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Posts tagged “Terminator

R.I.P Dick Miller

dick miller - after darkDick Miller, prolific screen actor and B-Movie legend, best known for his role as Murray Futterman in the 1984 classic horror film Gremlins, has died. He was 90.

With a career spanning more than 60 years, Miller has made hundreds of on screen appearances, beginning in the 1950’s with legendary director and producer Roger Corman. It was then that he starred as Walter Paisley – a character the actor would reprise throughout his career – in the cult classic “A Bucket of Blood,” before going on to land roles on projects such as The ‘Burbs, Fame and The Terminator.

Miller also boasts a long history of high-profile director partnerships, working with the likes of James Cameron, Ernest Dickerson, Martin Scorsese, John Sayles and, perhaps most notably, Joe Dante, who used Miller in almost every project he helmed.

In one of Dante’s earlier films, Piranha, Miller played Buck Gardner, a small-time real estate agent opening up a new resort on Lost River Lake. The only catch? A large school of genetically altered piranha have accidentally been released into the resort’s nearby rivers. Next up was a police chief role in the 1979 film Rock ‘n’ Roll High School before reprising the Walter Paisley mantle as an occult bookshop owner in Dante’s 1981 horror film The Howling.

Other notable appearances include the 1986 cult favorite Night of the Creeps, where he shared the screen with Tom Atkins as a police ammunition’s officer named Walt – he supplies Atkins with some necessary firepower in the face of an alien worm-zombie invasion – and a pawnshop owner in James Cameron’s 1984 hit The Terminator; the same year he appeared in yet another of Dante’s films, Gremlins.

Most recently, Miller reprised the role of Walter Paisley for a final time as a rabbi in Eben McGarr’s horror film Hanukkah.

Miller is survived by his wife Lainie, daughter Barbara and granddaughter Autumn.

joedanteDante called him “one of his most treasured collaborators,” writing, “I ‘grew up’ (kinda) watching Dick Miller in movies from the 50’s on and was thrilled to have him in my first movie for Roger Corman.”


Bill Paxton R.I.P

bill-paxton-near-dark-vampireThe actor Bill Paxton, who was 61, has died due to complications from surgery, according to a statement from a representative of Paxton’s family.

“A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker,” read the statement, in part. “Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable.”

That warmth earned Paxton a career that began in B-movies, experimental film and music videos, moved through bit parts in big pictures and, ultimately, leading roles. The epitome of a working actor, he described to The Los Angeles Times his on-screen presence as that of “a very straight-looking guy, very old-fashioned.”

“I consider myself an everyman, and there will always be an underdog quality to my stuff,” Paxton told Cosmopolitan magazine in a 1995 interview.

Paxton often found a way to make these roles his own. One memorable moment? As Pvt. Hudson in James Cameron’s film “Aliens,” Paxton’s desperate, defeated whine after a spaceship crash became a catch-phrase: “Game over, man! Game over!”

Born William Paxton in Fort Worth, Texas, the actor was the son of a hardwood salesman and, he told “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross in a 2009 interview, expected that he’d follow the same path. But after taking theater classes in high school, Paxton made a decision to become an actor.

He relocated to Los Angeles when he was in his late teens. One of his first gigs was at New World Pictures as a set designer for famed B-movie producer and director Roger Corman on the Angie Dickenson movie “Big Bad Mama.” A year later, he acted in “Crazy Mama,” a New World production directed by a young Jonathan Demme.

The actor continued with set design gigs while making inroads in front of the camera. Early appearances included a starring role in “Fish Heads” (1980), a cult-classic novelty video for the music duo Barnes & Barnes, which Paxton directed and that aired on “Saturday Night Live.”

Paxton played a blue-haired punk rocker in an opening scene of “The Terminator,” a role that led to a friendship with director James Cameron and jobs in “Aliens,” “True Lies” and “Titanic.” Paxton’s acclaimed turn in “Apollo 13,” further confirmed the actor’s abilities.

He was fantastic as the trashy vampire in “Near Dark” scene stealing as the scary, and comic relief, Severin.

“Every day you’re taking a final exam as an actor,” Paxton told the late film critic Roger Ebert in 1998, while discussing his work in “A Simple Plan.”

As Hank in “A Simple Plan,” Paxton harnessed his average-Joe demeanor in service of a career-defining role alongside Billy Bob Thornton. After their two characters find millions of dollars in the woods, Paxton’s Hank endures hardships that reveal the ways in which good men can do bad things.

“I don’t play my characters with any judgment,” he told Gross. “I don’t think it’s possible to play any character with judgment.”

The actor carried that philosophy into one of his most notable performances, as Bill Henrickson in “Big Love.” As the polygamist patriarch, Paxton played a husband juggling family, work and spirituality — with three wives, a half-dozen children and a sect-wide family feud.

When “Big Love” concluded, Paxton told The Los Angeles Times’ Mary McNamara that he faced a hurdle. “It was the only steady job I’ve ever had as an adult,” he said. “But then nobody knew really what to do with me.”

As was always the case, though, Paxton found work. He earned an Emmy nomination in 2012 for the miniseries “Hatfields and McCoys,” and had a recurrent role in the TV series “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Paxton was starring as Det. Frank Rourke in the first season of the CBS series “Training Day.” The 13 episodes finished shooting in December, with nine still set to air.

CBS and Warner Bros. Television praised Paxton’s work in a statement issued Sunday morning.

It read, in part: “Bill was, of course, a gifted and popular actor with so many memorable roles on film and television. His colleagues at CBS and Warner Bros. Television will also remember a guy who lit up every room with infectious charm, energy and warmth, and as a great storyteller who loved to share entertaining anecdotes and stories about his work.”

Paxton is survived by his wife, Louise, and two children, James and Lydia.


Terminator: Genisys

The Terminator franchise has been Star Trekked: The first trailer for Paramount and Skydance Productions’ summer 2015 reboot reveals how the time travel sci-fier, starring Game Of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor and Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese, isn’t quite a reboot or a sequel but an alternate timeline shake-up of the familiar Terminator lore. All thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who’s back (again) and here plays a Terminator sent from the future who raises a young Sarah and warns her of the impending robot apocalypse. Jason Clarke, Matt Smith, Byung-Hun Lee, and JK Simmons also star for director Alan Taylor. Terminator: Genisys opens July 1, 2015.


Audition – American Remake…

audition_posterI don’t understand how this will work but Terminator, Rambo, and Basic Instinct exec producer Mario Kassar is assembling an English-language adaptation of Audition, the infamous 1997 novel by Japanese author Ryu Murakami about a lonely widower who gets more than he bargains for when he puts out a fake casting call to find a new girlfriend. Audition was, of course, adapted in 1999 into a cringe-inducing cult film in its own right by Japanese helmer Takashi Miike. The new Kassar-produced version is based on the original Murakami novel and will transplant the story to an American setting.

In this version, to be directed by Richard Gray, Audition‘s unlucky protagonist is Sam Davis, who lives alone with his son following the death of his wife seven years prior and is convinced by a filmmaker friend to stage the fake auditions. The former ballerina with a mysterious past he falls for is now named Evie Lawrence, but otherwise details fall closely in line with Murakami’s best-seller.

Gray adapted the script and will tackle a fall shoot for Audition after filming wraps on his current project, thriller Sugar Mountain starring Jason Momoa. He also helmed and produced the Justin Long crime thriller The Lookalike, which Well Go USA is releasing this summer. DEADLINE.


Sci-Fi Corporation Mugs

Sci-Fi_MugsEnjoy your afternoon cup of tea in one of four mugs inspired by futuristic corporations from Aliens, Terminator, Blade Runner and Robocop. If anyone wants to buy me one (or all of them!), they’re available along with a lot of other nerdy goodies HERE


Friday the 13th the Series… Again

Friday-the-13th_Jason-Voorhees_by_Ytse80Jason Voorhees is ready to slash his way to small-screen stardom. Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films and Crystal Lake Entertainment have set a deal to produce a new hour-long dramatic series based upon the characters and settings of Friday the 13th. That’s average news, not sure how this would play out… bad news is that Sean S. Cunningham, who helmed the 1980 original, will be executive producer along with EFO Films principals Randall Emmett & George Furla, Mark Canton of Atmosphere Entertainment MM, Steve B. Harris of Diversion3 Entertainment, and Ted Fox of Fox Entertainment. Also producing is Horror Inc. president Robert Barsamian, who produced the features… That’s an awful lot of ‘interference’ from a production standpoint, it looks bad already.

Bill Basso (Terminator) and Jordu Schell (Avatar) have been set to script a storyline that re-imagines Jason in multiple time periods. Roy Knyrim (Gods And Monsters) of SOTA FX will coordinate the special make-up effects for the series. If you recall, the original was set at a summer camp, closed because of the drowning of an unattended child. Promiscuous counselors tried to re-open the place, but they began dying. Jason actually took root as the indestructible villain in the second film, with his signature hockey goalie mask coming later. The series is contemporary, focusing on the eclectic characters of Crystal Lake who are forced to confront the return of the killer, as new secrets about his wacky family are revealed.

“Jason Voorhees is synonymous with the genre and we plan to build on this legacy with a provocative and compelling take that expands upon the storylines that have already thrilled millions worldwide,” explained Cunningham. Said Barsamian: “Expect the show to take viewers in some exciting new directions that we’re confident will not only excite existing fans of Friday The 13th but also attract new audiences to the situations and characters that inhabit the small town of Crystal Lake.”

Credit where it’s due, Cunningham made the original Friday the 13th, however that movie apart, Cunningham has never understood Jason, he’s never understood why he worked or why he was so popular. Since his return to the franchise he’s done two of the worst series movies in Jason Goes to Hell and Jason X. What he’s always wanted to do and fail at, is make over-sexed-teen comedies. This is a money grabbing exercise… again.


Terminator – The TV Series

Terminator-Arnold-as-TerminatorIt was inevitable… Skydance Productions and Annapurna Pictures, the companies behind the upcoming Terminator film trilogy, are expanding the franchise to television with a TV series to be done in conjunction with the first rebooted Terminator film slated for release in 2015. The series will be written and exec produced by Zack Stentz and Ashley Miller (X-Men: First Class, Thor), with the writers of the upcoming Terminator movie Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier serving as executive producers.

The series will follow a critical moment from the original 1984 Terminator movie, taking it in a completely different direction from the film. Plot details about the forthcoming Terminator movie are being kept under wraps, but it too is expected to be tied to the first movie. As the rebooted film trilogy and the new television series progress, the two narratives will be designed to intersect with each other. (Thus the head-on involvement in the series of the new film’s writers Kalogridis and Lussier.) For now, Paramount, which is Skydance and Annapurna’s partner on the feature trilogy, is not involved in the TV series, but that could change down the line. Paramount is returning to television, recently relaunching a TV division.  Skydance too recently expanded into television, landing The Manhattan Project, on WGN America. The companies’ plan to intertwine the narratives of movies and TV series is reminiscent of Marvel’s efforts with Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and movies like Thor and The Avengers – but on a bigger scale. Imagine attempted to do something as ambitious with the adaptation of Stephen King’s Dark Tower, which was envisioned as a movie trilogy with TV series bridging the films, but the project didn’t get off the ground. The Terminator TV series will be produced by Megan Ellison of Annapurna and David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross of Skydance.

The blockbuster Terminator franchise, which has earned more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office, has spawned a TV series before: Fox’s 2008Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Casting of the Sarah Connor role in the upcoming film is now underway, with Arnold Schwarzenegger booked for a return as the title character. Stentz and Miller also wrote the upcoming films Starship Troopers and The Fall Guy. Their series credits include Fox’s Fringe.


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Time Travel in the Movies

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Christian Bale – Part 2

Christian Bale_movie banner_2In 2004, after completing filming for The Machinist, Bale won the coveted role of Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, a reboot of the Batman film series.

public_enemies_poster_02Still fresh off The Machinist, it became necessary for Bale to bulk up to match Batman’s muscular physique. He was given a deadline of six months to do this. Bale recalled it as far from a simple accomplishment: “…when it actually came to building muscle, I was useless. I couldn’t do one push up the first day. All of the muscles were gone, so I had a real tough time rebuilding all of that.” With the help of a personal trainer, Bale succeeded in meeting the deadline, gaining a total of 100 lb (45 kg) in six months. He went from about 130 lbs to 230 lbs. He then discovered that he had actually gained more weight than the director desired, and dropped his weight to 190 lbs by the time filming began.

Bale had initial concerns about playing Batman, as he felt more ridiculous than intimidating in the Batsuit, he dealt with this by depicting Batman as a savage beast. To attain a deeper understanding of the character, Bale read various Batman comic books. He explained his interpretation of the young boy: “Batman is his hidden, demonic rage-filled side. The creature Batman creates is an absolutely sincere creature and one that he has to control but does so in a very haphazard way. He’s capable of enacting violence — and to kill — so he’s constantly having to rein himself in.” For Bale, the most gruelling part about playing Batman was the suit. “You stick it on, you get hot, you sweat and you get a headache in the mask,” he said. “But I’m not going to bitch about it because I get to play Batman.” When promoting the film in interviews and public events, Bale retained an American accent to avoid confusion.

batman-the-dark-knight-trilogy-2012-wallpaper-for-1440x900-widescreen-8-66Batman Begins was released in the U.S. on 15 June 2005 and was a U.S. and international triumph for Warner Bros., costing approximately US$135 million to produce and taking in over US$370 million in returns worldwide. Bale earned the Best Hero award at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards for his performance.

Bale reprised his role as Batman in Nolan’s Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight. He trained in the Kevsi Fighting Method, and performed many of his own stunts. The Dark Knight was released in the U.S. on 18 July 2008 and stormed through the box office, with a record-breaking $158.4 million in the U.S. in its first weekend. It broke the $300 million barrier in 10 days, the $400 million mark in 18 days and the $500 million mark in 43 days, three new U.S. box office records set by the film. The film went on to gross over $1 billion at the box office worldwide, making it the fourth-highest grossing movie worldwide of all time, before adjusting for inflation.

The Dark Knight Rises_Batman_posterBale reprised his Batman role in The Dark Knight Rises released on 20 July 2012, making Bale the actor who has played Batman the most times in feature film. Bale has given the same opinion as Nolan that, if the latter was forced to bring Robin into the films, he would never again play Batman; even though one of his favorite Batman stories, Batman: Dark Victory, focuses on Robin’s origin.

In 2006, Bale took on four projects: Rescue Dawn, by German film maker Werner Herzog, had him playing U.S. Fighter pilot Dieter Dengler, who has to fight for his life after being shot down while on a mission during the Vietnam War. Bale left a strong impression on Herzog, with the director complimenting his acting abilities: “I find him one of the greatest talents of his generation. We made up our own minds long before he did Batman.

batman_the_dark_knight_rises-wideIn The Prestige, an adaptation of the Christopher Priest novel about a rivalry between two Victorian stage magicians, Bale was reunited with Batman BeginsMichael Caine and director Christopher Nolan. The cast of The Prestige also included Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, and David Bowie. I’m Not There, a film in which Bale again worked alongside Todd Haynes and Heath Ledger (who would go on to play The Joker in The Dark Knight), is an artistic reflection of the life of Bob Dylan. He starred opposite Russell Crowe in a commercially and critically successful Western film, 3:10 to Yuma. Bale played John Connor in Terminator Salvation and FBI agent Melvin Purvis in Michael Mann’s Public Enemies. 

In 2010, Bale portrayed Dicky Eklund in the biopic The Fighter. He received critical acclaim for his role and won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.


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Famous Robots by Robert M. Ball

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Stan Winston

Stanley Winston (April 7, 1946 – June 15, 2008) was an American visual effects supervisor, make-up artist, and film director. He was best known for his work in the Terminator series, the Jurassic Park series, Aliens, the Predator series, Iron Man, Edward Scissorhands and Avatar. He won four Academy Awards for his work.

Winston, a frequent collaborator with director James Cameron, owned several effects studios, including Stan Winston Digital. The established areas of expertise for Winston were in makeup, puppets and practical effects, but he had recently expanded his studio to encompass digital effects as well.

Stan Winston was born on April 7, 1946, in Arlington, Virginia, where he graduated from Washington-Lee High School in 1964. He studied painting and sculpture at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville from which he graduated in 1968. In 1969, after attending California State University, Long Beach, Winston moved to Hollywood to pursue a career as an actor. Struggling to find an acting job, he began a makeup apprenticeship at Walt Disney Studios.

In 1972, Winston established his own company, Stan Winston Studio, and won an Emmy Award for his effects work on the telefilm Gargoyles. Over the next seven years, Winston continued to receive Emmy nominations for work on projects and won another for 1974’s The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Winston also created the Wookie costumes for the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special.

In 1982, Winston received his first Oscar nomination for Heartbeeps, by which time he had set up his own studio. However, his ground-breaking work with Rob Bottin on the science fiction horror classic The Thing that year brought him to prominence in Hollywood. Between then, he contributed some visual effects to Friday the 13th Part III, in which he made a slightly different head sculpt of Jason in an unused ending.

In 1983 he also worked on a short-lived TV series Manimal. However, Winston reached a new level of fame in 1984 when James Cameron’s The Teminator premiered. The movie was a surprise hit, and Winston’s work in bringing the titular metallic killing machine to life led to many new projects and additional collaborations with Cameron. In fact, Winston won his first Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 1986 on James Cameron’s next movie, Aliens.

Over the next few years, Winston and his company received more accolades for its work on many more Hollywood films, including Edward Scissorhands, Predator, Alien Nation, The Monster Squad and Predator 2. 

In 1988, Winston made his directorial debut with the horror movie Pumpkinhead, and won Best First Time Director at the Paris Film Festival. His next directing project was the child-friendly A Gnome Named Gnorm (1990), starring Anthony Michael Hall.

James Cameron drafted Winston and his team once again in 1990, this time for the groundbreaking Terminator 2: Judgement DayT2 premiered in the summer of 1991, and Winston’s work on this box office hit won him two more Oscars for Best Makeup Effects and Best Visual Effects. 

In 1992, he was nominated with another Tim Burton film, Batman Returns, where his effects on Danny DeVito as The Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and in delivering Burton’s general vision for what was an increasingly Gothic Gotham City earned him more recognition for his work ethic and loyalty to what was an intrinsic ability to bring different directors’ ideas to life.

Winston turned his attention to dinosaurs when Steven Spielberg enlisted his help to bring Jurassic Park to the screen in 1993. The movie became a blockbuster and Winston won another Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

In 1993, Winston, Cameron and ex-ILM General Manager Scott Russ co-founded Digital Domain, one of the foremost digital and visual effects studios in the world. In 1998, after the box office success of Titanic, Cameron and Winston severed their working relationship with the company and resigned from its board of directors.

Winston and his team continued to provide effects work for many more films and expanded their work into animatronics. Some of Winston’s notable animatronics work can be found in The Ghost and the Darkness and T2 3-D: Battle Across Time, James Cameron’s 3-D continuation of the Terminator series for the Universal Studios theme park. One of Winston’s most ambitious animatronics projects was Steven Spielberg’s AI: Artificial Intelligence, which earned Winston another Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects. 

In 1996, Winston directed and co-produced the longest and the most expensive music video of all time, Ghosts, which was based on an original concept of Michael Jackson and Stephen King

In 2001, Winston, together with Colleen Camp and Samuel Z. Arkoff’s son, Lou Arkoff, produced a series of made-for-cable films for Cinemax and HBO. The five films, referred to as Creature Features, were inspired by the titles of AIP monster movies from the 1950s — i.e., Earth vs. the Spider (1958), How to Make a Monster (1958), Day the World Ended (1955), The She-Creature (1956), and Teenage Caveman (1958) — but had completely different plots.

In 2003, Stan Winston was invited by the Smithsonian Institution to speak  about his life and career in a public presentation sponsored by The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

In 2004, he expressed great disappointment when director Paul W. S. Anderson did not come to him for the creature effects for Alien vs. Predator, seeing as how he designed the Predator and the Alien Queen. “They’re like my children to me,” he stated

At the time of his death, Winston was working on the Terminator sequel, Terminator Salvation. He was also helping his old friend, film director James Cameron on designs for Avatar.

Stan Winston died on June 15, 2008, in Malibu, California after suffering for seven years from multiple myeloma. A spokeswoman reported that he “died peacefully at home surrounded by family.” His special effects still live on through his studio Stan Winston Studios, now renamed Legacy Effects, continuing to work on films after his death such as Pandorum, GI. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, Avatar, Enthiran, and Shutter Island thus continuing his legacy.


Linda Hamilton

Linda Carroll Hamilton (born September 26, 1956) is an American actress best known for her portrayal of Sarah Connor in ‘The Terminator’ and its sequel ‘The Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ and Catherine Chandler in the television series ‘Beauty & the Beast’. Currently, Hamilton has a recurring role on NBC’s ‘Chuck’.

Hamilton’s acting debut came first on television, followed by a major role as Lisa Rogers in the prime-time soap opera ‘Secrets of Midland Heights’ (1980). Her theatrical debut was in the thriller ‘TAG: The Assassination Game’ (1982). Hamilton then played the lead in ‘Children of the Corn’ (1984), based on the horror story by Stephen King. The movie was panned by critics, but it made a profit at the box office.

Hamilton’s next role was as Sarah Connor in ‘The Terminator’, co-starring Arnold Swarzenegger, in 1984. It would be pointless describing this movie as if you’re reading this you must have seen it! The movie was an unexpectedly huge commercial and critical success.

Following The Terminator, Hamilton starred in ‘Black Moon Rising’, an action thriller with Tommy Lee Jones. She then returned to television as a guest-star in the mystery series ‘Murder She Wrote’ and then ‘Beauty & the Beast’, opposite Ron Perlman, scoring favorable reviews.  The series was critically acclaimed, and she received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Hamilton left the series in 1989 and it ended in 1990.

Hamilton returned to the big screen in 1990 with Michael Caine in ‘Mr Destiny’ and in 1991 with ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’, the sequel to The Terminator. The latter was a smash at the box office, grossing over $500 million, more than any other film of that year. Hamilton underwent intense physical training to emphasize the character’s transformation from the first film. Her identical twin sister Leslie Hamilton Gearren was Linda’s double in Terminator 2. Hamilton received two MTV Movie Awards for her role in the film, one for Best Female Performance and the other for Most Desirable Female. She reprised the character, Sarah Connor, for the Universal theme park attraction T2 3D. Following the success of the Terminator series, in 1990, Hamilton was chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world.

While filming Terminator 2 in 1991, Hamilton began a relationship with director James Cameron, whom she had met seven years earlier when he directed her in the first Terminator film. They had a daughter, Josephine, born in 1993. She and Cameron eventually married in 1997, but the marriage was short-lived, ending in a $50 million divorce settlement in 1999.

The Terminator series apart, in 2009 she returned as Sarah Connor in ‘Terminator Salvation’, in voice-overs only, Hamilton has had a largely unremarkable career. however, she was awesome as Sarah Connor in Camerons Terminator movies.