Archive for Slinger’s Notes

I’ve been busy working. A lot. I got a job at Six Flags America, finally putting my fantasy action mindset/obsession to good use as a stunt man in a Pirate Show. Go figure.
Falling to my Doom! edit
What can I say in terms of updates? Quick stuff–

During this Summer I saw… four movies, in theaters, me thinks?

Let’s backtrack!

9
I most recently saw this little gem. Its being marketed as “not a kids movie” but well, if I was a kid and I saw this thing I would probably think it was the coolest thing ever. 9 succeeds in bringing some excitement and mystery that has long been lost to children’s films since the late 90s when Pixar and Dreamworks opened up shop and explained everything at all times (with the exception of, maybe Toy Story and Wall-E). 9 is exciting, simple, unique, and effective in its final moments at giving you hope for the future. In that it provides excellent entertainment, if little more. Word of note– a LOT of this movie reminded me of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and I mean that in a GOOD way.

This was probably the best main-stream action movie of the summer. Suck it, Transformers, Wolverine, Terminator, etc etc. You got schooled by a First Time Feature Director.

Inglorious Basterds
or however the hell you spell it. Tarantino does it again, bringing us a more-clever-than-it-really-needs-to-be storyline with some great scene chewing by Brad Pitt. But the real treasure to this piece of historical fiction (or is it fictional history? I always get the two confused!) is Christoph Waltz, a man you’ll all here of very soon as this gig will most likely land him a Best Supporting nod (as the trademark laughing villain will, I predict, forever be added to the character roster for the event) and also netted him the role of the villain in the Seth Rogen lead Green Hornet film. Considering Stephen Chow dropped out and they replaced him with a pop-singer in one of Bruce Lee’s trademark original roles, this is currently the best thing Green Hornet has going for it.

Basterds is his first American movie, and he speaks 5 languages. Fluently. With better acting than any American I’ve seen in years, across the board. I believe this to be an intentional effect of Tarantino’s, as he wants to make Americans sound like stupid cliches, and make the “foreigners” sound honest and real. Its ironic his name bares such striking similarity to another actor with incredible charm and dark humor. If you can guess in the comments who I mean, I’ll send you a virtual cookie.

Entertaining dialogue ripples throughout but a dearth of action really dragged this piece under, even in its final act where we expect a little bit more than what we’re given. The only reason I complain about this is because Tarantino DOES have a knack for action scenes and he totally wastes some of his greatest potential (really, this could have been twice as exciting as Kill Bill since its more grounded), by only showing the Basterds being Inglorious for about 20 minutes of the film, with only 5 of that being action. Its 2 and a half hours long, QT, if you sell us a movie about killing NATZIS, kill us some FUCKING NATZIS.

District 9–
I don’t think many of you out there would realize how sore I felt when site co-creator Ryan told me that this movie was somewhat underwhelming. I was vehement– this movie was supposed to CHANGE summer block busters– fix what Pirates, Spidey and Transformers (two more than one) had broken!

Well to a degree, it does. Its smarter, better crafted (more efficient in pacing and consistent in style), and shorter than all three of the above films. It provides a clever and original story that bears some relevance to current events. Its satirical, it makes us think, like many Schwarzenegger movies actually used to do. The special effects are fresh and fun, and are employed inventively. With all of this, what could go wrong?

Well, the main character is almost completely unforgivably annoying, the plot twist is predictable and takes forever to get to the point, the pacing is way off early on and the final act isn’t as big as it should be. There’s some strange similarity in the pacing issues between this and Inglorious Basterds, but I think this movie, with its 45 minute first act (though I didn’t record the time, it sure as hell felt that long), really took forever to start tying together threads. And then when it finally did? Felt totally rushed for the rest of the film.

My favorite example of this is the weapons used in this sci-fi achievement, and by that I mean “weapon.” While about three types of alien guns were employed at one time or another, director Blomkamp decided using the one microwave-explodey-goo-gun every 5 seconds until the end of the film would be the most exciting choice. While the sight of someone popping like a zit because they got hit by lightning never did get old, it got…well. Old. I dunno, I think you’d have to see it to know what I mean. Even when the film’s best special effect, a freaking MECH ARMOR comes into play…it still uses the same damn space blaster! What the hell?!?!

On the positive side: District 9 has the greatest final frame of a movie I have seen in YEARS.

I still recommend seeing this movie whole-heartedly. Give Blomkamp MORE money so he can make MORE movies. He deserves whereas people like Michael Bay squander. Proof is in the pudding: District 9 cost 30 mil to make, and Transformers 2 cost over 200. If you genuinely liked Transformers 2, third grade math is beyond you and you probably can’t tell the difference between those two dollar amounts, so don’t worry, let what I mean just go right over your head anyways, you’re probably 6.

Finally:
and the Best Movie of the Summer award goes to…

The Hangover–
Clever. Crisp. Refreshingly SCRIPTED (my scorn flows over to your side of the table, Apatow), and angular.

This movie had humor that most guys are familiar with but told from the perspectives of three very dissimilar men trying to survive a most peculiar situation. They go to Vegas, their best friend (and soon husband to be) disappears, and well…chaos having already ensued the night before lets just say CATASTROPHE WREAKS UTTER HAVOC.

Yeah, this movie gets nuts. Mike Tyson playing real life punch out, a wild tiger in a bathroom, a baby’s mama situation, naked asian trunk ninjas, and autistic super-gambling are just a few of the great moments spread throughout this frenetic piece of comedy. A lot of these moments are laugh out loud, a feeling I haven’t had in theaters since Superbad and very little previous to that.

Whats even better about this flick is that it contains such a great little mystery plot to drag you along. Its Screenwriting 101 but put to GOOD use. You never find yourself bored, and you usually find yourself smiling. The referencing back to the bride-to-be character keeps the compelling nature of the piece always at the front WHERE it NEEDS to BE and the final twist to the whole thing just…well it kicks you in the teeth. Its one of those moments when you just look to the person to your right. Look forward again. Smile at the screen, unable to look sad, and just go “Damn.” And that’s it. Its all you can say, cause you just had your mind blown.

When was the last time a comedy actually did that to you? Not I, said the cynical film critic.

Alright, its getting late, I have a lot of homework to do, and that was really written just to fill space on the blog. Please comment if you’ve seen any of those movies and let us know what you think. Also be sure to swing by the forums, as they’ve been slightly rejuvenated and are in serious need of some threading love.

Future Film Makers, a club I’ve ran at Salisbury University for the past few years, has wrapped filming and production of its first Feature Film, BRIDE, written and directed by Mike Woodard. I act as producer on the project, and group favorites Thomas England (Man of Action) and James Howe (Gullman, The Spy Wars series), costar in it along with. Steve “Siggy” Young is also a huge part of the production, playing the villainous Professor.

The story is about Cory Hertz, a sophomore at Salisbury University who begins a research project that will change his life forever. Investigating the tragic disappearance from school over a decade ago of the long lost student, Mea Bridell, Cory uncovers a plot of love, obsession, and revenge that leads him on a chase to discover her fate. With his reluctant but faithful friend Douglas in tow, the two spiral down their own path of madness, reaching for the truth until they finally encounter the dangerous person and the malicious grudge that rendered a young love to it’s bitter end.

The finished film will be premiering in Salisbury sometime in October (probably around Halloween) and possibly double featuring with Strike a Pose Films!!! Classic, Curse of Bodangofish.

Be sure to check out Mike Woodard’s youtube page, www.youtube.com/user/thugger333 for more details.

This just FRIGGIN IN! Gungrave, your humble writer’s favorite anime/gangster story/revenge tale, has officially been greenlighted for its own FEATURE FILM. This news comes from VARIETY so you know its not a joke!

My favorite image from the show

Brandon Heat can't cover his eyes from death in a defining moment.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Convergence is aiming to produce both projects as live-action features with budgets in the $30 million-$35 million range by tapping into financing sources from its strategic partners in Asia. Tim Kwok, the banner’s topper, will produce, with Yasuaki Nagoshi from Red Entertainment exec producing “Gungrave,”

Convergence is the company currently adapting the King of Fighters film, and who knows how that is going to turn out! Some promotional images for that can be found here.

As for the description, if you didn’t already know, GUNGRAVE is about “a lone figure who rises in the ranks of a crime syndicate only to be murdered by his best friend and then resurrected as a harbinger of death who exacts revenge on those that wronged him.” I can promise you all that is only the tip of the iceberg. The show follows that main character, Brandon Heat, through a lot of development, and tests his loyalty to his code and his friends.

Here is my main stipulation with this announced project:

Gungrave is pretty much the only Anime I TRULY still love. I watch it every chance I get for its poetic symbolism, its quiet main character, and its INCREDIBLE finale that is pretty much a dialog based shootout of characters reliving their past selfs in an artistic display of memory-based “combat.” Find it and watch it to see what I mean, but overall my point is I’m going to figure out how to contact these guys, write a draft of the screenplay, and submit it before they make their final decisions! MY WILL BE DONE.

Merciless avenger, Beyond the Grave

Merciless avenger, Beyond the Grave

GUNGRAVE was also the subject of my first AMV, and the first time I tried out Sony Vegas. This simple video will show any naysayers out there that the show isn’t just about action but a deep emotional core to the characters…or something like that.

Either way, give it a watch and a comment, and let me know if you’ve seen GUNGRAVE. Also- what do you all think about these movies coming? Tekken, KOF, and all that jazz are getting a bum wrap. They might as well let a fan boy like me write one on something completely unknown, right? Couldn’t HURT I’d say!

One blog I love to bring up quite often is written by John August, the guy who wrote Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the Tim Burton one) and Charlie’s Angles. He’s done quite a few other interesting works, such as his directorial debut The Nines starring Ryan Reynolds, and was set to work on SHAZAM! when the company took the project, sadly, out from under his feat. On his website he offers wonderfully insightful and amusing anecdotes to writers, as well as some glimpses into the industry as a whole. It’s been a ton of help for me, and this article is no different. In fact, its REALLY DAMN helpful.

In a recent article, John wrote about why it is a good idea and why it is REQUIRED that young writers (or older ones) join up with the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA), the guys behind last year’s fiasco.

Here’s a snippet to tell you why:

Let’s say a studio reads a script it wants to buy. The writer isn’t a member of the WGA. If the writer weren’t required to join the union, the studio could save a lot of money and hassle.

* It could pay less than minimums.
* It wouldn’t have to pay into the health plan.
* It wouldn’t have to pay into the pension plan.
* It wouldn’t have to pay residuals.
* It could decide which name would be listed for “written by.”

Given these advantages, a studio would certainly prefer if the writer weren’t WGA, and could make purchase of the script contingent on the writer agreeing not to join the WGA.

I recommend you guys interested in writing read the whole thing. It’s certainly opened my eyes a bit. I think last years strike was a public disaster for the WGA, but they are useful, and since they’re mandatory, we better get what we can out of them.

Preview: Fighting

The only thing I can really say about this one is “hrrrum.” I mean, here we have the American Martial Arts film, only this isn’t truly a martial arts film- its more like a Rocky-esque urban antihero story, Fighting is about…

A young con-artist named Sean MaCarthur runs into a bit of trouble when making a sale one day, only to be noticed by a professional scam artist (played by Terrence Howard). He is invited into the world of “Underground Street Fighting,” which is more like performance fighting for rich people’s entertainment. In the process of this he confronts his own personal morality and his need for validation, all coming to terms when his new manager decides he should throw a fight to make big money.

Fighting trailer in HD

Its a pretty simple story, and because its American Street Fighting you can expect to see some messy, hopefully under-edited action from Channing Tatum, who while is one of those typical teenage heart throb sorta guys (as seen in the less-than-crappy Step Up ) he’s more genuine in his physicality than, well lets say the guy from the atrociously received Never Back Down . I think his moves in this trailer actually proves he’s tough enough to be in an action film.

Now I doubt I’ll see this one in theaters unless I have extra money laying around and am bored or have spent too much time around the lady folk, but the B-grade caliber of the cast (let’s face it, Howard, since the whole Iron Man debacle, you’ve been booted from Oscar Nominee A-List) seems to give it some heft. Then again, having a should-have-been-awarded-best-supporting-actor-for-blood-diamond actor like Djimon Honsou in NBD didn’t really help that one either.

The film is also directed by Dito Montiel , who recently won some accolades with A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints. Who knows then, it might not actually stink. Just wish the could come up with a more credible title.

Surprisingly though, I have looked on threads and people have yet to compare this to the JCVD fighter, Lionheart, which was one of his lower-budget but less craptastic features. I’ll try to put up a youtube clip for comparison.

Ok…maybe it can’t be that bad…but we’ll just have to see.

As a word of admittance, yes, as of right now I’ve wanted to post more often, and in doing so I’ve decided to make STRIKE A POSE FILMS an action-fan blog for the time being. A further announcement on this will be made ASAP.

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