Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Filler reviews

Some stuff I've seen recently:

"The Virgin Suicides"

Sophia Coppola's 1999 flick stars Kathleen Turner, James Woods and Kirsten Dunst. Nostalgic (to me, having grown up in the '70's), funny, hopeful and tragic, it's a complex look at the life of five teenaged sisters and the people who interact with them. After one of the sisters attempts suicide early on, this bit of dialogue effectively sums up the movie:

Doctor: What are you doing here, honey? You're
not even old enough to know how bad life gets.
Cecilia: Obviously, Doctor, you've never been
a 13-year-old girl.

That pretty much says it all.

"Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith"

OK, I had to see this flick, even though I'm not a huge Star Wars fan. This probably has something to do with the fact that I was, in actuality, dating girls when the original "Star Wars" movie was released back in 1977. I guess the idea of obsessing over intergalactic warfare paled in comparison to making out with young high school girls in the back seat of my beloved but short-lived 1970 red Dodge Dart...and I was only 38 at the time! LOL!! OMG!!! WTF!!!11!1ONE!

Sorry about that...just kidding!

So, it wasn't a big deal to me to wait a month or two before seeing this movie. Overall, I liked it. Some of the dialogue in Sith (like most of the series) was silly; but the general effect was of sinister darkness. Kevin Smith's famous online review of the movie was pretty much spot-on, except for all the fan-boy blathering he did about how great it was.

"War Of The Worlds"

Scary. Good fun. Great CGI. Those Martians were right bastards if you ask me. But you didn't. So I volunteered my opinion. Whether you wanted it or not. Haha.

And my current favorite TV sitcom, "Entourage", is developing into a sharply funny show. Jeremy Piven is really becoming the perfect sleazy Hollywood agent. The writing is getting better, too. Love all the cameos. And Kevin Dillon frickin' KILLS me! Catch this show on HBO.

That's it. Not much news on the projects I'm working on; Ant's on vacation, and it's fucking summertime...I'm on my boat just about every second I'm not working. We only got about 10 more weeks before the weather starts getting a bit sguirrely. Then I'll have all winter to work on this stuff!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

No, really, I promise I've been doing movie stuff!

Even though the New England summer is in full swing (read: sailing, socializing, binge drinking, abusing small furry animals) I've still been partaking in important production business.

For instance, we've secured a time slot for "Grandma's Kitchen"; we have 13 weeks of Mondays at 7PM, which is Prime Time for our "target audience". I know it sounds impressive that we have a "target audience", that's why I said it. You're thinking we've invested loads of effort into market research, business planning and consumer auditing. If you were a bigtime network executive, you might even think something like "This guy really knows what he's doing! He's a real go-getter! Quick, let's give him a deal before somebody else snaps him up!"

To be completely truthful, I don't have any idea what our target audience consists of. I'm sure there are people involved somewhere along the line, but beyond that, I'm kind of guessing. Since it's a cooking show, we hope to appeal to people who eat. I've heard that lots of people eat. There's the start point of our audience research, and we'll go from there.

We expect to broadcast within a couple of weeks. We'll have a big party at my house to celebrate our premier, and beyond that we'll continue with our other projects. Like finishing the reshoots and editing "Death Knocks". And shooting some other stuff; this weekend I'm going to document our boating excursion to Port Jefferson. (If you haven't yet, take a look at my sailing blog at Full Tilt Sailing Team Blog; I'll post details there early next week)

Also, today I received the DVD burner I ordered over the Internets. Fuckin' YEAH! I've been essentially crippled by not having any way to easily transfer video files off my computer, so now I can burn finished DVDs for broadcast and distribution.

So yeah, I've been doing movie shit. Are you happy now, huh? Are you happy?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"Grandma's Kitchen"

Last night at the studio, my friend (and sailing cohort) Lori brought in her first six finished tapes of her new cooking show, "Grandma's Kitchen". We transferred the shows from mini-DV tape to DVD in preparation for securing a time slot on Cablevision Public Access.

Lori sits at the editing station as we do the transfers. I think those are some kind of yams on the screen, but don't hold me to that.

Here's the title card for the show.

Antony showed up to help out and also brainstorm on some future projects. Here he tries to look intelligent by wearing eyeglasses. Nobody fell for it.

This is a better look at that bizarre painting of an alligator eating a woman's leg. It was placed in the green room to help calm the talent before appearing on live broadcasts.

Lori's an accomplished musician; here she poses next to her fabulous album "State of Being" (available by contacting Those really are her two-toned eyes on the album cover!

We're hoping to get the shows broadcast soon, and then we'll be able to get certified on the high-end studio equipment to edit our movie. It's good to be busy again!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

"Be Cool", 2005

I just screened "Be Cool", the sequal to Elmore Leonard's novel/film "Get Shorty", starring John Travolta, Uma Thurmann, Vince Vaughn, Harvey Keitel, and a slew of other Hollywood names.

The movie is basically a version of "Get Shorty" except about the music business instead of the movies. Much like the first movie, it's filled with smug inside references and silly cameos; there are just enough laughs to maintain your interest, but untimately some of the performances damage the overall effect. Vaughn's awful representation of a white "playa'" compares unfavorably with Gary Oldman's electric portrayal of Drexl Spivey in "True Romance"; in a movie as derivative as "Be Cool", you'd think he'd be better prepared for his role.

Also, there are scenes that are directly lifted from other flicks, such as "Pulp Fiction". Whether these are intentional or not, they are so obvious that they tend to jolt you out of the movie. Don't expect to work too hard at figuring out the references; you can possess a movie I.Q. well below triple digits and still "get" all the obvious connections.

Another thing that kept me from getting totally involved in the story was the nagging awareness that Travolta, while not as obviously psychotic as Tom Cruise, is a senior member of the "Xenu Mafia", and every time he's on the screen I'm reminded of some of the disturbing policies and actions of the "church" of Scientology. I'm cool with people's beliefs, even if they differ significantly from mine; but this nutty organization is essentially a "legal" pyramid scheme and toxic psuedo-science disguised as a tax-exempt religion. See for lots of humorous info on this "church" that the brain-washed disciples of L. Ron Hubbard don't want you to see.

BTW, that last paragraph wasn't me talking; it was my "Thetan clusters". They're evil and interfere with my ability to achive clarity. They made me type this. Don't sue me or kill me please, Scientologists.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

"El Maquinista" (The Machinist), 2004

Ever have a sleepless night, and the next day you catch yourself having little mini-dreams with your eyes open? That's what this movie is like. Reality is subjective and sanity is doubtful. "The Machinist" is one of those movies, like "Memento", where things aren't always what they seem.

Christian Bale, the new "Batman" and former "American Psycho", dropped an astounding 63 pounds to resemble a death-camp appearing skeleton somewhere on the shy side of 120. He's lost in a nightmare of intrigue, mystery, and paranoia that make for a really creepy yet compelling movie. I don't want to give too much away; some of the IMDB info contains spoilers, so I recommend you just watch this flick cold, then read about it afterwards.

Jennifer Jason Leigh is cast in a somewhat minor supporting role (yeah, we've all seen your boobs by now, Jen...can you please put them away for good?), but essentially the co-star of this movie is a creepy feeling that sanity is slipping away. This movie DOES have a conclusion that wraps the story up, so don't start worrying while you watch it (like me) that you'll sit through the whole thing and it'll leave you hanging at the end. It was filmed in Spain, but English-speaking, hence the name El Maquinista.

Oh, and can please somebody tell me why "Magnolia" is supposed to be so frickin' good? I've watched that piece of shit at least three times and STILL don't get it! Yeah, it rains frogs at the end. Wow! Quick, somebody dump a truckload of awards on P.T. Anderson! Fucking wanker...