Sunday, May 31, 2009

IMDb & Triple Sticks Productions Team Up

Good news folks, you can now catch the trailers for, "Dog Me: Potluck" and "Slow Down... You're Dating Too Fast!" on IMDb!
Those in the business, know how important IMDb is and those outside... well for anyone who's made a movie, not just playing around at it, getting your film listed on IMDb is huge because everyone in the industry checks this site.
Both films are really good and you can purchase them at I urge you if you can to pick one up and help support independent film. Also you can watch "Dog Me: Potluck" on Netflix. Just type in the title, put it in your queue and wait for it to arrive in your mailbox, it's just that simple!

So to everyone who worked on both films, congratulations on the trailers and IMDb! You worked so hard and I am so proud of everything you've done!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stepping Away... For Now

OK I took a look at the "blog" I've got going here and it turned out to be a lot of reviews. I didn't and don't want this to be a review blog, so I'm going to shut it down... the reviewing that is for awhile. Unless a film really stands out that I have to say something, I'm not going to review everything I see. However I will still update "My Library Project" and "What I'm Watching," so you get a feel for what shapes my film life so to speak.

Now this doesn't mean there will be no more blog, on the contrary. I want to spend a little more time talking about film, talking about what's going on with Triple Sticks Productions and hopefully, this year will turn out even better than last, so we'll have tons to discuss.

Anyway, if you're anyone who chimes in and reads this thing at all thanks... and I'll be in touch soon!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Funny In Any Language!

**** 05.21.09 – Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown... 1988... Director Pedro Almadovar

I saw this film for the first time in one of my favorite theaters of all time, the "Minor" theater in Arcata, California. I remember seeing the trailer for it during another film and it just blew me away. The film lived up to the trailer and it still does today.

This was also my first Almadovar film and I've been a fan of his ever since. The story is great, the performances spot on and it's funny, as the film was starting I was thinking to myself I wonder how you can tell if the acting is really good because I don't speak Spanish so basically you're reading subtitles and I can't tell per say. Then the first part of the film... actually about folks doing voice over work for foreign films, dubbing English language films to Spanish.

Not at lot of extras on the DVD, but the trailer is there. You will notice a very young Antonio Banderas in a key supporting role in the film, so that's kind of nice.

This is the kind of film that if you have a glass of wine and cuddle up on the couch, it's a perfect date film! For the record however I watched it alone last night. :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

One Great... One Not So Great... You Make The Call!

* 05.20.09 – Breakfast at Tiffany’s... 1961... Director Blake Edwards

I have to admit, while I’ve always been aware of this film… Audrey Hepburn and all, I had never seen it. Further, I was aware of the fact that it came from a Truman Capote novella, also which I had never read.
My friend, who I’ll change here to “Edwina” to protect their identity, loves this film! It’s one of their favorites of all time and they saw the movie first, and then read the book.
Trying to shake things up in my world, thanks to a gift from “Edwina,” a copy of the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I decided I would read the book first then see the movie… a little exercise if you will.
Well the book and the film are NOT THE SAME IN ANY WAY! Yes the titles are the same, the names of most of the characters are the same, and it does take place in the city so nice, they named it twice New York, NY, but after that the film crushed me. I was so excited about this plan, because I like Truman Capote and the images of Audrey Hepburn in this film are iconic, the film Directed by Blake Edwards veers so far away from the novella it’s not even funny to me.

When I read the novella I had an image in my mind about everything and the feeling of the book is much, much darker than the light and airy version of the film. I won’t go into too many details here, but if you do a little surfing around the Net, you will find that Capote did not like the treatment of his story at all on the screen and with good reason.

I understand the time period in which the film was made. I understand the “Hays Code” was in effect in Hollywood and that filmmakers were not going to be able to be as true to the novella as they should, but the changes they made to give it the old, “Hollywood Touch” stripped away the heart and soul of the picture. And the role Mickey Rooney played in the film… well all I will say about that is that it is one of the most racist I’ve ever seen.

The DVD extras are the strength of this film because they give you some insight into some of the changes, but after watching everything you’re definitely going to want to surf the web and get additional information.

My advice to you when it comes to this film… read the novella first, then see the film because that’s where it all began, afterwards… come to your own conclusions and see whether or not we’re really that far apart. Sorry “ Edwina”… although Hepburn DID look marvelous!

****1/2 05.19.09 – The Big Chill... 1983... Director Lawrence Kasdan
It had been some time since I last watched, “The Big Chill” and I was just in “that kind of a mood” when I pulled it out to screen it. And once again, it did not disappoint!

The writing… the screenplay stands out as much as the amazing cast in this film. The themes and subject matter in the film crosses generational lines and is today, still relevant.
The DVD extras are great, including a look back at the making of the film. Fun stories about what happened during their shoot and more, all worthwhile, including some deleted scenes from the final cut.

The “Big Chill” is the kind of movie you can turn on any time, sit back relax and relate it to your own life and enjoy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Four Films... Three Worth Seeing!

** 05.18.09 - 21... 2008... Director Robert Luketic

This film is truly a 1980's throwback with a little "Ocean's Eleven" thrown in for good measure. 21 feels like a John Hughes/"Brat Pack" kind of a film, complete with the awkward geek love affair plus a James Spader bad little rich kid look-a-like.

Kevin Spacey is one of the stars of the film and he is solid as usual. I saw it on cable for free and it was worth about that.

**** 05.17.09 - The Negotiator... 1998... Director F. Gary Gray

Director F. Gary Gray's film is brilliant. Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey are outstanding in this film along with the rest of a stellar cast. Using the city of Chicago in the film was great, because it becomes another character.

The DVD has a lot on it, including a wonderful interview with the director about the overall project.

***** 05.16.09 - Dog Me: Potluck... 2003... Director M. David Lee III

In all fairness and in the spirit of full disclosure, this is my film and the more I watch it the more I love it. The performances make me laugh over and over again and when I look back at the behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the film, I'm reminded of what fun we all had making the film. It was long, hot, hard, but I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world!

*** 1/2 05.16.09 - Pulp Fiction... 1994... Director Quentin Tarantino

It's one of Tarantino's best film and it gives you a clear look at his earlier style and what he was all about. Great dialogue, smart performances, well shot it's worth taking a look at again if you haven't seen it in awhile.

The star of a Tarantino film, tends to be the script and that's the case with Pulp Fiction. My DVD didn't have any extras, but it was still good to watch.

Friday, May 15, 2009

So How Do You Write?

A friend of mine asked me recently, “How do I write?” And what she meant by that, is how do I choose what to work on when I come to one of my Mobile Offices… like today.(05.14.05)

Well for me it’s all about writing when you feel like it. I am a firm believer that you have to write when you feel it, when you have that muse and you want to sit down and spend some time hacking away. Now there are others who believe you need to sit down every day and hammer something out, but that for the most part doesn't work for me.

(The tools of the trade, computer, drink, Ipod, view)

Now when I’m rewriting something or near the start of production and I have to tighten a script, I can write that way, but we’re not really talking about that here.

So for me, what usually happens is I come to my office, sit down and start looking at my projects that I have in various stages and whatever one speaks to me that day I start working on. Now this is for the first draft usually. The first draft is always the hardest for me to complete, but once I’ve done that, then I start working that story over and over again until it’s ready to show someone.

Once I finally have one or two people that I trust read it and I get their notes, I’ll work it over and over again until it’s, what I call “production ready.” And for me, that means it’s time to try to pitch it to someone or in most cases it’s time for me to start putting the film in production and making it.

I’ve often wondered what it might be like to be on the staff of a show or something where you have deadlines and had to write to get things done at a certain time. I do think I probably would be pretty good at it, because I can write under pressure, but in my own way. I could probably hammer out a full version of a film script in less than a week, but I also would probably be a mess by the end of it and a lot of it would be written at home… you know... where I can write naked… one of my favorite things to do! Just keeping it real folks!

One Interesting Day of Films

*** 1/2 05.13.09 - Frankenstein... 1931... Director James Whale

I remember being a little kid and seeing this version of Frankenstein and being terrified! I was scared, but I loved it at the same time. The monster was amazing and Boris Karloff was the best! It was all a part of the Universal Monsters, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Werewolf. I loved them all, but Frankenstein was the one that kicked it off for me.

Director James Whale for the most part does a marvelous job of adapting Mary Shelly’s story to screen. There are some major jumps in the story and a lot of stuff left out that could have made the story and the film more complex, but I don’t think that was deal with films back then at this time.

Karloff is outstanding as the Monster, but as I look at it now the film holds up in some areas and in others stumbles a bit. The acting is very stiff, almost like if you were doing a parody of 1930’s acting, this is what it would be like. (Considering this was made in 1931, that make sense) The film is also surprisingly short, only 71 minutes long, barely a feature.

Now my DVD has some extras on it and the commentary by film historian Rudy Behlmer that accompanies the film is very good. I’ve just ordered the 75th Anniversary version of the film, because there are a couple of documentaries on the making of the film that I want to see, so I’ll update you when that comes in.

All in all, I still love the film and this was another influence in me becoming a filmmaker so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

** 05.13.09 - Sex with Strangers... 1002... Directors Harry and Joe Gantz

I am very open-minded about a lot of things and that includes sex, but for those in the “Swingers” lifestyle, I felt a little sorry for you with this documentary.

First, “Sex with Strangers,” does a pretty good job of following three different couples in the lifestyle and their ups and downs with it. I think it will give those on the outside looking in some interesting things to think about before they decide whether or not to try it.

But where the film falls a little short or rather scares me, is the fact that the couples in the film are all very, very scary . Kind of hard to really explain without offended a ton of people, but I think if you decide to see the film, you’ll get what I mean, but just remember ALL swingers are NOT like these folks! Lol

The DVD has some good extras and the guys who created HBO’s “Taxicab Confessions,” made this documentary so kudos to them for at least helping to expose this lifestyle to the world. The more we all see what’s out there in life, the more tolerant we can all be of each other.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Solid Blast From The Past

I just got done watching the documentary film, "Jam" by Mark Woollen. The film which follows Tim Patten, the one time owner of the league and driving force for years, is touching, interesting and worth a look.

It deals with the ups and downs of the sport and some of the most interesting characters you'll ever find. If you were writing a movie I don't know if anyone would even believe that these folks are real.

Right now it's airing on the Sundance channel and is another example of what good documentary filmmaking is, in my estimation.

One Of The Best Ever!

***** 05.10.09 - Singin' In The Rain... 1952... Directors Gene Kelley and Stanley Donen

For me, maybe the second greatest musical ever made. Gene Kelley is not only the star of this flick, but also a co-director and along with Stanley Donen, they've created a classic that will go down as not only one of the best musicals, but films ever made.

Kelly is fantastic, Debbie Reynolds outstanding and she wasn't even a dancer but a gymnast. The two supporting players may have stolen the film, Donald O'Connor... incredible. And Jean Hagen, who did get an Academy Award nomination for her role as "Lina Lamont" is a joy to watch.

My DVD doesn't have any extras, so I need to get the newer version of the DVD which I understand has a documentary and a scene cut out of the movie.

I think, "The Bandwagon," is the best musical ever made, but this is just under it... enjoy!

Good Stuff

Watched a good documentary the other day on Italian Director Federico Fellini. "Fellini: I'm a Born Liar," takes you into his head and world. It gives you great insight into his process of filmmaking and what some of the people who worked with him had to say about the "Master" director.

I loved watching him talk about film and seeing some of the locations he used and seeing what folks said about working with him. It's a fine line between genius and madness and he walks it all of the time.

I'm a fan of him and his films although I don't always understand what he's trying to get across, but I appreciate what he does and his films are beautiful to look at. Check out the film, it's on "The Movie Channel" right now and also available on Netflix.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Classic To Remember!

**** 05.09.09 - Diner... 1982... Director Barry Levinson

First of all I can't believe this was made back in 1982! It's still a classic and is a great film. My Dad took me to see this film in 82, I would have been a junior in high school. I remember he really liked it and as I grew older I understood why... at the core... it's a guy film. Not a blow'em up shoot'em up kind of a film, but a film about guys and their relationships. It's male bonding at it's best and still stands up over time.

Barry Levinson's script is fantastic, but this film is made with it's cast. Levinson put together a group of people that were just starting out that were a perfect ensemble cast in every sense of the word. Think about it... Ellen Barkin, Mickey Rourke, Tim Daly, Steve Guttenberg, and Kevin Bacon just to name a few. When you look at this film and look at the cast list, you'll see everyone went on to have a successful career after this film.

The DVD has some pretty good stuff, including most of the cast telling stories about making the film. I would have loved to see some footage from back then as well, but the documentary is a good piece of the film to watch too because you hear from everyone.

Diner was a period film when it was made and a classic then that remains a classic today!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Three's A Charm!

***1/2 05.07.09 - Any Given Sunday... 1999... Director Oliver Stone
Underrated as a film I think. Oliver Stone does one of the best jobs I've ever seen in giving you a look inside the pro football game.

There are too many to name in the cast and the cameos are sprinkled all over this picture, but the actors are perfect in this film. Cameron Diaz, someone I'm usually not a huge fan of, is brilliant in this film and and so is Lauren Holly as a pro football player's wife. Lawrence Taylor crushed players on the field in his day and crushed his role in this film as well.

There is a behind the scenes documentary on the making of the film which is fun to watch and the end of the film... I'll just say... stay until the end of the credits, Al Pacino makes an exit that NFL head coaches around the league would all like to do!

***1/2 05.06.09 - The King is Alive... 2000... Director Kristian Levring

The fourth film to use the "Dogme 95" rules of filmmaking, it's a very compelling piece. Director Kristian Levring had access to a very good cast and a location that is truly memorable.

The film, about a group of tourist stranded in the desert and while waiting to be saved, stage "King Lear" is really engaging from the opening shot.

Now I'm a huge fan of the Dogme rules, I've made a film with them... number 278 "Dog Me: Potluck" so I appreciate the use of the rules, but even if I hadn't embraced the philosophy I would really like this film.

As for the DVD, I wished there were some extras with it. I'd love to know what it was like to shoot this film, but all in all the film draws you in and it's a very, very solid piece of work.

**** 05.06.09 - Chasing Amy... 1997... Director Kevin Smith

This is my favorite Kevin Smith film. I think he went back to his roots and delivered a really strong story and got it in the can for $250,000.00 That's significant, because he had $6 Million to do "Mallrats" his second film and it's not as strong this one.

Joey Lauren Adams is fantastic and I think he did an amazing job getting performances out of Jason Lee and Ben Affleck.

The DVD extras are great and it's worth spending the time watching them afterwards.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

One I Forgot To Post And One That Is Truly Great!

**** 05.05.09 - The Opposite Of Sex... 1998... Director Don Roos

I loved this film when I saw it back in 1998 in the theater and I love it today! The screenplay is the star in this film, the dialogue just outstanding. Every time I watch it, I laugh at the places I know are funny, but find new places constantly that make me laugh just as hard.

Christina Ricci is great in the title role, Martin Donovon is solid and Lisa Kudrow steals the show and should have landed an Academy Award nomination and in my estimation the award for best supporting actress in a film for her role.

The DVD has a couple of extras, including some deleted scenes. All in all, when you plunk in this DVD and sit down to watch, you'll enjoy it and then some!

**** 04.28.09 - Thomas Crown Affair... 1999... Director John McTiernan

I almost forgot about, I watched this one again! I love this version on the film and it's a case where I think the remake, may be better... or at least definitely equal to the original.

Pierce Brosnon and Renee Russo are amazing in it and the whole idea of using art heists as the plot points is fantastic. I had heard a rumor that Russo, who was in her forties when they shot this film, said she wouldn't do the film unless they didn't use a body double for any of her scenes, she wanted to show everyone how beautiful a forty year old body can look on screen and it worked! She is stunning in it and there are at least three or four scenes in the film that make anyone just melt... male or female!

The locations, script and cinematography of the film make this worth seeing over and over again! It's also a great date film!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I Love Them And Hate Them All At Once!

My computer froze up about a week ago and after two or three days trying to deal with overseas help experts from everything from the wireless network to the computer to the cable company(Not located overseas, but just as frustrating) it was determined that I had to do a master restore. What does that mean? Well I had to wipe everything off of my computer and reload everything!

Yep, even though this is a new computer, only about a month old I had to reload everything. I do back up, but still I lost some things in the transfer and I've been trying to get everything back to normal for the last week or so.

I am out and about at one of my "mobile offices" today and have spent time doing boring work stuff for the past hour or so, now I'm going to finally get some time to hack away at some script stuff... wish me luck!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Getting Caught Up

**** 05.03.09 - Godfather 1, 2, 3... 1992... Director Francis Ford Coppola

OK, I'm giving this an overall grade of four stars as a trilogy, but as individual films Godfather is a 5, Godfather II 4 and half and Godfather III, two and a half stars.

The casts are so amazing, with the exception of three and I think that's where the overall trilogy fails for me.

For me this is some of Coppola's best work. The first two films are spectacular and he could have stopped after that. The DVD is amazing, I have the special edition with a fourth DVD with all of the extras, including screen tests, it's so great!

When I watch one, I end up watching all three, even though the third one is not nearly as good as one and two, it's not as bad as everyone says.

Watch these films and enjoy what great movie making is about!

** 05.02.09 - Amateur... 1994... Director Hal Hartley

I am not sure why I picked this film up, but I did. Director Hal Hartley tells an interesting story but it feels stiff in certain parts. There are a lot of cameos from actors who have gone on to have bigger roles in the biz.

Although shot in the nineties, it feels almost feels like the eighties. The performances are not that strong, but visually some interesting shots. The DVD extras have a making of piece that is worth checking out to get a sense of where folks were coming from in this movie.

*** 05.01.09 - State and Main... 1992... Director David Mamet

First of all, I am a huge fan of David Mamet's writing and rhythm of speech in his films. Now add a huge cast with people like Rebecca Pidgeon, Alec Baldwin, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and William H. Macy and you get a fun romp. (I think I may be in love with Pidgeon, I can see why Mamet married her and uses her in all of his work)

Being a filmmaker I love this film because it's about the filmmaking process and how crazy it can get at times. If you're looking for something fun to plug in and go... this is the film for you!

** 1/2 04.30.09 - Fetishes... 1996... Director Nick Broomfield

Bits and pieces are interesting. Broomfield gets into sessions and the life of mistresses and some subs/slaves. Would have love to see more about their home lives, but for the most part it gives you an idea of what the BDSM world is like from a professional take.