Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The Last AV Club: RAW FORCE! Sat. Dec. 23 2006 Screenland
It's truly the end of an era; like Joni Mitchell once sung, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."
Thanks, Gary, for some great times - and good luck in your new endeavours.
Here's a decent obit in the local KC weekly, The Pitch.
(1982 - Edward Murphy - 86m - 35mm)
11PM Saturday, December 23
Screenland, 1656 Washington, KCMO
"You have NEVER seen such a brain-blasting bone-smasher as the epochal omegawave that is, was and always will be RAW fucking FORCE!!! If you think you've been entertained in the past, here is a white-hot scholarship to FUN SCHOOL!! Let's open this sucker up and see what's inside, goddammit. Blue-skinned undead samurai? Check! Cannibalistic rump-chasing monks? Yes sir!! Drunken kung-fu yacht party? To the max!!! Wall-eyed flesh-trading seaplane pilot with a Hitler moustache? Man ohhh MAN!!! All this is, in absolute honesty, just the tip of the trashberg! Blowtorches blaze, teeth fly, bullets zing, dialogue is botched and cages full of virgins are sent to their heartless demise! So packed with action, you'll have to blink every 3 seconds to keep your eyes from catching on fire! The legendary Cameron Mitchell (THE TOOLBOX MURDERS) semi-stars in this Filipino/American co-production that would have brought the world to its knees if it wasn't 200,000 YEARS AHEAD OF ITS TIME! If you see just one movie in your entire life, it better be here, now, tonight: RAW FORCE! If you're blind, deaf and comatose, only one film will STILL kick your ass through the wall: RAW FORCE !! Look, I don't care if you're reading this at a funeral...scream it out loud right now: RAAWWW FORRRCE!!! - Zack Carlson, Alamo Drafthouse
Tickets $6.50. For more information call 913.522-4515.
Thanks to current home Screenland and everyone who came.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Before I left for the weekend's adventure in Chicago, I got to attend the wrap party for BUNKER HILL, held in Lawrence. Normally, these things are held at the end of the principal shoot, but anymore (or at least the recent projects I've worked on), schedules are so tight and everyone is so fried from the experience, people scatter like the wind as soon as shooting is done.
Denise Low, 'Poet Laurete of Kansas', gives a pretty good description of the goings on (except that I don't think Saeed Jaffrey was there) - these poor photos I snapped off are a small visual record.
The main thing - besides seeing people again - was screening a short promotional trailer that had been cut together for the occasion. It looked pretty damn good... it gave a pretty good feel for the film without giving away any surprises. Hopefully, they'll use it, or some variation when the web site goes up next year. The first promotional artwork is also out, also impressive:
(a better representation can be seen at the IMdB listing).
So, I'm pretty stoked - and probably will be more so as they work through post-production.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
according to the terms of service, that is... I was lured by the listings of titles that were available (a good portion not on DVD release - like MANDINGO, for one - but you have to play them in the downloadable player, even the files that you download and burn to DVD. They won't play on a stand-alone player. And, it's only for the PC platform.
Always read the TOS, no matter what. And don't throw those VHS tapes or laserdiscs out just yet...
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I spent the last few days up in Chicago - and like most trips, it had good & bad moments...
I've been itching to road trip again, since having the Honda serviced earlier in the year - it was in good condition; the engine running well, despite one mechanic trying to convince me that it had a blown head gasket, when all it needed was to have the hoses replaced - I'd taken short hops in the car, but no big road test as of yet.
My friend Jon, (mentioned in the Archives previously with his film "Late Breaking News") is currently working on another documentary, about the Latin School in Chicago and it's "Nazi Mind" history class, which culminates with a simulation of the Nuremberg Trials. I was asked to help out with the filming of the simulation, and I accepted, of course.
It was a 12 hour session in one of the courtrooms in the Daley Center - some of Jon's other friends & associates were helping out as well, and it turned out to be impressive, considering that these are all high school kids doing college level work - and I sure as hell never worked as hard in college. I'm now anxious to see his cut of this sometime next year.
Things went very smoothly, which was great - I put off leaving for a day, due to the snowstorm that blanketed most of Central MO and IL. Counting up the amount of semis and cars embedded on either side of the highway between KC and Columbia, MO, that turned out to be a wise decision. However, I wasn't quite free of the weather, despite the clear highways.
The above is the result of an ice chunk blown off of a semi that I was in the process of passing, just south of Springfield, IL
Luckily, I wasn't hurt and the window stayed intact until I made it back home to KS.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
The following is a response that HE made to a posting on a message board at Ellison Webderland about the Michael J. Fox ad and Limbaugh's mocking of it and Mr. Fox.
Copyright c 2006 by The Kilimanjaro Corporation. All rights reserved.
You really should have seen/heard the totality of Limbaugh's vile performance.
He accused Michael J. Fox of acting; that is, PRETENDING to have the acute symptomology. And only an ignorant meanspeaking person, either passively or intentionally uneducated as to the symptoms of this awful malaise, would fail to understand that when one goes OFF one's meds with this disease, one grows LESS agitated, and movement becomes so restricted that, eventually, they cannot move at all. Are, in fact, frozen like a gnat in amber.
But even were this NOT the case, Limbaugh did not rationally question Fox's acute wrenching, he repeatedly -- let me say that again -- he REPEATEDLY used the words
though he admitted on-air that he had ABSOLUTELY NOT A SCINTILLA of evidence that Fox was "guilty" of his assumptions, his accusations: not taking his medicine...merely "acting." (And why SHOULDN'T he, if he was trying to make a passionate point, to demonstrate as powerfully as he was able, what the scourge looks like to the uninitiated, all in service not of, say, a lying semiliterate president who spins truth to his own self-righteous purposes day after day, sending hundreds to their deaths, just to keep his party in power and to burnish his ego, but in aid of scientific advancement that well might banish such awful terrors from human ken,) Urged to be their attack-hound yet again, Limbaugh unshipped his faux-outrage not because he gives a fuck about the verities of Fox's appearance, but because of the power, the passion, the EFFECTIVENESS of what this young man did. Had it been a dud, we'd have heard not a caw from this butcherbird.
He excoriated a young man whose career has been exemplary, his life scandal-free, his behavior gracious and decent, and he did it for odious ends. The pillhead lynch-mob spokesman fulminated on-command for his masters.
He is, like his coven mates Coulter, O'Reilly, Buchanan, Falwell, Robertson and the rest of that slavering wolf-pack of loathesome inhuman scuts, a disgrace to the human race. They operate with twisted eugenics and mildewed DNA, behaving like the worst foaming beasts ever bred in Satan's Cauldron. Their like cannot be tolerated a moment longer. They sully the earth they walk, they poison the air we breathe, they blacken and char the wings of the angels of our better nature.
Do not -- I beg you -- for even one vagrant moment, try to levy rationality into the behavior of these gobbets of human excrescence, all under the misperception that "fairness" requires giving them the barest. They count on ratiocinative evenhanded folks such as you to permit them the duplicity proffered by decency on your part, by well-intended "well, maybe..." rat-holes they need for plausible deniability.
They are the offspring of all the evil, self-serving, amoral Dems AND Republicans who have bludgeoned our great America to its knees, made it wallow in its most charnelhouse behavior, and drive us insane with The Big Lie again and again and again, using golem like this Limbaugh monster. They are no less than KILLING us, by crib-suffocating the kindness in us, the graciousness in our potential. They are turning us, may ALREADY have turned us into their troll and monster like.
This is NOT a minor news item, Josh; this is what one calls an emblematic insight. It is America Today in Microcosm. It is a rune, a glyph, an aphorism of the debased human spirit writ both large and small at the same time. Its resonance is that which we feel when we see the bullies kicking the crap out of a crippled kid in a schoolyard.
Limbaugh is as one with all sociopaths who drown their babies and slaughter their schoolmates with AK-47s and drive through crowded markets with pedal to the metal and fire into random cars on the freeway and pull off Enron scams robbing thousands of innocent investors and dilute medications and knife fast food employees for a few dollars. He is blood-brother to the scumbag who set the huge Esperanza fire here in Riverside, Southern California, today, and set it purposely in such a manner that the santa ana winds would pick it up and carry it directly into residential areas; and in the process got five firefighters barbequed. What soulless drives motivate these selfish, self-serving, bestial creatures?
Limbaugh should not be given slack for having abased himself (after months of denial and posturing) after he came out of rehab, because his forelock-tugging was mockery, and his true hemlock behavior toward someone whose affliction should have brought kindness and moderation to his criticisms, manifested itself yet again, for the thousandth time. They are swine, all of them -- Coulter disrespecting 9/11 widows, Santorum trying to force us back into Biblical Times, O'Reilly pretending Democrats are responsible for the Senate page sex scandal -- and giving them the barest claw-hold on "well, maybe..." plays right into their duplicity.
Please don't reply to this.
You're a good guy, and I don't mean to jump all over you.
I could hold my peace no longer.
Go, FBI, arrest a 16-year-old schoolgirl because she had the Emperor is Naked audacity to put on her blog what most of us who did NOT vote for the Beasts in Power think every day.
I have rejected the misuse of the word "rant" as used by blathering webfarts for any posting in which passion is demonstrated, but I think it only fair to say yes, this HAS been a rant.
Daily, I grow more and more ashamed of what my country has become. What it tolerates. What it responds to with "well, maybe..."
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Chip Gubera news
SONG OF THE DEAD will be screening on Halloween and Nov. 1 at the Festival BUENOS AIRES ROJO SANGRE VII in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
[try this for an English version of the page.]
Update 11/3/06 - SOTD has won the Public Prize (Audience Favorite) and won Special Jury Mention for its originality at Rojo Sangre. Congratulations cast & crew!!
Back from the pick-up shoot for BUNKER HILL, I stumbled across an interesting posting on the blog LOST IN NEGATIVE SPACE, regarding local (Wamego is only a mere 40 miles from Topeka) filmmaker Steve Balderson and his recent feature FIRECRACKER... which led me to THE RUED MORGUE, a blog by San Antonio writer Russ Ruediger. In August, Ruediger did a review of FIRECRACKER - a movie that he did not like, but which he could not just dismiss - which led to him interviewing Balderson in two segments - 1st and 2nd .
Being a freelance writer and working on my own story about FIRECRACKER for the next issue of MICRO-FILM, I can't comment on Mr. Ruediger's writings... but the exchange between Mr. Ruediger and Mr. Balderson is important to share, since they touch on a lot of issues that normally don't get talked about regarding film and filmmaking. And, in an oblique way, they also provide a great commentary on the recent film experiences that I've had, without having to directly name names.
If you haven't seen FIRECRACKER yet, I recommend that you rent it at your nearest store (whether local or Netflix).
[repost - unfortunately, the two comments on this entry were lost]
Was having some issues with publishing to the blog, which entailed having to kill a couple of the most recent entries... I'll repost them above.
While I was waiting, I decided to give the page a new look and redo some of the links. Hope you like the changes.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
You can't defend him as a singer... but you can make a case for him being an underrated performance artist.
There's the classic "Rocketman" to the more recent Priceline.com interpretations of popular song... which led to his teaming with Ben Folds on "Has-Been"... look closely at the musicians and you'll see Folds, Lisa Loeb and Petra Hagen.
Drink deep from these waters...
Quite a lot to cover -
First of all, you might want to pop over to my sister blog MUSIC SNOB, to check out recent postings there - I've joined the file-sharing crowd!
Second, BUNKER HILL just started shooting pickups today (or yesterday, technically) - we'll be going for the next 5 days. So more pix will show up soon...
Todd Norris, a filmmaker in KC has posted some of his films up on MySpace... take a peek. Some great stuff there...
If you're in the Topeka/Lawrence area, Patrick Rea's THE EMPTY ACRE will be screening at the second annual Slash & Bash Horror Film Marathon in Topeka, Oct. 13 & 14 - ACRE will screen Friday night (the 13th!) with a Q&A with the director and cast following the showing.
EVENT HORIZON is just as shitty a movie in its 2-disc incarnation as it was watching it on the big screen... and no amount of "this is what we WANTED to do" whining on the commentary will make it into a 'cult classic'... much like the added footage in THE ABYSS can't turn that into a good movie.
Too bad - EH had a good core concept, great design and photography and a decent cast... why they decided to turn the last third of the film into HELLRAISER IN SPACE is a unfathomable mystery within the folds of Paul Anderson's brain... "director's vision", my ass!
... and the bonus features are among the most boring that I've viewed - only about 10 minutes is actually interesting. Still... EH definitely fits the term "guilty pleasure".
Hopefully, after the dust settles, I'll actually get to do an extended Halloween posting.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
If you're wanting to know more about the film, here are two perspectives:
Nortonville Sun - a blog for the community of Nortonville, KS - there's quite a bit about the film.
Making the Movie - a blog by Jon, one of the camera assistants on the day to day making of the film - lots of stuff there for burgeoning filmmakers.
Last night, I went to the official premiere of Patrick Rea's THE EMPTY ACRE at the Kansas International Film Festival. I've heard quite a lot about this film in the past year, and was intrigued having seen the first 20 minutes a few months ago at Oldfather Studios in Lawrence.
There's been quite a bit of buzz around this, and am happy to report that ACRE lives up to all of the buzz about it.
ACRE is very much a throwback towards the psychological horror film, with its emphasis on character and atmosphere - its scares are very much intellectual rather than the usual 'jump' scares or gross outs of most horror films, lo-budget or otherwise. THE EMPTY ACRE leans more towards the literary horror of T.E.D. Klein, Charles E. Grant (R.I.P.) , and that's a definite asset.
I worked with Patrick, and a good part of his crew on BUNKER HILL - I hope that EMPTY ACRE is just the start of many features for them.
Also, I've learned that SONG OF THE DEAD was just screened at The International Festival of Fantastic Cinema and Terror, in Estepona, Spain which was September 4 - 9, 2006. Producer/Editor James Robert Swope attended, representing SONG, which won the Best Music award.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Principal photography on BUNKER HILL wrapped on the 16 of September.
A big shout-out to all of the cast and crew - it was an ass-kicker, but we made it through...
There remains some pickup shooting to be done back in Nortonville and in the actual Bunker Hill, KS, but the bulk of it is 'in the can'. Check back for more news over the next few months.
I did have time to grab the SHOCK TREATMENT DVD before heading down to SE KS... and am glad to be tremendously satisfied with ST's presentation on disc, although there are a couple of criticisms.
If you've never seen the film before - or even heard of it - now's a good time to check it out.
Halloween is around the corner... I might actually get to write about some scary movies this time around.
REAL movies, not this crap they have the nerve to call 'horror' nowadays.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
The days just go on and on....
Inevitably... on every shoot that I've been on at least - that familiar feeling of deja vu comes back all over again. Doesn't matter if things are going well or not -- it could be too many night shoots, too much sugar & caffiene from craft services, too many cigarettes.... but eventually, every script supervisor gets this familiar face - esp. on lo-budget features:
They usually don't have the artist Christy Brown directly next to them, however.
Fortunately, there are things that make up for such extreme behavior.
Things such as this ...
and this on the following night.
More to come...
Sunday, August 20, 2006
No, I didn't throw in the blogging towel - frankly, I got lazy, what with going through DVD sets and catching up on my reading... I was about to get fired up again, when something else came down the pike.
That something else is BUNKER HILL, Kevin Willmott's (of C.S.A.) new project, currently shooting in KS - actually, we started just as C.S.A. started to hit the store shelves. The cast includes James McDaniel, Saeed Jaffery, Scott Allegrucci, Laura Kirk, Kevin Geer, and Blake Robbins. There'll be more about it in the next few months - but if you'd like an early peek:
So it looks like I'll be busy into September - I will try to post the odd photo every so often, but don't expect meaty commentary until well into September.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Just picked up the 2-disc set for BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, and am happy as a pig in a wallow... Fox really went all out for this set, and it's nice to see Russ Meyer finally honored in a package that does full justice to his magnum opus.
from the Davis DVD news site:
Kevin Willmott's C.S.A. will be released on DVD on August 8 - I think that the movie will really find its audience in this format.
Finally making it's debut on DVD is SHOCK TREATMENT - if you read my article about it earlier, I mentioned that the title might be getting some love this year... that appears to be true, according to the specs on the package - not only will the movie getting a widescreen anamorphic transfer and Dolby Digital 5.1 & monaural tracks, but they're including 2 featurettes and a commentary by fan club presidents (though it would've been nice to have found the director... Richard O'Brien certainly wasn't going to do it). It looks as though Fox is doing right by the film, so I hope that it'll find a new audience that's appreciative of its charms. It'll be out on September 5.
Also coming to DVD is THE OTHER (9/5); and Paramount is releasing two relatively obscure, but good films: LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH (8/29) and PRETTY POISON (9/5), all of which are well worth your time and money.
Maybe, just maybe, we can expect a release of PHASE IV in the near future as well...
Sunday, June 11, 2006
It's been an interesting week... have been gearing up to do some home improvements - my grandmother is currently visiting relatives in Chicago, so my aunt and I are taking the time to repaint her room and put in new carpeting for her while she's gone... then the other morning, we wake up to this in the front yard:
Believe it or not, we did not hear a thing... we're all very sound sleepers in my family. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, some dufus came barrelling through the yard, not making the turn onto the other street -- luckily the ditch, hedges, and finally, the front stoop slowed him/her down and stopped them -- and lucky for the driver, no one heard or saw them - the only thing we found was the lower part of the bumper, which was torn off.
All in all, we're lucky that the stoop stopped them, and they didn't come barrelling into the front room or a bedroom - the hedges got the brunt of the damage... and hedges can grow back.
The week wasn't all bad - I got an e-mail that someone I knew from San Francisco would be in the area for the weekend... a group from NYC, Ars Subterrenea, was doing an event in Kansas City "Kansas City Confidential" and participating was John Law, who flew in from SF.
I haven't seen John since I left SF back in '96... so I definitely had to at least go over and say hello... I met Mr. Law and cohorts on Cacophony Society events, shortly after moving to SF and looking for interesting things to do. Mr. Law is a well-known citizen of the Underground, being an integral part of The Suicide Club and The Cacophony Society, and lots of other offshoots of Fringe Culture, and is easily one of the most principled individuals that I've been lucky enough to know.
I had to work on Sat., so I missed the main event -- I did get to the afterparty and tried to fit the last 10 years in the space of an hour or so... but even better was going on a Kansas City tour of a different sort - it brought back memories of fun stuff I used to do... and provided a spur to make some new memories in my current home. After all, Cacophony is Everywhere!
Not much accomplished in terms of movie watching - just got Peter Watkins' PUNISHMENT PARK from Netflix, so more about that later on after I've had a chance to see it.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Watched NIGHT OF THE LEPUS the other night, courtesy of my Netflix subscription. It's one of those films that I remember seeing some 30 odd years ago on the late movie (God, remember when late-nite TV actually showed movies instead of lame infomercials and talk shows?)when I was a kid, but hadn't seen since. LEPUS has a reputation as a "so Bad it's Good" film, so when the DVD came out last fall, I put it on my Netflix queue to check out.
After having sat through the film, I can't put myself in the "so Bad, it's Good" camp... LEPUS is an AWFUL film - leaden in its pacing, and acted so painfully serious and straight it's obvious that the majority of the cast is clearly disgusted with themselves at what they'll do for a paycheck.
LEPUS is a good example of a concept that was handled badly - for some reason, this fascinates me more than just calling it a 'bad movie'. Because, looking at it's pedigree - it was produced by MGM, starred Oscar-nominated actors, was made by people who had some dabbling in the genre - ideally, it should have been at least an enjoyable B-picture instead of a big turkey...
If you haven't seen the picture... well, I can't in good conscience recommend the film. Checking out some snarky reviews, like this, and this one, and of course, this one, will give you a sense of the film - and if you're adventurous, and don't mind losing over 90 minutes of your life, go ahead and rent the thing.
What's fascinating (to me, at least) is that while watching the film, what I noticed was a distinct lack of humor in the picture - the events in LEPUS are treated with a grim air of seriousness, which is strange for a picture that is about giant mutant rabbits rampaging across the desert and eating people. In fact, if you're brave enough to actually see this, the only distinct image you'll take away from it are the slightly surreal scenes of bunnies hopping though minature landscapes in slow motion (appropriated by THE MATRIX and NATURAL BORN KILLERS) - and it's an image that does not inspire fear.
It almost seems that the filmmakers thought that to allow any sort of humor in the situation to be acknowledged would've sunk the entire enterprise... to my thinking, it could have only helped the picture. Gene Kearney, one of the co-writers of the film, certainly could have pulled that off - if you grew up on 70's television, you'll recognize the name... he was one of the writers on ROD SERLING'S NIGHT GALLERY and did some memorable segments (the adaptation of Conrad Aiken's "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" for one; and several of the "humorous" segments in the second year of the show) and could have pulled off that balance of humor and horror.
LEPUS is based on a novel - yes, it was - called THE YEAR OF THE ANGRY RABBIT by Australian writer Russell Brandon, and from what info I could gather, the novel was a slapstick satire. Published in 1965 in America, I suspect that it was a project that was a long time in development, and when the 70's 'eco-horror' films got to be popular, got greenlit to take advantage of the trend - and was substantially rewritten to take place in America. Somewhere in the process, the idea that it could be funny got dropped, to everyone's detriment.
LEPUS is exactly the type of picture that you'd WANT to remake - one would have to really try hard to do any worse. Maybe Hollywood should get a clue and stop remaking GOOD films - good films will always find an audience. Get someone to remake LEPUS, only with a lot more humor... hell, it's perfect for The Sci-Fi Channel!
Saturday, May 27, 2006
I did promise that piece about the film... due to some factors that came up, that piece won't be up anytime soon.
Why, you may ask? Because some pot-stirring already has had effect... I had made a posting to a message board that had a previous thread regarding Mil Mascaras films, and in that posting I made an unkind (but true - remember kids, it ain't libel or slander if it's true!) remark regarding some personnel on some project, which apparently got back to a certain person and caused some tension with people involved with WW.
I hope that's specifically vague enough to explain things... when people get a burr in their britches, there's not much one can do about it. So no fun anecdotes about set hijinks, at least for a few months.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Working on that posting about WRESTLING WOMEN... it should be up before the weekend.
If you're interested in more, there are plenty of pictures to see... I've uploaded a batch to my online albums (with some other photos); I also recommend Em Hemeyer's (she was one of the wardrobe designers) photo site; and for a day-by-day account with some cool photos, there's art director Justin Powers' MySite blog "diary of a low budget film" (17 parts) .
Local film reporter Dan Lybarger came out for a night of shooting to interview some of the cast and crew - his story, 'BRAINIAC' OFF THE ROPES IN COLUMBIA, is now on-line on the Kansas City Star site.
The rest of the summer appears to be quiet so far - nothing major so far. Barring any other work that comes up, I'll be working away on a documentary based on footage I shot during the production of JMM's SUPERSTARLET A.D. and helping with getting SONG OF THE DEAD out to the waiting public.
I'll be updating some links on the blogs and the home site as well, and adding some more content there by summer's end, as well as working on the next batch of MICRO-FILM articles & reviews. So things will be busy - just at my procrastinating pace.
If you're wondering why movies today seem so shitty, two books related to screenwriting and writers help shed some light: BACKSTORY 4, is a collection of interviews with screenwriters of the 70's and 80's. I have the previous volume which features writers of the 60's, and the fourth volume is a good companion to that - featuring interviews with Larry Cohen (the whole reason it caught my attention), Paul Mazursky, Walter Hill, John Milius, Elmore Leonard, Donald E. Westlake, Robert Benton, Blake Edwards and more... (if the names aren't familar, IMDB 'em)
David Kipen's THE SCHREIBER THEORY is an entertaining manifesto that fires a warning shot over the bow of the auteur theory... you know, the theory that a bunch of French critics (who later became directors, it must be noted), came up with that stated that the director was the author and main visionary when it came to filmmaking. Kipen's half-mocking take on this (but half-serious, too) is the above, where the writer of a film is a far more consistent marker on the quality of a movie. I think that goes out the window when one considers THE FLINTSTONES (32 writers and the experience of watching it is so horrible, a tooth extraction is more preferable); but he has a point, and he has a lot of fun making it.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I have returned, alive, from the rigors of luchador filming in Central MO... as difficult as it was, I got to work again with friends and made some new friends in the process to work and play with again in the near future. There still are some minor things to attend to, like the AZTEC MUMMY reshoot notes, but those won't take up a lot of time.
More time has been expended on reentering 'normal' life - I go back to work at the Archive tomorrow, and the past couple of days have been spent on getting the house in order... yard mowed, dishes washed, clothes laundered. Then I'll get back into my regimen of reading/writing/watching.
Made a couple trips to the library and have a huge stack of material that I'll be commenting upon in the next few weeks, as well as catching up on DVD/movie recommendations.
I did promise a big piece on BRAINIAC... it's brewing. We did find out that the school gave them the go ahead for next year, so it seems we'll meet again (quoting Vera Lynn) some sunny day next April... actually, make that a more overcast day, if we do end up shooting in April '07.
I did promise a picture or two, so...
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Well, I did manage to get back on, for a least a few words about the film I'm working on, WRESTLING WOMEN VS. THE BRAINIAC - had I the chance to jump on earlier, I would have been a lot harsher in my words, suffering from the lack of good sleep. We started out of the gate rough, due mainly to the beauracracy of the University and due to rainstorms on our first exterior night shoot and the first Brainiac fight with some of the principal cast members. We're still on schedule, but normally I expect to hit this point later in the schedule. That we are still on schedule is a credit to the crew and to Chip, the director.
Next time around (probably after filming), I'll have some photos from the production up - and perhaps some 'making-of' clips up at my main site.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Gone to meet some Wresting Women and a few Brainiacs and hopefully will help get it all onto film... well, technically, digital video. I hope to blog a couple of times from location, but my online access will be limited while I'm away.
I'll be back in early May...
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Somehow, I never thought that I'd be witness to an involved conversation regarding the acting prowess of Amanda Bynes.
She IS cute, but she's no Melissa Joan Hart....
I think I sense a doctoral thesis starting to take outline form somewhere.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
There's been recent issues, hence the somewhat slow posting here - due to the storms that moved through the area over a week ago, internet access from the home is down, due to a lightning strike in a neighbor's yard frying out the modem.
The other thing has been preparations for an upcoming shoot in Columbia, Mo. It's under the aegis of Project IT, and the film is WRESTLING WOMEN VS. THE BRAINIAC, directed by Chip Gubera (SONG OF THE DEAD). It was intended to be a follow-up to MIL MASCARAS VS. THE AZTEC MUMMY, which was shot in Central Missouri in early 2005.
There's a long and involved story that I can't go into at the moment regarding that production - suffice it to say that it will probably see the light of day at some point.
Anyhow, WWvs.B will also star Mil Mascaras - production will start next week, so I will more than likely not blog anything until after it wraps early in May. By then, I should be able to have some stories to tell!
Currently on a Lars VonTrier viewing mood... I've finished up with THE KINGDOM, SERIES ONE on Netflix recently - I've seen KINGDOM before and loved it (even tolerated the Americanized Stephen King version KINGDOM HOSPITAL, which just doesn't hold a candle to the original, try though as it might), but wanted to see what commentary would be added... actually, not a lot, but it really doesn't need that much (although it's quite funny when VonTrier makes a remark about the 'Stephen King' elements, not knowing that King would exec. produce the American version at the time.) For those not familar with THE KINGDOM, the best way to describe it is a Danish cross between ER and TWIN PEAKS - it's an adroit balancing of humor, horror and satire. The only thing better than THE KINGDOM would be for an R1 release of THE KINGDOM II, which continues the storyline from the - well, cliffhanger isn't quite an adequate word to describe it, but it definitely makes you want to see how things turn out.
Also just received EPIDEMIC, the second feature from VonTrier (the first, an interesting but muddled futuristic thriller called THE ELEMENT OF CRIME, is available on Criterion.)
It's billed in the Netflix synopsis as a horror film, but it's not -- or rather, it's a horror film done in the mode of ADAPTATION.
All being early VonTrier, they're worth a look, even if you hate his current work.
One more thing of note - SINGAPORE SLING
Coming May 30 is Synapse’s disc of SLING, the cult-fave shocker that has won notoriety at genre festivals. Directed by Greek filmmaker Nikos Nikolaidis and never before available in North America, the movie is about a detective who goes searching for his lost love, and winds up taken in by a mother and daughter in a remote villa. Unfortunately for him, they’re a twisted duo who soon subject him to bondage and all sorts of deranged “games.” The unrated and very explicit film will be presented in anamorphic 1.66:1 widescreen with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound (in English and Greek with occasional subtitles), accompanied by a still gallery and theatrical trailer. Retail price is $29.95.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Additional screens it opens in March, April and a couple of June dates. Note the opening in Tucson, AZ has been changed from 3/10 to 3/24.
Thanks to Kevin McKinney ("Dishonest Abe") for the update.
03/17/ Orpheum/ Madison, WI
03/17/ Real Artways/ Hartford, CT
03/17/ Anthony Wayne/ Wayne, PA
03/17/ Ballantyne/ Charlotte, NC
03/17/ Galaxy/ Cary, NC
03/17/ Canal Place/ New Orleans, LA
03/17/ Belcourt/ Nashville, TN
03/17/ Palm/ San Luis Obispo, CA
03/17/ Camera 12/ San Jose, CA
03/17/ Nickelodeon/ Santa Cruz, CA
03/17/ Minor/ Arcata, CA
03/17/ Hillcrest/ San Diego, CA
03/17/ Crossroads/ Boulder, CO
03/17/ Metro/ Seattle, WA
03/24/ Main Art/ Detroit, MI
03/24/ Lagoon/ Minneapolis, MN
03/24/ Cable Car/ Providence, RI
03/24/ Loft/ Tucson, AZ
03/31/ Altamonte/ Orlando/Altamonte Springs, FL
03/31/ Charles/ Baltimore, MD
03/31/ Trolley Square/ Salt Lake City, UT
04/05/ Emelin/ Mamaroneck, NY
04/14/ Augusta Historic Theatre/ Augusta, KS
04/28/ Athena/ Athens, OH
06/07/ Ft. Kirby Ctr for Perf Arts/ Wilkes Barre, PA
06/09/ Mary Ross Center/ Lincoln, NE
Thursday, March 02, 2006
The big film event of the spring is the Jubilee... although there's always been an element of jazz favored in the festival, this is the first time that it's a specific series. If you're a jazz fan and a film fan, you've got some extra incentive to visit KC in April.
Karen Black has just been announced as a guest at this year's Jubilee, also.
Be COOL . . . . Be HOT . . . . Join us in celebrating the images, sounds and stories of JAZZ at the 10th Annual Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee - April 7-14, 2006.
The inaugural CinemaJAZZ Film Series during this year's festival will be at the Screenland Theater, 1656 Washington, Kansas City, MO.
It will feature:
- Special screening of classic jazz animations of John & Faith Hubley from the 50's, 60's & 70's - Emily and Ray Hubley will be in attendance and will discuss their parent's work. (This screening will be at the Tivoli Cinemas).
- Classic Cinema / Classic Jazz - University of Missouri Kansas City film and jazz professors analyze the images, story and score of Anatomy of a Murder with score by Duke Ellington - followed by a screening of the film.
- New feature documentaries:
'Tis Autumn-The Search for Jackie Paris - director, Raymond De Felitta
an exploration into the life of legendary jazz vocalist Jackie Paris.
Between a Smile and a Tear - director, Niels Van Doky
- a two day reopening of the renowned Copenhagen jazz club - Montmartre is captured with performances and commentary by albert "Tootie" Heath, Toots Thielemans, Johnny Griggin, Didier Lockwood, Lisa Nilsson & Niels Van Doky.
Music is My Life, Politics My Mistress - director, Donnie Betts
- Oscar Brown - singer, songwriter, actor and civil rights activist - a renaissance jazz man.
- New Short documentaries, dramas and experimental works:
Riffs: A Kansas City Coda - director, Glenn Stewart
Jazz Therapy: Recipe for Mom's Soul - director, David Rinck
Transition - director, Denny Dey
Once - director, Sainte Jose Adams
Donuts at Night - director, David Macasaet
Under the Harlem Moon - director, Liest Davis
The Cole Nobody Knows - director, Clay Walker
Dave Holland - A Short Documentary - director, Ulli Gruber
Live Jazz will be featured at every reception. Join us in the CinemaJAZZ Lounge at Screenland for cocktails and cool jazz after each evening's screenings.
This program is a collaboration of the KC Filmmakers Jubilee, Mutual Musicians Foundation and the American Jazz Museum.
Special CinemaJAZZ Festival Passes are available now for $25.00 - gets you admission to all the jazz screenings (single admission would total $42.00). A full Festival Pass is $50 (does not include opening night world premiere of Rob Nilsson's "Opening").
Send your check to KC Jubilee, 4826 W. 77th Terrace, Prairie Village, KS 66208 with postage paid return envelope for your passes.
KC Filmmakers Jubilee
Kansas City Jubilee is proud to partner with Disc Makers to send you this special offer for independent filmmakers: Get 300 DVDs for only $990. This retail-ready package includes DVDs in DVD cases, full-color covers, three-color on-disc printing, and poly wrap. For more info, visit www.discmakers.com/kcjub
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
The Chucky Lou AV Club presents
(1973 - Robert V. O'Neill - 82m - 35mm)
11PM Saturday, March 4
Screenland, 1656 Washington, KCMO
"We're thrilled to finally be able to offer you this holy grail of
made-in-the-Philippines madness. Everything is hyper-seventies in a
great way. In fact, if the seventies were a drug this would be the
ultra-potent, smokable rock form of it. The music is great. The
clothes are great. The women are beautiful and trashy. It's all you
could possibly want or need in a movie. Nancy Kwan plays a foxy
transplant doctor on an isolated island fortress who dispatches her
all-female kung fu squad to abduct healthy young male athletes,
whose organs she sells to wealthy senior citizens in search of the
fountain of youth. Loaded to the brim with incompetent kung fu,
reckless car-chases, cockfights, and even an electronic "brain sex"
scene that will blow your mind. Featuring Ross Hagen, Sid Haig,
Roberta Collins, and Maria De Aragon (Greedo from STAR WARS.)" -
Preceded by a beautiful but deadly karate klatch of trailers and, at
10:45 (if time permits), the most wondrous women of all: the stars
of 1960s Scopitones belting their non-hits in glorious 16mm
Tickets $6.50. For more information call (913)522-8870.
The Chucky Lou AV Club meets the first Saturday of every month.
Attendance is mandatory.
The CL A/V C had been on a short hiatus, due to Gary Huggins' film, FIRST DATE, making festival appearances at Sundance and a festival in France. It'll be screening in Austin at SXSW in March.
For more about FIRST DATE, go here and here.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Dennis at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule gave a nice shout-out to C.S.A. (which opened on a few more screens this Friday and will be opening on more throughout March), as well as to this blog. For those who get directed here, looking for more info on the film and Kevin, here's an earlier post from October '05 which has links to several meaty interviews with Mr. Wilmott about his work. If you're looking for dates and theaters where CSA will be playing, look below at the previous posting.
And if this is your first time at the blog, hi! Hope you come back from time to time.
Over at the ThoughAGlass site, there are a few pictures taken at the NYC premiere.
The last disc in THE MONKEES Season 2 set has finally arrived, so I'll probably have my overview up in a few days... that'll do it for TV season set watching for awhile - well, at least from Netflix. I've just started on NOWHERE MAN and that might finish up before the month is up.
I mentioned quite awhile back that there appeared to be more film work on the horizon... the date is getting closer for production to start on a feature made at the University of Missouri-Columbia under the aegis of PROJECT: IT (I think that it's actually I.T., but I'm not a stickler) Production is scheduled to start on April 1 and will shoot the entire month, so the updates will more than likely dry up during April... maybe. I start ping-ponging back and forth throughout March for meetings and other business. It'll be directed by Chip Gubera, who did the zombie horror musical/political satire SONG OF THE DEAD.
That means that I'll be finishing up some article for the upcoming issue of Micro-Film, which will have features on C.S.A. and on fellow Kansas filmmaker Steve Balderson, whose FIRECRACKER will be available on DVD in May. So it's going to be a pretty busy Spring..
I also just upgraded my home site with selections from the print zine MIMEZINE and some of my short films (including the recent LENEXA) are now online at the Cheap Bastard Filmworks page. So if you're curious, click on over.
Friday, February 10, 2006
Hopefully, one of these theatres will be near where you live:
2/15 IFC Center / New York / NY
2/24 Screenland/ Kansas City/ MO
2/24 Village Arts / Chicago / IL
2/24 Coolidge Corner / Boston / MA
2/24 Harris / Pittsburgh / PA
2/24 Academy / Pasadena / CA
2/24 Cinema Palme d'Or / Palm Springs / CA
2/24 Roxie / San Francisco / CA
3/03 Nickelodeon / Santa Cruz / CA
3/07 Theatre N at Nemours / Scranton /PA
3/07 Scranton Community Center / Wilmington /DE
3/07 Market Arcade Film & Arts / Buffalo / NY
3/07 Cinema Paradiso / Ft. Lauderdale / FL
3/07 Palm / San Luis Obispo / CA
3/10 Liberty Hall / Lawrence / KS
3/10 Orpheum / Madison / WI
3/10 UICA / Grand Rapids / MI
3/10 Little Rochester / NY
3/10 Loft / Tucson /AZ
3/10 Starz / Denver /CO
3/17 Real Artways / Hartford / CT
3/17 Belcourt / Nashville /TN
3/17 Minor / Arcata /CA
3/30 Art Cinema / Salina / KS
5/02 Cinema 320 / Worchester / MA
Sunday, February 05, 2006
CSA will be opening in KC, MO and Pasdena, CA on Feb. 24th.
Watched OPEN HOUSE, the "real-estate musical" from director/Slamdance founder Dan Mirvish... I'm not normally a fan of musicals, but the off-kilter ones I tend to gravitate to (even to the point of working on one...) I have to say that in this particular case, I liked the concept and the performances (from Sally Kellerman, Kellie Martin, Ann Magnunsun, James Duval and Jerry Doyle) more than I liked the actual songs, which had some clever word-play but suffered from anemic arrangement - but it's definitely worth a look.
How successful is a cross-over from movies to television? Not very, unless you have some involvement with the characters and situations involved, as SERENITY proved in its theatrical release last year. Months of hype and buzz abruptly crashed and burned when it was presented to the general public. Watching it on DVD at home, it was pretty obvious why... if you were a follower of the show, FIREFLY, then SERENITY is a pretty good capper to that program, since you already knew everyone and how they related to one another. Coming into it cold, as a co-worker did to whom I lent SERENITY to - she knew about FIREFLY, but had never seen it - and one is less than amused and entertained.
After all, there has to be some ground retread for the benefit of newcomers to the party, who have no clue of what is going on, but the converse of that is alienating the fan base, who has to sit through boring introductions of characters before getting to the meat of the action. Which leads to the other thing about such projects; they seem to be less cinematically inspired, but rather pumped up 2 hour episodes, with added production value, sex and blood. The list of these abortions is long - most of the STAR TREK films, The X-FILES movie, THE NUDE BOMB (an attempt to resurrect GET SMART)... and for the most part, they're not very profitable, except in the cases of the STAR TREK films... and possibly THE NAKED GUN series.
The one's that do succeed artistically are the ones that are tied to their television predesessors and that attempt to actually do something out of the ordinary - they're not entirely successful as stand-alone films, but in context with the shows they spring from, they're masterpieces - in my view that's David Lynch's TWIN PEAKS - FIRE WALK WITH ME and Bob Rafelson's HEAD.
SERENITY doesn't quite make that short list - it's not an outright failure when in context with the show (and I suspect that if people watch FIREFLY in its entirety, then the movie, SERENITY will be a more satisfying experience), but it doesn't really bring anything new to the table either.
Friday, January 27, 2006
Oprah Winfrey interrogating James Frey
A diet of poultry does wonders for the figure...
Not only the requisite dish of crow that got served up, but judging from the figurative blood & feathers around her mouth, several members of her staff were geeked... if headless bodies start turning up in the Chicago area, you now know why.
Now if only j.t. leroy could be served up... or better yet, the entire Bush Cadre.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Some more CSA news... IFC Films should hopefully be releasing CSA into the larger arthouse markets during Feb. (AKA Black History Month -- it somehow seems a natural fit rather than BIG MOMMA'S HOUSE 2) It's currently scheduled to open Feb 15th at the IFC Center in NYC, no other dates/places are on the schedule as of yet... keep checking the IFC Films site.
If you're near the Topeka area, then you have another opportunity to see the film at Washburn University:
What if the South had won the war? Please join us (and announce to
classes, friends and family) for a screening of Kevin Willmott's
Confederate State of America (a hit at Sundance, and soon to be in general
release). This celebration of Kansas Day will take place on January 27,
2006, 7:00 p.m., Henderson 100. Commentary by Dr. Tom Prasch, History
chair, and Q & A with CSA director Kevin Willmott will follow the film, as
well as refreshments.
Owen Gleiberman called CSA, "Mind-bending! Scandalous, fearless and
hilarious." Kevin Willmott has recreated the USA as though the South has
won the Civil War, all seen through the eyes of a documentary film crew
sent from Great Britain to the Confederate States of America in the late
20th century. What do they find out? Please come and see.
for the Center for Kansas Studies
I've been sick this past weekend, so it's been a good opportunity to catch up on DVD watching, the majority as of late, being dominated by TV season sets: am almost halfway through THE MONKEES Season 2 (for some reason, Netflix has the shows in hubs near the coasts rather than in the midwest, so they're taking the longest to get through); have started the TWILIGHT ZONE, 80's version (which had some outstanding episodes, and the set has some invaluable commentary tracks by Harlan Ellison) - don't confuse it with the misguided version with Forest Whitaker as Rod Serling; and surprisingly, SLEDGE HAMMER!, a show I remember fondly from the 80's, which is much funnier now, knowing a good portion of the films/shows they're parodying... all definitely recommended. After these, I'm taking a break from TV sets for awhile - the latest acquistion is NOWHERE MAN, a well-regarded show from the fledgling beginnings of UPN Network. The set is a staggering 9-disc collection, packed with extras... so it'll be awhile before tackling that monster.
Tried reading Chuck Palahniuk's HAUNTED... despite loving FIGHT CLUB and having read most of his other novels like CHOKE, INVISIBLE MONSTERS and LULLABY, I get the distinct feeling that I'm basically reading the same novel over and over again, just with slightly different characters and situations. It might be too much to call Palahniuk the 'Hanna-Barbara' of alternative lit, but HAUNTED definitely pushed me towards that concept...
Not a lot about films seen in the theater recently, you'll notice... not a lot of the interesting films tend to stick around in Topeka for long, and if it's between driving a half-hour/hour to either Lawrence or KC to see something, or scrounging in the pool of DVD's, it's a no-brainer as to which option I tend to lean towards.
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Going through my mail, I found a message months ago from an acquaintance I met on a shoot a couple of years ago... he teaches at the local university and I stay in touch every so often about local film stuff. He had written me back in October about a friend of his in the area who also writes about film. I made a note to check out the link - then the job on REST E-Z came about and I forgot all about it.
Until today, when I find the message again while looking through my archives. I looked at the site, FilmGuru.Net - which looks to be a fairly competent review/essay site; then I found his blog, Ramblings From the Back Row .
Always nice to find that you're not alone in the area.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
As if attempting to keep up with one blog wasn't enough trouble, for the New Year, I create another blog to possibly neglect... If you look over to the sidebar under the LINKS, you'll see a new addition called MUSIC-SNOB, where all my thoughts about music will go to, for your enjoyment.
Happy New Year
Hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season…
It’s been a busy month, so busy that I couldn’t spare time to write up any account until now – most of it was finishing commitments I’d made earlier, and the rest of it was spending time with relatives and catching up with DVD watching.
Most of that watching has been of TV season sets, which has been the most addictive thing I’ve encountered, so far. They’ve made for a nice diversion when taking breaks from the work I had to do.
I remember seeing Gerry Anderson’s UFO series when it was first syndicated in the States in the early 70’s – I hadn’t seen the show since that time, so I wasn’t quite sure if the show was as good as I remembered it being, or if I was just seduced by the miniature effects and Moonbase chicks in silver suits and purple wigs. Surprisingly, the show holds up very well compared to genre shows of today – there are elements that date the show like the fashions, the attitude towards women (which is interesting – there are women in command positions, but there’s a strong smarmy vibe in how they’re treated, a vibe that’s very common in shows from the 60’s/early 70’s), and the drinking and smoking – but there’s a total commitment to the concept – no hint of smirking irony that seems to be a necessary component of today’s genre shows, and no fear of presenting unsympathetic characters.
Also took a look at the first season of DEADWOOD, when the discs were available at the library – not having HBO at home, means that I catch their shows later than most people, once the hype has passed – DEADWOOD certainly lives up to all the hype about it when it debuted (unlike CARNIVALE, which, though I’m looking forward to seeing the second year, I can see why it didn’t last any longer).
The big watching project for me has been Rhino’s THE MONKEES season sets… I’m finishing up with the first year and looking forward to the second season eps. THE MONKEES hold up extremely well, some 40 years later, and are a hell of a lot funnier than any contemporary sitcom… while some of the writing is too ‘wacky’ (wackiness being big in the 60’s), there’s a genuine sense of fun and anarchy that must have been bracing when audiences saw the first broadcasts… particularly in the musical romps and the unscripted verite interview segments that end some of the episodes. Whatever you may think about The Monkees being a ‘real’ band or not, it can’t be disputed that the foursome quickly proved their chops at handling the comedy.
Amongst all of this, there hasn’t been time to get out to the theaters to see stuff, but to be honest, there’s not a lot out this season that’s pulling me out to the theaters – well, to the first run theaters, except for GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, which lasted a whole week at the local cineplex before making way for KING KONG – more interesting things are in the second run theatres like WALLACE AND GROMIT, THE WEATHER MAN, so I’ll hit those before they get to disc hopefully – having seen 2 other versions of NARNIA (animated and BBC), I don’t feel the need to see the LOTR version, and frankly, a 3-hour KONG doesn’t really interest me… methinks the smell of hubris is in the air for Team Jackson, and I hope they take the hint. Fortunately, I’ve been able to sneak in better movies in between all the television viewing, like NIGHTMARE ALLEY, POINT BLANK, THE CORPORATION.
Part of what took a lot of time was finishing up the paperwork for REST E-Z; now that it’s finished, I have another project coming up in a few months – currently reading the script for it now and more about it to come… what I can say is that it’s a genre film and it’s being made by people that I’ve worked with before, so I’ve got a great feeling about it.