Craig Davison Has Captured Our Childhoods With These Star Wars Illustrations!

About a week back Sonja Nelson was kind enough to share some of these illustrations by Craig Davison of children using their vast imaginations to step into the roles and scenes from a little film about a “Galaxy Far, Far Away”. I am pretty sure that as you look a few of these illustrations over you will find a great big smile has magically made it’s way across your face, courtesy of not only a very talented artist but those many days of your youth where you realized the importance of a flashlight as a Jedi’s most trusted weapon, or how you took on the properties of the dreaded AT-AT Walker on the snowy wastes of the planet Hoth.

All images courtesy of Craig Davison.

All images courtesy of Craig Davison.

AT AT - Star Wars - Craig Davison

Speeder Bike - Star Wars - Craig Davison

Stormtrooper - Star Wars - Craig Davison

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Behind The Scenes: Explorers (1985)

A big thanks to Jason Presson’s Tumblr page for this fantastic behind the scenes shot on the set of Joe Dante’s Explorers from back in 1985. Though this film experience has left a bad taste in Mr. Dante’s mouth, the studio decided to move the release date up and told the Director that his film was now finished, so what we have seen really adds up to kind of a work in progress.

Still it is great to see Joe Dante smiling with his cast of young explorers on the set back in 1985.

Image courtesy of Jason Presson. From Left to Right: River Phoenix, Ethan Hawke, Joe Dante, and Bobby Fite.

Image courtesy of Jason Presson. From Left to Right: River Phoenix, Ethan Hawke, Joe Dante, and Bobby Fite.

One can only hope that at some point using digital technology that Joe Dante will be afforded the opportunity to finish his film. At the very least we have an enjoyable if flawed Sci-Fi movie and a really awesome music video by the late great Robert Palmer.

[Via] Retro Vault

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The Dark Half and Monkey Shines now available on Scream Factory Blu-ray!

Scream Factory gives us an early Thanksgiving treat this week!  Not one, but TWO wonderfully done Blu-ray releases of the George A. Romero films, Monkey Shines and The Dark Half.

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Monkey Shines tells the story of Alan Mann, a quadriplegic who gets a Capuchin monkey as his little helper. At first, Ella the monkey is very useful.  She can make phone calls, get Alan drinks and even do cute dances to make him laugh.  However, unbeknownst to Alan, the monkey has been part of a genetic experiment which makes her a little…nutty.  Things start to go sour when Alan and Ella begin to connect telepathically and wreak havoc when Alan gets angry.

I hadn’t seen the film in many years.  It plays more as a drama than straight up thriller.  Not that I hate drama, but I always felt this film could have been a little more fun with the creepy monkey parts.  That said, Romero always does a good job at building tension and the film’s violent crescendo is totally off the rails.

Based on a book by Stephen King, The Dark Half  stars Timothy Hutton as an unsuccessful novelist writing under his own name, Thad Beaumont.  However, under his pen name, George Stark, he’s a wildly successful crime fiction writer who tells violent and trashy stories.  Once Beaumont’s two-faced career is revealed, he decides it’s time to literally and publicly kill George Stark. He holds a burial, complete with a headstone that dons Stark’s name.  This is all in hopes for Beaumont to move on and start a legitimate career writing important works.

So, it comes with great shock and terror when a physical presence of George Stark rises from the fake grave and starts to kill everyone connected to Beaumont.  The film leads us on a supernatural cat and mouse as we learn the secret of why George Stark has been born into the real world and how Beaumont’s writing will keep him alive.

Both films are clearly Jekyll and Hyde stories.  The Dark Half  is more literal regarding man’s duality and I think it’s a more successful film and one of Romero’s better works after the dead trilogy.  I had not seen the film since it came out in 1993 and I really enjoyed watching it again.  It’s very polished and the acting is superb.  Michael Rooker has a nice role as a good guy, which is something we don’t see too often in his career.

THE TRANSFERS
Both films look beautiful on Blu-ray.  The Dark Half’s gorgeous photography really stands out.  There is a nice balance of grain and crispness.  When Romero goes old school with big, bold color washes, the transfer is very vibrant without any desaturation that you might have seen in previous versions.

THE EXTRAS
The people at Red Shirt Pictures, who put together the docs on these releases, have stepped up their game here.  In the past, I’ve commented on how sometimes the docs can be a little light in content.  Of course, many times that’s chalked up to what or who is available.  However, BOTH Blu-rays have excellent docs on the making of the films and are chock full of new interviews, behind the scenes material and interesting stories.   Romero is the best subject.  I’m a big fan of his and he’s great at discussing the making of his films, always jovial and upbeat even when telling the more annoying moments in his career.

Both discs come with a nice serving of vintage behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes, a Monkey Shines really weird alternate ending, trailers, stills and a brand new audio commentary with George A. Romero.   I could listen to him talk about films all day.  Maybe I’ll put the commentaries in a loop.

Between the two, solely on the films alone, I prefer The Dark Half.  However, due to the wealth of great extras, any Romero fan worth their zombie wound would want to own both these Blu-rays in their collection.  So, grab your Black Beauty pencils and write down your orders today!

Get Monkey Shines here via Scream Factory and/or get The Dark Half here also via Scream Factory.

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Cause I’m a karate man! And a karate man bruises on the inside!

With the holiday season in full swing and Christmas just around the corner, I have started watching one of my favorite films for this season, “Trading Places”. It is such a great film, but sadly does not get the respect it deserves in terms of product tie-ins. I don’t think they ever released a single official one and the unofficial ones are few and far between.

This t-shirt which I found on Rudbubble is my current favorite. It captures Karate Man Billy Ray Valentine striking a pose. I think I am going to put it on my wishlist and hope Santa brings it, unless he has a shirt with a dirty Santa eating salmon through his beard on hand, because I would of course want that instead.

karate-man

[via] Arena Pix

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When EF Hutton talks, People Listen

ef-hutton-talks

In the movie Trading Places there is a scene where someone is asking Billy Ray Valentine his opinion on finances in a restaurant. When he is about to answer, the whole places freezes as everyone prepares to hear his sage advice. It is a scene that demonstrates just how traded the places have become, it is also a not so subtle references to an ad campaign for the company EF Hutton.

In a classic string of commercials for the company, when someone is about to talk about what EF Hutton has to say, everyone tries to listen and it grinds life to a stand still. It was a very effective advert and one I still reference from time to time in my life (although fewer people seem to get the reference).

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But where are the computers???

This ad for Steelcase is from 1981 and features their top of the line office furniture. I looked at it and the first thing that came to mind was, what do these people do all day? Work???

No wonder they drank so much at lunch…

steelcase-cubicles-1981

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Crusade For Decency says ‘Don’t Buy These Grim Reaper & Helloween Albums!” (1987)

crusade-for-decency

This ad was pulled from a block of commercial on Japanese Mtv. I cannot be sure, but I seem to remember them running similar ads in the United States as well. It is a real gem because it features a timely reference (for the 1980s) to all the parents and decency groups crusading against music at the time. I know that Metal still has a hardcore group of fans here in the US and is still big elsewhere, but it nice to be reminded of a time when it was in the mainstream enough to get advertising time like this…

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