Maitland McDonagh


When Animals Attack, Gill Men and More

Oliver Driver in Black Sheep courtesy IFC First Take

Ask FlickChick When movie animals attack gill men and more movie questionsQuestion I just saw that theres a movie about killer sheep being released on DVD Is it some kind of joke or is it serious I started wondering about other horror movies with animal killers but after the one about the killer rabbits I couldnt come up with any others Can you Carlos FlickChick First the movie youre talking about is the New Zealand-made Black Sheep 2006 and its neither entirely serious nor seriously joking Hard though it may be to believe its really clever occasionally very funny and gets in a couple of genuine scare sequences And really are killer sheep so much sillier than killer birds Not eagles and hawks and other major winged predators but finches and seagulls and other run-of-the-mill birds theyre the villains in The Birds 1963 and while its not one of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock films its generally well regardedThe ridiculous rabbit film y read more

DVD Tuesday: Subway Nightmares — The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

The Taking of Pelham One Two Three DVD art courtesy MGM Home Video

So Denzel Washington is starring in a remake of The Taking of Pelham One Two Three 1974 for director Tony Scott with a new screenplay by David Koepp Now Washington and Koepp are very talented and Scott can get a movie made but among movies in no need of remaking The Taking of Pelham One Two Three ranks high on the list So this weeks DVD Tuesday is dedicated to the original in all its grimy gloryHow do you steal a New York City subway train Former movie publicist Morton Freedgood figured out a way and his 1973 novel written under the pseudonym John Godey was snapped up before publication and immediately put into production under director Joseph Sargent and screenwriter Peter Stone Needless to say city officials and representatives of the Metropolitan Transit Authority werent wild about the story of four identically dressed hijackers hiding behind color-coded nicknames whats betting this is where Quentin Tarantino connoisseur of all things down and dirty got read more

Jesse James, Inspector Clouseau and More Movie Questions

Brad Pitt in The Assassination of Jesse James... courtesy Warner Bros.

Question Theres a new movie with Brad Pitt as Jesse James can you tell me who else has played him and who was the best in the part SeanFlickChick The role of the legendary bad man most recently undertaken by Brad Pitt in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford has traditionally been a favorite of handsome leading men including Colin Farrell in American Outlaws 2001 Rob Lowe in the made-for-cable Frank and Jesse 1994 Tyrone Power in 1939s Jesse James he appears briefly in 1940s highly historically inaccurate sequel The Return of Frank James but Jesses older brother Frank was played by Henry Fonda future TV Superman George Reeves in The Kansan 1943 and Robert Wagner in The True Story of Jesse James 1957 Even James Dean gave it a whirl in the second episode of popular historical reenactment series You Are There 1953-56 hosted by Walter Cronkite But pretty boys dont have a lock on the role Witness Kris Kristofferson in th read more

DVD Tuesday: David Fincher Dissects the Serial Killer Called Zodiac

Zodiac courtesy Paramount Home Video

David Finchers Zodiac 2007 strikes me as a fascinating companion piece to last weeks DVD Tuesday pick Manhunter 1986 While both are about the hunt for a serial killer and the toll it takes on the investigators Manhunter is pure fiction inspired by the work of the FBIs behavioral science unit while Zodiac unlike 1971s Dirty Harry or the 2006 Zodiac which also took their inspiration from the case hews closely to the facts of a nearly 40-year-old unsolved caseThe killer dubbed Zodiac after a cryptic symbol with which he signed a series of taunting letters to the media and the police is credited with seven murderous attacks committed between December 1968 and October 1969 in and around the San Francisco Bay Area two victims survived and five died Zodiac andor one or more copycats played ruthless games with the police claiming dozens of victims who died or vanished both before and after the acknowledged 1968-69 spree He or they sent ciphers postca read more

Real-life Body Snatchers, Remakes, Stephen King and More

Ask FlickChick Yes there is a real body-snatching psychosis why Hollywood loves remakes why critics hate Stephen King and moreQuestion I just saw the new Nicole Kidman movie Invasion with my girlfriend and she insists theres a real disease where people think their friends and family have been replaced by duplicates That sounds crazy to me I think there have just been so many versions of Invasion of the Body Snatchers that people think its a real thing What do you think ErikFlickChick Amazingly enough there is a real psychological disorder called Capgras Syndrome whose sufferers are convinced that their loved ones are no longer their loved ones just like the characters in the four adaptations to date of Jack Finneys allegorical science-fiction novel Invasion of the Body Snatchers The delusion is named for French psychiatrist Jean Marie Joseph Capgras who first described it in 1923 It remains something of a mystery and can take several forms Sometim read more

Name the Best and Worst Horror Remakes!

Tyler Mane and Hanna Hall in Halloween courtesy MGM/Dimension Films

Question So what did you think of the Rob Zombie Halloween remake One of the best one of the worst in between And on that subject what do you think are the best and worst remakes of classic horror movies I thought the new Dawn of the Dead was awesome and I like the John Carpenter version of The Thing even better than the original Black Christmas and House of Wax were just pitiful MarkFlickChick Sad to say Rob Zombies Halloween wasnt screened for critics In this instance Im keeping an open mind since studios are notorious for not showing horror movies good or bad to critics My colleague Ken Foxs review will be here starting Aug 31 2007 and Ill probably check it out over the weekend I mean Ive seen every single Halloween film in a theater the week it opened After nearly 30 years why break with tradition nowIm generally in line with your thoughts I think as far as sequels that never needed to be made go Dawn of the Dead is pretty g read more

DVD Tuesday: A Simple Plan + the Love of Blood Money = Disaster

Billy Bob Thornton and Bill Paxton in A Simple Plan courtesy Paramount

Last week it seemed that everything was conspiring to remind me of A Simple Plan seeing the trailer for the Coen brothers upcoming No Country for Old Men based on the Cormac McCarthy novel stumbling across Stephen Kings rave review of Scott B Smiths second novel The Ruins having an argument about what The Bible says is the root of all evil So rather than ignore the signs and portents its my DVD Tuesday pick Directed by Sam Raimi and based on Smiths debut novel A Simple Plan is a terrific example of what may be my favorite kind of thriller the kind where someone makes a mistake that snowballs until he or she has lost everyone and everything that matters and all efforts to make things right just make them worse Its the quintessential noir plot and while the poor put-upon victim of cruel fate seems fated to get trapped in some cosmic web the fact is he or she consistently masochistically it often seems makes exactly the wrong decision which transf read more

Does Restless, Jerky Bourne-style Camera Work Make You Sick?

Matt Damon in The Bourne Supremacy courtesy Universal Pictures

Question Much has been made about Paul Greengrass handheld-camera work in The Bourne Ultimatum and the fact that both Supremacy and Ultimatum have been hits makes me certain that filmmakers will keep doing it But I cant be the only person who gets nauseous watching these films The incessant movement is difficult to watch Rarely does the camera stop long enough for the viewer to process a shot even the quietest moments cant be still Matt Damon is great and Id like to say I enjoyed the movies but when I have to go home and take something for headache and nausea that cant be good Am I alone in this DarylFlickChick Youre far from alone some critics and a lot of moviegoers have complained about the restless shaky handheld-camera work and superfast editing in The Bourne Ultimatum 2007 in particular and movies in general Filmmakers generally use restless jittery camera work to establish a you-are-there atmosphere sometimes its meant to look as thoug read more

DVD Tuesday: 30 Years Later, Taxi Driver Still Stunning

Taxi Driver box art courtesy Sony Pictures

DVD Tuesday Taxi Driver Robert De Niro Martin Scorsese and New York Citys Heart of DarknessDid the world really need a new collectors edition of Taxi Driver 1976 Probably not but its a great excuse as though one were needed to recommend a great film And on top of Taxi Drivers intrinsic merits watching it again was a fascinating reminder of how much New York City has changed since the mid-1970s Check out Columbus Circle sans the massive glass slabs of the Time Warner Center visit the now-vanished Bellmore Cafeteria and witness the grunginess of Central Parks unrefurbished Maine Monument and the sheer sleazy glory of Times Square before Disney scrubbed the life out of it Theres a shocker in every scene and thats before Travis Bickle Robert De Niro starts his personal cleanup campaign I remember that New York vividly and seeing Taxi Driver brings it all backFor anyone who doesnt know the plot it chronicles the mental disintegration of insomniac read more

The Facts of Jaws, Best Halloween Pix & More

Robert Shaw courtesy Universal Video

Question Someone told me there was a real Jaws guy Were they messing with me Jake FlickChick Im guessing someone told you Quint the crusty old shark fisherman played by the late Robert Shaw in Jaws 1975 was based on a real person And he or she was right Its widely acknowledged that Peter Benchley modeled Quint on Brooklyn-born fisherman Frank Mundus nicknamed the Monster Man and some accounts claim that the seed from which Jaws later sprang was planted when Benchley read a newspaper article about Mundus hauling in a huge great white shark off the coast of Long Island in the early 1960sMundus says he took Benchley out on fishing trips and that Benchley was fascinated by the way he harpooned huge sharks with lines attached to barrels to track the shark while it ran to exhaustion But Benchley who died in 2006 at the age of 64 never named Mundus now in his early eighties as his inspiration In fact he was known to actively deny it a fact that read more

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