7 items from 2009
Before I read that James Cameron was born 55 years ago in Kapuskasing, Ontario, the only thing I knew about the town was that when, during their 1951 tour of Canada, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip stopped there for an hour, they were greeted by a banner headline in the local paper reading "Kapuskasing by no mere fluke, welcomes the Princess and the Duke".
He got his first film job in 1980 as art director on Roger Corman's low-budget Sf film Battle Beyond the Stars, a transposition to outer space of The Magnificent Seven. It was scripted by John Sayles, who was to remain an independent film-maker of personal, modestly financed movies, while Cameron was soon to make exponentially expensive blockbusters.
His seventh feature, Titanic, is »
- Philip French
This week we can immerse ourselves in tales of American sentiment, French fantasy, English history, Italian romance and alien invasion.
After more than a decade on hiatus, James Cameron returns from his days as "King of the World" with a mind on conquering a few new ones in this sci-fi epic that the director maintains will alter the face of moviemaking forever. (Early reviews seem to agree.) A galaxy away from Cameron's days as a miniature maker on Roger Corman's "Battle Beyond the Stars," "Avatar" blends performance capture technology with real world photography to create Pandora, where a troubled U.S. marine (Sam Worthington) is tasked with infiltrating the Na'vi, a tribe of primitive but proud aliens, via a genetically created body, though he finds his loyalties torn when he falls in love with one of their own (Zoe Saldana). The film's reported $300 million price tag is surely »
- Neil Pedley
Roger Corman's output through the years may not be immediately familiar, but he's been a wide conduit for emerging talent and raw creativity. That's why he's finally been given an Oscar
"Ok, so, November 14th 2009, Roger Corman receives an Oscar. People … what took you so long?" The words of Jonathan Demme in his speech before handing over the statuette to Corman on that fateful evening.
Don't worry, you've not missed the Oscar ceremony (something surprisingly easy to do since Sky swiped the TV rights). This was the inaugural Governors awards, part of the new-look Academy that will see the number of nominees greatly expanded come March, where the board issue honorary Oscars to deserving talents who they missed out or ignored over the years. It's a shame this was such a sidelined event as we were denied the opportunity to see Hollywood's brightest and best politely clapping at a »
- Phelim O'Neill
Editor's Note: We hope you enjoy this new Friday afternoon column, Junkfood Cinema, by Brian Salisbury. It celebrates movies that are so bad, even though they are also sometimes so good. For more (coming each and every Friday), stay tuned to the Junkfood Cinema Archive. Also, please feel free to let us know what you think of this new weekly feature in the comment section below. Battle Beyond the Stars Directed by: Jimmy T. Murakami Written by: John Sayles & Anne Dyer Produced by: Roger Corman, Ed Carlin, & Mary Ann Fisher Starring: George Peppard, Robert Vaughn, John Saxon, and Richard Thomas For this second helping of Junkfood Cinema I will gorge myself on Battle Beyond the Stars. Operating a bad movie column, it was merely a matter of time before I snacked on something from the Roger Corman. He is the sultan of schlock and a genius in the art of box office manipulation. If »
- Brian Salisbury
What can I say about Sybil Danning that would be a surprise to anyone? Gorgeous, talented, fun to watch. In whatever project she appears, Danning is always completely committed. Watching her as I have over the years, I see not only chops, but a healthy sense of humor as well. I feel like she “gets it,” if that makes any sense. (And after this interview, I’m even more of a fan.) Courtesy of friend Fred Olen Ray, Danning joins all the vampire fun on The Lair in this third season.
Sean Abley: We’ve actually met very briefly—I moderated the Lair panel for the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in La months ago. I was incredibly intimidated by meeting you. You’re Sybil Danning! But you turned out to be very sweet, and even asked me if it went Ok afterwards. You’ve now worked with my friend Dylan Vox twice, »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Sean Abley)
Los Angeles – Roger Corman, memorably dubbed "the Orson Welles of the Z-Movie" and "the Pope of Pop Cinema," never expected the words "Academy Award recipient" would accompany his name.The man, whose 350 movie credits include such low-budget fare as "The Masque of the Red Death" and "X: The Man With the X-Ray Eyes," is receiving an honorary Oscar for a lifetime of achievement that includes mentoring such filmmakers as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron and Ron Howard.Corman, 83, said he was aware the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was considering him for the honor. He felt certain he would not make the cut, though."I predicted that I would not win because I make low-budget films, and I felt the academy would not give an award to someone who made low-budget films. I was truly surprised when I got the call, »
Despite all the attempts at a comeback, the western genre will never be as popular as it was half a century ago. But could the genre appeal more to 21st century moviegoers by being set in some post-apocalyptic future rather than the dusty, tumbleweed-ridden past? It's an idea that's been thought of before, and now it's being thought of again by many in Hollywood.
In a way, the upcoming adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" is like a western, and January's "The Book of Eli" is even moreso. Now Variety reports of another near-future western called "Gunslinger." Josh Hartnett will star as one of two brothers seeking revenge on a gang that killed their parents. French filmmaker Chris Nahon ("Blood: The Last Vampire") will be at the helm when "Gunslinger" shoots in Canada next year.
Let's just forget the fact they need to re-title the film, as it falls »
- Christopher Campbell
7 items from 2009
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