Cleaning Out The DVR: Stage Fright (dir by Fred Olen Ray)


(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 188 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on January 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Stage Fright off of the Lifetime Movie Network on January 29th, 2017!)

(aka Stage Fright)

Right above this sentence, you’ll see the original “poster art” for the film that was eventually broadcast on the Lifetime Movie Network as Stage Fright.  Even though the title changed (and personally, I think Stage Fright does carry a bit more oomph than Her Final Bow), I love this poster.  It’s just so melodramatic and I like how the stalker’s blue eye is staring straight at the viewer.  Even though the scene itself never actually occurs in the film, the poster still tells you everything that you need to know about this movie.  If I saw a paperback novel with this poster as the cover, I would definitely buy it and probably read it in one sitting.

Stage Fright tells the story of Sarah Conrade (Jordan Ladd).  At one time, Sarah was one of the most popular and famous opera singers in the world.  But then she was attacked by an obsessed fan.  Though he was subsequently gunned down by the police, he left Sarah with scars that are both physical and mental.  After she had a nervous breakdown, Sarah retired from performing and devoted her time to raising her daughter, Haley (Savannah Osborn).  However, one day, Sarah gets a call from a producer, letting her know that another singer is planning to perform Sarah’s signature songs and claim them as her own.  Though Sarah may be frightened of stepping back out on the stage, she’s a performer and she has her pride.  Sarah agrees to make a comeback and perform for one night only.

A lot of people are happy to hear this but it’s debatable whether any of them are as happy as Kevin (Peter Stickles).  Kevin works in a music store and he is one of Sarah’s biggest fans.  When she happens to step into the store, he not only tells her that he listens to her voice regularly but he also contrives to take a quick look in her purse.  Of course, Kevin also has a shrine to her in his house.  That’s … well, that’s a little bit creepy…

Audiences have waited for years for Sarah to make a comeback and now that she’s making it, the people around her are mysteriously dying.  The police even suspect that Sarah might have something to do with it.  Of course, we suspect the truth…

State Fright was directed by Fred Olen Ray, who is a veteran of these type of thrillers and who specializes in giving the audience what it wants.  In this case, the audience wants melodrama and Stage Fright certainly delivers that.  (Ray also delivers some effectively creepy shots of characters running around in the dank, lower levels of the opera house.)  Personally, I would have liked it if there had been a little more mystery about the identity of Sarah’s stalker but Jordan Ladd gave a good performance as Sarah and the mother-daughter relationship between Sarah and Haley felt real.  This is an entertaining little Lifetime movie that delivers exactly what it promises.

Here Are The DGA nominations!


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The Director’s Guild announced their feature film nominations earlier today.

A DGA nomination is one of the biggest prizes of the precursor season.  In general, if the DGA nominates a film then it’s likely that film will also get nominated for best picture.  There have been exceptions, of course.  (David Fincher was nominated for his bastardized rehash of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.)  But, for the most part, the DGA is the most reliable precursor available.

Five directors were nominated.  The usual suspects were there — Lonergan, Jenkins, and Chazelle.  Fortunately, Denis Villeneuve picked up a nomination, which is good news for Arrival.  The fifth nominee was a bit of a surprise.  Garth Davis was nominated for Lion, which I guess means I’ll have to go see that movie now, even though I have little real desire to do so.

Martin Scorsese was not nominated for Silence, which probably means that the film will be dead-in-the-water as far as Oscar nominations are concerned.

Also not nominated — Tim Miller for Deadpool, a film that’s been doing surprisingly well with the precursors.  If Tim Miller had been nominated, heads would have exploded.  It would have been fun to watch the twitter reaction.

Instead, we just got this —

Just to make it official, here are the five DGA nominees:

Denis Villeneuve — Arrival

Damien Chazelle — La La Land

Garth Davis — Lion

Kenneth Lonergan — Manchester By The Sea

Barry Jenkins — Moonlight

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Film Review: Deadpool (2016, directed by Tim Miller)


Deadpool_posterWade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a mercenary with a sense of humor and a heart of not quite gold.  When he is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he leaves his girlfriend, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin), and agrees to allow a secret organization to experiment on him.  They will cure his cancer but, in return, they expect him to serve as a super powered slave for their own clients.  After being severely disfigured by the sadistic Ajax (Ed Skrein), Wilson develops a super human healing ability.  Eventually, Wilson escapes but now fears that he’s too twisted to return to Vanessa.  Taking on the identity of Deadpool, Wilson tries to track down and get his revenge on Ajax (real name: Francis).

From the moment I heard that 20th Century Fox was producing a Deadpool film, I had only one request: “Don’t fuck it up.”

After all, there is a reason why Deadpool is one of the most popular characters to come out of Marvel’s later period.  He’s certainly the best thing that Rob Liefeld has ever had a hand in creating.  First introduced in New Mutants and subsequently used in the various X-books before getting his own ground-breaking series, Deadpool has earned the right to be known as “the merc with a mouth.”  Deadpool was popular because, out of all the characters in the Marvel Universe, he alone understood that he was in a comic book.  He would frequently break the fourth wall and talk about how ridiculous life as a comic book antihero was.  At a time when almost all other super powered characters were presented as being grim and troubled, Deadpool was the often vulgar antidote to comic books that took themselves too seriously.

(My favorite Deadpool moment was when Deadpool had been once again incorrectly assumed dead.  When Blind Al told Weasel that Deadpool was dead, the footnote at the bottom of the panel read, “Guess the series is over!”)

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I saw Deadpool last weekend.

They did not fuck it up.

My biggest fear was that the Deadpool movie would present a neutered or toned down Deadpool but there was no need to worry.  Though the film’s plot may be a standard origin story with a revenge subplot tossed in, Deadpool distinguishes itself by staying true to the character’s anarchistic and self-referential humor.  This is not a case of Dolph Lundgren putting on a trenchcoat, driving a motorcycle, and calling himself the Punisher.  And it is certainly not a case of the strange character that Ryan Reynolds played in X-Men Origins who was supposed to be Deadpool but definitely was not.  Deadpool allows Deadpool to be Deadpool, right down to the red uniform, the broken fourth wall, and the R-rated humor and violence.  Deadpool earns its R rating and wears it as a badge of honor  This is not a movie for children.  Everything that most heroes do and say off-camera, Deadpool does and says for the entire audience to see and hear.

That's not Deadpool!

That’s not Deadpool!

That's Deadpool!

That’s Deadpool!

Deadpool ends with the promise of a sequel, perhaps one that will include Cable.  Since Cable is one of my least favorite Marvel characters, I hope that the sequel will at least see the return of Colossus (rendered by CGI and voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Briana Hildebrand), both of whom make welcome appearances here.  Negasonic Teenage Warhead especially deserves her own spin-off film.  Let her blow up shit for two hours.  I’ll watch.

Also, if the sequel has to feature Cable, I hope it will also include Dr. Bong.  Deadpool needs all the help he can get!

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A Very Red Band Deadpool Trailer for Christmas


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Twentieth Century Fox has had a stranglehold on the film rights to one of Marvel Comics’ biggest properties: the X-Men and every character associated with them. So far, the studio has only taken the core X-Men and Wolverine properties and adapted them onto the big-screen to mixed results. Some fans of the properties have even come to see the Fox vision for these mutant characters as tame and water-down version of the classic comic book characters.

One such mutant character which had languished in development hell within Fox was the character of Deadpool. The so-called “Merc with a Mouth” had an off and on development cycle throughout the years. The character finally appeared in the forgettable Wolverine stand-alone film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The character was played by Ryan Reynolds and just like another superhero film (this time for DC as the classic character of Green Lantern) he starred in, this one bombed and he was starting to be seen as a curse on superhero projects his named gets attached to.

If there was one major effect that Marvel Studios’ success with their Marvel Cinematic Universe has had with the rest of the Hollywood studios was to force them to treat their comic book property licenses seriously. They had to embrace the comic book nature of the properties they held the license to and work with it instead of against it.

It looks like Fox might be doing just that with their R-rated attempt at the Deadpool live-action adaptation starring the star who campained long and hard to produce and star as the title character: Ryan Reynolds. If the tone we’ve seen with the Comic-Con trailer and this latest red band trailer is any indication then the Ryan Reynolds superhero curse could be ending in early February of 2012.

Deadpool is set for a February 12, 2016 release date.

Halo 4: Launch Trailer “Scanned”


As I write this it’s 2 hours and 52 minutes til the release of one of the biggest titles in entertainment for the year of 2012. Yes, I say entertainment and not just video games. The last ten years has seen the ascendancy of the video game as a form of entertainment to rival and, at times, surpass the big kid in the block: film. It was in 2007 that we saw Microsoft and Bungie Studio release the final game in the Halo trilogy. That game marked the first time a video game title beat any film in terms of first-day sales with $170million dollars on its first day of release. This record would be broken many times since and all of them on the video game side of entertainment.

In 2010, Microsoft and Bungie Studios released a prequel to the trilogy with Halo Reach which also marked the final Halo game Bungie Studios would develop and release. It wasn’t a well kept secret that Bungie had begun to tire of being known as just the studio that made Halo for the Xbox/Xbox360. So, once they arranged for the studio to leave as an internal studio for Microsoft Games there were some concern that whoever would takeover development for the series would fall in reaching the high bar Bungie had set for the series.

It’s now 2012 and 343 Industries is just hours away from releasing their first title in the Halo franchise and it continues the events which ended with the original trilogy. We find Master Chief and his A.I. companion, Cortana, stranded in deep space, cut-off from the rest of humanity. The final scene we see from Halo 3 (if one passed the single-player campaign on Legendary mode) was the two seeing an unknown planet come into view. The questions which arose from this final scene was whether this was a Covenant home planet or was it the planet where the Forerunners (builders of the Halo ringworlds) originated from.

We’ll find out when 12:00 midnight hits on November 6, 2012. In years past I would’ve called off work and stood in line at midnight to get my copy and play the rest of the day. I’m a bit older and wiser (likes sleep and making money  from work) now, but it doesn’t mean I won’t pick up my copy after work tomorrow.

Whether one likes or doesn’t like the Halo series no one can deny that it help revolutionize console gaming, especially multiplayer gaming on the console, and entertainment in the first decade of the 21st century. Everyone is all about Call of Duty‘s modern iteration like Modern Warfare and Black Ops, but without Halo those games wouldn’t have had to evolve to keep up (and for some surpass) what Microsoft and Bungie had created and for 343 Industries to continue to do.

Now let’s enjoy the launch trailer for Halo 4 (both live-action and CGI) that was produced by David Fincher (yes, that Fincher) and directed by Tim Miller.

EDIT: I can be found on XBL with gamertag: ArleighTSL