Category: Pop Culture

COOLEST SHORT I’VE SEEN IN A WHILE: PIXELS

Published April 9, 2010

WORDSLINGER’S NOTE: Yes, it has been a while since I posted a new article on here. Yes, I know that some of my loyal readers have been patiently waiting for me to get off my ass and write something new. And yes, I realize that I have used the excuse of book editing/rewriting before regarding that, final changes on the novel, BROODING, are now completed, and publication is imminent. More details coming soon. Meanwhile
PIXELS
Fans of old school video games like Tetris, Space Invaders, Pac Man, Frogger, and Donkey Kong should LOVE the video posted below. Made by the French group One More Production, and directed by Patrick Jean, this two-and-a-half minute film is extremely well made and very entertaining. It simply asks the question: what would happen if those 8-bit creatures really did invade our 3-D world. Check it out.

AVATAR – HOW CAMERON DID IT

Published January 20, 2010

Now that James Cameron has officially directed the two most globally profitable motion pictures of all time, Titanic and Avatar, the question remains: how did he do it? Especially Avatar (see my review here).
James Cameron at the board
Yahoo Movies just posted a fascinating 22-minute documentary on their site, regarding the making of this extraordinary film. Interviews include Cameron, Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, and many of the brilliant artists who brought Pandora to breathtaking life.

If you loved Avatar as I much as I, take a detailed look behind the scenes here.

BACK TO THE FUTURE IV – JUDGMENT DAY

Published January 11, 2010

Over the holidays, while watching a Christmas video with a friend’s children, I was shown a direct-to-DVD film entitled Santa Buddies. This was by no means a great, or even a good, film, but it did have the welcome distinction of featuring Christopher Lloyd — a favorite actor whom I haven’t seen in a long while. Whatever happened to this classic performer? The man who gave us iconic roles in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Taxi, Star Trek III – The Search for Spock, the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Addams Family films, etc …

Even Robert Zemeckis, Lloyd’s Back to the Future and Roger Rabbit director, missed a huge opportunity by going all CGI in his 2009 Christmas Carol remake. Instead of using an animated Jim Carrey, I think he should have called on his old friend Chris Lloyd to play a live-action Scrooge. The man’s face is damn near animated anyway.
Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox
For reasons as serious as the health of Michael J. Fox, those of us who have pined for another Back to the Future film will probably never have this jones satisfied. However, while surfing YouTube recently, I stumbled upon a 1999 episode of Spin City that featured Christopher Lloyd as a guest star. It was entitled Back to the Future IV – Judgment Day, and starred Lloyd as Owen Kingston, Mike’s mentor from years past. However, time has done strange things to Kingston, and to say he has a God-complex is an understatement.

The episode is featured below. If you wonder why the opening credits for this is called Chaos City instead of Spin City, it’s because in Germany the title was changed. Don’t worry, this is in english without subtitles.

Take a look.

ELVIS PRESLEY’S 75th BIRTHDAY

Published January 8, 2010

On this date, January uary 8th, 2010, Elvis Presley would have celebrated his 75th birthday. Hard to imagine what Mr. P would have been doing these days had he not succumbed to excess, but the legion of us who still hold him dear never tire of the question. While we will never know, we still treasure the legacy he left behind.
Elvis Presley
To read MUCH more about Elvis, and watch some of his classic performances, check out my profile of the man on Examiner.com, a blurb of which appears below.

Widely regarded as the most influential singer of all time, selling over 1,300,000,000 albums worldwide, Elvis Presley, idolized by fans and musicians alike, is indeed the undisputed King of Rock and Roll.

Elvis Aron Presley was born on January uary 8th, 1935 in a two-room shotgun house in Tupelo, Mississippi. He had a twin brother, Jesse Garon, who died at birth.  As an only child, Elvis was extremely close to his mother, Gladys, and would frequently accompany her to the local Assemblies of God church.  Though she was a woman of strong Christian faith, Gladys was not adverse to self-medicating with alcohol and prescribed pharmaceuticals … vices which would vex Elvis decades on.  Though at grade school, Elvis’ teachers considered him a “well-mannered and quiet child,” the boy’s tight relationship with his mother caused him grief with schoolmates, as they quickly dubbed him a “stuttering mama’s boy.”  Elvis’ father, Vernon, held a number of jobs through the Great Depression, but served eight months in prison in 1938 for attempting to pass a forged check in the amount of eight dollars … hard times, indeed.

In 1948, the Presleys moved to Memphis, Tennessee — while the reason was employment related (Vernon needed work), he was also running from the law for transporting bootleg liquor.  In 1953, after Elvis graduated from Humes High School, he held a number of jobs, including a movie theater usher and a truck driver for Crown Electric.  Music had always been a driving influence in Elvis’ life — from the gospel he sang in church, to the hillbilly pervading Tennessee, to the blues that, as a white boy in the racist south, Elvis had to enjoy … carefully.  From a young age, even Elvis’ appearance rebelled against the conservative styles of the day.  While other kids sported crew cuts, Elvis had his hair piled high in a ducktailed pompadour; where his peers were clean shaven, Elvis had long sideburns; while his classmates dressed down, Elvis liked his clothes wild and flashy … high collars, low necks, poofy shirts, studded pants, and tapped shoes.  In the mid-fifties bible belt, Elvis didn’t really fit in … to put it mildly.  But all that was about to change. Read more …

CHRISTMAS WITH THE SKYWALKERS

Published December 26, 2009

This kind of speaks for itself. Thanks to Comixed.com for making me laugh this morning — they entitled the comic below “I hope it’s a new hand!”

Merry Christmas.

Skywalker Christmas

BRITTANY MURPHY 1977 – 2009

Published December 20, 2009

Heartbreaking news here, folks:  32-year-old actress Brittany Murphy died this morning (December 20, 2009) after she suffered a massive heart attack.  According to TMZ:

Brittany Murphy’s mom discovered her unconscious in the shower.  When paramedics arrived, they quickly determined Murphy was in full cardiac arrest and immediately administered CPR.  They continued CPR in route to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center — several miles away — and Murphy was unresponsive.  She was pronounced dead at the hospital.

More as this terribly sad story develops …

Three months ago I did a detailed profile of Brittany Murphy over on my Celebrity Profile Examiner page. She didn’t have any big projects coming up, I wrote it simply because I am a genuine fan … one who is in shock at this tragic news. Check out the profile here.

Brittany Murphy

ELVIS – THE MOVIE COMING TO DVD … FINALLY!

Published December 19, 2009

In a previous article regarding the 1979 TV biopic, ELVIS, directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell as the King of Rock and Roll, I sang the praises of this little-seen film, bemoaned the nonexistence of the movie in DVD form, and encouraged readers to sign a petition form to see it reissued in a digital format.

Well, I am bemoaning no longer.

KURT RUSSELL AS ELVIS PRESLEY
Kurt Russell as Elvis
Here is the press release I just received from SHOUT! Factory:

Timed closely to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birth, Shout! Factory, in association with Dick Clark Productions, present ELVIS on DVD for the first time March 2, 2010. This collectible DVD features the movie restored from original film elements as it was meant to be seen. An array of bonus features include: “Bringing A Legend To Life,” a featurette with archival interviews of Kurt Russell and John Carpenter (1979); commentary by “The Voice Of Elvis,” Ronnie McDowell; rare clips and captivating photo gallery. Even 33 years after his passing, Presley continues to burn a powerful image of rock stardom and still conquers new legions of fans through his indelible mark in worldwide pop culture. Available for the first time, this long-awaited DVD debut of the film ELVIS is priced to own at $19.97.

Directed by John Carpenter, the biopic of Elvis Presley stars Kurt Russell and features the voice of ’70s country music hit maker Ronnie McDowell re-creating Presley’s signature vocals. Tracing Presley’s life from his impoverished childhood to his meteoric rise to stardom to his triumphant return to Las Vegas, this film boasts an all-star ensemble including Academy Award winner Shelley Winters as Elvis’ mother Gladys; Season Hubley as his wife Priscilla; Kurt Russell’s real-life father Bing Russell as Elvis’s father Vernon Presley; Pat Hingle as Colonel Tom Parker; Joe Mantegna as Joe Esposito; and Ed Begley Jr. as D.J. Fontana.

IN-DEPTH DVD SPECIAL FEATURES

* “Bringing A Legend To Life” Featurette With Archival Interviews Of Kurt Russell And John Carpenter (1979)
* Commentary By “The Voice Of Elvis” Ronnie McDowell And Author Edie Hand
* Rare Clips From American Bandstand
* Photo Gallery


While I am disappointed that this DVD does not look to include a commentary track by Carpenter and Russell, nor any new Making Of features (have to settle for the archival version), I am still stoked that this is finally coming round. No word on whether this is the excellent 2 hour or the somewhat bloated 3 hour version of the telefilm, but I will keep you updated when I pick this up in March.

For Elvis fans, this is great news.

Never seen it? Here are the first 20 minutes from someone on YouTube who recently posted the whole dad-gummed 3 hour version. Enjoy it while it lasts … at least until March 2nd, 2010.