Tuesday, December 28, 2010

POST CHRISTMAS 2010 - TORONTO, CANADA

This is my third posting in December? What is happening to me? I like to talk... do I not? Those who know me are chuckling right now and adding, "Christ, you can't shut the guy up... especially after he's had a coffee!"

Mmm... coffee....

(Hello Starbucks! I keep meaning to try out Aroma. Was there a few times last year; but time to go back and revisit.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

CHANGING TIMES WITH DIGITAL

Revealing or telling a story does not change, outside of 'streaming' speed. Hope the storytelling is fast enough for you; revealed quickly so that crashing down from your sugar and salt fix doesn't become an issue.

Writer Geoff Pevere covers the issue of how we watch our movies...
http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies/article/901059--the-digital-revolution-film

Welcome back, Mr. Pevere.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ROGERS WANTS THE LEAFS

Canadian company Rogers Communications Inc wants to make a play for the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey organization.

That's what I call crap wanting crap; or the incompetent wanting the incompetent.

I'll give them this much, at least they're consistent. Why change now?


The news...
http://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/article/899562--rogers-in-1-3b-talks-to-buy-majority-stake-in-leafs-empire?bn=1

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

LAST MONTH OF 2010

Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!

And now for December of 2010....

Monday, November 29, 2010

IRVIN KERSHNER DIES AT 87

More sad news. Film director Irvin Kershner has died. He is perhaps best known for directing the second (in production order) of the Star Wars movies -- the terrific, by any standard, The Empire Strikes Back.

If you want to know more about Irvin Kershner... watch or re-watch The Empire Strikes Back.


The news...
http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies/article/898332--empire-strikes-back-director-irvin-kershner-dies-at-87

Sunday, November 28, 2010

LESLIE NIELSON DIES AT 84

The news of Canadian-born actor Leslie Nielson's passing is sad for me. I remember him from forty years ago as he seemed to guest star in a lot of television programs that I watched... including a memorable role as a rancher in an episode of Hawaii Five-O.

Probably my favourite role of his is that of J.J. Adams, the no-nonsense commander of C-57D. (Nielson was brilliant in the 1980 movie Airplane; and in TV's Police Squad.)


The news...
http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies/article/898202--leslie-nielsen-of-naked-gun-fame-dies-at-age-84?bn=1

WIKI-LEAKS ROCKS

I love it when WikiLeaks releases special documents. There is cosmic justice in this world, sometimes...
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/897995--wikileaks-documents-reveal-sensitive-u-s-cables?bn=1

Apparently the WikiLeaks site is down today; "under attack". Sounds like there is panic in some quarters.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

IRWIN ALLEN COMPUTER

In my spare time I read up on the history of technology. It figures I would eventually come across this terrific video...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Dz2t5EV_NA

The short clip (1:18) is of an old U.S. Air Force computer -- ANSF-Q7 of Air Force SAGE Radar Systems, built by IBM -- that was bought as surplus by 20th Century Fox and used in producer Irwin Allen's television programs, such as Lost in Space, and The Time Tunnel (comprising part of the main set), and his later feature film The Towering Inferno.

Great little document. This video was done recently, just to show you that the contraption still exists. And it sure does; back in the summer I watched a few Lost episodes and there was the "Irwin Allen Computer".

Photo above: John Zaremba, Whit Bissell, and Lee Meriwether in The Time Tunnel (1966-1967, ABC)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

BACK ON MY LAPTOP

... If you'll pardon the expression.

I gave my laptop the clean bill of health. It is so nice to have 'er back; and hopefully I can squeeze in more postings before November ends.

* Just learned that this winter -- here in Toronto -- is supposed to be snowy and cold... different than last winter.

* Last week I finally saw director Ruba Nadda's flick, Cairo Time. Very good. A movie that actually stayed with me a little, afterwards.

* Had a coffee today, at a mom-and-pop shop, that tasted fabulous. Must have been the whiskey.

* I'm learning Adobe Premiere. I can see why the entire BBC switched over to that software.

* First Spaceship on Venus is a cool movie; even when the print is not only non-'scope', but non-'colour'! (Several members of the audience laughed when an opening title card proclaimed "in Technicolor".)

* A good friend of mine has two beautiful black cats; the kind with a shot of white chest hair. I asked him how the two beasties got along. "Wonderfully", or something to that effect, was the answer. Well, a few days later that all changed with a good old fashioned feline fistfight... complete with crashing chandelier. Is that what people mean when they say cats are unpredictable?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ANNEXED

Hello everyone. So sorry, but I've been trapped in the "Tholian Annex", as of late. Pardon the lack of postings; for those of you who check on a regular(ish) basis.

In all seriousness, my laptop has been down for the count since late October. Fixed it up last night. My 'old' desktop performs very well, but since I reconnected it to keep me still connected, I'm finding that posting on this blog is low priority. So much is happening in my life right now, and the world, so it is not for a lack of material that I have been deficient on these pages.

(This past week I have been giving myself a nightly [late nightly] Space: 1999 festival. I bought the entire solar system, I mean, series on DVD two years ago, but outside of screening one or two eps, the box has for the most part been sitting on my shelf. When I get back into regular planetary orbit, I will post my feelings on Space. Also: This week I knocked off the 2004 BBC, Jonathan Miller-hosted documentary mini-series, Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief. Very excellent; to be expected of Dr. Miller.)

Soon....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

DINO DE LAURENTIIS DIES

I've been having some computer problems the last couple of weeks. Would let the blog slide for the time being.

However, reading the news a few minutes ago of Italian motion picture mogul Dino De Laurentiis' passing was more than enough of an excuse to "sign in"...
http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/news/a287288/dino-de-laurentiis-dies-aged-91.html

What is odd is that I've been thinking of his infamous 1976 version of King Kong. Minutes before I read the news of De Laurentiis' passing I heard that Paramount's new Dune remake is in possible trouble (after French director Pierre Morel walked off the show). Of course, the producer backed the mega-budget 1984 big screen version... directed by an obviously insecure David Lynch.

A few weeks ago I watched Nights of Cabiria (which De Laurentiis produced in his native Italy). What a superb and moving film.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NO BATMAN IN 3-D

An open letter to film director Christopher Nolan...

Dear Mr. Nolan,

Thank you so much for nixing the idea of lensing the next Batman feature (The Dark Knight Rises, in case you do not know already) in the not-ready 3-D motion picture process.

Like many, I would make a point to avoid any theatres showing the movie in 3-D, if it were exhibited that way.

I support your stand, in principle.


Sincerely,

Barry F.
Smight


Toronto Star...
http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies/article/881891--director-of-batman-sequel-says-no-to-3-d

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ROB FORD IS AWESOME

Citizens of Toronto voted yesterday. Rob Ford is now grand mayor elect of the city of Toronto. The new big man in town.

So much is hoped of him, by some.

Good luck.

(For all you non Torontonians, the other front-runner was George Smitherman; a man mired in controversy.)

SUPERMAN LOOKS NEW

As a comic book reader of the 1960s/1970s, imagine my surprise when I read this morning that "The Man of Steel" has been re-imagined (a wee bit). Actually, I have not exactly been keeping up with Superman, so there may have been a few changes over the years and I would not have known even if I tripped over Lex Luthor. I do remember the "Death of Superman"... that was 1992 or 1993. Years ago. (I remember a young apprentice, who was working at my company back then, coming to work the day of the 'death' issue's release: He showed me the book, and the other copy that he was keeping in a plastic bag for investment purposes. Of course, everyone was doing that.)


New Look Superman...
http://marquee.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/25/superman-debuts-a-new-look/?hpt=Sbin

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

GOVERNMENT CUTS IN THE U.K.

No doubt you've heard the news about the planned huge government budget cuts in the U.K....
http://atdhe.net/watch-bbc-news.php

Fascinating. Social changes ready to swing into action.

It is going to be interesting to see how the average Brit reacts or "puts up" with the biggest cuts in over 30 years.

Other proposals or "adjustments" put forth, and ones involving the traditionally proud British military services...

* Ark Royal (an aircraft carrier) is to be sent to the breakers.
* The Nimrod (long-range surveillance aircraft) is to be cancelled.
* The Harrier "jump jet" is to be retired.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

FIRST SPACESHIP ON VENUS SCREENING

This coming Friday (October 22nd) at 'Innis Town Hall', here in Toronto, will be a rare screening of the 1960s science fiction opus First Spaceship on Venus. My own thanks goes to film-collector Dion Conflict.

I should mention that First Spaceship is actually the 1962 American release of the East German/Polish co-production Der Schweigende Stern. The original was a widescreen and stereo-sound, prestige picture; while the 'import' was trimmed, stuffed with stock background music cues, and, of course, dubbed into English. It's a grand-looking film but also one you buy or you don't. A word of warning for some: First Spaceship on Venus has a brain in its head, which is so nice to see. This might have something to do with the fact that the story was based on a novel, "The Astronauts", written by famed Polish SF author Stanislaw Lem. (As a note, Lem did not like the film drawn from his book -- as a matter of fact, he later down-played his novel since Lem wrote it when he was still a young and, according to him, naive man. Has to do with socialistic ideals. A later novel of Lem's was transcribed to motion picture by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky; its name, Solaris.)

The theatre is at 2 Sussex Place, Toronto (actually, you can enter off of St. George as the building is on the corner), and the start-time is 7pm...
http://cinssu.ca/





ARTWORK ON SPADINA AVENUE - TORONTO

Last Saturday I was walking up Spadina Avenue, east side, just south of Bloor, when I came across the sidewalk art below...



... I wonder what that refers to ;)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

TLC FOR TFC

Sorry to hear that fans of Toronto's football (soccer) club are feeling down.

I did not realize that MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment) felt compelled to raise ticket prices to the matches by almost double. That is BS.

Maple Leafs, anyone? Fans of that fabulous-loser-franchise continue to buy tickets for games. That is a big mistake. And do they really need a hockey puck with a Leafs logo on it? Or a jersey with the screened-on name of a player who really does not give an arena-rat's arse whether or not he plays well? After all, they are paid so much money that "it really doesn't matter".

Don't go to games, stay at home. That is the best way to signal MLSE.

Sorry to hear about the TFC issue. They are my favourite of the Toronto-based professional sports teams.


Story in the Toronto Star...
http://www.thestar.com/sports/soccer/mls/torontofc/article/876558--fans-falling-out-of-love-with-tfc

SUN TV WESTERN WEEKENDS

I've noticed that SunTV (channel 52 here in Toronto) has been playing old westerns on the weekends.

Today, right now as a matter of fact, is Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969), starring James Garner; yesterday was Hour of the Gun (1967), starring -- just look at this cast -- James Garner, Jason Robards, Robert Ryan, Albert Salmi, William Windom, Steve Ihnat, Austin Willis, Monte Markham; and this evening is The Way West (1967), starring Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum (my man!), Richard Widmark (my man!), and Michael Witney. Next Saturday is Young Billy Young (1969), starring, look at this cast, Robert Mitchum, Angie Dickinson, Robert Walker, David Carradine, and Jack Kelly.

A few weeks ago, SunTV played Son of a Gunfighter (1965), starring Russ Tamblyn!

For those of you who live in the Toronto ("T.O.") area, consult your local sheriff... I mean, listings.

THREE GUYS NAMED MIKE

I seek, I find. On the Internet Archive.

In the previous posting (BARBARA BILLINGSLEY LIVED TO 94) I mentioned that I have not seen the 1951 flick Three Guys Named Mike in over three decades. Well, here it is for viewing...
http://www.archive.org/details/ThreeGuysNamedMike1951

I'll be sure to check it out when I get a chance. Maybe late tonight... that'll give me time to find my DC-6 model.

BARBARA BILLINGSLEY LIVED TO 94

I awoke early this morning to the news that famous Leave it to Beaver mom Barbara Billingsley had died.

My three marker memories of Ms. Billingsley are...

1. Leave it to Beaver -- no surprise.
2. Airplane -- as the jive-talkin' passenger
3. Three Guys Named Mike -- a movie from 1951 that I first and last saw in 1974 on late-night television. BB played a flight attendent (or 'Stewardess' back then) instructor. I remember it being a fun flick.


Toronto Star...
http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/television/article/876525--leave-it-to-beaver-mom-barbara-billingsley-dies-at-94

Saturday, October 16, 2010

THEME FROM... MCHALE'S NAVY

I awoke, popped out of bed, and; a piece of music entered my brain, to cycle over the next few minutes. "It's the theme from McHale's Navy." Why this musical morsel from my childhood?

There's dependable PT-73 scooting along the water. Titles are superimposing over snippets of images that are suddenly rushing back to me: 'Tim Conway'; 'Ernest Borgnine'... McHale himself; and 'Joe Flynn'. Good ol' Joe Flynn.

I can't remember who wrote that blasted music. ('Frank Comstock'?) Suddenly, I start thinking of some other title theme music to help push out the one that will not go away. The Munsters. Jack Marshall penned that catchy tune.

No way am I going to Youtube to grab and embed the opening title section from the 1960s television series McHale's Navy. Talk about embedding...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MANY EYED BEAST 1955

Youtubing when I came across a clip for the 1950s Roger Corman-produced, David Kramarski-directed epic The Beast With a Million Eyes. Loved it in my childhood. Last time I saw the beast would have been late 1975 or early 1976.

It is time to hunt down the colander. There are some genuinely unsettling moments...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94taCuipmhI

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

HAWAII FIVE-OH YEAH

Watched the new Hawaii FIVE-O last night... well, most of it anyway. Stylistically it is very different from its predecessor, which is to be expected; times do change. And I'm sure Honolulu is not the city it was back in the 1960s and 70s.

The producers were smart to keep composer Morton Stevens' wonderful and iconic theme music intact. What is bad is the imagery that goes with it. Too much cutting. Way too much. Do editors get paid by the cut? What is missing? The original's dolly-in on the airliner's turbofan inlet.

IT TOOK HOW LONG?

Star Toronto Star reporter Katie Daubs needs to be shown how to read a map; and how to be a journalist.

In today's Star newspaper is an article by the Star reporter on how it would take her 2 hours and 10 minutes to commute from the intersection of Finch and Islington to her office at 1 Yonge Street. The real problem is this: I have been a professional TTC user for 2 and a half decades, and I can tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there is no way that journey should take over 2 hours. Of course, there are going to be the off days, but as a general rule... no way.

To make a long explanation short, that route should, on average, be done in about 100 minutes.

Here is the breakdown -- not the route chosen by the Star reporter: Finch bus from Islington to Finch TTC station (one can also walk down and grab the #96 Wilson "Express" bus, which takes you to Downsview station on the Spadina/University line), 45-55 minutes; Finch station to Union station, 35-40 minutes; walk to "1 Yonge Street", 10 minutes.

Again, I've taken all those routes and during rush hour. I have no stock or investments in the Toronto Transit Commission -- I'm just being factual. One has to be careful with the media; it's all about sensationalism, sometimes.

Journalist Katie Daubs took the Machiavellian route. Maybe she should stop eating so many muffins. All that fat clogs the brain.
http://www.thestar.com/yourcitymycity/article/873805--moving-forward-ttc-commute-takes-2-hours-10-minutes?bn=1#comments

Sunday, October 10, 2010

DEPRESSION IS REAL

I was reading an article just now and it reminded me of someone. We all have a friend or acquaintance who is in a slump -- it is noticeable when they are "not normally like that" but now there is an obvious difference. Some signs of what might be depression are: Constant anger and irritability, the inability to sleep, constant aches and pains, and so on.

Of course, some people live a lifetime battling clinical depression.

This is no laughing matter. We all feel gloomy from time to time; I do. Everybody does. If they say they don't, then they are lying. However, depression is something else.


Article...
http://www.besthealthmag.ca/embrace-life/mental-health/8-signs-you-might-be-suffering-from-depression

Friday, October 8, 2010

CYBORG 2087

I just finished doing dishes; actually, it was a matter of throwing out the BigMac and Large Fries cardboard containers.

Now that I got all that business out of the way, I can sit down and watch a movie I have not seen since high school -- we're talkin' 1980 or 81. Cyborg 2087 is still awaiting a nice -- as far as I know -- release on DVD.

It is now on Youtube, courtesy of someone with taste (so memory informs me).

Try the trailer first...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZaCH12KMTo




If that turned your crank, and you want to see the movie, here is 'part one' of Cyborg 2087...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qO5USD1Qfo&feature=related

Part One...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

One of my favourite artists of the last few decades is Jean-Michel Basquiat. He lived a too-brief life (1960-1988), but still managed to turn out a sizeable body of work.

I think what I like about Basquiat's art is that I connect with his style. Something resonates with me. There is a force of emotion in so much of what I see. Even a simple scribble is charged. Personality is everywhere. If you look closely, maybe you'll see a short life encoded as predetermined.

Basquiat died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. He was just getting going.

It has been said that one cannot really write about a piece of music. You can talk about tempo or the shape of a melody, but that is about all you can do. I don't know how many times I've read "crystal clear vocals" or "achingly sweet melody". With graphic arts, it is perhaps even more difficult to describe a given piece. "There's a lot of colour"; "it makes me happy... or sad"; "I don't get it".

Subjectivity is the most powerful component in interpreting any art form. Reviewers forget this; they try to determine success or failure by using a pseudo-mathematical formula. It does not work.

A new documentary film, directed by Tamra Davis, is opening today in Toronto at the new TIFF Bell Lightbox. The filmmaker was a friend of Basquiat's, which should give Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child an extra dimension.


Globe and Mail article...
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/the-rises-and-then-the-fall-of-jean-michel-basquiat/article1743980/

Globe and Mail review...
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/movies/jean-michel-basquiat-the-radiant-child-good-doc-shame-about-the-title/article1745531/

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

TROLLING FOR BAD MOVIES

This Thursday evening, the cult horror flick Troll 2, is being shown in Canada, coast-to-coast.*

Generally when we refer to movies as 'worst ever' we are speaking of ones that you can actually, more or less, sit through. (Needless to say, some people are going to reject these from the first frame of picture.)

Plan 9 From Outer Space, Robot Monster, The Oscar (although I actually like this one)... and some Oscar-winning films (!) are but a few examples of the form.

There is a filmmaker here in Toronto who makes short films that are so bad -- so atrociously inept on every level imaginable -- that I sometimes yearn for the time he gets a feature made. If this were to ever happen, my guess would be this: "Goodbye Troll 2. You have been replaced!"


* The story...
http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/movies/article/870659--troll-2-behind-the-awfulness

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

FOUND STANLEY KUBRICK FILM

We know Stanley Kubrick as the maker of classic films such as Paths of Glory and 2001: A Space Odyssey, but even his fans are rusty on the director's earliest works. One such work, Fear and Desire, has been all but lost. It was Kubrick's first dramatic feature film. I cannot comment as to whether or not the film is any good, or even contains those special touches, as I have not seen the effort. Part of the reason for this is that the man himself -- so legend says -- bought up every copy he could of Fear and Desire and burned them.

In Kubrick's defence, the film was shot silent ("M.O.S") and then during post-production a lot of work and money was expended to produce an audio track. This is not the best way to make a film as the actors have to return, after it has been all shot, and speak into the microphone while putting a voice over their moving lips. Without a "guide track", which Kubrick did not record while the scenes were being shot, it is that much more difficult for the actors to match their mouth action. On top of all that, they want to inject some kind of performance so it does not sound as though they are just reading their lines.

All in all, it probably was not a smart move on Kubrick's part to make his movie in such a fashion... but he was still learning the ropes.

I would like to finally see Fear and Desire, which might now be possible with the find of a print in a Puerto Rican film lab...
http://inmovies.ca/home/rare_kubrick_film_unearthed/1bc34dad

Thursday, September 30, 2010

LOOKING FOR A DALEK

Here are a couple of early Dalek designs as sketched by Raymond Cusick.




MAKE YOUR OWN DALEK

The Daleks are one of my favourite pieces of production design from any television series. Raymond Cusick was the designer since he was assigned to that story of Doctor Who by the BBC. (In the Beeb's drama department, a crewmember, such as Cusick, rotated between shows on a regular basis; one week they could be working on Z-Cars, and the next, plying their trade on something like Doctor Who.)

Back in the 1970s blue-prints and plans were published showing how to make your own Dalek.

In today's online edition of the Daily Telegraph is a story on Dalek-building...
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/doctor-who/8034951/DIY-Dalek-blueprints-from-1970s-published-online.html

PENN - CURTIS - MANTELL (NOW IN THE TWILIGHT ZONE)

Hollywood is dying: Film director Arthur Penn, actor Tony Curtis, and then character actor Joe Mantell. I really liked those guys. The respective movie match might read as Bonnie and Clyde, The Sweet Smell of Success, and Marty.

I remember the first time I became aware of Joe Mantell: He was in a standout Twilight Zone episode by the name of "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room".


"Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room"...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--uKFEVkbLs&feature=related

Part 1...


Part 2...


Part 3...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

NHL HOCKEY BACK ON TUBE ALREADY?

No, no, tell me it isn't so! Although just the preseason, NHL ice hockey action makes its return to the CBC tonight. I could not believe it when I saw the advert trumpeting the premiere of this new long-long season.

As much as I love ice hockey... give me a break! September to June?!

June?!

30 YEARS OF CONVERSATIONS

Glad I saw this listing: Tonight at 8pm, TVO (TVOntario) is playing a one hour retrospective show titled "30 Years of Conversations". For those of you in the Ontario television market, the title might be self explanatory. For over three decades now TVO has been running a Saturday night staple framework program by the name of Saturday Night At the Movies. Formerly hosted by unofficial film professor Elwy Yost, this long running film school in a box has featured many classic and more obscure movies in addition to interviews, through the "Conversations" segments, with a wide selection of people who have made and analysed these films. (Some names: Jimmy Stewart, Michael Anderson, Gene Kelly, Linwood Dunn, Tony Thomas, Donald Spoto, Betty Garrett, David Cronenberg, Kenneth More, and on and on...)

I understand that TVO donated a whack of these archived interviews to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences a few years ago. Those recordings are most valuable documents and historical records.

We in Ontario -- and upper New York State -- were blessed for years. (Of course, with the proliferation of satellite and cable, this uniqueness is more or less gone.)

If you get this 'message' in time, be sure to watch or TiVo (hey!) TVO tonight starting at 8pm.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ORIGINAL STARCRASH TRAILER

The power of Youtube. The original North American release trailer for Starcrash (1979) is here...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzfuNSpP0RA

Track in a John Barry score and somehow the quality of your movie goes up, or at the very least the proceedings feel more legit (witness the '76 King Kong).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

STARCRASH TO DVD AND BLU-RAY

A few weeks ago I was looking through my VHS collection in order to find something, anything. Once I saw that I had a dub (off a pre-record VHS rental) of 1979's super space epic Starcrash, the door flap on my VCR flew open.

Two hours later I was a little giddy. It had been years since I last saw the film -- when I made the dub. Bad? Really bad? Maybe yes on both counts, but that does not necessarily make Starcrash something to be avoided. Besides, it was released last week on DVD and Blu-ray. And not in a basic package. But one with lots of extras... extras worth checking out, unlike many of the kind packed with the latest Hollywood garbage movie oozing in pretention.

Fun movie.


A sales clip for the Starcrash DVD and Blu-ray...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcnApjSvqkI&feature=player_embedded

Sunday, September 19, 2010

GREATEST SHOW EVER - ON YOUTUBE

I did not realize that someone has uploaded a load of All in the Family episodes. Oh no.

Here is one of the earliest episodes...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml1FOWCM8b0&feature=related

Why is this series -- the greatest of all time -- as relevant as ever? Just think of the current "atmosphere" in the good ol' U.S. of A.

Part 1...


Part 2...


Part 3...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

3-D FIZZLES A LITTLE

This does not surprise me at all...
http://www.thestar.com/business/article/861531--hollywood-to-continuing-pushing-3-d-even-after-profit-lustre-fades

In standard fashion, news like this makes the Business pages first... someday will make the Entertainment pages.

Remember that any figure 'reported by Box Office Mojo' is not the amount of cash that is considered profit. If BOM reports 124 million, then about 50-55 million of that makes it back to the producers. (Less than 50%.) So it is worse than even the article is suggesting.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

TREKKIE SNACKING

My evil side made me look up some info on Trekkie clubs -- no intention of joining, sorry.

I went to one such site and saw the following, which was made all the more funny when the ol' mental imagery kicked in...

Refreshments (chips, chocolate bars, pop) are for sale at meetings at very reasonable prices.

***

Holy crap, I almost died.

A MAN'S ISLAND

A friend of mine is a big Lost fan. He has suggested, not unreasonably, that I should watch that series from head to tail. That one cannot properly enjoy the show without watching every scrap and trimming. Understood, although I am certainly not going to spend all those hours of my life watching a television show in a relatively compressed period of time. I told this friend that I heard this very same thing as a tiny tot back in the early 1970s when a local TV station started re-running the super-classic Gilligan's Island. "No, no... you must watch from the beginning in order to properly understand all the themes and subplots" is what a very dependable road-hockey-playing buddy of mine used to tell me over and over again.

Guess what. I held out. I jumped right in. I think the first episode I saw was the one where "they search for gold". It made no difference. Brilliance can be approached from any angle and any order.

My friend back in 1973 was right about one thing: The Gilligan's Island theme is great.


Note: CITS ("Crossroads Television System") here in the Toronto area is re-running Gilligan's Island, starting tonight at 7:30pm . It seems I will again revisit a certain "desert isle". And Lost will have to wait... perhaps to be lost at sea forever.

THE JONES'S

First, (the slight of mind) Sarah Palin ruined the name "Palin" and its immediate identifiability with comedy, albeit a different kind, and now we have the Reverend Terry Jones of the something-something church (in Florida) destroying "Terry Jones" simply by declaring that he will burn 200 copies of the Qur'an on September 11th.

Makes you want to be an atheist... if you are not already.

Monday, August 30, 2010

GLENN BECK AND COMPANY

I am watching Fox News. Not a big deal. Do not worry. I keep forgetting that I can watch it on my laptop... so can people who do not forget to watch Fox News.

Two minutes after I "tune in" The O'Reilly Factor comes on. Bill will have Glenn Beck on as a guest. Of course, that makes sense. The big rally happened in Washington on Saturday. Mr. O'Reilly introduces the segment by asking, 'how come Glenn Beck was able to attract so many people to the rally?'

Now Charles Krauthammer is on; he said something about the "Tea Party".

MCDONALDS MAKES MCROCKS

Now this is disgusting...
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/854355

Impenetrable, impervious, indigestible. McDonalds food "products".

ON A COMEDIENNE THEME

Speaking of actress/comediennes, what ever happened to Roseanne Barr? I admit that I used to watch her sitcom Roseanne, which ran from 1988 to 1997, although I did not go past the second season; and thought that she and the show were quite funny. And I hate sitcoms. Go figure. (In all I watched perhaps twenty episodes; which is a lot. Believe me!)

Was Barr thrown out of the U.S. for grabbing her crotch while signing the "Star Spangled Banner"? (That national anthem is bad, and easy to mock. Why the States has not adopted "God Bless America" as their song, I'll never know.)

Roseanne Barr was/is a funny lady.

POST BEDWETTER

Yesterday I finished reading actress/comedienne Sarah Silverman's autobiographical book "The Bedwetter". It was better than I was expecting it to be; and more revealing. While I had heard that the book garnered generally positive reviews I thought that this would be another classic case of me reading a book or seeing a movie and saying afterwards, "did I read (or see) something else?"

A nice, smooth, and interesting read.

One thing I have heard is that some readers have found the book to be 'lacking' and 'not funny enough'. To each their own, but I think the idea is that someone like Silverman is not always doing their stage persona... especially when writing a book. That would be pretty boring, I think.

Admittedly "The Bedwetter" could be considered brief, at some 240 pages. Some people want a 400 page rip-roaring tell-all tome. Everything. There was hardly any mention of Jimmy Kimmel. People want dirt -- I want emotional truth. And I think I got some from the talented lady, even if just a little bit.


(Caption for picture above: "In my book did I mention that I'm really cute?")

Saturday, August 28, 2010

RODDENBERRY AND IRWIN ALLEN

Further to my post below, the two lords of television SF/fantasy died just days apart: Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry died on October 24, 1991, and on November 2nd departed Irwin Allen (of Lost in Space, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea fame).


Wikipedia entry on Gene Roddenberry...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Roddenberry

And on Irwin Allen (pictured above)...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irwin_Allen

TORONTO TREKKIES MOURN RODDENBERRY

I'm becoming convinced that the Internet, certainly Youtube, is some sort of electronic Quiji board. You look for something but since the someone or something knows what you've been blogging about lately, you are sent to where you might want to go.

In this following video clip are some Toronto Trekkies from Stardate 1991. It was sad news indeed when Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry died, but these people seem to have been really affected...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgXwxCpjfM8




I was not going to post the above as I feel I do not want this to turn into, even if in spurts here and there, a Star Trek blog (as it has a Doctor Who * one at times) but I cannot resist a Trekkie theme.


(* Doctor Who is exempt.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

I AM A MEDIA WATCHDOG... I AM... I AM

And I must keep convincing myself of that, even during the Toronto Sun's shift over to being a right-wing mouthpiece -- right down to the 'letters' column...
http://www.torontosun.com/comment/letters/2010/08/26/15154531.html

Throwing coal into your own furnaces. That's what I call it.

Read the Sun now, if you dare, and you will see that any semblance of balance is all but totally gone. To the wind.

Quebecor, the owners of this 'newspaper', can do whatever it wants, but must appreciate why it has lost so many readers in recent years. With columnist Eric Margolis no longer with the roid-tabloid many readers have said that they now have no use for the Sun.

My quandary is this: Can I even be a news watchdog if I'm just reading what is expected?

The little dictionary beside me explains a 'watchdog' as this...

guard against undesirable practices: a person or organization guarding against illegal practices, unacceptable standards, or inefficiency.


My answer to my own question would be...

just let the Sun be the Sun. They're harmless.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

AND THEN DEPRESSION SET IN

Late this afternoon after getting some work done I decided that I wanted to sign up as a member on The Ugly Bug Ball -- http://www.theuglybugball.co.uk/ -- dating site (which I posted on two days ago). To make a long story short I was so disappointed. It looks as though the site exists no more. Nothing.

What is circulating on the Net, perhaps remainders of TUBB, is the following list. What do you think of these 5 points? Offensive? I write my own reactions immediately beneath each. Enjoy, them and me…

THE FIVE UGLY TRUTHS ABOUT DATING

1. “Half of UK daters aren’t pretty, so instead of fishing in a small pool of prettiness and getting nowhere, dive into an ocean of uglies and have more choice.”

(I have not been to the U.K. in a few years so I do not know what the balance is there right now. All I know is I scored great successes during my last trip. It‘s a good thing the Brits love their 'pints'.)

2. “Ugly people are a better calibre of human - pretty people generally aren’t very nice and are often a bit shallow.”

(While I understand the point is a generalization, we must be careful. Some of the nicest and warmest people I have met were also very nice to look at. As you are growing up your personality is influenced by how people treat you. Besides, the biggest, meanest, most rottenest person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing was my ex-mother-in-law. I wish I had a picture of her. Ahhh… for you I mean.)

3. “Ugly people have had a tougher life and therefore tend to be more considerate and more loyal. A recent TUBB survey also proved that they try harder in bed.”

(There is probably some truth to that first sentence. As for the last part… I’ve mostly encountered lethargy.)

4. “Once with an ugly partner it is unlikely that anyone will try and take them from you, meaning you can let yourself go completely once you’re together.”

(And I’ve been letting my belt out to the further-most holes. I have a confession to make: One time I “borrowed” my ex-sister-in-law. This gets complicated…)

5. “In these straightened times, TUBB is cheaper as a.) We don’t charge as much as the pretty sites and b.) Ugly people have lower expectations--for a first date a Family Bucket will usually do the trick."

(I have not compared prices… kind of difficult to do now. I find that some ‘ugly people’ [pardon me] have incredibly high expectations. These types set themselves up to fail every time. "Thwack!!!")


***

Okay, I’ve had my fun. Remember one thing: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” I used to tell that to my ex-father-in-law.

Monday, August 23, 2010

FORGET UGLY - HOW ABOUT SICK?

In regards to my previous posting (THE UGLY BUG BALL C/O UK) I see no concern for physical ugliness. It is just a superficial issue. Ugliness comes in all forms. Evil and sick people aplenty. Even in Coventry, England. To me, abusing a cat, or any animal, is punishable by...

There used to be a saying in the U.K., used by parents to threaten their kids in times of insubordination: "If you don't behave, you'll be sent to Coventry!" * (It might still be used, I don't know. )

Well, it seems some troubled kids were ultimately sent to Coventry... and now they are troubled adults...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMl6CsTDeHw




* During WW2 (on the 14th of November, 1940) the Luftwaffe bombed Coventry with great accuracy and concentration, causing large-scale destruction. Hence the expression denoted above.

I do not know what animal cruelty laws are like in Britain, but I hope they are progressive; and involve a hand phaser.

THE UGLY BUG BALL C/O UK

I admit, dear reader, to being a little shaken-up. Every two or three days a friend will send me an e-mail with a link attached; to something that they feel I might be interested in investigating.

When I arrived home this afternoon, I received not one, not two, but three e-mailed links -- for the exact same thing! Really?! Do I look as though I need to be made aware of a dating site dedicated to "ugly people"?

Thanks guys. And one girl.

I will sleep unevenly tonight.

Trust the Brits, they who developed and use the expression "as ugly as sin", to start a website for less attractive people. Not only that, but the site, in keeping with its theme, is ugly...
http://theuglybugball.co.uk/


(Picture above: At least my cat still loves me. I'm going to change his name from "Vermin" to "Always".)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

TERRY GILLIAM ON STAR WARS

I'm doing one of my spells right now. I'm watching a few Monty Python's Flying Circus DVDs. Went to the IMDb (Internet Movie Database) to read up on the boys. Came across this interesting quote from Terry Gilliam...

(on future use of CGI in his films) "Nooo! Leave that to George Lucas, he' s really mastered the CGI acting. That scares me! I hate it! Everybody is so pleased and excited by it. Animation is animation. Animation is great. But it's when you're now taking what should be films full of people, living thinking, breathing, flawed creatures and you're controlling every moment of that, it's just death to me. It's death to cinema, I can't watch those Star Wars films, they're dead things."


I have always had trouble summing up what I feel is so wrong about the Star Wars 'prequel' films. Gilliam has nailed the problem for me. Those films are "dead things" indeed.

Now I can move on.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

STAR TREK 365 BOOK

Here is a Star Trek (original series) bliss-out: A new horizontal format picture-based coffee table book dedicated to the famous show is set to be released on September 1st. Already it is listed on Amazon... I noticed that the list price is $29, and find that odd as the press release states that the beasty is 744 pages (and with dimensions of just over 6 x 9 inches). That tells me there is a misprint somewhere. Photo-heavy books tend to cost upwards of $50 or even a lot more.

As for text content there are episode by episode critical commentaries, interviews with cast members and production people, and behind-the-scenes information. Just the kind of things to help Trekkies... I mean, Trekkers, like me achieve critical orgasm.


First, the foreplay...
http://trekmovie.com/2010/04/15/trek-book-news-star-trek-365-cover-description-new-vanuard-tng-era-books-announced-for-2011/

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

BF SMIGHT TWEETS 3

Took a walk around downtown "T.O." (Toronto) today. It was so nice to be able to walk more than 20 feet and not turn into a moving shower. A cooler and less hot humid day is welcome relief.

BF SMIGHT TWEETS 2

In fact, we have York University students in this area also... even though there is a bit of a commute to get to school from here.

BF SMIGHT TWEETS

Just occurred to me that U of T (University of Toronto) students start filing back into the neighbourhood over the next two weeks.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

JD ROUETTE TWEETS

I have never bothered to follow a Twitter's tweets. To me, the whole idea of reading such scribblings is akin to reading the inside of a bathroom stall door. Besides I have more pressing concerns in there.

However, my attitude has changed a tiny bit with the premiere of JD Rouette's brand new (two day old) Twitter account...
www.twitter.com/jdrouette

Saturday, August 7, 2010

MIDDLE AGE BRAINS

If you are over 40 (ish) you may not want to read this article...
http://www.healthzone.ca/health/mindmood/article/845088--why-the-middle-aged-brain-can-be-a-potent-force?bn=1#comments

... Like Miles Monroe, it is my "second favourite organ". Although in my case it is second to the one on my living room floor.

"Brain, brain. What is brain?!"

Looks like I'm losing it...

Monday, August 2, 2010

DEATH COMES - JUNK MEET

Just finished watching my third ever episode of the limited CBC series Kids in the Hall: Death Comes To. (This is a repeat run... saw two stories back in its original airing.)

What a bad show -- as bad as that other CBC "comedy" series, Little Mosque on the Prairie. (And Death Comes is bad in a Little Mosque way. Both series do not play by their own ground rules.)

Hey. SunTV is playing Enter the Dragon right now. Tuned in as John Saxon met-up with Jim Kelly on a junk. Man, this straight guy thinks those two are amazing together on-screen...

... And here comes Keye Luke! Awesome. (Well, it's Keye Luke's voice.)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

FUNNY CLOSING LINE

Columnist Eric Margolis is now in his last or next-to-last week with that right wing rag, the Toronto Sun.

As regular readers of mine have noticed, I like the man's straight and to-the-point weekly filings. His style is necessarily dry. But, read this and focus on the last paragraph...
http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/eric_margolis/2010/07/30/14880351.html

... My day has been made already. Comedy takes many forms. The truth, in fact, can be very funny.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

3-D ALREADY ON WAY OUT (?)

As reported in CNN "Fortune", 3-D movies are already slipping.

I am not surprised. 3-D is simply not ready. The picture is mud.

A couple of people have told me that they found Avatar (and its image) to be "immersive". Never have I been so aware that I am watching an image on a screen... one which is dark, soft, and non-immersive. Not unlike a chain smoker wanting to pull out a fag in a non-smoking area, my hand kept going up to my conversion glasses to pull them off my face.

A few years ago I read that a lot of people walk around with less than adequate vision. These must be the ones who do not notice how crappy the 3-D image is.

At the risk of sounding like a Gerry Todd, you need 16 foot-lamberts to make good movie projection (in a theatre).


CNN report...
http://money.cnn.com/2010/07/27/technology/3D_technology_dying.fortune/

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ACTOR MAURY CHAYKIN DIES AT 61

Sad news this is. Canadian actor Maury Chaykin dies at the age of 61. I used to see him walking down Bloor Street here in Toronto. Not only was he larger than life on the big and small screen, but he was an imposing size in real life.

Chaykin was always dependable: One of those actors a producer could throw in their movie or television show and he would fit right in... whether the part was big or simply a turn to the camera.


Internet Movie Database (IMDb) listing for Maury Chaykin...
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001999/

Sunday, July 25, 2010

MARGOLIS LEAVING TORONTO SUN - QUEBECOR RULES

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I did my usual round of newspaper scanning this morning and found out that columnist Eric Margolis has been pushed from the pages of the Toronto Sun. Why? Simple really. He says too many things which upset a lot of people in power here in Canada.

One of my favourite stories related to Margolis is a certain letter-to-the-editor to the Toronto Sun (which now carries oodles of irony). It went something like this...

LETTER WRITER
Some readers hate Eric Margolis because he tells an informed truth and usually ends up being proven right.

EDITOR'S COMMENT
You are right.

***

This news watchdog has a duty to continue reading the Toronto Sun but, certainly, this makes that paper even more irrelevant than before. Besides, its readership has plummeted in the last few years.

Maybe Sun owner Quebecor thinks it can capture the 'ignorant market'.

"There's a whole untapped market out there! I want it on my desk in the morning!"


The news...
http://torontosunfamily.blogspot.com/2010/07/margolis-out.html

Saturday, July 24, 2010

PATHOS FOR LINDSAY LOHAN

How can anyone who considers theirself a human being not feel some pathos while reading this story?...
http://www.torontosun.com/entertainment/celebrities/2010/07/24/14813726.html

Or, as Joe Flaherty as a very inebriated Ward Cleaver once said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "maybe 90 days in the slammer ought to teach you a lesson!"

As a guy who very casually follows the cult of celebrity, I admit that even faux-celebrities, like L.L., think they are special and should be treated differently. (We know that they are, and more importantly, 'they' know that they are treated differently from the bulk of the population.)

And Mr. Conrad Black is henceforth sprung from his prison abode...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

RIDLEY SCOTT INTERVIEW

When you have 22 minutes free, check out this fascinating interview with film director Ridley Scott. I love hearing stories from artists as to how they got to where they are today. Scott talks of his art school training, his brief tenure in the States, to the BBC, then his break into commercials.

Directors with visual arts backgrounds: Alfred Hitchcock; Stanley Kubrick; James Cameron; Fritz Lang; and on and on...


The goods...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWj4Ac9wW6s&NR=1

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

THE HEAT - TORONTO HEAT

For those of you keeping score, yes, I have not posted a lot in the last few weeks. It's the heat. The life-sucking, pep-busting, heat.

Any energy I do have -- which is a bit -- has to go into constructive things. Like a U-boat waiting it out on the sea bed while a depth charge attack rains down from above, I'm conserving battery power. I tap the cracked temperature gauge (thermometer) with my finger and see that it is not working...

Monday, July 12, 2010

HARVEY PEKAR (1939 - 2010)

I just found out that comic book writer Harvey Pekar passed away today at the age of 70. Twenty minutes ago I was looking through my photo files and came across his picture.

Pekar was an interesting guy...
http://www.cbc.ca/arts/books/story/2010/07/12/obit-pekar-harvey.html?ref=rss

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

THE TWILIGHT ZONE TO BLU-RAY

The first season (or "series", as the British would say) of one of the greatest dramatic television programs of all time, The Twilight Zone, is coming to the Blu-ray format on September 14th.

Maybe some day I will get a Blu-ray player.

All I care about, really, is when My Mother the Car gets released to Blu-ray. It would probably look fantastic.

Here's to television brilliance (and look at those fantastic 'extras')...
http://tvshowsondvd.com/news/Twilight-Zone-Season-1-Press-Release/13986

Monday, July 5, 2010

WELCOME BACK PEVERE

After reading Toronto Star book columnist Geoff Pevere's review of the new book "The Warhol Gang", I noticed this welcome bit of intelligence...

"This is Geoff Pevere’s final appearance as books columnist. He continues as a Star entertainment writer."

Whether I agree with Mr. Pevere, film to film, or not is hardly important to me -- as did the late Pauline Kael, he always has something intelligent to say, and wraps it in an all-important cultural or societal context. In a world where many critics think film history is how much money Avatar made last weekend (and they often screw this fact up by not knowing the difference between "gross" and the more important and relevant "net"), an entertainment writer of Pevere's quality is all too rare... in Toronto, certainly.

Friday, July 2, 2010

WORLD CUP MAJOR UPSET

The Netherlands has just (one second ago) created their own strain of World Cup Major Upset by eliminating Brazil. (!)

The final: Netherlands 2, Brazil 1.

TOO MUCH MOVIES?

I just wrapped up reading the book "George Lucas Interviews". He is an interesting and smart man; plus he is well balanced. In one chapter, Starlog Magazine writer/editor Kerry O'Quinn asks Lucas about some people liking a movie too much, but also questions whether it is harmful to get "carried away" over movies. The Star Wars creator answers with this...

"No, not really. I think it might be harmful to let it become all-consuming in one's life, because there are a lot more important things in life than a movie. I think that if someone became completely consumed by it they would lose their sense of getting something accomplished in the real world. There is a danger there."

Not only do I agree, as someone who loves movies, but I find it sad when I see people like that. Besides, the days are long, sunny, and the scenery is wonderful... better than any movie could ever be.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

HAPPY CANADA DAY - 2010

Happy Canada Day!... again.

Why do these happen with such frequency?

Never enough, my love!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

JOHN LANDIS ON RAY HARRYHAUSEN

Personal stories about how we are introduced to the movies and who we end up really admiring (often those who are not very well known to the general public) are interesting to me.

Director John Landis wrote an article for The Guardian newspaper last week on his affinity for stop-motion animator, artist, and producer Ray Harryhausen (of classic films such as The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts). I feel very much the same way that Landis does about his subject.

The director is hosting a 90th birthday celebration for Harryhausen at the British Film Institute (BFI) in London this coming Saturday, June 26th...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/jun/17/ray-harryhausen-special-effects-john-landis

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

CAPTAIN KIRK'S QUIRKS

As evidenced from my last week of postings, I am a William Shatner fan. So how did I miss this article printed in the Globe and Mail last Wednesday?...
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/television/captain-kirk-reveals-his-demons/article1606130/

Back in 1995 I bought a book hot-off-the-presses titled "Captain Quirk". You may think that it sounds like a cheap put-down book but it actually is not. It reveals both Evil Shatner and Good Shatner. Most of us pop out the goatee from time to time, but most of us are not as recognized and known the world over as is the great starship captain.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

SUN TV NEWS PROMO

I'm all for new voices on television, but when you see something like this, you start to wonder exactly what is going to make it to air...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrTooDqY9pY

This video clip looks as though it was produced by some very small town's chamber of commerce (not that there is anything wrong with that), or by a low-end corporate video company. Maybe Quebecor got a really low and unbeatable quote.

This news-dog is looking forward to Sun TV News. I must keep an open mind -- hopefully they will not close it for me.


(Don't listen to Sun TV News' creators when they say that all Canadian television and other media is Left. That is absolute rubbish and is designed to make you think that they will be the lone representative of the other side.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

RONALD NEAME DIES AT 99

The British film talent Ronald Neame passed away on Wednesday, June 16th. Originally a cameraman, having shot the excellent and honest One of Our Aircraft is Missing, In Which We Serve (both 1942), This Happy Breed (1944), and Blithe Spirit (1945), the multi-talented man eased into directing, ultimately earning his place in popular film history by helming the 1972 blockbuster, The Poseidon Adventure. He also directed the outstanding The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1969), a film for which Maggie Smith won an Oscar.

In addition, Neame hammered the typewriter for pictures such as This Happy Breed, Blithe Spirit, Brief Encounter (1945), and Great Expectations (1946).

Explore the work of someone who was not only versatile but 'good versatile'.


Obit...
http://www.digitalspy.com/showbiz/news/a229530/director-ronald-neame-dies-aged-99.html

Wikipedia file on Neame...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Neame

British Film Institute interview from 2003...
http://www.bfi.org.uk/features/interviews/neame.html

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

KING KONG - SUPER 8 - 1978

Further to the post immediately below (STAR TREK - SUPER 8 - 1978), there are two more films by these young people... which I did not notice at first. They -- the "capcodshorts" -- also made their own version of King Kong...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTUFVsZtFNI&feature=related

Very good. While watching I kept thinking, "why is this so much more entertaining than a lot of the Hollywood garbage of million dollar budgets?"

They also did an Alien takeoff. Also entertaining.

I doubt these kids went on to movie careers. It just goes to show you that for every James Cameron who goes all the way, there are hundreds, if not thousands more, who make films as a hobby when they are young but ultimately go into "respectable careers". In the case of the young people in question, it is our loss if they took the latter route. Can you imagine what they would have done with money and further experience?


STAR TREK - SUPER 8 - 1978

Oh my lordy. Things run in a theme. I was on Youtube looking for Super-8 films and this came up as a hit...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tvd9B2iMmfc

It is a Super-8 Star Trek short film made by a bunch of kids in Cape Cod in 1978. I have not laughed like that in ages while watching a 'movie'. The kids staged a fight sequence and it is, as far as I'm concerned, worth the price of admission. The original series had professional stuntmen and it showed, even if they did not always look like the characters they were standing in for, but, needless to say, the kids here do "their own stunts", so the illusion is perfect... and hilarious!

They were talented little buggers. And they clearly understood the source material.

The audio was added a few years ago as were a few "opticals".

Great show.


(Another effective touch is the way they use music from "The Cage", "Amok Time", and "The Doomsday Machine".)

SHATNER ON SHATNER

Canadian pay TV station Movie Central will be producing a documentary on Space Captain William Shatner. The Captains will focus on the actor's rise to the bridge of the starship Enterprise.

The only odd thing about this project for some might be the news that Shatner is directing the film. Helming a documentary on yourself is kind of odd. I would not want to direct a film on my self. That would be too weird -- like the bizarre on top of the bizarre.

I admit I'm not William Shatner, however. And I have not had an Orion Slave Girl. It just might be worth a man's soul...


The captain...
http://www.torontosun.com/entertainment/tv/2010/06/16/14406851.html

Monday, June 14, 2010

WILLIAM SHATNER ON MIKE DOUGLAS (1969)

This is what happens when you go onto Youtube and key in 'mike douglas show'...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5lTlkWPsqo&feature=related

The date is February 25th, 1969. The guest is William Shatner and he had wrapped filming on Star Trek's third season just before this was taped.

First of all, Shatner was one good-looking guy. Second; he mentions being seen by 16 million people. That's right, back in the day when numbers like that barely kept you on the air -- as was the case especially for the more expensive shows. Nowadays, an audience figure like that makes you a big hit! Television schedules back in those days were packed more densely than Neutronium.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

GERMANY OVER AUSTRALIA (4 - 0)

The World Cup match between Germany and Australia ended about ten minutes ago: Rarely have I seen a team dominate to the degree that Germany did today. They scored quickly and never looked back. As the CBC's post game wrap-up crew kept reiterating, Germany looks to be a major force. "They are absolutely on fire."

I shan't miss a game.

BARRY'S NEW THREADS

I got a new stylist. As I've been on here for three years now, I decided it was time for a change. While I liked the old page very much with its 'media look', even this conservative designer decided to shake the template bag.

When I get more time I'll play with colour and perhaps move some of the furniture around the room.

USA TIES ENGLAND ON MISCUE

If you are a Brit, yesterday's World Cup football match between the USA and England was a heart breaker. The Anglo goalkeeper let a harmless shot get by him by crouching and trying to catch a rolling ball by pretending he was catching a baseball. You have to see it to believe it. I was sitting at home watching the game and as the moment in question played-out I muttered to myself, "he just let that ball get by him... "

A few World Cups ago a Brit friend of mine invited me over and played a VHS tape of a similar cock-up that team England had committed just days before. I had heard what happened in that critical match, so my friend played the tape again and again, giving me a "what if?" commentary each time. (I did not mock him, rather, I played a sympathy card, but it was obvious me mate was in some pain. When I revisited a few days later he again treated me to the big brain-buster.)

Being the proud football nation that they are, the British have a hard time letting stuff like this go. Already the media is having a field day (here in Canada, too)...
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/soccer/england-blunder-hands-us-tie/article1602160/

A MATTER OF PRIDE

In this week's Now Magazine is a four-colour supplement titled "Pride Guide 2010". Needless to say, I spent some time scrutinizing the welcome addition to my magazine rack.

What struck me about the abundant photos was that snaps of revelers (posing for the camera) from past Pride Days depict people who generally don't exactly fit the bill or stereotype of those who look as though they spend a lot of time in the gym -- lots of extra weight and handles for careful handling. Of course, the "dedicated" adverts show engaged men who are rather buff and toned; in addition to looking as though they cannot wait for the photographer to leave the room.

Back to my guide...


(Now I know why I get hit on all the time.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

KEVIN COSTNER'S OIL SPILL SOLUTION

A friend sent me this link a few minutes ago...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4eSqSu2hWk

Actor Kevin Costner invested 20 million dollars of his own money into a device which looks like it gets the job done -- that of cleaning up oil spills.

I really don't get the feeling that the major oil spill happening in the Gulf of Mexico right now is being treated as a major problem, which it clearly is. "Oh, let BP be responsible for capping the pipe and containing the oil." (The oil is forming "oil clouds" under water. This is so great.)


(As I told my friend who sent me the link, I guess I have not seen Kevin Costner in quite a while. To me he now looks like an executive from Citibank, or something.)

Friday, June 11, 2010

WORLD CUP ON CBC - WEBSITE

About forty minutes ago I felt some pangs of guilt as I popped on the tube to watch World Cup Soccer action on the CBC. South Africa and Mexico are playing. While I allowed my optical receptors to scan the television, I made sure my work was getting done on my laptop. (Laptop: The machine of everything.)

Then I remembered that the CBC has games streaming live on their site (http://www.cbc.ca/). By flipping the double-throw-switch, I made the big change-over to my laptop. Technology!

A lot less power consumption, too. Go South Africa!


(After turning on the television to watch the game I could not help but notice the constant and loud droning sound emanating from my speakers. The noise could be best described as sounding like a bunch of giant bees hovering over the football stadium. In fact they are "vuvuzelas".)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

FOX-LIKE NEWS CHANNEL IN CANADA?

Run like a Fox. Whatever.

Quebecor -- for you non-Canadians, a big and rich company -- is bidding to start a Fox News kind of station to promote the 'fair and balanced' right wing television perspective in our wonderful land.

Fine. I'm all for freedom of speech. What mixes up such a pure and noble idea is that the typical right-winger actually does not like freedom of speech -- hence their hatred of the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Show two sides to any given story and you are not fair and balanced. Show one side only, of course the right side, pushed with single-minded ferocity, and things are just hunky-dory.

Here's a toast to another possible station which I will not watch... I don't have cable.


The news from a real newspaper...
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebecor-eyes-fox-news-style-tv-for-canada/article1598301/

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS WIN STANLEY CUP

The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup tonight. I'm pretty happy. Not only did I want them to win tonight so they did not have to go back to Chicago for that deciding game seven but also because I did not want the NHL's 2009-2010 season to go on a minute longer. It was way too long; as it is every year.

As much as I love ice hockey, June is not the right time of year to be deciding who wins sport's most beautiful trophy.

FIFA World Cup Football starts Friday! Go Deutschland!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

G20 GO HOME!

At the very real risk of producing an editorial in the style of Earl Camembert, I have something important to say...

Toronto will be hosting the upcoming "G20" Summit and already things are ugly, including a security cost of over 1 billion dollars. (You read that right.) "Over one billion dollars." And sure to go up; way up.

The funny thing is, the G20 members are not welcome here in the Big Smoke. Not only that, but stories have come out that some leaders are inquiring about where they can catch some World Cup Football action. Well, I've got an answer for them: They can watch it at home!

Where's my garden hose?...

Monday, June 7, 2010

BALOK'S ALTER EGO FOR SALE

I missed this in yesterday's Toronto Star...
http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/television/article/819305--salem-making-a-bid-for-stardom

Props and costumes, many of them iconic, from various movies and television series are up for auction this coming Thursday to Saturday. Everything from Star Trek to The Sopranos is on the block. I bid 20 Quatloos on the Balok alter-ego-puppet from "The Corbomite Maneuver"...

CANADIAN NEWSPAPER ASSOCIATION

I am a newspaper reader. And I admit it. Also, I consider myself to be a media watchdog.

Part of the fun for me is knowing who the owners are of the various papers and predicting which way a given columnist will lean, politcally, based on who he or she answers to.

Toronto area residents will not find the following to be "news", but for those who are not, this is a breakdown: As a general rule, the National Post and the Toronto Sun are both very right wing -- in U.S. terms, more right-of-centre but the leaning is there. The Toronto Star is left for sure, with its focus on social policy and the plight of the poor (which is a good thing). The Globe and Mail is a mix. While it is by far and away my favourite of the Toronto dailies, it is typically conservative being 'the paper of business', and its editorial spewings are not often in synch with my own. But contrary to what a left-wing chum of mine said, the Globe and Mail does not ignore social concerns. Even I have been amazed at what appears in its pages. What I like is the Globe's level of writing... especially in regards to analysis.

The Canadian Newspaper Association (www.cna-acj.ca/en) publishes circulation and ownership data. Check out pages 14-18...
http://www.cna-acj.ca/en/system/files/2009CirculationDataReport_1.pdf

Saturday, June 5, 2010

GWYNNE DYER'S WAR

After my previous posting about writer Gywnne Dyer, I decided to bounce over to Youtube to see if anyone had uploaded any episodes of the 1983 Canadian television documentary miniseries, War.

Indeed...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCAOlDwCKiE&feature=related

The link is for the first episode, "The Road to Total War". I've noticed that a few other episodes are there... maybe the whole thing is viewable.

These are the episodes...

1. "The Road to Total War"
2. "Anybody's Son Will Do"
3. "The Profession of Arms"
4. "The Deadly Game of Nations"
5. "Keeping the Old Game Alive"
6. "Notes on Nuclear War"
7. "Goodbye War"
8. "The Knife Edge of Deterrence"


Brilliant series.

Friday, June 4, 2010

THRILLER OF DVD DETAILS

As I posted previously, the 1960s television series Thriller is coming out on DVD on August 31st. And it's a slam-bang of a home-video production containing not only the entire series (two years worth) but a whack of extras such as 29 separate episode audio commentaries, and select isolated music and effects tracks.


The details...
http://tvshowsondvd.com/news/Thriller-Complete-Series-Press-Release/13763