Friday, October 11, 2013

Perversions of Science: An Interview With Filmmaker John Hyams Part 2

In part 2 of my interview with filmmaker John Hyams (Click here to read part 1), we discuss the current state action cinema, and the many influences behind 'Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.'
Scott Adkins (Left) and John Hyams (Right) on the set of Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.

Scott Wilson:
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning was done on a controlled budget: 11.5 million dollars according to Wikipedia.  Not the most reliable source in the world, but it’s the best I could do.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Perversions of Science: An Interview With Filmmaker John Hyams Part 1

The action genre is currently in a state of emergency.  Major studios now treat action as merely an ingredient in a “four-quadrant filmmaking” recipe.  It’s become a small part of a larger whole, no longer worthy of its own filmic category.  Gone are the simple plots and relatable protagonists of “golden era” classics like ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Lethal Weapon’.  Likewise for set pieces that make any sort of visual sense.  In recent years, the DTV format has become the last bastion of traditional action cinema.  It’s also become a proving ground for untested talent.

Filmmaker John Hyams has chosen to ply his trade in the DTV arena.  He offers a more classical approach, one grounded in the values of 70’s cinema.  He’s revived the ‘Universal Soldier’ brand, turning in its two best entries to date: ‘Universal Soldier: Regeneration’ and ‘Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning.’  The latter turned a good many heads upon release.  I proudly count myself among its admirers.  Mr. Hyams recently shared the details of his creative process with me.  His insights revealed him to be a true renaissance man. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Killer Instinct: An Interview With Comic Book Writer Justin Jordan

Straddling genres can be difficult, regardless of the medium in question.  Truly great hybrids amalgamate the very best elements of two seemingly different worlds.  Such experiments tend to flourish when guided by an especially perceptive mind.  Hence, heretofore unseen parallels between the genres being combined suddenly become glaringly obvious.  Even the most casual observer can spot similarities they’d never considered before.    

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Movie Review: Pacific Rim

The following is a history of things to come.  August 11th, 2013, will come to be known as “K-Day.”  Giant monsters called Kaiju will emerge from the depths of the ocean and lay waste to human civilization.  In reaction to this crisis, the Jeager program was developed.  Jeagers are giant anthropomorphic vehicles that have been properly weaponized to fight the Kaiju.  Each one is manned by a pair of human pilots who share the “neural” load via mindmelding.  The Jeager pilots fight valiantly and turn the tide.  However, each new wave of Kaiju proves more fearsome and destructive than the last.  Eventually, the Jeager program’s effectiveness came into doubt.  However, Jeager Force Commander Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) presses on, as defeat is not an option.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel

Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) is the proverbial “all-American boy.”  He’s a robust yet unassuming young man, raised by farmers in the town of Smallville, Kansas.  However, he possesses extraordinary abilities which belie an otherworldly lineage.  He’s actually one of the last known survivors of the planet Krypton.  Though unaware of his birthright, he’s been secretly using his superhuman powers to serve mankind.  Another group of Kryptonian survivors, led by fiercely militaristic General Zod (Michael Shannon), make their way to earth.  Their invasive intentions require Clark to defend his adopted homeworld.  Thus, an extraterrestrial savior is born.  So begins the age of the Superman. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Endangered Species: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective of ‘Menace II Society’ (Part 10)

In honor of the 20th anniversary of ‘Menace II Society,’ I proudly present this multipart retrospective.  The current chapter is posted below.  To read the previous chapter, please click here.  Thank you, and enjoy!  

Part X: Epilogue

Menace II Society was released on Wednesday, May 26th, 1993.  This gave it an extended five day opening that also included Memorial Day weekend.  Alas, this was also the same frame that Sylvester Stallone decided to launch a comeback.  Cliffhanger was an expensive Die Hard clone that would also be the first summer blockbuster out of the gate.  Surely, a low budget “urban” film didn’t stand a snowballs chance in hell against such a behemoth.   

Monday, May 27, 2013

Endangered Species: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective of ‘Menace II Society’ (Part 9)

In honor of the 20th anniversary of ‘Menace II Society,’ I proudly present this multipart retrospective.  The current chapter is posted below.  To read the previous chapter, please click here.  Thank you, and enjoy! 

Part IX: Gangster Lineage

Menace II Society could easily have been nothing more than a crude example of Cinéma vérité.  Thankfully, Tyger Williams and the Hughes brothers had learned well during their formative years as movie buffs.  In channeling those influences, they applied their respective talents.  Albert clearly absorbed the bravura camera maneuvers of Michael Ballhaus, Director of Photography on Goodfellas.  He’d also inherited Brian De Palma’s sense of visual grandeur.  The aforementioned are all spiritual godfathers to the Hughes brothers.  Those roots run much deeper than many realize. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Endangered Species: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective of ‘Menace II Society’ (Part 8)

In honor of the 20th anniversary of ‘Menace II Society,’ I proudly present this multipart retrospective.  The current chapter is posted below.  To read the previous chapter, please click here.  Thank you, and enjoy! 

Part VIII: Hell Unleashed

Menace II Society had weathered the storm.  It survived post-riot angst, gang rivalries, jilted cast members and a tentative studio.  Now, the film was finally in the can.  It would be shipped out to theater projection rooms across the country.  There would be the usual round of test screenings and press screenings.  However, the real litmus test would the opening weekend.  May 26th, 1993 would be judgment day.  Just what was in store for those who dared purchase a ticket?    

Friday, May 24, 2013

Movie Review: Fast & Furious 6

Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) and Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) are set for life.  The Rio de Janeiro heist has afforded them a very early retirement.  They plan to live out the rest of their days in comfortable anonymity, while the rest of their crew live it up abroad.  Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) descends on this new found paradise like a dark cloud.  However, brings a tempting propostion to Dominic.  International heist master Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and team of specialists have pulled off one brazen and elaborate heist after another.  They are gearing up for their biggest job yet.  Hobbs desperately needs to stop them.  In exchange for Dominic’s help, Hobbs offers him the one thing money can’t buy.  With full tanks full of gasoline and nitrous oxide at the ready, Dom and company rev their engines for another mission.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Endangered Species: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective of ‘Menace II Society’ (Part 7)

In honor of the 20th anniversary of ‘Menace II Society,’ I proudly present this multipart retrospective.  The current chapter is posted below.  To read the previous chapter, please click here.  Thank you, and enjoy! 

Part VII: Makaveli Strikes Back

Filming had commenced on Menace II Society without the participation of Tupac Shakur.  He walked out on the production after a nonsensical dispute with co-director Allen Hughes.  However, he hadn’t formally quit.  He simply instructed Hughes to “call his manager.”  When Allen’s repeated attempts to do so proved fruitless, New Line Cinema gave the rap star the pink slip.  The role was then recast with a different actor.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Endangered Species: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective of ‘Menace II Society’ (Part 6)

In honor of the 20th anniversary of ‘Menace II Society,’ I proudly present this multipart retrospective.  The current chapter is posted below.  To read the previous chapter, please click here.  Thank you, and enjoy! 

Part VI:  Touring The Inferno

Tupac’s melodramatic departure from Menace II Society could have easily shut down the production.  It was his participation that convinced New Line Cinema to give it the green light.  Luckily, they didn’t pull the plug.  Shooting commenced as planned.  However, there was another issue to contend with.  The 1992 riots had left South Central L.A. in shambles.  Nevertheless, it remained a complex labyrinth of gang territories.  The Eastside Grape Street Watts Crips had a direct hand in the truce that immediately preceded the Riots.  Unfortunately, it didn’t apply to everyone.  The Jordan Downs Public housing projects was one of many treacherous locales on the shooting schedule. The Hughes brothers might as well have been filming in the Persian Gulf just after desert storm.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) has officially worn out his welcome.  Starfleet has grown quite weary of his blatant disregard for protocol.  Unfortunately, there are far more pressing matters afoot.  A mysterious new enemy (Benedict Cumberbatch) has declared all-out war on the federation.  Kirk is given clearance to seek out him out and destroy him if necessary.    With the crew of the U.S.S Enterprise in tow, he sets course for the Klingon home world.  Together, they will engage a foe unlike any they have ever faced.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Endangered Species: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective of ‘Menace II Society’ (Part 5)

In honor of the 20th anniversary of ‘Menace II Society,’ I proudly present this multipart retrospective.  The current chapter is posted below.  To read the previous chapter, please click here.  Thank you, and enjoy! 

Chapter V: Gathering the Troops

The Tender Trio had gotten all of their ducks in a row.  They now had a script, a star (in a supporting role), and a studio.  The participation of Tupac Shakur ensured that Menace II Society would be made in conjunction with New Line Cinema.   It was the best deal the trio could hope for at that time.  However, there were early signs of trouble.  Tupac’s erratic behavior was worsening by the day.  The film’s subject matter openly courted controversy.  When word of the project got around, other Black filmmakers tried to sabotage it.  The studio received a number of angry calls.  Though undeterred, New Line was definitely cautious.     

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Endangered Species: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective of ‘Menace II Society’ (Part 4)

In honor of the 20th anniversary of ‘Menace II Society,’ I proudly present this multipart retrospective.  The current chapter is posted below.  To read the previous chapter, please click here.  Thank you, and enjoy! 

Part 4: A Method to the Madness

When Tupac asked Allen Hughes to direct the video for “If My Homie Calls,” the filmmaker was hesitant.  He didn’t much like the track, but he needed Tupac to play the lead in his movie.  New Line Cinema agreed to bankroll Menace II Society with the understanding that a platinum artist would be cast in the lead.  Tupac didn’t have a platinum plaque yet, but his star was certainly rising.  His tour de force performance in Juice was nothing short of a revelation.  He’d also landed a lead role in John Singleton’s sophomore effort, Poetic Justice.  Against his better judgment, Allen took the job.   

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Endangered Species: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective of ‘Menace II Society’ (Part 3)

In honor of the 20th anniversary of ‘Menace II Society,’ I proudly present this multipart retrospective.  The current chapter is posted below.  To read the previous chapter, please click here.  Thank you, and enjoy!   

The screenplay for Menace II Society offered a bold and timely vision of life in the “hood.”  However, America was in no condition to receive such a harsh message.  It was the early 1990’s, and the age of “political correctness” was just getting underway.  Activists and watchdog groups aggressively pushed their respective agendas.  Public schools and workplaces implemented programs that taught “tolerance,” and “cultural diversity.”  The Black consciousness movement in Hip-Hop was reaching ebb tide.  The Fox network became a haven for shows aimed at African American viewers.   Anything not seen as “progressive” in some way would was looked upon harshly.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Endangered Species: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective of ‘Menace II Society’ (Part 2)

In honor of the 20th anniversary of ‘Menace II Society,’ I proudly present this multipart retrospective.  The current chapter is posted below.  To read the previous chapter, please click here.  Thank you, and enjoy!   

Part 2: Countdown To Armageddon

In laying the groundwork for their crime ridden cautionary tale, the “Tender Trio” didn’t need to look very far for inspiration.  They had only to peer out of their living room windows, or play their favorite rap albums.  By 1991, Los Angeles had become a veritable powder keg of social unrest.  The illegal drug operation birthed by “Freeway” Ricky Ross and his Nicaraguan connection had mushroomed into a nationwide epidemic.  Throughout the 1980’s, L.A. gangs morphed into heavily armed militias thanks to the crack trade.  A saturated marketplace soon facilitated their exodus to other areas of the U.S.   This was especially true of L.A.’s two largest Black gangs:  The Bloods and the Crips.  Both organizations were born in the 1970’s, in the wake of the Black power movement.  By the early 1990’s, they’d carved up every square block of South Central L.A. amongst themselves.  Battle lines were drawn in accordance with neighborhood boundaries.  Ordinary civilians became live- in hostages.  The police became just another gang, though one with the backing of city government. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Endangered Species: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective of ‘Menace II Society’ (Part 1)

Part 1: The Tender Trio

There’s nothing more deflating than a revolution that peaks before it can effect real change.  So it was with the Black film renaissance of the early 1990’s.  That resurgence was largely spurred on by the popularity of so-called “hood” movies.  In March of 1991, the Neo-Blaxploitation flick New Jack City roared out of the gate with both guns blazing.  Alarmist ravings from fear mongering media pundits stoked audience curiosity, turning the film into a sizable hit.  In July of that same year, Boyz n the Hood brought some much needed prestige to the emerging subgenre.  It was honored with two Oscar nominations at the 64th Academy Awards.  Seemingly overnight, Hood films had become the order of the day.  In May of 1993, a bold new entry to that rapidly expanding cannon upped the ante to explosive levels.  What it lacked in subtlety, it made up for with menace.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Movie Review: Iron Man 3

Given the outcome of recent events, Tony Starks should be on top of the world.  The Avengers scored a major victory with their inaugural mission.  Surprisingly, the head of Starks industries is now racked with anxiety.  A new threat to national security has emerged in the form of The Mandarin, a colorful terrorist leader with a flair for the theatrical.  He initiates a rash of bombings, the immediate aftermath of which have left little in the way of forensic evidence.  As this crisis continues unabated, scientist Aldrich Killian returns from a self-imposed exile.  Innovations in viral research have not only given him a new lease on life, but have emboldened him.  He now means to take his rightful place on the world stage.  In order to know peace, Tony must once again do simultaneous battle with personal demons, powerful villains, and former colleagues.  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Movie Review: Jurassic Park 3D

John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), CEO of the genetic engineering company InGen, is a true visionary.  Though his reach often far exceeds his grasp, he’s never been one to reign himself in.  One such case is his latest endeavor.  He hopes to create a theme park featuring real dinosaurs.  The geneticists under his employ allow him to realize this dream.  However, a tragic accident involving one of the beasts gives his benefactors pause.  In order to put them at ease, he invites paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill), paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), and attorney Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) to his park.  With their endorsement, things will continue as planned.  Alas, an act of sabotage causes their excursion to take deadly turn.  Suddenly, the island’s prehistoric inhabitants are allowed free range of the park, and all human beings become subject to the laws of a long forgotten age.  

Movie Review: Evil Dead (2013)

Young Mia (Jane Levy) has been caught in the throes of heroin addiction for far too long, and prior attempts to kick the habit have failed miserably.  As part of a self-imposed detoxification process, she retreats to a secluded cabin in the woods.  She’s accompanied by her friends Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci) and Olivia (Jessica Lucas).  Upon arrival, the trio is joined by Mia’s estranged older brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) and his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore).  Things take a horrific turn when the Naturon Demonto (Aka The Necronomicon) is discovered in the cabin’s basement.  Soon after, a malevolent demon is unleashed upon the cabin’s inhabitants.  As the intended intervention turns into a night of unrelenting terror, Mia is forced to fight for her mortal soul.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Album Trailer: Ghostface Killah + Adrian Younge "Twelve Reasons To Die" - Trailer / Tour Dates

Over the past 40 some odd years, many a mainstream filmmaker has paid homage to the beloved B-movie genres of their youth.  Quentin Tarantino has built an entire career on doing so, and been branded a plagiarist for his troubles.  Hip-Hop culture has followed a similar trajectory over that same time period, and garnered similar criticism.  Luckily, like their cinematic counterparts, rappers have not been deterred from their chosen path.  They have always stolen from the best, and will continue to do so.  In fact, they are constantly expanding their repertoire.  The new trailer for 12 Reasons to Die, the upcoming collaborative album from Ghostface Killah and musician Adrian Younge, shows that true artists can find inspiration in just about anything.   

Monday, March 25, 2013

Short Film: Luke's Change: an Inside Job

Just how did Luke Skywalker, a rebel pilot with no formal training or combat experience, manage to single-handedly destroy the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin?  It is a question that has plagued inquiring minds for over 35 years now.  Obi Won Kenobi would have one believe that boy did so by way of the force, that mystical energy field that binds all living things together.  Such thoughts are truly the rantings of crazy old man.  There’s got to something more underhanded, albeit more plausible, afoot.  An investigative journalist chooses to dig a bit deeper.  In doing so, he uncovers the truth behind the single biggest terrorist operation in galactic history.

Music Video: Biting Elbows – ‘Bad Motherfucker (Insane Office Escape Part 2)’

As a group of office workers go about their daily routine, an undercover operative carries out a top secret mission.  After swindling a hi-tech device from a safe, he makes a mad dash for the nearest exit.  Though momentarily grounded by the building’s massive security force, he is able to break free.  Again, he has the finish line in sight.  However, the obstacles in his path have now increased exponentially.  Can he make it out of the gauntlet with the device, and his life, intact?  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Movie Review: Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

Devout family man John (Scott Adkins) is awakened from a peaceful sleep to find armed invaders in his home.  He confronts them in an attempt to protect his family, but is savagely beaten into a coma.  He eventually awakens, only to discover that his wife and young daughter were brutally murdered during the attack.  Plagued by nightmarish flashbacks of the event, he embarks on a mission of vengeance.   Every answer he uncovers along the way only begets a plethora of ever more frightening questions.   His quest ultimately leads into the very heart of a volatile separatist group populated by Unisols (Universal Soldiers).  John may just find the truth that he seeks, but is he equipped to face it?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Movie Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

Political prisoner Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) languishes in a Moscow prison cell, patiently awaiting his day in court.  His only obstacle is the corrupt government official Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov), who constantly pressures him to hand over a secret file.  When such efforts prove fruitless, he resorts to more drastic measures. Elsewhere, Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) suddenly finds himself at the mercy of Moscow’s judicial system.  Half a world away, John McClane (Bruce Willis) learns of his son’s plight and immediately travels to Moscow.  Upon his arrival, both Jack and Yuri sit in a courthouse holding pen.  Before any legal proceedings can begin, the building is bombed.  Jack and Yuri make an escape amidst the chaos.  They are nearly intercepted by the perpetrators of the attack when John intervenes.  The trio then spends the foreseeable future evading capture.  Can John salvage his relationship with his son amidst endless barrages of gunfire?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Strength of Street Knowledge: An Interview with Tariq “King Flex” Nasheed Part 2

In the second half of my two-part interview with Tariq “King Flex” Nasheed (*Click here to read part one), Tariq offers his perspective on ‘Django Unchained,’ as well the way Black Americans are stereotyped in Hollywood films.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Scottscope Talk Radio 2/5/2013: Twilight of the Action Heroes!

This week on Scottscope Talk Radio, we be contemplating the twilight of the 1980’s action heroes!  First, we’ll be reviewing Sly Stallone’s latest, Bullet to the Head.  Does Stallone still have what it takes to headline this kind of film?  Is he past the point where he can carry this kind of movie on his own?  Does it measure up to his best work from the 1980’s, or even to some of his middle tier efforts from that same period?  Does it even hold a candle to some of his more recent efforts, namely the two Expendables films and the fourth Rambo movie?  Are the sensibilities of director Walter Hill antiquated?  Should this have been a DTV release?

The Strength of Street Knowledge: An Interview with Tariq “King Flex” Nasheed Part 1

Anyone familiar with the pimp game knows the old saying, “The game is to be sold, not to be told.”  In keeping with that adage, many self-described “players” have offered their take on “the game.”  They often do so sans the criminally exploitive aspects of that philosophy, so as to better tailor it to the needs of the common man.  That makes perfect sense, as most men have no desire whatsoever to have young ladies walking the “Ho stroll.”  They simply want to attract beautiful women.  They also want to maintain that attraction to the point of achieving a particular goal, be it casual sex or marriage.  Such desires might be base, but they aren’t necessarily sinister.  They have been the driving force behind the “pickup artist” brand of literature. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

You Can Get It If You Really Want: Why ‘The Harder They Come’ Is the Grittiest Spaghetti Western Of All Time

The Western is often thought of as an exclusively American genre, and for good reason.  It is inherently American, and one of this nation’s greatest contributions to world cinema.  That being said, its appeal is universal.  Its popularity has spread to corners far and wide and to parts unknown.  Much of its appeal relates to the mystique of the outlaw.  That mystique is often tied, in one way or another, to class warfare.  This is especially true of countries which have no middle class.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Blood Stained Lapels Prove Truly Prophetic In 'Django Unchained'

Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead!

During his face-off with the conniving house slave Stephen, Django Freeman triumphantly declared himself “That one nigger in ten thousand.”  Indeed, the film’s cartoonish finale proved him to be just that.  Such flamboyant touches have always been a major part of Quentin Tarantino’s oeuvre.  After all, the guy has never been known for his subtlety.  In fact, a friend and colleague of mine very recently pointed out a rather sneaky (and potentially inflammatory) bit of foreshadowing in regards to Django’s self-proclaimed status.  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Scottscope Talk Radio 1/14/2013: 'Zero Dark Thirty' is Upon Us!

On this week’s edition of Scottscope Talk Radio, the roundtable takes aim at Kathryn Bigelow’s latest, Zero Dark Thirty!  Is it as a worthy follow-up to The Hurt Locker?  Is it in the same class as her earlier work, or is it in a totally different class entirely?  Does it truly deserve all of the praise that is currently being heaped upon it?  Will it prevail at this year’s Oscars?  How realistic is it?  Does it accurately portray the hunt for Osama Bin Laden?  Will right-wing pundits dismiss it as yet another piece of Hollywood style left wing propaganda?  Does it actually have any obvious political affiliations?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Playtime on the Plantation: NECA’s ‘Django Unchained’ Action Figures Cause Uproar

Django Unchained seems to be stacking up box office receipts and award nominations in about equal measure.  Far outpacing both, however, is the film’s penchant for controversy.  This time, the merchandising, rather than the film itself, is the problem.  As has long been the standard for films of all kinds, Django Unchained has inspired a line of collectible action figures, courtesy of The National Entertainment Collectibles Association, or NECA.  Each figure bears the name and likeness of its corresponding character. 

Movie Review: The Mercenary (1968)

Paco, a Mexican peasant, is nearly executed for rebelling against his wealthy boss.  Meanwhile, Polish Mercenary Sergei Kowalski is hired to ensure that a small fortune in silver travels safely across the border.  Curly (Jack Palance), learns of Sergei’s mission, and plans on intercepting the silver before it reaches its destination.  However, things take an unexpected turn when Paco and Sergei cross paths.  Sergei agrees to school the Bandito in the ways of the revolutionary, albeit for an exorbitant fee.  This little arrangement soon proves far more expensive than Paco could have ever dreamed.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Movie Review: Zero Dark Thirty

Two years after the September 11th attacks, a young CIA officer named Maya is reassigned to the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan.  Prior to her reassignment, she spent her time collecting intelligence on the terrorist organization and it's leader, Osama Bin Laden.  While in Pakistan, she accompanies fellow officer Dan to a “black site,” where she is exposed to the torturous interrogation tactics imposed on detainees.  Though initially squeamish, her resolve sees her through.  8 years later, after a great many setbacks and close calls, her tireless efforts finally pay off.  The target may have been located.  However, the powers that be will not move forward on the information until they are absolutely sure.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Scottscope Talk Radio 1/8/2013: Anticipation!

This week, Scottscope looks ahead to some of the year's most anticipated movies.  We’ll be discussing many of the big releases, as well as some of the smaller ones.  The massive success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy notwithstanding, will Man of Steel finally break DC’s losing streak at the box office?  Will Pacific Rim outclass the Transformers films?  Will Thor: The Dark World be any better than the first film?  Will Iron Man 3 get that franchise back on track?  Is there any chance of The Last Stand actually being good?  Has the 80’s action hero resurgence finally run its course?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Amazing Attractions: 'The Larry Davis Project' (The Life & Death Of A Bronx Rebel)

On November 19th, 1986, a raiding party consisting of 27 New York City police officers and detectives converged on an apartment building in the Morrisania section of the Bronx.  Their target was Larry Davis, a supposedly violent criminal laying low in his sister’s apartment.  Davis was wanted for questioning in regards to the murders of four suspected drug dealers.  Shortly after the nine-man raiding party entered the domicile, a violent gun battle ensued.  Davis, armed with a 16-gauge sawed-off shotgun and a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, wounded six officers before making his escape.  He then evaded capture for 17 days, ultimately surrendering to authorities after holding a family hostage.  Davis maintained that the NYPD was out to get him because of his intimate knowledge of their corrupt practices, and that the raid was actually an assassination attempt.  Miraculously, he was acquitted of all charges except for weapons possession.  However, he was ultimately charged and convicted of yet another murder.  On February 20th, 2008, while serving out a sentence of 25 years to life at Shawangunk prison, Davis was stabbed to death by another inmate.  

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Movie Review: Django (1966)

Django (Franco Nero) is mysterious drifter who drags a small coffin behind him wherever he goes.  During his travels, he rescues a young beauty named Maria (Loredana Nusciak) from a decidedly cruel fate.  By doing so, he draws the ire of the sadistic Major Jackson (Eduardo Fajardo).  He then adds insult to injury by striking a lucrative deal with General Hugo Rodriguez, a major enemy of Jackson’s.  Having wandered into the middle of a warzone, this violent nomad has chosen a side.  However, he will soon find that true allies are few and far between in the Old West.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Movie Review: The Great Silence

The Great Blizzard of 1899 proves especially cold for the townspeople of Snow Hill, Utah.  The tiny hamlet is surrounded by murderous outlaws who’ve taken refuge in the mountains, or so the local authorities would have the citizenry believe.  These so-called outlaws are merely poor people who’ve been forced to fend for themselves.  To make matters worse, a price has been placed on each of their heads.  The bounty hunters looking to collect are a rather dishonorable bunch, led by a bloodthirsty rogue known only as Loco (Klaus Kinski).  In this snowy wasteland, a gunslinger known as Silence (Jean-Louis Trintignant) proves to be the only salvation for those seeking true justice.  

Spider-Man No More: Lamenting the Death of Peter Benjamin Parker

After 50 years and 700 issues, the man behind Spider-Man‘s mask is now no more.  Last week, on the day after Christmas, Marvel Comics brought Peter Parker’s story to a tragic end.  The 700th issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, which carries a price tag of $7.99, concludes the “Dying Wish” story arc.  It also acts as a series finale.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Righteous Indignation: The Real Story behind Spike Lee’s Bogus Case against ‘Django Unchained’

On December 21st, 2012, Spike Lee threw down the proverbial gauntlet at Quentin Tarantino’s feet for the second time in 15 years.  He’s taken issue with Quentin’s Spaghetti western homage Django Unchained.  It follows the exploits of an ex-slave who becomes a bounty hunter in order to rescue his lady love from the bonds of captivity.  In order to do so, he must square off against an evil plantation owner.