The last two months of the year always bring out the heavy hitters from both the studio pipeline and the independent circuit. It can almost become a test in itself to keep perspective about what constitutes a good or possibly great film. The bar of quality can get subconsciously raised so high that everything starts to either blend together or pale in comparison to one overwhelmingly powerful piece of cinema. Yet no matter how hard the struggle may get, everyone wins in the end because the audience is presented with a plethora of great films to enjoy. Continue reading →
There is not a person in the world who hasn’t heard the rags to riches story of J.K. Rowling and the legendary Harry Potter series of books. Those books, of course, led us to the movie franchise, which has generated so far over a billion dollars with three more movies to go (one for book six, while book seven will be split into two pieces). Yet as quickly as one legend is chiseled into stone, another one comes along, shaking the pedestal to knock down the reigning champion. Stephanie Meyer wrote the first book in her Twilight saga only 3 years ago and she is already hot on the trail of Harry Potter’s coffers. With the release of the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, the series as a whole has sold over 17 million copies and been translated into 20 different languages. So, with the literary world groveling at the feet of the Twilight series, begging for more, it was inevitable the movie world would come knocking. Does such a massive fan base guarantee success for the feature film adaptation? Continue reading →
There are characters out there so iconic, so ingrained into the hearts and minds of the viewing public, that when a new chapter in the series emerges we rush out opening weekend, our hands clutching popcorn and our eyes pasted wide. Only a chosen few have made it into this cherished realm of public trust, but none as long and as stylishly as James Bond. This weekend brought his newest episode, Quantum of Solace, and it marked the second in the reign of current Bond persona, Daniel Craig. He broke out the gates with extreme critical and public appeal in the remake of Casino Royale, but now it was time to see if he could keep up the excitement and appeal.
That was the chant last night as I stood in the ballroom of the Los Angeles Hyatt with an overwhelming crowd of Barack Obama supporters. I was given the amazing chance to volunteer and help make the event a success and I grabbed the opportunity with incredible enthusiasm for what the night would bring. I was looking forward to celebrating the oncoming victory with as many supporters as possible. I wanted to feel the rush of joy and hope flow through the crowd when the words “President Obama” appeared on the large projection screens all around us. The energy and excitement that ran through me last night made me realize why it is people get involved in the political process. It was an indescribable moment to be part of a group driven so directly by hope and belief, not money and self-serving ideals. Honestly, I can’t see myself ever going back to the casual observer I once was of the democratic process we are so lucky to be a part of. Continue reading →
It’s been a long time coming. Finally someone tackled the incredibly hard genre of porn parody in the mainstream film world. This area has been begging to be cracked open and poked fun at for decades, almost since the inception of porn itself. The missing link in this universal quest was waiting for the right director to come along, one with enough guts to get down and dirty with the humor, one with enough skill to handle the depravity of the comedy without losing the audience, and finally one with enough of a following that it wouldn’t matter if he videotaped a poster of dogs playing poker for two hours. That director has come and he bears the name Kevin Smith…or does he? Continue reading →
Taking the ordinary and introducing it to the out-of-the-ordinary. That’s what Thomas McCarthy said about his films and their underlying stories. Actually, he probably put it a little more eloquently, but you catch the drift. This is indeed the core of nearly all filmmaking and good storytelling. It brings out the eternal question; What happens when the normal world is shifted, knocked askew by any number of forces and how will the people of that world react? Will they run? Will they freeze? Most importantly of all, what would we do in their shoes? Now before you apply these new questions to such deep and powerful films like Beerfest and Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo, let’s start out with something a bit clearer. Continue reading →