Monday, December 29, 2008

Day Four of Five Completed!

Yesterday, we finished the fourth day of our shoot. Other than a couple of bumpy areas, it's been going like gangbusters (to quote Shawn McBee) and I thought that in advance of our last day of filming (January 4), I'd post all of the photos we've taken so far.

I was sad that we didn't have a whole lot of photos from the first shoot and resolved that on my next flick there would be as many as possible and set Shawn to the task of taking them. This time, I'm so happy! We have over a hundred photos!! With one day's shoot left, too!

After the pick-ups, I'll post about the shoot as a whole, but for now, enjoy the photos!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Photos and updates and lots of bandwidth-eating stuff....

I uploaded my proof-of-concept greenscreen build photos today and remembered that I never shared the links to the Modesto trip! Sometimes, I have a fantastic memory. Other times, not so much. I know, you've all been holding your breath for these photos!! lol

First of all, here is my latest eye test. This is about one and a half steps from what I want... My usual complaints, the blinking, the tracking...blah, blah, blah. I've had some ideas, but I've put aside the effects tests so I can focus on the homestretch of pre-production on the new flick.

Here is a slideshow of the p-o-c greenscreen build:

And here is a slideshow of my trip to Modesto!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cause and Effect

As the start date for my new short flick looms ever closer, I find myself torn in millions of directions whereas even a week ago, it was only a hundred or two. I'm not a fan of the Producer part of this level of filmmaking. This one is far more complicated than anything I've taken on before, even as just a camera person for my friends's flicks. I'm talking about the effects. The digital stuff. I prefer practical effects, but at my level, there's just no affording such a thing. I hope to have some practical effects on this one, but I'm not counting on them as I only know one local effects artist, but I don't have his number and one who is a friend of one of my actors is busy with a zombie flick in Tampa. As a zombie fan, I say, "ZOMBIE FILM MORE IMPORTANT!!" Thus, I'm learning how to do some stuff digitally.

If I can, I will be doing some of the practical effects myself. I'm no professional, but I gotta try. However, for everything else...I have to go digital. I have one character who is barely going to be on set except for actual interactions with other people. For him, I will be doing greenscreen work. (see my test for greenscreen here: Several of my characters have special eye effects. Two of the characters aren't complicated, but two of them are massively complicated and I've been doing a series of tests involving the eyes (all of which can be found on my youTube channel:

I'm getting closer, though, going by a test I did today.

This is getting pretty close to something I can be happy with. Originally, I wanted something more organic and was going to try to recreate the replicant eyes in Blade Runner. I know the theory behind how, I've read snippets of what the late Jordan Cronenweth, ACE, has written about the eyes, and I've tried it several times, but so far I haven't done it. Even after I finish the film, I'll keep trying because it looks so darn cool, but I don't think I'll be able to figure it out in enough time for the shoot.

Meanwhile, I keep going over in my head how I want certain things to look. My storyboards are...lacking in that department because I use stick figures. Once I'm in post, I'll put them all up on my Flickr account so people can point and laugh (I know I giggle every time I look at them), and I'll do a special storyboard-to-scene comparison, too. I always see these amazing storyboards for movies, it'll be awesome to offer up my stick figures!

As for the practical side of things: actors, locations, my crew, I've adopted a strangely serene attitude. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't. One can't force Ka, if one were as geeky as I to reference Roland of Gilead. I'll take my geekiness one step further and quote him: "There will be water if God wills it." I just have to try and apply that to my feelings about the effects.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Nobel Son, Clean, Black Sheep, Tokyo Mater (short), and Nothing Like the Holidays.

Whew! This is going to be one loooooong review dump. I'll try to make it short. My fault. Been really busy with pre-production on the new flick. Right now, I'm at the point where I know I have something I need to do (other than re-storyboard a couple of scenes), but I'll be damned if I can remember what it is. Anyway, onto the reviews!


Nobel Son was written by Jody Savin and Randall Miller (their blast-off flick was Bottle Shock based on the true story of California wine) and directed by Miller. It's about the kidnapping of the son of a philandering, egotistical Nobel prize winning chemist (brilliantly played by Alan Rickman.)

The cast were all fantastic. There's the formerly mentioned Rickman, Bryan Greenberg as his son, Mary Steenburgen as his wife, and a host of other recognizable faces if not considered stars in their own rights: Ted Danson (Steenburgen's husband), Ernie Hudson, Bill Pullman, Danny DeVito, Eliza Dushku, and Shawn Hatosy. It's simply too bad that the script wasn't up to snuff.

You see, it was a great story with lots of twists and turns. If the writers had spent even half the time on the characters that they spent on the story, this would have been an amazing little flick. Unfortunately, the characters all fall flat. In the end, I didn't care about any of them. And the attempts at black comedy were painful at best.

If you don't mind that the characters aren't all that well-rendered, then I recommend the flick because the story is well-written. 


Clean was written and directed by Olivier Assayas and starred the always wonderful Maggie Cheung as the heroin addicted aspiring musician wife of a heroin addicted rock star who accidentally, and fatally, overdoses in their hotel room. The movie is about her search for redemption and the strength to change herself.

It really could have been an amazing film except for one problem that I had with it and this is a major spoiler so if you don't want to know, skip the rest of this paragraph. She never, not once, admits that she was the one who bought the drugs that killed him. Even when her little boy, with whom she was amazingly honest all around this particular conversation, asks her if she bought the drugs, she denies it. If she had ever finally owned that one not-so-little detail, I would be praising the movie all over the place. Unfortunately, she doesn't and she gets to continue pursuing her dream, gets her son back, and lives free and clear, but not so clean as the title would imply. 

That complaint aside, Maggie Cheung was absolutely brilliant in the role which I think was made all the more difficult as she's required to speak three different languages in the course of the movie: her native Chinese (forgive me as I don't know the dialect...Cantonese maybe?), French (this is the main language of the film), and English. Everyone in the film was fantastic.

Another problem I had was with the music. It all sounded the same to me. And bad at that.

The editing was bad, too. Noticibly so because I don't often think about how well or not-well a film is edited. This was not well edited.

Overall: one missing card brings down the whole house, but it was filled with wonderful performances so that should count for something.


Black Sheep was written and directed by Jonathan King and is NOT that Kevin Farley movie. This one is best described by the tag line, as provided by the IMDb: "Get ready for the Violence of the Lambs!"

If I'd grown up in a land where our main commerce was centered around sheep, I think this would have been funnier.  As it was, I giggled a couple of times and sighed when they Went There with some of their jokes. Some horror flicks can't help but be predictable and still be good. This was predictable, but in a bad way.

The sound effects and score were underwhelming, too. The music cues seemed off because the swells and stings didn't hit at the right times.

Great special effects from WETA workshops, those lovely blokes and sheilas behind Dead Alive and the Lord of the Rings flicks, though. Those guys are fantastic.

Overall, pretty disappointing.


Tokyo Mater is a short film that will be added to prints of Bolt starting Friday. It's the third in a series of films called Mater's Tall Tales, the first two of which aired on the Disney Channel already. This one involves Mater (the rusty, clunky tow truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy) going to Japan and being challenged to a drift race. 

I watched the 3D version, of course. I liked Cars and all, but it's not one of my favourite Pixar flicks. Mater is definitely one of my least favourite characters (I'm not a fan of Larry the Cable Guy, either), but the short was cute and the 3D was wonderfully rendered. I love that the Japanese cars have anime eyes.

Cute, but I'm not sure I'd pay the 3D price to see it if I'd already watched Bolt. If you haven't watched Bolt and you want to, again, see the 3D version. 


Nothing Like the Holidays was written by Alison Swan and Rick Najera and directed by Alfredo de Villa. It's about a Puerto Rican family coming home for the holidays; the prodigal son coming back from Iraq with scars both seen and unseen, the actress hoping against all hope that she lands a role in a television pilot, the lawyer and his white wife who don't seem to measure up to their parents' expectations, various friends of the family, and the parents themselves who are going through a rough patch in their relationship due to his philandering ways.

It's my tradition, since i don't have to pay for the movies I watch, to catch one holiday movie a year at the theatre. I chose this one because of the wonderful cast: John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Pena, Alfred Molino, Vanessa Ferlito, Freddy Rodriguez, and Luis Guzman. This won't be replacing my normal traditional holiday movie Home for the Holidays, but it didn't leave me disappointed like the past five years worth of holiday offerings from Hollywood. In fact, I would even say that I loved it. 

However, it was a little too neat and convenient. It sort of tiptoed around all the serious subjects it touched, but it was well done throughout and there were times where I was laughing so hard, I thought I was going to split something (watch Debra Messing at the bar when she and Leguizamo are dancing. She's in the background and oh em gee, she was hilarious in that scene.)

The performances were wonderful. I thought Freddy Rodriguez was a little uncomfortable and awkward, but he was also an executive producer so I wonder if his mind was otherwise occupied. As a horror fan, and a fangirl in general, it was nice to see Planet Terror's Freddy Rodriguez (El Wray) and Death Proof's Vanessa Ferlito (Butterfly / Arlene) in something other than Grindhouse. :D

Overall, I thought it was very funny and well done all around. I don't know if Four Christmases is any good, I have no interest in seeing it, but I'm glad to have watched this as my at-theatre holiday flick.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Location scouting...

I went on walkabout yesterday for a couple of hours and discovered some things about the city in which I live. Firstly, Payne Park. I'd been to the auditorium there for voting purposes, but I never knew that the actual park part was HUGE! And it's in the middle of the city! Also, if you've ever played Infected on the PSP, it reminds me of that park, just minus all of the sewer accesses. Secondly, the gentrification of downtown hasn't reached ALL of downtown, and isn't likely to any time soon because of the economy. Good news for me as I want to use it for filming purposes.

Overall, it was a great days exploring! And here are the photos I took! I wasn't going for anything artistic, I just took some shots that I liked. The Exilim is a wonderful little camera, very handy.

This is a Flickr badge showing items in a set called Anathema location scouting.... Make your own badge here.

In case the Flickr badge doesn't work or you can't see it, just go to :D

Monday, December 1, 2008

Why, yes. I AM doing a jig o' glee!

I recei​ved word today​ from the Briti​sh mag Morph​eus Tales​ that they'​ve accep​ted my story​ "​Warm Body in a Cold World​"​ for publi​catio​n in their​ Undea​d-​theme​d speci​al issue​.​ They'​re hopin​g to put it out in the Summe​r of 2009.​ When I get more infor​matio​n,​ I'll let y'​all know.​

I've also been doing some video tests. They're not that great since they're just tests, but I thought I'd post the link to my YouTube channel in case you wanna check them out...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bolt 3D, Dante's Inferno and other such things (a.k.a.: Before I head back to the Calla...)

BOLT 3D is the new computer animated 3D flick from Disney that is NOT Pixar (like Meet the Robinsons.) If you're going to see it, and I recommend it as it's cute) see it in 3D. Yes, you pay a little more for the glasses, but if you're going to see it anyway, why not go for the full monty?

Anyway, the flick is about a cute little puppy named Bolt who is a teevee SuperDog. When he mistakes the other humans around his mistress, Penny, for villains who are kidnapping her, he breaks free from his tricked out trailer to rescue her, only to end up on the other side of the country and have to fight his way back to Hollywood and her loving arms. Along the way he takes a scrawny alley cat prisoner (her name is Mittens) and meets a brave, slightly wonky hamster named Rhino. And, of course, there are lessons learned.

Of course, Rhino is my favourite character. He's designed to be the favourite (kind of like Steve Carell's Hammy was designed to be the favourite out of the Over the Hedge gang) and it works. He's fully awesome! Most of his best quotes are in the trailers, though. I wish they'd leave the plucky sidekick's awesomeness out of the trailers. Seriously.

Anyway, it's a kids flick so I can't gripe about how it's predictable and all that junk. It does what it sets out to do and does it well in marvellously done 3D. It's so wonderful to see GOOD 3D after the eye-strain inducing horrors of Fly Me to the Moon and this is some of the best so far.

Overall: I recommend it!


Dante's Inferno is a 2D paper cut out puppet performed modern updating of the classic first book of the Divine Comedy. They filmmakers managed to cram nearly all twenty some cantos into barely an hour and twenty minutes...but not without some problems.

Look, I dislike Bush and his cronies as much as the next liberal nut-job or wide awake American, but the political commentary in this film actually felt forced and like, "Yeah, these idiots are in power...see? SEE?! Aren't they stupid?! Let's laugh at their future in hell!" Well, Bush wasn't in there, but Rice and Cheney were. So, to be honest, that was lame and brought down the piece as a whole. They were doing a really good job of putting more contemporary figures into Dante's Aligheri's version of Hell although I don't know why they put Pope John Paul II into the Inferno as a scooter-riding lost soul looking for the gate to Heaven. He seemed like a really great guy, a great leader for his religion. He and I wouldn't agree on a few things, sure, but that doesn't mean that I didn't respect his work. Anyway, didn't get that one...

The main voices: Dermott Mulroney as Dante and James Cromwell as Virgil, were excellent. The background voices were good.

The puppets were well made and well performed.

On the whole, the adaptation was pretty good. Would have liked less ham-fisted political commentary, but I don't wish I had that hour and twenty minutes back so that must say a little something, right?


For the past week or two, I've been listening to the album Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever by Explosions in the Sky. I'd never heard of them before Stephen Fry (I less-than-three him) mentioned them in a recent Tweet, but then I checked them out (I do that sort of thing) and man...the album is intense. Strangely, it makes me think of Roland and his quest for the Dark Tower. If I were to make a Gunslinger movie, I would try to get Explosions in the Sky to do the score and take some of the tracks from Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die... as well. I have to say that if anyone should make the Gunslinger books into a series of movies, it should be Frank Darabont. The Mist was a damn fine movie. Just, please Teevee Gods...not Mick Garris. 

Also, if anyone has a hundred grand they want to give me free and clear specifically to get this, I'd appreciate it... ;D

Anyway, after a full day of trying to figure out a certain effect and working on computer stuff, I'm going to go read Wolves of the Calla for a little bit. An actual book, made out of actual paper...archaic, but preferable to me. :D

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Kimyoo Films is looking for four actors for a very low budget short silent film to be shot in Sarasota, Florida, over four or five days in mid- to late December, but not concurrently. The majority of the shoot takes place in the daytime. There are light stunts, but no dialogue to memorize. It's an excellent opportunity for actors and actresses to use their body as opposed to their voice as the tool for expression. "A Hammer Fell in Jerusalem: Anathema" is the story of two people fighting against a caste of fallen angels to save themselves, and possibly humanity, twenty years after God lifted His Grace from the earth. The budget is very low, so much so that we cannot afford to properly pay for your time. Gas money and food will be provided. Kimyoo Films' previous short film, "Without/Within," received an Honourable Mention from the Indie Gathering in Cleveland, Ohio, and received a Best Actress nomination for Kristin Mellian and was given the Director's Choice Award at ShockerFest International Film Festival in Modesto, California. The roles are as follows: Please note: We're looking for dedication and talent, not skin colour. We want people of all races to send in their headshots! Laurel, mid-20s to early 30s. She starts out searching for help and ends up helping herself. Does a fair bit of running and struggling against a captor. Must appear to be a delicate flower, but also possess immense inner strength which comes out toward the end of the film. Abner, 60s-70s. He is a guide for the main characters. There is one pushing stunt. Tango, 20s. He's a thug working for the villain of the piece; he works with Milton. Does a fair bit of running and has two fights. Milton, 20s. He's also a thug working for the villain of the piece; he works with Tango. Also does a fair bit of running and has two fights. If you're interested, please send your headshot (with resume if you have one) to: We will get back to you as soon as we can. The cut-off date for the casting call is December 4, 2008.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


National Protest Against Prop 8

Just remember: it wasn't that long ago that interracial marriage was illegal. This is no different.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Then She Found Me and From Beyond

Then She Found Me was directed and adapted by Helen Hunt from a novel by Elinor Lipman and is about a 40 year old woman who, in the course of a month, loses her husband to his immaturity and her adoptive mother to time, her biological mother finds her and tries to strike up a relationship based on half-truths and lies, meets the man of her dreams, and discovers that she's pregnant with the child of her childish husband.

It sounds convoluted and it is, but it's backed up by some brilliant performances from the top notch cast of Bette Midler as the biological mother, matthew Broderick as the childish husband, Colin Firth as the forthright and emotionally antsy man of her dreams, and Hunt herself as the woman in the middle of the turmoil. You find yourself enjoying the performances more than the script, at least I did. I love me some Matthew Broderick. As such, it was nice to see Broderick and Hunt together again after Project X.

Overall, it was cute. I probably wouldn't watch it again, but I'm glad to have finally seen it (we had it at the most recent Sarasota Film Festival and I didn't get a chance to see it then.)


From Beyond was based on the short story by H.P. Lovecraft, which was adapted by Stuart Gordon, Dennis Paoli, and Brian Yuzna and directed by Gordon. It's the tale of a mad scientist's experiments with ultraviolet frequencies that ends up unleashing something from the next dimension over.

Gordon and company like to take license with Lovecraft's work, adding lots of sex to the mix. At least there's a little science behind the movie's use of the pineal gland that Lovecraft may or may not have had access to in the 1920s. If they'd taken out the darker aspects of the good Doctor's appetites, the movie would have only been an hour and Gordon and company would have no reason to get Barbara Crampton semi-naked and dressed like a dominatrix. That said, however, I think that it sticks pretty close to the tone and imagery of a Lovecraft story (as far as my imagination is concerned, anyway.) For that, and in spite of the cheese factor, this is an ace flick. Plus, it's always good to see Ken Foree*.

The score, by Richard Band (this was a pre-Full Moon Charles Band produced movie so of course his brother's doing the score), was pitch perfect and blended into the background while accentuating the action. 

The effects were...okay. That's where most of the cheese comes in. Re-Animator was made for about 3 million less and I remember the effects looking better. The wormy things in the basement looked like sandworm rejects...

Overall, it was enjoyable. Seeing this does make me wonder about the remake that is on the horizon and it also makes me hope that Guillermo del Toro gets to make At the Mountains of Madness very soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Otis and Quantum of Solace

Otis was directed by Tony Krantz from a script by Erik Jendresen and Thomas Schnauz about a lonely loser cum serial killer who's fixated on his sister-in-law and his abusive brother, but he bit off a little more than he could chew when the family of one of his victims tracks him down.

It's a fantastic idea and I would have loved it if the script had been just a touch tighter and had a better ending. Neither the ending on the movie nor the included "alternate ending" were very good, but the movie one at least gives you the illusion that...well, I don't want to give the ending away, so I'll leave it at that.

It's a surprisingly funny, gory, mean little piece of work that had really good cinematography and strong performances from all of the actors involved. Even the slightly over-the-top performances from Illeana Douglas and Daniel Stern as Riley's parents balanced out the twisted performances of Ashley Johnson and Bostin Christopher as Riley and Otis respectively. I have to admit, though, that I can't see Ashley Johnson in anything without thinking, "Look at Kirk Cameron's little sister all grown up and doing movies he wouldn't approve of...GO ASHLEY!"

Overall: the ending really hurts the flick because while it's slow and could have used some script editing, it was still very enjoyable.


Quantum of Solace was directed by Marc Forster from a script by Paul Haggis and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade. If you've been under a rock for the past year or two, it's the newest James Bond opus. It takes up shortly after the end of Casino Royale as a grief-stricken Bond goes on a rampage as he hunts down the major players in a mysterious organization fronted by this movie's Bond villain, Dominic Greene, and his Dario Argento look-alike side kick, Elvis.

I'm not a big Bond fan. I liked Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan in the role, but I didn't see Brosnan's last turn in the tux. The Daniel Craig Bonds have brought a sense of fantastic realism to the character and a breath of fresh air to the franchise and with Marc Forster at the helm, and Haggis at the script, we're also seeing the brutality and the heart of the character in the midst of all the intense action scenes. And, believe me, the action scenes were very intense.

It might be a good idea to watch Casino Royale before this flick because there were characters that I should have remembered, or that I remembered only vaguely, and the movie doesn't spend a lot of time reminding the audience of the past flick. That's a good thing since 98% of the movie doesn't deal with those issues, but for certain scenes, a little more information would have been nice.

As I said before, we're seeing much more of the heart and brutality of the character, but I don't think those words would mean much without the icy blue eyes of our current leading man, Daniel Craig. My mom would agree, but for different reasons. He plays Bond as a barely controlled hurricane of self-destruction as he journeys through his darkness to find the light. As far as the Bond movies are concerned, his performance is pitch-perfect. Our main Bond girl, played by Olga Kurylenko, was a great and equal participant in Bond's adventures, on a journey of her own. Our second Bond girl, played by Gemma Arterton, was just a plot device and eye candy and disposed of as soon as she wasn't needed any longer.

Our villain, played by Mathieu Amalric, was properly creepy and chilling with an animalistic side to match Bond's.

The cinematography was great. During some of the action scenes it was a bit difficult to see what was going on for the jerkiness of the camera, but overall it was shot and lit very well.

The score was great and I really didn't find the opening song to be as bad as everyone else. I thought it was actually pretty good and the distinct sounds of Jack White and Alicia Keys mixed pretty well. And I loved the look of the animation of the opening sequence.

Overall: highly enjoyable, awesome movie and well worth the price of admission.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Films in the "OMIGOD I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THIS!" file...

Bitch Slap is going to be freakin' AWESOME! It's like an UberXena for all of the PacRen actors in it! 

Sorry, I probably lost you with that last sentence. Basically, what I mean to say is that this flick, Bitch Slap, has Renee O'Connor, Lucy Lawless, Kevin Sorbo, Michael Hurst, and Zoe Bell and was written by Eric Gruendemann and Rick Jacobson with Jacobson directing (these last two worked on Xena as producer and director respectively.) PacRen refers to Pacific Renaissance, the production company formed by the "Michigan Mafia" (Robert Tapert and Sam Raimi) to make Hercules and Xena. In other words, I'm a geek.

Plus, I mean...come ON! Lucy?! Renee?! As NUNS?! Zoe Bell? One of the biggest badasses ever is in it?! WOO!! Count me in!! And Michael Hurst! I just love him... I'm not a big fan of Kevin Sorbo, but with four pluses to his one minus, I think I'll survive. I also love me a good grindhouse romp so bring it on already! Not that we'll actually get this at my theatre, but can dream.

Also, there has been no news on Prank lately... Last I heard, Heather Langenkamp's chapter, "Jessica", was to have been filmed already and Danielle Fisher's "Madison" was to play at Screamfest in LA. From there, nothing. IMDb lists the film as a whole as being in post. I THIRST FOR NEWS!!

It's rough being a fan... hahahaha!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dead Set (UK TV October 2008)

Dead Set was a series aired on British teevee in October 2008. It was written by Charlie Brooker and directed by Yann Demange. The IMDb sums it up as follows:

During a fictional series of Big Brother, a zombie outbreak occurs, but the house-mates are unaware of the impending doom outside of the Big Brother House.

While I recognised the actress who played Alex and the guy who played Patrick, I had to go to the IMDb to get the "where" (she played the medic in Resident Evil and he was in Death at a Funeral) no one in this show was familiar to me. I don't watch any Big Brother, much less the UK version, so I suppose that most of the jokes and cameos simply went over my head, the rest of the series was easily grasped by an American like myself.

The visual influences on the film are easily recognized: it's the 28 movies' cinematography mixed with the Shaun of the Dead make-up on the Dawn of the Dead remake's running zombies while stealing two set pieces from the Romero Day of the Dead (Rhodes' death and Torrez's beheading.) It's understandable; as far as I'm concerned, those are two of the best deaths in zombie cinema. The effects were fantastic and the cinematography could have been less jumpy, but it looked good.

While running zombies are scarier, they lessen the impact of the message of a well-written allegory. They were perfect for Dawn of the Dead because, let's face it: it lacked the heart of the original. In this series (released on British DVD November 3 -- no news on an American date and thankfully no news on an American remake) the runners provide more tension for the ending, otherwise the shamblers probably would have sufficed.

Charlie Brooker's script (lauded by Simon Pegg in his MySpace blog at: was fantastic. I thought it was a bit slow in the beginning, but it gets much better as it progresses and the ending is incredibly intense. As an allegory, it's absolutely wonderful and as a basic idea, I thought it was brilliant.

Overall: this is seriously one of the top ten best zombie flicks ever if for nothing other than the last episode. So great. If you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I don't do the political thing normally, but today is November 4, election day in America. We have a historic election that is coming to an end either for McCain/Palin (dear god no, please no) or Obama/Biden (woo!) tonight. I'm not going to tell you who to vote for (Barack Obama!) or what to vote for (no on Prop 2 in Florida! no on Prop 8 in California!), but I will tell you that it's vitally important that you get out there and vote. If you don't think it is important, you've been asleep for at least the past eight years. Voting is about having a voice in your county, state, country, world. Who we elect represents us as the face of our country. It's immensely important to get out there and use your voice to effect change. Not voting effects change, too...just look at what Bush has done the past eight years.

Go ahead and argue that the election's rigged (in some places, I'm sure it is and has been since we gained autonomy from England), just don't tell me that voting is useless, pointless, or stupid. I won't agree and won't bother arguing with you about it. It's never stupid to stand up and speak for yourself and for others.

Get out and vote. If you're worried about the lines, take something to do. I downloaded Night of the Living Dead (1968) from the public domain section of the Internet Archives to my iPod to watch for the bazillionth time along with the 30's Svengali. (Profondo Rosso wouldn't work...makes me a sad panda.) Take a book, take your PSP, take some yarn and knitting needles. It doesn't matter so long as you vote.


Turns out I didn't need the movies. I walked my happy butt over, got right into my district, got my scantron ballot (really? scantron?!), voted, and put it in the ballot box. It took, including the walk time there and back, about forty minutes. And I really read what I was voting on to double check wording and such.


Sunday, November 2, 2008


Alrighty then! Now that the IMDb has finally corrected a few things, I
can put out the IMDb page for my film <a href="
">Without/Within</a> and not worry about people thinking I was the
bodybuilder Lori Bowen when they click on my name. That is so not me.
When Pumping Iron was made, the film that Lori Bowen the Bodybuilder
was in, I was all of like five or six. I'd asked them to make me Lori
Bowen (II), but I still went through as the first. I asked them to
correct it or look into it or whatever and they removed the Pumping
Iron credit so now I'm Lori Bowen (I). Okay. I wouldn't want to tick
off the bodybuilder so hopefully everything's worked out properly...

Also, I received four rejections in one day for four different writing
projects. I'm currently working on a new script so I won't be able to
get a new story ready for submission to Cemetery Dance anytime soon,
but I hope to find other resources through <a href="
">Pretty/Scary</a> where I can submit my work. Otherwise, I'm just
going to self-publish a book. Heh. goes it for y'all? How was your Hallowe'en and post-
Hallowe'en recovery?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Tell us about it, Janet!

This is where I was for Hallowe'en! Woo!

Normally, I'm at work on Hallowe'en (I love seeing all the little kids in their costumes,) but this year an old friend from high school invited me to go with her to see The Rocky Horror Show live at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. The 11:00 pm show was the Audience Participation one, where you could throw rice and toilet paper and AP lines and such and not get kicked out. :D It was tonnes of fun!

The stage show was the last incarnation I needed to see in order to say that I've seen Rocky Horror in every medium. I didn't think I was going to have the chance to do so for a while, but luckily TBPAC had it and I could go! So awesome...

It was on a small stage on the TBPAC campus, the Jaeb Theatre, but that made the experience all the more intimate, especially with the catwalk that extended into the audience. We sat all the way in the back on the first floor and the seats were still awesome...except that when we moved over a little during the intermission I ended up sitting behind someone very tall. I had to lean for the rest of the show. Ah well.

The cast was awesome. I thought their Frank was too spastic and sort of characatured Tim Curry's Frank a little too much, but was otherwise solid. Janet, Brad, Columbia, the Criminologist, and Riff Raff were excellent. Magenta had a great voice, but I didn't think she played the role very well. Rocky was exactly who I would cast body wise. I've seen way too many skinny Rockys...this kid had the body and the voice. Eddie and Dr. Scott was played by a girl, the co-director of the show with the man who played the Criminologist. She had a great rock'n'nroll voice, but seemed a bit stiff when it came to the dialogue and the Crim was excellent!

The lighting and sound designs were wonderful, the props were great (especially the bed, a great idea the way it was done), and the live band was great.

A perfect way to spend my Hallowe'en. It's hard to recommend something like this because I don't know if it's a tour or if this was just a local production, but I would say that if someone is staging the live show near where you live and you like Rocky Horror that you should go.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Saw V and Zack and Miri Make a Porno

I have seen movies between when I returned from the festival and last night, but I can't remember them.

Saw V is the fifth in the series of horror flicks where paragon of morality Jigsaw helps people learn to appreciate life in the most vicious, disfiguring ways.

The fifth chapter suffers from the departure of director Darren Lynn Bousman to greener pastures. And of the writers that came before. Basically, this installment is inferiour to even Saw II. If you're one of those people who only watches these flicks for the gore, then you're going to be disappointed in that it's not as gory as the past flicks. I thought that what they had was pretty well done, but the script and direction was so hackneyed that it didn't really matter much.

Ah well.


Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

Full Disclosure: I am a fan of Kevin Smith. The only one of his flicks I really didn't like was Mallrats. I even thought Jersey Girl was cute, but I wouldn't own it. Chasing Amy and Dogma are tied for my top favourite of his movies (Clerks and Clerks II are untouchable so they don't count). Zack and Miri is probably a close second for me.

Now that that's done with, it's funny and touching (get yer minds outta the gutter) and just very Kevin Smith. If you like his work, I think you'll like this one. If you don't, then don't bother. If you're kind of on the fence, see it anyway, maybe it'll make up your mind one way or the other.

In my review for Pineapple Express, I'd said that I thought Seth Rogan was the kind of actor who just plays the same guy over and over again. While it's true, I didn't think about that at all while watching this movie. I suppose that it's because he fit so well in the skin of this character and Smith's dialogue flowed so well from his mouth. And before this film, I didn't really care either way about Elizabeth Banks. She stands out as Miri. I love actors who can say more with a look than with reams of dialogue and in this, she and Rogan have entire conversations in a simple glance. A perfect pairing.

The real scene stealer in this, as in Pineapple Express, is The Office's (US) Craig Robinson. He was great. I love his delivery and timing.

Rounding out the cast are former porn star Traci Lords (strangely, she seemed a little tense in this flick), Jeff Anderson (he's gotten better as an actor, less aware of the camera, I think), and Jason Mewes (also seemed more comfortable in front of the camera.)

I really liked this movie. Also, there was a trailer for Fanboys in front of the movie. hopefully, the Weinsteins will be releasing the proper version and not their half assed one.

Happy Hallowe'en everyone!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A somewhat new world...

So, my PC was starting to die. The monitor was going wonky on me, the
printer decided that it no longer wanted to print things as nicely as
it used to, and then one day it just didn't want to start up iTunes
and whined when I attached my iPod. I finally got it to work, but it
took so long I had to go to work.

I'd had enough.

Granted, the PC was at least six or seven years old and while I took
pretty good are of it, it had simply had enough. Since I didn't, and
don't, want Vista in my house, I made the next logical choice.

I'm now the proud owner of a Mac, which I've named Trefusis not after
the philosopher, but after a character created by Stephen Fry.

I haven't used a Mac in nearly twenty years, but things are slowly
coming back to me... I love how user friendly it is and yet, how much
more in depth I can get. I. Love. My. Mac. I'm so happy with my
decision to switch...

So...yeah! That's all the news that's currently fit to print. :D

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The one about future projects...

I haven't posted for a while so I thought I'd pop into cyberspace to say hello!
The theatre's been kicking my rear end since I returned because we finally have our new District Manager; our former one got a promotion. First day back, I worked for eleven hours; eight of them by myself. Sucked.
On the brighter, happier side, I've been working really hard on the next short! The storyboards are done, the shotlist (which morphed into an Edit Decision List strangely) is done, and 3/8s of my casting is done. Just need to do more casting and scout some locations. I'm aiming for a December / January shoot date.
I also have some exciting things happening on the horizon, but it's too early to talk about all that. I just wanted to squee for a moment.
There. I feel better.
And, finally, my 30th birthday is on Sunday. Most of my 30 + friends are all like, "God, I feel ooooold!" I don't! I'm more excited than I was for any of my other birthdays and I'm not even doing anything crazy! Just dinner and some pool with friends. Good times...

Monday, October 6, 2008

ShockerFest: Day Three; or, The Final Day

As per my pattern concerning this festival, I didn't go to the theatre until around noon or one. I decided to get some lunch and check-in for my flight THEN head on over.

I went to the auditorium I thought was the one where my flick would be showing, but I realized as the feature hit that I was in the wrong house. I'll probably end up catching the feature, The Assessment, on DVD if it gets released even though it seems to be a Severence clone. Before it played: YOSHIWARA CLUB, an Italian short about the perils of the club scene. No dialogue except for movie quotes in the techno songs they used. It was pretty good. Well shot and well lit.

One of my favourite shorts in the festival was AM 1200 which was about a religious radio channel possessed by the devil. I'm oversimplifying it, but it was bloody awesome.

Then came my flick, WITHOUT/WITHIN. It was much different on this screen than it was on the screen when I asked the video techs to play it for me after the Sarasota Film Festival had wrapped. First of all, there were actual people who schlepped down to the smaller screen to watch it, including Brinke Stevens! She said that she was intrigued by my log line in the festival catalogue and would come see it, but I didn't think she'd actually be there not for any other reason except that there were so many flicks going on during the weekend, you know? At an estimate, I'd say that there were somewhere between twenty and thirty people in my movie, including a few of the filmmakers I met and bonded with over the course of the festival.

Secondly, it FILLED the screen so the imperfections were much easier to see. I am glad to discover, however, that I'm not the only filmmaker who had problems with with the colour red. For some reason, red makes the footage go really blocky at that size and I had a whole scene shot in red light. Others had the same issue, even some "higher quality" flicks.

When it was over and the credits began to roll, my heart sank a little because no one clapped. Then, I realized (hoped?) that it was because they were waiting for the very end of the credits and the music which they didn't do for most of the rest of the shorts. When the music ended, I received applause. :D

I had only two questions during the Q&A bit: "What's the story behind the broken camera?" My head was still in the plot so I was like "Huh?" and then he reminded me about the Special Thanks to the person in Seattle who broke the HD camera. The answer to that is I was going to film it in Seattle with a borrowed HD camera, but someone broke it which lead to me finally buying my own camera. Heh.

Then, Brinke Stevens asked, "Where'd you get the idea for this film?" The answer to that is that I used to develop film at a video store and there was a young boy whose family were regulars and I practically watched him grow up. Around the time he was four or five, I think, I noticed that pictures of him were very strange, very creepy even though he was a bright, energetic kid in person.


THE CONSUMED: Now, this was a strange short about a home-based scientist whose come up with the thing that will end world hunger. If it weren't for a couple of issues, I'd say this came from the mind of David Lynch. One issue is that they broke camera axis during a really long conversation, but I think that was out of simple, dire necessity rather than a mistake. The second thing is that it was a bit long. Not slow, just long. Otherwise, a good flick!! Josh Smith (I accidentally called him John because there's a John Smith here and I got confused) is a really nice, enthusiastic guy.

THE MERCURY MEN: is a short about a random cubicle rat charged with protecting an incredibly important power source from the bad guys. It was shot in black and white and is a great homage to those wonderful 50s Sci-Fi flicks. A great short!

VERBOTEN: is about a strange young man and the transformation he makes thanks to his father's girlfriend. Uh, yeah. Pretty good.

KIRKSDALE: This short was about a mental hospital where the inmates have taken over. I missed the first couple of minutes setting up why the police officer was escorting the girl to her place at the hospital, but the rest of the flick was pretty good. 

FOET: The title of the flick is pronounced "feet" in foetal. I was the only person in the theatre except for the festival volunteer because it was about dead baby skins being made into ultra chic purses for the Sex and the City crowd. Yeah, there's really no better way to put that. It looked like, and even sounded like, it was bootlegged from a second generation VHS tape. The message was interesting enough that I didn't hate it and I didn't walk out, but I wouldn't watch it again.
APATHY BREEDS CONTEMPT is the short made by my friend, and empty priest in my movie, Rory Abel. It challenges the audience to turn off the movie when faced with horrible images. It was incredible. Beautifully shot, beautifully written, beautifully acted and it looked great on the big screen. Great job, Rory!!

EXCISION: This short was shot on film and was about a young woman who dreams, literally, of being a surgeon and she wishes to help her little sister who needs a lung transplant. But the young woman is troubled, very troubled and while her actions come from a place of love, they're terrible and destructive. It looked beautiful and the effects were good, but the stand out was the performance of the lead, Tessa Ferrer. She was truly excellent.

EVEN: This film is about revenge. It's only six minutes so if I tell you about it, I'll give it all away. The effects and performances were excellent and I loved the story. Way to go, Ben!

THE BETTER ANGELS: It wasn't a horror film and was added to the schedule today from someone who had a film in the festival last year. It was about a man with Alzheimers who seems to think he's Abraham Lincoln. The director said that after his film last year, he wanted to make something that would make the viewers feel something. I felt that it was sterile and distanced.

CRUSHED: This was the last feature of the festival that I saw and was a Fatal Attraction clone that had some DNA from Hostel. Everyone else seemed to really enjoy it. I thought it was dull and unimaginative, but well shot and well acted with good special effects. I hated Hostel, by the way.

THE AWARDS: So, after Crushed, they set up for the awards portion of the evening. Most of the flicks and people I thought would win did. Then the Director of the festival gave out the Director's Choice me.


HOLY CRAP! Dr. Baker gave "Without/Within" the Director's Choice award!! My first words were "Omigod?" as I got up to go down in front of all those people. I was shaking and nervous and I concentrated hard on staying upright. I don't really remember what I said, but Ben assured me that it was all good and mostly in English. I've taken good pictures of the plaque and I'll post it when I get home.

I also received one of the Gorilla Software awards where I received a copy of Gorilla software, an organizational programme for filmmaking. I can dig it!

THE WRAP PARTY: The wrap party was awesome. I just sat around talking to Ben, Brad and Josephina Sykes (big winners in the awards for Plaguers), Brinke Stevens, and a few other filmmakers.

Now, I have to wake up around seven or seven thirty so I can arrange a shuttle to Modesto Airport as the woman at the counter wasn't exactly sure how that worked. Fair enough, I'll get up in enough time to take advantage of the free breakfast. :D

Overall, this was a wonderful experience and I hope I can come back next year! I've met some really amazing people and seen some amazing films and got to see my film with an audience. I've also learned of a women's horror film festival to which I'll be entering both Without/Within and aftershock.

I'd better get to sleep...I have to get up in something like five hours...heh

Sunday, October 5, 2008

ShockerFest: Day Two

ShockerFest Day Two

I woke up around ten in the morning and decided to check my mail and stuff before heading out for my day at the festival. I missed the first block of shorts I wanted to see, but it made me a happier camper to not rush around. So, what follows is a rundown of the flicks I saw:

Screeeam: A Japanese short that spoofed a variety of horror flicks. It was pretty good, but a little uneven in tone, as though they decided halfway through writing to make it funny and didn't go back to add humour to the first part.

Peekers: This was executive produced by Richard Chizmar and based on a short story by someone whose name I can't remember. Sorry, Author. Anyway, this short was excellent. I don't want to sum it up because I'll end up giving it all away. Minimalist and creepy. Great work!

Fog Warning: This was an "is-she-or-isn't-she" vampire feature. There was no tension and it was too long, but it had some good cinematography and some good acting.

(spek.ter): A short film about a Goth internet pin-up who is haunted by the death of her friend. I make it sound better than it is.

Penny Dreadful: This short was about a family during the Depression mourning the death of the matriarch. There was no tension, but it was well acted and well shot.

Blood on the Highway: This was a comedic vampire feature. It strikes me like a better paced, better shot Redneck Zombies. If you're familiar with and like Redneck Zombies, or really any Troma film, you'll like Blood on the Highway.

The Shadow Within: This is a British feature based on a French novel about a young boy who is haunted by the ghost of his twin brother who died just after he was born. There was no tension and it was too "deliberate", but it was well performed. Another issue was the writing. I felt as though I missed a few things within five minutes of the movie starting and here and there throughout the rest of the flick. The core idea was really good, but the script needed a bit more work.

Casting Call of Cthulhu: A really cute idea. Basically, it was who would show up to a Lovecraft casting session. I liked it quite a bit.

Hotel Colorado: Basically, even though the log line in the festival catalogue says that it was inspired by the Eagles song "Hotel California," it pretty much steals from The Shining. It was okay.

Til Death Do Us Partner: The animation was rough, but it was okay.

Hanah's Gift: Other than some pacing problems, it was a good flick about a very frightening night from the point of view of an acutely autistic girl with a special gift.

Safe: Predictable, but funny short. I don't want to give too much away by summarizing it, but I knew what it was about right away. I'm sure that's not the case for everyone not that I'm smarter than everyone else, but I just figured it out…

The Road Warrior hosted by Vernon Wells: Of course, the movie is excellent. A bunch of talkers sat around me in the theatre so I kept hearing all these comments and general chatter, but it was still great to see it in the theatre with a bunch of people.

Vernon Wells, who played Wez (the mohawk guy,) was there watching it with the rest of us and related quite a few funny stories about the making of the flick and his role during the Q&A. He's a very funny, self-depreciating man whose niceness was exemplified by his offer to give a few of us who were waiting for the shuttle a lift back to the hotel. Ben (the director of Even,) Josh (the director of The Consumed,) and myself took him up on the offer. I tried to buy him an energy drink from the hotel's snack bar to thank him for his kindness, but he wouldn't have it. Ah well, I tried.

Anyway, it was definitely an interesting night!

My film plays tomorrow (now today) at two in the afternoon and the first in a series of planes home leaves at 9:30 Monday morning so I'll be missing the first few shows tomorrow so I can do the online check-in thing and be prepared. And, I want to bring lunch with me. I wasn't feeling into Mexican food so I went to the market down the street from the theatre and all they had was Lunchables.

Also, other than a few corrections that need to be made, Without/Within is up on the IMDb! One of the corrections is that they have me listed as the same Lori Bowen who was in Pumping Iron. I'm totally not that Lori and I've notified them of that. It kind of feels like how, when I was checking into the hotel, the woman behind the counter asked me if I was Brinke Stevens. I laughed and said, "No. Definitely not. But thank you…"

Saturday, October 4, 2008

ShockerFest: Day One


Well, day one didn't actually start for the filmmakers until six at night. After sleeping for nearly twelve hours, I woke up at around nine or nine thirty, read my complimentary copy of USA Today, got some orange juice from the snack bar downstairs, ate one of the bagels I brought with me from Florida (cinnamon raison, yum), and wrote a little. Basically, I relaxed the entire day, even taking time out to watch Bernard and Doris, an HBO movie about the relationship between heiress Doris Duke (Susan Sarandon) and her gay butler, Bernard Lafferty (Ralph Fiennes.) The movie felt choppy, especially toward the end, but was quickly paced. The shining star was Susan Sarandon; it was one of her best performances ever.

Six o'clock rolled around and I took Kristin's headshots down to the filmmaker Meet and Greet. I walk in and George Baker, the director of the film festival, introduces me to three of the filmmakers behind a short film called Excision and gave my film one of the best reviews ever. He said that it was "really weird!" Woo!

Moments later, Brinke Stevens comes in to meet with filmmakers and the organizers. She's a famous Scream Queen, one of the very first. She's very nice and very friendly. I sat at a table with her, the film commissioner of Colorado, and the director of the short film Even. After a few minutes, Vernon Wells came in and sat next to Brinke; he played Wez, the mohawked guy, in The Road Warrior. Also very nice and friendly, with a wonderful Aussie accent and stories about filming The Road Warrior.

I spent most of the night talking to Ben, the director of Even. We're both quiet people so that suited us just fine.

Around nine o'clock, I grabbed the shuttle over to the theatre, the Galaxy 12 about fifteen minutes from the hotel. It's a really cool theatre! The colour scheme is made up of blues and purples with a star theme and the staff uniform is all black. As I saw when I looked up into the booth from the auditorium, they still have film projectors alongside their digital ones, though I couldn't see what they were using. Oh, and their seats recline! That's very, very cool.

Anyway, the public party started in the lobby. The filmmakers got our nametags (stickers, I'll post pictures later) and started to roam the lobby. They had a band playing, too…they were pretty good, but they were a pop cover band. As I told Josephina and Brad (they made the opening night film) and Ben, I should have just brought my iPod. I have enough Goth music to cover several years worth of opening night parties.

Finally, they get to the zombie costume contest and I go out to get Brinke Stevens and Vernon Wells (they didn't have handlers and I can't help myself sometimes and want to help, I think this comes from years of convention and festival work) so they can judge the contest, then we move into the auditorium for the Scream Queen contest where they and three filmmakers judge the best scream. The one I would have picked got it.

Shortly thereafter, the zombiefest portion of the weekend started with an animated film called ZOMBIE GETS A DATE from an NYU student. It was a cute short whose entire premise is summed up in its title. All hand drawn, too.

The next short was a trailer made for the Romero contest called THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK OF THE DEAD made by some filmmakers in Riverside, California. Again, the premise is best summed up in the title and it was also great.

After that was the short PROMBIES! - horny young men turn into zombies unless their girlfriends have sex with them. It was funny and the make-up effects (no latex or silicone or anything, it was all just shadowing) were great.

The opening night feature was from some LA filmmakers and called PLAGUERS, starring Steve Railsback. A crew mourning their captain are hauling a mysterious alien energy source back to earth illegally when they intercept a distress call from a group of attractive nurses whom they bring onto their ship. As they dock, though, the alien energy source, called Thanatos, falls over and cracks and hell breaks loose as the original crew is threatened by their passengers and what they become.

The effects were very good and the sets were nice, but the script and the acting were…lacking. I'm sorry, but I'm a writer first and for me the story, dialogue, and characters are The Thing. This film didn't satisfy that need for me, but it was obvious they loved the project and the filmmakers are enthusiastic and talented. I think that counts for something. Strangely, the aspect ratio was way off. I don't know if that's their fault or the projector, but it was really distracting to me. Ah well…

By the time I got back to my room, it was 2:30 am (local), but 5:30 for me so I decided to sleep until I woke up instead of forcing myself to wake up for the first films of the day. I'm missing a whole block of films I wanted to see, but I don't want to end up falling asleep during them either, especially with the filmmakers there.

I figure I'll get something to eat and head over to the theatre around noon and camp out in the horror auditorium for a few hours.

I didn't take pictures last night, but I will today and definitely tomorrow.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


So, I'm here in sunny and currently temperate Modesto, California. I left home at 5 in the morning for the 8:38 am flight (I don't mess around when it comes to the security measures of large airports that are an hour away) and arrived at the modest Modesto airport at 5:30 pm local (8:30 my time.) Did I mention that I've had cumulatively only about two hours of sleep?

I've had, cumulatively, only about two hours of sleep.

Three connecting flights and the last one was about an hour late. Upon said plane, I met a man named John T. Law. For some reason, I find this extremely humourous.


TIA is a glorious mess of ill-lit signs and spaghetti-style roads, the confusion it causes is not unlike the confusion its home city causes. Once inside, it's relatively easy to navigate and security was surprisingly quick. And you want to know something funny? United seems to have gotten rid of the First Class cabin of the smaller AirBus planes because now you pay through the butt for those seats and the only thing they afford you is that you get on and off the plane faster. Take that, Mr. Business Man! Never mind that there's now and Economy Plus where if you pay an additional amount of cash (this trip, it was $59), you get five more inches of legroom (they seat up at the very front of economy)! They also charge for Snack Packs ($6) and the $15 baggage fee…but you can reuse the headphones that get hastily shoved into the seatback pocket for free.


Anyway, the flight was pleasant enough. I couldn't sleep and the plane voted on which movie to watch since Someone Screwed Up on getting the October movies onto their server or whatever. Our choices were Then She Found Me, Speed Racer, and The Visitor. People actually voted for Speed Racer (yeah, I liked it, but c'mon! A pan and scan version on a teeny, tiny monitor? No thanks!

The Visitor won.

The movie, in case you don't know, is about a man who gets caught up in the arrest of an illegal Syrian immigrant who's shown him a new rhythm to life through the djembe (African drum.) I thought it was excellent, but there was one older gentleman who took exception to the film having a little something to say about deportation based on ethnic profiling. Whatever, man. Everyone else seemed into it and it was a good flick. Richard Jenkins was awesome.

Anyway, the landing was one of the smoothest I'd ever had even though I saw an AIRPLANE ON FIRE AS WE WERE LANDING OMIGOD! (I'm totally serious, but I'm hoping it was like a training exercise or something…still, not something you want to see while LANDING A PLANE OMIGOD! and there I was in…


Other than some loose birds in the Denver airport, I don't have much to say…except that my flight to San Francisco was at gate B42. Heh. Oh, and they overbooked the flight. Magical. Skunk Anansie on my iPod kept me awake as I sat there waiting. Thank God for iPods. For serious.

The flight itself was nice. Whereas I was in the middle during my first trip, I had the window from Denver to San Francisco. It was only two and a quarter hours so they played some specially produced NBC shows whilst I tried to nap. Tried being the operative word here. Every once in a while, I would twitch awake, like myoclonic jerks, but it was just my hyperactive brain doing its thing. Very annoying, though.

Other than that, an uneventful flight into mountainous San Francisco….


The "puddlejumper" (small aircraft used to shuttle people between a small airport and a larger international one) leaving for Modesto was late. Really late. An hour late. Because the pilots or ground crew thought that it might be a good idea to change a ratty tire.

In the meanwhile, as some of the business class flyers complained, I took some photos of pretty, pretty mountains. I will post them to my Flickr later. Maybe tomorrow.

Finally, they let us board this Indiana Jones era two propeller airplane, which is noisy as all get-out, and as soon as we're airborne, we land in Modesto where I met one of the shuttle drivers and we get to the airport and I get checked in. Almost immediately, the director of the film festival finds me and asks me to come in and meet the other organizers once I get situated in my room.

And what a room it is… It's got a bed AND a couch AND a kitchenette with a minifridge and everything! And a ginormous bathroom.

So I go back and do the meet and greet thing, though I'm not exactly wonderful company after a bazillion hours in travel, but I do my level best, grab some dinner with two of the organizers, and then come back to my room to write this up and eat one of the best turkey burgers I've ever had from a restaurant and take a long, hot shower.

Yes, a nice end to a long day. Now, I'm going to pass out. I'm so thankful that I decided to come in today instead of tomorrow, which is the first day of the festival. And so thankful that they've hooked me up so nicely!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mother of Tears and The Burning

Mother of Tears is the third film in the Maestro's lauded Three Mothers trilogy begun in 1977 with Suspiria and continued in 1980's Inferno. I've been looking forward to this film very eagerly for the past few years, especially after Dario Argento directed those two Masters of Horror episodes ("Jenifer" and "Pelts.") I was hoping with how great "Pelts" was that he'd found the key to his creative freedom after being chained down for so long with Italian television. Maybe THIS will be the key he needs and his next film, Giallo, will be utterly fantastic (though not written by him...again.)
Mother of Tears reunites Argento with his daughter, Asia, and her mother, Daria Nicolodi with a script written by Argento with Jace Anderson & Adam Gierasch (along with Walter Fasano and Simona Simonetti, according to the IMDb as they go uncredited in the film.)
I wonder how much different, and better, the film would have been if Dario and Nicolodi had written it, like they did Suspiria, instead of the American team of Anderson and Gierasch. The film was good for the first hour or so and it felt like the Maestro got his groove back. The hour and change mark passed on the read-out and I was thinking that it's building up to what was going to be one mother of a blow-out between Mater Lachrymarum and Asia's Sarah Mandy.
Boy, was I let down.
I wasn't expecting Suspiria or Inferno, okay? Dario's in a different place now than he was when he made the first two flicks in his career defining trilogy (of his most recent flicks, The Stendhal Syndrome is probably my favourite even though it's intensely disturbing on a father-daughter level...if you rent or buy it, make sure to get the Blue Underground release.) After all the hype of this being his most visually disturbing work yet, I was expecting to have my mind utterly blown. It was decidedly un-blown. In fact, my mind is rather more like "Really? That's it? Really?!"
There may be two reasons for this:
one) Fangoria, in their desire to be the kick ass magazine they really are, gave away simply too much information in the articles and the photos. I've stopped reading the articles for movies I want to see, and for remakes of movies I want to see, because I'm afraid they'll kill the whole thing for me.
two) Jace Anderson and Adam Gierasch. I didn't like Toolbox Murders and had a bad feeling about their involvement with the last film of the trilogy, but Dario kept talking them up and so I thought, "I don't want to be unfair so I'll wait and see." Well, I waited, and I've seen, and I'm wholly unimpressed. That doesn't mean that the Maestro is blameless, but his scripts are usually a little stilted when translated into English anyway...but not like this.
Okay, now that I've got that out of the way, let's talk about the good stuff:
The direction: It felt like an old school Argento film, but with a couple of decades of learning behind it. The way it should be, in my humble opinion.
The acting: The movie rests on the shoulders of Dario's daughter, Asia. Unfortunately, the script has a weak third act compounded by a defenseless heroine. It was frustrating, actually. There could have been an amazing character arc if they'd just had that final showdown of Sarah Mandy facing off against Mater Lachrymarum...but there I go about the writing again. That has nothing to do with her performance, Asia simply performed what was on the page and did a good job.

The effects: There was very little use of CGI, which is wonderful, and the practical effects were very strong. The set pieces were very Argento in their strangely beautiful brutality.
The score: Other than some misplaced music cues, the score by long time Argento collaborator and Goblin member Claudio Simonetti was just on this side of too much and, thus, perfect. I thought I heard a little bit of Suspiria in the soundtrack at one point, but I'm not sure.
The cinematography: The colour scheme isn't as strong as in Suspiria and Inferno, but the look and style is close enough to its predecessors that it fits right in. The colours were rich and the blacks were deep. The lighting was nice, especially in Lachrymarum's house and its catacombs.
Overall: A disappointing ending bruises the rest of the film. Now that I've seen it, I'd like to watch it again in a few months or whatever, perhaps alongside the rest of the trilogy. Maybe I'll have a better appreciation for it at that point. I wouldn't recommend it if you haven't seen the other two film or as an introduction to Argento...either Argento...
The Burning is a Friday the 13th ripoff from 1981 written and produced by Bob and Harvey Weinstein and starring a bunch of Holly Hunter in a blink-n-miss her role as the camper named Sophia as well as Fisher Stevens and Jason Alexander as a couple of misfit campers.
The movie is crap, but not the worst F13 ripoff I've ever seen, with some surprisingly good cinematography and great effects courtesy Tom Savini. Let's be honest, his work is the real star of this movie about a camp caretaker named Cropsy who was left horribly scarred after being caught in a fire that was the result of a prank gone wrong. After five years of being in hospital, Cropsy finally leaves and starts painting the town, and the forest, red.
As far as I can tell, the best reason for this movie to be around is for filmmakers who are about to be screwed royally by the Weinsteins to say, "What the hell are you talking about, man? I've seen The Burning. Leave my flick alone." I think that if Romero and Craven had seen this flick before signing up with them, Diary of the Dead would have had a better theatrical release and Cursed would have been left alone to be bad or good on its own feet, not on the feet of two brothers who live their filmmaking dreams vicariously through whoever they can mow down. The earliest title I can remember hearing about them screwing around with was an article in a 1992 issue of Fangoria about Richard Stanley's beleaguered Dust Devil.
Overall: Eh. If you love Savini's effects work, this is worth a look. If you really like slasher flicks, this is worth a look. If you're looking for a really good flick, this isn't worth a look.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rent: the final stage performance in theatres September 24, 25, 27, and 28.

Waaaay back in '94 or '95, my mom watched a clip on a talk show of this group of kids sing about measuring your life in love and absolutely HAD to have the soundtrack to this crazy new Broadway musical called Rent. Until the movie, neither of us had seen a full on production of the musical. I don't know what my mom thought, but I liked the movie. It seemed a bit too...well, Chris Columbus-ish (he directed the adaptation) and watered down a bit (it went from what could have been rated R to PG-13), but I still liked it. It made me a fan of Tracie Thoms and Rosario Dawson and it was great to see most of the original cast reprising their roles.
I had the privledge of previewing the special presentation of the final performance of Rent tonight. It was wonderful! I highly recommend seeing it if you have any interest in seeing Rent at all!! Usually, videotaped versions of stage shows lose all the magic in the translation from a three dimensional experience to a static two, but they managed to keep the energy of the videography up. There were a few times where I wished they'd chosen a different angle or a wide shot, but on the whole, the editing was good and the cinematography was remarkably good considering the difficulties inherent in shooting something lit for the stage.
Now that I've seen the stage version thanks to Sony Pictures and The Hot Ticket, a few things make more sense than they did in the movie. I chalk that up to Chris Columbus and the difficulties of adapting any script between mediums.
With the exception of Tracie Thoms taking on her movie role of Joanne for the Broadway stage, all of the faces are new and the voices are strangely familiar. Many of the actors sound just like members of the original Broadway cast (pronunciation and timing) and one even looks like her predecessor. That was a little strange, I have to admit.
Anyway, I highly recommend it and I hope Sony puts it out on DVD.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Burn After Reading, Son of Rambow, Redbelt, Igor

Burn After Reading is the newest Coen brothers flick and stars Francis McDormand, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Richard Jenkins, John Malkovich, and Tilda Swinton in a funny, but convoluted story involving espionage, exercise, and, as the tagline suggests, that "intelligence is relative." To say too much more than that would be spoiling a good flick.
Of course it's convoluted. If you've seen more of the Coen brothers' work than No Country for Old Men, you'd know that convoluted is pretty much par for the course. And, it's no Raising Arizona or The Big Lebowski, but it's funny in that wonderfully quirky Coen way.
The performances were top notch, the score was perfect, it was well-edited. I loved it!
Son of Rambow was the newest flick from Hammer and Tongs, otherwise known as Garth Jennings (writer-director) and Nick Goldsmith (producer), the men behind The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie (which I LOVED almost as much as I love the books.) The film stars Bill Milner as Will Proudfoot, a secretively imaginative young boy brought up in 1980s Britain in the arms of the Brethren, a religious sect not unlike the Amish where music, television, movies, and being friends with Outsiders (folks like you and I) are strictly verboten. When the school bully, Lee Carter (Will Poulter), manipulates the naive Will into helping him make a movie for a competition, and he accidentally sees a pirated copy of First Blood, the smaller boy's mind is completely blown open. Things fall apart, as things do, and the friendship between the boys is tested as they struggle to finish the film.
Based on facets of Jennings' own childhood (the DVD includes one of his short films from back in the day as well as the winner of a website contest), the film was wonderfully funny, imaginative, and heart-wrenchingly beautiful. Everything about it was fantastic!
I highly, highly recommend this flick.
Redbelt is a David Mamet film set near the world of competitive mixed martial arts. It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (one of the best actors working today) as Mike Terry, a warrior who is against prize-bout competition struggling to maintain his principles and values in the face of a string of betrayals that eventually force him into a position he's not sure he can escape from regardless of his mantra that "there's always an escape."
This being a David Mamet film (something I don't have that much experience with), it's very talky and a little heavy-handed in areas. It was choppy and, strangely enough, poorly written. It feels very choppy, especially toward the end, as though we're missing some scenes that would explain a few things.
The movie is carried on the strong shoulders of Chiwetel Ejiofor. As always, he's wonderful in this film. The supporting actors are important, and are good (even Tim Allen), but don't have as much to work with as Ejiofor.
I got it just to watch Chiwetel Ejiofor and I would recommend it based on that. It's NOT a martial arts film. It's a drama. The promotional material is misleading.
Igor (yes, I do keep calling it "eye-gore" when it's pronounced "eee-gore" is an animated flick starring John Cusack's voice as an inventive Igor in a country that doesn't let Igors (you know, the hunchbacked, ever-suffering lab assistant...) do anything except assist the evil scientists. When his master, voiced by John Cleese, is killed in an accident, our Igor gets the opportunity to prove himself in the annual Evil Science Fair, held by the king of the country of Malaria in order to ransom the world for money.
Igor decides that he's going to create life from spare parts, a giant evil monster, who turns out to be female, to terrify all and win the Fair and the adoration of all of Malaria. When the evil Dr. Schadenfreude (EDDIE IZZARD!) finds out about his invention, he plots with his girlfriend, Jaclyn (Jennifer Coolidge), to steal it.
It was cute and strange and while it's obviously influenced by Tim Burton (the king just about rips off the look of the Mayor of Halloweentown), it doesn't come close to his stop motion stuff. And the Annie stuff? It really should have made me laugh...but it didn't. In fact, I giggled only a few times and it was because of Eddie Izzard and Jennifer Coolidge who are easily the best voices in the flick, though John Cusack sounded like he was having fun. Otherwise, it was surprisingly unfunny. Young Frankenstein reference? Really? That's disappointing...
The animation was nice. Nothing like Pixar or even Dreamworks, but it was well done and the design of the characters was cool.
Kids will like it. It'll be a little too heavy-handed for older kids and adults. I'd recommend watching Young Frankenstein again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My ShockerFest laurels!

I received my ShockerFest laurels a few minutes ago along with the news that my lead actress, Kristin Mellian (I'm working on the IMDb credit for Without/Within), has been nominated for Best Actress! Go Kristin!!

ShockerFest laurels

Sunday, September 7, 2008

My brother's store now has a website!

The website isn't fully stocked yet, it's a lot of work for him to get all of his stock online, but here it is and it looks great!
The brick and mortar store, Drum or Dance, is here in Sarasota, Florida, in the plaza formerly known as DeSears down by the Phillippi Creek Mansion. It's located inside Headzup where he's got tonnes more instuments from around the world, belly dance clothing, and poi gear. He'll eventually get it all up on the site, but you know...takes time.
So go check it out! You can also buy the World Collision CD there!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I received word today, as I was out running errands, that my short film, Without/Within was accepted to the ShockerFest International Film Festival in Riverbank, California!
They said that the schedule isn't finished, but that my film will definitely be shown!!
Is it unprofessional to squee? Because, if it is, I've been unprofessional since I first got the voicemail!! OMIGOD!!!!
The festival runs October 3-5 and I will be rearranging my vacation time to accomodate the festival.
*giggles at "rearranging my vacation time to accomodate the festival"*