Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009 - "Run Bitch, Run"

Of course I was going to do an end of year posting... after being busy w/other things the past couple of weeks, too busy to comment upon.

Rather than bitch about how the past year went down -- EVERY year seems to have its share of good and bad, though some years are definitely better than others - the thing to do is hope that the coming year is better, and put some thought into what I need to do to make it better.

But isn't that what we ALL say - then reality and sloth sets in, and we head down the same paths?

Expect a bit more posting and content here in the coming year... and a bit more focused effort in some endevours, which will hopefully pay off in some fashion.

2010, in addition to being 'the year we make contact' - will start out much like the title of this upcoming film:

Run! Bitch Run! Trailer from Robert Hayes on Vimeo.

Consider us all duly warned.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Ken Russell's DANCE OF THE SEVEN VEILS -- unveiled at last!

Times are mighty good, if you're a film fan. Sure, mainstream stuff in theaters is mainly bullshit, and you don't see most fringe and/or arthouse films unless you're lucky enough to have an arthouse theater or two in your area... but most of that is easily surmountable if you happen to have a computer in your home, a broadband connection, and the will to try new things.

There are things one never even dreamed of ever seeing being exposed to the light of day, for those bold enough to take initiative.

This week, someone uploaded Ken Russell's missing film to YouTube, which counts as one of the unknown historical events of cinema, for those that notice such things. Notable because the film has been suppressed by the Richard Strauss family since its broadcast on British television in the late 60's - it was intended to be included in the KEN RUSSELL AT THE BBC box set, but was pulled, not unexpectedly, at the last moment. It's an important part of Russell's history, the missing link between his early work for the BBC, and his later, in your face imagery of THE MUSIC LOVERS, THE DEVILS, and LIZSTOMANIA. The Strauss family took some issue, and effectively barred the film from any public screening until at least 2020.

Until now.

Some brave soul uploaded the program to YouTube - the print was not in the best of shape (which brings concerns that someone should look into the BBC's archives), but it's watchable - at least until someone brings it to somebody's attention and it gets pulled.

So, get it while it lasts... and witness your little bit of cinema history.

Friday, October 23, 2009

More vidia obscura for your Halloween pleasure...

Messiah of Evil is what's been called an 'unknown gem' from the early 70's, made by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz (friends of George Lucas who wrote AMERICAN GRAFFITI, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM and dialog punch up for STAR WARS -- more widely known as the team responsible for HOWARD THE DUCK). This gets released next week in a deluxe DVD package, but I found a barebones copy and decided to see if it lived up to the hype.

It's not totally bad - it's sort of a Lovecraftian story without anything to do with Lovecraft per se; but it's just hampered by some really bad decision making, such as the song sung over the main and end titles - has nothing to do with the film whatsoever, but if you weren't scared by a totally unnecessary murder as the movie starts (to show that it's a HORROR MOVIE), you'll be scared before the song is over.

A very convoluted story which involves a daughter searching for her missing artist father, who leaves behind a journal recounting sinister doings in the town, and some very strange townspeople who are zombies awaiting the titular 'Messiah', who apparently is a preacher from the late 1800's who's a survivor of The Donner Party, and pledges to spread his religion before walking into the sea, vowing to return in 100 years.

Uh... yeah. Logic is not the strong point of a good many horror movies, but this is pretty batshit on its own terms.

The movie works best when it attempts to create this sort of unreal reality, and there are plenty of surreal touches: the house and artwork of the artist/father; a really menacing albino who likes Wagner and chewing on rats; tears of blood, and a doomed man covered in paint... there are two really good setpieces that the movie is known for.

First, a sequence in a supermarket...

And the movie theater scene.

I suspect that the movie would be better had it been done by people who truly understood surrealism - or if they'd hired a European director. At least they're ditching the song in that DVD release. Worthwhile for a chill, or if you're an Argento fan and don't have access to any Argento.

SHADOW FALLS was a webseries on The Horror Channel a few years back... I vaguely knew the people involved with this, essentially two people, Kendall Sinn (writer) and Sally Cummings [now Sinn] (producer), but never had any idea of what the show was supposed to be.
Finally, I found the dvd on Netflix and got to see for myself.

Not bad.

Shadow Falls is a series of 8 short films that portray very strange events happening involving the titular town, which apparently died out in the mid-1980's... or something. It's a mystery.
Watching it brought back memories of watching TWIN PEAKS, except that Shadow Falls doesn't have that Lynch quirkiness -- it does have it's own mood and atmosphere, sort of like SILENT HILL.

It also was a bit like watching LOST - the 8 films are basically backstory and set-up for what's to come... and while some will find this intriguing, others may find it extremely frustrating to have no minor payoff at the end of the cycle. Others will also be frustrated at the method of storytelling, which is non-linear and oblique for the most part, while some will see it as a breath of some needed fresh air.

This queued up at just the right time -- The Horror Channel may be in limbo, but the show isn't; it will be resolved in a feature, SHADOW FALLS MEMORIAL that has its premiere in Kansas City on October 30.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Halloween Lead-in

Every year at this time, most bloggers with a heavy interest in either horror, or film, or both, usually do a countdown of favorite movies for the season... I'm not immune to that, but I tend to be lazy in either watching the films or writing about them. It's a heavy commitment to devote that much time to movie watching; try to balance 2 tv series, current discs for a review column, plus catching up on backlog -- no wonder most critics are weird.

Plus, I tend to not go for a lot of the tried and true -- I will bust out the original TCM; but there's only so many times one can watch HALLOWEEN or EVIL DEAD and really find something fresh; I may watch THE EXORCIST, but I don't pull that out on a regular basis... plus, it's NOT "The Version You've Never Seen", but the Theatrical Version (which I've never really seen - and with the good Friedkin commentary). I tend to go for the obscure and little known, because I tend to find some gems there... there's the just-out-on DVD TRICK 'R TREAT; I SELL THE DEAD and a nice little gem called THE BURROWERS that I found on Netflix, a horror-western that should find a wider audience; and ANTICHRIST, which kinda fits the bill under Weird Horror.

Because a lot of this stuff is so obscure, it's hard to make a recommendation to see it, when you can't even FIND it... even more frustrating is wanting to recommend things that don't exist on DVD. Like this -

If you'd seen this some 15 -18 years ago (as I did - in the Theater! - and other fans of obscurity also writing on the Net), you'd be wondering why the hell there is no legit DVD of this yet.... I mean, James Earl Jones and Brad Dourif --- plus, it's actually a pretty good film. If you don't catch the pun in the title, you're not gonna get this at all. When a travelling clerk and a bounty hunter share a camp overnight and pass the time swapping the aforementioned tales, you know that things are gonna get just a tad... well, grim. Not a lot of gore, but there doesn't need to be.
The humor is pitch black and the acting is way above average than what you would expect.
You'd probably like it... IF you could even find it, that is. Only on VHS and maybe laserdisc -- as good as this was, it was the director's only feature film. And even MORE obscure than this, is a supposed sequel, also with Dourif, but made by others called GRIM PRAIRIE TALES II: RESCUE PARTY, of which there's no info on, other than it was made in the late 1990's

And even more obscure than that is EYES OF FIRE:

Made in the 80's, some may remember this popping up on video shelves in the late 80's - essentially a ghost story set in the late 1700's, when the country was just being settled by Europeans, involving an exiled minister and his followers who unknowingly decide to settle in a area where even the local natives avoid -- and we all know what that means...
EYES OF FIRE is atmospheric - translate that into slow-moving. But hell, it's not supposed to be POLTERGEIST - when was the last time you saw a horror film set in the 1700's that didn't feature Vincent Price and/or Christopher Lee? This was also shot in Missouri, which was surprising... and despite the 'atmospheric' quality, it has quite a few jumps that were very nasty to endure, watching this late at night by myself... again, something that's a nice change from the usual - IF, you can find it, of course. This did get a DVD release, but only overseas, it seems.

Consider the above, "public service"...

I'll try to find a few more gems before the month is up; but a very good Halloween countdown is a tv series: ROD SERLING'S NIGHT GALLERY.

One of the most unsettling title sequences ever on television... it announced that they meant to scare the shit out of you - and even though it looks pretty quaint today, they mainly succeeded.

NIGHT GALLERY is usually thought of being a failed TWILIGHT ZONE, which does both shows a disservice -- TZ did occasionally skirt into horror, but was more concerned with social commentary under the guise of science-fiction and fantasy; and although Serling did have plans for GALLERY to follow the same path, he didn't have full control of the show - the producer was Jack Laird, and the show is as much his as Serling's.

2 years of the show have been released to DVD, but to start out, you'll want to get the second season - that's the one with most of the shows that people remember... the Lovecraft adaptations ("Pickman's Model" and "Cool Air"), "The Caterpillar", "Green Fingers", and a lot more. It's also the show that had the "funny" little skits... which have their own "charm", I suppose. But, some 35-4o years later, you realize that they were among the first that set the stage for 'horror-comedy'; and NG was probably the last, great anthology show that managed to last longer than 2 years, and was a big influence on a lot of people working today.

Both seasons are available on DVD; the third year hasn't been released yet (but it was the weakest year) - you can also watch episodes on YouTube.

One does need to cleanse the palate after an intense lineup, so I chose to finally watch a British picture I've heard about for some time, but never had an opportunity to see until now - PSYCHOMANIA - available on Netflix, and other places.

What is it? Let the following clip enlighten you:

Saturday, September 26, 2009

ANTICHRIST or PUNK'D AGAIN with Lars Von Trier

So I finally get to see this, after a couple of months of various discussion amongst critics and bloggers... scheduled to open in the U.S. in late October by IFC Films, and possibly shorn of its more outrageous imagery made me take matters into hand - not to mention that it might not make it anywhere near me that doesn't entail an hour's drive.
Let's just say that if you want to see this in the version that the Cannes audience saw, and not wait several months for discs to arrive in stores, opportunity is knocking.

First of all, it's not quite as lurid as the reviews have made it sound, although there's strong stuff here. Second, this is the most exciting thing in the world of film in ages... for some reason, only European directors seem to be able to deliver the goods (only Werner Herzog has stepped up and done TWO films to get people buzzed about film again); David Lynch was about the only recent American director to generate buzz this big.

ANTICHRIST is basically a combination of a Strindberg play with the aesthetics of Bergman and 'torture porn', whipped into frenzy with that touch of Von Trier (equal parts of wonder and contempt). I don't think that he's joking; but I do think that he did have some fun tweaking some of the conventions of the horror film -- and still making it way more disturbing than any recent 'straight horror' film.

Von Trier has trucked with horror before - if you've seen THE KINGDOM, then you know what he's capable of (and that was a miniseries for TV); and I'd even say that his second feature, EPIDEMIC, also fall under that heading (think of ADAPTATION done as a horror film). In both those instances, the horror coexists with a somewhat self-aware attitude - sort of 'What can I get away with?', prime example being the end of THE KINGDOM.

In ANTICHRIST, these moments are littered throughout the film, starting with the title and the opening prologue. But the big moment occurs roughly about an hour into the film, and one's reaction to it is the litmus test. At that point, you either ride it out to the end, or you abandon all hope, ye who have entered, to paraphrase a bit.

To call it 'horror' is rather unfair - it certainly doesn't fit comfortably within the confines of what most consider a horror film, though it does use the tropes of horror pretty well, and does manage to subvert several of them with a smirk (such as Willem Defoe being the Final Girl figure, as well as a whiff of his Jesus from LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST.) It's 'art-horror' which puts it in the same class as another Cannes shocker from earlier, Andrzej Zulawski's POSSESSION.

Get out to see this when you can (or seize on that opportunity knocking). You may like it or absolutely hate it... you won't be bored either way.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

More Ferguson Madness

Obviously, I've got nothing to rant about for the moment - so I'll just share more of the best late night tv show that you're probably not watching:


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dog Days of August

Back from the blur of a busy summer...

Another feature down - well, mostly. There's still some more work to be done involving floor (physical) effects that's about another 2 weeks of shooting, but 80 - 85% is 'in the can'. And it was one of the best production experiences that I've had as of late. Now that it's over, it's time to troll around again for more of the same. In this economic climate... oh, to be an Iowan, or at least have some contacts there -- Iowa as of late is practically crawling with film work, with companies taking advantage of those tax breaks. Some friends are currently at work on the first of 4 horror films shooting up in Iowa... the movie is called HUSK. I wonder if there's a sequel to be called SHUCK.

I have taken up a form of the 'work from home' type of job -- since I do like to type things of this nature, I should find some way for it to make some coin. So, as of this week, I am a writer for; specifically, the 'Topeka DVD Examiner', where I'll be doing DVD reviews, with some emphasis on things that have been shot in the area... and as much film related area news that I can get away with -- which may mean I'll become the Topeka Film Examiner at some point. The more people come to the site, the more money I make, as these things go. I do promise to make it worth the effort.

I suppose I should be all excited about the new Tarantino film and the AVATAR trailer -- I don't give a shit about either -- Tarantino, I gave up on some time ago, and as to AVATAR, nothing that's been revealed is anything to go nuts about. And having learned that Disney is getting ready to remake YELLOW SUBMARINE in that same shitty motion capture that Bob Zemekis (sic, I know) has been fooling around with for the past decade or so -- there's very little reason to get excited about anything coming out of the studios. If it's not a remake, or based on a toy of some kind, no one apparently knows how to sell that type of a film anymore. It either sits on a shelf for years, or it gets released on home video with little to no fanfare.
If you're lucky, it may even play in a theater near you for a week.

I love what I do, but from all evidence, there's no money to be made in making quality films.
That's just a lesson I'm having a big problem learning, I guess.

Enough whining... here's some on-set hijinks for you to enjoy!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Jackson Five - Can You Feel It

What Jackson Heaven must look like...

Production blubs - AU PAIR, KS & NAILBITER

J.T. O'Neal, writer/director of AU PAIR, KS was kind enough to pass this on - an assembly of the opening credits of the film. This isn't likely the final version, but it's a taste of what's coming down the pike.

Work begins on another project very soon -- as always, there's not much that I'll be able to say while it's in production. I can say that this is the long awaited NAILBITER, Patrick Rea's new feature. You can check out Patrick's site SenoReality Pictures, for official word about the film... there's a very enigmatic trailer up that offers up a hint of what to expect.

Have a happy 4th!

Friday, June 26, 2009

In God We Tru$t

In light of the recent death of pop culture icons, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, it seems wise to spend some time thinking of spiritual matters -- even though there was no personal connection/relation to any of these people, it seemed like they were a huge part of ones life... and it's pretty devastating that they've passed on from this mortal Earth... it's WORSE than an actual family member or friend dying... After all, they were Famous.

So, for solace, I turn to the right Reverend Andy Kaufman, or Armageddon T. Thunderbird, as his character is called in a practically unknown comedy called IN GOD WE TRU$T, British comedian Marty Feldman's second film as actor/director. No one saw it when it came out in 1980 - until it was run and rerun on cable. And you can't find it on DVD, at least in this country.

Listen to The Word, Brothers and Sisters!

Words to provide comfort... even for Gov. Sanford in his hour of need.
Truly Inspirational!

I think that the Republicans have their slogan for 2012, finally.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Killing Michael Bay

Still relevant after all these years...
(YouTube edit for language and time - but STILL funny as Hell!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


If you keep up with film blogs on the Net, then you've heard of this.... for those of you who haven't, it all started months ago when a trailer went up...

... and those who saw it promptly went, What the F***?

Then it was announced that it was going into release - into only 4 theaters around the country on June 6... and slowly, reviews started to trickle out, a Facebook page started attracting the curious, even an interview with the director, 'Mark Region', was published - and after all of that, it's STILL not very clear whether or not the film is the product of ineptitude, or a shrewd prank helped along by the Internet.

The only way to tell for sure is to see the film and judge for yourself, which by only screening in 4 theaters sort of takes that option off of the table. I do have an opinion, formed by all the evidence gathered - from the trailer, the website, the poster artwork and all of the other stuff, which accomplishes the rare achievement of not really telling you anything - and now this item regarding the release prints, that this is probably the best deadpan film prank since the news item a few years ago that Orson Welles was working on a "Batman" movie in the 1940's.

I'd still be curious to see it - though I suspect it to be a prank, I think that there is a serious intent behind it. I'm very surprised that no one has brought up BE KIND, REWIND yet.

and an example NOT connected to the film, but inspired by it:

It also brought to mind the kids who spent years making their own version of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, which was a cute story and made everyone feel quite warm and fuzzy for a couple of minutes. But those were kids, farting around with a camcorder and remaking something that they'd already seen -- plus, kids, (and most people) don't have millions of dollars laying around for 'production value', which is something that a lot is invested in... after all, most of the reason given for escalating costs of production, is being able to get that 'value' onscreen. Indie films really have to make the most of 'production value' since the name of the game is to Never Let Them See You Sweat. So it's somewhat offensive if things look shoddy, or aren't up to snuff.

But there are ALWAYS exceptions.

Zachary Oberzan did a one man show based on FIRST BLOOD, then he shot FIRST BLOOD in his apartment, by himself, for the cost of $96. One qualifier - his adaptation is based on the characterization of John Rambo from David Morrell's novel, rather than any attempt to imitate Stallone.

I think it begs the question that if one can accept this aesthetic when imitating something that one has already seen, why is it resisted when someone uses that aesthetic to do 'original' work, or work that isn't based on spectacle?

I'll be curious to see if AFTER LAST SEASON makes it into any other theaters, or at least some sort of DVD release. Probably the best venue would be as a traveling art installation.

Friday, June 12, 2009

THE BIBLE AND GUN CLUB AKA Sarah Palin's favorite documentary

The following two YouTube clips are from a 1996 indie film called THE BIBLE AND GUN CLUB. It's pretty much only been seen at festivals in this country and on television overseas. Search it out - it's hard to find, but worth it.

If you want an idea of the mindset of Sarah Palin and her ilk, and the people that they're reaching for (such as the asshole who intended a bloodbath at the Holocaust Museum in D.C.), this should give you a good idea.

Remember - Satire is only history that hasn't occurred yet.

Friday, June 05, 2009


Take a look at this clip from YouTube:

If you're going, "WTF?!", settle in and watch all 8 segments. You won't be sorry.
Chances are you've never even heard of this film... or, if you're one of the obsessive few who remember some press about this in the early 80's, you haven't seen it.

This is one of the great 'lost' films of the 80's, particularly strange since it is a Lucasfilm Production; one of those projects that Lucas wanted to champion -- well, so much for that.
The history of the film has been detailed in print, and has been touched upon in the blog world and websites; what it boils down to is that what was envisioned by some to be a family film got made into something a bit edgier -- and being neither fish or fowl, the film fell between the cracks, with those being lucky enough to see it left to wonder if it really existed.

I got to catch one 'clandestine' screening at the UCSF campus in the early 1990's - had no idea that it had been broadcast on HBO several times before being pulled. And now, thanks to YouTube, this is the version you're now able to see.

Although it seems that this would be perfect DVD fodder - most of the people involved in the production have gone on to bigger things, like Henry Selick and David Fincher; most of the humor would be better received - it's sort of like the twisted progeny of Jay Ward, and its opening scene has been homaged by Tim Burton in BATMAN RETURNS; and most of all, it's produced by GEORGE LUCAS. But that's not a guarantee of anything - though it deserves a better presentation, this may be the main way people finally discover this film.

Another lost animation classic also up on the 'Tube is THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER, in a 'Recobbled' Cut. The legendary project by animator Richard Williams, it was years in production and finally taken away from him and finished up in an inferior version called ARABIAN KNIGHTS in the 90's. The Recobbled Cut is a fan-made project, which attempts to present the film as close to Williams' intent as possible, including pencil tests of unfinished sequences and original voice tracks. Obsessives kept this alive via websites and blogs; it's worth an hour and a half of your time to watch -- and then wonder how Disney never gets sued over films like, say ALADDIN.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Vault Viewing: 99 and 44/100% Dead (with a small digression, at first)

So I finally watched THE DARK KNIGHT -- OK, it did live up to the Bat-hype, though I strangely have no desire to see another Batman movie. Ledger would've been nominated for the Oscar if he hadn't croaked... not sure if he actually would have won it. Possibly, but dying certainly bagged it, so to speak.

I'm still not sold on the Batman voice... it just got to be annoying.

Hats off to Chris Nolan, who certainly raised the bar on this incarnation of the Bat... but it's somewhat sad too. Remember when he did other movies other than Batman flicks? You can guarantee that'll be the kickoff on the obituary - "BATMAN director..."

Really sad to think that'll be in Michael Caine's obit too. "In addition to playing 'Alfred' in BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT, Caine also had roles in ALFIE and GET CARTER back in the mid to late 60's..."


Not that this post is about Michael Caine, but he is a part of it, somewhat indirectly. What this IS about is the usual geek post about films that not very many people know about, but should. 99 & 44/100% Dead is certainly a mouthful of a title for a film... that it's very little known nowadays is a shame, since it's directed by John Frankenheimer and stars Richard Harris. It pops up on the Fox Movie Channel from time to time, as well as other sources. It's little known because it comes under that rare classification of films known as 'weird shit'... so I HAD to find it.

It appears to be a crime film... Richard Harris playing a hired gun named Harry Crown who's called in to back up a crime lord in a war against another rival crime lord. That sounds straightforward enough, but there's something that's just not... quite right.

First off, there's the ad campaign:

And there's the look of Harris:

Remind you of anyone?

(see... I told you!)

A somewhat tongue-in-cheek title, and a character definitely referencing a pop culture hero... this is not your dad's Mafia film. In fact, this plays very much like this could've been made within the last decade or so. Lots of matter-of-fact violence, odd touches like the city it takes place in not being very identifiable or having lots of background crowds; alligators in the sewers, pithy dialog, and strange characters, which in this case is Chuck Connors playing a rival gun, "Claw" Zuckerman. Guess how he got the nickname?

The opening title sequence and set-piece set the tone, as well as a funky score by Henry Mancini

It all may seem old hat nowadays, but in 1974 it was pretty out there. Strangely enough, this was the second such animal in Mafia crime films.

PRIME CUT, directed by Michael Ritchie was another 'weird' film done maybe a couple of years earlier than "99 & 44/100%". In a way, it's almost kind of the same story -- not surprising since both were written by the same man, Robert Dillon and had the same producer, Joe Wizan.

There are some similarities - both have as their 'hero' a legendary figure called in for a favor - in PRIME's case, it's Lee Marvin called in to collect money owed by Kansas crime boss Gene Hackman, who has a bad habit of getting rid of said collectors by turning them into sausages!

The main difference is tone - Frankenheimer stages action better than Ritchie does, but Ritchie has a better satirical eye, and nails the tone a bit better than Frankenheimer manages to do.

PRIME CUT is available on DVD. 99 & 44/100% is not as of yet.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Truth be told, all this TREK hatin' can take a lot out of you. After a lot of truthful smack talk, one needs to cleanse the palate... sample something that one has no illusions about, and that truly delivers on its promises.

Giant shark chomping the Golden Gate Bridge!?
And jumping out of the water to attack planes!!??
Giant octopus smacking planes out of the sky with its tentacles!!!???

Fuck STAR TREK... now THIS is a Summer Movie.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Douchebag Cinema

An epiphany in the midst of all this STAR TREK hate I have and lemmings insisting it's the greatest thing since Jesus did the Sermon on the Mount...

actually, it's more related to the popularity of the work of J.J. Abrams, whose work I've been less and less enamored with as it grows to public popularity. I think the key to that popularity is down to one word: DOUCHEBAG.

Follow closely...

Abram's first major work is the screenplay for TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS, an alleged comedy with Jim Belushi as a douchebag who steals the Filofax of another douchebag played by Charles Grodin, and assumes his identity. Hijinks abound.
His next script is for a Mike Nichols film starring Harrison Ford (!) called REGARDING HENRY. The story of a major douchebag who gets shot in the head and learns not to be a douchebag anymore -- it sucked. Badly.

FOREVER YOUNG - Mel Gibson as a douchebag who participates in an experiment and is frozen until he's unfrozen by a couple of kids; GONE FISHIN', another alleged comedy with Joe Pesci and Danny Glover (hot off the LETHAL WEAPON films) as two douchebag friends from the city who take a fishing trip.
This culminates into being co-writer for ARMAGEDDON, where the entire world is saved by douchebag Bruce Willis and his douchebag crew of roughnecks.

Then Abrams jumps to television. He creates FELICITY, about a female douchebag who gradually learns she's not entitled to anything, with a whole bevy of douchebag friends; and ALIAS, a riff off of the spy craze of the 60's where master spy Jennifer Garner learns that instead of being a U.S. spy, she's a spy for a douchebag agency, and she learns that her family, friends and co-workers are douchebags fighting other douchebags - that fucks with her head! Monster success for both shows, which leads to his touch with LOST, a show full of douchebags attempting to find out... well, who knows what. With LOST, not only are the characters all douchebags, the show itself does douchy things to its audience, who of course, just LOVE it.

Abrams works with master douchebag Tom Cruise on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3 and not even the presence of Philip Seymour Hoffman can overcome the douchiness; the new show FRINGE is basically X-FILES with douchebags... and now Abrams brings the douchy touch to STAR TREK, where almost everyone is a douchebag - even Old Spock.

In the midst of all this douchiness, WHY does it work is the question? Why is it so popular?

Because the audience is mainly douchebags. Sad to say.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Bitter Old Man or "Get off my starship, you damn kids!"

As you can guess, I'm not part of the hordes of moviegoers and critics who are practically fellating STAR TREK and J.J. Abrams. The reviews are favorable and everyone seems to confirm that the franchise is back...

Truth is, the last TREK movie that I was interested in was UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY. The last TREK spin-off that I liked was DS9. I'm lukewarm on NG TREK, actively despise VOYAGER and ENTERPRISE. I have plenty of TREK to choose from, thank you, and I tend to like the Original Recipe.

What I've seen of STAR TREK: THE PEPSI GENERATION, I'm not impressed with. "The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades - 'Cause Of The Lens Flares." It seems to be a case of 'CLOVERFIELD Syndrome' - everybody loves the initial rush, but in 5 years or so looking back, everyone will be embarrassed that they actually thought it was good.

This isn't limited to TREK, or a case of "raping my childhood" -- I really have lost my taste for the megabudget, big event films that should make my life more complete. Bat-Hype totally killed any interest I had in going to THE DARK KNIGHT, and indifference to comic adaptations was my excuse for IRON MAN, WATCHMEN, WOLVERINE... and not being a real big fan of Abrams made the TREK announcement a non event for me.

Most of these are really great thrill rides - a couple may actually be really good films. But in-between these two poles is a lot of mediocre style that people mistake for good filmmaking.
I don't really have the need anymore to rush out to watch mediocre films. "Lemming-cinema", as I'll start calling it from now on.

At best, Pepsi Gen TREK is a cheap matinee, or a wait for the DVD. I hope to be surprised that it's a good movie...

I just really hate the thought of wearing sunglasses inside while I'm watching it.

Update: Best one line review of Pepsi Gen TREK from the A.V. Club comments. And yes, it's offensive.

8 May 2009 | 1:03 PM CDT hatin

JJ Abrams' Star Trek = reacharound

Courteous, yes. But you're still getting fucked in the ass.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Coming back from the screening of LAST BREATH in KC, MO I encountered this -- now THIS is scary!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


When I posted news of SOTD's acquisition by Monogram Releasing, I had no idea it would be so soon - like May 1 soon! But an even bigger surprise was finding out about another film out even sooner; like THIS FRIDAY!!

In theaters April 24

Courtesy of B-Movie Nation, read a review of MMVSAM, and for a crash course in "ProducerSpeak"... what's that smell? - an interview with the Producer. Also, read an interview with Chip Gubera about SOTD.

Both movies will be digitally released - the theaters listed are in the South and Midwest... maybe there'll be other regions listed soon. Both should see their DVD releases later in the year.

I'd be happier to also see news about ACADEMY OF DOOM!, but I know there's tons of lucha fans who will be happy to see this... and good to see SOTD get some exposure in this country.

UPDATE: ACADEMY OF DOOM! is scheduled for release on June 19. So all 3 should be out on DVD by the Fall.

In theaters May 1

Theater listings:

Nova at Sabal Palms
2539 South Federal Highway
Fort Pierce, Florida 34982

Nova Georgia
340 Tanger Drive
Commerce, Georgia 30529

Studio 10 Cinemas
1624 E. State Highway 44
Shelbyville, Indiana 46176
Movieline: 398-FLIX(3549)

Georgetown 14 Cinemas
3898 Lafayette Road
Indianapolis, Indiana 46254
phone: (317) 291-3456

Nova 10
4353 Merle Hay Road
Des Moines, Iowa 50310

Movie Palace Cinemas
1231 Woodland Drive
Elizabethtown, Kentucky 42701
phone: (270) 769-1505

Dixie Dozen Cinemas
6801 Dixie Highway
Louisville, Kentucky 40258
phone: (502) 935-3771

Theatres of Georgetown
401 Outlet Center Drive
Georgetown, Kentucky 40324

Branson Meadows Theatres
4740 Gretna Road
Branson, Missouri 65616
Branson Meadows Outlet Mall
Phone: 417-332-0464
Movie Hotline: 417-332-2884

The Amp Oxford Mississippi
206 Commonwealth Boulevard
Oxford, Mississippi 38655
Movie Hotline: 662-236-4080

Portsmouth Cinemas
1623 Chillicothe Street
Portsmouth, Ohio 45662
Movieline: 355-FILM(3456)

Lake Geneva 4
244 Broad Street
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin 53147

Friday, April 17, 2009


Because there's no such thing as bad publicity...

My behind the scenes pics from THE ONLY GOOD INDIAN;

'Up To Date' with Steve Kraske on KCUR interviews Kevin Willmott about TOGI, and has info about KC Filmfest; and an additional interview with Kevin on 'KC Currents' from late March of this year. It's about 12 minutes - it starts at 10'18" in and ends at about 22'14";

My behind the scenes pics from RHUBARB PIE;

and an article about the short appears in the current Urban Times paper - pg. 4 in the .pdf file.

I had thought that there would be no more SOTD news, since the producers started selling DVD's & soundtrack CD's directly & through -- but, surprise of surprises, this showed up today:

Song of the Dead Gets Distribution Deal and “We Got Distribution” Celebration

Chip Gubera and Bob Swope, the producers of the zombie-musical Song of the Dead, just signed a distribution deal with Monogram Releasing ( US Theatrical rights) and Echelon Studios (World theatrical, DVD, and VOD rights). Monogram will release Song of the Dead to several screens in the Midwest this summer through digital cinema technologies. Echelon will release the DVD to the US later this fall. No dates currently set for worldwide releases.

The “We Got Distribution” celebration in honor of the deals will be at Eastside Tavern in Columbia, Mo, May 1st 2009. Gubera’s band The Unfashionables, who performed the score for Song of the Dead, will be playing. Several of the original cast members will be performing songs that they sing in the film with the band. The celebration is free and open to the public.


LAST BREATH Logrolling

In light of its premiere at KC FILMFEST next Saturday, here's a ton of stuff related to the film. For a synopsis and info about the film, check out the website, which has a trailer.

Here's a behind the scenes featurette:

and for more wacky behind-the-scenes action, check out 'The Joys of Lo-Budget Filmmaking' series.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

Here's my collection of pics from the set of LAST BREATH.

Watch 'em, enjoy 'em, and come stoked for the premiere!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

KC Filmfest 2009

It used to be known as the Kansas City Filmmakers Jubilee... apparently they have combined forces with another local festival. The emphasis is on local work, or work that has local ties.

For the past few years, it's usually been that I've been unable to make the festival due to working on some production scheduled at the same time. This year, there's incentive to attend, like the productions that I worked on:

So, this is a big event for me... usually there's only one project that gets screened, but it's a rare occurrence to see several all at once. In some instances, festival screenings may be the only exhibition that the work gets -- it's happened on a few films that I've been on. As I've stated before; you go onto a film hoping to get paid, but in indie film, even if you get paid, it's not a lot... I like to be able to see the finished product, and if you're lucky, it turns out to be good or better than you expect.

So, hit the KC FILMFEST if you have the chance. It kicks off next Wednesday - I'll of course have plenty to say about the films after I see them... maybe I won't piss off too many people.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Well, into April, and that *meh* feeling is still around...

Nothing much to say of any topical interest - KC Filmfest is soon, and with 3 projects getting their area premiere, there'll be much to say about those - but that's in about 2-3 weeks.

My overall mood is pretty much captured by Jon Wayne (not the actor - but the singer):

Texas Funeral

Mr. Egyptian

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Into the third month of 2009, and so far it's been... *meh*.

Last weekend was The Oscars, and that was completely *meh* - no surprises there, except for Sean Penn winning the award over favorited Comeback Kid, Mickey Rourke...
I don't hate The Oscars, but I don't get as worked up about them as I used to -- going through the collection of movies that I keep (and you can do this as well - this is the Home Game), I find a lot of good movies, a few Great ones, and stuff that doesn't bore me...

What I DON'T find is a lot of Oscar winners... Oscar sort of loses it's glamor when attached to names such as Marisa Tomei, Helen Hunt, Danny Boyle... well, you get the idea.

That doesn't prevent me from adding this, however...

Another *meh* event is the opening of WATCHMEN this weekend, which is sort of like the Second Coming for Geeks if you've been following the hype for the past year or so.
It'll make a ton of money in the first weekend, then taper off -- then will make another pile of money when the DVDs are released, "Director's Cut(s)", Special Edition(s), and THE COMPLEAT WATCHMEN by Christmastime, including THE BLACK FREIGHTER, all deleted scenes and outtakes.
My bet - it'll hopefully be no worse than V FOR VENDETTA was, which also bent over backwards to duplicate the look of the comic, and took liberties with adapting the material.
I still don't think that it qualifies Zack Snyder as a "visionary".
Personally, I would think that an HBO show would've been preferable, but no way was HBO going to shell out $150 million + to do that -- I think that it would've been a decent way to handle the adaptation, but who really cares about THAT?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Memories of a Winter's Day...

... it takes me back to about a month ago, while shooting AU PAIR, KS and the first big snow that we suspected we'd get, but were hoping we wouldn't.

Ahh, memories...
More TOGI articles/reviews... plus a mention of STINGRAY SAM and the KCK Film Festival 1/31.

Now that the Sundance Film Festival is over, the reviews and press are starting to trickle out, now that there's time to write stuff instead of having to get to screenings and parties and schmoozing, apparently.

On YouTube, a nice segment featuring Kevin and DP Matt Jacobson, prior to the festival:

Robert Butler, of the KANSAS CITY STAR has an interview w/Kevin as the festivities die down; another interview can be found at, and at ...

NEWSPAPER ROCK, a blog featuring news and commentary on Native American culture featured a segment from an online show 'On Native Ground' that interviewed several cast members (Winter Fox Frank, Thirza Defoe & Wes Studi) and KevinLink at Sundance... and looking further on YouTube, there are more segments of 'On Native Ground' with Winter Fox Frank and Delana Studi.

Also on YouTube (see a pattern forming here?), is a nice exchange with Kevin and director Tze Chun talking about their films at Sundance.

PBS also gives TOGI a mention on their Newshour blog, along with two other films that they highly regarded.

As to the reviews... more lukewarm reviews at CinemaStrikesBack and the Onion AV Club, along the lines of the previous Hollywood Reporter review linked in the previous post; but there is a rave review at, and Variety also showers praise on the film.
So more to come, as soon as news comes in. It does appear that TOGI has a spot in festivals overseas (it has a spot at the Berlin International Film Festival), and it does appear that foreign distributors may be interested.

The other film I was interested in at Sundance (other than BLACK DYNAMITE - Sony scooped that up, so that will be in theaters at some point) is Cory McAbee's new project STINGRAY SAM. has a short review up (as well as a review of another KC film, STAY THE SAME, NEVER CHANGE) -- and MustangDaily has an article about McAbee and the new ep's from the band, formerly The Billy Nayer Show, now American Astronaut.

According to the Butler article, The KCK Film Festival is an event on Saturday, Jan. 31st that will feature several short films from local filmmakers (Lisa Marie Evans is one of the filmmakers exhibiting work), along with a screening of BUNKER HILL. So if you haven't seen it yet, grab a friend and check it out.

The event is from 2pm - 5pm at the YWCA, 1017 N. 6th St. (6th & Minnesota), Kansas City, KS.
A donation of $5 is requested.

Friday, January 16, 2009

T.O.G.I Countdown

In roughly two hours (from when I'm writing this), TOGI will make its premiere at Sundance.
The Huffington Post and SproutBlog already has some articles up... and if you're free on the 25th, you can even get some tickets.

I'll post some of the first reviews when they start to come in.

ADDENDUM 1/22/09:
Well, not as much news as I'd hoped for - not necessarily a bad thing...
Indiewire had an interview with Kevin Willmott prior to the screening - and for a more personal view of Sundance, check out Making The Movie - John didn't work on TOGI, but he's a BUNKER HILL alumnus.

So far the only review that I've been able to find is this one - and it's lukewarm, at best.
Comments left by people who've seen the film are decidedly not.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy 2009!

OK, so I'm a couple of weeks late... oh well.

The first thing was finishing up the work on AU PAIR, KS -- on my end, that's mainly paperwork to go to the editor/director. Coming back, there was also my grandmother undergoing open heart surgery in late December... she's doing well, currently undergoing rehab therapy to build her strength back up. She should be back at home soon.

Then there's the prospect of finding more work. No idea when the next film job will come up -- in the meantime, there's polishing up some work for the next MICRO-FILM issue, to be published in March or April; and trying to drum something up using my prodigious assets.

This week will be the premiere of THE ONLY GOOD INDIAN at Sundance; so look for some links to show up about its reception. I have had a chance to see the film, but I'll wait until there's a local screening before writing about it.

And I think I'll be posting a bit more DVD stuff - there's a huge backlog of stuff to watch, so I may start working through that when time allows.

Hope your year is starting off well - though, to judge from my previous two postings, things aren't looking up in the near future.

Border Incident - Original Trailer 1949

Ricardo Montalban R.I.P.

2009 is really getting off to a lousy start...

The Prisoner Remix

Patrick McGoohan R.I.P.

"I am a free man!"