Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Aria Next Door is an award winning comedy made in 24 hours for the Boulder Shootout 2007.
The rules were to make the film in 24 hours, edit all In-Camera, and use 5 of the 11 items provided to you at the start of the competition. Our items were,
1. a person with red hair
2. haning items up to dry
3. an energy efficient light bulb
4. the line "How about them Rockies"
5. A particular set of benches in Boulder.
If you don't know what In-Camera Editing is, I'll explain. It means that editing is not allowed in this competition and therefore, if you need to do a second or third take of a shot, you must rewind the tape in your camera and shoot over the previous take. Once you are done with a shot, you cue up the tape in the camera and move to your next location and so on.
Go to The Shootout Boulder's website to check out how you can enter this next year and compete against us or just watch some other films (for that go to this link)!
Monday, July 9, 2007
Posted Apr 06, 2007
In this hilarious parody of "Memento," Kyle and Dan sit on a futon. Thatâs what they do, and theyâre extremely good at it. While sitting there, they watch channel 53, eat pizza and chips, and smoke a ridiculous amount of marijuana. But today their lives have dramatically changed. Today someone stole their kind bud and hid it in some strangely familiar mountains. Locating the missing weed is complicated, however, by the fact that Kyle and Dan have completely burned out their short-term memories. What is
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Tom's Revenge (2005) was made in 24 hours for The Shootout Boulder 2005. It was shot in-sequence and was not allowed to be edited.
Also, the festival had a list of 12 objects/locations/lines that we received at the beginning of the 24 hours. We had to feature five of them -- our choice as to which -- in the movie. The five we chose were a rubber ducky, a Shoot Out Boulder poster, a mosaic park bench, "You're a good man Charlie Brown," and a pumpkin.
Winner of Best Comedy, Best Screenplay and Best Director for the festival.
In the previous installments, effects were used as a way to help tell the story and allow the super hero and his super villains come to life. In 3, the effects are there to make us go 'oooohhhh', which does nothing for the story. I don't give a shit if the Sandman's effects took two years to complete.
I actually felt like I was watching the result of a first time director getting his shot in Hollywood and is trying to please everyone. What was up with the crowd watching the final fight scene at the end? Why would we need to see reaction shot after reaction shot of the crowd? Why would the crowd be watching in the first place? I would run like hell if I saw a giant sand dude trying to crush a building, not sit there and argue over the price of a camera with Sam Rami's daughter.
One of the only good things about the film is Bruce Campbell. The chin strikes again and is awesome in his third cameo as a different character in each of the films. The guy deserves more credit.
The more I write the more upset I become. As an editor I sat there and said 'cut that', 'cut that', 'cut that'. There was so much BS in this film and I found it hard to sift through everything and find the real story line, which was so thinned out by everything else that the relationship between Parker, Mary Jane, and Harry, seemed very weak and unresolved. I'm just going to give up talking about it. Everything has become so formula and strayed from the comic book, it angers me. Did I mention that I'm pissed.
I don't think this film is worse than Superman Returns, but it definitely fires me up! Such high expectation and such high disappointment. But, then again, it's Hollywood, and they don't cater to the 32 year old. They want the 15 year old kids and it shows by the intellect they write into their films. Spider-Man 3 leaves me very sceptical about the rest of the summer blockbusters.
Monday, April 16, 2007
How much do I love this movie? I think if I'm asking you that question you know I really love it. Talk about pure fun! This film (or these films) had me laughing and having a great time throughout the entire experience.
The result of a couple of friends (Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino), getting together and watching a couple of old 70's exploitation flicks, along with a bunch of old trailers, Grindhouse(2007) is an homage to the hard boiled genre.
Grindhouse is not only an homage, it is a new movie-going experience that shows us why we love bad movies, and revives what is fun about going to the theaters rather than sitting at home watching a DVD. Grindhouse was created to take people back in time to a different era in movie-going. A time where there were no VHS players or cable TV. There was no Cinemax to watch soft-core porn and filmmakers were not out to appeal to the widest audience possible. The closest thing we have today is straight to DVD movies. But right now I am not looking forward to a film in 30 years that pays homage to the Olsen Twins or Basic Instinct 5. I am looking forward to the rumored full-length cut of Death Proof that Tarantino is supposedly cutting together for the Cannes Film Festival this year!
Although the filmmakers create the film scratches and missing reels in post-production, it takes me back to seeing movies as a kid that we threw popcorn at the screen and every once in a while someone would screw up and the projector would stop, resulting in the film burning up.
It's probably why Grindhouse has not made a ton of money at the box office (well, one of the reasons). I wonder if anyone under the age of 24 even remembers when films could look like crap and the projector could skip or a scratch run through 20 minutes of a film? The teenagers today probably don't get it.
But, people who have no tolerance for B movies would also hate Grindhouse. It's not a film for people who would go and figure that they didn't like the bad B movies in the 70's (and beyond), so why should they enjoy these films?
Me? The two films in Grindhouse, Planet Terror and Deathproof, remind me of my college days of staying up until 4am watching B movies on HBO. Films like Nemesis (1993) and Cyborg II (1993). Granted, these are early 90's B films, but they occupy the same film space as the films that Grindhouse is an homage to, which is not much. These films are also the reason why I don't subscribe to HBO anymore. I just can't resist watching the B movies. I will sit and watch, saying to myself that it's only until a certain scene or line that I love. Then when that part happens, I remember some other thing that's only 15 minutes away and the next thing I know, credits are rolling.
(As a side note, Grindhouse refers to a film that I truly love and would die to re-make called Vanishing Point (1971). I won't go into it here, but be sure to rent it within close proximity to watching Grindhouse. You will not be disappointed and it will give you an idea of the kind of movie they were thinking about when making this masterpiece.)
I have to make mention of the trailers they made within the film. As a small kid born in the mid-seventies, the trailers for these B films were about the only exposure I had to these kinds of films. Guest directors, Eli Roth (of Cabin Fever) and Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), add their own vision to the genre with hilarious results. The writing for 'Don't' and the voice over for 'Thanksgiving' had me holding my gut and hoping I wouldn't pee my pants. It's brilliant!
Grindhouse is a movie that was made by people who love movies, and for people who love movies. This is the key to why this movie is so great. These two guys with dream jobs, who love the movies we do and are responsible for bringing many of the films we love from Hong Kong, Europe and from our country's film past, are giving us what we want to see. Why? Because it's what they want to see. They say, "It would really kick ass to make one of these old X-Rated 70's exploitation flicks, but with our own twist and style." I for one couldn't be happier and it's great to see films being made that have some kind of history behind them and a respect for the movie-goer. They know we know what they are going for and if we don't, then they know that this movie is not for us and they don't try to explain it. You can't please everyone with your movies, and to do so is to compromise your film.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
I think if you don't like Michael Gondry, you're crazy. I don't mean that you have to like his films or think they are the greatest things out there, but you have to appreciate the fresh approach he brings to the film making process. He is a very flawed director in that his films are sometimes more about the absurd film techniques and excentric story lines he perfected while directing scores of music videos. Yet, as with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind(2004), when he has a good screenplay, Gondry is able to make gold and use his quirky film tricks for good instead of evil (meaning he uses his fun tricks to further the story rather than for nothing). Maybe Charlie Kaufman should write all of his films!
His follow up to 'Spotless Mind', The Science of Sleep(2006), is a great effort in taking a simple story and using it as a vehicle Gondry's style of imagry, but it ends up falling short in the end.
There was not a lot of buzz about this film when it came out last summer and although I wanted to check it out in the theaters, I just missed it. So, thanks to my good friends at Netflix, it arrived last week. My wife and I found ourselves laughing and finding the story touching at times, and I was excited watching the dream sequences throughout the film. But, when the film ended, we looked at each other and agreed that it did not deliver in the end.
The Science of Sleep is about a man, Stéphane Miroux, played by Gael Garcia Bernal, who moves to Paris from Mexico to be with his mother after his father dies of cancer. In the middle of missing and mourning his father, his mother gets him a dead end job with four quirky co-workers and seems to all but live by himself. His mother seems to be a part of this movie only to further the story and gives him some kind of reason for being in Paris at all.
After a short time he meets his new neighbor, Stéphanie, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, who is almost as quirky and strange as Stephane, but ends up just confused by his strangeness but is also attracted to him. The relationship is confusing, but then again, relationships can be confusing. In The Science of Sleep, it remains confusing and never resolves (which may or may not be a bad thing).
Stephane's problem is that he can't differentiate between reality and dreams. They intertwine for him seamlessly. Throughout the film we are taken into his dream television show, which he directs, produces, stars in, is all of the musicians in the 'talk show' band, and he is the subject of the show. Both beautiful and amazing, the dreams show us what is inside his head and how he feels about his life. His problem arises when he has to separate the two and is unable. The name of his show is 'Stephane TV'. Complete with a green screen and two windows with blinds he can open and close as he looks out of his own eyes.
The dreams are what make this film tick and Gondry knows it. I got the feeling that from the start, he wanted to make a film with some old animation techniques and bring them to a new level, while integrating those animation scenes into the real world, showing the audience Stephane's problem. They are new, they are different, and they are a joy to watch. They are worth taking a look at this film. You will laugh and feel refreshed at some of the scenes. The problem is they don't add up.
Gondry gives us hope throughout the film that Stephane might just figure things out and rise above his strange problems to finally get the girl, but this never happens. His life not getting resolved is not my problem. It's that Stephane is a slave to his character. He has no choice in what happens to him as his dreams engulf his reality. There is no time where he looks at what's happening and decides to go deeper into the rabbit hole, or come out of it and change something with in his life. I know that in life some people choose not to choose, but in films we typically are witness to a time which is most important in the character's life. I at least would like to see the moment where he decides to gives up or comes to the conclusion that even he knows he is hopeless.
One of my biggest dissapointments was when he gets a huge break at work and they publish his 'disasterology' paintings as a calandar, but it means nothing to any of the characters and is never brought up again. Stephan has a party thrown for him but the big break is never even mentioned again throughout the film and serves only as a way of trying to get the audience to believe that he really is a smart, respectable protagonist who we should believe in. I could only see a flawed, weak, junenile man who truly could not cope with real life and may even have some serious mental problems.
By the end of the film, he is so disjointed and lost as a character that we as the audience are lost also. Unable to feel much either way for him, which is obviously how Stephanie feels also. She finds him attractive and cute, but in the end, his juvenile tricks and miscommunication are just confusing to her and she is unable to really commit to him but also unable to let him go.
In the end, this is a film that Gondry may have wanted us to feel the way I feel about Stephan and his life. He may have said, "I want to make a film about a slightly funny, quirky, but ultimately pathetic and possibly deranged young man who is on the verge of losing himself completely to his fantasy world." But, I don't know Michael Gondry. I do know that this is one reason I enjoy film in general. Someone else may watch this movie and feel totally different that me.
Do I give it any stars or thumbs? No. I just say watch The Science of Sleep with an open mind to the quirks and enjoy the fun that Gondry brings to the screen as well as some of the great performances from Bernal and Gainsbourg. Particularly Bernal, who is becoming one of the great up-and-coming actors that is willing to take risks with his roles and always gives you something memorable from every character he plays.
Let me know what you think about the film and if you had a different opinion. I'd love to know it!