12 items from 2016
Did you know Donald Trump's successor on The Celebrity Apprentice was once one of the biggest box-office draws in the world? Trippy, right? Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger became famous for his unique style and his fluctuating dialect, but he was picked for stardom for another reason entirely: he was a rippling, bulging slab of primeval, otherworldly manhood. The man was a titan, casting a shadow as wide as it was high. His fresh, smiling face and booming Austrian lungs were the perfect extras, but Arnold was thrust into the limelight because of his physique.
It was his earliest, formative years in which we saw Arnold's greatest flexes, when he relied on his jaw-dropping size for impact. In 1990 he would dominate both science-fiction and family genres, but it was in the years preceding this that his chest was most greased, skin most tanned and muscles most inflated. So let's think back, relive the carnage, and appreciate the 'King of Kings' in all his glittering majesty.
Hercules In New York (1970)
Seven long years before he starred in a breakout bodybuilding documentary, Arnie's 22-inch arms were breaking onto small screens in Hercules In New York. In Schwarzenegger's first real acting role, his unease is palpable. His thick Austrian accent (dubbed over in the film's original release) hasn't a spot of charisma and his performance is comparable to that of a re-animated corpse.
Schwarzenegger is Hercules, a demi-god sent to Earth. On his trip, he does all the things an everyday tourist does in the Big Apple: finds love, begins a career, flees pursuers in a chariot and chokes out a (man in a) bear (suit). He also finds time to fight off group of six men, using only a ridiculously long plank of wood, and best an Olympic-quality team of athletes at various track and field events. The film may have had a budget tighter than Arnold's shirt, but there is scant excuse for the lack of dimension or invention.
We are treated to Arnold's first show of size when his date shows him a poster for an upcoming Hercules picture. Our travelling deity is offended, claiming the actor looks nothing like him. Doing what any rational demigod would do, he strips off his cream turtleneck, revealing his chiselled torso. His audience-of-one loses her mind as he begins posing, before she realises what an insanely ludicrous thing has occurred. It's only the hindsight novelty factor that keeps Hercules In New York relevant.
Pumping Iron (1977)
The most alpha of males, Arnold sashays through the documentary. Whilst some of his fellow competitors look like circus strongmen, Arnold is a walking sculpture, the perfect blend of symmetry and balance. Even starring alongside a real-life superhero, the Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno, he looks ginormous. The gap between his front teeth is the only chink in his man-made armour, but somehow he even turns that to his advantage.
The moment in which Schwarzenegger pops the loudest is in a moment of silence. As the documentary takes focus on the reigning champion, we are given a look behind the camera. A photo-shoot sets Arnold alight, as he poses and flexes in complete tranquillity. The only noise we are offered is that of the shutter, focusing our attention to the spectacle before us. In a film where some scenes feel uncomfortable to observe, at one point Arnold refers to Jesus as an inspiration for his legacy, this quiet moment of appreciation is a refreshing pause.
Conan The Barbarian (1982)
Refreshing pauses were seldom offered to us in the following years. Conan's story begins as 'a tale of sorrow', before the barely-dressed warrior embarks on a tale of revenge and retribution. Schwarzenegger's seductive ex-slave possesses superior sword skills, spinning, slashing and slaying a plethora of barbaric nasties.
At the film's most glorious, Conan and his collaborator take a stand against the villainous cavalry. With axe in hand and horns on head, Conan cleaves and slices. Though his weapon looks to be made out of foam and the enemies put up less effort than a pre-relegation Aston Villa, we are treated to a whirlwind of visual and verbal masculine aggression. What's more, we are given one of Arnold's earliest one-liners. In his first prayer, Conan asks his god to "grant me revenge, and if you do not listen, then to hell with you!" It's much better heard than read. This classic scene contained all the components that made his next breakout, muscle-bound feature such an enduring success.
The Terminator (1984)
It only took until 2029 for Arnold to hit the big time. James Cameron's "blazing, cinematic comic-book" (Variety's words) was the perfect vehicle for an emerging Schwarzenegger, as his role would rely on his frame rather than his command of the English language. The Terminator's unmoving grimace removes the need to portray emotion or reaction, but it is a skill few could pull off with such menace. Schwarzenegger is perfect casting: when he loses his eyebrows, he cuts the figure of a stone-cold killing machine.
The opening moments in the present day focus on a trash collector. Electric bolts awaken the workman from his boredom-induced coma, fizzing and zapping around him. They rally to a crescendo of light, producing a figure curled up in a foetal position. This figure is the T-800, a stark-naked Arnold; we see his arse before his face. He rises like the phoenix, striding into the light without a flicker of disorientation or embarrassment. We are slapped with a shady silhouette of his flapping member as he approaches a gang of ruffians, led by a young Bill Paxton, before he utters the now immortal phrase: "Your clothes: give them to me."
The T-800 swats one lackie away, before his jacked right arm lifts another overhead. This loiterer comes down without his heart, Cameron's camera hovering on Arnold's deep red, clutching hand. The T-800 is an instant threat, legitimately scary throughout, but it is in this brutal opening that he feels most deadly. It's not just Orwell who made 1984 special...
After playing a travelling god, a rugged caveman and a killer robot, Arnold was refreshed as a loving and devoted father. As John Martix, Schwarzenegger is a family man and a killing machine. These would come to represent the two sides of Schwarzenegger's coin: his films often worked best when the two went hand-in-hand. On screen he would mow down enemies with bullets and grenades, and later help his fictional daughter with her algebra homework. What a sweetheart.
And yet, in a film where hundreds of henchmen bite the dust, it is in his role as 'dedicated father' where he is the most impressive. Matrix had left his commando days behind, now taking care of his daughter, living a reclusive existence. Almost immediately, Schwarzenegger ripples; close-ups of his veined arms and chest are all too close, but remind the audience that Stallone is a boy scout in comparison. Arnold saunters toward the camera, carrying a huge tree on his shoulder like it’s a week's laundry. Schwarzenegger doesn't finish there. Not only does he handle the log like it's a twirling baton, he finishes the testosterone fest by turning it into kindling. A guy's got to keep that fire burning.
While Commando would eventually snowball into a cult classic, Schwarzenegger's following feature would prove the key to stardom. Even before Schwarzenegger stepped foot in the jungle, he met a fellow goliath. As Arnold's pumped-up mercenary Dutch is being briefed on his mission, a lone figure, sitting at a distant table, interjects. That figure is Apollo Cre… Carl Weathers; a man whose size and wit will match Schwarzenegger's all the way.
"Dillon!" Dutch gasps with childlike glee, before grounding his joy with the deprecating: "You son of a bitch." As Dutch and Dillon stride toward one another, their formidable forearms recoil before colliding into the most powerful handshake in cinematic history. The camera shifts focus from their gleaming smirks to the strained embrace. One second turns into five, the embrace morphing into competition, each man fighting in this mid-air arm wrestle. Five seconds turns to ten - the tension grows thick as Arnold toys with his rival. This contest lasts a full twenty seconds - twenty long, facial-hair-inducing seconds.
We may never recover from a scene that powerful.
The film soon hurtles into contact with the titular chameleon with barely chance to catch its breath. This lazer-toting, extra-terrestrial assassin is Arnold's ultimate nemesis, even down to the maniacal cackle. But, not even a foe this deadly could create a scene with the power of that handshake. Even in the film that popularised the full body mud-pack, the ass-kicking action and tension-mounting drama relies on the introduction Weathers and Schwarzenegger offer.
This theme would follow our Austrian actor. His greatest muscle-bound moments would come early, as an introduction, setting the tone and character in motion. As his career developed, Arnold proved he was much more than just unisex eye-candy, developing his aesthetic allure into real Hollywood charisma. Arnold would come to blossom in attracting a younger market, mixing action roles in Terminator 2 and Total Recall with Kindergarten Cop and Junior. Not only did Kindergarten Cop have no right to be as good as it is, but Arnold had no right to be so enjoyable to watch. His size became a point of contrast rather than one of awe, towering over others without menace but humour. He became his own character, a phenomenon for a reason beyond his look. He became the epitome of the American Dream, persevering and succeeding more than anyone thought he could. The ex-army tank driver would go on to ask in Junior, "Does my body disgust you?" and later become the Governor of California.
We've had some shallow fun, picking through Arnold's early years for his most outrageous muscle flexes. But it's worth remembering that Schwarzenegger's story is one of success through a lot of hard work and perseverence.
I'm just going to leave this here in case you feel motivated; I know I do...
With the debut today of the sixth episode of the excellent web series Star Trek Continues, Cinelinx looks at one of the most outstanding fan-fiction projects being produced today, as it reaches its third year. This show is not only a superb tribute to the original Star Trek, it’s a well-made and entertaining series in its own right.
Any fan of the original Star Trek TV series should enjoy this impressive follow-up, which continues the Five Year Mission of the USS Enterprise. It picks up after the last episode of the original show “Turnabout Intruder” (The final scene of which is recreated in a short video vignette that precedes the series) and chronicles the 4th year of Captain Kirk and his crew going where no man has gone before.
The creative minds behind Star Trek Continues have been putting out original episodes online since May of 2013. The latest release »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
Earlier this month, Wizard World brought their unique brand of star-studded fun to Minneapolis, and I had the great pleasure of speaking with both Barry Bostwick and Lou Ferrigno. Bostwick reflected on the cultural impact of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and revealed whether or not he’ll appear in Fox’s reboot, while Ferrigno talked about his gritty new action movie, Instant Death, and also discussed his love of Frankenstein.
You can read both interviews below, and be sure to check Wizard World’s official website to see what celebrities they’ll be bringing to a city near you:
Interview with Barry Bostwick:
Barry Bostwick: Well, he [Darren] was »
- Derek Anderson
Combining Sharknado, Sharknado 2: The Second One, and Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! – Sharknado: The Collection is a 3-disc boxset filled with shark-infested splatter-fest action! With the set due for release on May 2nd, here’s our review of all three Sharknado movies…
When a freak tornado swamps Los Angeles, thousands of man-eating sharks are sucked into the swirling vortex, terrorizing the waterlogged populace and flooding the city with shark-infested seawater. Surfer and bar-owner Fin (Ziering) sets out with his friends Baz (Simmons) and Nova (Scerbo) to rescue his estranged wife April (Reid) and teenage daughter Claudia from the sharks raining down from the skies. With nature’s deadliest killer ruling sea, land, and air, they soon realise that »
- Phil Wheat
[[tmz:video id="0_1s5p1u2s"]] Jason Momoa's raw strength is so breathtaking ... it even left former Mr. Universe Lou Ferrigno in awe. The 'Incredible Hulk' star tells us the regime of the former "Game of Thrones" star is especially impressive because of his size -- 6'4" 230 lbs. Pulling yourself up with 3 big plates attached to your waist ... amazing. A video posted by Jason Momoa (@prideofgypsies) on Apr 7, 2016 at 2:08am Pdt [[tmz:video id="0_t0jshvzq"]] Read more »
- TMZ Staff
Fresh off her recent turn in Creed, Tessa Thompson is jumping headfirst into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The actress who is most known for starring in Veronica Mars, has been cast as Thor’s new love interest in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok.
Will she dethrone Natalie Portman from Chris Hemsworth’s life? The only thing that’s for certain is that Ragnarok won’t be her only film in the McU. Thompson’s character in the film will be a kind of superhero.
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Source: Deadline »
- Jonathan Ricco
Having played the role of Dr. Jane Foster across both Thor and The Dark World – not to mention off-screen mentions in the Avengers – word of Portman exiting the Marvel Cinematic Universe is fairly surprising. Incidentally, Thompson and Portman will soon share the screen for Alex Garland’s adaptation of Annihilation.
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That said, when it comes to today’s casting news, sources close to production cite that Thompson has closed a deal to play a fellow superhero opposite Chris Hemsworth’s returning God of Thunder, one who may very well be in line to star in multiple movies beyond Ragnarok.
Production on Taika Waititi’s sci-fi threequel is due to get underway in July of this year, »
- Michael Briers
According to Deadline, Tessa Thompson (Creed, Selma, Annihilation) has joined the cast of Thor: Ragnarok in an undisclosed, but very interesting sounding role. The trade reckons her character will be Chris Hemsworth's new love interest (unlucky, Jane), and will also be "a kind of superhero that will appear in other Marvel films as well." Could this be Valkyrie, perhaps? That would gel with the "kind of superhero" description, but how likely is it that the character would be utilized for other movies? Le us know who you think Thompson will be playing in the usual place. Thor: Ragnarok is being directed by Taika Waititi and also stars Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Jamie Alexander, Mark Ruffalo and Lou Ferrigno. The movie is set to hit theatres on November 3rd, 2017. »
Pop culture comes to life in St. Louis this weeekend! It’s the Wizard World Comic Con April 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at America’s Center downtown (701 Convention Plaza – St. Louis, Mo 63101), and boy oh boy, do they have an amazing line-up of guests!
Wizard World Comic Con events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop-fi, pop culture, movies, graphic novels, cosplay, comics, television, sci-fi, toys, video gaming, gaming, original art, collectibles, contests and more. St. Louis show hours are Friday, April 1st, 3-8 p.m.; Saturday, April 2nd, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday, April 3rd, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wizard World Comic Con St. Louis is also the place for cosplay, with fans young and old showing off their best costumes throughout the event. Fans dressed as every imaginable character – and some never before dreamed – will roam the convention floor »
- Tom Stockman
50 years ago, a mysterious black box falls to earth from space. A woman wakes up in the middle of the night and sneaks out of her bedroom so as not to wake her sleeping husband, stealing a black box from the bedside table. Her lover waits outside and as the two are about to take off into the night, they are discovered by the husband, who they promptly shoot and kill. The husband is the first of many victims to come as a result of the greed and corruption the black box will bring to anyone who claims it.
Starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules), Jason London (Dazed and Confused) and Tinsel Korey (Twilight), Avarice is out now on DVD from new UK distributor Cockerel Entertainment – buy it here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Avarice-DVD-Kevin-Sorbo – and we have Five copies to giveaway!
To win a copy of Avarice on DVD, just »
- Phil Wheat
Donald Trump may not have many endorsements from professional politicians, but celebrities are starting to come out for the former host of “Celebrity Apprentice.” The Donald’s list of celebrity supporters is nowhere as star-spangled as the ones for Democratic rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Still, it’s pretty good for a Republican, given Hollywood’s liberal leanings. Hollywood stars for Donald Trump include Hulk Hogan, actual Hulk Lou Ferrigno, Kid Rock, Azalea Banks, Ann Coulter, Gary Busey, Dennis Rodman, Willie Robertson, and even his ex-wife, Ivana. TheWrap has assembled a master list of who in Hollywood supports which candidates based on public statements, »
- Itay Hod
“Listen, he’s an interesting, very successful man. He’s very smart,” Bruckheimer told Variety at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., where he was on hand to support his upcoming Fox series “Lucifer,” which premieres Jan. 25. He added, “The American people will decide who they want to support.”
Asked about his thoughts on the current state of the race, Bruckheimer said, “I think it’s very interesting. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out in the next two to three months and we’ll see where the candidates will be on both sides. It’s heating up with Democrats and Republicans.”
Though he confirmed he supports Bush with a simple “yes” and shared kind words about Trump, »
- Elizabeth Wagmeister
12 items from 2016
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