Friday, September 28, 2012

Kicking Rocks With Opened Toed Shoes, Lets Help In Getting The Story Told.

              My friend Alicia Bertine, a cancer survivor who holds her head up high and with a never give up attitude, is writing a memoir about her bout with pancreatic cancer.  I met Alicia on the set of Lovetown USA when it was filmed a few months ago in Kingsland, GA.  I never would have thought that she was someone fighting for her life by talking with her on set.  She has a very uplifting quality and always has a smile on her face, no matter the circumstances.  
In 2008, she was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, and even had to battle it two more times after going into remission.  She works as a model and is also making it her mission in life to inspire others to never give up no matter what.  
Kicking Rocks with Opened Toed Shoes, the title of her book, needs help in getting the funds so that she can spread the word about her story of hope, faith, and living life to the fullest.  Please go to her kickstarter to read further about her story and hopefully donate what you can.  If you can't donate, tell your friends about this article and maybe we can help make a difference.  Below is the link to her kickstarter.  Thank you.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Top Five Time Travel Films

Looper, a film starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt about hitmen in the past who kill people sent back from the future, will be released this Friday and it makes me wonder what is the greatest time travel movie of all time?  Now my top five choices are primarily based on how good the story is and, in all honesty, my opinion on the films.  My opinion is something you may or may not agree with but, this is just a blog.  So if you have an opinion about what your favorites are, please comment.  Now on to the countdown too my top five time travel films of all time.

5. Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

 The second film in the Terminator franchise and arguably the best in the series, with a box office take of $204,843,345 or $390,000,000 after you adjust for ticket prices.  The film surpassed expectations when it was released in 1991 and paved the way for James Cameron to literally get what he asks for in Hollywood.  Schwarzenegger returns as the unstoppable Terminator, but this time as the hero.  The special effects were a break through for Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and made it possible to create movies like Jurassic Park and the newer Star Wars trilogy.
The film centers on John Conner, the future leader of the resistance against the machines and his protection from an indestructible force sent back in time to kill him.  T2 still holds up in look and feel, still able to produce thrills and nail biting action that many modern day action films try to recreate.  There's talks of a fifth film with Arnold back in the title role.  Its unknown as to when or if the film will be made but the thought of a possible sequel is still exciting.  

4.  The Final Countdown (1980)

 An oldie but a goodie, The Final Countdown is about a naval air craft carrier that's torn from present day 1980 to December 6, 1941, the day before the bombing on Pearl Harbor.  Its a great film with a premise that makes you ask, what would have happened if modern day technology existed in America's greatest time of need?
Kirk Douglas stars as the captain of the U.S.S. Nimitz, which is thrusted through time by an unexplained black hole that forms out in the middle of the Pacific.  Soon the entire crew is baffled by there position and also the radio signals their intercepting.  It doesn't take long for them to realize where they are, whats going to happen, and poses the question if they should intervene in history or let it unfold as it is written.
The film was a success at the box office but had mixed reviews from critics.  The films special effects are dated, but as I said earlier, this is primarily about story not effects.  Its a well written film and worth a watch if you ever come across it.

3. The Time Machine (1960)

The oldest film on this list, and possibly the oldest movie I've ever written about.  The Time Machine, based on H.G. Wells classic tale of a scientist and his journey through time is a classic in every sense of the word.  Time lapse camera's captured his trek through time, which was something new to audiences at the time.
A scientist witnesses the rise and fall of man in a matter of decades, and is forced to travel to the year 802,701 by a massive lava flow that traps him and his time machine within the earth.  When the earth finally erodes away, he sees that man has survived but with dramatic consequences, something he must change.
The film was a great success  and even won the Academy Award for best special effects.  
The Time Machine also had an unofficial sequel at the end of the documentary Time Machine: The Journey Back, which reunited the characters from the film played by Rod Taylor and Alan Young.  The film also had a remake in 2002 starring Guy Pearce and directed by Simon Wells, the great grandson of H.G. Wells.

2. Somewhere in Time (1980)

 Another film from 1980 starring the late Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour in this timeless love story about a man who will stop at nothing to find the woman he's been longing for his entire life, the only problem is he's 68 years too late in finding her.
The story centers on a playwright who travels out of town for vacation, making his way to the Grand Hotel.  There he finds a picture of a woman, taken in the year 1912.  He soon becomes fixated on the photo and begins looking for a way to get to her as he falls in love with the image.  
I won't go into detail as to where the movie goes next, but he does find a way to go back in time, which is where the movie really picks up.
The film was panned by critics and underperformed at the box office.  But time does heal some misfortunes and it soon developed a cult following and even changed most critic's minds, even if it was a couple decades later.  The film is now considered a great masterpiece in some circles and remains as one of Reeve's best works in cinema.

1. Back to the Future (1985)

The biggest box office hit in 1985 still considered, by most, to be the greatest time-travel movie of all time.  It produced two sequels and two years ago celebrated its 25th anniversary by re-releasing the film back into theaters during its jump to blu-ray.
Back to the Future centers on Marty McFly, a normal high school student who just happens to be best friends with a nutty professor, Doc Brown, who creates a time machine out of a DeLorean.  Marty is soon sent back to 1955 by uncontrollable circumstances and meets his mother and father, who are still in high school and not at all what Marty envisioned.
Originally the role of Marty McFly went too Eric Stoltz, but two weeks into production he was fired from the role, which subsequently went to Micheal J. Fox.  The role of Doc Brown was originally meant for John Lithgow, who turned the role down due to conflicting schedules.  Christopher Lloyd was brought on board after turning the role down, but was soon told to take the role by his wife.

Notable Mentions" Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home, Twelve Monkey's, Source Code, Deja Vu.

Well there you have it.  My list of the top 5 time traveling movies of all time.  Who knew Back to the Future was going to be number one?  If anyone has a different list of favorites, I would love to hear what you have to say. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why Care For Today's Celebrity?

I see these shows on television, like Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight, that are basically on the air to tell us all about celebrities and whats going on in their lives; when in reality, who actually cares about these people and what they do outside of the entertainment they create for the public?

I honestly don't care about Kim Kardashian and what her sisters are doing, nor do I care about their kids or men in their lives.  What is the gain in knowing about these people?  Does Tom Cruises divorce from Katie Holmes really effect my life?  Answer is, no it doesn't!  So I ask, what is it about celebrities that keeps people so interested in order for these so called television shows to stay on they air?  The answer is simple really, we as the general public fantasize about the money and fame they've achieved, some more deserving of it than others.  Do the Kardashian's deserve having a television show, making money just by living their lives and having a platform to basically sell their merchandise or new clothing line that they really didn't help develop?  No, I don't think they do.  I'm not trying to bash just the Kardashian's, but they seem to be at the forefront of celebrities that make a living at just living, not really doing anything of meaning to anyone but themselves.

The definition of a celebrity according to Wikipedia is:  A person who has a prominent profile and commands a great degree of public fascination and influence in day-to-day media. The term is synonymous with wealth (commonly denoted as a person with fame and fortune), implied with great popular appeal, prominence in a particular field, and is easily recognized by the general public.
 Now with most of this definition, the Kardashian's do seem to fit in, and not to pounce on just them, lets throw in Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and everyone from The Jersey Shore.  The one part of the definition for celebrity that seems to not pertain to any of the people I've listed so far is the part that says, "prominence in a particular field;" now what field would these people be considered prominent?  If your answer is being a complete waste of paper in your local magazine or air time on television, then you have answered correctly.  I'm sure these people have talent but its not why their popular.

A lot of people consider, all who I've listed above, a celebrity in some fashion.  These people dumb down a society that is already in need of better guidance.  Even the local news will have a story or two about these people, which have nothing to do with our everyday lives.  I am in no way writing all these things because I'm jealous of them.  I write this because reality television and celebrity news shows are a waste of time and have no influence on my life and shouldn't have any on yours.

Another show that I just can't stand is The View, the wonderful gabfest that goes on every weekday morning on ABC.  Why exactly do we have these women on television giving us their opinion on world events?  They hardly every state facts, instead they throw their opinions in other peoples faces and we watch from our living rooms, listening to pointless discussions on topics that either have great value to us or have no substance at all.  Twenty years ago, we still had celebrity news, but it wasn't in everyone's face.  Twitter and Facebook weren't even thought of yet, and most celebrities kept their mouth's shut on a good portion of topics, that today isn't considered as taboo anymore.

To me, a celebrity is a person who is in the public eye, but is only their when they have to be.  I can't stand a celebrity that looks for the nearest camera to look at or tries to find the best way to get their names into the next issue of People Magazine.  Now I do understand that some celebrities don't have a choice in the matter due to their status in the world.

What is so fascinating about seeing a famous person on vacation or at the airport?  Are our lives so dull to where paparazzi have to go out and snap shots from the bushes in order to sell to the tabloids so we can view them on tv or on news stands?  We should get up from our couches and go outside to through a football around or play a board game with our kids, friends, or loved ones instead of wasting our time with what other people are doing with their lives, people who we don't even know.  We have better things to do with our lives than to worry about what some celebrity is doing.  Why do you guys think about this article?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Resident Evil: From Past To Present

For the past ten years we've seen the character Alice, play by Milla Jovovich, from the Resident Evil series, go from a relatively unknown heroin to a bad ass zombie killing machine.  Its been a great ride, even if the story isn't the best ever told, but its still a great way to pass the time if you have nothing better to do.

When I watched the first film I wasn't thrilled with how the movie turned out.  I was looking for the same scares and storyline that I've become accustomed to seeing in the games.  Resident Evil instead gave us a different story with more thrills, action, and maybe a few nods to the game it was adapted from.  I loved how the game was a mystery, slowly progressing into an action packed finale that made you feel as though you accomplished something.  The movies missed on what the first few games achieved, missing out on what could have been a much different and scarier franchise.

Even with all the negativity I've just written, I still enjoy watching the films.  I loved how the central character of Alice has progressed throughout the franchise and the action the films deliver.  The games have even evolved into what the movies are all about, a shot em' up action extravaganza.  I hear Resident Evil 6 is going to be more like the first few games, unlike four and five by the way. 

In Resident Evil: Apocalypse they take what we see in the second and third games and mix them together to make what the films' are primarily about, a zombie filled Raccoon City on the verge of collapse and total annihilation.  The city has closed its borders as everyone whose still human tries to survive and escape.  Alice is now a lethal killing machine created by the Umbrella Corporation, no longer considering herself as human, and still trying to escape the horrors that started in the first film.  A few characters from the game show up to help Alice along her journey, one being one of the most popular in the series, Jill Valentine, played by Sienna Guillory.

Its has great action, even taking a few scenes from the games to help it along the way.  In the end a few survivors make it out of the city, with Alice finding out she has a new power in which she uses her mind too destroy any hostels around her.  We realize that another film is in the near future and Alice is still seeking to destroy the corporation that started this whole mess.

 Resident Evil: Extinction, the third film in the series, takes us into a world which is now a barren wasteland.  Alice seems to be more comfortable in what she's become, as she makes her way across America, towards an unknown destination.  Another character from the game is introduced, Claire Redfield, played by Ali Carter.  Umbrella is primarily controlling its world underground; still trying to create the ultimate weapon, which seems a little redundant since the worlds population is primarily the undead.

Alice is soon thrown into another small group of people, a few from the last film, as they try to survive.  The group is trying to reach a signal that offers safety in Alaska.  As the film comes to an end, a few people from the group make it to a chopper, flying to safety, and Alice is now in control of an army of her clones that were discovered by her after she kills the main villain in the film.  Again the film is left open ended as she promises Wesker, the main antagonist in the video game series, that she's coming for him and Umbrella. 

Resident Evil: Afterlife, the first in the Resident Evil series to be filmed in 3D, begins with a bang as Alice keeps her promise and goes on an all out assault on Umbrella's main facility in Asia.  Wesker vaccinates Alice, making her human once again in their first fight in the film.  Six months later she finds herself on the way to Alaska to meet up with the group of people from the last film, only finding Claire under mind-control.  Alice flies to California with Claire, now fairly back to normal, as they both meet up with another group of people who are held up within a prison.  Chris Redfield, played by Wentworth Miller, is another popular character in the game franchise who shows up in the film to help Alice along her adventure through zombie land and also reunites with his sister he lost so long ago..  In the end, just like the others, only a few are left standing and Alice goes up against the main villain in the story.  The story is, yet again left open ended as an army of Umbrella solders fly towards Alice and about two-thousand survivors she's helped escape from the clutches of the corporation.  Jill Valentine leads the army, clearly under the same mind-control that Claire was under at the beginning of the film.

Alright, now that we're all caught with what has happened so far in the series, I'm curious if the fifth film will follow the same formula.  You can clearly see that each story is primarily about survival, with Alice fighting alongside a new group of people so she can reach her goal of destroying Umbrella.  I'm wondering, by watching the trailer to the new film, why several characters who have died in past films are back in Resident Evil: Retribution; I'm guessing through a mixture of flashbacks and cloning, which is plausible within the Resident Evil universe.  Its also filmed in 3D, which doesn't necessarily make it a better film, but it does mean the picture is clearer and more crisp.  I also predict that it will be left open ended yet again to keep us on the edge of our seats for another look into the world that is Resident Evil.  Paul W. S. Anderson is back for his third outing as director in the series and writer for the fifth time.

Anderson has taken the films down a different road than what I first imagined way back in 2002, but I've enjoyed the path he's taken.  I'm curious as to where the series will go from here and what will happen to a franchise that seems to grow in popularity with every passing film.

Whats your favorite Resident Evil movie and do you think the franchise is worth the buck to see or should it die out and fade away?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Polybius Update: Teaser Poster

I have a new teaser poster for my film I'm doing with my co-director Taylor Olson.  The film, if you don't know already, is called Polybius and is now in pre-production.  The poster you see below will soon be a motion poster.  If your unsure as to what a motion poster is, its when the poster has motion in it.  For an example of what I'm talking about go here to see the motion poster for the new Judge Dredd film.  Take a look at the image below and let me know what you think.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Old Fairytales Made Into Badass Movies

Remember when Hansel and Gretel were just two innocent children who walked into the wrong house, it turns out their story now goes further.   After the siblings roasted a blind witch in her own oven, they've grown to become witch hunters who will stop at nothing to rid the world of the foul creatures.  The trailer for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters was just released and I must say it looks rather good, the trailer by the way can be found at the link I just posted in this sentence.  Doesn't it seem as though a lot of our family friendly fairy tales are now being retold with a darker and more PG-13 feel or is it just me?  Earlier this year it was Snow White and the Huntsman, which was a decent film by the way, with its more ready for battle princess and a darker witch.  Now we have Hansel and Gretel coming out in January 2013.  Whats next?  Will we have Cinderella with a gatlin gun, fighting off her evil stepmother that's now turned into a massive serpent?  I'd probably see the film if it existed, but Cinderella isn't going to be gracing the screen anytime soon.

Angelina Jolie as Maleficent
I'm sure some of you are curious as to what's on the horizon for the fairytale.  Well if you must know, Maleficent is in the works; a retelling of sleeping beauty from her arch nemesis's point of view, Angelina Jolie is playing the title character.  Maleficent won't be released until 2014 but I do know that there are other fairytales in the works and will be here way before 2013 is done and over with.  Jack the Giant Killer is set to be released next spring, based on the book of the same name.  The story doesn't seem too be going into darker territory and looks like its staying true to the actual story, but its too soon to tell.  There is a trailer if you care to check it out here
Nicholas Hoult playing J

Beauty and the Beast is even getting another chance, this time in live action with Guillermo del Toro in the director's chair and Emma Watson playing the beauty.  Its set to be released next year with a darker version than we're used to based on del Toro's track record as a storyteller.  No trailer or website is set for this, or even a description of whats to come, but I'm sure we'll get a good story, just by whose involved.

Even Peter Pan is getting a shot at the big screen once again, or should I say twice again.  Both projects, still under than name Pan, are two very different stories.  The first story is an origin story of all of the popular characters, Aaron Eckhart and Sean Bean are playing Captain Hook and Smee.  The second film is actually a total flip from the original.  Pan is now the villain in this modern-day murder mystery; he's now a killer with a youthful appearance who abducts small children, a far cry from how we typically see the character.

I enjoy seeing a retelling of a film or just another point of view, it gives us another look at a story we've either forgotten, never knew existed, or was lost within our youthful minds.  The difference's between what kids see now and how they'll remember the character's is a far more darker version than the Disney friendly version that I grew up with, but at least the stories will still live on.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012 Fall Premiere Shows...The Top 5 I'm Looking Forward Too

I know most of you can't wait for the new fall line up, thanking god that the dull summer season is finally over.  Every new season brings in a few shows that we look forward too, hoping they do well enough too last for a second season.  A few of my favorites from last year won't return, like The Finder starring Micheal Clarke Duncan who recently past away, and Alcatraz.  With those shows that aren't returning we have new ones to take their place.  Here's my top five picks for this coming fall.

5. The Neighbors
The Neighbors, a new show from ABC starring Jamie Gertz and Lenny Venito are a mother and father who move into a gated community with a few odd neighbors who turn out to be aliens.  The show is different and puts a new spin on a show, closesly resembling 3rd Rock from the Sun but showing it from the humans point of view in knowing their whole community is filled with little green men and women.  The Neighbors premieres Wednesday, September 26th at 8:30/7:30c.
4. Beauty and the Beast
Yes I know, its another show based on the popular tale of a woman who falls in love with a man, not for his looks but for his heart.  Beauty and the Beast is a remake of a popular television series that aired in the eighties, this time starring Kristen Kreuk and Kiwi Jay Ryan.  The beast is less of a beast and more of a man with just a scar on his face and the beauty, is well, still beautiful.  The show intrigues me because I did like the original and I liked Smallville which Kreuk starred in.  I don't think it will last but I bet it will have a cult following.  Beauty and the Beast airs on Thursday, October 11th at 9/8c on the CW.
3. Elementary
A different spin on the Sherlock Holmes story with Holmes, played by Johnny Lee Miller, now a recovering addict who consults with the NYPD.  Watson, played by Lucy Liu, a woman and former surgeon who helps her friend in solving the unsolvable cases.  I like the new take on the story and look forward to how it will progress.  Elementary airs Tuesday, September 25th at 10/9c on CBS.
2. Revolution

Another show from the mind of J.J. Abrams set in a post apocalyptic future.  The world is now dark and its now 15 years after the event that changed the world.  The series stars Elizabeth Mitchell, Tracy Spiridakos, Billy Burke and Giancarlo Esposito as a group of people trying to figure out what happened to the worlds technology and how to get it back.  Revolution airs Monday, September 17th at 10/9c on NBC.

1. Last Resort

The shows premise is different.  A nuclear submarine that goes rogue after defying an order to fire nuclear missles.  The crew goes on the run and finds sanctuary at a NATO base.  The submarine and crew declare themselves the worlds smallest nuclear station.  I'm not sure from the premise of the show that it will hold up but the commercials for it really gets me energized to watch it.  We shall see.  Last Resort airs September 27th at 8/7c on ABC.

There are many other shows airing this fall but I like the looks of the shows I just posted above.  What shows are you looking forward too?