Movie Review: She’s Out of My League

Alice Eve is obscenely hot.  She’s Out of My League makes this abundantly clear throughout, but I just wanted to reiterate.  Alice Eve is obscenely hot.  

And therein lies the premise behind the film.  An out of shape, nerdy, ugly guy – Jay Baruchel – starts to date a girl that is way out of his league.  
Friends of mine that like the same comedies as me downplayed this movie.  They weren’t that into it.  So I went in thinking it would be something on in the background.  But I wound up being glued to this whole thing.  I thought it was really funny and I liked all of the characters.  Even the friend who is over the top annoying, he never let up – and I respected that.  I love the fat guy from the VW commercials (from a few years ago).  Everything he said made me laugh.  I really like Kristin Ritter.  When she tells some guy to shit on his hand on the airplane, it was pretty hilarious.  
There were some truly good moments in the film – right after he gives a speech to his family about how he is done with them and his ex-ex-girlfriend – he realizes he can’t get off  a plane and has to sit right back down with them.  There are some other contrivances – such as prematurely ejaculating in his pants. It was funny in American Pie.  Here it seems forced.  
All-in-all, not a bad way to spend two hours. 

Movie Review: Frozen is the type of film that typically wouldn’t interest me.  But it was on someone’s year end list that I respect (as a good horror film)… so I queued it up on Netflix.

It’s a relatively short film, with a relatively short build up to the predicament.  3 college kids go skiing for the day, try to get one last run in before the mountain closes, get caught on the chair lift without anyone knowing.  It was a Sunday, so they have a full 5 days before anyone will likely come by.  Add in the fact that it is below freezing and there are ravenous wolves waiting below and you have what is essentially the plot of Frozen.  It’s not bad… and moves by briskly.  All three actors – Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers, Emma Bell – sort of bothered me at first, but as the movie went on that wore off… although ultimately I wasn’t concerned about their survival as much as I should have been.  

Movie Review: Dogtooth

I had heard Dogtooth would give Salo a run for its money (in terms of squeamish moments), but it doesn’t even come close.  This film is Mary Poppins compared to Salo still.  That said, it takes a depraved, sick individual to create a film such as Dogtooth.  Hailing from Greece (I don’t remember the last film I saw from Greece)… Dogtooth tells the story of a group of siblings being raised by parents who have never let them leave their house.  In their late teens, they see the world through seriously fucked up eyes.

There’s nothing particularly eye-catching about the filmmaking itself.  The interesting thing here is the story, more specifically the characters.  What type of parents would do this to their children?  What type of teenagers would never ask why?

Basically, the father tells the kids that if they leave their property they could die.  They can only leave if and when their dogteeth fall out.  And they can only leave in a car.  You can only ride in a car if and when your dogteeth fall out.  So the father comes and goes, but everyone else stays.  To say that the children are socially awkward would be an understatement.  The parents teach them the wrong meaning of words (pussy is a flower that grows in the garden).

The father is a really strange character.  You get the sense that he’s evil, but at times you think he’s doing all of this to protect his children from the outside world.  He arranges for a woman to come over and have intercourse with the son (1 son, 2 daughters).  She breaks his trust about the situation and he beats her to a pulp.  Then things take a turn towards the even darker…

It isn’t a gory movie by any means.  It also isn’t something that will make your stomach churn like Salo.  But it is definitely dark, it is definitely out there and it definitely makes you question humanity.

Newsarama’s Vaneta Rogers features Harbor Moon

I don’t normally post articles/reviews, in fact I’ve never posted a review on here.  But I’m going to share this article/interview I did with Vaneta Rogers of Newsarama for Harbor Moon.  First, because it’s pretty awesome.  Two, because I go to Newsarama just about every day.  Three, read number 1 again.

Arcana’s HARBOR MOON Tells a NEW Kind of WEREWOLF Story

by Vaneta Rogers
February 7, 2011

Talk about street-level buzz.

When Ryan Colucci decided to make a comic, he started from scratch. His own money, his own marketing, his own editing, and a lot of patience.
“[I had] an unrelenting desire to become a comic creator,” Colucci said. “You can’t leave it up to anyone else, because in comics, there is no one else.”
All his work and money is paying off later this month, when the original graphic novel he developed — Harbor Moon — hits shelves through publisher Arcana. Colucci co-created the comic with writer Dikran Ornekian and artist Pawel Sambor.
And by sending out free review copies to critics, Colucci has already generated a lot of buzz for book. Critics from websites as diverse as Broken Frontier and have been praising the graphic novel.
One of the reasons reviewers have fallen in love with Harbor Moon is that it tells a werewolf story, but in a whole new way. In this story, the small village of Harbor Town, Maine, is filled with a strange, new type of lycanthropy.
“We enter Harbor Moon with Timothy Vance,” Colucci explained. “He was modeled on a Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name” character from his Westerns. He is a mystery to the reader and to the residents of Harbor Moon. We peel back layers of Tim’s character just as we pull back layers of the town’s.
The werewolf-themed story breaks the boundaries of the standard horror story and is more like a mystery, as readers have found out through the first 23 pages of the book, posted for free on the website.
“It was always our goal not to spoon-feed anything to the reader. This is a mystery first and foremost,” Colucci said. “We quickly come to learn that the town doesn’t want [Timothy] there for some reason, and we hope to put you there with Tim, unsure why that is — and soon fighting for his life because of it.”
The central mystery surrounds the complex system of wolves in the town, but they aren’t like other werewolves of mythology. And not everyone is a werewolf.
“The key for us was keeping readers guessing as to which characters are actually wolves,” Colucci said. “There’s even a point in the story where the hero thinks he has it figured out and then he’s thrown for a loop – and hopefully the reader is as well. But even those reveals hopefully take a backseat to the bigger mysteries of the story – who is Andrew O’Callaghan, why is our hero looking for him? And what is this town hiding?”
For an as-yet-unpublished, indy title, Harbor Moon has already gotten a lot of attention from reviewers, and Colucci chalks that up to his own persistence in contacting each of them personally, then sending them review copies. “As a completely unknown creator, with a completely unknown artist, how was anyone going to know about my book or, if they did, have a clue if they should spend their hard-earned money on it?” Colucci said. “I was and am really confident in sending the book out for review, but at the same time you have to accept the fact that when that book goes to a reviewer they may hate it. And you just need to take it on the chin and move on. We’ve gotten about 40 reviews so far; luckily, about 38 of them are positive.”
Most reviewers hail the fact that this werewolf book doesn’t merely follow the same formula as other tales about werewolves, but instead takes the mythology in a new, intriguing direction. “I think part of it is that werewolf stories are all re-telling the same narrative… and audiences are savvy enough to know they’ve seen it before,” Colucci said, citing the familiar story of a lone person who gets bitten and struggles with lycanthropy by himself. “The loner wolf approach never made sense to us because wolves travel in packs. We take a pretty different approach and tried to ground this in as much reality as possible.”
The creators also did their research on wolf behavior and tried to infuse that into the story and the characters.
“[The] werewolves of Harbor Moon are not a curse,” he said. “They are also not a spirit. They are a species, a race if you will. You can’t become a werewolf from a bite or a blood transfusion or an Indian ceremony. The wolves here don’t turn on a full moon. However, their animal instincts are sharpened or heightened during a full moon. Their religion is based around this, almost like the Native Americans. They turn when they are pushed — if they are in stressful situations or angered. And Harbor Moon is run to protect its citizens against such things. In fact, this is why the town was created in the first place.”
And unlike most werewolf story, the wolves of Harbor Moon aren’t terrorizing a village or town; they are trying to protect their town and way of life. “There is even a power struggle in the town over what it means to truly be a wolf between the young and old of the town,” Colucci said. “There is a clear delineation in the pack and a definite family structure to it all. Dikran and I tried to model the society of Harbor Moon on the research we did on actual wolves.”
For Colucci, the story in Harbor Moon came out of a script he optioned while a student in the Peter Stark Producing MFA Program at USC. Although he ended up starting an animation studio in L.A. after graduation, he always knew Harbor Moon would be a graphic novel. “I’ve had a love of comics longer than I’ve had a love for movies,” he said. “I knew from the start that we weren’t creating a movie script, but something that would play out better as a graphic novel. It was more liberating that way. We could do whatever we wanted because we didn’t then have to sell it to a studio executive or agent. We just had to please ourselves.
“I think some writers and creators are creating graphic novels or comics in the hopes it becomes a movie,” Colucci said. “That was never our intention. Once the book was going, it was a graphic novel – never a means to an end.”
After he and Dikran molded the script into a graphic novel, Colucci had to find an artist. He started by putting an ad on an art forum, and he got a response from an artist in Poland. The language barrier — and the distance between them — made Colucci reluctant at first. But once he saw Pawel’s work, he decided to take a chance.
“It took me a while to find Pawel, but once I did, everything fell into place. He penciled, inked, painted and lettered everything,” Colucci said. “He has a very unique style that people sometimes compare to [Ben] Templesmith, whose artwork I love… but I think Pawel is different enough and his coloring is vibrant enough that he stands out a bit rather than be a clone.
“I grew up a comic geek — I am still a comic geek — and I have to admit that I would geek out every time I got pages in,” Colucci said. “He really captured the dark, creepy nature of this town, at least how we envisioned it. The best moments were when he would send pages with blood splatter: They’re my favorite. Something else I admire is how polarizing his art is. The people that like his style love it. The people that don’t, loathe it. I’d much rather that be the case then have a capable, but generic art style in the book. And thankfully so far, those that love it have outweighed those that don’t.”
The book also has six pages in the middle when the hero, Tim, reads pages from an old tome, and the creators all decided to go with a completely different art style, which was done by Nikodem Cabala. “But everything else was Pawel,” Colucci said.
Now Colucci is hoping readers give Harbor Moon a chance, offering the first 23 pages free because he wants to not only spark people’s interest, but also get feedback from fans through the email link on the website. “I promise I read and respond to everything sent my way, including questions about getting your own book off the ground,” he said. “I’m actually hard at work on my next three books, all being done on my own just like Harbor Moon.”

Pawel onboard to ink Bulderlyns

Some really good news to share.  Pawel Sambor, who did everything on Harbor Moon has come onboard my graphic novel Bulderlyns as an inker/colorist.  It is safe to say that the one thing about Harbor Moon everyone raves about (over everything else) is the coloring.  So to get him for this book is a major coup.  Igor Wolski’s pencils with Pawel’s colors are going to be killer.

Bulderlyns is about a small town just outside ofChicago that is turned upside down when a businessman brings his son a rare egg froma trip overseas.  The egg hatchesand the town is besieged by one of the two mythical Bulderlyn creatures inside.  The small boy and the other, gentler creaturemust teach each other the meaning of courage as they attempt to save the townfrom the beast.

Work, work, work…

Shooting a 15 minute short in LA the weekend of the 18th – and gearing up quickly.  Just blasted through 175 DP reels.  Now, I have to go back and watch the top 40 or so and keep whittling it down.

Already started sorting through composers (got one that already jumped out at me as perfect), as well as singers for a song at the end.  Our lead actress is a 30 year old latina, so I need to find someone that matches her making it a bit tricky.  But I will get someone awesome, that’s just how I do.

The short is actually based on R.E.M., however it is not a short of that material.  It is a prequel to that story focusing on the relationship between the lead in that and his lost love (obviously she’s alive in this).  Also going to be turning this into a comic (it’ll be roughly 30 pages and will be an issue digitally).

Back to work…