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My personal headlines and those of the crazed fan community!
No more Mr. Nice Guy.  School's OUT for the summer!
            Publisher and editor, Nolan B. Canova
Vol. 1, No. 15      This edition is for the week of June 3--9, 2000.
"The Perfect Storm" no "Patriot", but good thrill ride. Still ruling box office.
"The Patriot" an artistic triumph! To Roland Emmerich: all is forgiven for "Godzilla".
  It looked cool on the trailers and I read some behind-the-scenes of this in a movie mag, so I made a couple o' minutes for it.
  The story is simple: in 1991, in a tragic turn of events, a swordfishing boat gets caught in a "storm of the century" (weren't there a couple of them?) and the salty crew must risk their lives getting thru it if they hope to get paid for a big haul that they--shall we say--went out of their way to catch. Specifically from Gloucester, Mass. to The Fleming Cap, wherever the hell that is. But it must be far.
  George Clooney plays the down-on-his-luck skipper of the Andrea Gail, the intrepid swordfishing boat in question. The last few trip's catches have been extremely unrewarding and he makes the unpopular decision to go back out with whoever will join him. He promises he'll not return without a huge haul.
  That's about it. As they finally find success in this distant "Flemish Cap" area, they discover their icemaker's busted and they have to turn back or risk losing everything they've saved so far. Naturally, the timing is horrible and they have to come back thru a storm system that's actually three storms in one: hurricane Grace, a cold front from Canada, and a low-pressure system joining from Bermuda. All combining forces just off the coast and out several hundred miles. Hence the "storm of the century" (I still thought that was in 1993).
  It's actually a pretty good thrill-ride (I'll stop short of saying inspirational...that's still Patriot territory--unless you're a fisherman), but be prepared for about an hour of all the actors hollering at the top of their lungs to be heard above the storm. After this flick, I felt wrung out and soaked. That's pretty good, tho.
  The supporting cast are all good, but it's obviously Clooney's show. In an almost too small part, we have Mary Elizabeth Mastriantonio (did I get that right?) as the quasi-love interest and competitive interest for Clooney.
  My friends are sort of kidding me about this because I'm ususally not a big fan of "historical dramas".  I admit to a certain prejudice with this picture tho, because an old, dear friend of mine, Corey Castellano, just happened to be key make-up man on the special effects division.  Because of that, I've been following the development of "The Patriot" for about a year.
  I'm pleased to report it was worth not only the wait, but the 2 hours and 40 minutes required to view the movie! It is beautifully shot, well written and well acted.
  Mel Gibson is comfortable with the historical material, like he was with "Braveheart".  Here he plays Benjamin Martin, a former war hero of sorts who downplays his former battles in favor of engendering a peaceful solution to the "British problem". To him, it is foolhardy to directly engage the British with the Continental army, nor does he wish to set a bad example for his children. An unfortunate run-in with a sadistic British officer who gleefully kills Martin's youngest son radically changes his thinking; he sets about getting revenge--at first--then re-thinks his position on warfare. His oldest son is only too happy to join the army as well.
  A touching moment later in the movie takes place at a campfire, where Martin finally tells his son what happened at the earlier battle and why he thinks it's so celebrated. The story is told with obvious shame and disgust on his part. It's an effective tale that illustrates that reluctance in warfare shouldn't be confused with cowardice.
  To say the movie is non-stop action would probably be an understatement. Outside of the first acts necessary to introduce the characters, the movie is relentlessly paced with just a few quieter scenes to catch your breath. It is a roller-coaster ride of an historical drama.
  The scenery is breath-taking (speaking of catching your breath) and exquisitely shot. My compliments to the cinematographer, whose name unfortunately escapes me now. Every single shot immerses you in the South Carolina of 1776.
  Where I saw the movie, the soundtrack's digital enhancements and music were exceptional. From where I sat, I definitely heard not only explosions far and near (some made me jump, which is very cool), but subtle things like birdsong and horses hooves thru distant water.
  I would be remiss if I didn't mention the work of Corey's department. The number of human bodies and horses they had to create for dismembering or gunshots or whatever is staggering. The blood of warfare is well represented. The make-up effects work is outstanding like everything else in "The Patriot"
  Oh, and I almost forgot: one surprise was finding out Johnny Williams composed and directed the musical soundtrack! It is appropriately awesome, like everything else he does.
  And director Roland Emmerich?  I forgive him for "Godzilla". He's more than made up for it.  
My Horror Video Update
  It seems I've been announcing the "imminent arrival" of my horror video, "The Horror Writer", for about 6 months. One catastrophe after another has thwarted my every effort at a timely delivery.
  Well, I've got a new telecast schedule: August 3 & 5, 2000. I'm really confident about it this time, because the tape was very nearly completed for a June 23rd broadcast, when the tape developed an irreversible drop-out, causing loss of sync-track. That's tech-talk for "you can't use the tape". It therefore had to be done over.
  Since so much had been done, it really was down to whether to just transfer the old recording to a new tape--albeit with a loss of still another generation--or start the whole nightmare over from scratch.  With so many disappointed people, I opted for the former. It also gave me one last chance to do a little more fine-tuning. (With so many glitches already, "fine-tuning" becomes rather laughable.)
  In any event, the tape should be arriving...imminently!
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle: more for those nostalgic for the original Jay Ward cartoons.
All contents this page are 2000 by Nolan B. Canova
  I went to this with a great deal of trepidation. Neither I, nor anyone I knew, was particularly thrilled with the trailers. But a few days ago, the person I was with and I decided we had just about exactly 90 minutes to blow, so we went. We are both fans of the original show.
  The film starts as a cartoon with our heroes (still call them that--force of habit) in Frostbite Falls, where they have been out of work for 35 years. The Forest is decimated due to over-logging (first "statement" in the movie) and Bullwinkle has decided to visit the President about reforestation efforts.
  About this time in the real world, an enterprising movie studio clerk--played by Janeane Garafolo (did I spell that right?)--is propositioned via TV by Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale, and Fearless Leader (in cartoon form) to participate in a plot to take over the world thru zombification by TV viewing. (Statement # 2). When she attempts to retrieve a contract they've signed thru the TV screen (!) she inadvertantly yanks them into reality.  Our heroes are drafted to save the world and are brought here--still in cartoon form--via some "studio green-light machine" (don't ask).
   I won't have room for this issue to detail more plot, but suffice it to say the chases that follow resemble a "road movie".
  The jokes are fast and furious and usually funny. More importantly, they are Rocky and Bullwinkle. There are quasi-political statements, which are expected, but I gotta tell you--that whole part of the original series has been greatly overstated.
  Robert DeNiro obviously loves being Fearless Leader. No doubt being co-executive producer helps. Jason Alexander is servicable as Boris. At least he got the voice pretty close. Sadly, Renee Russo is virtually wasted as Natasha as she is given very little to do.
  The voice of Rocky was reprised by an 80-something June Foray, the original talent behind that. The voice of Bullwinkle was Keith Scott, no relation to the late Bill Scott, the original voicer. He does a remarkably authentic job as Bullwinkle and the narrator.

 

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