Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In Memoriam: Patrick McGoohan

Patrick McGoohan as "The Prisoner"

Where am I?”
“In the Village.”
“What do you want?”
“Whose side are you on?”
“That would be telling…. We want information. Information! INFORMATION!”
“You won’t get it.”
“By hook or by crook, we will.”
“Who are you?”
“The new Number Two.”
“Who is Number One?”
“You are Number Six.”
“I am not a number — I am a free man!”
Patrick McGoohan passed away January 13th. He was best known for his role as Number Six in the psycological/sci-fi spy drama "The Prisoner".  The entire series consisted of only 17 episodes but is a cult classic. Before he passed away McGoohan had paved the way for a new updated Prisoner series. AMC and ITC shot the series and it is due to later this year. 

Aside from the Prisoner, the American born Irish McGoohan did many many T.V. shows in front and behind the camera. He starred in four Columbo movies and was a good friend with Peter Falk.  McGoohan also did movies like Silver Streak and Braveheart. He is known to have turned down the role of James Bond in Dr. No.  MaGoohan's career spanned four decades.

McGoohan is survived by his wife, three daughters and five grandchildren.

In Memoriam: Ricardo Montalban


Ricardo Montalban passed away January 14th. He was 88 years old. Montalban's career spanned 6 decades of movies, theater, and television. Best known as Mr. Roarke on ABC's "Fantasy Island",
Every week on “Fantasy Island,” a fairy tale of wish fulfillment and exotic luxury that was shown on ABC from 1978 to 1984, a planeload of visitors with unachieved dreams flew in to a remote resort somewhere in the Pacific and were greeted by their dream facilitators, the sleek and suavely welcoming Mr. Roarke, played by Mr. Montalbán, and his assistant, an irrepressibly spirited dwarf named Tattoo, played by HervĂ© Villechaize.
I will always remember his big screen performance as Khan in Star Trek II:The Wrath of Khan.

Aside from his acting career, Montalban was also active helping to find meaningful roles for Latino actors.
Although Montalban expressed appreciation for his success, he complained that Hollywood lacked respect for Mexican American actors. He said that while under contract at MGM, he portrayed Cubans, Brazilians and Argentines, but almost never Mexicans.

"Mexican is not a nice-sounding word and Hollywood is at fault for this because we have been portrayed in this ungodly manner," he said. He challenged Hollywood to stop stereotyping Latin actors by casting them only as prostitutes, maids, gang-bangers and bandidos.

Through Nosotros -- "we" in Spanish -- Montalban attempted to highlight and recognize Latino participation in the arts and entertainment. In 1970, the foundation created the Golden Eagle Awards, which annually honors Latino stars, shows and movies.
Sources close to Montalban say he was a spiritual man. He is survived by two daughters, two sons, and six grandchildren.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why Remake A Film

  Okay I know there are dozens of movies that have been remade. And there are dozens of remakes of some films. My question today is why?

Sci-Fi flicks that are remakes today can take advantage of superior special effects technology like War of the Worlds and The Day the Earth Stood Still.  But to really set them apart from the originals they make changes to the plot.

So what excuse does anyone have for remaking a none sci-fi movie?  I ask this because it is said that Jackie Chan has been  chosen to play Mr. Miyagi in a remake of The Karate Kid.  I am sure a lot of people are saying "Wow! Cool! Jackie will be great!" And I ask why? Why remake a film that is undeniably a classic and spawned 3 sequels? What do the producers hope to add besides star power? Jayden Smith, son of Will and Jada, may get the part of Daniel so this version of the movie will not be lacking name recognition. 

Remakes, like sequels have a mixed hit/miss history. Some remakes turn out better than the original, The Omega Man was better than The Last Man on Earth, you decide if I Am Legion was better than Omega Man. Some are worse like Rob Zombie's version of Halloween. Some are so different that they only share a name with the original film like 13 Ghosts.

Kids films are not exempt from the phenomenon. It seems in the last few years they have done remakes of many of old school favorites like  Flubber and the Shaggy Dog(D.A.)  In each case "updating" the story to make it more appealing to today's kids. And if you think that isn't necessary, try getting todays kids to sit through the originals.

So where does that leave us?  I guess the quest for more money will always drive some producer or diredctor to remake an old film.  Often the determination of whether it is "better" than the predecessor is in the eye of the beholder.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite film with a horrible remake? How about a remake favorite that was better than the one before? Let me know in the comments.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

In Memoriam : Eartha Kitt

The world lost a very distinctive voice and an most unique personality Dec 25th. Veteran actress, singer, dancer Eartha Kitt died at 81.

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Through the 1950s and '60s, she performed on stage and television, in films and nightclubs.

Her best-known TV performance was as Catwoman on the '60s series Batman. Her distinctive purr was later featured in the animated film The Emperor's New Groove and the Disney Channel series The Emperor's New School, for which she won Emmy Awards in 2007 and 2008.

The biggest controversy of her career occurred in 1968, when she spoke out against the Vietnam War at a White House luncheon hosted by first lady Lady Bird Johnson.

She was investigated by the FBI and the CIA and subsequently worked almost exclusively overseas. She later returned and, in 1978, was the toast of Broadway performing in Timbuktu.

Just before she died I had downloaded several of her songs including "I Want to Be Evil" I also have a copy of her version of "Santa Baby" which was certified gold last month. Earth Kitt had one child, a daughter Kitt Shapiro from her marriage to John Barry Ryan. Kitt said this of her mother:

"I had the most amazing mother. She was not afraid of dying. She was in pain, but funny right to the end. One of the last things she said when I was talking loudly to her - like you do to a sick person - was: 'I'm dying. I'm not losing my hearing!'
"And she said, 'There won't be a burial. I'll be cremated. I don't want to take up space.'
"My mother had no regrets. She said: 'I have lived an amazing life. I did everything I ever dreamed of.' I was truly, truly blessed to have landed in her lap."

Eartha Kitt had to rise above an early life of abuse and her story is inspiring. I hope that at some point she was able to come to the saving Grace and Knowledge of Jesus. Please pray for her daughter and two grandchildren.

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Eartha Kitt: A triple-threat talent for the ages - USATODAY.com

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

If Magritte Could Photochop


Someone commented that one of my photochopped images reminded him of a Magritte's painting. So I was inspired to do more. I scoured the internet and found images I thought would be easy to manipulate. I never realized how hard it was to remove 90% of a person from a photograph.