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Arrested Development
Be sure to check out tonight's marathon of network TV's best new sitcom "Arrested Development" on Fox. The marathon starts at 8:00 P.M. and runs until 10:00 P.M. It's four episodes back to back to back. Your brain will thank you!

By Bert Ehrmann
12/31/2003



What's Happening to Network Television?
After watching the DVD containing all the episodes that were ever made for the ex-Fox series "Firefly, I am amazed that the series got canceled. Everything works. The series was well written, the acting was great, and the visual effects were top notch.

What more can you ask for in a television series? What does a series have to do to make it? Maybe if the series had been titled "Law and Order: Firefly" it would have done better.

If quality can't make it on network television what can? Is reality television the only thing that works?

It's an odd state that television seems to be in these days. Television execs are wondering why ratings for the big three networks are down. I think I know why. Most television shows today are either really bad or based off of overused ideas that we've seen a million times before. Worst of all is the combination of "really bad" and "overused ideas" in a show. How many times can "Friends" or "The Cosby Show" be remade with subtle variations? These shows aren't hard to spot.

Plus there's the fact that there's a million other things on TV any given night. If "Happy Family," "Less than Perfect," or "The Simple Life" don't float your boat, there's always something else on one of the two hundred or so cable/satellite channels in competition for viewers. I you're not into what's on those stations then there's always the Internet or DVDs to name one of the million other things there is to do.

Then there's the commercials that constantly interrupt the broadcast. A half hour sitcom might only contain 19 minutes of entertainment but 11 minutes of commercials. 36% of a show could be commercials. Lately, I've been recording the shows to my computer via EyeTV, editing out the commercials, burning to a VCD, and then watching it on my DVD player. (I don't tune in for commercials, I tune in for the show.) A show without commercials flows better and is more interesting to watch. Try imagining "The Sopranos" with commercials. It isn't a nice thought, is it?

I'm serious that the only sitcoms I watch on television these days is "Scrubs" on NBC and "Arrested Development" on FOX. (I used to watch "Malcolm in the Middle" but it jumped the shark early last season and "The Simpsons" is really more animated than sitcom.) These two shows are just about the only thing worth watching on network television. But these two shows are good. Really good. Watch over and over again good. Drool over good.

Network television is defiantly NOT where it's at. For the most part, network television is NOT hip or happening. All the best things on television seem to be on stations other than ABC, CBS, NBC, or even FOX. The best things are on Trio, or HBO, or even The Discovery Channel.

It's not as if the people's tastes have changed that much over the years about television, it's just that they're sick of watching the same old dreck over and over again. And it's mostly dreck that's on television these days.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/30/2003



The Line of Fire
I finally got around to watching the pilot episode to "The Line of Fire" the other day (thank you EyeTV) and found it enjoyable. The show's not great but it's enjoyable to watch.

The series follows a regional FBI office investigating organized crime, and other crimes, in Virginia. The twist here is that we see the investigation from several different perspectives. That of the "higher-ups" in each organization as well as that of some new recruits.

The show starts with an FBI agent and mafia man gunning each other down simultaneously on a cold and rainy dock. We then follow the ramifications of this act throughout the FBI office and organized crime family. This part of the story works.

What doesn't work is the character of Paige Van Doran, as played by Leslie Bibb. (The acting's fine it's the character that's the problem.) She's annoying in that she can't seem to follow orders, any orders. At one point she has to take a swimming test at the FBI Academy. It turns out that she doesn't know how to swim which generally can be considered a problem in that it leads to the life threatening problem of death by drowning. She then disobeys an order by diving back into the water to give the drowning thing one more chance.

A little later in the show she disobeys another order when at her first post as an FBI agent, the same that's doing battle with the organized crime division, she gets suspended in her first 45 minutes of work for not listening to orders. What an exciting character trait!

What I found bazaar about her character is her reasoning for joining the FBI. She tells us again and again about her husband dying on 9/11 and her wanting to do her part in the war on crime/terror (would this "crime/terror" beast be called "Crerror"?). I found this aspect to her character VERY unbelievable. Doesn't it take longer to get through the FBI Academy than two years? (Assuming that she joined up the fall of 2001, right after 9/11 which I doubt very much happening.)

If you just ignore the Van Doran character The Line of Fire is enjoyable. Not enjoyable on the level of "The Sopranos" or "The Wire," but enjoyable on the networked "Edited for Television" level.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/27/2003



Santa Claus
I've been missing MTV's old pseudo Christmas commercial "Santa Claus: The Man, The Myth, The Slam-Dancer." The "commercial" starts off with a line of Santa's ringing bells. There's a voice-over with an announcer saying, "Santa Claus. The man. The myth…" The commercial then cuts to a scene of a proto-mosh pit with a badly drawn Santa Claus slam-dancing around with the rest of the people. The announcer follows, "…the slam-dancer."

I remember seeing it back in the mid 80's. Finally, once again, I saw it last night. I think the last time MTV played this commercial was back in the early to mid 90's.

That commercial was the cool sign that Christmas was here. This was back when MTV was cool, hip, and on the edge. (Now MTV's really the definition of what's now and hip. It's really lost it's edge.)

Welcome back Santa the slam-dancer!

By Bert Ehrmann
12/25/2003



Two New Trailers
Two very cool movie trailers have hit the Internet this week.

The First is "Sky Captain and The World Of Tomorrow" which mixes elements from 1930's movie serials along with 21st century computing power to form a very interesting look. Seeing this trailer gave me flashes of "Indiana Jones" (not in story but the idea of the reinventing the classic movie serial for a modern day audience) meets the old 1940's Superman cartoons. Very, very, very cool and exciting!



The second trailer is for M. Night Shyamalan's follow-up to last year's "Signs" titled "The Village." The trailer doesn't give too much away here, other than the fact that a people who's village is surrounded by a woods might also be surrounded by the creatures that inhabit that woods. Expect moving shadows as well as a few good (genuine) scares next year.

(For some reason the trailer for this movie was released yesterday (12/22), pulled, and is supposed to go online tomorrow (12/24.) Be sure to check it out then, it's very good!)

By Bert Ehrmann
12/23/2003




Mo's Return of the King Review
After thinking that I was going to actually see ROTK before the year let out, I embarked this past Sunday with my Lady out into the seething underbelly known as the "EVIL Christmas Shopping Atmosphere" in hopes to actually see the film. After 2 stops, we finally found a theater that had it playing, with barely anyone in attendance. One word would describe the shear undertaking of this film: EPIC. Since the days of such films as "Sparticus" and "The Battle of the Bulge" have I seen such effort put into a film. Special effects were superb, the acting was excellent, and the drama was enough to make you realize that yes indeed, Middle Earth was on the brink of destruction. That being said, a little part of the "Why's?" : WHY didn't Gandalf use some kick ass spells to thwart the bad dudes outside the castle walls? WHY did it always seem like no matter HOW much closer Frodo and Sam got to Mt. Doom, it was STILL 90 damn miles away? WHY did Frodo get stabbed by the spider, when he wears armor that doesnt allow him to be hurt? WHY was there a evil character reminiscent of "Sloth" from the Goonies? My only disappointment was the fact that Saruman won't be seen until the DVD release sometime next year. In fact apparently a LOT of extra footage was dropped from the Theatrical release so they could keep it in a 3 hour sitting. High points of the movie: The Rohan riders, the entire battle sequence outside the city of Minas Tirith (Go Catapults!!), the "Cursed Undead", Gimli and Legolas, and of course that kick ass sword that Aragorn gets half way into the flick. All in all, Return of the King is a movie well worth seeing in the theater. I look forward to the future DVD release to see what else was missed... Lord of the Rings

By Mo Alexander
12/23/2003



Decatur Daily Democrat gets FARKED
I happened to be browsing one of my favorite news/sports/whatever sites today and noticed for the first time that Decatur, Indiana is now officially on the World Wide Web Map of news! Check it out here. FARK!

By Mo Alexander
12/23/2003



The Day After
It's been 20 years since the television movie that freaked out millions of impressionable children (me included) aired. No, I'm not talking about "A-Team: The Missing Years" but "The Day After."

On Nov. 20, 1983, Lawrence endured fallout from the blasts of nuclear missiles that struck neighboring Kansas City. The area was scorched by firestorms, citizens were vaporized, and those lucky enough to survive suffered the slower effects of radiation poisoning.

At least that is what was portrayed in an ABC television movie that became one of the most watched and most controversial events of the decade.

Read the whole story here.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/22/2003



Homicide: Life in The Jury
Good news, Fox is producing a show that's being created by a large chunk of the creative team that brought "Homicide: Life on the Street" to television. This new show is called "The Jury."

From The Futon Critic:
THE JURY (A.K.A. THE CIRCUIT) (FOX) - Shalom Harlow ("How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days") has signed on to star in the drama pilot, which now features the title "The Jury." Harlow will play Melissa Greenfield, an ex-public defender turned private practice defense attorney in the series, which details a circuit court case each week through the eyes of the jury. Barry Levinson, Tom Fontana, Jim Finnerty and James Yoshimura are the executive producers of the 20th Century Fox Television project, which is set to begin production shortly. Levinson will direct the pilot from a script by Fontana and Yoshimura.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/22/2003



Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
I'm not a big fan of the whole "Lord of the Rings" series of movies. I liked the first one but felt a bit letdown by the second movie "The Two Towers." IMHO, movies should be able to stand on their own. Each and every movie should have a beginning, middle, and end no mater what order they come in or how many sequels it's based off of. The Lord of the Rings series of movies are really one great big movie split up over three movies. In fact, The Lord of the Rings more closely resembles a television miniseries rather than the traditional movie series.

If you've never seen the first movie, "The Fellowship of the Ring," then there's no way that you're going to understand the second or third for that matter. I also know that the movies are based off of a series of books but I've never read them as I suspect the majority of people going to see the movie haven't either. I truly believe that you need to have read the books to fully understand the movie(s). I don't think that homework should be a prerequisite for enjoying a movie.

Still, if the second movie was a letdown, the third mostly made up for it. The story was interesting and the visual effects were an A+. Most of the story around the third movie centers on the humans battling for survival and the hobbit's journey around and up Mount Doom to destroy the ring. The battles are awe-inspiring. (There's an ode to the AT-AT battle snuck into the movie if you watch carefully enough.)

The Lord of the Rings movie series isn't great but is worth a watch or two.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/22/2003



Dark Blue
I've been interested in seeing "Dark Blue," out on DVD, for some time now. Ever since I heard that James Ellroy, "L.A. Confidential," wrote the original script for the movie way back when it was titled "The Plague Season." (Isn't the original title loads better than the one they wound up using?) I even bought the script to the movie last year when the movie was supposed to come out last fall.

Dark Blue follows dirty cop Edlon Perry dealing out his own brand of corrupt justice in the days just before the L.A. riots in the early 1990's. The story follows Perry investigating the mass murder of customers inside a convenience store. Perry discovers that there are links with the murders within the police department and that he may be expendable after learning these facts.

The story sounds good. (IMHO, anything written by Ellroy would be good.) However, Ellroy only gets the story credit whereas David Ayer gets the screenplay credit. This means that Ellroy was paid of the story and then everything else was changed after the fact. The basic overall story (Ellroy) is good while the overall product (Avery) is just so-so.

The movie isn't horrible, It's an interesting watch on a Saturday afternoon. The movie wants to be dark and gritty but falls short. Both Kurt Russell, Perry, and Scott "Don't Call Me Felicity" Speedman, his partner, are a bit too good looking to play convincing seasoned detectives. A much more interesting gritty look at police work can be found in last year's "Narc."

Still, bits and pieces of Ellroy shine through at moments in the movie. (Characters use the Ellroy word "Shit-Bird" once or twice.) Any movie that Ellroy's associated with can't be that bad!

By Bert Ehrmann
12/19/2003



Spider-Man 2
Check out the trailer for the upcoming sequel to one of the best comic-book movies ever; "Spider-Man." The trailer looks pretty cool with Doc Ock throwing cars with his robotic arms. It's a lot better than the original teaser for Spider-Man. Though a trailer with a monkey grating cheese would have been more interesting than that!

By Bert Ehrmann
12/18/2003



The Chronicles of Riddick
The trailer for "The Chronicles of Riddick", aka "Pitch Black 2," has hit the net. It has some cool moments but isn't that interesting. (Teaser trailers aren't usually any good. IMHO they aren't a good indicator of the quality of the finial movie. Just look at how bad the first trailer was for the "Spider-Man" movie and how good the finished movie turned out.) The original "Pitch Black" is one of my favorite sci-fi movies of all time.

The movie is described as:
Vin Diesel reprises his star-making Pitch Black role of enigmatic anti-hero Richard B. Riddick in the new science fiction action-adventure epic, The Chronicles of Riddick.

Riddick has spent the last five years on the move among the forgotten worlds on the outskirts of the galaxy, eluding mercenaries bent on collecting the price on his head. Now, the fugitive finds himself on planet Helion, home to a progressive multicultural society that has been invaded by the Lord Marshal, a despot who targets humans for subjugation with his army of warriors known as Necromongers.

Exiled to a subterranean prison where extremes of temperature range from arctic nights to volcanic days, Riddick encounters Kyra, the lone survivor from an earlier chapter in his life. His efforts to free himself and Kyra lead him to the Necromonger command ship, where he is pitted against the Lord Marshal in an apocalyptic battle with possibly the fate of all beings-both living and dead-hanging in the balance.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/17/2003



Dawn of the Dead
"Dawn of the Dead" has a release date. It looks like the remake will stumble and moan into theaters March 19, 2004.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/16/2003



The Last Samurai
"The Last Samurai's" a good movie. It's story doesn't fall into stereotypes and the plot avoids cliches. What I found most interesting about the movie was how I could see how modern day Japan could have evolved from the Samurai belief and the Japanese customs of 125 years ago.

I suppose this is possible because I'm seeing Japan through virtually alien eyes. I've never lived there and only know the country and people through scarce meetings or the media. (Then again maybe I'm only familiar with the stereotypical Japan…)

I found myself wanting to know more about the Samurai belief and the transfer from the "ancient" Japanese ways to the "modern" ones. (And if the facts presented in the movie really were facts.)

Still, The Last Samurai is more than just another "Braveheart" clone. It's a well done movie that deserves accolades.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/15/2003



Homicide: Life on the Street
I've been watching "Homicide: Life on the Street" lately. What got me interested in the show was a marathon running of the creator's most favorite shows of the series on Court TV a few weeks back. I got so interested in the show that I went out and bought the first two seasons on DVD. Now I see that the third season's also out. Ugh, I smell another large purchase in my future.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/10/2003



21 Jump Street: The Next Generation
In a stunning move to develop NEW and INNOVATIVE shows, both Fox and ABC are rehashing tired and old concepts by resurrecting the "21 Jump Street" formula of featuring youth oriented crime. One can only hope for a cast of gorgeous looking cops battling crime. From The Futon Critic:

YOUTH CRIME UNIT (ABC) - Feature writers Tag Mendillo and Ric Roman Waugh have landed a script commitment at the network for a new drama which revolves around a New York undercover police squadron devoted to catching criminals under the age of 25.

HOLLYWOOD DIVISION (FOX) - FOX has given the go-head to Universal Network Television to begin production on a new youth-oriented cop drama pilot. The project revolves around young detectives who infiltrate a Hollywood high school as well as go undercover inside the seedy side of young show business.

The best line from the stories has to be; "…hopes to differentiate itself from the recent uptick in youth cop dramas by not limiting the action to just high school."

That sounds a lot different to me! I'm sure that actor Michael DeLuise will be auditioning for any roles in these new series.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/9/2003




"How my beloved SciFi Series got torn a new Black Hole"
Okay, so I have to give you the shake down of the new BattleStar rendition by SciFi. Does this picture say enough? I dont think so... Okay, aside from the fact that Starbuck and Boomer were replaced by women, this show starts out showing the Cylons (yeah the bad ass toaster ovens) coming to a armistice in the company of a Victoria Secret Model. Say What? Yup, you heard right. They then promptly blow up the station and proceed on their conquest to destroy humanity. Sex sells? You betcha! Meanwhile, the Battlestar Galactica is in for retirement (and mothballs), and enjoying the horrible acting by a cast Helen Kellar must have picked. *Commander Adama, you have upset "Stands with a Fist" by not allowing Networked computers on your Battlestar* Yeah, if that didn't say "Watch out for that Computer Virus coming soon", i dont know what does.. After watching an hour of babble and what I guess SciFi calls "drama", we finally see the Cylons start blowing some stuff up. Only problem is, its the planets you get to see, NOT the other Battlestars (Shame on you SciFi! NO Brownie points here!!) Granted the Nukes were cool though.. At the same time, Galatica's "Viper Squadron" gets attacked by 2 Cylon "stealth" ships (with laser Eyeballs included). Here we see another crappy representation from Scifi. The Cylons' attack craft look like a cross between the Batwing and a Romulan warbird. COME ON!!! LAME!!!!!!!!!! Of course they wipe the floor with the vipers, and proceed on to attack the star liners surrounding the 12 colonies. This is where I finally got tired of the show. Of course, in the original series, they did indeed get suckered (not sold out) by Baltar to the Cylons, and the Cylons promptly kicked ass. However ,after having a WAR with the Cylons 40 years before, then just forgetting about them.. You decide to DISARM?!?!?! HUH?? I dont think humanity is quite that stupid... One good thing about the show: The Mark II Vipers. Very nice, very sleek. Attention to detail was PAID to these bad boys (unlike most of the rest of the show.) The attitude thrusters, and so forth worked out really well. Things I REALLY didnt like: StarBuck, Boomer, the urge to OVER act, the urge to under act, the BLATANT rip off of Seven of Nine from Voyager for the Cylon's "6", the attack on a "weaponless" Battlestar(?), the over dramatised use of "throw in a romance scene here", the f-ing pussy that Colonel Tigh turned out to be, the archaic instrument panels and buttons the vipers and Battlestar had (EVEN IN THE NEW VIPERS TOO!) What did they pull those out of the old show? COME ON! But I Digress, I think the world has enough pain and suffering in the world. Scifi, next time you think about redoing a CLASSIC TV Series, skip it and just send me the money. We will both profit BETTER from it.

By Mo Alexander
12/9/2003



Firefly
Don't forget, tomorrow (12/9) the DVD set containing all episodes for the ill fated series "Firefly" is released. Best of all, three episodes contained on the DVD that were never shown are included in this set!

I still can't believe that Fox canceled this show. I guess the best shows on television don't always survive while creative duds like "Friends" goes on and on like some zombified Energizer-Bunny. Ugh.

If you have any taste you'll run out and pick up a copy of this set.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/8/2003



Battlestar Galactica
I've seen an early screener for the "Battlestar Galactica" mini-series premiering on the Sci Fi channel this Monday (Dec., 8) at 9:00 P.M. I must say that the new version of Battlestar Galactica is good. Very good. Almost too good for words. The best example of sci fi on television in many, many years…

Read the whole review of the series here.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/4/2003



Calvin & Hobbes
Interesting story on the (best-ever) comic-strip "Calvin & Hobbes" and the whereabouts of it's creator Bill Watterson. I've read in places before that he's painting landscapes in oils -- good for him!

Although Calvin & Hobbes was, is, and always will be my favorite comic strip, I can understand why someone would need to back off of life in the rat-race and do something different for a change. I just pray that people realize what Calvin & Hobbes really was rather than the image on the back of so many pickup trucks.

From the article:
But Watterson apparently has no immediate plans to bring Calvin back. In fact, it seems that he has no immediate plans to do much of anything. He lives a quiet life in Chagrin Falls. He paints landscapes with his father in the woods, but produces nothing for those who once embraced his comic strip. He won't do conventions anymore. He won't sign autographs. And he certainly won't sit for interviews. (He cleared Salem to answer questions for this article, but refused to do so himself.) He is content simply being Ohio's most famous recluse, our own J.D. Salinger.

The pressure on Watterson must have been enormous, but he steadfastly refused to sell out, even a little bit. "I look at cartoons as an art, as a form of personal expression. That's why I don't hire assistants . . . and why I refuse to dilute or corrupt the strip's message with merchandising," he said in his Festival of Cartoon Art speech. "Characters lose their believability as they start endorsing major companies and lend their faces to bedsheets and boxer shorts."

An industry source who wishes to remain anonymous says Watterson paints oil-on-canvas landscapes, but sets fire to each as soon as it's finished. Supposedly, he was told that the first 500 paintings an artist creates are just practice.

Some say he's finished, burned out, washed up. Others think that he might just be waiting for the perfect opportunity -- that maybe, when he's not painting landscapes of Ohio with his father, he's working on a strip again.


By Bert Ehrmann
12/3/2003



Traffic: The Mini-Series
Information about the mini-series spun-off of my one of my favorite movies; “Traffic.” The series starts late January 2004.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/2/2003



The Alien Quadrilogy
The immense boxed set including all three films from the "Alien" franchise each in a theatrical and extended versions as well as over 50 hours of additional material from the films has been released today. (That's a lot of stuff. It makes an "Alien" fan like myself drool.)

Forget about "The Pirates of the Caribbean" on DVD, pick up this set instead!

By Bert Ehrmann
12/2/2003



Cop Shows
Would someone please pass this information along to those in charge on new television shows on the various networks; the traditional cop show is now dead. I think this point is proven when it turns out that Fox is working on a new show that's different in that it "show(s) the end of a case first, then working backward to show events leading up to it."

All that Fox can come up with is to spin the show around, showing it end to first "Memento" style!? What's next, a hospital show that focuses on the patients right up to the moment that they enter the hospital?

By Bert Ehrmann
12/1/2003



Alien
I had forgotten how good the movie "Alien" (1979) was. Not that I had any doubt in my mind that it wasn't a fine movie. Just that it was a good movie that kicked off a great franchise. I can't tell you how long the movie "Aliens", second in the franchise, was my favorite or how many of the comic books spun off of the Alien concept that I bought and still own. (I think while I was in high school I even tried coming up with an Alien comic of my own. Unfortunately the concept must have been too advanced for the time since the idea went nowhere.)

I remember first seeing Alien when I was a wee lad on network TV as the Sunday movie of the week. (Sunday movies of the week made it tolerable that the next day you'd have to return to the boredom that was school.) I must had seen it before on television since my mom told me "remember, you like that one." This was probably 1983 or '84 a few years before the sequel hit theaters. As an eight or nine year old I remember liking the scenes of the alien but getting lost in the middle parts when the alien was absent.

I'd guess that I've probably seen the original movie at least ten times in my life. Whenever it would come on TV I'd be sure to watch it. At one point, I taped the movie off of the "A&E" channel late one night on VHS and finally got a real copy of it a year or two later for Christmas.

Luckily for me I've had the chance to relive my childhood as the movie was recently re-released into theaters as a revised "director's cut" a few weeks back. The movie's finally found it's way into my town almost a month after it's initial release. It was neat to see the movie, finally, on the big screen free from the tyranny that is the small television screen. I can finally agree with people who say that some movies just work better at this larger format.

As a "mature" adult, I have to say that "Alien" is a very fine movie. Those transitions that lost me as a kid really hit home as a "grown-up" now that I know what I'm watching. Hell, some of those scenes scared the socks off me watching them now and I KNOW what's going to happen.

The movie has a sort of quiet terror, the sound track filled with little more than heartbeats from time to time. We know that the characters are in danger. THEY know that they are in danger. But they're stuck on this ship and there's nothing much that they can do about it.

What's hard to imagine is what is was like to have seen the movie when it was first released WITHOUT knowing how it turns out in the end. Once you know that Ripley appears in each and every sequel, for better or worse, it kind'a takes all the fun out of the movie. You know she doesn't die so there's no worry with her.

Still, I was surprised as how the director Ridley Scott (Ridley - Ripley. They're only one letter apart) played with Hollywood conventions tricking the viewer into believing one thing's going to happen when really something else is lurking around the corner. There's one scene where Ripley's separated herself from the group in search of the ship's cat. In any other movie she'd be the one picked off since she's all by herself. Instead the alien attacks the group. Leaving Ripley to hear it all over the radio.

I only spotted one new scene in the movie and didn't think it detracted from the overall effect of the movie. In fact it added to some of the horror. One of the new scenes shows that there can be worse things than being killed by the alien.

All in all Alien is a GREAT movie. It's more than just the start of a franchise. It's a practically a perfect movie all by itself. I can't imagine the reaction of the audience sitting in the theater and seeing this movie for the first time. It must have been magic. A horrible sort of bloody oozing magic, but magic none-the-less!

By Bert Ehrmann
11/29/2003



Deep Impact Actor
A pretty interesting first person take as to what is was like to be on the set of the movie "Deep Impact" (1998) from actor John Ducey. The scene that John's in is something like three or four minutes in length on screen and TOOK FOUR DAYS TO SHOOT! I know why movies take so long to make – one minute of screen time can take a whole heck of a lot of time to shoot.

(Did I mention that I really like the movie Deep Impact? In the past I built a fan-site around the movie that's lost to all but me. I remember that the trailer for the movie was one of the first that was available for download on the net studio approved. I think I may still have that trailer somewhere on an old CD archive. At the time it was a large download for the trailer weighing in at something like ten megs in size!)

By Bert Ehrmann
11/26/2003



Hellboy
The long awaited trailer for the comic book turned movie, "Hellboy", has hit the net in (finally) Quicktime format. The trailer's not horrible, but it's not the best I've ever seen either. It doesn't make me want to jump up and go see the movie; the ultimate goal of all movie trailers. Still, it's a whole heck of a lot better than the first "Spider-Man" trailer and look how good that movie turned out.

See the trailer for yourself.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/25/2003



Gothika (or) We See Dead People Too
"Gothika" is what happens when a writer gets a good idea for a sequel to a hit movie, in this case "The Sixth Sense", but can't get the rights to make that sequel themselves. Instead of making this sequel they instead change the characters a bit, no one wants to get sued, and then makes a new movie.

Gothika is The Sixth Sense 2 in that the character Halle Berry plays could be that of Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense only set a few years in the future. (If you've seen the movie tell me if I'm wrong.) Halle plays a psychiatrist (wouldn't it make sense that the Haley Joel character would become a psychiatrist after seeing a dead one as a kid?) who "sees dead people" after experiencing an car accident. She wakes up in her own mental institution a few days later unable to remember her murdering her husband but is haunted by this dead woman's spirit. (Again, the Sixth Sense 2.)

The movie has several plot holes that a truck could be driven through. The ghost girl that Halle sees attacks her at every turn; throwing her around in a cell and slashing her arm with a razor. But oddly enough that ghost IS LOOKING FOR HELP FROM HALLE!? How does that make sense? You attack the only one who can see you? The only one who can provide any assistance at all?

There's also a whole bit where another character finds his way into an inmate's cell when there's no real way that this character could EVER get into the mental institution unnoticed let alone into a locked and secured cell.

I can see why Gothika never became The Sixth Sense 2. (Or "SS2" in our movie culture of naming everything with acronyms; "X2", "LXG", "LOTR"...) It's not a strong movie. There's a few "boo" scares in Gothika but that's about it. Gothika is a definite must-miss.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/24/2003



By Bert Ehrmann
11/21/2003



Scrubs
A happy family in the works!?

By Bert Ehrmann
11/20/2003



DVDs
I was trying to figure out the reasoning behind the pricing of DVD sets these days. What I mean specifically is the price discrepancy between the first season of a DVD set and a second. For example; the first season of "Coupling" is priced at something like $25 retail. The second is $35. The series "Homicide: Life on the Street's" first two seasons come together in one set and retail for $70. The third season comes alone but costs $100.

On the surface it looks like the sets are designed to lure customers in with a lower price, hook them, and then charge more for further viewings.

Then I looked at the episode counts.

The first season of Coupling had six episodes, the second nine. That means that on the first DVD set you're paying something like $4.10 per episode while you're paying $3.88 per episode on the second. The same goes for Homicide: Life on the Street. It's $5.38 per episode for the first and $5 for the second. (And if you can find the DVDs on sale you're paying even less.)

It's nice to know that once in my life I'm NOT being ripped off.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/20/2003



I Am Legend
Back in the early 1990's there was a comic book published based on the book "I Am Legend." At the end of this month IDW Publishing is planning on re-releasing the series collected in new hardcover form. Cool!

Richard Matheson's classic novel of fear and vampirism - the tale of the last human on an Earth overrun by the undead - returns to graphic novel format in a single volume collection of four long out-of-print books. Steve Niles, the hottest horror writer in contemporary comics, adapts Matheson's brilliant book with chilling art by Elman Brown.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/19/2003



Dr. Who
Interesting stuff on the goings on with 'Dr. Who.' From BBC:

Buffy man tops 'next Dr Who' poll
Anthony Head, Giles in Buffy: Could he be the next Doctor?

Buffy star Anthony Head has said he is "flattered" to be voted as favourite to play the next Dr Who in a Radio Times readers' poll.

Head, who played Giles in the cult US TV hit Buffy the Vampire Slayer, beat actor Alan Rickman into second place.

Comic stars Stephen Fry and Alan Davies were in third and fourth place, with actor Ian Richardson in fifth.

Hit BBC sci-fi series Dr Who is coming back to TV after a 14-year absence and is in the early stages of development.

Head told the Radio Times: "I'm in very good company - good God, I beat Alan Rickman."

"I suppose I would be a logical choice to play the Doctor just because Giles, my character in Buffy, has the same light and dark sides and quirkiness as Doctor Who," he added.

"My own favourite was Patrick Troughton because you never knew what was going on inside his Doctor," he said.

No clues as to who will play the latest incarnation of the Doctor have been given.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/18/2003



Blood Shot
I recently had the opportunity to watch the short film 'Blood Shot.' Blood Shot deals with a vampire working for the CIA sent on a mission to rid a city of a terrorist cell. Unfortunately for the vampire, a cop's on his trail unaware that the vampire's really working for the greater good.

Blood Shot wants to be 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' meets 'Heat Vision and Jack.' There are some geniuinely funny jokes in the show; like the terrorist's various costumes one more humorous than the next reminding me of the movie 'Airplane,' or the vampire deciding on how best to take out the terrorists by the flip of a coin. "Heads, I like heads."

However, Blood Shot's just a little too extreme. In what should be a bit goofy is presented in a sometimes too serious manner. I think the idea of the show is very strong, the idea of a vampire working for the government. But sometimes the show takes some pretty unique angles. One moment it's like we're watching the 'X-Files.' The next it's like Buffy.

Either way the creators decide to take this show it seems to me that the show will work. They just need to decide on which way to take it – comedy or drama.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/17/2003



The Apocalypse
The best line in the history of man;"… a physicist and a nun…racing against the clock to see if the apocalypse can be averted." Did the Monty Python write this!? Sounds like GOLD to me! From Sci Fi.com.

NBC Readies Apocalypse Series

NBC is partnering with writer David Seltzer (The Omen) and producer Gavin Polone to develop a six-to-eight-hour limited series based on the apocalypse as foretold in the Book of Revelation, Variety reported. NBC hopes to roll out the series right after its broadcast of the Athens Olympics in late August, airing an hour a week as an event designed to create momentum for the fall season, the trade paper reported.

Set just before the start of Armageddon, the series will follow two central characters, a physicist and a nun, who are racing against the clock to see if the apocalypse can be averted. It's possible the limited series could include an Antichrist character, sources told the trade paper. The series is as yet untitled.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/13/2003



Alive
The movie 'Alive' comes out today (11/11) on DVD. I usually wouldn't mention it since the movie blows. One thing caught my eye while looking at the DVD cover is that it's the "30th Anniversary Edition." 30th Anniversary!? The movie only came out ten years ago. Why isn't it the "10th Anniversary Edition?"

I figured that it was the 30th anniversary of the real events that inspired the movie. No dice. Those events happened back in 1972, 31 years ago.

I'm sure it's the 30th anniversary of something for the movie Alive, I'm just not sure what.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/11/2003



The Matrix
Something's been lost in 'The Matrix' series of movies. The first was interesting, innovative, and exciting. The second and now third was none of these. Watching the third movie, my major complaints were; all the characters speech patterns were exactly alike – no one had their own voice. The computer program Matrix must really be dumb – why else when they attacked Zion wouldn't they shower the city with bombs first before attacking? (Did anyone else notice that the machines didn't possess any weapons other than those used in hand to hand combat?) Finally, I never got the sense that there was anyone in the Matrix other than the resistance and the machines. It seemed to me that the film-makers glossed over perhaps the most interesting story of all – what happens when billions of people suddenly become aware that their whole lives have been a sham and that they're really living batteries for some computer? (Where were these people during the movie? We don't see them at all in the third installment.)

Thinking about the set of movies what really happened was there was the first Matrix and then a second story, told over two movies, that lasted four hours. If you sit and think about it for a while, we've only been exposed to two stories from The Matrix excluding the comic books. Hell, even with Star Wars there was three movie stories, dozens of television shows (cartoon and live action), and a multitude of books and magazines.

We haven't even really begun to explore The Matrix and I've already lost interest in it.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/10/2003



Alien
I'll be buying this. Drool. From IMDB:

Today's (11/3) USA Today is reporting that (the movie 'Alien') will be included in an enormous nine-DVD "Alien Quadrilogy" box set to be released on Dec. 2 that will retail for $99.98. The set will include some 45 hours of previously unseen material, the newspaper said.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/5/2003



Tenacious D
Proving once again that 'Tenacious D' is the funniest duo on the planet. From Yahoo:

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the members of Tenacious D announced Monday that they would begin a 45-day hunger strike at 5 p.m.

In a satirical move to promote the DVD "The Complete Masterworks," due Tuesday via Epic, members Jack Black (news) and Kyle Gass said they will climb into a seven-foot by three-foot by seven-foot glass box 50 yards above Times Square at the intersection of 45th Street and Broadway, where they will remain for the length of the strike.

Actor/singer/guitarist Black said the strike would end early one three conditions: if "The Complete Masterworks" goes platinum, if "hunger is solved" or if there is peace in Middle East.

The duo made the announcement dressed in silver and white superhero costumes, with the letter "D" covering their barrel-shaped chests, white gloves on their hands and white capes tied around their necks. In addition to water and one red cell phone, Black quipped that they would bring one guitar into the glass box with them. "If we need extra nourishment, we will live off each others' rock."

When the pair was asked the longest duration either had gone without sustenance, Gass replied that one time he had gone eight hours between meals. Black said that once he slept for 12 hours, effectively spending 13 hours in-between meals. "It's gonna test our will, but I feel confident we're gonna make it," said Gass.

After the hunger strike, Black said the group will continue working on the long-awaited Tenacious D movie, "Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny."

By Bert Ehrmann
11/4/2003



Alien
I was all jazzed to see the movie 'Alien' on the big-screen at my local cineplex. No dice. It appears as if you don't live in a really big city then you're theater's not going to get a print of the movie. Lucky me. Ugh.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/3/2003



Aliens vs Predator
Very cool trailer/mini-documentary on the upcoming movie 'Aliens vs Predator'. The only cons are that the same guy who directed such stinkers as 'Soldier' and 'Event Horizon' will be directing. Plus THE MOVIE DOESN'T COME OUT UNTIL AUGUST OF 2004! The trailer doesn't feature any footage from the movie but has some nice cuts of people in the costumes as well as re-used footage from the first 'Predator' movie.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/31/2003



By Bert Ehrmann
10/29/2003



Alien
The movie that spawned a thousand imitators, 'Alien,' is being re-released into selected cinemas this Friday (10/31). Though I can't say that I agree with some of the additions being made by the director Ridley Scott into the movie, still I see this re-release as something that all movie fans, especially ones who like the Alien genera, must see.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/28/2003



Texas Chainsaw Massacare
I am ashamed to admit that I sat through a screening of 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (2003) the other night. It has to be one of the worst movies to come out in a long time. There is virtually no plot and there is a seemingly endless chase between Leatherface and Jessica Beil.
Here is the entire movie condensed;

Several teens run across a lone girl walking along the road. The offer assistance but she kills herself before they can offer aid. When the sheriff is called things fall apart. The teens disappear and are terrorized by various sharp instruments and a chainsaw. (Plus the little boy from the film 'The Ring' who has found a nitch playing freaky little boys in horror movies shows up with really huge teeth.) Then...

Run chase run. Chainsaw scream run. Run run chainsaw. Get stuck in basement kill legless friend. Run Run chainsaw scream. Rescue other friend. Run run run. Hide. Rats. Chainsaw scream dead friend. Run scream run. Chainsaw slaughterhouse, hide. Hide get wet run. Hide cut off Leatherface's arm run. Flag down semi driver hide. Rescue baby hot-wire car rundown sheriff. One last scare with armless Leatherface.

Then (thank God) the end. But not soon enough to not leave any lasting marks.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/27/2003



The Office
Americanizing the most-excellent Brit-Com 'The Office' just won't work. The Office is the most funny show on television at the moment hands down. Those laughs heard around the country Sunday nights are because season two of the shote is currently airing on BBC America that night.

The last sitcom that was successfully transferred from the UK to the USA was 'All in the Family' some thirty plus years ago. The last sitcom that tried to jump the pond, 'Coupling,' is seemingly on it's deathbed. From The Observer via TVtattle:

Ben Silverman, the Universal TV producer who was assigned to turn the British import Coupling into an American show for NBC, may have the toughest job in TV right now: He has to turn the other BBC America hit, The Office, into a successful American show for NBC. As NYTV sees it, Mr. Silverman has one great big challenge: finding an American Ricky Gervais, the driving force behind the British version, who writes and directs the show and plays the central character, David Brent. You need a Christopher Guest or a Eugene Levy—someone with an edge, who can be funny and mean, and who can improvise. So who does Mr. Silverman have in mind for the gig?

"Philip Seymour Hoffman or Paul Giamatti," he said. "They’re not really so famous they’d get stopped in the supermarket. Robin Williams, you couldn’t do. That whole Paul Thomas Anderson school of actors—John C. Reilly. A huge American comic would throw off the chemistry."
Sounds interesting—if they’d actually do it.

"I think it would be fantastic," he said. "Absolutely three actors that we love who we think could do it. They’re funny and sympathetic and can also be kind of obnoxious. This character, he’s kind of like Archie Bunker, which was a British adaptation also."

By Bert Ehrmann
10/23/2003



Global Frequency
According to the Sci Fi Channel, "Global Frequency," perhaps the best comic being produced to date, is being turned into a television show. However, the fact that Mark Burnett's aka "lowest-common-denominator" is attached to this project makes me cringe a bit.

WB Buys Frequency

Producer Mark Burnett (Survivor) has sold The WB a pilot script for Global Frequency, an hourlong superhero show based on the DC Comics series by Warren Ellis, Variety reported. Frequency deals with a shadowy figure named Miranda Zero who starts a top-secret worldwide independent defense intelligence organization, the trade paper reported.

John Rogers (The Core) has been tapped to write Global Frequency.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/22/2003



The Undead
I almost picked up a copy of "Day of the Dead" last week after seeing the trailer to "Dawn of the Dead." Day… really freaked me out the last time I saw it EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO! Then I remembered that "28 Days Later" hits DVD shelves today (10/21) and decided that two zombie holocaust movies in one week might be one too many.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/21/2003



Desktop Accessories
New desktop background – SolarWind2.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/20/2003




Itunes Released for Mac and PC
I took the liberty of checking out the new music software that Apple has out, and its pretty darn good. Purchasing songs is 99 cents a pop, but well worth it to be legit. Check it out here. Itunes

By Mo Alexander
10/20/2003



Dawn of the Dead
See the teaser trailer to the upcoming movie "Dawn of the Dead." Some may say that running zombies just aren't scary. I say take a look at this trailer and form a new opinion!



See the trailer for yourself here.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/17/2003



Scrubs
Interesting to note that tonight's episode of Scrubs will be a repeat. (Yes, I realize that there's only been three new episodes this season but in NBC's ultimate wisdom they've decided to pull the show tonight.) Apparently NBC is pulling new episodes of all their shows that are airing opposite to Baseball tonight on Fox.

Doesn't NBC realize that not everyone's going to watch baseball tonight?

By Bert Ehrmann
10/16/2003



Christopher McQuarrie
It looks like my favorite screenwriter's ("The Usual Suspects," "The Way of the Gun") going to be writing for television.

From The Futon Critic:
THE MIDDLEMAN (ABC, New!) - Oscar-winning writer Chris McQuarrie ("The Usual Suspects") has landed a premium script commitment at ABC for a new drama about a man who straddles the line between good and evil. The project, which has a substantial penalty attached should it not go to pilot, is described a 21st century take on "The Equalizer" in which the lead is viewed as a crook by the cops and a cop by the crooks. McQuarrie and wife Heather will executive produce the series with Oscar-nominated producer Matthew Gross for Touchstone Television.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/15/2003



Dawn of the Dead
Slowly, little by little, the "Dawn of the Dead" remake is looking more and more cool. The synopsis of the movie reads:

As the United States is turned upside-down by a strange plague-like event in which millions of corpses walk the earth as blood-thirsty zombies, a small group of survivors of the onslaught, which include a nurse (Sarah Polley) and a police officer (Ving Rhames), try to find shelter and protection within a massive shopping mall in the mid-sized city of Everett, WA. What they don't reckon on is that the zombies still have some sort of residual memory, and *everyone* loves going to the mall, right? Realizing that their time is running out, they decide to make another attempt at flight, to a presumably un-zombie-infested island, but to do so, they'll have to get past thousands of zombies in-between…

See photos from the set of the movie here.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/14/2003



A Billion
Adapted from the Urban Legends Reference Pages.

This is pretty interesting attempt that someone did to put the number billion into perspective:

A billion seconds ago it was 1972.

A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

A billion dollars ago was only 4 hours and 10 minutes, at the rate Washington spends it.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/13/2003



Kill Bill
The movie "Kill Bill" is great. It's pure Quentin Tarantino; cursing, violence, story… Nothing about this movie was bad.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/13/2003



Scrubs
On this weeks Scrubs when Carla (Judy Reyes) and Turk (Donald Faison) set the date for the wedding, JD (Zach Braff) realizes this is the end of an era in their friendship, but his efforts to celebrate this milestone are rebuffed by Turk. Elliot (Sarah Chalke) is determined to win back her old boyfriend Sean (guest star Scott Foley, "Felicity"), but is again faced with tough choices between a relationship and her career.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/9/2003



Desktop Accessories
I've added a new desktop background to the site; SolarWind.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/8/2003



Forever War
It looks like the cover art for the book "The Forever War" has changed from the clock/galaxy design to the face of a soldier. Pretty cool if you ask me.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/7/2003



The Office
For those who love the Brit-Com "The Office," including me, this week is truly great. For starters the entire first season comes out on DVD tomorrow (10/7) with extras such as an Exclusive documentary, "How I Made The Office, " Deleted scenes, Wernham Hogg News, Slough slang glossary and Wernham Hogg personnel file. Best of all NEW episodes start airing on BBC America this Sunday (10/12.)

Relax and take in that foul smelling David Brent air and enjoy!

By Bert Ehrmann
10/6/2003



Coupling
Last night's "Coupling" was a measly 19 minutes in length, 19 minutes. I've seen health class films that were longer than 19 minutes. What's the deal with NBC placing 11 minutes of commercials into every half hour of their television shows? Do they really think that people like watching more commercials?

I harp because an entire joke/storyline that was featured in the original, and superior, British Coupling about what happens when people's fantasy dates get together in real life, was cut from the American version. Gone, disappeared, nada.

When I watch "The Sopranos" on HBO I see an hour long show and I watch K-Street on HBO I see a half-hour long show as advertised. I guess you get what you pay for.

Coupling on NBC seems to be commercials interspersed with story. That doesn't seem to be the way to keep people with a show. That seems to be the way to kill a show.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/3/2003



Scrubs
Season three of the best-damn-show-on-network-tv aka "Scrubs" airs tonight on NBC. I can't recommend this series enough. It is one of the few network sitcoms that I watch. NBC describes the first show as;

A run in with her old flame Sean (guest star Scott Foley) and an accident in her new car leads Elliot (Sarah Chalke) to the realization that nothing good has happened to her in the three years that she has been at Sacred Heart, driving her to take drastic measures, including a complete makeover, both inside and out in an attempt to change her luck. Meanwhile, JD (Zach Braff) gets stuck with a patient whose diagnosis he can't quite pin down and when Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) denies him any assistance, he looks to Carla (Judy Reyes) and Turk (Donald Faison) to help him out. While Dr. Cox is busy not helping J.D., he takes the time to make amends with Dr. Kelso (Ken Jenkins). Neil Flynn also stars.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/2/2003




"Halo - Combat Evolved"
Finally released for the PC (Sorry all you Mac fans... not this time!) Even though its a Microsoft product, i'll still be picking it up. Check it out here Halo

By Mo Alexander
10/2/2003



Equilibrium - DVD Review
I told Bert and Jay to check out this DVD with Christian Bale and Taye Diggs a while ago. Wonder if they paid attention yet?? *In a futuristic world, a strict regime has eliminated war by suppressing emotions: books, art and music are strictly forbidden and feeling is a crime punishable by death. Cleric John Preston (Bale) is a top-ranking government agent responsible for destroying those who resist these rules. When he misses a dose of Prozium, a mind-alterering drug that hinders emotion, Preston, who has been trained to enforce the strict laws of the new regime, suddenly becomes the only person capable of overthrowing it.* At first I was hesitant at seeing it.. now that I've been shown the light, I'll never stop watching it.. Check out the trailer here!Equilibrium

By Mo Alexander
10/2/2003



Night of the Living Dead
The movie "Night of the Living" dead was released 35 years ago today. The modern zombie is 35 years old!

By Bert Ehrmann
10/1/2003



BattleStar Galactica Trailer
I just checked out the new teaser trailer up on Sci-Fi's remake of Battle Star Galactica. I'll probably still wind up watching it, however, after seeing some of the trailer.. my already dwindled hopes for a promising mini-series have dwindled even further...(Lousy Budgets!!!!!!) Its almost like Sci-Fi picked up these "series" just to make em worse!! Check out Battlestar Galactica
for the trailer.

By Mo Alexander
9/30/2003



Cold Creek Manor and Buffalo Soldiers
I saw two movies over the weekend. One great and one not so great.

The not so great movie was "Cold Creek Manor" (or, proving once again that it's dangerous to trust country locals.) It's one of those movies that takes up two hours of your time and doesn't deliver anything in the end. The main problems with this movie is; the story's not very good, the actors in it don't deliver any sort of believable performances, and nothing much happens during most of the movie. Most of the two hours that this movie takes up is filled with a family moving into their new home and the previous home's owner signing on to help out with the reconstruction. (And I thought this movie was supposed to be suspenseful.) If you must see the movie the one bit that's any good is a hilarious over acting scene from all the performers when snakes invade the home, you'll laugh at one time bad-boy Dennis Quaid screaming like a little girl and Sharon Stone yelling like a gay man at the snakes.

The great movie was "Buffalo Soldiers." You've probably never heard about this movie since it was released in something like six theaters before lighting a firestorm of controversy. The basic premise here is that the ills that plague the rest of society; drugs, gangs, and murder to name a few, might also plague the United States Army. The storytellers ask some very valid questions about our ideas of what it means to be in the armed forces. I may never look at an army base in the same way. The movie was due to be released just before 9/11 but was shelved because it wasn't pro-milatary. (I don't think the movie's anti-military but in these sensitive "don't ask questions" time that we live in, anything that isn't for the military is against it.)

Joaquin Phoenix delivers one heck of a performance as an drug dealer/arms broker operating on an American base located in Germany during the closing act of the Cold War. The movie, in the vein of 1999's "Election", follows Phoenix as he tells us that "If war is hell then peace is boring."

I can't recommend Buffalo Soldiers enough. It's a shame that this movie didn't get a chance to do better at the box office and it would be a greater shame if it isn't released on DVD. I suspect that this movie will earn a well deserved cult following but really earned an Oscar nomination.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/29/2003



Firefly
Thank the lord! According to DVDAnswers, via Dark Horizons, the "Firefly" DVD will hit store shelves December 9th. Talk about an early Christmas present! The four disk set is expected to run around $50. Check out the link to DVDAnswers for an image of the set.

Firefly (DVD) : Fox Television have now released all of the details on the upcoming home DVD version of the short-lived "Firefly" sci-fi series from "Buffy" creator Joss Whedon. The package is four discs and here's the official list of contents, courtesy of DVD Answers : 4:3 Fullframe Presentations, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Tracks, Commentary for Eight Episodes, "Here's How It Was" Featurette, "Serenity: Tenth Character" Feature, Joss' Tour of the Set Feature, Alan Tudyk's Audition, Joss Sings the Firefly Theme, Deleted Scenes & Gag Reel, Adam Baldwin Sings "Hero of Canton" Easter Egg. The disc is set for release in the US on December 9th, 2003.

Dangerous Universe has covered Firefly before and was saddened to learn of the show's demise. Perhaps this DVD release will make the loss a bit easier to take!

By Bert Ehrmann
9/25/2003



The Emmys
Is "The West Wing" Really better than "The Sopranos" since it has never lost an Emmy for the best dramatic series and The Sopranos has never won? Let that sink in; The Sopranos HAS NEVER WON AN EMMY FOR BEST DRAMATIC SERIES. The show that people will still be talking about in twenty years time has yet to get it's due.

It's too bad really. Maybe it's an age thing. No one I know watches or discusses The West Wing. Everyone I know watches and discusses The Sopranos.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/22/2003



History
To go along with the launch of the new design to Dangerous Universe, I've written a history piece about the site.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/22/2003



28 Days Later
The extremely good "28 Days Later" is released on DVD October, 21st just in time for Halloween. Extras include; 3 alternate endings, Deleted/extended scenes, "Pure Rage: The Making of 28 Days Later," Music video, and Animated storyboards.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/17/2003



Matchstick Men
I can't say that I've met too many Ridley Scott film's that I liked. I know that I should like some of his films like "Blade Runner" and "Alien" since they are all considered "classics" by just about every other film critic out there. But I've never been able to get into them. The same goes for the more recent "Gladiator." I just didn't like it all that much.

However, after seeing "Matchstick Men" I must say that I've fiunally a Scott film that I enjoy. I enjoyed it very much so. A whole heck of a lot. In fact, Matchstick Men is the best movie I've seen in quite some time.

Matchstick Men followes a phobic ridden con "artist", Nicolas Cage, on the eve of a huge con when he discovers that his fourteen year old daughter wants to meet him. It sounds, and is, complicated. But the movie starts out good and keeps up the pace the whole way throughout. That was the biggest surprise – the movie at no point let me down.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/15/2003



By Bert Ehrmann
9/12/2003



L.A. Confidential Pilot
Trio is airing unsold pilots this month. One of these pilots is for a television version to the book/movie "L.A. Confidential."

The plot of this pilot is more book centric than movie. It starts off with Jack Vincennes, Kiefer Sutherland, shooting and killing an innocent bystander during a drug bust. He then sets up this bystander to make it seem that he shot at Vincennes so that Jack can keep his job. We then jump a few years into the future where he's been demoted from Narc to Vice and is racked with guilt over the shooting and is discretely funneling money to the dead man's family.

Sutherland's portrayal of Vincennes is what he would eventuall use for the Jack Bauer character on 24. The two acting styles are virtually indistinguishable.

L.A. Confidential the series would have been is Jack Vincennes centric. We catch glimpses of patrolman Bud White and his first meeting with Dudley Smith, a movie starlet hopeful Lynn Brackin arriving from Arizona meeting Pearce Patchett at a party, and of E.J. Exley being disliked by the other police officers as a sort of "policeman policing policeman." These characters, while not minor in nature, are on the sides of this pilot episode.

We see this seedy side of L.A. but also the glitz when Exley is called out to Marilyn Monroe's mansion when someone tries to blackmail her with a porn movie she did years ago.

The main story is of Vincennes trying to get back into Narc by tracking a deadly strain of Chinese heroin. All the while being trailed by Sid Hudgens who is amassing a blackmail file on him. Sid knows about the previous shooting and wants to use Jack to make big busts that will be featured in his paper.

Jack tracks the herion from a dead prostitute to Patchett's party. At the party, Brackin meets Bud White, who's at the party as a bouncer, for the first time.


All in all this first story was very satisfying. My only complaint was of the actor who played Bud White who was not nearly hulking or dangerous enough for my taste. He plays the White character as someone damaged by his past but also just "one of the guys" on the force. In fact, the only time we see his inner rage is when he's beating up a suspect, C. Thomas Howell in a hilarious "you'll never get me copper" cameo. He plays the role more along the lines of "damaged goods" rather than of a man on a knife-edge.

The only other bit I disliked was of the Hudgens narration. It shifted around in focus and was annoying stating things that were plainly obvious on screen. Most of the narration was not needed.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/3/2003



What has happened to Sci Fi?
Sci Fi on television has fallen into three categories of late:

1) Re-Runs of "Star Trek" on TNN, errrrr, I mean SpikeTV*.
2) "Andromeda" and Andromeda type shows in syndication. (And Andromeda is no good.)
3) The Sci-Fi Channel which doesn't produce much original series anymore and has an annoying tendency of showing non sci-fi themed shows of late.

What a sad state of affairs!

*What ever happened to "Deep Space Nine" on SpikeTV? I know they have the broadcast rights to all three of the new series, but they keep showing episodes of "The Next Generation" again, and again, and again. I want Captain Sisco back!

By Bert Ehrmann
9/2/2003



Batmobile
Swear to God, the 1960's version of the Batmobile was parked on a trailer right next to my apartment this morning. I guess it helps living ten miles from the worlds largest car auction!

By Bert Ehrmann
8/28/2003



Star Wars News
"News from the set of Episode III*
By Michael Summers

Title, Further Details Revealed

August 28, 2003 - Producer Rick McCallum has revealed more details about the upcoming Star Wars prequel, including the title! The third (and final) installment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy will be called "Ani the Sith."

McCallum also mentioned a few more details about the much-talked about birthing scene. "Lucas is going for extreme realism," McCallum said. "It's more like something you'd expect to see on ER than a Star Wars film. But there's some humor during the scene, too."

McCallum confirmed that Chewbacca plays midwife to Padme, with a little help from another series stalwart: "R2 cuts the umbilical cord with one of his gizmos. It's a very touching scene."

When asked about rumors that Padme dies during childbirth, McCallum shrugs. "It seems to me that a civilization that has perfected robotics, laser technology, cloning, and the anti-gravity device would have found a way to prevent women dying during childbirth, but a plot point is a plot point. Whaddaya gonna do?"

* Of course, this is NOT true.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/27/2003



Mars
Over the next few nights the planet Mars will be closer to the Earth than it has been in some 60,000 years. To put this date into perspective, the last time Mars was this close to the Earth our Cave-Man ancestors were doing battle with Neanderthals and Wooly Mammoths.

To spot Mars just look for the brightest "star" in the east around 10:00 p.m. That "star" is really the planet Mars.

The above graphic really looks like what I see when I look at Mars in my telescope. It was stolen with great glee from the really neat Howard C. Anderson's Mars page. You can also check out the Sky and Telescope page on Mars for even more information.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/26/2003



HBO
Both "The Wire" and "Project Greenlight" ended last night. I'm not sure what I'll be spending my nights watching until mid-September when "K-Street" and "Carnival" start airing. Maybe I'll go back to "Malcolm in the Middle" and "The Simpsons" for a while.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/25/2003



The Forever War
Back in the early 1980's the book "The Forever War" was almost turned into a four part mini-series for PBS. Some of the concept art from this proposed series has turned up online and Dangerous Universe has it. It's too cool for words.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/21/2003



2003 "Blockbuster" Movies
A pretty interesting article about this summer's "blockbusters" not being able to hold onto that title for very long. Basically, in the Internet age people are able to more quickly warn their friends when a movie blows. From Independent:

In Hollywood, 2003 is rapidly becoming known as the year of the failed blockbuster, and the industry now thinks it knows why.

No, the executives are not blaming such bombs as The Hulk, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle or Gigli on poor quality, lack of originality, or general failure to entertain. There's absolutely nothing new about that.

The problem, they say, is teenagers who instant message their friends with their verdict on new films - sometimes while they are still in the cinema watching - and so scuppering carefully crafted marketing campaigns designed to lure audiences out to a big movie on its opening weekend.

"In the old days, there used to be a term, 'buying your gross,' " Rick Sands, chief operating officer at Miramax, told the Los Angeles Times. "You could buy your gross for the weekend and overcome bad word of mouth, because it took time to filter out into the general audience."

But those days are over, because the technology of hand-held text-message devices has drastically cut down the time it takes for movie-goers to tell their friends that a heavily promoted summer action movie is a waste of time and money.

Five years ago, when summer movies were arguably just as bad as they are now, the average audience drop-off between a film's opening weekend and its second weekend was 40 per cent. This summer, it has been 51 per cent. In some cases, the drop-off has started between the film's opening on a Friday night and the main screenings on Saturday. The upshot: unsuccessful films disappearing from cinemas so fast that there is no time for second opinions.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/20/2003



Ghostwatch
Unless you lived in Great Britain in the early 1990's or own a region free DVD player you've probably never seen this docu-drama titled "Ghostwatch" focusing on a "live" news program at a haunted house.

When the show originally aired in Great Britian people didn't know that they were watching a scripted show. They thought that they were watching a variation on the Geraldo opening Al Capone's tomb only this time focusing on a haunted house.

What follows is a show that slowly builds in fear when the haunted house turns out more haunted than anyone expected. Things are caught on tape that shouldn't happen.

Imagine if "The Blair Witch Project" was shown live as if the events were taking place in real time. That's what Ghostwatch is like.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/19/2003



Open Range
"Open Range" is an almost great movie though it is in no way shape or form the best western ever. The story follows a group of free grazers (cattlemen) on the western frontier doing battle with a "villainous" rancher bent on stopping all free grazing.

Oddly enough I've heard that this story which features said "villainous" rancher, cowboys, six-shooters, shoot-outs, and the lot as a non-western. I'm more than happy to say that this movie is definitely a western with a 21st century flair.

Although the bulk of the movie works on this level I was left cold with the romance elements seemingly injected into the movie at random intervals. This simply did not work.

Still, all in all Open Range is a delight featuring perhaps one of the most accurate, people miss, Old West gunfights in recent memory.

Open Range is no "Wild Bunch" but definitely a winner.

Open Range
Open Range
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By Bert Ehrmann
8/18/2003



Grind
The movie "Grind" really, really reminds me of the slew of the late 1980's skater movies that hit. Remember "Thrashin'" and "Gleaming the Cube?" Neither was that good though I suspect that Grind won't be either.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/13/2003



Animated Action
Entertainment Weekly has declared that "animated action films are dead…" Thank God. Now some creative genius can come down the line in a few years and revive the genera for a new generation. Remember how the fantasy movie genera was dead after the late 1980's movie "Willow?" Genera's tend to be born anew with the release of a single hit movie. Think what "Lord of the Rings" did for the "dead" fantasy genera.
Titan A.E.
Titan A.E.
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By Bert Ehrmann
8/11/2003



Dead Pilots
Trio is airing unsold pilots on their station beginning next month. I'm dying to see just what "L.A. Confidential" turned into and what "Sick in the Head," from "Freaks and Geaks" and "Undeclared" creator Judd Apatow, is all about:

BEAT COPS (2002): Filmed in a cinema-vérité style and without a laugh track, this low-budget half-hour comedy stars Sam Seder and Jon Benjamin as two NYPD desk cops sent out on the holiday beat. The two clueless policemen are oblivious to the city and the volatile citizens around them. Seder co-wrote the pilot with Charles Fisher. The pilot's world premiere is on Monday, September 1 at 8:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m., ET/PT.

L.A. CONFIDENTIAL (2000): Starring Kiefer Sutherland as embattled police detective Jack Vincennes, this dramatic pilot is based on the critically acclaimed film of the same name and follows the glamour and seediness of 1950's Los Angeles. Eric Roberts is also featured. The pilot's cable premiere is on Monday, September 1 at 10:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., ET/PT.

FARGO (1997): Based on the 1996 Academy Award winning film by Joel and Ethan Coen and starring pre-Sopranos Edie Falco, this pilot brings the very pregnant chief of police, Marge Gunderson, to the small screen. Developed by Bruce Paltrow and Robert Palm, and directed by Kathy Bates, the series features the quirky characters of a small Midwestern town and the investigative prowess of Chief Gunderson. The pilot's world premiere is on Tuesday, September 2 at 9:00 p.m.Ðøø10:00 p.m., ET/PT.

DEAR DIARY (1996): A sort of love letter to New York City, the pilot chronicles a day in the life of a married New Yorker, played by Bebe Neuwirth. A reworked version of the show won the Oscar for best short film. The pilot's U.S. premiere is on Tuesday, September 2 at 10:00 p.m.-10:30 p.m., ET/PT.

SICK IN THE HEAD (1999): In this screwball comedy, a newbie shrink gets a suicide case as one of his first patients. Starring Kevin Corrigan, Andrea Martin, David Krumholtz as a new psychiatrist and Amy Poehler as his patient. The pilot's world premiere is on Tuesday, September 2 at 10:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m., ET/PT.

REWRITE FOR MURDER (1991): Pam Dawber stars as a prim female mystery writer who clashes with ex-con George Clooney both on and off screen when they are forced together to help revitalize her television show. The pilot's world premiere is on Wednesday, September 3 at 10:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., ET/PT.

SAVAGE (1973): Steven Spielberg directs this pilot about a television news magazine show. Starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain (real-life husband and wife) as an investigative journalist and a television producer for the politically charged television show. The pilot also guest stars Dabney Coleman and Will Geer. The pilot's cable premiere is on Thursday, September 4 at 9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m., ET/PT.

DINER (1983): Based on Barry Levinson's 1982 hit movie set in 1960 Baltimore, the pilot focuses on 5 men who are making an awkward transition into adulthood and who gather nightly at the local diner to hash out problems and grapple with responsibilities. Starring James Spader, Michael Madsen, Paul Reiser, and Michael Binder. The pilot's world premiere is on Friday, September 5 at 9:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m., ET/PT.

BLACK BART (1975): Based on Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, Louis Gossett, Jr. and Steve Landesberg star in this pilot that chronicles the adventures of a black sheriff and his quick-draw deputy working in a small, bigoted Arizona town in the Old West. The pilot's world premiere is on Friday, September 5 at 9:30 p.m.-10:00 p.m., ET/PT.

New "Brilliant, But Cancelled" series on TR!O:

BAKERSFIELD P.D. (1993) When successful D.C. detective Paul Gigante moves to the small town of Bakersfield, he joins the madcap adventures of the quirky police squad. From a Captain that can't make any decisions to a partner that is a little too obsessed with TV cop shows, this squad of misfits and imbeciles provides plenty of sitcom fodder. Ron Eldard, Giancarlo Esposito, Chris Mulkey and Brian Doyle Murray star. The series makes its cable premiere on Monday, September 8, with a new episode airing each night during the week at 8:00 p.m., ET/PT.

TR!O's regularly scheduled Brilliant, But Cancelled strip begins Monday, September 8 at 8:00 p.m., ET/PT leading the channel's primetime programming block. (TR!O's Sessions At West 54th series, which is currently in the 8:00 p.m., ET/PT timeslot, will move to 7:00 p.m., ET/PT.) At 9:00 p.m., ET/PT TR!O will continue to air its 9 Sharp documentary block, which presents world and U.S. film premieres (e.g. Cinemania; Farang Ba and Secret Rulers of the World) and, the ever popular Late Night with David Letterman episodes will continue at 10:00 p.m., ET/ PT.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/8/2003



You Am I
The rest of America's about to find out what I already know; You Am I is the world's greatest rock and roll band.

From spinART records, check out the link since there's a downloadable MP3 from the band free for the download:
You Am I releases "Deliverance" on August 19

SpinART is proud to be releasing the new You Am I record, "Deliverance", in the US, complete with two bonus videos (including some pretty rockin' live footage!) If you've never heard this band before, listen up - here's the scoop:

They've put out five full-length albums, becoming the first Australian band to have three consecutive albums debut at #1 on the Aussie charts. They've toured with the Rolling Stones, Oasis, The Lemonheads, Soundgarden, and the Strokes. They've played festivals like Big Day Out, Reading, and Lollapalooza, as well as headlined their own Australian tours, playing to as many as 100,000 people a night. Their first two albums, 1994's Sound As Ever and 1995's Hi Fi Way, were produced by Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo. Their third, 1996's Hourly, Daily, won eight national ARIA awards in Australia. Rock's latest sensations like the Vines and the Datsuns credit the band as one of their most important influences.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/7/2003



Coupling
There's a story of a very good British sitcom that some feel is their version of "Friends" but is really more along the lines of "Seinfeld." It's not a remake of Seinfeld but more "inspired by."

This story goes that this show, "Coupling" is good enough that it does reasonably well for a station, BBC America, that American television executives for NBC decide to redo the show for American audiences. You know, new cast, new stories, new writers, new producers… The works. A guaranteed hit, just like the Americanized version of the British vampire hit "Ultraviolet." Remember that one? No one does, it was supposed to air on Fox the fall of 2001 but was bad enough that it never saw the light of day. It was worse than the original, not better.

I say leave the show as it is. If NBC wants to air Coupling they should do it with the original cast and creators, heck, it would be preferable if they'd air the original episodes. Meddling with a successful show never, if rarely, works.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/6/2003



The O.C.
Taking a page out of the location for the movie "Orange County," Fox television has launched their new show titled "The O.C.," or, The Orange County. Fox is billing it as "the best new show of the fall" except they're premiering the show a few months before the start of the fall television season starting tonight, 8/5. I suppose they're launching the show early to keep it away from the slew of other shows also premiering this fall on Fox and other networks. A double whammy for Fox really, the World Series will air later this Fall effectively cutting some of Fox's new shows off just a few weeks after they've premiered. (Which is always good since I know I like to see a few episodes of a show before it's put on hiatus for baseball. Firefly comes to mind.)

My guess is that this is a test show. If premiering The O.C. early in the season is a success for Fox look for other shows on other networks to start airing their shows early too.

Orange County
Orange County
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By Bert Ehrmann
8/5/2003



When Ideas Meet Reality
It only took about sixteen years for an idea in a small, canceled after one season, sci-fi show entitled "Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future" to make it to real life.

Learn more here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/4/2003



The Tick
The underrated and very good Fox series "The Tick" is being released on DVD September 30th. If you've never seen the series then you're in for a treat. If you've already seen the series, like me, then you'll enjoy it even more since there are several episodes on the DVD that never aired on Fox. That's right, fresh episodes of The Tick are on the way!

By Bert Ehrmann
8/1/2003



Spun
The movie Spun wants to be the "Trainspotting"/"Pulb Fiction" of the 21st Century. It wants people to quote it line for line, to be in love with it. Unfortunately, Spun is no Trainspotting or Pulp Fiction, it's a weak pretender to the thrown at best.

Spun follows the exploits of characters either strung out on or making money off of crank (Meth.)

What would be an interesting, and starts out interestingly enough, as a dramatic movie somewhat looses it's punch when presented as a dramety. Spun tries hard to be "out-there" and "on-the-edge." Movies either are "out-there" or "on-the-edge," they can't be made that way!

By Bert Ehrmann
7/31/2003



Foo Fighters
A pretty cool concept from the rock band Foo Fighters; a DVD/EP containing four music videos from the band one of which, "Low", was banned by MTV and another, "Times Like These" is a British only version. All this for a mear six bucks. You heard that right, a professionally produced DVD for six bucks.

Why can't other bands/television shows/commercials do this? Is there a market for a low priced DVD full of funny and creative commercials aka "2003 Superbowl Commercials?" I bet so. How much media is out there that gets lost every year? Just think of all the commercials that made you laugh that no longer aire. Can't some of this media be put on DVD's and sold to the general public? Why don't television shows get released a few episodes at a time this way? There would be less chance of loosing money on the DVD if you're releasing a series of six to ten dollar DVD's rather than a set costing upwards of one hundred dollars.



Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/31/2003



Solaris
"Solaris" is a movie about questions not answers. You will not walk away from this movie satisfied that you have a complete understanding of it.

Solaris asks; Is there a god? What is the nature of the universe? Is there a life after death? Is there a life before death? What is the nature of god?

In it's nebulous nature, Solaris is truly a very interesting and good movie. You know how you don't get "2001: A Space Odyssey" but like it anyway? Solaris fits this mold. The performances are good especially Jeremy Davies who channels a nuevo-nervous-hippy scientist barely holding onto reality in a stuck in a situation that boggles the mind.

As long as you're not expecting a "hard science-fiction" movie and a solid/completely understandable storyline you will enjoy, maybe even like Solaris. It's one of the best films I've seen in a long while.



George Clooney
George Clooney
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/30/2003



The Thing from Another World
Next week, August 5, the "The Thing from Another World - 50th Anniversary Edition" DVD hits store shelves. In a crime against humanity, there are no extras or special features other than "theatrical trailers" for possibly the best movie to emerge out of Hollywood from the 1950's.

"Watch the skies, everyone, keep watching the skies!"

By Bert Ehrmann
7/29/2003



Seabiscuit
"Seabiscuit" is an okay movie. It's not great, as everyone seems to be reporting, but it's not horrible either. Seabiscuit follows the rise, and fall, and rise again of the racehorse Seabiscuit and it's owners and jockeys who gave a depression sacked America something to look for, even hope for.

The audience in the theater I saw the movie in broke out in cheers when Seabiscuit wins a major race. I can't remember the last time an audience at a movie actually clapped so I suppose the majority of the audience was really into the movie.

My main contention with the movie was that the filmmakers kept shoving the main theme of the movie down the viewers throats; that even though something is old and damaged doesn't mean that it needs to be discarded.Again and again characters would deliver their speeches to each other with this theme.

I found myself thinking "enough already, I get it."


Seabiscuit
Seabiscuit
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/28/2003



Batman – Dead End
The more I think about "Batman – Dead End" the more I remember "Troops," does anyone else remember Troops? Troops was a fan made movie dealing with Storm Troopers stationed on Tatooine. Think "Star Wars" meets "Cops" meets "Monty Python." Troops was the second* really cool fan made movie I saw on the net. I remember sitting in college downloading all of the segments to Troops one night and then watching them late into the evening. Troops was inspiring. I wanted to make my own version of Troops. I wished I was the first one to think up this concept. I wanted my movie to be sold on the black market at comic book conventions.

What's weird is that it's been over six years since Troops hit the net before the next cool movie, Batman – Dead End, did. Six years. You'd think that with the advent of all this high tech movie making technology (shot on digital video, edited on a computer, and distributed online) that there would be great fan made movies coming out every few months, but there aren't. Sure, there's a glut of mediocre fan made Star Wars movies out there but nothing that I've seen that's inspiring.

Maybe there's got to be something more in the mix than technology. Maybe creativity should take a front seat to technology?

*Does anyone else remember scenes from the movie "Aliens" set to the tune "O' Fortuna?" That was the first.

Batman
Batman
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/24/2003



Batman – Dead End
I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel for the train wreck that has become the Batman movie franchise. The light at the end of the tunnel is the mini-fan-made movie titled "Batman – Dead End" and the train conductor is Sandy Collora.

"Batman – Dead End" is fan-made in scope alone, everything else about it screams greatness. Whether it's the costumes inspired by the designs of Alex Ross or some of the poses pulled from the comic books of Steve Rude (both art gods in my opinion) "Batman – Dead End" is literally the closest anyone's ever gotten to translating the comic book to movie form. Batman actually spits blood and bleeds. Did the Clooney or Kilmer version of Batman bleed? Did they spit? I kept getting the feeling that this version of Batman inhabited a version of Gotham City more akin to Detroit Michigan in the late 80's, on Devil's Night, in the middle of a gang war, during a full Moon… There was no guarantee with this version of Batman that he was going to get out of this fight. In fact, the end of the movie sort of suggests that he loses.

I'll admit that the movie takes a weird turn about half-way through. However, I'll also say that both of the characters who show up at the end have been in the comics before, so these characters might actually appear in the movie version. (I'll also say that I thought these characters appearing were really cool.)

This movie restors my faith that the character of Batman can be cool again.

To see this five minute movie you don't need to visit a movie theater. Start searching the net for the title "Batman – Dead End," it's available for download various places around the Internet.

Alex Ross - Batman
Batman
Alex Ross
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/23/2003



Band of Brothers
Great news from HBO, "Band of Brothers 2," from Yahoo.

"Band of Brothers" -- are mounting a new 10-part World War II mini-series centered on battles in the Pacific theater.

DreamWorks confirmed that the project, being referred to as the "Untitled World War II Pacific Theater Project," is in the early stages of development, with a deal being finalized for HBO to serve as a partner in the mini-series.

The production is expected to require a "Brothers"-type budget of more than $100 million.

Screenwriter Bruce McKenna, who penned several installments of the first miniseries and picked up a Writers Guild of America Award for his work, already has held numerous creative meetings with Spielberg and Goetzman and is expected to become the head writer.

There is no deal for McKenna, and negotiations haven't started for the scribe to board the project, but sources said the principals are discussing scheduling and how much it would cost to hire McKenna for what would be a long-term assignment.

Currently a hot writer on the film front, McKenna is adapting Marvel Comics' "Hands of Shang Chi" for DreamWorks and recently closed a deal to adapt the upcoming nonfiction book "The Perfect Mile" for Universal Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment and Kennedy/Marshall.
|
The "Pacific Theater Project" is not based on any existing source material but is expected to follow a company of soldiers through the island campaign, just as "Brothers" viewed the European campaign from D-Day forward through the eyes of Easy Company of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division.

The multiepisode "Brothers," based on the book by historian Stephen E. Ambrose, proved to be an awards circuit favorite after it aired on HBO in 2001. It was nominated for 19 Emmys and earned six, including a trophy for outstanding
miniseries.
Band of Brothers
Band of Brothers
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Band Of Brothers
Band Of Brothers
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/22/2003



Pirates of The Caribbean -The Curse of the Black Pearl
I saw "Pirates of The Caribbean -The Curse of the Black Pearl" over the weekend. It's not a bad movie and it's not a good movie, it's lukewarm at best. I don't think the movie could decide what it wanted to be – a serious action piece (people are attacked, throats are cut) or a goofball dramety (a pirate has a wooden eye, Johnny Depp rides a sinking boat into port) in the vein of the ride that was the inspiration of the movie.

The movie looked wonderful. The costumes looked great. The scenery looked great. The CGI looked great. There was just something missing between the complex, and sometimes very long, swordplay and bits of story along the way.

If you've got nothing to do over an evening or afternoon it might be enjoyable to watch "Pirates of The Caribbean -The Curse of the Black Pearl", otherwise wait for it to come out on DVD and video.

*I'm still wondering how they managed to meld the skeleton pirates with the human pirates together in one shot. In my opinion this work, the melding, was as good and groundbreaking as Gollum was on The Two Towers.

Pirates of The Caribbean -The Curse of the Black Pearl
Pirates of The Caribbean -The Curse of the Black Pearl
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/21/2003



28 Days Later
In the grand tradition of "Toy Story" where the filmmakers inserted NEW out takes over the credits and "Lord of the Rings" that aired a trailer for "The Two Towers" over the credits months after the movie opened to lure people back into theaters…

According to Fox Searchlight, "moviegoers who stay after the credits of "28 Days Later" beginning July 25th will see the alternate original ending." If you haven't yet seen "28 Days Later" now's the perfect time. Otherwise I'll bet that this is included on the DVD release which I am anticipating with much excitement since the DVD's already been released overseas.

According to IMDB, there are two alternate endings. Swipe over the below text to read what these endings are:
One of Jim dying in hospital with Selena and Hannah trying to save him, intercut with Jim's dream of the crash that put him in a coma. The other is the same as the normal one but with only Selena and Hannah hailing the aircraft, leading us to assume that Jim died.
28 Days Later
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/18/2003



Movies this week
Hopefully, the genius that is Rowan Atkinson, aka "Mr. Bean", will score big with the opening this week of "Johnny English." A "spoof spy-thriller" set in Great Britain. If you liked "Mr. Bean" my guess is that you're going to like this movie.

In the summer of sequels, opening this week is "Bad Boys II." I can't imagine that many people were waiting for a sequel since the original hit theaters a whopping EIGHT YEARS AGO. That's a long time between movies! So long that when the original "Bad Boys" was released Wil Smith was a rapper known for crossing over to TV stardom and then movies. This was before the movie "Independence Day" made Smith a mega-star but after "Wild Wild West" took him down a few notches on the ladder of stardom.

Also opening this week is Mandy Moore's movie "How to Deal" described as; "A teenager (Moore), disillusioned by too many examples of love gone wrong, refuses to believe that true love exists." This movie will defiantly be a hit with the teenage boy crowd looking to explore their inner sensitivity.

Bad Boys II
Bad Boys II
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Rowan Atkinson
Rowan Atkinson
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How To Deal
How To Deal
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/17/2003



Space Art
Two very cool science fiction designs by Tim Baron. I present "The Space Nemesis" and "The Time Traveler."

By Bert Ehrmann
7/16/2003



Shyamalan's Next
M. Night Shyamalan, director of "The Sixth Sense", (the highly underrated) "Unbreakable", and last year's summer smash "Signs", has begun work on his next feature entitled "The Woods." According to IMDB; Set in 1897, "The Woods" tells the story of a close-knit community with a mythical race of creatures residing in the woods around them.

"The Woods" is set to star Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, and Joaquin Phoenix. Hopefully, this will be the movie to see for the Summer of '04.

Signs
Signs
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Sixth Sense
Sixth Sense
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/15/2003



Sci Fi Channel Movies
Some of the better Sci Fi Channel original movie's we can expect for next year. Is it just me or does "Chupacabra" and "Raptor Island" sound the same and "Mansquito" and "Hammerhead" sound like the same basic story? I've got one word for these shows, "Ugggh."

From Zap2It:

"Chupacabra": Smugglers capture the mythical, winged creature that feeds on livestock and place it aboard a cruise ship bound for the United States. When the creature escapes and begins killing passengers, a team of Navy SEALs is called in to stop it.

"Raptor Island": A hostage-rescue team searching for a kidnapped scientist discovers that raptors are far from extinct on a remote island.

"Mansquito": While trying to find a cure for the West Nile virus, a scientist accidentally turns herself and a junkie into mutant mosquito creatures. After the male escapes, the scientist has to track him down and destroy him.

"Larva": Contaminated meat causes a lot more than a few upset stomachs when the larvae inside the product begin to grow -- inside of the people that ate them.

"Hammerhead": A rogue scientist working on stem-cell research transforms his subject into a mutant man-shark. He uses the creature to exact revenge on his former colleagues, who expelled him from a secret society.

Battlestar Galactica

Battlestar Galactica
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/14/2003



The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
I was wrong, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a pretty good movie. It's not all that faithful to the comic but somehow the tone of everything is there. It's sort of like how Jurassic Park the movie bore little resemblance to Jurassic Park the book, yet each was good in their own right.

The only real problems are that the characters are toned down, much more heroic than in the book, and the laws of physics are mostly ignored. Other than that, and a pretty bad last two minutes that sets everything up for the sequel, the movie is great. Much, much, better than The Hulk. Just be sure that you're not going in expecting to see a true adaptation of the comic book and you might be just as surprised as I was.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/12/2003



Spider-Man the Animated Series
A new animated Spider-Man cartoon, titled appropriately enough "Spider-Man", premiers tonight (7/11) on MTV. The story looks pretty much like the inspiration for it came from the movie, the Harry Osborn/Peter Parker/MJ "Don't call me Mary Jane" Watson triangle is present. The weirdest thing about the whole project is that the voice talent features such people as Doogie Howser, M.D.'s Neil Patrick Harris and "singer-songwriter" Lisa Loeb.

How the mighty have fallen!

Spider-Man
Spider-Man
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Spider-Man
Spider-Man
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/11/2003



The Office
I can't believe how much I like my DirecTV system. The best part about it is that I get to see the best show on television; "The Office" currently airing on BBC America. "The Office" follows the exploits of a paper company office set in England. From the official site:

Welcome to The Office , a place of petty rivalry, bad flirting, and easily-bruised egos. Filmed in documentary-style, this sharply observed and highly acclaimed comedy exposes the excruciating truth about the world of nine-to-five.

Meet David Brent (Ricky Gervais) , a petty and pompous middle manager who winds up his staff almost to the point of hysteria. His assistant manager is Gareth (Mackenzie Crook) , the office brown-noser who is a pedantic, army-obsessed control freak. He is heartily despised by Tim (Martin Freeman) who is stuck in a job he detests and whose days are alleviated by Dawn (Lucy Davis) , a pretty receptionist he would love to date if she were not already engaged.

Set in a paper supply company in a bedroom community outside London, their lives are alarmingly familiar to anyone employed in the modern workplace: ' management speak ' and the people who speak it, petty squabbles over staplers and desk space, endless training days and health and safety seminars; stifled ambition and frustrated lives.

Whether you're a temp spending your day filing and making coffee or a CEO making millions, you will undoubtedly recognize The Office as YOUR office.

The Office is undescribably funny. Everyone who has seen The Office loves The Office.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/11/2003



Olmos to fans --- "Piss Off"
Edward James Olmos, the star of the new ``Battlestar Galactica,'' has some advice for devoted fans of the 1970s sci-fi series: Don't watch the remake.

As executives of the Sci Fi channel cringed, Olmos told reporters during the Television Critics Association summer tour that he ``would not advise them to watch this program. It will hurt them. . . .

``The intent and the way we've built the reality is very different from the reality of the original.''

Read the original story here.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/10/2003



Deliver Us from the Sequel
In a brief reprieve from the constant barrage of sequels inundating cinemas this Summer, two non-sequel movies are being released this week in the US; "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" and "Pirates of The Caribbean -The Curse of the Black Pearl." If I had to bet on which of these two movies would be the winner at the box office I'd have to go with "Pirates of The Caribbean -The Curse of the Black Pearl" just because the trailers for "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" have been pretty bad.

The only real problem I have with "Pirates of The Caribbean -The Curse of the Black Pearl" is that it's a Disney movie based, at least in part, on a Disney ride. That's too weird for me. What's next, a Paramount movie based in the hit ride "The Beast" featured at Paramount's Kings Island!?

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
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Pirates of The Caribbean -The Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of The Caribbean -The Curse of the Black Pearl
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/10/2003



The Flood of '03
Flooding has gripped the entire Northeast Indiana and Northwest Ohio regions these past few days burying towns under a torrent of water. My hometown of Decatur, Indiana is experiencing the worst flooding there since 1913. People are calling this the "Hundred Year Flood." The flooding is incredible, multiple times worse than the worst flooding I've seen in the area. Several of my friends homes are threatened by the water, surrounded really, and many people's homes are now under the water.

Here are some photos I've taken of the flood.

From Yahoo:
The St. Marys River in northeastern Indiana was at record levels, and several hundred homes around Decatur had been flooded or were threatened by high water.

Streams from Fort Wayne to Lafayette and farther south were overflowing their banks at levels not seen in decades, and more storms were forecast

Farther north, in Decatur, hundreds of people worked around the community filling and stacking sandbags. In one neighborhood, a line of about 50 friends, neighbors and National Guardsmen passed sandbags to people working in chest-deep water to rebuild a dike around the back of a house.

The St. Marys River at Decatur was at 26.9 feet Wednesday, the National Weather Service ( news -web sites ) said. Flood stage is 17 feet.

Thousands of homes and businesses across the Midwest have lost electrical service during nearly a week of rough weather.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/9/2003



Gangs of New York
I watched "Gangs of New York" (GoNY) the other night on DVD and was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting something long, drawn out, and boring, but found the movie very good and the history behind 19th century New York City interesting. An good story mixed with a great cast and, even better, excellent performances make GoNY one to watch.

In fact, the only negitive point about the movie I could see is the length, somewhere just south of three hours. However, this is only a negative if you're seeing the movie in a theater, the length isn't really an issue at home where you can pause the movie and take a break.
Gangs of New York
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/9/2003



The Hulk
It's not that the movie's all that bad, it's just not all that good. Part of the movie is an exploration of what turns Bruce Banner into the Hulk; the gamma rays and the experaments his father did before he was born. The other part, too small in my opionion, is the Hulk on a rampage tearing things apart. The movie constantly takes leaps of logic like people INTENTIONALLY TRY TO TURN BRUCE BANNER INTO THE HULK!? Wouldn't that be the last thing you'd want to do? I found myself constantly going "What? That makes no sense at all."

The movie's titled "The Hulk" yet is Hulk-less for the first hour of a very long movie. In fact, the Hulk's in the movie so little the true title of the movie should be "Bruce Banner." Wait until the movie comes out on DVD if only to see the scenes of the Hulk.
The Hulk
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The Incredible Hulk
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/4/2003



Sci Fi's Twilight Zone Marathon
Unless you've been living under a rock or don't have the channel, Sci Fi is airing two days straight of The Twilight Zone starting today (July 3) and ending late tomorrow night. You can't beat two days of the greatest television series of all time!

Chicago Sun Times has a great article up on the classic series too.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/3/2003



Jackass returns (sort-of) to MTV
I'll admit that I loved the show, and movie, Jackass and was sorry to see it go. Now it seems as if some of the Jackass alumnus now have show's of their own premiering on MTV later this year. Will they be any good? Probably not. From Yahoo.

'Jackass' Vets Power MTV Slate
By Andrew Wallenstein

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - The MTV series "Jackass" is no longer on the air, but its legacy will be alive and well on the cable channel in the fall.
Two series featuring former cast members from the music channel's stunt showcase are among the eight series greenlighted Wednesday.

Steve-O and Chris Pontius (news), two of "Jackass" star Johnny Knoxville (news)'s sidekicks, will co-host "The Nature Show," a twisted take on Discovery Channel-style wildlife documentaries. The oddball duo will travel to destinations such as Africa, New Zealand and Australia to swim with sharks, cavort with crocodiles and have other close encounters with the animal kingdom.

Another "Jackass" alum, Bam Margera (news), also will get his own reality series after an August test run yielded positive results. The untitled series features Margera torturing his parents and friends with assorted "Jackass"-style pranks.

"We didn't want to do 'Jackass' again," said Brian Graden, president of entertainment at MTV and VH1. "We thought there was enough distinction to their ideas that we would avoid repeating ourselves."

Ten episodes of both series have been ordered for Sunday nights. Debut dates have yet to be determined.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/3/2003



The Blob Strikes
Apparently, a "giant sea creature" has washed ashore in Chile. Pretty interesting stuff if you ask me even if it turns out to be something not out of the ordinary. Thanks to Michael Summers for the heads up. From Yahoo, check the link out for a photo of the "beast":

SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) - Chilean scientists were baffled on Tuesday by a huge, gelatinous sea creature found washed up on the southern Pacific coast and were seeking international help identifying the mystery specimen.

The dead creature was mistaken for a beached whale when first reported about a week ago, but experts who went to see it said the 40-foot-long mass of decomposing lumpy gray flesh apparently was an invertebrate.

"We'd never before seen such a strange specimen, We don't know if it might be a giant squid that is missing some of its parts or maybe it's a new species," said Elsa Cabrera, a marine biologist and director of the Center for Cetacean Conservation in Santiago.

Photographs showed a round leathery substance like a mammoth jelly fish, about as long as a school bus.

Giant squid live at a depth of 9,500 feet and only rise to the surface when they die. Specimens have been known to be as long as 60 feet.

There was speculation that the mass might be a whale skin, but Cabrera said it was too big and did not have the right texture or smell.

Cabrera said she was contacting Chilean and international organizations in the hope that they could help shed some light on the find.

The Chilean Navy first spotted the mystery specimen along with another large mass, but the other dead animal turned out to be a dead humpback whale.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/2/2003



Rise of the Sequels
The two major releases this week into theaters is Terminator 3 and Legally Blond 2. In a summer of sequels, these along with Matrix 2 and X-Men 2 to name a few, it seems as if this is the weekend of sequels. I can't say that I'm looking forward to either Terminator (other than Arnie, is there anyone left from the original two movies?) or Legally Blond.

Terminator 3 - Rise of The Machines
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Legally Blonde 2 - Red, White  Blonde
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By Bert Ehrmann
7/1/2003



28 Days Later…
"28 Days Later…" is, simply put, a great, scary movie that inserts certain images into your head that won't go away. Like the church full of corpses who aren't all dead, the fish tank three fourths of the way drained of water with fish still inside, London with the lights off (except for one), an entire city on fire, etc. Visually the movie is excellent shot entirely on video giving the movie a "you're there kind of feel."

It's more than a simple zombie movie, "28 Days Later…" feels genuine.

28 Days Later

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By Bert Ehrmann
6/29/2003



Starship Troopers 2
Y.A.B.C.M.P. (Or) Yet-Another-Bert-Created-Movie-Poster. This time for the upcoming movie "Starship Troopers 2."

By Bert Ehrmann
6/15/2003



Twilight Zone the Radio Show
First there was Twilight Zone the television series, then a movie, another television series followed on CBS in the mid 1980's, and finally a series on UPN last season. Now there's "The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas" for your listening pleasure. These are old scripts remade with modern day (mostly B-list) actors and voice talent.

Of course the series is broadcast nowhere near where I live, and I don't have satellite radio, so I suppose I might just have to pick up some of the CD's.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/13/2003



Tales of Tomorrow
I was reading today about the classic series "Twilight Zone" (Tz) when I came across a passage describing how the series "Tales of Tomorrow" (ToT) was one of the first anthology series that dealt with sci fi and fantasy themes in an adult manner. ToT aired some eight years before Tz dealing with much of the same themes.

The big difference between the series is that ToT was preformed LIVE whereas Tz was shot on film, edited, then broadcast. Still, I'm interested in learning more about ToT since I've NEVER heard of this show before.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/11/2003



Solaris
I never actually saw the movie "Solaris" when it came out in theaters last fall. I'm not quite sure why since I was looking forward to it and generally like the Clooney/Soderbergh connection. (It doesn't hurt that "Traffic," also directed by Soderbergh is one of my favorite films!) Solaris is due to be released on DVD July 29 with a few extras; commentary, making of, etc. (BTW, it has a very nice cover somewhat harkening back to the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey.")

I'm planning on picking the DVD up when it comes out but am a little afraid that if I do there will be a "deluxe" edition hitting store shelves a year or so down the road. I bought "Traffic" when it first came out on DVD and a better edition hit the shelves a few months down the road. Same goes with "Memento" and "Black Hawk Down." Why aren't there two releases WHEN THE DVD COMES OUT – a general edition DVD for the people who don't know the difference between wide and fullscreen and a deluxe edition for the people who actually watch the commentary? Every time I see a "deluxe" edition come out when I've already spent money on the "standard" edition I get the feeling that I'm being reamed and feel less and less that programs like Kazzaa or Limewire are wrong.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/5/2003



Movie Title Screens
Pretty cool concept: "shilPages," a site that collects movie title screens. Everything from classic movie title screens to new ones and just about everything in between. I'm always interested in seeing just how the type treatment of a movie differs from poster to movie. For example, this is how the type is handled for the movie "Starship Troopers" while this is how it's handled for the poster. Quite a difference!

By Bert Ehrmann
5/14/2003



Punch-Drunk Love
The ever so good P.T. Anderson flick "Punch-Drunk Love" will be released on June 24 as a "Superbit Special Edition" with such features as alternate takes, deleted scenes, and the "Mattress Man commercial." If you enjoy quality films then I can't recommend Punch-Drunk enough. It's got to be one of the best films of 2002.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/6/2003



Trail of the Dead
If you have any interest in good music, I highly recommend the new "…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead" EP entitled "The Secret of Elena's Tomb." Although it's only five songs long, all five are great, superb, and stupendous. The whole CD's outstanding. Oddly enough, I found the CD via iTunes Music Store searching for "Trail of the Dead" to see just how inclusive the music service is. Apparently, their music service is very good.

I've been a fan of the group for a year now since I saw their video for "Another Morning Stoner" (my song of the year for 2002) on MTV2 at a friends house. In fact, both videos for "Stoner" and "Relative Ways" are included in QuickTime format on the EP as well as live concert footage. Unfortunately, the CD's enhanced features aren't included on download and are only available via CD. However, if you were only going to buy one track from the CD off of iTunes Music Store I'd recommend "All Saints Day."

By Bert Ehrmann
4/30/2003



Jurassic Park
It's hard to believe that it's been TEN years since the first Jurassic Park movie came out virtually revolutionizing the visual effects industry over night. An entire decade has passed since I first saw that movie.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/22/2003



Animate your favorite movies
So, you've heard about the never-produced "Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Animated Series," but what about "Austin Powers, The Animated Series" or "Terminator 3, Animated?" See what could have been, heck, what might be, over at the extremely cool, abet very slow loading, portfolio of Eric Wright, "professional animator and illustrator." Eric has one heck-of-a nice visual style.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/11/2003



Posters
When I first saw the poster for the movie "Underworld" I could have sworn that I had seen it before. Turns out I had.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/9/2003



Scare Tactics
Is Sci Fi Channel's new show "Scare Tactics" perhaps the BEST concept for a new reality show of late? Heck, I've been sneaking up behind people for years for the purpose of scaring them. If I'd only have known I'd have developed my "talent" into a series!

By Bert Ehrmann
4/3/2003



Human Defense Corps
DC Comics new "Human Defense Corps" looks like a cross between Starship Troopers and The X-Files. (At least the characters in the book look like they're wearing left-over equipment from the movie Starship Troopers.) The comic's due to be released early May.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/2/2003



War Stories
Last's year's (2002-2003) television pilot featuring Jeff Goldblum as a war correspondent called "War Stories" will air as a movie of the week Wednesday, January 29th on NBC. It'll be interesting to see just how this concept might have panned out into a series.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/23/2003



Television Pilots
I've started my list of television pilots for the 2003-2004 television season. I can say that, so far, there are no real stand out shows. Nothing that I'm immediately excited about.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/19/2003