News: “Alien” the Prequel, Blockbuster Video shows their desperation and more…

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“Alien” the Prequel:

An “Alien” prequel has been verified by  director Tony Scott.  He is the brother of Ridley Scott, the director of “Alien.”  The prequel will be directed by Carl Rinsch, director of 1994’s “The Quiz.” Tony Scott guesses that production will begin “Hopefully (at) the end of the year.”

I am hoping this will allow the franchise to dig itself out from the hole of 1997’s “Alien:  Resurrection” as well as the “Alien vs. Predator” flicks.  The former was just ridiculous; (dead Ripley is back…but as a clone with a different personality? Huh?)  I hope Fox compensated Sigourney Weaver very well for being in that complete mess.  The latter films were just bad CGI wrapped around terrible dialogue.  Maybe this latest installment will act at least as a companion piece that can at least stand alongside the original trilogy.  I hope that the effects are more based on the earlier style of using those eerie alien figurines, which looks far scarier and realistic than CGI.


RIP Jay Bennett:

Former Wilco member Jay Bennett was announced dead a week ago at the tragically young age of 45.   He was an integral part of the Wilco documentary “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.”  That documentary was quite possibly one of the most revealing and emotionally raw music documentaries ever made.  The film graphically depicts the ego clashes between Bennett and Wilco lead singer Jeff Tweedy during the making of their critical breakthrough album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.”  The film chronicled the departure of Jay Bennett; “Bennett cowrote several songs and engineered much of the album, yet tension between him and his bandmates mounted. He was fired soon after the album was completed… Earlier this month, Bennett sued Tweedy in Cook County Circuit Court, claiming that he was owed royalties… and compensation for his appearance in the 2002 documentary “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.”

The music industry lost a great musician, and I would suggest that as a tribute we should all rent the documentary as a fitting tribute to his memory.  It is a chance to see a terrific piece of documentary filmmaking.


Blockbuster Video shows their desperation:

The lousy economy has not spared Blockbuster Video–“…shares of Blockbuster have sunk 90% in less than two years, closing at 71 cents on Thursday.”  They have tried playing with new technology to increase revenue.  The stores have employed new media technologies such as “…DVD-by-mail, kiosks and Internet-delivered VOD…,” but they have not lifted the company out of its economic doldrums.  The latest gimmick is the sale of “movie prop replicas.”  A few examples of the products in mind are “replicas of the sunglasses Tom Cruise wore in “Top Gun” and that Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith wore in “Men in Black.”

I have a proposal for Blockbuster that does not include cheap knockoff shades.  How about improving the selection?  Instead of putting in walls of the same new releases, how about some old films, foreign films, and some obscure titles?  What hiring some knowledgeable staff?   I think employing the values of the smaller independent video store might save the chain store.  Personally, I would prefer that more people switch to the mom-and-pop shops; but  the chain places have an omnipresence with which the small places cannot compete.  But perhaps the failing economy will level the playing field by lessening the stranglehold the chains have had on the rental business.

Drew Williamson

  1. Watch American Idol Online says

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  2. guest says

    If Blockbuster shuts down, where would I get my new flicks?

    Waiting for Netflix is not the same thing.

  3. Derek says

    Great work Drew; your articles are top notch

    There is too much to talk about this article. The death of Bennet is something that I think will only properly be noticed years from now, such as when a star extinguishes itself.

    However, I have some thoughts about the Blockbuster thing…

    This is a sign of a deeper sickness. Basically, a Big Box chain uses practices such as economy of scale to deliberately shut down any competition. They know they can afford to have many uneconomical shops in a market for years, as long as it destroys any local competition. In the long run, they have an eye on the consolidation of the entire market in their own image.

    I have seen this for years, a big chain comes in, and a flourishing local garden becomes a parking lot. This Mono-crop mentality, which is efficient from the point of view of producers and distributors, is unsatisfying from the point of view of consumers, who are supposed to be the beneficiaries of a “free-market” approach.

    The problem with a mono-crop: when a virus comes in that is deadly to it, there is nothing to fall back on, and the entire harvest is lost. The versatility of the small business (the true free market) that can actually adapt to substantial changes in the market, is rendered inert in the face of the beige inertia of Head Office. Whereas a local owner can see things from the ground level and make changes that benefit their customers, the Assistant to the Regional Manager will look at the Business model she learned in school and wonder what the hell they are talking about.

    After the Big Box has destroyed the local market, and after it has achieved a monopoly, any policy that cannot adapt to what consumers want, means that the entire industry they belong to suffers. I deal with people who come hundreds of miles away just to rent films because the Big Box chain that shut down all the Mom and Pops in their neighbourhood closed down, leaving them with no video store to go to locally.

    I guess I am trying to say, in a self serving way, support your local businesses, and they are will support you.

    Oh, and fuck Head Office.

    1. Derek says

      I meant to say at the end “support your local businesses, and they will support you”.

      Fuck Head Office.

  4. Ricky says

    Please do not give any advice to Blockbuster. They need to be shut down for good.

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