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Finally! I get some recognition for my work. I wrote the original script that sold to Charlize Theron's company then Dimension Films and finally is being filmed independently with a 20-30 million dollar budget but I've consistently been left out of press releases - until now. I couldn't think of a better actress than Reese for this.
Here's the article reprinted from Variety ~~ Mark Sevi
Witherspoon Untangles Devil's Knot For Atom Egoyan
No stranger to controversial subject matter, director Atom Egoyan stepped aboard Devil’s Knot, the dramatic interpretation of the West Memphis Three case back in August. Now he’s found the first of what promises to be a large ensemble cast: Reese Witherspoon.
Devil’s Knot is based on reporter Mara Levitt’s 2003 book, subtitled The True Story Of The West Memphis Three. In it, she followed the tangled, prolonged murder trial of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr, who served 17 years in prison before being released this past August. They were accused of killing three 8-year-old cub scouts found in a wooded area of Arkansas called Robin Hood Hills. While they’re now free, the judge didn’t allow them to seek compensation for the lost years.
Witherspoon will switch into drama mode to play Pam Hobbs, the mother of one of the victims who initially thought they were guilty but as the case dragged on, came to believe they were innocent.
With a script originated by Mark Sevi and then re-written by Scott Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman, Egoyan plans to kick off shooting this coming summer.
James White for Empire Online (LINK)
I didn't love "Snowpiercer." But it is a solid action story (once you get past the unbelievable parts) with great production values and good acting.
The storyline: In the year 2014, global warming has created a horrifying situation for the human race. To combat it, we seed the clouds (I guess) with a chemical that will cool the planet down. This isn't all entirely clear but the result is the Earth freezes solid and kills off humanity except for those lucky enough to board a train with an eternal engine that continually circumnavigates the globe. Yeah. Uh huh. That could happen.
So, when you start with that slim of a premise, things aren't likely to get much better - or sometimes they do, I guess. Fans of "Suits" or "Psyche" or dozens of movie sequels would probably argue the point with me. Premise,schemsis bring on the cool aftermath.
I give "Snowpiercer" props for many things. I've never seen a movie like this take place on a train. The idea of taking a post-apocalyptic world and confining it to a train works somewhat and it's undeniably audacious. Problem is, trains are linear and as the group moves through the train, you wonder how in the world they all don't run into each other more. Some sort of added-on passage way would have been nice. You have to see the film to fully get my point but imagine every time you wanted to get your hair "did," or lounge around drinking and smoking cigars, you had to walk many, many feet through all sorts of things like disco clubs and orgy rooms. Got it now? It's a linear world. To get from A to F you have to go through...ok, I'm sensing you got it.
But let's start closer to the beginning.
So, slags in the back of the train, the privs up front. Society is clearly divided inside. The have-nots are regularly murdered, kids stolen, arms chopped off (cool moment there) but basically they (the scum) are allowed to live in their own filth as long as they play by the rules. Willford is the god of the train. He designed it and had the foresight to make it self-sustaining. He's the dude from which all benefits flow. This is one of things I really hated in this story - the false recitations of his godhood, etc. Yeah, I know it's allegorical but give me a break; how many times do we need to see this concept unfolded on the screen? It was old when I was young - hell, when my parents were young. It was old when Kirk's Star Trek was...yeah, I know I'm ranting. But if you want a small proof that it's used and overused in every dystopian film from the last fifty years, look no further than 2012's "hunger Games" - I could match dialog to dialog on that film and this.
Not a huge Guillermo del Toro fan. I respect his work and his unique visions but most of his stuff is just meh for me. Probably because "Hellboy" isn't my cuppa and I haven't seen "Pacific Rim" at this point - which I hear is great. In-between are various likes and dislikes. I do like some of his work - just don't love it like say, Ridley Scott. Yet. He is most definitely, for me, an acquired taste. But this new series has me appreciating him more and more.
"The Strain" is a perfect example of del Toro's unique assets and liabilities. Some truly wonderful, creepy opening moments, and also serious unfortunate leaps of logic occur within the first twenty minutes of the pilot. You notice that Del Toro isn't a slave to logic and that's okay but it does bother me. That's on me. Plenty of people don't care because Del Toro is such an amazing visualist and fantasist.
The story opens on a 767 in flight that's about to land. *Something* strong and evil in the cargo hold breaks out as the plane is on approach and causes all the passengers to die - maybe. The plane itself "goes dead" on the runway which causes every imaginable first responder to gather including the CDC (Center for Disease Control.) There have been no 9-1-1 calls, no texts - nada - from the plane since it landed. Even though no one knows what may have caused the plane to go dark, the CDC apparently gets first priority (something I had major issues with even though they try to explain it) - and the central character, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, played effectively by Corey Stoll, dons his bio-level 4 hazmat suits and heads inside. They soon discover an entire plane of dead passengers and some huge anomalies as they explore the interior filled with people who died from apparently no cause.
The mystery deepens as we tangentially meet several characters including a man living in a cold room who has a companion that doesn't breathe and has the freakiest eyes ever, and an old man (Holocaust era) who kicks the asses of two punks who try to rob him and then talks to a brain while feeding it his blood.
Oh, and those crazy worms that burrow into your skin.
Ok - I'm liking this more and more.
I don't want to give away too much because del Toro's story-telling is based in large part by shock factors and to reveal them would do the storyline a disservice because they're like a sudden slap in the face. Those I did enjoy quite a bit and is always what I've liked about del Toro's stuff. The eyeball dude in "Pan's Labyrinth" is freaky cool and quite disturbing when we meet him. What I also like about del Toro's is his ability to continually shock and entertain you. He doesn't hold back on anything - it just keeps coming and coming at you, wave after wave of weird, disturbing stuff that isn't like anything else anyone else is doing. I've never seen a man's...uh, never mind. I did promise not to reveal too much. But stick around for awhile and you won't be disappointed.
"The Strain" is good enough to keep watching. What I like about it most is the idea that there is an intelligent force behind the supposed "virus" that is obviously infecting the passengers on the airplane. When I watched "World War Z" I wasn't nearly as entertained by the storyline (although the effects and scenes of the zombies attacking were amazing) because a virus has no agenda beyond infection. Obviously, there are stakes here promulgated by several actual individuals including the creature in the hold of the airplane. Without agendas the stakes and interest level are lessened somewhat. It becomes a simple matter of survival. In "The Strain" there is so much more going on to keep it interesting.
I put the show on a Season Pass. I'll watch it until it crosses the line which it almost did a few times last night. I mean there is just stupid stuff happening in some scenes that make me grind my teeth. But there is also some really, really cool stuff happening too and I, for now, am wanting to see more.
"The Strain" is based on the New York Times bestselling novels from del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Rated MALV, FX is the channel. Sunday nights at 10:00pm is the time so set your DVRs.
The first time I saw a personal computer it felt like that moment in a romantic comedy when the hero/heroine sees the man or woman of their dreams. I swear I stopped breathing for a period of time. My heart raced. I was gobsmacked and moonstruck. So, yeah, when I say I'm a geek trust that I am.
That's why AMC's "Halt and Catch Fire" was a must-see for me. It covers some of the earliest days of the nascent personal computer era. IBM is mentioned prominently as are other companies like Digital Research and Apple (Microsoft wasn't really a player yet.) It's 1980-ish. The PC is just coming on like gangbusters. Big Blue has made it possible for everyone to have a machine that does much, much more than play games for less than the cost of the national budget. "A Chicken in Every Pot" is now "A PC On Everyone's Desk." One of the characters says "It's done. You missed it. We all did." A recognition that IBM was already so entrenched and shooting past everyone that no one has a chance to catch them.
Well, not everyone believes that and that belief forms the basis of the first season.
Keep in mind this was a time before the Internet as we know it. Monitors were green screens and weren't graphical - just text. The average computer has no mouse, no hard drive and not even small (3.5") floppy drives - 5.25's were the rage, don'cha know? Memory was around 640k (not megabytes, kilobytes!) I wish I had a cool stat like the one about the moon shot and computing but let's imagine the state-of-the-art PCs of the day were like a one-wheeled skateboard and today's PCs are like the jet cars we were promised. Our current phones and tablets of today would have been considered beyond the Cray SuperComputers of the 1980s.
The characters are as follows: Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace) is a "MadMen" Don Draper-sort who pontificates on the horizons of computing rather than the here and now he lives in. He talks in metaphoric and metaphysical terms because he has that "vision thing." He's a mysterious salesman type who walks out of IBM one day and doesn't hit anyone's radar until a year later where he convinces another (fictional) company in Texas to hire him. His target is really Systems Engineer Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy) with whom he wants to reverse engineer an IBM BIOS so they can build a computer like no one in the world has. "The computer isn't the thing. The computer's the thing that gets us to the thing." Yeah, he says that and it's probably true but how easy was that to see in 1980? He sees it and tries to convince others of it. They also need Cameron Howe (MacKenzie Davis) who is a crackerjack young, sexy programmer who screws dudes she just meets in backrooms and plays video games ("Asteroids") like a pro, to help in some very convoluted legal strategy when IBM decides to scorch the Earth around this company MacMillan works for and has forced into building this clone. Yeah, it's all a stretch but it's also fun - like "Suits" (a USA show) is fun. Implausible fun. A clearly established hallmark these days of a lot of these shows on various channels (like "Castle" "Psyche" "Burn Notice", etc.)
Closing Night at the Newport Beach Film Festival
Because of a film project I'm currently involved in I was unable to attend the opening of the Newport Beach Film Festival. I was doing story meetings with a producer who had flown in from North Carolina and we worked from Friday to Sunday. The reason I mention this at all is because of some things that happened Saturday night, when I did attend, that involved him. More on that later.
My first impressions of the festival this year, its 15th year, are overwhelmingly positive even at this early point. There's something different about this year. It's the same basic NBFF but there's more energy, excitement. The volunteers have always been the best part of the festival - enthusiastic, personable, wonderful people who spend a great part of their lives giving to this event to make it fun and easy to attend. But beyond that, there's just such a tremendous sense of professionalism in every facet that hasn't always been a part of this great event.
In years past, because of circumstances beyond the control of the organizers, the festival has had to change venues. When The Islands Cinema was under renovation, the festival moved most of its operations to Triangle Square which itself was undergoing a massive facelift. Although I enjoyed the festival those years it wasn't quite the smooth and impressive operation it is today. Now, with the festival using not only The Islands but also The Triangle (as Triangle Square is currently called) the festival fairly hums. They've expanded their venues and feature many local theaters for a full slate of films and seminars.
In addition to expanding their venues, it also seems to me that the organizers have worked hard to create more special events. They have a Youth Film showcase, Latino showcase, Henson showcase, John Wayne showcase and about 10 others that make the festival that much more interesting and focused. I might attend these targeted showcases beyond the films I want to see because they seem interesting and informative. I haven't watched a John Wayne film in years - this may be the right time to do that!
Greg Schwenk and his crew have done a great job setting the festival up and expanding it. Keep it moving forward, guys!
The venue I attended last night was the amazing Lido Theatre, part of the Regency chain. I went to see "Growing Up And Other Lies" a quirky little film about four friends walking the length of Manhattan on the eve of their artist friend leaving New York to go back home.
The film was professionally done. The acting was terrific. In many ways, this was a cool little film. Unfortunately, I felt that the storyline, which was supposed to also include "Buried conflicts emerge as the group must confront the inevitable disappointments of adulthood and the changing nature of friendship as they discover the truth behind the lies we are all told, most notably that we never grow up at all" didn't expand as strongly in the narrative as I would have thought it should or wanted.
The Immortal Augustus Gladstone
Augustus Gladstone wears a spit-curled wig, lives in a condemned apartment building in Portland, and uploads videos to Youtube about his views on modern life. He may or may not be an immortal vampire.
In The Immortal Augustus Gladstone—a fake documentary written by, directed by, and starring Robyn Miller in the titular role—a film crew arranges an extended interview with a vampire to learn more about his claims and the people in his life. It’s a fun idea that mixes the fantastic and the mundane in some unexpected ways, but it has no focus. It’s quirky, but not sharply so, and maybe too interested in itself to make an attempt to draw viewers in. It feels like some very talented graphic designers, set designers, and camera operators got together to make a movie based on a few plot beats scribbled on a napkin. If any story was intended, it’s lost in a dry slog through endless interviews.
Much like Augustus' claim of being a vampire, it’s all words, words, words, without much to back any of it up. There is too little attention put towards capturing moments as they happen, so not much happens at all. Emblematic of the film as a whole, Augustus’ trip to the doctor—which feels like a major setpiece with so little else happening—ends with a non-diagnosis. A medical professional attests vaguely that there is something seriously wrong with Augustus, which we already knew.
It seems like the goal was to leave Augustus’ condition a mystery, but there is no creativity put into maintaining the secret other than generally avoiding the issue. At one point Augustus says he doesn’t need to eat or drink, but nobody even bothers to verify the claim one way or another. Certainly whether the crew had seen him eat or not over the course of their time with him, it would be worth mentioning. When the crew doing the interview is this apathetic about providing an answer, it’s hard to care if it ever comes.
Instead, we get a lot of dreamy shots of Augustus walking around with his parasol, overlaid with music or voiceover. Sometimes the music or voiceover ushers us through still shots of Augustus’ hoarded knick-knacks. It’s all nicely shot, but it doesn’t move things along. And the lion’s share of the film is spent speaking to the camera.
DISNEY, CHRISTOPHER NOLAN, SONY WOW HUGE CINEMACON CROWDS
CAPTAIN AMERICA, STAR WARS, SPIDERMAN,& LASER PROJECTION BIG HITS
OCSCREENWRITERS SCORES EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH IVAN REITMAN
The story on Wednesday at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, was the size of the crowds that had come from all over the world to preview the upcoming films from Walt Disney Studios and Sony Pictures, meet and hear director Christopher Nolan discuss filmmaking, screenwriting, and the current state of movies, and as a bonanza, see the first laser projector, (only costing $120,000) present movies with the brightest colors and picture ever seen, accompanied by Dolby Atmos sound which blows away anything else, and brings you right into the picture.
Perhaps, though, the most notable thing was how screenplays have been uplifted and the bar has been raised, as filmmakers want every area to be beyond perfect and screenwriting has taken a prime seat.
Disney began the day providing a special breakfast treat for everyone when Angelina Jolie stepped out before the crowd to discuss her project for Disney, “Maleficent,” which will hit theatres for Memorial Day Weekend, and what a weekend that will be. Jolie is magnificent as the evil queen of “Sleeping Beauty” and the backstory of what happened to turn her into the mean antagonist most foul that makes Lady Macbeth look like a saint. This is one masterpiece of film, and Jolie is just brilliant in the role. The story is superb, and only Disney could pull this story off so well without becoming caught in the web of the original animated feature. Mark this one down as a definite yes.
The lineup for Disney is big, and kicks off in a few weeks with “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” This one is also from a great screenplay, with Steve Rogers battling the demons of living in the present, and, so appropriate for the current moment in world events because he must battle a Soviet agent called The Winter Soldier. The last CA was a blast, this one takes us where we have not gone with this character, rich in depth, story, and great sideplots.
Disney wouldn’t be Disney without animation, and has “Planes, Fire, and Rescue,” a spinnoff from “Cars.” Disney also reboots “Cinderella,” with a live-action film directed by Kenneth Branagh and starring Cate Winslett, Hayley Atwell, and Helena Bonham Carter, and this is also no child’s play but a stunning and great story written by Chris Weitz.
Another film screened was the Jon Hamm starer, “Million Dollar Arm,” just in time for the baseball season to begin, with a great story of a slightly out there sports agent who plots to get some Indian cricket players into the big leagues.
And “Big Hero 6,” is Marvel’s first project at Disney and what a project it is. Disney Animation did the work on this homage to big screen heroes in a story where the government recruits a young robotic prodigy to enlist the help of six friends to all become crimefighters and defend the world’s biggest city from a gang of very nefarious criminals.
UNIVERSAL HAS A HUGE RELEASE SCHEDULE FOR SUMMER AND FALL BUT KEVIN COSTNER STEALS THE SHOW IN LIONSGATE’S “DRAFT DAY”
What a great second day at CinemaCon 2014. Universal Studios has a huge lineup of diverse film, and Universal has been on a roll, and with the upcoming slate, will continue that roll through this year. And Lionsgate with director Ivan Reitman at the helm brought out a film that established Kevin Costner as one of the best actors of our age, as well as giving us a film set against a sports backdrop that will literally take your breath away.
Universal Distribution President, Nikki Rocco, presented their lineup and the stars to a jam-packed Coliseum Theatre at Caesar’s Palace of industry people and media from throughout the world.
Universal screened Neighbors in its entirety, and footage from Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West; The Purge: Anarchy; Fast & Furious 7, with a great tribute to Paul Walker; the James Brown bio pic – Get on Up; Fifty Shades of Grey; the great sequel, Dumb and Dumber To; the animated Minions, which is a spin-off from the hugely successful Despicable Me; Angelina Jolie directed Unbroken; Luc Besson’s Lucy, which stars Scarlett Johansson.
“Neighbors” stars Seth Rogen and Zac Effron and is a bawdy comedy that had industry insiders roaring and this will be big for Universal, as it is in the model of “Ted” and just as funny, if not funnier.
Seth MacFarlane the creator of “Ted” was up next with his “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” which is a hilarious take off on many of the western dramas of Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood, and has a great group of stars carrying it off.
First, a disclaimer. I don't like "Dexter" but I did rabidly follow "Sopranos." In general, I like supremely flawed anti-heroes. My issue with "Dexter" is the conceit of trying to convince people that a serial killer can be an instrument of justice in any way, shape or form. Both Dexter and Tony Soprano are sociopaths but no one is pretending Tony isn't anything else. The idea that this grand experiment of Dexter's father channeling his son's murderous urges just left me cold (so to speak.) I watched the first season with growing malaise and when it ended, so did my watching of it.
I mention this because I'm not interested in following serial killers as my focal character, especially those who purport to be "understandable." A sociopath is not someone to root for. When, at the end of "Silence of the Lambs" Hannibal Lector said to Agent Starling "I have to go. I'm having a friend for dinner," and the camera then cut to the "evil" psychologist coming off the plane, people in the theater I was in clapped and cheered. I blanched and got nauseous at the idea of it. The filmmakers had so thoroughly convinced most in the audience that Hannibal was an appropriate instrument of justice that murdering and eating this vain man of a psychologist was desirable. Like I said, I was nauseous at the thought. You are too if you think it through.
While the distinction I see between Tony Soprano and Dexter may be slim, I do see it clearly. Kevin Spacey's character in "House of Cards" who is basically a sociopath at best, and as it's turning out, a serial killer at worst is not someone I want to celebrate for more than a few hours. Sure, I'd follow him if it was a shorter subject but the idea that he can kill with impunity anyone who thwarts his political plans makes me want to turn the show off and not continue after Season Two's opening ep. Which I did. This is not some gangster who grew up on the mean streets. This is a highly accomplished man who went to the best schools, has walked the halls of power with seeming grace and distinction for decades, and has attracted men and women of power and distinction to his causes. Sure, there's the religious fanatics who do the same things to weak-willed people And yeah, I know that a higher education doesn't guarantee that someone won't grow up sick and twisted. But Frank Underwood isn't a kid. If he had these tendencies, he's always had these tendencies and they would have manifested before this.
CINEMACON 2014 STARTS WITH A BIG BANG FROM PARAMOUNT
WORLD’S LARGEST CONVENTION OF FILM WORLD PACKS IT OUT IN LAS VEGAS
Hello to OC Screenwriters and our web followers around the country and to all the ships at sea.
Day One at CinemaCon 2014 in Las Vegas, where its been home for more than thirty years, kicked off at Caesar’s Palace, with a preview of the entire week and in addition to the film stars, the largest film convention in the world, with every major studio and producers, directors and stars attending from around the world, soon to be standard technological achievements in everything from cameras used in filming to advanced popcorn poppers was teased to an audience of more than 20,000.
Paramount lit the fireworks that started CinemaCon. The annual convention where theatre owners from all over the world gather in Las Vegas and meet and greet the stars and hear what product will be offered over the next six months from the studios, had Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Will Arnett delighting the huge crowd with story after story of their upcoming films for Paramount to be released by summer.
Paramount presented its product reel of glimpses from summer films that included Transformers: Age of Extinction, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hercules, and 3D SpongeBob.
One of the greatest influences in my life was by a gentleman named Rudi Fehr. He was not only my mentor, but was my dear friend. I first met Rudi in my freshman year at California Institute of the Arts, while attending his editing course. He must’ve seen something in that quiet, frightened and lonely boy I once was because he quickly took me under his wing and we became fast friends. Rudi had great patience. He would always listen attentively, never growing impatient with my constant chatter, never taking sides if I was having a disagreement with my parents and was always willing to give sagely advice when necessary.
Rudi is gone now, but there isn’t a day that passes for me without a thought of him, remembering him with a certain amount of magical awe. I have often spoken about the love and respect I have for Rudi, but I realize the unfortunate fact that nobody really knows about this incredible man. Therefore, to honor my dear friend I would like to share with my readers, the life of Rudi Fehr.
The life of Rudi Fehr is an incredibly rich story of an immigrant refugee. He rebuilt his livelihood in the United Statesand has left a cinematic legacy to the classic Hollywoodstudio era. Rudi joined Warner Bros in 1936 as a film editor until attaining producer status in 1952. In 1954, Rudi was elected to the board of governors of the Academyof Motion Pictures Artsand Sciences. After retiring from Warner Bros. in 1976, he returned in 1977 to supervise foreign language adaptations of the studio’s films for France, Germany, Italyand Spain. In 1980 Rudi joined Zoetrope Productions and worked with Frances Ford Coppola. He returned to the editing bench in 1984 to gain an Oscar nomination for John Huston’s black comedy Prizzi’s Honor.
A native of Berlin, Germany, Rudi was born on July 6, 1911and studied at the Lyceum Alpinum in Switzerland. “I really intended to be a diplomat,” Rudi once told me of his early years in Berlin, but, because of the Hitler regime and his ethnic background, it was not possible. So he studied music and wanted to be a symphony conductor.
Rudi’s father was a banker on the board of one of the leading German film combines, Tobis-Klangfilm. He arranged a job for his son to work as an apprentice film editor and within months Rudi was editing his first film, Der Schlemiel (1931). Rudi worked for the producer Sam Spiegel in Germany, then in Austriaand Englandafter the Nazis came to power.
On Saturday, OC Screenwriters was thrilled to present filmmaker Allan Holzman (credits) at a brunch that included a movie and a fantastic Q&A afterwards.
Allan played his documentary on his life called "C-C-Cut" which details his journey through both the film world and his personal world as a stuttering director. Afterwards Allan spoke for another 1.5 hours on that film and his process. As a 'slash' - writer/director/producer/editor/etc (Emmy/Eddy/Peabody Award-winning, no less) - Allan's information was amazingly diverse and comprehensive. His 30+ years in the trenches of all things film made for an encyclopedic presentation of how to succeed in a business that counts winners in terms of hits, not necessarily longetivity and quality.
Allan has had all in copious amounts.
As his movie and later he pointed out, Allan started with Roger Corman, the low-budget uber-producer, who has turned out many of Hollywood's biggest names. The Q&A after the film covered even more of Allan's journey and insights as he talked about his struggles to stop his stuttering while pursuing a lifelong love of cinema.
One of the things you quickly learn about Allan is that he is a true student of film. He speaks with equal veracity on "Attack of the Crab Monsters" and Truffaut's "400 Blows." Nothing seemingly has escaped his notice from the world of film but more to the point, he's absorbed and learned from all these sources and is able to then transmit that knowledge into self-deprecating and hilarious anecdotes but also in deeply held convictions about how to make a movie.
Two-time Emmy Award®-winning Director/Producer/Editor Allan Holzman (IMDB) has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood (beside his) including:
Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Roger Corman and James Horner, among others!
He will be screening his award-winning film, C-C-Cut and talking about his upcoming book "Celluloid Wars" (sample chapter)
His latest video used to honor legendary guitarist Todd Rundgren at the recent Gibson Les Paul Awards is embeded below or view on YouTube here!
Allan is hot, hot, hot and we've got him one on one!!!
Join on us for an up-close and personal brunch with Allan in Fountain Valley as he discusses his career, film tips, and the business of working in the Land of Holly and Wood - reserve your seat for brunch below.
Seats limited so tickets at the door may not be possible. RESERVE NOW!
WOW - a copy of Final Draft 8 will be given away to someone in attendance!
Date: Saturday, 03.08.2014
Location: Claim Jumper Restaurant Banquet Room
18050 Brookhurst Street Fountain Valley CA 92708 714.963.6711 (map)
Reservations recommended since seating is limited.
Student:15.00 Valid Student I.D.'s checked at door.
09:30am-10:00am - check-in
10:00am-11:30am - Allan shows his film
11:30am-1:15pm - lunch (included) and Q&A with Allan
Note: Choose quantities of reservations at PayPal checkout.
(includes lunch, 1/2 sandwich and salad - choice of Turkey, Chicken or Tuna and coffee/beverage service)
Order taken at banquet room. Veggie option available.
She's sexy, sassy, and kicks ass. What's not to like? And in the case of Tricia Helfer, there is absolutely nothing not to like. She's all of those things and a bag of chips.
Coming from her sexy/scary stint as a uber-hot Cyclon in "Battlestar Galactica" Helfer infuses this new series with a much needed edge. Not the kind of edge like in "The Shield" or even "Prison Break" but an all-over edge that gives you a reason to come back because she is writ large on the small screen in all manners and her presence is about all that elevates the somewhat-tired storylines.
Premise: Here's a cop who goes after criminals - female criminals. Focus on the X-chromosome segment of the bad-guys, uh, girl population. Throw in the physically believable, and acting capable Helfer, a taste of sexism in the cop ranks that she has to deal with, a bit of secret spousal abuse (sorta unbelievable,) promote as (another very attractive woman) Sofia Vergara's ("Modern Family") production company (based on an Argentine series) and mix.
The first ep shows another hot woman (getting the focus here?) in a red dress walking to a church (to the wonderful Mavericks "Come Unto Me") who then enters and shoots the bride, blowing her brains all over her groom. Good opening. Goes nowhere. Cartels, chase scenes, kidnappings in Mexico...zzzzzzz. All pretty standard fare, really. Not that it's bad - it isn't. It's just not as good as it could have been or could be.
"FERAL" - SCIFI-HORROR FEATURE FILM IN PRE-PRODUCTION
LOS ANGELES - L.A.-based Torture Chamber Productions is currently in pre-production for the feature film titled "Feral."
THIS ARTICLE NOMINATED FOR AN EDITORIAL AWARD by the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER!
Congrats, OC Screenwriters Board Member and contributor, Lorenzo Porricelli!!
Comment on this or any article welcome on our Facebook Page HERE.
On Saturday the 28th screenwriter Warren Lewis ("Black Rain" "13th Warrior") regaled a group of 50 filmmakers and writers with stories about his life, career and opinions on the future of the industry he helped shape.
Warren is both 'old school' and new school. He harkens back to a different time when A-list movies were ubiquitous; where a writer could create something spec and sell it in a market filled with opportunities. But Warren hasn't kept still - he's moved with the times and adapted both his marketing and his writing to today's realities.
Talking unabashedly about his love affair with westerns, prominently mentioning "The Searchers" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" Warren discussed how all films owe allegiance to those epics of yesteryear. Although he's too young to have worked with some of the greats of that era like director John Ford and actors Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and Lee Marvin, Warren parsed and deconstructed the times and the storylines of classics that shaped film and still resonate even 60+ years later.
"Black Rain," Warren's first notable film, sparkles with those classic sensibilities and continues to entertain and amaze - even to a recent showing in L.A. in a "real" theater with 70mm film stock. Not digital - film, with all its flaws and imperfections and gorgeous cinematographic scope.
Far from waxing nostalgic, Warren had the audience on the floor in laughter with unique takes on today's industry which he both loves and embraces, and is highly-amused by. He mentioned "twittering" at one point and didn't mean Twitter. He also talked about his current role as producer and how he is always looking for the one script that moves him as much as the films on which he cut his writing teeth.
Scriptwriter/producer Warren Lewis (IMDB) has worked on some of the biggest hits in Hollywood including "Black Rain" with Michael Douglas and "The 13th Warrior" starring Antonio Banderas.
He's a masterful writer and an engaging speaker and we've got him one on one!!
Join on us for an up-close and personal brunch with Warren in Fountain Valley as he discusses his career, writing tips, and the business of working in the Land of Holly and Wood - reserve your seat for brunch below.
WOW - a copy of Final Draft 8 will be given away to someone in attendance!
Date: Saturday, 09.28.2013
Location: Claim Jumper Restaurant Banquet Room
18050 Brookhurst Street Fountain Valley CA 92708 714.963.6711 (map)
Reservations recommended since seating is limited.
COST: (includes sit down breakfast burritos (3 choices) and coffee/beverage service)
Student:15.00 Valid Student I.D.'s checked at door.
09:30am-10:00am - check-in
10:00am-11:30am - Warren speaks
11:30am-12:15pm - lunch (included)
12:15pm-1:15pm - Q&A/Networking w/Warren
Note: Choose quantities of reservations at PayPal checkout.
Bacon & Egg Breakfast Burrito Warm flour tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs, smoked bacon, j
ack and cheddar cheese and hash browns. Served with salsa and fresh fruit
- or -
Vegetarian Breakfast Burrito Warm flour tortilla stuffed with scrambled eggs,
bell peppers, mushrooms, red onions, jack and cheddar cheese and hash browns. Served with salsa and fresh fruit
- or -
Smoked Ham, Egg & Cheese Sandwich Choice of grilled sourdough or whole wheat bread,
stuffed with scrambled eggs, smoked ham, cheddar cheese and tomato. Served with fresh fruit
Coffee and beverage service included
Blood Will Tell: For Immediate Release
Robert Rollins Pictures is pleased to announce in the Fall of 2014 director Robert Rollins will begin shooting his second feature film Blood Will Tell.
Blood Will Tell is a horror-tragedy. The hero, TracyMarch, is a neuroscientist searching for the cure for a rare blood disease that has killed one of his children and stricken the other. Cras Spem Ltd, Tracy’s employer, insists that he stop the blood project and switch back a marketable dementia drug. In a last ditch effort to save his son Tracy starts injecting himself with the drug. Once he has shown it is safe for humans he can do trial injections on his son.
However, the drug in not safe. Tracy pays little attention to the initial changes – increased strength, a sharpened sense of smell and preternatural hearing. To his growing horror he realizes that he has developed a taste, and then, a need for blood. Tracy’s compulsion drives him to desperate measures. Animal blood gives him little relief, so he is forced to hunt humans.
All of Tracy’s efforts to conceal his condition go horribly awry when a biohazard traps employees inside the Cras Spem Ltd building. During the lockdown Tracy’s hunger starts to escalate. When he learns the truth behind his drug’s failure, he loses all control. What follows is a literal blood bath. The wicked are butchered, but Tracy is too far gone to stop his killing. Standing in Tracy’s path is Lani Bergman, his co-worker and lover. Who will survive the final confrontation?
Blood Will Tell is about a blood drinker, but is far from a traditional vampire tale. There are no sparkles, no capes, no bats, no enlarged canines and no delicate neck nips. In spirit, Blood Will Tell is closer to “Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” than to “Dracula.” Tracy is not a demon or supernatural creature, but a man, terribly altered by science. His tragedy is that, in trying to do good, he has unleashed Hell.
Robert Rollins will direct Blood Will Tell from the original screenplay by Edward Fik and Robert Rollins; Craig Russom and Robert Rollins will produce; and Phil Martin is the movie’s director of photography. Tracy March will be played Grant Landry who was featured in "The Lair," "Real Heroes," "Better Half” and in Robert Rollins’ first feature film "Dream Country.”
When the Universe decided to create a nearly perfect physical specimen, It put together athlete/actor Jim Kelly. Born in 1946 in Paris, KY, Kelly's high school and college life was filled with organized athletics including basketball, football and various track and field sports. After his freshman year at University of Louisville, however, Kelly quit collegiate sports and pursued martial arts, specifically Shōrin-ryū Karate.
Kelly continued his karate studies all his life starting a dojo in the 70's in Long Beach, CA which at the time was a hotbed of martial arts activity. The fabled Long Beach Internationals, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014, started there and reached a peak in the late 60's and mid-70's with notables like Bruce Lee in attendance. Many martial artists worked in and around the area during the time that Kelly was redefining the sport by becoming one of the first African-American, world-recognized practitioners.
Kelly came into martial arts at a time when the U.S. was in turmoil. Black Power was in the hearts and on the minds of many young African-Americans and some of what manifested from that was using martial arts in a very martial way. Organizations like the Black Panthers (originally called the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) used martial arts for physical training. In reflecting that mindset, a scene in the film that started Kelly's career, "Enter The Dragon," shows his dojo adorned with black power symbology; and as Kelly's character later walks home from his dojo, he is hassled by the 'Heat,' two (white) patrol cops who racially profile him and want him to cower. Kelly never cowered in film or life. It was all on his terms and in doing so, he created a legacy that stands today and will continue long after his death.
Films after "Enter the Dragon" came fast and furious for Kelly. Called "Blaxploitation" (or Blacksplotation) by the mainstream media, these B-movies showed African-American leads like Richard Roundtree, Pam Grier and Jim Kelly kicking ass and taking names like their white counterparts Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson. Kelly's films like "Black Belt Jones" (1974) and "Three the Hard Way" (1974) (with Jim Brown and Fred Williamson) gave an entire generation of young African-Americans role models that looked and sounded like them but also combined an interest in the flying fists of the Far East. In the same way that early rap reflected the culture of the streets at the time, these movies showed a world we barely knew - "The Ghetto" and all its pain and anger. It was a dangerous place at times where desperation reigned, and violence came at you in several directions at once. It made sense to make yourself stronger by learning how to fight and Kelly led the pack in his films. Kelly looked like he could walk down any street and never be hassled. Interest grew on a national level for what gave him this type of confidence - namely, the martial arts. But the Ghetto was also a place of family, high moral values, and generational inspiration and Kelly strongly reflected that too.
"Fearless," the story of China's martial arts master Huo Yuanjia, is actually called "Jet Li's Fearless" - and so it is. Without the multi-talented Li the film would be much, much less than it is. This was also supposedly Li's swan song - his last wushu film but I would never take that seriously given how many actors have an almost genetic need to be on stage and Li's martial arts skills are masterful still. And in fact, he's done several more films that involve him as a martial artist since that pronouncement in 2006. Part of what was going through his mind at the time might be gathered from this essay on his website: HERE
Li, (real name: Li Lianjie) who was a martial arts prodigy and became a national champion in China, has always been a gold standard of martial arts acting and abilities. He's the real thing. He moves with lethal grace and seems as comfortable in his skin as any man or woman alive. His fights always seem real (until they put a wire on him and fly him across rooftops) - a result of his training with the Beijing Wushu Team which trains and does demonstrations at demonic speed and ferocity.
Li had his American film debut in "Lethal Weapon 4" in 1998 but he was already a star in Asia from his first film in 1982. From the age of eight, he trained in wushu, a Chinese style of martial arts with roots in kung fu. As part of the insanely good Bejiing Wushu Team (as was martial arts superstar Donnie Yen,) Li won dozens of medals and awards as a young man and migrated to film stardom in film series such as "Shaolin Temple" and "Once Upon a Time In China" which details the life of Master Wong Fei Hung.
Li is a deeply spiritual man which leads no doubt to his uncanny ability to seemingly be above everything happening in a film role and yet be entirely engaged.
As in the role of Huo Yuanjia, the wushu master in this film.
"Fearless" is a (very loose) examination of the life of Huo Yuanjia, a martial artist who fought foreigners in staged bouts for the national pride of China at a time when the British and Americans were changing the country's cultural identity and had proclaimed on more than one occasion that China wasn't significant as culture or people. This was just after the Boxer Rebellion (1901) and before the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912. Although the film doesn't necessarily point to either of these events specifically, it does play up the malaise affecting China during this time and implies that Yuanjia's bouts restored the pride of the nation to a point where China was able to establish itself as a republic. It does seem obvious enough that the filmmakers felt that Yuanjia had a lot to do with becoming a polarizing force for the nationalism that led to China finally throwing off the growing foreign imperialism at the time.
Yeoh and Rothrock - Girls with guns! Oh, yes, Madam!
"Yes, Madam" AKA "Police Assassins" is a ground-breaking 1985 Hong Kong film staring two stalwarts of martial arts filmmaking. Michelle Yeoh and Cynthia Rothrock who were in their 20's at the time, portray police detectives from different worlds: Yeoh from Hong Kong and Rothrock from Scotland Yard.
In a buddy-cop teaming that smacks of brilliance, the dark-haired beauty (who was a former Miss World Malaysia) and the perky, blond American (a karate forms champion at the time) team up to bring down a bad guy, Mr. Tin (James Tien) who is seeking a microfilm document that will prove he is guilty of murder and conspiracy.
Okay, another not-so-complicated story but one which reaps bounties of fun.
The film was produced by legendary filmmaker Sammo Hung (what isn't in Southeast Asia?) and it's fast, furious and, as mentioned, fun, which is a hallmark of a lot of Hong Kong films made by Hung and his producing partners. As is his habit, Hung also has a small part playing the "old man" (sifu) to three losers who are trying to get enough money to get him to a proper home by various illicit means which becomes dangerous as Mr. Tin and their efforts become intertwined.
"Yes, Madam" refers to Michelle Yeoh's title as police captain (like the Brits who call their female DCI's 'Mum' - as in The Queen Mum.) In the opening scene, she single-handedly stops an armored car robbery by kicking, punching and shooting all the bad guys. In a few cuts you can see it's not Yeoh doing all the stunt work but she always did in subsequent films using her ballet training and physical prowess to great effect. This was her first major role as a lead actress and it rocketed her to the stratosphere of film where she still thrives today as a legit actress and martial arts actress. She's had major roles in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" "Tomorrow Never Dies" "Memoirs of a Geisha" and as the voice of Soothsayer in "Kung Fu Panda II."
"Yes, Madam" was also Rothrock's big break. This, her third film but first major role, showed her martial arts prowess - and her natural beauty (and kickin' bod) did the rest to make her a go-to action girl when someone needed the real deal. After "Yes, Madam" Rothrock did several more Hong Kong actioners before becoming the American equivalent of Bruce Willis or Sly Stallone. It's led to a film career of 50+ features plus hundreds of public appearances all over the world.