Original Munchkin Dies at 89
Farrah Fawcett Reportedly Close to Death
Australia's Giant Spider Invasion
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
R.I.P. Dom Deluise
Just got back from seeing the new Star Trek film (5-8-09), and I must say, despite profound trepidations going in, I was very impressed, even pleasantly surprised.
Since Mike Smith has already given the film's plot set-up in This Week's Movie Review, I'll just say that while I wouldn't rate it above every Trek movie ever made by giving it four stars, it definitely deserves a strong three, maybe three-and-a-half.
It's too hard to discuss the movie in much depth without revealing spoilers, but to allay the fears of fellow Baby Boomers, or latter-day Trek fans who are worried about the producers monkeying around with our beloved continuity, I'll tell the sole reason you should keep an open mind: Leonard Nimoy's Spock has a much greater role than a mere walk-on cameo. His presence anchors the story and makes the reinvention of the now-and-future Trek universe not only stomachable, but acceptable. Maybe even moving. Without him, I likely wouldn't have been so generous, since I went in with a bit of contempt that this whole show was an attempt to close out older fans as a target demographic. OK, well, that's still what's happening, but I don't feel so bad about it.
Casting, acting, effects, pacing are all great. If I had to fault one thing, I didn't much care for the main villain, Nero, played by Eric Bana. He's super-heavy alright, but rather generic-y compared to someone like Khan.
What they've changed from traditional continuity is fairly profound (particularly regarding Spock's history), and I won't go into it until the movie's been out a while, but, to me, script elements buffer the impact of that.
I do recommend the new Star Trek. I didn't anticipate I would, but I do. The original series is still there, it's just lost in space (snark snark).
ORIGINAL MUNCHKIN DIES AT 89
Mickey Carroll, who starred in The Wizard of Oz as one of the munchkins, passed away at the age of 89.
Carroll, who was born Michael Finocchiaro, died just two months short of his 90th birthday, WENN reports.
Carroll left show busness after his stint in The Wizard of Oz.
FARRAH FAWCETT REPORTEDLY CLOSE TO DEATH
Actress, Charlie's Angel, and legendary pin-up model Farrah Fawcett is reportedly close to death. Her long-time companion actor Ryan O'Neal says all her hair is gone due to her cancer treatments which have ended (altho he saved the legendary locks as a memento). She is hooked up to IVs for feeding and made as comfortable as possible.
Fawcett has been battling anal cancer for several years. After several operations and relentless chemotherapy, the cancer has continued to spread.
Despite her goofy appearances on talk shows in recent years, I always thought she was underrated as an actress. She was one of the sexiest to come out of the '70s and her pin-up poster was one of, if not the highest-selling one of all time.
AUSTRALIA'S GIANT SPIDER INVASION
Movie producer Bill Rebane must be getting quite a chuckle over this piece from down under. Rebane was the director of the '70s cult favorite The Giant Spider Invasion.
Seems recent torrential rains have driven large tarantulas from Australia's remote parts into finding their way into the town of Bowen (about 700 miles northwest of Brisbane). Besides being a scary sight all by themselves (they're about the size of a man's palm and they hiss!), these spiders' venom can kill a large dog and render humans very ill.
I didn't see any reports of how the town plans to remedy the situation. Nor did I see reports of Volkswagon-sized spiders, but the situation is still developing.
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
I'm going to keep this short and sweet for the moment because I'm also working on a video review of this film. But here are the high points quickly stated:
X-MEN or X-FILES? And remember Halle Berry's CATWOMAN? What do these things have in common with Wolverine, you ask?
I remember thinking when I was watching Halle Berry's Catwoman ... well, OK, there were actually two things. One, why does this suck so bad, and two, what does this have to do with Batman?
I felt similarly about the latter when I watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine last weekend -- like, this is all fine and well, but what does it have to do with The X-Men? That said, I didn't think Wolverine sucked, but it's not the Wolverine from either the comics or the movies exactly. The main thing tying it in is Hugh Jackman's performance.
Sabretooth is an entirely new guy, for one thing. The backstory is an entirely new history, or virtually so. The first three X-Men movies are pretty much ignored, which is odd since they're only a few years old. And Hugh Jackman was Wolverine in those, too.
OK, this new movie is a great action picture, don't get me wrong! Lots and lots of stuff happening, and if you're not paying too close attention to ideas straying from established continuity you'll probably get a good time out of it.
On the message board someone brought up a very good point that to hold Wolverine against the comics continuity is futile because even Marvel can't keep the origin straight! After all the special editions and re-imaginings, I think that's a point well-taken.
But then all the Superman films didn't really adhere to much that went on in comics past 1970, did they? In the comics, Lex Luthor was an overweight mad businessman only until the '70s, then became more of a super-scientist. Batman fared better with the main points taken basically from Frank Miller's mid-'80s reinventions.
So, why did I bring up The X-Files? No really great reason, except to say the gov't conspiracy angles going back over a century, super-soldier experiments, and underground mad-labs all fit very nicely into The X-Files better than Wolverine although the latter had elements of that in the comics as well. The sci-fi/conspiracy angles in Wolverine I found quite appealing.
I'd recommend X-Men Origins: Wolverine to any non-comics-fan who wants a good time out of a character they really don't remember all that well from the first three X-Men films.
COMEDIAN-ACTOR DOM DELUISE DEAD AT 75
Veteran comedian-actor Dom Deluise died in his sleep at an LA hosptital. He was 75.
Some of his films include "The Twelve Chairs," "Blazing Saddles," "Silent Movie," "History of the World Part I" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights." DeLuise was also the voice of Pizza the Hutt in Brooks' "Star Wars" parody, "Spaceballs." The actor also appeared frequently in films opposite his friend Burt Reynolds. Among them, "The End," "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," 'Smokey and the Bandit II," "The Cannonball Run" and "Cannonball Run II."
Not listed on the sites I visited was a little-remembered TV series from the '70s called "Lotsa Luck", basically an "All in the Family" knock-off where Deluise played an Archie Bunker type.