Mid-week Links

Hey there…

Ok… I’ve seen enough weird news this week to warrant a few comments about some of the things going on in the movie business…

First, La Femme Nikita is back? Again? Let’s hope it’s more like Luc Besson‘s original starring Anne Parillaud or the series on USA starring Peta Wilson. Evidently McG’s involved and in this version (reportedly to air on The CW), Nikita will go rogue and a new assassin will be trained to replace her. Isn’t it odd that they’d call the series La Femme Nikita if she’s not the lead character? Read more at ComingSoon.net.

Next, it’s good to know that Guy Ritchie isn’t afraid to continue the good thing he started with Sherlock Holmes and Robert Downey, Jr. According to multiple sources (ComingSoon.net, FirstShowing.net and The Examiner) his Lobo (DC Comics) movie has been shelved for now and they’re ramping up to work on a script and pre-production for the Holmes sequel. Brad Pitt is rumored to be Moriarty, which should be quite interesting. Pitt as an evil, brilliant villain? Hmmm… (Update: Evidently this rumor has been squashed about Brad as Moriarty, so we’ll see who actually gets to play that role…)

And Michael Bay, king of explosions, is apparently scouting for locations for Transformers 3. The last one wasn’t bad enough? I’m hoping they return to the simpler plot of the first movie, which had me cheering by the end as a popcorn movie. Guess we’ll find out in July 2011. A bit more at ComingSoon.net

Lastly, in the “Please no, say it ain’t so” category, we have rumors of Sam Worthington (Avatar, Terminator: Salvation) going for the role of Dracula in a new movie about the first vampire. (At least he’s not a teenager…) For me, the last good Dracula was Gary Oldman… and before that Bela Lugosi. Worthington would need to age about 30 years before I’d even consider him for a role like that… Latino Review, MTV, ScreenRant… Everyone’s talking about it and saying the same thing – say it ain’t so!!

That’s it for now… More the next time I have a chance to pull my head out of the sand…

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up a few of these great DVDs!

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Book Review: Sherlock Holmes in America edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Jon L. Lellenberg, and Daniel Stashower

Hi all!

In 1887, Sherlock Holmes began to stalk the literary world. He lived at 221B Baker Street, London, and ran a private detective agency. He was brilliant, eccentric, and without equal. After a few years he was joined by Dr. Watson, both as a right-hand man as a chronicler. Created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes was featured in four novels and fifty-six short stories. And I think it’s safe to say that Holmes had an affectation for the Americans starting from his very first story — “A Study in Scarlet” — when he told of an adventure in Utah.

And even today, Holmes has left an indelible impression upon the world at large, including American shores. In March 2009, Sherlock Holmes in America was published as a collection of 16 original short mystery stories featuring the famous detective. The collection was edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Jon L. Lellenberg, and Daniel Stashower. Some of the writers included in the collection are Robert Pohle, Loren D. Estleman, Victoria Thompson, Gillian Linscott, Carolyn Wheat, and Jon L. Breen.

Timing for this collection is just about perfect, as the marketing starts to ratchet up later in the year for the upcoming Guy Ritchie movie. Simply titled Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Dr. Watson, the movie will release on Christmas Day 2009 and I know I’m intrigued to see it. Though this is definitely not the first time Holmes will grace the big screen, it will be the first time in since around 1946.

As a relative newbie to the Sherlock Holmes stories, I figured Sherlock Holmes in America would be a great way to get my feet wet. And I was definitely correct. Now I will have to go back to the original source material and start my way through the great detective’s many adventures.

Each of the authors had something different to bring to the table. Holmes, Watson, and even Mycroft (Sherlock’s brother) appear in these adventures, but it was the many other characters I found fascinating.

In “The Adventure of the Coughing Dentist” by Loren D. Estleman, Holmes and Watson encountered Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, famous for the gunfight at the OK Corral. In the story, Holmes and Watson helped Earp clear the name of his good friend Holliday from a crime he didn’t commit.

In Gillian Linscott’s story “The Case of Colonel Crockett’s Violin,” the dynamic duo help clear up a mystery surrounding the origin of two violins said to have been owned by Davy Crockett at the Alamo.

And in Bill Crider’s story “The Adventure of the White City,” the duo help Buffalo Bill Cody avoid an unfortunate incident with Sitting Bull’s cabin. A group of Native Americans wished to destroy the cabin in an act of defiance for Sitting Bull’s compliance in the Custer massacre. Annie Oakley also appears in the story.

It was great to see these two iconic detectives appear in the context of the history of America during his lifetime. I thoroughly enjoyed each of the stories and definitely need to start reading Doyle’s original stories before Guy Ritchie’s movie appears at the end of the year.

If you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan, it’s hard to go wrong with Sherlock Holmes in America. Pick up a copy and enjoy these great adventures!

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up a copy of Sherlock Holmes in America at Amazon or your favorite local bookstore!

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What makes a truly horrible movie?

Hi there…

This weekend I had to review a movie that I wish I hadn’t. I’ll post the review in a few days once I’ve digested it a bit, but I have to say that it was one of the most messed up films I’ve seen in quite a while. That said, I did make it to the end, but I’m not sure how. And it took multiple sittings (thank goodness for pause on the DVD player) to get through its length…

Bubba Ho-tep
Image via Wikipedia

But it made me really stop to think about what makes a film truly horrible.

I’m a huge fan of “good” B-movies. Some of the ones on the SciFi channel on Saturday nights are horrible, but have some redeeming features. They’re not theater-quality, they’re definitely made for TV. Bubbahotep with Bruce Campbell is a solid B-movie meant for theaters. I loved it. Many people hated it. Such is the power of movies.

But what makes a truly horrible movie isn’t the lack of production quality or the deliberate dumbing down of subject matter or taking a look at truly absurd issues in the world (like Elvis not dead, living in a retirement home in the south)… it’s shooting for a mark and missing it so completely that you want to run away screaming.

This movie combines a Shakespearean plot with The Godfather, sprinkles in a ton of unnecessary swearing, gratuitous violence, far too much gore, some really bad dialogue and acting… and you end up with a trainwreck. I can’t tell you what this movie is yet, but I will. I promise I’ll post my review in a few days.

But unlike Bug, which I thought was a totally useless piece of celluloid… this movie managed to overdo every aspect of production. So whereas nothing actually happened in Bug, this movie had things happening for no reason. It makes Uwe Boll and Guy Ritchie‘s worst movies look like brilliant pieces of art.

So I ask this question… What for you is the unforgiveable sin when it comes to movies? What’s the thing that makes you walk out of a theater (I’ve only done it once, for The Truman Show) or turn off a DVD (done a few times)?

I want to hear from you… Please — let me know!

–Fitz

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