Brad Anderson is directing the tale that is loosely based on one of Edgar Allan Poe’s early works, a 1945 short story titled The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether. Beckinsale will play the title character of Eliza, a Harvard Medical School grad who takes a job at an insane asylum, falling for one of the doctors but then discovering that the occupants have taken it over.
Brad Anderson (Session 9, The Call) continues to stack up the interesting names for Eliza Graves, his psychological thriller from Nu Image/Millennium. The tale is loosely based on one of Edgar Allan Poe’s early works, a 1945 short story titled The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether.
Now he’s roped in a couple of heavy hitters in the form of Michael Caine (pictured above; The Dark Knight, Jaws IV) and Ben Kingsley (Ghandi, Sexy Beast, Iron Man 3), per Deadline. No word as to the nature of their roles just yet.
They join the previously announced Jim Sturgess and Kate Beckinsale. “Sturgess will star as a Harvard Medical School grad who takes a job a mental institution which the inmates have taken over and are posing as doctors. He becomes obsessed with the title character (Beckinsale), one of the patients.”
Joe Gangemi wrote the script. Producing are Bruce Davey, Mel Gibson, Mark Amin, Cami Winikoff and Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli. David Higgins, Christa Campbell and Lati Grobman are executive producing.
A June 24th production start date in Bulgaria is set.
I remember when I was a wee tyke, I begged my Dad to take me to the highly age-inappropriate Jaws 4: The Revenge. It took some doing but finally, either out of fondness for the original film or a desire for me to shut up, he relented. I remember seeing Michael Caine’s name on the poster and asking my Dad why it had a rectangle around it when none of the other actors’ names were highlighted. He said something to the effect of, “Oh, he’s a really good actor.” I entered the theater buoyed by that added legitimacy factor – I was taking my Dad to a classy movie.
Because I was young and stupid, I remember walking out thinking I had just seen a masterpiece. Then I made the mistake of making eye contact with my Dad. One glance at my father’s stunned, pained and defeated visage and it was clear – he had just been through hell. I don’t remember much else from that screening, except for the fact that Mario Van Peebles died (and I liked the scene where Lance Guest’s wife flung her underwear at him).
I caught up with the movie on VHS (which going by the release patterns those days might have been almost a year later), and was surprised to find that Mario Van Peebles lived in the home video cut. This was almost as upsetting as having all of the curse words edited out of the 1986 Transformers when it hit Blockbuster. I didn’t remember any huge differences outside of that, but I was obviously pretty dumb because they changed the entire manner in which the shark decided to die after being rammed by captain Lorraine Gary.
Head inside to check out two endings and vote for which awful one you prefer! The shark roars in BOTH of them! READ MORE
Reviewed by Patrick Cooper
From 1974 to 1979, author Peter Benchley pulled off a hat trick of impressive seafaring bestsellers. Each book was adapted for the big screen one year after publication – with mixed results. There’s Jaws, of course, then The Deep, which also did well at the box-office thanks in part to Jacqueline Bisset swimming in a see-through shirt. It seemed like adapting Benchley’s source material meant instant success. Then there was The Island, a film that cost more than Jaws and The Deep combined, that wound up tanking in theaters.
Directed by Michael Ritchie (Fletch), The Island follows investigative journalist Blair Maynard (Michael Caine) who decides to take on a nautical mystery as his next assignment. In a certain corner of the Caribbean, dozens of boats have been disappearing over the years. It’s some Bermuda Triangle shit and Blair is determined to get to the bottom of it. He takes his estranged son Justin along with him under the guise of a “vacation.” They do some father-son bonding stuff like buying a gun and lying to law enforcement agents. While they’re fishing one day, a filthy man and a little girl abduct them.
They’re brought to an uncharted island inhabited by a 300-year-old colony of French pirates. Their leader is suave scumbag John David (voice-actor extraordinaire David Warner). The pirates are the ones behind the missing boats and they’re really good at the whole looting and murder aspects of pirate life. They’re not kid-friendly Disney pirates who make clever quips while only getting marginally drunk. This gang never showers, they cover their women in mud, and they get wasted on some kind of island moonshine.
But throughout all the raids and swashbuckling, John David longs for a son. For years he’s been trying to train the boys of the colony how to be as cunning and heartless as him, but everyone’s failed him. It’s a bizarrely heartfelt subplot anchored by Warner’s dignified performance. So he starts to train Justin in the ways of pirate life in hopes of finally finding a worthy successor. The kid takes to it right away – swearing off Blair as his father and showing great aptitude with a pistol. It’s hard to believe a son would turn against his father so quick (as shitty as a father as he’s been), but at this point in the movie all credibility has been tossed overboard anyway.
All the while Blair is kept alive and forced to act like a husband to a woman of the colony. He almost escapes a handful of times, but it’s not until the pirates decide to take on a Coast Guard vessel that Blair sees his chance for escape and revenge. The Island was made during Caine’s “80s paycheck period,” in which he was more interested in getting paid than creating critically acclaimed films. Some of his output during this period is really fun (Dressed to Kill) and some is, well, Jaws: The Revenge.
The Island falls somewhere in the middle. Caine doesn’t exactly phone his performance in, but there are moments where he looks extremely bored. During the gun shop scene, for example, Caine looks like he’s falling asleep on his feet when he’s supposed to be debating with his son on whether it’s wise or not to own a gun. Other times he does his classic scenery chewing like only Caine can. The climax on the Coast Guard vessel is easily up there with one of the best badass Caine moments of all time. I wouldn’t compare it to the naked shotgun shootout from Get Carter, but it’s up there.
While there are a lot of nice set pieces and fantastic locations in The Island, it never really lives up to the word “thrilling.” Moments of suspense are cut short and dragged down by weak sub-plots and character developments. A lot of time is given to Blaire’s “pirate wife” and their forced relationship, which couldn’t be more dull. It feels like Ritchie wasn’t sure what he wanted the movie to be about: Caine’s attempted escape from the island or his son’s conversion to pirate life. He fumbles these two plots back and forth, shifting tones each time. The climax is terrific, but everything leading up to it feels very clunky.
The Island bombed at the box-office and then faded into cult obscurity. Universal released it through their “Vault Series” last year, and now, Scream Factory’s resurrected the film with a DVD and Blu-ray combo pack. Unfortunately, due to a void in resources and the passing of Michael Ritchie in 2001, there are zero special features on this set. It’s definitely worth a rent, but only diehard Caine and cult fans should dish out the cash for the set.
Scream Factory presents The Island in 1080p 2.35:1 widescreen with DTS HD Master Audio 2.0. The colors of the island scenes are particularly lush with blues and greens popping and contrasting nicely with the dark of the jungle. Ritchie definitely got the most out of location shooting. The film sounds as good as an HD 2.0 track can.
Like I mentioned, there are no special features. Not even a trailer.
With the July 20th release date for The Dark Knight Rises looming, fans are chomping at the bits for anything they can get their grubby little paws on. Now, Empire Online has the entire soundtrack available for streaming right here, giving fans the opportunity to hear what the film is all about. Composed solely by Hans Zimmer, the 15-track soundtrack is full of brooding, dark, percussive melodies that only accentuate the serious and intense tone that we’ve come to know and love from the series. None of the track titles really give anything away, but it’s still interesting enough for a listen.
Directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, and Tom Hardy, The Dark Knight Rises takes place eight years after the events of The Dark Knight. READ MORE
Arguing the debate of which hurts more – a killer bee sting, or your head when you fall asleep and hit the floor watching… The Swarm!
Irwin Allen was the disaster movie king of the 1960′s and 70′s – dominating the television movie market (which was big before cable took the reigns) producing 2 hour tribulations like Lost World and Voyage To the Bottom of the Sea before being called upon to helm Hollywood disaster films like The Poseidon Adventure and the legendary Towering Inferno (a favorite of mine). In 1978, on the heels of terrorizing TV with Flood! and Fire! the hype began, as he entered the studio to work a highly anticipated 20 million dollar film about something widely feared at the time – the progression of African killer bees into the United States…
In The Swarm, a cloud of African killer bees are on the loose in Texas – evident after a nuclear missile site and its staff are wiped out by a sting attack, which lures in the US Army and the highest levels of government. Meanwhile, a young boy and his family enjoy an innocent picnic out in the country when some honey bees begin to fly around the table. Of course, mom begins to swat at them. Angered, the carnage ensues, as bees rabidly attack and kill the two parents before their child’s eyes, as he watches screaming from the car. Driving into the nearest town hysterical, this traumatized kid alerts local authorities who begin to assess the growing danger, as does world renown bee expert Brad Crane (Michael Caine). But not before the annual flower festival can be stopped. Add to that an aging ensemble cast that includes Slim Pickens, Patty Duke, Olivia de Havilland, and Fred MacMurray (in his final film appearance) among others.
The Swarm only managed to last two weeks in theaters and gross circa 10 million dollars – suffering from material best fit for a novel. Abandoned desert locals and Michael Caine sweating in a helicopter did nothing to stimulate viewers between bee attacks – which were good – but few and far between. Watching this film on DVD worsens this experience, as the disc version is over two and a half hours long. Patient watchers will be treated, however, to mass wipe outs of school children and old ladies when the attack scenes go down, which are a lot of fun to watch and are the general payoff from watching a film like The Swarm. Its failure is the dead space between – and this bomb knocked Irwin Allen off his Hollywood pedestal.
These days, The Swarm is best suited for a younger audience – those in touch with imagination, and the outdoor insects they come across during their play. Kids everywhere learn to respect the sting of the bee, and some have seen its coordinated and ruthless attack, even to the point of death. Having been exposed to some scary bee encounters in my youth and having witnessed the escalated natural disasters of The Swarm at the age of 9, this film became one of my favorites growing up. After moving to a new development chock full of large paper wasp nests and underground bee communities border lining the wild fields around its perimeter – I learned the pain of urban footsteps in a natural environment having accidentally activating attacks by digging, running, mowing, and going on stupid bee nest assassination hunts.
The Swarm is long and dry and blase’ for the majority of its duration playing out like a boring Sunday western starring fading cinema icons on the verge of career death, but manages to find a merciful way into your heart with a strong Jerry Goldsmith score and its attempts at mass death and destruction via killer African honey bees. Somewhere circa the 70′s and 80′s – science programs and authorities told the public through informative media that killer bees would be in the United States wrecking havoc by the 90′s, and certainly the 2000′s. It is true that aggressive killer bees are found scattered about the southern United States today, but their threat is diluted and reports of attacks are primarily from people stumbling upon nests. The only time I saw a swarm of bees was during basic training at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina. While on a 3-day trek into the wilderness, we were told to hit the dirt, and we did – only to see and hear a swarm pass through the forest treetops above. It was noisy and they shadowed us with their mass. Aside from that – the only fear that The Swarm is going to induce, is by sparking your own imagination the next time you wander through your backyard.
Jon Lansdale is a comic book artist who loses his right hand in a car accident. The hand was not found at the scene of the accident, but it soon returns by itself to follow Jon around, and murder those who anger him.
A mysterious, tall, blonde woman, wearing sunglasses murders one of a psychiatrist’s patients, and now she’s after the prostitute who witnessed it.
Michael Caine (The Dark Knight Trilogy) stars as Blair Maynard, an investigative writer who takes on one of the most baffling mysteries – the disappearance of boats and their passengers in the Caribbean. During his investigation, he and his son are captured by raiding pirates, lead by David Warner (Time After Time). When his son is converted to the pirates’ barbarian ways and turns against him, Blair must come to his recue in this action-packed thriller written by Peter Benchley (Jaws).
What would happen if 22 million African killer bees crossed the border into the United States? The city of Houston is a-buzz with fear when a mysterious horde of killer bees arrive, spreading havoc and death upon an all-star cast…