Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tom Swift, eco-genius

This I might pay to see. The actual pitch? Not so much.

"A Tom Swift movie? Cool," said I when I read the headline.
" 'I grew up basically reading comic books and Tom Swift,' [producer] Hecht said. 'The books always gave you something unexpected and brought the reader this feeling that 'I can be an inventor. I can do that.' "
"True dat," I tells myself. "The kids today, they need the classic All-American can-do."

"Because of the property's heritage and family nature, Hecht said it would have the 'boomer equity' that has boosted the B.O. of many recent franchises."

"Heritage and family. Preach it," I says, shaking off the bad vibe that 'boomer' reference gives.

"Eventually, the series was modernized and taken in more of an edgy, graphic-novel direction."

"Uh-oh..." I goes.

" '...The initial concept is to posit that Swift Industries is now a leading 'green technology' company, giving the 20th century series a modern twist."

Annnnnd scene.

Yep, looks like someone has their pretend Nobel Prize for peace and real Nobel Prize for science mixed up again.

So with WWII thoroughly deconstructed, and Tom Swift about to get his Greenpeace on, all we need now is that gay biopic of Abe Lincoln and we'll achieve paradise on earth. (Dollars to carbon offsets Al Gore is the big cameo here, too.)

I just can't wait for the official title. Could go many exciting and boomer-friendly directions:

Tom Swift and his curly light bulbs!

Tom Swift and his ozone-replenishing ray gun!

Tom Swift and his recycled fecal matter compost machine!

Who says Hollywood doesn't know how to have fun anymore?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Red State actioner on the horizon?

Ah, the good old days...

On the press junket for Beowulf recently, Ray Winstone mentioned an interesting upcoming project entitled Minutemen.
"For those not scouring the trades on a daily basis, the so-called “Brothers Nee” are Adam and Aaron, two young writer/directors whose debut film “The Last Romantic” earned them film festival buzz last year. Written by Brandon Camp and Mike Thompson (”Dragonfly”) and overseen by mega-producer Neal H. Moritz (”The Fast and the Furious” franchise), “Minutemen” will serve as a significant leap for the Brothers Nee, telling the tale of a small quarry town suddenly forced to defend the nation’s command center against foreign invaders."
I haven't seen The Last Romantic, but I found a film festival interview with the Brothers Nee. Unlike the pretentious crap you usually get from festival contenders, the pair essentially replied by lampooning the arts-house questions being asked.The interview had a distinct Parker/Stone feel, which to me suggests a couple other guys with no time for kissing industry arse.

Either way, the story of a working-class town defending the U.S. command center from a foreign invader sounds like a post-9/11 Red Dawn. And that sound is a cash register ringing over and over and over.

If this is all correct -- granted, a huge if at this point -- we just might have another couple young Turks on our side. With self-proclaimed Major League Infidel Zack Snyder's stock on the rise, long term prospects for the revival of the former "art form of the common man" could be looking up. Here's hoping they don't get Tom Croozled on their way to the promised land.

(Producer Neal Moritz was also cool enough to turn down my Iraq security contractor script earlier this year for legitimate creative reasons -- unlike Wolfgang Petersen's people, who disdained the notion of "Americans going to the Middle East to solve the world's problems.")

Friday, November 16, 2007

"Come home to Iraq"

Peace through strength...freedom of religion

As American filmmakers continue to spit on the troops with shoddy fiction and Democrats in Congress refuse to meet their needs, this photo essay validates the mission and the sacrifice so many of them have endured in Iraq for a worthy cause.
"I can’t remember my last shootout: it’s been months. The nightmare is ending. Al Qaeda is being crushed."
After the abduction, murder and exodus of Iraqi Christians, their Muslim neighbors are asking them to come home.

Read every caption, in order. It all builds to something beautiful. Then pass the news on to everyone you know.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thrown to the 'Lions'

I dunno... Stall 'em. Tell 'em I'm not here.

Comedian Brad Stine has said, "It's my dream to see political correctness die in my lifetime. But first...I want to watch it suffer."

Libertas has given us a front row seat to the spectacular death of film after liberal film pertaining to the war on terror, the latest being Lions for Lambs.

Since I love a circus maximus too, let me contribute this interview with Lions writer Matthew Michael Carnahan.

First, the interview preface. And it's a humdinger:
"While many recent films concerning Iraq have taken a political stance, writer Matthew Michael Carnahan sought to do something different. The result, this week's Lions for Lambs, attempts to engage the audience in as non-partisan a debate as you'll find in Hollywood."
It's fun watching these people go down, but when they don't see it coming? Even more fun.
"Whereas Carnahan agrees he doesn't like the idea of war, he tries to make the case for how we can pull out, and why it is important for the American public to be less apathetic towards the war and to do something."
So...whereas Carnahan doesn't like the idea of war, he doesn't like the idea of war. Got it. Yes, there's laughs o'plenty in this interview, but I'll cut to my favorite.
Interviewer: "So then if [the film is] a call to action, what's the 'action'? "

Carnahan: To make this war, and the loss of American lives... and the fact that four thousand of my countrymen...the fact that they are dying and it's not a part of our daily lives. That it's not a daily cognition on my part that as we are having this discussion there are people a lot younger than us fighting and dying and going through some of the most terrifying moments imaginable. Basically I just wanted us in our daily lives to become cognizant of that.
Um...it's, like, people need to be aware of, y'know, stuff going on out there and, like, know about it and stuff.

Hes' not that stupid, of course. The movie aspired to lead a people's revolt against a war that we're now winning. And even if we were losing, the film was headed for failure, and everyone knew it when this interview was conducted. So do we really expect him admit that, turns out, nobody is interested in what this film says?

I firmly believe we're witnessing the beginning of the end for the old guard, baby boomer regime in Hollywood. I realize younger people are part of this, but likely the vast majority of them -- maybe even Carnahan -- simply row to whatever master happens to be beating the cadence.

It's at the top that this degree of managerial incompetence and personal indulgence over sound business practices will be punished, and that can only result in blessedly apolitical entertainment or actively push things toward Red State profitability.

Either way, it's a win/win for everyone but geriatric hippie studio bosses who, at some point sooner rather than later, will be shown the door.

Click here for the complete interview with Matthew Michael Carnahan.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hooray for our side

Acting supremely

We hear a lot of bad news. Setbacks for justice. Loss of religious freedoms and rights. Here's some good news, from the anti-ACLU. (Thank the ACLJ by joining or donating here.)

No Free Pass for Atheists
A church-state separationist organization sued, in Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation (U.S. No. 06-157), challenging the use of tax-payer dollars regarding the President's faith-based initiatives. The Supreme Court, agreeing with the ACLJ's friend-of-the-court brief, ruled that the separationists had no legal standing to bring the suit. A victory indeed!

Stepping Away from Censorship
A majority of the Supreme Court Justices also agreed with the ACLJ in two consolidated free-speech cases, FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life (No. 06-969) and McCain v. Wisconsin Right to Life (No. 06-970). The ACLJ had filed an amicus brief urging the high court to remove the prohibition of grassroots lobbying organizations from taking part in issue advertising 30 days before a primary election and 60 days before a general election. The Court agreed with us that a pro-life group should have been permitted to air advertising in the final months leading up to a 2004 election. It represents a First Amendment victory for those who want to express their views on issues that matter most prior to an election.

Conscience Goes to Court
A pharmacist who refused, as a matter of conscience, to sell ''Plan B'' and other abortion-related drugs was suspended by his employer, Wal-Mart. The pharmacist sued - in Ethan Vandersand v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Wal-Mart asked a U.S. District Court to dismiss the suit, and the ACLJ urged the court to say no. The court has now ruled that the lawsuit can go forward.

And the next phase of this battle is already underway. Now the defendant pharmacies are taking a new approach, arguing that if a pharmacist is exempt from filling a prescription for the morning-after pill or some other abortifacient, then their religion will be favored, violating the Constitution. This is a distorted and confused application of the Establishment Clause - and we'll say so in court.

Bible Ban Lifted
A Washington State school district has reversed its policy prohibiting the Bible from being read in the Honors English Class during a ''Reading for Pleasure Program.'' We were honored to lend our legal expertise in this matter. We are looking at a situation in Missouri where a school principal says students can't take the Bible out of their backpacks on the school bus.

United Nations Recognition
The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), the ACLJ affiliate based in Strasbourg, France, has received special consultative status by the unanimous vote of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. This move recognizes the global nature of the ACLJ's religious liberty and human rights work, which already spans more than 35 countries.

The Battle Continues for Religious Liberties
* After a series of meetings in one Tennessee town, city officials took actions designed and intended to block and impede Teen Challenge - one of the world's most successful drug rehab programs - from acquiring the appropriate permit to conduct its religious activities and to provide therapeutic services to disabled individuals on the property. Our office in Nashville, led by Senior Counsel Larry Crain, has filed a federal cause of action on behalf of Teen Challenge.

* The ACLJ is representing a Florida pastor who has been sued because of the content of a sermon - just one example of a growing trend across the country.

* At the same time, the ACLJ is representing a large church in the Midwest concerning very similar issues.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Veterans Day

We've linked to Michael Yon a lot here lately, but on this Veterans Day weekend, I can think of no better tribute to the troops than his much-read Gates of Fire dispatch.

It covers just one bloody day in the life of a few men in Iraq, but it captures the true grit of our veterans like nothing else.
“ 'That’s the difference between the terrorists and us,' Chaplain Wilson kept saying."
And truer words were never spoken. So to all the men and women who currently wear or have ever worn the uniform of the U.S. armed services, we treasure you more than we can say.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Discrimination! Discrimination!

We're laughing at you, Ellen. Not with.

It seems Ellen DeGeneres -- THE most talented comedienne in the universe prior to the writers' strike -- is in trouble after having crossed picket lines to keep her show afloat.

As a result, IMDB has now confirmed the opinion of the actual universe -- that Ellen is, in fact, a no-talent hack who hasn't earned an honest laugh in her novelty-act career.

Yes, the WGA is angry at Her Lesbianess enough to tell the truth at last...
"...One writer for her former 2001-2002 sitcom, The Ellen Show, reports she treated her writers 'like s**t'. The unnamed writer adds on his internet blog, 'I'm disappointed in Ellen (for crossing the picket line) but not surprised... given what I've seen from her with my own two eyes.' "
Those would be the same eyes we in the real world turned away from both "The Ellen Show" and the Oscars because Ellen was stinking up the joint with her lame shtick.
"...A TV insider tells the New York Post's PageSix, 'DeGeneres is unwilling to honour the picket line because this is her last chance in show business. This show is the only thing keeping her from a lifetime of touring college campuses.' "
Apart from a few college campuses with particularly active Women's Studies departments, I don't think this Plan B would put much food on the table either.

And in other news from the wide world of unattractive washed-up lesbians, Rosie O'Donnell will not be hosting an MSNBC show after all.
"...Writing on her website blog, she says, 'we were close to a deal. almost done. i let it slip in miami, causing panic on the studio end. well, what can u do. 2day there is no deal... poof. my career as a pundit is over b4 it began.'
poof. your career wuz over already, rosie. but this is good 4u... maybe u can uz the time 2 go back 2 skewl and learn how 2 communic8 properly.

Since disasters like these often come in threes, our prayers go out to Melissa Etheridge in whatever bar she's opening for the Indigo Girls tonight.

Flashback '77

Think Jimmy Carter was the biggest mistake America was making in 1977? You obviously haven't seen this yet. A comedy goldmine. Be sure to wear a hardhat. (Available in rainbow terrycloth, p. 178.)

Friday, November 9, 2007

Treking with J.J.

Keeps on Spockin' in the freeeee worrrld!

I was never a Trekkie. (Did I even spell that right?) I watched reruns of the old series every night at 6 p.m. but that's about as far as it went. In the great Star Wars vs. Trek debates as a kid, I was in the 'Wars' camp -- 'cause Han Solo didn't set for stun, baby. (Lucas, of course, neutered him later with that whole Greedo "suicide" recut, but I digress.)

I am however a J.J. Abrams fan, so the new Trek film is on my radar. Cameras started rolling two days ago, and beyond Abrams himself ("Lost," Mission Impossible 3) its the eclectic cast that has me thinking this Kirk-the-early-years reboot will be worth...er, beaming up for. (Sorry.)

With Winona Ryder now, that makes Eric Bana, Zoe Saldana, Simon "Shaun of the Dead" Pegg (as Scotty), Karl Urban (counter-cast as Dr. McCoy!), and a bunch of other players you won't be able to tell without a program, including a no-name Kirk, whom my brother informs me is actually a fine choice for the role based on a recent screening of Princess Diaries 2 with his daughter.

...Oh, and Leonard Nimoy... As Spock. Which is absolutely brilliant, pure J.J., and ya gotta love it.

And if you really hurry, you can even get yourself fitted for one of those deadly red shirts.

The whole crazy Enterprise is currently set to again boldly go where no man has gone before on Christmas 2008.

RC meets the DOD

Robot race cars. As if our military industrial complex wasn't cool enough already.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thanks and Praise

Shades of Iwo Jima?

Hey, libs... Hear that sound? That's history rolling on without you again.

This story just gets better and better. Too bad it isn't being told in the U.S. Wanna know when it will get told? When troop withdrawls begin for all the right reasons and the Democrats in Congress start taking credit for it anyway.

Also at George Bush's funeral, when guys like Keith Olbermann will fondly recall the good old days reporting the march of freedom under visionary Uncle Dubya. (See Sam Donaldson and friends at Ronald Reagan's funeral.)

Thank God we have guys like Michael Yon on hand to record the truth. I love the fact that he's making this photo available to the media for free, too. As in, "I dare ya to ignore this one."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Good news is no news again

Surge protected

Who says The Surge isn't working? Not the people enjoying it.

He said what now?

Check please

Maybe he's lazy like a fox. Maybe he's got some magic beans and a bottle of Miracle-Gro up his sleeve, but right now? If Fred Thompson were a stock? I'd be selling fast.

High Noonish

The team putting this together is decidedly B-list, as is the budget, but that doesn't automatically mean this will stink. Ordinarily I'm agin' remaking the classics, but I'm so desperate for material with classic values -- and more westerns in general -- that I'm open to this.

I know the original was conceived of by its communist writer as a U.N. parable and completed as a critique of McCarthyism. I know John Wayne called it the most un-American film he'd ever seen. But like it or not, the story came down to one man standing against tyranny when no one else would help. And that man was Gary Cooper.

Today, with unilateralism being George Bush's biggest sin according to the Left (and one of the few remaining reasons for the rest of us to like him), any political interpretations are more likely to go our way.

Hopefully politics won't even rear its ugly head this time around. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Rodriguez goes Greek

Word has it Robert Rodriguez is being courted for the Clash of the Titans remake, based on a script written in part by Raiders of the Lost Ark writer Lawrence Kasdan.

Without the bad influence of the Eddie Haskell of filmmaking (pal Quentin Tarantino) Rodriquez has shown he has a flare for family fare and its requisite childlike imagination. I have every confidence in his ability to blow the doors off this project.

This was, I think, the first movie I went to on my own. (Actually, with a friend, but no parents were present, which was a milestone in the career of any film fan.) It wasn't a notable film except for the fact it was visual effects great Ray Harryhausen's last project in that capacity. Star Wars of course had recently revolutionized the effects game, and the era of pure stop-motion animation was over, but it worked for me at age 11 in Helena, Mt., and remains a nostalgic favorite.

Needless to say, this project just went next to a Peter Jackson-directed Hobbit on my geek wish list.