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Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2003!
This week's
La Floridiana
Movie Review
Ashley's Hollywood
Plastic People
Creature's Corner
Splash Page
Matt's Rail
Mike's Rant

On the CF Homepage:
Florida Filmmaker Update

  Number 164  (Vol. 4, No. 20). This edition is for the week of May 12--18, 2003.

Reloading The Matrix

I've gone on record as saying the original "Matrix", while an enjoyable enough romp, is one of the most over-rated movies of all time. I was there. I saw it when it first came out, I saw the varied influences it was derived from, I thought it was a good way to blow a late afternoon, but that's about it. The "philosophy" of computer's dominating humans was, to me, a tired concept even then. Except for the groundbreaking special effects. They were really something, but the plot itself was annoyingly obvious. To me it was all about the special effects. And Keanu Reeves (ugh).

Guess I was in the minority...then again I was very slow getting on board the DVD bullet train, since that's what really catapluted The Matrix into legend (it was basically the very first wide-release, big deal DVD package).

But, I have to admit even I am caught up in "Matrix: Reloaded" fever and have plans to see it Thursday (Conflicting work schedules prevent me attending tonight, Wednesday). A four-star review by our own Michael Smith has whetted my appetite even more.

Will this be one of those sequels that one-ups the original by actually being a better movie?

UPDATE: Friday 5-16-03. Re: MATRIX RELOADED review by Nolan Canova --- Oh my gawd, it was awful!!  Bedpan-shallow "philospophy", the dumb Messiah theme carried over from the first movie, overweight Laurence Fishburne's weirdly detached performance, annoyingly busy and distracting CGI that added nothing to the story, really. For my complete review, please see This Week's Movie Review.

Last Outpost Update
After a series of unfortunate hassles, snags, and incessant delays, the online store of Crazed Fanboy has opened its latest section, "George Streets' Sports and Celebrity Photography"! Pay it a visit. I was a lot of work, I'm learning a lot, and I hope you find something you like. If not now, then eventually, as George uploads more of his portfolio.

I learned that going into business was a little more complicated and time-consuming than I thought, to say nothing of developing complicated web pages, but the store is something I'm really proud of and I think things are working out. And I want to alert everyone, especially those considering distribution here, I am now able to take checks and money orders in addition to the online credit card system. Now that things are settling, I'm very encouraged, and we've already made a sale (yes, a buck from which is stapled to my office wall!). Drop me a line and let's talk. End of shop talk.

There are some really exciting projects being developed for The Outpost, some down the road actually make me giddy. For a brief rundown of what's imminent, visit The Crazed Fanboy homepage, and scroll down to the store's graphic.

The next big section to come will be the long-developed and long-delayed John Petrey's Forbidden Video, of particular interest to collectors. John and I started planning FV late last year, but ran into a few minor problems over approach and safe formatting. I think we've got it covered now, it's just a matter of my completing the directory. I think you'll really like browsing this section.

The World of Nolan update...
Speaking of hassles, snags, and delays, I want to remind everyone The World of Nolan Internet talk show is still on track, and I don't mean to whine, but I'm one man working alone here. The April debut was by necessity pushed to late May, hopefully in time for The Renegade Film Festival. I will be contacting some local filmmakers for field interviews very soon. If I'm real lucky, I'll have a little something on before that.

It is my distinct honor and privilege to wish the original enfant terrible of the PCR, Mr. Terence Nuzum, a Happy 24th Birthday, this coming Monday! (His most royal darkness wants to go on record as objecting to this outward show of affection and attention. He didn't want the date printed graphically, so let's just say it would remind you a lot of the day Star Wars opened!) Regardless, it has been a real joy watching his development as a filmmaker and writer for the past several years, he's been a ton of help to me, and I don't care who knows it. He's currently contemplating a joint project with another Andromeda Society alumnus, and a very controversial Enlightenment is in the works (mums the word on all that for right now).
Many Happy Returns, my boy.

Our own Vinni Blesi of Strange Agents fame has written a new short story he'd like to share with the readers of PCR, and I think it's really cool: http://members.toast.net/woolrich/obs/willim.htm. Give it a try. Another new talent is blossoming in Tampa!

"The Punisher" to film in Tampa! Announced earlier in the week, but I couldn't get the story up in time, please also see the announcements by Andy Lalino in "Letters" and Mike Smith in this week's Rant. Thomas Jane ("Dreamcatcher", "61") stars as the violent Marvel Comics anti-hero The Punisher, and John Travolta stars as chief villain Howard Saint when the production films right here in Tampa this summer!! Not only are they using this location.....we are the location!! Why this distinction? I'm still smarting over the 1993 Burt Reynolds film "Cop And A Half" which filmed in Tampa, but no mention of the city was ever made in the movie. (You could even read "Tampa Police Department" occasionally in the background building where Reynolds' character worked, but the word "Tampa" was never uttered once. As if director Henry Winkler was trying to semi-disguise the location.)
Wisely, the Punisher production team has chosen to ignore the earlier lame Dolph Lundgren film of the same name (1989's "The Punisher"). Just as well since the rest of the fans pretty much did, too.

La Floridiana
This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
La Floridiana Tidbits. The late Doyle E. Conner. Governor Jeb Vader's thwarted plot to destroy the Everglades..... .................Click here for more.

Ashley Lauren's Hollywood
This week's issue
Hollywood by Ashley Lauren

Splash Page
This week's issue
Splash Page by Brandon Jones
"The Matrix", then and now. Where did it come from? The Slush Pile. Reviews --Starman. Batman: Dark Victory One Shots. The latest news on comics, movies, and comics-to-movies!.... ..............Click here for more.

Matt's Rail
This week's issue
Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg
WE'RE A LITTLE LESS "EXPERIENCED"........MASTERS OF HORROR MAGAZINE........ HEY, HEY, WE'RE THE BUCCANEERS........ ..............Click here for more.

Movie Reviewmovie review
This Week's Movie Review:

"The Matrix Reloaded"  reviewed by
Michael Smith
Nolan Canova
Andy Lalino

Mad Matt
This week's issue
Mad Matt's Plastic People by Matt Cerrato
Spawn Toys'
Clive Barker/Todd McFarlane creations!

Creature's Corner
This week's issue
Creature's Corner by John Lewis
The next chapter from the Creature from Clearwater features commentary on Free Comics Day..... ................Click here for more.

Mike's RantMike's Rant
This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
IN THIS WEEK'S ISSUE ....... CONGRATULATIONS ........ HAPPY BIRTHDAY ........ PASSING ON ........A LITTLE MOVIE NEWS ................Click here for more.

Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.
Hi Nolan,
I'm sure you can just imagine how excited the entire cast and crew of FILTHY are to finally get the opportunity to see our production on the big screen. Although, this isn't our "official premiere" we're very grateful to Renegade Films for entering FILTHY in their program. Should be a fun day for us all....lots of great films to enjoy!

Look forward to seeing you there.

Best regards,

Sheri Lawrence

"Stay Focused And Follow Your Dream"

Sheri, a team of wild horses couldn't keep me away from that! I look forward to seeing you all there, too! ---Nolan

Regarding PCR #163 (Vol. 4, No. 19), edition for the week of May 5--11, 2003. Great issue! Liked the new column additions by Brandon & John Lewis, even though Brandon looks like an evil clown in the banner art. (Hmmm....subliminal effect, maybe? LOL, no that's a side-effect of a process I was using to "cartoon-ize" him. Sigh...--N)

Re: "X2". Haven't seen it yet, and enjoyed the review(s) by Mike & Nolan. I collected (Marvel) comic books back in the '70s, and admittedly haven't since, but I am pretty familiar with the X-Men lore. I was glad they finally included my favorite X-Man, Nightcrawler, as part of the cast (he looks like Dungeons & Dragons dark elf "The Drow"). I've heard it's better than the original. The first "X-Men" had some problems, specifically the way they dulled-down Cyclops, the focus on less-than-interesting characters (Rogue, Jane Grey), and miscasting (chisel-chin as Cyclops, Ian McKellan as Magneto).

Seems like they made the same mistake with Cyclops this time around. Weird, since 'Clops was somewhat of a leader of the X-Men, at least back in the '70s. He was a cool character. Give him something to do!

Re: Brandon's "Splash Page". Wow...filmmaker and comic book enthusiast - who'd have thunk it? Enjoyed the write up on "Hulk" #181 (which I do own, heh-heh-heh - I'm rich!).

***Just read in the paper today that Marvel's "The Punisher" is going to be filmed in Tampa! Rock on! Not only that, the film is SET in Tampa! Plus, the screenwriter, Michael French, is from St. Pete.! It stars Thomas ("Dreamcatcher") Jane (a good casting choice) as The Punisher. This promises to be much better than the pathetic 1989 version, which I refuse to see because it has Dolph Lundgren in it. I'm sure you'll be doing a story on this, Nolan.

Re: John Lewis' "Creature's Corner". A welcome return. John obviously knows his stuff (I admire that), the way he gave Sid Haig & "Beyond Atlantis" a reverent write-up. I was surprised that someone besides myself actually knew Haig was in "Jason of Star Command"! I own "Spider Baby" on DVD (signed by Jack Hill!) and Haig is pretty amazing in it. It's good to see him still doing what he does best...playing crazy muthers in horror films after all these years. Isn't "Beyond Atlantis" available on DVD?

Re: Brandon Jones' reply to my letter. You're right, Brandon, as a moviegoer we always have to take the good with the bad. I recall complaining about the state of filmmaking back in the early '80s, which now seems unbelievable compared to the slop that's out there now. It does seem like a lot of fresh, new filmmakers are finally making horror films inspired by the very ones they grew up with, for example Eli Roth's new Evil Dead-like "Cabin Fever", and "28 Days Later". In the latest issue of Rue Morgue magazine, it lists Roth's top 10 movies, JC's "The Thing", "Make Them Die Slowly", and "Dawn of the Dead" among them. Nice to know a young filmmaker can be influenced by someone else than Tarantino and Woody Allen.

I'm off to peruse Matt Drinnenberg's new "Masters of Horror" site...Congrats! Maybe we can trade back issues of FM, Matt?

- Andy Lalino

P.S. The Last Outpost rocks!

Greetings everyone,
I loved Ashley's rundown on the roaring 20's, as I also have strong affections for this period of cinema. (Re: this issue's "Ashley's Hollywood"---Nolan)

Not mentioned in her article were several of my favorite actors of the time, and I wouldn't do my appreciation of the efforts justice without mention a few of them.

Laurel and Hardy: Hard to believe there was a pre-Abbott and Costello, but these guys were it.
Rudolph Valentino: Kids today know who this guy is. Legendary in silent films, his untimely death in '26 is still clouded in mystery.
W.C. Fields: One of the first real smart-asses in hollywood. Wise-cracking and rude. Gee, he could be one of us!
Fay Wray: Yes, there was life before Kong.

and of course, there is the one that just can't go unmentioned....

LON CHANEY SR.: The master himself, who revolutionized the make up industry in hollywood by doing his own thing, creating all his own makeup. Most famous for his Phantom of the Opera, Chaney also brought to life Mr. Wu, the vampire in London After Midnight (which graces FM covers #20 and #69), as well as the first Quasimodo (and most impressive in my opinion) in the original Hunchback of Notre Dame.

I could go on and on. Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Marlene Deitrich.....

Ashley is right on in her assesment of this wonderful era for Hollywood, even with the scandal.

I would love Mike to chime in on this, to hear who his favorite's are. I would imagine most people don't know or care about cinema in the 20's, which is why it's so great someone as young as Ashley does! Nice to see there are some young people out there who have more culture than Barbie or He-Man.

Matthew [Drinnenberg]

To all,
Sorry to keep poking my nose where it doesn't belong, but how on earth can Ashley or anyone write about the '20s and not mention the only other superstar of that era, Lon Chaney (sorry Matt, but I'm not adding in that "Senior" trash. "Junior's" real name was Creighton--and that's that). Chaney and Chaplin had more press than any other silent star of the era and were in fact the first superstars of film. I love the '20s and '30s, but you need to do more research. Take it from me I collect 78s, and can recite the entire plot of London After Midnight.

And sorry to seemingly attack Lalino again but "Cabin Fever" looks like horseshit (Re: Andy Lalino's letter, above.--N).   As for "28 Days Later", I wholeheartedly agree. It looks like the best horror movie since "A Nightmare On Elm Street".
As for up-and-coming filmmakers being inspired only by Woody Allen and Quentin Tarantino, that's crap! I'm only 24, and as an amateur filmmaker myself, I'm inspired by great directors like Werner Herzog, David Lynch, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and (god himself) Stanley Kubrick. As for John Carpenter being an influence, I guess it's better than Satan himself, the hack king, Spielberg. Now there's a name far too many are inspired by. He tries to be artistic and just can't because he's a Hollywood Director. So as for your claim, it should read, "up-and-coming filmmakers that are stupid are inspired by Woody Allen and the king of crap, Tarantino."

Us real filmmakers...no, artists...are more likely to be inspired by German silent films like "The Last Laugh" or "Faust" than "Jackie Brown". Far as I'm concerned the minute anyone that is into film tells me they are inspired by Spielberg, or lord forbid, Scorsese, I simply dismiss their merit. Great movies are the inaccessible ones that take a while to get into, the smart ones.

Which brings me to that walking special effect, "Matrix". Is it just me or does anyone else think it's not cool when people are dressed like Versace models and fly in the air? Lame.

As for Brandon Jones' claim that Matrix is not inspired by a comic, I answer with...um, yes it is. (Re: "Splash Page", this issue.---N) OOOPS!  I mean it ripped off a comic called "The Invisibles", which pre-dates all his references, including "Bound". There are exact scenerios right out of the comic including the basic storyline of a messiah saving us from the "false" reality. Except the comic is deeper, and yes, better. The Matrix films simply make dumb sci-fi fans feel smart.

There, now that I've corrected everyone you can go research all these great facts, directors, and comics, that chances are, you didn't know about. No, please don't thank me.

To Hell with you all,
Terence Nuzum

I appreciate Matt Drinnenberg's compliment to me on my article. I had such a good time writing that article because the era simply fascinates me. Lon Chaney Sr is by far the greatest silent actor ever. The versatility of that man is baffaling to all who watch him. Bebe Daniels, Greta Garbo, Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford are all so timeless that its difficult to think that so many people today have no clue who they are or have no appreciation for the golden age of film. Personally, I'm not sure how I became such a big fan of this era. I love history in general, so that probably had a lot to do with it.

Thank you Matt for your kind words. I am glad that you enjoyed the article.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that.

Ashley Lauren

I have been back in the US for two days, but am still recovering from the time difference in Australia. I spent day 1 in LA and saw THE MATRIX: RELOADED preview at the Mann Chinese Theatre. It was OK. The confusing plotline and exposition loaded dialogue was barely balanced out by the action. The chase scene and the fight scenes, however, were everything you expect from the franchise and so it is worth seeing. It will be great on DVD when you can skip all the boring bits and get to the action.

Talk to you soon. Hope all is well.

Jason L Liquori
Project Manager/Director
Hocus Focus Productions

To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

"Mike's Rant" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2003 by Matthew Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2003 by William Moriaty    This week's movie reviews of "The Matrix: Reloaded" are ©2003 by Michael A. Smith, Nolan Canova, and Andy Lalino for their respective pieces    "Mad Matt's Plastic People" is ©2003 by Matt Cerrato    "Ashley Lauren's Hollywood" is ©2003 by Ashley Lauren Lewis    "Creature's Corner" is ©2003 by John Lewis    "Splash Page" is ©2003 by Brandon Jones    Add'l thanks to Sheri Lawrence, Andy Lalino, Matthew Drinnenberg, Terence Nuzum, Ashley Lauren, and Jason L. Liquori for their input in "Letters"      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of  Nolan B. Canova ©2003; all rights reserved.