Friday, December 19, 2008

Cinema Memoir #38

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (May 24th, 1989)

The epitome of total awesomeness! The first ad I saw for this movie was not a standard trailer about the movie, but rather a trailer about the making of the movie. What better way to strengthen my interest in filmmaking? Plus Harrison Ford stapled his fedora to his head, come on!

I do remember getting really nervous at the beginning of the movie when I saw some strange man (not Harrison Ford) wearing the fedora and leather jacket. I thought maybe they had recast Indy or something, but it didn't take me long to figure out what was going on.

Also, I remember the moment when Sean Connery stepped into the frame for the first time in the movie and the audience applauded. That was the first time I ever witnessed an audience react to a movie like that.

Watching this movie in the theater is one of my favorite cinematic memories of all time, and Indiana Jones remains my favorite character of the silver screen.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cinema Memoir #37

Pet Sematary (April 21st, 1989)

One of the most memorable movies I ever saw in the theater - partly because it's fairly well made, but mostly because it was absolutely terrifying. The walking dead people didn't phase me in the least bit, but the scene where Gage got hit by the semi truck scarred me for life.

My mom took both me and my brother to see this movie in 1989. I was 9 years old - 4th grade, mind you. In retrospect she's convinced herself that she was a terrible mother and totally regrets having taken us, but I reassured her that she was a great mother and was, in fact, dealing with 2 manipulative masterminds at the time.

My big brother - 4 years the elder - was a big Stephen King fan as a kid, which inherently made me a big Stephen King fan, as I had to imitate everything he ever did. Being the youngest has many benefits - I always got to do big kid stuff.

So when it came to watching a Stephen King movie in the theater he and I combined our efforts and succeed, and I've got the scars to prove it. Not the "I'll never watch another horror movie again" kinda scar - but more like a Jaws "Let's drink to our legs" kinda scar.

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Digital Painting

I figured I'd post some of my more recent artwork. These are some of my first digital paintings. All of these were created using Corel Painter and a Wacom tablet.

This is an unfinished digital portrait that I started
about 2 years ago. I doubt I will ever finish it.

This digital landscape was an exercise I did while
experimenting with Corel's brush library.

This was another Corel warm up exercise. Just some clouds.

Copyright © 2009 Matthew J Killian All Rights Reserved
The images and content in this post are protected

Cinema Memoir #36

Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (March 10th, 1989)

Apparently I kicked off 1989 with this masterpiece. This was when it became very clear to me that never again was I going to see another 'quality' Police Academy movie like the one's I grew up watching.

Did I really just write that?

Yes! Police Academy, as stupid as the series might have been, was an important part of my childhood - This movie, however, was not.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cinema Memoir #35

Cocoon: The Return (November 23rd, 1988)

It's funny that I wanted to see Cocoon: The Return in the theater, considering that, at the time, I hadn't even seen the first Cocoon. What can I say, I liked movies about aliens.

This movie wasn't too bad. It's didn't live up to the first Cocoon, but it seemed to deliver pretty well as family flick.

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Cinema Memoir #34

Scrooged (November 23rd, 1988)

I really hated this movie when I saw it. I wanted to like it. It had some funny parts. But boy was I bored and oddly depressed in the theater that day.

I think I get more enjoyment out of it now that I'm older, but not much.

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Cinema Memoir #33

Ernest Saves Christmas (November 11th, 1988)

I didn't see Ernest Goes to Camp in the theater, but I must have rented it a thousand times on video, so when Ernest Saves Christmas came out I was really excited, but it didn't have as strong an impact as its predecessor.

Ok, these two movies really aren't that great in retrospect, but they're a billion times better than the Ernest movies that followed. Even as a kid I would have agreed.

If I've learned anything from the Ernest movies, it's that he's a catalyst hero. Throughout the movies he pretty much stays the same, but when others cross his path their lives tend to change.

As far as my experience with Ernest Saves Christmas - I remember watching the trailers on TV more than watching the actual movie. It's probably been 15 years since I've seen it. Perhaps it's time to watch it again.

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Cinema Memoir #32

Mac and Me (August 12th, 1988)

. . . or E.T. on Coke and McDonald's.

I'm embarrassed to say that I liked this movie when I saw it. I suppose I'm a sucker for terrible movie ripoff's. Then again, I was only 8 years old.

This movie was a marketing nightmare. I highly recommend watching it if you want to learn how not to market a movie.

"Mac" actually stood for "Mysterious Alien Creature". Apparently they were intending to make a sequel, because there's a title card at the end of the movie that said "We'll Be Back!" I wonder why they never did. I've waited 20 years and have yet to be revisited by another Mysterious Alien Creature.

Oh well, I suppose it's for the best.

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Cinema Memoir #31

The Blob (August 5th, 1988)

This was a fun movie. It was another family movie adventure and another early R rated viewing experience. By this time I was total loving horror movies so watching this movie in the theater was a lot of fun.

I had seen the original 1958 black and white version prior to seeing this one and was not expecting it to be quite so violent and horrific, so of course I was pleasantly surprised.

Don't get me wrong, this movie is kind of cheesy, but for 1988 it was totally awesome. It also has some really good cinematic pacing.

It was around this time that the turnaround time between theatrical and video release was tightening up. I remember being shocked to find The Blob on the new release shelf at my local video store so soon after its theatrical release.

Just a fun fact about this movie - One of the screen writers was Frank Darabont, the director of The Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile. He also wrote an early script for Indiana Jones 4.

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Cinema Memoir #30

Young Einstein (August 4th, 1988)

When I saw this movie I really didn't like it too much. I enjoyed the slapstick because I was 8. I laughed at the jokes, but only because my big brother was laughing at them. The humor was totaly over my head.

The only thing that really stuck with my was the scene when he split the beer atom (he he he, see I laugh now) and blew up the shed, then came running up to the house, burnt to a crisp and looking like an Australian Aborigine.

I watched this movie again about a month again and found myself laughing at the jokes without the assistance of my big brother.

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Cinema Memoir #29

Short Circuit 2 (July 6th, 1988)

Los Lobos kick your ass,
Los Lobos kick your face,
Los Lobos kick your balls into outer-space!

I was 8. It was fun. What more can I say.

I believe, no matter how good or bad a movie might be, there is always something that can be learned from it (although, in some cases, you do have to look very hard). It could be a moral from the story, a lesson of what not to do as a filmmaker, or perhaps something as simple as discovering a unique or interesting way to deliver a line of dialogue.

And yes, I did learn something from Shot Circuit 2. Johnny 5 is special because "Johnny 5 is alive". Nothing better illustrates this than the scene when Johnny 5 get's arrested and he's in his cell reading Frankenstein. What's awesome about this scene is the fact that, rather than speed reading the book just to obtain input- like he does with every other book in the movie - he's reading it slowly and actually relating to the story.

This scene probably doesn't make this movie any better, but to have made an emotional imprint on an 8 year old who just wanted to see a funny robot movie was an accomplishment.

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Cinema Memoir #28

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (June 22nd, 1988)

This movie marked a major turning point in my life. I was 8 and was really beginning to become interested in special effects and how movies were made.

Again, another family movie night, and this one really stuck with me forever. What can I say, Roger Rabbit was, and still is, a really great movie.

A year after Roger Rabbit was released the Disney MGM Studios opened. We took a vacation there that very year - I was 9 at the time. I was so wrapped up in the experience that, when we visited toon town, I actually convinced myself (for a split second) that real toons would be walking around the park, just like in the movie. I was at the age when such things still seemed possible.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Some Early 3D Work

Here is some 3D work I did during my Sophomore year at Ringling. For these projects I used a 3D program called Maya, which is pretty much the standard 3D software in the industry. I also used Photoshop for the textures.

This is a 3D model of an mp3 player. It was created using nerbs.

This Han figure was modeled with polygons. A friend of mine
did Greedo and we tossed around the idea of animating
them together. Of course Han would shoot first.

For this project all of the models were supplied, I just
arranged everything, textured them, and lit the scene.
It reminds me of my grandma's kitchen after a

Copyright © 2009 Matthew J Killian All Rights Reserved
All images and content in this post are protected

Cinema Memoir #27

Crocodile Dundee II (May 25th, 1988)

As I mentioned before in the Crocodile Dundee memoir, I really dig these movies. This one is not quite as good as the first one, but it works nicely as a sequel.

I really don't remember anything specific about seeing this one in the theater, but I'm pretty sure it was another family outing.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cinema Memoir #26

Willow (May 20th, 1988)

I think Willow was another one of those movies I saw during a summer field trip with the recreation department. I didn't really dig this movie when it came out, perhaps because it was ruthlessly advertised as "a George Lucas movie" but when I finally watched it there were no light sabers or death stars.

This movie had a rebirth in my life after I acquired the VHS at a video store going-out-of-business sale. I watched it all throughout high school until it began to loose its luster - then I packed it away. I have it on DVD now but it's mostly for my daughter. I haven't watched it in probably about 3 years.

It's a good movie, but at some point it falls apart and looses it momentum - this is a common side effect of most Ron Howard films and I'm not sure why. The only Ron Howard film that doesn't loose it's momentum - in my opinion - is Parenthood, believe it or not.

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Traditional Animation

As the banner suggests, this blog is about Artwork, Movies, and Animation. Artwork and Movies have been covered so now I suppose it's time to post some animation.

This is a traditionally animated walk cycle I did sophomore years at Ringling. If you look closely you can tell the character is Gerty from the previous maquette post.

I'm not a huge fan of this - or any other of my traditional animations for that matter - but other people seems to like this one. I think it still needs a whole lot of work, but unfortunately, like most other abandoned works, I'll probably never revisit it - so it is what it is.

Enjoy for now, more to come later.

Copyright © 2009 Matthew J Killian All Rights Reserved
All images and content in this post are protected

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Maquette

An important part of the character design process is the creation of a maquette - a small, 3-dimensional study of a larger character. Until recently, maquettes have generally been sculpted in clay, but it's becoming more and more common to see digital maquettes created in 3D programs such as Zbrush.

This is Gerty - a maquette I did for my traditional animation class my freshman year at Ringling. She's made from Super Sculpy and miscellaneous other materials.

I haven't had the chance to do any digital maquettes yet, but I hope an opportunity will eventually present itself, as I really enjoy the 3D modeling process.

Copyright © 2009 Matthew J Killian All Rights Reserved
All images and content in this post are protected

Cinema Memoir #25

Critters 2: The Main Course
(April 29th, 1988)

Yup, that's right, I dig the Critters movies - all of them. Of course, they progressively got worse as they went along, nevertheless I still enjoy watching them - they're on my list of guilty pleasures.

The first Critters has always been a favorite, not only for me, but also for my long time friend Jeremy Farnell. As kids, when I'd spend the night at his house it was customary to watch Critters.

When the sequel came out I made my mom take me to see it. I'm sure she had a terrible time but I had a ball.

One a side note - The Tremors movies fall into the same "guilty pleasure" category as Critters. But the first Tremors is by far superior to any of the Critters movies. I didn't see it in the theater (1990) because I was so freaked out by the previews. I'm a little bummed about that today.

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Cinema Memoir #24

Police Academy 5:
Assignment: Miami Beach

(March 18th, 1988)

For the record, I really love the Police Academy movies - well parts 1 through 5. My brother and I spent many an hour watching the Police Academy movies on video, but part 5 was the first of the series we saw in the theater, and as far as I can remember it was a fun experience.

This is the first Police Academy movie that didn't star Steve Guttenberg as Sergeant Carey Mahoney, seeing as he flew off into the sunset in a hot air balloon with Sharon Stone at the end of Citizens on Patrol. Perhaps it was Mahoney's absence (I seriously doubt it) but Police Academy 5 seemed like a step down in quality.

Yeah, I know - "Police Academy" and "quality" aren't usually seen together in the same sentence - but for an eight year old these movies are totally RAD! (It's okay, "rad" was big in '88)

On a side note, Citizens on Patrol is probably my favorite Police Academy movie because of the awesome theme song and the skateboard scene at the beginning (Tony Hawk). Of course, Back in Training did introduce Zed and Sweetchuck as the dynamic duo, so it comes in a close second.

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Cinema Memoir #23

*batteries not included
(December 18th, 1987)

It seems that because I generally watch moves so many times on video or DVD all the viewings tend to blur together. This is certainly the case for *batteries not included.

I don't remember a whole lot about watching this in the theater but I do remember wanting to see it. The poster and trailers totally sold me on this movie. I was getting to the age where I started to recognize names like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas on movie posters.

Also at this age I was beginning to notice the impact of great poster art. This poster was created by none other than the great Drew Struzan. I didn't know that at the time but looking back I can see how much of an impact his art had on me as a kid and still has on me as an adult. (Check out the link to his page in the My Heroes section)

I can't say this movie is great - it's a little dry at times and kind of tedious to watch. The effects are pretty awesome though, especially for 1987.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Figure Drawing

Here are some figure studies I did my freshman year at Ringling. I really love doing long poses, but seeing as the quick gesture is much more beneficial to animators (or animation students like me) I have to really make extra time to sit down for a long pose.

I don't really consider these drawings long poses - probably no more the 10 minuets each. Hopefully I will be able to add some more "actual" long poses to my portfolio as the year goes by.

Copyright © 2009 Matthew J Killian All Rights Reserved
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Cinema Memoir #22

The Monster Squad (August 14th, 1987)

What can I say -- one of my very favorite movie experiences of all time. 7 years old was the perfect age for this movie, and it still remains one of my all time favorites.

My memories of this movie are very vivid. At the time, I was playing on a T-ball team -- well not exactly playing since all I ever did was stand in the outfield and kick up clay with my cleats. We (the whole family) were on our way to a game the night Monster Squad opened when out of nowhere my parents U-turned and took me and my brother to see the movie instead.

I'm not sure what provoked my parents to turn the car around like that . . . but it was one of the best decision my parents ever made for me.

Perhaps that was the day my film career began -- who knows? I do know for a fact that was the end of my amateur T-ball career. I never played T-ball again.

UPDATE: May 24th, 2010

Looks like it's time, yet again, for another remake. I guess I don't have a huge problem with remakes. I always like to give them a chance. The odds are I will enjoy them, but always end up going back to the originals.

And for all those people who spend countless hours online bitching about how Hollywood is threatening their childhood memories every time a movie is remade, just remember . . . you don't HAVE to watch the movie.

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Cinema Memoir #21

Masters of the Universe (August 7th, 1987)

He-Man was cool, but I never REALLY got into the cartoon. I had some of the action figures, yes, but simply because of their necessity in the childhood repertoire. But when this movie came out I was totally jazzed! Like all kids, I enjoyed cartoons, but I’ve always been a realist at heart and in my opinion nothing could be better than seeing these cartoons come to life.

Dolph Lundgren was pretty good as He-Man. He's always gotten a lot of flack but he managed to carry the movie pretty well. And I didn’t realize Frank Langella played Skeletor until recently -- and he did a really awesome job I think. I've gotta give props to the make-up guys and gals, because Skeletor's make-up really worked.

The movie is still pretty good. A little cheesy for today’s standards of course, but I think most kids today would still dig it. I’d like to see what they'd do with this movie today, and the way things are going it won’t be long before someone in Hollywood get’s the same idea.

Thundercats would be a pretty awesome live action adaptation I think, as long as it doesn't turn into a furry-fest.

UPDATE: May 24th, 2010

Evidently I wasn't far off in my original post. It looks as though a remake or re-envisioning of He-Man / Masters of the Universe is on the way. And it looks like Sony Pictures is producing, so I suppose there's a slight chance I might get to work on this one . . . if it ever comes to fruition.

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More Gesture Drawings

Here's another compilation of Gesture Drawings. These are more recent than the previous ones, so perhaps there is a slight improvement -- you be the judge. These are all 30 to 60 second poses.

Copyright © 2009 Matthew J Killian All Rights Reserved
All images and content in this post are protected

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gesture Drawings

Considering I've only been posting Cinema Memoir stuff for the last month I figure it's high time I posted some more art.

Gesture drawing is something that I seriously suck at, mostly because of how terribly inconsistent my technique is. Nevertheless I've picked a few gestures to showcase my incredible lack of skills. More to come later.

Copyright © 2009 Matthew J Killian All Rights Reserved
All images and content in this post are protected

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cinema Memoir #20

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
(July 24th, 1987)

There's not much to say about this one. I just remember thinking this movie sucked, and I liked Superman III. Even at 7 years old I thought Nuclear Man was retarded. This was the first time I left the theater disappointed - what a letdown.

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Cinema Memoir #19

Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise
(July 10th, 1987)

Revenge of the Nerds was one of those movies I watched constantly when I was younger. It's the epidemy of underdog stories and, because I always felt like an outcast, it was strangely motivational. What can I say - I'm an optimist.

Nerds II didn't have quite the same effect on me. It's not nearly as terrible as the two sequels that followed (I couldn't even make it through those), but it's not even close to the original.

It was a lot of fun seeing this movie during another boy's night out with my brother and father. That was the last one of those we had as far as I can remember.

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Cinema Memoir #18

Harry and the Hendersons (June 5th, 1987)

I was the perfect age when this movie came out. I think it holds up pretty well today - the animatronics are amazing - props to Rick Baker who took the Best Makeup Oscar that year.

This is another really great family movie that I still love. It has a good story - it's really funny - and the characters have great arcs - even if the movie is a little cheesy at times.

I don't remember much about seeing this movie in the theater, but I do remember watching it a thousand times on video. I watched it recently with my 12 year old and she loved it.

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Cinema Memoir #17

Creepshow 2 (May 1st, 1987)

Now we're talking! This was my first big screen R rated movie. The original Creepshow was my favorite scary movie at the time - even though I hadn't yet been able to make it through "The Crate" segment without covering my eyes. The sequel isn't nearly as good as the original but it does have its merits. The killer oil slick always freaked me out!

Oddly enough, watching this movie was another family event. My parents were pretty confident that I could handle movies like this - and they were right. Ever since I can remember I've loved horror movies. The only movie that ever really gave me nightmares was Gremlins and that was just from the trailer.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Cinema Memoir #16

Mannequin (February 13th, 1987)

Oh yeah, this movie. I would have omitted this one except there's a story behind it. If memory serves, my brother went to see Platoon that night and I was forced to watch something else - something that was more suitable for a 7 year old.

To be honest, I think Mannequin messed me up more than Platoon would have - so much in fact that I think I actually saw Mannequin Two: On The Move in the same theater four years later (coincidentally, the same year JFK came out.) But because all this is sort of speculative - and slightly embarrassing - I've chosen to omit the sequel from the list. However, Mannequin will remain my 16th big screen experience.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cinema Memoir #15

Over The Top (February 13th, 1987)

Another underdog story, and a fairly original concept - well the arm wrestling I mean - the story was pretty cookie cutter I guess. I do remember wanting to see this movie because of the trailer. A great movie for age 7, but I'm sure my mom (who took me to see most movies pre 13) could have done without Over The Top.

I remember really digging the scene where Sly's son arm wrestled some bully kid for money and won. The only thing better than an underdog is a kid underdog.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cinema Memoir #14

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
(November 26th, 1986)

This was the first Star Trek movie I ever saw - not a great introduction to the Star Trek franchise. I had Star Trek II on tape (right before Star Wars) but I could never get past the scene with Kahn's pets - too scary - plus STAR WARS!

My brother and I watched this movie in the theater with our grandparents. They really loved when Kirk used his colorful metaphors - double dumb ass on you.

The poster rocks too!

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Cinema Memoir #13

Crocodile Dundee (September 23rd, 1986)

This was one of those "family night" movies. We all went, which was a rarity. I still like movies like this - I'm a sucker for family films. Perhaps this is because they tend to bring families together, who knows.

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Cinema Memoir #12

Flight of the Navigator (July 30th, 1986)

I don't think I actually saw this movie in 1986, but rather at one of those summer kid's movie shows a few years later.

All I remember is being really depressed because everyone thinks the main character is dead. I haven't seen this movie in probably 15 years. I don't plan on watching it anytime soon.

Oh and Paul Reubens did the voice of the ship's robot pilot.

UPDATE: May 24th, 2010

Evidently there's a Flight of the Navigator Remake in the works. I was able to watch this movie again recently and it was just about as depressing as I remember it.

Also, I was at Disney's Hollywood Studio (always MGM to me) last week and saw the space ship from this movie on the back lot tour. It's always really cool to see movie props even if the movie sucked.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Cinema Memoir #11

The Karate Kid, Part II
(June 20th, 1986)

I just remember really looking forward to this movie. I was 6, practically a ninja in my own mind, and I was a huge fan of the first Karate Kid.

I love the first two Karate Kid movies - nothing beats a good, old fashioned underdog story, but I swear Ralph Macchio was on coke in Karate Kid III.

This movie still kicks ass, and of course I'm still in love with Kumiko. Every time I drink hot tea I think of her.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Modern Day Shaman

It's hard being an artist in the world today, especially when my vocation seems so insignificant - almost wasteful - while so many terrible things are happening all around us. I'm certain many artists out there have had similar feelings on this matter, which is why I've decided to post this inspiring quote --
Being a storyteller and/or animator is not only fun, it is an honorable thing to do with your life. The world needs shamans now more than ever...

- Ed Hooks
Perhaps today's artists, writers, and filmmakers are modern day shamans. After all this time questioning the importance of my vocation I really would like to believe what I'm doing is honorable.

Here is a link to the entire article, "Animators vs. Storytellers" which I highly recommend to anyone who is questioning their artistic vocation:

(The quote goes on, "...and it is way past time that we started making animated movies for adults." But that's an entirely different post best saved for later.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cinema Memoir #10

Poltergeist II: The Other Side
(May 23rd, 1986)

Watching this movie was a really great experience. It was the first time I was so scared I covered my eyes. That, of course, was during the scene where Craig T. Nelson puked up a slimy quadriplegic zombie.

This sequel isn't nearly as good as its predecessor, but it's freaking Citizen Kane compared to Poltergeist III.

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Cinema Memoir #9

Eliminators (January 31st, 1986)

Yes, that's a picture of a half man/half tank, it's okay though because it's a Charles Band production. And you can't beat a movie with a tag line like...

"Mandroid. Mercenary. Scientist. Ninja. Each one a specialist. Together they are...ELIMINATORS!"

I saw this movie on my very first date with my kindergarten girlfriend, Tara Payne and her parents. Nothing spells romance like mandroids.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cinema Memoir #8

The Jewel of the Nile
(December 11th, 1985)

Perhaps one of the worst sequels of all time (Not a Robert Zemeckis movie) . I was and still am a huge fan of Romancing the Stone, but this movie was a total letdown. There wasn't even a jewel, at least in the first movie there was a jewel. That was how I saw it at the age of five.

The most memorable part was Danny DeVito's line, "Your ass is grass and I'm a lawnmower." I've been waiting 23 years for the perfect opportunity to say that to someone, and one day it'll come.

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