Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Archive for September, 2012

Monica Bellucci

Monica Anna Maria Bellucci (born 30 September 1964) is an Italian actress and fashion model. Bellucci was born in Città di Castello, Umbria, Italy as the only child of Brunella Briganti and Luigi Bellucci, and she grew up in San Giustino.

Monica Bellucci began modeling at age 13 by posing for a local photo enthusiast. In 1988, Bellucci moved to one of Europe’s fashion centers, Milan, where she signed with Elite Model Management. By 1989, she was becoming prominent as a fashion model in Paris and across the Atlantic, in New York City. She posed for Dolce & Gabbana and French Elle, among others. In that year, Bellucci made the transition to acting and began taking acting classes.

Bellucci’s film career began in the early 1990s. She played some minor roles in La Riffa (1991) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992). In 1996 she was nominated for a César Award for best supporting actress for her portrayal of Lisa in L’Appartement and strengthened her position as an actress. She became known and popular with worldwide audiences, following her roles in Malèna (2000), Brotherhood of the Wolf , and Irréversible (2002).

Irréversible is a 2002 French drama film written and directed by Gaspar Noé, starring Bellucci, Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel. The film employs a non-linear narrative and follows two men as they try to avenge a brutally raped girlfriend. The film premiered in France on 22 May 2002 through Mars Distribution. It competed at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. Audience reactions to both the rape scene and the murder scene have ranged from appreciation of their artistic merits to leaving the theater in disgust. Newsweek‘s David Ansen stated that “If outraged viewers (mostly women) at the Cannes Festival are any indication, this will be the most walked-out-of movie of 2003.” In the same review, Ansen suggested that the film displayed “an adolescent pride in its own ugliness”.

She has since played in many films from Europe and Hollywood like Tears of the Sun (2003), The Matrix Reloaded (2003), The Passion of the Christ (2004), The Brothers Grimm (2005), Le Deuxième souffle (2007), Don’t Look Back (2009), and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (2010). In the documentary movie The Big Question, about the film The Passion of the Christ, she stated: “I am an agnostic, even though I respect and am interested in all religions. If there’s something I believe in, it’s a mysterious energy; the one that fills the oceans during tides, the one that unites nature and beings.”

Bellucci dubbed her own voice for the French and Italian releases of the film Shoot ‘Em Up (2007). She also voiced Kaileena in the video game Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, and the French voice of Cappy for the French version of the 2005 animated film Robots. 

Bellucci is married to French actor Vincent Cassel, with whom she has appeared in several films. They have two daughters, Deva (born 2004) and Léonie (born 2010).


Luke Goss

Luke Damon Goss (born 29 September 1968) is an English singer and actor. He has appeared in numerous films, however his best roles have been hidden beneath heavy make-up effects, such as Jared Nomak in Blade II (2002), The Creature in the TV miniseries Frankenstein (2004), and Prince Nuada in Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008).

Luke Goss along with twin brother Matt Goss, started his career with the hugely successful 1980s boy band Bros, who racked up thirteen hit singles in the UK. When Bros broke up in the early 1990s, Goss worked with the Band of Thieves. His autobiography, “I Owe You Nothing”, was a top 10 best seller book and went on to have three subsequent printings. He also began to appear in stage musicals including Grease and What a Feeling, before turning to acting in films full-time, with his first most notable role as the villain Jared Nomak in Blade II. 

Blade II is a 2002 American vampire action film based on the fictional Marvel Comics  character Blade. It is the sequel of the first film and the second part of the Blade film series. It was written by David S. Goyer, who also wrote the first film, and directed by Guillermo del Toro. Wesley Snipes returned as the lead character and producer. The film is the best of the trilogy as well as the most successful.

He also appeared as The Creature in the Hallmark Channel’s Frankenstein. Goss can be seen in the 2004 crime drama, Charlie in which he plays real-life gangster Charlie Richardson; and again, in the 2005 comedy, The Man he stars as another villain, Joey / Kane.

He has since had roles in One Night with the King, as King Xerxes. He appeared in Bone Dry, as Eddie and in the thrillerUnearthed, as Kale. Goss received a CAMIE (Character and Morality in Entertainment) Award for his work in One Night with the King on May 12, 2007 at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. Both One Night with the King and Bone Dry were viewed at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Bone Dry premiered in Los Angeles on January 9, 2008.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a 2008 American supernatural superhero film based on the fictional Dark Horse Comics character Hellboy, starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, with Goss as Prince Nuada, the main antagonist of the film. He is King Balor’s son and a martial art expert of extraordinary proficiency. Goss was previously cast as the mutant vampire Jared Nomak in del Toro’s 2002 film Blade II, and the director approached the actor to be cast in Hellboy II. Goss trained with action director and former Jackie Chan Stunt Team member, Brad Allan, learning sword and spear skills for six to seven months for his role. He and Anna Walton also learned ancient Gaelic from a dialog coach.

Goss did not perceive Nuada as evil, explaining, “It’s issues, his people, he’s part of what he truly believes. I don’t think, really, he’s so deluded… [He] is driven by an ethic that was instilled by the person he has problems [with; that is,] his father, and inevitably, that leads into the conflict with him and Hellboy.” Goss also noted that his character admired and revered his twin sister, portrayed by Anna Walton. He said of the prince and the princess, “There is an incestuous relationship that’s not maybe overly obvious to everybody, but some people hopefully will pick up on the fact, certainly from my direction towards her.” The movie was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro and is a sequel to the 2004 film Hellboy, which del Toro also directed.

In February, 2008, he signed to play the role of Steve Fox in Tekken;  and in January 2010, Goss won the role as Frankenstein in Death Race 2. Goss also played the lead role in Syfy’s dark tale television film Witchville. He is next up in Death Race 3: Inferno.


John Sayles

John Thomas Sayles (born September 28, 1950) is an American independent film director, screenwriter and author. Sayles was born in Schenectady, New York, the son of Mary, a teacher, and Donald John Sayles, a school administrator.

Like Martin Scorsese and James Cameron, among others, Sayles began his film career working with Roger Corman, scripting Piranha. In 1979, Sayles funded his first film, Return of the Secaucus 7, with money he had in the bank from writing scripts for Roger Corman. He set the film in a large house so that he did not have to travel to or get permits for different locations, set it over a three-day weekend to limit costume changes, and wrote about people his age so that he could have his friends act in it. The film received near-unanimous critical acclaim, and in November 1997, the National Film Preservation Board announced that Return of the Secaucus 7 would be one of the 25 films selected that year for preservation in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress.

Sayles wrote, Alligator and Battle Beyond the Stars (both 1980), before writing The Howling (1981) for Joe Dante. In 1983, after writing/directing the films Lianna and Baby It’s You, Sayles received a MacArthur Fellowship. He used the money to partially fund the fantasy The Brother from Another Planet, a film about a black, three-toed slave who escapes from another planet and finds himself at home among the people of Harlem.

Sayles wrote the scripts for The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986) and Wild Thing (1987), before directing the excellent Matewan (1987) and Eight Men Out (1988). In 1989, he created and wrote the pilot episode for the short-lived television show Shannon’s Deal. Sayles received a 1990 Edgar Award for his teleplay for the pilot. The show ran for only 16 episodes before being cancelled in 1991.

Sayles has funded most of his films by writing genre scripts such as Piranha, Alligator, The Howling and The Challenge, having collaborated with Joe Dante on Piranha and The Howling, Sayles acted in Dante’s underrated 1993 movie Matinee. In deciding whether to take a job, Sayles reports that he mostly is interested in whether there is the germ of an idea for a movie which he would want to watch. Sayles gets the rest of his funding by working as a script doctor; he apparently did rewrites for Apollo 13, and Mimic. 

One such genre script, called Night Skies, inspired what would eventually become the highly successful film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. That film’s director, Steven Spielberg, commissioned Sayles to write a script for Jurassic Park IV. 

He has directed the dramas, City of Hope (1991), Passion Fish (1992), The Secret of the Roan Inish (1994), Lone Star (1996), Men with Guns (1997), Limbo (1999), Sunshine State (2002), Casa de los Babys (2003), political comedy Silver City (2004) and musical Honeydripper (2007). Sayles 17th and latest feature film, was the historical war drama Amigo. 

In February 2009, Sayles was reported to be writing an upcoming HBO series based on the early life of Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The drama, tentatively titled Scar Tissue, centers on Kiedis’s early years living in West Hollywood with his father. At that time, Kiedis’s father, known as Spider, sold drugs (according to legend, his clients included The Who and Led Zeppelin) and mingled with rock stars on the Sunset Strip, all while aspiring to get into showbiz.

His novel A Moment in the Sun, set during the same period as Amigo, in the Philippines, Cuba, and the US, was released in 2011 by McSweeney’s. He should belt out a few more cheesy-pulp-scripts, we could do with them about now.


Hotel Transylvania by my 7 Year Old Son ****

Official synopsis for Hotel Transylvania: Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter.

My Sons review: Count Dracula builds a hotel for all the monsters to have a break away from humans, the monsters are all scared of humans. Dracula is in charge, he has a daughter called Mavis who he doesn’t want to let go out in the daytime as she would be burned by the sun Dracula’s friends are Murray the Mummy, Frank the Frankenstein monster, Wayne the Werewolf, and Griffin the Invisible Man and all the other monsters. A human comes to the hotel called Jonathan, and Dracula tries to hide him from the other monsters by dressing him up as a half-monster like Frankenstein.

The  favourite parts of the movie for me was the beginning when they showed us all the monsters and the graveyard near the castle. I really liked the zombies, especially when they were on fire. It’s pretty funny, the funniest bit is when Frank does a fart-prank on Murray the Mummy, and Murray gets blamed.

If little kids liked spooky stuff, they will like the movie, if not they could be scared. It’s not really a scary movie, I would like it more if it was more scary. I give it 4 stars, it would get 5 if it was scary.


X is replaced by NC-17

In the rating system’s early years, X-Rated movies, such as Midnight Cowboy (1969), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Fritz the Cat (1972), and Last Tango in Paris (1973) were understood to be non-pornographic films with adult content that were nonetheless mainstream films that did well at the box office. However, pornographic films – if rated at all – sometimes self-imposed the non-trademarked X rating. Thus, the X rating (along with the hyperbolic “XXX”, typically for hardcore pornography) soon became a synonym for pornography in American mainstream culture.

In 1989, two critically acclaimed arthouse films, The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, were released featuring very strong adult content. Neither was approved for an R rating, thus limiting their commercial distribution.

On September 27, 1990, the MPAA introduced the rating NC-17 (“No Children Under 17 Admitted”) as its official rating for adult-oriented films bearing the MPAA seal. Henry & June was the first film to receive the NC-17 rating.

The ratings used from 1990 to the late 1990s were:

  • Rated G: General Audiences – All Ages Admitted.
  • Rated PG: Parental Guidance Suggested – Some Material May Not be Suitable for Children.
  • Rated PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned – Some Material May be Inappropriate for Children Under 13.
  • Rated R: Restricted – Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent or Adult Guardian.
  • Rated NC-17: No Children 17 or Under Admitted.

In the late 1990s the NC-17 rating age limit was changed by rewording it from “No Children Under 17 Admitted” to “No One 17 And Under Admitted”. On January 18, 2012, it was changed to “No Children 17 and Under Admitted”. And, in practice, media that refused to advertise X-rated films and movies also refused to advertise NC-17 movies and films. In addition, large video distribution businesses such as Blockbuster video refused to stock NC-17 movies.


Trailer – Dead Island: Riptide

The sequel to the Deep Silver and Techland zombie apocalypse survival game, Dead Island, is on the way.

Just like the first trailer for Dead Island, which took the internet by storm upon its release (so much so that it led to a battle to acquire the movie rights well before the game arrived (eventually optioned by Lionsgate), a beautiful and haunting cinematic kicks things off for the sequel, which is titled Dead Island: Riptide.

The trailer isn’t quite as good as the one we saw for the first game, but still, it’s an excellent trailer well worth watching. You can watch it below now.


Melissa Sue Anderson

Melissa Sue Anderson is an American-Canadian actress. Born September 26, 1962 in Berkeley, California, she began her career as a child actress. Anderson is perhaps best known for her role as Mary Ingalls on the NBC television series Little House on the Prairie, as well as for her film roles; as Vivian in TV movie Midnight Offerings (1981), and as Ginny in the cult classic slasher flick, Happy Birthday to Me (1981).

Happy Birthday to Me was released on May 15, 1981 and has since become something of a cult classic among fans of the slasher genre, with its bizarre murder methods and twisted climactic revelation. AllMovie gave the film a mixed review, writing, “Happy Birthday to Me stands out from the slasher movie pack of the early ’80s because it pushes all the genre’s elements to absurd heights. The murders, plot twists and, especially, the last-minute revelations that are dished up in the final reel don’t just deny credibility, they outright defy it.” Nailed it.