Thursday, April 29, 2010

Movie Review: Kick-Ass

Not exactly the movie of the year, Kick-Ass did do a good job of keeping me entertained.  However, most of the time I was just waiting for Hit Girl/Mindy to come back... and anytime Dave/Kick-Ass was onscreen I was wondering what she was doing at that moment.

Dave's story is mostly bland and boring.  Aaron Johnson is okay, he wasn't annoying by any means.  He just didn't have the meatiest role in this pic.  Kid wants to be superhero, he tries, gets his ass-kicked.  Complete with the - 'girl who never knew I existed now wants to be best friends with me because she thinks I'm gay' story-line.  At no point does it seem like his character is gay.  And she makes this leap of logic because he was mugged and may have had his clothes off.  There are a lot of parts of this movie that don't add up to its sum, and that is but one of them.

Mark Strong turns in a good performance as the bad guy, but he isn't really given much to work with.  McLovin disappoints in what could have been a funnier performance.  I'm not sure if this kid will ever actually do anything but McLovin impersonations the rest of his career.  Don't be surprised if you see him in a string of bad tv comedies (a la Finch from American Pie).  Nicholas Cage hams it up throughout as well.   The real star of this movie is Chloe Moretz.  Even as Mindy, she steals the screen.  This coming on the heels of her performance in 500 Days of Summer - where she was easily the worst part of a good movie.  I wish the movie was more about her, but it wasn't and I was left with only a few choice scenes.

I really like Layer Cake and Stardust (more so than just about anyone I know)... so I'd generally say I'm a fan of Matthew Vaughn.  While I think this was made well, it didn't knock my socks off.  I just don't think anyone cares about a superhero movie that pokes fun at itself at the end of the day.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mel Kiper, Jr - What is Wrong with Sports

If anyone sat through any of the draft, or hours of pre-draft talk on ESPN, they undoubtedly heard Mel Kiper, Jr. spouting off about who he thought were the top players, etc...  And they also heard basically the same thing.  A bunch of useless stats that have nothing to do with productivity on the field. Even during the draft, where you had a bunch of serious football minds (Hall of Famer Steve Young, Super Bowl Championship Coach Jon Gruden and NFL Linebacker Tom Jackson), all he could do was point to a bunch of stats.  So and so had 15 reps on the bench press.  He had a 40 inch vertical.  He's a great athlete.  Never did you hear the football guys bring up a stat like that.

And yet here was Mel Kiper, Jr. arguing about picks because of 40 times.  Or bench press reps.  As if that has EVER mattered on the field.

It's happening in other sports too.  People are more worried about size stats, rather than what they see on the field/ice/court.  It's a horrible plague that you would think has been debunked at this point.  As 'slow' running backs like Emmitt Smith take their place in the record books.  QB's with 'awful' throwing motions like Phillip Rivers making the Pro Bowl.  'Undersized' linebackers and Defensive Ends that tear through the competition.

Because reps on a bench press.  How high you can jump standing still.  How fast you can run in a straight line with no equipment on - don't matter.  Not now.  Not ever.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Maverik Commercial

Ah, my director's reel.  A thing of beauty.  A thing of excellence.  A thing that doesn't exist.

My old desktop died when I first moved to Los Angeles, and this was before I was smart enough to back up my computer. I had my entire collection of short films on there from college, and my 'epic' short after I graduated (to be fair, the soundtrack to that film is awesome)... My parents moved while I was away and lost in the move were the actual film negatives of these.  So, essentially, everything I ever shot disappeared almost overnight.

Since I was at the Peter Stark Producing Program, emphasis on 'producing', I have spent most of my time since then actually doing just that, not directing.  Although, I have since shot a few things... most notable was a lacrosse commercial I did with Sean Lindsey, one of the principles of lacrosse equipment company Maverik Lacrosse.

I explained in the previous post what sort of happened with it.  However, now that I have shifted my attention to writing/directing, it has become a priority to start building my reel up again. And this meant going back in and finalizing the commercial.  I have, for the most part. It was shot in HD, but somewhere along the way the files lost a few few generations. I actually have to go back to the raw files and re-cut the entire thing based on my current edit. This won't be that hard, but it will take a lot of time. I have almost 3 hours of footage.  And this is time I just don't have right now.  But, you can now view my commercial in all its glory:


This was shot by Kev Robertson, but I did everything else.  Directed, edited, sound design, music editor, etc...  Enjoy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Coming Out of the Fog

It's been a while since I've posted... sorry about that.  I've been in a dark place, working furiously.  Actually, I have been bogged down in technical difficulties.  A while back I shot a lacrosse commercial for Maverik Lacrosse, but after an injury shelved the project without finishing it completely.  I was never thrilled with my music (had it done twice too), and somewhere along the way the video quality got funky - which made me fall out back then. 

R.E.M. has made the final round for the Sundance Producer's Lab (via Luiza Ricupero), so it was time to buckle down and finish the damn thing.  The problem has been that in Final Cut Pro it looks amazing, and anytime I output it (to any format, codec, spec, etc...) it looks bad.  Blurry, pixelated... gross.  I've been losing my hair trying to figure this out.  I finally succombed to shrinking the frame size so the quality is better and just locking it for now.  The problem is the file I'm working off.  Like I said, somewhere along the way a file got funky.  So I have to go back to the raw files and recut them to match the spot as it is now.  It is a lacrosse action/shooting spot and there are a lot of cuts... so it means it will take a long time for me to do that. 

The good news is that I finally figured out my musical choices and sound - and I am very pleased with it overall.  The visual effects and the overall look of the commercial are great - and now it sounds great.  I will post it on here shortly.

Off to see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, something I've been dying to check out for a while now.  First time heading to the theater in a few weeks.  It'll be good to get back in the game.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chasing Rabbits Splash Page

I decided to have a piece of artwork done for one of my projects, Chasing Rabbits.  It will wind up being the splash page in the graphic novel (the project is a feature film script as well). I had this image in my head and needed to get it out - and it doubles as a promotional piece as I begin to raise financing for the book.

It was done by Polish artist/graphic designer Marek Purzycki.  Check it out...