Welcome to Indie Revolver

We’ve gotten a lot of traffic over the last couple days and, understandably, a lot of messages from other fans and entertainment sites. With that in mind,  I thought it might be a good idea to reintroduce ourselves to the newcomers and answer some of your more frequent questions!

I’m a fan of film and art and I gravitate towards most of the same pop culture touchstones that mean so much to most of our generation. I started this site to open up the conversation; to expand and add to the discussion of these stories and artists which mean so much to all of us.

We’re allowed to attend some events and concerts, permitted interviews, and sometimes even manage to break a good story because we work at it pretty hard, making phone calls and sending emails and visiting friends and contacts who we’ve met. That’s been my main hobby since I was a kid, and I’ve always devoured every scrap of news I could find on sites like Ain’t it Cool and Variety. One thing that has changed since I was younger is that I don’t see a group of friends every day to quote our favorite dialogue and trade rumors and debate the finer points of our beloved films. I thought that this blog might be a way to bring some of that dynamic back to my life, and since I started it a few months ago it has actually brought some new friends into the fold to help build it. This is the most fun I’ve had with my hobby in many years, and I’m very thankful to everyone who’s jumped in to enjoy it with me.

While it’s my nature to mine for every nugget I can unearth, I always want to be careful about ruining things for anyone else. We include spoiler warnings when that stuff comes up, of course – but it goes further than that. We posted our images of the new troopers only once they’d been described in detail by other sites and sketched (pretty well from memory, apparently from one grainy black and white photograph!) by Tom Hodges. We unveiled the illustration of the Inquisitor only after his appearance and motivations were impressively mapped out by Latino Review and Badass Digest. Fleshing out the conversation, adding to it – talking about what’s already out there in as much depth as we can. That’s our sweet spot, what we really enjoy. Some of you have sent us some truly fascinating information and insights. When you see those pop up on another outlet first after weeks or months of waiting, this is why. Similarly, we will not post anything we’ve been asked not to post nor will we keep up anything we’ve been asked to take down.

We will not buy your photographs. We can’t afford to, and frankly we’re not interested in that approach to obtaining stories. You also may not buy or license our photographs from us. You’re welcome to use them, free of charge. A link back to help build our own community would be appreciated, if you do.

When we watermark an image, it’s because it was given to us for use on our site. We will not watermark any images which we re-post from other sites, and we will not watermark exclusive images for which a watermark is not requested. Sorry to say, we cannot supply you with non-watermarked or higher resolution versions of the ones that are. For some of our sources, it matters that it lives in a context that’s really about the love of the story. If you take a look around, you’ll notice there are no ads. It cost me $12 dollars to buy the domain name and another $13 to redirect to the WordPress page. The site is hosted for free on WordPress’ free servers, and laid out using one of their inexpensive templates at a cost of $30. Since then, I’ve spent another $30 to remove WordPress’ occasional ads to keep things cleaner and give our community a more enjoyable experience. Those are our ledgers – I’m out about $85 dollars and we don’t earn a penny here. I shudder to think what kind of expenses would go along with this week’s traffic if I had to support that on my own site/server, so I understand why most sites need to display ads (if you like what a site is doing, clicking on their banners is a great way to support them!). I’m aiming for something simpler here. On that note. this seems like a good time to thank our team – all of our contributors write/edit/research for free, in their spare time (and perhaps some hours that they should be working at their day jobs).

We do not represent a controlled leak from JJ Abrams. Man, if only…

We do not post anything that we don’t think is reliable. We verify everything we can within reason. It’s okay if you don’t always agree that the more sensitive kinds of stories are accurate! We have faith in them. If we ever doubt them, we’ll issue a retraction. We will not connect you with our sources nor identify them. In some instances, we don’t actually know who they are ourselves. Regarding Star Wars, we’re pretty sure what we write will hold up and everything we see come out elsewhere seems to support everything we’ve seen so far. We don’t know most of it, and we’re just as excited as you are to see how it all comes together next Christmas.

If you’d like to write for the site, send in a scoop, or ask any more questions, please email me at Jay@indierevolver.com.

Welcome to Indie Revolver – please feel free to hang around and talk about movies and poster art and vinyl and what you’re reading in our reply section beneath each story and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Jay Carlson
Editor-in-Chief, Indie Revolver

Billy Bob Thornton Throwing on the old Santa Suit for ‘Bad Santa 2’?

by: Jay Carlson

Bad Santa was a refreshing shock to the system back in 2003. There aren’t enough films exploring the dark side of the holidays. Bad Santa is one of the few that has explored those depths, it was depraved and wrong in the best ways possible. It had big hairy balls out and wasn’t afraid to “go there”. What more could we expect from Terry Zwigoff, the director behind the amazingly strange documentary Crumb and the surprisingly resonant Ghost World?

There have been rumors of a sequel off and on over the years but it seems Zwigoff’s return has never been part of the plan. Grosse Pointe Blank and Hot Tub Time Machine writer Steve Pink was attached at one point as well as Entourage creator Doug Ellin, who was most recently attached to the project last year.

Thornton recently spoke at Loyola Marymount University and had a very straight forward and grounded answer when the talk turned to a sequel to Bad Santa. “We’re just waiting for a script, ya know? We’re never gonna beat the first one but you got to get as close as you can. You just can’t go and do it haflway so we’re waiting for something that’s close enough. It’ll do real well, I imagine, and people will say, ‘Well, it wasn’t as good as the first one’ and we’ll say ‘Yeah, we knew it wouldn’t be’ but I think it should be fun and I think people who liked [the first one] will enjoy it and hopefully we’ll get it off.”

Thornton isn’t a guy who minces his words and it’s refreshing for him to speak so frankly and publicly admit the limitations of a sequel. I really do believe they caught lightning in a bottle with Bad Santa. That said, it wasn’t a perfect film and I would be more than happy to catch up with Thornton’s Bad Santa for another job. Since he’s not likely to re-team with his old vertically challanged partner, (who is probably still off climbing mountains) I’d love to see him team up with Peter Dinklage in a new film.

THR’s video of Thornton discussing Bad Santa 2 can be seen here

What do you think? Ready to take another ride with the eating, shitting, fucking Bad Santa?

Is There Room for Patrick Stewart in the ‘Green Room’?

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Announced earlier this week, Fright Night remake costars Anton Yelchin and Imogen Poots will once again share the screen, this time in writer/director Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room. Well the cast just got a little more interesting as Professor X himself Patrick Stewart has been signed on for the thriller according to The Wrap.

Green Room is the story of a punk rock band who witnesses a murder at the venue where they’re playing a gig, in the middle of nowhere. The band gets locked in the green room of the club while a group of racist skinheads try to get in and kill them.

Yelchin is already set to play the leader of the band and Poots is slated to play a skinhead whose friend is the murder victim that sets off the events of the film. It’s reported that she’ll join up with the band and try to help them. Stewart will play the leader of the Pacific Northwest-based white supremacist group.

After seeing Stewart play the leader who rallies the good guys in films like the X-Men series and TV shows like Star Trek for so many years I’m really interested in seeing him cut loose and play a villain for once. We know he’s got a bit of a dark side with all the voice work he does for Seth McFarlane. But now it’s time for him to really get down and dirty and downright evil. And it doesn’t get much more evil than the leader of a skinhead gang.

Anyone else get the feeling this is a beef between Next Generation and the JJ reboot crew?

Is Pee Wee Picking his Gray Suit Up From the Dry Cleaner Soon?

 

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by: S. Scott Stanikmas

In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine Paul Reubens stated that any day now we should expect an official announcement about a new Pee-Wee Herman movie. In the interview it seemed like Reubens was shocked that nothing had been made official yet, as he thought he’d be talking about it with the interviewer at that time.

It’s been four years in the making now with on again, off again statements and nothing substantial being announced. But now with Reubens all but telling us it’s a done deal, I’m inclined to believe that this project will be seriously moving forward.

I was huge fan of the original TV show. I used to annoy my family by screaming all day long whenever anyone said the secret word. And even though I was too young to really appreciate it I knew that there was something special about Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.

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Artist: Tim doyle

Reubens has taken on some memorable roles aside from the Pee-Wee character, such as The Penguin’s father in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns and The Spleen in Mystery Men, but we all want to see him put on the grey suit with high-water pants and red bowtie again. We’ll keep a hopeful eye pointed towards this for now

Maybe if we all wished real hard we’d get something concrete announced. Where are Jambi and his magic words when you really need them?

Hard to believe it’s been almost 30 years since Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.

‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ Director Steve Pink to Participate in ‘Cop Swap’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Steve Pink, director of the hilarious sleeper hit Hot Tub Time Machine, is set to direct the police comedy Cop Swap.  The movie is based on the real international exchange program that major metropolitan police units across America have with foreign police entities. That’s where the similarities end. The movie is about an ensemble of foreign police officers, all misfits in their native lands. Under the tutelage of their LAPD assigned “babysitter” they stumble upon a major crime – and quite possibly a way to show everyone that there not as inept as everyone thinks *wink, wink*.

The movie practically writes itself. But its Pink’s and writing partner Jeff Morris’ humor that will set this apart from being another clichéd piece of garbage. Pink knows comedy, having writing credits on Grosse Pointe Blank and High Fidelity, two of John Cusack’s funniest movies. I’ve got faith that these two can create something that breaks away from the pack and not make something that everyone automatically compares to the Police Academy movies. I enjoyed Pink’s directorial work on Accepted and Hot Tub Time Machine. I can see him taking a premise like this and putting a fun twist on it.

Deadline reports that the writing duo has been highly sought after as of late and every major studio wanted a shot at making this. Pink and Morris were going to shop this around two studios at a time, starting with Fox and Lionsgate, and let the bidding was begin. But apparently after chatter between execs from Lionsgate and MGM, MGM aggressively offered a deal for the film, stifling the bidding war before most other studios got wind of the project.

Sean Bean to Star With Matt Damon in Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’

 

by S. Scott Stanikmas

Remember all those ads from the summer promoting Sean Bean’s new show Legends? It was all about #Don’tKillSeanBean, because it seemed in every project he made he died a horrible death. Well in Ridley Scott’s newest film The Martian, based on the book of the same name by author Andy Weir, Bean has nothing to worry about. Matt Damon will play the titular character in danger, but according to The Hollywood Reporter Sean bean has signed on for a role in the movie a little closer to safety.

The Martian is the story of botanist and mechanical engineer Mark Watney, played by Damon, who is mistakenly left behind on Mars. His crew was forced to evacuate due to a freak dust storm and he was thought to be dead. Watney is very much alive though, and he must find a way to survive until he can figure out a way to contact Earth and they send a rescue mission. Bean will play a NASA flight director

Sean Bean joins an already stacked cast. Signed on to the project at this time are Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kristen Wiig, Jessica Chastain and Kate Mara.

Don’t jump to conclusions here. A lot of people are going to call this a rip-off of Gravity, what with the scientist caught in space and forced to survive until they can make it back home. These are two totally different animals. The Wall Street Journal’s Alexandra Alter pegged it right when she called it The Martian a cross between Apollo 13 and Cast Away.

Set to come out November 25th, 2015, I’m already excited. How about you IR readers?

Frank Grillo Might be Looking Towards a New ‘Skyline’

 

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

The peeps at Latino Review scored the news that my personal favorite actor this year, Frank Grillo, is rumored to be the front runner for the lead role in a sequel to the horrendous 2010 sci-fi alien invasion film Skyline. Liam O’Donnell, writer and producer of the first film, is set to take over directing duties from the Brothers Strause.

Skyline starred Eric Balfour and Donald Faison, amongst others who I’m sure wished that they’d passed on that project. The nutshell premise is that aliens come to Earth and lure humans to bright lights like moths to a flame. Once sufficiently stupefied, humans get sucked up into the alien’s ships, naught to be seen again.

Instead of a direct sequel, the second film, titled Beyond Skyline, is a sort of reboot (a lot of these going around lately). Grillo’s movie would take place at the same time as the first movie, but in a different location. The original left us with a cliffhanger ending that they could have used to further the series, but it looks like we may have to wait for a third film to continue the adventures from the first.

I hated the first Skyline. Four years later and I still can’t get over how bad this movie was. The acting was atrocious and the characters were unlikable. So how does this movie get a sequel? On a ten million dollar budget it made nearly eight times that at the worldwide box office alone – and that’s not including rentals and sales after it went to home media. That usually means automatic sequel to most studios.

I love what Frank Grillo has been doing this year. He’s been crushing it in roles in flicks like The Purge: Anarchy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I hope that this movie is leaps and bounds above the first. At this point, they can only really go up from here.

Take a listen to a tremendous episode of the always funny How Did This Get Made podcast regarding Skyline hosted by Paul Sheer, Jason Mantzoukas and June Diane Raphael.

 

Shane Black’s ‘ The Nice Guys’ Will Reunite ‘L.A. Confidential’ Co-Stars Russell Crowe and Kim Basinger

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by: Jay Carlson

Kim Basinger has joined the cast of Shane Black’s Nice Guys, starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling.

Black’s film centers on a private detective, played by Gosling, and a jaded racketeer, played by Russell Crowe, who must team up to find a missing actress in the scuzzy, seedy and smoggy side of 1970s Los Angeles.

According to The Hollywood Reporter “Basinger will play the chief justice with dubious interests.”

Basinger joins Matthew Bomer, Beau Knapp and Keith David who were also recently cast. The last time she shared the screen with Russell Crowe she took home an Academy Award for L.A. Confidential. 

Shane Black has become a highly sought after director after the success of Iron Man 3. Besides The Nice Guys he’s attached to a new Remo Williams film, as well as an adaptation of Doc Savage and a new Predator film.

I love Shane Black’s films. From his scripts for Monster Squad (directed by his college buddy, Fred Dekker) and Lethal Weapon to his direction on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.

I can’t wait to see what Black is able to throw together for The Nice Guys. He’s rounding up a pretty great cast.

Thoughts?

Insert ‘Scream’ Here! No Ghostface in MTV’s Upcoming Series

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by: Jay Carlson

I loved Scream the first time I saw it. I vividly recall seeing it opening night in high school and not being able to get it out of my head for days. It was smart and funny and the reveal at the end was terrific. But the one thing that made the film so effective was that mask. That Ghost Face mask was key, if the mask didn’t work, the film would have been far less effective. (The tale of Wes Craven’s fight with the Weinsteins for the use of the Ghost Face mask was well documented in the amazing Peter Biskind book  Down and Dirty Pictures.)

The Scream franchise after that first film has had its ups and downs over the years. Scream 2 started off great, but the big reveal at the end was hugely disappointing. Scream 3 was a mess from beginning to end. Scream 4 was somewhere in the middle, not the best entry, but not Scream 3.

I was dubious when I heard MTV had plans to bring Scream to the small screen. Obviously, the fun of the films was fun scares and kills followed by the big reveal at the end. With a TV show that’s meant to go on and on and on and on…how would they accomplish the reveal?

Looks like that’s the least of the worries for the Scream TV series. Currently, there are no plans to feature Ghost Face in the sequel. That’s right, MTV’s Scream will not be featuring the iconic Ghost Face mask in the near future.

R.J. Torbert, rights holder of Ghost Face reports, “I had been in communication with TWC regarding this and they have informed me, that  as of now, and during the initial launch that  GHOST FACE®  is not involved in the new format. They also indicated that because of this direction, it does not mean, that Ghost Face® will not be involved at a later date. So, there is still a question , to the question. However, as of now, there is no involvement.”

He goes on to explain this is not due to him not wanting Ghost Face in the show or holding out for more money, “We believe , SCREAM  is GHOST FACE,  and GHOST FACE® is Scream. However, while  GHOST FACE® is owned by Fun World, The Scream Motion Picture Franchise is owned by The Weinstein Company and it is their option to Film a movie or T.V.  SHOW without GHOST FACE®.

Regardless, we wish them the best of luck and I’m sure SCREAM FANS will check out the series. Who knows what will happen in the future regarding the series and Ghost Face®. Never say Never.”

The pilot, written by Jill Blotevogel (Ravenswood, Harper’s Island, Eureka) starts with a YouTube video that goes viral which causes problems for teenager Audrey and serves as the “catalyst for a murder that opens up a window to [her] town’s troubled past.”

I’m very curious how all this is supposed to work in the context of the show. Although, I’m not sure I’m curious enough to actually tune in. A Scream series just seems like a very poor idea.

How about you? Any interest in the MTV series?

 

Are you Ready for the (Kinda) Remake of ‘Cabin Fever’?

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by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Not since Gus Van Sant thought it would be good to remake the classic Hitchcock thriller Psycho shot-for-shot has an idea sounded so unappealing to me. Apparently Eli Roth has signed on to executive produce the remake of his 2002 gross-out horror comedy Cabin Fever. But instead of redoing the whole idea and attacking it from a fresh perspective, they’ve decided to use the exact same script that Roth and Randy Pearlstein wrote and shot back in the day. With a cast headlined by Gage Golightly of MTV’s Teen Wolf, this production has already been fast tracked. Variety reports that filming has already begun in Portland, OR this week.

Roth seems excited to relinquish the director’s chair to Travis Zariwny. According to the same Variety article Roth was enticed by Zariwny’s vision for the film and sees it as almost re-staging a play under a new director. He says that as a fan of scary movies he can’t wait to see what the new director and cast can bring to the table.

This just smacks of laziness to me. I get the old adage “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”, but there was nothing wrong with the original to warrant a remake. It had a good cast, great effects and an awesome story. Sure the sequel wasn’t well received but the newest addition to the series, Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, had been getting decent reviews and was quite entertaining.

I’m on the fence about this one. I don’t mind a remake as long as it’s done right. If you’ve got a good story to tell, by all means tell it. But don’t just re-shoot a movie that’s already been done and ask me to pay to see it again. That’s just insulting.

IR Blu-Ray Review: Supernerd Turns Draft Dodger for ‘Frankenstein’s Army’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Around the first week of October most entertainment stores begin to get their shipment of horror movies. I love looking at all the old favorites and new titles that I haven’t had the chance to see yet, hoping to pick out a gem from amidst the myriad of choices. On one such trip I saw Frankenstein’s Army for a reasonable price. Remembering some decent reviews that I’d read I thought I’d snag it and give it a shot. After having wasted the last hour and a half watching it I wish I’d left it on the shelf for some other poor sucker to buy.

The premise sounds good in theory: During World War II, a group of Russian soldiers on a recon mission receive a distress call that leads them to a seemingly deserted village. The soldiers, while convening at a burnt out church, are attacked by what appears to be a zombie/robot hybrid. After “killing” the undead cyborg the soldiers descend into the catacombs below the church with one of the last remaining living villagers. Soon they are under siege by the “Zombots” as they come face to face with their creator – a descendant of the mad scientist Dr. Frankenstein.

I enjoy cheesy movies but there is a line in the sand that must be drawn. Everything about this movie is laughable and not in a good way. The script is incredibly hokey and the acting is some of the worst I’ve seen. A lot of the actors seemed to be phoning in their performance, either not committing enough or going too far into character that it seemed like a parody. And in the vein of going too far, Karl Roden (one of the main reasons I bought this movie) was so over the top it was unenjoyable. He turned it up to 11 eleven and broke the knob off. I understand he may have wanted to do schlocky and over-the-top as homage to the old-school, low-budget drive-in style of yesteryear, but this was just too much for me.

The costumes and effects were cheap and cartoony. The Zombots looked like something out a direct-to-video Puppet Master movie. The sets were okay. The catacombs beneath the church that lead to the lab and surgery of Dr. Frankenstein were creepy and would make a great haunted house maze but that was about the only thing I liked. Everything else gave off the feeling that they wanted it to look vast and expansive and very costly, but in the end I felt that maybe the “less is more” approach would have been the way to go. This is especially true when your story deals with a rogue mad scientist in the middle of nowhere. A sparse lab and a few flickering lights would have gone a long way into conveying the right mood for this film.

I don’t think found footage was the right style to go with for Frankenstein’s Army. The “film” looked new and shiny, too high definition for the time period. A grainy texture added in post would have at least made me believe that this was filmed before HD cameras were invented. And I find it wholly implausible that soldiers on SECRET recon missions would have been okay with someone with a large and loud camera following them, recording their every move and slowing them down to change film reels. Its things like this that take me out of a movie instead of pulling me in and connecting with me.

I’m generally a positive guy. I try to look for the good in most things, but it’s tough to do with a turkey of a movie like this. Thin on plot and heavy on the cheese, I recommend that you follow suit with the other villagers and take a torch to this one. I don’t think the original Dr. Frankenstein would object to seeing this monster go down for the count.

Coen Brothers add Four More to Already Stacked ‘Hail, Caesar!’ Cast

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

When you watch a Coen Brothers movie you know that the one thing you’ll usually get is a star studded cast set to act their asses off. Great ensembles are what the Coen’s seem to strive for. Just looking at some of their past works like Fargo, The Big Lebowski, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? and that point becomes extremely prevalent.  And their latest effort, Hail, Caesar!, is seemingly  no exception.

Already signed are a slew of Hollywood’s biggest stars. So far we have George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes. According to The Hollywood Reporter we now get to add David Krumholtz, Fisher Stevens, Patrick Fischler and Clancy Brown. If there was any more star power you’d go blind looking right at them.

Hail, Caesar! is the comedic story of Eddie Mannix, a fixer who worked for studios in the 1950s. Here we find Eddie at work when a star suddenly and mysteriously disappears during the filming of a movie.

In real life, Eddie Mannix was most famous for being associated with the death of former Adventures of Superman actor George Reeves. Reeves committed suicide according to coroner’s reports but his prints were never on the gun that did the deed. Add to that the fact that Reeves was having an affair with Mannix’s wife at the time and you’ve got a great Hollywood conspiracy. It was even the basis for the film Hollywoodland.

All you have to tell me is that the Coen Brothers are involved and I’m in. Filming is set to start shooting on November 10th. I’m already greatly anticipating a release date.

Ron Livingston set to Join ‘The Fifth Wave’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Who’s ready for another young adult franchise to hit theaters? Ever since the overwhelming popularity of the Harry Potter series, every major studio is looking for the next tween book series to turn into a blockbuster franchise to milk the wallets and purses of parents nationwide. Sometimes you hit it big and get Twilight or Hunger Games. Sony is hoping for that kind of success with their choice The Fifth Wave. And with the latest news from The Hollywood Reporter, they’ve started casting like they mean it.

Ron Livingston, known for films like Office Space and Drinking Buddies, has joined Chloe Grace Moretz in the cast for The Fifth Wave.

The film is based on the young adult novel of the same name by author Rick Yancey. It tells the story of the last survivors of Earth, who have managed to live through four waves of increasingly deadly attacks from an alien race. Cassie, played by Moretz, is one of the few people left alive. She is on the run and trying to save her younger brother Sammy, played by Zackary Arthur, before the inevitable and lethal fifth wave of attacks hit. Livingston will play Oliver, Cassie’s father, who has a profound effect on Cassie and is a big part of her life.

With a cast including Moretz, Livingston, and Liev Schrieber, I’m intrigued. If you put good actors with a good story it doesn’t matter what the target audience is, the fans will come to see it.

This is the first book in a planned trilogy, which by Hollywood standards means a four movie deal (the final book is always seemingly split into two movies). The critics of the books have given it quite lofty praise, comparing it to such post-apocalyptic greats such as Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. With the first movie slated to drop in January 2016, we’ll just have to wait and see if Sony has another hit series on its hands.

SNL Makes A Damn Good Decision

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by: Lizzy Ferro

Leslie Jones will be joining the show as a cast member in this week’s Jim Carrey hosted episode! Jones joined SNL as a writer in 2014 after being invited to audition for SNL, although the spot ended up going to Sasheer Zamata, Lorne brought Jones into the writers room. This is one of the first good moves they’ve made in a while (outside of Darrell of course) – with, what is in my opinion, the most boring Weekend Update (among other things), SNL isn’t doing too much for me these days. Hopefully, with this infusion of the force that is Leslie Jones, the show will regain it’s footing.

RIP Gerard Parkes aka Doc from ‘Fraggle Rock’

 

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

This past Sunday, Irish-Canadian actor Gerard Parkes passed away in Toronto. He was 90 years old. Parkes’ agent told the Canadian Press news service that he died of natural causes.

Parkes was best known as the only live action actor on the 1980s children’s TV show Fraggle Rock. He played the eccentric inventor Doc, whose house the Fraggles lived in and under. His other TV credits would later include ABC’s 1987 Muppet Family Christmas special, Shining Time Station and The Littlest Hobo.

Later generations would come to know him as the foul mouthed bartender in Troy Duffy’s independent hit film Boondock Saints.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but Fraggle Rock was a huge part of my childhood. When I later saw him in Boondock Saints I was shocked at first that this icon from my younger years was swearing like a sailor, but the more I watched the movie, the more I came to love his part in it.

I feel like a part of my childhood died today. My thoughts and prayers go out to his partner Sheelagh Norman.

Gone but not forgotten, Rest In Peace Doc.

IR Comics: Surviving the end of the World in Riverdale with ‘Afterlife With Archie’

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

When you think of Archie Comics you think of malt shoppes, bowties and sweater vests and PG rated love triangles. The things that don’t spring immediately to mind are zombies, ghouls, gore and edge of your seat terror. Yet it’s all of these things that make Afterlife With Archie an overwhelming success. Taking the horrible and horrific things that go bump in the night and putting them in America’s favorite little town is an exciting combination that has yielded quite a fun little story so far.

Afterlife With Archie starts with the death of Hot Dog, Jughead’s beloved canine companion. Grief stricken, Juggie heads over to Riverdale’s resident witch Sabrina looking for a way to save his friend. Reluctantly and against her aunts’ wishes Sabrina brings him to a pet cemetery and, after man’s best friend is buried by his owner, reads an incantation from the Necronomicon to bring Hot Dog back to the world of the living. But even though her intentions were pure, only wanting to help a friend, Sabrina starts a chain reaction of dire consequences. Once her aunts find out what she has done Sabrina is banished to an alternate dimension as punishment. The punishment for our world is much worse though.

Hot Dog returns to Jughead, but as a zombie. Jughead is bitten and begins slowly dying from the zombie infection. Once he dies and rises as a zombie all hell literally breaks loose. Jughead begins his trek to the Halloween dance being held at the high school infecting numerous people along the way. Soon Principal Weatherbee and Miss Grundy can be counted amongst the unlucky many that have crossed paths with the zombie Jughead.

At the dance itself we see the teenagers from Riverdale having a grand time, living it up, oblivious to the terror about to come. Once the zombie horde hits the gymnasium and begins chomping away at the living, our core cast of characters beats a hasty retreat to the only safe citadel they can think of – the ultra-secure home of Veronica Lodge. But even there the zombie plague manages to assail our survivors, both from within and in the form of the Jughead-led heard of the undead about to strike from outside.

Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has hit a home run with this series. The pacing is slow but very intense. And the narrative doesn’t just stick with the main cast of kids. We do get scenes depicting a myriad of minor characters from the Archie Universe, from Cheryl Blossom and her possibly incestuous relationship with her twin brother Jason the Lodge’s watchful and faithful butler Smithers. There are times when all we get for a certain character’s story is two or three pages, but in those pages Aguirre-Sacasa shines and it never feels like a throwaway segment. More known for his work on the TV show Glee or the recent remake of Carrie, RAS is a perfect fit for this series, knowing when to let you catch your breath and think you’re safe only to pump up the horror as he sets the monsters on your tail.

The artwork by Francesco Francavilla is very moody and extremely creepy. From the sagging, almost dripping skin of the shambling zombies to the haunted looking forests to the sight of Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe burning, every panel is meant to bring out an utter feeling of despair and hopelessness. To see small town America become overrun can truly sadden one’s soul. Francavilla’s art evokes the memory of the old EC horror comics like Tales From The Crypt or Vault Of Horror. He is a throwback to the pre-code days of scary comic art and I can’t think of any higher praise to give him than that.

One of the things that I love about this series as much as the horror aspect is how much the creative team injects heart and soul into certain scenes. So far the one that stands out the most is when Archie goes to his house to check on his parents and make sure that they’re okay and he’s confronted by the zombie Hot Dog. All of a sudden Archie’s dog Vegas appears and leaps in front of his master to protect him from the undead pooch. Peppered through the opening pages and during the canine battle are pages depicting Archie and his family adopting Vegas and how much Archie has loved him throughout the years, earning his dog’s love and devotion to the point that Vegas is willing to sacrifice his well-being for Archie’s safety. Reading the caption boxes with Vegas’ inner monologue I was immediately reminded of Grant Morrison’s WE3 and how human the animals felt on those pages. And then, without a chance to catch our breath, Archie is searching his house and contemplating what he may have to is his parents have been infected. This was a sieve, draining me emotionally.

I absolutely love comics that have a little bit extra to them, justifying the (sometimes) over-priced cost. If I’m paying upwards of $4 for a comic I want my money’s worth, not some part X of 6 trade paperback chapter. I adore Ed Brubaker’s Criminal from Marvel’s ICON imprint. I was turned on to so many wonderful noir movies and pulp authors through the guest authored essays that were in the back of each single issue. And they were only in the single issues, thereby rewarding the monthly supporter of the book. Afterlife With Archie has recently been doing two page black and white EC style horror stories with morally twisted endings in the back of each issue. These are the perfect “dessert” ending to the “main course” that you just read. I don’t know if these are included in the first trade paperback collection, but if they aren’t this is the reason to hunt down the individual single issues.

Even though only six issues (as of writing this) have been released so far Afterlife With Archie easily ranks within my top twenty-five comics of all time. The writing and art gel extremely well. The coloring is dark and sets an effectively dreary mood. And the series has proven popular enough to branch out into an ongoing Sabrina horror title as well.

The first five issues are available in a trade paperback which collects the first full storyline. The sixth issue shows us where Sabrina landed after having been exiled for helping Jughead with dark magic, almost a “zero issue” for her new series. Do yourself a favor and read this now. You won’t regret it.

Robert Redford Rumored to be Telling Dragon Tales

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Robert Redford is rumored to be in early talks for a role in the upcoming remake of Disney’s 1977 classic Pete’s Dragon. In a story from The Hollywood Reporter, if Redford does join the cast, he’ll take on the role of a local man who tells incredible tales about dragons that no one believes.

David Lowery, director of crime drama Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, is set to helm this version of the beloved kids movie. It’s an odd choice for a director, but I’ve said before that I’m all for filmmakers trying something different and shaking up preconceived notions about them. If Lowery can make it work, good for him.

And speaking of different, this version of Pete’s Dragon is almost an entirely different animal itself. Pete is still an orphan and Elliott is still his protective dragon. But instead of taking place in a turn-of-the-century fishing town it will take place in a forest threatened to be cut down by loggers. The forest is where Pete and Elliott live. And apparently this version will not be a musical, just a family film with a large dose of fantasy mixed in. As can be expected the titular dragon will be CGI instead of the 2D animation seen in the original.

Redford would be a real catch for this film. The only other official cast members at this time are child actors Oakes Fegley as Pete and Oona Laurence as the mill owner’s daughter.

I don’t know if the public was really asking for this remake. It’s hard enough to get kids to sit still and watch a movie. Disney at least peppers catchy songs throughout their films. Taking the music out of this and making it a straight up fantasy movie is a real risk. Will kids be able to sit through it? Will adults want to go see it based on the nostalgia factor of the original?

Is Scarlett Johansson set to Star in ‘Ghost in the Shell’?

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Scarlett Johansson is becoming a force to reckon with in Hollywood. She’s been the breakout performer of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the Black Widow. Her starring roles in Lucy and Under The Skin have shown what a versatile performer she can be. And now, she’s commanding big money paydays like the A-list star that she truly is.

It’s being reported by Deadline that DreamWorks has recently offered Scarlett somewhere in the range of $10M to play the lead role in their live action adaptation of the popular Japanese franchise Ghost In The Shell. The movie is set to be helmed by Snow White And The Huntsman director Rupert Sanders.

Johansson has been a kick-ass action actress since donning the black leather in Iron Man 2. Her returns in The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier only solidified her status as the top black ops agent in the MCU. It’s been easy to see why fans have been clamoring for her to get her own solo movie as the Black Widow. And while I thought Lucy was a little hectic and suffered from some major storytelling flaws, the action was top notch. While she has shown she can do the dramatic, with amazing performances in films such as Ghost World and Lost In Translation, she obviously knows where the money is, and that’s mainly in big action movies.

The role originally was offered to actress Margot Robbie, but the studio recently rescinded. It can only be assumed that DreamWorks was looking for a name that has proven drawing power. With Lucy pulling in over $400M at the box office, Johansson is showing that she has that appeal with the paying audience.

Will Scarlett take the big payday and cement herself amongst Hollywood’s premier leading women? I hope so, as I feel hers is a career that is on the rise and can keep going nowhere but up.

Apparently Everyone Wants to be ‘Strange’!

by: S. Scott Stanikmas

Marvel wants us to pay close attention to what they are trying to say: Dr. Strange is and A-list property and they intend to treat him as such. And nothing says this more than the list of actors being courted to play Stephen Strange.

In a search that has become even more exhausting than the one for the director of Ant-Man earlier this year, some new names are being tossed into the ring to play Doctor Strange.

Earlier in the week reports surfaced about Ewan McGregor being a front runner for the role. Now a few more names are now being bandied about.

According to The Wrap, Colin Farrell and Keanu Reeves are being considered for offers to play Marvel’s Master of the Mystic Arts. And apparently Benedict Cumberbatch remains high in the studio’s wish list as well and they were surprised when he was left out of the latest batch of media reporting.

Farrell and Reeves are both hot commodities at the moment. Reeves has a high profile movie in John Wick that looks amazing and is getting rave reviews. And Farrell is currently set to star in the second season of HBO’s top rated drama True Detective. Both of their schedules currently seem open for the time frame needed to film this latest Marvel cinematic offering.

Cumberbatch, while thoroughly enticing, would be a little harder to pin down. He has his current season of the BBC show Sherlock to finish up and it’s being rumored that he is looking to follow that up with some stage work.

And let’s not forget that it was rumored earlier in the week that Ryan Gosling is looking for a franchise to hang his hat on and call his own.

For a character who was at one time a C-list fringe favorite, it’s pretty amazing to see Marvel want all these A-list stars to play him. It looks like the comic company is finally seeing what all of Dr. Strange’s fans have seen all along.

Indie Revolver Preview of Hero Complex Gallery’s ‘Imagined Worlds’ Opening TODAY!

ImaginedWorldsShowPoster copyby: Jay Carlson

We’re a little late to this one, but better late than never.

Hero Complex Gallery’s newest art exhibition, Imagined Worlds is now open out on the West Coast. The show features art based on the imagined worlds of James Cameron, John Carpenter, Peter Jackson, Christopher Nolan and Steven Spielberg. For those of you that can’t be there, we have a preview of a small selection of the amazing pieces available below. My favorite might be Casey Callender’s Duel piece of Matt Ryan’s Halloween inspired 5 color screenprint.

Take a look at the pieces below and let us know which are your favorites!

PRESS RELEASE

New Show – Imagined Worlds
Opening Reception – Friday, October 17th, 7-10pm
Join us as we journey through the layered tapestries and characters of the preeminent world-building action directors, James Cameron, John Carpenter, Peter Jackson, Christopher Nolan & Steven Spielberg!

Who: Hero Complex Gallery
What: “Imagined Worlds”
When: Opening Reception: Friday, Oct 17th, 7-10pm,
Additional Hrs – W-Sun, 11am-6pm
Where: Hero Complex Gallery, 2020 South Robertson Blvd., Studio D, Los Angeles, CA 90064

Please RSVP HERE