Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lee the Horse Logger

Mother Hen introduced me to this interesting fellow… He’s Lee, the Horse Logger.


LEE, the Horse Logger; under the section on his web page that proudly states, “Living Life in the Slow Lane” it is clearly stated, “… Lee has no agenda, is not endorsing or protesting anything. He is not raising money for a cause or selling anything. He is just living life to the fullest.” And THAT is a beautiful thing. You see Lee is traveling cross county journey to see what’s out there. As his website explains Lee built a covered wagon which is pulled by draft horses. He set out from East Glacier, Montana on August 9, 2006 to travel cross-country to visit his childhood sweetheart. He depends mostly upon the kindness of strangers in this quest.

Here’s an interview with Lee that succinctly explains what he’s all about… When asked about lessons learned and funny stories Lee says, “I learned that people are people. The other lesson there is if you choose to attract problems they will come to you guaranteed. If you choose to attract and give positive energy that will come too.”

I like this guy way better than Dr. Phil on a good day. There’s another interesting soul out there on America’s byways. They are out there you just got to know where to look.

Ride on Lee, ride on.

Weird England

I’ve always wanted to go to England with the family; Cardiff, Stratford on the Avon, Big Ben, London, Piccadilly Circus, Liverpool… Please, simply amazing. Now I’ve got another reason. Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman are producing a new book written by Matt Lake, “Weird England”, see: OR

The Marks are famous around these parts as being the minds behind the greatest magazine in the known universe, “WEIRD NJ”. If you aren’t familiar with said text please see, If you want to see what it’s like to take the roads less traveled click away and start planning your own trip on the Weird side.

I love Weird NJ. The pair had a short-lived TV series on the History Channel. The network just didn’t get it and they were relegated to rerun purgatory. That’s too bad because the Marks would be perfect bookends to the Discovery Channel lineup of shows such as “Dirty Jobs” and “Mythbusters”. Yeah, these Jersey Boys would fit in just fine, thank you very much.

But I digress.

I’ll be picking up a copy of their latest tome, checking out Google Earth and the travel guides. It is important to plan for such contingencies…

I guess it’s time to get a passport.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The 2008 Academy Awards

Thanks to Ain’t it Cool News for generating the following list. And the Nominations are…

Best Actor
George Clooney - Michael Clayton
Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood
Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tommy Lee Jones - In The Valley Of Elah
Viggo Mortensen - Eastern Promises

Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck - The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
Javier Bardem - No Country For Old Men
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Charlie Wilson's War
Hal Holbrook - Into The Wild
Tom Wilkinson - Michael Clayton

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Julie Christie - Away From Her
Marion Cotillard - La Vie En Rose
Laura Linney - The Savages
Ellen Page - Juno

Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There
Rudy Dee - American Gangster
Saoirse Ronan - Atonement
Amy Ryan - Gone Baby Gone
Tilda Swinton - Michael Clayton

Best Animated Feature
Surf's Up

Art Direction
American Gangster
The Golden Compass
Sweeney Todd
There Will Be Blood

The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Costume Design
Across The Universe
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
La Vie En Rose
Sweeney Todd

Best Director
Julian Schnabel - The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Jason Reitman - Juno
Tony Gilroy - Michael Clayton
Joel & Ethan Coen - No Country For Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson - There Will Be Blood

Best Documentary Feature
No End In Sight
Operation Homecoming: Writing The Wartime Experience
Taxi To The Dark Side

Best Documentary Short Subject
La Corona (The Crown)
Salim Baba
Sari's Mother

Best Editing
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
Into The Wild
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Best Foreign Language Film
The Counterfeiters

Best Makeup
La Vie En Rose
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Best Music Original Score
The Kite Runner
Michael Clayton
3:10 To Yuma

Best Music - Original Song
August Rush

Best Picture
Michael Clayton
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Best Animated Short Film
I Met The Walrus
Madame Tutli-Putli
Même Les Pigeons vont Au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven)
My Love (Moya Lyubov)
Peter & The Wolf

Best Live Action Short Film
At Night
Il Supplente (The Substitute)
Le Mozart Des Pickpokets
Tanghi Argentini
The Tonto Woman

Best Sound Editing
The Bourne Ultimatum
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Best Sound Mixing
The Bourne Ultimatum
No Country For Old Men
3:10 To Yuma

Best Visual Effects
The Golden Compass
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

Adapted Screenplay
Away From Her
The Diving Bell And The Butterfly
No Country For Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Original Screenplay
Lars and the Real Girl
Michael Clayton
The Savages

All Right Then… I will reserve my picks until I’ve seen more of the movies. Even though I can not see them all I will be making a post closer to broadcast time about who will win and who should win.

I’m curious as to just how the writer’s strike will affect the broadcast? I don’t know. There are people saying that they will not cross the picket lines.

I respect that.

Most of the time I’m only interested in who wins, their acceptance speeches and the retrospectives. This year I’m interested to see who will cross the picket lines IF the strike is still going on. Who knows if the strike is still on perhaps it will cut down on the insipid use of interpretive dancing to movie scores.

Why even have that?

Believe me – it is superfluous and should be cut anyway. Give the people more time to say what they have to say – whatever they have to say. In theory, these people – the nominees have worked their entire careers to win the approval of their peers and they get pushed out of rotation because of some dancing jackass?

Welcome to Hollywood.

Coffee Shop Update

I ran into another cool spot to grab a cup of coffee today. I’ve seen it before but never had the chance to visit – until today. I now have to add this place to my existing list of favorite places to grab a cup of coffee. For Evil Chicken’s Official Coffee House of Fame list see: Anyway, I digress the place is called Beans Coffee Shop and its located in Woodstown, NJ on North Main Street. I had a large Guatemalan that had a lot of character and was eyeballing the home made pastries. Reminding myself that I’m a low carb cowboy these days I creamed and Splenda’d my coffee and left.

I swiped one of their cards, which also makes mention of being an Espresso Bar, specializing in teas and serving lunch & dinner. I didn’t get anything to eat but the salads looked good. The shop has all that one would want in a place to meet friends and discuss the important matters of the day. Music, ambiance, wifi, art, and photography, old baseball uniforms – the place has a great vibe. I’m only sorry that I was just passing through.

I’ll be back though… oh yes, I’ll be back. And I’ll be bringing Chickens with me!


Heath Ledger was found dead today with a bottle of sleeping pills nearby. It is unclear if it was a suicide or not. Here is the story from Yahoo News:

Too sad.

Ledger was more than on his way to being a fixture in cinema. Although the details are unclear of his death my thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.

Too soon.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Devil Annuls Parker’s Marriage

Precautionary note for you Gentle Reader: if you do not know who Peter Parker is and that he is married to Mary Jane Watson-Parker just skip this particular blog entry; although, if the truth were told, this is more about cohesive writing than comic book characters – so I guess I’ll leave it up to you…

Many moons ago I read a lot of comic books. I had subscriptions pulled for me and I’d faithfully march to the shop every other week or so to keep up with the chosen titles that I read. There were the Batman books, the Superman books and the Spiderman books; all wonderful escapist reading. I came to comic books seriously in college. I didn’t have time to read the headier stuff; I was working full time, going to school full time and just married – you could say I was a busy guy and comics filled a niche. I could read them and still manage to do all the crazy things that my schedule dictated that I needed to do. I got my dose of heroic fiction – which, by the way, has been the bread and butter of storytellers for the last several millennia or so. Simple three act structure – a beginning, a middle and an end. A protagonist faces a challenge, does something (or nothing) and ends up living (or dying) with the consequences.

There – that’s it; deceptively simple really.

“Where are you going Evil Chicken?” Please forgive my ramblings, Gentle Reader, it’s important to understand that stories have structure. Exhibit A: the cave wall. The story – the tribe was hungry so we took some pointy sticks, killed a mighty beast, have feasted on its flesh and now we telling the story, bathed in light from the fire on the wall of our cave. Simple. The tribe had a problem, they did something about it and they had a resolution. Now wouldn’t it be cheesy if instead of hunting a beast Og woke up and realized it was all just a dream and the tribe had plenty of food after all? Or suppose Og is visited by some magical fairy that waves its wand and POOF; there’s food for the tribe.

That’s weak. That’s a writer’s convenience. I am not currently a professional writer and I have been turned down by some pretty good literary magazines in my time. I freely admit that I’m a hack but even a hack can see that is sloppy writing. It cheats the reader, viewer and/or listener. The Greeks called this device deus ex machina. When there was a problem that needed solving in some Greek Tragedy a god would be lowered on a crane to make everything better. Well, the same thing is going on – right now, mind you, in the pages of Spiderman. You see the devil (Mephisto in the Marvel Universe) pops up and makes an offer for Peter to save his dear Aunt May from death – all he has to do is forfeit all memory and knowledge of his wife and the years that they have been together. The trick, since Mephisto savors torturing souls is that Mary Jane retains all of her memories.

Now let me say in all reality it’s not fair for me to say this since I haven’t read Spiderman in years BUT this sort of smacks of deus ex machina – no? It’s an easy fix. Chances are marrying off superheroes isn’t the best of all possible worlds. Spiderman has a certain range and while there’s a lot going on in the life of Peter Parker the simple fact is that your friendly neighborhood Spiderman has been for the last 20 years or so, your friendly neighborhood married guy; probably not what Stan Lee and Steve Ditko had in mind when a gangly teenager was bitten by a radioactive spider back in the sixties. Erik Larson, comic writer and artist made some pretty good points on the issue here:

Still this may be entirely too early to call since, much like our world, in the comic book world anything can happen and usually will. I’m still pulling for Marvel to do right by the character and the fans – they both deserve a little more respect than that.

I’ve got to get back to a comic shop.

Cloverfield – A Retrospective

Be ye warned… there be spoilers ahead.

I just got back from a matinee showing of “Cloverfield”. JJ Abrams and company have put together a hip little survival horror film with this one. The film, as has been described previous on this little ole blog, is “Godzilla” meets “The Blair Witch Project” and – yup, that’s about right. The story never attempts to explain just what the monster is or where it came from and that’s a good thing since the story unfolds through the lens of a digital handheld camera as seen by an impromptu group of documentary filmmakers. The premise is that this camcorder was found after the event in a place that used to be called Central Park, NY and is now designated by the United States Government as section Cloverfield.

The monster is what it is (whatever that is) – the friends must accept that and try to survive. The monster could be an allegory for almost anything big and bad – terrorist attacks, natural disasters, big monsters that usually attack Tokyo, whatever. I’d like to think that it’s some sort of H.P. Lovecraft-ian version of Cthulhu. From what I understand the head of the Statue of Liberty that bounces off a skyscraper and comes to a scraping stop in the street is homage to the poster from “Escape from New York”. This makes my geek heart smile. The cast of (currently) “unknown” actors is imperative to having the plot as realistic as possible. You couldn’t have pulled it off with a cast of established personalities. As with “The Blair Witch Project”, to suspend belief in what’s happening within the film the actors had to be “real”. It’s a great cast and they really pull it off.

It is a good time at the movies and at the end of the day isn’t that what you went there for in the beginning? There’s some really cool stuff that should be witnessed on the big screen BUT be forewarned the jerkiness of the camera, the movement and at times the angles of the shots will begin to turn your stomach. Grab your Dramamine and wash it down with whatever you can smuggle in from Wawa (since a small soda is currently $4.50 at the theater). It will make you woozy. I know that I was. I’m sure that I missed some things but it couldn’t be avoided.

I am truly looking forward to the next JJ Abrams produced picture – Star Trek 11. Abrams co-created “Alias”, “Lost” and is rumored to be bringing Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series to life on either the big screen or HBO.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Giant Monster Eats City

“Cloverfield” opens tomorrow (1/18/08). What’s that? Well it’s a movie produced by J.J. Abrams (the same guy who is making the next Star Trek film) about a giant monster that attacks New York City. It’s told from the perspective of a small group of people who document what’s going on around them with a digital video camera – think of it as “Godzilla” meets “Blair Witch”.

Yeah, good times… good times… It should be fun BUT what will probably push me over the edge and buy a ticket is the teaser trailer for Star Trek 11 (please see attached picture ala Ain’t It Cool News).

Yep. I do believe a trip to the theater is in order.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

From Then to Now

I have two boxes of photos here in the room where my laptop usually sits. One box is full of pictures of actual events that I remember and was, to some extent or another, involved in – the other box is full of memories of another man – that man was my father. Every now and again I pull the box down, rummage and wonder about the images I see there. I have reached a point in my life where there is no one left to answer my questions as to whom the people in the photos may be or rather, who the people were.

I can hear my father there – at least a remembrance of things said. With this box of pictures sometimes I can make a match between what Dad told me and a photo of the genuine article. I remember hearing about his Indian Motorcycle – now I’ve seen it. The Hot Dog stand that the family ran at the Wildwood boardwalk – seen it. Duke, Dad’s dog – plain as day. The Acropolis and sailors on shore leave now have pictures to match their stories. Then there are the ones that I’ll never know like the inspiration for the freshly inked tattoo of a schooner under full sail on my Dad’s left bicep, or the woman he is passionately kissing on and under the boardwalk who is not my mother (although it could be his first wife). The pictures look as if Marlon Brando came to Dad to research his look for “The Wild One” – a film that came out in 1953 and these photos are taken a year or two before that release date. Bit of a Greaser Dad was.

Then there are the cards and the postcards. Dad was in the navy and served on the U.S.S. Columbus CA-74. I know this because I have a Christmas card that was in the box too. It’s to my grandmother. There is a green drawing of the vessel just above center and a red anchor line around the boarder. The inside of the card reads, “This ain’t much of a card is it – Reckon it says just about what an expensive one does though. Tell Nanny Merry Christmas for me. Can’t get any better cards. I’ll get better ones for you when I get back.” I have no idea who “Nanny” is. Dad never spoke of his grandparents and since it is hand written the name could also be either Mary or Danny depending on how one reads the script. Another example is a postcard sent from Barcelona Spain with a picture of the city on the front and on the back, “Howdy Mom – the Admiral (6th fleet) leaves at 1100 today. Maybe we’ll be getting underway for Tangiers North Africa tomorrow. The New Port News is tied up alongside us now. Sure is a clean looking ship – ours is better though.”

I called in Chick 1.0 (my 15 year-old daughter) and showed her the contents of the box. “See this guy?” I asked showing her the picture of the guy with the wavy slicked back black hair, white ¼ sleeve tee shirt and new tattoo passionately kissing some woman who is not her grandmother.

“He’s a Greaser. A pimp of the past.” She said.

“He’s your grandfather.”

We both giggled and gleefully went through the rest of the box for the next hour of so. I told her all I could which wasn’t too much. The box itself is now like a postcard. The stamps are from ports of call around the world, the memories are not mine but there is a familiarity to them all the same.

The address reads, “from then to now”.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Life of an Explorer

Sir Edmund Hillary has passed on. Here is the announcement from Radio New Zealand News:

This was a man who knew that life is an adventure and lived it accordingly. Wikipedia, my favorite second brain says, “On 29 May 1953 he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest…” Check it out for yourself here:

The lion’s share of the map is now filled in. This process happened because of men like Hillary. Of course there is more to discover… more to explore but the simple truth is that the world is smaller now – it has shrunk. Men and women like Edmund Hillary saw to that. Today we can easily sit and watch groups of people attempt to ascend Everest on the Discovery Channel with a simple flick of our remote control; such was not the case when Hillary and Norgay made their climb. It’s getting harder and harder to point to a living example of an explorer.

Today that very short list got even shorter.

Oh that we develop the eyes to see the wonder around us. My thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family at this time.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Will Blu-ray Rule Them All?

As the Businessweek ( article says, “Warner announced on Jan. 4 that it would release only high-definition Blu-ray movies starting July, ending its support for the rival HD DVD format.”

That about sinks the battleship. The battle for the future is almost over – there can be only one. Hold on a tick… maybe I can squeak out one more cliché…

…Nope. Sorry, I’ve got nuthin.

“Evil Chicken, what are you talking about?” you may ask; and might I just add, that’s a wonderful question, Gentle Reader. The Businessweek article does a very good job of explaining things. The battle for the future is the battle for how media is going to be sold to us in all of its High Def goodness in the days to come when we all have HDTVs and Blu-ray disc players to replace our DVDs (and DVD players too, I might add). This war has been brewing for the last few years as time and technology march forward High Def is quickly becoming the shape of things to come. So, just how will studios peddle their High Def wares to us? Well there are two choices; the HD DVD format and Blu-ray. Blu-ray is winning. Disney went exclusive Blu-ray early into the fray – that was an important battle. Now with Warner and their voluminous catalog of film going exclusively Blu-ray that just may have been the decisive battle.

I currently own neither. If I were to make the jump Blu-ray would, most likely, be the smarter choice at this point. Buying an HD DVD player would be like buying a Betamax player back in the eighties when VHS is about to become the alpha-video player. One could make an argument that Betamax was better than VHS but the market decided who won that war. This time Blu-ray can actually hold a lot more information on a disc than an HD DVD so, in essence, the better mousetrap may be about to win this go round.

What will the future look like – or rather, what will the next format be? I bet it’ll be something akin to an MP3 or audio file; yup, just a file that you can download. Really – why take up all that space in your living room when you can be jacked into the central nervous system of your home and rent or purchase movies, music, as well as, cable and network programming with the press of a button or monthly subscription? It could all be stored in flash memory since archaic things like hard drives (with moving parts, mind you) are destine to get broken. Hey, while we’re at it, isn’t it time to get that big ole HDTV? You know the one – the 50-inch LCD with that magic number “1080p” attached to it – or better yet, how about that 150-inch plasma from Panasonic.

…Oh yes…

HD DVD cancelled their presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show 2008 after Warner made the announcement on January 4. That doesn’t bode too well either. So hold your stock in Sony and sell your holdings with HD DVD. Let’s see here… that’s five out of seven major studios supporting Blu-ray (according to the above article)?

The fat lady is clearing her throat.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Stop the press. Here’s something just too cool that I had to share with you, Gentle Reader… I’m at Yahoo and I’m cruising for a new picture to replace the one that’s been up since New Year’s Day and low and behold I happen to see a friend of mine.

…No really.

Check it:

The article is from Reuters (by Tim Shaffer) and says… “Wingbowl participant Elliott "Wing Tut" Maruffi-Cowley grimaces as he holds down chicken wings after the second round during the 14th annual Wingbowl event in Philadelphia, February 3, 2006. A Chicago tavern said on Thursday it will begin selling chicken wings coated in one of the world's hottest peppers -- a dish so hot that patrons first have to sign a waiver agreeing not to sue for injuries.”

How cool is that?

There will be more seen from Elliot in 2008 ladies and gentlemen – things that I really can’t go into now, but let me just say that is SO COOL!

I had to share it.


You know how some people will say something like, “I don’t like politics” when really mean that they actually LOVE politics? Yeah? I’m not one of those people. I don’t like politics and, instead subscribe to the Obi Wan Kenobi school of thought that says all politicians are, “not to be trusted”. I don’t care what party you’re discussing – it does not matter. Having a “two party” system is a disservice to the concept of democracy. Many voices should be heard and not just the well funded ones. Yes that’s idealistic but so are all the schools of political thought – including democracy. They all work great on paper. IMHO, democracy is the closest thing to what is on the printed page but make no mistake… it’s idealistic.

One of the many reasons I have not taken to a life of crime is that I would never want to go before a jury of my peers. Why? Both my peers, and me respectfully are idiots. The correlation between jurors and voters shouldn’t be ignored in this paragraph. Another reason that I have not broken any laws that would put me behind bars is that I would be entirely too popular. There are simply too many distractions in prison for me to want to break any laws that might put me there.

But enough about my life of crime; let’s talk political parties. If I were to choose a party it would probably be Libertarian. These people like little government involvement and instead favor personal responsibility over having the state monitor every possible aspect of ones life. I live in New Jersey – that will never happen here. A recent quote from one of the legislators (unfortunately I forget which one) from Trenton, our capitol was, “if there is anything we can control – we should.” That thought process really scares me. It’s way too Orwellian for my tastes; entirely too controlling, too far reaching. Just what happens if the legislators are idiots? Suppose they cared more for what the lobbyists brought or gave them than the people they are supposed to be serving? Hmmm. Unfortunately, one does not have to wonder too long – not too long at all.

How about elections? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a set amount of dollars candidates were able to spend in any given election – some sort of cap? Perhaps we would hear more from other parties besides the republicans and the democrats? Who said that we should prostrate ourselves before a two party system anyway? Probably some group of old, rich, white guys who are used to having all the power in the world – that’s who.

But enough about the things that are not – let us discuss the things that are. Not saying that I support ANY of the people I’m about to mention (really – since I voted for “Weed Man” in the last NJ election because I didn’t like ANY of the other candidates) but the way I see it there is no way the republicans are going to keep the White House this go round. Just forget it. This being said and as much as I would like to have a viable third party candidate – he or she does not exist at this time so the unbeatable ticket would have to be Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama (I’ll let you decide who is President – with the political machinations in place it really doesn’t matter which is which).


The merciful decision of the Democratic Party would be to end this charade right now and just say they are the ticket in November. This won’t happen either since it’s only January and we as a people like to watch all of the pomp and circumstance of such proceedings play out on network television. The talking heads from every network known to man have to weigh in and have their say. Those whom pay attention in the voting public to such things have to go through the motions too. We must feed (and be fed by) the machine.

Que Sera, Sera.

Well there you have it – my best guess as to whom is going to be leading the free world during the next four years come November. A Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton ticket would win – no doubt. I won’t be voting for them but I won’t be voting for whoever the Republican’s will run either… I’m still pulling for Weed Man.

That’s all I’ve got to say about that. I now return you to your regularly scheduled dose of trivial information, You Tube videos and movie previews. This pleases me since one can’t swing a dead PETA member without hitting a candidate for something this time of year – and its only January.

Lord help us.

4400 Season 3 Gag Reel

4400 – I will miss you horribly.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

What’s In A Carb?

I am an Atkins zombie. I am, admittedly, pretty strict. Not that I’m tooting my own horn here but I’ve dropped about a hundred pounds on the “diet”. Note the “quotation marks” around the word diet. I put them there because I know that I cannot look at anything I eat as being part of a diet – I have to look at it like a “life style change”.

Quotation marks can be annoying – no?

Sorry, I digress… I still have a lot of pounds to loose but I’ve been quite pleased with my menu of bacon, mayonnaise, eggs, roast chicken (with my olive oil – Old Bay rub), slow roasted pork, chicken wings (extra crispy & hot) and buckets of bleu cheese dressing. Have you ever had crumbled bleu cheese on a steak? …Oh man…

Before you ask, my cholesterol is under 174. I can’t fault you, Gentle Reader, it’s a good question.

I’ve started to introduce “good carbs” into my chosen edibles list, kidney beans (for the occasional bowl of spicy chili) and tomatoes (in small amounts).

So why blather on about this to the blog reading public? Well, I have a confession and it is a well-established fact that confession is good for the soul; for about a day and a half – nay TWO days (one of those days included Christmas) I carbed out. I ate some bread, some fruitcake (one of my favorite cake substances in the whole of the known world) and drank eggnog.

There – I said it!

I’m back on the wagon now but in a remote corner of my brain I feel somewhat fatter. It’s just a nagging sensation that instead of creeping downward I started creeping up the scale once more. Not that I’m too concerned – I just know that I’m on the plus side of the holidays.

Oh well; it’ll come off. Maybe I’ll cut out the kidney beans and tomatoes for a while?

See you at the gym!


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Evil Chicken’s Spring & Summer Movie Preview – 2008 Edition

Happy New Year Gentle Reader! I wish you much health and happiness in twenty-oh-eight! Yes – I know that this is early... Yes – I know that most people are doing their year in review stuff. Well that’s not the case here at Chicken Scratch! Oh no. Now is the time when a movie geek begins to plot and plan for the coming few seasons at the multiplex. And what seasons they will be; the studios are plotting to push a lot of popcorn this year. I shudder for the summer of 2009 and the products that will be mercilessly unleashed onto the public with the writers strike still in full swing. It won’t be pretty; 2008, however, will rock.

Anyway, here’s a list of movies that I’m about to put in my calendar. Why don’t you go get yours too? We can do it together. Go on, I’ll wait.

Got it? Good. Pen too? Excellent. Here’s the list…


Iron Man (May 2nd): Have you seen the trailer? They’ve got this right. Could they have found a better actor than Robert Downey Jr. to play Tony Stark? No. Expect big things from this one – not just the obligatory amazing special effects but in character development. Stark is not a likeable guy and his transformation into someone better is what really makes the character shine. Opening night – no doubt; I can even bring the kids.

Speed Racer (May 9th): Driving right out of my childhood memories and onto the big screen! The Wachowski brothers (the Matrix movies, V for Vendetta) are doing the honors. Have you seen this trailer? It’s an unabashedly campy, anime Trip with live actors that I can’t wait to see. I’ll drag the kids to this one.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (May 16): I enjoyed the first one and loved the book. I never read “Prince Caspian” by C.S. Lewis but it just may have moved up on my reading list. BTW, if you get a chance one of my favorite C.S. Lewis books is a written correspondence between two demons called “The Screwtape Letters”. Good stuff, but I digress. Yeah, I’m there and I’m taking the kids.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (May 22nd): Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my absolute all time favorite movies. TOD was passable and TLC was good but RAIDERS… simply awesome. There is no doubt that I will be keeping up with the Jones’s on opening night… it is as sure as the tides… well Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise.

John Rambo (May ?): I was in high school when Rambo First Blood Part II came out. The paperback adaptation spread through my school like a plague; everyone wanted to read the thing including yours truly. The movie turned violence into a ballet – no, it was more than that… Rambo was visceral justice dispensed through a psycho Vietnam vet who really should have stayed on his medications. He was the poster child for PTSD. I was hooked; what can I say, maybe it was youth or perhaps Reaganomics? Whatever the case, he’s back… and I’m gonna go see him on the big screen once more. I will NOT be bringing the kids to this one. Did I mention “visceral”?


The Happening (June 13th): M. Night Shyamalan’s new movie. Yes you can make the argument that his stuff’s been sliding downhill since “The Sixth Sense” but I still like his take on telling a story. He’s a relatively local guy as well (from Philly) and has set many of his tales around Pennsylvania. I don’t know much about this movie other than it has something to do with a natural crisis that a family has to escape from. One thing I do know is that a buddy of yours truly is going to be in it (see: I’ll be there to see that. Give ‘em heck Joe!

The Incredible Hulk (June 13th): I hated “The Hulk”. It was an incredible let down for yours truly; the acting, the writing, the editing. Blah! I love the character though and I’m hoping that those responsible for this reboot do this time as well. This is key for any adaptation to work. If you have no idea who said beloved characters are or their origins stay away; stay far away. Ed Norton is Bruce Banner and this may prove to be an inspired bit of casting. I’ll see it in the theater, out of respect for the character, but it might just have to be a matinee.

Get Smart (June 20th): Would you believe that agent Maxwell Smart is going to be played by Steve Carell? Would you believe that Alan Arkin is going to be Chief? This will make me smile with nostalgia and introduce the whole shootin’ match to another generation of admirers. Mel Brooks and Buck Henry created the original. I don’t know if they had any involvement in this incarnation but I know that I’ll be there to see it. It’s time to break out the Cone of Silence once more. The kid’s will love it.

Wall-E (June 27th): Pixar is back and this time they’re bringing a trash compacting robot. Wall-E is left on earth with his fellow machinations and he goes on a quest to find out just what happened to the human race when they left the planet. It’s Pixar. It will be genius. Bottom line. Yes, I’ll be there and so will the kids.


Hancock / Tonight, He Comes (July 2nd): Will Smith is a superhero with feet of clay in this one. Everyone dislikes the guy. He begins an affair with the wife of a PR guy that’s hired to save his reputation. I’m still not sold completely on this one; I’m still having thoughts of “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” go through my mind when I hear or read about this film. Still, I enjoy Will Smith and I think that it will be good to see him in a role where you have to strain to actually like and root for him. We shall see…

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (July 11th): Guillermo del Toro is a genius. No really – I mean it. Go rent “Pan’s Labyrinth” if you don’t believe me. The man has a way of bringing nightmare images to life: monsters – and I’m not just talking about the grotesque ones; I mean the ones who are human beings. Wow what a film that was. It played on two levels, a young girl’s dream world and against the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. Go rent it, but be warned, it is not for the faint at heart or young eyes to see. While you’re at Blockbuster rent the first “Hellboy” too. Go on – treat yourself. Hellboy is based on a comic character created by Mike Mignola for Dark Horse Comics. Hellboy is a big red devil like creature with a tail that files off his horns because he’s not too happy about what they represent. He’s got a huge right hand made of stone and he works for the United States Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. As the Wikipedia article says, “Hellboy has been dubbed as the ‘World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator’”. Guillermo is fresh of the Oscars that he won for “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Hellboy 2: the Golden Army” is where he’s setting up shop next. Opening day sans kids. This will be eye popping.

The Dark Knight (July 18th): Oh my goodness; this is my pick for 900 lbs. Gorilla of the summer season. That’s saying something since there is a lot of competition this summer for best popcorn flick. Please allow me to go on record here at the start of the New Year and say that Batman will rule over Indy and Iron Man. Why? Good question, easy answer; Heath Ledger’s JOKER. This will be scary… psychotic in scope. Christopher Nolan (director of this one and it’s predecessor “Batman Begins”) knows what he is doing with the Iconic character of the Batman. He knows that Bruce Wayne is almost just as crazy as those he chases down – the only real difference is the idea that at Batman’s core he does not want to see what happened to him happen to anyone else. The Joker is the living personification of the phrase, “comedy is tragedy” and he is ready to champion either basis with extreme sociopathic prejudice. This is not Caesar Romero’s Joker, it’s not going to be Jack Nicholson’s either (although, if the truth be known, I love both of their portrayals of the character). Expect the unexpected with this one. Warner Bros. is banking on it and so am I. Opening night for me – I’m still not convinced that this will be one to take the kids to yet.

X – Files 2 (July 25th): This one snuck up on me. It’s still classified as being “in production”, I didn’t think that it would be ready to roll this summer – I was wrong. I was a huge fan of the series until the dreaded disease, Favoritus-Disappearus, struck it down. David Duchovny left the show only to have a few walk-ons for the rest of the series run. Too bad. Gillian Anderson stayed which was good but the show lost it’s chemistry. Well, they’ll be back together once more this summer. It will take some fancy writing to have those two back on the X-files after the series finale (Scully and Mulder intentionally disappearing together to live off the grid and on the run). I’ll be there though – after all, I Want to Believe.


The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (August 1st): Same cast different movie. Brendan Fraser and Maria Bello return to find a new batch of Mummies to vanquish. This time they are bringing their son (Luke Ford) with them. It won’t win any Oscars but it should be a fun afternoon at the movies.

I have to stop myself here. I’d go on but what would I do for the big Fall / Winter Movie Preview. This will have to do for now; that’s a big list. That’s a lot of popcorn. Enjoy it while we can. 2009 will, most likely, be weak. 2008 is another story.

I’ll see ya at the multiplex.