Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012
I rage against rehashing the same old stuff unless the people responsible are willing to take the story in a direction that hasn’t been explored. Rarely does that happen (Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead and J.J. Abram’s Star Trek are notable examples).
But sometimes there’s a translation of a work that falls way short of the original source material and cries out for a remake. Take John Carpenter’s Vampires. The movie followed the exploits of a Vatican funded vampire hunter. The film was average. But don’t take my word for it. Look at the numbers:
$20 million budget that grossed $20.3 million at the box office
33% approval from Rottentomatoes.com
6/10 rating from IMDB.com
The film did open at the number one spot; however, this could be accredited to it being a horror movie opening close to Halloween weekend. And the film did boast a direct to DVD sequel that starred none other than New Jersey rocker John Bon Jovi. But the original film seemed so by the numbers that upon watching it one could determine the outcome within the first ten minutes of the film.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending an informal gathering at the home of some good friends. The food, as always, was delicious, and a variety of spirits flowed. Hospitality like this is treasured, especially in the company of such good friends.
Upon reflection of this great occasion I couldn’t help but to think back to the literature I studied in college. A recurring theme through some of the stories I read was the motif of the good host/good guest.
The earliest traces of this practice came from ancient Greece. In stories like The Odyssey, a character (in this case I will continue to pick on poor Odysseus) would often take long and difficult journeys to far away lands. The custom at the time was to be welcomed into any home. At one point, Odysseus stops in at a home and the host, or home owner, appointed his daughters to bath Odysseus, oil him down, and dress him in the finest raiment--including rings on his toes.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
Before all things I send positive energy and prayers to the families of the people of Aurora Colorado. Young people had gathered at a theater to get away from the horrors of the real world and experience renewed hope from a hero who sacrificed to keep people free.
And then lives were lost when a selfish bastard defied the sanctity of the multiplex.
We stand at a crossroads, now. Such a tragedy opens up the opportunity to cash off the uncomfortable fear that settles in after an event of this type. After the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the government put into place a system known as the Transportation Security Administration. If you have travelled through an airport you have encountered them. Some of you readers have been patted down, x-rayed, and delayed all for the sake of safety.
That’s right, you have been groped, irradiated, and pestered so as to make you feel more secure.
I may be out of line, but I see the TSA as nothing more than a cash cow. Employees dawdle about while providing the same level of security as that old guard who sleeps in the corner at the mall jewelry store.
I fear that theaters will now want to have guards, metal detectors, or some other device that will make going to the movies as much of a hassle as traveling. Also, I fear that this will be the justification to raise ticket prices all in the name of public safety.
No matter what, the moviegoers will be the losers in all of this. We will suffer worse than before because we will need to feel safer at the theaters.
Or so we will be told that.
Friday, July 20, 2012
Thursday, July 19, 2012
You may have noticed that web pages are loading much faster today. Has the technology behind the internet somehow improved overnight? No. Today is the opening night (midnight and thereafter) for Christopher Jonathan James Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.
Screenings have been held as early as July 6th and have been going on the past few days. That means there are people out there who are willing to spoil the movie. Many devotees, like myself, have gone on a self-imposed media blackout. Some of us want to savor this last film without anyone ruining parts for us.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Mike "Lummox" Hatyr Smith from Geronimo's Bar and Grill sits in with Zombie and Villain to talk bar etiquette, Asian massage parlors, and fighting.
There's something here to offend everyone, so don't say I didn't warn you.
Monday, July 16, 2012
In the pecking order of society, the hierarchy was always that the sports fans picked on the nerds. But what gives sports fans the right? Why do sports fans think they are so much better than nerds? After closer consideration, I’ve found little difference between the two groups. Here are some reasons why sports fans and nerds are practically the same:
Saturday, July 14, 2012
We here at the Zombie will be at the S.D.C.C. one day--as special guests and not attendees. But until then, we're happy to spend time at the best comic book store ever.
Check out Tate's at http://tatescomics.com/
In South Florida? Stop by Tate's at 4566 North University Drive, Lauderhill, FL 33351
Need some incentive to go? Check out these pictures from the big event:
Friday, July 13, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
I've stated before that I am quite a minimalist. Abstaining from needless purchases, I often choose to acquire things that will save space, be practical, and avoid excess waste.
But sometimes I find something that will tempt me. Case in point: The Marvel Phase One Collector's Edition with Bonus Tesseract. I own some of these movies on DVD, but the thought of having the complete collection for $140 with bonus discs make want to dine on more than bread alone.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
In late 1967 Toho decided that their next Godzilla film would be the last. They brought together the dream team of Ishiro Honda, Eiji Tsuburaya, and Akira Ifukube to end the series in a grand fashion, finally finding a home for Earth's monsters and ending King Ghidorah's reign of terror once and for all. This was it, the Godzilla series would finally go out with a bang.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
The time machine had malfunctioned for the second time, and now a tyrannosaurus rex stomped around the research bay chomping on the low hanging fluorescent lights.
“Those bulbs are hazardous if not disposed of properly,” Dr. Batkiss declared as she pushed the black-rimmed glasses with wide, black lenses up the bridge of her nose. “Be careful not to inhale the gas—it’s quite toxic.”
I didn’t stop what I was doing, which was trying to open up the weapons cabinet before getting eaten by the Jurassic era’s alpha predator, when I asked her what needed to be asked. “There’s a dinosaur fifteen feet from consuming us, and you’re worried about the fluorescent light bulbs?”
“I pity you for not having pride in your workplace.” Dr. Batkiss tsk’ed me and shook her head in those short condescending shakes that feel like being corrected by your mom in the middle of the toy store.
The tyrannosaur roared as bulbs from one light fixture fell and popped in concussive waves of broken glass and hisses of escaping argon and mercury. Instead of staying put as he was told, one of the interns screamed and darted from his research cubicle.
Monday, July 9, 2012
1998’s There’s Something About Mary released on July 15th. Budgeted at $23 million, the movie went on to make a combined take of $369,884,651. Yes, that’s a success. Although not as quotable as other comedy movies (like Caddyshack, for example) hardly anyone who saw the film could forget the ‘hair gel’ scene.
Steve Young was supposed to play the Brett Favre role, but due to his Mormon religion he declined based on the content of the subject matter.
That makes me wonder if my hometown of Plantation is Mormon, as well.
Friday, July 6, 2012
The James Bond films have a Dr. Who way about them. Actors leave, new stories are created, and the style of the film transforms without too much angst from audiences. Connery set the standard, Lazenby gave a one-shot palette cleansing, Moore added a humorous slant, Dalton grounded the character, Brosnan imbued charm, and Craig sharpened the hard edge by adding dangerous flair to the spy. And people kept packing the theaters, nevertheless.
So why can’t other franchises allow the same?
Star Wars would benefit from a retrofitting. Imagine the series in the hands of Tarantino. Or Wes Anderson. Maybe give poster child fanboy Kevin Smith the chance to tell a Yavin yarn. Guillermo Del Toro would make the Star Wars universe a dark and brooding place. How cool!
This practice wouldn’t be tarnishing Lucas’ precious legacy, nor would it take away from the world he created. But fans would get the chance to experience a new perspective on Star Wars stories.
The point of art is to make the familiar unfamiliar. When Picasso paints and tries to capture a subject from all perspectives, he begs us to consider seeing things differently.
Batman has passed through alternating phases. The campy television show still appeals to its fans. Burton’s gothic interpretation made a hit with its darker tone. And Nolan’s brilliance infused the hero with a culpabitiy of a hero in a near-real world milieu.
Even the Jack Ryan films have changed from the hands of John McTiernan to Phillip Noyce to Phil Alden Robinson. Like Jurassic Park, the franchise survives quite well in the hands of different creative teams.
JJ Abrams did a fantastic job of retooling Star Trek while keeping old fans happy and attracting new fans.
Why not let Joe Johnston have a shot at the Indiana Jones franchise? Or Clint Eastwood? Maybe the Coen Brothers would add some new perspective on the adventure hero.
I see films with stories untold. There’s so much potential. Unfortunately, creators want to keep the characters stuck in a creative carbonite prison. And that’s why we get flops like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
When asked if he was upset with what filmmakers did to his book Strip Tease, Carl Hiaasen replied something akin to They didn’t do anything to my book. It’s still there on the shelf the way I wrote it.
Hiaasen’s brilliance needs to be imparted on those jailors who keep our favorite characters locked away from the light of new adventures. We want them out and free.
Somebody steal the key so we can cut ‘em loose.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Due to an inner-ear problem, I don’t like roller-coaster rides. Part of that may be due to a childhood of swimming, but maybe it’s just genetic. Fast motion and the feeling of no control incite panic attacks.
I learned this when I rode Space Mountain at seven years old; I went limp in my sister’s arms as the ‘spaceship’ jetted past the lights in the launch tube, and I haven’t gotten back on a roller coaster since.
While family and friends queue up for Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, and the like, I spend my time in the Haunted Mansion. From that exile I have come to appreciate it as something other than one minute and thirty seconds of whiplash like its roller-coaster counterparts.
I realize that the Haunted Mansion is a great story as much as it is a ride.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Monday, July 2, 2012
July 10th will mark twenty-five years since the beloved nerds invaded the tropical paradise of Ft. Lauderdale for the Greek Council meeting. Paradoxically, the second film is both a success and a failure. Nowhere near as original and genuine as the first, the sequel preserved Ft. Lauderdale at a unique time in the city’s history.
When the original Revenge of the Nerds (ROTN) hit theaters in 1984, the film struck a cord with moviegoers to earn $40 million, a good figure for that time. As an example of the growing interest in the burgeoning technology-fixated culture, ROTN made the socially awkward outcast a new form of anti-hero—and from that point on the nerd became the required member of any action team.
Revenge of the Nerds 2 (ROTN2) followed three years later and earned $30 million, a successful figure but considerably less than its predecessor. ROTN2 has its funny moments; however, it stands as the last attempt at a theatrical release for the beloved group of characters that still thrive as archetypal examples of people who would rather sit in a dark room and code computer language than throw a ball around.