3D Blu-ray Review “Hercules 3D”

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Aksel Hennie, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal
Director: Brett Ratner
Number of discs: 3
Rated: PG-13 / Unrated
Studio: Paramount
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Running Time: 98 / 101 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
3D: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Even the great get a pass every now and then right? Dwayne Johnson is definitely the kind of Hollywood action films right now but this one is not one of the best. It does get some props for having some pretty epic battles and impressive visuals but it is not a film to me that really screams repeat viewing. When I think of “Hercules”, I think about epic world of gods and monsters but here we get more human war battles. It is not necessarily bad since like I said the action is solid but it is not very memorable either.

Official Premise: Both man and myth, Hercules (Johnson) leads a band of mercenaries to help end a bloody civil war in the land of Thrace and return the rightful king to his throne. A tormented soul from birth, Hercules has the strength of a God but feels the suffering of a human. Unimaginable villains will test the mythical power of Hercules in Director Brett Ratner’s gritty take on one of the most epic action heroes of the ages.

Paramount is releasing “Hercules” in a combo pack with a 3D Blu-ray, standard Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD copy. This release includes bot the theatrical version of the film in both 3D and 2D, as well as an extended cut (but only in 2D) with exciting new action not seen in theaters. I am torn because I liked the film in 3D but the extended cut plays better as a film. The 3D transfer is solid and works great with the visual effects. The film also works in 2D but any epic battle scenes or creature scenes are lacking that extra punch. The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is a huge success and delivers the epic feel of this film very well.

The special features are solid and start with “Brett Ratner and Dwayne Johnson: An Introduction”. There is an audio commentary by director Brett Ratner and producer Beau Flynn on the theatrical version. “Hercules and his Mercenaries” looks into the team assembled for the film. “Weapons!” is a self explanatory extra, which focuses on action scenes and training. “The Bessi Battle” looks at the film’s major action sequence. “The Effects of Hercules” is a look at the film’s visual effects. Lastly there are 15 deleted/extended scenes.


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Win Passes to Advance Orlando, FL Screening for “Into the Storm” [ENDED]

In the Orlando, FL area? Want to see an advance screening of “INTO THE STORM”?  Submit your favorite disaster movie in the comments below or send us an email here and you will be entered for a chance to win tickets. Only one entry per person, per household. Winners will be chosen at random and will be emailed passes on August 4th.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 – 7:00pm

In the span of a single day, the town of Silverton is ravaged by an unprecedented onslaught of tornadoes. The entire town is at the mercy of the erratic and deadly cyclones, even as storm trackers predict the worst is yet to come. Most people seek shelter, while others run towards the vortex, testing how far a storm chaser will go for that once-in-a-lifetime shot. Told through the eyes and lenses of professional storm chasers, thrill-seeking amateurs, and courageous townspeople, ‘Into To The Storm’ throws you directly into the eye of the storm to experience Mother Nature at her most extreme.

Win Passes to Advance Orlando, FL Screening for Dwayne Johnson’s “Hercules” [ENDED]

Click here and enter code below to get tickets for the advance screening below:

Paramount Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures’ film HERCULES, starring Dwayne Johnson, bows on July 25th. Based on Radical Comics’ Hercules by Steve Moore, this ensemble-action film is a revisionist take on the classic myth, HERCULES. The epic action film also stars Golden Globe Winner Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan and Academy Award®-nominee John Hurt.


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Book Review ”The Art and Making of Hercules”

Author: Linda Sunshine
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Harper Design
Release Date: June 17, 2014

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is at the top of his game right now. He has taken over franchises like “Fast & Furious”, “G.I. Joe” and even “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and is still on fire. “Hercules” though doesn’t really look like a great next choice for him. Especially after this January’s very weak “Hercules” entry, people do not really seem to be craving for much more of the legendary hero. If you are unlike me and are looking forward to this film, there are more than 200 photos and drawings in this illustrated companion to this live-action adventure tentpole film

Film Premise: Fate has not been kind to Hercules. The legendary hero-warrior has endured the twelve harsh labors and the loss of his family, and he is now a world-weary mercenary with a loyal band of fighters, all seeking redemption for past misdeeds. In this new adventure, he agrees to help the King of Thrace build an army to fight a tyrannical warlord, then finds himself tested once more when he discovers unexpected treachery and betrayal. But for good to triumph and justice to prevail, Hercules must face the sins of his past—and embrace the hero he once was.

The film itself is quite a large scale film, it was all shot on location in Budapest with actual locations, sets, kingdoms, battles, weapons, warriors etc from the world centuries ago. So this book does go into some of the details of those challenges dealing with the sets, costumes, battle sequences. There storyboards, concept art, commentaries from the cast and crew, and even a few extracts from graphic novel and comic book script. In case you didn’t know this is being based on a graphic novel (I didn’t). So there is definitely some good info here, I just read a lot of art of/making of books and this is definitely not my favorite.

3D Blu-ray Review “The Legend Of Hercules 3D”

Actors: Kellan Lutz, Scott Adkins, Liam Garrigan
Director: Renny Harlin
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Summit Inc/Lionsgate
DVD Release Date: April 29, 2014
Run Time: 98 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
3D: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars

Renny Harlin is quite the well respected action film director having done classics like “Die Hard 2”, “Cliffhanger” and “Deep Blue Sea”. “The Legend of Hercules” is the first of two films focusing on the mythical Greek hero. Unfortunately, this one stars “The Twilight Saga” star Kellan Lutz, which doesn’t really hold its weight against Brett Ratner’s “Hercules”, which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The film takes itself way too serious and fails completely. Luckily there are some decent action scenes but they also feel too dramatic and therefore also laughable. I would wait until this summer if you want to watch a film about Hercules to be honest.

Official Premise: “The Legend Of Hercules follows the mythical Greek hero Hercules, the son of Zeus, who is blessed with extraordinary strength as a half-god, half-man. Banished by his stepfather, the king, Hercules slowly becomes aware of his true origins as the son of Zeus. As he learns to harness his demi-god powers, Hercules gathers an army to fight his way back to his kingdom in this action-filled epic.

Summit/Lionsgate released this film as a combo pack including a 3D and 2D version of the film on one Blu-ray along with an Ultraviolet Digital Copy. What the film does score a near perfect score with its audio and video. I thought the 3D transfer was quite awesome. Since the film is so brainless it leaves room for plenty of fast action scenes which looks quite awesome in the third dimension. From the rain to the fire to the lightning, the depth is there and it added a lot to this film. In fact, I would go as far as to say that without the 3D, I wouldn’t even have been able to finish watching this.

Even though some of the CGI looked a little cheesy, overall the 1080p transfer packed that certain 300” style feel but more on a direct-to-video standard. The real VIP of this release has to be the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, which literally shook my walls. I was very impressed with this track, especially for a film like this. The only special features included here are a short behind-the-scenes featurette “The Making of The Legend of Hercules” and an audio commentary with Kellan Lutz and director Renny Harlin. Although there is talent is on the track, it doesn’t make the film any more watchable unfortunately.

“The Legend of Hercules” Autographed Poster Giveaway [ENDED]

“The Legend of Hercules” is hitting theaters & 3D nationwide on January 10, 2014 and to get ready for its release, Media Mikes would like to giveaway an autographed poster signed by Kellan Lutz. If you would like to enter for your chance to win this poster, please leave us a comment below or send us an email your favorite mythical Greek hero? This giveaway will remain open until January 10th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US only. Each household is only eligible to win ONE Autographed Poster via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

In the epic origin story THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, Kellan Lutz stars as the mythical Greek hero — the son of Zeus, a half-god, half-man blessed with extraordinary strength. Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom. Through harrowing battles and gladiator-arena death matches, Hercules embarks on a legendary odyssey to overthrow the King and restore peace to the land.


Renny Harlin talks about directing “Devil’s Pass” and Hercules 3D”

Renny Harlin holds the distinction of being the most successful filmmaker to ever come out of Finland. Surprisingly (not because they weren’t famous but because I didn’t know they were from Finland), right behind him in popularity are two actors: 50’s horror film hostess and star of “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” Vampira and George Gaynes, probably best known as Commandant Lassard from the “Police Academy” films and the adoptive guardian of TV’s “Punky Brewster.”

Harlin rocketed to fame when he went behind the camera on “A Nightmare on Elmstreet 4: The Dream Master.” Impressed by the word of mouth on the picture, producer Joel Silver hired him to direct “Die Hard 2.” He followed these films up with such popular films as “The Adventures of Ford Fairlaine,” “Cutthroat Island,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” Cliffhanger” and “Deep Blue Sea.”

In preparation for the release of his latest project, “Devil’s Pass,” which follows the journey of five filmmakers investigating the real life mysterious deaths of nine skiers in the late 1950s, Harlin took time out to talk about his new film, his upcoming “Hercules” project and the incredible fact that Andrew Dice Clay could be an Oscar nominee this year!

Mike Smith: Before we begin I have to tell you that I think “Ford Fairlaine” is one of the most underrated comedies ever made.
Renny Harlin: Awesome! When I go to a bar in New York, or even in the middle of the country, if people somehow find out I directed “Ford Fairlaine” it’s always free drinks for the whole night.

MS: Nice. Now they’re talking about “Dice” Clay being an Oscar nominee for “Blue Jasmine.”
RH: That would be the most awesome thing ever!

MS: How did you come to direct and produce “Devil’s Pass?”
RH: It was an incident that I had been interested in for many years. I had read about it and had seen a couple of documentaries about it. And I thought to myself, “wow…what a weird mystery to occur in our lifetime.” Because still today nobody knows what really happened. With all of the evidence…I’ve been through the archives and have seen the photographs. With everything they have nobody still knows what happened. I always thought that it would make an interesting movie. And I found that by doing it as a “found footage” film I could find an angle where the movie takes place in today’s world while referencing what really happened.

MS: How much research were you able to do on the actual incident?
RS: I went through the archives. I spoke to people that had either been part of the rescue team or had had a connection to the people that disappeared. Everything I could find to read and watch I did. I feel like I was able to learn a lot and put a lot of that research into the film.

MS: What was it like to return two decades later to the same mountains where you had filmed “Cliffhanger?”
RH: It was like going home. I really love the challenge of filming in a natural environment. It’s great to shoot on a soundstage. It’s very controlled. But there’s nothing like putting the cast and crew in an extreme situation. And in this case it was in the darkest and deepest part of Russia in a tiny town called Kirov. There claim to fame is in the mining industry and that they have the northern-most prison in Russia. The people that live there are either miners or relatives of prisoners. So you know it’s not exactly the most uplifting place! (laughs) Then you figure in that it’s above the Arctic Circle…that’s it’s dark most of the year…that nine months of the year there is snow on the ground. When we were there it was constant sub-zero temperatures and 20 feet of snow. Many of the locations were only accessible by snow mobiles. It adds to the authenticity of the film and it adds to the experience of the crew and cast. Just like the characters in the story, every day is about survival. And I love that. I love being in those conditions and making a movie.

MS: Being, as you were, at the mercy of Mother Nature, how difficult was it to film the avalanche scene?
RH: That was one of the hardest sequences. We were filming in an area that was really “avalanche prone.” We were told by our mountain guides that every year several people perish in avalanches. We were told to be careful. Everything filmed on the mountains was filmed at night and it took a while to get the filming done. The mountain was the star as we only had a couple of hours to film each day. But we did it together.

MS: Was that the biggest challenge of filming?
RH: I would say that, in terms of preparation, that was certainly the biggest. There were certainly many other challenges. And if someone complained I’d say to them, “Hey…when was the last time you were able to hang around in a place like this?” People would pay a lot of money to be able to see what we see. This is something really unique.

MS: Finally, can you give a quick update on “Hercules 3D?”
RH: I’d be very happy to give an update! I’m sitting right now in the editing bay. We finished shooting about a month ago and I’m about six weeks away from delivering my director’s cut. It’s looking fantastic. This is really my dream project come true…it’s like a childhood dream. When I was growing up I would watch movies like “Ben Hur” and “Spartacus.” I grew up with an amazing love and knowledge of Greek mythology. To be able to do an epic movie like this…Hercules is really the father of the comic book movie. It’s really my return to those kind of movies.

“Devil’s Pass” is in select theaters on August 23rd and same day also available on Cable VOD, digital platforms (including SundanceNow and iTunes).

Interview with Gary Daniels

When you think of actions movies, you should be thinking about Gary Daniels.  He recently co-starred along side Sylvester Stallone in “The Expendables” and Wesley Snipes in “Game of Death”.  Gary took a few minutes to chat with Movie Mikes about working on his films and what he has planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us how it working with Sylvester Stallone both acting and directing in “The Expendables”?
Gary Daniels: As you can imagine I was kinda excited at the prospect of working with the writer/creator of “Rocky” and the star of “Rambo” and I have to say working with Stallone didn’t disappoint . The man has an incredible energy, whether working out in the gym with him or working on set…the man is full of energy. He is constantly in motion but is very focused.  He knows what he wants, has a clear vision and knows how to get it. As an actor it instills confidence in you when your director is clear about what h e wants and how to go about achieving that result. He is a very intense director but I found him to be very open minded when I had any kind of suggestions about the blocking or the character. I found him to be very inspirational.

MG: What was the most difficult task of working on “The Expendables”?
GD: There wasn’t too much that was difficult about working on “The Expendables”, I have done quite a few action movies now. For me, as someone that has done leads and is used to having a lot of say in the choreography and direction of my fights, I would say the most difficult thing was not having any input in those areas.

MG: Tell us about working on the film “Game of Death”, does Wesley Snipes still have game?
GD: I was hired on “Game of Death” kinda last minute and the script was being re-written as we were shooting…which presented its own challenges. I wasn’t about to turn down the opportunity to work with Wesley Snipes, but I didn’t get to play the character of Zander the way I would have liked to.  But part of being an actor is being mailable and being able to accept direction, so I always give 100% regardless. It’s always fun playing the bad guy, especially one as ruthless as Zander. Plus its always educational when you have a chance to work with such experienced actors as Robert Davi and Wesley Snipes. Wesley was obviously going through turmoil in his life at the time we were shooting, so whether he bought his A game to the film or not I will let the viewers judge for themselves. He is obviously a talented individual or he wouldn’t have reached such heights in his career.

MG: You reunited with “Expendables” cast Eric Roberts and Steve Austin, in “Hunt to Kill”, tell us about working working on that film and with them again?
GD: Most of my scenes in “The Expendables” were with Steve and Eric, so we spent a lot of time together.  They are both very down to earth and funny guys, so we had a blast together. It was Steve that called me and asked me to work on “Hunt to Kill”, so it was an easy choice to say “Yes”. I didn’t have any scenes with Eric in “Hunt to Kill” but was with Steve most of the time. For a bloke that looks so big and intimidating he is one of the nicest guys you can hope to work with on and off the set. On this film I got to choreograph and shoot a fight between us. It is always a challenge to choreograph for the different kinds of athletes, actors, martial artists that you work with in films and this was no different trying to highlight both of our strengths as we are obviously from very different backgrounds.

MG: How was it working with Steven Seagal in “Submerged”, any cool set stories?
GD: ‘Submerged’ was not one of my favourite experiences, my character was originally very pivotal , but Mr Seagal had other ideas and in the end.  They might as well of hired a stuntman to play the role as all the dialogue and relationship between his and my character was cut. Well every actor has their own vision for their films and being the star of the film you will usually get your way so for me I just get on with it and do the best I can under the given circumstances. Actually most of the cast and crew were from England,  so we all had a blast on and off the set. Nuff said!

MG: Tell us about playing Kenshirô in “Fist of the North Star” and working with Tony Randel?
GD: I was a fan of the anime before I was asked to do the film. So I knew it was gonna be very difficult to translate the anime to live action, especially back in 94 before CGI had been so developed. But I loved the character that I wasn’t about to turn it down. The first challenge for me was the physical one, Kenshiro (like most anime characters) has an awsome, huge physique. So I began a regime of training lifting heavier weights than I had worked with before and went from 180 to 192 lbs. Trouble is we were working such long hours during the summer in a sweltering sound stage with no air conditioning, that as the shoot progressed I slowly lost all that weight as I couldnt get in the gym to maintain. I think Tony had a good vision for the film but he certainly wasn’t into martial arts and didn’t like to shoot the fights. He felt the heart of the story was the love triangle between Kenshiro, Shin and Julia and that by focusing on that it would elevate the film above being a mere ‘martial arts’ film. Personally I think the fans wanted to see Kenshiro kicking ass. Again different visions, but overall I like the film and the way it turned out. The trouble when making an adaptation of an anime or video game is that you have to try to make a film that appeases the hardcore fans but also makes sense to viewers that have no idea about the original source material…not easy.

MG: What has been the most difficult film that you have work on to date?
GD: Every film presents its own challenges. Coming from a martial arts background my hardest challenge is trying to convince producers/directors to take me seriously as an actor so sometimes I end up trying too hard. Then when I choreograph action its tough getting the powers that be to let me control how it is shot and edited. When I do the lead in smaller films, I  wish I could work on bigger films that get more exposure. When you get on bigger films but playing smaller roles,  I miss being involved in the film making process.  The grass is always greener on the other side. Some films you get along with everybody but some there is a clash with other cast members, as I say every film presents their own challenges.

MG: Tell us about some of your upcoming projects?
GD: I just spent three months in Thailand working on the 1st two parts of a trilogy , “The Mark – Light 777” and “The Mark – Bangkok Rising” with Craig Scheffer and Eric Roberts…yes Eric again. The 3rd part will be shot in Europe this summer. Next up will be the lead in a MMA project called “Forced to Fight”. I am also waiting to hear on a bigger project that goes this summer but its not locked so I don’t wanna say too much right now. I am training hard and reading scripts ,so as always in this business the future is never easy to plan.

Interview with Corey Feldman

Corey Feldman started his career with “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter” (1984), “Gremlins” (1984), “The Goonies” (1985), “The Burbs” (1989), “Stand By Me” (1986) and “The Lost Boys” (1987). The duo of Feldman and Haim became known as The Two Coreys. Together they went on to also star in “License to Drive” (1988) and “Dream a Little Dream” (1989) together. Since then Corey has starred in numerous movies and is currently on tour with his band Truth Movement. Movie Mikes had the chance to talk to Corey during a break on his tour about his band, his movies, the lost of Corey Haim and what lies ahead for the future.

Click here to purchase Corey’s movies

Mike Gencarelli: You’re currently on the road with your band, Truth Movement. Tell me about the tour.
Corey Feldman: It’s a very exciting tour for us…certainly the biggest tour we’ve ever done on many aspects. From a production standpoint…from the size of the venues we’re playing. The sheer size of the tour that we’ve mounted is pretty incredible. It’s very interesting because we’re doing a range of shows. From small, intimate settings…for example we just did a show in Akron, Ohio, which was one of the smallest venue’s I’ve ever played. It was like the Beatles playing Sullivan years ago…just a little cave of a place. But it was great. The place was packed. And it helped create a certain magic with the crowd. And then we’ll be doing the “Goonies” event. I have no idea how many people will be there for the concert. They’re estimating anywhere from eight to ten thousand people. So there’s a large range in what we’re playing and who we’re playing to. But at the end of the day it’s very exciting because we’re very proud of this album. Musically we feel it’s our greatest achievement. And I feel, as an artist, that it’s my greatest achievement in the music world. It’s a great collaboration of a great many talents. The band is fantastically talented. Their great musicians. And we got some help from a couple guys from Pink Floyd in putting the album together. They’ve come out with us and done a show or two. They may do the “Goonies” show but I’m not sure because they have “The Wall” tour coming up. But we’re trying to steal them away from Roger Waters (laughs) so we’ll see how that goes.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell me how Pink Floyd has inspired your music?
Corey Feldman: I have many influences in my musical palate. Starting from the very early days with Elvis Presley…lots of 50’s rock and roll…Little Richard…Bill Haley and the Comets…moving up to the Beatles, which really were the most profound influence in my life. And then going into Michael Jackson, which then motivated the pop side in me. It wasn’t until later in life that I actually discovered Pink Floyd. And once I discovered them….they kind of took all of those elements and managed to capture them all in one sound…a very specific sound…which took things to a higher level. Pink Floyd’s music is much more than just music. It delivers a very strong, potent message. And in my writing I try to emulate the importance of the message that’s being told in the song. Not just from a lyrical standpoint but from a melodic standpoint. Our albums tell a story. They have a beginning and a middle and an end. And hopefully some sort of point by the end of it all. And that’s basically what we do. We create the album live every night. We play it in its entirety. We’re assisted by a video show…a very elaborate stage show that includes lasers…different costumes. All sorts of things. We’re very lucky to have the people we do doing the work. And we were able to master the album on the same exact board that “Dark Side of the Moon” was mastered on down in the basement of Capitol Records. The first single was a song I co-wrote called “Green is the Color,” which is about the environment. And to follow up on the words we actually made the album the most environmentally friendly album ever made. It’s biodegradable…recyclable. The ink that was used to print it was made out of soy ink. We really went the extra mile…spent the extra money…to make sure that we walked the walk and not just talked the talk. And we went even further by sponsoring “Off the Grid” shows. We brought in our own source of fuel…biodegradable generators…to the Universal City Walk last year. We managed to do the first ever show at Universal City Walk at Universal Studios in Hollywood completely run by alternative energy. It was amazing. We were really excited about that. And now it looks as if we’re going to do it again for the “Goonies” 25th anniversary. So now it’s not just an exciting event because of the 25 year landmark for shooting “Goonies” but it’s also going to be an exciting event because it’s going to be, certainly, the largest “alternative” event ever to happen in the state of Oregon as a whole.

Mike Gencarelli: I see that the last stop on your tour is Santa Cruz, where “ Lost Boys” was shot. Are you looking forward to returning?
Corey Feldman: The exciting thing for me about this tour is the fact that this is a historical landmark tour. We’re playing many stops on this tour that are meaningful to my childhood. Last night we played Toledo, Ohio, which is where my family originated from. I got to play for my whole family, which was really nice. And before the “Goonies” event we’re playing Eugene, Oregon, which is where I shot “Stand By Me.” I’ve never returned there…never played there with my band…so that’s going to be an exciting event. Then there’s the “Goonies” event, which is historical because I’ve never played there with the band. In fact, I’ve only been back there once since the filming. And that, of course, leads up to the Santa Cruz boardwalk show, which actually isn’t the last stop on the tour. It’s the last stop on the first wave. We’re actually going on through October. But Santa Cruz is going to be monumental as well. It’s going to be very exciting to be out there on the boardwalk where we shot the film. We’re going to be playing the movie on a giant screen either before or after the concert. And I also think it will serve as a sort of memorial to Corey Haim as well.

MG: How have you been coping with Corey’s passing?
CF: I’ll tell you something, being on the road sure takes your mind off things. You really don’t have much time to focus on anything except getting unloaded…getting everything set up…doing your show…meeting everybody after the show…getting everything loaded back up…heading for the next city. It’s just so much. Plus doing these interviews in between. It becomes a 24 hour job. So fortunately it takes your mind off other things. Unfortunately it makes it a lot harder to communicate with your family. I haven’t been able to talk to my son too much since I’ve been out here. I haven’t seen him in a couple of weeks. It’s been rough. The hardest part of it has been being away from my son. In general I’m doing ok. I can’t say that it’s been the greatest chapter of my life. Honestly, this last year has been the hardest year of my life. I was supposed to do this tour a year ago and I ended up having to cancel the whole tour because it was one thing after another. I lost so many people in a row that were close to me. And then I went to Africa to shoot “Lost Boys” for two months. I came back and we lost Corey right after we finished. It’s just been one thing on top of another. And when I finally got a couple months past Corey’s death I said “now we can go out.” Because there was really nothing holding me back. It’s a bit remorseful but it’s also a bit celebratory. We get such a tremendous outpouring from the fans. Such a crazy, incredible response from people spreading their love and shining their love. And I think this is an opportunity to see each other face to face and kind of mourn together. I think there’s a big part of that going on with this tour.

MG: You actually mentioned “Lost Boys 3,” but I have a question about part 2. How was it returning to the role of Edgar Frog after all those years?
CF: I loved it. It was so much fun. And I think as well done as part 2 was we did a lot better with part 3.

MG: What can you tell us about part 3?
CF: The one thing I didn’t like about the second film was that I was kind of in the trenches by myself. Edgar kept popping in every once in a while and it felt odd to me. It felt like one of those movies where they couldn’t get it right. So the only way I was going to return for part 3…if you remember I had it in my contract that Corey (Haim) had to be in the sequel as well and Warner Brothers kept their word, they shot some sequences with Corey. But because of the problems we had with Corey at the time, it wasn’t usable. It wasn’t their fault. It was just what it was. Corey wasn’t able, at that point in his life, to deliver what we needed. So those parts were cut from the film and put in with the deleted scenes. And those scenes were done as pickups. When you see Corey and Jamison (Newlander, who was cast as Alan Frog) their shots were pick ups, they weren’t in the same scene with me. And I felt isolated. It was like I was carrying this torch. But this time around, Jamison IS in the film and it IS the return of the Frog brothers. And even though we didn’t get to have Corey in this film a reference is made to his character…where he is and what’s going on with him…and it really feels like a continuation of the first film as opposed to a completely separate chapter.

MG: You’ve mentioned that this year marks the 25th Anniversary of “The Goonies” and that your tour is actually making a stop at the location where it was filmed. Looking back can you reflect on your role in the movie?
CF: It was a lot of fun for me. What a great opportunity to be able to work with a group of genius people like Steven Spielberg and Richard Donner. And such a great collaboration of cast members. A great ensemble. Everybody has gone on to achieve many things. We were very, very fortunate and I was very excited to play that role. I remember the day that I got the job I was jumping up and down and screaming. It was like the greatest day of my life. So many great things came from that movie. That movie was such an important centerpiece in the development of my life and my career and it’s never died…never say die! That’s the truth. Literally. I could be playing the biggest concert hall in the world and I can hear people yelling “Hey you guys!” during intermission or in between songs. The fact that it crosses so many generations…I have so many five year old kids coming up to me with stars in their eyes because they’ve watched me in “Goonies.” Literally yesterday when I was in my hometown of Toledo playing for my family…they brought lots of kids. And there was a cousin that I’d never met…a fourth generation cousin. And they idolize me. “Oh my God it’s Corey!” And another cousin says “do you know you exactly the same as you did in the movie? How is that possible?” And I said, well, I’ve got hair on my face now. He said, “yeah, yeah that’s true. But you look exactly the same!” So it’s great to have these young fans. On the other side, when we were in Detroit, there was a woman who must have been 65 years old standing in the front row and rocking out the whole time. It’s amazing the generations I’ve been able to cross

MG: What are your plans after the tour?
CF: The tour ends right when “Lost Boys 3” is being released. So we’re going to tour until the film comes out and then I’ll take a break for the holidays. I’ll certainly be due one, that’s for sure. I think the plan is to take the tour international at some point. I’d like to stay with this for the next year or two. I’m also planning and developing a much bigger “green” event which I really can’t go into too much now because it’s kind of under wraps. But the master plan is to create a “green” festival, which we’re working on. And of course I’m going to try and throw some films in there as well but I can’t talk about those yet. (laughs)

Goonies 25th Anniversary Artwork by: Joal Morris Illustrations of Astoria

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Interview with Vincenzo Natali

“Wow!” If I truly transcribed my interview with “Splice” director Vincenzo Natali properly, each of my questions would have been preceded with the word “Wow!” Almost every question opened up the possibility in my mind that what I saw on screen in “Splice” may very soon one day be a reality. With “Splice” scheduled to open this Friday, Mr. Natali sat down with MovieMikes and talked about his new film, what inspired him and his one day plans for the Swamp Thing.

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Michael Smith: Where did the idea for the film come from?
Vincenzo Natali: It actually came from a real M.I.T (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) experiment. I saw a photograph of a thing called the Vacanti Mouse. It was a mouse that appeared to have a human ear growing out of its back.

Michael Smith: Oh wow!
Vincenzo Natali: It was quite a shocking image. It wasn’t a genetic experiment…it just looked like one. And I immediately felt that, somewhere in that mouse there was a movie. And that’s how it began. And I have to say that on almost a weekly basis I read about developments that echo our film. Just today I read that Craig Venter, who is your prototypical rock and roll geneticist, has created the first completely artificial life form. It’s pretty amazing.

Mike Smith: Is Venter the basis for Adrien Brody’s character? I noticed in the film that, while most of the scientists were very stoic and wore white coats, Clive (Brody’s character) had the cool apartment…the cool t-shirts.
Vincenzo Natali: Venter is actually an older guy. But, yeah, when I first read about him…I felt justified in how I was writing Clive. I intuitively felt that, when my generation gets involved in this stuff, that’s what they’re going to be like. And that was later confirmed when I went to real labs…the mean age of the people working in the labs was around thirty. There were quite a few Clives and Elsas (Sarah Polley’s character in the film, also a geneticist). They were really great people (laughs). I really liked them.

MS: I’m sure you had technical advisers on the film for a lot of the scientific stuff. Did any of them ever tell you, “Wow, you know, what you’ve conceived here can, or might, one day be a possibility?
VN: Yeah. You know, I co-wrote the script (with Antoinette Terry Bryant and Doug Taylor), but we did it in consultation with a geneticist. We would present him with ideas and, what was really shocking to me, was that he would invariably say, “yes, that’s possible.” So what I learned is that there’s a pretty wide bandwidth between what is possible in this science. And so there is nothing in “Splice” that is completely beyond the pale of possibility. Now some of it might be unlikely. Some of it may not quite be possible yet. But there is no doubt in my mind that they’re getting very close.

MS: Where did you get your inspiration for the story of your film “Cube?”
VN: I would love to say that it was some divine inspiration (laughs) but it just came out of the fact that I was trying to make a low budget movie on one set. I knew that it would be hard for me, as a filmmaker, to do a movie like “My Dinner With Andre” … that’s the kind of movie most attempt to do with a limited location. And it suddenly occurred to me, what if one set could double as many? And that led me to think of a maze of identical rooms. And then I thought it should be a symmetrical maze and, therefore, a cube. So really, necessity was the mother of invention in the case of “Cube.”

MS: How did you come up with the concept…with the look…of DREN? Did you intend her to have, say, the certain traits of one creature and then different traits of another?
VN: I always thought DREN should be a genetically engineered angel. And I was really fascinated with the thought that…you know, the concept of animal hybrids and animal/human hybrids. These have been a staple of mythology that transcends all borders and cultures. And now here we are in the 21st Century on the cusp of actually making these animals with new technology. So I really felt that DREN should have her roots in myth. And even though she wouldn’t be a typical kind of angel, there would be certain aspects of those mythical beings. But, having said that, the number one priority for myself and all of the designers and effects artists involved in the creation of DREN was to make her real. We really wanted a creature on-screen that an audience can believe.

MS: Well it sure worked for me!
VN: (laughs)

MS: Was there any scenes shot that gave a back story to Elsa? I take it from the scenes that are in the film that Elsa had a very negligent mother…she wasn’t loved, she wasn’t appreciated. Which is why I think she really overdoes the nurturing of DREN.
VN: That’s exactly right. We flirted with the idea of having more of Elsa’s background but at the end of the day our fear was that it would be over the top. It would just be maudlin and melodramatic. So we sided with the idea that less is more. Because all you need to know is that she had an unhappy childhood and that her mother was a very bad mother. Beyond that we just leave it to the audience to draw their own conclusions.

(I mention a particular scene in the film – no sense spoiling it for you)

VN: That’s really all you need to know.

MS: Is it true that you are remaking “Swamp Thing” in 3D?
VN: No, not yet. I wish that were the case unfortunately. I’ve done a lot of research on this and “Swamp Thing” is really in the swamp! (laughs) A legal swamp…a legal quagmire. There are all kinds of entities involved in controlling the rights and I’ve been told it just can’t happen anytime soon. So sadly we’ll have to wait for “Swamp Thing.” I loved that comic book…in particular I liked the Alan Moore take on “Swamp Thing” which is really very different than what Wes Craven did with his film. It would have been something really new and cool. But I think we’ll have to wait a little while.

MS: Speaking of Wes Craven, and I have to say that I almost consider “Splice” more of a horror film than a fantasy film, did you have anyone who really inspired you when you were younger and going to the movies?
VN: Many. When we talk about creatures I immediately think of Ray Harryhausen…a great animator who did all of the “Sinbad” films…all of the stop-motion monsters in (the original) “Clash of the Titans.” I thought his creatures really “humanized” the monster…they were creatures that had character. He clearly was a filmmaker who had tremendous empathy for these things. And that was really the guiding principal with writing DREN…that she be a character who would, in many respects, demonstrate more humanity then the human beings in the story. Ray Harryhausen would definitely be at the top of the list.

MS: That’s a great start to the list. Since “Swamp Thing” is not an option right now, do you have anything else in the pipeline?
VN: Well, you know you have to scatter a lot of seeds these days when trying to get a movie made. It’s always a challenge. What I have, actually, are all book adaptations. There’s a J.G. Ballard novel I very much want to make called “High Rise.” I’ve been working on it for a number of years. It’s about a super high rise, very much like the Burj in Dubai…the world’s tallest building. It’s about how the building, which is almost like a vertical city…populated with a vertically integrated society, which then collapses. I consider it a “social-disaster” film. It’s really an amazing story. There’s also a kids book I’m working on called “Tunnels,” which is kind of a fantasy that takes place under the streets of London. And then, recently, I believe I’ve got my hands on “Neuromancer,” the William Gibson novel. Which is really one of the greatest works of science fiction…in my opinion one of the most influential science fiction novels of the last 25 years. It’s pretty exciting.

MS: Thank you so much for your time. I hope “Splice” finds it’s audience. I hope it doesn’t get lost in the summer shuffle. It’s that rare movie that…it draws you in…it excites you. And when it’s over and you’re leaving the theatre it makes you think. And that’s certainly a rarity these days.
VN: Wow. That’s high praise. Thank you so much. I really appreciate that.

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