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movies06 Feb 2009 03:04 am

Transmorphers: You know the major hit blockbuster “Transformers?” This is Transmorphers. They came out the same year, and both feature robots. But, Transmorphers is the low budget knockoff from the folks who brought you such wonderful films as “The Davinci Treasure,” “Snakes on a Train,” and “The Day The Eart Stopped.” Perhaps the most curious thing about this film is the fact that any given special effect shot generally had either a visual effect or a sound effect, but very seldom both at the same time. I can’t believe I sat through it, as it is among the most terrible films ever made. There are three people who were able to get into character just slightly past the point of being proud of themselves for managing to read their lines out loud. Two of them are killed off quickly. The third one is apparently the star, but he isn’t in the first third of the film. Oddly, you have an enormous number of people in this film for what it is. If they had spent their casting budget on a quarter as many people, they might have made a much better film. I wouldn’t have to keep track of so many pointless characters, and they might have been able to afford to cast somebody you’ve heard of. The hot android chick never says anything important, for example. She could have been merged with any of a number of other characters. The script is a passable first draft for a first year student in which a few vaguely interesting things are set up in a horribly awkward, heavy handed, and ranty way which would have been hard to save even if the cast had any actors among them. You have a war mongering head of the science guild arguing with an apparently pacifist general leading the military. It sounds like a good setup, but no advantage was taken of the faint glimmer of novelty. Another review stated correctly that most of the CGI would have been pretty cool if it were in a screensaver for Windows 95. The effects seem to have been completely unplanned, with no coordination between different shots. In one shot the good guys are shooting red ray guns. In the next, blue ray guns. You have to assume that these things were decided completely at the whim of whoever was comping the shot, with no supervision whatsoever. And, the dialog was out of sync. So, no acting, no writing, not enough plot to help, bad enough visuals to counter the few decent shots, and horrible audio. The sets and most of the lighting were surprisingly passable. Not good, just surprising how they stick out as high points when everything else fails so badly.

Somehow, I love this film.

Choke: Based on a Chuck Palahniuk novel, this dark comedy is about a sex addict with a crazy mother who works as a colonial re-enactor and falls in love. It has lots of topless women, and is brilliant. I seriously really like this film. Like Transmorphers, it was shot on a fairly small budget. Apparently the budget for this was substantially larger than Transmorphers, but there are far fewer ‘major’ characters, no giant battle scenes, no fully CGI sets, probably no green screen. Quite possibly no visual effects at all. (never can tell these days) Instead of failing to make a big film, the creator succeeded at making a small film. It’s big in all the way that count. For one thing, I read that adapting the novel to screen0play involved five years before they had a script. The patience paid off. It hasn’t been particularly well reviewed. Apparently it departs quite a bit from the book, so purists won’t appreciate it. Still, after Transmorphers, it was a great comedy, drama, dark, romance type of film about stuff.

Production on the Adventures of Skullfucker has been delayed due to weather. It has been perfectly sunny and awesome every day the last few weeks, except Sundays. When it has been forcast to snow each of the past few weeks, causing cancellation of our outdoor shoot. With God himself apparently using the powers of heaven to try and delay this project, I am ever more determined to get the footy pajamas on film. We’ll get there, and Skullfucker shall rise again. Well, for the first time actually, but meh.

effects and movies21 Nov 2008 03:34 pm

Always looking for something to practice compositing with, I found myself last night with a copy of the DVD of the short film I worked on for the Boulder 24 hour film making competition, and a little free time.

So, here is a shot from that film, with a new background comped in. Flash video, plus QuickTimes. It’s really just a WIP. It needs more work to be called a done shot, but it’s far enough along, I figured I’d share. Also, for anybody curious exactly how it was done, I’ve included a screenshot of the Nuke DAG.

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

The original shot

My current WIP

Nuke DAG

Nuke DAG

movies26 Oct 2008 06:39 pm

We won Best Comedy, and Best Art Direction.

It’s a 24 hour film making competition, and editing is expressly forbidden. So, it’s several steps shy of perfect. And, by the end of it, we were all very abundantly ready for some sleep, so it’s a few additional steps shy of perfect. But, we were only one of two teams to win multiple awards.

Yes, that’s a man in a luchador mask and a suit popping bubble wrap on the bed of an erotic webcam girl who sprays silly string on herself while hypnotising her audience with a cursed pizza. Conceptually, that’s perhaps my favorite shot. No, I didn’t come up with it, but I heartily approved. I was a zombie, and I wound up lighting most of the movie, and helping with miscellanous bits and bobs that needed to be done. I was supposed to be just an extra, but I am a fantastically shitty extra. So, I got bored and started doing more. That’s just how I roll…

acting and education and history and movies and standup and travel26 Feb 2008 10:45 am

US History In The Middle East may be coming to a theater near Denver in the near future as a long form lecture. I did Freak Train last night, talking more about the 1953 Iranian coup. People are starting to seem ever more interested, and several have been asking where they can see me do a longer history talk. So, having been effectively drafted, I intend to start figuring out where I can do it. It’ll probably be a month or two. One guy even called me the “Carl Sagan of History.”

Always on the verge of losing all faith in Humanity, I am slowly being forced to admit that people really will pay attention if you put something in front of them, and keep it lively. This is a good thing. It took a few months, and thus a few five minute talks – out 20 minutes in total – to move the audience from not caring to having a bunch of people come up to me afterwards asking for more.

Rodents of Unusual Size (local improv group) have asked me about the possibility of opening for them in a few months as well. I have a dinner theater gig in Rui Doso, New Mexico this weekend. I need to learn my lines today.

Dangerous Theater now has a weekly improv competition on Sundays that is just starting out, but could be amazingly cool if it gets going. I went last week, but it was just me and another guy. And, our audience locked her keys in her car, so she spent half the show outside waiting for AAA to come and unlock the car. It was a short show, and then we all went out drinking and did a round of pub trivia. Their trivia was all fucked up, did you know that Crash Bandicoot was a Genesis game? Of course not, because it actually wasn’t! But, that was still the right answer. I lost my shirt. Not as part of the trivia competition – just in general.

Jon Stevenson, of “Intercourse, PA” directoring fame is premiering Kung Foo Kops at the “1st Annual Super-Amazing-Awesome-Happy-Funtime Film Festival”
Hosted by: Jon Stevenson and John Schmidt
Type: Party – Movie/TV Night
Where: Dave & Busters
When: Sunday, March 9 from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Be there, or be a stupid square jackass. Oh, and dress “70′s.”

I think that covers it for the moment.

acting and movies22 Nov 2007 08:46 am

This may give you some idea about the film.Wild Bill, Productivity Consultant

This is Wild Bill, from the set of Fist Full Of Staples.