Burn Notice Prize Pack Giveaway!

Burn Notice Poster
Burn Notice Poster

BURN NOTICE, the hottest show last summer returns for its second season continuation with seven all new episodes on Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 10/9c. BURN NOTICE is a sexy action-packed series starring Jeffrey Donovan (“Changeling”) as Michael Westen, a blacklisted spy who finds himself stranded in sun-soaked Miami without money, resources, or a clue as to who burned him, or why. The only tools at his disposal are his wits, his charm, his special ops training and his “friends:” Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar – “The Tudors”), a beautiful ex-IRA operative who also happens to be Michael’s ex-girlfriend, and Sam (Bruce Campbell – “Evil Dead”), a washed-up military intelligence contact who works as Michael’s sidekick, and his mother (Emmy Award-winner Sharon Gless – “Queer as Folk”), who Michael has spent most of his adult life trying to avoid. Visit the official site at www.burnnotice.usanetwork.com or join other fans on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Burn-Notice/7750605107?ref=ts

Burn Notice Prize pack
Burn Notice Prize pack

Grand Prize winner will receive:

-Burn Notice Tech Pack which includes a Mesh Case, Casio Watch, Mag Flashlight and Binoculars
-Burn Notice Season 1 DVD
-Burn Notice Mini-Football
Leave a comment below with your e-mail address. The contest ends February 20, 2009 and a random winner will be chosen February 21, 2009!
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My Favorite Movies: Great Swordfights!

Hi all!

This week I thought I’d talk about a few of my favorite sword-related movies. Obviously I’m a movie lover, but I go to the movies to be entertained or moved, and one of the things that always gets me excited is the prospect of a good sword fight. Choreography, pacing, and witty banter are the hallmarks of a great sword fight on screen, and these are a few of my favorites.

At the top of my list has to be The Princess Bride (1987), based on a novel of the same name by William Goldman. This movie has it all. Romance, comedy, adventure, and enough witty banter to keep even the most jaded person entertained. (That doesn’t mean they’ll BE entertained, but that’s up to them, not to me.)

The duel between Inigo and the Man in Black (Westley as the Dread Pirate Roberts) has to be my favorite sword battle of all time. Nowhere else do you get that type of swagger, sarcasm, and skill all rolled into a single scene.

Watch Princess Bride Swordfight in Entertainment Videos |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

After that, I have to say that The Musketeer (2001) starring Justin Chambers, Mena Suvari, Tim Roth, and Catherine Deneuve, merged east and west to create duels and sword fights with a martial arts/wire-work influence. (Yes, this is the same Justin Chambers who is currently in Grey’s Anatomy.)

Those are definitely my two favorites at this point. After that, the list gets a little muddled.

Next we have The Three Musketeers (1993). Yes, the Disney version. I know this movie isn’t the greatest thing, but it had some big things going for it… One was the fact that all of the actors (Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell, and Oliver Platt) were all [gasp] young then (weren’t we all?) and attacked some of the choreography with a youthful vigor. Second, there were some HUGE sword fights in this — lots and lots of combatants, which made it easy to forget that this was a Disney flick. And third… Porthos the Pirate!!! (You can see a clip of one of the battles on YouTube here.)

Along the same vein is the earlier Three Musketeers (1973) movie starring Michael York, Oliver Reed, Frank Finlay, and Richard Chamberlain, all in their prime. This was a much grittier movie than the Disney version 20 years later and showed some of the flair of earlier generations of sword duels, dating back to the days of Erol Flynn.

Another recent movie that featured some amazing sword scenes was Kill Bill. In Volume 1, we saw The Bride (Uma Thurman) fight the Crazy 88s in one heck of a bloody mess. Not my favorite movie ever, but it deserves to be mentioned.

Though I love Highlander (1987), I have to say that its duels are less individualized than some of the other movies listed here, but it’s still a great movie with some solid sword fights.

Funny enough, the Star Wars movies (yes, even the prequels) fall into this category as well. The prequels weren’t great, but they showed us some unique styles of light saber duels, and of course the light saber battle in Star Wars between Obi Wan and Darth Vader will forever be etched in my mind. 🙂

And no list of sword fight movies would be complete without discussing Erol Flynn. He was amazing. It was the early days of Hollywood and damn if the man could act AND swing a sword.

I’ll leave you with a compilation of some of the scenes from his movies.

The Sword Fights of Errol Flynn from Russ McClay on Vimeo.

I’m sure I missed many many movies that should be mentioned here. If you have some, feel free to leave me some comments so I can go watch some great swordplay. 🙂

Until next time… Go see a movie!


p.s. If you want to pick up some of these films at Amazon, click below:

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My Favorite Directors: Luc Besson

Hi all…

While in college I was introduced to the movie La Femme Nikita, a French film with English subtitles about a criminal forced to work for a spy agency. It starred Anne Parillaud as Nikita (Besson’s first wife) and Jean Reno even had a role, as he has had in most of Besson’s films.

La Femme Nikita’s stark world and crisp story brought Luc Besson to my attention in the early 1990s and he held it continuing to produce movies like The Professional (1994), which had Jean Reno in a starring role with Natalie Portman and Gary Oldman. In 1997 there was The Fifth Element, which blew my mind and is still one of my favorite movies. Starring Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich (who would later become Besson’s second wife), and Gary Oldman. In 1999, there was The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, which starred Milla Jovovich as Joan, Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, and John Malkovich.

Promotional image for Milla Jovovich and other...

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He not only directs, but also produces and writes behind the scenes. Movies such as The Transporter, which launched Jason Statham‘s career and has spawned two sequels (one of which comes out later this year), District B13, Danny the Dog (also known as Unleashed, starring Jet Li, Morgan Freeman, and Bob Hoskins

Besson has had one heck of a career so far. And though he focuses on action films for the most part, I have to say that he’s also explored some deeper territory with movies like The Messenger and Danny the Dog. These are not your run of the mill action films. They have a heart and a message.

Luc Besson was born in Paris in 1959, son to two scuba instructors traveling and teaching around the world. As a child, he wrote early drafts of a number of stories, including The Fifth Element, while bored at school. His dreams of becoming a marine biologist focused on dolphins was shattered when, at age 17, he had a diving accident and was no longer able to dive.

It was after that he discovered television and movies and learned he could merge his various art interests together to tell stories. After a few years in America, he returned to France and started what was later named Les Films de Dauphins (The Films of Dolphins).

In 2008, Besson has two films coming to the big screen — Taken (starring Liam Neeson) and Transporter 3 (again starring Jason Statham). His career doesn’t seem to be slowing down any after that either, with thirteen more films in production for 2008 – 2011 according to IMDB.

I can only hope that as he hits age 50 in 2009 that he continues on his stride of making fun and intelligent movies!


p.s. If you want to pick up some of Luc Besson’s films, be sure to check out the following at Amazon:

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