Monday, October 31, 2011

365 Movies Day #190 "Soul Survivors"

Looking back, this was a surprisingly good movie, for what looked like on the surface to be another dumb teenage horror flick. I started thinking about it the other day when my wife and I watched "After.Life". The cast is nothing to sneeze at either and a very early flick for Casey Affleck (Ben's little brother and star of "Assassination of Jesse James" and "Gone Baby Gone").

Like "After.Life", "Soul Survivors" is a creepy tale where you can't tell what exactly is real. Both of the films deal with oddities surrounding death and the preciousness of life. Both have surprisingly good casts and stories and are very disturbing.

The films stars Melissa Sagemiller (recently in the limelight for her role as A.D.A. Gillian Hardwicke on "Law and Order: SVU") as a young girl who gets caught up in some supernatural chaos with a group of her closest friends. Affleck, Wes Bentley ("American Beauty") and Eliza Dushku ("Buffy", "Angel" and "Dollhouse") play her friends. Local young priest, Luke Wilson ("IDIOCRACY" attempts to help Melissa's character find her way through all the madness. The film also features lovely blog vet Angela Featherstone from ""BENEATH THE DARK" and "ZERO EFFECT".I really don't get the 3.7 review at imdb. I found it to be a witty and surprisingly solid flick.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

365 Movies Day #189 "Adventures of Power"

Yesterday I introduced some of you to Ari Gold with his recently released to youtube short, "HELICOPTER". Well, his first feature is "Adventures of Power" and it is delightfully quirky and totally loveable.

Ari himself stars as the lead, Power, a sweet young man who is driven by his passion for air-drumming. Yep, that's right, playing drums without the drums. Throughout the film, he is pulled into the underbelly of the air-drumming community where he fights to find hope and meaning in his life and salvation for his friends and family back home. You can't get much more original than that!

The film sports the talents of folks like Adrian Grenier ("Entourage") as closet air-drummer and country superstar Dallas Houston. Also, Jane Lynch of "Glee", Michael McKean ("Laverne and Shirley", "This is Spinal Tap" and so many others), the lovely Shoshannah Stern ("Jericho", "Weeds"), Chi Ling Chiu ("KUNG FU HUSTLE") and Richard Fancy ("MIDNIGHT CLEAR") help to bring this one to life. Oh and a quick shout out to Steven Williams (Mr X. from "The X-Files) for his thoroughly entertaining role as air-drum guru Carlos.

I love movies like this that can be so absurd, but so moving at the same time. It's reminiscent of a more left field approach to "Napolean Dynamite" with a distinct indy charm story about a cultural underdog who must find his way surrounded by the one's he loves. If you dig films like "DEFENDOR", "Juno" or "NEO NED", I think you'll dig this as well.


Friday, October 28, 2011

365 Movies Day #188 "Helicopter"

For those of you who don't know of Ari Gold's work, you are missing out on something special. His short film, "Helicopter" is an Oscar award winning short with such heart that you can't help but be moved. Based on the true and tragic death of his mother in a helicopter accident, the film follows Ari, his brother Ethan and his sister Nina as they cope with their loss and the media circus that surrounded her passing. As a gift to us, in memory of his mother on the anniversary of her death, Ari has released the full short on youtube. Please go watch it and give it a thumbs up. A very special film from a man full of heart.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Marketing Via Twitter

Joel Comm has written a wonderful book full of resources to help you navigate and take advantage of all Twitter has to offer. What does that have to do with acting? Well, in the entertainment industry, YOU are your product. Joel's advice can help you reach the right people, send the right message, create interesting content to keep people caring about YOU and even how to check your metrics to see where your successes are in spreading the word.

Of course, this book also applies to any number of businesses from etsy shops to large corporations for how to harness twitter in spreading the word. I learned so much from the book and haven't done much with my twitter account over the years. Working on an overhaul right now, as well as taking the lead on a few other twitter accounts to spread the word. DEFINITELY CHECK OUT THIS BOOK!!!

Italian Spiderman is No More

Hey kids, just received this email about "ITALIAN SPIDERMAN". Sad news, but some hope for the future. Also, all those wondering about the true identity of the actor who plays "Italian Spiderman" can be put to rest here. Plus news on DINOSAUR (basically the folks from Alrugo under a different flag) and their new offering, "Danger 5". Check it out:

Greetings friends,

For a number of reasons, mostly evil ones, there will be no more Italian Spiderman. May his legacy live on forever in the ageless capsule of hyperspace.

With him, also, dies Alrugo.

Thank you for all the love you have sent towards the hero in the red turtleneck. We are deeply sorry that we cannot bring you any more of his antics, however we assure you, by no means have we stopped creating.

After a tumultuous journey, we, Dario Russo (Director of Italian Spiderman) and David Ashby (Italian Spiderman himself) have formed a new company, named:


We apologise for the long, long radio silence, but we felt it would be wrong to make any false promises and or presentations until we had a new a worthy product to bestow upon you, so with great fanfare, we present for your titillation, the first title under the DINOSAUR banner:


Watch the trailer here: And we welcome you to visit Dinosaur’s homestead on the Interweb:

It has been far too long dear friends. We hope you enjoy the new and exotic stones of entertainment that we have harvested from the earth and painstakingly refined for your pleasure, and it is a joy to return to your company amongst the bosom of the information superhighway. You’ll be hearing more from us.

Stay posted.

Yours truly,


Monday, October 24, 2011

365 Movies Day #187 "Neo Ned"

An endearingly sweet, down-to-earth film about a neo nazi who falls in love with a black woman in a mental institution. What?! This delightfully touching 2005 flick features Jeremy Renner ("The Avengers", "Hurt Locker", "28 Weeks Later", "The Town") in the title role as the most loveable skinhead ever captured on film. Renner's talent really shines here and it's a relatively early film for him. He definitely deserves all the attention he's getting. The target of his affection is played by Gabrielle Union, whose character also thinks she is the host for the soul of Hitler. She's fantastic.

Again, one of the things that impresses me so much about this film is the fact that it's handled in such a wonderful manner. Director Van Fischer (who really needs to do more work) takes a story that could easily be ruined with too much camp or grit and gives us something real.

The cast is rounded out by veteran character actor, Richard Riehle ("Office Space", "MIDNIGHT CLEAR", "Glory"), Cary Elwes (of "Saw" and "Princess Bride" fame) and Steve Railsback (star of "LIFEFORCE"). Definitely a great flick. Not surprised to see it was a Tribeca selection. The most heart-warming Neo Nazi film since "Adam's Apples"


Sunday, October 23, 2011

365 Movies Day #186 "The Perfect Host"

When I first saw the trailer for this film I was hooked. I finally got a chance to check it out the other day and was not disappointed. Basically, a con-man attempts, through deception to hide out with a local suburbanite who is preparing to host a dinner party. He quickly finds himself over his head as his host turns out to be a psychopath. What makes it even better is the fact that the psycho yuppie is played by David Hyde Pierce, better known as Dr. Niles Crane from TV's "Frasier". Clayne Crawford gives a great performance as his "guest" and is known for his work on shows like "Jericho" and "24".

At first glance, it appears to be a film where everything is not revealed in the trailer, but mark my words, there are a few sucker punches you don't see coming. Some interesting plot points and character development make it a solid piece of fiction. In addition to Pierce and Crawford, film freaks may recognize Nathaniel Parker (Branagh's Cassio in his version of "OTHELLO") and Tyrees Allen (Starkweather from "RoboCop").

This is a feature debut for writer/director Nick Tomnay..


Saturday, October 22, 2011

365 Movies Day #185 "Gleaming the Cube"

When I was a kid, Christian Slater was my freaking hero. I still hold a lot of respect for the man as one of the suavest actors around. So far he hit the blog in the other day's "MINDHUNTERS", but it was films like "Gleaming the Cube", "Heathers" and "Pump Up the Volume" that made him so awesome to me.

I was a skateboard punk when I was younger. So much so that I never learned to ride a bicycle. So "Gleaming the Cube" was like an anthem to me. In the story, Slater's adopted brother stumbles upon something he shouldn't have and is murdered. It falls to Slater and his skate rat buddies to circumvent the system and avenge his brother's death.

Veteran actors like Steven Bauer("The Beast", "Scarface", "Primal Fear") and Charles Cyphers ("Halloween", "Escape from New York" and even "Methodic" with my buddy BRANDON SLAGLE) round out a decent cast that also boasts skate legends like Tommy Guerrero and uber-famous skate icon Tony Hawk.


Friday, October 21, 2011

365 Movies Day #184 "Art of the Saber"

What happens when a couple of brothers get together for fun and film a short film that is primarily a lightsaber fight? Probably the best damn lightsaber fight of all time! I've been a Star Wars nut for years. Calvin and Clarence Ho give Lucas a run for his money on this one and this was made before the prequels were complete.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

365 Movies Day #183 "Mindhunters"

This one was surprising in that on the surface it looked like a crappy straight to DVD film, but it actually has some amazing talent, a plot that will keep you engaged and some pretty freaky moments of horror/gore. The film is about an FBI profile training course that is incredibly intensive and unconventional where the trainees are submerged in highly realistic mock scenarios. On one such scenario, everything starts to go wrong as the profilers are being eliminated one by one by the killer.

In hindsight, it's not so surprising I liked it. Finnish director Renny Harlin was also behind the films "Die Hard 2" and "Long Kiss Goodnight", "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" and "Deep Blue Sea" (though he loses some cool points for "12 Rounds" and "Cutthroat Island"). His talent pool on this one was fabulous with Val Kilmer ("KISS, KISS, BANG, BANG", "KILL THE IRISHMAN") as the head of the training program for the criminal profiler team consisting of team lead Christian Slater (one of my favorite smooth guy actors of all time), Johnny Lee Miller ("Dracula 2000", "Hackers", "Trainspotting"), Clifton Collins Jr. (another of my favorites..."SUNSHINE CLEANING", "Boondock Saints: All Saints Day" and a cameo in previously featured "ONE TOUGH BASTARD"), Eion Bailey (Pvt Webster from "Band of Brothers"), Patricia Velasquez ("The Mummy" and "The Mummy Returns" and Kathryn Morris of TV's "Cold Case". Also, who can forget L.L. Cool J as the mysterious last minute addition to the team.

What impressed me the most about the film besides having a laundry list of some of my favorite actors (Slater, Collins and Miller in particular) was the thought provoking edge of your seat "Saw" like plot. Lots of twists and turns and they definitely don't follow the horror movie rules.

I expected dumb and got some serious entertainment instead. Always a fun time!


365 Movies Day #182 "Red State"

Since I read his run on "Daredevil", I have been saying that I want to see Kevin Smith doe something on a more serious bent. "Red State" is that film and it delivered exactly what I expected and then some. Filled with twists and turns, some remarkable performances and what feels like a real attempt to understand what goes on inside the head of folks like Fred Phelps and David Koresh.

A brief run-down of the film so I don't spoil it for you...3 high school boys find a craigslist-like site and hook up to have group sex with an older woman. When they get there, they find themselves in the grips of a Phelps like Christian Cult group who believe sexual immorality is the bane of existence and must be destroyed. From there, everything REALLY goes to hell.

Of the three teens, you might recognize Michael Angarano of "Forbidden Kingdom" with Jet Li and Jackie Chan. Of the off-the-wall cult members, you might not realize that that is Melissa Leo of "The Fighter". Michael Parks plays the Phelps role with chilling charisma. Parks is one of my favorite actors right now for what he brings to each of his roles. I loved him in "Kill Bill" as both the sheriff and Estaban. He was also fantastic in his cameo in "Grindhouse" (as the same sheriff) and probably the best thing about the "Smoking Aces" sequel as the Tremor patriarch. And yes, his son James is in this film as he has been in all of Tarantino's flicks. Of the ATF folks, John Goodman (previously on the blog for "MOTHER NIGHT"gives a knockout performance as the head agent and who doesn't love Kevin Pollak ("Willow", "The Usual Suspects")? Also, one of the lead agents was the yuppie husband from "IDIOCRACY" and a veteran LOST regular as Phil.

A great cast and a chilling and relevant story with some serious what the hell moments. It almost reminded me of Uwe Boll's "RAMPAGE". Hats off to Kevin Smith for finally breaking out of the comedy mold and giving me what I hoped for!!!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

365 Movies Day #181 "Wrecked"

More Adrien Brody ("The Brothers Bloom")action with this "BURIED"-like film called "Wrecked". This first feature from Canadian director Michael Greenspan is a pretty solid twister. Basically, Brody plays our "hero". He wakes up trapped in a car that has crashed in the middle of the forest with no recollection of who he is or how he got there. I say it's like "Buried" because nearly all of the film takes place right around the car and there are only 1-2 other characters in the film with any real screen time. It's primarily about one guy stuck in one location and trying to puzzle out what's happening. Also, like "Buried", it's driven by an incredibly talented actor who will keep you glued to the screen.

As you can tell from the blog, I am always excited by films who can use limited cast, locations and effects to produce a compelling story. Hats off to Greenspan for pulling it off with "Wrecked". Also a shout out to Brody's co-stars Caroline Dhavernas ("DEVIL" and who worked with Brody prior to this film on "Hollywoodland") and Ryan Robbins (Raiden from the new "Mortal Kombat: Legacy" webseries and Charlie Connor from "Battlestar Galactica")


Friday, October 14, 2011

365 Movies Day #180 "The Brothers Bloom"

Before Adrien Brody was stomping mudholes in Predator ass and before Mark Ruffalo was the big green behemoth of "The Avengers", they were the Brothers Bloom. Ruffalo and Brody play con artist brothers with the aid of their explosives happy assistant Boom Boom, played by Rinko Kikuchi ("Babel"). The film also features the talents of Maximilian Schell as Diamond Dog (the pinnacle of con-men and former mentor to the brothers), better known for his role as Dr. Reihnhardt in "The Black Hole", Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid from "Harry Potter") and Rachel Weisz ("The Mummy").

This is Rian Johnson's first film in the blog, but he is better known for indy masterpiece "Brick" which we will be talking about later. "The Brothers Bloom" is part campy adventure film and part hardline drama. There are some pretty intense moments in the plot that can tug at the heart strings as well as harrowing scenes of imminent danger. It's definitely a very interesting take on the crime caper and something you would expect Brody to be a part of.

I suppose I should also give a shout out to Ruffalo for his role in "BLINDNESS", which we covered earlier and take a moment to say I LOVED Brody in "Predators" and totally bought him as a badass (and I didn't expect to).

Definitely check out "The Brothers Bloom". It's brilliant.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

365 Movies Day #179 "Cube"

About 10 years before directing "Splice" Vincenzo Natali gave us this cool little sci-fi horror flick and somewhat of a predecessor to films like "SAW". Basically, several unconnected folks wake up in a giant nasty cube and must overcome various traps to survive. It's part mystery, part adventure, part psychological thriller...and all fun.

The cast is small and dynamic, featuring Wayne Robson (who passed this year and is better known by my daughter as Mr. Mantis from "Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends"), Julian Richings (Death from "Supernatural" and a brief role in "MIMIC"), Andrew Miller, Nicky Guadagni ("LARS AND THE REAL GIRL"), cutey Nicole de Boer (one of the groupies from "BRAIN CANDY", Lieutenant Ezri Dax from "Deep Space Nine" and Sarah Bannerman from "Dead Zone"), Maurice Dean Wint (somewhat of a ringer for Dwayne Johnson) and David Hewlett (Stargate's Dr. Rodney McKay).

Very intense with a wonderfully cool set. I was on the edge of my seat more than a few times. Also reminded me a bit of the opening of "Predators". This is a smart horror flick and that is always refreshing.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

365 Movies Day #178 "Hanna"

Wow...I disappeared there for a bit. Lots of chaos in the real world right now. I'm back though and with a vengeance. This film is freaking amazing. Director Joe Wright did so much right with this it's unreal. Honestly I felt his "The Soloist" was trying too hard to shoot for an Oscar nod. THIS is the kind of film I expect from the director of "Atonement".

Basically, the plot is a young girl, raised in the wilds of Finland to be a perfect killing machine by her former CIA father finally comes into the real world to seek vengeance for the murder of her mother. Saoirse Ronan plays the title character. She also worked for Wright on "Atonement" but this is sure to be a breakout role for her. She is spectacular. Similar to the chops he showed in "CHOPPER" (pun intended), Eric Bana is phenomenal as Hanna's father, while Cate Blanchett (probably the greatest living actress and the female Gary Oldman) kicks serious ass as the film's villain.

Kudos to anyone who recognizes Blanchett's sadistic Aryan henchman Issacs as Cutler Beckett from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. Tom Hollander plays a decidedly less refined role in this flick. I also had a hard time placing Olivia Williams, though I knew her from something. She was the female lead in "The Postman" (one of my favorite Costner flicks) and "The Sixth Sense". Jason Flemyng plays her husband in the movie and has been in so many of my favorite flicks. He is a Ritchie staple from "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels", "Snatch" and he was Azazel in "X-Men: First Class" (WHAT?!). You might also recognize him as Calibos from the newer "Clash of the Titans" film.

Besides the badass fight sequences (knife work is beautiful), this film also sports a wonderful immersion into culture. A globe-hopping adventure, Wright does a great job of dragging you into the culture and helping you lose yourself in the film. You feel like you are wherever Hanna is. Also, the soundtrack by the Chemical Brothers is seemlessly integrated into the experience. The haunting, throbbing, industrial tones definitely are a strong contributor to the film's badassery.

Probably the best assassin film I've seen since "The Professional".