Tin Man: Part One (2007) – TV Review

TIN MAN poster

The Sci-Fi Channel’s three-part “re-imagining” of L. Frank Baum’s THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ gets off to a sleepy, tedious start as we meet DG (Zooey Deschanel), a troubled youth stuck in a dead-end waitress job while living on her parents’ farm in rural Kansas. She keeps having dreams of a faraway land, and of a woman with lavender eyes (Anna Galvin). Meanwhile, in a realm known as The Outer Zone, or O.Z., the sorceress Azkadellia (Kathleen Robertson) rules with an iron fist, using both magic and plain old military might. However, she learns of a girl from outside the O.Z. that might be a threat to her rule, and sends her Longcoats to eliminate her. Using a magical “travel storm” that generates a tornado, the Longcoats, led by the ruthless and cruel Zero (Callum Keith Rennie), attack DG and her parents. They escape by jumping into the tornado, which deposits DG in the O.Z. Continue reading “Tin Man: Part One (2007) – TV Review”

RIP: “Stepford” novelist Ira Levin

Novelist and playwright Ira Levin, 78, passed away from a heart attack on Monday, November 12, in New York City. Levin’s books ROSEMARY’S BABY and THE STEPFORD WIVES were adapted into films noted for their subtle, creepy horror. (The 2004 remake of STEPFORD was an ill-conceived black comedy.) LOOK WHAT’S HAPPENED TO ROSEMARY’S BABY was a lackluster 1976 made-for-TV sequel that was followed by Levin’s own novel, SON OF ROSEMARY, in 1997. The Nazi thriller THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL, dealing with a cloned Adolph Hitler, was turned into a 1978 film starring Sir Lawrence Olivier and Gregory Peck; a remake is planned for a 2009 release. His 1991 thriller SLIVER was the basis for the 1993 film starring Sharon Stone. His first novel, 1953’s A KISS BEFORE DYING, was made into films in 1956 and 1991. Levin was also author of the play DEATHTRAP, Broadway’s longest-running thriller, filmed with Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve in 1982. Levin wrote the play NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS, a comedy based on Mac Hyam’s novel, about a hillbilly drafted into the air force. Andy Griffith reprised the role for the 1958 film version, making him a star; the film is considered the inspiration for the hit TV series GOMER PYLE, USMC.

“Mist” star catches “Andromeda Strain”

Who knew HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET’s Det. Frank Pembleton was such a genre-film guy! With a plum role in Frank Darrabont’s THE MIST and previous parts in such genre offerings as TNT’s SALEM’S LOT mini-series, and the comic book actioner FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER, Braugher will next tackle alien microbes in A&E’s mini-series version of THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN. Based on Michael Crichton’s 1968 novel, the new version uses 40 years of medical and scientific breakthroughs to update the original tale, which was first filmed in 1971 by Robert Wise (THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL). Joining Braugher are Benjamin Bratt (CATWOMAN), Christa Miller, Eric McCormack, and Rick Schroeder. Ridley and Tony Scott are producing the series; directing is Mikael Salomon (SALEM’S LOT) from Robert Shenkkan’s teleplay. The four-hour mini was originally pitched to the Sci-Fi Channel back in 2004, but proved too rich for their blood. Filming has already begun in Vancouver, B.C.

“The Stepfather” gets a facelift!

Variety reports that NIP/TUCK star Dylan Walsh will headline Screen Gems’ remake of the 1987 chiller THE STEPFATHER. It was loosely based on the real-life case of family annihilator John List, who murdered his wife, mother, and three stepchildren in their suburban New Jersey home in 1971. The original film starred LOST’s Terry O’Quinn as Jerry Blake, a serial killer who marries into established families, tries to mold them to his ideas of perfection, and if they resist, murders them and moves on to the next potentially “ideal” family. Shelly Hack (CHARLIE’S ANGELS) and Jill Schoelen (POPCORN) co-starred, and two sequels were spawned — although O’Quinn bowed out after Part II. Sela Ward (THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW) will play the new object of Walsh’s affection, while Penn Badgely (JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE) plays a distaff version of Schoelen’s stepchild. Filming begins next Spring, with Nelson McCormick directing from a script by J.S. Cardone. This is the pair’s second horror retread for Screen Gems, having just completed a PROM NIGHT remake that opens April 11, 2008.

Barb Wire (1996) – Film Review

Click to purchase BARB WIREBy Dan Cziraky

Is there some law that only DC Comics can make decent film adaptations of their comic books? After striking out with DR. GIGGLES and TANK GIRLS, Dark Horse Comics tries again, this time with futuristic female mercenary BARB WIRE. David Hogan’s film stars Pamela Anderson Lee’s breast, derriere, legs, and face. There are some other folks in it, too – a supporting cast of familiar faces, in fact: Clint Howard (Ron’s brother), Udo Kier (ANDY WARHOL’S FRANKENSTEIN), and Steve Railsback (LIFEFORCE).

Chuck Pfarrer’s so-called script is basically a distaff version of CASABLANCA (!) with Lee playing the Humphrey Bogart role in 2017, when America is controlled by the neo-fascist Congressionalist Army. Barb Wire (Lee) runs a bar in Stelle Harbor, the last “free” city in the country. Back into her life comes former lover Axel (Morrison), a resistance fighter now married to rebel leader Cora D (rowell), who carries the cure to the government-crated super-HIV virus in her blood. Axel asks Barb to help him recover a pair of contact lenses that will allow Cora to get past the government’s retinal scanners and into Canada, where they can synthesize the vaccine. Wire tells him to get lost but changes her mind when her blind brother (Jack Noseworthy) is killed by Railsback’s insanely evil Congregationalist officer. Continue reading “Barb Wire (1996) – Film Review”