Friday, December 17, 2010

Time to Stalk Your Local Comic Retailer

December is here and the vividly painted graphic novel HARBOR MOON has arrived in this month's Previews. Officially hitting shelves in February through Arcana, the title is getting a ton of early buzz and positive reviews.

So print this out, march down to your local comic shop and make sure they have your copy ready and waiting.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Goodreads Give-Away Winner Announced

A winner has been chosen (by Goodreads) for the Harbor Moon give-away.  825 people entered... and our winner is N.J. Tyler from St. Louis, MO.  Congratulations and thanks to everyone for entering.

Just a reminder that the book is currently available through DCBS, the nation's largest comic retailer, for almost half-price - PLUS a signed book plate from myself, Dikran Ornekian (writer) and Pawel Sambor (artist).  Since Pawel lives in Poland, he has yet to sign anything.  So this is a crazy offer.

Monday, December 13, 2010

TV Review: Walking Dead

Frank Darabont, why do you this?  Why do you make one great thing, then a bunch of shitty things, then another great thing?

Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead came in with a lot of hype, as it is the biggest non-superhero title in comics today. I have seen it shopped around as a feature and then tv show for the last five or six years, with some nibbles but never a bite. Fortunately, it found a home with Gale Anne Hurd and Darabont.  From there they were able to get AMC to take it on. AMC has been taking some big risks lately and it seems to be paying off for them, which is great to hear. If The Walking Dead's ratings are any indication, they have a bonafide hit on their hands. It was the highest rated premiere on cable television. Ever. And even crazier is that those ratings held over the season (which was only six episodes). And I'm not alone in thinking it is a really well-made.

Only six episodes, the 90 minute pilot is the clear stand-out. Besides having the production value of a feature film (albeit a lower budget film), it sets up a lot for what is to come... but even better for a show to suck you in - leaves you with a lot of questions. I think that the problem is that the remaining five episodes do little to answer those questions or make you care that much about the characters. Although I was along for the ride, it wasn't always smooth.  A few moments here and there that were interesting or exciting was mostly tempered by a lot of nothing.  There are a few characters we have been following since the pilot who enter the pearly gates at the hands of zombies, but they didn't do much other than cry and complain anyway. In fact, I was hoping they were vanquished. That said, the books are great and I'm interested to see where they go with the show, but I can definitely wait for next season.

Bit of a sidenote, it was just announced that Darabont fired the writing staff of the show.  Which means that he'll be writing most of the episodes, along with Kirkman. Or episodes will be farmed out to select writers. I understand the benefits of a writer's room/staff - but I honestly don't understand why more shows don't do this. It is cheaper and makes for more of a consistent voice throughout the show's run/season. A show I think would benefit greatly from this would be Dexter, which just ended it's fifth season with a neatly wrapped bow (nothing like last season which blew this season away).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Amazon Page

I'm trying to add more reviews to Amazon, and it seems to only cap my reviews. Does anyone have a clue how to add more?

Also, I'm testing out running the blog so it goes through my Amazon Author page. This post is sort of a test. All that means is this blog will also post there. It currently posts at my Goodreads Author page as well.  Taking over the blogosphere.

Movie Review: The Road

I had no interest in seeing The Road in theaters when it came out, and it wasn't even a Netflix title for me.  I happened to DVR it on HBO and watched it in chunks... because it was absurdly long and draining.  It gets the award for most depressing film of the last few years.  I can see why no one went to see this.  It is so drab and gray and desolate - but with no upside for the viewer.  I understand the painstaking detail in the cinematography and it was beautiful in the way it was shot, but it was just too much... and since nothing actually happens in the film it was ultimately pointless.

TV Review: Boardwalk Empire

This was one of the pieces of entertainment I was looking forward to the most this year.  Scorcese is one of my heroes and I'm a sucker for gangster-fare, especially prohibition era.  There is just something less criminal and alluring about what they were doing back then.  Even the bad guys had a code, and the only ones that got hurt were other bad guys.  They were essentially bootlegging what is found everywhere now.  It's not as insidious as heroin, crack or meth.

The show started with a bang, coming out the gates like a thoroughbred - as one would expect from this big budget HBO show directed by Martin Scorcese.  It introduced a handful of colorful (and real-life) characters that were all intriguing. It set some high stakes... but then for a few episodes at the beginning didn't deliver on any of that. It seemed like a lot of soul searching and exposition.  As if they were trying to work in actual facts, rather than worry about actually being entertaining.  Michael Pitt's Jim Darmody spent a lot of time in Chicago with Al Capone, doing nothing (save for one great hit).  There was an entire episode with a whore who had her face cut open preceding that hit that was a giant waste of time. The same can be said for the ongoings in Atlantic City with Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson. It was dull and boring. The only interesting things going on were seeing Gretchen Mol's hot mom (to Darmody) getting banged by Lucky Luciano, who was supposed to be finding Normady to kill him.  I stuck it out, and for good reason.  The show is a visual treat, and they although it seems trite to load it with  so many facts/factual characters, they do an awesome job of it.  But once Darmody gets back to Jersey, things really take off and the show finished extremely strong.  I didn't want the season to end and am now really looking forward to season 2.

The standouts of the first season, to me, were Al Capone (Stephen Graham who was also great in Public Enemies as Baby Face Nelson) and Richard Harrow (Jack Huston) as the veteran without a face.  He is such a bad ass, and the actor who plays him breathes such unique life into him.  He is by far the best character on the show. And he's the biggest badass. Everyone is pretty top-notch, from Michael Shannon's prohibition officer to Shea Whigham's sheriff Eli Thompson.  I was a Buscemi apologist for a while, saying the show was good enough it didn't matter (there were a few people who were arguing that he was the wrong choice to play a ruthless and cunning politician, who was also a ladies man).  They were right.  It works, but with the long list of actors they could have cast it is a shame they didn't.  Buscemi seems better suited for a lesser politician... That isn't me saying he is bad, he has always given off a weak/weaselly vibe. He's not Tony Soprano, he is his misfit cousin who winds up dead.  It works - but a good show could have been great.

Movie Review: Prince of Persia, Sands of TIme

In the films I've seen her in, I can't say I was a huge Gemma Arterton fan.  She was cute and a decent actress in Quantum of Solace, but wasn't overly attractive.  Not next to the well-bronzed Olga Kurylenko (who I just talked about in Centurion). And I barely remember her in Rock n Rolla.  But she is absurd in Prince of Persia.  When she tells Prince Destin 'because you haven't been able to take your eyes off of me' she wasn't lying.  They do a pretty amazing job of making her look like a bronzed goddess, and every second she's on screen you're drawn to her.  And from what I remember, she was pale and pasty in Quantum of Solace. I immediately put Quantum of Solace on my Netflix to make sure I didn't miss something the first time around (and it is a pretty dope movie).  And I moved Clash of the Titans to the top, to be fair it was coming up soon anyway. She may have been the best looking human being I've seen on screen since Megan Fox in Transformers.  Thankfully, this movie was a lot more entertaining.

A lot was made about Jake Gyllenhaal being cast as Dastan, and it is rather jarring having a caucasian play a Persian.  Especially one so cornbread as him.  To his credit, he is good. A bit smug, but it plays well. They disguise his casting by surrounding him by pretty much all caucasians, and I don't know if that soothed the blow or made it worse.  I still have yet to decide.  It did allow them to cast Arterton, so I guess I'm leaning to the former.

Director Mike Newell holds the film together well, as one would expect - but he tries to do too much. His use of bullet-time (during moments when the dagger wasn't in use) seemed suited for a lesser director. And we all know from his past work (Donnie Brasco, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) that he's got some serious talent and shouldn't rely on such outdated and lame tricks. It's a shame Newell isn't more involved in trying to get Elfstones of Shannara off the ground.  I  know this film got knocked a bit, but he's capable of some great work and I do believe that with the right script he would do a good job of turning that into a powerhouse franchise.  I'm a bit biased as I'm attached as a producer to that one... Prince of Persia underperformed stateside, but was a monster overseas and there is talk of doing a sequel. I am just glad they did not kill the princess off.

Movie Review: Restrepo

As far as any filmmakers having to earn their footage, I'd say that Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington far surpassed just about any others in shooting their documentary Restrepo, a moving piece about a platoon embedded in a deadly part of Afghanistan. Junger and Hetherington must have braved some serious shit to catch what happens on camera, but not nearly as serious as what these soldiers go through.  Although an intimate portrait of an entire, Junger and Hetherington never get the viewer engaged enough with any particular characters they are covering. And thus the piece loses weight and doesn't have the impact it should.  You would think it was more intense than say Black Hawk Down, but it just wasn't.  Even when bullets were flying. But it was definitely a rare glimpse into what is happening overseas and makes you appreciate what these guys go through and what we have over here.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Can Gold Coast Film Festival Become Meaningful?

It was just announced that The Gold Coast International Film Festival will launch in June through the Great Neck Arts Center. The festival's executive director will be  GNAC founder Regina Gil. Senior programmer will be Sean McPhillips, the former Miramax acquisitions executive who most recently programmed the 10th installment of the Great Neck Arts Center's Furman Film Series. Former Miramax communications head Matthew Hiltzik will handle media strategy.

This makes a lot more sense than the Hamptons Film Festival, which actually takes place after the summer season and suffers from the fact that the Hamptons has poor accommodations for the weekend traveller (and the cinemas are awful). This sounds great for Long Islanders, such as myself, who have to trek into the city and get a fractured festival for Tribeca (there is no headquarters and the screenings are all over the place). Tribeca takes place in the spring, Sundance is in January, Toronto is in the fall, along with the New York Film and Hamptons Film festivals. The timing of the Gold Coast Festival creates an opportunity to draw films on the rebound from the Cannes Film Festival. But that seems like a stretch, as there isn't much to do in Great Neck. (In fact, the true North Shore, or Gold Coast, would be further east a few miles). The big question is: what is the draw for anyone outside of locals?  Particularly filmmakers.  

Movie Review: Centurion

Centurion is a title that passed out of theaters very quickly, but I'm always interested in movies about Roman warfare.  I can't explain that, it just is.  And I've been on a Michael Fassbender marathon lately.  Hunger, 300, Inglourious Basterds... and I just added Jonah Hex and Blood Creek to my queue.  Neither of which I think will be good, but I'm excited to check his performances out. He blew me away in Hunger and it has been all Fassbender since.

In Centurion he plays a Roman soldier who basically goes through hell at the hand of the Picts.  He was good, but to be honest it was Dominic West who really shone in this one as the Roman general who is one with his men.  Built for battle and nothing else.

This film actually has the same problems as the other Neil Marshall films I've seen (all of them) - a cool premise, but a murky plot with even murkier lighting making it hard to decipher what's going on and the occasionally awesome sequence. Thankfully, most of this film takes place during the daylight.  And the cast of this film is better than the others.

I guess my biggest problem with the film is that, although West and Fassbender are awesome, it is hard to root for Roman soldiers.  They are way out of Rome, invading the homes and land of the Picts.  They try to dehumanize the Picts, by dressing them up like savages and having them speak in a foreign tongue... but Olga Kurylenko's hunter character (she would be so awesome if she never spoke like in this film) was raped and had her tongue cut out by the Romans, right after her parents were raped and killed. And the only child in the film is a Pict child, who is killed by the Romans.  None of this is actually a 'problem', it is probably more like real-life.  Both sides of a battle have their heroes, and their reasons. But here the Picts are depicted as the villains, unlike a film such as Battle of Algiers where both sides are portrayed evenly.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Movie Review: From Paris With Love

For what could have been a pretty forgettable 'spy/action' movie, From Paris With Love is saved by one thing - John Travolta's performance.  I have always maintained that he is at his best playing the bad guy.  For some reason, I think he excels at this.  From Pulp Fiction to Face/Off - he chews the scenery better than anyone else - while at the same time being believably over-the-top.  He's even good in the remake of Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, which was a pretty lame movie.

And he does it again here with his character 'Charlie Wax', who isn't really a bad guy - but he's a foul-mouthed, sharp-tongued, charming, coke-snorting, killing machine special ops good guy - who just happens to have a first-time handler - Jonathan Rhys-Meyer.  The plot was fairly predictable, but it was Travolta's presence and relentless Wax that kept you engaged for a pretty quick ride.  What I loved was that we were rooting for him the whole time, and could feel good about it because he was one of the 'good guys'.  

Like I said, everything else was fairly derivative - even the climax... actually, especially the climax.  And the 'delegation' seemed like a throw-away, particularly for an AIDS summit.  But it didn't matter, because no one will remember what this movie was about anyway.  They'll just remember Travolta's performance.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Movie Review: Predators

Been watching a lot of this year's movies on DVD, trying to catch up on the films I wanted to see before the year ends.  So you will see a lot of reviews from now until January.

A film I wanted to check out, but wasn't rushing to see in theaters was Predators.  I loved the original and hated all subsequent versions.  I like Adrien Brody, Walton Goggins, Danny Trejo and Topher Grace and respect Nimrod Antal (the director) because he had Dan Farah banned from set and later excommunicated from Screen Gems.  That gets him an automatic awesome in my book, as Farah is the biggest piece of human shit lurking in the gutters of Los Angeles.

Based on pure fun factor, this movie is great.  It starts off at full speed and doesn't really let up - right up until we meet Laurence Fishburne's character.  The entire section of the film with his character was completely unnecessary.  He was there to give exposition and intel on the creatures, but it ultimately didn't matter.  The don't necessarily 'win' in the end anyway.  And Alice Braga's character had all the intel they needed.  It was obvious the Predator-type from the first film was enemies with the bad ass Predator, as it was chained up at their base camp.  There is a bit of a twist toward the end with one of the characters and I thought this could have been played a bit earlier so there was more gravity to the situation.  But if you want somewhat mindless fun, done really well, then this film is sure to deliver.

Bulderlyns: The First Pages

A few weeks (okay months) ago I put up a post with the first designs from Bulderlyns, which will be my third graphic novel after Harbor Moon and R.E.M. (which should be done this spring).  Today Karol sent me the first few pages from the book, being pencilled by Polish artist Igor Wolski. Some tweaks need to be made here and there, but they look pretty damn killer. We are moving at a snail's pace, but hopefully once he gets in a rhythm things will pick up.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Movie Review: The Killer Inside Me

This is another title I had heard the premise for and really wanted to see.  You tell me 'serial killer' movie and I'm pretty much in.  Also, I like Michael Winterbottom.  So it made it to the top of my Netflix the day it was released on video.

I was also pretty excited to see Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba in the same movie.  Now, I must admit I think Alba is a terrible actress, but there is no denying she is absurdly hot.  What surprised me is that she was much better than Hudson in this movie.  In fact, I didn't even know it was Kate Hudson until the end.  She looked awful, was awful and played a pretty bizarre character.  Alba was actually pretty good as the whore who wants to get out of town.  Casey Affleck was good as the creepy deputy... but this movie had some serious problems otherwise.

It was hard to tell exactly what was going on and why.  Especially in terms of who knew what about which murders - and how everyone was reacting to Affleck's character.  This would have been fine if the movie was solely from his perspective, because it would have been warped - but it wasn't.  He hate fucks Alba at the beginning and then a few scenes later they are in love and talking about running away.  Hudson's character has known him her whole life (I guess?) and is in love with him - why?  Is this all one small town?  Does Hudson's character know Alba's character?  When all of this is happening and the tide seems to be turning against Affleck's deputy, is Hudson the only one who doesn't know or does she just not care?   There were just too many questions like this throughout that made the movie splinter at the seems.

I'll give it credit for the scene where he has just gotten back from banging Alba and Hudson is waiting for him, she takes off his clothes and goes down on him and immediately flips out because she can taste another woman on him.  Kudos for that.  But overall it didn't live up to what I was hoping for.

FX cancels Terriers

Hot off my review of FX's freshman series Terriers, the network has canceled the show due to low ratings (and obviously a higher budget than they can financially be responsible for).

There is a lot of finger pointing at FX for a terrible marketing campaign.  While I do agree that the marketing of the show was horrific, it ultimately didn't draw the numbers it needed to.  Good shows fall by the wayside, it sucks.  FX has a ton of great shows on the air and it is hard to blame them for letting this one slip.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Future of Comics: Sunshine or Sunset?

Harbor Moon is getting ready to launch on digital publisher  Although there is a lot of ‘what do we do now?’ gloom and doom talk out there for publishing and even independent film, I strongly believe this is an exciting time to be a creator.

Right now, digital distribution is the only area of the comics market that’s currently experiencing any substantial growth. Digital comics revenue quadrupled year over year from $500,000-$1 million in 2009 to $6-8 million in 2010. Meanwhile, sales of periodicals are up only 1%.  That said - they are UP 1%.  Not down.

As things go digital, it seems to me that the power lies with the creator - at least with the creator who knows how to market themself in this arena.  That, to me, is the biggest question mark right now.  How do you reach your audience?  I see a future where book 'publishers' are acting more as gatekeepers, sort of the way they do now (particularly in the comic world).  You usually know what you are getting with a Marvel book, and so on.

Although I do realize that digital distribution is where we are going with this, comics, for the most part, are best read in physical form.  I know firsthand that response to Harbor Moon has been much better when holding the physical copy rather than reading off a pdf.  You can enhance a book’s quality and therefore the perception of the reader about that quality with certain elements, like paper thickness, enhancements such as UV or matte, and size.  But to ignore where the medium is heading and not doing your best to make your digital comic the best digital comic it can be would be a huge mistake for any creator.

Movie Review: Winter's Bone

I know next to nothing about the Ozarks in Missouri.  I know these are good, country people in the heart of America.  I also know that I never want to live there.  Thanks to Debra Granik's riveting Winter's Bone.

Ashamed I didn't get to see this on the big screen, I had been clamoring for the DVD release of this film for months.  I tried not to know too much about the film (although I did listen to the Creative Screenwriting podcast with Granik), because I had heard the film was very good and didn't want any preconceived notions about what was going to happen.

I really don't think knowing what was going to happen would have mattered.  It was getting to that resolution why the film was so great.  And it was great.  The cinematography was the first time I have seen a film shot on the Red that looks like film.  The production design (Ozarks themselves) was amazing.  The score and music were outstanding and sucked me into this tale about a girl with a lot on her plate and very little help.

I had gone into this film thinking Carey Mulligan was the best young actress around, with the best female performance of the year (sorry Noomi Rapace).  But after seeing this, how anyone can think there is a better performance than Jennifer Lawrence's Ree Dolley would really amaze me.  And she is going to give Mulligan a run for her money as best young actress - and she was 17 years old when this was made.  She was completely absorbing.  Strong and vulnerable at the same time.  Granik and her team hit the jackpot with Lawrence.  The other cast were all good too, particularly John Hawkes as Teardrop, Lawrence's crank dealing uncle.  There was a dark edge to his familial bounds that kept you on edge the entire time he was onscreen.

Seek this movie out.  It is currently battling The Social Network for my favorite film of the year so far.  We'll see how I feel on December 31.

TV Review: Terriers

Somehow, FX's Terriers was able to bull through sluggish ratings to a full series.  I believe it is because they shot most of the show before the pilot and because numbers on FX don't need to be as high as a network.  Thankfully, because it quickly established itself as my favorite new show this year (yes, more so than The Walking Dead).

All of the casting is great... Donal Logue is good as Hank Dolworth, but Michael Raymond-James really shines as his partner Britt Pollack, the former thief turned Private Eye.  I don't have any experience with Raymond-James, but he was a standout.

Ted Griffin and Shawn Ryan did a great job of pulling multiple (interesting) storylines through the season and then tying them all together.  The production value on the show was top notch as well.

If you haven't seen it, definitely check it out when it comes out on DVD/Netflix.  Well worth your time.

If I had one knock, it would be how Britt and his finance Katie's relationship played out in the final episode.  She does something shitty to him, he breaks up with her, he does something shitty - but goes groveling back to her.  Then she says she can't trust him.  It made no sense to me - because she did something much worse to their relationship.

Also, rather than let each storyline play out with a resolution, they sort of wrap things up in a 5 minute 'wrap-up'.  It seems like time ran out on them and the finale could have been 90 minutes rather than 30, although only for fans so we can have some satisfaction.  I say that knowing it is only because I was a fan and wanted to be hit over the head with the resolutions.  They would have been the same, I just wanted more - this wasn't a bad thing.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Harbor Moon Art Print Giveaway Winner - Martin Mulrooney!

After a ton of really great submissions, I have finally narrowed it down to one winner for the Harbor Moon Extra Content Art Print Giveaway - MARTIN MULROONEY. 

Marty is an actual journalist with Alternative Magazine Online, based out of the UK. I had a lot of fun reading through everyone's submission and wish we could include them all. I have another piece of extra content we were going to write in-house, but after such a great showing I may have to open it up again. 

Look for all of this extra content as part of the digital editions of Harbor Moon, which will be out on (in the immediate future) and Comixology

Monday, November 29, 2010

Movie Review: The Losers

I finally got around to watching Sylvain White's adaptation of the comic book The Losers.  I thought the trailer looked good, but it hit right before the A-Team and at the time I wasn't sure I was ready to accept the knock-off version of that.  And most of the reviewers I respect had a hard time with it. But as a Netflix rental, I was ready to take the plunge.

For the most part it was a pretty fun movie.  The movie moves along at a really brisk pace.  You know the characters right from the onset, although further character development takes a serious backseat to the brisk plot and paper thin plot.  And I guess like any 'fun' movie, it completely unravels in the third act - when things are actually supposed to add up and/or be resolved.

One of the things I didn't like about the movie was the 'villain'.  Jason Patric spends most of his screentime chewing the scenery, and even for a movie that is over the top - he is even more so.  It makes a somewhat ludicrous plot completely unbelievable and sucks you right out of the movie.

I also think that White was a bit too free-wheeling with the hyper-stylized techniques he applied to the film and its editing.  It was like he was doing his best Tony Scott and it just didn't work for me sometimes.  His use of slo-mo and jump cuts, for the most part, was unnecessary and only seemed like he was covering up deficiencies in the film with tricks.

Oh yeah, Zoe Saldana is very hot.  Although unbelievable as someone with her extensive military-esque training and CIA-like master of disguises (especially when you find out who she really is).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fancy Yourself a Writer or Journalist?

Then you should enter the Harbor Moon Art Print Contest.

We’re putting together extra content for the digital edition of the book (we’ve got some cool stuff cooking)… and one of the things I wanted to do is have an article from a local paper (it plays a role in the book).

If you haven’t read the book yet, what I would do is send you the headline, the details of the story and you would write a newspaper article which would appear in our extra content. It is actually better if you don’t fully know what you’re writing, as the article would only see things on the surface – but the readers of Harbor Moon would know the real reason for things.

If your article is chosen for our extra features, you will receive an 11” X 17” art print from the book (signed by myself – if you want). You will also receive credit for your work.

Email me at and get involved!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Harbor Moon on Wikipedia and Good Reads

Just wanted to let everyone know that the greatest werewolf graphic novel to not officially come out yet has been added to Wikipedia. In case you don't know, it was financed, edited and written by myself (and Dikran Ornekian). Polish artist Pawel Sambor is the artist, with some additional artwork by Nikodem Cabala. Karol Wisniewski is the man behind the curtain who helped make it all happen.

I also wanted to share Good Reads with everyone, a website that is sort of like Facebook for readers (in fact, it works in conjunction with Facebook if you want it to). It catalogs what you are reading, want to read, have read, etc... You can even keep in touch with actual authors (such as myself) and participate in give-aways. Currently, after getting 1000 entries into the initial Harbor Moon give-away I'm holding another that ends on December 15. So... go - sign-up and participate. Get active about your reading before you become a TV zombie. I was turned onto the site by someone extremely special to me (who maybe thinks she isn't that special but she'd be very, very wrong - if they didn't think they were so tough they'd see that they are living their life and making choices based on fear rather than hope and trust, but I digress). Now I share it with you.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Movie Review: Social Network, The

This is going to be real short, as this is a near perfect film.  I will focus on what is wrong with the movie:

Rashida Jones.  Sorkin and Fincher are obviously extremely intelligent individuals, why on earth was this character in the film, let alone giving her this ridiculous end scene?  Did they need to put a little bow on it? No, absolutely not.  She's a decent actress (and very, very good looking), but her role here comes off clunky and obtrusive - because she has nothing to work with.  Her two scenes should have been excised from this movie... 

Still - best movie of the year so far.  Did not let down in any capacity.  Fincher has already been writing his place in history, and this only solidifies that position.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Go For Broke

If you want to achieve greatness, you have to be willing to sacrifice everything. You need to be wiling to go broke, literally, figuratively and mentally.  You need sharpened focus and a heightened ability to compartmentalize your life.

I believe I have that in me.  And I think the only thing that holds me back is my desire to be great at too many things.

Sometimes at odds with this is my desire to be a good human being. Or even be a happy human being.  It is a daily battle for me as I struggle with bi-polar disorder, but I think I am winning and I actually believe it allows me to forge the path I walk through this world. I bend, I do not brake. I am a rock others break themselves against. Everything I do is focused around where I'm heading and unfortunately anyone unwilling to take that journey gets left behind. Some really great travelers... But it is not for me to decide.  Everyone has to make their own choices in life and it is up to them to decide which path they take.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why Comics?

It is, in my mind, the only medium where you can truly create whatever you want. You aren't bound by the limitations of your budget or reality. I know special effects exist today that enable filmmakers to create things like never before, but a budget is always attached. And a film has to pass through so many gatekeepers before it's made. Comics allow anyone with a pad and pen to create and share their vision. When writing or reading prose, things get lost in translation. Everyone has their own vision of what they are reading, but with comics, you can directly influence their vision and create 'your' world. The only limitation, if you yourself are not the artist, is communication with the artist.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And Then the Cold Sets In...

Have I mentioned that I do not like the cold?  Like is a pretty tame word.  Hate.  Loathe.  Despise. 

It's been really nice in NY, but the weather is finally starting to turn.  Around November 1 of every year the cold sets in.  You might get a sunny and 50 something day here and there, but for the most part it sucks.  This lasts until the thaw begins in March.

This cold brings nothing good.  Layers of clothing.  Dirty slush.  A mental buckling down, bracing yourself for what God is about to give you.  All of it a grim reminder that summer and sunshine is fleeting... 

The one good thing about a change of seasons is that it gives you the mental ability to wipe a slate clean.  To change direction and chart a new course in your life, or segment of your life.  I've been on a pretty eratic course since I dropped out of school (and later went back and then to grad school) over a decade ago.  My course changing paths all the time, constantly evolving as a person.  I love this aspect of myself.  It shapes who I am.  I am predictably unpredictable.  To lose this process of self-discovery, or discovery in general must be so utterly... devastating.  Since I was young I knew I was not destined for this type of life.  To be sedentary, to exist in one place - one time. It is so infinitely boring.  And nothing scares me more, besides going bald, than being bored.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Movie Review: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom

I'm not going to talk too much about Salo, a 1975 film by Pier Paolo Pasolini that I saw the other night... other than to say it was the single most disturbing film I've ever seen in my life.  I've seen obscure gorefests in the sake of gross-out, but this was on another level.  Pasolini is one of the master craftsmen of cinema and to put him on such a project makes this film transcend how disturbing this is.  So well made and acted, it is like a piece of priceless art covered in shit (literally).

Even now, I'm unnerved by the film.  The acts committed and the basic story of the film is so outrageous yet ground in reality, it makes you question humanity in a way that I never have before (even more so than Schindler's List).

I will leave you with the production description on Amazon:

A loose adaptation of the Marquis de Sade's The 120 Days of Sodom, Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salò is perhaps the most disturbing and disgusting films ever made. It is also one of the most important, offering a blistering critique of fascism and idealism that suggests moral redemption may be nothing but a myth. Criterion presents Salò in its uncut, uncensored version.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pawel's Sketch for Chasing Rabbits Cover

A little taste of something that is going to be awesome.  Between Pawel's cover for Chasing Rabbits and Pascal Campion doing the Bulderlyns cover - I'm in geek heaven.

Wanted to share this, as LM won't be talking to me until Sunday, and even then I'm not sure how much longer after that... and wanted her to possibly see it...

Inspirational Artist: Pascal Campion

This was very random... I follow someone on twitter named Jason Thibault and he posted a short video from Drawn, a blog that is a 'source of inspiration for illustration, animation, cartooning, and comic art.' 

The video is of Pascal Campion, a truly amazing artist that I had the pleasure of meeting in San Diego at Comic-con.  His work touched a real nerve with me in only the way art can... and I probably looked like a crazed stalker, but started talking to him, gave him a copy of Harbor Moon and asked him if he'd be interested in doing the cover to Bulderlyns - and he said yes!  

To say I"m excited about this would be an understatement... and then to randomly come across this video was pretty cool.  Check it out:

Inspirational Artists: Pascal Campion from Onyx Cinema, Inc. on Vimeo.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Lot Going On

And not much time to do it, let alone update all of my loyal followers.  Don't fret, here I am.

We're in the final stages of designing the 35 Movie Minutes website (blame Rob, he's getting killed at work and it took a sit-down lunch to map out his bio).  Looks pretty rad.  Here's a screen shot of the contact page:

It is being designed by Mancheva Designs, and coded by Karol Wisniewski.  Once that is done, we will be ready to go live.  Still haven't done a dry run, but we've been on the mics a bunch doing conversational dry runs. 

I'm also at the tail end of what will be the beginning of Filmworks Finishing Partners.  I've been putting this together with Ken Locsmandi of Filmworks/FX for over a year now and it is picking up some serious steam as of late.  The biggest reason is because we are not trying to raise money in the typical fashion, but are taking the company public.  Mark B. Newbauer from Mike the Pike Productions has been the driving force behind this new direction and he now makes up one-third of the company.  The PPM should get finished today and we should be out to investors Monday/Tuesday for the Pre-IPO.  Pretty exciting stuff... the possibilties of how the company can grow are somewhat limitless.  It all falls on our shoulders to choose films wisely and finish them well.

Also started getting layouts in for Bulderlyns.  We had been in character design for well over 4 months, so it was starting to get frustrating for myself, Karol and the artist.  But we've regrouped and even though they are only layouts, I can see this book shaping up to become something special.  It has made me question the script and if it will live up to the artwork.  I just worry about how the lead comes into possession of the Bulderlyn egg, and why.  It was at one point chance and happenstance.  And now it is more a destiny type thing.  I would really like to avoid the Eragon, your dragon chooses you type destiny.  And also the How to Train Your Dragon type.  I may start off one way, then have the knowledgeable person come in at the end and say - that's all a load of crap.  It hatched because it was ready to hatch.  Or something of that nature.  Don't want to give you all too much...

Late last night I got another round of character design in from Chase Osborne on Chasing Rabbits.  I was flat out speechless.  Speechless in that I had no notes on them.  They were amazing.  He took all of the descriptions, and the photographs to use as a base and came out with the perfect designs.  I didn't have a single note - possibly the first time (Karol just yelled at me because I'm nitpicking the digital editions of Harbor Moon too much, although at times he's way more detailed than I am.).  I love all of the books I'm doing, but I have always believed that Chasing Rabbits is my best script.  And with the work Chase is doing, and we're only in character design, this book could be a serious smash.  I believe that strongly in it to make that statement.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Movie Review: Never Let Me Go

This is a film I must say that I didn't know much about until recently.  I knew who the cast was, and wasn't that thrilled.  I knew who the director was, and thought it could be cool.  Then I read it was about an elite boarding school and thought it could be completely pretentious.  And then I heard that it was actually a science fiction film and thought maybe I missed something.  And then I realized it was based on a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro and went out and saw it.

It wasn't until I heard the first part of a podcast from Screenwriter Magazine (if you are into film and don't listen yet, go subscribe on iTunes) that I stopped the podcast and decided it was only worth listening to more if I saw the movie.

And I was definitely missing something.  This movie is about a boarding school, but it is absolutely not the type of film or story I was expecting.  To say it is about a boarding school is to say Titanic is about a boat.  This boarding school is very special, and therein lies the reason this film is so special.  Why it isn't a Merchant Ivory film, although its pacing and cinematic elements might remind a viewer of such.

It has taken me a few days to write this review because it is still sitting with me.  I'm not sure I've even fully reflected on the film to be honest.  And once I got home I listened to not only that podcast, but an interview with Mark Romanek on NPR and reviews of the film from FilmSpotting and /Filmcast. 

Never Let Me Go moves at such a languid pace, it almost comes to a crawl.  Yet, each and every scene is brimming with tension, suspense and a general excitement (on my part) as to what is going to happen next.  And after listening to Romanek, this is what he was going for.  Although the film takes place in England (an alternate history England), it has Japanese sensibilities and this was a very conscious decision from an exacting filmmaker.  For me, it works.  I got sucked in and by the end almost didn't want to leave.

At its heart the film is a love story.  A love that goes unrequited and is conveyed with one of the most powerful performances I've seen in a long time.  I've been hearing about how great Carey Mulligan is for a while now (since last year's An Education), but she always struck me as a boring looking actress who would lean towards pretentious films.  Sorry Carey... you really shine here.  Andrew Garfield does a fine job, and Keira Knightley is serviceable - but they are blown away by Mulligan.  And with Romanek doing so much with so little, in terms of camera moves, dialogue, score, etc... she is the perfect actress for this part.

Without saying a lot Never Let Me Go managed to hit me pretty hard.  I'm still grappling with the ideas it presents about mortality, the soul and what it means to be human.  I have always believed that any film that keeps you thinking, making you question things, etc... after you've left the theater is worth its weight in gold.  This will be at the top of my year end lists and I highly recommend it.  Just don't go in expecting action, or even romance. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Change of Season Brings Tough Times

I don't know if it is just me, but I get depressed when summer fades into fall.  I'm not one of those people who loves every change of season.  Summer into fall and fall into winter are two of the most depressing times of the year for me.  No matter what is happening.

But for some reason, it seems this year it is having some sort of cosmic effect.  I am going through a tough time emotionally, as I have been sidelined for over 3 weeks with severe tendonitis in my left elbow (I'm a lefty).  I've had it since February and it got better than worse over the last few months.  I had an MRI last week and I have no tears or bone chips in there, so hopefully this second cortisone shot does the trick.  I am almost positive he didn't hit the right spot last time as the pain enveloped my whole arm and I couldn't pinpoint where it was coming from.  The shot barely even stung, but this time was a whole new ballgame.  It was a lot of pressure, and it was painful - and I have a pretty high pain tolerance.  So I'm hoping it works...  Because training is my salvation.  I used to have lacrosse to keep my mind right, now I fight.  I know myself, and although I'm on meds for bi-polar - it doesn't cure what I go through.

My girlfriend is also going through some rough times.  She's at the tail end of a long divorce and custody battle... and some other legal nonsense that has just drained her.  And will continue to do so until it is totally resolved (if one can ever say something like that is ever fully resolved).  She has a daughter to not only support, but take care of and mold into a little human being.  And since she is perhaps my favorite person on earth, I'd say that her mom was doing a pretty awesome job.  On top of work and all that, she is going to graduate school at night.  I can see how drained she is... and wish I were well-off so I could ease the burden.  She will probably read this - so just know that I'll beat anyone you want up.  And other than some hugs, I'm not worth much.

Also, I just found out today one of the artists I'm working with is going through a serious problem involving their young family.  I can only say that I am deeply saddened and hope and pray that he and his wife find peace and the power to move on.  It sounds trite, but God has a plan for each of us and he challenges us in our own special way.  Some more so than others.

I guess in all that sadness and struggle there are reasons to celebrate.  The last two weeks saw my cousin Joseph get married, the 35th wedding anniversary of my parents, the wedding anniversary of Karol Wisniewski - my left hand man and without whom I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing today and who I promise almost weekly that I'll pay back in a big way - and the freeing of the miners down in Chile.

Someone much cooler than I once said that a day that goes by without a laugh is a day wasted.  I have been thinking a lot about this recently and have been reading a blog called 'Overhead Everywhere' (I actually started out reading 'Overheard in NY', but this one pulls the best from all places).  I can honestly say that it is rare that one of the daily posts on there doesn't make me laugh.  Even if that isn't for you, find your 'Overheard Everywhere' and make it a habit.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Movie Review: Catfish

I think Guy Rule #1 is 'No Tramp Stamps'.  Right up there with 'No Emoticons to other guys' (I'm giving sending them to the other sex a pass although it is also frowned upon).

Although the lead character in this 'documentary' has a tramp stamp - which makes me question his orientation and thus throwing the entire film into even more doubt - this is definitely an interesting entry for first timers Rael  and Henry Joost.  I think it will be hurt in the marketplace because this has been the year of the 'fake documentary' - with 'Exit Through the Gift Shop' and 'I'm Still Here'.  And that's a shame, because it is worth seeing.  Tramp stamp and all.

I know a lot has been made of the 'is this real or is it made up'... and I don't think it necessarily matters.  For me, I don't believe a single scene of it was reality.  Some viewers even think it is a mix of reality and fiction - that one side of it is reality (the family in Michigan) and the other realized early on in the correspondence that they had something and started to fashion a film around it.  If so - god bless em' - they did an awesome job.  No matter what is true - Catfish is a very entertaining, engrossing and haunting movie.  

I actually thought it was going to turn to a much darker place towards the end - maybe I just misjudged the trailer - but was still riveted to the proceedings and how they would play out.  If it is real - wow, some really creepy stuff... and my heart also goes out to anyone that is that damaged or lonely.  If it is fake - wow, some great acting by those involved.  'Angela' is certainly a powerhouse and when you first meet her you are definitely on the edge of your seat.  

Do you need to run out to the theaters to see this?  Probably not - the visuals and sounds aren't enhanced by a theater.  But it is definitely worth seeing at some point.

Movie Review: The Town

Some highs and a bunch of lows mark Ben Affleck's second directorial effort.

The highs - Ben Affleck's performance.  Blake Lively's chest.  Jeremy Renner's performance.  The setting.

The lows - non-sensical plot.  Jon Hamm's performance.  Blake Lively's acting ability.  The last 30 minutes.

What starts off as a strong thriller with a really authentic Boston feel quickly devolves into a very neat and tidy, completely predictable package.  I will say that the movie is worth the performances by Affleck, Renner and Rebecca Hall alone.  However, I hear a lot about Hall's performance here - but it is Affleck who really shines.  He makes due with very little, as does Renner.  His character has a bit too much shit heaped on him.  Father a career criminal.  No mother.  Star hockey player drafted by the NHL, blown opportunity.  Drug abuse.  It would have been fine if he were a local star who could have gone to college to play... but they make it seem like he was the next Gretzky.  In reality, I realize the hockey draft is akin to the MLB draft where players rarely make the roster, but I doubt most viewers do as well.

Let me state here that I think Jon Hamm does a great job on Mad Men.  However, I'm quickly realizing that he is pretty much only suited to play that role.  He is a TV actor, not a film star.  And every role he has been in on the big screen has been less than impressive.  And this is no exception.  In fact, it is glaring - against Affleck, Renner and Hall.  His scenes almost became laughable.  In fact, by the end, I was laughing - as were a few people in my theater.  He doesn't even do anything - he just shouts orders and other people do things.  It's really lazy screenwriting and he inhabits his character with all the authority of an elementary school principal.

Affleck does a great job placing the camera, and he really draws us into Charlestown - the tiny Irish 'ghetto' of Boston.  He could have really used a screenwriter to revamp this script though.  I don't want to give anything away - but the last 30/40 minutes will have you groaning audibly.  There's no cat and mouse between Affleck's crew and the feds - because of another lazy bit of writing that ties one of his members to the crime.  Then the fed's are tipped off to the 'last score' by an even bigger headscratcher - because its just so stupid.  All compounded by Fergus the Florist - the elderly crime boss of Charlestown - who commands Affleck to pull this job or else.


I would really like to spend more time with these characters... just not in this movie.

Movie Review: The Runaways

Besides Dakota Fanning becoming a woman right before our eyes, this movie doesn't have much going for it.

It's actually hurting my brain to try and write about it, which is why I've put it off for a week.  Analyzing it seems like a fruitless endeavor.  Michael Shannon gives an okay performance and so does Kristen Stewart, but they pale in comparison to Fanning.  I went into this thinking it was more about Joan Jett, but this is much more a character study of Fanning's Cherie Curry.  I don't blame any of them... I don't even blame the lackluster direction - it all starts with the script.  A script with zero insight into the first all-girl rock group.  A script with one dimensional characters (who we know are much more vivid than that in real life).  A script with no ambition.  A script with even less driving it.

Girls are practicing, they don't sound great.  Kim Fowley (Shannon) has local kids throw bottles at them.  Very next scene - they are playing a party and get stuff thrown at them.  They are expertly dodging and blocking it all with their instruments.  Still sound like shit.

It's bad.  And it's a shame.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Harbor Moon - The Book Trailer

In doing all my press and follow-ups and interviews and sending the book out and updating Facebook/Twitter/Website and making deals for digital publication... I lost sight of something that should have been done before Comic-con - A trailer for the book.

Book trailers are becoming more and more popular, and as a result more and more common.  So it has now become one of the many things on my list of to do's.  I can probably cut it myself, but would rather a new set of eyes on it.  Anyone with any leads on editors looking to cut something like this - let me know.  And stay tuned for the trailer.

Good TV

I have to start by saying I'm not a television person.  Or at least I don't believe I am.  I watch PTI every day, but other than that the shows I catch regularly are few and far between.

Friday Night Lights.  The Ultimate Fighter.  Jersey Shore (only because of The Situation - every line out of his mouth is a classic).  DexterWeedsModern FamilyCommunityEastbound & Down.

Okay, so as you can see my list is long, and getting longer.  I recently got into the new FX show Terriers.  It's defnitely setting itself up for future storylines and I love the chemistry between the leads.  I also appreciate how real they are.  They are two deadbeat PI's - they don't always take the high-road.  I also really liked the premiere of Boardwalk Empire and am excited to see where that goes.

I have also been told Justified is a great show, as well as Breaking Bad.  Most of the time I will wait for the show to hit dvd (at least a few seasons) and then just knock them out.  I hate being restricted by time slots and gaps between seasons.  I did this with The Wire, Dexter, Weeds, Veronica Mars, the first season of 24 and most recently Party Down - which was another show I was immediately hooked on.  I've got Breaking Bad in my Netflix cue...

I think the line between film and tv is blurring every year and I guess I'm finding it harder and harder to say I'm not a tv person.

Movie Review: 44-Inch Chest

I was watching this as I edited down the script for Chasing Rabbits.  Good thing I was busy, because otherwise I would have stopped this 30 minutes in. 

An amazing cast, who are all great - it is just that the script is so bad it was hard to sit through.  The writers are obviously in love with their own dialogue and nothing actually happens in this film.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chasing Rabbits Cover by Pawel

Okay, so this is only a sketch, but I wanted to post it so everyone can see the first image of what will be the cover for the book.

It is being done by Pawel Sambor, the amazingly talented artist from Harbor Moon.  Don't trust me, there are plenty of reviews out there that back that statement up.

And Chase has started Character Designs on the book just last night.  There are over 50 characters in this one.  Good thing he's as excited as I am, which is an amazing feeling.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

35 Movie Minutes Title Design

Anna Mancheva has once again come through and designed an awesome looking title for another project, my weekly podcast 35 Movie Minutes.  In fact, she did such a good job I couldn't decide and we finished two versions.

Rob is working out some kinks on the tech side, but we should be doing a dry run within the next week or two.  Then it is full steam ahead.  Anna is also going to be designing the 35 Movie Minute website shortly, and I can't wait for that to be up and running.  She'll also be designing the Spoke Lane (my main company site) and R.E.M. sites at the same time.

For more on Anna and her designs visit her website Mancheva Designs.  She's extremely talented and she somehow puts up with me.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chasing Rabbits Finds an Artist

I'm beyond pumped to announce that Chase Osborne is coming onboard my graphic novel Chasing Rabbits.  Easily the biggest book I've tackled, I also think it represents the best script I've ever written.

Whereas Harbor Moon came in at 144 pages, Chasing Rabbits will be closer to 225 pages.  Right now the plan is to have Chase draw and ink the book with Pawel coloring. Chase's coloring is pretty absurd too and things could change... stay tuned.

Chase is an awesome artist and the second I saw his stuff (back when I was looking for REM) I immediately thought he'd be a good fit for Chasing Rabbits.  The problem was that I didn't have the financing for the book then.  So I had to go into sit and wait mode. 

This book has a chance to really blow people away if it comes out half as good as I think it can.  This  kid is insanely talented.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Harbor Moon on Amazon

I was searching twitter for mentions of Harbor Moon and found some guy posting a link to the Harbor Moon page.

This was news to me.  I have no idea who actually posted the page, maybe Amazon?  The page had only me and Pawel listed as authors, with a release date of February 15, 2011.  With no synopsis, no pictures, etc...  I spent yesterday updating the page with all the relevant information.  Along with blurbs from our current reviews.

It is pretty awesome that we're on Amazon though.  It actually allows me to do a bunch more stuff - like becoming an author, not just a reader, on GoodReads (thanks Dazey).

February is tough to swallow, as the book is already available - but it's roll with the punches time.  And I was not built to break.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Coming Out of the Haze...

Finally starting to feel normal again.  Still coughing, but I'm ready to rock.  Now if my sharp elbow pain would go away, I'd be ready to get down.

Although it was a week without a paycheck, I did get a lot of work done on my projects.  Mostly clearing my desk of bullshit paperwork I've been putting off.  Tax stuff from closed LLC's in California, filing info for new LLC's in NY, medical documents, filing (I'm big into putting everything into binders), and doing a lot of artist research.

I have three graphic novels in production - technically, but only 1 fully staffed.  Bulderlyns has the illustrator, but I'm still looking for the colorist.  And Chasing Rabbits has neither.  And since that is such a big book, it gets expensive quick.  I was doing some Harbor Moon google searching for the website and found this announcement about the graphic novels, by the way:

Mike the Pike Productions' SpokeFish Announces Graphic Novel Slate Selection
Published: 07/02/10 11:49 AM EDT

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 07/02/10 -- (MIKP) -- Mike the Pike Productions is pleased to announce that it has worked with partner Spoke Lane Entertainment to finalize their selection for the first three graphic novels to be produced and published by their recently spawned banner, SpokeFish:
SpokeFish Finalizes Selection of First Three Graphic Novels for Production and Publishing
1) Bulderlyns (FANTASY): A small town just outside of Chicago is turned upside down when a businessman brings his son a rare Bulderlyn egg from a trip overseas. The egg hatches and the town is besieged by one of the two mythical creatures inside. The small boy and the smaller, remaining creature learn the true meaning of trust and courage as they attempt to save the town from destruction.
2) R.E.M. (SCI-FI THRILLER): In New York City, behind a series of locks, lives Michael Letto, a brilliant but paranoid neuroscientist. Since his first and only love died, he's become consumed with unlocking the mystery of sleep. Based on ancient practices, Michael sets forth to devise a chair that enables one to attain a full nights sleep in a matter of minutes. His theories bring him to the attention of both the military and a shrouded religious order that will stop at nothing to attain his secret. As Michael grows closer to realizing his dream, he starts to unravel, trapped in an inescapable nightmare as visions of his lost love worsen.
3) Chasing Rabbits (DARK CRIME THRILLER): Officer Alice Liddell finds herself on the hunt for a serial killer after several headless female corpses have turned up around Wonderland and no one seems to be doing anything about it. The more Alice begins to investigate, the more she falls down the rabbit hole into a strange underworld of drugs, gambling, and prostitution operated by The Queen, a flamboyant crime lord who demands to be called "your majesty". Hurtling forward with clues from one strange character after another, she learns to trust no one. With all of the details based on Lewis Carroll's renowned books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, it is a unique blend of visual elements and characters in a dark thriller like we've never before seen.
MTP CEO and President Mark B. Newbauer and Spoke Lane Principal, Ryan Colucci selected the books from a handful of carefully selected candidates with consideration to both creative merits and overall profitability. Another heavy consideration were projects the team felt were strong toward film rights sales or independent production. One book, R.E.M. is already being heavily considered for independent development and all three compile a solid slate of books that the team feels will position SpokeFish in the market with impact. "Much credit there goes to the experience and credibility that comes with Ryan Colucci as project manager (bio below)," states Newbauer. "These books can become massively profitable and, albeit a speculative industry overall, the IP gained here is tremendous in line with the Motion Pictures Industry's turn to graphic novels as a primary source for content being that they get to "see the movie" before they buy it. Further, if independently produced, the potential for both the feature film product and the graphic novel, is exponentially increased as per industry trends."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Being Sick During Summer SUCKS

I've been sick since last Thursday.  It started off as being light headed with a sore throat and it kept getting worse.  I went to the doctor yesterday (Tuesday) and I have a virus - so at least it isn't strep.  Just means I have to wait it out/tough it out.

Hard to get anything done when you're sick.  And when you don't have much money in your bank and your life relies on you being available to work it is hard.  And makes you nervous.

But worse than that is that I'm stuck inside in the middle of summer, on warm sunny days.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Movie Review: Hunger

Not something I saw in theaters, but I wanted to talk about it briefly.   Directed by Steve McQueen (rough having to live in a legend's shadow - this guy might want to use a middle initial), this is an English film about Northern Ireland that was made in 2008.

It starts off somewhat slow and for the most part there are about 30 minutes of dialogue in the entire film - the majority coming from one scene - which plays in one long shot.  Visually, the movie is striking.  And Bobby Sands, although we don't meet him until later - is definitely who/what we gravitate towards.  I was waiting for the end credits to roll to see who plays him - and was astonished to see it was Michael Fassbender.  I've seen his name go flying around for various roles recently and kept asking myself, what's up with this guy?  Well, now I know.  He's awesome.

The movie is definitely hard to watch, as it depicts awful prison conditions and then the final, horrible days of Bobby Sands - who died while on a hunger strike.  This topic is somewhat dear to me as I support a united Ireland and, although don't always support their methods, support the IRA.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bulderlyns Coming Along...

Just got this character design in from Karol (via the artist Igor).  It is of Urlacher, one of the creatures in Bulderlyns.  If you can't tell - the bad one.
The first and second stages of his growth are great, the third needs a little elbow grease. He shouldn't have long legs like that, he should be much thicker, and just more massive overall. Nothing that a talented artist can't solve.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gearing up for my Podcast

I've spent the last month or so working with Rob Scarpelli on bringing a film news podcast to life.  Rob is an extremely talented radio guy, behind and in front of the mic... and I was fortunate enough to catch him at the right time.  I've been sitting on this idea for quite some time and Rob jumped on board.  Since then we've been putting the production elements of the show together and fine tuning things. 

Basically, it is a weekly show that offers listeners the last week of substantial Hollywood news in about a half hour.  Of course, it will be infused with our opinions.  But essentially, we want to give the audience the facts in a straight forward and entertaining way.  There are a bunch of decent film related podcasts out there right now: KCRW's The Business with Kim Masters, Filmspotting with Adam Kenpennar and Matty Robinson, and SlashFilmcast with David, Devindrah and Adam... but they are more or less open discussions and revolved around reviews or discussing a certain film or two.

It's looking like late August we'll go live, or at least be up and running and ready to go live.  So stay tuned.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Movie Review: Mother

After seeing haunting Memories of Murder and the really fun The Host, I was excited to see Joon-ho Bong's Mother.  It also came with rave reviews from my buddy Dikran, whose opinion I really respect.

Like the two previous movies I went in knowing just about nothing in regards to the plot, which is pretty refreshing.  I think sometimes we are inundated with trailers and sales material that sometimes you walk into a movie having felt like you've already seen it.  I'm glad I didn't because this movie was exactly what i had hoped from Bong.

A serious mystery/drama with elements of humor that only exists in Asian films for some reason, this wasn't as creepy or entwining as Memories of Murder, but as a character study was a much more vibrant film.

We follow Mother, the aptly named mother to a somewhat dim adult, Do-joon, who still lives at home.  He's been arrested for the murder of a teenage girl... and his mother sets out to clear his name.  Dedicating her every waking second to restoring her son's name and bringing him home, she goes from down on her luck to rock bottom... but never gives up her fight.  Hye-ja Kim gives the performance of a lifetime as Mother, the best female performance I can recall in recent cinema. Apparently a well-known television star in Korea, Bong does an excellent job of subverting her role here.  

But this is no mere character study, the case takes some extremely interesting twists and turns and has the audience guessing about who the killer reallly is the entire time.  And the ending will definitely surprise you.

Bong shows that he is truly becoming a master of cinema.  His name should be right up there with the leaders in other parts of the world, such as Fincher and Aronofsky.  I wonder when he will make the jump across the pond, if ever.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hell of a Day

I intended to write this post last night, in the heat of the moment, but I wound up crashing pretty hard.

Due to my fighting hobby, my ear started to cauliflower.  This past week I have been sparring with the best guys at the gym.  And in doing so, I was getting my butt kicked and it was great - but I was also taking some punishment on that ear.  It wound up blowing up and yesterday I had to go get it drained.  I made the mistake of thinking it was a simple procedure.  I went to my general doctor, who immediately looked at it and said - 'Oh, I wish I knew that's what you were coming in for.  I can't do this.'  Well, doc, I let the receptionist know.  Maybe you should actually talk to your employees.  

So he sends me to a plastic surgeon.  But before I go I have to hit the lab and get bloodwork done.  The guy taking blood made me wait 30 minutes, and in doing so I was late to the surgeon.  He had to go into surgery.  So another doctor agreed to do it, but I had to drive to a different hospital's ER.  An hour later I was getting my ear drained.  If my insurance doesn't cover all of it I am f*$ked.  We'll see in the next week or two...  

Either way, about six hours for a 20 minute procedure was awesome.  And now I'm out for at least a week.  Just as I was starting to train hard again.  

Movie Review: The Girl Who Played with Fire

Not only was I able to catch Salt, but I made it to the theater two days in a row.  This time I got to check out Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played with Fire - the second of the Millennium Trilogy after The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

If you haven't read my review of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, then I will preface this review by stating that I was a pretty big fan of that film.  So I was really excited to see this one... and while I thoroughly enjoyed it, I must say that it wasn't as good as the first one.  The characters are all back for the most part - and are for the most part great, but I think the mystery of the first is much stronger.

In this, we get a young wanna-be journalist trying to expose a sex-trafficking ring. He approaches Millennium to publish his story and is soon killed... setting off a string of events that pulls Blomqvuist and Lisbeth back into the fire.

Bad pun intended.  If you aren't aware of this series, I highly recommend the catching both of these, if not the books (I plan to read them, but I have a lot on my plate right now).  And I cannot wait for David Fincher's remake.

Movie Review: Salt

It has been way too long since I was able to not only post but actually get out to a theater and catch a new release.  I've been sparring in the mornings lately, which helps free me up a bit... So I caught Phillip Noyce's Salt.

Right from the opening scene we are thrust into a roller coaster ride that just doesn't let you up for air the entire 99 minutes.  The first half, particularly, is extremely fast-paced and go-go-go... and definitely keeps the audience on their toes.  Making you guess if Salt is who she says she is and always staying a step ahead of where your guess is.  It is a fun movie, even if the wheels spin off towards the end a bit.

Jolie looks great here and she is pretty awesome overall - even if some of the action is extremely unbelievable.  Liev Shreiber, who I guess is a great actor - but I say that more because that sentiment is crammed down our throats more than my actual opinion - is actually really good in this movie.  And the rest of the cast is great as well.


The biggest problem I have with the film occurs about 3/4 of the way through - when we find out that Evelyn Salt is actually a Russian Spy.  The twist however is that she is not going to rise up on Day X, but fight back against her Russian handler/creators.  Salt's motivations for doing this are just never truly explained.  Has she fallen in love with America and her new life?  Is she just anti-war?  Has she abandoned her Russian heritage and mission?  They try and set this up with her German husband - and them killing him, but he isn't killed until after she makes her decision.  So, although fun, once you leave and start to ask questions the train went far off the tracks...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Harbor Moon in Action

This is my little cousin McGinley diving into Harbor Moon... start em' young!