All posts tagged “movies

comment 0

Black Swan – mini review

Saw Black Swan tonight. It was everything I wanted it to be… almost. Intense, dark, sexy, twisted. I enjoyed it, but in the end I was a little bit “that’s it?”. Why? Story. Again. Sure, all the parts are there,…

comment 0

Paranormal Activity 2 – the sequel

Paranormal Activity sequel promises to out-boo its predecessor – will it succeed?

Paranormal Activity 2 the sequelIf you read my exhaustive review of Paranormal Activity, you know I was a big fan of (99% of) the film.

Paranormal Activity is the movie The Blair Witch Project wanted to be and Cloverfield didn’t even try to be. Discuss amongst yourselves the relative success or failure of The Last Broadcast, REC or its American remake Quarantine.

But we all also know that more often than not, sequels tend to disappoint (unless the audience’s requirements are low – Hello, Twilight).

comments 7

kickass superhero movie adds to the unsuperhero genre

New Kickass superhero movie expands sub-genre of regular-guy superheroes

Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan who one day decides to become a super-hero, even though he has no powers, training or meaningful reason to do so.

Lion’s Gate’s KICKASS is the latest entry to the burgeoning unsuperhero genre that I wrote about a few months back. What’s an ‘unsuperhero’? It’s a guy (or gal – er, woman) who takes on the mantle of superheroic responsibilities, with no actual superheroic powers.

It’s a sub-genre with a history, from early comers like John Ritter’s Hero at Large:

comments 15

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief – A lesson in storytelling?

(aka: Percy Jackson: The Story Thief)

Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief” – a review about mismanaging story

*** NOTE: Spoilers galore. ***

I am not one of those “the movie is never as good as the book” guys. Ever read Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (the source material for Blade Runner)? You couldn’t help but make a better movie than book, as the book is laughably bad. And Blade Runner is one of my all time favorite films.

And I’m not in love with Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief as a book. It’s engaging enough, and full of big ideas, but somewhat lacking in story structure.

So why am I so struck by the failure of Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief the movie?

I think, the more I ruminate on it, it’s because the mistakes seem so rooted in fundamental story issues, and seem to favor the weaknesses of the book over its strengths.

IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE BOOK *** spoilers ***

comment 1

on defining “high concept”

high concept movie
Every so often I see a conversation about “high concept” films or screenplays that goes something like this:

“That was a high concept film.”

“High concept? It was a bunch of explosions and giant robots! What’s so high concept about that?

“That’s poster-child high concept. By definition.”

“No, high concept means a concept with high aspirations… concepts with a higher calling.”

“High concept” does sound like it’d be more applicable to The Seventh Seal than to 2012. And those who lament Hollywood’s penchant for 90 minute action-figure commercials based on video games from the ’70’s might resent the apparent hijacking of the term to mean its exact opposite, somehow projecting value on the valueless by virtue of its semantic favoritism. But it is what it is… the term is firmly embedded in the lexicon of the industry, and now means precisely the opposite of what it sounds like it means.

So I dug up some old notes I’d written a few years ago, and thought I ‘d repost it here, to sort of bubble it back up to the top of the conversation. A few of the links are no longer any good, but you’ll get the point.

comments 2

Positive feedback on the Faeries script feels so good

Although our screenplay “Faeries” didn’t win at Shriekfest, we still got to see the judge’s notes… those kind folks who put so much time into reading all those screenplays. We’re feeling pretty good about what they had to say… A…

comment 0

scion – short film

Earlier this year I was a screener for the Santa Cruz Film Festival. I had to watch a truckload of crap… most of it was crap, frankly. Being a screener (or a screenplay reader) is a real eye opener, really… because most of it is crap. But I found a few gems, and I thought I’d get around to sharing them with you. Not all of them made it into the fest (not for lack of quality or vision, more for programming reasons) but I still think you should know about these films.

Written and Directed by Michael Rosetti

Deep in an abandoned factory lives Scion; lonely and crippled, he hobbles along, trying to create a companion.  When a mysterious man stumbles into the factory Scion eagerly follows him and the two develop an odd relationship, ultimately changing Scion’s insulated existence forever. Creation and destruction are bound together in a story of the search for meaning and existence.

I was stunned by Scion. At only 12 minutes long, and with only a single line of dialogue, Scion is a beautiful movie with delicate performances. Shot on 35mm by Greg Mitnick, Scion’s urban grunge post-apocalyptic setting is filmed with the light and composition of a Vermeer.

In fact, my recommendation to the programming committee went something like this:

comment 1

the hollywood blacklist redux

Recently, somewhere in Hollywood, somebody got taken for a ride (no surprise). They got so upset about it that they decided to start an organization dedicated to bringing film industry scammers to justice; hanging them out to dry where everyone…

comment 0


A few years ago I ended up talking with Veronica Craven about her upcoming slate of horror films. We chatted about me writing a zombie flick for her but that project didn’t come together (at least not with me). She…

comments 3

"Away We Go" gains instant indie cred via hand drawn title font

Away We Go is just the latest in a long line of “indie” films to leverage the oh-so-cool “hand drawn title” font, lending it serious street cred and instant indie validation before anyone even sees the film. Recently popularized by…