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Now in our eighth calendar year!
PCR #373  (Vol. 8, No. 20) This edition is for the week of May 14--20, 2007.

The Tampa Film Review for May  by Nolan B. Canova and Chris Woods
"Shrek the Third"  by Mike Smith
Joe D. Casey, R.I.P.  by Mark Terry
George Miller, It's Time to Return to the Road....Tampa Comic Con - May 2007....28 Weeks Later....Local Filmmaker JD Casey Passes....July 2007 Shaping Up to be a Great New Wave Concert Month  by Andy Lalino
Wasn't That--?....Passing On....Technical Glitches, Yeah, That's The Ticket....Whatever Happened To...? Chapter 20: Dennis Franz  by Mike Smith
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Oddservations by Andy Lalino

George Miller, It's Time to Return to the Road
This Oddservations is a long time coming. I was caught off guard while watching the 2006 Academy Awards which revealed to me that the man behind the pixel-powered penguin pitcher "Happy Feet" was none other than George Miller - producer/director of the "Mad Max" movies!

How a director at one stage of his career creates the greatest post-apocalyptic movie ever, and later turns out such flightlessly fowl frolicking frivolity remains a Easter Island-sized mystery to me. That's why I'd like to take this opportunity to implore Mr. Miller (who's beginning to morph into Dominick Dunne) to leave both the penguin pen and Babe barnyard behind. Make like a Beatle and Get Back to Where You Once Belonged.

Now, if Miller's master plan is to fund a new Mad Max movie by coaxing $9.50 out of overextended mommies and daddies, well; I have to admit I have a problem with the method, though the benefits would go for a greater good. I may indeed change my tune if lucky enough to experience Max's return to the barren wastes, but that remains to be seen. Perhaps in light of Mel Gibson's recent personal issues, he may be in a more reasonable frame of mind to man the Interceptor or at least throw enough millions his way so that he has an offer he can't refuse.

One stipulation, however: please do not make Mad Max 4 as bad as MM3, or else I'd rather it not be made.

Yes, Mr. Miller, it's time to venture back to the wastelands and roll around in the salmon-tinged dust. Let the black juice flow back into your veins. Let the Gyro's wind shear careen over your body as it whizzes by.

The bell tolls - your time has come. You once claimed that Mad Max was the last of the V8's.

Toss the tap-dancing penguins, get behind the dusty dash, and act like it.

Tampa Comic Con - May 2007
Kudos to the mighty Nole for an excellent retrospectacle (as Thomas Dolby would phrase it) of the May 2007 Tampa Comic Con. Before I even got my bearings I was scolded by a frothing Mr. Canova for calling him at the exact moment he was leaving with Terence Nuzum. Oops! I guess I'll have to consult my crystal ball to see when he's about to skiptoe out the doorjamb.

Knowing that Nole/Terence were on their way, I made an extraordinary effort to get ready, which paid off, as I arrived about the same time they did, albeit a few minutes later. The con looked to be about the same as other outings. Cool-looking Stormtroopers patrolled the lobby, making sure no harm came to female authors set up nearby, namely Glenda Finklestein and Andrea Dean von Scoyac, though I believe both women are capable of kicking butt when they need to.

After paying my reasonable admission fee of $5, I eagerly transported myself into the dealer's room. Once again, a lot of familiar faces & merchandise. Like MegaCon and F/X, comic book dealers dominated the scene. I knew beforehand that I'd be meeting up with a legion of Crazed Fanboys, and sho' 'nuff, there they were. My first encounters were with cult actor Joel D. Wynkoop, his wife Cathy, and filmmaker Chris Woods. It was good seeing Joel again, and Chris notified me that Shelby McIntyre was on the other end of the hall, taping footage for a future piece on Wynkoop. So, I ventured forth, and ran into Shelby by the celebrity section. It was good catching up with him. I'd heard a lot of good things about the Joe Redner trailer, and I was glad to hear he and Woods are teaming up for future projects.

As I walked around some more, I eventually ran into Nolan, Terence, and later make-up maestro Corey Castellano. It's always good catching up with Nole, and even Terence seemed surprisingly tame. I hadn't seen Corey in a long while and it was good to hear about the projects he's been involved in since our last meet-up.

Later on in the day, Marcus Koch, noted make-up artist, filmmaker ("100 Tears" - coming soon!), and Oingo Boingo fan arrived only to find a whirlwind of confusion as the Crazed Fanboys couldn't decide on a suitable eatery. Luckily, all turned out well as we made our way for a bite at the hotel's cafe called Player's. The original plan was to leave the con for the nearly Durango's steakhouse, but I must say the Player's thing worked out swimmingly. I found the mood to be relaxed and the conversation substantial.

During the munch-fest (cheapo me, I ordered a bottomless Coke) we were joined by an old high school chum of mine: Kyle Howell. I hadn't seen Kyle in years, and it was good to see he was looking fit as ever, as he just joined the army - at age 40! He got through basic training like the best of 'em. Now were that me, I'd be the first one to land face-down in the mud attempting the monkey bars.

Most of the talk revolved around the history of Tampa Bay-based independent filmmaking, most of which was enlightening to me. According to Corey Castellano, the great granddaddy of local horror features was an FMPTA production called "Oliver Twisted", which was reportedly entertaining, but failed to see the light of distribution and has since become a faded memory (time for a reissue on DVD). Marcus Koch provided more historical facts, being that he's been (severed) knee-deep in the scene since the late 1990's. Rick Danford's "Web of Darkness", Tim Ritter, Trabucco/Terry/McIntyre and of course Wynkoop were also highlighted in the mix. Interesting stuff!

After a lengthy lunch, the filmic fiends had to disperse. Kyle joined me in one last jaunt in the dealer's room. I didn't buy anything that day; many of the cover prices, esp. the old horror mags, gave me sticker shock. You know, I just can't delight in paying top dollar for a collectible. It's so much more a thrill for me to find treasures at a garage sale or thrift store for pennies. Over the years I've managed to pick up some good stuff.

I said my farewells to Kyle as he departed, off to California via automobile(!) and then from there a possible assignment to South Korea. Perhaps I'll see him next over Christmas. I rejoined Nole's gang afterwards, where I managed to sneak into Creature Productions' Film Festival for two minutes, catching Glenda Finklestein's trailer for her new feature (based on her book) "Perfect Copy". I also managed to chat with John Lewis (of Creature Productions) for a long while, and was overjoyed to hear he's going to be opening a new comic book store in Largo called "Comics & Critters" next month (June). Also managed to fit in a quick chat with John's daughter and occasional PCR contributor Ashley Lewis. Lisa Ciurro of one of the popular Tampa Bay film blogs also made an appearance, as did actor Gus Perez, there promoting his new feature "Angora".

As we all continued to chat outside the screening room, Nole informed me that William Moriaty and perhaps even Brandon Jones(?) were inside. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stick around and meet up with them. Maybe next con.

28 Weeks Later - Quickie Review + Commentary
Despite the usual mainstream drek of oogling ogres and rancid rats, 2007 has proven to be the most interesting year for genre fair since the late summer/fall of '05 when both "The Devil's Rejects" and Romero's "Land of the Dead" were unleashed. A little over a month since the debut of "Grindhouse" comes what I consider to be a killer zombie movie (and sequel to the 2003 hit): "28 Weeks Later".

Forget the downbeat reviews and perceptions by the Goldenbergs and Reibers, run as if you're being chased by a Rage zombie to the theater and see this flick. It takes the original story foundation and brings it to a whole new, terrifying level. This entry relies less on the artsy-fartsy, and is inspired more by post-apocalyptic city movies, such as "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes".

28 weeks after the devastating Rage virus hits the British Isles, the Brits begin repopulating London under military and scientific observation. Plans go awry as a carrier of the rage virus manages to sneak into the safe zone, reinfecting the city with the horrifying disease. I thought the way the screenwriters wove this tragic storyline into the meat of the plot was very effective, and found the characters fascinating and compelling.

As a Crazed Fanboy who is constantly hungering for good grindhouse/drive-in fare that delivers and hardly ever getting it, I think you'll find "28 Weeks Later" is extremely satisfying in terms of placing the viewer in this post-apocalyptic scenario, complete with inspiration from Romero's "Land of the Dead", "The Crazies", and "Dawn of the Dead". Sure, the special effects are polished and the cinematography/soundtrack dazzling, but I really did feel the filmmakers had their hearts in the right place and truly wanted to make an Armageddon zombie movie as much as they could in the tradition of the 1970's. I could feel the love, and probably could have watched this film all day, screening after screening.

Oh, and Robert Carlyle is God.

My pick for Best Movie of 2007, with "Grindhouse" a runner-up.

Local Filmmaker JD Casey Passes
A visit to the CF message boards revealed to me that Florida filmmaker JD Casey had recently passed away, due to a heart attack - very sad news indeed. Casey was somewhat of a mysterious figure on the local scene. I had heard about him primarily through a friend, actress Sheri Lawrence who had worked with him on his sci-fi effort "We're Coming to Help", and heard nothing but good things about him from both Brinke Stevens and Debbie Rochon. I believe Mark Terry, Rick Danford, Kerry Hogan, and Jason Liquori mentioned they worked with him in the past as well.

I recall, possibly back in '03, researching a bit about the man. He had a website, but no photos of him were published on it. His site gave pretty good info about he and his projects (and came off very blog-like), but I was interested in meeting him in person at some point. That opportunity came on a couple of different occasions, both at local filmmaker meetings.

I have to admit, his physical appearance isn't quite what I expected, and when asking questions he was quite loquacious. But he seemed like a sweetheart of a guy whose heart was in the right place when it came to making indie films, which I'd love to see someday.

July 2007 Shaping Up to be a Great New Wave Concert Month
The Police!

"Oddservations" is ©2007 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.