Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

My gift to all of you is the hilarious Carol of the Bells segment from the California Raisins Holiday Special.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Since there's no place to go...

Let it snow.

The variety of weather we get here is one of the only reasons remaining for me to actually enjoy living in Philadelphia.

This weekend we were hit with upwards of 17 inches of snow. I love that. And this pretty much assure us of a white Christmas because there is no way all of this will melt before Friday.

Although, it may be more of a murky, grey Christmas if the snow becomes that mushy, slushy crap that heavy traffic and rock salt usually turn it into.

Eh, oh well. For now, I'm enjoying staying inside and watching movies.

Song of the Week: "Metamorphosis (Parts 1-5)" by Philip Glass

As I've mentioned before, I usually listen to music that has little or no lyrics when I write. It's something that I've learned works for me through a lot of trial and error. Whether it's jazz or classical, bluegrass or a soundtrack-- instrumental music is just what I prefer when I sit down to do some work.

Lately, almost all of my writing time has been accompanied by the trademark musical stylings of Philip Glass.

I first came to know of Philip Glass through his score to Godfrey Reggio's now-famous "Quatsi" trilogy. I especially enjoy the score to Koyaanisqatsi, but he has tons of other work that is equally impressive. Last week I came across his album "Solo Piano", which is comprised of five variations of his piece Metamorphosis, as well as two shorter pieces.

The song I've included here is Metamorphosis #2, which happens to be my favorite. It's a haunting piece that I've been able to listen to on repeat for the past few days.

Give it a listen. Even if Philip Glass is not necessarily your bag, it's hard to argue that this isn't a beautiful piece of music.

P.S.-- I've included his piece Pruit Igoe as well. Originally written for Koyaanisqatsi, you may also recognize it from the extended trailer for last year's Watchmen.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wanted: "Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Cover Box"

As a child of the VHS generation, I love-- LOVE-- retro VHS cover art. I can remember walking around the video store as a kid studying the cover boxes, especially those that were for films that I would never be allowed to see at that age. Two that stick out in my mind were Ruggierio Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust and George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead-- both of which I didn't get to see until I was in my twenties. Gee, perhaps that's why I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with 1970's-80's horror?

Portable Grindhouse showcases a solid selection of cover boxes-- both well-known titles and some of the more off the wall titles. And I love the subtitle (The Lost Art of the VHS Cover Box), because that's what it was-- an art form. Looking at much of the shamefully bad cover art for DVD releases these days really makes you miss the days of Drew Struzan covers, replete with rippling muscles and oversized breasts on cartoonish versions of the movies stars of the day (Romancing the Stone, anyone?)

Needless to say, this book is a great Christmas gift for the film geek in your life. And if you don't have a film geek in your life, feel free to consider me the film geek in your life, because I would love to unwrap this book on Festivus.

Anyhow, watch the awkwardly silent video below for a better idea of what to expect.

And you can read more about the book and order it at the Fantagraphic books website.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Song of the Week: "What?" by Rob Zombie

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to catch the penultimate stop in Rob Zombie's tour for his upcoming album, Hellbilly Deluxe 2. I went to the show by myself and, well... you may think that's kind of odd. Perhaps-- but I couldn't give a damn because it was one hell of a show.

Zombie's live performances are a throwback to the theatrical rock shows of the 1970's. And he certainly isn't not shy about wearing his influences on his sleeve-- specifically Alice Cooper. The two of them share a similar gruff singing style and I'm actually surprised Zombie's never covered any of Cooper's hits.

But I digress...

This song (What?) is the first single off of his oft postponed new album which is set to finally be released on February 2. There is no official video, so I've posted a live version that is very similar to what I saw the other night at the Electric Factory.

Enjoy the song.

And if you ever get the chance to see Rob Zombie live, by all means go.
You'll have a great time. And if you've got nobody to go with, hell-- drop me a line. Lord knows I've been there.

P.S.-- If you like the song, you can also hear the regular album version here, or download it on iTunes.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New York City...

So, I went to New York yesterday to catch up with a friend. I got into town rather early, so I decided to walk around and perhaps do some shopping.

Then I found this guy.

Now, the two of us are best friends.

And yes, his catchy jingle was in my head all day.

P.S.-- This was the first time I was able to really try out my Kodak Zi-8. I have to say, it's pretty incredible considering the price and size. Certainly recommended for bloggers/vloggers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Evil Dead is back

In the age of the crappy horror remake, it's nice to get some news about a true classic being sent back to theaters-- in its original form. Grindhouse releasing seems to have secured the rights to mount a nationwide re-release of Sam Raimi's seminal 1981 horror flick Evil Dead.

Perhaps Raimi is testing the waters for another Evil Dead sequel? It's possible, considering the success of his recent throwback hit Drag Me To Hell. While I'm not totally convinced that this would be a true barometer of how another evil dead film would play, I'm certainly not complaining.

Also-- I seem to be in the minority among Evil Dead fans in that I prefer the first film to the pseudo-sequel, Evil Dead 2.

So far there is no screening planned for the Philadelphia area, but I'm confident that will change very soon. If not I may just have to embark on another road trip to catch this on the big screen.

The scheduled screenings are available here.

What do you think-- any of you screwheads out there going to check it out?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Let's face it, from Halloween to Christmas is the greatest time of the year. It's full of parties, food, booze and loads of chances for us all to act like kids (read: idiots) again. Personally, I still go out for Halloween... with my nieces and nephews, of course. But it's still an opportunity to dress like a jackass and not only get away with it, but in some cases actually have it make you the life of the party.

Another great thing about this time of year is the number of horror films playing on cable at any given moment. Now, watching horror films is certainly not a seasonal even for yours truly. However, Halloween is the only time that I can usually convince others to join me in the terrifying fun.

So my question is this...

When you are perusing cable channels or looking at the DVD shelf, which video nasties catch your eye? Personally, I am partial to classic 1980's horror. Carpenter, Fred Dekker, Romero, Argento, Coscarelli... these are the guys I look to for some real Halloween fun. How about you?

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Little Boy and the Old Man

So, It's been a little while since I've posted anything. I've been writing something new that's taken up a lot of my time, and with getting ready to teach my first college course, I've been a little busy. However, I didn't want to just make up some stupid nonsense to post-- so I figured instead I'd post one of my all time favorite poems.

It's a Shel Silverstein piece that means a lot to me, and was a constant source of inspiration while I was writing my last screenplay. Anyone who has had the chance to read that script will understand why.

The poem is called The Little Boy and the Old Man.

Said the little boy, "Sometimes I drop my spoon."
Said the old man, "I do that, too."
The little boy whispered, "I wet my pants."
"I do that too," laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, "I often cry."
The old man nodded, "So do I."
"But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems
Grown-ups don't pay attention to me."
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
"I know what you mean," said the little old man.

Monday, September 14, 2009

R.I.P. Patrick Swayze 1952-2009

Within minutes of his passing, the keyboards of bloggers worldwide were clacking away with attempts at witty, kitschy ways to deliver this news-- Patrick Swayze has succumbed to pancreatic cancer.

Never quite an A-lister, Swayze made some decent movies (Roadhouse, Red Dawn, Ghost) and his fair share of junk (To Wong Foo, anyone?)

Of course his most famous role was that of Johny Castle in the classic 80's film Dirty Dancing. While not exactly my cup of tea, the film was an undeniable pop culture phenomenon.

However, all things considered, I think his most memorable piece of work came when he was the guest host of Saturday Night Live. The genius sketch is embedded below and, sadly features two guys that have now both passed on before their time.

Enjoy, in memoriam, the terrific Chippendales sketch.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

DVD Review: The Funhouse

As a kid there were some VHS cover boxes on the shelf at the video store that just always really creeped me out. One of those creatively marketed titles was Tobe Hooper’s 1981 thriller The Funhouse.

While it goes well beyond cliché to say that clowns are generally creepy, the clown on the cover of this title cannot and should not be described in any other way—he’s scary as hell. So you can imagine my surprise when, some twenty years after this film first caught my eye, I finally sat down to watch the thing and there wasn’t a single damn clown in the entire movie! What I found instead was a slow burn thriller that actually pays off quite nicely—if you’re able to stick it out for the nearly 50 minutes it takes before the movie’s first kill.

Capitalizing off of the success of his underground hit The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, director Tobe Hooper crafted this film’s story very much in the same mold. Where it differed greatly was in the film’s execution (pardon the pun), which undoubtedly left fans of Massacre wondering when the other bloody shoe was going to drop.

The set-up is a simple yet effective genre staple: four pot-smoking teens looking for some excitement at a traveling carnival that stopped in their town. One of the incorrigibly horny guys has the great idea that they should hide in the funhouse and stay over when all the carnies have called it a night. Amazingly, the others agree and, just like that, we have a horror movie.

Once inside, the teens witness a murder at the hands of one especially demented Carnie (who is essentially a carbon-copy of Chainsaw’s Leatherface.) The rest of the night (and the film) is spent with the teens, as they attempt to escape the creepy killer and his equaly deranged father. The teens are, of course, picked off one by one before the break of dawn.

There is no denying that The Funhouse is a slow film, even compared to other 80’s horror. You can tell that Tobe Hooper really took his time with this one. If you look closely, you can tell that he did put great care into the film—the cinematography is tight, the creature effects are solid and there are a few legitimately impressive long-take crane shots. He even managed to slip in an homage to both Halloween and Psycho, as well as some gratuitous nudity—all in the opening 5 minutes!

And, for what it’s worth, Tobe Hooper turned down a film that was offered to him by Steven Spielberg in order to make The Funhouse. The film he turned down? E.T.


Overall, the film was a satisfying little thriller, with some decent scares and is definitely worth a look if you enjoy 80’s horror.

Score: 3 out of 5

(ALSO: Word on the street is that Eli Roth has been tapped for a remake. Could be interesting...)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

End of an Era: Sadly, Reading Rainbow is No More

It is with deep regret that I am writing this post to commemorate the cancellation of one of the most important and influential television shows of my generation: Reading Rainbow. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that, in today's society, there would eventually be no place for such an uplifting and educational program. But you know what, personally I'm not willing to accept that.

I'm not so presumtuous that I would say this show meant any more to me than any of the millions of people also mourning the loss, but it did mean a hell of a lot to me. It sparked more childhood interest in reading and trips to the library than any other program ever produced. And I don't doubt that the show had a part in me eventually discovering that what I wanted to do with my life was to write stories.

In one respect, it's more unfortunate for my own children, because they will be raised never having known the show. But I'd like to think that my own interest in reading, and ensuring that my kids have a healthy and active imagination will carry them through-- certainly due in some small part to my own exposure to the show as a child.

When I heard that the show was cancelled, I immediately looked up the introduction on YouTube and, upon hearing just the first few synthesized flute notes, nearly got choked up. I'm not exaggerating.

So, I present to you the intro to the show in it's entirety.

Godspeed to the kids of this generation who will only be exposed to the inane, ADHD inducing tripe that passes as children's entertainment these days.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Monster Mania 13 is this weekend...

This weekend the ever-growing horror convention known as Monster-Mania will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ. I've been to this show five times before (including the last show in Cromwell, Connecticut) and honestly, it's always a really good time. I've never considered myself someone who would enjoy going to "fan conventions"-- and in a way, I do go about the show in different way than many fans. For one, I'm not much of an autograph maven. I don't begrudge those who wait in line to pay for their favorite stars autograph, but it's just not for me.

What I enjoy about the show are the dealer tables at which you can find some unique and truly hard to find films. Considering a lot of the lesser known horror films of my youth were not given the official DVD treatment, dealers at the show have taken it upon themselves to create these DVD's, either from VHS copies or sometimes from HD television broadcasts.

Oh, and there is one other reason I enjoy Monster-Mania so much-- I write for the official Monster-Mania Magazine. Editor Dave Hagan does a really good job with the mag, giving it the full-color, glossy treatment. The upcoming issue contains my retrospective article on the Nightmare on Elm Street series as a feature story. And hey-- if you can't make it to the show, you can always support your local Jon and order the mag online ( or pick it up at you local Barnes & Noble.

I'll report back after the weekend with any pertinent info about the 
show, and how the reaction to the new issue is going. Check out the promo for the magazine below.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Song of the Week: Manic Street Preachers "If you Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next"

No joke-- this song holds the Guinness Book record for longest song title that doesn't use brackets. But thats neither her nor there.

Fact is: this song is fantastic. Brit-pop at it's best.

Give it a spin already.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Band of the Week: Owl City

I couldn't pick just one of the songs from Owl City's new album Ocean Eyes, so I just put them forth as the band of the week.

If you consider yourself a fan of the quirky, poppy sound of bands like The Postal Service, you'll gravitate toward Owl City immediately.
In fact, I was convinced that this was a side project of TPS lead singer Ben Gibbard.

Alas, it is not. But it damn well could be-- and that's quite a compliment.

With a sound that often upbeat and lyrics that are usually deeper and more clever than your typical pop act, Owl City is a nicely invigorating addition to the proverbial stale iPod playlist.

Their first single, "Fireflies", was available for free on iTunes. After giving it a shot (and loving it) I immediately shut down iTunes altogether and downloaded a torrent of the complete album.

Sorry-- that's just how it is today.

But since then, this band has been in my ear at home, at the gym and, actually, as I'm typing this very blog post.

If you're into thoughtful indie pop, like the aforementioned Postal Service or Death Cab for Cutie, you'll certainly find something to like about this album.

It's 100% certified JWFTS "good."


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Artist Spotlight: Drew Falchetta

On a recent movie trip to the Ritz at the Bourse I happened to come across artist Drew Falchetta's work. His art was on the pre-show slide show. Since that day his paintings have become the staple background image on my both my iPhone and my Mac. Needless to say I really enjoy his work. His paintings are interesting and dramatic, often evoking a sense of narrative despite their apparent simplicity. They're somewhat reminiscent of the pop culture inspired pieces that director Kevin Smith showcased in his extremely interesting pop art exhibit he hosted at Gallery 1988.

With images that run the gamut from serenely benign, to oddly funny and even a few that are outright macabre, Falchetta's work seemed to always leave me wondering about where the stories his paintings tell might lead. And he does all of this with a style that is at once basic and challenging. It's the kind of work that some cynics may look at and say, "I could do that." However, like many deceptively simple films and photographs, it's not necessarily the subject of the piece, but rather the context and treatment that give it real value and depth.

I'm also happy to relate the fact that Falchetta is a local artist, residing in the area of Philadelphia made famous by Rocky-- South Philly.

Give the pieces I've included a look. He's a very interesting and approachable young artist. We need more people like him to get mainstream noteriety so they can remain free to create art that attracts, engages and amuses the way his does. 

You can view more work and learn more about Drew Falchetta at his website,


Friday, July 24, 2009

R.I.P. Gidget, The Taco Bell Dog

Gidget, the chihuahua responsible for the sale of millions of colon-cleansing Taco Bell tacos, has passed away. Though in recent years the ad campaign that made her famous had all but disappeared, the pup's ubiquitous catch-phrase "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" remains a part of the everyday pop culture lexicon.

Yo Quiero Gidget. Yo Quiero, indeed.

Rest in Peace.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Song of the Week: "Even in the Dark" by Company of Thieves

This week's song came to me from the one place I really rarely ever hear new, good music-- the radio! And I don't say that to sound like some pretentious, "I Hate Radio" type of guy. It's just, I never listen to music on he radio. When I'm in my car I listen to one of two things, my iPod or talk radio. 

It just so happened that I flipped to the one alternative station in Philly, and surprisingly liked what I heard. The song was "Oscar Wilde" by the featured band, Company of Thieves. It's a good song, but since downloading their self-titled album I've come to discover they have better songs to offer. Case in point, the video below-- "Even in the Dark."

The lead singer, Genevieve Schatz, has a cool style-- sort of a mixture of Fiona Apple and Bjork, two artists I thoroughly enjoy. And this is a band I'd definitely like to check out live sometime soon. If you're so inclined, check out the ret of their self-titled album, it'll be in my iPod loop for a while, I'm sure.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monster Mania Magazine Issue #2

This August will mark the 12th Monster Mania convention in Cherry Hill, NJ. The show-- which is always a good time-- will also feature the long awaited release of the second issue of Monster Mania Magazine. As you can surmise from the picture to the left, this issue will be all Nightmare on Elm Street, all the time. 

My article is a retrospective of the entire NOES series (films only-- books, comics, TV, etc. are all covered separately.) Depending on whether the piece was heavily edited or not, it should come in at a hefty 5000 words, or for you non-writer types, almost 20 pages.

Also worth mentioning-- you can now get Monster Mania Magazine at most book stores, including Barnes & Noble. So if you happen to be out grabbing a coffee and a book, support your favorite screenwriter-who-blogs-and-sometimes-writes-for-magazines-- me!

Check out the pics below for some shots of the mag finally on (and hopefully flying off) the shelves!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Song of the Week: "Saviour" by Dredg

I came across indie-alt-rockers Dredg (not a misspelling) during one of my daisy chain iTunes hunts for new music. I start with a band I like, and then look at similar suggestions until I find something that catches my eye... or ear, actually.

Their sound is nothing particularly new, falling somewhere between Lydia and The Used. But the tonal shifts and genre crossing does just enough to differentiate them from much of the shit rock bands that are out there right now.

This album has 6 or 7 solid songs and the one below (Saviour) happens to be my favorite. Enjoy.

P.S.-- My iPod is officially broken and I am pissed.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

R.I.P. Karl Malden 1912-2009

Karl Malden passed away today. He was an awesome actor, and with all of the B.S. reporting about some former pop star clogging up the "media," I thought I'd do my part in making sure he was remembered.

A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, Patton AND Dario Argento's Cat O'Nine Tails!

Are you kidding me? He was a legend.

As was his nose.

Rest in peace.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Song of the Week: Steve Martin "Words Unspoken"

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I am a huge fan of the banjo. Yup-- the twangy, goofy cousin of the guitar just has some kind of charm that I've always enjoyed. 

And though I've known for quite a while now that Steve Martin played the banjo, but when I saw he'd now released his own album I had to give it a shot-- and I'm really glad I did.

If you aren't a fan of bluegrass, and aren't willing to give it a fair shake I'd say you can stop reading about right.... now.

But is you are open to checking out a terrific new album that may be outside of the traditionally popular genres, you've gotta give this one a listen. Beside the catchy, picky tunes that you may expect, Martin has a few that are contemplative, sometimes melancholy and always beautiful--such as the clip I've attached below entitled "Words Unspoken." And his undeniable humorous side also shows up on childhood-themed track "Late for School." Having already more than proved his mastery as both a comedian and a writer, Steve Martin has now shown that he's a damn fine musician as well. 

If you're looking for something different, or if you like the clip I've provided, do yourself a favor and check the rest of the album out. I guarantee your toes will be tapping before even the first song is done.

Friday, June 19, 2009

First Look: New Freddy's New Glove...

So, apparently Jackie Earle Haley decided to tease the horror fans with a quick tease of the new Freddy Kreuger glove. The picture was supposedly taken by Haley during breakfast on the set of the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot and posted via Twitter.

It doesn't show much, but I figured I'd post it because I am very, very psyched to see how this new take on the NOES series goes. Once Robert Englund was officially off the table when deciding who should portray Freddy, I was pretty disheartened. But it seems Jackie Earle Haley is a pretty good choice, especially in light of his previous two high profile roles: a pedophile in 2005's Little Children and of course Rorschach in this year's Watchmen.

He's a talented guy for sure, and he should do well in the role of the bastard son of 100 maniacs.

Well, I hope. We shall see...

Trailer: "Zombieland"

The trailer for the new movie Zombieland has just been released. It stars(?) Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg and I have to admit-- I didn't know much about this one before now. I still don't! But I think it looks pretty awesome. 

Clearly it's a lighter take on the zombie genre, a la Shaun of the Dead. That's just fine with me. Some of my favorite classic horror films are more comedic in tone (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, anyone?)

Anyhow, take a look at the trailer below. If you liked Shaun of the Dead, or even the Dawn of the Dead remake, this will probably be right up your alley.

I'll be in line opening weekend.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I... am... back.

Well, it's been a while since I've been able to blog. You know how it is... work, writing, school, and any number of other things. But the good news is I've finally cleared some time to catch up.

First thing's first-- I was in New York two weeks ago and I happened to stop at the mega-comics shop Forbidden Planet. I was there to try to get a copy of The Dylan Dog Case Files (which, if you have never heard of, you should definitely look into.) Anyhow, as I was looking through the
horror section (surprise, surprise) I happened to come across issue #1 of Monster Mania Magazine, right there on the shelf, with my Evil Dead article right smack dab in the middle. Needless to say it was a cool coincidence, seeing as I had no idea that it was even available in NYC. It's also available in many Barnes & Noble book stores. So, if you happen to see it in your travels, for God's sake BUY IT.

Secondly, several reviews will be making their way onto the site, including: Drag Me To Hell, My Bloody Valentine (1981), Maniac Cop 3: Badge of Silence, Fanboys, Bordello of Blood and... perhaps some thoughts on Firefly, which I have recently finally started to catch up on.

And finally, myself and a few friends recently took a road trip to Connecticut for the first ever Monster Mania in Cromwell, CT. It was fantastic. Unfortunately, issue #2 of the magazine was not able to be published before the show, so the teeming masses will have to wait until August for my Nightmare article. Damn. But the show itself was a blast. I even had the opportunity to discuss my Evil Dead article with the ladies of the Evil Dead, which was cool.

So... the blog will be back up and running again starting this week. In the meantime, take a look at this video that somebody put together about last weekend's Monster Mania Convention. Pretty Cool...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Saw 6... at least the poster is cool

I know, I know, "not another Saw film" right? Well, you know what-- I've seen all of the Saw films released so far and if they have one thing going for them it's that they do attempt to be creative with their marketing. For instance, the poster for Saw 5 was supposedly printed with ink that included an infinitesimal amount of series veteran Tobin Bell's actual blood. 

And now this... another in the new "web-only" marketing ploys (see: the internet-only poster for Gamer.) The poster is pretty cool-- perhaps not enough to save the sixth iteration of the admittedly tired series-- but it is a cool visual nonetheless.

With this summer shaping up to be pretty solid for horror (Drag Me To Hell, H2, The Collector, etc.), I may just have to see this one in the theater. 


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This is what interesting action looks like...

After suffering through the trailers for both "Transformers 2" and "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra", it was so damn refreshing to see Neill Blomkamp's new alien action film "District 9."

And it's not that "TF2" and "GI Joe" look all that bad, they just look like homogenized, run-of-the-mill "action."

So, in case anyone has forgotten what a truly visionary genre filmmaker looks like, I present to you Mr. Blomkamp. The synopsis for this film had me intrigued--

An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly find a kindred spirit in a government agent that is exposed to their biotechnology.

 And now-- thankfully-- the trailer has me all in for this one and it's definitely landed in my top 5 anticipated films for the year. Honestly-- how cool is it that the alien's face is blurred out during the questioning sequence? What a cool visual!

Take a look at the trailer below and let me know what you think?

Oh-- and do yourself a favor and seek out Blomkamp's short films and commercials-- they're fantastic! You can see most of them for free right here.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

♪♫ Won't you read my twitter ♪♫

That's supposed to be read to the tune of Mr. Rogers' "Won't you be my neighbor..."

But really, if you check my blog on the regular, and like what you see, check me out on Twitter.

If you do, I'll tell you how to type these things... ♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫

Thursday, May 7, 2009

This just in: Michael Jackson is weird

This is a preview of the cancelled Michael Jackson estate auction. The guy who hosts the tour is pretty damn funny and, as if we didn't already know this, M.J.'s belongings are very, very strange. 

Pay special attention to the animatronic baby (sans index finger) and the statues out front of the auction house.

Not the typical post for my site, but this video tickled me, so I thought I'd share.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Song of the Week: Unkle Bob "The Hit Parade"

I discovered "Unkle Bob", this Brit-Pop/Rock band, when they opened for "James" last year in Philly. They put on quite an impressive show, despite the lackluster sound system at the Trocadero. In fact, I went right home that night and downloaded their album, "Sugar and Spite." I was glad to see that I hadn't been mistaken-- they're pretty damn good.

Some people may recognize one of their songs, "Swans", because it was featured on an episode of Grey's Anatomy sometime last year, but that's okay-- we won't hold it against them. In fact, at the concert, lead singer Rick Webster said that the inclusion of "Swans" on that episode was probably the reason they were chosen to go on tour with a popular act like "James."

Well, good for us. The CD is pretty solid all the way through, and has been on constant rotation on my iPod for a while now. Check out the song posted below, "The Hit Parade" It's one of the best songs on the album. And make sure to check out "Birds and the Bees" too... that one is fantastic as well.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

R.I.P. Dom Deluise 1933 - 2009

Farewell, Dominic. You were a portly, jolly, somewhat effeminate, comedic genius. Anyone who was down with the Muppets, is down with me.

There weren't many men who could pull off the "Orson Welles in his later years" look, but you certainly were one of them. Perhaps the last.

You'll be missed.

Amazing "Watchmen" Viral Ad

This is some sort of viral ad for the theatrical release of "Watchmen." It's really an amazing video, considering it was all done with aerosol spray paint. 

Dare I say, it's slightly more compelling than the film it's meant to advertise? Oh, I dare say indeed. 

Give it a look.

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Machete" is a reality...

Source: AICN

Anyone who witnessed "Grindhouse" in it's proper setting (i.e. an actual movie theater) will certainly recall "Machete"-- the most memorable of the interstitial movie trailers shown between "Planet Terror" and "Death Proof."

Danny Trejo stars in the title role as Machete-- Mexican laborer by day, knife wielding assassin by night. Director Robert Rodiguez has added the project to his seemingly infinite list of self-produced, Hi-Def video "films." Whether a movie headlined by Danny Trejo and Jeff Fahey will actually make it to the theaters is, well, doubtful. However, I think this one is tailor made for the fanboys who ate up every minute of "Grindhouse", and just couldn't understand why the rest of the people in the theaters bitched and moaned throughout. 

I think "Machete" will be a direct to DVD film, and that's just fine by me. I'll be first in line to snap up a copy. It'll look nice nestled under my "Machete" poster that I'm eventually going to have Danny Trejo autograph. 

Yeah... that's right.

Meanwhile, look at the bad-ass trailer for "Machete" below.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Trailer: Rob Zombie's "H2"

source: filmjunk

That's right, "H2"-- as in, "Halloween 2." Just when you thought John Carpenter's iconic horror film had been ravaged for the last time, director Rob Zombie is ready to have another go at it.

The second Zombie-fied film will continue the Laurie Strode storyline, as it picks up pretty much directly after the first one ended. Now, I'm going to level with you-- I sort of enjoy Rob Zombie's films. Not in the same way I enjoy, say, a fundamentally sound horror film like "The Descent" or even the original "Halloween" (J.C.'s version**). But I do have some sick attraction to Zombie's films, and their ratty-haired, profanity-spewing characters. Admittedly, it's not everybody's cup of tea. And yes, I had some real problems with the Zombie's first Halloween-- namely the unfortunate amount of time spent on Michael Myers' youth, wherein he was portrayed with all the subtlety of a punch in the balls, by atrociously bad actor Daeg Faerch.

But dagnabbit, for some reason I'm willing to give this one the old college try. Even despite the fact that I have heard Michael Myers will be sans-mask for 2/3 of the film, I'll still be there. At least he looks pretty creepy sporting the hood-up look in the trailer...

Give it a look for yourself below.

(**J.C. as in John Carpenter, not Jesus Christ)

R.I.P. Bea Arthur 1922-2009

Thank you for being a friend.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Trailer: Spike Jonze's "Where the Wild Things Are"

Yeah, I know that this trailer has been floating around the blogoshere for quite a while now. But I felt compelled to post it here for anyone who hasn't yet seen it.

Where the Wild Things Are was an important part of the childhood of many people my age and, like most, I was skeptical about the prospects of a live-action adaptation. But, by the looks of this trailer, it seems as though Spike Jonze really hit this thing out of the park.

The trailer itself is absolutely beautiful. The visuals, the music-- it all works so perfectly together, it very nearly brought tears to my eyes. I'm still not sure exactly why, but there it is--this trailer really got to me. And you know what? I think it'll get to you, too. 

If you haven't seen it, give it a look below.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cool Commercial: Acura's "Bodies in Motion" campaign

I've caught this commercial a few times over the past week or so. It's a rather beautiful and effective ad campaign for Acura's new line of vehicles. 

Every time I see it, I find myself rewinding so I can watch it again. That got me thinking-- if only more commercials looked this good, perhaps I wouldn't DVR the few shows that I watch, so I can skip past the commercials.

Happy Earth Day

I thought I'd celebrate Earth day with this pretty awesome clip of a fox hunting for it's prey under a thick sheet of snow. Really cool.

By the way, did you know that one of the people responsible for creating Earth Day is now a convicted murderer? Strange but true.

I'm sorry-- did that suck the fun out of it? Oh well.

Now go buy a ticket for Disney Nature's "Earth", would you...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Okay, I get it. A film that is rated "R" will have less mainstream appeal than one rated "PG-13." I can understand that, from a business perspective. But when the film in question is named "Drag Me to Hell" I think a hard "R" is pretty much a necessity.

Unfortunately, Sam Raimi's much anticipated return to horror will be a bastardized, sanitized "PG-13" version of the film. What a let down. And, I know that we'll get the "Unrated" version of the film on DVD in a few months, but just the idea that even someone like Raimi, who has built a reputation as a filmmaker and has a genuinely devout following, can't even get his film released properly just pisses me off. He's been neutered.

The trailer looks very cool, and I'll still see it in the theater-- I may even enjoy it. But the entire time I watch it, I'll have a bitter taste in my mouth-- and not just from the burnt Wawa coffee that I snuck in. I'll be wondering what the film could have been, and how cool it would have been to see a gritty "R" rated version on the big screen.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Song(s) of the Week: "Pioneers" and "Skeleton" by Bloc Party

I consider myself a pretty big fan of Bloc Party, and I've actually been meaning to include them in one of my "SOTW" posts for quite a while now. The only thing that gave me pause was choosing which of their songs to post. After looking through their videos on youtube I've settled on two-- "Pioneers", because it's a great song and  this particular video is pretty interesting & "Skeleton" because it may just be my favorite of their songs.

I should mention that they have so many other songs that you should check out-- "Like Eating Glass", "SRXT", "Banquet", "Waiting for the 7:18", "Blue Light"-- just to name a few. They're a sort of punk-ish take on brit-pop, and frontman Kele Okereke is about as charismatic a lead singer you're likely to find these days.

Check them out below, and believe me-- their entire discography is well worth a look.


The kids ought to love this one...

Source: FilmJunk

Roughly ten years after the release of the first "Saw" film, the producers of the ever-declining horror franchise have now made the move into the world of interactive digital entertainment. "Saw" the video game will be released on all major video game consoles by the end of this year.

See? And I bet you thought you'd never get your chance to rummage through a toilet full of dirty syringes! Good things do come to those who wait. 

Although the game does look kind of neat, I can't imagine that it brings much to the table in the way of gameplay. Let's face it, the only reason anyone watches the Saw films is to see the various, graphic ways in which the characters will die. If the way you win this game is by escaping the traps, and not dying... where is the fun in that? 

Though I don't much have time for video games anymore, if I were to play this one, I'd hope that the gameplay would hinge mostly on the puzzle solving aspects, as the video seems to hint at. I've always enjoyed actually taking time to solve puzzles in a game, as opposed to mashing buttons, and hacking/slashing through board after board. Give me a (pirated) copy of "Castle of Dr. Brain" and I'm happy, you know?

I have a feeling this game will be like most games based on movies-- nothing more than a passing novelty that won't attract much of a following. But what do I know-- I never would have guessed the film series would be as successful as it has been. I suppose you can never underestimate the public's appetite for graphically violent death scenes. I do have to laugh, though, when I consider that my Father refused to let me play "Mortal Kombat" as a child because of the violence. Anyhow, check out the video below.

Um, game on.

Trailer: Lars Von Trier's "Anti Christ"

I've not been a fan of most of Lars Von Trier's work, however I do recognize and appreciate his status as a purveyor of the avant-garde. Along with Michael Haneke, he is one of the few contemporary filmmakers who make the films that they want to make, with little or no regard for what the mainstream audience might think of them.

Von Trier's latest film, "Anti-Christ" look a whole lot different than much of his recent work. Beyond the fact that this film has y'know, like, real life sets and props and all... it's also Von Triers' first foray into what seems to be horror/suspense film territory. It has a really creepy, sort of giallo aesthetic. And I have to admit, some of that creepiness comes from the fact that I still can't say for sure what the film is even about. But the fact remains that the trailer did it's job-- I'd like to check this out in the theater. This is a big step forward for me in terms of Von Trier, whose films I usually wait for on DVD, and even then they linger at the the bottom of my netflix queue for months.

Take a look at the trailer below, and see if it strikes you in the same way. If not, leave a comment.

Lars von Trier's Antichrist - Official Trailer from Zentropa on Vimeo.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

R.I.P. Harry Kalas: the Voice of the Phillies

I won't pretend to have anything more meaningful to say about the loss of Philadelphia Legend Harry Kalas than everything that's already out there. ESPN has already done an especially good job covering his life and career in retrospect. But I will say this: for anyone who grew up a Phillies fan, the fact that Harry Kalas will not be calling the games anymore is a really tough pill to swallow. It's hard to understand if you've never heard him call a game, but he literally was the voice of the team and its fans.

I suppose if you can find anything positive to take away from this situation, it would be that at least he died with the Phillies being the reigning world champions.

Rest in peace.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Writer's Block? I got your cure.

Like any writer, I sometimes get bogged down in what’s referred to as “writer’s block.” Truth be told, writer’s block is often times a bunch of bullshit. When we, as writers, “suffer” from a block, it’s usually either because we (A.) simply don’t know what to write or, don’t know how to write it, (B.) there’s an inherent story problem in what we’ve already written that needs to be addressed or (C.) we’re just making excuses for just refusing to make time to write.

However, sometimes all it takes to get your writing going is a fire under your ass– regardless of whether or not the source of said fire is real or … well, virtual. And it just so happens that the one I’m speaking of  is indeed virtual.

A writer friend of mine turned me on to “Dr. Wicked’s Writing Lab” and, specifically, a program offered for free on the site that is sure to keep you writing… and writing fast. The “Write or Die” application lets you set parameters, such as the amount of words you need to get written, and the time in which you want them written. From there, it’s just left to you to get writing. And hey– if you decide to take a break to, you know, figure out just the right words to start that next sentence, the “write or die” app simply starts erasing what you’ve already written. That’s right– if you don’t just keep getting words on paper, you’re punished by losing that which you’ve already written. It’s maddening– but its also just what some writers need to get that first draft committed to paper. 

Now, it’s not for everyone. Of course there are going to be some who are simply not up to the challenge of having such a strict taskmaster. To those people I say, get a different hobby. Two of the greatest strengths a writer can develop are writing on demand, and keeping a deadline. This application lets you put yourself on immediate deadlines that you damn well better keep, unless you enjoy seeing your hard earned word count drain off the page like so much water down the drain.

Once you're done writing whatever it is that you’re using the app for, you simply copy the text to your clipboard, and paste it into whichever document editing program you desire. And let me tell you, this has come in very handy when I’m trying to get something written that I’m not exactly looking forward to writing– like a grad school essay or a… um… blog post.

That’s right– this very post was written using “write or die.” And I’m glad to say that only once did I lose a few words. And that was only because I was so overcome by the genius raging forth from my furious typing. Or not.

So, if you’re a writer-type, and sometimes have trouble finishing what you start, give this program a try.  It’s a great little tool to help you get those ideas down on paper without over-thinking every single words as you write it. 

Now go get writing.