Saturday, December 27, 2008

The 2009 Schedule

Our eyes may not be the same after tonight's 3-D marathon. We made it through the cheesiness of The Mask, and I'm actually proud to say folks stuck through Comin At Ya! in it's entirety. I think everybody's eyeballs deserved a break after that feat, so we called it a night without exploring the 3-D reinvention of Night of the Living Dead.

We also announced the official 2009 schedule, which tentatively calls for:

January 24

February 21

March 21

April 25

May 23

June 20

July 18

August 22

September 19

October 24

November 28

December 26

In addition, we've finalized our first Wednesday night selection for 2009 - Joss Whedon's Firefly & Serenity. That will run for 8 weeks. Before we're done, we'll pick our next selection and announce that here.

Wishing you all a fantastic remainder of 2008 - we can't wait to see you in the new year!

John & Vonna

Sunday, December 21, 2008

We're Comin At Ya in 3D!

Next Saturday is our 3-D Movie night. We'll be starting right around 6pm, so feel free to get here a little early to pick out a pair of anaglyphh glasses for the night.

We'll be showing an early 3-D shocker, an example of the 80s 3-D revival, and a contemporary feature.

First up is The Mask, a Canadian chiller from 1961 that I think it's acceptable for all ages. That said, the tagline was "The management is not responsible for nervous breakdowns!" and we'll stick to that.

Next up is the wild Euro-western Comin At Ya from the 1981. This one was rated R. It's tagline was "The Management Is Not responsible For Where The Screen Ends And You Begin!" If that's the best they could come up with, perhaps they'll understand if we stop this one before it's over.

Finally, we've got the 2006 entry Night of the Living Dead 3D. Here's your one and only chance to see Sid Haig in 3D, in this laughable reinvention of the classic film.

To kick things off, I'm planning to have brief tributes to Forrest J. Ackerman and Bettie Page, who we lost since the last event. That and a few new interesting trailers, and we'll have copies of the 2009 schedule to hand out as well.

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, and we hope to see you one last time before the New Year!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Psychotronix Rocks Redux

Back in June, Bob and Ari invited Vonna and I to the KFJC Psychotronix Film Festival at Foothill college. We had a blast, and did a write up to try and give you a sense of the experience.

Well, it's back this Saturday, this time at DeAnza college, and there's no way we'd miss it.

Let us know if you're interested in joining us, or get more info here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

John remembers Forrest J. Ackerman (1916-2008)

As it would have appeared in his own magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland, Prince Sirki has taken our beloved Uncle Forry from us.

Now, we can look back on his 92 years and celebrate a full life, particularly for someone unknown to the general public, but revered to generations of monster fans everywhere. It's not hyperbole when you read the list of names influenced by this one man: Ray Bradbury, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg. And that's just the tip of the titanic iceberg.

As a child of the Star Wars generation, I was born a few years too late to be considered a Monster Kid. In fact, if not for my brother Joe being 4 years older, the tail end would have completely missed me. Fortunately, I was instead exposed to classic monster movies on Creature Features, Aurora model kits and a variety of Universal Monster toys at a young, impressionable age.

Fans of Famous Monsters of Filmland would probably argue that by the time I stumbled across my first issue, #149 with a Battlestar Galactica cover, the magazine was well past its prime. I still recall stumbling across it in the magazine rack at the Fry's food store where I did the weekly grocery shopping with my Dad. (For those keeping score, yes, it's the same Fry's food store where we bought our first public domain VHS copy of Night of the Living Dead years later for the insanely reasonable sell-through price of $14.99).

Read a hundred stories of fans first encounter with the magazine, and they're almost identical. The magazine reached out to us. Our friends weren't into the same things as we were, and yet now we had proof that we weren't alone. There were others out there with similar passions. It spoke to us in a way no others had. It not only validated our interest in fantastic films, it relished in it unabashedly.

Readers of FM were aware of Forry's amazing collection, housed in his Ackermansion near Hollywood. And while ALL of us dreamed of someday visiting, I can proudly say I did. It was not in its heyday - years of allowing fans into his home unfortunately resulted in certain relics disappearing. But what remained was still amazing, if somewhat haphazardly preserved and presented.

Peter dragged me out there on our annual trek to Los Angeles back in 1994, and we subsequently ran into Forry at the paperback show we attended in subsequent years. I'll never forget after touring the house, we were told we could go through the shelves of books that Forry was selling. A mix of desire and also a sense of obligation to give something back, I searched the book racks for something appropriate. While most of the items for sale were not of particular interest, I settled on an old, hardcover copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula. It didn't matter what he would charge, it just seemed to be the most appropriate thing to commemorate my visit. I asked him if he would sign it for me, and he graciously inscribed it "John, From Bram Stoker Admirer Forrest J. Ackerman". Forry owned a copy of Dracula signed by Bram Stoker (not to mention Bela Lugosi's Dracula cape and ring) so this inscription seemed very appropriate to me.

It has been some time since I last saw Forry, and I had been following the news of his declining health for the past month or so. Along with the rest of his fans, I was pleased he was around long enough to celebrate his 92nd birthday. And while it's always sad to lose someone you admire, it wouldn't be fair to ask for much more out of life. As long as we remember him, he'll never truly be gone.

So why am I taking all this space to talk about Forrest J. Ackerman, you ask? Without him, there would be no Slaughtered Lamb Cinema. I could go into a lengthy butterfly wings flapping explanation for that - but take my word for it. It's absolutely true. I'm thankful that Forry's influence reached me.

One of my favorite quotes of his can be paraphrased as "what's the point of having such a collection if not to share it." What's the point, indeed. That's why we hope we'll see you well into the 2009 season and beyond.

Thanks Forry.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mad Movie Party 2009 Schedule Round Up

Happy holidays from all of us at the Slaughtered Lamb Cinema! 2008 has been an exciting year - you can review the previous year's events by clicking on the calendar in the sidebar and navigating through past months. As we enter the month of December, we explore our options for 2009, including several interesting anniversary opportunities:

Wizard of Oz - 70th Anniversary
Gone with the Wind - 70th Anniversary
The Third Man - 60th Anniversary
Ben Hur - 50th Anniversary
North by Northwest - 50th Anniversary
Plan 9 From Outer Space - 50th Anniversary
Eyes Without a Face - 50th Anniversary
Suspiria - 30th Anniversary
Phantasm - 30th Anniversary
Mad Max - 30th Anniversary
Zombie - 30th Anniversary
Ghostbusters - 25th Anniversary
Terminator - 25th Anniversary
Run Lola Run - 10th Anniversary
The Mummy - 10th Anniversary

If any of these are particularly interesting to you, let us know. We always strive for a nice balance of revisiting classics that haven't been seen on the big screen in a while, as well as showcasing things that you may have missed.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Into the Third Dimension

So I've been thinking about what to program in our December movie party slot, and I'm thinking it might be fun to take a trip into the world of 3-D movies.

We're stuck with anaglyph (red-blue) 3D until someone brings polarized shutter technology to the home in high definition. The bad news that means we can't watch my 3-D versions of the Creature From the Black Lagoon or House of Wax. On the bright side, it's still fun, and significantly more watchable on a big screen.

I've got several titles available to watch, and of them my suggestions for the party would be Comin At Ya and Night of the Living Dead 3D, and possibly The Mask, which is partially in 3-D.

Let me know if you're interested, and will firm this one up in the schedule.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Casino Royale 2

Steffan snuck into town, so we went out to see the new James Bond film, which has garnered divisive reviews. Despite the near universal love for Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace appears to have polarized viewers.

When Kill Bill was released, in two separate parts, audiences knew it was coming, and many complained about it in advance.

If there was widespread knowledge that the follow up to Casino Royale would be a continuation of the same story, it never got to me. Of course, as one who only saw that film for the first time a few weeks ago, I was primed and ready, and pleasantly surprised by, the sequel.

I don't know how well the film could be judged on it's own, and I highly recommend revisiting Casino Royale as close to your trip to see Quantum as possible. As the second half of a much larger tale, I found it quite satisfying. Is it perfect? No. Is it totally convincing? Never. But that said, the characters were interesting and the action set pieces come one after another. It should make a nice double-bill in the Slaughtered Lamb next year...

Also wanted to mention the Star Trek trailer - which should be available online come Monday, and we'll have it to show as soon as the first HD version is made available. The trailer is cut like an episode of Battlestar Galactica, and it will be interested to see how J.J. Abrams pulls it off. As I was never a huge fan of the Trek franchise, I'm open to whatever they do with it. That said, the most exciting moment in the trailer for me was seeing Simon Pegg as Scotty.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What if the Matrix ran on Windows XP?

I'm not a huge fan of The Matrix, and I'm not a huge fan of Windows XP, but I do like my Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Time to Shop for movies!

Twice a year, has a sale where they offer 20% off their already low prices on all in-stock DVDs. This fall, perhaps in recognition of the current state of the economy, they're offering a 25% off coupon! For me, it's never a question of if I should buy - it's always a question of how much I can afford under my pre-determined budget...

I wanted to pass this on in case you're looking for any new standard def or high def DVDs - it's a great way to pick up box sets cheap! I'll be getting the Planet of the Apes Blu Ray set, and the latest Hitchcock collection, to name a few. Those of you interested in Band of Brothers will want to order that when it's released next Tuesday.

Here are several coupon codes you can use:

If you ever wondered how we ended up with so many films in the Slaughtered Lamb Library, now you know!

Unfortunately, the new Collector's Edition of I Am Legend won't be released until after he coupons expire on 11/23/08.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Night of the Living Dead Memories

Happy Halloween everyone!

My memories of seeing Night of the Living Dead for the first time made the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

There's a Living Dead Festival going on in Evans City, PA tonight - wish we could be there! Maybe next year...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Annual Zombie Walk in Monroeville...

They've been doing this as a fundraiser in the mall for quite a few years now. Here are some cool QuickTime VR images that you can navigate around - both surrounded by zombies in the mall as well as at the Evans City Cemetery.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I won a contest! Go figure.

Ryan Schifrin, the son of one of my favorite composers, Lalo Schifrin, developed a comic book based on one of his ideas called SPOOKS. It's about a government agency responsible for hunting down and killing supernatural creatures. Fun stuff.

Aint-it-cool-news sponsored a contest to win an autographed collection as well as the comic soundtrack CD by Lalo Schifrin himself. I had forgotten I had entered, so was quite surprised to find out that I was one of the five winners selected.

You can read the questions and my responses here.

Shaken, not stirred...

Everyone had a great time at our James Bond double feature tonight. Both films looked and sounded great in High Definition.

We also ran trailers for next weekend's day-long Halloween Spooktacular. While seating will be prioritized for the kids in attendance, we are opening it up to our regulars as well. We think most of the family traffic will be there for the earlier shows, so there should be plenty of seating in the evening if not all day.

Here's the schedule (you'll notice that things get a little more intense as the day goes on):

Mad Monster Party
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
The Haunting (1963)
The Frighteners

Remember to mark your calendars for the Saturday after Thanksgiving when we watch two of the greatest films of all time - The Godfather and The Godfather Part II. Even with just those two films, it's a mini-marathon, and we hope you'll join us to watch them on the big screen.

Here are some pictures of our Bond Day display:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

If not the lead lined refrigerator...

This has some profanity so it's not for the kiddies, but it documents the behind the scenes discussions on the set of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull where they debate alternatives to the refrigerator escape from the nuclear blast...

Slaughtered Lamb 1st Anniversary

While we've been screening features since the projector was installed on September 15, 2007, we didn't have our first official movie party, hereby christening the Slaughtered Lamb Cinema, until November 24, 2007, when we screened Mel Brooks Blazing Saddles to a rowdy crowd of attendees.

Our anniversary falls right around our post-Thanksgiving Godfather party this year, which will be the official one-year celebration. Somewhere around there, we plan to finally get around to screening the film to which we owe our namesake, John Landis' classic An American Werewolf in London. We may bump American Gothic for a week to squeeze this in - if you're interested in being present for that, let me know and I'll keep you posted as we firm up the calendar.

Thanks for your support throughout the 2007-2008 season. We've got plenty more in store for next year!

John & Vonna

Monday, October 20, 2008

Picture if you will... Wednesdays in 2009...

American Gothic is on track to take us through the end of 2008 as far as our Wednesday TV nights go at the Slaughtered Lamb Cinema. Once again, I find myself looking ahead to figure out possible follow up programming, and like Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a dream.

In 1959, one of the best and brightest television writers of all time premiered a new program that would change the face of television forever. That man was Rod Serling, and the program was of course, The Twilight Zone.

The show ran for 5 seasons, and 156 episodes. Most were 1/2 hour shows - season 4 represented a brief foray into 1 hour episodes. By my calculations, it would take approximately 44 weeks to watch the entire series, assuming we watched four 1/2 hour episodes or two 1 hour episodes in a night. I'd suggest that we watch the shows in chronological order - beginning with an unofficial pilot for the series - a show titled The Time Element. It ranks right up there with the best of The Twilight Zone.

We're exploring several options - such as starting with a weekend marathon, to knock out a big chunk of episodes, running each season with something different in between each season, etc. If you're interested in getting in on the action, let us know what sounds like fun to you.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

And the winner is... Thunderball!

Our second feature on Bond night on 10/25 has been set - it will be Thunderball. Thanks to everyone who voted!

If you're interested in the torrid history of Thunderball and the court case that contributed to Ian Fleming's early death, I highly recommend the book The Battle for Bond by Robert Sellers. It's available through Amazon.

We'll start with Thunderball at 6:30pm Saturday night, and follow up with Casino Royale at 9pm.

Hope to see you all next Saturday!

John & Vonna

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Don't forget to Vote!

The first round of Votes for our 10/25 Bond-a-thon are in.

The final ballot includes Thunderball representing Sean Connery, George Lazenby's single outing as Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service made the final cut, as did Roger Moore's debut effort Live and Let Die and Pierce Brosnan's with Goldeneye.

The current plan will be to watch the top TWO vote getters before Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, so get your vote in before the poll closes!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bond. James Bond.

With All Day of the Dead behind us, we look forward to our 10/25 James Bond party. In anticipation of the release of Quantum of Solace, we'll be screening the Daniel Craig version of Casino Royale in High Definition. We've not yet decided if we'll be watching one or two other Bonds - that, and which films we watch, will be up to you.

We're going to do two weeks of polls. This week, you'll have your chance to vote for your favorite film of each Bond actor: Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, and the others (sorry - Mr.'s Lazenby, Dalton and Niven will go head to head in this first round). We'll then vote between the top picks in each of those categories, and plan to watch the top (or top two) vote getters.

Look for those in the sidebar, and get your votes in early!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

They're dead, they're all messed up

We started off American Gothic tonight, and are looking forward to the coming weeks as we work through its one and only season.

We're making a slight schedule adjustment next Wednesday, and rather than running two episodes of Gothic followed by the anniversary re-premiere of Night of the Living Dead, we've decided to cut right to the chase and run the film in place of the series. Gothic will return as regularly scheduled the following Wednesday, and run one week longer than originally scheduled.

So, to confirm, Wednesday, October 1st will be the 40th anniversary screening of Night of the Living Dead, and Saturday, October 4th will be our All Day of the Dead celebration.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Holy smokes!

I just posted an amazing archaeological find next door at All Day of the Dead. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Introducing American Gothic

After numerous false starts, we're finally starting the Shaun Cassidy series American Gothic on Wednesday night.

I found it to be the first supernatural show in the wake of Twin Peaks to truly establish a sense of place in the town of Trinity, South Carolina. A town populated with rich characters ranging from the young Lucas Black as Caleb Temple to the strong presence of Gary Cole as Sheriff Lucas Buck, Paige Turco as the strong willed Gail Emory, and Jake Weber as Doctor Matt Crower. The show was also filled with fantastic supporting players and guest stars.

Produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, it was a well written, great looking show. I had recorded the show off broadcast televsion as it aired, and even acquired six unaired episodes from overseas broadcasts. I was thrilled to finally throw those out when the series was released on DVD a few years back. Unfortunately, for most viewers who watch the set, the order in which the episodes were placed on the set is somewhat erratic.

We'll be watching them in the preferred order, and while we can argue the merits of the resolution of the one-season gem all in good time, I can assure you that it doesn't end like The Prisoner. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

We hope to see you all on Wednesday nights in the weeks and months ahead. I think you just might be pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vonna controls the horizontal, Vonna controls the vertical

Vonna here, with a reminder that I have control of both the theater and the kitchen this month and have made the selections of the movies. That's right! No Zombies, No Action Adventure, No "not yet released" films - okay I can't guarantee than no one will die in these films - but I decided to center the movies around the kitchen and cooking.....and the food served will align around the selected movies' food also.

The doors will be open at 5:30 p.m. on Sat Sept 20th and the first film will begin about 6:15 after sufficient feasting and refreshments.

Our first feature is The Last Supper, a 1996 dark comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Ron Eldard, Annabeth Gish, Jonathan Penner, Courtney B. Vance as self-righteous left-wing grad students whose premeditated murder of right-wing extremists may be pushing the grounds of good taste....and good food!

That will be followed by Big Night (starting about 8:30 p.m.), another 1996 film starring Tony Shalhoub, Stanley Tucci, Minnie Driver, Ian Holm and Isabella Rossellini: A treat for movie lovers and food lovers everywhere - Big Night is the story of two Italian brothers whose superb restaurant is on the brink of bankruptcy. Their only chance is to risk everything they own on one "big night" that will make them or break them.

We look forward to enjoying these films with you all. Hope to see you Saturday!

PS - the next Slaughtered Lamb Cinema event is Saturday, October 4th - the "All Day of The Dead" marathon. More details at the specific blog linked to the right. On Saturday, October 25th we will celebrate the return of 007 with a James Bond party. Please keep checking the updates here, as we'll be polling to decide which Bond film to watch alongside Casino Royale.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Don't say the ZED word!

We wrapped up Spaced in a quick three weeks, and as I somehow scheduled it for four weeks in the calendar, that left an opening this Wednesday night. It only seemed appropriate to run Shaun of the Dead in the one-week window before we begin American Gothic.

We invite you to join us for a pint and some Twiglets at the Winchester this Wednesday.

In Hi-Def, no less. How's that for a slice of fried gold?

And they used Bon Ami!

You've gotta love the internet. I may never hear a live performance of the music from The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, but thanks to YouTube, I can enjoy the next best thing.

And you can bet I plan on learning to play it myself!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In a world...

Today we mourn the passing of a legend in cinema history...

The voice of the modern movie trailer, Don LaFontaine.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bob Wilkins

For those of you who grew up in and around the Bay Area, Bob Wilkins will be a familiar name. Bob hosted our late night horror movies on Creature Features from 1971 to 1979.

It was on Bob's show that I originally saw Night of the Living Dead (and countless other monster movies) for the first time.

Peter and I ran a lengthy interview with Bob back in the early days of bare•bones, and I finally had the chance to meet the man a few years later at Wondercon. It was quite a thrill.

In recent years, Bob has been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. His wife Sally has put out a call for donations to help with the expenses of his long term care. You can read her letter to Bob's fans here.

If you share fond memories of Bob and his show, I hope you'll consider donating. I'll offer you an even easier way that you can help. As someone who grew up with Bob, and without whom we might not be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Night of the Living Dead next month, I make the following pledge.

For each person who attends the entire All Day of the Dead marathon, I will donate $50 to the Bob Wilkins Alzheimer's Fund. In addition, for each person that doesn't attend the full day, but is present for the Night of the Living Dead (1968) screening, I will donate $10.

While that may not sound like much, it's a guaranteed minimum of $50 (as I'll watch the darn films by myself even if no one else shows up!), $600 if we're at capacity all day! I encourage you to talk to your friends who may know Bob, and get them to sponsor you. Tell them you'll sit through 12 hours of flesh eating ghouls on Bob's behalf, and all they have to offer is $1, or $5, or $10 a movie. Donations can be made directly through PayPal, so they don't even have to give you the money. And it's tax deductible.

It wasn't my intention for the All Day of the Dead party to become a fundraiser, and you're certainly under no obligation to do anything more than come by and enjoy the food and films. But somehow it seems appropriate. If you're unable to attend, but are interested in sponsoring me (or any of our guests) let me know.

Bob always said watching horror movies would keep America strong. Here's our chance to prove him right.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Celebrating 30 years of conspiracy and paranoia

One of the benefits of announcing a movie party early is that the theme has time to breathe. This Saturday's party will be all the better by my having time to figure out the right pairing.of films It took me no less than three secretly announced films on the calendar to find the perfect fit with Capricorn One.

For me, Capricorn One represents one of the first 'adult' films I saw in the theater. (For the time, I still consider King Kong and Star Wars as kids movies) Like so many important films, it was first experienced at Century 22 in 1978 (sometime around it's June 2nd premiere, I'm sure).

As I thought long and hard about a companion film for the party, my first instinct was to follow the space aspect, hence Journey to the Far Side of the Sun. But as you know, or will soon find out, it's not really about space.

So I started thinking about conspiracy. Hangar 18 was something I'd been interested in watching for some time. It featured Kolchak himself - Darren McGavin. Unfortunately, the only DVD available has a sub-par dubbed VHS caliber transfer.

Then it hit me. Conspiracy breeds paranoia. 1978 saw the release of another classic film with such a theme. Another 'adult' film I recall watching at Century 22, this one quite possibly the opening weekend (December 20th). Once that hit me, our slate was set.

So this Saturday, we hope you'll join us for the 30th anniversary one-two punch of Peter Hyams' Capricorn One, and Philip Kaufman's Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

20 Years...

So last night we attended my 20-year high school reunion.

I was pleasantly surprised that most of the folks I was hoping to reconnect with were actually there. You might even meet some of them at upcoming MMPs. It was a fun, if surreal night. In preparation, I sat down and watched Grosse Point Blank Friday night.

That made it particularly bizarre when one of the first people I saw came up to me (who I could not remember by name or face) grew into the classic drunk character right out of the movie - they even looked similar. The only difference was that I didn't stick around long enough for the drunk to read me his poetry. If you haven't seen the movie, or don't recall it, I recommend a refresher. It still holds up well, with both John Cusack and Jeremy Piven are at the top of their form.

We're going to check out a family barbeque get together this afternoon - it will be interesting to see how folks hold up in the light of day...

Monday, August 11, 2008

I know it's The Clone Wars, but is it Star Wars?

Vonna and I caught a preview screening of The Clone Wars tonight. Before going in, I mentioned how weird it was to have a new Star Wars film opening in less than a week and to not be overcome with anticipation. I guess in part it's due to the fact that it's an animated feature, and that it's NOT really developing story elements that will prove to be critical in the history of the saga (as it merely fills in more tales of the Clone Wars that take place between Episodes II and III). That said, my expectations were appropriately set going in to enjoy it - unless it was truly awful.

So is it Star Wars? Well, it is and it isn't. The story, characters, and elements all make it Star Wars. What made it unlike Star Wars for me was the music. It sounds very much like a TV show score, and even when quoting the brilliant John Williams, it doesn't sound quite right. Kind of like when you buy a bargain CD and realize too late you didn't get the songs by the original artist, but by the New Main Street Singers. I'll give the composer credit for one sequence where he incorporates the most memorable Star Wars cue, it actually works. But that's one instance.

Surprisingly, I found myself liking Ahsoka, Anakin's Jedi Padawan. She's the centerpiece to the story, and most interesting in that we know she's not around (at least that we ever see) in Episode III. She's one of the few characters for whom we don't know what the future holds.

If you've seen the trailer, you know what our heroes mission is, and while some people groaned at that (and will likely groan when they see it in the finished film), I actually took to the little guy they set out to protect.

I can't say it measures up to the live action films, which wouldn't be a reasonable expectation. I did enjoy it more than the traditionally animated Clone Wars series that aired between the theatrical releases of Episodes II and III. I don't know that we'll rush out to see it again on the big screen (to be fair - Indiana Jones is the only flick we've seen more than once this summer), however I am more excited about the follow on animated series that will debut this fall.

The saga continues...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Return of the King!

I can't say it was the same as it had been for the last eight years, but I will say seeing Barry Bonds on the field at AT&T Park last night was the highlight of the 2008 season for me.

It still amazes me that the greatest player of all time is primed and ready to go, and there's not a single team working on signing him going into the stretch.

I equate it to the movie ratings system (HA! Take that all you that would ask what this has to do with the SLC). Entirely voluntary, however if you don't play ball, your ability to market your property is cut off at the knees. So no one, whether they want to or not, dares hire the superstar so as to avoid any negative press that might come with such a decision.

Something tells me that fan support, which would likely be vehement at first, would turn quickly if they suddenly found themselves with a potent weapon to lead them into the post season.

I'd welcome that just to see Bonds get the World Series ring he so deserved in 2002, before Dusty Baker flushed the Giants chances down the toilet by doing what he always did best, letting his worst pitchers play at the worst possible times. That's why all the players loved him, and why anyone who truly thought the 2002 Giants was a championship team despises him.

On the bright side, I now have a Bonds highlight recorded in HD that I can relive on the DVR at a moment's notice.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Lest we forget...

August 7, 2007, 8:51pm

August 8, 2007 (his NEXT at bat - and we were there)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Fall Line-up is here!

We've finalized dates, and the next several months of Mad Movie Party programming. As noted yesterday, our Wednesday screenings will continue with The Stand, then move to Spaced, followed by Sam Raimi and Shaun Cassidy's excellent American Gothic.

On Saturday, August 23, I'm pleased to announce we'll be screening the Blu-Ray import of one of my all-time favorites: Peter Hyams' Capricorn One. Up till now this title has only been available in a non-anamorphic transfer. Thanks to our friends in the UK, they not only had the good sense to get this title out in Hi-Def in time for the film's 30th anniversary, they were kind enough to do so as a region free disc. One of the many sad factors in HD-DVD losing the format war was that it was a region-free format, whereas Blu-Ray is not. Hence our not watching the UK-only Blu-Ray disc of Escape From New York this month. I'm tentatively planning to pair that with Gerry Anderson's recently released Journey to the Far Side of the Sun.

On Saturday, September 20, we've got a special party planned that Vonna will be producing. Our theme will be cooking in the movies, and you can bet that the food for this event will be extra special! We're planning to screen two films, one of which will be The Last Supper. As for the second feature, we're considering things like Big Night, Chocolat, and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover.

As all of you should know, this year marks the 40th anniversary of George Romero's seminal classic, Night of the Living Dead. On Wednesday, October 1st, following our weekly showing of American Gothic, we will be screening the original Night of the Living Dead to celebrate the actual 40th anniversary of the October 1st premiere at the Fulton Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Not to worry - for those of you who won't be able to attend that screening, you'll want to mark your calendars for the following Saturday, October 4th, when we have a special event planned. Starting at 12 noon and going until 12 midnight, we'll be celebrating the anniversary with a marathon: ALL DAY OF THE DEAD.

Here's the schedule for ALL DAY OF THE DEAD:
12pm Tom Savini's remake of Night of the Living Dead (1990)
1:45pm Dawn of the Dead (1979) in HD
4:15pm Day of the Dead (1985) in HD
6:15pm Land of the Dead (2005) in HD
8:15pm Night of the Living Dead (1968)
10:15pm Diary of the Dead (2008)

We don't schedule a lot of marathons, because we recognize the effort those take to attend. That said, this anniversary was too near and dear to our heart to let it pass without doing something special. While you're in for a good time if you come for the whole day, I urge you to come out if only for one or two films. The current popularity of flesh eating zombies in fiction and film all stems back to this independent production from the fall of 1968, so what better time to revisit, or introduce yourself to, the most important American horror film of all time. So important, in fact, that event now has it's own blog.

Since our ALL DAY OF THE DEAD party is a special event, we still have something separate lined up for the month of October. In advance of the theatrical release of Quantum of Solace, on Saturday, October 25, we'll be screening Casino Royale alongside a few other TBD James Bond films. As that draws nearer, we'll have some polls as we did with Batman to determine what else we'll be watching.

We've set dates for November (the 29th) and December (the 27th) parties - both the Saturday after the holiday - although we haven't yet lined up the programming. There will be plenty of new and interesting films released in the next few months, so it shouldn't be too difficult to pick the next themes.

We look forward to seeing you all at our weekly, monthly, and occasional impromptu events throughout the remainder of 2008!

John & Vonna

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Times, they are a changing...

We started The Stand Wednesday. Our plan had been to follow that with American Gothic, and after considering a Spaced marathon for our August movie party, we agreed that would better fit as a Wednesday night show. So American Gothic got the bump (again), and Spaced is slotted for 4 weeks starting on the 27th.

If you're familiar with Spaced, I don't have to explain why we've selected it. If you haven't seen or heard of it - you're in for a treat. Spaced was a BBC show that was on for two 7 episode seasons, directed by Edgar Wright and starring Simon Pegg.

The show clearly demonstrates the brilliance of the men who would go on to create Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. It's full of pop-culture references and homages, and speaks to a generation like no show before it. You'll laugh, you'll cry, it will become a part of you.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Why so serious?

So we had a great time revisiting Batman Begins yesterday, and then poking fun at Batman: The Movie. There's a lot to enjoy in the camp performances of Adam West, Burt Ward, Cesar Romero, Lee Meriwether, Frank Gorshin and Burgess Meredith.

Today, we went out to see The Dark Knight, which we all really enjoyed as well. The story was excellent, and Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker is worthy of the posthumous Oscar nomination that has been thrown around in the mainstream press.

It's a dark movie, to be sure - as far removed from the camp of the old TV series and even the lows of the 80s series. Compare Aaron Eckhardt's Harvey Dent to Tommy Lee Jones or Ledger to Jack Nicholson's Joker, and there's no comparison.

I had a few quibbles here and there - notably in the manipulation of the final footage of the Joker, and I can't help but wonder if they truly had wrapped on his performance when he died. Nevertheless, the film is not lacking for closure nor for solid performances throughout.

It will be interesting to see where they take the series from here - in the mean time I look forward to watching The Dark Knight again on the big screen.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Sometimes, even the worst quality video is worth checking out...


Saturday, July 12, 2008

This guy is a genius...

So many ideas, so little time.

While you're sitting home watching Dancing with the Stars, take a look at what David Friedman has come up with. Don't just read the first few - there are tons of amazing ideas presented on his web page.

Frankly, I have never seen a greater collection of brilliant ideas collected in one place. If we could all help bring just one of these ideas to life, can you imagine what a better place our world would be?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Welcome home, Maria

"There can be no understanding between the hands and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator."

An amazing thing happened this last week, as footage long believed lost from Fritz Lang's Metropolis - almost a quarter of the film - was discovered in Buenos Aires. This is the most important cinematic find of the 21st century, and it probably doesn't even rate a mention on news programs that regularly blabber on about this week's box office results.

It's amazing to think that a BluRay release of a complete, restored version will be in our hands in 2009. That will definitely be worth our having a silent Mad Movie Party (along side the recently restored, beautiful Kino print of Nosferatu.

Here's a German news story that actually includes some of the previously-believed-lost footage:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

What the hell were we thinking?

The Batman Movie Party was scheduled to coincide with the release date of The Dark Knight long before Star Wars Celebration Japan was finalized.

In retrospect, it was silly for us to have the July party so soon after the June party (which was a smash hit - shame on you if you missed it!).

As a result, I've bumped the Batman party until Saturday July 26th, a few days after Stan and I return from Japan. Don't worry, we'll sit in the back row and try not to snore.

Don't forget to vote on which Batmen you'd like to see that night - the poll is to the right and ends soon!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Battle of the Bat(men)

As you may know, our next Mad Movie Party is scheduled to coincide with the release of The Dark Knight. That said, we're planning to revisit Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. As for what else we show, that's up to you.

I've setup a poll to see which Batmaterial you're most interested in watching.

To set the tone, Martin has forwarded this link to a Battle of the Batmans video.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Godspeed, Major Briggs

We were just talking about Don Davis on Saturday, and today I'm sorry to report that he's no longer with us.

We will remember him for countless roles, but perhaps none as memorable as Garland Briggs, the Air Force Major who could speak eloquently on all topics before slapping a cigarette out of his son Bobby's mouth. He alone could go toe to toe with Cooper when it came to seemingly outlandish behavior that somehow made sense.

Of the residents of Twin Peaks, there was something majestic and yet appropriately bizarre about the good major.