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

Archive for February, 2013

Skyfall: 50 Years of Bond

The Bond tribute they should have used at the Oscars. Iconic Bond moments from the last 50 years… to ‘Skyfall’ by Adele.


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The Walking Dead – Rick’s New Friend

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Cargo – Tropfest 2013

One of the finalists from Tropfest 2013… a lot of people thought this should have won, myself included. Directed by Ben Howling & Yolanda Ramke.

Stranded in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, a man sets in motion an unlikely plan to protect the precious cargo he carries: his infant daughter.


The Avengers – LEGO Game

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Oscars Infographic

Congratulations to Argo, winning a well deserved Best Picture Oscar… and shame on the Academy for not nominating Ben Affleck in the Best Director category.

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Ray Cusick – R.I.P.

Daleks_Ray CusickRay Cusick, the British TV production designer best known for his work on Doctor Who, passed away Thursday night after a short illness. He was 84. In 1963, Cusick, a staff designer at the BBC, was asked to give form to the race of aliens created by screenwriter Terry Nation for nascent sci-fi series Doctor Who. Cusick came up with the design for the Daleks, mutants encased in studded metal shells who appear to glide over the ground as they move. The villains became emblematic of Doctor Who, continuing to appear throughout the series’ life including in its current incarnation and in other films and TV shows. They’re also well-known for their catchphrase, “Exterminate!” It is often thought that Cusick’s design was inspired by a pepper shaker. He recently said the detail came during a lunch with the special effects expert who would make the Daleks. At the meal, Cusick picked up a pepper shaker and moved it around the table, to show how the Daleks would move. “Ever since then,” he explained, “people say I was inspired by a pepper pot, but it could have been the salt pot I picked up.” Current Doctor Who series actor and writer, Mark Gatiss, tweeted: “Farewell to the great Ray Cusick. His passing is especially sad in this anniversary year but his creation remains immortal. Daleks forever!”


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Quentin Tarantino – Bodycount Infographic

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Soylent Green – Poster Art

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Birth of the Dragon – Bruce Lee Biopic

Bruce Lee_Birth of the Dragon_BannerQED International and Groundswell Productions have joined forces for Birth of the Dragon, which will focus on Bruce Lee’s career-defining 1965 no-holdsbarred TKO battle with kung fu master Wong Jack Man.

According to Linda Lee Cadwell, Bruce Lee’s wife, Lee’s teaching of Chinese martial arts to Caucasians made him unpopular with Chinese martial artists in San Francisco. Wong contested the notion that Lee was fighting for the right to teach Caucasians as not all of his students were Chinese. Wong stated that he requested a public fight with Lee after Lee had issued an open challenge during a demonstration at a Chinatown theater in which he claimed to be able to defeat any martial artist in San Francisco. Wong stated it was after a mutual acquaintance delivered a note from Lee inviting him to fight that he showed up at Lee’s school to challenge him. Martial artist David Chin reportedly wrote the original challenge, while Wong asked Chin to let him sign it.

According to author Norman Borine, Wong tried to delay the match and asked for restrictions on techniques such as hitting the face, kicking the groin, and eye jabs, and that the two fought no holds barred after Lee turned down the request.

The details of the fight vary depending on the account. Individuals known to have witnessed the match included Cadwell, James Lee (an associate of Bruce Lee, no relation) and William Chen, a teacher of T’ai chi ch’uan. According to Bruce, Linda, and James Lee, the fight lasted 3 minutes with a decisive victory for Bruce.

Lee gave a description, without naming Wong explicitly, in an interview with Black Belt: 

“I’d gotten into a fight in San Francisco with a Kung-Fu cat, and after a brief encounter the son-of-a-bitch started to run. I chased him and, like a fool, kept punching him behind his head and back. Soon my fists began to swell from hitting his hard head. Right then I realized Wing Chun was not too practical and began to alter my way of fighting.” 

Cadwell recounted the scene in her book Bruce Lee: The Man Only  I Knew:

“The two came out, bowed formally and then began to fight. Wong adopted a classic stance whereas Bruce, who at the time was still using his Wing Chun style, produced a series of straight punches. “Within a minute, Wong’s men were trying to stop the fight as Bruce began to warm to his task. James Lee warned them to let the fight continue. A minute later, with Bruce continuing the attack in earnest, Wong began to back pedal as fast as he could. For an instant, indeed, the scrap threatened to degenerate into a farce as Wong actually turned and ran. But Bruce pounced on him like a springing leopard and brought him to the floor where he began pounding him into a state of demoralization. “Is that enough?” shouted Bruce, “That’s enough!” pleaded his adversary. Bruce demanded a second reply to his question to make sure that he understood this was the end of the fight.”

This is in contrast to Wong and William Chen’s account of the fight as they state the fight lasted an unusually long 20–25 minutes. Allegedly, Wong was unsatisfied with Lee’s account of the match and published his own version in the Chinese Pacific Weekly, a Chinese language newspaper in San Francisco. The article, which was featured on the front page, included a detailed description of the fight from Wong’s perspective and concluded with an invitation to Bruce Lee for a public match if Lee found his version to be unacceptable. Lee never made a public response to the article. Wong later expressed regret over fighting Lee, attributing it to arrogance, both on the part of Lee and himself.

Written by Oscar nominees Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele, who worked on Oliver Stone’s Nixon and Michael Mann’s Ali, the film focuses on the aforementioned Oakland fight that launched Lee to martial arts stardom, which happened against the backdrop of the Hong Kong Triads’ criminal control of San Francisco’s Chinatown. The film will also detail a team-up between the two legends to take on the Triads. The fight with Jack Man was the last official one of Lee’s career before he headed into acting, competition and building his martial arts philosophy. “We’re excited to retell the fantastic origin story of the world’s most famous martial arts icon, which in the hands of Christopher and Stephen, lends itself to an action thriller we’re sure will enthrall movie fans around the world,” QED’s Bill Block said in a statement. The film will be produced by Block, Groundswell Productions CEO Michael London, Wilkinson and Rivele, and executive produced by Groundswell’s Kelly Mullen.


Pacific Rim – Concept Art

Check out these concept art images from Pacific Rim. Art by Doug Williams, courtesy of this months edition of the UK Total Film.

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Dead Snow – Original Poster Art

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The Dark Knight and Man of Steel

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Click on the image for Hi-Res Individual Images of The Dark Knight and Man of Steel Posters.


The Avengers – Poster Art by Marko Manev

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Click on the image for Hi-Res individual Poster Images.


Zombie attack exposes security flaws

The ‘zombie attack’ alert issued on US TV stations this week is more serious than a mischievous hacker prank, say cyber experts, who warn the incident exposes lax security practices in a critical public safety system.

While broadcasters said poor password security paved the way for the bogus warning, security experts said the equipment used by the Emergency Alert System remained vulnerable when stations allow it be accessed via the public internet.

The fear is that hackers could prevent the government from sending out public warnings during an emergency or attackers could conduct a more damaging hoax than a warning of a zombie apocalypse. “It isn’t what they said. It is the fact that they got into the system. They could have caused some real damage,” said Karole White, president of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.

Following the attacks on Monday, broadcasters were ordered to change the passwords for the EAS equipment. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would not comment on the attacks, but in an urgent advisory sent to television stations on Tuesday said: “All EAS participants are required to take immediate action.”

It instructed them to change passwords on equipment from all manufacturers used to deliver emergency broadcasts. The FCC instructed them to ensure gear was properly secured behind firewalls and to inspect systems to ensure that hackers had not queued “unauthorised alerts” for future transmission.

The attacks come after warnings by government officials and outside security experts that the US is at risk of a cyber attack that could cause major physical damage or even cost lives. President Barack Obama told Congress on Tuesday that some hackers were looking for ways to attack the US power grid, banks and air traffic control systems.

Privately held Monroe Electronics, whose equipment was compromised in Monday’s attacks, said it was still evaluating the risks.

“The situation appears to just be the password stuff, but we are looking at anything else and everything that might come into play,” said vice president Bill Robertson. A spokesman for US-CERT said he could not immediately comment on the matter.

The zombie hackers targeted two stations in Michigan, and several in California, Montana and New Mexico, White said.

A male voice addressed viewers in a video posted on the internet of the bogus warning broadcast from KRTV, a CBS affiliate based in Great Falls, Montana: “Civil authorities in your area have reported that the bodies of the dead are rising from the grave and attacking the living.”

The voice warned not “to approach or apprehend these bodies as they are extremely dangerous.”

Stuart McClure, chief executive of cyber security firm Cylance, said he had investigated cases in which hackers accessed EAS systems via a different method: breaking into hidden accounts built into the systems by manufacturers so that service technicians can easily access them for repairs.

“You cannot give a separate pass code to everybody. Nobody is going to remember it. You have to share the secret,” said McClure, who previously ran a unit at Intel’s McAfee security division that investigated cyber attacks.

Electronics industry experts said it is tough for some broadcasters to follow all security guidelines because staff at small stations lack the expertise to do so. The equipment that was compromised obtains emergency broadcasts by frequently using the internet to make outward calls to trusted government servers. When it finds an alert on one of those servers, it broadcasts it on that station.

Monroe Electronics said its gear is designed to let stations make outgoing queries, but still keep outsiders from getting in. It recommends against unsecured access to the internet. “It’s the wild, wild West,” said Robertson.

He said the equipment sometimes gets exposed to the open internet because it is not properly configured or because engineers want remote access when they are on call. Robertson said the company was working to beef up security on the equipment and might update its software to compel customers to change default passwords.

US Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dan Watson said the zombie breach did not have any impact on the government’s ability to activate the Emergency Alert System.


Hannibal – Premiere on April 4

TV-Hannibal_Mads MikkelsenNBC’s new drama Hannibal has been given a premiere date, April 4, Thursday 10 PM. Between now and April 4, NBC will air Law & Order: SVU repeats in the hour. Hannibal, from Bryan Fuller, Martha DeLaurentiis and Gaumont International TV, stars Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy. The project is described as a contemporary thriller featuring the classic characters from Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon – FBI agent Will Graham (Dancy) and his mentor Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mikkelsen) — who are re-introduced at the beginning of their budding relationship.


Big Ass Spider – Trailer

Check out this trailer for Big Ass Spider, With a special introduction from Director Mike Mendez. This looks better than Transformers…

Harking back to the classic 50’s creature features, Big Ass Spider tells the tale of an exterminator (Greg Grunberg) and his sidekick (Lombardo Boyar) who are caught in an epic battle when a military assault fails to contain a giant alien spider rampaging through the city of Los Angeles…


Friday the 13th – Poster Art by Francesco Francavilla

Check out this new poster by Francesco Francavilla for FRIDAY THE 13TH. Available through MONDO…

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First Image from Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno

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Doctor Sleep – The Shining sequel by Stephen King

Stephen King_Doctor SleepStephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Doctor Sleep_Stephen KingThen Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

Cemetery Dance Publications will publish Deluxe Special Limited Editions of Stephen’s new novel, Doctor Sleep. The edition will be published this September in three states, all of them printed in two colours and bound in fine materials. Check them out HERE


Room 237 – Trailer

After its much talked about festival screenings, The Shining documentary, Room 237, will be released by IFC at the end of March.

“After the box office failure of Barry Lyndon, Stanley Kubrick decided to embark on a project that might have more commercial appeal. The Shining, Stephen King’s biggest critical and commercial success yet, seemed like a perfect vehicle. After an arduous production, Kubrick’s film received a wide release in the summer of 1980; the reviews were mixed, but the box office, after a slow start, eventually picked up. End of story? Hardly. In the 30 years since the film’s release, a considerable cult of Shining devotees has emerged, fans who claim to have decoded the film’s secret messages addressing everything from the genocide of Native Americans to a range of government conspiracies. Rodney Ascher’s wry and provocative Room 237 fuses fact and fiction through interviews with cultists and scholars, creating a kaleidoscopic deconstruction of Kubrick’s still-controversial classic.”

Room 237 was directed by Rodney Ascher and starts a number of limited theatrical engagements on March 29th. It will also be available on the same date at multiple Cable VOD services and digital outlets. A brand new trailer has just been released.


Django Unchained – Poster Art by Matt Butkus

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The Walking Dead Countdown… 1 Day…


The Walking Dead Countdown… 2 Days…


The Walking Dead Countdown… 3 Days…