Thursday, April 30, 2009

DOG ME: POTLUCK... Ready For Netflix Release!

Triple Sticks Productions, is proud to announce you can add our hit film, "Dog Me: Potluck", to your Netflix queue now!

"We're so excited to have 'Dog Me: Potluck' on Netflix. It's a huge accomplishment and now everyone around the world can order thefilm and watch it. This is a great film and I am so happy that it's now available, Netflix is an amazing organization to be with and we're glad to join forces with them."

M. David Lee IIIWriter/Producer/Director/DP/Editor

To purchase one of the films head to our link below and pick one up. "Dog Me: Potluck" is available on May 13th on Netflix, put it in your queue today!Then make a great meal, have a nice beverage and settle in for a great movie night!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sometimes... It's Just About Fun

*** 04.24.09 - Strictly Ballroom... 1992... Director Baz Luhrmann

I saw this film when it first came out, loved it then and still love it. It's not brain surgery, but it is very funny and I do love musicals and this is a film with musical elements.

Baz Luhrmann, does a great job of telling the story and creating interesting characters. There is a shot on top of the dance school that is beautiful and one of my favorites of all time. On the big screen it's even better.

The DVD is OK, there are a couple of extras that are interesting, specifically a short on ballroom dancing.

You want something fun to watch... something to laugh at... something to enjoy? Pick this film up.

* 04.24.09 - John Russo's Filmmaking Seminar... 2008... Director John A. Russo

This is basically a DVD copy of a video of a seminar and the quality is NOT very good at all. First the information is, pretty good although very, very dated. (It says it was released in 2008, but this film is really from the 90's or late 80's) There is a lot to take in, but one of the issues I have with this tape... I mean DVD is that it is like you're sitting at the seminar and in the back row and you're fighting to stay awake.

I'm giving this a one star rating, because there is a lot of information, however it is not put together at all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Two Good Films When You Think Of It

**1/2 04.21.09 - The Thomas Crown Affair... 1968... Director Norman Jewison

OK this is the original with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway and it's a great little romp. Thinking back to when this was made, it must have been a very interesting film for folks to see.

Now they made remake of this film with Pierce Brosnon and Renee Russo that I have to admit... I like a little better! They did a great job of being true to the original and then putting their own spin on it to get it up to date.

The DVD of the original didn't have many extras on it and that was a bit depressing, but it's an older film and companies didn't always think of doing more than releasing the film.

It's a good film and fun to watch... now I can't wait to see the updated version of this film to see how it really stands up to the first.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Three For Fun

*** 04.19.09 - La Dolce Vita... 1960... Director Federico Fellini

Where do I begin? Federico Fellini creates a stunning visual film. Shot in black and white, it is beautiful to look at without the audio. But turn off the audio and you lose the score by Nino Rota which adds a beautiful layer to the film.

Let me warn you, the story does not follow in the lines of a traditional film. This film is considered the split for Fellini breaking away from his earlier "Neo-Realist" films and his later "Art" films. The film is more of a series of vignettes if you will, with Marcello Mastroianni as the lead character in the film, playing the role of a "tabloid" journalist. There is one scene, that even if you've not seen the film you may recognize, thanks to Anita Ekberg and the Trevi Fountains.

I was bummed because when I got this DVD from Netflix, the film on screen said, "Pop in disc two for more DVD extras." Well there wasn't a second DVD and I missed out on what other extras there were. There are some on the first DVD and they're good, but I wanted more.

I never saw this film growing up or in film school for some reason. I don't know that I would have understood it any better then, than now, but it definitely would have had an affect on how I shoot things visually. It's worth getting a hold of and taking a look at.

*** 04.16.09 - Desperado... 1995... Robert Rodriguez
"Desperado," is considered part two of Rodriguez's Mexican Trilogy, "El Mariachi, Desperado, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico" This is also his second film and like Kevin Smith with "Mallrats," this time Rodriguez has more money and a studio behind him, however unlike Smith Rodiguez made a much better film. He also had a better cast with Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayak, Quentin Tarantino, Cheech Marin, and Steve Buscemi.

The story looks and feels a lot like "El Mariachi," but on a bigger scale and does a wonderful job of bringing back several of the character actors who cut their teeth with Rodriguez in the first film.

The DVD is another good one, with a solid commentary and another "10 Minute Film School." My DVD is also a double DVD with "El Mariachi" and the extras and "Desperado" and it's extras all together.

**** 04.16.09 - El Mariachi... 1992... Robert Rodriguez
If you don't know the legend of Robert Rodiguez... learn it! lol He took a film, this film, made for about $7,000 dollars and landed a deal at Columbia Pictures and the rest is... as they say, history!

The film is a wonderful example of how to make a low budget film and a good one at that! In addition to the film, on the DVD there is a feature that really is one of the best parts of a Robert Rodriguez film and that's his, "10 Minute Film School." It gives you information on how he does certain things in his film and as a filmmaker myself I love these. The DVD commentary is also a very good one to listen to and learn from.

He's another director that gives all of us hope and it all started with this gem!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just Off The Mark, But Not That Bad

**1/2 04.15.09 - Mallrats... 1995... Director Kevin Smith

This was the follow up film to, "Clerks" that didn't live up to the hype. Made for $6 Million dollars, Smith and his band of merry men had more money than they had ever had before, but it couldn't save this film.

For me, it's not as bad as many think. For me what killed this project more than anything is the casting of a couple of key people, specifically the lead Jeremy London as "TS" I don't think he delivered Smith's witty writing well at all. There were several times where he was more stiff than anything else.

The other problem I see with the film is that it got caught up between a couple of different genres and when that happens, you get in trouble right away. There are moments when I feel the film wants to be more of a John Hughes teen movie and others when they were trying to make a self-describe "Porky's" style of movie. It didn't work on either front.

The DVD has some really good extras, which has become one of the best parts about a Kevin Smith film, because he lets you inside of his head and process, which as a filmmaker again I totally appreciate.

I've been through three Smith films, one on my "Library List" project so far and while this is not my personal favorite or anywhere close to it, it certainly is not as bad as all of the critics have made it out to be in the past. It just misses the mark.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Underrated... But Great!

***1/2 04.15.09 - Wildthings... 1998... Director John McNaughton

A wildly underrated film, Wildthings is a great modern day "Who Done It?" Strip the color out of this, take away some of the sexual stuff... which is hot... and you could drop this film in the 30's-40's or 50's and it would be dynamic! I will admit some times when I watch this, I feel like a dirty old man and you'll see why once you watch the film and may feel the same way.

The cast... outstanding! Denise Richards, Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell, Matt Dillon and Bill Murray work together as a well oiled machine. The story is interesting, full of twists and turns and keeps you locked in from the first frame of the film! Make sure you watch through the credits because it's a part of the film and that's all I will say.

The DVD is OK, a couple of little things, but the bottom line, when you watch this film and finish it... you'll find yourself smiling!

** 04.14.09 - Julien Donkey-Boy... 1999... Director Harmony Korine

I believe in the Dogme 95 Principals of filmmaking and have made a film using them and this film is a Dogme 95 film. Director Harmony Korine does an interesting job of creating a look and feel to this film, which attempts to give you a look inside the world of someone with untreated schizophrenia.

Stylistically I think he does a good job of getting you into that world. However this film is not for everyone, it is often times hard to follow and on DVD hard to watch quality wise. I suspect on a larger screen perhaps is easier to view.

The DVD has some extras, in particular a behind the scenes talk with the director about the process of making the film and what he was trying to do and this was very helpful because I was able to understand more about where he was trying to take us with his film.

The biggest beef I have with this film and with the director is a statement he made during the extras segment of the DVD in which he said that he knew he wanted to shoot a lot of stuff because he didn't know exactly what he was shooting, but that if he had a enough he could find the story through editing and post.

I hate that kind of thinking and it offends me as a filmmaker. I realize that there are many different filmmaking styles, but the idea that you shoot without a plan or idea and just try to fix it in post pisses me off!

Overall an interesting film, but not my favorite Dogme 95 film by a long shot.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A New Idea

So I was going through some of my notes and scripts and stumbled on a small little note for a screenplay that I started fooling around with the other day and before I knew what had happened, I had a story, structure and 25 pages of the screenplay.

As with other ideas, I don't want to give away too much just yet, but it's a comedy and something I think could be really interesting. I can tell it's something that I enjoy right now, because I've been spending some extra time at my "Mobile Offices," hacking away at it... that's always a good sign.

Banging out the first draft of a screenplay is always the toughest one for me. It's a process I love and hate all at the same time. But if you ever see my in my "Office," minus Pam... and I have headphones on and I'm jamming to some music, smiling and laughing, sometimes out loud, then you know I'm on a roll writing! Speaking of which, time to start pounding the keyboard! (Please keep your Freudian comments to yourselves)

Two Very Interesting Choices...

**** 04.09.09 - Man On Wire... 2008... Director James Marsh

This documentary about artist/wire walker Philippe Petit's 1974 walk between the World Trade Center Towers is compelling from the second you put it in your DVD player.

Dating myself a little, I remember reading and hearing about this walk when I was a little kid and I remember when my parents took me to the top of the Twin Towers once, that a man had walked on a wire across them. Even if you never had the chance to be up on top of the buildings to see what it might have been like, you get a sense of the scope of this feat in this film.

At the core of it is the "Le Coup," the act of walking across the buildings, but this film is so much more. It gives you a look at the people involved and how they were brought together to do this amazing event and how they grew up as a family so to speak and how it changed them all the moment Petit comes off of the wire in 1974.

The DVD has a couple of interesting companion pieces, but the star of the DVD is the film itself and the passion for life, art and so much more!

*** 1/2 04.08.09 - Fight Club... 1999... Director David Fincher

I'm still not sure how this all worked out, but somehow "Fight Club" was the very first DVD I ever owned. I had a DVD player for a while, but never had owned a DVD until this one. And boy what a DVD it is... and that's what I mean... yes the film is entertaining. Brad Bitt, Helena Bonham Carter and Edward Norton are fantastic in it. David Fincher's unique visual spin on it is very hot as well, but what really makes this film was the DVD release.

There were so many extras in this DVD that it really set the tone for how a film should be marketed once it hit the home market. From the box to the menu screens this was and still is a very compelling DVD/Film.

The story itself is a good one and interesting on several levels, but if you want the true sense of what this film is about you have to buy the DVD and enjoy every bit of the marketing and more!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

So Much Hope... So Let Down

**1/2 04.07.09 - I Am an S&M Writer... 2000... Director Ryuichi Hiroki

I saw this film on Netflix and the description looked interesting, heck just check out the title! When I put it in my queue it was backed up and on hold for awhile... always a good sign, because that means folks are watching it... must be a good buzz. I also usually love Japanese films, especially after living there many years ago.

Unfortunately, this film didn't live up to the hype. Here's the official description of the film courtesy of Netflix:

"Failed author Kurosaki (Ren Osugi) begins writing cheap sadomasochistic porn for money in this sex farce based on an autobiographical story by famous erotic novelist Oniroku Dan and directed by Ryuichi Hiroki. Inexperienced in the world of S&M, Kurosaki hires young models to come to his home and act out various sexual scenarios. When his wife (YĆ“ko Hoshi) gets wind of this, she's none too pleased -- and embarks on some new adventures of her own."

So you can see how it might be interesting? Upon further reading it was described as a "Farce... A light dramatic composition marked by broadly satirical comedy and improbable plot"

For the most part it was, but it missed the mark on a lot of things. Now I love Foreign films as well, the pacing in particular and this one has that characteristic, sometimes a little too slow, but all in all not back. There are some great shots in the film, but the bottom line is, this is a film I probably won't recommend to too many folks.

**1/2 04.07.09 - Speed Racer... 2008... Directors The Wachowski Brothers

This was another film I had so many high hopes for and was let down. The problem for me in this film and it's the major problem I have with so many of the cartoons and television shows of my youth that have been made into films is that filmmakers can't make up their mind who their audience is. Do they want to keep it true to the original... the way my generation grew up on these things, or do they want to modernize the film and create a totally new audience? Also, do they direct the film to kids or to the older generation that crew up with the show. That is the main problem again with this project... they simply didn't know where to go and who they were making the film for.

Now in fairness to them, they took some creative liberties that were interesting. The look of the film is stunning. Bold, bright colors that make you feel like you're in a cartoon. But the story is hard to follow if you're a child and the race sequences, although interesting, were often times hard to follow, unlike the television show.

And while I won't give away too much about the film, let me just drop this... Speed Racer should not drive anything else by the Mach 5.

I like the Wachowski Brothers as directors, but don't like this film at all! Made for a reported budget of close to $120,000,000.00 as of this posting the film has only made $93,000,00.00 worldwide... looks like I'm not the only one who didn't like this film either.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Another Double Feature

**1/2 04.03.09 - Synecdoche, New York... 2008... Director Charlie Kaufman
I am not a huge fan of Charlie Kaufman and his storytelling. Now maybe it's just me, but he spends so much time trying to be inside of a dream that I think it gets lost on the screen.

I hadn't really heard about this film, until I was watching the "Independent Spirit Awards," and it won for best ensemble cast. At the head of the cast is Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who I love watching and love to see him work. Catherine Keener is in this and Emily Watson, showing off her bod... I like!

As for the film in general, I do think Kaufman gets lost again. There are moments that are really good but then far too many moments when you're straining to stay with the picture.

The DVD has some really good pieces on the making of it and some of the thought process behind the film, so that helped a lot.

But if you're going to sit down and watch this piece, be prepared to really concentrate and follow along otherwise you'll miss a little piece of the story and that will set you back and down the road of hating the film altogether.

**1/2 04.03.09 - Transamerica... 2005... Director Duncan Tucker

I remember when this film came out and what kind of Oscar buzz it had because of the performance of Felicity Huffman as the lead in the film. Huffman, plays a transsexual who on her way to reassignment surgery learns she has a son. Her performance in the film is very, very good and fun to watch.

The overall film, while not something to write home about... is a good, small little film. The DVD extras are interesting because there are interviews with the principals and I love when folks talk about the process of making the film, however I would have liked to see some more behind the scenes stuff. The blooper real is good though.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Tried... No Seriously... I Tried!

OK, I don't think of myself as a snob in anyway, but I guess when it comes to writing and my "Office Away From Home," Starbucks is clearly my favorite place to write. This morning after battling a cold for a week now, I finally got myself out of the house and decided it was time to write. So I headed downtown and said, let me try writing in "Panera" today.
When I got there, I found a decent table near the window... although it didn't have an outlet to plug my computer in... I hate to use my own juice in a a place that makes millions, I think they should supply electricity and free Wi-Fi, but I digress.
After ordering a breakfast sandwich, juice and a small coffee I sat down, opened up my computer and tried to connect to the Internet. It wasn't finding a network, the coffee was just OK and the sandwich, better than the Starbucks sandwich's, just wasn't Starbucks. So I picked up, and headed down the street to one of my many writing Starbucks and found a decent table with a view, much better coffee and believe it or not... Free Wi-Fi!

Alas I am set, ready to sit down here for a couple of hours and ready to work! So, I'm sorry all of you coffee houses out there... like a woman you love who you have great sex with, it's going to be hard to beat Starbucks... ever!

Not A Bad Sick Day Movie

**1/2 04.01.09 - The Bucket List... 2007... Director Rob Reiner

Not one of my favorite Rob Reiner films, but certainly not one of the worst. It's not a bad film if you're cuddled up in bed or on the couch getting over a cold... like I've been. The film, which deals with two men trying to accomplish a few things left on their list of life before the die from cancer makes you think and take stock in your own life. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman star and it would have been great to see these guys really get something to work with, but there are only moments in this picture for both of them.

Again, not a great film, but not a bad one... it's a good thing it was on cable