Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gotta Love The Bill Murray

***1/2 02.25.09 - The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou... 2005... Director Wes Anderson

For me this is one of Bill Murray's best performances. Director Wes Anderson, loves working with Murray, the two have collaborated on three films and Anderson seems to bring out some of the best in Murray.

The film has a pacing and feel about it that is just marvelous. There is so much texture in the film, beyond just what the characters do and say. Take a look at the film a couple of times and you'll see little gems placed all over; in the dialogue, in the sets and more.

Robert Yeoman is the DP on the film and creates a gorgeous film that has rich beautiful colors, contrasted with a 1970's feel of grammar school social studies movie. You know the kind of film that some slept in, some really enjoyed, but everyone loved because the teacher wasn't teaching that day.

The DVD has a lot of great extras and is worth spending some time going through afterwards.

This is a film that just creates a mood from the word go and keeps it consistent throughout. It also takes on you a roller coaster ride of emotions that I think you'll appreciate in the end.

King Of The Low Budgets

** 1/2 02.24.09 - Directors: Roger Corman... 2001... Director AFI

OK here's the deal, if you're a filmmaker, a fan of Roger Corman, then you'll probably like this documentary. It gives you a decent look inside his career. I wish it was more. I would have loved to have seen him working on the set or in his offices doing stuff, but for the most part it's not bad. I did like the film, but again it's not one I would recommend to everyone. (The best place to find this is on Netflix)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Smart, Funny, Special...

**** 02.24.09 - Italian For Beginners... 2000... Director Lone Scherfig

I found this film in my quest to learn and see as much of the "Dogme 95" style of filmmaking. It's a style that has shaped how I make films an in this project, Lone Scherfig does a great job of weaving the ensemble cast and their stories into a film you can watch over and over again. Her use of the restrictions, doesn't limit the scope of the film. It's smart, fun and worth seeing if you can get a hold of it.

Made for only $600,000.00 it is one of the most profitable Scandinavian films of all time.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Better Than I Remember

***1/2 2.23.09 - After The Sunset... 2004... Director Brett Ratner
I was looking for something to watch, to continue my library project and I pulled this film off of the wall. I had almost forgotten about it. The cast is great, Don Cheadle, Woody Harrelson, Pierce Brosnon and of course Salma Hayek.

The location is absolutely gorgeous, the Bahamas. And the story, not bad... a fun heist. Now this film is not as good as "Thomas Crown Affair," or any of the "Ocean's" movies, but it is a fun romp. The cinematography is amazing and so is Salma Hayek in a bikini.

One of the best parts of the DVD... the extras. You've got tons of stuff including bloopers but maybe one of the best "making of" documentaries on any DVD. It's not 5 or 10 minutes, it's a good 30 45 minutes and it starts at the very beginning and ends after the premier, so it's fun to watch although the director steals most of the scenes and could be flagged for overacting.

All in all if you want to drift off for a couple of hours and have a good time, check it out.

And The Oscar Goes To... Me!

Growing up, I think I practiced my Oscar speech at least a millions times holding a million different items as a statue. It was something I dreamed about and every time there is another award ceremony, I still feel a little sense of excitement inside.

Last night's awards went pretty much as expected with, "Slumdog Millionaire" taking home most of the honors and I loved the film, thought it was great, but in the history of the Oscars, I thought in general this years selections were pretty weak overall.
Now once I became a filmmaker and started to really get into more independent stuff, I started wondering how fun it would be to win an "Independent Spirit Award."

The ceremony seems so much more laid back and fun... at least it use to, it's not quite the Oscars yet, but it's become more stuffy over the years and the films becoming more mainstream. But I still think it would be great to do it up and win one. The Saturday event is one I hope to experience up close and personal.

The one thing I have learned over the years is that I really, really love making movies even more and while it's nice to win an award every now and then, the whole process of the project and the friends you make during it is really the most important thing.

This Is So Scary

**** 2.23.09 - Right America : Feeling Wronged... 2008... Director Alexandra Pelosi

I Just saw Alexandra Pelosi's documentary, "Right America : Feeling Wronged" and with all due respect to my fellow conservative friends and supporters, this side of America scares me to death. It's OK not to share the same political views and to have a debate, but when you watch this film it may make you cringe on both sides of the aisle. Conservatives may argue that it's not a fair representation of their values and those on the left will point to it and say, "This is what's wrong with America." Take a look for yourself and make your own judgements, but to me... it is very, very scary.

Now I will also add at first I thought there was a problem with my television, I thought the TV might have color issues because there was little to no people of color in the film representing the republic party. Yep I just said it. You look at this film and where is the diversity in the country... not in the republican party.

It's all on you... take a look, the film is currently screening on HBO right now... FIND IT!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Starting out on Fire!

You know it's been a great start to 2009 for us here at Triple Sticks Productions. In addition to the launch of the new look web site, landing a deal with Netflix for "Dog Me: Potluck" was a huge accomplishment and I'm so proud of all of the people who worked on the film. Their hard work continues to make this film one of our most honored films to date.

Right now I have a script ready to go and I'm trying to get the powers that be in Hollywood to give it a read and hopefully down the road put a deal together to make it. That's the main focus right now.

And then a little later this year, we plan to release, "3 Days... 3 Hours... 3 Minutes... 3 Seconds..." to DVD, so that will be a big project. Of course we're still distributing "Slow Down... You're Dating Too Fast!" so please pick up a copy if you haven't so far. (

So that's what's going on right now... Lot's already, even more to come... this... this should be a very interesting year!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Not For Most... But Good

*** 02.19.09 – Shortbus... 2006... Director John Cameron Mitchell

This is NOT a film for everyone... hell it's not a film for most! But Shortbus is a film that pushes the boundaries and that's what filmmaking needs. It's not a typical Hollywood film by any standards, it deals with very, very adult themes but it all seems to work... for the most part.

John Cameron Mitchell, weaves together multiple storylines and sexual encounters to tell the story. The film has actual sex in it, but if you get beyond the sex or at least are comfortable with it you really get into the character and their lives.

The DVD if great with lots of extras including one of the most interesting behind-the-scenes documentaries on the making of the film.

No matter what bus you rode on in school, when you take THIS Shortbus, you'll be on the ride of your life!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wasn't Sure, But Now I Am

*** 02.18.0 – Lost in Translation... 2003... Director Sofia Coppola

First off let me tell you, I lived in Japan twice and love the culture so this film, set in Tokyo brought back a lot of memories. (I however lived in Nagoya and Takarazuka)

Director Sofia Coppola does a great job of giving you a sense of loneliness all throughout the film and it touches something inside... it did then and it still does today. Bill Murray is perfectly cast and Scarlett Johannson equally. Together they are dynamite in the film and worth seeing.

However, after talking to another director friend of mine who thinks Coppola's "Virgin Suicide," is much better. The director may have a point. They also said that Sofia shouldn't have won the Academy Award for best original screenplay for "Lost in Translation," but because the Academy doesn't have any balls and didn't give it to her for best director... which she was also up for, they had to give her something. Now I tend to believe the Academy DOES do "Make-up" Oscars for oversights or wanting to give something to someone just for their effort, but when I looked at who else she was up for in the writing category, she probably did deserve to win out of the other nominees. But having watched the film again, I'm not so sure the script was the star here, it was cute, but not great, the film overall is much better than the script... kind of the sum is better than it's parts.

As for the DVD, there is a partial documentary on the making of the film, which I wished they had followed through to the end with. (It stops after about the 3rd week) It's hand held as if your buddy was shooting it and a nice alternative to the fancy studio made behind-the-scenes info docs. There are also a couple of other little features and interviews that are nice.

I watched this film, sipping on Francis Ford Coppola's champagne named after her daughter, Sofia and it was the perfect combination for how I was feeling on a rainy day... get yourself a glass and enjoy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Getting Caught Up... Here Goes!

***1/2 02.16.0 – Bound... 1996... Director’s The Wachowski Brothers

The Wachowski Brothers know how to work the Film Noir style to perfection in this film. They start right off the bat and never let up on the gas! From the sets to the costumes to the script to the transitions from scene to scene, this film hits all of the marks you need for a great Film Noir picture.

Now add in Joe Panoliano playing a great mob guy and Jennifer Tilly the femme fatal and Gina Gershon the down on her luck lug who gets caught up in a wild scheme and you’ve got the perfect ingredients for a solid film. And yes there are a couple of love scenes in it that will leave you steamed up!

Nothing exciting about the DVD, but still a hot film!

**** 02.15.09 – Clerks... 1994... Director Kevin Smith

Clerks, is one of the films that have affected me a lot, because like Spike Lee’s, “She’s Gotta Have It,” it proved once again that films don’t have to cost a ton of money to be good and have a heart.

Again it’s the quirky, ensemble cast film that I love so much and there are no special effects in this bad boy, but the dialogue is smart, funny and clever.

Now I own two versions of this film, the first DVD release and the 10th anniversary special edition… if you can get a hold of the latter, it is worth your while. So much extra stuff, it’s so good it’s hard to put into words.

Technically you’re never going to confuse this film for say, “The Big Chill,” but it’s just as good if not better than 80% of what comes out of Hollywood today and it’s affect on a generation of filmmakers will be felt forever!

**** 02.13.09 – Saving Private Ryan... 1998... Director Steven Spielberg

Another standout film by Spielberg, the first 30 minutes of the film are the best and probably give you the most realistic example of what it might have been like to be on the beaches in France on “D-Day.”

Tom Hanks is perfectly cast, the film won 5 Academy Awards and the Widescreen Special Limited Edition of the DVD is great.

Like, “Schindler’s List,” be prepared… this film takes you on a journey.

***1/2 02.9.09 – The Ten Commandments... 1956... Director Cecil B. DeMille

One of the great films of all time, it’s worth owning or at least seeing from time to time. DeMille’s story telling is big time Hollywood Epic. Taking into consideration the time the film was made and the special effects they used, it WAS and is an important piece of filmmaking.

The cast is huge and full of stars including Charlton Heston, Vincent Price, Yvonne DeCarol and of course the amazing Yul Brenner.

The DVD I have is a widescreen edition and is fine, but I’ve learned there is a newer version that has a documentary on the making of it, which I now have to get my hands on.

Like the subject matter or not, this is a must view film.

**** 02.9.09 – Hearts of Darkness A filmmakers’s Apocalypse... 1991... Director Elanor Coppola

While “American Movie” gives you a look into the world of a low-budget film director, “Hearts of Darkness,” does the same, but with a big time director, Francis Ford Coppola and the funny thing… both films are more similar than different.

Elanor Coppola does a masterful job showing the insanity around the making of, “Apocalypse Now.” You see Francis start off relatively sane and then see him morph into a director nearly out of control. He in fact follows the story of his own film and almost turns into the character played by Marlon Brando.

A “Go-to-Film” at least twice maybe even three times a year, it shows you why even when things seem to be going against you that if you’re a filmmaker, you HAVE to make your film.

**** 02.4.09 – American Movie... 1999... Director Chris Smith

A perfect look into the insanity of making low-budget films. Chris Smith follows filmmaker Mark Borchardt as he tries to make not one, but two films and how life intervenes. You want to see a good example of what it’s like to be a filmmaker, yep… this is a pretty darn fair example.

The special edition DVD has tons of extras, it will keep you captivated from beginning to end.

A great documentary even if you’re not a filmmaker because like “Frida” and “Hearts of Darkness,” it takes you inside the world, head and experience of an artist and does an amazing job at it!

*** 02.3.09 – The Spanish Prisoner... 1997... Director David Mamet

This one’s not for everyone, but it is still a very good film. David Mamet, directs his own script and does a decent job of not getting in the way too much. His dialogue, for the most part is rich and fun to watch. The story intriguing from the word go and Steve Martin and Rebecca Pidgeon are perfectly cast.

No extras on the DVD, but for Mamet lovers, this is a solid film.

***1/2 01.29.09 – The Cooler... 2003... Director Wayne Kramer

A solid film that I can watch almost any time of the year… why? Let’s just start with the cast, Maria Bello and William H. Macy are outstanding and a great team. Then you add in an Academy Award nominated performance by Alec Baldwin and you can seal it with a kiss! For me, next to “Glen Gary Glenn Ross” it’s his best performance on screen.

This is about Vegas, but it’s no “Swingers” baby and it’s still money!

****1/2 01.28.09 – West Side Story... 1961... Directors Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins

One of the great musicals and films of all time! Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins take one of the hottest plays of the day and turn it into an equally compelling film.

Amazing performances from George Chakiris and Rita Moreno. A big score that dominates the film and locations, locations, locations to help it feel bigger than it was.

Now I own the special edition DVD and that is packed with more stuff than you can even imagine and is worth every red cent!

Put it in, settle in and enjoy a great American film!

**** Oceans Eleven... 2001
*** Ocean’s Twelve… 2004 *** Ocean’s Thirteen… 2007… Director Steven Soderberg

I’m grouping these all together and for a trilogy, it is definitely one of the better ones out there. Ocean’s 11 was really the bomb. A fun big Hollywood type film with stars, stars and more stars. They also looked like they had a blast making the film and it shows up on the screen.

Ocean’s 12, I was not originally as much of a fan of it in the theater, but when I watched it again on DVD, it grew on me and I think I may have been harder on it than I needed to be when I first saw it.

Ocean’s 13, brings it all back together and creates more of the magic from the first Ocean’s film. The fact that every major character and the director took part in all three films is a huge reason why this grouping stands out.

Now you don’t have to watch all three films in one sitting like I did, but you won’t be disappointed if you do. It’s another fun film or set of films to watch in a group.

***** 01.13.09 – Schindler’s List... 1983... Director Steven Spielberg

One of my all time favorite movies that still rocks me to my core every time I watch it. Spielberg absolutely nails it with this film and it deserve every bit of praise it has garnered to date.

I love the fact it was shot in black and white and it has one of my favorite shots of all time in it. Liam Neeson is sitting in a bar looking and the camera just slowly circles him, a trail of smoke coming up from his cigarette… it’s amazing!

Too many great performance to list and when you factor in the art design, costumes, script, and score… you can see why this is at the top of film lists around the world.

The DVD extras are solid as well. It’s a 3 hours and 16 minutes, but you never feel it. Just make sure when you watch this film, you’re ready… it takes a lot out of you.

**** 01.6.09 – The Commitments... 1991... Director Alan Parker

Can still remember seeing this film for the first time in a small theater in San Luis Obispo, California. It was fun, unexpected and full of life and it remains that way every time I look at it.

Parker’s direction is near perfect and the performances, mostly from unknowns… outstanding. They cast played their own instruments and did all of the vocals as well and it the film more authentic.

Now for the Collector’s edition DVD… amazing! Tons of material on it from then and from now. You can spend two nights watching everything and you won’t be disappointed!

See it once, twice… however many times you need to, you’ll love it every time!

**** 01.5.09 – Bagdad Cafe... 1987... Director Percy Adlon

This is the kind of film that continues to grow on you every time you watch it. Up on the big screen it’s haunting and memorable and at home the impact is the same when you watch it in total darkness.

Jevetta Steel’s theme song, “Calling You” was nominated for an Academy Award and was well deserved. The feel of the film is more European than anything else and it works. CCH Pounder, Marianne Sagbrecht, and Jack Palance make you feel this film at your very core.

No special material on the DVD, but after watching it you may need a smoke because you’ll be spent… but in a good way.

**** 12.30.08 – Gregory’s Girl... 1981... Director Bill Forsyth

This film will always have a special place in my heart because as I was growing up and learning about film outside of my own little world, my Dad took me to see this film in a small funky little theater. It was hysterical and it home as a young man learning how to date. That day I became a huge fan of Bill Forsyth and the small, quirky ensamble cast-type of film.

A great script by Forsyth and performances by Gordon John Sinclair, Dee Hepburn and Clare Grogan make this another “Go-to-Film.” It’s not about huge special effects, but smart characters, great writing and connecting with an audience about everyday life… another film I watch 2 or 3 times a year!

*** 12.16.08 – Chicago... 2002... Director Rob Marshall

A solid piece of filmmaking and a fun modern day musical romp. Renee Zellweger, Queen Latifah and Richard Gere do a good job singing, dancing and acting in the film, but for me Catherine Zeta Jones lights up the screen from the word go and stands out above all of the rest.

A couple of nice extras on the DVD that give you a feel for what it took to make the film. Looking for a fun group movie to watch… this is a good bet.

**** 12.15.08 – Frida... 2002... Director Julie Taymor

One of those go to films for me when I need to recharge my juices. Taymor gives us an amazing look inside the life of artist Frida Kahlo. A pet project of Salma Hayek, this is must see viewing.

In addition to the rich colors and great cinematography, Rodrigo Prieto, the performances are amazing with Hayek and Alfred Molina as artist, lover and husband Diego Rivera.

The extras on the DVD are well worth it and make cuddling up on the couch with someone special or not and a good bottle of wine, a night worth staying in for!

***** 12. 11.08 – Casablanca... 1942... Director Michael Curtiz

One of the most perfect films ever made! Michael Curtiz did a fabulous job telling the story and the performances are amazing starting with Humphrey Bogart who is brilliantly paired with Ingrid Bergman.

It's still a stunning picture to look at visually and the dialogue is quick and witty and the themes of the story stand up today.

The DVD is nice as well, with a documentary on the making of it. And with arguably the best line to end a film, this IS something you can watch over and over and over again.

* 12.10.08 – Be Kind Rewind... 2002... Director Michael Gondry

Be kind and don’t pick this up! I’m still not sure how this ended up in my library, but it is a bad film. Once again, filmmakers don’t know what to do with Jack Black and he’s lost in this mess of a film. Not sure why Danny Glover or Mia Farrow are in this train wreck. The behind the scenes documentary on the making of the film is better than the film itself and that is not saying much at all!

Netflix + TSP = Dog Me: Potluck

Triple Sticks Productions, is proud to announce our feature film, “Dog Me: Potluck,” the hilarious comedy about a couple going through marital problems who decide to shake things up by hosting a potluck dinner with some of their wild and wacky friends is now a proud member of the Netflix family!

“This is a huge accomplishment for our film. We’ve constantly worked very hard at getting the film seen by as many people as possible because it’s a great film and now this is just another way for folks to see the film.

Netflix is an amazing company and we’re proud to have our film listed with them. We’re apart of vernacular when it comes to DVD distribution now and it’s fantastic.So many people worked so hard on this film to create something special. Now the world will get to see their work and just how funny this film is.

Also big ups go to our distributor, Echelon Studios, for getting out film to the folks at Netflix.”

M. David Lee III
Producer/ Writer/ Director/ DP/ Editor

To place the film in your Netflix queue, all you have to do is log into your account and type in either, “Dog Me: Potluck” or “M. David Lee III” and you will see the DVD cover for the film and you can place it on your viewing list, it’s as easy as that!

Friday, February 13, 2009

It's Finally Here!

The new look of is here for everyone to enjoy. Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hang in There...

I know it's been awhile, but there is a good reason why! On February 14th, Triple Sticks Productions will have a new look to the web site and I've been working so hard at getting that ready, that I haven't had a whole lot of time to blog.

But don't fear, I'll get you all caught up on the Library List project and what I've been watching soon.

Ciao, Ciao