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  • Watchmen, why i loved the comic book, but have mixed feelings about the movie! By Van Young



    Back in 1988 i work for a small Special Make-up company i came across the Graphic Novel Watchmen by Alan Moore and David Gibbons.  i immediately rush out to buy the book after reading it. being in love and being behind two years after it was published in 86. i always said to myself this would make a great movie. 

    After hearing rumours a movie version was in the works i was hyped! but hearing the great action producer Joel Silver brought the rights to it and was attaching cast name like Arnold Swarzenegger, Burt Reynolds, Kevin Costner and the first draft Scripted written by comic book writer Samm Hamm screenwriter for 89' Tim Burton's Batman. i got a hold of Hamm's Draft of the script. when i read it i was appalled! Hamm's draft had no character development to a graphic novel that was all about characters. especially to one of my favorite characters Rorschach a superhero who had no superpowers only a mask to hide his idenity, and a grapple gun, for those who read it, Rorschach is the main reason i loved the book! his character comes across as a Travis Bickle. like Batman he is psychologically damaged goods. if Hamm's version would have got produced. i would have protested, maybe being the only one.

    Thats why the book resonated with me for many years. Warner Brothers shelf the script. and sat on the shelf for years, until rumours resurfaced that director Terry Gilliam was interested in doing his adaptation of the book. Gilliam being a wise choice and one of my favorite directors i knew it couldn't go wrong from the man who gave us the movie Brazil and the Adventures of Baron Munchausen. i got a chance to attend a los angeles convention in the mid 90's he was telling his audience that he prefered doing Watchmen in a HBO mini series. which i thought would have been a good idea, you could cover the all of the 12 issues. but Gilliam's version never got off the ground either. i got a hold of his draft of the screenplay too! his version was way better, than Hamm's version. the only problem i had with Gilliam's version he changed the ending, for those who read the book know what i've been talking about.

    Flash to 2008, director Zack Snyder got a greenlit to do a movie version, coming off the success of the movie 300 which i didn't careful but i didn't like gladiator either so what the hell! when Watchmen came out, saw it the first weekend it came out my reaction was somewhat pleased but still numb over movie version. Alan Moore called Watchmen the unfilmable.  i disagree with the author. he later would come out and say Snyder's version was close to the book. my opinion Synder's was not the director for doing this movie! his adaptation was looking too much at the source material in the comic book instead of adding something on his own, which make a good director. take notes from Peter Jackson's Lord of Rings films although i liked the mood, costumes, production designs, even the acting in the film. all of the actors believable. Early Haley's Rorschach, Billy Crudup as Dr Manhattan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian, Patrick Wilson as the Nite Owl. Malin Ackerman as the Silk Spectrer 2. the miscast was Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt the Ozymandias my opinion they should went for a Tom Cruise, he did have a blond hair in the movie Collateral. i tryed watching Watchmen for a 2nd time, but my opinion still stays the same on the greatest comic book that could have been made into the greatest comic book film. which still hold 1978 Superman!





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  • My old love for Special Make-up Effects and John Carpenter's The Thing Movie Review!



    My love for Horror movies began as a child and in my teenage years I was learning sculpting, Art was my 1st love and in 1981 there was a big demand for Special Effects films.

    just a year after both Werewolves films, one was The Howling and An American Werewolf in London came out. Which the first time we seen and man on the screen change in front of our eyes. No disrespect to Lon Chaney Jr in change in the early Wolfman films nothing like this was ever seen before.

    A year later John Carpenter's The Thing came out, it went up against films like Cat People, Poltergiest, The Beast Within, also a cute little alien film E.T came out that summer. which is the real reason Carpenter's film was a commercial and critical failure. Movie critic Roger Ebert had called it a barf bag of a film!

    I didn't get a chance to see The Thing in the theaters, until It was released on beta video and I was in awed, this film blew every other effects film out the box that came after the Werewolves films, I remember hearing a protested for Carpenter's film because people really thought he mutilated real snow dogs for the film to get the effects. Being a fan of his Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog.

    Screenplay by Bill Lancaster based on John W Campbell story Who Goes There. Adapted for the 1951 film Howard Hawks The Thing from Another World. Carpenter's film follows closely to Campbell's novella.

    12 researchers out in the Antarctica discover an alien ship that landed in ice for thousands of years, a parasite that imitates other lifeforms. Carpenter's version creates the mood of paranoia in the film it develops within the group.

    Starring Kurt Russell who was in Carpenter's Escape From New York a year prior to this film, Russell as MacReady the leader that no one wants nor trust. MacReady prefers to play computer chess and get drunk in his cabin.

    The films score is by Ennio Morricone, and special makeup effects by Rob Bottin. fresh from his The Howling effects. Bottin was only 21 years old creating some the most memorable effects scenes in effects history! The head changing into a spider was the best next to the blood test scene. Bottin had wound up in the hospital for exhaustion. He talks about it on the special Dvd edition.

    My opinion Carpenter's best film! Next to They Live which you can read the review by writer Marshall Gordon on this on this site check it out!

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  • They Live Movie Review by Marshall Gordon 3







    “They use their tongues to deceive!!! The venom of snakes is under their lips!!! Their mouths are full of bitterness and curses, and in their paths, nothing but ruin and misery, and the fear of God is not before their eyes!!! They have taken the hearts and minds of our leaders. They have recruited the rich and the powerful, and they have blinded us to the truth!!! Our human spirit is corrupted. Why do we worship greed??? Because, outside the limit of our sight, feeding off us perched on top of us from birth to death are OUR OWNERS!!! They have us!!! They control us!!! They are our masters!!! Wake up!!! They're all about you, all around you!!!” – The Street Preacher

    This powerful and very poignant quote from the opening scene, bares the truth of a society that would rather succumb to an eternal slumber like state than know the truth around them.  Surprisingly this quote comes from a film released in 1988. “They Live”, John Carpenter’s classic Sci-Fi horror film is like a bucket of cold water poured on you when in a deep sleep. Written by Carpenter and Ray Nelson from his short story, “Eight O’clock in the Morning”. The film follows Wrestler Roddy Piper as the wandering drifter coming to Los Angeles looking for work. He approaches a construction site, gets a job there and befriends another construction worker named Frank Armitage played by Keith David. Frank then proceeds to take “Nameless” or “Nada” (During the end credits Roddy’s character is referred to as “Nada” but he never gives his name or referred by a name throughout the entire film) to a local shantytown for food and shelter. “Nada” is suspicious of the small church across the street from the shantytown because of some odd behavior going on. While investigating he realizes the church is a front and hides in the back where there are lots of card board boxes stacked. Still in hiding, “Nada” over hears a secret meeting amongst some of the inhabitants including the leader of the shantytown played by Peter Jason. Later that night, the police surround the church and bombard the shantytown and its inhabitants with violence, tear gas and bull dozers. Most flee while others pay a terrible cost. Frank escapes and “Nada” as well but the next day “Nada” returns to the small church and investigates again. The church has been emptied but “Nada’ notices a secret compartment with a card board box inside, he takes it then leaves. In an alley, “Nada” opens the box and discovers a bunch of cheap looking shades inside. He takes one pair to keep then hides the rest still inside the box underneath some trash on the ground near a garbage can. While walking down a street, “Nada” puts on the shades and discovers and sees the world in black and white with some very startling differences. A billboard that without the shades had advertisements now, displays the word “OBEY” boldly. He sees “MARRY AND REPRODUCE” on another billboard he then sees, “NO INDEPENDENT THOUGHT” on a Men’s apparel sign and “CONSUME” on another sign. “Nada” in shock begins to walk lost on what he is seeing. He then stumbles onto a magazine stand and sees more disturbing messages posted, “BUY”, “WATCH TV”, “NO THOUGHT”, “STAY ASLEEP” and “SUBMIT”. He then grabs a magazine and opens it and even more messages, “DO NOT QUESTION AUTHORITY” and “NO IMAGINATION”. “Nada” then see an older Caucasian businessman and begins to stare because through the shades this “man” looks like some alien creature. The “man” confronts “Nada” with a question, “What’s your problem???” still in shock; “Nada” can do nothing but stare at what he is seeing. The “man” then gets in his car and drives off; “Nada” still in disbelief then gets confronted by the magazine stand attendant. The attendant’s appearance is human but in his hand is some money and seen through the shades “Nada” gets the most disturbing message throughout the entire film, “THIS IS YOUR GOD”.  “Nada” later becomes an “alien creature” killer and a wanted man in doing so. He meets and kidnaps Holly Thompson played by Meg Foster and tries convincing her of what he has seen. He then forces her to take him to her apartment. When “Nada” removes the shades they seem to weaken him and in his weakened condition, he gets kicked out of a window by Holly that nearly kills him. He also realizes he left the shades at Holly’s apartment. Back in the alley where he left the other shades in the box “Nada” gets confronted by Frank. What proceeds next is probably one of the greatest and longest fight scenes ever filmed. This fight has a much deeper meaning in my opinion. “Nada” represents the truth and he is fighting for it tooth and nail while Frank represents the blindly comfortable. It is why he refuses to simply put on the shades to see the truth because he doesn’t want to see or know it. After the melee, “Nada” puts the shades on Frank and he finally sees what “Nada” was trying to tell him…The Truth. Later, “Nada” and Frank meet up with the survivors of the small church including the leader. They are given contact lenses that work just like the shades and also “Nada” sees Holly amongst the people meeting to rebel against the aliens. She is there because she put on the shades that “Nada” left behind after she kicked out of her window. She tells him she believes now. Suddenly the police raid the meeting and begin shooting and killing anybody than can. “Nada” and Frank escape in an alley via a wrist watch that opens a portal to an underground facility. While there they run into another drifter played by George “Buck” Flower they met at the shantytown. They also discover he is one of many human collaborators with the aliens (in other words…a sell out!!!) Later, “Nada” and Frank begin a gun battle with the police and guards of the facility (Which above is a Cable TV Station where they are) in the office floors. They again run into Holly once more because she is an employee of the station. “Nada” runs up some stairs toward the roof thinking Frank and Holly are behind him but right after “Nada” runs further away enough Holly suddenly pulls out a gun and shoots Frank point blank in the temple…killing him (The brotha’ almost made it to the end).  “Nada” on the roof, notices the broadcast antenna. Holly also makes it to the roof and takes aim at “Nada”. He then finally realizes she is a sell out as well. Using a gun hidden under his sleeve, “Nada” kills Holly then takes aim at the antenna. A hovering helicopter with alien police snipers aboard fatally wounding “Nada” but he does get off a shot destroying the antenna in the process.  In a true show of defiance, a dying “Nada” flips the alien snipers on the helicopter the middle finger and with the antenna destroyed the world is forced to wake up and see the truth. 

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  • Apocalypto .... Movie Review by Keith Henry



    Apocalypto, the story takes place in the Mayan kingdom in the 15th century. The main character Jaguar Paw and his clan gets captured for human sacrifice. 

     Jaguar Paw escapes to get back to his wife and child hiding in the rain forest . It's a simple escape story told in beautiful cinematic dramatic fashion. the real star of this film is cinematographer Dean Semler, brutality have never been shot more beautifully. If your an inspiring film maker especially a cinematographer this film should be studied,because the story is primarily told with the camera. In my opinion this is Mel Gibson greatest film  I regret I never saw it on the big screen




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  • Gangster Rap! a love and hate...... and my Movie Review for Straight Outta Compton! by Van Young


    Relocating to Los Angeles from phoenix Arizona and being a native from Chicago i've witness Hip Hop in it's embryonic stages. from Rapper delights to the Breaks to the masterpiece the Message by the Furious five.

    Being a lover of all kinds of music, and a lover of Hip Hop during the late 80's, the crack epidemic was in the last stages, and the prison industrial complex was emerging. albums like It takes a nation of millions to hold us back by Public Enemy and Ice-T album power!

    West coast rap group Nwa came out of nowhere, with very little airplay,  remembering  seeing them on the cover of a Rolling stone magazine or was it Spin magazine? there was allot of Hoopla over the name itself. i remember a female friend saying why they gotta called themselves niggas? i had never really listen to the group when they came out. i 've herd the song Boys in the Hood by Eazy E, that song was so popular i went to my sister's funeral in Iowa, the song had reach out there! i didn't hear the Straight Outta Compton album until early 90's. my friend's cousin, now turned Los Angeles best morning radio personalty, used to play the album in his cadillac.

    West coast gangster rap was taken it's toll. even when the Chronic and Doggiestlye album came out i've refused to listen to the music. i immediately went back to disco music, i didn't appreciate west coast music until 4 years later when me and my friend Eric we're hitting the club every weekend. now i jokingly say gangster rap grows on you like herpes.

    Now over 25 years later a biopic film comes out about the rap group Nwa. in fact after seeing the trailer, i had no desired to see the movie even posting the trailer on this site! but after seeing the movie i was wrong! this 

    movie grabs you in the first few minutes, introducing newcomer actor Jason Mitchell playing Eazy E to actor Corey hawkins playing Dr dre listening to Roy Ayers everybody loves the sunshine in his bedroom, to O' Shea Jackson Jr playing his father Ice Cube writing lyrics in his notebook riding a school bus. director F Gary Gray Images of the 80's 90's hits home, the scene of Dr Dre struggling to make ends meet, giving his mother $50 she telling him to take a job, instead of inspiring your dreams, a lot of black males dreams are crushed by the women in they're life. Dr dre persuade Eazy E to start a record label and Ruthless records was born. Eazy meeting Jerry Heller played by actor Paul Giamatti who gets eazy and NWA a record deal, the group records straight outta compton album with the running into the police, Ice Cube comes with the song F... the police! which they preforms and get threats from the police and the FBI. seeing them preform the song on stage, i could only imagined, if i was in the audience amped up, with the my middle finger in the air!

    Director F Gary Gray got good preformance out of all the cast! giving the world's most dangerous group a human side to them. i remembered ice cube when he left the group, leaving because manager jerry heller didn't pay him royalties. showing how blacks for so long got screwed over in the music industry. he left the group doing the Death Certificate which he cover's the song No Vaseline, probably the greatest dissed record in history! This movie has a lot of antagonists. but i can't say who. dont know if it was jerry heller, the police, suge knight or even eazy e. Dr Dre leaves ruthless, starting his own label with suge knight starting Death Row Records, where he's introduced to a young Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, who looks haunting a like. after a second viewing, a friend said to me if they dubbed his voice to sound like Tupac. one scene Giamatti's Jerry Heller character looking at Suge Knight at a pool party no words exchanged. letting Heller know there's a new sheriff is coming!

     I wish they could have made the film 10 mins longer, the two who didn't get much screen time were Mc Ren and Dj Yella. Mc ren character was looking mad on the screen while Dj Yella was the comic relief in the film. but the actors who stood out were Mitchell eazy and giamatti's heller, alot of great dialogue between the two. director F Gary Gray has made a instant classic, right up there with his first film Friday, i hoping they release a longer version of Straight Outta Compton for the dvd. if not, i'll settle this version, making this film the best of 2015!






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