Sunday, April 22, 2012

"So Long, and Thanks for All The Tharks!"

Richard Ross, has been ousted as CEO of Disney as a direct result of whole "John Carter" fiasco this winter. Helluva shame really. I can see some malign consequences of of this, Director Andrew Stanton may well be at a career dead end once the dust settles. This is a great pity as he has done some great things at Pixar and could well do great things again. Well Andrew, Channel Zero needs a good director we've got all kinds of ideas for short films, drop us a ting-a-ling baby, we can get this thing turned around.
The other malign consequence is that a dumbass Hollywood fatwah will likely be pronounced against all of Edgar Rice Burroughs' non Tarzan works. Since Disney allegedly has the options on his entire bibliography, this likely means we will never see adaptations of "Carson of Venus", the "Pellucidar" series to say nothing of any more excursions to Barsoom. This is a shame because Burroughs created extraterrestrial politics, bizarre interplanetary evolutionary excesses and the whole modern space opera idiom quite frankly. But because his speculative fiction has been off market in terms of media adaptations, what was groundbreaking in 1912 now appears utterly derivative in 2012. And on that petard the whole mishaugas has been hoisted. Sad. It seems pretty clear that Disney is gonna put all it's emphasis on tentpole movies based on their Marvel Comics Properties...As far as I'm concerned, Dejah Thoris could kick Iron-Man's white ass from here to City of Helium.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Channel Zero Returns in June!!!

"Captain Celluloid and the Film Pirates"

Hollywood is under attack, a nefarious Film Pirate bids on cornering the world market in Classic Cinema! Only one man stands in his way, that masked man of the movies, Captain Celluloid!
Take a contemporary silent movie, a great love for the old republic serials a genuine feel for action cinema, and this is what you get, the weirdest Superhero Movie ever made!!

Plus a surprise or two in the ineffable Channel Zero Style!!
Forget the Avengers, come see a Real Superhero Take Charge!!

Friday June 29th 8pm Sharp!
The Somerville Theatre Screening room
Admission 5 bucks cheap!
55 Davis Square
Somerville Ma 617 625 5700
Channel Zero Boston’s Cheapest Entertainment Franchise now in our sixteenth year of Genteel Cinematic Transcendence!
Good Luck finding us on Facebook!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I for one cannot wait for Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" remake

The only creative question in play is just how will Johnny Depp's vampire character Barnabas Collins learn life's most important lesson which is.... "Be Yourself".

If Tim Burton directed an adaptation of Dante's Inferno, that would be the great moral learned by Satan in the bottom-most pit of hell.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hail Kenya!

First three runners in today's Boston Marathon were once again, Kenyans.

This is getting ridiculous these people are smoking us like cheap cigars at every marathon...I think just to keep it interesting next year the Kenyans should be compelled to run the Marathon backwards or on their hands.
Who am I kidding?
They'd still win if they were manacled to cinderblocks.

Well all kidding aside, this is their "highlight reel" for the Kenyan Olympic Committee a nice speedy performance here is a potential gold medal elsewhere.
Which is enough to swell my civic pride by gosh.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pick of the week!

The Brattle Theatre (in the teaming heart of Harvard Square), is running "King Kong versus Godzilla" on a double bill with "Godzilla on Monster Island" tomorrow at 1pm.
Tis all a part of their annual "Schlock Around the Clock" marathon...and if this alone isn't a reason to drop all obligations and debtor and make a beeline for this blessed venue,they are also running "Death Race 2000" on Sunday at 5:30pm.

I've always liked the Brattle Theatre, for one thing, its one of the few remaining venues in Metro Boston that has yet to throw Channel Zero out it's ear.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I hate it when....

The Harvard Film Archive takes one of Channel Zero's ideas and refashion's it into something sublime.
Its like watching Mozart go to work rewriting one of Salieri's lugubrious fanfares.
Case in point a month or so ago, Channel Zero explored the twilight of the Stalinist Era by screening "The Great Farewell" the official Soviet propaganda documentary detailing Joe Stalin's funeral.
In June the HFA blows our asses out of the water with a retrospective of Soviet director Aleksei Guerman's films, a man with a great ongoing interest in the Stalinist era. We direct your attention in particular to the June 23rd screening of "Khrustalyov, My Car! " (1998) a film centered around the last weekend in Stalin's miserable life.
Oh and they are also screening a full retrospective of Sergei Eisenstein's works including "Ivan the Terrible" parts One and Two.
How the hell do we keep up with that??

Honestly, anyone out there got a line on contemporary North Korean Cinema??

Drop us a line for the Love of God!

Oh well we never really hold it against the HFA they have the money and the venue and the content, after sixteen years of obscurity Channel Zero is not above tipping it's chapeau at the Machers, they are there for a reason after all.

A Boyhood atop Collapsible D or The Revenge of the Titanic

I first encountered Walter Lord's marvelous book "A Night to Remember" when I found an abandoned paperback copy of it atop a coat rack at the Old Brackett School in (Romantic) Arlington when I was in the Fourth Grade or so.
Despite a boyhood that was rapidly spiraling downward into defeat and obscurity, I remained a precocious reader, so the Titanic's story of epic futile catastrophe really resonated with me.
Shit I was a bound over on the same trip, I could grasp that right away...
Now when it came time for some pre-cyberspace cultural synergy, I had to wait around until Channel 56 re-ran the 1958 film adaptation (in glorious black and white which registered so sharply on the old portable black and white TV set in my parent's bedroom)...For once a good movie and good book got together in holy matrimony and there I was, bearing the ring on a little red cushion.
There are certain incidents from history that we revisit time and again, because of their natural tragic drama, because of the lessons we affect to extract from them or because we like to feel humbled by "Big Events".
The whole Titanic phenom has all of that in spades, it is Man and his Machines versus Melville's Inscrutable Malevolent Nature, and of course, Nature clears the boards.
Walter Lord would have us think that the RMS Titanic was the breaking point between the old and new order, Captain John Smith taking her straight to the bottom, Herbert Lightoller going down with the ship and living to the tale, Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon and his spouse floating off to safety in what amounted to their own private lifeboat.
Aiyee, there are a lot of old and new tropes to that story...a vertiable cozy lace trimmed Steampunk Apocalypse (Think about it, a 35,000 ton luxury liner depending on two sets of eyes and no binoculars to navigate an icefield at night...Jules Verne couldn't have done better!)
So this is powerful stuff, even if all the current hype seems like....well...annoying hype.
Shee-it, The Titanic spawned the first "Instant Movie" "Saved from the Titanic" (1912) starring Dorothy Gibson a real life survivor of the disaster who happened to be an actress mercenary enough to be the first extract boffo box office from the tragedy.
The Nazis saw fit to create a big budget propaganda epic out of the story, "Titanic" (1943) which gets in the usual cracks at "British Plutocrats" and features an entirely fictional virtuous German Officer to the storyline. The film only played in markets outside Germany though, Dr, Goebbels abruptly decided that a downbeat movie about ship sinking was too stark a reminder of the Nazi regime's long term prospects.
Of course after World War II the Titanic finally rose from the depths and came into here own, Walter Lord's book was published, Fox released "Titanic" (1953) in which the great liner goes under soap suds while Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb torment each other with brio & Robert Wagner sings "The Navaho Rag".
Of the lot, including James Cameron's super epic, I still like "A Night to Remember" (1958) best, it packs a great emotional punch, doesn't back off the class element and features a fine performance by Kenneth More as Fifth Office Lightoller...I liked it as a kid and I like it now.
Most people forget though that the book was first adapted as live television play in 1956 on the "Kraft Television Theater" and a veryu good adaptation it was as well featuring narration from Claude Rains no less.
Channel Zero always wanted to screen the kinescope but was hamstrung by the unavailability of a good copy and the sure knowledge that a third of the aud would show up expecting Kenneth More and Honor Blackman.

Well, that is our inbound iceberg isn't it?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Market Report

Vampires have peaked as investment opportunities thanks to Twilight and all the multivarious vampire based TV series. Pitches are going on all over town for new YA series featuring the Last Vampire on Earth beseiged in a mansion by an army of vampire slayers, the only vampire at an exclusive girl's school or some AV HS nerds who go in for vampirism to improve their social position. Saavy Investors are looking at a plateau situations with more creatives piling in, less dividends paid out.

Zombies are approaching a plateau situation, critical market stressors include the Walking Dead TV series, a plethora of graphic novels and a continuing output of new tentpole movies featuring Romero-template zombies. Flesh eating ghouls are still a short term Blue Chip Bet with Saavy Investors running the numbers in their heads furtively darting their eyes at the lifeboats.

Everyone on the street is still talking up Frankenstein's monster on the basis of strong pre-war and post war performance, but Big Frank hasn't been heard from since the Branagh-De Niro merger back in 1994, Saavy Investors are waiting for a Steve Jobs to innovate Frankenstein back to market dominance.

The Wolf Man? The dirty secret here is the old howler is a niche market performer, a penny stock despite strong brand penetration. A long time favorite of Lady's Garden Club investment roundtables who have happy memories of Lon Chaney Jr nonetheless Saavy Investors politely give lycanthropy a pass.

The Mummy: A dependable investment with the same creative blockage as Frankenstein's monster, hamstrung unfairly as a kidvid dependable due to the association with Brendan Fraser. Saavy Investors though are enamored with the Mummy's vast install base derived from the ongoing popularity of Ancient Egypt exhbibitions.

The Field:
Imps, Leprechauns, The Master Works of Edgar Allen Poe, Japanese Product, public domain fairy tales...and of Sarah Michelle Gellar. All worthwhile ground floor opportunities, just steer clear of the Disney Channel.