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). Continue reading Paranormal Activity 2 – the sequel

Grave Dawn: WWII indie movie

gravedawn

Charlie Hofheimer (Father’s Day, Black Hawk Down, The Village, Blur) co-producing WWII indie film based on a true story.

A few years ago I worked on a film project titled “BLUR“. It was a challenging experience, but through it I met a lot of people, many of whom I still work with when I can, and some of whom continue to work in the field in LA or elsewhere.

Among those are Charlie Hofhemier, R. Alan Shoef and D.J. Turner. Along with their colleague Shannon Lucio they’ve continued their creative collaboration, and are hard at work on a WWII project titled “Grave Dawn” under the banner of the start-up independent production company Filament Features, in association with Kindest Cut, LLC.

They’ve started with a 25 minute short, shot on the RED at 4K (making a high quality film-out possible). They’re seeking finishing funds for the short, and hope to use that to raise capital for the feature-length version. Smart business people that they are, they’ve shot it in such a way that all the footage used in the short can be integrated into the feature, so they only need to shoot another 65 minutes or so to complete the full length version. And, they’ve left room for as-yet-unshot significant roles that will interest a “name” performer to add to the distribution value.

I had a chance to catch up with Alan and find out more about the project.

CS – So tell me, what brought you guys together on this film?

RAS – We all met up during production on BLUR. We got along well and decided to work together on projects that mattered to us and demonstrated our skill at producing projects on time and within budget.

CS – And this is a project that matters. What’s the story behind it?

RAS – It’s based on the true story of a German Soldier in WWII, who is over-heard by his commanders making defeatist remarks about the German war effort in 1945. The soldier, named Erwin Bucholtz, is then re-located to the Eastern Front of Austria so that he may die at the hands of the Russians. Only when he arrives at his new camp does he realize his incredible luck, for he just missed the German offensive in Vienna. Erwin is instead put on guard duty of a group of starving and injured Russian POW’s. It’s at this moment he has a revelation in this story about karma and humanity in the middle of horror.

CS – The trailer looks fantastic. High production values, great performances, good sound… Where’d you shoot? What was the production like?

RAS – Grave Dawn was shot in Petaluma, California in the beginning of April 2009. This was because the equipment we wanted to use was based there, plus it turned out that the location stood in well for Austria in the Spring. Production lasted 5 days starting on a Wednesday on through Sunday. We shot the project on 2 RED One cameras. And used Jack Morocco Pyrotechnics for our explosions.

CS – And not just explosions, but you’ve got tanks, and artillery, and piles of guns. That’s serious shit.

RAS – Some of the equipment we used on this project was a German 88 — one of less than half a dozen in North America — a Russian T-38 battle tank, all kinds of other German artillery pieces, authentic 1930’s truck, Willie’s Jeep, too many rifles and machine guns to really keep track of… besides the MG-42. That thing shot something like 1500 rounds per minute! I’m proud to say that we were fully insured – thanks to the hard work of Charlie. It ended up being just over a 5th of our total budget – which wasn’t much to start with!! However it was well worth it. Most of our valuable resources wouldn’t even work with us with out it.

CS – It’s all in German, with English subtitles. Why is that?

RAS – We shot the project in German and Russian as we thought our markets would be larger in Europe.

CS – I hope that works out… and it shouldn’t exclude domestic distribution. The recent success of Inglourious Basterds shows that movie goers have an appetite for both WWII flicks and extensive subtitles [as further discussed at JohnAugust.com]. So it’s in the can, you’re well into post. What’s the status? What’s next?

RAS – At this point we’re finishing up Post Production, having just finished our first official trailer. It runs at 2 minutes and looks killer – IMO. Couldn’t be happier with it. We’re going to post it to our official site in the next couple of weeks. (www.filamentfeatures.com). We’re currently looking for After Effects artists for a few elements that we want to add in. Looking to finish the full short project by November 2009. Our goal is to use it to attract distributers and other financing elements to a feature length version.

CS – Well, I’m impressed. I’ve worked with you guys, and you’re a bunch of tireless, dedicated sons of bitches with that hard-to-find balance of commitment to creative integrity and business acumen… I know you’ll finish what you start. I’d work with you again in a heartbeat, and if anybody out there has the resources to help see this sucker to completion, they should want to jump in with both feet. Good luck! Pass my regards on to DJ and Charlie.

RAS – Much Thanks!!

birdemic – loosely inspired by hitchcock… loosely

Erm… ‘kay. Not sure what to say. But it does have Tippi Hedren in it… destined for SyFy, I’d say.

ron jeremy's one eyed monster

In a darkly comic homage to “Alien” and “The Thing”, the cast and crew of an adult film, stranded in a blizzard, must band together against a mysterious and deadly alien, which has possessed the actor with the biggest part–Ron Jeremy (naturally). Now, with the monster on a killing spree, the race is on to trap and destroy it before there are more victims of its peculiar skills.

Starring Amber Benson (“Buffy The Vampire Slayer”), Charles Napier (“Silence of the Lambs”, “Rambo”) and introducing Ron Jeremy

For more info and other goodies, go to:

http://www.oneeyedmonstermovie.com

Why do I want to see this? It’s the kind of project that elicits a cascade of reactions:

  • Why didn’t I think of that?
  • That’s a title and logline that sells itself.
  • Hey, the production value is pretty good!
  • You could write this with a fictional porn star, and hope you get Ron Jeremy. He’d only have to show up for one or two days.
  • I wonder if they pulled it off (pun intended).

It’s got me intrigued. It can’t be any worse/sillier/campier than Slither right?

coen brothers "a serious man" trailer and script

The trailer for the Coen Brothers new film “A Serious Man” has been released…

and the script is available at their site (pdf).

God I love these guys. Big, sloppy fawning unmitigated man-love these guys.

When you look at a list of their projects — Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Miller’s Crossing, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men, and Burn After Reading (and that’s not all of them) — it’s just stunning. I mean holy shit. They’re not just good movies. They’re not just really good movies. They’re experimental, brave, complicated, unique, and varied. They’re almost all brilliant in some aspect of the word, and certainly none are “average”.

My writing partner and I had a conversation many years ago, that went something like “Would you rather be Isaac Asimov and write 200 or more mediocre books, or Kurt Vonnegut, and write far fewer really amazing and challenging books?”

We both answered “Vonnegut” (and that answer of course assumes you’re capable of writing like Vonnegut).

The Coen Brothers are my screenwriting Vonneguts. They’ve got the goods. They are what I aspire to be. Just once.

</mancrush>

pocahauntus

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).

pocahauntus-facepocahauntus-wardrobefullShe did, however, have a project going into production called “Pocahauntus” — a cheezy B horror flick shot on a dime. It aimed for fun straight-to-DVD fare and as far as I know it hit it. And come on, “Pocahauntus“? Somebody had to make a film called “Pocahauntus“.

I ended up doing a few character dev sketches for the film. Never saw it. But it’s on NetFlix. And here’s a few clips from YouTube.

enigma – low budget indie sci fi

EnigmaPoster

FOLLOW UP: I’ve seen the movie. Here’s my review.

Stumbled across this series of clips today from the low budget sci-fi actioner “Enigma” from The Shumway Brothers* and Frontier Studios. Continue reading enigma – low budget indie sci fi

robo geisha

Just thought this was awesome(ly hilarious).

Tarantino, eat yer heart out. This is what you wanted Kill Bill to be!

  • Not quite certain why the buildings bleed.
  • Does the machine girl have a dildo on her nose?
  • Interesting to see that the word “transform” hasn’t been trademarked by Michael Bay.
  • Also interesting that boob guns haven’t been trademarked by Mike Myers.
  • Chainsaw face and machine girl reveal by the folks who brought you Total Recall.

Oh! And here’s the website! Not much there though…

Playing For Change

Great song. Amazingly talented sidewalk artists from around the world. All mixed together. Brilliant.

“Stand by Me” performed by musicians around the world from SKAT on Vimeo.

From a documentary called “Playing For Change: Peace Through Music“. Here’s more about the filmmakers…

Playing For Change Explained from Playing For Change on Vimeo.

One Love.

BLUR the movie – trailer

Here’s the trailer for a feature film I Art Directed in 2007 — psychological thriller “Blur” starring Charlie Hofheimer (Black Hawk Down) and Katharine Towne (What Lies Beneath). Directed by John W. Kim.

It’s finally making the rounds of the festivals, and will be looking for distribution this year. Give ’em some love on YouTube!

*edit* Aw, it’s been taken down from YouTube. Guess you’ll just have to go to http://blur-movie.com/ to check it out…