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THIS WEEK'S MOVIE REVIEWS
The Saga That Is Star Wars
 by Mike Smith
And for those who may have missed Mike's special preview in #267:
Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith  by Mike Smith

NICHOLAS REX
The Quest For Decency In America
 by Nick King

COUCH POTATO CONFESSIONS
Why I Hate Star Wars....He's Dead, Jim
 by Vinnie Blesi

ASIAN FILM UPDATE
Chan-wook Park....Matango
 by Peter Card
NEW COLUMN!

CREATURE'S CORNER
Sith For A Buck
 by John Lewis

MATT'S RAIL
One Pope To Go!?
 by Matt Drinnenberg

MIKE'S RANT
May 19th....Frank Gorshin....Money In The Bank....Jaws: The Story, Part 19
 by Mike Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2005!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our sixth calendar year!
    Number 269  (Vol. 6, No. 20). This edition is for the week of May 16--22, 2005.

Showtime!

Plus...
Mike Smith Interviews Matthew McConaughey
The Coffeehouse Film Review for May
"The Riddler", Frank Gorshin, dies at 72
New Columnist at PCR

Unless you live under a rock you know that today (Wednesday as I write this) is the day (or midnight, actually) the last Star Wars film opens nationwide. Those lucky enough to have seen "Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" already in sneak previews and in foreign countries have been pretty much raving.

OK, not like "the greatest Star Wars movie ever made", raving, that honor still belongs to "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" (or "the second one" as us old enough to remember when it was the "second" chapter call it). Followed by the "first" one, or "Episode IV: A New Hope". I know, it can get confusing.

Of course my best-laid plans to see the movie at midnight Wednesday night blew up in my face (a mixture of work schedule and transportation problems), but it was a blessing in disguise as the next day Corey Castellano and I went together to see our first...and last...Star Wars movie together, just the two of us (well, for a premiere, anyway).

In a word: Fantastic! I really liked "Sith" and rank it among the very best Star Wars movies ever made. Definitely in the top three. If I was under 25, I might say "best overall", but as a baby boomer I can't abandon the older classics. But it was damn good.

Lucas finally has licked the problem of matching video to film (he records the action on high-definition videotape) as all the sets looked breathtakingly real and very there. The animation of Yoda is unbelievable. I can't tell where the puppet ends and the CGI begins (if there even was a puppet)!. The "sky scenes", whether moving the camera through the air traffic lanes of the Jedi world or following a space battle, have, once again, raised the bar.

The over-criticized dialogue and hammy acting I really didn't have a problem with (well, except for Hayden Christensen, but what can you do...). The only problem I did have was with the characterization of Palpatine as he morphs into the Emperor. I can't even really tell sometimes if it's still Ian McDarmid under all the make-up but its WAYYYYYY over the top in script, acting, and make-up effects! Almost comical, Corey and I looked at each other as if...did he just cum under his shroud or something? It seems Palpatine's addiction to the Dark Side is nearly sexual in a disturbing way.

The characterization of Obi-Wan is in great hands with the gifted Ewan McGregor. Obi-Wan is a bad-ass, a flawed bad-ass, but still a bad-ass and Anakin knows it. Anakin's own arrogance leads to his downfall as had been predicted.

The music soundtrack is one of John Williams' very best, hands down. Totally immersive, and thoroughly excellent.

I agree with Mike Smith: 3½ stars out of 4!

Mike Smith's interview with Matthew McConaughey is here!
Originally scheduled to more gracefully coincide with the release of "Sahara" I was unable to get to it any sooner due to the usual workloads, but at last you can read Mike Smith's interview with Matthew McConaughey here!

"Hoodoo for Voodoo" and "Jason's Jungle"
Jason Liquori, producer of the monthly internet video "Jason's Jungle", has been excercising the "traveling filmmaker" part of his description lately running around being a producer on "Hoodoo for Voodoo" in Louisianna (helping the same folks who recently brought us "Dead Meat") and is taking off for Colorado for more movie shenanigans next week. He promises all his fans that between train, plane, and automobile rides, this month's "Jason's Jungle" will indeed appear, albeit a little later than usual!

Frank Gorshin, TV's "Riddler" Dies at 72
Frank Gorshin, impressionist, actor, and most notably "The Riddler", arch-nemesis to Adam West's "Batman", has died at the age of 72 from complications of lung cancer and pneumonia.

He was one of my all-time favorites. The first time he made an "impression" on me was likely the night the Beatles first played on Ed Sullivan (February 9th, 1964, yes I'm that old)---Gorshin had the unenviable task of coming on after! His persona didn't actually lock in to me until after he was hired to play "The Riddler" on the '60s camp classic "Batman". He was such a talented impressionist, really the first big name for that in the television age. (While I'm sure impressionists were around before that, TV really exploded the format, making careers for people like Frank Gorshin, Rich Little and Fred Travalena possible...but I digress). I tried never to miss an appearance by Frank Gorshin on Mike Douglas's or Merv Griffin's talk shows and a particularly memorable one on Jackie Gleason's '60s variety show. (Gorshin did the best Kirk Douglas and Boris Karloff, hands down.)

Gorshin's "Riddler" was a masterpiece of such highly-charged energy, I didn't see how anyone could follow it up. As much as I love John Astin (The Addams Family's "Gomez") he was no substitute for Gorshin when the latter left the show to pursue a Broadway play (or something like that). In my opinion, Jim Carrey's turn as The Riddler in the 1995 movie "Batman Forever", despite his manic tone and heavy make-up, though admirable in effort, did not unseat Gorshin either.

Sadly, and with a touch of irony, the last time I saw Gorshin on TV was in a reprise of his role as The Riddler (well, sort of, he was playing himself, but whatever...) in the TV Movie "Back to the Batcave" and he looked just god-awful. Old and sickly, poor thing.

Frank Gorshin, actor, impressionist, and Riddler extraordinaire will be sorely missed.

Coffeehouse Film Review for May

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE
Damien Kincanon, left, talks with Chris Woods, center, and Joe DiCanio about the nights' events.
Tom Prophet, right, joins the fray. Daylight Savings Time can still be seen through the glass in the background.
Meeting the lovely and talented Desiree Rincón from DiCanio's "Silence in the Aisles" was a big highlight of my night!
Raging red colors surround wildman Joel D. Wynkoop, right, myself, and Cathy Holseybrook at Thursday night's shindig. Joel was in several movies that night.
CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE
The gang responsible for A Few Short Productions' "Chase The Mark". L-to-R: Larry Jennis, Tom Prophet, Ryan, Doug "Fresh" Cockerham, Rebecca Austin, and writer/director Joe DiCanio
Robert Elfstrom ("Advent"), left, with visiting grandaughter Cathy, center, and yours truly.
Joel Wynkoop, left, and Cathy Holseybrook talk with area video-editing legend John Methany as we wrap up the night.
With the Guzzo brothers out of town at a social event, Chris Woods and Damien Kincanon stepped up to the plate to officiate the film series this night. In fact, due to the fact my usual traveling companion, Gus Perez, decided to bail for this go 'round, Woods was also my ride to the 1515 Coffeehouse as well. When we arrived, we were encouraged to find Damien had pretty much set the whole affair into motion already, even taking special care with the stereo audio, usually a recurrent problem at the Romeo Coffeehouse Series.

We had a good turn-out. A large Rykar/A Few Short Productions gathering to support "Chase The Mark" and the unexpected arrival of area cult legend Joel D. Wynkoop ramped up the anticipation and the social ambience. The late-arriving Neil McCurry calmed my fears as we were planning a big announcement regarding the NolanCon Film Festival. But now...on to the movies.

The Mime Series by Katie Damien: Destiny and Marco won’t quit. No matter what situation they find themselves in, they refuse to speak.
Three short chapters, end-to-end, all very funny. Leave it to Katie Damien to make mimes in movies a workable format! I love her work and have yet to find a Katie Damien piece I don't like. I don't recall ever meeting her, but I'd sure like to. Her other movies "Just Due" and "Vanity Mirror" left lasting impressions.

The Reaps by Hocus Focus Productions: A cross between Cops and Ghostbusters. The Reaps are a trained security force that make sure when people die, they stay dead.
Starring the irrascible Joel D. Wynkoop as the trainer in charge of a newbie who's just getting used to this special line of work. As usual, Joel's huge screen presence is enough to carry any script. Not that "The Reaps" is a weak script, on the contrary, like all of Jason Liquori's work, it's built on a terrific idea. In hands like Wynkoop's it can't help but be entertaining. If I had to fault something, it might be the unusual problem Jason seemed to have keeping a consistent look to the film. Like he was using two vastly different cameras whose formats just wouldn't intercut smoothly. (In the old days I'd've said he "mixed his film stocks").

Advent (unknown producer, but brought to the Coffeehouse by Robert Elfstrom). I'm a complete pushover for a good science-fiction film and we don't have nearly enough of them coming out of this area. Oh, sure, we're up to HERE in horror product, but a good thinking man's piece with social commentary (think Arthur C. Clarke or Rod Serling), we just don't got 'em. This effort stars Robert Elfstrom as one of the last humans on earth (maybe the last human), a man of the cloth, trying to communicate with cyborgs in some post-nuke world the meaning of being human. One of the cyborgs learns a little too much about emotion.
Although I said "this area", I'm not sure this film was actually produced here (I wish it was), but it's from Elfstrom's impressive resumé. Like all his work, the script falls off his tongue with great panache and his sincere delivery makes it all work. Low-budget (but well-made) sets and make-up serve as a non-distracting background to a heady yet engaging discussion of philoshophy.

Chase The Mark by A Few Short Productions (Joe DiCanio and Tom Prophet). Tom Prophet stars as a mobster named Chase who's getting tired of the trade and wants out. While enduring several nightmarish visions, he confers with his wife, friends and associates, but in the end the decision is his to change his life. Unfortunately, the good fellas take a dim view of drop-outs.
As far as I know, this is Prophet's first starring role, and he rides into it with some uneasiness that befits his character. Strong performances help sell the riff (the cast is basically director Joe DiCanio's workmates, which is a scream, as they're well-cast as mobsters!) and jump-cut horror shots lend a nightmarish quality to his dilemma (I believe Joe does the FX make-up himself---good job, son!). The music choices are always appropriate and the cinematography is stunning especially considering how short a time Joe's been at this. Lengthy, slow crawl end credits featuring bloopers are becoming a Few Short's trademark, but I warned Joe they're getting to nearly doubling the length of the feature. He said this time was deliberate because he was expecting lots of insiders to show, but agreed to save it for the DVD next time.

Disconnection by Mark Nash and John Matheny. If there was anyone who could be the anti-Wynkoop, it's Mark Nash. Anytime either of these gentlemen appears on screen I start laughing because I know the next several minutes are going to be SO over-the-top! Now, imagine BOTH of them in the same movie! I was not disappointed here. Mark Nash finds himself trapped in a courthouse waiting room with a young woman whose attitude could not be much worse. Apparently, Nash's character's car hit her car head-on and he doesn't even remember it. In fact, it looks like that's what the approaching trial is all about and she's furious. Nash just wants to get this over with when an unexpected delay occurs: all doors have been locked due to an escaped prisoner. He's trapped with a woman who hates him. Wynkoop briefly appears several times as a deputy/guard trying to calm Nash's character. Their scenes together are funny as hell, but this is definitely Nash's show. A surprise ending reveals a deeper relationship betwen the man and woman.

Please keep in mind I write these reviews from memory and a scattershot series of written notes if I take any at all. If I've missed any films, please send me an email and remind me and I'll make a correction immediately (I could swear there was another Wynkoop film in there somewhere.)

Sometime before "Chase The Mark" Chris Woods introduced me to the audience and I made the first formal announcement of the NolanCon Film Fest. Soon joining me was sponsor Neil McCurry who outlined the rules for the grand prize cash awards: $250 for best Short Subject, $1,000 for best full-length feature, and the most controversial: $5,000 for the best "pitch"! This ties in directly to Neil's aspirations of becoming the first major Florida Film Distributor. Please see Neil's website for more information regarding the contest.

PCR Welcomes Peter Card
I've been the lucky recipient of another of those rare experiences where good friends and good writers bring to my attention other good friends and good writers. PCR hellion Drew Reiber, originally brought onboard PCR years ago by his longtime friend Terence Nuzum, has returned the favor (so to speak) by bringing in a good friend of his from the University of Central Florida, Mr. Peter Card.

Long-time readers may remember I first met Peter back at MegaCon of this year, where due to time constraints, I had just the briefest meeting with him and Drew. I learned since that time that Peter is a huge fan of Asian Cinema, and after some recent conversations, Peter asked if he could contribute a column on his love of Asian Cinema. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity, especially since that topic is a first for this e-zine!

Welcome aboard, Peter.


Announcements
Happy Birthday Wishes to the one and only Terence Nuzum. His honored place in the PCR triumvirate is legend, as are his conquerings on Message Boards as he enlightens the movie-trivia-challenged. The Dark One turns 26 years old Thursday, May 19. May the Force be With Him!

Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan
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"Mike's Rant" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2005 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2005 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Nicholas Rex" is ©2005 by Nick King    "Asian Film Update" is ©2005 by Peter Card    "Creature's Corner" is ©2005 by John Lewis      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova    
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