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Thursday, December 25, 2008

File Under "You Gotta Be Kidding Me..."

How long have we waited for this? And now, ....


The New York Times has just revealed that Gary A. Feess, a federal judge in Los Angeles, said he intended to grant 20th Century Fox’s claim that it owns a copyright interest in the Watchmen, a movie shot by Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures and set for release in March. At an earlier hearing, the judge said he believed that issues in the case could be settled only at a trial, which was scheduled for late January. On Wednesday, however, Judge Feess said he had reconsidered and concluded that Fox should prevail on crucial issues.

“Fox owns a copyright interest consisting of, at the very least, the right to distribute the Watchmen motion picture,” the ruling said.

This battle became public back in February 2008 when Fox said it planned on suing Warner Bros. claiming to have exclusive rights to develop, produce and distribute a film based on the graphic novel “Watchmen.” The suit has been discussed in a variety of issues since then all pointing to producer Lawrence Gordon who sold the rights to the film to Fox but when Fox dropped plans for a movie he began shopping it around to Universal and Paramount until it ultimately fell in the hands of Warner.

However, don’t get too concerned just yet fanboys, in Wednesday’s ruling Judge Feess advised both Fox and Warner to look toward a settlement or an appeal.

“The parties may wish to turn their efforts from preparing for trial to negotiating a resolution of this dispute or positioning the case for review,” he said.

Will there be a settlement? I can only assume so since that March 6 release date is looming, but this is definitely interesting news heading into the holidays as we probably won’t hear any new details until the new year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

MIA in MIA

I broke the streak of airplane blogging I had going, so instead I am Miami apt. blogging. Wow, what an exciting introduction….

Just finished at 830am two days ago the first of two legs of the New Orleans shoot for Sinners and Saints, complete with flipping cars, well-armed mercenaries with automatic weapons and full muzzle loads, and lots of fake blood. Without a doubt, it’s the most testosterone-laden set I’ve even been on. Very Michael Mann and I mean that in a good way. How suitable that I depart for Miami during our planned hiatus.

The Miami apt., in the fam since 1965, was a regular for me for the last ten years, save the last two, when I’ve been west-coast centric. The last time I was here was NYE two years back, which was fun, and which I spent with a lot of the same folks (Ricky in particular) that are coming down this time around. The indefatigable (except when sick) Ryan will be coming through as well, so I expect well-ordered excitement, as is his usual course.

My parents were down here when I arrived at the place, and Dave is coming down for a well-deserved break from the snows of the Northeast. Looking forward to the beach (gonna be 80 plus tomorrow and much of the week), some cheesy happy hours down in South Beach (I’m close, by the Delano and Shore Club), and then the NYE hullabaloo. After the turn, a few days of recovery and back to New Orleans, hopefully with a few less night-shoots on the schedule, and perhaps with somewhat recovered feet. My feet are actually the only part of me with any continuing malaise, but for those of you who have worked on shoots (movies, ads, photo, wtver, you know why). A three week stretch of six day weeks awaits on my return to the big easy, which after that stretch will probably feel more like the big lousy. I’ll be fine though, always seem to make it through.

Grumps in the sub-tropics

Friday, December 12, 2008

Airplane Bloggin’: Big Easy Style

I am most certainly on an airplane on the way to New Orleans. I feel somewhat less nervous on this airplane than I usually do (ever since 9/11, I am a pretty shitty flight passenger, particularly for take-offs), and I haven’t the foggiest idea why. But why look a gift horse in the mouth, right?

Sinners and Saints, the movie I am producing with Mark Clark, started shooting Monday down in Lousiana. Its my first action movie, and I wanted to get down there for the first day, but had to stay behind to tie up some unfinished paperwork in L.A. before making the move. Grabbed the flight out of LAX at 10:30 this AM, which annoyingly necessitated getting up at 7:15 (at least in my head). Of course, when we shoot days on the show, I will likely be up quite a bit earlier than that.

What is Sinners and Saints, you say? OK, well, you would say, if you were reading this as I wrote it. Its an cop-thriller action movie, very solid script, from writer/director Will Kaufman, who I think could be a very big action movie director in the future. Sinners is his second movie, the first being The Prodigy, which he made for pocket change with no name actors and is in distribution everywhere from Pago Pago to Walla Walla, Washington. Its amazing what he did with scant resources on The Prodigy, and I am excited to see what he’ll do with modest (several steps up from scant) resources on Sinners.

The shoot goes two weeks in December, before a break for two weeks, which I’ll be spending at my family’s Miami apartment with my parents and my good buddy Dave, who is in some hot water for leaving his girl behind for Xmas and New Years. On the fourth of January or so, it’ll be back to New Orleans for the final three weeks of the show, and then back to LA. Based on that schedule, I think there isn’t going to be any Sundance for me this year, or Slamdance, but that’s not a sure thing atm. I may still, pending how things go, head out to Park City, but it does seem that (1) few of my friends are going, (2) the economy may be bad enough to kill it for the most part, particularly the second weekend which is usually more dead anyway (many folks just go for opening weekend, when most of the big premieres happen) and (3) we aren’t announcing yet on the next Slamdance Horror screenplay winner until the middle of next year. So going isn’t such a priority in any event and on a logistical level, I don’t even have any cold weather clothing with me, if I was going to go straight from New Orleans to Park City. That’s kind of an interesting issue just today, as it actually snowed yesterday in New Orleans, not the best timing for a lower budget movie on a tight schedule (i.e. Sinners).

Anyway, I probably will be blogging quite a bit more for the time being, as I tend to have more to write about from set and when I am waiting around on set (in between handling whatever need be handled) I have time to write it down too. Has been a slowish year for the movie business, and for me personally, as I only made the short 10:31 this year up until now. I am definitely looking forward to being on set and to having some beach time in Miami to recharge the batteries.

Grumps.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sinners and Saints

Its been a busy kinda week (well, the past seven days or so) for work. This down economy feels perilous for all of us, economically at least, and the word of friends losing jobs is spreading around.

I’ve been fairly busy though, and the producing stuff seems to be coming along. However, as I always say, making movies is a roller-coaster. Don’t get on. So while things appear to moving forward nicely on a few projects, some long-gestating, some new, I’ll believe it totally when we break escrow. Just the way things are and the way they work.

I’m liking the new apartment, that it’s a one minute walk to the gym, and that the kitchen is so much better than where we were before. I bought a gas grill last weekend, and we’ve already used it a few times. Being able to walk onto the terrace and use a grill is great, very happy about that too.

Wow, I sound like a happy person. So strange. Don’t worry, I’ll snap out of it.

Im heading down to Louisiana in a few weeks for Will Kaufman’s movie, Sinners and Saints. We locked up a few names for the last few roles, and I think this one is a winner. The director is super-talented, and the cast, many of whom came on for pennies (well, not literally), seem to recognize that. I’m looking forward to being on a set, something I haven’t had the chance to do since making 10:31 over the summer.

Here’s will’s reel. This is from a super-low budget “nights and weekends” movie made for pocket-chance (again, not literally, but very inexpensively – VERY VERY). If he can do this kind of work at that budget, i simply cannot wait to see what he can do on Sinners with a bigger budget and a talented cast.

Grumps.



Tuesday, November 04, 2008

New Apartment

So i dont post as much as I used to. But I got a new place, and I do miss posting. So maybe with the new place in LA and the wireless internet that I just seemed to have figured out (needed to download airport extreme update to keep from getting disconnected every seven seconds, ugh), I will be inspired to share just a little bit more with the four people who read this (well, three plus me).

New place is working out fine, got the free direct TV in today, wireless is up. Dont have my new bed yet, but that comes tomorrow. Cannot wait. We still need a bunch of other furniture, Mike, Linda and I but we're getting there. Bought all the cooking/kitchen crap on sale over the weekend, should be here end of the week. Priorities remain a sofa, a bbq, and my bed, but thats just a matter of time.

Never have had my own bathroom before and its really nice. Big shower. Just wish water was a little warmer and pressure was a little better. But no complaints. I cannot believe this place is the same price (after factoring in free gym, internet and cable/direct TV). If only I knew, would have been out of the hovel last year sometime.

Gym is next door, so its a stroll over in three minutes. Plus I saw Andy Dick there yesterday, which means I guess I'll be staying out of the locker room.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another repost, funny stuff

This email circulating around Hollywood was sent by a DreamWorks floater. Last names have been deleted to protect the Semitic-challenged:

Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 5:09 PM
Subject: RE: SWP Mtg. Kristi w/ Kristin and Matthew

Hey Ryan-
I’m sorry, b/c I’m covering for Lindsey’s usual asst., could you tell me, who’s Rosh Hashanah and why would he/she affect Kristi’s meeting with K and M?
Thanks! I really appreciate it!
Michelle

From Nicki Finke, DHD.

His death at age 83 following a long battle with cancer was described as just as private and discreet as the way he had lived -- surrounded by family and friends at his farmhouse home near Westport, Conn. I had the opportunity to interview him for the cover of the old Los Angeles Times magazine during that most elegant of moments when every Oscar contender is bound equally by hope. Seven times a contender, never a champion, Paul Newman was still waiting for his Best Actor Oscar at the time. That year, he was being judged not only for his nominated role as "Gramps" Fast Eddie Felson in 1986's The Color of Money but also for four decades of playing anti-heroes. He thought his moment had come and gone when he was earlier awarded an honorary Oscar recognizing his personal integrity and dedication to his craft. He told me it was "for people who are already up to their knees in weeds. But at least I was working at the time on The Color of Money, so I knew something that they didn't know: that the pasture was quite a bit in front of me."

Newman lamented the passing of "the golden age" of Hollywood in the 1950s and 1960s. It's as if this son of a Jewish sporting-goods store owner from Shaker Heights, Ohio; this Navy Pilot Training Program reject and World War II torpedo-bomber radioman; this stage and television actor who married the understudy (Joanne Woodward); this father, movie director, racecar driver, cook, philanthropist and political activist wanted to tell the world that no one knew how well they had it back then. Then there were films. There were plays. There was quality television. "Boy, there was work," he said wistfully. "You got a week off and you could be right back in a film or on television or in a play. But I'm not driven to the extent that I will take up a bad script in order to work," he told me. "Although I don't know. I may have to do that if something doesn't show up. After a while, you simply have to keep an instrument oiled. You can't just throw it in the garage and pick it up every four or five years and expect it to work." Yet he still turned down the part of playing Superman's father for the Salkinds even though he would have earned millions for just a few days work.

He was always an anomaly in Hollywood, choosing to live on the East Coast, and refusing to read the trades, and stayed married for 50 years. In an industry noted for cost overruns, he prided himself on bringing his pictures in under budget, and once he became famous acting in or helming only important or original films. And how rare for actors and how fortunate for Newman that his dotage brought him some of his most memorable characters -- Michael Gallagher in Absence of Malice, Frank Galvin in The Verdict, Fast Eddie in The Color of Money and he received Best Actor nominations for all three. (Newman's other nods were for roles in Cool Hand Luke, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hud and The Hustler. He was not nominated for two of his most famous movies: The Sting and Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid.) So what if Newman wound up his career playing near-geezers whose spindly legs and watering eyes and sunken cheeks were part of his new screen image. He claimed that he never cared about being a sex symbol anyway. After all, he told me, "if you can get by on your baby blues, then what does it mean to be anything in the profession?" Newman suspected that he was giving an Oscar-quality performance under Marty Scorsese's direction. But anyone who expected Newman to come right out and say, "Yes, I want the Oscar," was going to have to wait until those blue eyes turn brown. Newman darted around the issue with me while still managing to convey the absurdity of his winless condition. "Oral Roberts has said that if he doesn't raise [enough] money by the end of March, God is going to call him home. Then whatever will He do to me? So if those guys out there don't tap me for this, I think I'm going to go to that great rehearsal hall in the sky." Now Hollywood can console itself knowing that he was much, much more than a Best Actor Oscar winner: he was an interesting and thoughtful and special man.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Later.

In LA for this September 11th, the anniversary of that day. First time not in NYC for the day. Anyway, I want to remember what happened, and so I repost my recollections today.

******
I've already posted this, last September 11th. Its a difficult day for me, one that continues to make me examine my priorities. And because I now live across the street from Ground Zero, its not very much a situation of Out of Sight, Out of Mind. I havent even been downstairs today, but I'll go take a look at it soon, the news trucks, the spectators, and other tourists of sympathy and disaster. Im not casting aspersions, it is what it is. And every year, as it becomes more chronologically remote, it becomes something a little bit more and a little bit less for me. More of an arrow, and less of an anchor perhaps.


******Previously posted, Sept. 11, 2006********

I used to work in law, in finance. These are jobs that may be exciting for some, a thrill for some. Others may fancy that they do these jobs for the good of the economy, of the world, in some way.

I did my jobs for the money, and for the freedom that the money would eventually, supposedly, purchase for me.

I was working for Deloitte & Touche, which is one of the largest consulting firms in the world. I sold and developed tax product for companies. Basically, I used my knowledge as a tax lawyer to design and implement tax strategies whose primary aim was to lower the world tax burden of some of the world’s richest companies and families. I’d previously done similar jobs at Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft, a white-shoe firm that is the oldest in the U.S.A, and at Ernst and Young, another monster-sized multinational consulting firm. I’d also worked a year in banking for Barclay’s Capital, the investment banking arm of one of Europe’s most venerable banks. Working for Barclay’s, I had made almost 400,000 dollars in one year. That year was perhaps the least happy year of my life.

My rise since graduation from law school at Albany Law School and Union (for an MBA) had been nothing short of meteoric. I spent two years in Boston at EY, before moving to New York. I was doubling my income every two years of so. I was following a path towards what I had originally set out to do.

A few years before, when I was attending Wesleyan University in Connecticut, I had an epiphany. I was following a course of only liberal arts: history, film, language, etc. I had no real career path, I was studying liberal arts. And my realization was that I should, at the age of 19, follow a path that would allow me to use what talents I had to make as much money as possible in as short a period of time as possible, which would allow me to do whatever I wanted to do with the rest of my life, on my own terms.

And what I wanted to do with the rest of my life was make movies. What I had wanted to do, from childhood, was make movies.

I left Wesleyan without even having applied to another school. I saw no point in wasting my parents money continuing to study things that wouldn’t pay off when I graduated (I thought – whether that assumption is right I don’t know, but I met an awful lot of people who went to liberal arts schools on Wall Street). I had to sit out a semester but transferred to SUNY Albany and began to pursue a path towards becoming a lawyer. I skipped through college, law school and business school and had completed the first step towards my eventual freedom.

Now, years later, working for D&T, a job I absolutely hated, a worthless job in my opinion, one that made no mark in the world, I was collecting money for my freedom. Of course, I was so bored with my existence that I often spent almost as fast as I earned. But that was just part of making my existence livable until I was free, could go and make movies.

On September 11th, 2001, I had an early conference call with London. Some project we were doing with a law firm over in London, and because of the time difference, the call was scheduled for 8AM. I normally got to my office right about nine AM more or less, which put me on the train from my then Chelsea apt. at 8:30 or so, and in the basement of the WTC (on the 2/3 train) at about 8:50 AM. I’d go up the escalators, and walk across the platform, and cross the walking bridge to 2 World Financial Center. It was a trip I made every weekday (unless I was on the road, which I was maybe a quarter of the time).

If I had done this at this time, on this particular morning, I would be dead right now, crushed by falling debris like the others who made the commute at the time that I always did.

But that morning I grudgingly made the trip an hour early, got to WTC around 7:50AM, up the escalators, and across the bridge to my office in time for the 8AM conference call.

The call was rather short, and was finished by eight thirty. I was probably hitting baseball scores on the Net when my phone rang. A friend from work, Elizabeth, was calling, which I thought was funny cuz she was always late for work and since she was calling me after 9AM, I thought she was just late again.

She asked me – Whats going on down there?

Me: What do you mean?

Her: A plane just crashed into the WTC?

Me: (incredulous) – What?

As I spoke to her, the second plane crashed into the WTC. It just looked like an explosion on the television I was watching, nothing but a fireball. You didn’t see the plane at all (until they replayed it later at low speed).

We left en masse from the building, and were basically herded out to the harbor that sits behind the World Financial Center. Huge crowds of people were standing, looking up at the burning towers, watching, stunned. Talking in disbelief.

I looked up and saw a piece of lumber falling from near the tops of one of the towers. It tumbled, thousands of feet. I asked someone about it. They told me that it was the tenth person they’d seen jump from the top of the tower.

Not eager to see anymore, to have these images recorded in my memory, I headed north. My best friend Drew lived on Chambers then and I thought I would try to get to his building, give my parents a call from his place to let them know I was OK. I’d spoken to them very briefly as I walked out of the building, but now my cel wasn’t working because the networks were overcrowded.

I got to Chambers St. and Drew wasn’t home. A neigjhbor of his let me into his apartment but the phone lines were busy and I couldn’t get my parents. A bunch of people were milling around in his lobby, including a young woman and her child. She was looking for her husband. He was in Midtown, she thought, but had been trying to get down to find her in the chaos. As we were talking, swapping rumors about more airplanes, we hear the first tower go down. But because we couldn’t see the towers from where we stood, we could only hear what sounded exactly like another airplane flying low in the sky. The sonic boom of the tower coming down exactly, cruelly, mimicked the sound of an airplane overhead. And because of the rumors of more unaccounted-for jets in the air, that’s exactly what we thought it was.

This young woman, I don’t even remember her name, grabbed her son from his stroller and we all took off north up the bike path which fronts the west side highway. The sound of the tower stopped and my heart stopped beating like it had been, in a way that I thought was going to give me a heart attack.

We walked north along the highway. We had nothing else to do. I carried the little boy, as he was too big for his mother to carry too far. We walked for ten minutes, until the first miracle I witnessed that day occurred. Walking perhaps a hundred yards away, in the opposite direction, on the other side of the highway, was this woman’s husband. And somehow, out of thousands of people, they spotted each other and were reunited. Everyone in our group stopped and stared. Seeing these people reunite under these circumstances was simply an event I will never forget for the rest of my life. I don’t remember her name, her face. But I will never, ever forget that moment. Its clear in my mind, five years later.

I got home perhaps an hour later. I lived on 29th street. I think I put the film Animal House on video. I needed something light, I thought, but I couldn’t really watch it.

I never really went back to work in the same way. My heart was never really in it after that. I worked from home, with disinterest. My firm relocated to a hotel in Times Square, but I hated going there, working in a hotel room. I hated most of my bosses, most of the unhappy people for whom I worked. I started looking for something else to do- a friend had opened a restaurant, and that was a business I had always found interesting. As I lost interest in D&T, I spent more and more time at the restaurant, until I began to manage the restaurant. It was merely a temporary thing, but in some very important ways it represented a huge step for me. It was a step away from living for tomorrow, a tomorrow that 9/11 made me realize might never come, and towards living for today.

While I was running the restaurant, a few things significant to my life’s journey happened. My relationship with my then-girlfriend, someone I thought I would spend my life with, fell apart. We were going in different directions, and the relationship shattered into pieces under the strain of these changes. It isn’t about fault, it just happened.

Another thing that happened that day was that I started a film festival. It was my first step into anything film related. The first festival was three films, none very good. About twenty people or so showed up. It has developed into a festival that receives perhaps six hundred entrants a year now.

But what really happened, what really started from the events of 9/11 in my life, was that I decided that all the things that I had put off for later in life, I began to do. I started looking for work in the film business. I started the festival. I got a motorcyle. I CHANGED MY LIFE. Because I realized that you can’t always count on tomorrow and, because of that, today is very, very precious.

I was very fortunate to survive that day. I've been fortunate to have a little bit of wisdom in following the path I probably should have followed from the beginning, one that isnt about financial gain, but about gaining everything else for myself. And I've been fortunate for the support of my true friends and family in making the transition in my life.

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Watching

the Scorsese narrated documentary on Val Lewton, who began his career working for Grumpy namesake David O'Selnick. Definitely interesting stuff, and learned alot. But as an aside, here's another set of lost twins for you.

Karloff did a few movies with Lewton at RKO.





And then Abe Vigoda, Tessio in The Godfather and from Barney Miller.




Anyone else ever notice this.

Grumps

What I am Watching

Searchers (John Ford)
Sunshine (Danny Boyle)
Atonement (Joe Wright)
Frontier(s) (Xavier Gens)
Ils (David Moreau)
Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg)
Irreversible (Gaspar Noe)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

This is hilarious. Worst Kids' Book Covers


Gut busting. Not kid friendly, duh (but this blog isnt exactly kid-friendly)

Good for a bunch of chuckles.
here

Friday, August 08, 2008

While riding motorcycle shot towards NYC skyline

OK. So not always the smartest thing, to snap a pic or two while moving at 60 mph on the LIE, riding one handed (yes, the one on the break).

It was way more dramatic coming over the last rise towards the Empire State and surrounds, around 800 or so, right as the sun set behind the city. This pic is half an mile down the hill, and doesnt hold a light candle.

Long way home.


Throgs Next Bridge from the Long Island Sound

Locking it up.

Valet Parking, City Island Style

Sailing to city island on Newman boat

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Repost from Diary of Why

One of the blogs i read is Diary of Why. Rachel, the proprietor of said blog, is quite the writer. This proves that. Enjoy.

Why my arms are empty but my mind is full
He sleeps too solidly, head ground into the pillow. In the glow of the streetlight his face is white, young and unrecognizable. We are polite and overly generous, a wide line drawn down the middle. An arm extended tentatively and then withdrawn. Sleep takes over and we are alone in it, dreaming of falling down on empty sidewalks. A solitary sleeper, I am a rock, I am an eye-land. I used to be like that, before, seperate in sleep, my body a stiff question mark. But that was before, long before, so long before that sometimes all I can remember is the after.

After the before we slept close, so tight together that no paper could fit between, no particle of light shine through. I woke and he woke. Roll over. Shhh. Roll over. Go to sleep. Wake, turn, shift, sleep, all night long, with never a space between. Airtight and happy, belly to back, nose to neck, every sigh a tickle, every flutter of lash a butterfly kiss. Our bodies a matched set, curved lines traced by a steady hand, two long parentheses. Comfort in this. In three years, how many hours did we spend like this? Twenty-five hundred, perhaps. Three thousand. Perhaps more. Never counting, our time not measured in hours and minutes, but in beats and breaths, in shared body heat, in risings and fallings and the slow and steady pressure of a hand on a back, on a leg, on an arm. Our sleep was as infinite as our future, as vast as the horizon unrolling before us, until we came to the end of the world, and leapt.

A year and a quarter later and I am still not a solitary sleeper. Tonight I am a shadowy figure in a strange bed, an unwilling apostrophe longing to be made a quotation mark.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Bond?



Kind of interesting. From Russia with love is on. Robert Shaw's appearance in this movie as a villain is quite similar to that of Daniel Craig in the new bond movies. Like they could be related.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Dark knight

I think I'm the last person under eighty to see the dark knight. Was trying to outlast crowds and its late Sunday night but there are still moviegoers here

More on Meat Train Baloney

From Nicki Finke, Deadline Hollywood Daily

With Lionsgate expanding and landing a $340 credit line, it's easy for the studio to forget about its fanbase. Or is it? As I reported previously, horror aficionados are furious that Lionsgate's Joe Drake is moving away from this genre of films in favor of more mainstream fare like Tyler Perry. (This month, Lionsgate signed hit factory Perry to a new 3-year first-look deal to distribute at least 3 more Perry films -- after releasing 5 Perry pics since 2005.) Well, this weekend Lionsgate officially dumped Clive Barker's Midnight Meat Train. And not just into a tiny 102 theaters but humiliatingly into the dollar and second run theaters where it made $32,000 ($313 per screen). Now fans are worried Lionsgate will do the same to other films they're hotly anticipating, like Repo! The Genetic Opera and The Burrowers. All are ex-Lionsgate head Peter Block's films, so Drake has a vested interest in making Block's movies look bad at the box office. As one horror fan asked me, "The question is, why does Lionsgate want the movie to make less money than it would normally in limited theaters? Something seems off." The answer may well be studio politics.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Frontiers

Absolutely one of the most bizarre and brutal films I have scene in some time. What a weird take on the weird french/german rednecks out in the countryside. Hostel meets Texas chainsaw meets the boys from Brazil meets I don't even know.

More Midnight Meat

So what the fuck. I went online to see where Midnight Meat Train is playing near me. Wasn’t sure that I’d go see it tonight (especially b/c I haven’t even seen the fark knight yet).

Im sitting at home on Friday night watching the movie, Frontiers, by recommendation of Victor Garcia (same director as Them). And I went online b/c I wanted to see what was playing, and I remembered that Midnight Meat was out this weekend, even though there has been virtually no advertising for it.

And now I know why. Its not playing in any theaters in New York City. None. Zilch. Zippo. The closest theaters lists are in Rochester, NY (about five hours) and Pennsylvania (some town I never heard of). I mean, really, do they want to bury this movie that badly. Why even release it theatrically.

Here is the list of the ones closest to me (I don’t know how many screens its on total, this is a partial list).

* Cinemark Movies 10 (Rochester,NY)
* Carmike Maxi-Saver 12 (West Mifflin,PA)
* Millcreek Cinema 6 (Erie,PA)
* Cinemark Movies 8 (Youngstown,OH)
* Cinemark Movies 10 (Lynchburg,VA)
* Cinemark Movies 10 (North Canton,OH)
* Cinemark Willoughby Hills Movies 10 (Wickliffe,OH)
* Carmike Blue Ridge 14 (Raleigh,NC)
* Cinema 10 (Mansfield,OH)
* Carmike 8 (High Point,NC)
* Omni Cinemas 8 (Fayetteville,NC)
* Silver Cinemas - Macomb Mall (Roseville,MI)
* Cinemark Movie 12 (Columbus,OH)
* Cinemark Movies 16 Warren (Warren,MI)
* Cinemark Movies 10 (Matthews,NC)
* Danbarry Dollar Saver Huber Hgts. (Huber Heights,OH)
* Danbarry Dollar Saver S. Dayton (Dayton,OH)
* Danbarry Dollar Saver Cinemas W. Hills (Cincinnati,OH)
* Kerasotes Richmond Cinema 10 (Richmond,IN)
* Danbarry Cinemas Turfway (Florence,KY)
* Carmike 10 Lexington (Lexington,KY)
* Coventry 13 (Fort Wayne,IN)
* Washington Market Movies 8 (Indianapolis,IN)
* Cinemark University Park 6 (Mishawaka,IN)
* Carmike Movies 7 (Knoxville,TN)

There was a fanboy push after the trailer was released to get this movie more widely distributed. Apparently that didn’t work. There is also some discussion of a political intrigue which affected the release pattern of this film, the concern being that it could beat another film that a new executive produced and is having released, from before he was, um, a new executive? Yeah, I know, who cares. But it made sense when I heard it.

I guess I will watch Frontiers.

Grumps

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Roommate?

I am still roommateless as the month crawls to a close. No good.

That dude who said he'd do it backed out the next day, the skag. Waiting for some news tomorrow, and the current roomie is half out the door.

Hoping to find someone compatible in the next few days. Im trying to think positive thoughts. Of course, Im gonna have to live with this person.

Grumps.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Up and The Down

I have a headache, for hours. Not sure why. Accumulated dehydration, perhaps. Anyway, it hasnt gone away.

In other news, it seems I have found my next roommate for the new york apt. Seems like a great guy, laid back, will be a good fit.

Grumps.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A couple of production stills....








Tommy's Movie

I am fairly wasted after a three day marathon in the wilting heat of July. Tommy’s Boy (working title, likely to change) wrapped in Patterson, New York at 10:02PM Sunday night. Each of Friday, Saturday and Sunday were very hot, and we were outside much of the day each day (and sometimes in cars with no air conditioning).

I got back to New York very late last night, exhausted but somewhat elated. I think the film came out well. Got to get into the editing process now, so we can see exactly what we have.

Grumps

Thursday, July 17, 2008

hell yeah, who watches the watchmen

Testing out the mobile Blogging thing. Not sure how this works.

Test mobile blogging

Tommy's Boy (working title).

One day away from shooting the short film I am producing, which is currently titled “Tommy’s Boy,” though given its similarity to the Chris Farley comedy, I am pretty sure we’re gonna change that. Just haven’t figured out what the new title is going to be.

We’re shooting all weekend, Friday through Sunday, and we’re all over New York, it feels like, from Astoria and Long Island City on Friday, then Poughkeepsie on Saturday at the Sheriff’s office (great locations) and then around Duchess and Putnam Counties on Sunday. We have a long schedule for each day, but we’ll get it done.

I’ll hopefully get some good pics that can be uploaded from the production by Monday AM. And in NY, its gonna be hot this weekend, so I hope craft service is bringing a slip’n’slide.

Grumps.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mirrors

Victor Garcia pointed this out to me. Cool...

Hellboy

I havent really been posting. OK. I havent been posting. Im in prep on a film. and when I haven't been prepping (its just a short film, hopefully a good one), I've been out of my apartment because they are removing all of the rebar from the outside of the building. With drills. All afternoon long. Every day. It sounds like they are drilling my skull.

Anyway, I've been hanging by the gym and the pool in my building to avoid the noise in the apt. Less computer and more blackberry time, and thats a lame excuse but I am going with it. Its also allowed me to get pretty tan (and somewhat reddish in my tax, as I usually am, at least at the end of a day of being in the sun).

Kinda like a less muscular and more sarcastic version of Hellboy.

Incidentally, go see Hellboy II. Its tons of fun, and visually fantastic. It even has a moral. Basically, its an example of a filmmaker at or near the top of his game.

Not Columbia's best move to let Uni take the sequal.

Grumps

Saturday, June 21, 2008

George Martin rocks

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Retired NFL great George Martin will conclude his historic cross-country “a Journey for 9/11” www.ajourneyfor911.info walk to benefit thousands of ailing Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers in a ceremony at 10:00 AM PT, Saturday, June 21, in San Diego, CA. When he crosses the finish line at Embarcadero Park North on the banks of the city’s downtown district, Mr. Martin will have trekked 3,003 miles on foot and raised several million dollars in cash, in-kind contributions and pledged medical services for seriously ill 9/11 workers from all 50 states.

The finish line ceremony, open to the public, will be attended by scores of police officers, firefighters, EMTs, 9/11 workers, NFL players and others. Mr. Martin has completed all but 4.5 miles of his Journey, which he will walk on Saturday morning.

Co-captain of the Super Bowl XXI NY Giants championship team and now an AXA Equitable executive, Mr. Martin started walking west from the George Washington Bridge in New York City on September 16, 2007. He is likely the first African-American professional athlete to walk coast-to-coast for charitable purposes. Over the past nine months, the humanitarian encountered rainstorms in the Northeast, the freezing temperatures and driving winds of the Great Plains and, more recently, the mountains and desert heat of the Southwest.

“I look forward to concluding this part of our Journey’s mission, and am grateful to have had the opportunity to take on this challenge,” said Mr. Martin. “While this has been a difficult undertaking, it has also been wonderful to see our nation on foot while raising awareness about the plight of these 9/11 workers. These heroes need our collective support. Many who answered our nation’s call for help now cannot even walk up the steps in their own homes due to severe respiratory and other ailments. Some are dying. They deserve our help.”

Although the walking portion of the Journey is concluding, Mr. Martin plans to continue his efforts to help Ground Zero rescue and recovery workers obtain adequate health care. “This is truly a national problem,” says Mr. Martin, who noted that more than 10,000 people who live outside of the New York metropolitan area are enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Registry, including people from all 50 states. “It’s simply unacceptable to me that these brave, selfless individuals from across the country are not getting all the medical assistance they need.”

The Medical Problems of Working at Ground Zero

Mr. Martin, on leave from his position as vice president of sports marketing at AXA Equitable in New York, is raising funds to provide medical monitoring and healthcare for 9/11 responders who are suffering from chronic bronchial disease, leukemia and other cancers, post traumatic stress disorder and other serious medical conditions stemming from their service at Ground Zero after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Three major medical institutions are matching in healthcare services all the money donated by the Journey.1

Medical studies indicate that working at Ground Zero led to serious, long-term medical problems for tens of thousands of 9/11 responders.

* A study by Mt. Sinai Medical Center found that nearly 70 percent of the 40,000+ 9/11 responders have suffered lung disease and other health problems.
* One in five has low lung capacity, five times the normal rate.
* One in eight developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Source: NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene).
* The rate of those developing asthmatic conditions after exposure to Ground Zero is 12 times the normal adult rate.

In October 2007, Mr. Martin walked through Washington, DC, where he met with several members of the U.S. Congress who are advocating legislation for additional funding for 9/11 healthcare programs. For more information, visit: http://maloney.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=146 8&Itemid=61. (Due to its length, this URL may need to be copied/pasted into your Internet browser's address field. Remove the extra space if one exists.)

For more information on the status of federal 9/11 healthcare legislation, visit: http://maloney.house.gov/documents/911recovery/backgroundmemo.pdf

About George Martin, the Route and the Journey Team

George Martin was a star defensive end and co-captain of the Super Bowl XXI Champion New York Giants (1986). During his 14 NFL seasons (1975-1988), the longtime Giant scored eight touchdowns -- seven of them as a defensive lineman, which set an NFL record that stood until 2007. Mr. Martin is a former president of the NFL Players Association.

On a Journey for 9/11, Mr. Martin has passed through portions of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Now 55 years old, the retired NFL great has lost more than 40 pounds since he began his trek. In addition to walking, he has visited schools, fire houses, police stations, government offices, and other places where he raises awareness about the plight of Ground Zero workers.

For his charitable efforts, Mr. Martin was named one of ABC News’ 2007 “Persons of the Year,” received the prestigious Heisman Humanitarian Award, and was recognized with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey for his lifelong commitment to community service.

Donations

To make a tax deductible financial donation, mail a check to “a Journey for 9/11,” c/o Valley National Bank, P.O. Box 707, Wayne, NJ 07474-0707, or call 800-889-8038. Contributions can also be made online via www.ajourneyfor911.info.

Support from Business, Medical, Education, Sports and Charitable Community

Sponsors of the Journey include AXA Equitable; Fairleigh Dickinson University; Best Western International; MBT Physiological Footwear; Intelligent Design; United Parcel Service; Bear Stearns; Proskauer Rose LLP; Proforma Associates; Nike; Tana Seybert Printing; Hunter Douglas; the New York Giants; the National Football League; the National Football League Players Association; General Motors; Sprint; World Wrestling Entertainment; Big Blue Travel; CV Technologies; ESRI; KeySpan Energy; Lou Hammond Associates; MAN Etc., Inc; Nautilus; SJI Associates; S& L Services; Sunoco and Valley National Bank. Beau Dietl & Associates is providing security for the Journey. Philanthropists Joseph H. and Dr. Carol F. Reich have made a substantial donation as well.

1 Hackensack University Medical Center (NJ), North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health Systems (NY) and the Mt. Sinai Medical Center (NY) will match in medical services the total funds Mr. Martin’s Journey donates to the hospitals.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Still Single

Yes, hard to believe, I know.

I think I am going to order a wife from overseas. Any thoughts on the best country from which to order. I think Argentina is having sales this week.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

NYC PictureStart Winners, June 08

12th NYC PictureStart Winners and Entries

WINNERS ARE IN:


Jury:


Best Film: Carissa, dir. David Sauvage


2nd Place – Cupcake, Dir. Sean McPhillips (Special Jury Prize)


3rd Place: La Combinaison, Dir. Serge Adam



Best Actor: Benoît Thévenoz, La Combinaison


2nd Place: Ezra Miller, Busted Walk


3rd Place: Mike Consolmagno, Cupcake



Best Actress: Sara Jaye, Leave You in Me


2nd Place: Kinna McInroe, Cupcake


3rd Place: Agnieszka Pekala, Alicja Wonderland



Best Cinematography: La Combinaison




Audience:



Best Film: Busted Walk, dir. Steven Tanenbaum


2nd Place: Carissa, dir. Sean McPhillips


3rd Place: The Maple Leaf, dir. Real Sprague



Best Actor: Ezra Miller, Busted Walk


2nd Place: Markie C., The Maple Leaf


3rd Place: Joe Lisi, Joe Mover



Best Actress: Christina Broccolini, And The Winner Is…


2nd Place: Kinna McInroe, Cupcake


3rd Place: Melissa Wolfklain, Saturday Night At Norms




Best Short Screenplay


Knocksville, Written by Josef Lemoine

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Puffy Chair


My expectations weren’t very high, to be sure. I have had spotty success with so-called festival movies like The Puffy Chair. But I was cruising the Sundance channel, and I saw it was on and recorded it.

Went back to watch it today, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Its easily as strong as most independent films, with good acting and camera work that definitely adds to the momentum of the movie. It has some painfully funny scenes, suspense (really!) and good dramatic tension. The writing (I didn’t get the feeling that it was improvised to any great extent, though I could be wrong – it happens once in a while) is terrific. The whole movie just works as a movie. The story is surprising (for a festival-type film) in that it is told in a very traditional three act structure, and despite the lack of stars and effects, that structure and the strength of the material.

Very strongly recommended, and if someone can explain to me what “mumblecore” is, I’ll be very appreciative.

The Puffy Chair


Grumps.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

12th NYC PictureStart Film Festival




WWW.PICTURESTARTFILMFESTIVAL.COM

FREE ADMISSION

You are cordially invited:

June 2 and 3, Retreat Lounge, 37 West 17th St. (between 5th and 6th Ave) New York, NY. 6:30PM each nite. Trains to Union Square (less than five minute walk).

FOUNDER, GREGORY SEGAL, AWARD WINNING PRODUCER HAROLD, MY BROTHER, TAKE THE BRIDGE, AND THE INSURGENTS

HOSTED BY ACTRESS ADI ORTNER

Judges:

JURY CHAIRMAN: GUY JACOBSON, Writer/Producer, HOLLY (st. Ron Livingston, Udo Kier); President, Priority Films

TERRY LEONARD, Producer, STEPHANIE DALEY (st. Amber Tamblyn); BACKSEAT; HOUNDDOG (st. Dakota Fanning, Robin Wright Penn)

JAYCE BARTOK, Actor/Writer/Producer, THE CAKE EATERS (dir. Mary Stuart Masterson, st. Kristen Stewart); THE STATION AGENT (actor); SPIDERMAN (actor); SUBURBIA (actor)


OFFICIAL SELECTIONS: (Screening times randomized for fairness in audience voting)

Day One

Night #1

Joe Mover, (16m), Drama, dir. Lev Gorn, Gabe Fazio
Murdering Mama's Boy (17m) Drama, dir. Katherine Cunningham-Eves
Whirleybird (12m) Experimental, dir. Danielle Corches
October 19, 2007 - October 22, 2007 (17m), Drama, dir. Sebastian Pardo
Cupcake (7m), Comedy, dir. Sean McPhillips
Leave You In Me (19m), Drama, dir. Dutch Doscher
27,000 Days (10m), Experimental, dir. Naveen Singh
Busted Walk (13m), Drama, dir. Steven Tanenbaum
Getting Out (5m), Animation/Horror, dir. Ian Topple

Night #2

And the Winner Is... (5m), Comedy, dir. John Andrew Gallagher
La Combinaison (12m), Thriller, dir. Serge Adam
Saturday Night At Norms (25m), Musical, Dir. Kellen Blair
The Maple Leaf (17m), Drama/Thriller, Dir. Real Sprague
Carissa (22m), Documentary, Dir. David Sauvage
Alicja Wonderland (20m), Thriller, Dir. Martin Gauvreau


And an encore showing of the Grand Jury Prize Winner, Best Short Film, from the 11th NYC PictureStart Film Festival

Son (17:30) drama, dir. Daniel Mulloy, drama

SCRIPT FINALISTS (Announcement of Winner Only):
The Invisible Detective in Pain Au Chocolat , Adam Wright
The Masked Man, Dan Smith
Knocksville, Josef Lemoine
Procession, Beth Spitalny
Stranger, Jennifer Razon


EVENT PRODUCER: JOHN SAWYER
EVENT CO-PRODUCERS: DAVID NEWMAN, EMILY TURNER AND NICK CHAKWIN

Monday, May 26, 2008

RIP Sydney Pollack

Acclaimed director, producer, and actor Sydney Pollack has died of cancer. He was 73.

According to the AP, quoting Pollack's agent Leslee Dart, Pollack died Monday afternoon (5/26/08) at his home in Pacific Palisades, surrounded by family and friends.

Though Sydney Pollack started out as an actor and acting coach and later ended his career doubling producer duties with cameo and supporting roles, it was as a director that Pollack will probably best be remembered. His films had the sheen of the Golden Era of Hollywood, even though most were made in the `70s and `80s. They also spanned genres and included The Way We Were (`73), Three Days of the Condor (`75), The Electric Horseman (`79), Tootsie (`82), culminating in what was arguably his greatest success, Out of Africa (`85).

Sydney Irwin Pollack was born on July 1, 1934, in Lafayette and raised in South Bend, Indiana. He developed a love of acting at South Bend High School and went straight to New York and the Neighborhood Playhouse School for Theater. There Sanford Meisner took him under his wing, first as a student and then as his assistant. Pollack received favorable marks from his students, which included Robert Duvall and Rip Torn, and Claire Griswold, a former pupil whom Pollack married and remained married to for 50 years.

His time at the Neighborhood Playhouse was destined not to last as long and, under the encouragement of director John Frankheimer and nudging from Burt Lancaster Pollack began directing. He started out small, in television shows such as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and Ben Casey.

He soon branched out into feature filmmaking. His first was The Slender Thread starring Anne Bancroft and Sydney Poitier, about a desperate woman and the suicide hotline volunteer who attempts to keep her on the line while waiting for the police to find her.

The film fared poorly, both critically and financially, as, to a lesser extent, did Pollack's second feature, 1966's This Property Is Condemned, based upon a Tennessee Williams play (with a screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola). It featured Natalie Wood as a girl desperate to break out of her small town who sets her sights and hopes on a travelling railroad official and company hatchet man, played by Robert Redford.

Property was the start of a lifelong association and friendship with Redford; Pollack would direct Redford in seven films in total, including some of his most famous.

First success came, however, from the depression-era The Shoot Horses, Don't They, about the characters involved in a grueling dance marathon. It starred Jane Fonda and it shattered her American image as a comely ingénue or a sex kitten and established her as a serious actress once and for all. She received her first Oscar nomination for the part.

Most actors benefited from appearing in a Pollack film. 12 actors received Oscar nominations after being in one of his movies including Barbra Streisand, Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange, and Dustin Hoffman. He was no stranger to the Academy himself. He was nominated three times for Best Director (Horses and Tootsie, winning for Out of Africa). Oddly enough, Redford never received a nomination for any of the multiply-lauded films he starred in for Pollack.

Industry recognition was just part of his success. His films were also profitable at the box office. Hits included Horses, The Way We Were, Three Days of the Condor, The Electric Horseman and The Firm.

But it was Out of Africa were everything gelled. It had an enormous canvas, an epic scope, a glorious score, luscious cinematography and two superstars (Redford and Streep) in the leads. The film was nominated for 11 awards, picking up seven including Best Picture and Director.

He had misses too. Havana, Random Hearts and Sabrina were the rare examples of critical and commercial failures.

Producing became a passion for him after this string of misfires. Along with the late Anthony Mingella, who died earlier this year while having his throat operated on, Pollacke created Mirage Enterprises. The shop produced The Fabulous Baker Boys Sense and Sensibility, The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain. But Mirage represented just a smattering of Pollack's producing duties, which also included Searching for Bobby Fischer, The Quiet American, Michael Clayton and the HBO film, Recount.

In recent years Pollack also specialized in the role of the powerful corporate or societal patriarch, one willing to lay down the law or to teach the hard truths of life to the protagonist. He played variations of it in Eyes Wide Shut, Changing Lanes and Michael Clayton and created what can only be described as avuncular malevolence, inspiring fear and awe while exuding a tinge of mercy.

It was the stature of Pollack in the industry itself and his commanding presence on and off the screen that lent the roles their gravitas. They sprang from the man himself

Pollack is survived by his wife, Claire; two daughters, Rebecca and Rachel; his brother Bernie; and six grandchildren He was preceded in death by his son, Steven, who died in 1993 in a plane crash in Santa Monica.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

da da dan ta, dun ta da. dun ta dun to, dun tun tun tun tun

So what am I gonna do. Wait for it. I can't. I'm nine years old, OK. Deal with it.

I am going to the first showing of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at 12:01 at the Battery Park Cinema near my house.

Yes, its gonna be packed. And yes, its raining (though not too badly).

When I was a kid, I used to cut school to go see these movies when they came out. Indiana Jones is the closest thing I have to an inspiration for why I am in the movie business now (of course, its never just one thing), the root cause of all this.

So yeah, I am going. I just wish it started a little earlier. Gonna do the popcorn and the whole schmear I think. Might as well go all out.

This is the first time I've gone to a theater on opening night in forever, I think. Maybe my ex, Jeanne dragged me to one when we were dating. She also liked to shop for Christmas presents on the Friday after Thanksgiving. She doesn't mind crowds so much, not like me.

But I'm going, and I have pretty high expectations, despite mostly good but slightly mixed reviews.

Grumps

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Airplane Bloggin’: Saturday Morning Shuffle

Im on the Jet Blue flight, 1140 AM back to NYC, out of Burbank, and thank you very much. I wisely upgraded to the four more inches of space seat for an extra twenty bucks. My kneecaps have been thanking me since I sat down an hour and a half ago.

Heading back to the Apple for the final two weeks before this, the twelfth edition of NYC PictureStart. Bunch of work left to do before we’re ready to go, still picking last film entries, though the script finalists are done (yet to be posted), the venue, god willing, is locked in, and the dates are set (same as the venue, god willing).

Each go around seems like it should get easier, but to some degree, I feel like each time, to a certain degree I need to reinvent the wheel a bit. We’ll be returning to Retreat, thanks to the owner’s generosity but it first seemed like we weren’t heading back over cost issues. I still don’t have a third judge locked in, though I am sure I can find someone great quickly this week. Everything is just more complicated now, running a film festival in New York when I spend the vast majority of my time in California. It had seemed that I was going to spend all of May in NYC, but it ended up that I had to fly back to LA to interview for a production attorney gig for a movie shooting in LA. It’s a good project, and I got the gig, so it was worth the trip.

And now back to NY, to add the final icing to the cake that is the 12th NYC PictureStart Film Festival. Victor Garcia, director of the still-to-be-filmed Slaughter, is joining as a juror, as is Morris Levy, producer (shall I say co-conspirator) of The Ten. The third juror, well, I have my suspects in mind. A few calls and that will be set.

Over 160 movies this time around, for 15 spots. Its getting more and more competitive. I don’t know for sure, but I am guessing that we’ve grown into one of the bigger short film festivals, and we’re definitely among the more selective. The interest in filmmaking seems to grow exponentially, and the short format of a short film is well-attuned to the online, download, Youtubey internet promotion and distribution of much new media product. Yeah, so I am cutting edge. Can ya dig?

Details will be posted in full on the website in the next day or two. Come down one or both days and join us for some short film and some drinks and some networking, and get YOUR SHORT FILM SCENE (shameless plug, but it is my blog).

One thing about LA vs. NY.

The gym.

Let me draw some comparions. I’ve been working out five to six days a week for four or five months now to get back into shape. It had been too long, and I owed it to myself to get into better condition, and not to rely on pushups alone. It also helps me manage my stress, which was for various reasons, getting a workout all its own.

My gym in New York is the gym in my building. It has a view of the Hudson.

My gym in Los Angeles is on Hollywood Blvd. It has a view of the Hotties. Lots of em.

NY has a few cardio machines, one or two benches, and a few universal type machines. There is a pool and a hot tub as well.

LA has every machine you could possibly think of, cardio, weightlifting, cybex, life force, whichever. It also has a pool, hot tub, sauna, full court basketball, day care (not that I have kids), a tremendous free weight room, free parking on Hollywood Blvd., and a great grocery store with lots of healthy choices for after the gym. And a little juice bar with wonderful blended fruit drinks that I am sure taste better than they are truly healthy. It also has beautiful women using all of these things, providing that extra inspiration to proceed towards additional perspiration.

NY no such luck. Occasionally I get to use the gym alone in the afternoon, though, and they have free coffee. But it isn’t very good. Did I mention the view of the Hudson.

NY Price? 70 per month.

LA Price? 30 per month.

Are we noticing a trend here? A little more on that. My car insurance in LA is about the same as my motorcycle insurance in New York. Health insurance in CA is about 100 per month, maybe half of what it is in New York. And my place in LA, shitty as it may be, costs a fraction of what a similar place in New York would cost. Maybe 40 percent of what the NY cost of a small studio would cost, without the parking (included in LA) and the backyard (not available in NY, sorry, thanks for asking).

Did I mention the girls?

Anyway, for now I am still bicoastal, but the cash drain is well, a cash drain. Aalok, the NY roommate is supposed to be moving out shortly and hopefully whoever replaces him will be paying a far larger share of the rent, given how inexpensive the apartment is by current NY standards. That will make it easier to stomach paying for two places, even though I am in the one (far less nice one) like 75 percent of the time.

Still, I am looking forward to being back in NY for a bit. I had fun on my last stay, and people seem indeed very pleased to have me back when I am back. I think I must be very charming in small doses. Which means I should probably stop this entry. Now.

Ciao.

Grumps.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

S Bar

On Hollywood Blvd., right next to Katsuya on the corner of Vine. S Bar is one of the coolest looking places I've been in LA. Its really just a high ceilinged box, with some couches and chairs. However, bringing in Philippe Starck to design the place, where the "S" stands for Satan (no, not mike ovitz), was worthwhile.

Ended up there after a spot at dominicks by the beverly center, which was unusually quiet. I was with a friend from NYC, Inna, and we stopped by the Stone Rose, and I was incredulously turned away. I've been there Wednesday after Wednesday, but I didn't call ahead and Bret Gursky, who runs the party, was nowhere near the door. I didn't feel like waiting for him to show up, so i just moved on.

We met Katie, Ki-Moon, Hill and some other folks at this S Bar place, which I'd heard about but never been to. Dave Navarro was partying at the next table with a bevy of babes, presumably getting over Carmen. Each wall had a concept - over the bar was an Omen-ish four horsemen of the apocalypes photo, four white horses looking frothy and angry. The south wall had a Hotel California motif, endless hotel doors opening one after another, into infinity. All the lamps in the place hang from the ceiling, upside down. Its a very unnerving thing when you first realize it.

I liked it, what can i say. Doesn't make me a devil worshipper. Unfortunately, the cel phone camera doesn't have a very good flash, so the better pics of the murals are ripped offline. anyway, have a looksie.




HOTEL CALIFORNIA MURAL


KI MOON AND INNA
THE INDEFATIGABLE KATIE MATTHEWS

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Plans

Just got back from the gym, spot of dinner. A little work, and a little West Wing (upto season six on DVD now, almost through it, and onto the final season, seven).

I am flying back to New York Saturday morning, which means I get to NY saturday evening, around eight or so.

I've been working as production counsel on a movie, and its a good script and I like the director. The people who got me hired on the movie, unfortunately, are no longer with the project, so thats a little weird. I can't really say any more about it. It is, as I like to say, what it is.

California's been getting hot, Friday's supposed to top out at 100 or so. I don't have A/C in the hovel, but it's only a day or so in that heat, and supposedly, its a dry heat, like a blow torch or a dog humping your leg. Well, maybe not so much like a dog humping your leg.

Be good to be back in NY. NYC PictureStart Film Festival is coming up at the beginning of June, the team is almost done with prep, and final selections are forthcoming this week.

See y'all back in NY. Unless I do some Airplane Bloggin', a distinct possibility.

Oh, and dont forget, Indiana Jones returns on my birthday.

Grumps.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

PicPost

Dodger Stadium, a first for me, Monday night, from the front row in the "All you can eat - but not that you'd want to" bleachers.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Dark Knight

High def version of the dope trailer for "Dark Knight" which makes it clear what an artist the cinema lost in Heath Ledger

here


grumps

Just Along for the Ride.

Went out last night with some friends, Chase and Marie and Sha-hid. We were at the rapily declining Les Deux, it was very young and high school, maybe college aged. We had fun unto ourselves, but the place seems done.

Anyway, a friend, Ari was outside, trying to get in, so Chase went out to try to get him in. Things got confused and we thought Chase and Ari had rolled to Winstons. Chase’s phone was dead so we couldn’t reach him. Turns out that Ari had rolled to Winstons and that Chase ended up being left behind. I thought Ari told me that they were together but the club was loud and I must have misheard. So upon getting to Winston’s and seeing no Chase, we immediately left back to Les Deux to go look for him.

Now, Chase and crew had been out since 2PM (I joined them at 1030 or so) so they were, shall we say, well on their way. Chase went back in the club, couldn’t find us, got pissed off that we bounced on him and left him before we got back to Les Deux, perhaps forty minutes after we left. He had already gotten a cab home, was cranky, etc. I was the only sober one in the bunch, so I drove the others back to Chase’s place. We got there, squared stories, dealt with Chase’s crankiness with some herbicological assistance (is that a word) and then I want to go home. By this time, it was 4AM. I had no cash, but called a cab and requested one that could accept a credit card.

While I was in the cab, I found a purse of a young lady. A phone. A digital camera. Thirty dollars wadded in a corner. Nothing else. I called her entry “Home”, spoke to her mom, who much have tracked her down. The girl called me forty minutes later. Her name is Candice.

Candice thanked me for finding her purse and offering to return it. She then told me where she was and asked me to meet her at the Roosevelt hotel, where its clear she is drunk, again. In fact, on the phone of a friend, Ahmed, whose name she had to ask (so maybe they just met), I heard her say to a girlfriend, I cannot believe I am drunk again. It was perhaps 1:30PM.

I don’t know whether I was more taken aback by the fact that this girl was drunk again, with a strange dude, or that she was presumptuous enough to ask me to deliver her purse to her instead of coming to get it on her own. She did confide that none of her group was sober, which was why she asked me to deliver it to her. Fair enough, at least she is being responsible enough not to ask Ahmed to drive drunk.

Anyway, this is just a little slice of life, and while I like LA, this is so typically Los Angeles (the girl is from a suburb called Gardenia, her mother told me when we talked). Its one of the things that does annoy me about this town, and perhaps something that scares me about the generation that follows mine.

Of course, my generation was the one that had these folks drinking from 2PM on a Saturday through the nite, and they drove to the club. I was a sober participant, just along for the ride.

Grumps

UPDATE:
Went to drop off the wallet at the Roosevelt hotel, and Candice came out to meet me. She was in all respects very gracious and appreciative. Perhaps we're not all doomed to anything worse than being frequently inebriated.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

First Look at Dark Knight Trailer, Low Quality but you get the idea.

Fango-Con in Los Angeles

I headed to the Los Angeles Convention Center with Victor Garcia on Sunday to hit Fango-Con. I was actually just at a brunch meeting when I spoke to VG, and he told me he was meeting his manager Will at Fango for the event. Not having much planned for the Sunday, and given my well-known predilection for horror, I decided to join him.

The Los Angeles area Fango was held in Burbank last year, and I think the move from the Valley to the City didn’t serve the event well. The kind of suburban dwellers, the folks who fill up the multiplexes on the weekend, that love what Fango serves up, are much more plentiful in the Valley, and I think on a warm Sunday, the extra distance of a trip to downtown LA was really not on the menu. In addition, the spread out feeling of the convention center made the crowds seem even sparser, and the lack of electricity that it created definitely had its affect on the audience, and how long they stuck around. Walking from table to table, it seemed like there were more people selling something than buying something.

The event did have its charms though. While walking around, had a nice chat with William Forsythe, a terrific actor who’s work I’ve admired since Raising Arizona. Younger Grumpophytes may know him better from The Devil’s Rejects and from the Rob Zombie Halloween. He lamented the location and staffing of the event himself, as well as the turnout. He was sitting next to Andrew Divoff, lately of Robert Kurtzman’s The Rage, and Lost, but perhaps best known for the Wishmaster movies. He was extremely friendly, and knew Victor from some work that they’d done together when Victor was working on FX crews for movies. Andrew, who was born in Venezuela, and Victor were going on in Spanish, so unfortunately I didn’t get the whole scoop. That was OK though, as it gave me more time to talk to Bill Forsythe.

The undisputed highlight of attending Fango was meeting one of the legends of Horror. We’d seen George Romero signing autographs, and he walked around a bit, with that long gait of his, and I knew that Victor wanted to meet him even more than I did, but didn’t want to just wander up. At one point, when he stepped outside for a smoke, I told Victor to grab his cigarettes. We went outside and I introduced myself and Victor to Mr. Romero, who was super cool and friendly and asked about what we were working on. We chatted for a bit, and then escaped with our dignity still intact.

We only stayed a bit longer after that. Victor bought an Body Snatchers t-shirt with a picture of Donald Sutherland on it. In the auditorium, was a Feast 2 and 3 panel going on, with the cast and director and writers, and we said hello to the Feast writers, Patrick and Marcus, who are best known for their Project greenlight appearances and for writing the next two Saw installments. Will is their manager as well, this small world of Horror in which we live.

Anyway, a fun way to pass a few hours on a Sunday, and then we were off. I hope, for everyone’s sake, though, that they move the event back to Burbank next year.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Airplane Bloggin’- End of April Edition

Headed back to LA on a fine Saturday morning, I haven’t really had my fill of New York since returning maybe three weeks ago. Seems like such a short period of time to spend in my New York home before returning to my LA home (aka the “hovel”), where I spent two months after Sundance.

Im headed out for a number of reasons. I have an interview for a production attorney position on a movie, and the producers on this particular movie insisted on a face-to-face meeting. I am not sure why, as its definitely not typical for lawyers to be interviewed in person, and even more so, at the prospective client’s office. But as money has been tight and this job pays decently, its certainly worth the trip. I am told I have the inside track because the line producer recommended me. I hope so.

Scott (The Insurgents) Dacko has been in LA for most of the week, staying in the hovel in my absence. But he’s just rented an apartment a few blocks from my place, and he’ll be vacating my place and taking up his new digs. He’d been spending money on hotels etc with his trips to LA, which were quite frequent, and so for the same economic reasons as me, he’s now a semi-resident of Los Angeles.

The other reason why its good I am making the flight involves Scott. Scott’s new screenplay (newish, I’d read a draft perhaps five months ago when we were in hard prep on Slaughter) has been optioned, with him attached to direct and me attached to produced, by a heavy hitter exec producer. They are putting up some decent money for Scott to do a script polish and for the option itself, and they’ve invited us to lunch to discuss moving forward, I suppose. I might not have been able to have made the trip just for the lunch, but I am glad I’ll happen to be in town for it, and get to meet another big time producer. This guy has had his name of lots of genre hits, and he’s exec producing a Will Smith movie at the moment – no small thing these days.

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum though, Jet Blue, old faithful, changed their website. Not only was it two pains in the neck to book reward travel because the interface to do so was almost hidden, but also, I wasn’t able to choose my seat online. The function wouldn’t work on either of two browsers. So I didn’t have a seat assignment until I checked in this morning at the airport and of course, ninety minutes before flighttime there were only middle seats. I’ve been crunched between two large guys for the past five hours-not so much my idea of fun, and its been tough to sleep, even though I had both Valium and Tylenol PM before I got on the flight. I probably got two to three hours of fitful sleep in, mostly at the beginning of the flight. I didn’t take my normal 6AM flight, as I thought, hey, its Saturday, what’s the hurry, I will take the 9AM instead. In retrospect, however, when taking a flight where you cannot chose the seat, take the flight most likely to be half empty (the 6AM).

Had a great time with my brother Scott and friends (Dave, Mari, Adi, Lali) doing karaoke on Thursday night, which made it even a little more painful leaving New York early. But fun is fun and work is work, so here I am, crunched in coach.

Anyway, we’re beginning descent, so gonna wrap this up. Talk to you from the City of Angels (or, um, Dodgers).

Grumps.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Request (Updated)

My sister is having thyroid surgery tomorrow. Drop by her blog and give her your best, I am sure she'll appreciate it. And since I typically get readers from her and not the other way, I am sure she'd appreciate the additional traffic.

UPDATE
Steph is home resting comfortably. Everything went smoothly and she was vigorous enough to debate with me on the phone today.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Life's great mystery

One of those weird things. It happens from time to time, without explanation.

I met this woman, D, last week. We were both drinking when we met, at Sway, a nightspot close to my place. We flirted, and yes, then we “made out” a bit in the bar. She gave me her number before leaving.

I called her this week, on Tuesday, and we talked briefly and she told me to call her back a bit later. I did so, and we chatted pretty pleasantly for twenty minutes or so. She had a gallery opening or something on Thursday, and we discussed getting together after that, if it wrapped up early enough. She’d call me if it did. She didn’t call Thursday.

Our alternative plan was to get together this weekend. I called her early this evening, and the evening passed, and I haven’t heard back.

This of course doesn’t mean I wont. She very well may call me tomorrow. Then again, perhaps she won’t. If that’s the case, it will be pretty much a surprise given our meeting and our conversation and our plans, however tentative. Its not something that hasn’t happened before, and its something that’s likely to happen again. Its confusing because there seems to be some kind of disconnect, and I know that there are a million reasons why I might not hear from D again (I won’t call again, I think). I am also pretty sure that I have probably, myself, at some time, been the source of this confusion when not following up with someone who expected me to call.

Any number of reasons, right? Boyfriend, multiple dating, personal google issues (who knows). It is just one of life’s great mysteries. And it annoys the hell out of me, more than if she’d never given me her number, or never took my call when I called her.

Probably should have gotten married when I was 29.

Thoughts?

Free Drinks

A lazy Saturday afternoon. I am watching the Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time. Its background noise, except for the annoying commercials. I cancelled all the premium cable channels yesterday, and so I am watching network stuff and basic cable.

Went out again last night. I hadn’t expected to go out, but then there I was, getting dressed and tromping down to the subway to meet some friends in the 20s. We met at a strip club, but stayed only momentarily whilst the group assembled. One of the guys in the group owns the club, Tens, and so we got together there to meet.

I was connected to the group through my friend Yuson, who is town because he’s a talent manager for Columbus Short, who I’ve spent some evenings out with in LA. Columbus was the lead in the movie “Stomp The Yard,” and has a bunch more coming out. He came out, with his co-star Jeffrey Wright, the amazing actor who is in tons of movies, like Syriana and recently, Casino Royale as Felix Leiter. They are both working on the same movie. Jeffrey lives here though. We’d never met, but he seems to be a good guy as well. Certainly no airs about him.

Assembled, I had made arrangements because of our celebrity companions to have comped table and bottle service at Marquee, which is a New York nightspot. We first headed over to Kiss and Fly, making the second time this week I’d been there. Jeffrey knew one of the managers, Randy, who is an icon on the New York club scene. I’d met Randy through my friend Ryan, who is my oft club companion, and who had arranged our table for us at Marquee.

Kiss and Fly was OK, though and they kept bringing bottles of champagne. Now I always think about New York being expensive and Los Angeles being cheap, on a relative basis. But actually, I always forget to factor in how rarely I pay for drinks in New York. Since I am currently on a pretty tight budget, I think about these things. But it occurred to me last night that I’ve been out, pretty hardcore, twice this week, and haven’t spent a cent on drinks. Which is nice, no?

Anyway, we lasted at Kiss and Fly for a few hours, I chatted with some ladies (a Charlotte from Norway, and a Flavia from Brazil, by way of Miami, cha cha cha). Got a message from Ryan that Marquee wasn’t worth the trip, but that he would meet us at The Box instead if we wanted to. But Jeffrey and Columbus wanted to go to Bungalow 8, so we headed north out of the Meatpacking district upto 27th street. They knew these folks at the door, so despite being very guy heavy, it wasn’t a problem (being with movie stars helps I guess).

More free drinks would be forthcoming at Bungalow, but frankly, I wasn’t into it. I’d had enough, and drinking at four AM pretty much makes me think that I would just be adding to my potential hangover. So I made my stay brief, said my goodbyes, and made my way home after an evening’s free entertainment.

If only I could get the cabs for free now. Hmmm.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Club

I’ve been going to clubs for over twenty years in New York. When I was young, I would head into Manhattan with high school friends from Queens, and we’d go to the Tunnel, to the Palladium, to MK and to the Underground, among others. I had this Willi Wear suit that my brother had given me, I’d slick my hair back and don a tie, and tell everyone that I was 23. I was 16. I never needed ID, because one of my friends was a promoter and everyone thought he was 25 (he was 16 too).

Last night, I went to the newest incarnation of the New York club scene, the very exclusive 1Oak, which is a pseudo-acronym for One of a Kind. It’s a kind of a super-club, having been created in partnership by some of NY’s biggest club promoters, the guys who own Butter among them.

We were out for my friend Ryan’s birthday. Going out with Ryan typically is a good time, because (1) he is always in a group of a few guys and a dozen or more beautiful women, and (2) because of his relationships at these clubs, like 1Oak (which is supposed to be the hardest door in NYC), we rarely if ever pay for a drink. I’d met him a bit earlier at Bagatelle, in the Meatpacking district for a dinner for his birthday with perhaps ten or twelve friends. After some drinks (I didn’t eat but it looked tasty), we stopped by Kiss and Fly (which occupies the old Aer space) next door, having been escorted through the Bagatelle kitchen (Goodfellas Henry Hill style) and through a door that led into the club from the restaurant (next door) to the KNF VIP area. We guzzled some Veuve Clicquot for half an hour, and then were out the door and over to 1OAK. In tow at this point, jammed in a few cabs, were perhaps five guys, maybe ten or fifteen girls, and a huge mammoth of a fellow that turned out to be Michael Olowakandi, former NBA center and number one draft pick. I didn’t let him know that he’d been a bust pick for me in a fantasy league years back. Doubt he would have been interested. Nice guy though.

We met a bunch more people inside 1OAK, and went to a table next to the DJ booth. There was more champagne, more women and some very good spinning going on. It was one thirty when we got these, we didn’t leave til perhaps four fifteen, and after some drama, I didn’t get home til five forty five AM or so. Outside of the enormous Michael O. and a little end of the night fisticuffs (which I helped break-up), the night was pretty standard. The place is nicer looking that many clubs, more interesting design-wise, but like I said, I've pretty much seen it all over the last twenty years or so. But its really all about the crowd, and beautiful russian models sitting on my lap and asking me if I mind. This place did fine with both, so I was OK.

I have to admit I am a little worn out today, and depending on her schedule, I may be meeting a photographer, D, who I’d met last weekend out at Sway, tonight for a drink (she has an opening so it’s a play it by ear thing for tonight). I like her fine, but I think I’d be just peachy to meet up over the weekend instead.

Nice to be back in NY, at least for a bit.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Bare Faced


Been thinking about it for a while, and just did it. Lost the goatee. I've had it for years (either that or a beard). Had a mustache only for a week or so when I'd played a country cop in "Hot Baby" but other than that, its been pretty hairy (sorry).

Feels weird to be bare-faced, but I think I definitely look younger without the mostly-pepper with some salt goatee. For whatever thats worth.

BTW, I am not stoned in this picture. Not a dear in the headlights either.

That Personal Connection

OK. So I am so over Tony Parker.

I realized over the weekend that over the past six months of agony or so, agony which I cannot really write about directly, professional agony which has crept into most every aspect of my life, personal, financial (especially financial), that I’d become boring. A boring blogger. (More boring?)

A blogger friend, Rachel, who likely always has been more entertaining than me in print (is online print?, I digress), because she is a better writer, had posted recently about dating someone who read her blog. When I’d read this, it sent me back to look at my blog, to a period of blogging in Sept-Oct. 2006 when I was dating, briefly, someone who was reading my blog. (You can search "Curly" in this blog and find the string of posts if you're curious - they go from hilarious to awful, especially the comments). I was also reading hers, and it got messy.

But when I was sending Rachel specific details about the perils of this situation, and went back into my own blog to determine the dates of the posts relating to these dangers, I discovered specifically something that I knew unconsciously. I used to be funnier. I used to be more entertaining (Again, online, I won’t say that this fits my in-person persona).

I did some reading, going through past posts. From a year ago, from longer ago. It was more interesting back in the day. I think part of the reason is that I took a little more care with the posts. I also think that to some degree, the posts had a continuity, a storyline that flowed through posts over time. Not every post, but touchstone ideas to which to return as a reader. It was more a story of my life, and less a collection of unconnected crap.

But in that last thought, though, is perhaps the biggest difference, I think. I post movie reviews and obits and other entertainment related tidbits and oddities, but I’d lost more of the personal side of my blogging. It wasn’t about me (not that I am so wonderful and everyone wants to know about me). And I imagine a decent portion of the folks who wander by here wander by because of the contents’ relationship to the movies and the business of which they are a part. That’s fine.

But perhaps why people read blogs like mine, the biggest reason, is it’s a connection. Its not the closest connection, to be sure, but it is one, to people who you can learn something about at a distance. And it’s the personal stuff that draws us. Proof? I’ve always had more regular readers when I blogged about my personal life. Actually, I’ve gotten the very most readers when I’ve blogged about bad things happening in my personal life (I think misery definitely attracts attention).

So, with my previous entry as proof of my intent, I am going to do my best to include more of myself in my blog. And maybe, if I can, to blog a little bit more. We shall see how it works out.