    This is normally where I'd recount the plot. Except this time there isn't any. There's a couple of guys, and everybody else wants to kill them. Lucky thing they're both ninjas! Cue ninja action for 80 minutes. Roll credits.
    Needless to say, I loved this movie.

Here's a really terrible picture, but two things: it was literally the only photo from this movie available on the entire internet; and it does show the epic ninja umbrella battle!

    This is a very cheap flick, with some of the worst dubbing I've ever seen, rivalling Challenge of the Tiger, but in a different way. In that Bruce Le/Richard Harrison movie, the acting of the dubbing was actually not bad, it was that the words and the lips really never matched, even to the point of entire conversations going on with no one moving their mouths. Here, total opposite: they try really hard to match the amount of dialogue to the amount of lip movement, but it results in short choppy sentences that literally sound like they were made up on the spot, with three or four performers doing all their "best" voices to provide sound for all the speaking roles in the movie. Truly wretched dialogue results, made all the more heavenly when every fourth voice sounds like one of the guys' Arnold Stang impression.
     Sealing the deal for me is that this is ninja action of the "superhuman" variety. (Lesson #1: ninjas who obey the laws of nature and physics are BORING ninjas). You know you're in for a good time when in the first few minutes, the lead throws down a smoke bomb, there's an obvious cut, with a completely different cloud of smoke, and the hero is instantly in his ninja outfit, ready to fight. Later on, they run out of smoke bombs and the jump cut change is done right in front of your eyes, making it even more impressive. (And by more impressive I mean less impressive). These ninjas also can jump a few stories straight up; throw their costume so cloth flies out of their sleeve like a bad Las Vegas stage magician's 'neverending scarves' trick and wrap around a fleeing enemy's neck; make themselves into a see through apparition like Topper, and produce weaponry that must be coming from some mysterious 'ninja pocket dimension' they carry with them, because it would hurt too much to have this stuff hidden in any orifices.
    So in the end, you may have no idea what's going on moment to moment, but in those moments you'll see ninjas doing neat stuff, lots of machine gun fire and explosions, a flamethrower, and at least one woman wandering around in a jungle wearing a micromini skirt. What more could anyone ask?

Let's Get Out of Here ?

At 14:58, after having their clocks cleaned, one of our dubbed bad guy voices flings out The Line to propose taking their timepieces elsewhere.

Eye Candy ?

There are at least two women in this movie, onscreen for at least 47 seconds. I think. Nope, no winners this time.

Buddha Man's Capsule Review

Buddha Man says "Ninja Death Squad is Ho-key fun, by Godfrey!"

 Til next time, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A little taste of Junkin' with Val and Dave!

A cable station I loved so much it affected which cable company
I got service from - it was only offered through one satellite
provider, and then they blacked out my zip code here in Wilmington
(because heaven knows southeastern North Carolina is not
the south). I switched to a cable service in protest. A couple of
years later I checked back with the satellite provider to see if
they had changed their tune, only to find out that Turner South had
in the intervening time morphed first into an all sports network,
then shut down. Damn, how I miss this channel. They showed
movies Turner had in the MGM catalog that even Turner Classic
Movies didn't show; and they had Junkin' with Val and Dave,
which was my fave. A guy and a really cute girl travelling
around the South, buying weird stuff in flea markets and
yard sales, which they then put up for auction online. There was
some kind of contest involved with money spent to buy vs
money raised in the auction or something. But I just liked the
show, and I really liked looking at that girl.

A Stew to a Kill!

Random Stew Vol. 1

Just some bits and pieces thrown together in the pot - let's see how the essences marry...

Man...You got Boris, Bela, and Vinnie...for two dimes!

A very fondly remembered TV movie - with a
new DVD edition that trumps this VHS - 'Hi-Fi'

A cable station I loved so much it affected which cable company
I got service from - it was only offered through one satellite
provider, and then they blacked out my zip code here in Wilmington
(because heaven knows southeastern North Carolina is not
the south). I switched to a cable service in protest. A couple of
years later I checked back with the satellite provider to see if
they had changed their tune, only to find out that Turner South had
in the intervening time morphed first into an all sports network,
then shut down. Damn, how I miss this channel. They showed
movies Turner had in the MGM catalog that even Turner Classic
Movies didn't show; and they had Junkin' with Val and Dave,
which was my fave. A guy and a really cute girl travelling
around the South, buying weird stuff in flea markets and
yard sales, which they then put up for auction online. There was
some kind of contest involved with money spent to buy vs
money raised in the auction or something. But I just liked the
show, and I really liked looking at that girl.

That girl, Val Myers.

Well, I guess this Random Stew is losing some
of its randomness as it turns into a sonnet to
Junkin' with Val and Dave. Here they are in the
second season.

They made 72 episodes. I would buy a series DVD set. Seriously.
I think when this post goes up, I may try for two firsts here at the ol' blog - a second post in the same day - and making that post a segment from Junkin'. Wish me luck!

Back in the Random Stew: here's a movie I think we're glad
didn't happen? Tobe Hooper's Spider-Man, using what looks
like The Electric Company's Spider-Man costume as he flies
through space? Screenplay by an Outer Limits guy. Well,
that might explain the space angle. Interestingly, though, the
director of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre did not make a
Spider-Man movie, but the director of The Evil Dead, did.

Because you can never have too much Katheryn Winnick.

I confess I think Katheryn Winnick is HOT. Is that so strange?

All right, I think that's enough ingredients in this Random Stew. Grab a bowl and spoon, and getcheesum.

Til next time, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!