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Richard Matheson, Author Of 'I Am Legend', Dies


Will Smith Hugh Jackman Steven Spielberg Anne Rice Stephen King Vincent Price Charlton Heston

Richard Matheson has led a long and interesting life. Born in Brooklyn he started his writing career when some of his short stories were published in 1950. The author's subsequent career, spanning 60 years, including writing scripts for The Twilight Zone, Family Guy, Ghost Story and Jaws 3-D. His most famous work is I Am Legend, a post-apocalyptic horror which follows one man's life pitted against vampires whilst he is isolated in deserted Los Angeles.

I Am Legend has been adapted three times since its publication in 1954. The first starring Vincent Price, the second Charlton Heston and in 2011 Will Smith took on the role. The novel has been critically acclaimed and continues to challenge vampire novelists in developing an idea as original as Matheson's.

Director Steven Spielberg paid tribute to the late author saying in a statement "Richard Matheson's ironic and iconic imagination created seminal science-fiction stories and gave me my first break when he wrote the short story and screenplay for Duel.

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Pink Panther Star Herbert Lom Dies, Aged 95


Herbert Lom Kirk Douglas Charlton Heston Alec Guinness Peter Sellers Blake Edwards

Herbert Lom, the actor best known for playing Charles Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movies, has died aged 95. He may have starred alongside Hollywood greats Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston and Alec Guinness, he may have portrayed historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte, but it will be his performance alongside the hapless Inspector Clouseau (played by Peter Sellers) for which he will be most fondly remembered.

The family of the Czech-born star confirmed that he died peacefully in his sleep, Sky News report today (September 27, 2012) and his son Alec Lom has spoken of his long and varied career. “Like many actors, he never wanted to be pigeon-holed in a particular role,” his son revealed. “After having played the role of East European gangster in many films, it was a delight to him later in his career to be cast by Pink Panther producer and director Blake Edwards in a comedy role opposite Peter Sellers, and he hugely enjoyed that move.”

Alec also spoke fondly of his father’s working relationship with Sellers, saying “he had many funny stories about the antics that he and Peter Sellers got up to on the set. It was a nightmare working with Peter because he was a terrible giggler and, between my father and Peter's laughter, they ruined dozens and dozens of takes.”


Oscar Winning Actor Charlton Heston Dies At Age 84


Charlton Heston

Oscar winning actor Charlton Heston has died at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 84.

Heston's family have said a private memorial service will be held for the star who revealed that he had been diagnosed with symptoms similar to those linked with Alzheimer's disease in 2002. No announcement has been made about the cause of the actor's death.

Heston first gained fame through his role as a ringmaster in the film The Greatest Show on Earth in 1952. He was seen as one of the leading stars of an era in which Hollywood made grand epics based on historical and biblical stories.

Two of his most famous roles were as Moses in The Ten Commandments and Ben-Hur, a film set in Roman times in which he played a Jewish prince sent to the gallows after being betrayed by his friend. Ben-Hur went on to win 11 Oscars including the best actor prize for Heston, who played the lead in the film.

In a statement, his family said: "To his loving friends, colleagues and fans, we appreciate your heartfelt prayers and support.

"Charlton Heston was seen by the world as larger than life. No one could ask for a fuller life than his. No man could have given more to his family, to his profession, and to his country.

"In his own words, 'I have lived such a wonderful life. I've lived enough for two people'."

In his cinema career, Heston has also played the roles of Michelangelo and El Cid but was also well known for being the head of America's pro-gun organisation, the National Rifle Association, for five years.

Heston is survived by his wife Lydia and his two children Frank and Holly.

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Earthquake Review


OK
The land-based counterpart to The Poseidon Adventure provides the same decay of civilization, the same mix of jaw-dropping special effects (remember, no CGI in these days) and cheese, and the same George Kennedy. With names like Heston, Roundtree, Bujold, and Greene (Lorne), the film has plenty of star power to manage its obvious plot: The Big One strikes L.A., and a handful of stories play out in the aftermath. Some are inspired (a group of office workers attempt to escape a crumbling high-rise) and some are absurd (Roundtree is a stunt motorcycle driver whose wooden track falls apart). The stories roughly interlock, but the impressive effects steal the show, not to be outdone by some amazing howlers, like the crudely animated blood that "splatters" on the screen when an elevator falls to its doom. Priceless. (The movie had four Oscar nominations, won one, and got a special achievement award for visual effects. On DVD, the sound is awesome.)

Earthquake Review


OK
The land-based counterpart to The Poseidon Adventure provides the same decay of civilization, the same mix of jaw-dropping special effects (remember, no CGI in these days) and cheese, and the same George Kennedy. With names like Heston, Roundtree, Bujold, and Greene (Lorne), the film has plenty of star power to manage its obvious plot: The Big One strikes L.A., and a handful of stories play out in the aftermath. Some are inspired (a group of office workers attempt to escape a crumbling high-rise) and some are absurd (Roundtree is a stunt motorcycle driver whose wooden track falls apart). The stories roughly interlock, but the impressive effects steal the show, not to be outdone by some amazing howlers, like the crudely animated blood that "splatters" on the screen when an elevator falls to its doom. Priceless. (The movie had four Oscar nominations, won one, and got a special achievement award for visual effects. On DVD, the sound is awesome.)

Touch of Evil Review


Essential
God, I love Charlton Heston movies. He can always be relied on to give an, er, square-jawed performance. He's appropriately square-jawed here, with a pencil-thin moustache and a swaggering demeanor. Yes, sir. You want to make a compulsively watchable movie, you throw old Chuck a bone and cast him in the lead role.

On top of that, Touch of Evil makes him a Mexican! I love it! Charlton Heston plays a Mexican detective!

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The Omega Man Review


OK
There's an entire subgenre of science fiction flicks from the '70s which feature Charlton Heston in a futuristic setting. Nowadays, these films work mostly as camp or kitsch (with the possible exception of Planet of the Apes). Soylent Green is one of those movies I suspect few people haven't actually seen. Many know it from that hilarious Phil Hartman sketch on Saturday Night Live, where he plays a hambone Heston who continually flubs his line. It's pretty funny in the actual movie, too: Heston flails his arms and screams, "Soylent Green is people! It's peopppppllllleeeee!" All right, maybe you had to be there, but to me, that's pretty hilarious stuff.

Finally, we have The Omega Man, based on a popular Richard Matheson science fiction novel entitled I Am Legend. I'm surprised that this film hasn't become part of pop culture, since it features Heston as the last virile hero on the planet (involved in an interracial romance -- a bold political move at that time).

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Planet of the Apes (1968) Review


Extraordinary
The monkey movie that started it all and the only memorable picture to come out of the laughable and sometimes unbearable saga of talking ape movies, Planet of the Apes still beats with a steady heart 30 years after its conception.

This memorable adaptation of the novel Monkey Planet, authored by Pierre Boulle (the same guy who wrote The Bridge on the River Kwai), was brought to life by the infamous producer Arthur Jacobs, who eventually oversaw the production duties for the entire Apes saga. No studio except Fox would touch the project with a ten-foot pole, despite the participation of Rod Serling, who co-authored the screenplay adaptation of Boulle's novel (and which led to 30 drafts), Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, and Kim Hunter (Stella from A Streetcar Named Desire), and the amazing ape makeup by first-timer John Chambers.

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Any Given Sunday Review


Good
Football is as engrained in our society's mores as deeply as war, family values, and politics -- at least that's what Oliver Stone would like you to believe. To back up this statement, Any Given Sunday analyzes the effects of a culture that elevates professional athletes and coaches to a plateau where they are immortalized as heroes of the common man. Stone's football fairytale is a culmination of every anecdote, highlight, or soundbite you've ever seen associated with the pigskin, wrapped up in an aesthetically pleasing Christmas package, and sealed with a kiss from team owner Cameron Diaz. Stone aims to please, and he doesn't miss a single cliché of the revered and scrutinized American athlete.

At its core, Any Given Sunday is the story of Miami Sharks coach Tony D'Amato (Al Pacino - The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon) and his two quarterbacks, Willie Beamen (Jamie Foxx - The Great White Hype, Booty Call) and Cap Rooney (Dennis Quaid - The Big Easy, Innerspace). The quarterback is the most vital position in the game. He is the team spokesperson and field chief, and he serves as a crucial link between coaches, administration, and players. When legendary two-time Pantheon Cup (aka: Super Bowl) champion Cap Bowman ruptures a disk after a bone crushing hit, coach Tony is left with Willie Beamen (Foxx), an athletic, yet untested QB. His team has lost four straight and appears to be plummeting in a downward spiral with the playoffs right around the corner. He's got delusional team owner Christina Pagniacci (Cameron Diaz) and sports analyst Jack Rose (John McGinley, doing his best Jim Rome impersonation) breathing down his neck because of his outdated coaching style, and a team of players he's losing control of.

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The Three Musketeers (1973) Review


Good
I saw the word "whimsical" used in one product description of this installment of The Three Musketeers, a faithful adaptation of the classic novel, and no word could better describe the film. It's a combination of belly laughs via non-stop sight gags, endless swashbuckling, and only a dab of plot, all of which serve to make this an engaging event movie that takes place in France instead of in space. Packed with classic actors (including Charlton Heston, Christopher Lee, and Raquel Welch), this is a fun, nearly farcical adventure that's definitely worth a look.

The Ten Commandments Review


Excellent
It takes something special for a motion picture to enter the Biblical canon. But ask any Christian what happened to Moses before age 30, and they'll likely relate to you the plotline of Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments.

Surprise! As DeMille himself tells us in a (somewhat silly) opening narration -- where he comes out from behind a curtain and addresses the audience -- the Bible skips Moses' formative years altogether. One minute, as a baby he's fished out of the Nile by Pharoah's daughter, the next he's banished to the desert for killing an Egyptian who is beating a Hebrew man. There's certainly no talk of Moses' rise to power under Pharoah -- which comprises the first two hours of this nearly four-hour film. In DeMille's rendition (based, he says, on the works of ancient scholars), Moses (Charleton Heston, in the role that would define his career) toils under Pharoah (Cedric Hardwicke) as his adopted grandson, working hard building a treasure city for his glory. His rival is Pharoah's son Rameses (Yul Brynner), who isn't only also up for the future job of Pharoah, he's also competing for the hand of Nefretiri (All About Eve's title character Anne Baxter).

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The Naked Jungle Review


OK
Back in the 1950s, Charlton Heston was cranking out two or three movies a year, most of them cheapies like The Naked Jungle.

This schizophrenic little drama starts with an incredible uninspiring setup: Heston is the hapless owner of a cocoa plantation in South America, 1901. For no particular reason, he sends off for a mail order bride, which arrives in the form of the far too lovely Eleanor Parker. But Parker's got a secret: She's a widow. Gasp!

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Tombstone Review


Good
If Kurt Russell's handlebar mustache doesn't give you the willies, you need a bigger TV.

The definitive populist telling of the Wyatt Earp story, Tombstone has more fun with the story than traditionalist versions like Kevin Costner's Wyatt Earp, with a younger, more crowd-pleasing cast -- Thomas Haden Church plays a bad guy; Jason Priestley is a deputy. And it's got more factual holes than the Clanton gang ended up with -- all in the name of serving up Good Clean Fun.

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In the Mouth of Madness Review


OK
Curious recursive horror movie, in which mild-mannered Sam Neill is sent to investigate the disappearance of a massively famous horror author (Jürgen Prochnow). Turns out Prochnow's Sutter Cane is living in his own horrific imagination, and anyone that visits his town finds himself living there too. And Cane's world of hell is set to move on out to the rest of the world when his latest book (and movie) come out. Neill is effective but sidekick Julie Carmen (who?) comes off as the poor man's Talia Shire. Overall this is a relatively original riff on the genre, and worth checking out for horror fans looking for a bit of a new spin.
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