JOVOVICH TO JOIN STALLONE AND CO. IN EXPENDABLES 3?

Stallone_millaWord is that not only are Wesley Snipes, Nicolas Cage and Jackie Chan in final negotiations to star along with Sly Stallone in Expendables 3 but, the lovely Milla Jovovich is also in talks to star as well. Filming is said to be starting in August under Red Hill helmer Patrick Hughes’ guidence and should also see the return of regulars like Jason Statham and Dolph Lundgren.

Source CBM

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BOOK REVIEW: THE CONQUEROR’S SHADOW by ARI MARMELL

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I know this is the Movie Madhouse but, I did love this book and think it would make a great flick!

This delightful fantasy adventure starts out with the cruel conqueror Corvis Rebaine laying siege to yet another city in his bloody quest to rule all the land. But, when his plans go awry, he takes a young woman hostage and then the so-called ‘Terror Of The East’ disappears without a trace. 17 years later we find the vile Rebaine has not only married his fair hostage but, has two children and lives peacefully with his family in a secluded cottage. A changed man. But, when his humble and happy new life is shattered by the advent of another would-be conqueror, Audriss The Serpent, Rebaine finds he may have to wear his black steel and bone armor once more and once again carry his axe into battle to save all that he holds dear. Can the former tyrant now play the hero? I really enjoyed this book! Writer Ari Marmell spins a wonderfully entertaining yarn and makes you root for a hero who was once a despicable villain. And that’s one of the strongest aspects of this book, the engaging and colorful characters Marmell fills it with. Whether it be the character of Rebaine himself, his allies… most notably  a cantankerous cyclops, an imprisoned demon and a witch with a taste for human flesh… who want to see him dead as much as his enemies, or the adversaries he faces, the author knows how to create memorable characters and some very sarcastically witty dialogue. And while the book is filled with non-stop action, chases, gruesome battles and feats of magic, it is the characters and their banter that really entertains in this fast paced read. A thoroughly entertaining book and I can’t wait to read the sequel, The Warlord’s Legacy!… and is it the movie geek in me imagining things, or was there a nod to the Japanese fantasy film classic The Magic Serpent during the last act???

So, if I were a Hollywood producer, I’d get this movie rolling instead of the umpteenth, unnecessary remake and hire Robert Downey Jr. to play the lead! He would make a great Corvis Rebaine!

3 and 1/2 war axes!

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Here’s your Corvis Rebaine, Hollywood! Make it happen!

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: DOOMSDAY (2008)

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DOOMSDAY  (2008)

A fun tribute to 80s action classics like Escape from New York and The Road Warrior, that’s like a time capsule trip back to the that era of movies. And to those who call it unoriginal and a rip-off, don’t understand that a rip-off wouldn’t be so blatantly obvious and downright giddy about wearing it’s influences so proudly out in the open. It’s supposed to be reminiscent of those two 80’s classics and with nods to other flicks like The Warriors and even Excalibur. Doomsday is a homage, and director Neil Marshall never intended it otherwise. I am a big fan of  Marshall and I get exactly what he was doing here. The similarities are all deliberate and taken as such, this film is a nostalgic blast.

Doomsday tells of a near future where a horrible and deadly virus has broken out in Scotland and the British government walls the country off and leaves the survivors to die. Britain is reviled and exiled by the rest of the world and now is becoming one giant slum. And when the aptly named ‘reaper virus’ returns to London, the bureaucrats send loose cannon, Major Eden Sinclair (Rhona Mitra) into Scotland with a team of scientists and soldiers to find rumored survivors and thus a possible cure. What they find are a number of living and dangerous threats including a vicious gang of punk rock cannibals and a society of people reverted back to medieval times, castle and all. Even if they find a cure they may not survive the inhabitants of Scotland’s wasteland to bring it back.

Marshall fills Doomsday with a lot of action and some of it very bloody and gruesome at that. The film rarely stops moving and delightfully spills plenty of gore between the fight scenes, zombie-like plague victims and hungry punk cannibals. The FX are all very well done as are the stunts and the cast, including Bob Hoskins and Malcolm McDowell, are all playing it straight, yet having a good time. And let’s not forget to mention that Rhona Mitra makes an ass-kicking and smoking hot female Snake Plissken/ Mad Max. And if you haven’t gotten the point, Tyler Bates delivers a nice score that pays homage to those before mentioned 80s classics as well. If you are a fan of 80s action flicks, especially Escape from New York and The Road Warrior, then pull up a chair, open a beer and relive the spirit of those genre classics that is so perfectly recaptured here. A fun retro blast of a movie from Neil Marshall.

A fun bit of trivia: Actor Craig Conway who plays the gang leader “Sol” also played one of the creatures in Marshall’s The Descent and a camper in the opening sequence of Marshall’s Dog Soldiers.

MonsterZero NJ Rant: I know how things work. If a movie doesn’t do well…and Doomsday didn’t…there is little or no chance of a sequel. But I really loved the character of Major Eden Sinclair and thought Rhona Mitra really pulled off the female Plissken/ Mad Max hybrid while yet making the character her own. I would love to see Eden Sinclair return in another film adventure, but especially now years later, there is little or no chance of that. Bummer! A great character that would really rock in another adventure set in Marshall’s grim future, but alas, it most likely will never happen! Too bad! End rant!

3 and 1/2 Eden’s

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TOMB OF NOSTALGIA: THE BBC’s DRACULA (1977)

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The BBC’s DRACULA mini series (1977)

In 1977 the BBC produced an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s immortal classic that starred Louis Jordan as The Count and Frank Finley as his nemesis Van Helsing. At almost 3 hours long (aired in 3 parts) it is one of the most faithful adaptations of the original material and one of the few productions to include the character of Quincy Morris, though he is combined with the Arthur Holmwood character and is called ‘Quincy Holmwood’. But, not only is it very faithful, it’s actually very creepy and very well done. The performances are good all around with Jordan’s Dracula coming across as very unsettling even before his true nature is revealed, and then a very threatening and scary figure once he comes out of the coffin. Jordan does creepy very well but, can also turn on the sex appeal when he needs to. Finley is a charming yet wise Van Helsing and his delivery brings a welcome but, not intrusive humor to the spooky proceedings. The scenes with Dracula seducing Mina (Judi Bowker) and Lucy (Susan Penhaligon) are also very effective mixing scary and sexy very well and when the blood hits the fan, this production doesn’t skimp when it comes to the carnage. It can be very gruesome at times. Director Phillip Saville gives the story some great atmosphere and makes good use of his production value and even uses some video effects to enhance some of the spookier scenes. But, unlike today’s CGI happy filmmakers, Saville applies them sparingly so they have impact when they are used. He does a great job of delivering a lavish production on a TV budget and draws good performaces from all his actors. This adaptation is now considered a TV classic and in a lot of ways it’s still one of the best versions of this timeless vampire tale there is, even today. Available on DVD and highly recommended for those who are fans of Stoker’s classic and vampire films/stories in general. Also stars Jack Shepard as a delightfully disturbing Renfield.

MonsterZero NJ trivia: Between playing Lucy here in Dracula and as Lisa in Kevin Connor’s 1975 The Land That Time Forgot, I had such a crush on Brit cutie Susan Penhaligon back in the day!
 3 and 1/2 fangs!

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