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Showing posts from December, 2010

When Stephen J. Cannell Made Profit

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We have reached the end of another year, so you know what that means: Many TV news programs, magazines and Web sites will run year-end reflections on noteworthy people within the entertainment industry who passed away during the previous twelve months. Among the year-end list for 2010 is Stephen J. Cannell, a giant in the TV production industry who created hit shows such as The Rockford Files, The A-Team, 21 Jump Street, and many more. Yet one of the shows that I remember the most that would not have seen the light of day without Cannell's support was a short-lived show that he did not create: Profit.

Profit was created by David Greenwalt and John McNamara, and Cannell was one of its executive producers. While eight episodes were produced, it only lasted for five episodes on the Fox Network. Greenwalt and McNamara said that they were inspired to create the series after watching a production of Richard III which featured Sir Ian McKellen, although Profit's more obvious predecess…

Tron and Tron Legacy: The Secret, Scandalous Lives of Computer Programs Exposed!

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OK, so maybe the title of this review of Tron Legacy isn't that inspired, but the movie itself sure is. In a nutshell, Tron Legacy is a fantastic film--both as a sequel to its 1982 predecessor and as a 3-D movie experience. I'm a big fan of man vs. machine stories, so the original Tron's ambitious idea of literally putting man inside of the machine as the setting for this conflict has been an intriguing, unusual one. Tron Legacy continues to explore this concept in engaging new ways, amongst a virtual landscape that both echoes and expands upon the ideas and environments portrayed in the first movie. Read on for my complete review, along with a look back at the first Tron movie. I suppose I could have written this review without mentioning the original film--it's pretty clear that the makers of Tron Legacy didn't want to rely too much on the first film when crafting the sequel's narrative--but it's hard to truly appreciate the significance of Tron Legacy wi…

The (Jaws) Shark (Game) Is Still Working

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For as much as certain people and groups have complained over the years about the marketing of age-inappropriate merchandise to children, the toy industry and Hollywood have been pretty consistent when it comes to producing toys for kids that are based on an R-rated movie and/or franchise. I've seen toys from Alien, Predator, Rambo, Robocop, Starship Troopers and Terminator, just to name a few. By toys, I mean actual play-worthy, durable TOYS, not the fragile, highly-detailed plastic figures made by NECA, Toynami and others. Among the most unusual of these toys was a Terminator 2 Bio-Flesh Regenerator play set back in the early 90s, with T-800 endoskeletons that you could turn into little Arnold Schwarzeneggers for the purpose of tearing off their Play-Doh-like "skin". Why they didn't apply this idea to a Night of the Living Dead Rotting Zombies Play-Doh set, with plastic skeletons you can cover with Play-Doh organs, muscle and skin for hours of flesh-tearing, limb-s…

Lou and Yana's JawsFest DVDs Review

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For as much as I celebrate movie monsters, killer robots, video games and all things nerdy, I can't begin to tell you how many horror and sci-fi conventions and events that I've had to miss due to time constraints and financial reasons. Even events that are held in my figurative backyard happen at times that I can't fit into my schedule and/or at prices that I can't cover. Hence, when JawsFest happened back in the summer of 2005 at Martha's Vineyard to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Steven Spielberg's classic monster shark movie, there was no way that I could make it to this event due to previously scheduled commitments. I'm sure that I'm not the only Jaws "finatic" who had this problem; thankfully, Lou and Yana's JawsFest DVDs provide a solution for those of us who couldn't make it this incredible and unique event.

The JawsFest DVDs are made by Lou and Dianna "Yana" Pisano, a couple of die-hard Jaws fans who took it upon t…

The 1970s: The Decade of Bigfoot

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The latest issue of FilmFax magazine features an interview with Philip Morris, a man of various talents who, among other things, had established a considerable reputation in the entertainment industry for his work in creating high-quality gorilla costumes. (Note: This has nothing to do with the tobacco company of the same name or the Jim Carrey-Ewan McGregor flick, I Love You Phillip Morris.) An interesting side article to this interview focuses on one of Morris' lesser known (but no less important) career accomplishments: his unwitting involvement in the notorious 1967 Bigfoot hoax known as the "Patterson film". According to Morris, Roger Patterson purchased one of Morris' ape costumes shortly before his Bigfoot film made its rounds at news outlets around the country. Morris' recount of this incident is a fascinating read, and I highly recommend that you pick up this issue to see it for yourself. This issue also has an articles about movie monster memorabilia co…

A Look at Traveller's Tales Lego Video Games

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The practice of making video games that are based on a licensed property--be it a movie, TV series, cartoon, comic book, or toy line--is almost as old as video games themselves. Yet when you add more than one license into the mix--such as when a video game is based on a toy that is based on a movie--what's the end result? A Traveller's Tales Lego video game, that's what.

The Mrs. and I have been playing the licensed Lego video games as soon as Traveller's Tales started making them, beginning with Star Wars and continuing through Indiana Jones and Batman. We're currently working our way through this year's Harry Potter game and we're eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Star Wars: The Clone Wars game, which promises to expand on the game play options that were introduced in the previous Star Wars games. (Of course, our devotion to these games largely hinges on the two player co-op feature that's been included in every Lego game so far.)

What's remar…

Happy Horror Days: My Favorite Christmas-Themed Fright Flicks

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As holidays go in the U.S., Christmas is the largest of them all, both culturally and economically. Thus, it goes without saying that something so inescapable and influential will be the central focus of many stories told in many different genres--including horror. All things considered, Christmas is actually a better setting for a horror movie than Halloween, the second largest holiday. Halloween is a deliberately creepy holiday, so monsters roaming around our streets and homes during that holiday season should come as no surprise. On the other hand, Christmas is always associated with warm and fuzzy things--family, faith, charity, goodwill towards others, and so on--which makes it the perfect time to unleash unspeakable horrors among a group of unsuspecting, holiday-happy protagonists.

Unfortunately, when making a Christmas-themed horror movie, most filmmakers have opted for directly involving one of its popular icons: Santa Claus. Either they have a serial killer dress up like Sant…

Wii Got Tron Evolution: Battle Grids

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I cannot tell a lie: A significant portion of this blog is devoted to my personal geek wish list, where I discuss collectible merchandise that I would like to own (or would've liked to have owned) and video games that I wish someone would make. Thus, it's nice to see that at least one of my wishes is coming true.

A few months ago, I kvetched about how there were no announced plans for a Wii Sports Resort-like video game to accompany the upcoming release of the Tron Legacy movie. Yet in a few days, a Tron Legacy game with game play similar to Wii Sports Resort will in fact be released for the Wii. It's called Tron Evolution: Battle Grids.

Battle Grids will have players fighting each other in various areas of the Tron world--Light Cycle Racing, Light Disc Battles, and so on. As far as I can see from the preview videos that are available online, Battle Grids seems a lot like the original Tron arcade game from 1982--as well as its 1983 arcade sequel, Discs of Tron--but with be…