Monday, November 27, 2006

The Fountain - a review & more

OK, so over the Thanksgiving holiday ( I hope you had a good one btw) my inlaws were in town and they had the kindness to watch the kids for us and allow my wife and I to go out (something we have not done together in a long time as we have no family that lives near us)

Well one night my wife wants to go to the movies and she picks "The Fountain" starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. We already saw the new James Bond "Casino Royal" the other night (best Bond film ever and I am not a huge Bond fan.. this is an excellent movie!)
But we are talking about "The Fountain"

This was a painful, trite, poor film, that I even witnessed people walk out of. It's written and directed by Darren Aronofsky and I do not know who at Warner Brothers released this film, but man was it bad! On a $35M budget I could think of a lot better ways to spend the studios money. Like "why not we just go around the back, I kick you in the balls and then you just give me the money and we call it square" This would have been a deal compared to the outcome of "The Fountain".

Some like this film and state "it's to deep for most to understand"
It's not deep at all and I was upset at the director for hitting us over and over with his unimaginative repeated visual metaphors, overdone theories of life and death, and poor morality tale. the dialogue, even delivered by talented talent, came off like I was watching a high school one-act play. This was an artsy fartsy disaster. It was even billed as Scifi. terrible. The director is very over done and I do not care how many times you cry and blow up in anger (as they do this all through out the film over and over ) it does not make your acting great or your film deep, it just makes it tired, predictable, trite and dumb. The director obsessed with this film for 6 years, 6 years! and this is what you get when you have a director write the story, script and cast his fiance (Rachel Weisz) in the film. Jackman must have taken this film as a character study development in his career .. My films might be bad and I am not one to talk but man... I want my money back!

But here are what others had to say:
http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_fountain/

IN OTHER NEWS:
And in others news (as it's my blog and I can do anything I want, even terrible spelling and grammer I hear some of you cringe over.. to bad)
I finally got a MySpace thingy setup. I found you can load video to it and I am using it to finally cut down on the broadband we use from X-ILE PICTURES, and Panic Struck. So if you want and you have a MySpace thingy then check it out: SHANE'S MYSPACE THINGY

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Returned Call .. LucasFilm LTD


I thought this was kind of kewl to share with you guys, and to let you know there are good people out there and that calls do get returned sometimes, even from the busiest people. Discovery - There is goodness and real people in the world after all.

I was home outside on the deck a few weeks ago when my wife comes running up, opens the sliding glass door in a hurry with my cell phone ringing in hand (I left it inside the house charging) She hands me the phone with a look of energy and says " I think you will want to take this call" I look at her inquisitively and look at the ringing cell phone. The caller ID reads "Lucas Film"

Low and behold it is Rick McCallum (Producer of Star Wars) giving me a follow up courtesy call.

First off let me say Rick is one hell of a nice guy. To even take the time out of his busy schedule to even call me is very kind and generous. I have spoken briefly with Rick before in the past and he comes off as a very grounded, an all around nice guy that is no different then you and I.

I have found that most of the people at the top of their industry who are successful at what they do are actually some of the nicest common people. You know why? Because those who are talented, professional, kind and nice to work with are the ones who stay at the top. If you are a jerk eventually it's going to catch up to you and I do not care how talented you are, people will simply not want to work with you, and you will destroy yourself. This is what I have found and perhaps not 100% true but I would say 98% of the time. Successful talented people remain successful because not only are they good at what they do, but the love what they do and are enjoyable to work with. treat people well and YOU will go farther in life and your career. Try it!
(again, not always easy to do)

So we chatted for a bit and I even gave Rick a bit of a hard time asking "So, have you finally seen my films"? He said he enjoyed watching them. He saw "Pitching Lucas" before it came out and was even one of the people at Lucas Films to vote on it. He made the commend that my George Lucas office in the film is better then the real one. That made me laugh.

Rick was very kind and generous, easy to talk with, and his support was truly appreciated by me. We talked some of what I am currently working on and so forth and he gave some good advise which I will share with you, " Make your original films and go with it. Stand on your own two feet and go for it."

Well that is just what I have lined up next and we will see how it goes. He said they will be watching and if I ever needed any help I could always call. That is a very kind gesture and one that is kind of producer nicey PC talk, (kind of like .. "Let's do lunch) but someone like Rick does not need to make such a gesture so I can appreciate him even saying something like that.

I warned him "be careful what you say, as I could take you up on that offer"
he chuckled and said " Go ahead, it's no problem"

So there you have it gang, there is some goodness and rightness in the world sometimes and good people just like you and I. Sometimes calls do get returned. Never give up and never let someone say you can not accomplish anything. Just remain professional, courteous, gracious, and as kind as you can in your pursuits.
(not always easy to do)
And NO Rick did not call to offer me a job or anything like that, so come back down to the real world guys, but my name is known to them and I have a good relationship, and that is very good.
Contacts and friends in the industry, you are looking to stir, is a good thing, and it's from a force of talent I respect and a company that inspired me to pursue this crazy thought of a dream... LucasFilm Ltd. I am humbled, honored to even be known for my work thus far and hope I can continue to keep those guys over there, and you as well, impressed and awake. With your support there is no telling what we can do, or fail.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

SciFi Studios Magazine Release

Well since I am back and everything is more or less back to the regular grind after my trip, here is a new update that just came out. SciFi Studios has just released their first online magazine issue and they even interviewed me in this premiere addition. So if you want go check it out.

If you have not heard about SciFi Studios I blogged about it here on my piece titled "Fans Invade Hollywood" and I really think it's a great concept. I talked with the Founder Tim Brazeal the other day and told him,

" Now you guys need to get off your ass and start making some products. Start small and see what comes of it. Take the fans and all the resources you have an produce a short film first, or a pilot. Try it out but you guys need to do something."

I really like this idea of SciFi Studios and support it but I also push for 'put up or shut up' mentality. I think we will see some action soon judging from my conversation with Tim.

This first online magazine issue is pretty good and one thing I have to say they do great work and have some excellent staff and support over there. See what you guys think.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Land of Smiles and Home Again


Well gang I am happy to report I made it back home to the states safe and sound from my travels in Asia. I first went to Okinawa, Japan and found the people to be very courteous and friendly. The food was great and the Saki even better. I did get see a few of the sights while I was there but mostly worked. I enjoyed the visit however.

I next traveled from Japan to the "Land of Smiles" Bangkok, Thailand. If Okinawa is slow and relaxed, which it is, then Bangkok is just the opposite. It is a very fast, crowded, hot, dirty, unique, mysterious, polluted, fascinating city. I thought our traffic was bad here in the DC area, Bangkok is much worst. There is close to over 6 million people in the city alone. Throngs of people, cars and gangs of scooters and motorcycles.

If you have heard the song "One Night in Bangkok" from the musical "Chess" then it's all true. "One night in Bangkok and the worlds your oyster". The economy is very poor and there is a good deal of corruption and crime here. It is a tourist town and pretty safe but anything goes if you have the money, and in Bangkok a little money goes a long way. I saw our cab driver have to bribe a cop, in which the cabby didn't do anything wrong. The cop was just looking to make some cash, and he did. You can get custom tailored clothes in Bangkok very affordable ( I had a few jackets and shirts made) you can get an hour massage for about $30 (and I got one of those too, but be careful, even in a clean reputable looking place you could be propositioned for a "special message".. I was taken by surprise).

One thing I will say is that the service in bangkok is excellent. such as in good bars and resturants. Unlike here in the US we are lucky to find our waiter sometimes in bangkok you are waited on by a large staff and they are very good at what they do. Very good service and customer courtesy.

You can go see the Grand Palace tour, which I did.. Very beautiful, and then there is shopping shopping and shopping in Bangkok. I did a bit but was soon wore out.

I went to the "weekend market" in Chatuchak and that was an experience. It's more or less a fleamarket on steroids, in which there or what seems miles and miles of shops all crammed together to form a myriad maze of stores and throngs of sweaty bodies all packed together in the hot humid Bangkok climate. I must have lost about 5 lbs. In sweat at Chatuchak. I got some great deals and everyone haggles.. It's expected and half the fun. One of the things I enjoyed were the signs posted in the market that said "Beware of Pick Pockets".

And if you go to Bangkok you have to go to the redlight district called Patpong. It's a world I have never seen before and disconcerting. Anything goes and again here there is more shopping, drinking and gogo bars. It's still a tourist area and something to experience. I had one drink there and was done.

Bangkok would be a great place to shoot a film. It would be very affordable, other then flying in your western crew & talent, and the area offers some remarkable locations. It would have a lot to offer for a unique film and like I said it would be cheap on the budget there and you could get some stunning shots and setups. I could so see a great action film while touring the city.

But I am back home and glad to be here. To travel the world some and see some sights is excellent and it really makes you appreciate what you have here at home and makes you think just what you take for granted. Other countries and people are not doing so well and really have it hard. It makes me humble to think of what we have and what so many go without and the life they are forced to live. Be fortunate and thankful with what you have.