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Monday, August 27, 2007

American Gangster

Ridley Scott, Russell Crowe, Denzel, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Cuba Gooding, I mean how bad could it be. Exec produced by Goodfellas scribe (and Casino) Nick Pileggi. But interestingly, not written by him. Perenial oscar bait Steven Zaillian on typewriter. Anyway, it seems like its been in post 4ever, so hopefully its not overbaked (though the trailer worries me a bit).

Sunday, August 26, 2007

MY FUTURE WIFE

Holy cow. I am shocked this girl could figure out the panty hose she's likely wearing with her dress. That has to be the most amazing answer to a question I've ever heard. Thank god she was saved by the bell (get it? get it??)

Simon Pegg Fans Rejoice

He has a new movie coming out. Run Fatboy Run. Looks pretty good, even though its not Edgar Wright.

Too Good Not To Repost.

THIS WAS ON FILMDRUNK, TYLER DURDEN'S SISTER SITE> ...

Well folks, our prayers have nearly been answered. A sexy reader who wishes to remain anonymous has emailed me what she claims is Uwe Boll's personal email address: UBoll40163@aol.com. Drop him a line and let him know I'm looking for a fight. Or maybe just shoot him a link to my Top 10 Reasons he won't fight me.

Anonymous reader, who adds that Boll is very nice if you stroke his ego, also had a great story to tell:

I was talking to [name withheld], trying to convince him to have a Uwe Boll film night, because I thought it would be pretty hilarious for him to analyze his work. Anyways, he got all quiet and then told me that Uwe Boll cast his wife (a pretty awesome actress) in one of his films. So about a week before they were supposed to start shooting, he told her she was going to do a nude scene...she said she wasn't, he said "You will do it because I am Uwe Boll" so she told him to go fuck himself, and then he told her she would never work for him again so she laughed at him. And I guess the girl he replaced her with almost had a breakdown because when she was doing the nude scene he kept telling her how awful her body was and how he should have found someone more attractive.

That person also happens to be a very good friend of Ben Kingsley, who was paid 2 million dollars for a 3 day shoot during BloodRayne, saying that he would have done it for like, $10 000 if it were for anyone else, and that it was the worst shoot of his life, and if given the chance, would turn down the money and just not do it.

And last but not least, when they got rid of the German tax shelter laws that Boll used to make all of his films, he lied to some accountants, and somehow managed to keep abusing the tax shelters....and then got caught, and blamed everything on the accountants, who are now in jail, and Boll can't go back to Germany because there are people who will kill him. Which is why he spends all of his time in Vancouver.

Oh, and he hired the soup nazi to dress up as Osama bin Laden for one of his wrestling matches.

Hmm, that last part actually sounds awesomely bizarre.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What I am Watching

Heroes, Season One. Yes. Great show.
Accepted - Not exactly Animal House.
Serenity - My first Joss Whedon. I get it. Pretty good. Summer Glau rocks.
Action (1999 series with Jay Mohr) - A little bit overbaked. Definitely has its moments
Californiacation - First episode was pretty decent. Potential

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Top Directors

How in the world did everyone forget Jim Sheridan?

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Insurgents Trailer

This is the trailer for The Insurgents, which I produced with John Gallagher of Angel Baby for writer-director Scott Dacko. Its kind of a work in progress trailer, but the movie has a bunch of upcoming screenings at the Montreal World Film Festival, the Edmonton Film Festival, the DV Film Festival in Seoul, Korea, and the New Filmmakers Series at the Anthology Film Archives in NYC. Its already won two best picture awards ((Oldenburg and Long Island Film Expo) out of three competition festivals played) and a best screenplay award at the other (at the Palm Beach Film Festival). Anyway, hope you'll enjoy and comment if you have something to say.

Check out this video: The Insurgents Trailer 1



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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

As Time Goes By

Mot film fans (heck most people within earshot of the media) are aware than in the last few days, we’ve lost two iconic directors, Bergman and Antonioni. These two were giants of cinema, among the most influential directors of the 20th century. (We also lost in late July, Laszlo Kovacs, a director of photography who might be best known for his terrific collaborations with Peter Bogdanavich (Paper Moon, Whats Up Doc), for Shampoo, and for 60’s classics like Five Easy Pieces and Easy Rider.)

This loss of talent got me thinking about who is left. Which directors left are the best working. We have the obvious giants, but if you had to pick, lets say ten directors not named Coppola, Scorcese or Spielberg (assuming they’d pretty much make every list, they are our modern versions of Chaplin, Keaton, Ford, Hitchcock, Hawks, Kubrick, Capra, Stevens, Wyler, Welles, etc.), who would you pick. We’ll limit it to film directors working primarily in the English language, cause otherwise, fughedaboutit.

List ‘em. Top ten. Go.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Life As NY’ers Know It.

I love NY. Love it. Well most things about it. I’ve been back from Lala land for less than a week, and I’ve had a great time. I missed my friends, my biz partner, my air conditioning, etc. a lot in the month I was away. Its nice to be back and to sleep in my own bed.

And then this damn dirty bomb threat.

I don’t know if its real. Its terrorism. Its about fear, about terror (duh?). Doesn’t matter if the threat is real, only if the FEAR is real. And its real.

As many of you know, I was very close to Zero on 9/11 (here is my post on that). I was very affected by that day. As a result, I may be more sensitive to the threat of terrorist plots than your average person (maybe even more than your average NY’er, maybe not though).

So when I hear things like the shit that’s been flying around this weekend, it causes my blood pressure to rise higher. That the shit is supposed to be targeted downtown, in my neighborhood, is just the added bonus.

And you know what? There is nothing anyone can do about it.

Kinda sucks, huh?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Airplane Bloggin’- Long Time Coming

Its been a full month in LA, and I’m finally on the plane back to New York. This is the longest I’ve been away from home in years and I am looking forward to being in my own bed (with air conditioning, good reliable wireless internet, cable and normal television, a good shower, a complete wardrobe, a lack of invading ants (recently stemmed thanks to some effective bug spray) and all the other comforts of home). That being said (and being true), I did have some fun times in Los Angeles, and under better circumstances it would have been even more of a good time.

Of course, its almost axiomatic that nothing really happened, workwise, for the first three weeks or so that I spent out there. Once I’d gotten to LA, we quickly scheduled a meeting with financiers for Slaughter and Digger, and that meeting happened within a few business days of landing. Since that point in time, though, nothing much was going on, at least nothing that required my presence in LA particularly. Then after I made my travel plans back to New York, without fail, a bunch of meetings, with members of the Slaughter/Digger teams, with people with film projects, with Reveille (makers of Ugly Betty and The Office) pop up that have to be crammed into the short time period before leaving. And for some reason, my social schedule seemed to fill up and all of a sudden, I had plenty to do, was busy with new work possibilities (read, producing possibilities) and meetings and parties and get-togethers at nite. It actually had me considering pushing back my return, which had already been later than I wanted because of flight availability. But in any event, I am on my early AM flight home.

One thing about LA that is a little unusual at least if you didn’t grow up around it. The groups of people you end up in, at parties, tromping around from bar to bar (well, tromping by car), may often, depending on who, include celebrities. One nite out spent with some new friends included Nicole formerly of the Pussycat Dolls. She was a totally polite, normal person (not celebutized in any way) which was refreshing. Her sister, who was in for her birthday, is a wildcat partier, but I imagine Nicole has had her share of those opportunities already.

Other than that, life was fairly normal, even to the point of beginning to establish patterns. And now its back to the New York patterns. For how long, I am not sure. Maybe only a few weeks until I head off on location to get it going on Slaughter and Digger. For now, I am going to enjoy being home.

Grumps

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jack Black in The Shining


How good is this imitation of Nicholson by Jack Black. Classic.

Repost

From The Hollywood Reporter Risky Business Blog, covering Comic-Con



In addition to a Mediterranean feast at the "300" DVD party Friday night at Petco Park, organizers also gave attendees a feast for the eyes as a dozen guys dressed as Spartans and a few women who appeared to be the Spartan equivalent of pole dancers entertained guests. Among those guests were David Arquette, Paul Reubens and pretty much the whole cast of "Blade Runner" that had been on hand earlier in the day at the Warner Bros. Home Video panel. Hours into the party, I happened to pass by Sean Young — sporting a kicky coif and bright red lipstick — right as she approached Frank Miller with a smile, stuck her hand out and said, "Hi, I'm Sean." (Karen Nicoletti)

How Sean Young? When one of the Batman movies was casting, she turned up at the Paramount gates (Schumaker Batman) dressed as Catwoman. I can almost see the mad twinkle in her eye.

Tagged

SOOOOO. Even though I’ve been described as anti-social, even as a blogger, I’ve been tagged. The very funny/cute/married Julie O. tagged me. I am supposed to disclose ten things about myself that, well, here’s dem rules.

Once you’ve been tagged, as I have, you must write a blog with ten weird, random things, little-known facts or habits about yourself. At the end, choose at least 5 people to be tagged, list their names and why you picked them. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says “you’ve been tagged” and tell them to read your latest blog.

And away we goooooo….

1. Though I am a producer now, I wanted to be a writer growing up. I do a bit of writing now, but I did quite a bit of short story writing in my teens. Some of it was good, and some of it was porn.
2. I have thought at least three times that I was going to be married to the woman/girl I was dating at the time. The first time was with my first serious girlfriend, Kristen. The second time was with my law school live-in girlfriend (also a law student), Krystallo. The last time was with another live-in girlfriend, Jeanne, and the only time that I really feel a loss over, in that I think it might have worked but circumstances prevented it.
3. This is hard. Yikes. Maybe I am not that open a person. I’ll come back to 3.
4. I am somewhat fascinated by the concept of people moving through your life and spending time with them and then not seeing them anymore. That friendships are fleeting sometimes. I’ve been fascinated by this for years. It took me a long time to come to terms with lost friendships.
5. I always wanted to be in the movie business. I thought that I would wait until I was 40-45 to give it a shot, because I knew it was a hard road. Only the events of 9/11 and my proximity to them made me switch careers earlier.
6. I found working on Wall Street the most boring thing I’ve ever done. Any job I spent time in – every morning I’d have to coax myself out of bed just to go to work most of the time.
7. The worst year of my adult life, personally, was the year I made the most money (almost 400K).
8. I spent two years seeing a therapist. It was one of the best things I’ve done for myself. I stopped when she told me she thought I had achieved my goals in seeing her.
3. Back to 3. Um. Still tough. I am blocked on 3. Here is goes. My second toe is longer than my first. That’s a cop out. When I was young, I used to be on a swimteam. I hated getting up in the morning and getting into the freezing cold pool (even though it was summer, in the mornings, that pool felt very cold). I also hated getting up at 6AM for practice. I can’t imagine it was that much fun for my parents to be driving us there at that ungodly hour. Anyway, I used to sneak away and hide in the showers (hot showers) during practice, until the coach would notice I was gone and send someone to come and get me.
9. My first three girlfriends were Korean. The second, after I broke up with her, attacked the third and beat her up in front of a crowd of friends. I felt a small bit of pride about these two attractive women coming to blows over me. I couldn’t help it, and it was only ended when Number Two girlfriend (hehe, couldn’t resist) jumped in my car and took off at high speed. My car!

I am over the asian thing.
10. I’ve had pretty successful long distance relationships, or relationships where we only spent a few days a week together. E.g., Jeanne lived part of the time with me, and part of the time in Long Island. My best times with Krystallo were the summer we saw each other only on weekends. I broke up with my first girlfriend shortly after she started at University of Albany, where I was going to school, our first unimpeded time in our relationship (she had a very restrictive home life).

God. That’s is. I am done. What a learning experience. I’ll tag five people who I am sure will be very surprised to be tagged by a near stranger.

Tagging

annie
julie
rachel heather
patrick
dixon

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What I am Watching

Saw III - Not so bad. Some good stuff. Ultra gory at the beginning before calming down quite a bit.

Ratatouille - Full of heart. Not a barrel of laughs like Shrek but a very good solid stroy story and a classic toon that will play forever. Peter O'Toole is a classic too.

Hot Fuzz - To me, funny but a little bit overhyped. I liked it though I wish it went a bit further- the last thirty minutes are the best and I think they could have been well served by getting there a bit sooner and playing up the very fun homage(s) to American action movies. A lot of fun, nonetheless.

Dexter season 2 premiere - the fun continues. One of the best shows on tv.

Family guy - season three. Every bit as good as the Simpsons, maybe better.

Comic-Con Bloggin'

{I wrote this piece for a column for John Gallagher's National Board of Review Column, Between Action and Cut. If you havent been there and are a film buff, definitely check it OUT.}

Many of us saw, and enjoyed the carnally humorous “The 40 Year Old Virgin.” It was sexually raucous and some of the scenes (especially, for me, the waxing man-o-lantern bit) were unforgettable. Judd Apatow cemented his status as one of the current kings of comedy with that piece.

A subplot of the movie has Steve Carell's character, Andy, selling his collectible collection on Ebay. His character has an enormous collection of ephemera from popular TV shows, comic books and other American "culture."

Well, I just visited Comic-Con in San Diego. For those of you who cannot imagine an enormous, Jacob Javits sized-convention center housing 125,000 Andy's in search of their next Steve Austin action figure, let me tell you, it does exist. Its in San Diego, its an enormous collection of collectibles, movies, tv shows, comic books, video games, and the people who love all of the foregoing, and much more. And Hollywood definitely is paying attention, more than ever.

I was down at Comic-Con for the weekend, doing research for the upcoming marketing that will be necessary for the two horror movies I have shooting this fall (including your own John Gallagher's “Digger”). I had heard that horror films had made their presence felt at Comic-Con, and because I wanted to see and understand what a fellow producer labeled the “End Game” in getting a project out in the market, I ventured down to the “Con” to see what it was all about.

And what its about is everything that is nerdy. The nerds rule.

You approach the football stadium sized building on waterfront property, overlooking part of the gorgeous San Diego harborfront. The Andys don’t look at the harbor, they are way too focused on getting inside and sampling the goodies. As you approach, hawkers (except they aren’t selling anything) lob T-shirts for upcoming shows in your direction – I got tees for the “Bionic Woman” show and some show called “Chuck.” The masses congregate and cross, in groups, into the convention center where you present your badge (security is very light and there is much badge-sharing going on) and venture inside.

That’s when the smell hits you (one producer termed it “Nerdstink”).

Think back a bit to high school. To the guys and girls who spent a little too much time in the arcade, or playing video games, or drawing skulls on their forearms. And a little less time than average on personal hygiene. This is their domain, and trust me, they do mark their territory.

Add the adrenaline rush and accompanying smell of perspiration from an Andy, maybe in his mid-twenties or mid-thirties or mid-forties, who is for the first time seeing, close up, the “Iron Man” artwork, while listening to Robert Downey, Jr., in person, discuss what it was like to strap into Marvel Comic’s favorite super-hero suit. It’s a rush for Andy. And there are perhaps thirty thousand of him and his brethren at any one time inside the convention center. Add the availability of cheap high carb food, caffeine and few visible restrooms. Well, you understand.


Many of the folks who attend come in full costume. Literally, hundreds of storm troopers roam the floor, in full gear, with their laser guns. Only a fraction of them are hired “guns,” most are there freelancing for fun. (An aside – a friend told me that at Con 2006, Mark Hamill attended and as he walked up an aisle he came upon a few dozen storm troopers. They spotted him and began to run towards him, at which point he turned and broke into a full Luke Skywalker sprint in the other direction. Must have been quite a site). There are Vaders and Trekkies, and Heroes and Spidermen and Wonderwomen and all sorts of other dressed up folks, some in outfits which are interesting yet entirely unrecognizable (to me at least).


This is not to take away from the overall grandeur of the event, which can, in limited doses, bring out the Andy in almost anyone. Comic-Con is literally everything for which a genre fan could hope. It goes way beyond the usual suspects from the Studios and major comic book companies (although the studios and major comics companies are in prime position and are the most conspicuous). There are lesser known comics, unknown comics, straight-to-DVD movies, memorabilia and collectibles of every type, including no shortage of weapons fashioned after those found in movies like the Lord of the Rings trilogy. There is also original artwork, in many variations and much that has a certain, shall we say, Boris Vallejo quality to it. Buxom, scantily clad women seem to be on the mind of your average Andy and a central them in much of the original art and in many comics too. That’s OK. Lucy Lawless was in the house to let everyone know that this artwork has its basis in fact.

As for the horror I was seeking, it was pretty limited. I’d read that Comic-Con had refashioned itself as a family-friendly event (there isn’t much they can do about the scantily clad women walking around all day and evening, whether working to attract attention to a particular booth or just their as guests), and other than Lions Gate and Picturehouse (yes, Picturehouse has a horror film), there were few displays for upcoming horror films. There were posters for a few more, but for the most part, Comic-Con has minimized the horror film element in favor of films like “Spiderwick Chronicles” and the dozen or so others trying to be the next Harry Potter.

I don’t mean to say its limited to action-adventure, sorcery and sci-fi (oh, my). As I said, Jenna Jamison was there promoting her bio-pic and comic-book. And plenty of comedies, including Apatow’s upcoming “Superbad” and the new Dane Cook vehicle “Good Luck Chuck,” were both the subject of significant promotions. A shirtless Dane Cook impersonator covered in red lipstick kisses held court next to the Lions Gate booth for most of Saturday.

One change from recent years is that the biggest draws, panel-wise, are some of the TV shows. Apparently the “Heroes” panel drew the biggest crowds of the Con, with 4000 people jamming a panel room within minutes of it opening. Other shows like “Lost” also drew huge crowds at previous Cons. (Incidentally, I spent most of my time at the Con with Louis Lombardi, who played Edgar the computer programmer on “24,” until his character was killed off. Louis also played the FBI agent who flipped Vinnie Pastore on the first two seasons of The Sopranos. We didn’t go five minutes without Louis cordially posing for a picture or signing an autograph.)

I don’t know what to take away from the whole Con experience. Some things about it are a little bit, shall we say, strange. The level of detail and investment of people in the minutia of these shows, movies, games and comics is, to me, startling. But it is axiomatic that the audience is never wrong. And this is the Audience. For the studio marketers and the other companies at the Con, it’s the litmus test of fan approval.

William Goldman opined in Adventures in the Screen Trade, a book that he wrote in 1983, that movies were either comic books or not comic books, not literally, but as a metaphor for the type of story that was told. He said that Hollywood mostly only was making comic books (twenty three years ago). He seemed to lament this as a loss.

I wonder if The Princess Bride was a popular panel at Comic-Con.