Thursday, June 24, 2010


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...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


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?...

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


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...

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


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'.


Wikipedia file on Neame...

British Film Institute interview from 2003...

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...

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...

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".)


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...

Monday, June 14, 2010


This is what happens when you go onto Youtube and key in 'mike douglas show'...

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


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.


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.


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)...


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


A friend sent me this link a few minutes ago...

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


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 ( 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


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...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


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


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


I missed this in yesterday's Toronto Star...

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"...


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 ( publishes circulation and ownership data. Check out pages 14-18...

Saturday, June 5, 2010


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.


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


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...


Canadian historian/writer Gwynne Dyer is one of the sharpest observers out there. His early 80s television mini-series (and companion book) War is still one of the finest treatments I have ever seen on the curious human phenomenon of warfare.

So it is no surprise that Dyer just nails it, as far as I'm concerned, with his view on the Israeli military's botched operation on the Gaza-bound 'relief' flotilla a few days ago. And one executed in International Waters, no less!

The column from Dyer...

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I have no use for "torture porn", even if I do claim that I will watch just about anything. Films of this strata are just mean spirited. Flagrant in their attempt at horror.

Imagine my reaction when early this morning I visited the Internet Movie Database ( and saw some blurb on the main page about a movie entitled, The Human Centipede (First Sequence). Click...

Even though I knew better, I thought that perhaps the movie was a joke. After all, read the description and you might be tempted to whisper, "you gotta be f*****g kidding me".

Dutch director Tom Six is the mastermind behind this one. Maybe he's 'beeping' with our minds. Apparently, the film's story sprouted into being after an off-handed joke. Was the joke taken too far? My more thoughtful reply might be that this is the kind of thing that TV's Southpark boys have been doing for quite a while, but as they wrap the material in the unmistakable cloak of over-the-top comedy, they get away with the joke. A lot of people complain but there are those who shout, "brilliant!"

Besides, I find the little-bugger centipedes a lot more objectionable than some movie.

The Villiage Voice's film reviewer Karina Longworth on The Human Centipede (First Sequence)...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


The Chicago Blackhawks lead the best-of-seven Stanley Cup final round by two games to the Philadelphia Flyers' zero.

The first game was a defensive mess with 11 goals scored in total. The second game was tighter and slicker with Chicago winning 2-1.

Tonight is game 3 -- it's in Philly.