Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tales From Netflix Instant: Skins (British)***couldn't be bothered with the American Version

“Everyone’s always pissing on me!”

5 things I learned whilst watching Skins.

  1. Skins is a half-hour British drama following a group of teenage kids through 2 years of school. Every 2 years the show swaps out casts as the characters graduate and move on. I admire the gumption of the producers to get rid of a popular cast and complete replace it every 2 years. (Otherwise the show would’ve ended up like 90210.) Overall, I really like the show. Although I admit it may be a little weird for a guy my age to be so immersed in the lives of these teenagers. I think the 1st season was the strongest. However,  the 2nd generation of characters was a stronger and more interesting ensemble.
  2. Bad guys are more fun. The most interesting characters from the 1st 2 generations where Tony and Cooke. Tony was by far the most fun character from the 1st season, and the most disappointing in the 2nd. I would have rather seen his character continue on the path he was on in the 1st season and deal with consequences of actions on his own terms, rather than the cheap character reset that happened after he was hit by a car in the season 1 finale. Cooke was most complex character from the 2nd generation and continued on so throughout his run on the series. I think he’s my favorite overall from the entire run of the show so far.
  3. British kids like Oasis, cussing and Techno. The entire soundtrack was filled with rock sounds that sound like they were written by Oasis (probably were) and techno.
  4. The blonde-chick from the 1st generation that looks and acts like the crazy blonde-girl from Harry Potter is hot.
  5. Lesbian couples are boring. (at least on T.V.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monsters in the Woods Interviews: Al Gomez (Executive Producer)

I met Al Gomez almost 10 years ago. I had just finished my first movie, "Rise of the Undead" and he was developing a movie for a friend of mine in New Orleans. We kept in touch over the years as I made my move from Louisiana to California. He has always been there to help or offer advice on my many projects, but it wasn't until Monsters in the Woods that we actually found something we could do together.
Al Gomez with primadona Annemarie

1. Tell me who you are and what your doing here.

Al Gomez. I served as Executive Producer on "Monsters In The Woods". 

2. You've done just about every job known to man (in the industry), how do you see yourself? (a producer? writer? filmmaker?)

I've always seen myself as an entertainer.   I started in the business as an actor, and still find myself acting occasionally. But, over the years I've gained an appreciation for telling stories on the big screen, and decided I wanted to participate in all of it.  So, now I find myself producing movies, but I also continue to foster new ideas, write screenplays, and work with new directors.

3. Tell me about some of the other projects you've produced?

My first foray into producing motion pictures was a 35mm feature film back in '92... a drama about a day in the life of two homeless children called "River Bottom".  After that came the comedy 'mocumentary' "Elvis Is Alive, I Swear I Saw Him Eating A Ding-Dong At The Piggly Wiggly", about a documentary filmmaker whose search for 'Elvis Presley' takes him across the country meeting people who swear they've seen him alive. Both of those movies were directed by Robert LeRoy.   While I was in New Orleans in '05, I happened to be in the wrong place at the right time as Hurricane Katrina passed by, which became an opportunity to produce my first documentary feature called "Refuge of Last Resort". It was was created by filmmaker, James L. Bills, whose experiences with surviving the event and what came afterward were the centerpiece of that human drama.  Next came the sci-fi feature film "Jonathon Moon - Alien Attack", a rather eccentric story about a bizarre radio show host who is caught in a dilemma when he finds himself assisting the escape of an alien before he destroys the Earth, also directed by Robert LeRoy.  

4. What's your story with Monsters in the Woods? How did you become involved? 

Our mutual friend and filmmaker, James L. Bills,  called me about your project, and told me I should read the script.  Being a supporter of your previous work, I did read it, found it to be very well written, and for a horror script, filled with a lot of emotion and humor. To say that I liked it is an understatement.  I had recently inherited a small amount of money, so after meeting and discussing the financial needs of the production, I offered to you that I would like be involved as an Investor/Executive Producer.   

5. How did your initial role change, and what does a producer do?  What is the producer's role in dealing with distributors? 

Well, the production staff you had on "Monsters...", although young, energetic, and very creative, was lacking production experience and were making decisions detrimental to support the completion of principal photography.  After meeting with you, I thought it prudent to get more involved as a 'producer', assisting and guiding your young producers. The difference between Exec. Prod. and Producer is an exec usually is involved with financial matters only, while the producer is involved in all matters of creating the movie, which include all business and creative decisions.  The Producer(s) work closely with the director, and are responsible for hiring crew, supporting the director, and when the movie is completed, securing distribution.    Regarding distribution, it is one of the most important jobs of a producer.  Finding a company who is going to sell your movie to the public, is just as important as getting the right cast. Sometimes a producer already has distribution partners from previous movies he's made, but if not, one has to look through hundreds of companies with various levels of capabilities. If you think finding a mate is difficult, try looking for a distributor for your movie!

6. Of all the director's that you've worked with, who is  the most handsome? (it's ok if it's not me. I'll understand)

Tough question, but as opposed to looks, I will say this...  since the directors (including you) I've worked with have all acted in their own movies, I have to admit that each of you have a little Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen in your personalities.  You can pick who you like to be compared to! 

7.  When you're looking for material to produce or are creating new material, what do you look for? 

An idea or concept for a movie has to tweak me emotionally, as I'm assuming, it does for everyone. I find many themes and subject matters interesting, so the quality of the writing of the script itself is what convinces me to get involved, or want to be involved.    

8. What was the most difficult aspect in bringing "Monsters In The Woods" to fruition?

The most difficult part of making "Monsters..." was the small amount of money we had to make it with.  MITW  

9. If you had it to do all over again, what would you do differently?

My excitement to get involved with the project as an Investor overtook my usual production sensibilities.  I had wanted to play 'angel', when in reality, this production was missing 'the devil in the details', and I didn't do thorough due diligence. If I had asked the right questions, and checked out where everything was sitting in pre-production, I probably could've been more helpful in the early stages of production and saved everyone a lot of headaches and heartache.  It's my fault. I learned a great deal on this project, as I do with every one I work on.  

   10. What are you most proud of with "Monsters In The Woods"? 

You!  "Monsters..." would not be where it is without the effort that you made to get it where it is.  You put your heart and soul into it... from the writing, to the directing, and editing.  Every frame in this movie truly has your signature on it.  It was indeed a pleasure to watch you work and I hope that wherever you go from here, making big budget or low budget movies, you take that same spirit with you!  Congratulations, Jason!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tales From Netflix Instant: Red Hill

I've been watching a lot of Netflix Instant the last few months. Thought I'd offer up my thoughts on some of the lesser known titles.

Red Hill = Pussy Town 

Patrick Hughes’ feature day debut Red Hill starring the super-shredded dude from True Blood is pretty much butt. It starts out kinda promising, looking a bit like a under-budgeted, illegitimate aussie brother to No Country for Old Men but it soon shows it’s stripes as it devolves into a 2nd rate, poorly plotted thriller.

 A pussfied young police officer moves to the small town of Red Hill with his pregnant wife to start a family. See the wife had a previous miss-carriage due to stress. I guess they reckoned moving to the country would be better for this unborn.  OOPS!

The police learn that a scar-faced almost supernatural killing marching, previously arrested by the sheriff for killing his wife, has escaped from prison. Knowing that Michael Myers will return to town to seek revenge, the sheriff orders his officers and a group of ruffians to arm themselves and shoot Jason Voorhees on sight.

This is where the movie totally lost me.
Once Norman Bates gets to Red Hill, the sheriff and his pals change from rough and tumble men from the outback into teenage slasher movie victims. They seem to forget they are heavily armed and outnumber Freddy Krueger and quickly resort to hiding and crawling around on the floor until Leslie Vernon finds and kills them Behind the Mask style. Of course the newbie sheriff discovers that Mlie Cyrus is innocent and the sheriff and his men framed him or some such shit.
On the plus side, the movie looks good and is solidly acted. There is a nice scene towards the end where the young officer returns home to get his gun (he had lost it in the move, this being his 1st day and all.) Anywho, he comes home all battered and bruised, but doesn’t want to alarm his wife for fear of her miscarrying their child. So he calmly tells her he just wanted to see her before returning to work to finish some last minute business. He grabs the gun and leaves her none the wiser. This scene had more tension and suspense than the entire 2nd act. I will say this for Red Hill though; I didn’t turn it off.

Monsters in the Woods Interviews: Robert Bravo (Producer)

I met Robert Bravo five years ago working together at a drive thru Starbucks in Culver City. I was just completing Edges of Darkness and he was looking to get into the movie business. In addition to being one of the most genuine and nice people I've ever met, he is also one of the hardest working. Although he had little tproducing experience, he was eager to learn and had many good ideas. We worked together developing different screenplays over the next year. He helped not only with story and character, but also in designing creatures, set pieces and working out storyboards for potential projects. Eventually he put together Trap (everything from raising the budget to crewing up), which remains one of my all-time favorite production experiences. (the movie's ok too)

1. Tell me who you are and what you're doing here.
I’m Robert Bravo and I was one of the producers on this epic Masterpiece.

2. What does a producer do?

3. What was your favorite part of production?  
 I would have to say all of pre-production that’s when I’m the most confident with my craft. 

4. Did you get a chance to see my abs in the hot tub at the cabin? If so, just how impressive are they?
   You where there? 

5. What was your least favorite part of production? 
 Well I would have to say principle production. Everything I’d done up till that point was on a much smaller scale, so there was a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. It was a learning experience. Looking back I don’t think I was ready to take it on. But even with all the blood sweat and tears, it was still among the happiest times of my life. 

6. What was your role in pre-production? What did you do? 
 I was there from the beginning; I gave some input during the script writing stage, did some design work on the monsters, got permits together and other cool stuff.You know me... jack-of-all-trades 

7. How would you compare working on Monsters in the Woods with past productions?
 Well this is a whole new world, I think while other projects have been easier for me,this was more rewarding.

8. What do you think of the way Bane speaks in The Dark Knight Rises? Do you understand him? Does it matter?
 I think Tom Hardy is an amazing actor and I’m pumped to see what he does with it. Oh and I like the voice, well more then the batman’s at least, so there’s that.

9. Do you think my fixation with John Stamos is "gay?"
 That depends; do you think mine with Hugh Laurie is?

10. What's next for you? 
I’m all over the place these days; I’ve been producing a T.V. pilot.You have a number of scripts I would love to produce, but I think the project im working hardest on is going back and re-tackling  “Trap” that was my first real project and I want to go back to it, and give it the treatment (ie budget)  it deserves.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Another Exciting Friday in the Life

Today is  a pretty exciting day for my inner movie watcher. I've been under the weather since Sunday. What I thought to be food poisoning is still around. I'm know thinking stomach flu. I checked webmD, turns out I have cancer.

7am – up and check my internets.
730 – find that my directors’ cuts of Mimac and The Frightners have arrived.
(loved the Mimic cut. It's a true director's cut.  Definitely a big improvement over the original. ***Listening to Del Toro's commentaries always makes me feel like an amateur. The Frighteners was more of an extended cut. The theatrical version is the superior one. But it was kinda neat to see a few extra bits to a beloved movie.)
8am – breakfast at The Broken Egg, accompanied by my copy of Fight Club (the book).
9am – head off to watch Mission Impossible 4 in IMAX at the Citywalk.
(liked it very much. Better than the last 2 for sure.)
1pm – get home. Tear right into my Mimac blu-ray.
6pm - head to my day job til 1am.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Distributor's Trailer for Monsters in the Woods

They must've released this a ways back, but I just noticed it.

Also, our 1st critical review was just posted.
Monsters in the Wood review.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011