Projects
Resin Heroes
Iron Giant

Check out Dave's "Ultimate Iron Giant" collection over at his site. This guy owns hundreds of different Iron Giant related items, everything from Iron Giant t-shirts, storyboards, advertising materials and other original art.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/31/2006


Grindhouse

A teaser poster for the upcoming Grindhouse movie has been released. I'm assuming this is a teaser poster because it's way too sweet to be the actual final poster for the movie.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/29/2006


Studio 60

ZapIt is reporting that the series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is "the most 'time-shifted' series on television this season." Roughly translated, this means that more people are DVRing Studio 60 than any other show on television. From the article:

Nielsen also tracks "live plus seven" ratings, which includes people who watch a recorded copy of a show within the next week. "Studio 60" adds nearly 11 percent to its total audience in those ratings; including reruns, its average is closer to 9 million viewers for the season.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/29/2006


Battlestar Galactica

GeekMonthly.com is reporting that a direct-to-DVD Battlestar Galactica movie might be in the works. From the article:

(R)obust DVD sales have led Universal Home Video to consider greenlighting a Battlestar Galactica direct-to-video telefilm, which will presumably air on The SciFi Channel, after debuting on home video…If it goes forward, the two hour telefilm will shoot in March during the series hiatus and prior to the commencement of production on the series fourth season in June. While there is no story for the telefilm at present, plans are afoot to come up with a screenplay that doesn’t step on existing continuity for the series, but utilizes most of its existing sets.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/29/2006


Smokin' Aces

Over at the official Smokin' Aces blog, director Joe Carnahan has posted a really nice comp poster that never ultimately was printed to promote the movie.



I only wish I could buy this poster!

By Bert Ehrmann
12/28/2006


Serenity

Out this May are several Firefly/Serenity related items. The first is the a variant to the Serenity holiday ornament released some time back called "Serenity in Disguise." From Things From Another World:

As Serenity fans know, there is a sequence in the film where the crews disguises Serenity as a Reaver ship. We've taken the existing ornament, added a few sculptural details, and revised the paint application accordingly. Voila! Something special for the true fan.



The next item is a set of three Serenity PVC figures standing around 4" tall.



Both the ornament and figures are due out next May.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/27/2006


Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

The teaser trailer for the upcoming Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer has been released. I've always liked the comic book version of the Surfer, especially the 1990s run with artist Ron Lim. This movie version seems to be more in line with the original version 1960s "evil" version of Galactus herald Silver Surfer, rather than the more modern enlightened Norrin Radd one.

















From the official site:

Marvel's first family of superheroes, The Fantastic Four, meets their greatest challenge yet in FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER as the enigmatic, intergalactic herald, The Silver Surfer, comes to Earth to prepare it for destruction. As the Silver Surfer races around the globe wreaking havoc, Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben must unravel the mystery of the Silver Surfer and confront the surprising return of their mortal enemy, Dr. Doom, before all hope is lost.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/26/2006


The Sopranos

The "edited for content" version of The Sopranos begins airing on A&E Wednesday, January 10. It looks as if A&E is planning on running two episodes back-to-back starting with the first season beginning at 9:00 P.M. (EST).

By Bert Ehrmann
12/26/2006


The Kingdom

The trailer for the upcoming movie The Kingdom has been released over at Yahoo.













From Yahoo:

A team of U.S. counter-terrorism investigators set out to find the perpetrators behind a deadly attack on Americans in a Middle Eastern country. In order to work through the bureaucracy and cultural hostility, the team enlists a local police officer, but still find itself target for the terrorists.
The Kingdom is directed by Peter Berg (director of the big-screen version of Friday Night Lights) with a story credit going to Michael Mann and screenplay credit to Matthew Michael Carnahan – Joe Carnahan's brother.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/23/2006


iTunes Television

iTunes has released their list of best selling television shows of 2006. Their top ten list is, from ten to one; Scrubs, Battlestar Galactica, Desperate Housewives, The Daily Show, Prison Break, Hannah Montana (?!), Heroes, Grey's Anatomy, The Office with the number one show on iTunes being Lost. I was a bit surprised that BSG wasn't higher up on the list since the latest episode always seems to hover in the number one or two spot on a weekly basis. (Currently, last week's episode of BSG is the number two show on iTunes.)

By Bert Ehrmann
12/22/2006


BOOK 7

The title for the new Harry Potter book will be : "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Of course there is no release date yet for the book but it is pretty evident that JK Rowling is going to wait till 07/07/07 just for the opportunity to connect the day with the book.

By Matt Alexander
12/22/2006


Dexter

Showtime is reporting that the season finale for their series Dexter had "the biggest (audience) for an original series since 2004." From Zap2It:

The finale drew an audience of 1.1 million people…The ratings for the finale are also significantly better than those for the show's October premiere, which drew slightly more than 600,000 viewers.

Showtime has already renewed "Dexter" for a second season, with production scheduled to begin in the spring.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/21/2006


Ocean's 13

The trailer for Ocean's 13 has been released. Ocean's 13 poses the question, "Are moustaches cool again?"

By Bert Ehrmann
12/21/2006


Transformers

The trailer for Transformers the movie was released last night. Apparently, when you add the movies Independence Day + Armageddon + War of the Worlds you get the plot to the Transformers movie. Ugh.















By Bert Ehrmann
12/21/2006


Joseph Barbera

The New York Times has an article on the passing of Joseph Barbera, one-half of the cartoon studio powerhouse Hanna-Barbera. From the article:

Mr. Barbera and the studio he founded with Mr. Hanna, Hanna-Barbera Productions, became synonymous with television animation, yielding more than 100 cartoon series over four decades, including “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?,” “Jonny Quest” and “The Smurfs.”

On signature televisions shows like “The Flintstones” and “The Jetsons,” the two men developed a cartoon style that combined colorful, simply drawn characters (often based on other recognizable pop-culture personalities) with the narrative structures and joke-telling techniques of traditional live-action sitcoms. They were television’s first animated comedy programs. (…)

Though he was often asked to explain the enduring popularity of his cartoons, Mr. Barbera was reluctant to subject his life’s work to close analysis. “To me it makes little sense to talk about the cartoons we did,” he wrote in a 1994 autobiography, “My Life in ‘Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century.” “The way to appreciate them is to see them.”


Children of the 1950s, 1960s, 70s and 80s grew up on a staple of Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Other than the cartoons mentioned above, Space Ghost, The Herculoids, Josie and the Pussycats and the Superfriends were all Hanna-Barbera produced. Though not all of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons were classics, they were entertaining. Take a look at this image for a visual representation of all the Hanna-Barbera cartoon creations.



By Bert Ehrmann
12/19/2006


The Prisoner

Variety is reporting that AMC (!?) is producing a six episode "modern-day reimagining" of The Prisoner series. Except that's not the ONLY version in the works. Director Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins) is also working on a feature film version of the series. From the article:

"The show isn't just a re-creation," said Rob Sorcher, AMC exec veep of programming and production. "What we're doing is an entirely new reinterpretation that stays true to the components of the McGoohan (show)'s vision."

New series will revolve around a man who awakes in the Village with no memory of how he arrived. Episodes will follow how he tries to make sense of his new environment, in which inhabitants are under constant surveillance, identified by number and sans any recollection of how they got to the island.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/19/2006


Are you missing this? (AAAAAANNDDD WWWWWIIIIIIIIII!)




If So, contact Matt Alexander. Odds are he tried to steal yours!

By Mo Alexander
12/18/2006


Eragon Review (Part Deux) or Electric Boogaloo for all you 80's fans.




Well.. Like Matt, Kristin and I got out to see Eragon and give a brief glimpse into the mind of Christopher Paolini.

Now, not to sell the movie short, Character development was indeed something that could have been focused on a bit more here. Normally screenplay writers do a TON of homework to give the characters depth and personality. Eragon failed somewhat in delivering what some had hoped to be a excellent fantasy film.

Special effects where there indeed.. however, without a promising, in-depth storyline.. the movie fell somewhat flat in my view. This was no "Lord of the Rings", then again, LOTR was PG-13, while Eragon was for the family.. rated PG.

Now, I myself have not read the actual books before seeing the movie.. But from what I hear, the books do the story a great deal of justice (like all good books do.) Yet when you reflect on books vs. movies.. It makes somewhat sense.

The average reader takes in a good novel over several days... where as the average movie goer tends to only want to sit still for a maximum of 2 hours. So of course the director and the movie makers are pressed to tell a story in a quick sitting. With that, we get a movie that has zero character development, and a somewhat confusing plot.

At any rate, I enjoyed Eragon. For the 5 Dollars that Kristin and I spent a piece for the matinée, it was worth it. So if you got 5 bucks to spare, go see it.

Eragon

By Mo Alexander
12/18/2006


Eragon Review

So this weekend I finally had enough time to go to the movies and see Eragon. There is a definate hype about this movie because it has been a long time since we have seen dragons tearing up the sky (Dragonheart was good but it was missing something). The story follow Eragon, a young farm boy, who falls upon a mysterious "stone". The stone turns out to be a dragon egg and Eragon is chosen to be the dragon's rider. John Malcohvich plays the evil Galbotorix who is the last known Dragon rider of old times. With a new dragon rider appearing Galbotorix summons for Eragons death. Eragon makes haste to reach the Varden (the rebels) to help them win the battle against Galbotorix's empire. The movie pretty much has a Star Wars feel to it but what movie doesnt have that these days. The Rebels are trying to overthrow the Empire just with a Dragon. Jeremy Irons plays the Obi Wan role in teaching Eragon the ways of Dragon riding. Overall this movie was ok. The special effects were the highlight of the movie. I enjoyed Jeremy Irons in the movie, but he was no Vigo Mortensen as far as doing most of his sword fighting. The problem i had with this movie is that they tried to take an 800 page book and turn it into a hour and a half movie. They could have a least extended it to the 2 hour mark. Im sure when it comes out on DVD it will have 14 billion extra hours of footage but I payed good money to see the whole thing in the theater. Unless you are a die hard fantasy movie fan I would wait until they did release it on DVD.

By Matt Alexander
12/18/2006


Star Wars

Out this May Star Wars Coruscant Clone Trooper Mini Bust statues. Buy 6 or 7,000 and form up your own Clone army!

By Bert Ehrmann
12/17/2006


The Best Television Shows of 2006



To say that television in the 2005-06 season marked a high water mark in the history of the medium probably wouldn't be an understatement. We've come a long way from just a few years back when not many new series seemed to be working while television networks seemed to be stuck in the "Clone Friends" mode. But things have changed.

Continue reading this article on the best television shows of 2006
.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/14/2006


Golden Globes

The Golden Globes were announced this morning, and the shows up for the best series drama award include 24, Grey's Anatomy, Heroes, Lost and Big Love. Big Love? Big Love!? WTF!? HBO has some of the best dramas on television today (Deadwood, The Wire) and Big Love gets nominated?

As for comedies Desperate Housewives, Entourage, Ugly Betty, Weeds and The Office all were nominated.

Missing is Battlestar Galactica, Studio 60 and (the above mentioned) Deadwood and The Wire.

See the full list here.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/14/2006


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Check out the trailer for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I think it looks pretty cool.











By Bert Ehrmann
12/13/2006


The Sopranos

According to Zap2It, The Sopranos will return to HBO next April and not in January* as originally advertised. Which is funny because the original intent was for the show to return as quickly as possible after the close of last season. Instead there's going to be something like a ten month gap between episodes rather than a few as originally planned.

But the real question is if The Sopranos is still relevant eight years after its premiere?

* I can't be sure, but if memory serves me the original plan was to air the next season in December, which quickly got pushed back to January and now April.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/13/2006


Extras

The Mirror.co.uk is reporting that there is possibility of a third season of Extras. From the site:

Ricky, 45, said: "People seem to like it and I think that there's some mileage in it. My wish list for guests to appear in another series is as long as your arm, but Governor Schwarzenegger has to be there.

Along with Arnie, he wants Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Dick van Dyke and Mickey Rooney to appear on the BBC2 show. He added: "They are icons for me."

By Bert Ehrmann
12/12/2006


Joe Carnahan

Solice in Cinema has a report on what's next for writer/director Joe Carnahan (Smokin' Aces, Narc). From the article:

In the pipeline Carnahan has 'Pride and Glory' a movie focusing on corruption in the NYPD, starring Edward Norton and Colin Farrell. 'White Jazz' is a film adaptation of the James Ellroy book, and again involves police corruption, this time in the LAPD, and may star George Clooney. (…)

Carnahan is also working on a remake of the of the 1965 Otto Preminger movie 'Bunny Lake is Missing'… The plot centres around a woman who claims her 4-year old daughter is missing, but when detectives start to look into the case they find no evidence that the little girl ever existed and question the mothers sanity.


Though he was attached to Mission Impossible III for years, Carnahan hasn't made a movie since Narc in '02. Suddenly, the guy has one movie set to be released in the next few months and three others on the horizon. Yo Joe!

By Bert Ehrmann
12/11/2006


The Shadow

Dark Horizons is reporting that Sam Raimi will produce a movie based on the The Shadow franchise rather than a combined Shadow/Doc Savage/Avenger movie.



From Dark Horizons:

Sony Pictures has acquired the screen rights to "The Shadow," the legendary 1930s pulp hero, for a big-screen adaptation to be produced by "Spider-Man" helmer Sam Raimi. (…)

Raimi's own 1990 film "Darkman" was made after he missed out on obtaining the rights to the Shadow as this has long been a dream project of his.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Raimi is not attached to direct at this time, whilst Siavash Farahani will write the screenplay.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/11/2006


World Trade Center

Out on DVD next Tuesday (12/12) is the surprisingly good World Trade Center movie. From Amazon:

In the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster, hope is still alive. Refusing to bow down to terrorism, rescuers and family of the victims press forward. Their mission of rescue and recovery is driven by the faith that under each piece of rubble, a co-worker, a friend a family member may be found. This is the true story of John McLoughlin and William J. Jimeno, two of the last survivors extracted from Ground Zero and the rescuers who never gave up. It's a story of the true heroes of that fateful time in the history of the United States when buildings would fall and heroes would rise, literally from the ashes to inspire the entire human race.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/8/2006


Doc Savage

IGN.com is reporting a rumor that director Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, the Spider-Man franchise) is set to direct a Doc Savage/Shadow/Avenger movie. From IGN.com:

The project would unite a number of famous pulp heroes from Street and Smith Publications, which had once been among the top pulp publishers.

Characters that we were informed would be included in the film are Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Avenger, and quite possibly other (or all) major Street and Smith characters. (…) Additional sources advised us that Raimi is directing the project, which IGN was told would be written by a screenwriter named Siavash Farahani (Ingenue). Farahani, we were also advised, wrote a screenplay for a big-screen version of the CrossGen comic Ruse for Disney.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/7/2006


Lost

When new episodes of Lost begins airing this winter on ABC, the series will be moved to 10:00 P.M. Wednesday nights. From Variety:

ABC is moving "Lost" out of the way of the "American Idol" juggernaut.

Alphabet's January sked, set to be unveiled later today, has "Lost" moving to Wednesdays at 10 when it returns Feb. 7, insiders said. Shift ensures the third-year skein won't have to battle the Fox behemoth.


In my opinion, the absolute WORST thing a network can do to a show is MOVE it, and this will mark the THIRD time slot Lost has held since it premiered back in 2004. Oh well, I suppose Lost was fun while it lasted.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/5/2006


Transformers

Jalopnik has posted several images from the upcoming Transformers movie on their site. Apparently, Optimus has a flame job!

By Bert Ehrmann
12/4/2006


Hot Fuzz

The trailer for the upcoming Hot Fuzz movie has been released. Hot Fuzz is written, directed and (mostly) starring the people who created Shaun of the Dead (2004).



From IMDB:

Police Constable, Nicholas Angel is good at his job, so good in fact, he makes everyone else look bad. As a result, his superiors at the Met have decided to sweep him under the carpet. So it is that London's top cop finds himself in the sleepy West Country village of Sandford. With neighborhood watch meetings replacing the action of the city, Angel struggles to adapt to his situation and finds himself partnered with Danny Butterman, an oafish but well meaning young Constable. Just as all seems lost, a series of grisly accidents motivates Angel into action. Convinced of foul play, Angel realizes that Sandford may not be as idyllic as it seems. With his faithful new partner in tow, Angel fights to prove his instincts are correct and uncover the truth about Sandford. Is Angel simply losing his mind in the safest, sweetest village in Britain? Or is something far more sinister at work? Whatever the truth, Sandford is about to get a lot less sleepy.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/1/2006


The Best Movie Posters of 2006



In recent years, the movie poster has taken a backseat to other marketing media, namely television commercials and web sites. It almost seems as if the poster has become little more than a way for drivers to pull up to a theater to quickly gauge what's playing and when.

But I think that movie posters are more than just ads for movies, in some cases they're pieces of art. I've had an interest in movie posters as far back as I can remember. As a child when I didn't have the resources to buy movie posters for myself, I would instead clip and save ads for movies out of the newspaper and looked forward to Sundays when these were printed in color.

Continue reading this article on the best movie posters of 2006.

By Bert Ehrmann
12/1/2006


Miami Vice

Out on DVD next Tuesday, Miami Vice. The unedited Director's Cut DVD includes several documentaries and commentary by writer/director Michael Mann.



From Amazon:

Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) is urbane and dead smart. He lives with Bronx-born Intel analyst Trudy (Naomie Harris), as they work undercover transporting drug loads into South Florida to identify a group responsible for three murders. Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) [to the untrained eye, his presentation may seem unorthodox, but procedurally, he is sound] is charismatic and flirtatious until - while undercover working with the supplier of the South Florida group - he gets romantically entangled with Isabella (Gong Li), the Chinese-Cuban wife of an arms and drugs trafficker. The best undercover identity is oneself with the volume turned up and restraint unplugged. The intensity of the case pushes Crockett and Tubbs out onto the edge where identity and fabrication become blurred, where cop and player become one - especially for Crockett in his romance with Isabella and for Tubbs in the provocation of an assault on those he loves.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/30/2006


Starship Troopers 3

Could it be true!? Is Starship Troopers 3 in the works!? From SCI FI Wire:

Writer/director Ed Neumeier Moviehole.net that Sony is close to giving a green light to a third Starship Troopers film. "Looks like—fingers crossed—Sony is moving forward," Neumeier told the site. "Plans are afoot to shoot next year. Casper Van Dien will be back as Col. John Rico. There'll be a new bug or two. Also draft riots. Religion makes a comeback. And the Federation has a new weapon."
I didn't care too much for Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation, but have high hopes that the writer of the first Starship Troopers will be able to do something cool with Starship Troopers 3.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/30/2006


Dave Cockrum

Dave Cockrum, artist best known for his work popularizing the X-Men comic book in the 1970s and early 1980s, has died. From CNN:

At Marvel Comics, Cockrum and writer Len Wein were handed the X-Men. The comic had been created in 1963 as a group of young outcasts enrolled in an academy for mutants. The premise had failed to capture fans.

Cockrum and Wein added their own heroes to the comic and published "Giant-Size X-Men No. 1" in 1975. Many signature characters Cockrum designed and co-created -- such as Storm, Mystique, Nightcrawler and Colossus -- went on to become part of the "X-Men" films starring Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry.

Cockrum received no movie royalties, said family friend Clifford Meth, who organized efforts to help Cockrum and his family during his protracted medical care.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/29/2006


Jenna Fischer

I was watching a DVD from the series Undeclared the other day and noticed none-other than Jenna Fischer (Pam, from The Office) in a "blink and you'll miss it" bit-part.



From the pilot episode:
Steven: "Ummm…We're, like, having a party tonight. Do you want to come?"
Betty: "I'm a senior…"
Steven: "That's cool."
Betty: "No, sweetie, that means I'm not coming to your party."



I guess everybody has to start somewhere!

By Bert Ehrmann
11/28/2006


Extras

HBO is confirming that season two of Extras, which wrapped up last October in Great Britain, will begin airing this January on HBO.



By Bert Ehrmann
11/25/2006


300

The New York Times has a rather extensive article on writer/artist Frank Miller and director Zack Snyder about the upcoming movie 300.



From the article:

THE story of “300” — the popular comic book mini-series and, soon, a film from Warner Brothers — began when Frank Miller, the series’s creator, was 6. The year was 1963, and “The 300 Spartans” was in theaters…“It was a shocker, because the heroes died,” Mr. Miller said in a recent telephone interview. “I was used to seeing Superman punch out planets. It was an epiphany to realize that the hero wasn’t necessarily the guy who won.”…

Mr. Miller says that while he strove for historical accuracy whenever possible, art won out in certain areas. The real Spartans, for instance, wore heavy body armor, clunky stuff that weighed about half as much as they did: handy in a pitched battle, but hardly sexy or eye-grabbing, certainly not for an action comic.

“My first versions of the soldiers looked like beetles,” he said. “They looked like they couldn’t move faster than two miles an hour.

So Mr. Miller ditched the armor in favor of a more natural look. In his series, Leonidas and his warriors wear red capes and little else; when in battle, they cover their privates in what appear to be leather Speedos.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/25/2006


The Proposition Poster

I wonder if the poster for the movie The Proposition was influenced by the opening titles of The Wild Bunch (1969)?

The Wild Bunch:





The Proposition
:

By Bert Ehrmann
11/25/2006


Superman

Out on DVD next week (11/28) is Superman Returns and the long-awaited Superman II – The Richard Donner Cut. From Superman Homepage:

Richard Donner had originally filmed Superman I and II almost concomitantly. However, Mario Puzo wanted to explore both the range of human feelings and sexuality of Superman, actually promising the press that he would insure that Superman and Lois slept together in the film. When Donner balked at this, Puzo threatened to pull out of the project and the Salkinds decided to replace Donner rather than let Puzo leave. Richard Lester was hired and essentially re-filmed all but a few scenes of the movie.
Finally this never-before-seen version is going to see the light of day.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/23/2006


Spider-Man 3

JoBlo has posted two new posters for the upcoming Spider-Man 3 movie. The tagline of the poster is "The Battle Within."

By Bert Ehrmann
11/22/2006


Parachute-Skiers

Cool video of the week – the parachute-skiers set to the tune of Queen's "Battle Theme."

By Bert Ehrmann
11/21/2006


Battlestar Galactica

The SCI-FI Channel has decided to move their hit series Battlestar Galactica from Friday nights at 9:00 P.M. to Sunday nights at 10:00 P.M. (EST) beginning January 21. From Variety:

(This) (m)ove will mark the first time Sci Fi has tried an original series on the night -- and the first time since its premiere in 2003 that "Battlestar" will have a new home.
Does this sort of scheduling work for an established show like BSG? The last time I can remember a successful show being moved from Friday to Sunday nights was The X-Files back in the mid-1990s. Though moving The X-Files turned out to be a successful one, I can think of lots of shows where moving them killed the series. (Space: Above and Beyond, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Arrested Development…)



And Sundays at 10:00 P.M., why so late? Is there really a contingent of fans looking for a sci-fi fix later Sunday nights? Does the SCI-FI Channel see itself as HBO-like in establishing Sunday nights as their night?

Most networks fail to establish a successful Friday night schedule with their series. I find it odd that the SCI-FI Channel is so set on dismantling their successful Friday night with the hopes of establishing a successful Sunday night.

Oh well, I guess I can always Tivo BSG and watch it Mondays.

Thanks to Duke for the heads up on this!

By Bert Ehrmann
11/21/2006


John From Cincinnati

The New York Times has an interesting article on David Milch and his next show John from Cincinnati set to air Spring 2007. From the article:

The story defies television genre-speak, but in literature it would be called surf noir. There is a dysfunctional family viewed through the twin prisms of surfing and heroin addiction, a space alien and a lawyer named Dickstein. It should be mentioned that some characters occasionally levitate…

Rebecca De Mornay…will play Cissy Yost, the matriarch of the family. Shaun Yost, a talented young surfer turned skateboarder, will be played by Greyson Fletcher, a nonactor and, not so coincidentally, one of the real-life models for at least part of the story.

The conscience of the pilot, a wizened character named Bill, is modeled after Mr. Milch’s best friend, Bill Clark, a retired New York police detective who is never far from Mr. Milch’s side. The role will be held down by Ed O’Neill, who will be the moral center of the series and the dramatic collective Mr. Milch is trying to build…

“What is this show about? It is about itself,” (Milch) said later in the day, lying on the floor supported by the crook of one arm, the other doing jerky arabesques in the air. “Ostensibly it is about a family of surfers who seem to have become more and more disassociated from themselves and from good surfing. They were all champions, and they are in one way or another alienated, loaded and ascetic.”

He paused. “And then a strange guy comes into their life: John from Cincinnati.”


By Bert Ehrmann
11/20/2006


The Thing

Ronald D. Moore, Battlestar Galactica executive producer, will be writing the remake to The Thing movie. From SCI FI Wire:

The producers said they consider the new film to be more "a companion piece" to the Carpenter film than a note-for-note remake.
So, this movie is based off the John Carpenter version of The Thing which was a remake of the movie The Thing From Another World. Got that?

By Bert Ehrmann
11/19/2006


Aaron Sorkin and the Myth of an 8-hour Workday


The characters of television shows written by Aaron Sorkin don't live by the union mantra "eight hours for work, eight hours for play and eight for what we will." They live their lives through and for their jobs. Outside of work these characters have no life, no identity.

Sorkin's first foray in television was with his series Sports Night that lasted just two seasons on ABC starting in 1998. Sports Night focused on a news program covering sports on the fictional Continental Sports Channel. Much like other Sorkin television series that would follow, Sports Night would focus on what went on behind the scenes of the show where the public isn't privy.

Continue reading this article on Aaron Sorkin.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/17/2006


Letters from Iwo Jima

The Flags of Our Fathers companion movie Letters from Iwo Jima is now scheduled to hit theaters December 20. From Dark Horizons:

The new date puts the film up for awards consideration, and talk is the studio is planning to push hard on the film to both critics and guilds in its limited release run in New York, Los Angeles and possibly San Francisco.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/16/2006


Thick of It

The American version of the British series Thick of It has been given a pilot order by ABC. From Zap2It:

The original series, which won two BAFTA Awards (the British version of the Emmys) earlier this year, including best comedy, focused on a harried British government minister and the inept staff members and bureaucrats he dealt with on a daily basis (it aired on BBC America in this country). ABC's version will transplant the action to Congress.
It seems to me that someone like Jason Bateman would be perfect for one of the roles in the show — that is unless he's too busy working in the movies!

By Bert Ehrmann
11/15/2006


Breach

Check out the trailer for the upcoming movie Breach. From Yahoo:

Eric O'Neill (Ryan Phillippe) is promoted to a job inside FBI headquarters working for respected agent Robert Hanssen (Chris Cooper). Then O'Neill learns his true mission: finding proof that Hanssen has been selling American secrets to the Soviet Union for years.








By Bert Ehrmann
11/13/2006


The Good German

The New York Times has an article on the the technique used while filming the upcoming movie The Good German. From the article:

“The Good German,” which Mr. Soderbergh directed for Warner Brothers, reimagines what it would be like to make a movie under the studio system of old. Based on the novel by Joseph Kanon — a thriller with a conscience about an American war correspondent (George Clooney) who returns to the rubble of postwar Berlin to find the German woman (Cate Blanchett) who was once his lover — the movie, which opens in limited release on Dec. 15, is both set in 1946 and, in a sense, filmed there as well.

During the production Mr. Soderbergh was committed to remaining as true as possible to the technique of the era. By reproducing the conditions of an actual studio shoot from the late 1940s, he hoped to enter the mind of a filmmaker like Mr. Curtiz, to explore the strengths and limitations of a classical style that has now largely been lost.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/13/2006


The Office

Zap2It is reporting that the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant episode of U.S. version of The Office is set to air at the end of November. From Zap2It:

The episode, titled "The Convict," has Michael (Steve Carell) trying to be supportive when he finds out one of his new employees -- presumably someone from the Stamford branch -- has a prison record. Given the way Michael's attempts at empathy usually work out, we're guessing the results are less than ideal.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/12/2006


Actor Jack Palance dies at 87

Jack Palance, the craggy-faced menace in "Shane," "Sudden Fear" and other films such as his Oscar-winning role in "City Slickers," died Friday. This is a tragedy. Jack was by far one of the most bad-ass actors of his time. Wether it be some crappy 80's movie (that Mike/Joel and the bots destroyed) or one of his many western movies, he was always the gritty bad guy. He looked as if he had gone ten rounds with Hollyfield and talked like he smoked a carton a day. "Ripley's Believe or Not" will never be the same no matter who they get to replace him. (nice try Dean Cain) It is a sad day to be a fan.

By Matt Alexander
11/11/2006


Them

Battlestar Galactica writer/producer David Eick is working on another show for CBS entitled Them. From Variety:

(The) basic premise of "Them" involves a sleeper cell of extraterrestrial terrorists who take the shape of humans. Their mission is compromised when they start experiencing human emotions, which act like a drug on the aliens.
That makes a total of FOUR shows Eick is associated with, BSG, the upcoming Caprica, the "reconceptualization" of The Bionic Woman and now Them. I wonder if there is a danger of Eick becoming too overextended with all these shows?

By Bert Ehrmann
11/10/2006


Spider-Man 3

Here it is — the trailer Matt mentions below. Check out the trailer for Spider-Man 3 here. I'm guessing that this won't be the last trailer for the movie since there's something like six months before its release and the lack of Venom in the trailer.









By Bert Ehrmann
11/10/2006


Spiderman Trailer Released

Last night on the Viacom network channels ( CBS, MTV, VH1 ) they released the much anticipated Spiderman 3 trailer. At first glimpse I was giddy as a school girl. This was suppost to be the movie of the summer and it isn't even winter yet. Of course being a true believer of the comic stroyline I was disappointed with the "new" black suit. I was expecting more of a sleeker, white eyed, alien spiderman but yet again hollywood took a can of black spray paint and painted over the old suit. The special effects for the Sandman look pretty good and I am still interested about how they are going to combine the Sandman and new and improved Hobgoblin storylines. Also where is Bruce Campbell going to show up this time ? ( Nickelodeon is also a Viacom owned station but they were playing 24 hours of SpongeBob. How can you go wrong with that! )

By Matt Alexander
11/10/2006


Studio 60

Eonline is reporting that Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip has been picked up by NBC for the entire season. From E!:

Reliable sources close to the network tell me that the ratings-challenged (but fan-adored) Studio 60 has received the "back nine" order, meaning that the series will complete a full season of 22 episodes for its freshman season.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/9/2006


Lost

The New York Times has an article on Lost, and the 13 weeks between now and new episodes of the series. From the article:

The show will return on Feb. 7 for a run of 16 or 17 new episodes that will carry viewers into late May. (…)

But the schedule could still cause confusion and dismay among “Lost” fans who do not spend most of their waking hours scouring recorded episodes and online fan sites for clues about the mysteries of the island where the show is set. If they tune in next Wednesday night at the usual time, they will be greeted with the first episode of “Day Break,”(…)

Instead, ABC hopes to keep “Lost” fans enticed over the next three months with what it is calling “ ‘Lost’ Nuggets”: 30-second promotional clips of scenes from episodes not yet broadcast that will hint at what will become of the island castaways when the show returns.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/8/2006


Diary of the Dead

Bloody Disgusting has posted the first few stills from George Romero's upcoming Diary of the Dead movie. From Bloody Disgusting:

The film will follow a group of college students shooting a horror movie in the woods who stumble upon a real zombie uprising. When the onslaught begins, they seize the moment as any good film students would, capturing the undead in a "cinema verite" style that causes more than the usual production headaches.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/7/2006


Evil Dead: The Musical

This has to be either the best idea to come along in some time, or the worst – Evil Dead: The Musical. From the official site:

This hilarious live stage show takes all the bloody fun of the '80s horror films, Evil Dead 1 and Evil Dead 2, and combines them to create the craziest theatrical experience ever to hit New York. Blood will fly. Limbs will be lost. Demons will tell bad jokes. All of this, and singing and dancing!

By Bert Ehrmann
11/7/2006


The Stanford Prison Experiment

Christopher McQuarrie, writer of The Usual Suspects and writer/director of The Way of the Gun, is set to write and direct The Stanford Prison Experiment. From Dark Horizons:

Maverick Films has set an April start date for their $11 million "Stanford Prison Experiment" film which Christopher McQuarrie ("The Way of the Gun") will direct reports Variety.

(The movie is) based on an infamous human behavior study that took place in the early '70s. The experiment studied the psychology of incarceration, and a group of undergrads took on the roles of prisoners and guards.

Within 24 hours, the guards resorted to psychological torture and humiliation -- some of it sexual -- and the inmates staged an uprising.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/6/2006


Extras

Season one of the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant series Extras is (finally) due in stores January 9. DVD extras include over 20 minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes and two featurettes.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/5/2006


One-Season TV Wonders

The week the A.V. Club listed "15 Lamentably Lost One-Season TV Wonders." Their list includes, Harsh Realm, Now and Again, Freaks & Geeks, Undeclared, Firefly and Action.

I'd add to this list Space: Above and Beyond, Greg the Bunny, Tenacious D (the HBO show) K Street and The Tick (live action).

By Bert Ehrmann
11/5/2006


Documentaries that Aren't, Blurring the Line Between Fact and Fiction



Over the years a sort of sub film genera has emerged — the faux documentary. These films aren't quite fiction nor docudrama, they're something else altogether. Blending fictional elements with a documentary style, these films can best be described as the "fauxcumentary."

Writer/director Peter Watkins practically invented the fauxcumentary in 1965 with his film The War Game. In Watkins' film, tensions between the U.S. and Soviet Union spill over to nuclear war, and an unprepared people of Great Britain must deal with the fallout of this shattering event.

Continue reading this article on the fauxcumentary.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/3/2006


Smokin' Aces

JoBlo.com has the poster from the upcoming Smokin' Aces movie by director Joe Carnahan.



Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
11/2/2006


White Jazz

Could it be!? Could Joe Carnahan (director of the extremely good Narc) be in the process of starting to direct a James Ellroy novel!? From IGN:

White Jazz follows the misadventures of rogue cop Lt. Dave Klein as he becomes entwined in a violent and treacherous corruption scandal within the LAPD. Klein is partnered with the troubled Junior Stemmons. They are not exactly on the best terms; neither Klein nor Junior would hunt down their partner's killer, unless there was something to gain from it.

Carnahan says the new White Jazz screenplay is "pretty close to the book. My brother [Matthew Michael Carnahan, screenwriter of The Kingdom] and I did the adaptation. My brother wrote the first big draft. My brother's really a fantastic writer. We really made it about Chavez Ravine. What we did change is that Kafesjians, the Armenian family, is now Mexican, Magdalenas. And much to Ellroy's chagrin because I think he always loved the whole Armenian angle."

By Bert Ehrmann
11/2/2006


28 Weeks Later...

Fox Atomic has released a glimpse into the 28 Weeks Later… movie. It looks interesting, but I'm still not buying the whole plot behind the movie.







By Bert Ehrmann
11/1/2006


The End?

The end is nigh. From the New York Times:

(The soap opera) “Guiding Light” and Marvel Comics have teamed up for an episode of this long-running series, to be shown at 10 a.m. tomorrow on CBS. In the episode, “She’s a Marvel,” Beth Ehlers, as Harley Davidson Cooper, one of the show’s main characters, has an accident that gives her superpowers. To commemorate the occasion, Marvel has produced an eight-page comic.
So, does this mean that the superhero craze is officially over? And I thought that soap operas and comic books had nothing in common. How wrong I was!

By Bert Ehrmann
10/30/2006


Television Serials

The New York Times has a story about the sorry state of serialized dramas on television. More specifically, a "gun shy" audience afraid to commit to a show that could be canceled at any moment. From the article:

“The message we received was that people have strains on their lives,” said Kevin Reilly, the president of NBC Entertainment. “People are saying, ‘I’ve got my handful of shows like this, and I don’t want more.’” (…) The prospect of devoting time and passion to a show only to see it cut off, like a movie snapping in half in midprojection, has made a lot of viewers feel commitment-phobic this season. (…)

ABC raised the stakes two years ago with “Lost,” which became a bigger sensation than “24.” And viewers of “Lost” don’t even get a resolution at the end of the season. They commit themselves to the show knowing that it will tease and confuse them for the entire length of its run. (…) Many of the season’s new serial dramas seemed much more like ideas for movies than for extended television series. (…)

EVEN when serialized shows do become hits, they face challenges that conventional shows do not. They never repeat successfully, for one thing, making it crucial to attract big first-run audiences and strong DVD sales.

And holding onto huge ratings year after year is difficult. That seems increasingly to be the case with the genre’s biggest hit so far, “Lost.” Now in just its third season, the show has seen its ratings fall more than 25 percent. (Emphasis Bert.) While those numbers are still exceptionally good, ratings tend to increase for almost every conventional hit drama in the third season. It appears that new viewers are unwilling to join “Lost” at this point because the story is so far along and so convoluted that it would take weeks of DVD viewing to catch up. (…)

By Bert Ehrmann
10/28/2006


Thick of It

Reuters is reporting that Mitchell Hurwitz, the creator of Arrested Development, is working on an American version of the British comedy Thick of It. From Reuters:

The BBC4 series centers on a put-upon member of Parliament who is continually harassed by inept bureaucrats working for the prime minister and other politicians and civil servants.
I called the British version of Thick of It and Arrested Development as two of the best television shows of '05. I can't wait to see what Hurwitz does with the material.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/27/2006


James Bama: American Realist

The book James Bama: American Realist is available from Flesk Publications:

The illustration art of James Bama has now been collected into this impressive 160-page full color hardbound edition. James Bama: American Realist is the first book to span his entire career. Examples explore his diverse brush from magazine illustrations, paperback book covers, and advertising. Chapters examine his work in pop culture, horror, science fiction, adventure and western genres, concluding with his most recent fine art endeavors.

This volume features a detailed biography exploring his noteworthy and singular career. Insightful quotes by Bama accompany many pieces. In addition, testimonials by leading artists, writers, and historians are contained throughout.

During his career, Bama’s art graced many memorable pop culture paperback book covers. Among his most notable works are the 62 cover paintings for Bantam’s Doc Savage adventure series, all of which are contained within.

His uncanny ability to render a multitude of genres, and under amazingly tight deadlines, made Bama highly sought after by top publishers. Combined with his exemplary work ethic, Bama’s artwork encompassed a wide spectrum of media. This, along with his unique realist approach, helped secure his place as one of the most influential artists of his time. Having achieved remarkable success in illustration, Bama changed direction, pursuing a career in fine art. His gamble led to higher acclaim. This book delves into the man, from illustrator to artist.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/26/2006


Lost

SCI FI Wire is reporting that the series Lost will go on hiatus for 13 weeks starting November 8. This translates to something like a 90 day break, just a bit less than the 133 day break between the second and third seasons of the show.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/25/2006


Day of the Dead

The trailer for the upcoming remake of the Day of the Dead (1985) movie is out, and looks really baaaaaad. This new Day of the Dead doesn't bear even a passing resemblance to the original, nor does it seem to be a follow-up to the Dawn of the Dead remake of 2004.

Why even remake a movie IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO USE THE ORIGINAL AS A GUIDE!?

By Bert Ehrmann
10/24/2006


RIP Smith

The New York Times has an article on the CBS canceled series Smith, and the state of dramas on television today. From the article:

The quick cancellation of “Smith” elucidates how television, like the movie industry, has become a business where there is little room for the modest success. Network executives might talk endlessly about how, in an era where the attention of audiences is ever more scattered, new shows need time to find themselves. But those same executives are often quick to pull the plug on an expensive production that does not immediately perform to expectations.

Combined with NBC’s announcement last week of plans to cut back on expensive programming, the experience of “Smith” demonstrates how the recent trend in television — costly serializations with large casts and complex plots — changes the basic rules of engagement for networks. Viewers cannot easily dip in and out of these kinds of shows, as they can with a half-hour situation comedy or game show. So networks have to make decisions on more expensive, more complex series based on very small samples — a few episodes, typically — to predict whether viewers will commit to an entire season, as they have for similar shows like “Lost” or “24.”

By Bert Ehrmann
10/23/2006


John From Cincinnati

The new David Milch (Deadwood) series John From Cincinnati is a go. From Variety:

The network has greenlit 12 episodes of "John From Cincinnati," a surf noir family drama set in Southern California from the "Deadwood" creator-exec producer.

Production begins in November for a premiere next summer.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/23/2006


The Thing About Halloween...



The great thing about Halloween is that it's the one time of year that lots of good sci-fi/horror films turn up on television — and I'm not talking about any of the recent Saw movies. I'm talking about classic sci-fi/horror, where the men are real-men who use large caliber weapons and flame throwers to send the beasts of hell back from where they came. My absolute favorite sci-fi/horror movie from this period has always been The Thing From Another World (1951).

Continue reading this article on The Thing From Another World.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/20/2006


Just in time for Halloween - Monsters Attack!

Continuing the "Attack!" theme of a few weeks back, I present to you the late 1980s early 1990s magazine Monsters Attack!



These magazines were incredibly difficult to find back in the day. I managed to complete my collection only by scouring local grocery stores and drug stores in search of the latest issue. Each issue of Monsters Attack! featured fully drawn stories of terror as well as written features on horror movies.

Stories in Monsters Attack! ranged from the mysterious like the unforgettable "Weirdbeard" (the Blob meets Strange Brew) to the apocalyptic – a man escapes nuclear doom in a shelter full of bodacious bimbos only to suffer a crippling heart attack and become totally paralyzed. Eat your heart out Rod Serling!

You never knew what was going to happen next in Monsters Attack!



Best of all Monsters Attack! would introduce me to John Severin, one of the best artists who ever worked in the comic book industry. Severin illustrated several covers to Monsters Attack! as well as drawing stories within. I'm still trying to get over his "A Boy's Life" story, about a predatory juvenile vampire stalking the youth of 1950's America. Yikes!

Sadly, Monsters Attack! didn't last too long before the magazine folded. Issues of the magazine turn up for sale on eBay occasionally and a few are available for sale here.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/19/2006


Snake Eyes

These two Snake Eyes statues are extremely cool. The wall statue is out now, and the bust is due out next January. Click on the photos below for more information on the statues.



By Bert Ehrmann
10/19/2006


The Good German

Check out the trailer for the upcoming The Good German movie, starring George Clooney, Cate Blanchett and Tobey Maguire, directed by Steven Soderbergh.













The Good German is due in theaters Christmas Day.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/19/2006


Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the low ratings of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip are hurting Monday night ratings overall for NBC. From the article:

On Monday the show slipped to its lowest rating so far in the critical adults aged 18-49 bracket, with a 3.1 rating/8 share (7.8 million total viewers), according to early data from Nielsen Media Research. (…)

"Studio 60" was beaten in both the demo and among total viewers by ABC's drama "What About Brian?" (3.5 rating/9 share; 8.3 million total viewers), a sluggish holdover from last season.
Which is a shame since I still think Studio 60 is the best new show of the year.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/18/2006


Battlestar Galactica

The Battlestar Galactica webisodes are causing quite a stir according to Newsweek.

NBC Universal, the studio behind "Battlestar," refused to pay residuals or credit the writers of these "Webisodes," claiming they're promotional materials. So "Battlestar" executive producer Ron Moore said he wouldn't deliver any more of them, including the 10 that were already in the can. In response, NBC Universal seized the Webisodes and filed charges of unfair labor practices against the Writers Guild of America, which advised Moore and producers of three other NBC Universal shows not to deliver any new Web content until they had a deal over residuals. (…)

The stakes are huge: viewers streamed "Battlestar" Webisodes 5.5 million times last month, doubling traffic to SciFi.com within two days of the premiere. By comparison, 2.2 million people showed up for the show's third-season opener on Oct. 6. Talk of a Hollywood strike is growing louder. Some 900 writers, including "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry, attended a "unity" rally Sept. 20. Says "Galactica's" Moore: "We're all heading toward a collision over digital content. Somebody's going to blink, but I don't think it's going to be the writers."

By Bert Ehrmann
10/18/2006


Deadwood

A book on the television series Deadwood entitled Deadwood: Stories of the Black Hills has been released. From Amazon:

With unprecedented access, the book gives readers in-depth interviews with cast, crew, writers, designers, and historians. Original, specially commissioned photography provides a fresh look at the people and places of Deadwood®, with new portraits of the lead characters (based on actual persons), detailed depictions of the set (including the Gem Saloon and Jack Langrishe’s theater), and images revealing how the show is made, from costuming and makeup to the mixing of Deadwood® mud. A provocative, entertaining, and always evocative portrait of an era.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/17/2006


Torchwood

The Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood is set to premiere on BBC Three next Sunday (10/22).



From the official site:

Based deep within the Hub, housed under 21st century Cardiff Bay, Torchwood is a repository for the accumulation and safe keeping of alien artefacts and beings that emerge via the Rift - an invisible but powerful tear in the fabric of reality. Earth’s first line of defence, the Torchwood team protects humanity from dangers threatening it, both from beyond the Rift and closer to home in a century where everything changes. Torchwood is led by Captain Jack Harkness, who knows that everything they discover is invaluable for mankind to survive what he believes is coming…

By Bert Ehrmann
10/15/2006


Miami Vice DVD

JoBlo has released what looks like the cover art for the upcoming DVD release of Miami Vice.



What an AWFUL LOOKING OBVIOUSLLY RETOUCHED cover for such a good movie! There's always a chance that this isn't finished-art and that a new cover will grace the DVD upon release. Miami Vice is due out on DVD December 5.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/13/2006


Grind House

A video for the upcoming Grind House movie that aired during the Scream Awards on SpikeTV has appeared over on TheMovieBox.Net. Grind House is really two movies sandwiched together as a sort-of "double-feature." One half of Grind House is entitled Planet Terror and is directed by Robert Rodriguez. The other movie, entitled Death Proof is directed by Quentin Tarantino and is (apparently) about a serial killer who uses a car as his weapon.














Grind House is due in theaters next spring.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/12/2006


Zodiac

JoBlo has posted an exclusive first look at the poster for the upcoming Zodiac movie, directed by David Fincher. Zodiac is due in theaters this January.



Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/12/2006


Just in time for Halloween - Dinosaurs Attack!

I remember getting into Dinosaurs Attack! in (I'm guessing) 1989 when I spotted a box of these cards at a local drug store. If I remember correctly, the cards were marked down to just $.10 a pack from the usual $.25. That night, me and my brother bought a few packs and a few weeks later went back and bought-out the rest.



Sometime later I purchased an entire box of the cards and was able to get two sets out of it – though one set was accidentally covered in fake vampire blood a few months after purchase. (How appropriate?)

It's hard to describe how brutally amazing this card set was to me, a 14 year old punk-kid with a penchant for drawing. The art was rendered with such clarity, brilliant colors and gore it only made my desire to learn how to draw and paint much more desperate.



For more information on Dinosaurs Attack! visit:
Bob Heffner's Dinosaurs Attack! Homepage
.
I-Mockery.com's Dinosaurs Attack! page.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/10/2006


The Bionic Woman

The SCI FI Wire is reporting that David Eick, executive producer of the new Battlestar Galactica, is planning on resurrecting another 1970s show – The Bionic Woman. From SCI FI Wire:

Eick told the trade paper that the new series will be "a complete reconceptualization of the title. We're using the title as a starting point, and that's all." (…) Instead of focusing on terrorism and militarism, the new Bionic will explore the role of professional women in contemporary society and how they juggle their various roles.
I feel the same way about this new series as how I felt when news of the new Battlestar Galactica came out; initial skepticism. However, this skepticism was proven wrong with Battlestar Galactica and I'm hoping it will be proven wrong with The Bionic Women as well.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/10/2006


YouTube

Yahoo is reporting that Google is planning to purchase YouTube for $1.65 billion. YouTube was founded, according to Wikipedia, in February 2005. 20 or so months later the company was sold for $1.65 billion to Google. If you do the math with this number, the company "earned" $82.5 million a month, $2.75 million a day, $115,000 an hour, $1,900 a minute and $32 every second. Impressive numbers indeed.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/9/2006


Smith

Zap2It is reporting that the CBS series Smith has been canceled after three episodes. From Zap2It:

Effective immediately, CBS has removed the star-studded, critically admired, presumably expensive drama "Smith" from its Tuesday night schedule, making it the season's first true casualty.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/8/2006


300

The official trailer for the upcoming 300 movie has been released. I like that the movie is billed as "Based on the Graphic Novel by Frank Miller." Looking at the trailer, I'm not sure that "based on" are strong enough words.











By Bert Ehrmann
10/5/2006


Battlestar Galactica: Nothing's ever gonna' be the same again



When Battlestar Galactica returned to the airwaves this fall, it marked the end of a 210-day absence of new episodes. Somehow, the wait seemed longer.

What began as a limited mini-series in 2003, morphed into a full-fledged weekly-series in 2004 that has cumulated as one of the SCI-FI Channels top rated shows since. Battlestar Galactica proves on a weekly basis that the genre doesn't have to consist of colorful lasers-beams and aliens with funky foreheads to be considered sci-fi.

Continue reading this article on the third season of Battlestar Galactica.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/4/2006


Lost

Season three of Lost premiers this Wednesday (10/4) on ABC. From ABC:

In the season premiere episode, Jack, Kate and Sawyer begin to discover what they are up against as prisoners of "The Others."

By Bert Ehrmann
10/3/2006


Veronica Mars

Season three of Veronica Mars premiers this Tuesday (10/3) on The CW. From IMDB:

Veronica is in true form from the moment she and boyfriend Logan, along with close friends Wallace and Mac, set foot on the campus of Hearst College. Wallace enlists Veronica's help when his new roommate, Piz, has all his belongings stolen. While working on Piz's case, Veronica learns that the campus serial rapist has struck again. Meanwhile, Keith runs into trouble while transporting a recently released convict across the country to reunite him with Kendall.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/2/2006


Bruce Timm

arglebargle! has a nice post up on the horror art of Bruce Timm.

Bruce Timm's name has become synonymous with Batman and animated Superheroes in general...but like a lot of comics guys that grew up in the 1960's (myself included) the man loves old monster and Horror movies. Had he been born 10 years earlier I'm sure his covers and stories for Warren mags like Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella would by now be both fondly remembered and well sought after.

By Bert Ehrmann
10/2/2006


Monsters HD

The Monsters HD channel launched today on the Dish Network. The channel is billed as "TV's first horror channel uncut in Hi-Definition…"

By Bert Ehrmann
10/1/2006


Yet Another Zombie Book

Another week and another zombie book. This one's entitled Gospel of the Living Dead George Romero's Visions of Hell on Earth. From the publisher:

This volume connects American social and religious views with the classic American movie genre of the zombie horror film. For nearly forty years, the films of George A. Romero have presented viewers with hellish visions of our world overrun by flesh-eating ghouls. This study proves that Romero's films, like apocalyptic literature or Dante's Commedia, go beyond the surface experience of repulsion to probe deeper questions of human nature and purpose, often giving a chilling and darkly humorous critique of modern, secular America.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/29/2006


I Am Legend

JoBlo has posted a photo of Will Smith filming the upcoming movie I Am Legend. I'm getting to get the feeling that this adaptation of I Am Legend is more The Omega Man (1971) than the original book in story.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/28/2006


Jericho

Random thoughts on the second episode of Jericho

I think Jericho is quickly proving itself to be even more lame than I originally suspected. I mean, c'mon, Jericho has a population of just 3,000 yet all of the residents within don't know each and every member of the Jericho police force!? (I grew up in a town more than three times the size of Jericho, and we all knew each and every officer in town.)

I like that the Jericho townsfolk know how long it takes for a storm to travel from Denver to their city. Like all storms travel the same speed and/or direction.

So, the world's ended and yet the criminals are still acting like criminals!? Shouldn't they be looking for leather chaps and super-modified cars that go REALLY fast?

Is it a rule that on Jericho all the characters must proclaim at least once an episode "Oh my god!" or "You're crazy!" to accentuate the tension? (Maybe this is a rule of CBS shows in general?)

The creators of Jericho so badly want their series to be Lost they even copy the opening credits of Lost with the logo of the series shown over a black screen with a simple piece of music playing.

The after effects of the nuclear bomb remind me a lot of the series Harsh Realm (1999).

Speaking of radiation, if Jericho's about to be covered with fallout, wouldn't this contaminate everything from the food to the drinking supply to the dust the residents breathe in?

I like all the main characters of Jericho are experts at everything and perfect shots – except for the criminals. They can't shoot worth squat.

Jericho's a lot like the series 24, every place is exactly ten minutes away from every other place in the town of Jericho.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/27/2006


Six Feet Under

The HBO series Six Feet Under begins airing on the basic cable channel Bravo next Monday (10/2) – which means all the "good parts" will probably be cut out. From Bravo:

From the Oscar®-winning writer of American Beauty, this hour-long series takes a darkly comic look at members of a dysfunctional Los Angeles family that runs an independent funeral home. With the prodigal elder son returning home for the holidays to shattering news, the family must learn to deal with the death of one of their own, while figuring out how to go ahead with the business of living. What emerges over the course of 13 episodes is a quirky, funny, emotional, life-affirming look at the enlightenment of a grieving American family … that happens to be in the grief-management business.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/25/2006


Doctor Who

Season two of the series Doctor Who begins airing this Friday (9/29) at 8:00 P.M. (EST) on the SCI FI Channel. The first episode is entitled "New Earth":

Rose embarks on her first adventure with the newly regenerated Doctor. But when they visit New Earth far in the future, they find gruesome secrets hidden inside a luxury hospital — and an enemy thought long since dead is out for revenge.


Unfortunately, season two of Doctor Who is nowhere near as good as season one.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/25/2006


Fall 2006-2007 TV Premier Dates

Next week is the last premier week for new television shows this Fall. In an interesting twist of fate, Veronica Mars, Lost and Battlestar Galactica all are entering their third seasons this year. Read more about The Nine here. I will be posting a review of the first three episodes of Battlestar Galactica sometime before the show premiers next week.

The week of October 2 — 6 (All Times EST)

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
 

CW
Veronica Mars 9:00 P.M.

ABC
Lost
9:00 P.M.

ABC
The Nine
10:00 P.M.

 

SCI-FI
Battlestar Galactica
9:00 P.M.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/25/2006


The Good Shepherd

Check out the trailer for the upcoming The Good Shepherd movie, starring Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and starring/directed by Robert De Niro.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/25/2006


The Office

Slate Magazine has an interesting article on all the different varieties of the television series The Office around the world. From Slate:

Watching all four versions back-to-back is not only a strangely unmooring experience—like seeing the film Groundhog Day over and over—it's a crash course in national identity. And if any conjecture could be made about the cultural differences that these subtly contrasting programs reveal, it might be this one: These days, Germans and Americans are doing much of their living in and around their offices, while the Brits and French continue to live outside of them. Here, in broad strokes, are the chief differences. In the British version, nobody is working, nobody has a happy relationship, everyone looks terrible, and everybody is depressed. In the French version, nobody is working but even the idiots look good, and everybody seems possessed of an intriguing private life. In the German version, actual work is visibly being done, most of the staff is coupled up, and the workers never stop eating and drinking—treating the office like a kitchen with desks. Stromberg continually calls his staff "Kinder," or "children," further blurring the line between Kinder, Computer, and Küche.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/22/2006


Battlestar Galactica

The official Battlestar Galactica web-site has been redesigned with easier to use navigation as well as a smattering of new desktop backgrounds.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/21/2006


Flags of Our Fathers

The New York Times has an article on the upcoming Flags of Our Fathers movie. From the article:

Above all it is a study of the callous ways in which heroes are created for public consumption, used and discarded, all with the news media’s willing cooperation. And it is imbued with enough of a critique of American politicians and military brass to invite suspicions that Hollywood is appropriating the iconography of World War II to score contemporary political points. Yet just when it verges on indicting the people responsible for exploiting the troops, the movie comes round to their point of view.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/20/2006


World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

This might be the most interesting book I've heard about in a long while, a historical account of a future conflict between humanity and the living dead. From Amazon:

"The Crisis" nearly wiped out humanity. Brooks (son of Mel Brooks and author of The Zombie Survival Guide, 2003) has taken it upon himself to document the "first hand" experiences and testimonies of those lucky to survive 10 years after the fictitious zombie war. Like a horror fan's version of Studs Terkel's The Good War (1984), the "historical account" format gives Brooks room to explore the zombie plague from numerous different views and characters. In a deadpan voice, Brooks exhaustively details zombie incidents from isolated attacks to full-scale military combat: "what if the enemy can't be shocked and awed? Not just won't, but biologically can't!" With the exception of a weak BAT-21 story in the second act, the "interviews" and personal accounts capture the universal fear of the collapse of society--a living nightmare in which anyone can become a mindless, insatiable predator at a moment's notice. Regardless, horror fans won't be disappointed: like George Romero's Dead trilogy, World War Z is another milestone in the zombie mythos.


NPR also has an excerpt from the book.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/20/2006


Heroes and The Nine - Early Reviews



I couldn’t wait to see the pilot episode to the series Heroes, set to premiere this fall on NBC. Unfortunately, Heroes wasn’t worth the wait.

In Heroes, people all over the world (which means mostly in the United States) are slowly discovering that they have special abilities far beyond that of mortal men. An office worker in Japan teaches himself to bend-time and teleport, an artist in America learns of his ability to paint things that have yet to happen, an Unbreakable teen in Texas discovers that she’s practically indestructible while a mother in Las Vegas sees an evil version of herself in a mirror.

Continue reading this column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/19/2006


Fall 2006-2007 TV Premier Dates

Next week is a light one premiere-wise, with just the NBC series Heroes premiering on Monday. The week after next picks up a bit, though, with the return of the powerhouse series Veronica Mars, Lost and Battlestar Galactica.

The week of September 25 — 29 (All times EST)

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
NBC
Heroes
9:00 P.M.


 

By Bert Ehrmann
9/18/2006


New York Times

The New York Times has a bit about the upcoming The Departed movie, as well as the premiere tonight of the Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip show. The Departed:

Graham King, a producer who on “The Departed” is teaming with Mr. Scorsese for the third time following “Gangs” and “The Aviator,” is betting that “there’s a real Friday night audience” for the new movie. He predicts young women will flock to see Matt and Leo, while their dates and their elders will want to see Jack plumb the depths, and Mr. Scorsese execute a good cop/bad cop thriller, packed with twists and surprise.

“It’s incredibly character driven,” Mr. King said. “And Jack,” who plays the fictional Boston mobster Frank Costello, “is the icing on the cake.”


Studio 60:
But what most distinguishes “Studio 60” is that it is as romantic about television as “The West Wing” was about politics. Mr. Sorkin has created a world where some things actually are as they seem, and even untrustworthy people have hidden valor. And he has taken two of the most easily caricatured female archetypes, an evangelical Christian entertainer and a sexy network executive, and made them as richly textured and captivating as the two male leads, maybe a little more so.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/18/2006


Day of the Dead

Fangoria has posted some images from the upcoming remake of the Day of the Dead movie. Apparently, the Dawn of the Dead remake did enough business to justify a one more remake from the Romero archives.



It was almost exactly three years ago today that Dangerous Universe began covering the Dawn of the Dead remake.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/15/2006


Free ABC Shows

ABC and Apple iTunes are giving away one million downloads to the season finales of ABC's most popular shows – Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and Lost. Get 'em before they're gone!

Thanks to Duke for the heads up!

By Bert Ehrmann
9/14/2006


The Wire

The Wire has been renewed for a fifth, and final, season. From HBO :

Says Simon, a former newspaperman and the author of two books of narrative nonfiction, "The last question we want to ask is this: For four seasons, we have depicted that part of urban America that has been left behind by the economy and by the greater society, and chronicled entrenched problems that have gone without solution for generations now. Why? What is it that we see and sense about these problems? To what are we giving attention, and what is it that we consistently ignore? How do we actually see ourselves?"

By Bert Ehrmann
9/13/2006


DVDs

Out on DVD next week (9/19) are the first seasons of the television series The Unit, My Name is Earl and season "2.5" of Battlestar Galactica. The Unit retails for around $50 and contains 13 episodes. My Name is Earl retails for around $50 and contains 24 episodes. Battlestar Galactica retails for around $50 an contains 10 episodes. The real kicker on the Battlestar Galactica DVD is that the first episode entitled "Pegasus" will be extended from the version originally aired on television.

 

By Bert Ehrmann
9/13/2006


iTunes

After the announcement last Friday Amazon was selling movies online, Apple has followed suit and will also be selling movies online. The only movies being sold at this time on iTunes are ones from Disney Studios priced from $9.99 to $12.99. Unlike the Amazon model, movies purchased on iTunes will play on both Mac and PC platforms and will work with the iPod. Like the Amazon model, these movies will only play in their respective players (Unbox and iTunes) and cannot be burned to play in a DVD player.

Apple also has new iPods and is selling games for the them priced at around $5.00 a piece.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/12/2006


Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

The New York Times has an interview with Aaron Sorkin, creator of the upcoming Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip series:

Mr. Sorkin said the series would present a balanced picture of the television business. “The biggest wrong assumption about this show is that it’s about the artists and the suits, and the artists are always right, and the show is an indictment of television,” Mr. Sorkin said. “The network characters are not ninnies who don’t care about what’s on the air. They are more often caught between a rock and a hard place and trying to do the right thing.”

He called the show “a valentine to television” just as “The West Wing” was “a valentine to public service.”

Certainly much love — and cash — has been lavished on the production, the most expensive of the new season at more than $3 million an episode. Part of the reason is the talent involved: that cast (which also includes Bradley Whitford, Steven Weber and D. L. Hughley) and of course Mr. Sorkin and Mr. Schlamme, who do not work cheap.

The budget is also apparent in the lavishly appointed set, which is both huge (even bigger than the White House on “The West Wing”) and detailed. The pseudostage where the series’ sketch show takes place is large enough, and with enough audience seats, actually to put on such a show. The set also includes a massive balcony from which the fake executives can view the fake show; multiple offices, dressing rooms, make-up rooms and writers’ rooms; and even a fake toilet for the performers.

The hallways are sets themselves, the better to accommodate Mr. Schlamme’s famed tracking shots. “Tommy needs to travel,” Mr. Sorkin said.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/11/2006


Fall 2006-2007 TV Premiere Dates

Here are some dates to remember next week. It looks like most of the interesting shows are premiering on CBS and NBC the next two weeks. It isn't until the first week of October that interesting series (namely Lost, Veronica Mars, The Nine and Battlestar Galactica) on other channels begins premiering.

The week of September 18 — 22

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
NBC
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
10:00 P.M.
CBS
The Unit
9:00 P.M.

CBS
Smith
10:00 P.M.
CBS
Jericho
8:00 P.M.

NBC
My Name is Earl 8:00 P.M.

NBC
The Office
8:30 P.M.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/11/2006


Amazon Unbox

Starting today, feature films are finally available for legal purchase online via Amazon. Movies look to be priced anywhere between $10.00 and $15.00 depending on their popularity/release date. You can also rent movies for around $2.00 each. It was around this time last year that television shows were first available for purchase online via iTunes for around $2.00 an episode.

Unfortunately, the Amazon movies can only be played in the Amazon Unbox™ program and only on a PC – there is no Mac or Linux support. That's not the only drawback for this service, movies can't be burned to a DVD that's readable by a DVD player and the files can ONLY be viewed on the PC via the Unbox program.

Weirdest of all is their renting program. Here, once you start viewing the video you've rented you have 24 hours to complete viewing it before the video is (sic) "automatically deleted from your computer." You got'ta love that.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/8/2006


DVDs

Out on DVD next week (9/12), the ORIGINAL THEATRICAL RELEASE versions of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. These DVDs will be available for a limited time only, which probably means that Lucas is hard at work on some 30th anniversary special edition DVD for Star Wars next year. From Amazon:

For the first time ever and for a limited time only, the enhanced versions of the Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi will be available individually on DVD. Plus, these 2-Disc DVD's will feature a bonus disc that includes, for the first time ever on DVD, the original films as seen in theaters in 1977, 1980 and 1983.


Also out next week is season two (aka the good season) of The Office.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/7/2006


Superman: The Animated Series

Ten years ago today, Superman: The Animated series premiered on Kid's WB. The first storyline entitled "The Last Son of Krypton" played out over three episodes told the origin story of Superman. From TV.com:

Jor-El, a Kryptonian scientist and Council Member, rescues his son Kal-El from the dying planet by launching the baby to Earth. Young Clark Kent discovers his true identity; and as an adult presents himself to Metropolis as Superman. Superman thwarts a plot by Lex Luthor to sell the LEXO-SKEL SUIT 5000 to Kaznian terrorists, via their agent John Corben.



The Superman series would last for four seasons and 54 episodes. The Superman character would then go to play a major role in the Justice League cartoon series which ran for five seasons and 91 episodes before ending earlier this year.

Timothy Daly (Wings) was the original voice of Superman before George Newbern took over the role in with Justice League in 2001.



The version of Superman I hold in my head as true is that of Christopher Reeve in the Superman movies of the late 1970s and 80s since that's the version of the character I grew up with. But I'm sure that to a whole generation of kids, the Superman they hold true is the one in Superman: The Animated Series since it's the one THEY grew up with. They could do much worse.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/6/2006


28 Weeks Later

The remake to 28 Days Later… entitled 28 Weeks Later is proceeding ahead as planned. From Dark Horizons:

Six months after the rage virus has annihilated the British Isles, the US Army declares that the war against infection has been won, and that the reconstruction of the country can begin. In the first wave of returning refugees, a family is reunited -- but one of them unwittingly carries a terrible secret. The virus is not yet dead, and this time, it is more dangerous than ever.
One question, if the rage virus is potent enough to infect/kill every human in the British Isles, why would anyone DARE go back, especially to reconstruct the country!? 28 weeks is only seven months, not too long of time to even prepare to recover from something like the rage virus.

I get this is a metaphor for the war in Iraq, but it sounds like they're taking an excellent stand-alone movie like 28 Days Later… and tacking on an unnecessary and unneeded sequel – which is exactly what happened to The Matrix.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/5/2006


Battlestar Galactica

The first "webisode" of Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance has launched. SCIFI.COM describes these mini-shows as:

Ten webisodes chronicling events that follow the Season Two finale, leading directly into the Season Three premiere.



There's also a story about these "webisodes" on the New York Times.
From the article
:
The mini-episodes will go online, one at a time, on Tuesday and Thursday nights until “Galactica’s” season premiere on Oct. 6. They focus on two soldiers in a new city built by humans fleeing Cylons, a race of machines that has wiped out human civilization elsewhere.

The two face difficult choices about how — or whether — to fight back against a new Cylon invasion, the climactic moment of last season. Their decisions will help explain their actions in future on-air episodes.

The channel bills the Web segments move as a promotion to drum up interest in the third season of the series. “This is a way to get people talking about the show a month before it airs,” said Craig E. Engler, general manager of SciFi.com. The Web segments, whose cost Sci Fi would not disclose, will be free, unsponsored and carry no advertisements.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/5/2006


Jericho and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - Early Reviews

Just when you thought the threat of nuclear war on television screens had evaporated in the mushroom clouds of The Day After (1983) comes the “post-apocalyptic drama” series Jericho on CBS.

In Jericho, Jake Green (Skeet Ulrich) returns home so his father and Jericho town mayor (Gerald McRaney) can sign Jake’s inheritance over to him. But before any signing can take place, all the televisions and radios turn to static and a large mushroom cloud appears outside of town.

Continue reading this column over at the Fort Wayne Reader.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/4/2006


The Wire

Season four of The Wire premiers on HBO this Sunday (9/10). For a show that's faced cancelation since its premiere back in 2002, four seasons is pretty good. From tvguide.com:

In the fourth-season premiere, four West Baltimore teens get a summer education on the streets with school on the horizon. Meanwhile, Councilman Carcetti campaigns for mayor, Prez prepares for his new career as a teacher and Freamon is puzzled by the lack of violence between drug gangs. Written by series creator David Simon.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/4/2006


The Walking Dead

Coming in early 2007 are several statues based on the comic book series The Walking Dead from CS Moore Studio. These will retail for about $25 each and there's a larger The Walking Dead statue on the way later in '07.

Who doesn't love zombies? Decayed, horrible, flesh eating zombies? Everyone does! And the best thing about zombies is Robert Kirkman’s superb comic The Walking Dead, published by Image Comics. Nate, Vince, & Ick are the first characters in our series of gruesome 1/9 scale Torso Statuettes. At a full 4-1/4” tall, these fully-painted limited edition “dead fellows” will make a terrific gift for you or your favorite ghoulfriend. Don’t miss the first in what promises to be a highly sought-after series!

By Bert Ehrmann
9/2/2006


Lost

Season two of Lost is due out on DVD this Tuesday (9/5). The set will retail for around $60.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/1/2006


Star Trek

It's been rumored to happen for years at this point, but Paramount Domestic Television has finally decided to pull a George Lucas and "upgrade" the sound and effects of the original Star Trek series just in time for the 40th anniversary of the show. From Star Trek.com:

Upgrades include:
Space ship exteriors – The Enterprise, as well as other starships, will be replaced with state of the art CGI-created ships. The new computer-generated Enterprise is based on the exact measurements of the original model, which now rests in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Show opening – The Enterprise and planets seen in the main title sequence will be redone, giving them depth and dimension for the first time.
Galaxy shots – All the graphics of the galaxy, so frequently seen through the viewscreen on the Enterprise's bridge, will be redone.
Exteriors – The battle scenes, planets and ships from other cultures (notably the Romulan Bird of Prey and Klingon Battle Cruisers) will be updated.
Background scenes – Some of the iconic, yet flat, matte paintings used as backdrops for the strange, new worlds explored by the Enterprise crew will get a CGI face-lift, adding atmosphere and lighting.
I must admit that though I've never been a huge fan of the original series, I am genuinely interested in the look of these new FX. Hopefully, these changes will enhance the series since it doesn't seem as if any elements of the story will be changed like what happened with Star Wars. I suppose in 2027 the same thing will be happening to Star Trek: The Next Generation!

This new version of Star Trek begins airing in syndication September 16.

By Bert Ehrmann
9/1/2006


John From Cincinnati

Yahoo has posted some information on David Milch's new HBO series entitled John From Cincinnati.

The story revolves around the dysfunctional Yost family of Imperial Beach, Calif., led by patriarch Mitch (Bruce Greenwood), whose life is disrupted by the arrival of the dim but wealthy John (Austin Nichols) from Cincinnati, who has come to take surfing lessons.
Since it's Milch show, I'll definitely give it a try. But I have to admit that this synopsis doesn't make me all that excited about the show.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/31/2006


Extras

Zap2It has a bit of information on the upcoming season of Extras, which starts airing this September in the UK.

"I'm a total bastard [in 'Extras']," says (Orlando) Bloom in an interview to promote his latest film "Haven." "I play a guy who just rips the s**t out of Johnny Depp. I sort of play like a schoolboy bastard version of myself where I'm so jealous of Johnny."

"And this girl Maggie is not interested in me," Bloom adds with a laugh.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/30/2006


Battlestar Galactica

Ronald D. Moore, executive producer of Battlestar Galactica has said that there will be some character deaths in the upcoming season of the show. From SCI FI Wire:

"We're going to lose some people this year. Not all of our friends are going to make it all the way." Moore declined to be specific…
Also, "webisodes" of Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance will begin airing on SCI FI.COM next Tuesday (9/5).
The two- or three-minute shorts will serve as a lead-in to the new season and, although not essential to the plot, will enhance the viewing experience.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/29/2006


Entourage

The New York Times is reporting that since many of HBO's high profile shows have already gone or are going away over the next year or so their series Entourage has become a more important show in the HBO line-up. From the Times:

Carolyn Strauss, the president of HBO Entertainment, has been making that point for months. Before the current “Entourage” season started, she called the series “the future of the network.” The truth is there is not a lot of competition for that designation at the moment. “Sex and the City,” HBO’s first great popular comedy, is long gone. So is “Six Feet Under.” Besides “The Sopranos” a batch of other HBO series are heading into their final seasons. “Deadwood” will have just a four-hour coda next season.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/28/2006


Transformers

Below are renderings of both Megatron and Optimus Prime from the upcoming Transformers movie. Although Optimus is still a semi, Megatron is presented as an "alien jet." Hopefully, this "alien jet" version of Megatron is the version BEFORE he gets to Earth to become something more Earth-like. Remember, he's supposed to be a "robot in disguise," not something that's completely alien to our environment.



More Megatron images here.



Larger view here
.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/27/2006


War of the Worlds

Below is a cool looking poster for last years War of the Worlds movie. I never was a fan of the regular War of the Worlds poster and wonder why this one wasn't used more?



Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/26/2006


Arrested Development

The last (and perhaps best?) season of Arrested Development is set to be released on DVD this Tuesday (8/29).

By Bert Ehrmann
8/25/2006


Children of Men

Check out the poster for the upcoming Children of Men movie. The copy reads, "In 20 years, women are infertile. No Children. No Future. No Hope. But all that can change in a heartbeat."



Larger view here.


JoBlo.com also has other Children of Men teaser posters as well
.



Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/24/2006


Lost

The poster for season three of Lost has been released. It an interesting character montage poster, obviously playing off how well known the cast of Lost has gotten over the last two seasons.

It's an interesting shift, where in previous seasons before the cast were as well known as they are today, they was secondary to the overall mystery/creepiness of the show. The first season had the cast on the poster, but all their faces were obscured/blacked out, and the season two poster had a bottle floating on the sea with not a member of the cast in sight.



Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/23/2006


Ricky Gervais

Season three of The Ricky Gervais Show has premiered online over at iTunes. From Ricky Gervais.com:

Karl tells of a chance encounter with a bumblebee and Ricky & Steve point out some entomological home truths. More from Karl's diary and some unexpected versification.
Buy the episode for yourself over at iTunes.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/22/2006


Bug

Check out the trailer for the upcoming Bug movie, directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection.) From IMDB:

A paranoid, unhinged, war veteran who sees insects everywhere holes up with a lonely woman in a spooky Oklahoma motel room.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/22/2006


Stargate

One down and one to go: the STARGATE Channel, err… I mean, the SCI FI Channel has decided not to renew their perennial favorite Stargate SG-1 series after a ten year run. From SCI FI Wire:

Having achieved so much over the course of the past 10 years, SCI FI believes that the time is right to make this season their last on the channel. SCI FI is honored to have been part of the Stargate legacy for five years, and we look forward to continuing to explore the Stargate universe with our partners at MGM through a new season of Stargate Atlantis." (…) Stargate SG-1, developed for television by executive producers Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner, is based on the 1994 feature film Stargate. SG-1, which originally starred Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping and Christopher Judge, began on Showtime, then moved to SCI FI after five seasons.
Now, what do I have to do to get the SCI FI Channel to cancel the awful Stargate Atlantis as well?

By Bert Ehrmann
8/22/2006


Wizard World Chicago, 2006

On Saturday August 5, I once again had the opportunity to attend the Wizard World Convention held annually in Chicago. What used to be known simply as a “Comic Book Convention” has recently morphed into the “Comics, Cards, Games, Toys, Anime, Manga, Gaming, TV and Movies!” convention. (Now that’s a mouthful.)

But no matter what the convention owners choose to call this mass of humanity that sweats together for three days every summer off of the shores of Lake Michigan near the in-bound runways of the O’Hare Airport, the geeks always seem to find the place.

Continue reading this column over at the Fort Wayne Reader.



Check out some photos from the convention here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/21/2006


David Brent

What's David Brent aka Ricky Gervais been doing since we last saw him on The Office? Apparently, he's now a management consultant for Microsoft. Hilarious isn't strong enough a word for what this is.



By Bert Ehrmann
8/18/2006


The Other Side

The Other Side looks to be an interesting, well drawn comic book about the Vietnam War. From DC Comics:

THE OTHER SIDE is a 5-issue miniseries following Bill Everette, a 19-year-old Alabama farm boy drafted into the Marine Corps whose only goal is to come home alive, and Vo Binh Dai, a 19-year-old Vietnamese farm boy who enlists in the People's Army of Vietnam, terrified only of failing in his duty to die bravely for his country.

Along the way, Private Everette encounters demonically vicious Parris Island drill instructors, talking maggots, voiceless ghosts, jaded grunts, man-eating pigs, maniacal rats, leeches that quote William Blake, a rifle that begs him to shoot himself and occasionally even the enemy. Vo Dai must undertake the long march south down the Strategic Trail, through black forests and bloody swamps, over pockmarked earth and fields of fire, past tigers and dragons and mounds of the dead, past exhaustion, beyond endurance. At turns, wholly fantastic yet always heartbreakingly realistic.


Here's an article from Wizard with the series creators, and the site The Engine has lots of artwork from the upcoming series.



The Other Side is due out in comic book shops October 4.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/17/2006


Veronica Mars

Season two of Veronica Mars is set to be released on DVD next Tuesday (8/22). According to Amazon, extras include:

22 minutes of deleted scenes, "A Day on the Set with Veronica Mars" behind-the-scenes featurette, "Veronica Mars: Not Your Average Teen Detective" featurette and a Gag reel

By Bert Ehrmann
8/16/2006


The Departed

JoBlo.com has posted the poster for the upcoming The Departed movie. It's interesting, but still – does the poster really need to have the copy "The Departed" on the poster twice?



Click for a larger view.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/16/2006


Shaun of the Dead

This Shaun of the Dead resin mini bust is quite cool. It's due out in October and will retail for around $45.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/14/2006


World Trade Center

It’s a bit hard to describe what the movie World Trade Center is. What World Trade Center is NOT is an in depth political study of the workings of the terrorist attacks of 9|11. This is not another JFK (1991). World Trade Center is a film about men and their families trapped alone together in the aftermath of 9|11.

Simply put, World Trade Center is amazing – it’s the second great film of the year.



World Trade Center follows the events of 9|11 from the viewpoint of a group of Port Authority Police Department officers who find themselves at the towers during the attacks after being bussed in from their regular duty locations. On that fateful morning, John McLoughlin (Nicolas Cage) leads a team of men into the melee to try and help, but before they can do any good, the building above them comes crashing down trapping the police officers in the wreckage. At home, the surviving men’s wives and families, including Maria Bello and Maggie Gyllenhaal, can only wait for word on the fate of their husbands.

Director Oliver Stone takes a unique angle depicting the events of that day from within the disaster. The viewer is with the officers inside the building as the ceiling begins to buckle when the only determination of who lives and who dies is which way the officers choose to run.

Stone resists the urge of painting the trapped men and rescuers, including officer Will Jimeno (Michael Pena), as saints.  They’re depicted as average men trapped in a horrendous situation who want little else than to see their families one more time or, barring that, to let their families know that they love them.

Director Oliver Stone, coming off the disappointing Alexander (2004), has made perhaps the best film of his career. It’s not a movie about the causes of 9|11 but the initial after effects, where the best in humanity came together to rescue those trapped by the worst in humanity.  (9/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
8/14/2006


Lost

Photos of the entire assortment of the Lost character figures have been released – there's figures of Jack, Kate, Locke, Hurley, Charlie, Shannon and The Hatch Boxed Set. These figures are due on store shelves this November, just in time for Christmas.

The Locke and Charlie figure looks great, Jack and Hurley looks good but I don't think the Kate or Shannon figures look all that much like actresses who play the parts.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/12/2006


Doctor Who

Season two of Doctor Who begins airing on the SCI FI Channel September 29. From the SCI FI Wire:

SCI FI Channel and BBC Worldwide Americas announced a major licensing agreement for SCI FI to air the second season of the hit British SF series Doctor Who in the United States. The series will return to SCI FI on Sept. 29, kicking off with a two-hour premiere that will include the "Christmas Invasion" special in which David Tennant is introduced as the 10th Time Lord.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/11/2006


Battlestar Galactica

The SCI-FI Channel and NBC will air a special Battlestar Galactica "catch-up" episode entitled "Battlestar Galactica: The Story So Far" in August and September. From The SCI FI Wire:

SCI FI Channel and its sister NBC Universal networks will air a one-hour recap special of the original series Battlestar Galactica in advance of the show's October third-season premiere. Battlestar Galactica: The Story So Far will incorporate footage from the original SCI FI miniseries and the previous two seasons of the Peabody Award-winning series. The special will be narrated from the point of view of Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), the resistance leader on Cylon-occupied New Caprica. The special will also appear on SCIFI.COM's SCI FI Pulse broadband network.

The special will be broadcast as follows: Aug. 13 at 10 p.m. on NBC West Coast, Aug. 28 Free On Demand via SCI FI's cable affiliates, Sept. 15 at 12 a.m. on USA Network, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. on Universal HD, Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. on USA, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. on Universal HD, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. on Sleuth, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m. on Bravo, Sept. 30 at 11 a.m. on Bravo, Sept. 30 at 4 p.m. on Universal HD, throughout the month of September on SCI FI Pulse and Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. on SCI FI.

Throughout September, The Story So Far will also be made available for download via iTunes and XBox Live and will be distributed at Best Buy as a bonus DVD with the Battlestar Galactica season 2.5 DVD set and other genre titles from Universal Home Video. The DVD will also be distributed to visitors to the Universal Studios theme parks, and snippets of the special will be available on YouTube.com, Google Video and other video portal sites.
Does this mean that the SCI FI Channel ISN'T going to be reruning previous seasons Battlestar Galactica leading up to season three then? It seems like it would be a mistake to not try and snag even more viewers leading up to the new season? HBO does this all the time, they reran old seasons of The Sopranos every weeknight from December to March this year leading up to the new season.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/10/2006


Feast

The long delayed Feast movie, originally part of Project Greenlight back in 2005, has finally gotten a release date. Unfortunately, Feast will only be shown in Las Vegas in late September with the DVD due on store shelves October 17. From Zap2It:

On Tuesday (Aug. 8) the Weinstein Co. announced that "Feast" will have its long-delayed world premiere in Las Vegas on Sept. 12, followed by late night shows beginning on Sept. 22 and Sept. 23. That run will have to merely whet appetites for the launch of the "Feast" DVD, which is now set for Oct. 17.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/10/2006


The Black Dahlia

The poster for the upcoming The Black Dahlia movie bears a passing resemblance to the poster for L.A. Confidential (1997). Somehow, I don't think the resemblance is a mistake.


Larger view


Larger view

By Bert Ehrmann
8/8/2006


Wizard World 2006

Here are some photos that were taken on our trip to the Wizard World Convention in Chicago, Illinois last Saturday (8/5). The trip was a blast with the surprise being that GI Joe toys from the 1980s have become extremely expensive – nearly $1,000 for a mint in box Zartan on his Swamp Skier!

Expect a full write-up on the trip in the next few weeks.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/7/2006


Yes Virginia, there is Snakes on a Plane

This summer’s most anticipated movie doesn’t star Johnny Depp or feature the world’s most famous superhero. It features snakes. Poisonous snakes. Lots of poisonous snakes. Let loose on a plane.

Generating “buzz” from the title alone, the upcoming movie Snakes on a Plane has garnered the kind of rabid publicity that movie producers dream about – the FREE kind. Even before there was a Snakes on a Plane movie trailer, before anyone outside of Hollywood had even seen megastar Samuel L. Jackson battling the serpents on the big-screen, thousands of “netizens” had already seized on the movie, creating blogs, websites, fake trailers and made up dialogue for the flick.

Continue Reading this column over at the Fort Wayne Reader.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/7/2006


I Am Legend

Dark Horizons is reporting that the movie I Am Legend has a release date:

Will Smith-led post-apocalyptic "I Am Legend" hits November 21st 2007
If that date holds true, it will five and a half years after I Am Legend was originally announced back in 2002 (along with the long delayed The Fountain movie then called Last Man.)

More on I Am Legend, as well as a history of the I Am Legend movies over the years here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/4/2006


Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

You can watch the pilot episode of the upcoming Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip television series on YouTube (below) – that is until NBC's lawyers have it removed! And guess what, the pilot episode is BLOODY BRILLIANT! Studio 60 features snappy dialogue, witty writing and characters with depth. The pilot episode reminds me a lot of the Sport's Night series, which was an hour long drama masquerading as an half-hour long sitcom.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is set to air Mondays at 10:00 P.M. (EST) this fall on NBC.









By Bert Ehrmann
8/2/2006


Miami Vice

Apple has posted several featurettes for the Miami Vice movie on their site. The first one is about the locations of the movie entitled "Scouting" while the second is about the fight moves used in Miami Vice called "Arts."

By Bert Ehrmann
8/2/2006


Flags of Our Fathers

The poster for the upcoming Clint Eastwood directed Flags of Our Fathers movie has been released. IMDB describes the movie as:

The life stories of the six men who raised the flag at The Battle of Iwo Jima, a turning point in WWII.
Flags of Our Fathers is due in theaters this October with the follow-up movie entitled Red Sun, Black Sand due in theaters December. IMDB describes Red Sun, Black Sand as:
The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.

Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/2/2006


The Dark Knight

IGN is reporting that the sequel to Batman Begins will be entitled The Dark Knight and will star Heath Ledger in the role of the Joker. I'm not completely sold on the whole Ledger as Joker thing – I'm having problems imagining him in the role that was defined by Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989). Nicholson was in his 50s when he starred as the Joker, Ledger will still be in his 20s when The Dark Knight is released the Summer of 2008.

By Bert Ehrmann
8/1/2006


Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

Jeers to the SCI FI Channel for editing out several minutes of the premiere episode of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace last Thursday night. When Darkplace originally aired in the U.K., it ran something like 24 minutes in length. Here in the U.S. it was cut down to something like 21 minutes. Why? More room for commercials, I suspect.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/31/2006


Miami Vice

In Miami Vice (2006), an FBI lead drug sting against a Columbian drug cartel in Miami has gone bad and ended bloody. To add insult to injury, every government agency involved has been exposed to the cartel via a mole in one of the organizations. The only Florida law enforcement agency not exposed is the Miami-Dade Police – enter Det. Sonny Crockett (Colin Farell) and Det. Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx).



What follows is Crockett and Tubbs going deep undercover to unravel the drug conspiracy, and Crockett getting a bit too involved with one member of the drug cartel – Isabella (Li Gong).

Written and directed by Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral), Miami Vice serves up a hyper-realistic vision of undercover narcotics detective work in America – much like the original Miami Vice television series did over 20 years ago. Crockett and Tubbs drive fast and expensive cars and fly into Columbia via multi-million dollar jets. Just as hyper-realistic is the violence, which occurs at a deafening and break-neck brutal pace. In Miami Vice, bullets are a dangerous thing and not just for the bad guys.

Mann is adept at showing professional men, who are extremely good at, and inseparable from, their jobs. The women in their lives come second and almost all of the men's resources are directed towards their work.

What I found impressive is that Miami Vice isn't just all Crocket and Tubbs – partners like Trudy Joplin (Naomie Harris), Larry Zito (Justin Theroux) and Stan Switek (Domenick Lombardozzi) all have their own roles to play in the story of the movie.

Especially stunning is the end of Miami Vice. All too often movie endings have an unrealistic sense of closure, and though the end of Miami Vice certainly ends the story told in the movie, there is very little sense of closure – to the benefit of Miami Vice.

I was a little upset that several scenes at the start of the movie (the dance-club scene) and several lines of dialogue (red-light, green-light) that seem to be lifted from the movie Collateral (2004). Though I guess it's too much to expect that any writer or director keep clear of borrowing from their previous work(s).

If the original Miami Vice (1984) was a stylistic milestone of the 1980s, it now seems quaint and a bit dated. (If you don't believe me, watch an episode of The Sopranos before taking in an episode of Miami Vice.) This new version of Miami Vice does a good job of updating the story without loosing much of what made Miami Vice Miami Vice.

I'm not sure that writer/director Michael Mann is capable of creating a bad movie. And though Miami Vice might not be a classic like Heat, what is? (8/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
7/30/2006


The Departed

The AMAZING trailer for director Martin Scorsese's next movie, The Departed, has been released. The movie stars an all-star cast including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Mark Wahlberg and Jack Nicholson, Yahoo describes The Departed as:

Young undercover cop Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate run by gangland chief Costello (Jack Nicholson). While Billy is quickly gaining Costello's confidence, Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the police department as an informer for the syndicate, is rising to a position of power in the Special Investigation Unit. Each man becomes deeply consumed by his double life, gathering information about the plans and counter-plans of the operations he has penetrated. But when it becomes clear to both the gangsters and the police that there's a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin are suddenly in danger of being caught and exposed to the enemy -- and each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save himself.










By Bert Ehrmann
7/28/2006


Babel

I was actually really into the trailer for the upcoming Babel movie, which looks a bit like what happens if you'd cross Crash and Syriana, until I saw that the writer and director for Babel were the same guys who wrote and directed 21 Grams. And since I had a strong dislike for 21 Grams I'm not sure what to think of Babel.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/28/2006


The Black Dahlia

Check out the trailer for director Brian De Palma's adaptation of the James Ellroy novel The Black Dahlia. From Yahoo:

Two cops, Lee Blanchard (Aaron Eckhart) and Bucky Bleichert (Josh Hartnett), investigate the grisly homicide of actress Elizabeth Short (Mia Kirshner), a.k.a. "The Black Dahlia." While Blanchard's preoccupation with the murder threatens his relationship with Kay (Scarlett Johansson), his partner Bleichert finds himself attracted to the enigmatic Madeleine (Hilary Swank), who just happens to have a connection to the victim.






By Bert Ehrmann
7/28/2006


Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

Don't forget – the first episode of Garth Marenghi's Darkplace airs this Thursday (7/27) night at 10:00 P.M. (EST) followed by the one and only episode of The Amazing Screw-On Head on the SCI FI Channel.



More on Darkplace and The Amazing Screw-On Head here.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/26/2006


Battlestar Galactica Cylon Toys

Action Figure Xpress has the limited edition Cylon bust, previously only available at the San Diego Comic Con, on sale for the list price of $50. I've seen these for sale as high as $200 on eBay.



You can also find the Battle Damaged Cylon, another Battlestar Galactica San Diego exclusive, on sale over at eBay. Bids on this go anywhere from $80 to $150.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/26/2006


Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (2004) is an extremely funny movie centered on the attempt at turning the “unfilmable” book The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman into a feature film.  



Starring Steve Coogan (24 Hour Party People) as Shandy, Coogan breaks the fourth wall as he addresses the audience on all manner of subjects like the moment of his conception to why his nose is crooked. At other times, Coogan plays himself as an actor starring in the Shandy movie within a movie.

I’ve been following Coogan for some time now, abet admittedly late in the game. Coogan is relatively unknown here stateside, having only starred in a handful of movies and television programs that have ever aired in the U.S. Audiences may remember him from the 24 Hour Party People movie or the series I’m Alan Partridge that occasionally airs on BBC America from time to time.

Regardless, Coogan is a very funny person and is very funny in Tristram Shandy. He’s a sort of world-weary actor, all too focused on his height among other actors or how many lines of script he has than of the relative art in the movie.

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story is not a perfect movie, but certainly a fun movie to watch for those interested in the dry British humor. (8/10)

Steve Coogan: "This is a postmodern novel before there was any modernism to be post about."

By Bert Ehrmann
7/26/2006


iTunes TV Shows

The failed pilot to The WB's proposed live-action Aquaman series as well as the first season of Babylon 5 are now available for purchase via iTunes. I wonder if this will become the norm – that failed pilots turn up for sale online, generating some income for the studio? I hope so.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/25/2006


Fort Wayne Reader

My latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader is online – "Jim Cameron's Guide to Being Silent."

We haven’t heard much from Cameron. In fact, over the last nine years Cameron has neither written nor directed any feature films since the success he found with Titanic. It’s a bit odd that the man who wrote and directed The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), The Abyss (1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) and True Lies (1994) over the course of a decade has been silent the last.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/25/2006


Spider-Man 3

It's official, Venom will be one of the villains in the upcoming Spider-Man 3 movie. From JoBlo's San Diego Comic Con reports:

…they showed (Topher) Grace as Eddie Brock in the bell tower with the symbiote dripping on him and then transforming into Venom.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/24/2006


The Fountain

Check out the trailer for the upcoming The Fountain movie here. I believe that here, The Fountain refers to the mythic Fountain of Youth. From IMDB:

Spanning over one thousand years, and three parallel stories, The Fountain is a story of love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of our existence in this world.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/23/2006


Lady in the Water

Lady in the Water is writer/director M. Night Shyamalan's follow-up to his disappointing The Village (2004) film.



In Lady in the Water, a water nymph (Bryce Dallas Howard) appears to an apartment complex pool to maintenance technician Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti). Her kind is on Earth to bring hope to the human race and she finds her life in peril when evil forces conspire, trapping her in our world.

Unfortunately, not much of the story in Lady in the Water ever gels (the characters just accept as fact that she really is a nymph) and most of the jokes in the movie (Lady in the Water plays like a dramety) fall flat. Still, there were a few interesting twists and turns in the story and Shyamalan is adept at showing just enough of the unknown to pique interest.

In a "what was he thinking" moment, Shymalan casts himself in the movie as a writer who's work will change the course of future mankind for the better. Ugh. I just wish that Shymalan would return to the days of old, when he brought us films like The Sixth Sense (1999), the underrated Unbreakable (2000) and eerie Signs (2002). (7/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
7/23/2006


Movie Trailers

Check out the trailer for the dystopian thriller Children of Men, where mankind stands on the edge of extinction unless the last child bearing woman on the planet can be taken to safety. Children of Men is due in theaters September 29.





Also released today is the trailer for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. The animation on this LOOKS very good. The TMNT movie is due in theaters March 2007.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/21/2006


Battlestar Galactica

Check out the cool as hell looking commercial for the upcoming third season of Battlestar Galactica below. The theme of this season seems to be "It's time to decide who you are." Season three begins airing this October on the SCI FI Channel.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/20/2006


Apollo 11

37 years ago today mankind did the unthinkable – we landed on the Moon. From Nasa:

On July 20, 1969, the human race accomplished its single greatest technological achievement of all time when a human first set foot on another celestial body.

Six hours after landing at 4:17 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (with less than 30 seconds of fuel remaining), Neil A. Armstrong took the “Small Step” into our greater future when he stepped off the Lunar Module, named “Eagle,” onto the surface of the Moon, from which he could look up and see Earth in the heavens as no one had done before him.

He was shortly joined by “Buzz” Aldrin, and the two astronauts spent 21 hours on the lunar surface and returned 46 pounds of lunar rocks. After their historic walks on the Moon, they successfully docked with the Command Module “Columbia,” in which Michael Collins was patiently orbiting the cold but no longer lifeless Moon.


The history of the Apollo space program is documented in the HBO mini-series From the Earth to the Moon and the documentary Moon Shot.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/20/2006


ABC pulls a "bait and switch" on their viewers

This fall ABC is going to air six new episodes of Lost starting October 4 before the series goes on a 13 week haitus. And what will fill those 13 weeks Lost is gone? A new series entitled Day Break. From Yahoo:

"We've just reall listened to the audience about the repeats, and it felt like this was really the best way to run the show," McPherson said Tuesday during ABC's presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena. "It's a very, very difficult show to produce. You know, if we could run 22 straight in the fall, we probably would. But we just can't get the shows done in that amount of time.
Ugh! Seems to me that Fox is capible of producing 22 straight episodes of 24, why can't ABC do the same for Lost?

By Bert Ehrmann
7/19/2006


Reynold Brown

arglebargle! has an interesting post on movie poster illustrator Reynold Brown:

What James Bama was to Monster Kits, Reynold Brown was to movie posters…Reynold could conjure up an iconic powerhouse image of chaos and mayhem with a stunning level of detail like nobody's business. Even his charcoal sketches and comps were generally better than a lot of other top artists' best efforts.


There's also a documentary on Brown entitled The Man Who Drew Bug-Eyed Monsters, which paints Brown as a tragic figure – financially trapped into doing posters for movies which he personally disliked while suffering a stroke and loosing much of his artistic abilities after he finally did leave Hollywood. I don't believe the documentary is available on DVD at this time – I saw it on PBS a few years back.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/18/2006


The Science of Sleep

Check out the trailer for the upcoming The Science of Sleep movie (OR) it had me at (sic) "by the director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

By Bert Ehrmann
7/16/2006


The Prestige

Check out the trailer for the upcoming The Prestige movie, about battling magicians. The trailer makes the movie seem like one magician might be using real magic to perform his tricks, but IMDB describes the movie as (sic):

…rival magicians in turn-of-the-century London battle each other for trade secrets. The rivalry is so intense that it turns them into murderers.
The Prestige is directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins) and stars Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Scarlett Johansson.





By Bert Ehrmann
7/14/2006


It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

(OR – I wonder why I haven't watched this series yet?) iTunes has a free download to the FX series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia called "Best of Sunny Funnies." It's a five minute long clip episode of (what I'm assuming) are the best bits from the first season of the show. Download the clip here.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/13/2006


Brotherhood

The pilot episode to the new series Brotherhood that airs Sunday nights at 10:00 P.M. (EST) on Showtime will be shown on CBS this Saturday (7/15) also at 10:00 P.M. This version of the pilot will be (I'm guessing) "edited for network television." If you can't wait until Saturday, you can also watch the entire first episode online for free over at Showtime.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/12/2006


Syd Barrett, 1946-2006

Syd Barrett, one of the founding members of Pink Floyd has died at age 60. From NPR:

Barrett died several days ago of undisclosed causes. Barrett had suffered from diabetes for a number of years. At 60 years old, the musician had become a recluse in his hometown of Cambridge, England.

Despite his brief career -- he was with Pink Floyd for less than three years and released two solo albums -- Syd Barrett was a primary catalyst for British psychedelic rock.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/11/2006


Battle Royale

The New York Times has an article on the proposed remake of Battle Royale – which has NEVER been officially released here in the U.S. in any form. From the NY Times:

One of Japan's most violent and controversial films, "Battle Royale," based on a popular novel by Koushun Takami, tells the story of 42 ninth graders who are kidnapped, taken to a deserted island and forced to kill one another. Criticized by Japanese politicians when it was first released in 2000, the movie became a huge hit at home and in much of Asia, spawning a popular manga series, inspiring a sequel and generating memorabilia from costumes to card games and action figures.

(…) The remake will still be about high school students. "We could make them a bunch of prisoners from jail taken to an island," he said, "but that would be pointless." It will take place in the United States, unlike Mr. Lee's remake of "The Grudge," which, like the original, was filmed in Japan.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/9/2006


New Series on SCI FI Channel

On Thursday, July 13 SCIFI.COM's broadband channel "Pulse" will premiere two shows not scheduled to air on SCI FI Channel until July 27.

The first show "Pulse" is premiering is the Mike Mignola (Hellboy) animated pilot episode to the series Amazing Screw-On Head. In this series, robot Screw-On Head (Paul Giamatti) fights against the diabolical Emperor Zombie (David Hyde Pierce) who's trying to unleash a demon for control of the world. The animation here is top-notch and the story is Buffy the Vampire Slayer in tone – dramatically funny.



I couldn't quite believe that a series like this was being produced. Amazing Screw-On Head is not a kid's show and is aimed squarely at adults. Then I saw the caveat that came along with the promotional DVD from SCI FI Channel. So far, they've only produced ONE episode of Amazing Screw-On Head, and once that episode airs on "Pulse," SCI FI Channel is going to poll the viewers to see if they should green-light the series for more episodes.



C'Mon SCI FI Channel, Amazing Screw-On Head marks a return to the animation form not seen since those original 1960s Johnny Quest episodes. Green-light this series! (9/10)

Also premiering on "Pulse" is the hilarious British series Garth Merenghi's Darkplace. In the entirely fictional Garth Merenghi's Darkplace, horror writer Garth Merenghi (Matthew Holness – the tech guy from The Office, UK) presents a television show he developed in the 1980's that never aired; Garth Merenghi's Darkplace. Merenghi is a sort of Stephen King like writer who turned his questionable "talents" towards writing, producing and starring in this television show.



This "show within a show" is one part The Ray Bradbury Theater (if Bradbury would have also starred in the episodes), one part St. Elsewhere and one part The A-Team. Think Heat Vision and Jack and you're getting close to what Garth Merenghi's Darkplace is.

Merenghi "stars" in Darkplace as one of the doctors working the wards at Darkplace Hospital. But these are no ordinary doctors; they fight evil within the hospital and carry handguns. At one point, Merenghi's boss Thornton Reed (Richard Ayoade) pulls a shotgun out of nowhere to blast some baddies.



And that's the appeal of Garth Merenghi's Darkplace, this fictional show is so bad, it's good. It's the height of 1980s kitsch and aesthetics, featuring those awful television "special effects" that kids who grew up in the 1980s have come to love and hate – at the same time. In typical British fashion, only six episodes of Garth Merenghi's Darkplace were ever produced back in 2004. (10/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
7/9/2006


Taking Down the Story Behind Heat

Check out my latest article up over at The Fort Wayne Reader, "Taking down the story behind Heat." It's about the backstory on how a proposed television series entitled L.A. Takedown would one day become the movie Heat.

The genesis of Heat began in the late 1980s when NBC commissioned a series from writer/director Michael Mann just as their perennial hit Miami Vice, which Mann produced, was coming to an end. The series they commissioned, L.A. Takedown, was essentially the story of Heat, scaled back for smaller budgets and a shorter run-time.
Along with this article, I've also included a page of photos comparing Heat to L.A. Takedown as well as a more in-depth chart comparing the two movies.





By Bert Ehrmann
7/7/2006


Emmy Awards

This morning the Emmy awards were announced, and boy was it an odd looking list. Missing from the major nominations were the series Lost (which won last year for best drama) Desperate Housewives, Deadwood, Battlestar Galactica and Veronica Mars. WTF? Both Battlestar Galactica and Lost were two of the most talked-about shows last season. Practically everyone I know watches Lost and all the cool people I know watch Galactica. But The West Wing!? What gives?

Is this yet another sign that AWARDS LIKE THESE MEAN NOTHING?

By Bert Ehrmann
7/6/2006


Hollywoodland

Check out the trailer for the upcoming Hollywoodland movie. From Yahoo:

The drama follows a 1950s private detective (Adrien Brody), who, while investigating the mysterious death of "Superman" star George Reeves (Ben Affleck), uncovers unexpected connections to his own life, as the case turns more personal.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/6/2006


The Proposition

I'm digging the whole poster campaign for the movie The Proposition.







Larger views and more posters here.

By Bert Ehrmann
7/5/2006


The Proposition

In The Proposition (2005), the brother's Burns are some of the most wanted criminals on the Australian Outback. When Charlie (Guy Pearce) and Mikey (Richard Wilson) are captured after a shootout, they're presented with a ghoulish “proposition” by their captor Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone). If Charlie goes out into the wild and kills their older and more vicious brother Arthur (Danny Huston), both he and Mikey will be released. If he refuses or cannot carryout his task, Mikey will be hung on Christmas day.



The Proposition has great cinematography, good acting and a good story. But what hurts the film is a second act that drags on a bit too long. I'm not sure if it's the script or editing, but The Proposition almost comes to a complete stop during that second act and doesn't start back up again until the near the end of the movie.

The Australia in The Proposition is something I'm not sure has ever been seen before on film. The stagecoaches are lead by camels and Aborigines have replaced the Indians. And though the brother's Burns look and act much like outlaws we've seen before in other westerns, they speak with Irish accents and follow Irish traditions.

At once this Australia is one of the most violent places on Earth (people die in some of the most inhumane ways) while at the same time people like Captain Stanley are doing their bit for “Queen and Country” to bring a bit of “civilization” to the place. (Even if while at the same time he murders Aborigines while flying the British flag.)

It's a familiar and alien world at the same time.

The Proposition is worth seeing. It seems to me that writer Nick Cave and director John Hillcoat tried to push the bounds of the western to the next level. And for the most part that's exactly what they've done, though just be prepared for the movie to drag a bit. (8/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
7/4/2006


Superman Returns

It's been nearly twenty years since the last Superman movie flew into theaters. Back then, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was a disappointment at best and a health hazard at worst. Thankfully, Superman Returns does a good job of washing away the memories of both the third and fourth Superman films, while at the same time establishing a beachhead for a future Superman franchise.



In Superman Returns, the "Man of Steel" (Brandon Routh) returns from a five-year absence to find that his once girlfriend Lois Lane (Kate Bosworth) has moved on and that his arch-nemesis Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey) has been released from jail when Superman failed to materialize at court hearing.

Following a unique angle that I'm not sure has been used by any other movie franchises; Superman Returns takes place after the first and second Superman movies, ignoring the third and fourth and negating the need for much backstory in Superman Returns entirely.

Here, Luthor is still bent on world domination, Lane is still chasing the big stories and Superman still disguises himself as bumbling reporter Clark Kent. What's changed is much of the character dynamics.

When Gene Hackman played Luthor in the original Superman series, it was with a comic twist. In Superman Returns, Spacey plays it with a deadly elegance – scary and sublime at the same time. And this time, Lane represents a sort of modern-day "everywoman," trying to balance her career with a child and a fiancé.

Superman is still the ultimate outsider, alien to the Earth with superpowers at his fingertips yet unable to have the one thing he truly desires – a relationship with Lois Lane. The audience roots for him, whether he is Clark Kent or Superman. (Routh does a good job as Superman, a welcome addition to the line of the dozen or so actors who have so far worn the Superman "crown.")

A few things did bug me about Superman Returns, namely the use of a computer generated Superman for many of the flying shots. This 3D Superman looks good, but not great. Even my untrained eye could pick out the fake Superman from the real. Still, the effects of the movie are VERY good if it seems that director Bryan Singer might have been pushing the technology bounds a bit too far.

Still, I was surprised as to just how good Superman Returns was. From the first shot of the doomed Krypton to the last of Superman in flight over the Earth I was hooked. Singer has added another notch on his movie belt, going from The Usual Suspects, X-Men 1 and 2, the television series House, MD and now Superman Returns.

I am excited and cannot wait to see what the future holds for the Superman series. (8/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
7/2/2006


Transformers

The teaser trailer for the upcoming Transformers movie has been released. It's an interesting trailer, though factually incorrect. The Beagle 2 was a lander, not a rover. Does this trailer remind anyone else of the original Armageddon (1998) teaser trailer like it does me?

I'm still waiting for some semblance of the classic Transformers cartoon to emerge in the new Transformers.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/30/2006


Lady in the Water

The full trailer for the upcoming M. Night Shyamalan movie Lady in the Water was released today over at Apple. The teaser trailer for the movie was released back in November of last year.





By Bert Ehrmann
6/28/2006


Eureka

In the television series Eureka, set to premiere Tuesday July 18 at 9:00 P.M. (EST) on the SCI FI Channel, the town of the same name plays host to the greatest minds of America. Established at the behest of scientist Albert Einstein at the end of WWII, these “great minds” spend their days working on government projects while their nights are spent at home in their garage building tinkering with the secrets of the universe.



Colin Ferguson (the US version of Coupling) stars as US Marshal Jack Carter, who ends up in the town of Eureka with his daughter after a car accident. In Eureka, Carter finds himself at the center of a mystery when a boy goes missing and strange electrical disturbances begin to affect the town after one of these “garage experiments” goes awry.

A dramety (think Men in Black), Eureka follows wisecracking Jack as he makes the transformation from US Marshal to Eureka town Sheriff solving and uncovering mysteries along the way. One question, though – if the smartest people in the country all live in the same town, how can an outside US Marshal show up and outsmart the lot?

Unfortunately, Eureka is average at best. The pilot episode had several glaring plot-holes and relies on a multitude of dramatic series conventions that turn up on television time and time again – a 13 going on 30 daughter, an “evil” boss, gruff soldiers, slightly crazed sidekicks… And that’s not to mention the “borrowing” of elements from other sci fi shows and movies. Remember the artificial black hole in Event Horizon, that crazy Australian big-game hunter in Jurassic Park or the house sealed in plastic in E.T.? Well, they all turn up in Eureka.

But what really struck me was the weird, out-of-place ending that didn’t fit with the overall tone of the show. I had high hopes for Eureka, but it turns out the series is little more than standard sci fi fare. (6/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
6/28/2006


The Quiet Earth

In The Quiet Earth (1985), New Zealander Zac Hobson (Bruno Lawrence) awakens one morning to find himself alone and apparently the last person on the Earth. The antithesis of movies like The Road Warrior (1981) and The Omega Man (1971), much of The Quiet Earth focuses on Zac and Zac alone as he explores his surroundings.



There are no mutants, racing cars or zombies to interact with Zac. And that’s a big problem in that a large portion of the movie centers on Zac trying to come to terms with this situation he finds himself in. Much of The Quiet Earth is a one-man show as Zac lives out his fantasies before sliding down the mental abyss towards suicide.

Eventually, Zac does find other survivors and the reason behind why they are left behind on a “quiet earth” is very interesting. But still, The Quiet Earth clocks in at just over an hour and a half in length yet feels much longer.

Still, I must say, though, the open-ended “what in the hell just happened?” ending is appealing. (7/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
6/25/2006


84 Charlie MoPic

I believe the first time I saw 84 Charlie MoPic (aka 84C MoPic) was when it aired on PBS in the early 1990s. Though I've seen it several times since, most of these viewings have come from a worn VHS tape.



In 84 Charlie MoPic , a "Lessons Learned" camera team (Motion Picture – MoPic) follows a long range Army patrol into the jungle during the war in Vietnam. The goal of the cameraman (Byron Thames) and Lieutenant LT (Jonathan Emerson) following the soldiers is to film this patrol for training purposes, to take some of the hard "lessons learned" by the troops in the field back to those training in the states.

Told in the first person perspective later popularized by The Blair Witch Project, the viewer becomes the camera on MoPic's shoulder. We see what he films.

The patrol, lead by OD (Richard Brooks) hasn't suffered as much as a scratch on any of their previous patrols. They're good and the know it. Staying alive is hard business in the Vietnamese jungle and these men are experts. But even experts can make mistakes – even experts can push their luck too far.



Sometime in 1993 I managed to record 84 Charlie MoPic on VHS from another airing on PBS. And though the movie is available on DVD overseas, it is so far unavailable here in any form other than a VHS release some years ago. And that's a shame. If anything, 84 Charlie MoPic is part of the collection of movies and television shows released in the 1980s that focused on the war in Vietnam. What started with Platoon in 1986, continued with Full Metal Jacket, Gardens of Stone and Hamburger Hill in 1987 and Born on the Fourth of July in 1989. On television there was Tour of Duty in 1987 and China Beach in 1988.

But this set cannot be complete without 84 Charlie MoPic , the last of the bunch released at the close of the decade in 1989 and acting as the bookend for this "micro-genera."



Though I wouldn't argue that 84 Charlie MoPic was the BEST of the Vietnam War movie bunch, I would argue that it contains the most tension. There's something to be said for the feeling of "being there" that 84 Charlie MoPic manages throughout its hour and a half runtime.

During the movie, the MoPic character (no one in the movie has real names, everyone exists through acronyms) remarks that sometimes, the cameraman filming the soldiers is killed and all that returns to the lab is his film. Little does the MoPic character know but he's writing his own epitaph and, in fact, the epitaph for the entire movie. 84 Charlie MoPic might be gone, but the film recording it remains.

84 Charlie MoPic an important movie that deserves to be remembered/released.





By Bert Ehrmann
6/21/2006


Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader – "Spring: The Season of Finales" with a review of the Lost, The Unit, Veronica Mars and The Sopranos season finales.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/20/2006


Nacho Libre

The main problem with Nacho Libre is that although the movie is a comedy, there are very few "laugh out loud" moments. In fact, it's more of a "chuckle" movie than a full-fledged laugh one.



In Nacho Libre, Jack Black stars as the title character, a monk by day professional wrestler by night. Nacho wrestles in order to feed the orphans back at the church even though what he does is seen as a sin. There's also a whole sub-plot about Nacho falling for one of the nuns at the church, which was a bit odd since Nacho Libre is brimming with religous undertones.

I think that Nacho Libre is an attempt ro bring some of the unconventional humor contained in co-writer/director Jared Hess' last project Napoleon Dynamite to a larger, non-stoned male college audience. But I'm afraid Nacho Libre isn't able to effectively do this. (7/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
6/20/2006


Independence Day

The week just before the July 4th holiday is widely considered to be one of the most important dates for movies at the box office. Over that week and weekend, Hollywood usually releases their biggest, most action-packed movies guaranteed to lure the movie going public into theaters. Last year War of the Worlds opened that weekend and this year Superman Returns.

Which got me thinking about another July 4th movie that's a decade old this year, Independence Day (ID4).



In ID4, the world is brought to the brink of destruction when an alien armada comes to the Earth and begins destroying cities. It's up to a shattered government lead by President Whitmore (Bill Pullman), Air Force Captain Hiller (Will Smith) and scientist turned cable television technician David Levinson (Jeff Goldblum) to fight back.

It's a bit hard to describe the nationwide excitement that preceded ID4. There were toys, video games, magazines, books and a whole slew of other merchandise all tied to the movie – some of which I still own. Before opening day, I found myself in the throws of a somewhat misguided ID4 fever, standing in a local video store watching the movie trailer to ID4 on loop over and over again not being able to contain my own excitement for the movie.

Seeing ID4 opening day, I remember how good I thought the movie was, being consistently entertained and amazed at the spectacle of it all. It wasn't until later that year when I purchased ID4 on VHS that I realized just how thin the plot to ID4 was. (Why use of fighter UFOs when you have the ability to wipe cities off the map?)

Still, ID4 had a $50 million opening weekend ($5 of that is from me) generating a total box office revenue of over $300 million by the end of the year. ID4 was, in fact, the highest grossing movie of 1996 and still the 20th top grossing film of all time.

In many ways, ID4 marked a return to the disaster movie genera as a whole slew of disaster themed movies followed in the coming years. Movies like Armageddon, Deep Impact, Volcano, Dantes Peak, and Outbreak would all follow in ID4s wake with varying degrees of success.

ID4 would also mark the start of actor Will Smith being crowned the "King of July 4" helming ID4 in 1996, Men in Black in 1997 and Wild, Wild West in 1999 – all number one movies.

ID4 creators Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich would try to parlay their success with ID4 into their own production studio/special FX studio, sci-fi web site and search engine – Centropolis Entertainment. But after the critical panning their next venture Godzilla (1998) would take (and more importantly earning less than half that ID4 made at the box office), their partnership would dissolve and their company stagnate.



Emmerich would go onto write and direct The Day After Tomorrow (2004) while Devlin would go onto produce Cellular that same year.

As for the actors, Bill Pullman was last seen in an installment of Scary Movie, Will Smith is still an actor and now a producer as well and Jeff Goldblum hasn't done much in the last few years other than have a guest starring role in the television series Will and Grace.

Funnily enough Mary McDonnell has "moved up" as it were. In ID4 she starred as First Lady Whitmore and on the television series Battlestar Galactica she portrayed President Laura Roslin. From First Lady to President in seven short years – that has to be a record or something. Right?

By Bert Ehrmann
6/19/2006


The Wire

Here is the first look at the upcoming season of The Wire, premiering on HBO this September.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/19/2006


Black Hawk Down

While perusing a local "Boxmart" the other day, I noticed yet another version of the DVD to the Black Hawk Down movie, this one advertised as being an "extended cut" with eight minutes of additional footage added into the movie. This version of the DVD also has all-new cover art, which is quite possibly some of the worst use of Photoshop I've ever seen on a DVD cover. "Fake" doesn't quite cover how badly this cover was rendered. What were they thinking?

What's worse is that the other two DVD covers for Black Hawk Down are actually quite good. The "3-Disc Deluxe Edition" features new art and the original DVD has artwork used on the movie poster.

   
 
 

On a side note, the cover for the Over There DVD bears a striking similarity to the original theatrical teaser poster to Black Hawk Down. Coincidence? I think not.

BHD Teaser Poster

See a Black Hawk Down poster I created for fun before the movie was released back in 2001.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/17/2006


The Descent

The trailer for the upcoming movie The Descent has been released over at Apple. Keep in mind that this movie IS NOT a rip-off of last year's failed The Cave movie as The Descent hit theaters in the UK last July while The Cave was released here last August. The Descent was directed by fan favorite Neil Marshall, who also directed the surprise hit Dog Soldiers (2002).







By Bert Ehrmann
6/16/2006


Flag Day

Day late – yesterday was Flag Day.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/15/2006


Bama Blasphemy

I used to wonder whatever happened to the original paintings for all those cool Aurora Model kits painted by James Bama. Now I know – they were painted over and reused! From arglebargle!:

Someone --and no one now seems to remember who-- (ack) painted over the original Bama paintings with brightly colored acrylic paints to accommodate the new Glow-in-the-dark features. Since the original paintings were mostly gouache, the acrylic paint is on there for good. Tragic. Short-sighted. Almost criminal.
Click here for more info and examples of the original paintings side-by-side with the re-paints.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/14/2006


Syriana

Out on DVD next (6/20) week – Syriana. From Amazon:

A politically-charged epic about the state of the oil industry in the hands of those personally involved and affected by it.
DVD extras include deleted scenes (perhaps the ones with Michelle Monaghan) and two featurettes.



Read my review of Syriana here.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/14/2006


Tim Hildebrandt

Tim Hildebrandt, half of the twin-brother "Brothers Hildebrandt" illustration duo who were the driving force behind the look of Lord of the Rings in the 1970s and 80s, painted the original Star Wars poster as well as being part of the Star Wars revival of the 1990s has passed away. From his official site:

Best known as part of the Brothers Hildebrandt team, Tim's career transported him to–and through–many works. Technically speaking, Tim and Greg worked side by side. But their work together on such masterpieces as the original Star Wars poster and 70's J.R.R. Tolkien calendars proved that their individual talents could coalesce seamlessly into one.


By Bert Ehrmann
6/13/2006


The Culpepper Cattle Co.

In The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972), young Ben Mockeridge (Gary Grimes) wants to leave the family farm to become a cowboy. Ben thinks that being a cowboy will be an exciting adventure, full of shootouts and pretty girls. Instead, he finds reality much different that what he expected.



Boss Frank Culpepper (Billy Green Bush) is a gruff cowboy who literally shoots first and asks questions later. Co-hand Russ (Geoffrey Lewis) is so mean he scares other cowboys out of the camp and the cook (Raymond Guth) tells Ben that, "…cowboying is something you do when you can't do nothing else." The world of Culpepper is unforgiving and dangerous, with death coming as easily as can be imagined.

At one point Culpepper sacrifices the lives of some of his men to rescue 200 head of cattle and another two trappers are shot for fun after they robbed Ben of his horse and belongings.

Which brings up the first theme of the movie: the war in Vietnam. Substituting soldiers for cowboys, Culpepper shows that the realities of men under constant danger isn't a pretty thing. Men are valued almost as much for their ruthlessness than their ability to get along with one and other. A man who can keep his cool under fire can be more valuable than one who can tell jokes and get along with the rest.

Riding the western revival of The Wild Bunch, Culpepper borrows some of the same themes as The Wild Bunch (big-ending shootout, protecting villagers, etc.), the same DayGlo blood and even characters sharing the same name and spins all this into something different. If The Wild Bunch is about possible redemption, Culpepper is about the differences between reality and fiction. 

In an ending as stunning and unexpected as just about anything I've ever come across, The Culpepper Cattle Co. saves it's most devastating punch for last. (8/10) 

Ben: "That's a mighty fine horse you have. What's his name?"
Luke: "You don't put a name to something you might have to eat."

By Bert Ehrmann
6/12/2006


The New York Times

The New York Times has ran several interesting articles over the last few days, including…

Info on the new series Saved, premiering tonight (6/12) on TNT
:

In "Saved" (…) Wyatt Cole (Tom Everett Scott) is a medical school dropout with a gambling problem (and poor oral hygiene), but he's not a coarse, corrupt policeman or a middle-aged, emotionally frayed fireman. He is a confused young man who hates pressure from his wealthy, snobbish family but loves the adrenalin and life-and-death stakes of his job as a paramedic.
Timothy Olyphant's reaction to Deadwood's cancellation:
When he heard about it, Timothy Olyphant, who plays Seth Bullock, the brooding, occasionally lethal town sheriff, was at home in Los Angeles, at a house he had just purchased. "David called and said, 'I've got sad news, it doesn't look like the show is going to happen,' " he said. "And I said, 'Stop and come over, because I want you to see this place before I sell it.' "
A nice article on the movie The Searchers and its extreme importance as a movie even today:
And everywhere else — after Ford, beyond his movies — you find the same thing. The monomaniacal quest for vengeance, undertaken by a hero at odds with the society he is expected to protect: it's sometimes hard to think of a movie from the past 30 years, from "Taxi Driver" to "Batman Begins," that doesn't take up this theme. And the deeper question of where vengeance should stop, and how it can be distinguished from justice, surfaces in "Unforgiven" and "In the Bedroom," in "Mystic River" and "Munich."

By Bert Ehrmann
6/12/2006


Superman

Premiering this Monday (6/12) night on A&E at 8:00 P.M. (EST) is Look, Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman. From A&E:

Here's the story behind the phenomenon of Superman, the most merchandised and imitated superhero of them all. Through interviews with the key creative talents responsible for seven decades of thrilling Superman adventures, we'll follow the Man of Steel's path from Depression-era comic book hero to George Reeves's TV portrayal in the 50s, Christopher Reeve's movies in the 70s and 80s, and the TV shows Lois and Clark and Smallville. There'll even be a sneak preview of the new film, Superman Returns, to be released this summer.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/11/2006


Transformers

The teaser poster for the upcoming Transformers movie has been released. The new tag line for Transformers is apparently, "Their War. Our World." Whatever happened to "More than meets the eye?"



Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/9/2006


Battlestar Galactica Toys

Art Asylum is releasing a really cool Battlestar Galactica Cylon mini bust statue for $50.00. The one catch – it's only available for purchase for those attending the Comic-Con International in San Diego. I suppose this means these will quickly start turning up on eBay for $400 or $500.00 soon after the convention ends. Ugh. I really want one of these.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/8/2006


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Out on DVD next week (6/13) is the best movie of 2005 (according to Dangerous Universe that is): Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. From Amazon:

A petty thief (Downey) posing as an actor is brought to Los Angeles for an unlikely audition and finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation along with his high school dream girl (Monaghan) and a detective (Kilmer) who's been training him for his upcoming role…


Read my review of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang here.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/7/2006


HBO

Sundays are looking great for HBO. At 8:00 P.M. there's a season three repeat of The Wire, at 9:00 the return on Deadwood and at 10:00 the return of Entourage.

Deadwood
"Tell Your God to Ready for Blood:" Deadwood's first true elections are approaching, with the offices of sheriff and mayor to be contested. Tonight, the candidates are expected to state their case to the townspeople--protocol that unnerves one taciturn incumbent while exciting a more glib one. At the Gem, one of Hearst's Cornish workers is killed, raising Swearengen's suspicions that the incident was a staged Hearst power play. Complications involving Alma's pregnancy alarm Ellsworth and Doc Cochran. Adams' orchestrated foreclosure gives Star a new home, with discreet access next door for Trixie. Jane prepares to share with the camp's children her experiences scouting for General Custer. Dismayed by her inability to make a clean break from the gut-stabbed Tolliver, Joanie contemplates the easy way out. Hearst offers Bullock his political backing in exchange for Bullock's promise to exert influence over certain areas of the camp.

Entourage
"Aquamom:" When Vince's plan to bring a "premiere worthy" date to the Aquaman premiere fails, Eric bails him out with a Plan B. Turtle and Drama's attempt to get two extra tickets for a couple of "Video Ho's" incites the ire of Vince's co-star. And, with money tight, Ari adjusts to his new digs.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/7/2006


Michael Mann

In anticipation of the release of the Miami Vice feature film next month, here are several videos featuring work from Vice director Michael Mann.

Michael Mann Production logo clip
(As a child of the 1980s, this really brings back the memories.)


Heat (1995) shoot-out


Miami Vice (1984) "In the Air Tonight"



Collateral (2004) shoot-out

By Bert Ehrmann
6/6/2006


Extras

Ricky Gervais is reporting that filming has begun on season two of Extras via a newsletter from his site:

'Extras' begins filming today
Series 2 of the BBC/HBO comedy series 'Extras' has started filming. Extras will be on TV later this year. Look out for news and set reports at www.rickygervais.com

By Bert Ehrmann
6/6/2006


Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest article up over at the Fort Wayne Reader entitled "Deadwood. A nice place to visit…"

I think that’s what I like about Deadwood – it’s a hard series to pin down. The stories are miles from formulaic fare and don’t unfold like one would expect. Except it’s all these factors make it hard to write a column on the series. Oh well, I guess if I wanted to write “easy” columns I could start covering Without a Trace.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/5/2006


Deadwood

Dark Horizons is reporting that though there won't be a fourth season to Deadwood, two two-hour episodes will be produced that will wrap up the ongoing stories. From Dark Horizons:

(…)HBO and "Deadwood" creator-exec producer David Milch have agreed to produce a pair of two-hour specials that will serve as the show's series finale reports Variety.

(…)Although no one is locked into continuing with "Deadwood", an HBO rep said the network was confident in reaching all the deals necessary to proceed with the show in its new incarnation.

No decisions had been made about a production start date or a premiere date, but HBO says the series and its fans would get closure…
I guess this is better than nothing, right?

Season three of Deadwood begins airing next Sunday (6/11) on HBO.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/5/2006


Homicide: Life on the Streets

The Sleuth Channel is airing Homicide: Life on the Streets weeknights at 7:00 P.M. Starting Monday (6/5), Sleuth begins airing Homicide: Life on the Streets from the beginning . Homicide: Life on the Streets comes highly recommended from Dangerous Universe.

This fast-paced police drama portrays the brutal detective work of a homicide department in Baltimore. With an electrifying cast of characters, this hour-long drama will intrigue viewers into the reality of "life on the street."

By Bert Ehrmann
6/4/2006


Entourage

Out on DVD next week is season two of the HBO series Entourage. From Amazon:

Film star Vince Chase navigates the vapid terrain of Los Angeles with a close circle of friends and his trusty agent.

By Bert Ehrmann
6/2/2006


Deadwood Officially Dead?

Deadwood creator David Milch has told TV Guide that Deadwood's officially dead after the third season which starts next Sunday (6/11) on HBO. (No doubt season three will end with a cliffhanger.) Milch via TV Guide:

"I'm touched by the passionate response of many of the fans of Deadwood and understand the disappointment they have expressed that this is to be the final season of the show.

(…)We worked together to try and fashion a plan that would have enabled us to produce a fourth season of Deadwood, as well as the new show. HBO, in fact, offered to commit to an additional six episodes after this season to conclude Deadwood.

I felt the right decision creatively was to stop now and move forward with the new project…"

By Bert Ehrmann
6/1/2006


Quatermass and the Darkness

I rented John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness(1987) a few weeks back, and though I had already seen the movie on cable some years ago, I had yet to see the R-rated cut. Though Prince of Darkness is a good movie, it is none-the-less a flawed one. The story wanders a bit and the tension falters throughout.



Still, one thing I noticed was how much an homage Prince of Darkness was to the Quatermass and the Pit (1967) movie. Heck, Carpenter's writing credit on Prince of Darkness is even listed as “Martin Quatermass.”

Major plot spoilers follow for both movies.

In each movie, the main plot is driven by an alien artifact that seems to be either the source of, or confused with, the devil. Each movie also features a professor investigating this artifact, the artifact possessing people in order to fulfill its will, these possessed people turning on anyone not also under the “spell” and at least one character's skin being removed while under the influence! Ewww!

Though Carpenter isn't really stealing from Quatermass and the Pitt, it's almost certain that with Prince of Darkness he's written/directed a love-letter to that movie.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/30/2006


Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Since it's been just over a year since Star Wars, Episode III: Then Revenge of the Sith was released in theaters, I've decided to re-publish here my review of the movie here, which was originally posted on another site's forums which are no longer online.

Now that the (supposedly) last Star Wars movie Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith has been released, reviewers (and fans) are split over the movie. Some claim that this is the Star Wars movie they've been waiting nearly 30 years for, that it's as good as movies in the first trilogy and "light years" better than the previous two movies.

Don't believe the hype.



Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith is no better nor no worse than the previous two movies and is no where near as good as the first trilogy of Star Wars movies.

Revenge of the Sith suffers from the same flaws as the previous two movies: bad acting, bad story and questions on how this movie relates to the next three? Technology shown in this movie is clearly superior to that of the next three, supposedly twenty years in the future, yet none of that technology makes it into the future. Characters make odd choices, contradict themselves, or act in unbelievable ways. Here's a list of problems I had with the movie, in no order and by no means complete. Read no further if you don't want large parts of the movie spoiled for you:

I didn't buy Anakin's whole reasoning behind turning to the darkside. I mean, c'mon! There's no way that the idea that he can keep people from dying would cause him to kill a bunch of people and turn evil. It doesn't make sense. (It's like a pacifist picking up a gun killing a room of people in order to further their pacifist ways.) I think a better solution would have been if Anakin truly believed that by turning to the darkside he would somehow be protecting the Republic.

Was there any reasoning behind Sidious turning ugly because of the lightning?

Why wouldn't Darth Vader have spent all his time hunting down Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda after what they did to him?

Why didn't the other Jedi sense that the clones were turning against them?

Why didn't the Jedi use their force powers against Anakin when he was decimating their ranks?

I remember Lucas said during Episode I that we'd all realize why an army or droids wasn't a good idea and why they don't appear in the future. Where was that idea in this movie? I know the droids were deactivated, but why? Who would deactivate (apparently) the second most powerful army in the galaxy when it could be combined with, and strengthened with their own army?

And why do the droid army have emotions whereas the clones don't? If you could have a soldier that would not run in the face of battle, wouldn't that be preferred?

It seems apparent that Lucas should have spent as much time concentrating on his screenplay than on the special effects of a movie. Special effects a movie does not make.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (7/10)
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (7/10)
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (7/10)
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (10/10)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (10/10)
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (9/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
5/29/2006


Deadwood

Check out one more short commercial for Deadwood.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/29/2006


Alex Toth

Comic book and animation legend Alex Toth is dead at 78. Toth is best known for designing characters for Super Friends, Space Ghost, having a hand in Johnny Quest and working on a multitude of Hanna-Barbera cartoons during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Toth is known as being cantankerous, opinionated and an all-around supremely talented illustrator/designer. According to a posting on Toth's official site, he died working away at his drawing table.

Toth was one hell of a designer and an inspiration to all.



Check out Alex Toth's official site.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/29/2006


X-Men: The Last Stand

In yet another case of a movie not quite living up to the hype, X-Men: The Last Stand (aka X-Men 3) mostly delivers on the visuals but underperforms on the story.



In X-Men 3, a "cure" has been found for the "mutant gene" dividing the mutants into two camps. One camp, lead by Magneto (Ian McKellen), wants the cure destroyed and the mutants left as-is. The other, lead by Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), wants to take a "live and let live" approach, allowing the mutants themselves decide their own fates.

Whereas the fight scenes between the mutants are awe inspiring, the story is paper thin with major holes and dialogue shoddy/cliché. Characters motivations/actions seem to be driven by moving the plot forward rather than how those characters would normally act.

One would suspect that when a movie costs a reported $200 million to make at least some of that money would be spent on developing an excellent script, but apparently not.

Most frustrating of all, many of the major twists and turns in the movie seem to be driven more by contract negotiations with the actors than by servicing the plot.

Back in 2002 I called X-Men 2: X-Men United one of the best movies of the year and lamented that I couldn't wait for X-Men 3. Unfortunately, X-Men 3 wasn't worth the wait. (7/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
5/27/2006


The Venture Bros.

Out on DVD this Tuesday (5/30) is the hilarious animated series The Venture Bros. From Amazon:

The Venture Brothers, Hank and Dean, think, act, talk and live like they're in the Sixties (though the show takes place in modern day.) They're the sons of Dr. Venture, a world renowned scientist who can't stand them. Dr. Venture pops pills like candy and reeks of failure and unrealized potential. Their family bodyguard, Brock Samson, is a former secret agent who responds to all possible crises with relentless brutality.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/26/2006


Lost

Was I the only one who caught (thought) there was an homage to the movie series Planet of the Apes in last night's episode of Lost? When Desmond is following Kelvin to the boat, I really got the sense that the sense that someone involved with Lost was channeling the "look" of the beginning bits of Planet of the Apes when the astronauts are walking across the baron landscape.

Planet of the Apes




Lost


By Bert Ehrmann
5/25/2006


The War Game (1965)

Shot in 1965 yet not shown on television screens for another 20 years, The War Game plays out a nuclear war centering on England in docudrama style. Things start out bad enough with rising tensions among the super-powers and mass evacuations of English cities but quickly deteriorate when nuclear missiles start flying.



Things turn horrible as firestorms consume cities, radiation sickness culls the population and food riots claim the rest.

The documentary style lends credibility to the drama, causing the viewer to be drawn into the story, to become yet another participant. The style of The War Game would be used to great effect in another Brit nuclear war drama – Threads (1984).

It is a little odd to watch this movie, shot just twenty years after the bombings of WWII and seemingly preparing the population for the bombings of the next world war. (8/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
5/24/2006


Lest we Forget

If history serves any purpose at all, it is to remind us that the recent remake of The Poseidon Adventure does not need a sequel as the original had entitled Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1979) . IMDB describes the movie following additional survivors on the upturned boat, stuck between two salvage crews looking to loot the ship's plunder.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/24/2006


Lost

Here's a first look at the tie-in toys for the television series Lost. The toys are due on store shelves this November. Figures will include Jack, Kate, Locke, Hurley, Charlie and Shannon.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/24/2006


Michael Mann

Out I believe sometime next week is a book on Michael Mann from Taschen. From Amazon:

Over the course of the eight feature films he has directed since 1971 (not to mention the several features he has made for television), Michael Mann has shown himself, time and again, to be a rigorous, honest dramatist, a maker of solid worlds. So much so that in America, at least, he tends to be underrated. The most respectful of his critics often define him (a bit too simply) as a "realist." Certainly, whether the subject is thievery (The Jericho Mile, Thief, Heat), killers (Manhunter, Collateral), frontier life (The Last of the Mohicans), the nuanced struggle between the news media and corporate money (The Insider), or that of a celebrated athlete looking to find his life’s meaning in a world of bigotry (Ali), Mann seeks authenticity above all. Whatever suspense, entertainment value, and emotional or philosophical insight his work may yield rises from a truthfully imagined, painstakingly observed set of human beings and their warring intentions.

Made with full access to Michael Mann’s archives!

By Bert Ehrmann
5/23/2006


Lost

The two hour season two of Lost airs Wednesday (5/24) night starting at 9:00 P.M. (EST) on ABC. From the official site:

"Live Together, Die Alone"
SEASON FINALE
After discovering something odd just offshore, Jack and Sayid come up with a plan to confront "The Others" and hopefully get Walt back. Meanwhile, Eko and Locke come to blows as Locke makes a potentially cataclysmic decision regarding the "button" and the hatch, on the two-hour season finale.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/23/2006


Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader, "Spin-offs, the redheaded stepchild of the TV industry."

Television over the last 25 years has been marked (or is it marred?) by the “spin-off.” All genera of shows have experimented with the spin-off (four different Star Trek series alone) to varying degrees of success. Though everyone might have heard of The Facts of Life (1979), a spin-off of Diff'rent Strokes (1978), who will remember the Friends (1994) spin-off Joey (2004) in a decade or two?

By Bert Ehrmann
5/23/2006


Deadwood

Everyday it seems more and more certain that Deadwood, at least in its current incarnation, is dead after the new third season. From Los Angeles Times:

Milch (…) said that "Deadwood" is a costly show and that it does not produce the high ratings "Sopranos" does. In addition, his deal with CBS Paramount's TV studio was winding down, which "didn't help" the situation because it removed a potential financial partner from the equation (Paramount owns some of the distribution rights to "Deadwood"; studio spokespeople did not return requests for comment).

Milch confirmed that Albrecht offered to approve six episodes rather than 12 for the fourth season — in the TV industry, a so-called short order. But the writer-producer rejected that because of bad experiences with short orders on series like "Hill Street Blues."

And with that, "Deadwood" was dead.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/22/2006


Superman Returns

Check out the international version of the Superman Returns trailer, featuring a few new shots (including the bullet to the eye) and a few longer bits of scenes we've seen before.









By Bert Ehrmann
5/22/2006


Baghdad ER

Baghdad ER is an extremely powerful documentary on the 86th Combat Support Hospital –  a M.A.S.H. like hospital that receives casualties (both American and Iraqi) from the frontlines. I think all too often that we measure the cost of the war in Iraq in terms of dollars spent and numbers of lives lost. But I think Baghdad ER brings the war home that the true cost of the war is on the ground, in the ER and one soldier at a time. (10/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
5/21/2006


Deadwood

Out on DVD next week is season two of the HBO series Deadwood. Extras include episode commentaries and several "making of" featurettes.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/19/2006


Fall '06-'07 Television Preview - FOX

Fox seems to not be taking any risks with their upcoming fall season, relying on some pretty dry ideas with their new series. There are a few interesting looking shows next season, but, for the most part, their upcoming schedule looks* pretty dull. One show which looks to have a bit of promise is Vanished.

When an FBI team begins to investigate the disappearance of a Senator's wife, what looks like a simple missing persons case unfolds into a vast conspiracy with national security issues at stake.


* I say "looks" since it's a bit hard to judge television shows with just a log-line and cast photo!

By Bert Ehrmann
5/18/2006


Fall '06-'07 Television Preview - CBS

CBS has released their fall schedule, what I'm most interested in here is Jericho.

A small town is cut off from the rest of the world after a nuclear disaster.
Note, The Unit has been picked up for a second season and will continue airing Tuesdays at 9:00 P.M. (EST) on CBS.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/17/2006


Fall '06-'07 Television Preview - ABC

Here's a preview on ABC's schedule next fall, including shows like The Nine.

Today nine people face just such an unexpected twist when they are caught in a bank robbery gone wrong and endure a 52-hour hostage standoff that will leave two persons dead. When all is said and done, these nine people will never be the same. They will always share the common bond of what happens inside the bank…which only they'll know. And they will be forever affected and intertwined because of it.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/17/2006


Fall '06-'07 Television Preview - NBC

Check out a preview of NBC's next season schedule, including new dramas Heros and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Heros
They thought they were like everyone else... until they woke with incredible powers. In Japan, a lowly office worker can teleport at will. In New York, a struggling artist can paint the future. In Los Angeles, a discontented beat cop can hear the thoughts of others. Elsewhere, a high school cheerleader discovers she is unbreakable and a single mom realizes she has a powerful alter ego.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Aaron Sorkin takes us behind the scenes of a fictional late-night sketch comedy series. Lately, “funny” has been in short supply at Studio 60. The executive producer just had a meltdown – on live TV. The control room is out of control. The actors are acting up. And that’s just last Friday’s show! Studio 60’s only hope lies with two wunderkind writers (Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford) with troubles of their own, and the headstrong new network president (Amanda Peet) determined to turn things around.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/17/2006


Superman Returns

JoBlo.com has posted a [email protected] looking poster for the upcoming Superman Returns movie. Click for a larger view.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/16/2006


Deadwood

Deadwood might be canceled after the upcoming season three, might continue on with new cast members or might be just fine according to which news report you chose to believe. From the L.A. Times:

(…) As you may recall, HBO last week said it was letting the options lapse for cast members' contracts, which essentially spells the end for the acclaimed series just one month before the start of its third season. (…) But the situation may be considerably more complicated than first appears. "Deadwood" is produced by Paramount Network Television, raising the possibility that the studio and HBO, which is owned by Time Warner, could not agree on terms for continuing the series after this summer.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
But if HBO switches gears and orders a fourth season, the acclaimed Deadwood would return - most likely populated by new faces and with cast members who struck out elsewhere or didn't bother looking.

"Conversations are ongoing," says HBO spokeswoman Tobe Becker. "It's possible there will be a fourth season, but we may not have 100 percent of the cast back. Some will be available."

Ugh.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/15/2006


The Unit

Season one of The Unit wraps up this Tuesday (5/16) on CBS with two episodes beginning at 9:00 P.M. (EST). From CBS:

Morale, Welfare and Recreation
The Unit is called in to consult on a bomb planted in an Atlanta bank, but they must take over control when they learn that the bomb might be nuclear, on the first season finale.

The Wall
After Jonas and his team assist the UN in capturing a Bosnian general who is a war criminal, the Unit members find themselves in jeopardy when the general escapes capture.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/14/2006


Justice League: Unlimited

With little fanfare and even less notice, it was with disbelief that I learned that this season of Justice League Unlimited, season 5, would be its last with the final episode airing Saturday May, 13. Not only was Justice League a good television show (animated or otherwise), it is part of one of the best and longest running animation spin-offs in television history.



Back in 1992 the series Batman: The Animated Series (TAS) was "born" as an attempt to capitalize on the then gigantic cash cow of the Tim Burton Batman movies. What could have been yet another lame attempt at turning a movie into an animated television series like The Real Ghostbusters (1986), Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures (1990) or Back to the Future (1991) instead was a piece of groundbreaking art lead by Batman: TAS series creator Bruce Timm.

Timm came up through the animation ranks working on projects like the 1980s cartoon version of G.I. Joe and the 1990s series Tiny Toon Adventures. But it wasn't until Timm showed an animation executive at Warner Brothers some drawings he had done of Batman while in his spare time that Timm was pegged to head that new series.

Relying on dark looks, gritty action and Art Deco styling, Batman: TAS broke new ground into a genera which at that time was seen as little more than 20 minute toy commercials. Part of the "cartoon renaissance" of the early 1990s, and arguably the grandparent of every animated action show on television today, Batman: TAS shattered cartoon stereotypes in terms of both story and substance, never playing to the lowest common denominator. Episodes dealt with (at times) very adult subjects, while also having a heavy action element appealing to the younger set tuning in after schools for their weekday cartoon "fix."  

Based on the success of Batman: TAS, what followed were a set of spin-off series that would make the creator of the CSI franchise head spin.

In 1996 a series based on the character Superman was launched, again with Timm at the helm, which would last four years. In the late 1990s the Batman series was given a new look and new storylines with the launch of Batman: Gotham Knights, bringing the original Batman series to a seven year run ending in 1999. A feature film version of Batman entitled Batman: Mask of the Phantasm premiered in theaters Christmas 1993.

After that, the character of Batman was transported into the future in the series Batman Beyond in 1999, lasting three seasons.



Then, in 2001, Justice League premiered on Cartoon Network with Timm acting as one of the series producers, writers and storyboard artists. The Justice League were a group of characters consisting of Batman, Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Green Lantern, The Martian Manhunter, Superman and The Flash acting as a team as they take on threats that no one character can handle themselves. Season three of the series expanded on the original line-up adding literally dozens, if not hundreds, of characters to the roster, shifting the focus a bit from the Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman dynamic of old.

Actors like Michael Ironside, Ron Perlman, Clancy Brown, George Eads, Eric Roberts and Dakota Fanning (to name a few) would all lend their skills acting as voices for characters throughout the series.

Somewhere in the fourth season of Justice League, by then re-titled Justice League: Unlimited, the series went from simply "good" to "great." In season four, a season arching story was introduced where a gun-shy government (rightly so) began questioning the need for super-hero overseers, and began to make contingency plans for their elimination if need-be.



Justice League: Unlimited lasted one more season before the rug was unceremoniously pulled out from under. I can accept that Justice League had to end; all shows end, even the great ones. It's just a bit hard to stomach that it had to end like this, with no notice from any official sources. After 14 years of continuous series by Bruce Timm and crew, there were no retrospective, no interviews with those involved on their thoughts to the future, nothing…

How hard would it have been for the Cartoon Network to acknowledge that a major ground-breaking series was coming to an end? Too hard, apparently. Tsk, tsk Cartoon Network.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/14/2006


NBC Finales

Thursday night (5/11) marks the season finales of both My Name is Earl and The Office on NBC. In an odd bit of "WTF is NBC thinking?", the My Name is Earl finale begins at 8:40 P.M. and The Office at 9:20 P.M. (EST). Apparently, NBC wants to upset millions of Americans who are used to turning over at 9:00 for Earl and 9:30 for The Office. From NBC:

My Name is Earl
A HARD-KNOCK LIFE -- …Earl (Jason Lee) decides to cross off number one from his list, "stole ten dollars from a guy at the Camden Market." But Earl soon discovers he owes the guy more than ten dollars, in fact he he owes him all of his lotto winnings. Now penniless and desperately trying to continue with his list, Earl wonders when his karma is going kick in and turn his misfortunes around for the better.

The Office
In the season finale, Michael (Golden Globe winner Steve Carell) and the Dunder Mifflin crew hold a Casino Night for charity in their warehouse and take some big gambles.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/10/2006


Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader, "Spielberg's WWII Obsession." From the column:

Spielberg produced HBO’s Band of Brothers, which focuses on an entire division from D-Day to the end of combat in Europe. Presently, Spielberg is also producing the movie Flags of Our Fathers and follow-up series to Band of Brothers, currently titled The Pacific War, both set to open sometime later this year.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/9/2006


iTunes TV Shows

There have been a bunch of new shows released onto the iTunes Music Store including; 24, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Prison Break, The Shield, 30 Days, Firefly (where the one and half hour pilot episode "Serenity" is still just $1.99) and the original Lost in Space to name a few.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/9/2006


The Unit

This Tuesday (5/9) night, CBS will be airing two episodes of their series The Unit, one at 9:00 P.M. and the other at 10:00 P.M. (EST). From CBS:

Unannounced
When Bob's cover is blown while training soldiers in Africa, he advises Jonas to cancel a planned visit by a dignitary due to impending danger; however, things get complicated when they learn that the visit is a cover.

Exposure
When Keith Soto, the son of a former Unit member, returns to base for a reunion, Jonas and Col. Tom Ryan discover that he is a newspaper reporter working on a story that threatens the secrecy of the team.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/8/2006


Veronica Mars

Don't forget, the season two finale of Veronica Mars airs this Tuesday (5/9) at 9:00 P.M. (EST). From UPN:

After learning the identity of the perpetrator responsible for the bus crash, Veronica hurries to warn others but ends up putting herself in an extremely perilous situation.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/8/2006


Deadwood

One more teaser commercial for the upcoming season of Deadwood, this one features a bit more than the previous ones and actual scenes from the episodes.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/7/2006


Mission Impossible: III

I went into seeing Mission Impossible: III with lower than usual expectations. Though I am a big fan of the original Mission: Impossible (1996), I didn't much care for the sequel Mission Impossible II (2000) and couldn't imagine that part III would be any better than part II. Though I can't say I was much surprised as to how MI:3 turned out, it's not as bad a movie as I had originally thought.  



In MI:3, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is called out of semi-retirement and back into the fold when one of the agents he trained (Keri Russell) is kidnapped by Owen Davian (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an arms dealer wanted by the "Impossible Mission Force."

After a botched rescue, Hunt's team goes after Davian and the mysterious "Rabbit's Foot," a device so secret no one's quite sure what it does, but must be dangerous when Davian's offered $800 million for it.

MI:3 suffers from TYSS; Typical Hollywood Summer Syndrome. Most of the characters are stock and the stoyline is nearly non-existent. Still, the action scenes were captivating and the last third of the movie was interesting. But what really saves the movie is Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman does a good job of injecting some sense of deadly realism into a movie full of clichés. (8/10)

Ethan Hunt, "If you don't kill me I'll die."

By Bert Ehrmann
5/7/2006


The Thick of It

The New York Times has an article on the BBC series The Thick of It, which is set to premiere here in the U.S. on Friday May, 12 on BBC America. Dangerous Universe declared The Thick of It one of the best television series of 2005. From The New York Times:

No one could ever mistake "The Thick of It" as a recruitment tool for aspiring government functionaries. In the first episode, the head of the fictitious Department of Social Affairs is bullied by the prime minister's frighteningly aggressive chief political adviser (Peter Capaldi), into signing a humiliating resignation letter. Enter his replacement, Hugh Abbot (Chris Langham), whose immediately shaky reign is the focus of the series. In over his head, he spends his days dodging telephone calls, fabricating excuses and struggling to wipe the dread and desperation from his long, sad face. Try as they might to appear to support him, the members of his small staff seem as likely to stab him in the back as to do his bidding.
BBC America The Thick of It site.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/7/2006


The Prisoner

A remake of the cult-classic series The Prisoner is in the works over at the BBC and Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who, 28 Days Later) might be set to star as the lead "Number 6." From Zap2It:

The remake of "The Prisoner" will stick to the original's outline, in which a government agent resigns his post and then is drugged and dragged off to a mysterious prison called The Village, where people are referred to by numbers rather than names. It's expected to get a modern sheen, though.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/5/2006


The Proposition

Check out the trailer for the upcoming movie The Proposition:

Set against the harsh and unforgiving landscape of the 1880s Australian outback, The Proposition is a visually stunning tale of loyalty, revenge and the quest for justice in a lawless land. Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) is a renegade. Along with his two brothers, Arthur (Danny Huston) and Mikey (Richard Wilson), he is wanted for murder.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/4/2006


Star Wars

A year and a half after the "enhanced" Star Wars trilogy was released onto DVD amid some fan protests, the ORIGINAL uncut versions of the movies are set to be released this fall. From USA Today:

Even though George Lucas adamantly declared 2004's digitally restored Star Wars Trilogy DVDs the definitive versions of his movies, fans have held out hope for DVDs of the originals.

Their wishes will be granted Sept. 12 when Fox releases new two-disc DVDs ($30 each) of Star Wars (since retitled as Episode IV: A New Hope), The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi that include the films as they first appeared in theaters, along with the new, restored versions (now available in the four-disc $70 Star Wars Trilogy)…
I never bought the revised versions of Star Wars on DVD in hopes that Lucas would come to his senses and release the original. But finally, the movies I remember seeing as a child are due to be released on DVD. Oh, happy day!

By Bert Ehrmann
5/4/2006


DVDs

Out on DVD next week (5/9) is the two-disk collector's edition to the extremely underrated Ronin (1998). This "collector's edition" includes seven featurettes not included on the original DVD release a few years back.



Also out next week is (so-far) the best movie of 2006 even if it was technically released in 2005, Munich. The "2-Disc Limited Edition" features six featurettes not included on the standard edition.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/3/2006


Superman Returns

I cannot believe how cool the full trailer is for the upcoming Superman Returns movie is. While watching the trailer, I caught myself literally going "woah" at the spectacle of it all. I only pray that the full movie is this cool.



















By Bert Ehrmann
5/2/2006


Apple

Check out these extremely clever commercials from Apple, "Get a Mac."



(I can only assume that the PC fan base is working on a response ad, invariably copying this format of the "square" looking PC guy and "hip" looking Mac guy.)

By Bert Ehrmann
5/2/2006


Deadwood

Check out this second teaser trailer for the upcoming third season of Deadwood.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/1/2006


ABC Shows

Starting today and lasting until the end of June at the earliest, you can now watch Desperate Housewives, Lost, Alias and Commander in Chief on ABC.com for free. The one catch though is that the shows "feature" commercial interruptions. Still, the quality is good and the price is hard to beat.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/1/2006


Superman Returns

BrandonRouth.com has some video from an Australian Coke commercial. From the site:

The close-ups: he is flying over an expressway, sort of doing a barrel role. Then you see the pilots' heads fly back: this is the explosion. The tail section of the plane has blown up. He obviously hears the explosion, then he flies, grabbing the wing (fire in the back ground, flames from the tail section). He looks cool and totally in control throughout whole thing. He is very powerful and very very very cool. You won't be disappointed.

By Bert Ehrmann
5/1/2006


Summer, 2006

Mark your calendars, the 2006 summer movie season starts this Friday (5/5) with the release of Mission Impossible III.

Still, (IMHO) there isn't much to look forward to this summer when compared to years past. Sure, Superman Returns looks like a winner and I can't wait for Miami Vice, but what else? The more clips I see the more X-Men 3 looks like a movie I should skip and I'm not exactly sold on a sequel to the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

I just wish there was something to be really excited about. A movie I could mark on my calendar and look forward to.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/30/2006


The Assassination of Jesse James

Check out this cool looking teaser trailer for the upcoming The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford movie due in theaters this fall and starring Brad Pitt.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/27/2006


Caprica

This might be interesting, from Sci Fi Wire:

SCI FI Channel announced the development of Caprica, a spinoff prequel of its hit Battlestar Galactica, (…)

Caprica would take place more than half a century before the events that play out in Battlestar Galactica. The people of the Twelve Colonies are at peace and living in a society not unlike our own, but where high-technology has changed the lives of virtually everyone for the better.

But a startling breakthrough in robotics is about to occur, one that will bring to life the age-old dream of marrying artificial intelligence with a mechanical body to create the first living robot: a Cylon. Following the lives of two families, the Graystones and the Adamas (…), Caprica will weave together corporate intrigue, techno-action and sexual politics into television's first science fiction family saga…

By Bert Ehrmann
4/27/2006


Fort Wayner Reader

Check out my latest article up over at the Fort Wayne Reader – This summer, Superman Returns.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/25/2006


Deadwood

Check out a commercial for season three of Deadwood, premiering this June on HBO. The basic concept of the commercial – Deadwood is a community that dies or survives on the backs of each and every citizen of that community.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/24/2006


Neil Armstrong

Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to have set foot on the Moon, has received a piece of rock from the Moon's surface. From Yahoo:

The rock (…) was part of NASA's Ambassadors of Exploration award. It was created to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the July 20, 1969, moon walk by Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

"I get to keep it myself only so long as I speak today. So I'm going to be talking longer than usual," Armstrong, 75, joked at a ceremony in which
NASA presented him with the rock.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/19/2006


The Sandbaggers

Before Jonas Blane (Dennis Haysbert) battled terrorists and bureaucratic red-tape in The Unit, Neil Burnside (Roy Marsden) did the same to the Soviet sphere of influence in The Sandbaggers. From Screenonline:

Neil Burnside, the cynical and headstrong chief of a small black ops unit in British Intelligence, has to contend with government interference, shrinking resources and the disapproval of his boss at home, while running dangerous missions overseas.
Visit The Ops Room for even more information on The Sandbaggers.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/18/2006


Doctor Who

Season two of Doctor Who began airing on BBC last Saturday night and this first episode was okay. Entitled "New Earth," The Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose (Billie Piper) travel five billion years into the future where they visit a new Earth located in a distant galaxy. There, the two discover evil forces at work in a hospital run by a race of cat-like nuns.

Though much of the episode was very good, some of it was downright hokey, relying on overused sci-fi concepts. (Elements that might have turned up in the original Star Trek.)

It's not that "New Earth" is bad, it's just that it doesn't measure up to the majority of the shows in the first season. (8/10)

Listen to the official commentary of the episode here.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/17/2006


The Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest article up over at The Fort Wayne Reader entitled, "Lost" on "Gilligan's Island":

One might think from the successes of Gilligan ’s and Lost that the concept of a microcosm of humanity trapped together is a sure fire hit, but not always. Over the years many producers have tried, and failed, to bring their own take on the “stranded” genre to television screens.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/12/2006


Veronica Mars

Don't forget, Veronica Mars switches nights from Wednesdays at 9:00 P.M. (EST) to Tuesdays at that same time. This Tuesday:

A restless Veronica is plagued by dreams in which the students killed in the bus crash confront her.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/10/2006


Thief

I've seen the first two episodes of FX's new drama Thief. Overall the story is an interesting concept, yet I don't buy the “clean” look of the series criminals.



Thief tells the story of Nick Atwater (Andre Braugher), the head of a criminal crew that steals things for a living – expensive things. Life is good for them until one day when they steal a large sum of money belonging to as Asian organized crime family who, even after Nick's front woman (Linda Hamilton) gives the money back, is out for blood.

Things go from bad to worse for Nick when his wife is killed in a car crash leaving him responsible for his stepdaughter (Mae Whitman) who saw Nick shoot a member of his crew the night of her mother's death. Things get even more complicated when Nick's daughter hints that she's told people about what she saw leading to Nick's crew talking of murdering her to keep themselves out of jail.

Nick is forced to take on a risky job breaking many of his self-imposed rules for stealing in order to satisfy his remaining men, who didn't get as much as expected from the diamond robbery, and to keep himself in house and home.

But it's all a bit too clean for my taste, too “made for TV.” Am I expected to believe that a crew as successful as Nick's makes so many amateurish mistakes? From joking around on the radio while stealing millions to talking on cell phones about past and future crimes, I found myself wondering how no one's caught Nick yet?

Reportedly an "adaptation" of Michael Mann's Thief (1981), Thief (2006) cleans up the real-life risky nature of this sort of robbery and puts a shine to it. Though the original Thief was far from a perfect movie, the original version of Thief at least had a bit more realistic grit of criminal enterprise which the new replaces with glam. (8/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
4/6/2006


CSI: Miami vs. Baywatch

News came out yesterday that proclaimed CSI: Miami the "most-watched U.S. series around the world." Which I thought was a good thing until I realized a previous most-watched U.S. series around the world was Baywatch. I've never seen CSI: Miami and only ever watched a smattering of Baywatch, but somehow I doubt the producers of CSI: Miami wish comparisons between the two shows to be made.

Which begs the question, is CSI: Miami star David Caruso the next David Hasselhoff? Hasselhoff is huge in Germany and CSI: Miami "is now the No. 1 series in Germany." Can a singing career for Caruso be far behind?

By Bert Ehrmann
4/5/2006


Tuesday nights, thy are my enemy...

I'm not sure why, but Tuesday night's at 9:00 P.M. (EST) has the most television shows on at once that I'm interested in seeing. NBC has Scrubs, CBS has The Unit, UPN has Veronica Mars, Fox has House, Discovery has Deadliest Catch and Sundance has (the new) City of Men. Thank God for Tivo and cable networks airing shows in the middle of the night.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/4/2006


Television SFX

The latest issue of Cinefex features a section on the special effects (SFX) of television, including articles on both Lost and Battlestar Galactica.

In ABC TV’s Lost, supervisor Kevin Blank relies on a blend of practical and visual effects to unveil the mysteries of a deserted island where survivors of a plane crash find themselves marooned; in the Sci-Fi Channel’s resurrected space saga Battlestar Galactica, visual effects supervisor Gary Hutzel and Zoic Studios update the series for modern audiences, delivering all-new ships, space battles and alien planet environments…

By Bert Ehrmann
4/3/2006


Lost

Please note, this week's episode of Lost (April 5) will run five minutes long, so set your Tivos accordingly! Via the futon critic:

Air Date: 4/5/06 (WEDNESDAY)
Time Slot: 9:00 PM-10:05 PM EST on ABC
Episode Title: (#218) "Dave"

By Bert Ehrmann
4/2/2006


The Simpsons

Is it just me, or does the prospect of a The Simpsons movie in 2007 sound about a decade too late? From BBC:

Twentieth Century Fox has confirmed that popular animated TV series The Simpsons is to be made into a film.

The movie will be released in the United States in July 2007.

By Bert Ehrmann
4/2/2006


Doctor Who

Series two of Doctor Who is set to begin airing Saturday, April 15 on BBC. The first of thirteen episodes is entitled "New Earth," and is described as:

'New Earth' is a typically frothy, lightning-paced tale from the pen of series head writer Russell T Davies. Set in the far, far future on a utopia-like, new planet, it sees David Tennant's recently-regenerated, hip and witty Time Lord summoned to a futuristic hospital run by cat-like nuns.

You can view photos of "New Earth" here
. You can read the press release on season two of Doctor Who here, which describes the season as:
(…) The highlights included squid-like aliens The Ood, shiny, unison-marching Cybermen, huge airships hovering above London, an astonishing CGI werewolf and Rose and returning classic series companion Sarah-Jane Smith engaged in an amusingly bitchy stand-off.



Also, check out the DVD cover to season one of Doctor Who, in stores July 4.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/30/2006


Thief

The New York Times has reviewed the upcoming series Thief, which airs Tuesdays at 10:00 P.M. (EST) on FX. From the article:

FX's six-part series reaches for the brutality and emotional complexity of "Oz" and "The Sopranos." It may never get there, but the pilot alone comes a lot closer than any of its rivals. (…)

"Thief" has a moody tone, graphic violence and unexpected plot twists, but those elements are not all that distinguish the series. The characters stand out, including the Chinese hit man, Vincent (Will Yun Lee), who has a hard time keeping a lid on his insecurities and the occasional tremor in his gun hand. (…)

"Thief" pays homage to all the conventions of a traditional thriller and weaves into it complicated issues of guilt, race and family. It's a little like some of the better dramas on HBO, but finds its own unorthodox way.
What struck me as odd was this quote:
Here, the setting is a post-Katrina New Orleans…
I'm not sure how the series can be set in post-Katrina New Orleans since the pilot was shot well before the hurricane hit. FX was promoting the show back in March of 2005. Perhaps Thief was originally set in New Orleans and the series had to be adjusted to fit this new reality?

By Bert Ehrmann
3/27/2006


Planet of the Apes

Is this cool or what –  Planet of the Apes - The Ultimate DVD Collection - With Ape Head Packaging. Too bad the price is a bit on the high side for my taste, retailing for around $180.00. I can't stop saying "With Ape Head Packaging."

By Bert Ehrmann
3/27/2006


Miami Vice

Latino Review has a new poster for the upcoming Miami Vice movie.



Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/21/2006


The Sopranos

Check out my latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader, "The Sopranos – 'Oh, poor you!'"

By Bert Ehrmann
3/21/2006


Mission: Impossible III

The poster for the upcoming Mission: Impossible III movie has been released. Check it out below.



Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/20/2006


V for Vendetta

V for Vendetta is a good movie trapped in a terrible ending riddled with numerous plot and story holes. 

In V for Vendetta, it's the future and a neo-fascist party has been elected to power in Great Britain. Sometime after the election, a terrorist attack sends the populous reeling, entrenching this "party" in almost total power. With no regard for the citizens of the U.K., the “party” goes about dismantling freedoms and replacing them with control of the media, abuse and curfews. (Think 1984 but not as dark.)

Evey (Natalie Portman) is a single woman living and working under this rule when she’s out on the streets alone on night after curfew, is arrested and threatened with rape by the fascist police "Fingermen." She's only saved when a Guy Fawkes mask wearing psychotic vigilante known only as "V" (Hugo Weaving) swoops in and saves her. 

"V" is a revolutionary, seeking to bring down the fascist government by any means necessary and he's not about to let Evey go after she learns the location of his hideout. Can Evey trust “V,” or should she try to strike a deal with the government trading his life for hers?

What hurts the movie greatly is far too many plot and story holes which detracts from the overall movie. It's a case of the writers (Andy and Larry Wachowski) establishing one idea early on (like that the fascists being able to identify people on the street via retinal scans) yet ignoring this point when it suits the story (like Evey being the second most wanted person in London yet never being caught on the streets by these scans). 

And the ending… I won't give it away, but calling it lame does not do justice as to how bad it was. Before the seeing ending I would have given V for Vendetta a higher rating, but after I felt dirty for even being in the theater. (7/10) 

By Bert Ehrmann
3/20/2006


Entourage

Last night HBO aired a television commercial for the upcoming third season of Entourage. Check out the commercial below.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/19/2006


Poseidon

Check out the trailer for the upcoming Poseidon movie. (One thing, actress Emmy Rossum must be making a career of "disaster movies" after having a role in both The Day After Tomorrow and Poseidon.)

By Bert Ehrmann
3/17/2006


The Unit

I'm happy to report that the new CBS series The Unit is surprisingly good. I wasn't expecting much, and suspected the worst, but (so far at least) I've found the series quite enjoyable. Now that's not to say that the series won't come crashing down in an episode or two, but for now things are going good.



By Bert Ehrmann
3/14/2006


Doctor Who

Don't forget, the 2005 revival of Doctor Who begins airing on the Sci Fi Channel here in the States this Friday. Two episodes will air back to back starting at 9:00 P.M. (EST), "Rose" and "The End of the World."

The series has already ran in the U.K. to rave reviews and I've already seen the series. I called Doctor Who a "top television show of 2005." Read my review of "Rose" and if you're unfarmiliar with Doctor Who you can read an article I've written called, "Doctor Who, an Introduction."

Doctor Who is almost as good as Battlestar Galactica.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/14/2006


Thief

Check out this television commercial for the upcoming series Thief, starring Andre Braugher and set to priemere Tuesday, March 28 at 10:00 P.M. (EST) on FX.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/12/2006


Alan Moore

Writer of the original comic book V for Vendetta, the source for the upcoming movie V for Vendetta, Alan Moore has been interviewed by the New York Times. From the article:

He shuns comic-book conventions, never travels outside England and is a firm believer in magic as a "science of consciousness." "I am what Harry Potter grew up into," he said, "and it's not a pretty sight." (…)

(Alan Moore) has refused to allow any more movies to be made from work he controls. In the case of work whose rights he does not control, he has refused credits on any film adaptations, and has given his share of option money and royalties to the artists who illustrated the original comic books (including V for Vendetta). That position is so radical that though his colleagues say they respect his position, few in the film industry can understand it.
I like Moore's work, but he comes off as a bit weird at times. Like David Lloyd, artist on V for Vendetta says in the article on the two of them selling the movie rights to their work:
"We didn't do it innocently. Neither myself nor Alan thought we were signing it over to a board of trustees who would look after it like it was the Dead Sea Scrolls."


By Bert Ehrmann
3/12/2006


The Unit

The Unit co-producer, and real-life ex-Delta Force member, Eric Hanley has a blog up on the official The Unit web site. From the blog:

…I think you can tell that watching our show is going to be an exercise for the viewer. We believe in the intelligence of the audience and as you can see, we don't hesitate to throw you right into the story with no warning. Why? Because that's the way life is and our series, if nothing else, is a dramatic representation of life in the pressure cooker of the Special Operations world. Also, we will never tell you what motivates the characters. That, you will have to figure out for yourself, and your thoughts are just as valid as ours…

The Futon Critic is reporting that the ratings for The Unit were excellent
CBS's premiere of THE UNIT (…) delivered 18.19 million viewers making it the most watched time period premiere of any new scripted show on any network this season and the second highest rated drama premiere in adults 18-49 and adults 25-54, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings for Tuesday, March 7.
and that CBS is going to reair the first episode this Saturday night (3/11) starting at 8:00 P.M. (EST).

By Bert Ehrmann
3/9/2006


Deadwood

In honor of Deadwood, which season three originally set to premiere this Sunday after The Sopranos on HBO before the slot was taken by the new series Big Love, I present the very first teaser commercial for the series.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/9/2006


The Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader on television pilots in the works for next fall, "When in doubt - copy, steal, adapt."

By Bert Ehrmann
3/8/2006


The Unit

Check out this television commercial for the CBS series The Unit:



Also, the New York Times has an article on the series:

Dennis Haysbert, who played President Palmer on "24," is Jonas Blane, the unit's senior man in the field. He takes the fresh-faced new guy, Bob Brown (Scott Foley), under his wing and shows him how it's done. Lesson one is to ignore the dithering law enforcement bureaucrats on the ground. "You, you and you: panic," he tells F.B.I. agents who want to delay until jurisdiction in the crisis is clear. Turning to Army Rangers, he says, "The rest of you come with me."

By Bert Ehrmann
3/6/2006


Hilarity Ensues!


Alright, for all you sick, demented, twisted people out there, I've got the medicine just for you all.

He goes by the name of Stephen Lynch, and man is this guy funny. Doing stand-up with his guitar and his backup vocal crew, Stephen belts out such great tunes like "Baby", "Craig", and "SuperHero".

You can catch him out on Itunes.com, or head on over to his web site for some samples of his , ahem, work. You wont be disappointed.

Stephen Lynch

By Mo Alexander
3/6/2006


Tivo! (No, not DEBO!!!)


Yeah yeah, so I know I haven't posted in quite a while. Getting geared up for a wedding is taking up a lot on the schedule lately.

Anyhow, Kristin and I recently got hooked up with Tivo, and I finally got the stupid thing configured to use the Broadband connection vs. the "Im going to tie up the phoneline" telephone connection.

In short, Tivo is where its at. From recording various TV shows, fast fowarding through commercials, and catching those all-too important soccer/hockey games that are on while we are at work, Tivo has got my vote for the DVR recorder of the decade. Sad thing is, this thing has been out for like 6 years now. Go figure it took me that long to get one.

If you wanna know more, head on over to Tivo.com and see what all they have in-store. Word to the wise though, if you are waiting for a HD version, hold off for the Series 3, coming soon!

TIVO!

By Mo Alexander
3/6/2006


Justice League

This is pretty darn funny…On the last episode of Justice League, The Flash and Lex Luthor switched personalities. In the episode, The Flash spent most of his time trying to convince all the bad guys that he was really Lex. Hilarity ensues.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/5/2006


The Unit

Don't forget, the David Mamet (Spartan)/Shawn Ryan (The Shield) series The Unit begins airing this Tuesday (3/7) at 9:00 P.M. (EST) 10:00 P.M. (EST) on CBS. Which, unfortunately, means that The Unit will be going head to head against The Shield. There's still not that much information on the official site for The Unit, which is a bit of a disappointment since the series premiers in just a few days and finding any real information on it, from CBS at least, has been difficult.

By Bert Ehrmann
3/5/2006


The Ricky Gervais Show

Season two of the Ricky Gervais show has been released on iTunes. This new series costs $1.95 per episode. From Ricky's official site:

For at least the next four weeks there'll be a new half-hour or so of cretinous outpourings from Karl Pilkington with ample exasperation supplied by Ricky and Steve Merchant.
Get the episode for yourself at iTunes.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/28/2006


Battlestar Galactica

I've had the opportunity to see the season two finale of Battlestar Galactica, scheduled to air over two weeks on March 3, and 10 at 10:00 P.M. (EST) on Sci Fi. I'll try not to give too much away that hasn't been released by the official Battlestar Galactica site, in previous episodes or in the press materials in this review. However, if you want to be totally surprised by the finale you'd best stop reading now!

The first episode, entitled “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 1,” focuses on the accidental discovery of an habitable planet, a rescue mission lead by Starbuck back to Caprica in search of survivors, the lead-up to the presidential election between Baltar and Roslin and Chief Tyrol suffering mental problems and seeking consoling. The opening scene in this episode, with a montage of all the events happening all over the Galactica and Pegasus is brilliant. The main crux of the story comes from whether or not the survivors in the rag-tag fleet should seek refuge on this newly discovered planet, or keep trekking to the Earth?

The second “super-sized” episode (90 minutes in length), entitled “Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2,” mainly focuses on the presidential election coming to a head and final vote, but there's also a minor plot throughout about an offer the Cylons make that's simply too good to be true. Both Baltar and Roslin play dirty in the election, doing whatever it takes to try and win the election for their side.

But it's the last fifteen minutes or so of the episode that the real mind-bender. I won't go into what happens here, but the show went places I hadn't expected. If you think you know how the second season of Battlestar Galactica will end, think again. You're wrong. The show goes into totally new territory than what has come before.

In fact, I'd say that the last fifteen minutes of the show will either cause the hard-core fans to love the show even more to HATE where it goes with a passion. Viewers will either accept what happens as following the “spirit” of Battlestar Galactica, or will dread what is (seemingly) left behind.

Series creator Ronald D. Moore hasn't taken the easy road here. He has taken a more daring road. Only time, and season 3, will tell if Moore has KILLED the series or taken it to a whole new level. (And I'm betting that it's been taken to a whole new level.)

By Bert Ehrmann
2/26/2006


Darren McGavin

Darren McGavin, the original Carl Kolchak and the dad in the movie A Christmas Story, has died at age 83. From his official site:

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Darren McGavin at approximately 7:10 A.M. Pacific time today, Saturday 25, 2006. Darren was just three months short of his 84th birthday. While we suspect none of us can imagine a world without the beloved, feisty little red-head, it is time to reflect, give thanks for his life and hold in reverence his memory. Darren is gone, but in many respects he will always be with us: as Carl Kolchak, fighting authority and battling monsters; the grumpy Old Man sending curses over Lake Michigan…
Visit McGavin's site here
More on The Night Stalker
More on A Christmas Story

By Bert Ehrmann
2/26/2006


Spider-Man 3

Sony has released the first look at the new Spider-Man costume from the upcoming Spider-Man 3 movie. Please note, that's not a black and white photo, it's a black costume. Can Venom be far behind? Spider-Man 3 is set to swing into theaters May 4, 2007. From the official site:

You may think you’re looking at a black and white photo. Look closely, Spider-Man wears a black suit in Spider-Man 3.


Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/24/2006


The Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader, "Sam Peckinpah – “…it’ll do.”"

After his death, Peckinpah came to be defined more for what he did behind the scenes than the movies he created. He burned bridges, sometimes unnecessarily, and paid a heavy toll. Peckinpah would alienate studio execs with his perfectionist ways and upset cast and crew with his substance abuse problems. (Reportedly, Peckinpah so upset actor Charlton Heston on the set of Major Dundee (1965) that the actor attacked the director with a prop sword.)

By Bert Ehrmann
2/23/2006


Battlestar Galactica

I've seen a rough cut of the upcoming episode of Battlestar Galactica entitled "Downloaded." I won't give much away, but this episode is an extremely interesting/disturbing look into the culture/psyche of the Cylons. Certain characters return, and the Baltar character reveals an interesting side/twist to himself.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/22/2006


Die Hard

I don't know why this surprised me so much when I first learned this, but the movie Die Hard was based on a book. That's right, the movie that became an entire genera onto itself (Die Hard on a Train, Die Hard on a Bus, Die Hard on a Boat…) initially existed in novel form.

The book, written by Roderick Thorpe and released in 1979, was entitled Nothing Lasts Forever. According to a review on Amazon, Nothing Lasts Forever,

…is about a cop named Joe Leland (…) who goes to Los Angeles to visit his daughter Stephanie (…) at the Klaxon Oil Building (…) where Stephanie works. At the building, terrorists take over and Joe must go around the building killing the terrorists.
To me, Die Hard seems like it was "born" to be a movie and follows so many movie-going conventions that I can't quite imagine it ever existed in any other format other than celluloid.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/20/2006


Deadwood

According to IMDB, the first episode of the third season of Deadwood is entitled "Tell Your God to Ready for Blood."

By Bert Ehrmann
2/19/2006


Battlestar Galactica

Episode #32 – "The Captain's Hand"
Kara "Starbuck" Thrace
: "…so barely competent AND paranoid? That's a hell'uva combination."

Kara "Starbuck" Thrace: "I was just venting –  accurately."

Dr. Gaius Baltar: "If we continue on our present course, within the next eighteen years the human race will, simply be, – extinct."











By Bert Ehrmann
2/18/2006


Lost

Episode #38 – "One of Them"
Dr. Jack Shephard: "You talked me into pushing that button once, John. But it's your's now, you're the one who won't risk it – you. Me, I don't think anything's going to happen when we get down to zero…"

Joe Inman: "Guess you're lucky you have a new skill set you can use."
Sayid Jarrah: "What you made me do, no human being should ever have to do to another."
Joe Inman: "One of these days, there will be something you need to know. And now, you know how to get it."









By Bert Ehrmann
2/16/2006


Deadwood

Moviehole.net has a report on what to expect in the next season of Deadwood, returning to HBO this summer. Warning, spoilers, swipe below to read:

…what can we expect? “In one word : Trouble - George Hearst, father of William Randolph Heart, continues to wreak havoc. Wyatt Earp comes to town…Gale Harold - Brian from TV’s “Queer as Folk”- will be playing Earp.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/15/2006


World Trade Center

Interesting looking/designed poster for Oliver Stone's upcoming movie World Trade Center, due in theaters sometime this year.



Larger view here.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/15/2006


Bubble

Bubble is a film with extremely detailed and believable characters, but is ultimately missing any sense of story depth. In Bubble, three characters from a small town are working factory jobs just trying to get by. When one of the characters turns up dead under mysterious circumstances, questions arise just as to the responsibility of the remaining two.

Bubble is an extremely detailed character study. I cannot stress how good/believable the characters are. And to learn that the actors portraying the characters were all non-professional local amateurs makes their performances even more impressive.

I just wish there was more of a story to go along with these characters. (7/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
2/12/2006


Battlestar Galactica

Episode #31: "Sacrifice"
Marine: "You got a plan, sir?"
Kara "Starbuck" Thrace: "'Lock and load.' Let's figure the rest as we go."

Capt. Lee 'Apollo' Adama: "She dies, he dies. Get it?"
Sesha Abinell: "The difference is you won't do it. He will."

Sesha Abinell: "I am sure you are aware, Admiral, the concrete evidence that Caprica's defenses were compromised by a Cylon agent who infiltrated the Ministry of Defense on the eve of the attacks."

Kara "Starbuck" Thrace: "It was friendly fire. He got hit by friendly fire…I think it was me."

Admiral William Adama: "It was a calculated risk."
President Laura Roslin: "It wasn't worth it."









By Bert Ehrmann
2/12/2006


The Unit

Zap2It is reporting that The Unit will air Tuesday nights at 9:00 P.M. (EST) starting March 7 on CBS. From the story:

The network says "The Unit," a drama about special-forces soldiers and their families from David Mamet ("Glengarry Glen Ross") and Shawn Ryan ("The Shield"), will premiere at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, March 7. Although it will face a formidable competitor in FOX's "House" in that time period…

"The Unit" stars Dennis Haysbert ("24") as the leader of a special-forces team that handles complex missions around the world and Scott Foley ("Felicity") as its newest member. The show will also explore the effect the unit's work has on its members' families, with Audrey Marie Anderson ("Once and Again") playing Foley's wife, who's resistant to the strictures his work places on her, and Regina Taylor ("The Education of Max Bickford") as Haysbert's wife.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/9/2006


Lost

Episode #37 – "The Long Con"
James "Sawyer" Ford: "The whole camp's pretty shook up over what happened to Tokyo Rose."

James "Sawyer" Ford: "…that's like getting Ghandi to beat his kids."

James "Sawyer" Ford: "It's all in the details – and they're wrong."

James "Sawyer" Ford: "There's a new sheriff in town, boys. Ya'll better get used to it."

James "Sawyer" Ford: "Remember when you said I was all you ever wanted? Now you know better."

James "Sawyer" Ford: "I'm not the person you think I am."

James "Sawyer" Ford: "Looks like Johnny Locke's found a nemisis."









By Bert Ehrmann
2/8/2006


Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader – "Doctor Who, an introduction."

It’s been a long wait, but the Brit import series Doctor Who is finally returning to our shores after a decades’ absence.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/7/2006


The Office

Ricky Gervais is writing an episode of the U.S. version of The Office. From Mirror.co.uk:

Ricky, who has earned more from the US remake, said: "They could've panicked and watered it down, overreacted for a live studio audience with catchphrases and unrealistic characters begging for laughs - but they didn't."

By Bert Ehrmann
2/7/2006


Big Love

The first teaser commercial for Big Love, premiering on HBO next month, has been released. I can't say that I'm all that excited over this series, which from the looks of this commercial appears to be 3/4ths Six Feet Under and 1/4th The Sopranos, but will give it a try since HBO has a really good track records on dramas.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/6/2006


The Sopranos

HBO has released a cool looking image for the upcoming season of The Sopranos. I like how Melfi is quite literally the reflection of Carmela.



Click here for a larger view.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/6/2006


Arrested Development

This Friday (2/10), Fox is airing a "2-Hour Season Finale" (aka burning off the last few episodes) of Arrested Development from 8:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. (EST). This might be your last chance to check out new episodes of the best comedy on television. From Fox:

In four back-to-back episodes, George Sr. hires a new attorney who asks the Bluths to participate in a mock trial to help prepare them for the real thing. The attorney gets actor Judge Reinhold, to preside over the mock case. Meanwhile, Buster fakes a coma to get out of testifying and George Michael and Maeby participate in a mock wedding to entertain hospital patients. Back at the office, Michael discovers he may have a long-lost sister named Nellie Bluth. In an effort to get to the bottom of things, Michael tracks Nellie down and hires her as a consultant for The Bluth Co. Unfortunately, Michael discovers Nellie’s hands-on approach is more than he bargained for. Meanwhile, Gob goes to Iraq to perform his Christian magic act on the USO tour and ends up incarcerated. Michael learns George Sr. sent Gob to Iraq to burn down the model home he built there, so Michael and Buster fly to Iraq to spring Gob from prison. The Bluth brothers head to the model home, where they make a discovery that could end the family’s legal troubles forever. Back in Orange County, Lucille decides to throw a yacht party to celebrate.






By Bert Ehrmann
2/5/2006


The Black Dahlia

The New York Times has an interesting article on the upcoming The Black Dahlia movie. From The New York Times:

Obsession has surrounded Short's murder from the beginning, as a roll call of confessors — there were dozens — stepped forward, claiming they had done the Dahlia in. But to this day the case has not been solved, further adding to the lore. Now, nearly six decades after her death, Universal Pictures is preparing to release "The Black Dahlia," based on James Ellroy's 1987 novel of the same title, giving Short her first big-screen close-up. Directed by Brian De Palma and budgeted at about $45 million, the film will reach theaters in the fall, with a cast that includes Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckhart, Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank and, as the mysterious title lady, Mia Kirshner.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/5/2006


Battlestar Galactica

Episode #30 – "Scar"
Kara "Starbuck" Thrace: "This isn't dueling pistols at dawn, this is war."

Sharon 'Boomer' Valerii: "Scar hates you every much as you hate him."

Capt. Lee 'Apollo' Adama: "You know what gets me? I know in two weeks I won't remember his face."

Capt. Lee 'Apollo' Adama: "Bright shining futures are overrated."

Kara "Starbuck" Thrace: "To Beebee, Jojo, Riley, Beano, Dipper, Flat-top, Chuckles, Jolly, Crashdown, Shepherd, Dash, Flyboy, Stepchild, Puppet, Fireball…"
Capt. Lee 'Apollo' Adama: "To all of them."







By Bert Ehrmann
2/3/2006


Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia

This Sunday (2/5) at 12:00 P.M. (EST) Sundance Channel is airing a Sam Peckinpah classic – Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia. Sundance describes the movie as:

Outrageous and bizarre, this classic Sam Peckinpah saga stars Warren Oates as an American loser living in Mexico, who seeks redemption — and a large bounty — when a powerful patriarch calls for revenge against the man who got his daughter pregnant. Largely reviled when originally released, The Head (as it is known to film cultists) is a grotesquely gothic variation on The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and is now considered one of the director’s most personal and uncompromising films. Costarring Kris Kristofferson, Gig Young and Isela Vega.
It's one of my favorite Peckinpah movies, and it just so happens that I'm working on an upcoming Fort Wayne Reader column on Peckinpah. Here's a snippet of what I have to say about Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia:
Garcia is about a man who is willing to pay any cost for the object of his desire, money, until he finally realizes what that cost is, the loss of his only companion.
Up until a few years ago, this movie was hard to come by. I had to buy a Japanese DVD off of eBay to finally see this masterpiece. But recently, Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia has turned up on DVD here and is now (apparently) turning up on television as well.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/2/2006


McFarlane's Military

Another set of the McFarlane's Military series of figures are in due in stores this April. This set includes an Army Ranger Sniper, Army Helicopter Crew Chief, Army M60 Machine Gunner, Air Force Security Forces K-9 Handler, Marine RCT and a Navy SEAL Boarding unit figure.





Learn more about the first series of figures here.
Learn more about the second series of figures here.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/1/2006


The Sopranos

Excellent looking trailer to season 6 of The Sopranos. I am officially excited again about The Sopranos.

By Bert Ehrmann
2/1/2006


The Academy Awards

A list of Oscar nominees were released this morning. See the full list here.

BEST PICTURE
Brokeback Mountain
Capote
Crash
Good Night, and Good Luck
Munich

ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Philip Seymour Hoffman CAPOTE
Terrence Howard HUSTLE & FLOW
Heath Ledger BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Joaquin Phoenix WALK THE LINE
David Strathairn GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
George Clooney SYRIANA
Matt Dillon CRASH
Paul Giamatti CINDERELLA MAN
Jake Gyllenhaal BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
William Hurt A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Judi Dench MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS
Felicity Huffman TRANSAMERICA
Keira Knightley PRIDE & PREJUDICE
Charlize Theron NORTH COUNTRY
Reese Witherspoon WALK THE LINE

By Bert Ehrmann
1/31/2006


Mission Impossible III

Cool looking shot from the upcoming Mission Impossible III movie.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/30/2006


The New World

The first hour of The New World is interesting, but the movie falls apart from there. Essentially, The New World is a retelling of the John Smith/ Pocahontas/ first Thanksgiving story. Here, John Smith (Colin Farrell) lands with the rest of the English colonists on the shores of America early in the 1600s. The natives want the English to leave, but they're not prepared to outright slaughter them after Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher) saves Smith from being executed.



The first half of the movie is interesting, showing scenes of early colonial and Native American life and what happens when two totally different cultures meet. I was amazed at the cinematography and beauty of the scenes of early America.

However, the movie falls apart when John Smith returns to England leaving Pocahontas behind. What follows is a rambling, narrated, seemingly endless string of random shots of the colonials here in America and life back in England. At a certain point, I felt that the movie turned into "when is this going to end." As in the audience members confused by the story asking themselves "when is this going to end?" (7/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
1/29/2006


The Unit

Writer/Director David Mamet speaks in The New York Times on his upcoming show on CBS entitled The Unit:

Still, the longtime author and director has one pearl of wisdom that can be safely conveyed. "Doing a movie or a play is like running a marathon," Mr. Mamet said in Saugus, about 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles, on the set of his new television drama, "The Unit." "Doing a television show is like running until you die." (…)

While working on the film "Spartan," a 2004 military thriller, Mr. Mamet became an ardent admirer of the 2002 book "Inside Delta Force." Written by the film's technical adviser, Command Sgt. Maj. Eric L. Haney, retired, it is an account of his service as a founding member of the elite Army group and his combat missions in hotspots like Iran, Lebanon and Honduras. "We would sit around, and he would tell us his stories over bottles of rum," Mr. Mamet recalled, "and by the fourth or fifth bottle, you're going, I can't believe I'm talking to a guy who either was there, or can convince me he was there." (…)

"We're so accustomed to seeing war told through the eyes of soldiers who are far away and the families left behind," Mr. Ryan said in an interview at the production offices of "The Shield." "Delta Force guys live at home, get sent out on these missions, and they come back. They're almost commuter warriors, and you don't really see that portrayed much anywhere." (…)

(…)Mr. Mamet said that it was his curiosity about clandestine organizations, rather than his ideological convictions, that drew him to "The Unit." "You can't have a closed system without having secrets, whether it's a family or a church group or an Army platoon," he said. "We're not trying to pass judgment. The show is not prowar, it's not antiwar. It's very much pro-military. We're trying to take you backstage and show you stuff you wouldn't have imagined about the real lives of these people."

By Bert Ehrmann
1/29/2006


Battlestar Galactica

Episode #29 – "Black Market"
"It's hard to find the moral high ground when we're all standing in the mud."







By Bert Ehrmann
1/28/2006


Challenger

Still thinking about Challenger, 20 years later.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/27/2006


Lost

Episode #36 – "Fire + Water"
Claire Littleton: "You have to save the baby Charlie…"

James "Sawyer" Ford: "I'm sure you've got a hot load to drop in, hoss."

Liam Pace: "Two brothers who should have been butchers…"









By Bert Ehrmann
1/25/2006


The Space Thing

Cool looking "The Space Thing" figure from the short story “Who Goes There?” which was the basis for the movies The Thing From Another World (1951) and The Thing (1982). "The Space Thing" is due in stores this February.



Learn more and pre-order/purchase one for yourself here.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/25/2006


Battlestar Galactica

The CG Channel has an interesting article with Chris Zapara, Digital Effects Supervisor at Zoic Studios who is responsible for the special effects of Battlestar Galactica. (There are also a few really nice images available there as well.)

Chris: The lighting and camerawork in our effects simply reflect the lighting and camerawork in the show. It's a harshly lit, documentary-style production, and if our effects are truly going to blend in, our lighting and cameras need to behave the same way. Effects shots have often been stable and slow moving, originally because that was the only way to do them, but later I think because that is what people expected an 'effect shot' to look like. I think if we had gone that route, our shots would stick out like a sore thumb.
Using one of the images used with the interview, I've created a desktop background at several sizes available below:



Download – 1440 x 900
Download – 1024 x 768
Download – 800 x600

By Bert Ehrmann
1/24/2006


New Network

Say goodbye to UPN and The WB as this fall these two television networks will merge into a new network named "The CW." From Yahoo:

Two small, struggling television networks, UPN and WB, will shut down this fall, and their parent companies plan to form a new network called The CW using programming and other assets from each of them. (…)

The new network will launch in the fall, the executives said, when both UPN and WB will shut down. It will be a 50-50 partnership between Warner Bros. and CBS, and the network will be carried on stations owned by the Tribune Co., a minority owner of WB.

I'm guessing this spells doom for any show currently on either of these networks delivering so-so ratings as The CW will pull the best shows (ratings wise) from each network and leave the rest to die.

What does this mean for Veronica Mars, which is delivering decent, if not great ratings? Is this season the last season for that show?

By Bert Ehrmann
1/24/2006


Veronica Mars

This Wednesday, new episodes of Veronica Mars begin airing on UPN after a nearly TWO MONTH absence – tisk, tisk UPN. Via the official site:

"Donut Run"
Wednesday, 01.25.06
An FBI team headed up by tough, seasoned Agent Morris is called in to pursue Duncan after he breaks up with Veronica and flees with
Meg's baby.

Lucy Lawless guest stars.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/23/2006


Fort Wayne Reader

Check out my latest column up over at the Fort Wayne Reader, "This summer, count on the “cheese factor”."

By Bert Ehrmann
1/23/2006


Battlestar Galactica

Episode #28 – "Epiphanies"
Kara "Starbuck" Thrace – "Save the energy for someone who cares."

Admiral William Adama – "Don't mistake the will to live with compassion…"

Gina – "Despite what you think, I've always abhorred violence."

Dr. Gaius Baltar – "I am not who you think I am and will not be responsible for the destruction of mankind."

Number 6 – "This is not a political struggle, Gias. This is quickly turning to life and death."











By Bert Ehrmann
1/20/2006


Red Dawn

Interesting looking poster for the movie Red Dawn which I've never seen before – apparently the poster is from the U.K. The copy reads, "The invading armies planned for everything. Except eight kids called the Wolverines."



Larger view here.

This is the poster I remember being used when Red Dawn came out.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/20/2006


Lost

Episode #35 – "The Hunting Party"
Michael Dawson: "That thing is not what you think it is…"

John Locke: "Your name is James, James Ford."

Mr. Friendly: "If you cross that line, we go from misunderstanding to something else."

Sawyer: "You and me ain't over, Zeke."

Sarah Shephard: "You will always need something to fix."

Jack Shephard: "How long do you think it would take to train an army?"









By Bert Ehrmann
1/18/2006


Doctor Who

Crews from the series Doctor Who were filming scenes the other night in and around Wales, U.K. From icWales:

Drinkers would have been forgiven for spilling their pints when they saw a troop of Cybermen marching outside a pub.

But the only thing the streets of Cardiff were under attack from was a film crew, as scenes for the new series of Doctor Who were shot.

Fans looking through the windows of The Gatekeeper yesterday evening were able to see all the action taking place on Womanby Street, parts of which were closed off to the public.


Thanks to Jay for the heads up.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/17/2006


Golden Globes

Full list of winners and losers here. Here's a breakdown of winners of note:

Brokeback Mountain won best drama and Walk the Line for best musical or comedy. (Because the actors sing in Walk the Line, that makes the movie a musical?) Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix won best actress and actor respectively in a musical or comedy for their roles in Walk the Line and Philip Seymour Hoffman and Felicity Huffman won for their dramatic roles in Capote and Transamerica. George Clooney won for supporting actor in Syriana.

Lost won for best television drama and Desperate Housewives for comedy. (Desperate Housewives is a comedy!?) Hugh Laurie and Geena Davis won for actor and actress in a drama in their roles for House and Commander in Chief and Steve Carell for comedy in The Office (U.S.).

Which means that actors portraying both incarnations of the David Brent character in The Office (renamed Michael Scott here in America) have won Golden Globes – Carell in '06 and Gervais in '04.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/17/2006


The Black Dahlia

JoBlo.com has photos of the upcoming The Black Dahlia movie, directed by Brian DePalma (The Untouchables, Mission Impossible) from the novel by James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential).

By Bert Ehrmann
1/16/2006


Arrested Development

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday happy birthday, happy birthday to me. Via Zap2It:

Fans of "Arrested Development" will, in fact, get to see the show's final four episodes this season. Given where FOX has scheduled them, though, it seems rather certain that not many others will.

(…)the network has decided to air the season's final four episodes in one two-hour block Friday, Feb. 10. That night also happens to feature the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics on NBC, an event that is likely to dominate the ratings that night.

The final four episodes of the season will feature guest appearances by Justine Bateman, Jason's sister, and Judge Reinhold, also seen in the "SOBs" episode (indicating that it may have aired out of sequence). Justine Bateman will play a woman who Michael believes may be his long-lost sister Nellie, while Reinhold plays himself, hired by the family's new lawyer to act as a judge in a mock trial to help the Bluths prepare for a real court case.

The episodes will also feature Gob (Will Arnett) traveling to Iraq to perform a Christian magic act, which lands him in prison; Buster (Tony Hale) faking a coma to avoid testifying in the family's court case; and George Michael (Michael Cera) and Maeby (Alia Shawkat) taking part in a mock wedding to entertain hospital patients. The whole thing ends up at a yacht party, which is where the series started.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/15/2006


Battlestar Galactica

Episode #27 – "Resurrection Ship: Part 2"
Sharon 'Boomer' Valerii: "…you said that humanity never asked itself WHY it deserved to survive. Maybe you don't."

Capt. Lee 'Apollo' Adama: "Don't anyone look out of the window right now please."

Number 6 : "Tens of thousands of Cylons are about to die. Tens of thousands, Giaus. God will not forgive this sin."












By Bert Ehrmann
1/14/2006


Doctor Who

A year after the series originally premiered on the BBC in the UK, Doctor Who is set to premiere here in the U.S. this March. Via BBC:

SCI FI Channel and BBC Worldwide Americas announced today a major licensing deal for the first series of the latest Doctor Who adventures. (…)

The award-winning series will premiere on SCI FI beginning in March, airing Friday nights at 9.00pm.

Russell T Davies, Head Writer and Executive Producer told us: "The Doctor's made all sorts of journeys in Time and Space, but this is one of his most exciting yet! I'm a huge fan of the SCI FI Channel, and I'm delighted that Doctor Who is appearing on a channel that supports and enhances the entire genre."

Unfortunately, this means that the DVD of the first season of the new Doctor Who has been bumped from the original February release date to July. But still, just the fact that the series has a U.S. premiere date is something to celebrate.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/12/2006


Lost

Episode # 34 – "The 23rd Psalm"
Drug Smuggler
: "It is true what they say about you?"
Mr. Eko: "And what is that?"
Drug Smuggler: "You have no soul."

Mr. Eko: "Go, and tell your friends I let you live…that Mr. Eko let you live."

Charlie: "So, are you a priest or aren't you?"
Mr. Eko: "Yes, I am."







By Bert Ehrmann
1/11/2006


Right at Your Door

Interesting sounding movie, a sort of 28 Days Later for 2006? From the New York Times:

(…) "Right at Your Door," is to have its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month. In his bleak envisioning of a day in Los Angeles that begins like any other, bombs go off downtown, in Beverly Hills and at the airport; countless people are killed as toxic ash carrying a deadly virus falls like snowflakes; the air becomes unbreathable; thousands are driven from their homes; confusion and misinformation reign; and ordinary citizens are victimized not just by the unseen terrorists but also by their own overwhelmed and unprepared government.

At the center of the story are Brad (Rory Cochrane) and Lexi (Mary McCormack), a couple contending with strains in their marriage. The morning after a fight, Brad has just kissed Lexi off to work when the bombs go off, and the film stays with Brad as he first tries in vain to go find his wife, then barricades himself in their home with plastic and duct tape, and ultimately wrestles with the grim choice of whether to save her or himself.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/11/2006


Clerks II

Clerks II – cool trailer, cool song yet a dangerous concept. If Clerks II isn't as great as the original, will the sequel tarnish the original? Thanks to Jay for the heads up.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/10/2006


French Connection

AMC is trying to get a version of the French Connection movie turned into a television series after the (apparent) demise of the NBC 2005 French Connection television pilot entitled NY-70. From Yahoo:

Former New York police detective Sonny Grosso has signed a development deal with cable channel AMC to develop a limited series based on his experiences on the famous French Connection case. (…)

Grosso said the as-yet-untitled AMC project will be similar to the film in that "all those stories in there came from me, so it's similar in that we'll stay in the arena that we were in at that time." But he also wants to add elements of humor.

"After working for 15 years in Harlem, if we didn't have fun, how could we put up with it every day?" he said. "But I also want to show how you have to be on your toes at all times when you're working as police officer."

"What I'd love to do is to have all things we couldn't stuff into a movie that's an hour and 50 minutes -- to have all aspects of the French Connection case as a 'B' or 'C' story while going through this miniseries," he said.
So, the old American Movie Classics channel is now in the business of producing television shows!? Weird.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/10/2006


Fort Wayne Reader

I (finally) present my top five movies of 2005:

5 - Serenity
4 - Downfall
3 - A History of Violence
2 - Crash
1 - Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Read about all these movies here.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/9/2006


Television Winter 2006 Mid-Season Premieres/Info.

Some dates to keep in mind.

Monday
1/9
Tuesday
1/10

Wednesday
1/11

Thursday
1/12
Friday
1/13

 

FX
The Shield
Season Premiere
10:00 P.M. (EST)

ABC
Lost
New Episodes
9:00 P.M. (EST)

Discovery
MythBusters
New Episodes
9:00 P.M. (EST)

   

By Bert Ehrmann
1/9/2006


Munich

Munich asks the question of what lengths are governments allowed to go to stop terrorism?



Eric Bana ( Hulk, Troy ) plays Avner, an Israeli Mossad agent tasked with hunting down and killing the masterminds behind the attack on the 1972 Olympic games in Munich. What begins for him and his team as an exercise in retribution becomes something darker. Just because Avner is “fighting the good fight” doesn't necessarily help Avner's conscience. He is in turmoil with what he is doing (close-up murder) as well as what happened to the Israeli athletes leading up to their deaths.

In Munich, the state of Israel feels that if they can just kill the masterminds behind the Olympic attacks, that they'll somehow be able to end terrorism. In fact just the opposite occurs. As Avner and his team kill the conspirators, bombs are set off at Israeli embassies and airports are attacked. Instead of an end to the violence, the Israelis find themselves within a chain reaction of violence.

With an excellent story as well as some of the most realistic and disturbing deaths depicted on screen in the last decade, Munich is a movie that probes and prods without giving up too many easy answers. (9/10)

By Bert Ehrmann
1/8/2006


Hypersonic

Dissapointed in last summer's flop Stealth? Give the comic book series Hypersonic a try instead. From Dark Horse Comics:



Issue #1 (See a four page preview of this issue):
Any air force pilot in the year 2009 can run down the rumors: alien technology, men in black, top secret fighter planes. But pilot Wesley Anger knows the facts. He's staking his life on it. X-files, conspiracy theories, and UFOs move at mach speed in Dark Horse's strangest, fastest series yet!

Issue #2:
How would you like to wake up trapped in a secret government facility with your body riddled by neuro-alloy implants? For fighter pilot Wesley Anger, it's a nightmare come true.

Issue #3:
William Anger wants to know if his brother Wesley is really dead. The Men in Black say he isn't. They say he's joined a top-secret squadron of pilots that fly fighter planes designed from alien technology. But meanwhile, Wesley just wants to know why his new, top-secret fighter plane is talking to him. And why he's fallen in love with her.

Issue #4:
The Man in Black tells all and the conspiracy is revealed! But will it be enough to save Wesley as he goes head to head with another Pale Horse alien hybrid fighter . . . and an alien pilot?

By Bert Ehrmann
1/8/2006


Battlestar Galactica

The New York Times has an article on Grace Park who plays Cylon infiltrator Sharon "Boomer"' Valerii on Battlestar Galactica:

Throughout most of the first season, Ms. Park played two separate but identical models of the Sharon android. (Each Cylon model can have an infinite number of copies.) The one called Boomer was viewed as a friendly presence on board Galactica, but she secretly suspected that she herself was a Cylon. As a result, she became depressed to the point where she attempted suicide. In a restaurant in downtown Vancouver, where "Battlestar Galactica" is filmed, Ms. Park made a pained "Sharon" face for a reporter. "Tortured and conflicted," she said, grimacing. "She had no idea what her true nature was."

In what Ms. Park called the "Manchurian Candidate" episode, Sharon blows up a Cylon ship in a heroic mission, then turns around and shoots Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos), her father figure and boss, as he congratulates her. Her assassin's impulse was revealed, to herself and her crewmates, who killed her.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/7/2006


Battlestar Galactica

Episode #26 – "Resurrection Ship"

Kara "Starbuck" Thrace: "Starbuck to all Vipers, do not fire. I repeat DO NOT FIRE. I am a friendly. Ok? We're all friendly. So, let's just be – friendly."

Colonel Jack Fisk
: "…so the order came down to shoot the family of anyone who refused to come. So we did. Two families, we put them up against the bulkhead and we shot them."









By Bert Ehrmann
1/6/2006


Mission Impossible III

One new pic from the upcoming Mission Impossible III movie has been released.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/5/2006


Top Films of '05

Exhibitor Relations names the top grossing films of 2005:

1. Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith, $380.3 million
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, $277.1 million
3. War of the Worlds, $234.3 million
4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, $225.7 million
5. Wedding Crashers, $209.2 million
6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, $206.5 million
7. Batman Begins, $205.3 million
8. Madagascar, $193.1 million
9. Mr. & Mrs. Smith, $186.3 million
10. Hitch, $177.6 million

By Bert Ehrmann
1/5/2006


Ricky Gervais

From BBC:

The Simpsons creator Matt Groening said Ricky Gervais did such a good job writing an episode of the hit US comedy show that he wants him to do more. (…)

"He caught our tone exactly, and then added his own Ricky Gervais/David Brent patheticness," Groening said. (…)

Gervais' character in The Simpsons is based on David Brent from The Office sitcom. He moves into The Simpson household with Marge as the family take part in an episode of Wife Swap, while Homer moves in with his wife.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/4/2006


Arrested Development

From CNN:

It's only fitting that "Arrested Development," the most self-referential show on TV, would go down chronicling its own demise. (…) Monday night's episode blatantly parodied the show's situation. (…)

The plot involved a fundraiser for the family's legal bills -- a veiled plea for the show itself. Though such a premise could be expected to rile network executives, Fox spokesman Scott Grogin said the network didn't have a problem with the show.

"Our backs are against the wall and it's really come to begging," Michael Bluth said -- which the narrator immediately followed with: "Please tell your friends about this show."

In a concluding speech on Monday's show, Bateman had even acknowledges that by saying: "We've been given plenty of chances, and maybe the Bluths just aren't worth saving, maybe we're not that likable. We're very self-centered."


By Bert Ehrmann
1/4/2006


Arrested Development

Episode #49 – "S.O.B.s"
George Bluth Sr.: "I don't think the Home Builder's Organization is going to be supporting us."
Michael Bluth: "Yeah, the HBO's not going to want us. What do we do now?"
George Bluth Sr.: "I think it's show-time. I think we have to have a show, during dinner."

Michael Bluth: "How would you feel about coming to a fund raiser at our house?"
Andy Richter: "How much does it pay?"
Michael Bluth: "It's just a free dinner…"
Andy Richter: "I'll be there."

Buster Bluth: "Sister's my new mother, mother.

GOB: "What kind of sauce is that?"
Lindsay Bluth Fünke: "Wait, this is the water I thawed the chicken in."
GOB: "Well, that should go with chicken."












By Bert Ehrmann
1/2/2006


Television Winter 2006 Mid-Season Premieres/Info.

Some dates to keep in mind.

Monday
1/2
Tuesday
1/3

Wednesday
1/4

Thursday
1/5
Friday
1/6

 

NBC
Scrubs
Season Premiere
9:00 P.M. & 9:30 P.M. (EST)

 

NBC
Four Kings
Series Premiere
8:30 P.M. (EST)

NBC
My Name is Earl
New Night
9:00 P.M. (EST)

NBC
The Office
New Night
9:30 P.M. (EST)
Sci-Fi
Battlestar Galactica Season Premiere
10:00 P.M.
(EST)

By Bert Ehrmann
1/2/2006


Thief

FX has a nice little teaser video on the homepage of their site for the upcoming series Thief, starring Andre Braugher and set to premiere sometime this March. Which will make it almost exactly one year since FX first began promoting the show alongside the now defunct Over There.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/2/2006


Serenity the Comic Book

Out January 25 is the collected version of the Serenity comic book series originally released in three parts earlier this year. From Dark Horse:

Penned by Whedon and Brett Matthews (…) Serenity follows a ship full of mercenaries, fugitives, and one law-abiding prostitute in their pursuit for fast cash and a little peace along the fringes of space. The ragtag crew of Serenity take on a scavenger mission with the hopes of earning enough dough to disappear for a while. Only too late do they realize the whole gig is orchestrated by an old enemy eager to remake their acquainitance with the help of some covert-operatives known only as the Blue Gloves.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/2/2006


Sam Peckinpah

Out on DVD Tuesday, January 10 comes four movies from director Sam Peckinpah. Three of these movies have never been available on DVD and there's also a new edition of The Wild Bunch available.

Ride the High Country (1962)
(Previously unavailable on DVD.)
DVD features – Commentary by Peckinpah documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle and new documentary: A Justified Life: Sam Peckinpah and the Hogue Country.

The Wild Bunch (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1969)
(This is a new edition of The Wild Bunch on DVD, the previous release having just one documentary as an extra.)
DVD features – Commentary by Peckinpah biographers/documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle, Never-before-seen outtakes, Additional scenes and 3 Documentaries.

The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
(Previously unavailable on DVD.)
DVD features – Commentary by Peckinpah biographers/documentarians Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle, and new featurette: The Ladiest Damn'd Lady with Stella Stevens.

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1973)
(Previously unavailable on DVD.)
DVD features – 2005 Special Edition of the movie (115 mins.), Commentary by Special Edition Producer Nick Redman, Supervising Editor Paul Seydor and fellow Peckinpah biographers/documentarians Garner Simmons and David Weddle, 1988 Turner Preview Version (122 mins.), Commentary by Nick Redman, Paul Seydor, Garner Simmons and David Weddle and 2 New Featurettes.

Amazon.com has a set of all four movies available for $41.99.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/1/2006


Returning Television Shows

Don't forget, there's an all new episode of Arrested Development airing this Monday on Fox and the second half of season two of Battlestar Galactica begins airing this Friday (1/6) at 10:00 P.M. EST on the Sci Fi Channel.

Arrested Development:
Concerned about the family’s future, George Sr. insists they host a fundraiser to raise awareness within the community. Michael is in charge of finding a celebrity to emcee the event, so he sets out on a mission to track down Andy Richter. Meanwhile, Gob inadvertently becomes a waiter and has a run-in with a nasty customer … Lucille.



Battlestar Galactica:
The Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus face a new Cylon target, a "Resurrection" ship, while a power struggle threatens to result in all-out war among the human fleet.


Also, this Thursday the Sci Fi Channel will be airing a marathon of the entire first half of the second season of Battlestar Galactica from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. EST.

By Bert Ehrmann
1/1/2006