Archive for April, 2011

Michael Sarrazin reported dead

April 30, 2011

Michael Sarrazin reported dead

In the late 1960s, Michael Sarrazin was talked about as one of the promising new actors in Hollywood (getting a Golden Globe as such in 1968 for the Sweet Ride, and a BAFTA in 1969 for “promising newcomer to leading film roles” for They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”).

You are probably going to see the latter movie mentioned prominently in the mainstream obits.

Sarrazin, though, who always had the air of the outsider, was a very geek friendly actor.

How many people have played both Dr. Frankenstein’s creation and Edgar Allan Poe?

For my crowd, we probably first think of him for The Reincarnation of Peter Proud.  Max Ehrlich adapted his own novel.  Sarrazin’s haunted performance led a cast that included Jennifer O’Neill and Margot Kidder.

Throughout his career, he would continue to do genre work: Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Ray Bradbury Theater, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Earth: Final Conflict, La Femme Nikita, the 1990s version of The Outer Limits, and more.

Michael Sarrazin always struck me as that good-looking guy in the geek group, the one who’d be sitting quietly on the couch, who might have a sort of a sad smile when approached…the guy you thought should be happier than he was, and who knew it…

Good-bye, Michael Sarrazin…we always felt for you.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

The new voice of the Aflac duck is…

April 27, 2011

The new voice of the Aflac duck is…

I’ve written previously about Aflac firing Gilbert Gottfried as the voice of the Aflac duck for making insensitive jokes…in other words, for being the guy they hired.  😉 

That’s perhaps not fair to Aflac: they have a strong presence in Japan (although my understanding is that they don’t use the duck in commercials there), and the tweets were about the earthquake and tsunami, a truly tragic situation.

After that initial decision to add to the unemployment rate, I think Aflac has handled it rather well.  They did a nationwide search for the voice, which got a lot of publicity.  I particularly liked the Jimmy Fallon bit on it:

Jimmy’s Suggestions for The New Voice of The Aflac Duck

I also liked them doing a Perils of Pauline type silent commercial while the process was ongoing:

Aflac Silent Movie Commercial

 Now, they’ve released a rather charming video of the new voice of the Aflac duck:

HuffPo article

The new voice is Daniel McKeague, who is described as “a Minneapolis, MN sales manager”.

It’s essentially an impression of Gottfried’s duck.  I honestly thought they might go a different way, although that would mess up continuity with earlier commercials. 

I suspect Mr. McKeague may find it harder to be a voice artist than he thinks right now, not to say he won’t be able to handle it.  However, after the hundredth take or so on a single quack, I do hope its the fun I presume he thinks it will be.  🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.

“Mister, you’re just…”

April 27, 2011

“Mister, you’re just talkin’ words.”
Joe Caswell (played by Albert Salmi)
Execution episode of
The Twilight Zone
screenplay by Rod Serling
based on the short story by George Clayton Johnson

I’ve been working, from time to time, on a book of quotations for many years.  I call it, “The Mind Boggles”, from one of my favorite quotations.  I do source quotations a bit differently from a lot of people.  In the case of a work of a fiction, I consider that the character said the line…not the author.  As a bit of an author myself (in a minor way), I can tell you…my characters definitely say things that I would never say.  These are all quotations that I’ve collected myself: I’ve read the book, seen the TV episode, and so on.

Hope you enjoy them!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

“Madness is just what genius…”

April 26, 2011

“Madness is just what genius looks like to a tiny mind…”
–Stephen Moffatt, in the Doctor Who Insider for the
The Impossible Astronaut episode of
Doctor Who

I’ve been working, from time to time, on a book of quotations for many years.  I call it, “The Mind Boggles”, from one of my favorite quotations.  I do source quotations a bit differently from a lot of people.  In the case of a work of a fiction, I consider that the character said the line…not the author.  As a bit of an author myself (in a minor way), I can tell you…my characters definitely say things that I would never say.  These are all quotations that I’ve collected myself: I’ve read the book, seen the TV episode, and so on.

Hope you enjoy them!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Elisabeth Sladen reported dead

April 24, 2011

Elisabeth Sladen reported dead

Doctor Who is a frustrating, vastly superior alien.  He should be frightening to us.

One reason why he isn’t is Elisabeth Sladen’s performance on the series as Sarah Jane Smith, a journalist who was first a companion to the Doctor as portrayed by Jon Pertwee, and then as portrayed by Tom Baker.

Sarah Jane succeeded in “humanizing” the Doctor, without taking away his alienness.  She could stand up to him, encourage him, restrain him…educate him.

Her character was so successful that she was given her own series in 2007.

Sarah Jane was intelligent, charming, and relatable…characteristics which have also been applied to Elisabeth Sladen.  While there have been many companions to the Doctor, we can safely say that without Sarah Jane Smith (and Elisabeth Sladen) and her impact on how this alien relates to us, the series would not have been the same.

BBC article

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

Drawn to the theatre: animation rules in 2011

April 18, 2011

Drawn to the theatre: animation rules in 2011

If you think watching cartoons means staying in your p.j.s on Saturday morning, think again.

In a challenging year at the box office, you’d better not show your face at the local multiplex…just your voice.  😉

As Rio flew to a $40 million dogro (domestic gross) opening this weekend, it looked very likely to join its animated siblings as box-office dynamos.

Looking at our 2011 Movie Box Office: 40, 80, 1, 2, 3 page, the leader (and one of only two movies in the 100 million slot) is Rango, at 118m.  Other animated movies on our list are:

Rio is too soon to count in the average, and Hop will still gain, but the average of those three is $99.3m.

Compare that to the live-action movies that have made at least $40m dogro and were released in 2011, with an average of only $65m.

Why do today’s audiences prefer animation to movies with, you know, actual human beings on the screen?

There are probably a few significant factors:

3-D: all of these animated movies were released in 3D, which adds a premium to ticket prices, driving up box office grosses.  However, 3D is clearly not a guarantee of box office gold (see Drive Angry…but only if you want to be in the small group of people who have).  😉

Short run times: the four movies on the list average 95.5 minutes, versus 110 for the live-action movies.   Shorter movies can mean more showings in a day.    If these are just being seen by kids and families, you might think that the evening showings might be light.  However, many young adults grew up accepting animation as something seen by grown-ups (The Simpsons, South Park).  Those evening showings may not have toddlers, but that doesn’t mean they are empty.

It’s an event: when you have kids, it’s good to have something that takes up a chunk of time.  Kids have very busy minds, and there are a lot of ways to keep them entertained.  Unlike a TV show, going to a movie takes up a couple of hours.

Lack of live-action kids’ movies: I Am Number 4, Wimpy Kid, and Justin Bieber are all on our list, but they may skew older than Gnomeo or Rio.

Animated movies have legs: animated movies (and kids’ movies generally) tend to have a fairly long box office life.  “What do you want to do with the kids?” “We could take them to Rango.”  “Didn’t they see that a couple of months ago?”  “Sure, but they won’t care.”

They end in the letter O: just kidding.  🙂  Rango, Rio, and Gnomeo…but not Hop.

Does this mean animation means all hits, all the time?

Not quite… Mars Needs Moms has dogroed about $21m…with a budget of about $150m.

That’s worth noting…these animated movies aren’t cheap, and can take a relatively long time to make.

Still, Hollywood would be a lot healthier so far this year if they’d kept those pesky flesh-and-blood actors off our screens.  😉

Will the trend continue?

Here are some upcoming animated movies in 2011 that should challenge their live-action competition:

Those certainly aren’t all the animated movies this year.  Think I’ve missed a blockbuster?  Feel free to let me know.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

On the Circumference #1: Pern, Stooges, PotA, and more

April 15, 2011

On the Circumference #1: Pern, Stooges, PotA, and more

This is the first in a series of round-up posts, with short reports on a variety of topics.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes gets a trailer

Am I a big Planet of the Apes fan?  Well, I did sit through a marathon of all five movies…in  a theatre…in an ape suit.  🙂

I’m looking forward to the new movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, scheduled for US release on August 5th.  James Franco is a star, with a lot of other interesting people (including John Lithgow, who probably won’t call anybody “monkey-boy”*).  I’m big about not seeing spoilers (I usually won’t read in-depth articles about movies I plan to see until after I’ve seen them), but I did check out the trailer, linked here on TotalFilm:

TotalFilm article

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern to be a movie

David Hayter, screenwriter of The X-Men and The Watchmen, is reportedly adapting Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonflight (1968), the first of the Dragonriders of Pern series.  This is dragons on another planet that telepathically bond with their riders…and yes, it might have had a bigger impact if a movie version had beaten Avatar. 

The Hollywood Reporter article 

Who will be Moe?

I think we may get the announcement tomorrow about who is playing Moe in the http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0383010/  Farrelly Brothers’ version of The Three Stooges, joining Will Sasso as Curly, and probably Sean Hayes as Larry.  Moe is the leader of the Stooges, easily frustrated, but definitely a dreamer.  I was thinking that Johnny Galecki (Leonard on The Big Bang Theory) might be a good choice.  He looks a bit like Moe…and I think he could play it.  Could he come off as bossy enough?  Yeah, I think so.  I still sort of think of him from Roseanne, so it was nice to see he is about the same age as Sasso.  🙂  Of course, at 5′ 5″, he’s quite a bit shorter than Sasso or Hayes…but almost the same height as Moe Howard.  😉  Who do you think?  Maybe…Steve Carell?  He is a few inches taller…

Game of Thrones

Just a reminder that Game of Thrones starts at 9:00 PM this Sunday on HBO.  It won’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but I suspect some people will really like it.  It’s based on George R.R. Martin’s book series…it is an open-ended TV series, and it looks like a second season will be likely.  Other series starting dates coming? 

  • Okay, not a series, but The Fall of Sam Axe Burn Notice prequel movie is April 17 at 9:00 PM on USA (Bruce Campbell)…the series returns June 23
  • Doctor Who is April 23rd at 9:00 PM on BBC America (the Doctor meets Richard Nixon!)
  • Teen Wolf will be June 5th at 11:00 PM on MTV (based on, but with a different tone than, the Michael J. Fox movie)
  • Falling Skies on June 19 at 9:00 PM on TNT (Steven Spielberg exec produces an alien invasion series)
  • True Blood is June 26 at 9:00 PM on HBO
  • Torchwood will by July 8th at 10:00 PM on Starz

* Lithgow used the epithet as the non-primate Lord Whorfin in Buckaroo Banzai

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle. 

 

 

FBI site “The Vault” has Unexplained Phenomena documents

April 10, 2011

FBI site “The Vault” has Unexplained Phenomena documents

The FBI has a site that reproduces documents online:

http://vault.fbi.gov/unexplained-phenomenon

As you can see, I’ve linked to a section on “unexplained phenomena”.  I haven’t had much time to look at it yet. 

What I’m seeing are several sections:

  • Guy Hottel
  • Majestic 12
  • NICAP
  • Roswell UFO
  • Animal Mutilation
  • Extra-Sensory Perception
  • UFO
  • Project Blue Book (UFO)

I’ve looked a bit…what I saw was a pdf with scans of documents (some with names blacked out).

I doubt there will be too much revelatory here, but it will be interesting to look. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle. 

Sydney Lumet reported dead

April 10, 2011

Sydney Lumet reported dead

There are few directors who are better at dialogue than Sydney Lumet.

Intense, rich, complicated dialogue…especially talking about ideas and matters of life and death.

The first movie he directed, 12 Angry Men, still stands as a classic for its great jury room deliberations.  Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, Lee J. Cobb…and Oscar nominations for Best Director and Best Picture…on his first movie job.

An amazing achievement for someone coming from television, where you can’t always get respect on the big screen and from such powerful actors.

He was nominated for a Best Director Oscar three more times: Dog Day Afternoon, Network, and The Verdict.

He didn’t do a lot of genre work.  I would argue that Fail-Safe, a truly brilliant movie, falls into that category.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s a good place to get to know Sydney Lumet.  I’ll warn you, it’s harsh…but the directing is particularly strong.  Walter Matthau, Fritz Weaver (in his first movie), Henry Fonda (who Lumet had previously directed in 12 Angry Men)…and a surprising Larry Hagman.  Hagman and Matthau may make you think this is a comedy: it’s not.  This is one of those movies where, if it was bad, no one would question its genre classification…but people who don’t think that geek movies can actually have real acting would resist that in this case.

An undeniably geeky movie is Lumet’s version of The Wiz, an adaptation of the Broadway update of the Wizard of Oz.  The movie did not do well at the box office, although it has its fans.  Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Nipsey Russell, Lena Horne, Richard Pryor…but even with a stellar cast like that, doing a musical may not have played to Lumet’s strengths.

If you want to go back and review Lumet’s work (The Pawnbroker, Equus, Serpico, Deathtrap), I’d recommend one movie a day.  His movies will wear you out…I find it hard to imagine watching four or five in a row.

Good-bye, Sydney…in a Hollywood that has become largely about special effects, your “special affects” will keep us thinking and talking about movies for years.

Sydney Lumet at IMDb.com

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle. 

We don’t know Moe: Larry & Curly cast in Stooges movie

April 5, 2011

We don’t know Moe: Larry & Curly cast in Stooges movie

Larry was arguably the hardest of The Three Stooges for the Farrely brothers in their big screen reboot.

While I do think Curly was the comic genius on screen, and Moe the most important Stooge off screen, they are more clearly and easily definable.

Lots of comedians and comic actors do a sort of Curly schtick at times.  They may not all do it with the sublime lack of meta of the original, but several people come to mind in any decade.  Will Sasso, a TV stalwart (including MADtv…and Sliders, as Gomez Calhoun, a Stoogey sort of name) will play Curly.   It takes more than barking and the “Curly Shuffle” to pull off Curly…we need to genuinely empathize with the big kid. 

Moe also has a less subtle character.  He’s the boss…yes, he might hit you with a hammer, but he actually cares about his fellow Stooges.  That’s the risk in casting him…you could go with someone who appears to be just mean, and that’s not really the true Moe-ness.

Larry, though, is harder for casual fans to define.  Oh, they know the “porcupine” hair.  Larry has a zen-like quality…that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get upset, he certainly does.  He does have this thing, though, about forces moving him.  Larry is a reactor, Moe and Curly are the actors.  That doesn’t make Larry a pushover, however.  When he gets upset, it can seem like he does it because it is the proper thing to do.  He’ll take Moe’s cue on that.

Sean Hayes, best known for Will & Grace, has just been cast as Larry.  I’ll admit I’m having some trouble picturing him with the Larry ‘do.  Can he bring the sadness, the melancholy, the victim element?  I’ll say the jury is out on that.  I’d heard James Franco being discussed…I could have seen him or Joaquin Phoenix, whose performance on the Letterman show as a bit Larry-like.

 I’m not sure how I feel about the movie.  I’m glad that they are going to basically do three shorts strung together, rather than trying to make a full length story (that never produced the Stooges best work) or a biopic.  It sounds like they plan to do it unironically, and I like that.  The Stooges had several different people over the years…Moe, Shemp, and Curly were actually brothers.  Curly got the gig after Shemp went solo (and worked with Abbott & Costello), but Shemp came back after Curly had a stroke.  The other “third Stooges”, Joe Besser and “Curly Joe” DeRita just didn’t have the same impact on Stooge fans.

Regardless, I’ll be following the story.  I doubt this is one my Significant Other will want to see in a movie theatre, 😉 but I’ll see it eventually.

Mike Cerrone (the writer along with the Farrellys) says that they start shooting April 18th…after arriving in Atlanta April 15th.  That suggests we’ll hear about Moe in the next ten days or so.

Mike Cerrone video interview at TheThreeStooges.com

What do you think?  Sean Hayes a good choice for Larry?  Got a pick for Moe?  Feel free to let me know.

Official Three Stooges site 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle. 


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