Zack Snyder and Superman?

How do we feel about this?  I think the man, while most certainly visionary, overtly fetishizes violence.  Im concerned that his propensity for violence over story and substance might result in a shallow re-interpretation.  However, is it possible that Nolan’s guiding hand can direct Snyder’s effort in a more positive and approachable direction?  Lets discuss.

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The Walking Dead

Anyone watch this?  I watched Frank Darabont’s The Mist for the first time a few weeks ago, and it blew me away.  Seeing him continue with more dark-edged horror–on a weekly basis, at that–is pretty exciting, I think.

The pilot had numerous interesting moments, but I’m not exactly sure how it’ll hang together as a series.  But for atmosphere alone, it’s incredible.  Plus, Breaking Bad and Mad Men have instilled a lot of faith in AMC’s original programming (not so much their Prisoner remake, however), so I have some faith this will turn out well.

posted by D. B. Bates in Uncategorized and have Comment (1)

Criterion Collection Sale

I’d love for my first blog post here to be something of substance, but instead, I cannot help but point you, dear reader, to this sale.  Great gifts for your film buff friends and family members (or just buy the awesome Blu-ray of The Thin Red Line for yourself).
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Why Cannon?

I don’t think it will surprise anyone to know I’ve been asked, more than once, why Matt and I have elected to dedicated a column to reviewing every single Cannon Group release we can get our hands on (many of their films are now out-of-print, but thanks to the magic of Facets and similar resources, we can still get plenty of them to review).

I don’t know about Matt, but here’s my answer: About a year before we started the site, I stumbled on an old VHS copy of Masters of the Universe, taped off HBO.  Wanting to take a trip down Memory Lane (which, for me, sort of resembles The Road), I popped it in the only VCR I own that still works, spent 20 minutes adjusting the tracking, and then I was on my way!

After it ended, I was surprised by how goofy and charming it still was.  It certainly bares little resemblance to the He-Man cartoons I was obsessed with, but it’s still remarkably entertaining, and the special effects look decent considering the low budget and the usually shoddy production values found in Cannon films.  I started Googling about the making of the film and discovered a seamy underbelly that I never knew existed.  Among other things, Cannon had spent a ton of money buying up Marvel properties, and they intended to make a Spider-Man movie using the profits they expected from Masters of the Universe.  They had a script, built sets (some of which are featured in Masters of the Universe), cast their Peter Parker, scheduled and budgeted the film…

…and then Masters of the Universe, the most expensive Cannon production to date (more expensive, even, than Superman IV: The Quest for Peace), flopped.  The money for Spider-Man disappeared along with it, and within five years, Cannon itself dissolved.  Golan and Globus went their separate ways, and an era ended.

Maybe I’m alone, but I find stories like this fascinating.  I also find it fascinating that a notoriously thrifty production company could lure the likes of Sylvester Stallone (one of the biggest stars in Hollywood when he worked with them on two films, Cobra and Over the Top–that’s right, the trucking/arm-wrestling classic), Christopher Reeve, Norman Mailer, Franco Zeffirelli, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Roman Polanski, Jean-Luc Godard, and Charles Bukowski to work with them.  I had to learn more, but these days Cannon stories are as sparse as reviews of their films.

There’s the legendary story of Barbet Schroeder, director of Barfly, showing up at Cannon’s offices, threatening to cut his thumbs off with a Black & Decker saw because he had heard they couldn’t fund his film.  There are all sorts of stories about Superman IV and Cannon’s quest to become comic-book movie titans a decade before Hollywood decided every movie ever made needed to have comic-book source material.

I want to know more, but the only way to get there is to look at the films themselves.  Once we’re experts in the oeuvre, perhaps I can start work on the ultimate goal: a chronicle of Cannon’s history, from The Apple to Street Knight.

Beyond the long-term goal of a Cannon book, I genuinely enjoy watching the movies.  They’re not all good, but they’re all either entertaining or insane enough to hold my interest.

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National Novel-Writing Month

http://www.nanowrimo.org/

I’m devoting so much time to the site that I’m not sure I’ll have the time to actually do this, but I’m going to give it a try.  I’d urge any fiction writers out there to do the same.  If you’re like me, you need deadlines and competition to motivate you to get things done.

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