Thursday, March 28, 2013

365 Movies Day #227 "Biting Elbows: Insane Office Escape"

We've had a lot of variety on the blog featuring all sorts of shorts, webisodes, feature films and youtube videos. This is the first music video! It's actually two. The band Biting Elbows is a badass indie-punk band out of Moscow, Russia. They teamed up with some amazingly innovative Russian filmmakers to make one of the most adrenaline pumping videos I've ever seen.

The video is a first person narrative shot entirely with GoPro cameras that follows our hero on his quest to protect and retrieve a water activated teleportation device. It's a lot of Call of Duty style action mixed with some kick-butt parkour, wicked car chases and even...explosions. The music is also pretty awesome. Check out the videos above and like the band's facebook page for more info at:

365 Movies Day #226 "Iron Sky"

What could be more awesome than a movie about moon Nazis invading Earth?!  Timo Vuorensola nails both the action and comedy elements of the film.  It's fun and everything you would expect from the trailer.  Incredibly well done.  Presently Timo is signed on to direct the films "I Killed Adolf Hitler" and "Paris I'll Kill You".  I can't wait!

Iron Sky stars Christopher Kirby ("Star Wars: Episode III", "Daybreakers", "The Matrix") as token black astronaut James Washington who unwittingly discovers the Nazi's hidden moonbase commanded by the always chilling Udo Kier ("Blade", "End of Days", "Johnny Mneumonic") and Götz Otto ("Cloud Atlas", "Tomorrow Never Dies").  What happens after is a hilariously absurd adventure that is sure to leave you wanting more.  Special shout out to Julia Dietze, who plays the beautiful and well-meaning Nazi Renate Richter and Stephanie Paul who plays the U.S. president who is a dead ringer for Sarah Palin!

Definitely one to check out!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

365 Movies Day #225 "You Kill Me"

I love hit man movies. There is something about someone who makes a living killing people for a living that is so taboo yet so romanticized as to be fascinating. One of my favorite films of all time which I will probably mention in the blog at a later date is "Grosse Pointe Blank". It's a near flawless execution of a sweet 80s love story combined with an action packed mob thriller with interesting dialog, interesting casting choices and a great story. "You Kill Me" comes damn close to being as good as "Grosse Pointe Blank" in my opinion. The only point where it falls behind is action (and an amazing soundtrack), but it more than makes up for that with story.

Ben Kingsley ("Sexy Beast", "Schindler's List", "Iron Man 3") plays Frank Falenczyk, a hired gun for the Polish mob in New York. When his drinking problem gets in the way of his assassination of an Irish boss played by Dennis Farina ("Snatch", "Out of Sight", "Saving Private Ryan"), his mob family stages an intervention, sending him to San Francisco to recover with the help of AA. Veteran character actor Philip Baker Hall ("Bruce Almighty", "The Insider") plays Kingsley's boss and uncle. The hitman's cousin and best friend is adeptly played by Marcus Thomas who reminds me somewhat of Mads Mikkelsen. He was also in "KILL THE IRISHMAN"

Once in San Francisco, not excited about his forced recovery, Frank runs into his handler/babysitter, featuring a very quirky performance by Bill Pullman. While best known for roles in "ID4" and "Lost Highway", Bill is no stranger to the blog with "ZERO EFFECT" and who can forget him from "Spaceballs" or "Serpent in the Rainbow". This is a different role for him and one I really dug him in.

As he works to clean up his act, Frank runs into an advertising agent who doesn't take no for an answer in the form of Tea Leoni. I have always found Mrs. Duchovney striking and this role is no exception. Breaking a lot of conventions of Hollywood storytelling, Leoni seems so desperate for an honest man and so lost in her own alienation that Frank's dark profession barely phases her. My favorite Leoni films are "Deep Impact" and "The Family Man". In addition, Luke Wilson plays a typical Luke Wilson character in the form of highly effective AA sponsor, Tom. Luke has been on the blog before with "SOUL SURVIVORS" and "IDIOCRACY". The film basically follows these quirky characters with their exceptionally funny dialog through Frank's treatment and ultimate return to doing what he loves best, killing with precision. It's a great film and a wonderful story from director John Dahl ("Californication", "Dexter", "Rounders").


Friday, November 2, 2012

365 Movies Day #224 "Pontypool"

While we are on the subect of zombie films, this is a shining example of how to do indy horror right! Take a very small, but highly talented cast, put them in one location and then let them sell the horror. You barely even see the "zombies" in this film and it delivers on so many levels that modern gore infested zombie flicks can't touch.

Set in the small Ontario town of Lake Pontypool in the dead of winter, new local talk radio sensation Grant Mazzy is headed into work like any other day. Grant is played by uber-talented Stephen McHattie who should be a household name and could definitely play a brother to both Lance Henriksen and Robert Patrick. Horror fans will recognize him from recent release, "The Tall Man", but he's had smaller roles in "Immortals", "300", "2012", and "The Watchmen" (Hollis Mason) as well as guest star roles on popular series like "Fringe". His producer is played by Lisa Houle, who tries to rein Mazzy in to appeal to a smaller listening audience. Georgina Reilly plays their tech who is a military veteran as well.

What starts out as another slow day in a slow town at their radio studio in the basement of an old church turns deadly when one of their roving reporters tells them that people are storming a local doctor's office and eating people...tearing them apart. What follows is, for the most part, the reaction of those trapped inside the station to what is going on around them. The explanation for the outbreak is highly original and creative...not to mention scary as it leaves you wondering if it could actually happen.

I highly suggest this film to any fans of horror and suspense. It's not very gory at all and plays more on the intellectual side of horror. Also cool for zombie fans who want to see a different take on the genre. Hats off to director Bruce McDonald for this one!


365 Movies Day #223 "Deadheads"

This is a zombie comedy worthy of "Shaun of the Dead", "FIDO" and "Zombieland". It's also a creative take on the zombie genre as the heroes of the story are actually zombies! The premise is that a government program has been implemented to create zombies as bio-weapons. Most of the zombies released in a test on a small town in America are the typical shambling undead of Romero lore. However, an odd strain of the zombie formula has left some of the zombies with full intelligence and memories of their former lives as well as motor skills. However, they are still rotting walking corpses with a taste for human flesh.

Michael McKiddy, who is a dead ringer for "Firefly's" Alan Tudyk, plays Mike. Upon waking up as a zombie all he can think of is getting back to the love of his life, played by the lovely and talented Natalie Victoria (always nice to see an actress in an indy horror film who can ACT!). Mike's partner in crime and fellow zombie is the free and ever-joking Brent played by Ross Kidder. Together with their pet zombie Cheese (Markus Taylor) the three set out to get Mike's girl back!

However, they must survive extermination from the government in the form of the program's director played by veteran TV actor Leonard Kelly-Young, escaped inmate turned government merc Thomas Jeremiah played by Thomas Galasso and two bumbling government employees played by Greg Dow and Benjamin Webster.

There are a lot of bad zombie movies out there, but "Deadheads" is refreshingly good. If you are a fan of the genre, definitely check it out! Directors (and brothers) Brett and Drew Pierce nail it with this flick. Makes me want to check out Brett's previous zombie/vampire film "Dead/Undead" on netflix ASAP!


365 Movies Day #222 "I Melt With You"

I promised more Thomas Jane and it took a bit, but here he is. This film is a rather compelling dramatic piece about a group of old college buddies who get together every year to relive their youth. However, on this occasion, they may be forced to make good on a deadly pact made between each other years ago. The film stars Thomas Jane, of course who has been featured in so many films on this blog like "THURSDAY", "STANDER", "DARK COUNTRY", "KILLSHOT" and most recently mentioned "PUNISHER: DIRTY LAUNDRY". His college pals are played by some uber talented folks. Jeremy Piven of "Entourage" makes his debut to the blog with this film. This is also Rob Lowe's first time on the blog as well as Christian McKay.

This is an incredibly disturbing and moving piece. These four guys have lives that are falling apart. They haven't achieved anywhere near what they had hoped and dreamed. In fact, they are riddled with dark secrets, dangerous addictions and failed relationships. You feel for them and to some degree or another, you identify with them, which makes the conclusion of the film that much more gut-wrenchingly powerful.

Director Mark Pellington ("Arlington Road", "Mothman Prophecies") really delivers on this film!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Learnings and Reiterations: My Filmmaking Journey Lately

Hi all, been a bit since I sat down and wrote on the blog. I've been neglecting it in favor of hard work, dedication...and fucking off. Here is a little bit of what I have learned lately about filmmaking in general as a fledgling director and producer and maybe a bit as an actor. Life has been crazy, chaotic, depressing and fun lately.

1.) Stay on target. I know too many people who are highly talented but can't seem to complete the race for whatever reason. The more you flake on projects or switch horses in mid stream, the more you look like a joke as a filmmaker. There is something to be said for buckling down, picking a project and making it happen. I've seen people run kickstarter campaigns for projects that haven't come along. I've seen people post pics and promote the hell out of a project only to come back a couple months later with another project to pitch. Wait?! What happened to the last thing that never happened and why should I give a french fried fuck about this new one. Is it even going to happen? Don't be that guy, pick a project and stay with it.

2.) Shut up! On a similar note, if you have a project in development it's okay to talk about it to people who may be potentially involved as long as they know it's still in development. It's okay to promote the hell out of it if you follow rule number one above, but for the love of GOD do NOT promote it vigorously on the web and in the media if you aren't totally attached to making it. Again, it makes you look like a damned joke.

3.) Settle. An artist is their own worst critic. If you allow yourself to beat you you up, you will NEVER finish the script. You will NEVER get the movie made. You certainly will NEVER leave post. You have to learn to let things go, especially in the indy market. Producing/directing "GI JOE: Initiate", I've had to re-cast roles, change the script, drop scenes, reshoot, beg, borrow and steal to make the film happen. Is it perfect? No. Am I happy with it? HELL YES! We've got pretty cool series in the works here and I'm very excited about it. However, if I was constantly scrutinizing and demanding absolute perfection, then we wouldn't have even filmed a frame yet. You have to know what you can sacrifice in order to get it done. This isn't to say you release a crappy film. I love what we've done with "Initiate", but we had to adapt a lot to situations and work around different issues to make it happen. Some of those sacrifices were painful, but in the end, they led to success.

4.) Don't lie. I have run into some batshit crazy people in this industry in the brief bit of time I've been doing it. People love to tell you all about their amazing connections they have, some to the point of manufacturing text messages and email from those people. They have even been known to make up investors on facebook to attempt to fool people into helping them make a movie. Some people just like to lie to stir up shit and create drama. Maybe its because they are jealous of others. Maybe they are just drama-addicted douchebags. Lying is something you do as an actor in front of the camera. Spread bullshit behind the camera and you'll wind up sad, alone and constantly shifting alliances as people discover what a scumbag you are. Save your drama for when the camera is rolling. All I want is to be around people who want to make movies. You don't need to have tons of money or big connections, just passion and honesty. All else is negotiable.

5.) Make your own way. Never rely on others to give you that big break. You need to be working on making your own projects, writing your own scripts, pushing yourself on those who are making indy films and otherwise making a nuisance of yourself. No one is going to do it for you. Sell yourself!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Top 10 Suits of Sci Fi Personal Armor

All right, in keeping with the sci fi guns series, here is my list of 10 favorite suits of personal armor in the sci fi genre. Here are the rules I used in chosing. Only one from each universe. All armor has to be man-sized (no massive mech type suits). The list is based on usefullness, badass appearance, protective properties and just overall coolness. Here goes in no rank order:

1. Mandalorian Armor, Because who doesn't love Boba Fett!?

2. Halo

3. Fallout

4. IRON MAN, the king of personal armor!

5. Warhammer 40K Space Marines, my personal favorite.

6. RIFTS SAMAS Power Armor, lots of great choices in RIFTS, but every time I ride the Batman ride at Six Flags this is what is in my head.

7. Starship Troopers, badass stuff from the book, though the movie was cool too.

8. Robotech Cyclone Armor, not as formidable as the Veritech, but for personal armor it rocks...and turns into a frigging motorcycle!

9. Lex Luthor, let's you fight SUPERMAN!!!

10. Starcraft Terran Marines, yeah, it's very Space Marine, but also VERY cool.

365 Movies Day #221 "Punisher: Dirty Laundry"

Let's continue the Thomas Jane theme for a couple more films, starting with this badass fanfilm! As some of you may be aware, I've been crafting my own fanfilm lately in the form of "G.I. Joe: Initiate". I love the ability to tackle an existing commodity and put your own spin on it. I was so excited to see Jane revisit Frank Castle recently. Let me begin by saying that Jane is my favorite Frank. It will always be his character. However, I had some issues with the 04 film. First and foremost, it needed to be set in the gritty backdrop of NY. Secondly, Castle was too calculating. However, you can get those things right and still drop a turd on your audience like "War Zone". With "Dirty Laundry" Jane gives you the best of all things Punisher.

Let's recap Jane's appearances on the blog so far: "DARK COUNTRY", "KILLSHOT", "STANDER" and "THURSDAY". "Dirty Laundry" also features an appearance by the amazing Ron Perlman of "DARK COUNTRY", "BUNRAKU" and "CITY OF LOST CHILDREN". The film's villain is masterfully played by Sammy Rotibi who was in "Tears of the Son" and recently worked on Tarantino's upcoming western, "Django Unchained".

I don't want to ruin the film. It's only 10 minutes and the above link is the full film, so my only comment will be; it's Frank done right and perhaps the most badass film sequence I have seen in a long time. Marvel really needs to give this guy a crack at running with the franchise. With Tim Bradstreet in the wings, they just couldn't go wrong! We could FINALLY get a perfect Punisher flick.


Also, for those interested, Jane, Bradstreet and Perlman have an awesome video game in the works based on a comic that Tom and Tim put together called "Bad Planet". You can donate and for as little as $15 secure a copy of the game when it comes out! If you want to support, go here: BAD PLANET ON KICKSTARTER!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

365 Movies Day #220 "Thursday"

Back in 1998 before Thomas Jane was Punisher and Aaron Eckhart was Harvey Dent, they did this amazing film together which has somehow slipped under the radar. Jane is very much not a stranger to my blog. I've been a huge fan of his for years and some of his best work are films like this that you need to see. As a matter of fact, Day THREE of the blog was all about "DARK COUNTRY", Jane's Twilight Zone like film that he starred in and directed. Day 23 was "KILLSHOT". Day 54 was "STANDER". This is Eckhart's first time on the blog.
Basically, the film is about Jane's character who has left a dark life behind him only to have it wind up on his doorstep and threaten to destroy his marriage and everything else good he has worked so hard for. The cast is great, featuring Paulina Porizkova in one of the best chick on dude rape scenes ever filmed. Also, James LeGros ("Point Blank"), much beloved Michael Jeter (Sesame Street's Mr. Noodle and veteran of films like "Open Range", "The Green Mile", "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and "Miller's Crossing" who sadly passed in 2003)and Glenn Plummer ("84 MoPic", "Trespass", "THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU ARE DEAD", "Sons of Anarchy", and "CA$H" add a lot to the film. Finally, who can overlook Mickey Rourke? Rourke co-starred with Jane in "KILLSHOT" which makes this his second appearance on the blog and both movies featuring both actors.

If you like gritty crime dramas like I do, then this is a film you NEED to see. Last I checked it was roaming around on netflix instant.

Oh, and if you want to personally help Thomas Jane out in bringing the video game based on his comic book "Bad Planet" to life, check out the following link. $15 donation gets you a copy of the game! How badass is that?!