Movie Review: The Hunter

Is there anything Willem Dafoe can’t do? He really shines here, in Daniel Nettheim’s The Hunter – one of those films that you wish you had seen in a theater when you had the chance. The cinematography is beautiful and something tells me the small screen does it no justice. Sweeping landscapes of Tasmania, contrasted with an intimate journey through those same lands… It possesses this almost magical quality – not unlike the Tasmanian tiger he hunts.

Most of the time child actors are a burden, either coming off as annoying, overly precocious (usually both), or just plain bad. Here they are fully realized and completely real. The young girl curses like a sailor and it all seems to make sense in this world. It reminded me of Winter’s Bone in that way. As if the actors around Dafoe were real people who didn’t know they were part of a film.

This is definitely a film worth checking out – especially since it is available on Netflix Instant.

Movie Review: Mongol

I’ve been trying to get through all of Sergey Bodrov’s films as we are looking at him for another project. So far I have been underwhelmed, but Mongol was definitely a major step up.

I thought he did a great job with what he had. And I thought the acting was solid, particularly from Tadanobu Asano as Temudjin. He accomplished a lot without saying much of anything. I was along for the ride, but ultimately the script failed the director. They tried to cram too much into the film and had to make too many jumps in time. Some of those jumps happened at odd times. Or they happened at points where the lead was in a jam – and all of a sudden we cut to a few years in the future and it is no longer an issue. If you’re into Mongolian culture or history in general – it is worth your time. But it never goes further than skin deep.

Top 5 Girls That Kick Ass

Pretty self-explanatory.  I kind of cheated on this one though.  There were two films that I really like with multiple females who kick ass, so rather than give each one their own ranking I combined them.

There are too many to list for an Honorable Mention, so I will refrain.  But I’d love to hear who you think I snubbed.

Jen Yu, Yu Shu Lien and Jade Fox in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The Bride, O-Ren Ishii, Vernita Green, Elle Driver and Gogo Yubari in Kill Bill

Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby

Sarah Connor in Terminator 2

Rapunzel in Tangled

Top 5 Movie Redheads

To qualify you have to have red hair (or orange).  I’ve seen some lists with Robert Redford, Judy Garland and Julia Roberts on it.  They’re sort of tweeners.  Redford has sandy blonde hair.  And Roberts and Garland are more auburn.  This is full on redhead.

Lola in Run Lola Run

Amber Waves in Boogie Nights

Samantha Baker in Sixteen Candles

Cynthia in Dazed and Confused

Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Life Assessment at 34

So… another year in the books. And what do I have to show for it?  Well, a lot actually.  If you’re keeping track, a pretty rockin’ girlfriend and best bud.  An awesome family (including my little best bud).  And enough projects to keep me busy for a few years.

Here’s a run down of just about everything in the works or that I have…

My two favorites.

Battle for Terra: 3D

I was a producer on the 3D animated film that came out in 2009 from Lionsgate.  It was short-listed for Best Animated Feature by the Academy that same year.

I co-wrote, edited, and financed the graphic novel.  If you are into westerns or monsters – check this out.  Artwork is by Spoke Lane mainstay Pawel Sambor.
I came up with the story, sort of co-wrote it (Clay McCleod Chapman is the writer), produced and did some Second Unit directing on the feature.  We’re in post now, and I should have some big news about the film in Sept/October.  Stay tuned!
This exists on a few planes.  It will be my second graphic novel, I’m putting the pieces together for the feature film with myself directing and I directed a short film prequel to this story (4.2.3.).  The graphic novel has a chance to be done and ready by Christmas. Zsombor is just killing this thing.  Can’t wait…
This will be my third graphic novel. The only reason that R.E.M. will be finished first is because this has a lot of different parts.  Igor is doing layouts/pencils, Pawel is doing inks and Dmitry is coloring.  Each of them is turning out some pretty amazing work.  If you’ve seen samples I’ve posted, then you get a feel for what it’ll be.  It’s a young adult book with a story along the lines of E.T., Iron Giant or Gremlins.  Igor is starting to hit a serious stride and the stuff he’s turning in is amazing.
Chasing Rabbits
This will be my fourth graphic novel and is most likely my favorite script.  No, it is.  I just had so much fun writing this thing and putting the puzzle pieces together.  It is a murder mystery-thriller, but everything is based entirely on Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  However, in this version, Alice is a hard-boiled female detective in the crime ridden city of Wonderland.  It is being drawn and inked by Sigit Nugroho.  He’s got some serious skills.  His cousin, Budi Setiawan, passed away recently after a long battle with cancer.  The book will be in memory to Budi – who was originally supposed to draw it.   Fighting through the hardship, Sigit has penciled up to 51 and inked up to 23.  This book will be a monster.
After many attempts at writing projects that I can direct on independently (I start off with good intentions and then it keeps growing and growing)… came Lunatic.  This started off as a discussion with Karol Wisniewski about a Harbor Moon spin-off, featuring the Brotherhood of the Moon.  I thought – can we do something with that but do it found footage style.  I came up with the story and then approached Dikran (who co-wrote Harbor Moon).  I caught him at the right time and away he went.  This script is rocking and is hard to summarize quickly here.  I’ve already been putting some serious pieces in place and this will be happening – just a matter of timing right now on when.  I’ll be in LA in September to shoot a short teaser (2 actually) for AFM, as well as poster artwork.
Based on the award-winning novella by NY Times best-selling author George R.R. Martin, this thing is a beast.  Quite literally.  I am producing and writing the script.  I finished an outline two weeks ago and submitted it – just got notes back today.  With any luck we’ll have it wrapped up within the next week or two.  Outlining, for me, is the hardest part of any project.  I also find it to be the most fun.  It’s like a giant puzzle you need to strip down and build.  We hope to have a script ready and out to talent (directors/actors) by September… so the clock is ticking.
The Beast
This is probably my second favorite script.  It’s about high school football, but it much more akin to Lord of the Flies than anything else.  It is something I’ve had in my head since high school and I was finally able to get it out… and now I’m working on turning it into a novella.  I’ve had some artwork done for it and just recently we finished a pretty awesome piece that I believe will be the cover of the book.
I was going through my projects and almost forgot about my podcast.  I produce and co-host a podcast on Hollywood news and film discussions.  September will mark a year that we’ve been on the air.  Our audience grows every week and I am grateful to have an outlet to discuss the thing I love – movies.
NY Sports Chick
If the Sports Chick ever dedicated herself to sports (she’s also a kick-ass biology teacher with 100% passing rate on the NY regents), then she would be as big as Erin Andrews (except Sports Chick actually knows what she’s talking about and can dissect games, particularly baseball).  She’s a perfect mix of Hannah Storm and Andrews.  Most of her work is done over twitter, but the goal is to have this podcast up and running on a constant basis sometime in the next few months.
This is a children’s property created by Rob Codling.  It is genius, about the fuzzies who live on a blanket.  We are nearing the initial print run of the first book (very, very shortly) and are hard at work on the second book.  Rob is also grinding away on the screenplay and with any luck this will be my animation follow-up.  How can you see this guy and just not be happy and want to ‘Spread the fuzz’?
King of the Night
This is something that Jim Devoti and I have been working on for years now.  It has almost come to be a few times – a few heart-breaking times.  It’s a modern day Saturday Night Fever set in the house music world.  We’ve got some of the top DJ’s in the world lined up for this one.  I co-wrote and will direct/produce.
This is a book series by Dmitry Dubrovin aka Lemon5ky (colorist on Bulderlyns), that will be published by Spoke Lane.  It is really unique looking and he has some massive plans for it.  He’s penciled the first 270 pages and is now inking them (that’s right – first 270).  Really glad to a be a part of this in any way.
Penny Black
Something that took me over two years to outline and about three weeks to actually write once I figured out the story.  The intention with this was to just make it for nothing – but as I wrote it, I fell in love with it and have grand ideas for it.  Grand ideas are expensive ideas.  This one ties in closely to Chasing Rabbits in a really cool way.
PuertoRican Villains
This is a project I’m set to direct, based on an awesome coming of age book set in the Bronx by Mark Anthony Gonzalez.  We are putting together the pieces now… and we hope to have a teaser in the next few weeks.
This is a drama in the world of Mixed Martial Arts.  It is more character based than action though.  The concept behind this was to actually do a micro-budget film.  The things I have access to are fighters and gyms.  I get punched in the face everyday, might as well film it.  I just finished the outline today (happy birthday me)… and now it is time to write the script.  I’ve got no art for this one, except this thing I drew on my iPad as I was making notes.
There are some other projects you should be hearing a lot about in the next few months that (I believe) I am producing.  So look for titles such as HellHounds and Retrovirus to pop up soon enough…  you may even get a teaser for one (if not both) of them before AFM in the fall.
There are a few other projects in the outline stage, such as a Murder Mystery (something that is probably a bit further than an outline that we’re looking to just go make immediately), Lemon Heads (a drama), Overtaken (a zombie action project) and Revelations (working on with a band based around an album).  Some are just in the idea stage, such as a television series that is a cross between Donnie Brasco and Twin Peaks (an undercover cop story that revolves around a whodunnit) and a follow-up to Chasing Rabbits that is a dark-action thriller based entirely on nursery rhymes and fairy tales.  There are a few books and graphic novels I’m chasing the rights to – but I rather not say (don’t want to jinx it).  I may have left off the Shannara series by Terry Brooks.  Warner Bros. paid seven figures for the rights to that series and really helped launch all of this.
I’m in the very beginning stages of putting together an internet portal (called Gertie), which sort of acts like a Roku – but without the box top and is more of a landing page for users.  Eventually, we won’t need a box to connect to the internet (they already have wi-fi tv’s, but I don’t have one)… and it is my belief that if you can create the landing page for users then you will dominate this landscape.  It will be able ease of use and curation.  Filtering out the nonsense and giving people the options/titles they want.
On top of all that, I train everyday in MMA.  The love of my life used to be lacrosse.  However, a string of bad injuries (ruptured kidney, separated shoulders, torn hamstrings, torn achilles) led me away from the field.  I miss it.  I really miss it.  But I find peace of mind fighting. Both striking and BJJ.  My personal goal was to have a fight this fall.  A few business matters have probably prevented me from making that happen, but once September comes I should have a better grasp on the next few months.  I would like to get into the ring and step it up though.  Scratch that – I will step into the ring.  It is just a matter of when.
I’m sure there are some projects I missed.  If you do read this blog (and I’m guessing if you’re still reading that you do) and follow the work I am doing – I can’t begin to thank you.  It really is the only reason I’m able to do this stuff.  I respect and cherish every single person that has ever seen Battle for Terra, read Harbor Moon, watched 4.2.3., etc…