Saturday, November 22, 2008

Check it Out: "Mulholland Falls" (1996)

Tonight, while flipping through cable channels, I came across the film "Mulholland Falls." Initially, I had it confused with David Lynch's "Mulholland Drive," but when I realized that I was actually able to follow the story, and it had a cohesive plot, I realized my mistake. Zing.

I'd never seen the film, which is surprising, because I'm a huge fan of the films that clearly influenced it-- the noir films of the 40's and 50's. It stars Nick Nolte (when he was younger, slightly more sane) as a Detective on L.A.'s  famous "hat squad" police force. As one would expect, there's a murder, a mystery, a conspiracy, and even some radioactive material thrown in for good measure.

I ended up watching, and thoroughly enjoying, the entire film. I could go into a lot of reasons why you should check it out, like the great cast (Nolte, Malkovich, Chazz Palminteri, Jennifer Connelly, et al) and the many very cool fedoras, but I'd rather just refer you to one line that comes about 3/4 of the way through the film.  Nolte's hard ass Detective delivers it to a Federal Agent who's been horning in on his case. It comes right after Nolte's mopped the floor with him.

"This is L.A. This is my town. Out here, you're a trespasser. Out here I could pick you up, burn your house, fuck your wife and kill your dog. And the only thing that would protect you is if I can't find you-- and I already found you."

If that doesn't make you want to see this flick (as well as talk like that in every day life) your machismo must be at an all time low.

If you get a chance, give this one a look for sure.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cool Commercial

I've grown weary of major companies advertising with viral marketing campaigns. At a certain point, it's just no longer cool or hip when every company out there is doing it. Having said that, this is one of the coolest commercials I've seen in a while. It's not necessarily a viral video, but it sure as hell isn't a traditional commercial-- at least in a narrative sense. 

Maybe it's just because I'm a cat person, but I thought it was pretty awesome. Enjoy.

I had no idea that mice lived that long.

This week marks the 80th birthday of the one and only Mickey Mouse. I'm actually a pretty big Disney fan, myself. Not so much a fan of the brand, or it's now ubiquitous partnership with Pixar-- but more of Walt Disney himself, and the classic 2d animation that he revolutionized. Call me old fashioned, but "Steamboat Willie" ranks among my favorite animated films of all time. That probably doesn't surprise the people that know me well-- I'm sort of old-fashioned that way.

Most of my other favorite animated films are all of the 2d variety as well, with one exception-- "Monster's Inc." And, if you remember, last year I posted one of my other all time favorite Disney cartoons right in it's entirety here on the trusty blog-- "Mickey's Christmas Carol." I'm surprised Disney didn't have me silently assasinated for copyright infringement. Yet. And yeah-- you can look forward to me recycling that post this Holiday season.

I've often wondered how the image of Mickey has remained so popular when, as a character, he's not been in a major release in years. I guess when a character is branded into our psyche as a young child, it tends to stay there for a while.

So, Happy Birthday, Mickey.

(Coincidentally, I just found out that my lovely wife, Diana, has reserved a trip for us to Disney World for next month to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. We were engaged there about two and a half years ago. Bonus.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

News from the Monster-Mania Magazine front...

Some of you may remember that I had an article published in the premiere issue of Monster-Mania Magazine. And to some extent, I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here, because it came out over a year ago, but there is some fresh news...

Monster-Mania has now secured distribution through most major book stores. That means, within a month or two, you should be able to get yourself a copy of the mag, complete with the article written by yours truly, nationwide. That, in and of itself, is very cool. But, I have even more great news.

I've been commissioned to write two more articles for the Magazine-- one for each of the next two issues.  First up will be an article tracing the history of the "Friday the 13th" films, from the first time that we saw Crystal Lake, all the way up to the new, Michael Bay produced remake. (Which isn't really a remake, bcause we all know Jason wasn't even in the first film, but I digress.) That will appear in the March issue. Later, in June, I'll give the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series the same treatment. I just hope more info is available about the new "Nightmare" film by then.

So, keep an eye out-- the magazine should be on store shelves relatively soon. And, of course, you can always order it online here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

♪ ♫ And I would walk 5000 miles... ♪ ♫

♪ ♫ ... And I would blog 5000 hits... ♪ ♫

This week marked my blog's 5000th hit. Not that amazing, considering that some blogs get more than that in a day... or an hour. But what the hell, I thought it was pretty cool.

Unfortunately Google analytics is so accurate these days that I was able to track 4,677 of those hits directly to my Mother's work computer. She's just so proud of her son, "the writer."

But it still counts.

Anyhow, thanks for whoever is out there 
reading this. (read: Thanks Mom.)

Preview: "John Carpenter's Riot"

Anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm unabashedly a John Carpenter fanatic. I think the guy is a tremendous filmmaker and, even more than that, someone who makes movies that always deliver just what I'm looking for. Usually it's equal parts character,  story,  practical effects (i.e. light on the CG) and, of course, a terrific, if slightly recycled, score.

For a while now he has been rumored to have been working on a film entitled "L.A. Gothic", which was supposedly an episodic horror like his previous collaboration with George Romero, "Body Bags." However, there has also been another project in the works that had been referred to as "Scared Straight." Well, it seems like that's the one that got the green light, and it's now going to be his next film, "Riot." Oh, excuse me, "John Carpenter's Riot."

Not much is known about the film other than, obviously, it stars Nicholas Cage. One other tidbit-- it takes place during a prison riot. Sounds good, right? I think we could all use a proper update of his "Assault on Precinct 13." (Let us not bring up the abomination of a remake that starred Laurence Fishburne and Ethan Hawke, please.) Anyhow, from the very little that I've heard about this film, I choose to believe that it's going to deliver. After all, it pains me to see Carpenter relegated to shooting only 2 episodes of "Masters of Horror" per year. This guy really is a master, and he deserves better!

Now, I know that Nicholas Cage is a questionable choice for a starring role these days. Especially considering Carpenter's go-to guy, Kurt Russel, was primed for a return to the big time after "Death Proof." But let us not forget, Cage has some bona fide genre-film chops. Forgetting for the moment "Ghost Rider" and "The Wicker Man", think back to a film like "Con-Air." He was terrific! And I'd like to think if anyone will know what to do with a hammy Nicholas Cage performance, it's John Carpenter.

So, you can count on me to keep you updated on this project, because it has quickly become one of my most anticipated films of next year. As soon as a trailer or synopsis hits the web, I'll dutifully steal the link, and post it here as a scoop. Until then, let's all give "Assault on Precinct 13" another whirl on the old DVD player.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

R.I.P. Michael Crichton

Legendary sci-fi author Michael Crichton has passed away at the age of 66. He was the man behind such terrific books as "Jurassic Park" and "The Andromeda Strain", as well as the hit TV show "E.R."  Needless to say, he was a damn good writer, and I was truly saddened to see that he had passed at such a young age. I mean, a death at any age is a shame, but 66 just seems so very young these days.

And for anyone who thinks seeing the film version of "Jurassic Park" was enough, I say you're wrong! His novel was every bit as entertaining, and even more in depth. It's really a quick, fun read. If you've never read Crichton's work, this is where you should start.

So, Mr. Crichton, wherever you are-- I tip my drink for thee.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Free Coffee. That is never a bad thing.

As a sort of gesture of goodwill, Starbucks will be offering anyone who voted today a free tall coffee. Against my better judgement, I get Starbucks all the time, and I still don't know the difference in the way they name their coffee sizes. Tall, Venti... just give me a medium, black coffee please. Anyhow, it figures that the one day I won't be anywhere near a Starbucks, they would choose to give away free coffee. There really aren't any Starbucks in my area anyway-- in fact there aren't many (any) real coffee shops in the area at all! Thank God for Wawa, I guess.

The legality of this publicity stunt has been called into question, as it's seen as some sort of bribe for voting. But it's not based on voting for any one candidate, so I don't see any harm in the deal-- other than the hair that Starbucks coffee will put on your chest. (Read:It's very strong coffee.)

Anyway, if you're in the vicinity of one of their 8 million locations outside of Northeast Philadelphia, make sure you do your civic duty, and get your free java.

Oh. And do that other civic duty today, too.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why vote? Because Arnold told you to, that's why.

But, in all seriousness, everyone should vote tomorrow. Anyone who knows me, knows precisely where I stand on the issues (I'm not one to keep mum about that.) But, as I have always refrained from partisan talk on my blog, I'll just say this: get off your ass and go vote tomorrow.

If not, you sacrifice your right to do the one thing everyone, of every party likes to do: bitch about politicians.

So go vote, and let's just say, I hope you've paid attention this election season, and make the right choice.

God Bless America.