18 items from 2016
Many know Michael Biehn from his iconic roles in James Cameron’s Aliens, The Terminator, and The Abyss, but in recent years he and his wife and business partner Jennifer Blanc-Biehn have been a tremendous force on the indie scene with their production company, Blanc-Biehn Productions, which provides a platform for indie filmmakers—including themselves—to tell new stories and interact with their dedicated fan base.
Michael and Jennifer were recently at San Diego Comic-Con to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Aliens, and I had a chance to sit down with the duo to discuss their grassroots approach to indie filmmaking, Michael’s desire to play Hicks once again in a new Alien movie, and much more.
Jennifer talked about the key to being a grassroots production company by interacting with fans and getting involved with talented actors, writers, and female filmmakers.
Jennifer Blanc-Biehn: There are a lot of people like this. »
- Jonathan James
It is, I think, essential that a film-centered publication doesn’t throw its hat into the too-large, shriek-filled tunnel that is American electorate discourse, so I’ll tread lightly when posting this new short by James Cameron — one that concerns climate change, premiered at the Democratic National Convention last night, and attacks a major party’s candidate while exalting the efforts of another. But we’re just here for the cinema! (Maybe.)
Anyway, it’s nice to see something from Cameron, even if that something is only a few minutes long and in large part consists of pre-existing footage. (Call this the “Avatar Effect.”) While one might think Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sigourney Weaver‘s participation are about the only thing that give this an auteurist stamp, consider the relationship of this short’s apocalyptic visions with the likes of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, The Abyss, and Titanic… or, well, don’t, »
- Nick Newman
The Democratic National Convention continued last night with more high-profile speeches from Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine, current Vice President Joe Biden, and the President of the United States Barack Obama. However, it also featured a short film from one of the most prominent directors working today, and it was introduced by an iconic leading lady.
Actress Sigourney Weaver, who played protagonist Ripley in James Cameron’s “Aliens,” his beloved sequel to “Alien,” introduced a short film directed by Cameron about climate change entitled “Not Reality TV.” Narrated by Weaver, the film demonstrates the catastrophic effect global warming has on the country and attacked Republican nominee Donald Trump for his vicious denial of climate change.”As an American,” Weaver says in her introduction. “I am also deeply concerned about my family’s future, about our shared future as a nation. »
- Vikram Murthi
In this episode of Off The Shelf, Ryan and Brian take a look at the new DVD and Blu-ray releases for the weeks of, July 19th and 26th 2016.
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News Lost in Space Tweets The Abyss coming in 2017 at last, plus Aliens: 30th, Star Trek Beyond, Steven King’s It, new Scream & more! Raising Cain Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Detailed Sid & Nancy 30th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray The Man Called Noon Blu-ray Criterion: McCabe & Mrs. Miller Blu-ray Delayed James Cameron: The Abyss Remastered in 4K, Coming to Blu-ray in 2017 Scream Factory: 13 New Titles Prepped for Blu-ray Shout Factory: To Live and Die in L.A. Special Edition Blu-ray Coming Up Upcoming Code Red Blu-ray Releases The Laughing Policeman Blu-ray Detailed An American Werewolf in London 35th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition The Wolf Man: Complete Legacy Blu-ray Collection Frankenstein: Complete Legacy Blu-ray Collection Scream Factory: »
- Ryan Gallagher
Michael Biehn is a legend to 80s and 90s kids like myself. Aliens, The Terminator, The Abyss, Tombstone, The Rock. I get to meet a lot of cool actors and actresses doing this gig, but it's not often you meet one who held such an integral role in your childhood; I can't tell you how many times I've heard Kyle Reese say, "Come with me if you want to live!" or Dwayne Hicks mutter, "Stay... Read More »
- Eric Walkuski
Out talking up the 30th anniversary DVD/Blu-ray release of "Aliens" at Comic-Con on Saturday, filmmaker James Cameron spoke with Variety about his other upcoming projects and finally discussed the long awaited release of one of his old films.
First up, Cameron explained his decision to do three sequels to 2009's "Avatar". Seems it's matter of conveying the proper scope of the story:
"The 'Avatar' story arc was originally meant to be a trilogy, but I overwrite, and my writers overwrote as well. Basically the first of the sequels cloned itself and became two films, so now it's four films. And the studio's very happy with it. They have an opportunity to make more money, but it's also an opportunity to spend a lot more money, too, so there's a clench factor."
The hope is he can drop the films a year apart, but he's presently unsure if that will be possible. »
- Garth Franklin
San Diego — While promoting the 30th anniversary DVD/Blu-ray release of “Aliens” at Comic-Con Saturday, director James Cameron explained why his “Avatar” series needs the scope of the three sequels he announced at Cinema-Con in April. He also finally dropped details on a Blu-ray release of his 1989 sci-fi film “The Abyss.”
“The ‘Avatar’ story arc was originally meant to be a trilogy, but I overwrite, and my writers overwrote as well,” Cameron told Variety in an interview. “But basically the first of the sequels cloned itself and became two films, so now it’s four films. And the studio’s very happy with it. They have an opportunity to make more money, but it’s also an opportunity to spend a lot more money, too, so there’s a clench factor.”
The aim, he said, is to orchestrate production in such a way that he can drop the films a year apart. »
- Kristopher Tapley
The first sequel to the film “Alien,” stars Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, the sole survivor of the attack on the Nostromo, as she returns to the planet where her crew encountered the Alien, only this time with a crew of space marines. Naturally, everything goes wrong, and it’s up to Ripley to stop another attack from killing her and a traumatized young girl named Newt (Carrie Henn).
Now, the film’s cast are celebrating the anniversary with a panel at this year’s Comic-Con, with a live stream Q&A featuring questions from audience members and the Internet. The people participating include James Cameron, producer Gale Anne Hurd, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Paul Reiser, »
- Vikram Murthi
*Spoilers for the Terminator franchise
There was a time, if you remember, when James Cameron wasn’t weirdly obsessed with those funny blue aliens over on Pandora. Back in the early ’90s, when Tarantino was paving his way into Hollywood and Spielberg was bringing dinosaurs back to life, Cameron was busy cranking out ready-made classics like True Lies, The Abyss (okay, it was ’89) and, most notably, a sequel to his time-travelling actioner The Terminator (he also made in that decade some movie about a big ship that sinks but I forget the name). These days, a glance at Cameron’s IMDb page sadly yields little more than an endless list of Avatar sequels.
In total its four sequels to a film which arguably doesn’t need one, none of which he’s even begun shooting yet. This will fill »
- Edward Gardiner
Terminator 2 Turns 25
It’s been twenty-five years since Terminator 2: Judgement Day descended on Us audiences. James Cameron pulled an Aliens and again managed to create a sequel that surpassed the original by switching the plot around on its head.
In The Terminator Sarah Connor, played by Linda Hamilton, was hunted down by a killer cyborg, played of course by Arnold Schwarzengger. The second time around the villain became the hero and Arnie was in charge of Sarah’s young son John Connor and had to prevent him being murdered by Robert Patrick‘s liquid-metal T-1000.
It’s a movie whose legacy continues, and we don’t mean those terrible follow-ups. The film was a landmark in special effects, story-telling, summer blockbusters and sequels. To celebrate a quarter of a century with time-travelling terminators turned saviour, here’s a list of facts that you might not know:
Terminator 2 Turns 25
1. In »
- Kat Hughes
On April 26th, 20th Century Fox and Alamo Drafthouse will screen Alien and Aliens in theaters across the country (buy tickets here), and in advance of that date -- recently dubbed "Alien Day" by the powers-that-be -- I hopped on the phone with Aliens star Jenette Goldstein, who played hardened marine Private Jenette Vasquez in James Cameron's explosive 1986 sequel. Thanks to Cameron's script and direction, the character challenged every long-held notion of what a woman could be in an action film; Vasquez was brawny, deep-voiced and completely unapologetic about her unconventional manner and appearance. In that vein, Goldstein -- who in conversation is distinctly unlike the tough-talking soldier she played -- offered one particularly apropos anecdote from the film's extensive production period. "I had psoriasis, and I had this big outbreak on my knee that looked like I had fallen off a motorcycle," she told me. "Like, red on my legs. »
- Chris Eggertsen
James Cameron just won’t let this go, will he? Having spent the last decade almost in development and finally pre-production on a sequel to Avatar, his 2009 3D science-fiction epic which remains the most lucrative film ever made (only second even to Gone With the Wind, adjusted for inflation) what then expanded to three sequels making up a trilogy has now expanded to four, a quadrilogy, all of which presumably will shoot simultaneously and leave Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and co. effectively locked up for surely a couple of years reacting to green screen (to which Twitter reacted wonderfully, incidentally). Who’s to say Cameron will stop at four? Before now and the start of filming, this could spawn the Avatar Extended Universe the way the self-professed ‘King of the World’ is going. The strange thing about the Avatar sequels is »
- Tony Black
It’s 6 years since the release of Avatar, and still no sequel. Ryan considers the disappearance of a great mainstream filmmaker.
James Cameron was just 24 years old when he borrowed a small sum of money from a bunch of dentists and made his first film, Xenogenesis. Just 12 minutes long, the 1978 movie was a humble yet significant beginning for the young filmmaker.
The sci-fi short landed Cameron's first job in the film industry: devising practical effects for Roger Corman. Xenogenesis was the first proper collaboration between Cameron and Willliam Wisher, who’d later write the screenplay for Terminator 2. About a battle between man and giant killing machine, Xenogenesis contained numerous elements that Cameron would revisit in his subsequent movies. The giant killer robot looks uncannily like a Hunter Killer from The Terminator. Xenogenesis’s tough heroine bears more than a passing resemblance to one Ellen Ripley, whose fate »
One of the reasons I love James Cameron is because he is so absurdly ambitious, and more often than not, when he aims high, he actually hits the target. From The Abyss through Avatar, every time Cameron made a film, it would be accompanied by tons of press about how much money he was spending and how crazy he was and what a giant failure each film would be. It’s become a fairly familiar pattern. How many times in a row does someone have to do something before people stop predicting failure? At least three times, he’s made the most expensive movie of all time and the film has become a massive hit anyway. Forget about the business side of things, though. What I love about James Cameron is his single-mindedness. When he believes in something, he attacks it with everything he has. I remember the two years »
- Drew McWeeny
After closing a lucrative deal with Netflix to the tune of $90 million for David Ayer’s Bright – where the script was said to be valued around $4 million – Chronicle scribe Max Landis has sparked a new bidding war over sci-fi script Deeper.
That’s according to The Hollywood Reporter, revealing that Guardians of the Galaxy and Burnt star Bradley Cooper is circling. Landis’ latest spec dates back to November, where the industrious scribe first unveiled Deeper as a claustrophobic deep-sea thriller. Kornel Mundruczo, the European helmer behind White God, is reportedly attached to direct.
In essence, the maritime drama centers on the story of a former astronaut (Cooper, we assume) who dives beneath the waves to explore a newly-discovered deep sea trench. Plunging deeper than even the Marianas Trench, the fissure opens up access to the deepest parts of the ocean, and all of the murky mysteries that reside there. Could »
- Michael Briers
Like many children growing up in the 1960s, Kenneth Hall loved monsters. Ever since he was a toddler, his mother — who was an especially big fan of Vincent Price — took him and his brother to see films like The Brides Of Dracula, Curse Of The Werewolf, and The Pit And The Pendulum. And that was all it took. At age 10, Hall discovered Famous Monsters of Filmland, and with the help of the trusty TV Guide, he and his brother made a point to watch as many of the films they read about as they could, even if it meant sneaking out of bed and staying up late to catch a showing of The Deadly Mantis. Like many Monster Kids of his time, there was a now-or-never mentality that came with a lack of home video, but growing up in Jacksonville, Fl did give Hall an extra advantage. It was the »
- Caroline Stephenson
We celebrate a century of huge and expensive film sets, from historical epics to sprawling fantasies and sci-fi action movies...
The advent of cinema saw the art of set design gradually spread its wings from the relative confines of the theatre. As movies established their own language and became ever more ambitious in the early part of the 20th century, so set designers were called on to create increasingly expansive and more detailed backdrops.
As the list of movies below proves, the construction of huge sets has been a major part of cinema for the past century. And with scale comes expense, as the recreation of ancient landmarks, futuristic cities or doomed ocean liners takes hundreds of artists, designers and crafty types months of labour to plan and construct. Often, these sets are on the screen for a few scant minutes before they're torn down and largely »
Tears running down his face, the seven-year-old said, "Stop, Daddy! Stop! I can't take it anymore!" Considering the strange holiday line-up that I shared with Toshi and Allen, ages ten and seven, it is little wonder it almost ended in tears. But what kind of tears and why is a little less cut and dry than I might have supposed when this recent run of programming first came together. I've been seeing someone for a little while now, and it's been nice. She's met the boys and they like her tremendously, and vice-versa. The Monday after the film opened, the four of us went to see The Force Awakens together, the second time for the kids, the first time for her, and it was a great evening. They were excited about the film, about the evening out, about Star Wars in general. She was the one who brought up The Star Wars Holiday Special »
- Drew McWeeny
18 items from 2016
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