Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Pull

Loot what I gots fer Decemberween:

A glow in the dark Slashers t-shirt -- Evy and V.
A brain shaped jelly mold -- Evy and V.
A small piece of moldavite -- my bro.
A large hand embossed, hand bound leather journal -- my bro.
An Algiers labyrinth (for both mom and I) -- my bro.
Various healthy food stuffs -- my bro's girl.
The Dark Tower books (minus three and four since I have those) -- my mom.
And cash.

And what do I plan to do with said cash? Well, I'm glad I asked. I plan on making a couple of purchases, to be sure, but the majority is going toward the new short, which I hope to shoot in May of next year. April is the Sarasota Film Festival -- whether or not I'm in it doesn't matter, I'm gonna be busy with it -- and any earlier than that would be pushing it.'s gonna be a zombie movie!! WOO! I know, I one's really surprised that it's gonna be zombies, but I have heard "Well, it's about time..." All I can say in response to that is that Without/Within was important to me and it was important that I get it done. Now, I can do some horror stuff. :D

After this next short, I hope to do a feature. Which one? I dunno. I'll cross that bridge when I get there.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Alien vs. Predator: Requiem (thar be spoilers below!)

AvP:R (the R isn't really for Requiem, it's to make sure you suckers know that it's rated R) was directed by the Brothers Strause (in their feature debut) and written by Shane Salerno (Armageddon, Shaft).
I love the Alien movies, though I'm far from being an expert. I love them, love them, love them. All of them, even Alien3 (so long as it's David Fincher's work print version, not the Fox executives' version) and while there may be a few issues with Alien: Resurrection, I love it, too. Predator...well...I found them to be interesting, but not "omigod PREDATORS R SEW COOL!" interesting. The Alien aliens win for me.
I hated the first Alien versus Predator movie. Hated it. Paul W.S. Anderson's shoddy treatment of both properties, and essential transplant of the two species into the Resident Evil script, really frustrated me, though the Predalien hybrid introduced at the end of the flick was really interesting.
AvP:R makes the first one look like a masterpiece of Shakespearian proportions.
The film starts out with the biggest mistake EVER which was carried over from the first flick. Can you tell me, honestly tell me, that the Predators would actually carry their impregnated homie back onto the ship without any sort of protection? They have a super-special Alien tracking sight thingie in their masks, for the love of Pete. They'd KNOW that their fellow Predator was carrying a really nasty hybrid and would DISPOSE OF HIM / HER IMMEDIATELY. And by really nasty, I mean to say that the Predalien was a Queen / Uber-Facehugger unless forcefeeding multiple embryos down their host's throat is how the Predators procreate...
AND WHERE DID THEY GET THE FACEHUGGERS THAT ARE ON THE SHIP IN THE BEGINNING?! They couldn't have rescued them from the temple, there wasn't enough time to bottle the six (or whatever) of them up so nicely before the building went bye-byes.
The Predator knives (the ones that come out of their little gauntlet things): are they some special acid-resistant metal or something? Even their armour isn't acid blood resistant, but their weapons are, by golly...
There were very few, very VERY few, things in the script that were surprising and even fewer things that weren't slightly misogynistic or racist. Only white people live, only the menfolk (and the half-assed Ripley stand-in) get to shoot the guns, and only men get to be impregnated by facehuggers while already pregnant women get to be impregnated by the Predalien Queen. This is one terribly written movie. And, may I mention how much I hate that the lead male character is named Dallas?
Shots and even whole moments were stolen (even repeated once or twice) from the various Alien films (maybe Predator, too...I don't know,) but usually Aliens and Alien3. It was nice the first couple of times, but when conservatively 66 of your 86 minute runtime consists of stolen shots and moments, it gets boring fast especially when it doesn't feel as though the shots were understood by the filmmakers beyond "Oh, yeah! That was an awesome moment...let's do that!"
There are two really good things about this film, though: Alec Gillis and Tom Woodruff, Jr. came back for the effects (their Alien work is phenomenal) and the score by Brian Tyler took all kinds of cues from the Alien and Aliens scores (again, probably the Predator stuff, too, I don't know) and melded them into something that really worked for this film, though it did feel a little uneven, going more for the military feel of Aliens and I imagine the bombastic Predator.
My biggest problem with these movies is ALIENS ON EARTH BEFORE RIPLEY LEAVES IT?! WHAT?!?! Maybe it's explained in the comic books or one of the games or something, but you can't tell me that none of the characters in the first Alien film had ever heard of the complete nuclear annihilation of even a small town because of alien infestation ESPECIALLY when there were four survivours. If Weyland-Yutani were so gung-ho about finding these things (including the Predators?) separately or together, they would have LONG before the Nostromo was even drawn on paper.
The new breed of "versus" movies have the same problems: the crew aren't paying attention. If explanations to any of my concerns are in the comic books, they really need to be in the movies for them to make sense IN THE MOVIE.
Frustrating and disappointing.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Unconditional Love and Jodie Foster

Unconditional Love is a film from 2002 directed by P.J. Hogan and starring Kathy Bates, Jonathan Pryce, and Rupert Everett. It's about a middle aged housewife whose husband decides that he wants to get a divorce because he feels dead inside meanwhile her favourite singer ever, Victor Fox, was murdered by a serial killer. It's Victor Fox's death that puts her over the edge and sends her on a trip to England to attend his funeral where she finds herself trying to help Victor's boyfriend come out of both the closet and the house. And Julie Andrews tells someone to bugger off whilst singing "Getting To Know You." That alone is worth the price of admission.

The movie is freakin' hilarious. It's well written, well directed, well performed, and wonderful. I was, admittedly, dubious at first. Then my mom had me watch the trailer and I saw Jonathan Pryce and knew I had to watch it. I was rewarded with one heck of a quirky flick. I highly recommend it.

This was in today's IMDb news section:
Rupert Everett has dismissed Jodie Foster's "coming out" as insignificant - insisting she is too old for it to have an impact on Hollywood. Foster appeared to confirm rumors about her sexuality earlier this month when she thanked producer Cydney Bernard during her acceptance speech at an awards ceremony in Los Angeles. She said, "(Thank you to) my beautiful Cydney who sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss." But openly out star Everett insists Foster has done little to encourage secretly gay stars to be more open. He says, "She is 45 and just couldn't be bothered anymore. After a certain age you can be gay in Hollywood. Before that, it's not only not good, it's impossible."

"Imagine that...he was 55 years of age and he finally screwed up enough courage to come out." -- me paraphrasing something Rupert Everett's character said to Kathy Bates in Unconditional Love.

"I thought she came out ages ago..." -- my mom upon reading the above IMDb news item.

I know the world's reaction to Jodie's sort of coming out is more like "Duh." than "HOLY CRAP, REALLY?!", but come on, Rupert. Give the girl a break, yeah? She is Jodie freakin' Foster and it's because she doesn't make it a big deal that it's a big deal. She treats her life, her personal life, as normal whereas if she'd come out a labrys wearing, flag flying lesbian, (or even if not...just look at Rosie O'Donnell, I've never seen her swing a labris or tote a flag, but she's having a hell of a time. Ellen's bounced back, but she STILL has troubles) it would put her on show as a freak and then there would be nothing for her regardless of how talented she is.

Regardless, she's handled her life in the best way for her. She can't live for the rest of us...

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

So, I watched Sweeney Todd last night. It was directed by Tim Burton
 from the apparently classic stage musical with lots of blood. The source of the stage musical was a folk tale about a barber looking for revenge.

Okay, lemme cut to the chase: I'm not a big fan of musicals. There has to 
be something really special about them to make me like them. I can't stand older musicals and Sweeney Todd, in spite of the horror aspects, harkens back to shows like Oklahoma! and West Side Story. To put it quite frankly, I WAS BLOODY BORED. My only previous experience with Sweeney Todd comes from an episode of Just the Ten of Us when one of the daughters (Connie, played by JoAnn Willette) sings the title song in the pizza parlour. Since the title song isn't used in the movie, but makes up the main theme, I was thinking of that episode all through the movie.

Don't get me wrong: the performances were good. Johnny Depp has a serviceable voice (not bad, not great), but it's his performance that makes his Sweeney Todd work. Helena Bonham-Carter was good. Alan Rickman should not sing again, but his performance was fantastic. Timothy Spall really shouldn't sing again, but he was fantastic. Sacha Baron Cohen was...Adam Sandler, basically. Why was Anthony Stewart Head shown so prominently after Pirelli's disgrace when he doesn't show up again?

When put against the constantly bleak London backdrop that Burton created, even the livliest of the songs was lost. Everything was flat, the locations, I mean...even the parts that should have been poppy and bright were flat.

For a two hour movie, it felt strangely truncated and severely unsatisfying. 

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I've wiped the files? I've wiped all the files? I've wiped the INTERNET?!

That Eddie Izzard quote seemed appropriate in light of recent events in CBS's online world.

This comes via LiveJournal's WGA_supporters and to there via

Sadly, we must report that CBS Interactive organization is being restructured, and the production team that brings you the STARTREK.COM site has been eliminated. Effective immediately.

We don't know the ultimate fate of this site, which has served millions of Star Trek fans for the last thirteen years.

If you have comments, please send them to editor @ - we hope someone at CBS will read them.

Thank you for your loyal fandom over the years. It has been a pleasure to serve you.

I'm no Trekkie...or Trekker...or even a casual fan, but it seems to me that the timing of this "restructuring" is suspect, especially with the new movie in production. It also seems to me that it's studio retaliation against the fans who support the Writer's Guild strike.

There is no greater, more powerful fanbase in ANY fandom than the Trekkies (sorry Star Wars, but you have to give it to them...) They've been going strong for a bazillion years. And CBS / Paramount has swept them aside like so much garbage...all because they support the people who have given them the worlds they love so dearly.

The AMPTP would kill to be able to control the internet and weed out the undesireables -- the fans, who are the ones who make them rich in the first place. It's that pesky internet that's allowed millions of dollar signs, I mean people, to band together with the writers, to give them strength and encouragement in their most desperate hour. I mean, if people could band together like this for writers...what would happen if everyone banded together for other such positive things, like stopping wars and impeaching those who weren't really elected in the first place? The people in Louisiana who are still homeless and suffering might actually get a place to live if the rest of the United States felt as though they COULD play David to the corporate Goliath and THEN where would the 10% be, eh?

film festival updates

Okay, so the first notify deadline of the fifteen festival submissions has passed -- this past Friday as a matter of fact, for Show Off Your Shorts in L.A. -- and I didn't hear back. Unfortunately, my submission to this particular festival arrived too late and was subsequently disqualified.

I thought it would get there on time, but I didn't factor in how slow the US postal gets around the holidays so I just barely missed it. My first film festival disappointment, but honestly, I have no one to blame except myself as I thought I was able to get it in on time. That one was rushed. Ah well, there's always next year!

I did, hwowever, receive word from two festivals, Seattle True Independent Film Festival and Eerie Horror Film Festival, that they received my film and it's in consideration. That was awfully kind of them, to send along a note. Very cool. Even if I don't get in, I wouldn't think twice about sending them the next one.

The next film festival I should hear from is FirstGlance in Hollywood by January 2. From that point on, I'll either get in or NOT get in to the remaining thirteen festivals based on the strengths and weaknesses of the film itself (okay, and maybe some mistakes I made with my very first submission, but that part I'll never know because I don't think they tell you what you did wrong), not because it arrived too late.

As far as the next short is concerned: the script is done and it's been handed off to TrAilz and SpoogE for them to read whenever they have time to do so. I haven't bothered thinking about cast yet as this one is half as long, but twice as complicated as WITHOUT/WITHIN

I was originally going to go for an April start date for the new one, but the Sarasota Film Festival is April 4-13 and even if I'm not in it, I'll still be busy with it / because of it as I work in the theatre where it's hosted. I find out about that one on St. Patrick's Day. 

As for any other reason that I may not be accepted to film festivals (and I did think about this, but I know what's right)...such as my support of the writer's strike, let me say this: as a future member of the WGA, why wouldn't I support the people fighting for my future as well as the futures of hundreds, even thousands, of writers and their families? Not only that, but the WGA supports other unions, both industry and non-industry. Supporting them supports everyone. So, any festival that won't accept me not because they think my short film sucks, but because I support the strike isn't a festival I want to be a part of anyway.

Plums deify!

Still not done reading Stephen King's On Writing, but I was able to knock a good chunk out last night while icing my knee at work after the shows were started for the tens and the midnights. The Big Boss will just have to forgive me for not doing actual work during that time, but I wanted to, you know, stop the pain. (I twisted my knee a week or so ago and it's not happy. I'd go so far as to say that it was actually furious with me, but you'd have to ask it yourself. It's not speaking to me.)

Even though I'm not even close to done, I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to be a writer, already is a writer, or thinks they are a writer. I've discovered that, at least as far as King's concerned, a lot of the things I do as a writer that I think are silly, he does, too, and even goes so far as to recommend doing. I do use adverbs when I'm attributing dialogue (sometimes, I just can't help myself, but I think this comes from the way I write screenplays), but I'm pretty good about not using cliches or too many metaphors (thank you, Mrs. Feasley.)

Anyway, I highly, HIGHLY recommend the book.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Am Legend

The short: Apparently, it's impossible for Hollywood to do justice to Richard Matheson's wonderful book by the same name. This is just a fancy rehash of The Omega Man with speechless "Infected."

Also, Emma Thompson destroyed the world...but I can't be mad at her...she's Emma Thompson, for the love of Pete. I screamed when she appeared on screen for her little cameo. Too bad the movie wasn't worth her presence.

This film, the third in a series of increasingly bad adaptations of a brilliant novella, tells the story of soldier/scientist Robert Neville as he struggles to survive while searching for a cure to a virus that was intended as a cure for cancer. Of course, as such things do, it went horribly awry. Those who were injected with 'KV' mutated into sunlight sensitive cannibals with big rubbery mouths and no social structure (according to Neville.)

I already said that this is just a flashy remake of The Omega Man starring Charleton Heston. There's a considerable amound of tension and it's well directed, produced, and performed. The problem is that IT'S NOT I AM LEGEND.

Below this sentense, I'm going to spoil everything. You have been warned.

In the novella, Neville doesn't die a martyr...he doesn't save the human race. The vampires are the new world order and he's the monster murdering them in their sleep...that's the WHOLE POINT OF THE BOOK! That's the main thing every single adaptation of the novel has failed to grasp. The only version that has come close to the desperate isolation of the book is the first one: The Last Man on Earth starring Vincent Price.

Basically, if you've never read the book or seen the other films, you'll like it. If you have, you'll most likely find yourself very disappointed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Masters of Horror: Pro-Life, Valerie on the Stairs, The Screwfly Solution, Pick Me Up

I've had these episodes of Masters of Horror since late September, but for some reason I haven't watched 
them until now. Tonight, as a matter of fact.
 All four of them, one right after the other.

directed by John Carpenter from a script by Drew McWeeny & Scott Swan.

A pregnant teenager miraculously winds up at a Women's Health Center when she desires an abortion for a baby she's only had for a week, but looks, at first, to be six months along. Her father, a die-hard religious nut who has threatened the clinic's staff before, has been told by God to protect the all costs.

This episode starts out kind of rocky, but eventually finds its rhythm and goes at it full tilt boogie. Some of the effects leave a lot to be desired (too much arterial spray in some scenes, too little in others...not normal for the KNB crew to be so uneven, but CGI is also to be blamed here), but it was a good, effective episode. Carpenter's first season entry, "Cigarette Burns," was far better, though both give me hope that if he's making dark films again then he's back to making dark films.

Biggest issues with the plot: Cell phones and the remote location of this clinic. You mean to tell me that NONE of the people in that building have a cell phone with which to call the cops? And do you mean to tell me that a clinic that offers abortions would be so remote AND be without a substation or a small unit of police officers? Yeah, no...but hey, I really like the basic idea so I'll overlook that.

Valerie on the Stairs
directed by Mick Garris from his adaptation of the Clive Barker story of the same name.

An unpublished writer moves into a writer's hostel, of sorts, where he can work uninterrupted without worrying about rent and food. Of course, uninterrupted means interrupted by a beautiful apparition and the demon who possesses and worships her.

Clive Barker's a hard one to adapt. His words paint the picture in the reader's mind and it's a difficult job to get those images on screen, especially for Garris, who is one of Stephen King's most frequent screenwriters. I love Stephen King, don't get me wrong, but when Mick Garris adapts, you can feel the television all over it. Even his previous Masters of Horror entry which was adapted from his own short story, felt like teevee. Garris gave it his all for this one, though, he really did...but he didn't quite get there, though it's better than his first season entry "Chocolate."

I still liked it, however, because the idea is so wonderfully complex and so wonderfully Clive Barker.

The Screwfly Solution
directed by Joe Dante from a script by Sam Hamm who adapted James Tiptree, Jr.'s short story.

When a strange illness turns all the men in the world into murderous psychopaths at the merest hint of sex, two women try to escape by going north, but there's no where to hide.

This was one of the worst entries to the Masters of Horror series that I've seen. I haven't read the original short story, but it has to be loads more interesting than what was filmed and offered. Very disappointing.

Pick Me Up
directed by Larry Cohen from a script by David J. Schow which was adapted from his own short story.

A bitter young woman is caught in the cross-fire between two highway psychopaths. I'm oversimplifying it a bit, but that'll do. The less you know going into the episode, the better.

I wasn't expecting to like it, but I did. Schow managed to take two staples of the Urban Legend / slasher genre and pit them against each other in a way that was strange and believeable at the same time. I would have arranged it a little differently...the set-up took up most of the episode leaving very little time for the actual pissing contest, but I wasn't expecting the ending so that made up for it. Good flick.

Dear Frankie

To see my other movie reviews, please go to my LiveJournal. Through that link they're posted with the most recent review first.

Dear Frankie stars Emily Mortimer, Gerard Butler, and Jack McElhone in a story about a nine year old boy who wants to meet his dad more than anything else in the world, and the mother who has been protecting him from the awful truth by saying that his father's out at sea, on a ship called the Accra (or A.C.C.R.A., not entirely sure about that one.) When her good intentioned lie starts to fall apart, she hires a man to pretend to be Frankie's father for one day and he ends up changing both of their lives.

I'm not really sure why this ended up on my queue, to be honest. I mean, mom and I saw a trailer for it on some DVD recently, but I'm not sure as to why we went ahead and added it. That's not to say that it was a bad flick...far from it. It's a tad boring in the beginning, but if you can make it through the first twenty to thirty minutes, you'll find yourself quite enjoying this cute, though sad, little film.

I really don't have any problems with it that weren't addressed at some point in the movie and I didn't notice any technical problems. All was well and it was a good flick. I recommend it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's a shame about Cage...

Obviously, I like movies. I like to talk about movies that interest me, I like to watch movies, and I like to make them. Occasionally, when I find a bit of movie news that sparks my interest, I'll talk about it and this is one of those times.

Alex Proyas (Dark City, The Crow...I, Robot) has a new movie coming out called Knowing. You can find some information here, courtesy Unfortunately, it stars Nicholas Cage, who has gotten increasingly cheesy since Leaving Las Vegas. However, the power of Proyas will compel me to watch the movie anyway.

I don't know what most writers do when they have a sit down to do what they do, but I tend to put Ferris Bueller's Day Off on in the background. I look up every once in a while, of course, and catch some of my favouritest bits, but
it really does help me write. I transcribed eight typed 12 pt courier pages tonight in an hour and a half. Don't know what that's all about because I LOVE Ferris Bueller and look up often even though I can recite some parts from memory. Guess I'm some sort of super fast typist or something.

If you're wondering where this is coming from, I'm currently reading Stephen King's On Writing and it's got me thinking about my processes and such. He and I already have quite a few things in common as far as how I approach writing my stories, but I think I should wait until I'm finished before I delve into all of that TOO much further.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Teaser poster revealed for new Indiana Jones flick.

Courtesy, the world gets to see the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull poster with art by the amazing Drew Struzan.

The more I see stuff for Indiana Jones the more excited I get, which is the point, of course. Except Shia LaBeouf's hair. There was one promo shot of him and his hair was really distracting.

I can remember seeing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in the theatre. Picture it: Canton, Ohio. 1989. There was an Oscar Meyer wiener truck idling outside of a one screen movie theatre whose name has since been lost to the ravages of time (and probably to a demolition crew's wrecking ball as well), but whose interiour is reminiscent of a castle. I still have at least one of the Oscar Meyer wiener pins around here whistles, though. They weren't handing any of those out, that I saw anyway. We must have gone on opening day because why else would the Oscar Meyer wiener truck be there?

Anyway, I don't know how she managed it with a broken leg, but mom took myself and my best 
childhood friend, Jennifer, to the movies and that was what we saw. A month or so later, we moved to Florida. My family and I, that is, not Jennifer and my family.

I liked Last Crusade, but Temple of Doom was still my even to this day. When I saw the movie, I was only a few years younger than Ke Huy Quan, the kid who played Short Round. That were was a smart, 
capable kid in a grown up movie enthralled me at a critical point 
in my life. 

I still love it for that...and it's a good flick.

I hope Kingdom of the Crystal Skull still holds that Indy magic...guess we'll find out in May.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

First post in a new house...

Well, I was a LiveJournal user.  My journal can be found here. I intend to use this blog much as I used my LJ, but with their sale to pro-Kremlin company SUP, I find myself wishing to move away from LJ. I hope that this journal will serve me as well as LJ did.

It's going to take a while for me to customize this new house, to make it a place my words can call home, so bear with me as I work with it.

edited to add: I just finished moving all the relevent Without/Within posts from my LiveJournal to this blog so you can go back and peruse the production process from the beginning through to the end and beyond.