Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blade Runner: The Final Cut


I heard Blade Runner: The Final Cut was playing in Salt Lake City yesterday and so my natural response was to go see it immediately.

My response was well rewarded since I'd almost forgotten how bloody perfect Blade Runner is. I've been hyped for the new version of the film since I caught Ridley Scott's panel at comic-con over the summer and I had naturally assumed that I wouldn't see it until I picked up the giant box-set-attache-case-dealie. But no. Not today.

The first thing I'd like to mention is that this film was projected with one of those fantastic 5K Christie projectors on a giant screen. It was quite possibly one of the most gorgeous Hi-def transfers of an older film I think I've ever seen. Not only that, but the special effects still held up to the point where I felt like I could have been watching a contemporary film.

Now that that's out of the way, I must now say that I hadn't seen Blade Runner in quite a while. Perhaps five years or more. And in all that time, my memory of the film faded and I felt like I was watching it for the first time and it was a wonderful experience. I had remembered quite a few details wrong and I had very little recollection of the last half of the film outside of Roy howling.

This film is what science-fiction should be about. Science-fiction filmmakers (with very few exceptions) seem to have lost their way and science-fiction filmmakers from days gone by seem to have abandoned films like this. I wish Ridley Scott would direct more stuff like this than crap like A Good Year.

But everything about this film worked. From the mind-boggling production design of the not-too-distant future and the cinematography to the script and the acting it all worked together to provide a tapestry of a world that offered the chance to weigh a philosophical debate that we wouldn't ordinarily be able to have. In fact, as we get closer and closer to scientists cloning humans we get closer and closer to the designer genetics of the Nexus-6 and the closer we get to that, the closer we get to the moral conundrums for people like Deckard.

I don't want to get too much into the philosophical issues raised in the film for a couple of reasons. One) It's pretty pretentious in a forum such as this and Two) We did it for like three or four hours after we left the film.

I want to point out two more things before I advise that you go see it before it leaves theatres: First is the attention to detail and the ambiguity that Ridley Scott imbued into the film. There are a number of visual clues and story points that lead one to believe that Deckard is himself, in fact, a Replicant. Visually, it was the orange balls of light in the eyes that informed you, as an audience member, that a character was a Replicant. It was a really fascinating touch and I don't know if it was something that was added to the Final Cut or in the original. Either way, it was bloody wonderful.

The second thing I wanted to point out was my eternal disgust for today's modern film-going audience. Saw IV sold out at the theatre I saw Blade Runner at last night and there were literally less than 10 of us inside Blade Runner. It's enough to drive you to drink.

Anyhow, go see Blade Runner while you still have the chance. And if you have the misfortune of missing it, revisit it on video as soon as the DVD's come out and you will not be disappointed.

Monday, October 29, 2007

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE

Yesterday, Becky and I went to Las Vegas to the VEGOOSE FESTIVAL. It was a 2-day music fest featuring a shit load of bands, but we only went to see Muse and Rage Against The Machine. I'm not going to give you the long story of how much of a pain in the ass it was to get there, but we got there and it was brilliant. I mean, it was Rage. Against. The. Machine. I felt like torching a federal building after the concert, it was that good.

Vegas Trip: $900. Concert Tickets: $180. Seeing Rage Against The Machine: fucking priceless.

Here are some pics from the concert:



Friday, October 26, 2007

The Comedians


About a month and a half and five books ago, I read Graham Greene's grim dramatic novel, The Comedians. It was a riveting portrait of Haiti at the beginning of its turmoil, like Havana just before and after the coup. It's a story about love and jealousy and the faces people put on to get along.

It was an amazing book and it affected me deeply.

A quick check of Graham Greene's IMDb profile revealed that a film version had been made and that he'd penned the screenplay himself. The leads were Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and the supporting cast was rounded out with Sir Alec Guinness, Lillian Gish, Peter Ustinov and James Earl Jones. It was a movie I had to see. I love Graham Greene adaptations on film (The Third Man and The Fallen Idol being two of my favorite movies ever) and I just had to see how they did this one.

It was a bit of a pain to get a copy of it as it's only available in a Richard Burton-Elizabeth Taylor box set but eBay yielded a stand-alone copy of the film for a preposterously good price.

The film is a generally faithful adaptation of the novel. A seriously condensed version, but generally faithful nonetheless.

The film is pretty good, although I'm disappointed to report it's no masterpiece. The weak link? Elizabeth Taylor. Everyone in the film is pretty much acting circles around her. It was quite apparent to me that she was somehow the Julia Roberts of her time. Generally pretty, but just not very good. And it seemed as though since she was cutting her rate to be in the film, they were going to include her in every frame the could. Which outbalanced the film. It seems as though the adaptation condensed everything in the novel but her scenes, so she was in the film disproportionately.

Richard Burton was cast perfectly. He was very much a Graham Greene sort of chap, a depressed romantic, bumbling his way through events much larger than him with his only care in the world a woman that he can't have. Unfortunately, Elizabeth Taylor manages to suck the life from the film. Which is interesting because she had absolutely no chemistry with Richard Burton and they were married at the time.

The rest of the cast was nothing short of astonishing. Alec Guinness had the strongest supporting performance as Major Jones. He played a sniveling, but likable, con-man sort of fellow who tries his hardest to convince everyone that he was a hero of the conflict in Burma. The rest of the cast fell into line accordingly. James Earl Jones presided over one of the hardest scenes to watch in an operating room.... Man.... That was a great scene.

I think the other thing that the film missed was the emotional core of the book, the out and out jealousy. The director really didn't seem to grasp the feeling of the end of the novel and it seemed to do the film a disservice.

Don't get me wrong, the film is worth checking out. It's pretty good and certainly better than 90% of the crap that is coming out of Hollywood these days.

I'd say it's a solid 6, 7 tops out of 10.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Press Release


We've put together a big press thing for our new film.

Head over to the official ShineBox Website and check things out.

You can read the new press release here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pirate Club Shorts

As most of you may know, we've made some Pirate Club shorts.

Some fans of Pirate Club made their own some time ago and were gracious enough to post it up and send us a link.

So, here it is: Pirate Club East vs. the Ninja Club.



And, just for a refresher, is Pirate Club Episode 1:



And here is Pirate Club Episode 2:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Big Brothers

I got a call out of the blue last week from a reporter in San Diego.

He said he read the blog here and noticed that I had done some work with my little brother. He wanted to ask a few questions about the whole "sibling" thing and we sort of discussed it for about a half an hour.

We talked about siblings and film and the red-blue rift in the country and Pirate Club of course.

Here's the article he ended up writing.

Check it out.

Here's my portion of the thing:
Documenting this phenomenon is one thing. Explaining why it's happening now is another. That might require the advice of a psychologist. Say, Dr. Joyce Brothers.

Or maybe just someone who makes movies with his own brother.

Bryan Young is a producer and assistant director of independent documentaries, including “This Divided State” and “The BYU 25,” which just finished production.

He has teamed on some movies with his brother, Jason – happily, so far. (Young also co-writes the comic “Pirate Club,” which he has showcased in numerous pilgrimages to San Diego's Comic-Con.)

Young speculates that the brother upsurge in movies might stem from the country's red-vs.-blue rift, something that figures strongly in the documentaries he has worked on.

“I wonder if it has anything to do with the emphasis on family values in the political spectrum,” he adds. “Filmmakers and artists go back to their family stories. They think about their own family values and wonder where those values came from.”

SUSPICIOUS

I hate to post more from BYU's Daily Universe, but I couldn't help myself. This is from the campus paper's weekly "Police Beat". I didn't change or edit anything. It's comedy gold.

Suspicious Behavior:

Oct. 2: Two female students were walking home to Helaman Halls, returning from a dance class in the RB, when they encountered a man, who engaged them in conversation. The students were uncomfortable and thought his intentions were not all they should be. He touched them, but not in an inappropriate place. After talking to their mothers, the students decided to report the incident to the police.

Oct. 2: A suspicious white male was reported in the men's locker room in the RB. The complainant said it appeared as though the individual was there to watch men in the dressing room. The suspect was described as a heavy-set white male, approximately 60-years-old and 6-feet tall.

Oct. 5: A female occupant of Wyview Park was asleep in her apartment when someone threw a cat through her partially open window. A man outside the window was communicating with her, trying to talk her into letting him come into the apartment, but she refused. The police think he threw the cat through the window so she would let him in. The suspect has not been identified.

Oct. 6: Three female students were reported for suspicious activity outside Felt Hall in Heritage Halls. When police arrived, they discovered the suspects were shooting each other with squirt guns. They were interviewed and let go.

Oct. 10: A suspicious man was reported lingering in the parking lot at Wymount Terrace. He was smoking near a truck with California plates. After investigation, the police discovered that the suspect was the father of a resident of Wymount Terrace. He had come to help his son repair his vehicle.

Oct. 11: A suspicious man was reported handing out fliers near Bowen Hall in Heritage Halls. The suspect was gone when officers arrived.

Oct. 13: At 6 a.m. the police received a call reporting a group of loud students who were harassing tenants of Helaman Halls. The caller said they had been knocking on his window. The police found the group of students and questioned them. They said they were just talking and had not knocked on the man's window. When asked by police to be quiet, they said they would, and soon after went to Denny's for breakfast.

Oct. 14: Officers responded to a report of a suspicious person in Wyview Park. When they found the individual, they questioned him. He said he was waiting for some friends to come home from church. Police confirmed his story.

Oct. 16: A suspicious individual was reported rummaging through a car in a student parking lot south of campus. After further investigation, the police discovered he was the owner of the vehicle.

And then this one. Someone at the paper must be making this shit up:

Threatening:

Oct. 3: A male student received a text message on his cell phone indicating that he would die within 9 hours and 16 minutes.

LOL



Monday, October 22, 2007

New Huffington Post Editorial

On Friday I took a quick break after work and wrote an editorial for the Huffington Post. It got posted today.

Click here to read it.

It's called, "America, Beyond Thunderdome."

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Psycho


I found out about thirty minutes before it started that the Tower Theatre in Salt Lake that they would be playing a 35mm print of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.

I live about forty minutes a way, but this is quite possibly one of my favorite movies and wild horses couldn't have dragged me away from this screening. We made it in thirty minutes.

It seems as though the older and busier I get, the more I enjoy watching films (particularly those as good as Psycho) on the big screen. It's replaced religious experience for me on a lot of levels. You go to a place, act reverently and hope to learn something about yourself and your fellow man.

Psycho is no exception. This was the first Hitchcock film I watched as a kid. I saw it on video (maybe it was on TV) when I was about 10 years old and it scared the hell out of me. It still scares the hell out of me.

I've always been fascinated with the film, even from an early age. The tension in the film is nail-biting no matter how many times you've seen it. And after you've seen it once, you understand how brilliant Hitchcock (and screenwriter Joseph Stefano) were in carefully leading the audience to believe that Norman Bates and his mother were two distinct and separate entities. It was so carefully constructed that when the sheriff tells Sam and Lila that they're crazy and that Norman's mother has been dead for ten years, you believe him about as much as they do. Which is to say not at all.

I was also blown away again by Stefano's script. It's widely reported that the shooting script was a first draft from a neophyte screenwriter. The act one turn of killing the female lead and switching main characters was nothing short of a brilliant choice.

And even after having seen this film at least once a year for the past decade and a half, on the big screen there were still moments that caught me off-guard and made me feel uneasy (the shower scene, obviously, but also Mother's intrusion on Arbogasts investigation...)

The film is top notch.

Which is why I didn't understand the reaction of the audience.

The audience (about 100) that was there to see the film seemed to think that they'd slipped their way into a comedy of some type. They were laughing at all the most tense parts and, to be honest, it was pretty obnoxious. And it seemed as though the crowd was largely filled with film students from the University of Utah. And the fact that they can't suspend their disbeleif long enough to watch one of the greatest films ever made, one that pretty much every director steals from, does not bode well for the future of films if these clowns manage to make it into the industry.

Speaking of which, my brother Jason and I had a lengthy conversation on the way home about how obvious the influence of Hitchcock is on filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and Guillermo Del Toro (the suspense built in the Pale Man sequence in Pan's Labyrinth is built on a solid foundation of Hitchcock technique.)

The film on the big screen certainly opened my eyes to moments of brilliance in the film I hadn't noticed before.

I don't know, on a big screen, jokes seem to be funnier, horror more tense and love more real.

Watching movies at home is for The Birds.

Which, incidentally, I hear they're remaking.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Popgun Anthology



So...

A while back I mentioned that anthology that Derek was drawing Gamma Rae for. Elias and I helped out on the writing duties on that short.

But the good news is that the book is now available for pre-order and you'd pretty much be stupid for not checking it out. It's called Popgun Volume 1 and it's going to be rad.

It's got stories by the likes of Erik Larsen and Mike Allred and Jim Mahfood and like thirty other people side-by-side with us. So....

Really, do you need more reason than that?

(On a sidenote: today is also 24 Hour comic book day and after work I dropped in and got to hang out with Derek and Ryan Ottley for a little while and, to be honest, it felt good to stop working and just bullshit about comics for a little while.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Darjeeling Limited


Tonight I was fortunate enough to be able to finagle my way into catching Wes Anderson's newest film "The Darjeeling Limited".

Let me first start off by saying that for me to offer a true and accurate picture about how I feel about the film I must explain that the first time I saw The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, I was convinced that it wasn't all that great. I certainly didn't think it held up next to The Royal Tenenbaums and certainly didn't even approach Rushmore, which I consider (and still do) Anderson's masterpiece. It wasn't until my third or fourth viewing that The Life Aquatic struck me between the eyes and I understood its brilliance. So, although I enjoyed this film immensely, I wonder if, three or four viewings from now, I'll be struck down with some higher meaning by a bolt from the blue.

Anything is possible.

There wasn't anything about this film I didn't like. I enjoy Wes Anderson movies and this was, without a doubt, a Wes Anderson movie. The camera moves, the overhead, centered close-ups, the quirky characters doing quirky things... But this had something different, it had an added maturity in emotion to it that seemed either lacking or hamfisted in his previous works. A particularly lucid moment that actually comes close to making one want to cry is the scene in the river, the baptism of the brothers into their new relationships. It was quite honestly, in my opinion, a perfect moment in the film.

Perhaps the acting talent also brought a lot to bear in this regard. Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson and Jason Schwartzman are top notch as the three brothers looking to find each other. They bring a realism to their relationship as siblings that it feels as though they truly have a history together. They know each other.

I particularly liked Schwartzman's character. His story was great and the use of his short stories in the film (vague as they were to start) were an interesting plot device that I'm not sure I would have thought about using in a million years.

Overall, this film is about as funny as Wes Anderson's other films, the emotion is stronger than the others and the characters go on a journey you care about.

I would like to register one serious complaint right now, though. What kind of simple-minded moron decided not to program "The Hotel Chevalier" at the beginning of the print? There are three to five solid and brilliant jokes dependent on setups in the short. (theres a great music cue repeated, information about Schwartzman's character, it makes Natalie Portman's cameo stronger and lets not forget his short story....) Not only that, who in their right mind would think that somehow five to eight minutes of Natalie Portman naked wouldn't sell MORE tickets? Making it iTunes only seems so... Stupid. Knowing Hotel Chevalier in advance added a depth to some of the situations. Is everyone who watches this movie expected be a prior Wes Anderson fan and coming having downloaded it on iTunes? It just feels as though it's doing the audience a disservice.

C'mon Fox. Get with the program.

There it is. I really liked it. I'm going to see it at least a few more times.

STAR WARS with COMMERCIAL BREAKS


I thought I'd prempt Bryan's inevitable explosion of nerdery by writing this announcement. Brief. And to the point.

George Lucas is bringing "Star Wars" to television in an upcoming series that "has nothing to do with the Skywalkers or Darth Vader". He says it's about "the life of robots" which is what I thought all the prequels were about. Well, at least the characters were written to make it sound that way. "No. It's because I'm so in love with YOU. Beep. Beep. Boop"

But, in all seriousness, I'm sure the series will be awesomely enjoyable to watch. And it will probably destroy all competition in the Nielson ratings. I just hope it doesn't compete with "Lost" because that show is way better than "Star Wars".

Anyways, that's all. No one will be able to read this though because Bryan's post is going to be like 17 pages long and my post will disappear into the archives.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Busy.

Just so everyone knows why our posting has been lax, please bear in mind that we're shooting a commercial in two and a half weeks and are working on festival deadlines.

So... Yeah.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Michael Clayton


I took a breather tonight and went to the movie theatre. I wanted to see Elizabeth but thought I should watch the first one again before I jumped into that.

I'd vaguely recalled something about Michael Clayton and so I went and saw that when I saw it was playing at roughly the same time I arrived at the theatre.

I hadn't seen a trailer for the film, I didn't know who was in it (besides Clooney) and I had no idea what it was about. I don't often enter a theatre to watch a film that naked, as it were. To be honest, I wish I was able to do this with more films.

But anyhow, onto the film. Michael Clayton is the name of the title character played expertly by Clooney. It had initially taken me a while to really dig Clooney as an actor. I thought he'd helped ruin Batman and for a while there was a lot of bad blood. I came to decide, after Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? that it was still probably just Schumachers fault and I'd give Clooney a pass on it. (To this day, I refuse to watch Shumacher movies. Period. It doesn't matter how good they might look, his treatment of Batman has made him persona non grata to me.) So, I've warmed up to Clooney considerably and after watching Michael Clayton I would say that he's one of the best actors out there working today. No lie.

I'm sure every review of this film, regardless of any negative feelings about the film, will praise the cast for being flawless and that reputation is deserved. Watching Tom Wilkinson and George Clooney (Tilda Swinton, too) just let loose and act was something that I wouldn't have wanted to pass up. This is an acting piece. It truly is.

I would argue that all of the best thrillers are acting pieces. Michael Clayton is a competent, generally well put together thriller. But the thing that passes it from a run of the mill thriller to something worth checking out are the performances.

I truly can't talk enough about how much I like Tom Wilkinson's work in this movie. If anybody came close to showing up Clooney in this film, it was certainly Wilkinson.

The film addresses issues about corporate crime and the lawyers that defend corporate criminals but that almost takes a back seat to the moral dilemmas the characters go through. It's good to see that sort of thing in an arena of popular art, but it's not enough to make anybody pissed off enough about an issue to do anything about it. (Syriana for instance. Remember how great that movie was?)

My only complaint about this film was that the structure was chopped up in a way that felt as though the filmmakers felt a desire to talk down to the sort of audience this film would attract. The act two climax is played out in an abridged form at the beginning of the film and it feels not only unnecessary but oddly patronizing. It felt as though either the filmmakers or the studio decided that there needed to be an explosion in the first reel or audiences would be bored to tears with all of the talking and acting going on. This couldn't be further from the truth, they just didn't have enough faith in us.

But since they blow their load on the climax at the beginning, it's barely half as effective as it should be.

I was still into the movie, but had I been sitting on the fence about it, this would have been a deal breaker.

Anyhow, this film was an interesting experience. I wouldn't recomend it to everybody. Or even anybody. If you like watching acting craftsman like Clooney and Wilkinson and Swinton and Sydney Pollack at work though, you'd do worse than to watch this film.

On a 1-10, I'd have to say a 6 or a 7.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WHERE I STAND

I saw on IMDB that someone said, "Steven Greenstreet is a righty". This meaning that I was a conservative. Most of others claim that I am a raving liberal lunatic. So, to help clear the air, I am writing some of my points of view in easily definable "yays" or "nays".

I am for gay marriage.

I am kind of on the fence about illegal immigration.

I am for abortion rights.

I am for the death penalty.

Pull the troops out from Iraq right now. Right now.

I am on the fence about using torture for interrogation.

George Bush should be impeached and forced out of office in shame. Shame. Shame.

I am for universal, free healthcare.

I think banning Christmas is stupid.

I think prayer in schools should be allowed, but not endorsed.

The Ten Commandments should not be posted in government buildings. That's stupid.

I think Americans should pay more taxes. We're too greedy.

I think an extra cent of tax should be put on junk food and that money used for sick, fat people.

Masturbation and condoms should be taught in schools as options.

Banning smoking across America is fucking fascist and needs to stop cuz I'm gonna smoke no matter what bleeding heart liberals tell me.

Radiohead newest album, "In Rainbows", is way awesome.

Ok, there you go. Am I a conservative? A liberal? You tell me. Cuz that's all I'm telling you.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bender's Big Score

Proof there is a God:



New Futurama!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

MORMONS PRAY FOR SHOPPING SPREES and WORSHIP FREE CLOCKS

So this weekend was the Mormon "General Conference" here in Salt Lake City and thousands of Mormons flooded into the enormous Mormon Conference Center to listen to bi-annual justifications for believing the bat shit crazy things they do.

Anyways, my girlfriend's best friend Will and a co-worker, while working at Party America, noticed a gigantic line of women form outside the Deseret Book Store (a Mormon bookstore chain) right next door. The line got so long that it started blocking customers to Party America. Apparently the women in line were reluctant to move out of the way to allow customers to enter due to their excitement which was of fantastic proportion.

Party America customers had to either squeeze through the line or go around them. The Mormons weren't budging. Something big was going down at Deseret Bookstore.

Ok, so Will and his co-worker walk out onto the sidewalk and light up cigarettes for a smoke break and to see what was going on. Apparently, in coordinance with the Holiness of General Conference Weekend, the Mormon bookstore was having a "Ladies Night Blow Out Sale and Raffle" where every lady "got a free wall clock".

Well, the Mormon women were beside themselves for a chance to feel meaning in their lives and began shouting with over zealous anticipation to win a clock or to buy a Mormon Tabernacle Choir CD for 20% off.

Within seconds of lighting their cigarettes, dozens of women in line started "coughing". Some started saying things like "Wow, that stinks!" really loud. After about a minute, one furious woman came up to Will and said, "I don't think you're 25 feet away from the building. So you should move."

Will noticed that 25 feet away was in the pouring rain. "You want us to move into rain?" said the co-worker. "Yes. It's the law." said the absolutely infuriated Mormon chick.

Mystified by this comment, Will and his co-worker extinguished their cigarettes. At this point the entire line of women erupted into thunderous applause and cheers. They continued cheering and whistling as Will and his co-worker went back into their work.

Turning back, they saw a large group of women exit the Deseret Bookstore smiling wide and holding large items over their heads.

They were holding free wall clocks.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

BUSH: "FUCK POOR KIDS."

From "The Daily Show". Everything you need to know about Bush's recent veto of healthcare for poor children in America.


video

Example of Religion Being Nothing but an Extension of a Man's Penis

Man wants: Power, Money, Pussy.

Because Man is usually weak and insignificant, he often relies on transcending the power of his dominance through worshiping the ultimate phallic symbol... an omnipotent Sky God with a penis the size of the universe. And then, to top it off, Man will claim "I am God's number one guy". So, in essence, "I am right under the biggest cock in the galaxy."

Read this article.

Twenty years ago, televangelist Oral Roberts said he was reading a spy novel when God appeared to him and told him to raise $8 million for Roberts' university, or else he would be "called home."

Now, his son, Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts, says God is speaking again, telling him to deny lurid allegations in a lawsuit that threatens to engulf this 44-year-old Bible Belt college in scandal.

Richard Roberts is accused of illegal involvement in a local political campaign and lavish spending at donors' expense, including numerous home remodeling projects, use of the university jet for his daughter's senior trip to the Bahamas, and a red Mercedes convertible and a Lexus SUV for his wife, Lindsay.


Richard Roberts: "You can't blame me. My penis is only this big."

The article continues, but in essence, religion is used as a way for Richard Roberts to achieve power that he could never achieve on his own. He needed a non-existent super being to prove his dominance to a population and then convince them to give him millions of dollars. He then in turn, used the ignorance and naiveté of the Bible Belt to get rich, get territory, get material luxury, and to get a woman who he probably wouldn't have gotten without his money and power.

At least he didn't start a war with his religious "power". He'd have to be president to do that.

Friday, October 05, 2007

BYU Police Reports = Comedy Gold

The following is copied and pasted from Brigham Young University's "POLICE BEAT" report. Seriously, I didn't change anything. This shit is fucking awesome.

Sept. 7: An 18-year-old female student was reported behaving oddly in the bookstore. When University Police arrived, she was outside the bookstore, behaving irrationally, dancing around, singing, throwing personal possessions out on the lawn and giving irrational an-swers when questioned by police. She was taken to the hospital and kept for observation. As far as police know, she had gone without sleep for a couple of days.

Sept 12: A conflict, due to a failure to communicate and talk problems out, was reported between two 18-year-old female students living in M. Smith Hall in Heritage Halls. The roommates have been arguing over apartment chores and accusing one another of destroying each other's food. Profanity and some hair pulling was involved. This has been turned over to the housing office for a resolution.

Sept 14,: A 23-year-old female student came to the office to report a concern she had about a 47-year-old man she met while on her mission, who keeps calling her on her cell phone even though she has attempted to make clear to him that there is no interest on her part. She was instructed to keep a log of the phone calls she gets from him and to tell him to quit calling. After she does this, if he continues to call, police will get an injunction against him for stalking.

Sept 17: A 21-year-old female student reported a suspicious man near the old UVSC campus, west of Helaman Halls. The suspect was described as a 30-year-old man, 5-foot-10, normal build, scruffy face, a two-day-old beard, a European accent and wearing a tan baseball cap, tan shirt and dark pants. He was reported for being suspicious simply because he didn't fit the profile of a student or an employee, and being a little bit off the main thoroughfare of campus, the student was concerned about it.

Sept 18: A handwritten letter of an obscene nature was received by the admissions office. The letter was eight pages long and the author meandered through a lot of different unrelated topics. The police traced it to Calumet City, IL and have located the suspect.

Sept. 30: Someone was reported smoking in the parking garage of the Joseph F. Smith Building but was gone when the officer arrived.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Blood, Boobs and Beast Review


I wrote this for Aint It Cool News, but it never went up. Here it is though.

I'm fortunate enough to have a growing network of spies passing me material for early consumption and this week I had the good fortune to grab a peek at one of the films that is going to be a big draw at Fantastic Fest and (from what it seems) a number of other festivals as well.

Blood, Boobs and Beast tells the tale of Don Dohler. Who's Don Dohler you ask? (Well, maybe those of you who read AICN probably aren't asking, but let's pretend anyway.) Dohler was a B movie director who started his career making B-horror films off the heels of Star Wars. His first film, Alien Factor, got picked up by TV stations thirsty for anything horror or sci-fi to play after Star Wars' release and the rest was history. The film draws its title from the three things you need to have a distributable horror film.

Kinhart, the director, managed to follow Dohler for a solid year or two, while he shot his latest film and through the travails of his life from about 2005 and 2006. This was a serious look at someone who, on the surface, would seem about as influential as Ed Wood on today's film industry, but the filmmakers were able to pull the curtain back to see how influential he really was. From publishing a teenage Art Spiegelman, to giving JJ Abrams his first job in film ( no, really) creating a character Robert Crumb illustrated and teaching an entire generation of makeup artists how to ply their craft (including Tom Savini), Dohler stood behind the curtain on so many different and interesting things and before I saw this film I'd barely even heard of him and the only movie of his I'd seen was on MST3K....

Blood, Boobs and Beast is the inspirational tale of someone who just wants to spend his life making movies in his spare time and manages to do so for the better part of his life. It really speaks to the outsider artist in all of us and makes me want to pick up a camera on the weekends to screw around with friends.

Undoubtedly, this film will be compared to New York Doll. Dohler is just as interesting and fun to watch as Arthur Kane and this film will resonate much more with us film and comics geeks than New York Doll did. Seriously, if you have any sense of geekdom in you, the amount of it that's found in this film will floor you. This is the perfect film for the AICN crowd and anyone else interested in the inner workings of outsider art. It will enlighten you and give you a good working knowledge of a person that deserves more attention and credit in the history of film.

All of that was good, but the thing that surprised me most about the film was the heart behind it. This is a geek movie, about geeks with plenty of heart. My advice to everyone is to catch this while they can at Fantastic Fest. If you're disappointed, then clearly you strayed into the wrong theatre and caught the last half of something else... The filmmakers really managed to capture with a stunning clarity and dignity the life of a B-movie director and it's really something to behold.

Seriously. Behold it.

Yours Truly,
ShineBox
(as in "go home and get your fuckin....")

Monday, October 01, 2007

3:10 to Yuma


Over the weekend off I watched a lot of movies, played a lot of video games and read a lot of comics. I went to the movie theatre a few times and the first movie I saw on my hiatus was 3:10 to Yuma.

I like westerns. I own a lot of westerns and I've seen a lot of westerns. It's true that the best westerns are those that strike a very subtle difference between the hero and the villain. In the best of them, generally, the villain is a shadowy reflection of the hero and the film is framed around them having similar goals. To a certain extent, Mangold’s 3:10 to Yuma does just that.

In fact Russell Crowe’s Wade character even likes Christian Bales rancher and goes so far as to even consider him a friend.

The first two thirds of the film worked really well for me. Those minutes of the film were a bit slow, but I usually grant westerns a bit of leeway in that regard, especially if they build to the sort of climax that you come to expect from a genre that was mastered by the likes of John Ford, Howard Hawks, Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah. But this is where 3:10 to Yuma turns into a film worthy of the ADD of the MTV generation and ceases to make any logical sense. The characters from the first two thirds of the film ceased to exist and in their place were preposterous, contrived, Hollywood versions of them. It's not the actors fault, it's the screen-writer trying too hard to "hip-up" the script. Unfortunately, he got to page 90, decided he had no idea how the hell to end the movie and decided to end it in the least expected way possible. Ending a movie in an unexpected way isn't exactly a bad thing, but when it ends in a way that so thoroughly betrays everything that precedes it, it turns to shit.

3:10 to Yuma, in my humble opinion, started strong but then it turned to shit.

Some may disagree with me (particularly those of the ADD 40 cuts a second generation), but that's my assessment.

If you want a good and entertaining western that will kick your ass, go rent Silverado, or A Fistful of Dollars. Unforgiven maybe, The Searchers, definitely. Rio Bravo.

These are good westerns. It's too bad no one makes a western this good anymore, otherwise we'd see a lot more of this truly American art-form.

I'd be thrilled to see it.