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by Bill Gibron

19 Jun 2008

Comedy can come out of a number of circumstances. Sometimes, all you need is a goofy premise, and audiences will laugh without realizing it. At other instances, carefully drawn characters are required to gain the guffaws. There is parody and satire, high minded intellectualism and low brow slapstick. It takes skill to circumnavigate any one of these tenuous elements, while some filmmakers can manage all of them within a single cinematic setting. Such is the case with The Foot Fist Way, a $70,000 independent offering hijacked by Will Ferrell and Andy McKay for their Gary Sanchez Productions. This fudged up little gem may get lost among all the mainstream merriment, but it far surpasses what your sloppy Cineplex car wrecks have to offer.

Fred Simmons, former World Tae Kwan Do champion, runs a small little school in a North Carolina strip mall. His daily activities include grooming his students for a future as martial artists, keeping his eye on his wayward wife, ogling the new female talent taking his class, working on angles for his public demonstrations, and idolizing Hollywood action hero Chuck “The Truck” Wallace. When a chance comes to meet his idol, he takes his two most promising apprentices (Julio and Rick) and his best buddy Mike McCallister on a rollicking road trip, complete with a detour into drugs, self-defense, and debauchery. But when Wallace agrees to come back for the testing of Simmons’ scholars, his presence may be too much for the man.

Built out of the ‘asshole as hero’ mode of amusement, and anchored by a frightening portrayal by lead actor Danny McBride, The Foot Fist Way is a collection of contradictory ideals gelling effortlessly into a smart, savvy whole. Clearly, we are not supposed to indentify with this child-beating, egomaniacal jerk-off, personal philosophy borne out of a shocking combination of Eastern wisdom and way too much near beer. Simmons is given his vulnerable moments - once he learns of his wife’s adultery, a stare down in the mirror brings out levels of hidden horror few could properly manage - but he’s also functioning under a daily delusion. He believes that if he can just follow the mandates of his school’s kung fu oath, he can survive anything. Unfortunately, he can barely get through a beginner’s class without cursing out some five-year-old.

As a cold, calculated character study, The Foot Fist Way feels more like a mockumentary than a standard motion picture. Director (and co-star) Jody Hill applies a found footage style, camera circling the action like a combatant about to enter the Octagon. There are times when the approach breaks free, a music-based montage of the boys’ adventures at Wallace’s suite party proving that sometimes, selected shots edited to songs can actually work. He does it again during our final showdown, Simmons taking on his hero to see who truly is the king of the board/concrete block break. Yet the film really sizzles when Hill lets the lens rest, allowing McBride and the rest of the cast to improvise and react to the surreality surrounding them.

As stated before, our lead is amazing, managing to be both slightly loveable and utterly loathsome at the same time. We understand Simmons’ pain…sort of. He’s a minor fish in an even smaller pond, someone who strove to be the best at what he does only to wind up teaching techniques to toddlers and the borderline infirmed. His trophy wife is more of an aggravation than aphrodisiac, and as embodied (and one does mean “bodied”) by newcomer Mary Jane Bostic, the emasculation of her infidelity is obvious. As Chuck “The Truck” Wallace, co-writer Ben Best is pitch perfect. Imagine a certain ‘Texas Ranger’ wrapped in half-conscious hippy garb, eyes bleary from a life lost in a liquor and lady fueled limelight. His scenes with Simmons are priceless, since they offer an opportunity to see one butthead belittling another.

As for its overall narrative structure, The Foot Fist Way is a tad scattered. There is a vignette oriented quality to the storyline, Simmons and his class introduced before random acts of oddness happen. There are times when things fall flat, as when our lunkhead chastises his wife for not thinking he’s ‘great’ enough. But McBride and Hill are totally committed to this material, never once breaking that all important Fourth Wall to wink at the audience in “aren’t we rotten” recognition. Naturally, this adds to the film’s sense of authenticity. We are supposed to see Simmons for what he is - an uncomplicated dullard dealt a real world raw hand by a society that wants to complicate things.

Of course, it helps that there are plenty of laughs here. One scene in particular is so scatologically brilliant (Simmons berates his wife one last time) it will be quoted by broken hearted jarheads for decades to come. In other places, the blackly comic sight of kids getting kicked and punched by an adult offers a gut load of guilty pleasures. Hill and company never go for the obvious joke, instead hoping our collective involvement in these characters’ dilemmas lead to the laughs. Most of the time they do, and this is The Foot Fist Way‘s greatest strength. Even when opportunities are missed or just improperly paid off, the spunky, go for broke spirit remains.

It’s a shame that, in a current marketplace that favors marginal comedians (Steve Carrel, Mike Myers) going gonzo for supposed laughs (Get Smart and The Love Guru, respectively), a movie like The Foot Fist Way is being unceremoniously dumped. Like Napoleon Dynamite, or Juno, this is the kind of film that could, with proper cult creativity and strategizing, become a subtle sleeper, destined to keep college kids and like minded moviegoers doubled over in reverse ironic joy. They say that everyone loves a hero and pities a loser. Fred Simmons is neither, both, and a pretty bad example of each. He’s also far funnier than any old school secret agent or American born guru. Unfortunately, unless you look hard, it may be difficult to discover why.

by Bill Gibron

18 Jun 2008

It stands as one of the most unusual, and blinkered, boycotts ever. For the last few months, self-proclaimed Indo-American leader Rajan Zed has been waging a one man campaign against Mike Myers’ latest live action comedy, The Love Guru. Pointing to the fact that the film features an American Born master who comes back to his native land to help a hockey player in distress, Zed has launched a bi-weekly (and sometimes more) email “awareness” campaign, demanding everything from the MPAA labeling the movie “NC-17” to requesting the same body suspend Paramount for “unethical practices” (anyone whose seen This Film is Not Yet Rated knows that ain’t happening anytime soon).

Naturally, all of this comes from someone who, admittedly, has not seen the final film. Nor can he site specific allegations against Myers and company. All he can do is complain about the trailer “lampooning Hinduism and Hindus and using Hindu terms frivolously”. And without said personal perspective, his screeds come across as horribly misinformed. Over the course of the last few weeks, Zed has also come under fire for mixing fact with a little propagandized fiction. Back in April, he announced that the British Film Institute (better known by the initial BFI) had no intention of supporting, or in their words “screening” the film. Turns out, that’s standard policy for the organization, a procedural loophole victory at best.

As for the rest of his rants, Zed has tried everything and anything. He wanted advance screenings, and when he was awarded them, he still complained. When Paramount finally withdrew the offer, he called conspiracy. He supposedly rallied other religions to his defense, only to have them back off any major pronouncements with a “wait and see” attitude. Now, there is nothing wrong with one ethnic culture or race responding with concern when it appears that someone is about to ridicule their religion or heritage. Even worse, The Love Guru looked like it would indeed use every known concept of Hinduism and Eastern philosophy to fuel yet another regressive Mike Myer’s comedy.

Specifically, the simplistic narrative follows Maurice Pitka, a Western orphan who finds himself learning the ways of the guru alongside the now more famous Deepak Chopra. As he ages, our hero is sick of the comparison, and is looking for a high profile case to bring him to the attention of Oprah, and as a result, the American mainstream. As luck would have it, star player for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Darren Roanoke, is having marital troubles. His wife has left him for the notoriously well-hung goalie of the Los Angeles Kings, Jacques “Le Coq” Grande, and as a result, he can no longer score goals. With team owner Jane Bullard and Leaf’s coach Cherkov desperate, they turn to Pitka and his ‘DRAMA’ method to rekindle Roanoke’s romance and save the organization’s Stanley Cup hopes.

In the end, Zed shouldn’t have bothered. Certainly, The Love Guru gives certain Indian stereotypes a tweaking or two. Ben Kingsley, revered for his Oscar winning performance as the nation’s heroic Gandhi, pisses all over the famed pacifists legacy by playing a cross-eyed ashram teacher who gained his horrendous eyesight from years of masturbation. He speaks in a silly voice, makes students fight with mops soaked in his own urine, and gets a juvenile kick out of keeping Myers’ Pitka in an unnecessary vow of chastity. If it was possible, Zed and his gang should ask the Academy to take back the British thespian’s award. He does more damage to the Asian country’s people and reputation with this performance than all the good his 1982 biopic did.

Similarly, Myers does make it seem like all gurus are money grubbing materialists who pervert faith and inner peace into a series of babbling best sellers and a collection of high concept catchphrases. Pitka is always ending his mantras with a tiny “TM” tag, indicating that the wisdom he just quoted is trademarked, and therefore subject to copyrights and royalties. He has personal servants who handle all of his affairs, including a few that are far more intimate than one imagines real gurus require, and there’s a seismic, show business flare to everything Pitka does. Alongside his hopped up horndog tendencies, Myers makes his hero so flawed that we’re not sure if he’s meant as a comment on, or a crass, crude put down of, true Indian wise men.

Such a confused purpose regarding the source material leaves Zed and all others on the outside looking rather confused. Myers personal adoration for Chopra is legendary, and interviews add another level of respect to a figure the comedian feels helped himself - and millions more - find some manner of ersatz enlightenment. So it’s clear the actor would claim comedic poetic license when it comes to how he depicts guru nation. In addition, Pitka’s pitch works. Whatever wacked out system of suggestions and rituals he demands seem successful. Roanoke gets back with his wife, he leads the Leafs to the final game of the Cup, and he even overcomes his phobia regarding his mother. Of course, it takes a pair of elephants having sex to cure that sports performance anxiety ailment.

Indeed, if Zed wants to really get angry about something, one suggests he take the MPAA to task for awarding this tawdry, salacious comedy, overflowing with as many dick and diarrhea jokes as possible, a lowly PG-13 rating. That’s right, kids between the ages of eight and twelve, guided by the unmitigated buzz of an MTV saturated media hype, will be able to witness more penis humor than a dorm room full of drunken frat pledges. The movie starts with a dong joke and goes from there - and repeats said wang witticisms over and over again. If Myers is not making fun of Vern Troyer’s size (a given in this kind of film) he is finding new and novel ways to reference the male member. To say it grows tiresome would be giving tediousness a bad name.

Similarly, Myers clearly believes that Judd Apatow and his go-to gang of regulars have failed to fully develop and explore all levels of gross out juvenilia. So The Love Guru skips things like characterization, plot development, drama, insight, and substance to swim in oceans of personal offal. There are farts, snot rockets, dung, numerous mention of skidmarks (and other verbal variations on the dirty drawers), and the aforementioned wiener-palooza. While the sequence with Kingsley and the nauseating pee fight tops them all, there is still enough mind numbing noxiousness to get your gag reflex good and active. While Apatow can claim scatology with subtext, Myers is like a monkey, flinging his poo at the screen for audiences to enjoy.

Zed is wasting his breath if he thinks anyone will actually boycott this unsuccessful swill. The demographic - read: teen boys and their text-tweener dates - will giggle their way to a Summer full of sympathy mimicry, and Pitka is so completely unrealistic that anyone thinking Hindus are being defamed will look like an idiot in the claim. In fact, The Love Guru has so many insider winks to the viewer that it seems to have anticipated the fuss and foiled it by taking absolutely nothing seriously. Had this campaign actually raised the hackles of grass roots organizations everywhere, there would have been a lot of wasted protest breath. Myers’ intent is obvious - do anything, including the slightest of ethnic slams, for a laugh.

Sadly, the only honest snickers will come from anyone who has read Zed’s missives over the last few months. This does not defend The Love Guru - it’s a god-awful anti-comedy, unfunny in unfathomable, almost heroic ways. But it should teach anyone who wants to openly complain about an upcoming project (and the supposedly negative depiction within) to get their facts straight before starting to complain. This is one of those cases where everything, and nothing, could be twisted into being racially insensitive or just downright dumb - and sometimes, both.

Rajan Zed has every right to protect his people and his place among them. He also has the freedom of speech to voice his well meaning and thoughtful concerns. But like the boy who cried wolf, arguing against something you’re not sure exists means that, when the time comes to really go after an abuse, you’ll be viewed less like a savior and more like a stooge. One imagines that no one could stop Myers in pursuit of his big screen muse. It’s too bad Zed didn’t wait until he knew what he was actually attacking before taking up the cause. Anything to keep this crappy movie out of the cultural mainstream would definitely been welcomed. 

by Sean Murphy

17 Jun 2008

In the late summer of 1982, two distinct entities from outer space infiltrated planet earth. One was a prehistoric creature with the ability to kill, then imitate its prey: it could attack its victims while remaining disguised amongst them by, in effect, becoming them. The other was an unusual looking but friendly creature, a voyager from another place with god-like powers of healing, an odd voice, and an affinity for Reese’s Pieces.

Guess which one fared better?

Of course, Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was the hit of ’82, and John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing had the famously unfortunate timing of opening two weeks later. That many people did not see it is a shame; that many critics dismissed it is typical. To be certain, it didn’t help matters that the assembled brain trust agonized over the relatively brief, but exceptionally gory special effects. Inevitably, they aged quickly—and rather poorly. While one can appreciate the attention paid to these ostensibly “scary” scenes, they are (ironically? inexorably?) the weaker moments in the film. It being a Carpenter production, cohesion and plot are occasionally undermined in ways that seem half-assed or ham-fisted. Still, after repeated viewings it manages to work on multiple levels, and despite any nitpicking it seems impossible to improve upon. The definition of a classic, perhaps, but it is something more, something more complicated than that. It is a unique and enigmatic movie; in hindsight it is easy to understand how it evolved, over time, from a cult classic to its current status as must-own DVD material (alas, no 25th anniversary deluxe edition arrived in 2007, but the existing Collector’s Edition—from 1998—is quite satisfactory): it needed time to truly find its audience.

So, aside from bad timing and a final product that feels, at times, oddly forced despite the obvious (and well documented) care and consideration that went into it, what is it that remains so right about this movie? For starters, it is to Carpenter’s credit that he assembled such a spectacular cast: virtually all of the actors make the absolute most of their relatively limited screen time, but Keith David, Richard Dysart, Donald Moffat and Richard Masur are in particularly fine form. As for Kurt Russell, it is amazing to recall that his role as R.J. MacReady came only a year after his testosterone-athon as Snake Plissken in Escape from New York (also directed by Carpenter), making this quite the one-two punch for both men. Considerable credit must also be given to Bill Lancaster’s excellent screenplay (to read John W. Campbell’s novella Who Goes There? is both to appreciate where the spirit of this film comes from—more so than the sci-fi classic The Thing from Outer Space that it was ostensibly updating—and appreciate how much Lancaster did with relatively little, in terms of actual plot, character development and drama).

It is, as intended, Kurt Russell’s film, but special mention must be made for the near miraculous performance of Wilford Brimley—a man who is perhaps best known as the wise-cracking senior citizen from Cocoon or as the Quaker Oats guy, or recently (and, thanks to the brilliant monkeys working around the clock on youtube, amusingly), the spokesperson with a tendency to mispronounce the most unamusing word in the English language, diabetes. As Dr. Blair, Brimley’s presence provides an austere integrity and the necessarily brainy moral grounding for events that would otherwise be in constant jeopardy of degenerating into parody. His dead-serious assessment of what is going on—before anyone else has figured things out—invests the growing unease inside the camp with a gravitas that makes it painfully clear, to the viewer, what is at stake. Later, after being secluded in a storage shed, the men visit him in a scene that manages to be sad, disturbing and comical.

One scene in particular offers perhaps the best illustration of why this movie continues to resonate, and why it was not fully successful as either a slam-bam action flick or a serious drama: Blair sits alone, at his desk, running a computer simulation of the diabolically efficient way the alien is infecting his team. In less than thirty seconds, the look on his face turns from world-weary stoicism to resigned acknowledgment of the likely consequences—for the men, and the rest of the world. Interestingly (and again, ironically?) it is probable that the impetus for this particular sequence, in addition to the obvious and necessary advancement of the plot in as succinct and clear a manner as possible, was to show-off the high-tech computer programming, circa 1982. Like the over-the-top transformation scenes, it is more hilarious than harrowing to look at the extraordinarily primitive technology, today. And yet, it worked, then, and works now, because of its stark imagery: in its way, it’s ten times more terrifying to watch the simulated organism at work, one blob on a screen capturing and assimilating its prey, than it is to watch the scattered “money shots” when the creature reveals itself.

Perfection is a word that should never be used lightly, but no other word will suffice for the wonders Ennio Morricone works, scoring this film. The name Morricone is—and should be—associated with brilliance, variety and superhuman productivity, just to pick a few obvious choices. While the list of only his very best efforts is not short, his work here must be considered amongst the top tier: The Thing would be unimaginable without it. Rather than overwhelming, or distracting the action on the screen—as film scores do with distressing regularity these days—Morricone’s music exists mostly on the periphery, in the corners and inside the shadows. Its effectiveness serves an almost opposite purpose to the handful of over-the-top alien transformations: the real horror of the story lies in the tension of not knowing, the dread of isolation and the fear of being assailed by an inexplicable enemy. Morricone subtly embellishes the otherwise silent scenes, where the only sounds are the Antarctic winds, the silence and the darkness. As the paranoia increases, strings are plucked like raw nerves, while stark, almost soulless keyboard drones mirror the growing desperation: the music exists as a wind chill factor, making everything colder and more forlorn than it already is.

And last but certainly not least: The Thing provides one of the best endings of any movie, ever. To use the word perfect, again, would seem silly, but there is no getting around it: the ending is perfect. Indeed, it’s even better than perfect, considering the pressure Carpenter must have felt to inject the type of horseshit heroic conclusion American audiences usually require. Carpenter’s decision to go with the ambivalent ending (which, actually, is truly heroic as opposed to some manufactured deus ex machina sequel-ready sendoff) very likely killed his chance at commercial viability. Carpenter knew this and did it anyway, saving both the movie’s integrity and his soul in the process. The fact that The Thing has attracted video sales ever since is wonderfully poetic justice, and confirms that you can occasionally scoff at the big studio machine and come out okay. Bottom line: Spielberg’s alien may have won the box office battle, but everyone knows that his maudlin Peter Pan wouldn’t have stood a chance at Outpost 31.

by Bill Gibron

17 Jun 2008

In an arena where many do their job without much exposure to the limelight, Stan Winston was a God. It’s a term tossed around regularly by the geek community, but in referencing this F/X mastermind, the label definitely fit. He brought the Terminator to life, helped cement the sci-fi legacies of both Aliens and the Predator, gave Jurassic Park its non-CGI giants, and provided Edward with his scissor-hands. On the Mount Rushmore of movie magicians, he’s right up there with Smith, Harryhausen, Baker, and Bottin. And now his name is added to another, less celebrated list - those who died too young, and far too vital.

Having suffered from multiple myeloma for years, he finally succumbed to the disease on 15 June. For many, it was a total shock. Winston was not open about his health, though many in the industry did know he was battling the incurable illness. He continued to work, contributing important elements to this Summer’s Iron Man, while planning for several other projects. The best way to describe Winston’s work is ‘bio-mechanical’. While other make-up wizards found ways to imitate life, his creations took on the elements of existence, found their core of truth, and then turned them epic.

Born in Virginia, the young Winston loved anything artistic. He excelled at drawing, and enjoyed creating puppet shows for his friends. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1968 (where he studied painting and sculpture), he headed to Hollywood, looking for work as an actor. When jobs became sparse, he signed up to apprentice in Disney’s make-up department. Three years later, he opened his own company, Stan Winston Studios, and in rapid fire succession, won an Emmy for his work on Gargoyles (1973) and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (which he shared with future icon Rick Baker).

Throughout the ‘70s, Winston built a substantial resume, high profile gigs as part of the production team on Roots, The Wiz, and Dead and Buried shoring up his already hefty credits. But it was the Andy Kaufman comedy Heartbeeps which brought the wizard his first Oscar buzz. Nominated for the uneven robot romp, he gained the notice of newcomer James Cameron. The directing novice was hoping Winston could create the metal machine man-assassin at the center of his radical time travel action film. The results were The Terminator, the movie that would make myths out of Winston, Cameron, and leading man (and former bodybuilder) Arnold Schwarzenegger.

After his work on the 1984 sleeper, the sky literally became the limit. Winston worked on Cameron’s update of the Aliens franchise, earned another Oscar nod for Predator, reinvented the classic Universal creatures for the cult favorite The Monster Squad, and added his touch to such marginal efforts as Leviathan, Congo, and The Relic. But it was his work on Edward Scissorhands and Terminator 2 that gained the most favor. He was acknowledged by the Academy for both (winning two statues for the latter) and it soon seemed like every horror, science fiction, or fantasy film was using Winston (or one of his many protégés) as part of their production.

Like all successful artists, he tried to branch out. He directed two feature films (the minor masterwork Pumpkinhead, and the fair family film A Gnome named Gnorm) and as a producer, he guided Wrong Turn and The Deaths of Ian Stone (among others) to the big screen. But his main passion remained make-up and special effects. Even when Jurassic Park threatened to wipe out the practical side of things with its computer generated progress, Winston found a way to make his kind of input invaluable. It was a methodology that would carry him across the next two decades.

Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day are arguably his main masterpieces, films that could no exist without what Winston brought to them. It may seem hard to believe now, but everything in Cameron’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s haunted house in space was done practically. Puppets, rod animation, animatronics, costumes, and miniatures were utilized to bring this ultimate battle between man and extraterrestrial to life. More impressively, when CGI started to show promise, Winston proved it could be seamlessly integrated into the standard F/X catalog. It’s a lesson that few in the current realm of film false reality understand. 

In addition, Winston was a great teacher, and loved to interact with fans. He was always personable and generous at conventions, and contributed all he could when DVD gave technicians a chance to champion their craft. His loss is monumental for many reasons, and not just for the work we genre fanatics lose in the process. As science sweeps all the old school trades toward the trash bin, Winston reminded us of why the classical approach was, oft times, the best. He made changes work for him, never giving up or into the prevailing cultural conclusion. He was never one to quit, which helps explain how he battled cancer for so long. It also makes his passing that much sadder.

Indeed, what we lose when we lose someone like Stan Winston is an artform benchmark, something professionals envy while simultaneously striving for. With each master that passes away, a little less reality remains and another chapter in history is written. Winston’s death means that, maybe, one less excited teen decides to take up make-up instead of majoring in business, or one less filmmaker hires a practical artist and, instead, drops his dreams into someone’s overpriced laptop. While cinema has to go on without one of its giants, there is a larger issue involved.

Stan Winston was one of the few F/X regents in a realm where vitality meant viability. Now that he’s gone, it’s up to those he inspired to carry his spirit forward. It would be the best tribute of all to a man who reveled in realizing dreams. Thanks to him, our heroes are a little more gallant, our villains far more vile…and our movies a lot more magical.

by Bill Gibron

16 Jun 2008

‘Death Race’ Remake Gets a Trailer
Ever since it was announced, fans have been anxiously awaiting any word on what noted genre journeyman (read ‘hack’) Paul W. S. Anderson would do to the beloved ‘70s road rage classic. Well, here’s your chance to see the brand new trailer - and oddly enough, it doesn’t look too bad. Much better than Alien vs. Predator or Soldier, anyway. [Yahoo]

New ‘Punisher’ is Teased as Well
While we aren’t sure who mandated a sequel, Lionsgate is unleashing another take on the mob-fighting vigilante this December. This time around, Thomas Jane is out, and Ray Stevenson (HBO’s Rome) steps in as the title character. Green Street Hooligan‘s Lexi Alexander is behind the lens. [IGN]

Bill Maher’s ‘Religulous’ Also Gets the Preview Treatment
Anyone who has watched the recent season of Real Time knows that host Maher has been carefully touting his anti-God documentary. Lionsgate finally gives us a taste of what we can look forward to come October. With Borat‘s Larry Charles in charge, we could be in for a brilliantly blasphemous romp. Check out Apple and the official website for more.

‘StepBrothers’ Gets Red Banded After the drubbing they took this past year - Will Ferrell with the underappreciated Semi-Pro, John C. Reilly with the overlooked biopic spoof Dewey Cox - both actors could sure use a quasi comeback. This sibling rivalry comedy from Andy McKay may help, especially after viewing the more “adult” oriented preview. [Trailer Addict]

Herzog’s ‘Lieutenant’ Still Going Strong - from Variety
Even with Abel Ferrara wishing him a speedy journey into the mouth of Hell (literally) Werner Herzog still seems intent on remaking (or in his own words, ‘reimagining”) the controversial 1992 drama. Nicholas Cage is already slated to stand in for Harvey Keitel, and now it seems Eva Mendez may be cozying up to her Ghost Rider costar as well. [Variety]

Krofft’s Bringing More Saturday Morning Classics to the Big Screen - from
With Land of the Lost already set for the big screen treatment, it seems those purveyors of classic ‘60s/‘70s psychedelic kid vid, Sid and Marty Krofft are bringing more of their oddball offerings to a Cineplex near you. Apparently, H.R. Pufnstuf and Sigmund (of ‘the Sea Monsters’ fame) are next up. []

‘Robotech’ Relaunch Gets Unusual Scripter - from the Hollywood Reporter
Last seen dealing (badly) with Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher, famed filmmaker/writer Lawrence Kasdan is rumored to be scribbling the celluloid version of the popular ‘80s anime staple. With his work on the new Clash of the Titan‘s remake, it marks the icon’s return to his roots (he did pen Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back, after all). [Hollywood Reporter]

DVD releases of Note for 17 June

Be Kind Rewind
The Carmen Miranda Collection
Classe Tous Risques - Criterion Collection
Fool’s Gold
Joy Division - Read the SE&L Review HERE
The Nude Bomb
Super High Me
Under the Same Moon
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins - Read the SE&L Review HERE

Box Office Figures for Weekend of 13 June

#1 - The Incredible Hulk: $54.9 million
#2 - Kung Fun Panda: $33.8 million
#3-  The Happening: $30.8 million
#4 - You Don’t Mess with the Zohan: $16.8 million
#5 - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: $13.2 million
#6 - Sex and the City: $10.3 million
#7 - Iron Man: $5.1 million
#8 - The Strangers: $4.1 million
#9 - The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian: $3.1 million
#10 - What Happens in Vegas: $1.7 million

Films Opening This Week:

General Release:
Get Smart - the classic Mel Brooks/Buck Henry sitcom from the ‘60s get the big screen treatment, this time featuring Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart and Anne Hathaway as 99. Rated PG-13
The Love Guru - Mike Myers returns to live action comedy with this story of an American born shaman raised by Hindus. He is called in to save a hockey star’s failing marriage/career. Rated PG-13

Kit Kittredge: An American Girl - it’s the Depression, and our title heroine struggles mightily to save her family, and her friends, from financial ruin. Based on the popular doll line, with Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin in the lead. Rated G
Brick Lane - while it may seem like the standard story of an arranged marriage in free fall, Monica Ali’s novel provides a provocative backdrop for this take on the material. Rated PG-13

//Mixed media

Robert DeLong Upgraded for 'In the Cards' (Rough Trade Photos + Tour Dates)

// Notes from the Road

"Robert DeLong ups his musical game with his new album In the Cards and his live show gets a boost too.

READ the article