Saturday, February 27, 2010

Movie Of The Day - Sunshine

SUNSHINE (2007) d: Danny Boyle

Between '28 Days Later' and 'Slumdog Millionaire' director Danny Boyle made a film a lot of people haven't heard of called 'Sunshine'. A science fiction film about a group of astronauts and scientists sent to deliver a giant bomb in the middle of our dying sun in the hopes of creating a star within a star. A film that quite honestly I thought was just ok the first time I saw it. The thing is it grows on you and the second viewing is far different than the first. Now it is one of my favorite films of the last ten years (which you can read about in my Best Of The Decade list here). The film is tightly told and beautifully shot. Danny Boyle knows how to compose some stunning imagery while never deviating from the story. He is not showing off. He is telling the story he is setting out to tell but picks just the perfect framing and the scenes are edited at a pitch perfect pace. The music by John Murphy is just stunning. I have the soundtrack (available only on iTunes at the moment) and listen to it quite often. There is a B story that can be quite throwing which takes place in the second and third acts. Aspects where the film ventures into horror film territory. On first viewing I was thrown off by it. But now I think it is brilliant. I don't want to go into it without giving anything away. Probably the best thing about very few people knowing about this film is that you can watch it without prior knowledge. And trust me you do want to see this. If you have the same reaction I did the first time then do me a favor and watch it once more. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Binary Sunset

This was a very important day for me. Instead of retyping what happened I will ask you to go to the blog I have for my film. Click Here

Friday, February 19, 2010

Gory's Random Clip Of The Day - The Lighting Of The Beacons

One of my favorite moments, especially musically, from 'The Lord Of The Rings' is in the third film 'The Return Of The King' when Pippin lights the beacon to send for aid. The beautiful music composed by Howard Shore for this moment as the beacons are lit is literally stunning. Everytime I see the scene or even just hear the music I get goosebumps. Not kidding.

Here is a live performance, featuring Howard Shore conducting, doing the piece of music. Let the goosebumps begin.

I wanted to include the clip from the film but couldn't find one. At least one that did not have embedding disabled. No luck. So here is a link to a YouTube file of the scene.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Horror Society Write Up

Breaking the Gory persona a bit here. But the real me was written about over at the Horror Society website along with my film(s). I'll be doing an interview with them very soon which I am really looking forward to.

Be sure to check out not just their website but also their new radio show and their events which you will always find me at. Some of them I have written about before.

Really big thanks to Mitchell Wells over at the Horror Society!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope everyone has a very happy and wonderful Valentine's Day!

As a little bonus here is a scene from one of my favorite films. Might have to find time later today to squeeze this in.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's Time To Enter The Room With Tommy

Every so often a film comes along that is an absolute masterpiece that it reminds you what cinema truly is. The more recent example for me was 'The Lord Of The Rings' trilogy (my pick for the best of the decade which you can read here). Something that in essence represents films at their very best. Then there is the opposite side of the spectrum where a film is so bad it reminds you why movies like 'The Lord Of The Rings' are so special. Most people would consider 'The Room' to be one of these films. Well, yes and no. Can it be called one of the worst films ever made? Yes. But that doesn't mean it's bad. Let me explain.

A movie can be so bad that it is almost insulting to watch it. It's boring and dull and a complete waste of time. But then there can be a film that may have set out to be one thing but turns into something else. Obviously films like Ed Wood's 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' and 'Troll 2' come to mind. Films that set out to be a science fiction horror film and a flat out horror film respectively but failed so miserably that they become funny. They are failures because they fail in their intent but in another way are successes because where these films might come up short they deliver in being (granted unintentionally) funny and entertaining. The last one being the key. For me a film no matter what its purpose should be entertaining. That doesn't mean it's lighthearted. It means it shouldn't bore you. No matter how serious a subject matter a film should never not entertain or all is lost. This is why films like 'Plan 9' and 'Troll 2' work because they are too entertaining. This too is why 'The Room' works because while it fails to be the relationship drama it set out to be it succeeds on being completely entertaining and absolutely hilarious.

Here is the trailer.

The film was financed (some say through dubious means but that would only make the overall story that much more entertaining) for $6 million and was written, produced, directed, and stars Tommy Wiseau. An odd man to say the least and someone with enough of an ego to put himself into all of these positions. Namely the star. But that only adds to the overall experience. The story of a man who is engaged to a woman who may not be in love with him as much as he is with her. So she starts sleeping with his best friend. That's it in a nutshell but the film needs to be seen to be believed. There are many random shots of San Fransisco scattered throughout the film. There is a table with a picture of a spoon on it (which prompts audience members to toss plastic spoons into the air). The acting is ... well ... this film needs to be seen. Ideally at a midnight show with an audience. Only then can you have the full experience.

Here is one of my favorite scenes:

Exactly! Now experience my favorite line reading in the entire film.

If that doesn't make you want to see the film then I don't know what will.

Now the thing is while the film is on one level horrible it is just so entertaining. On that level it works. Compare this with James Cameron's (who I do love and admire greatly) recent film 'Avatar' (my review here) a film that chances are I will never see again. 'The Room' I've seen five times in the theatre and will be going back for more. So I ask you, in the end, which is the better film? The $300 million film that I'll never see again or the $6 million film that is so bad it brings me to tears from laughing so hard that I've seen five times?

This often reminds me of one of my all time favorite scenes from Tim Burton's 'Ed Wood' where Ed Wood meets Orson Welles. I really feel the is the epitome of my view on films and filmmaking. Films are left to the interpretation of the individual audience member. And no matter what, filmmakers are the same no matter their place in history. We all have the same trials and tribulations. What makes a movie so special? Is it the utter brilliance of 'Citizen Kane'? Is it the utter awfulness yet entertaining mess of 'The Room'? I say it is both.

Here is that fantastic scene.

(for the record Welles wanted Heston for the role in 'Touch Of Evil' and when the studio wanted to hire another director Heston fought to keep Welles saying he would walk off the project without Welles directing which the studio caved to and Welles was always grateful for)

In a very rare treat the mysterious and even odd Tommy Wiseau came to my favorite theatre The Music Box Theatre for a screening of 'The Room'.

The marquee. Only at The Music Box will you see that kind of marquee. It's why I love the theatre.


The Room!!


The sold out crowd (of 750 people!) begin to take their seats.

Tommy takes to the stage.


He was sort of interviewed (Tommy pretty much said what he wanted) by Aint It Cool News' Capone.

Tommy gets roses from a fan.

And thanks said fan.

Say it Tommy!!



Now it's time for the show.


After the show Tommy signed. Here he is signing my 'The Room' poster.


Tommy and yours truly.


They had a table selling merchandise so I had to get the talking(!) bobble head.


My signed DVD of 'The Room'.


My signed 'The Room' poster.


Tommy told me he wrote something special just for me. He told me it says "May all your dreams come alive". Can't tell if that's what it says but Tommy told me it says that so it says that.


*The official website for 'The Room' can be found here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Happy Birthday George

Today, February 4, marks the birthday of one of my all time favorite directors George A. Romero.

George Romero has been an influence on me ever since ... well ... ever since I can remember. Ironically it wasn't 'Night Of The Living Dead' or even 'Dawn Of The Dead' that first made me curious as to who this man was. It was 'Creepshow', his horror anthology film he made back in 1982 with stories written by Stephen King. I came across the 'Creepshow' comic which was released before the movie. The fact that these gruesome stories were made into a movie peeked my adolesant curiosity. I had to see this film. I begged my dad to take me to see it (I was 9 at the time!) and he eventually gave in. He figured he could cover my eyes if anything too extreme happened. Luckily the film is over the top and dark humored so I was pretty much fine. My parents knew of my affection for movies (especially horror movies) and how they were made even at that age so I was allowed to see some stuff that most kids probably wouldn't. Again, mainly because I was aware that it was all fake. I was not ready though for the story 'The Crate' which proceeded to scare the crap out of me. So much so I watched most of that episode from the lobby peaking in through the little window in the door.

I was both terrified and fascinated by the film. And the name George A. Romero meant something to me. Who is this guy? Long before the internet it was not easy to come across information. I was determined. The before mentioned 'Night' and 'Dawn', 'Knightriders', 'Martin', 'The Crazies'. Most of these films I did not see until later but 'Creepshow' and the name George A. Romero stuck with me. I did beg my father once to take me to a double feature of 'Dawn Of The Dead' and 'Creepshow'. Unfortunately the theatre was not exactly in an area my dad wanted to spend four hours of his day. In retrospect I can't blame him although I long for that experience today.

I eventually saw 'Night Of The Living Dead' and was amazed by it. Especially for how little money it was made for. While I couldn't see 'Day Of The Dead' in the theatre since I was too young I made sure I was there right when it came out on video. I must have watched it five times over the three days I had the movie (Friday evening through Sunday afternoon before I had to return it to the video store). I didn't watch it with the expectations that horror fans had at the time because at that point I had only seen 'Night'. I loved every frame of it. I got to talking to one kid at school about it and he told me about 'Dawn Of The Dead' which was next on my list. Even as a kid I wanted to space out these films. You don't want to over saturate yourself with too much of any given filmmaker. I find it's better to appreciate the works when it's split up. Like the summer in high school when I watched almost all of of Alfred Hitchcock's films. Not all in one weekend. Over the course of three months. It made for one very memorable summer. My first time watching 'Rear Window' is one I will never forget. A story for another post however.

I finally saw 'Dawn Of The Dead' and to say I was bowled over by it is such an understatement that I regret even using such an awkward phrase. This was unlike anything I had seen before. So much so the film remains one of my top three favorite films of all time. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched it over the years. It was always the film I went to as sort of like a comfort blanket as well. When I needed to escape or needed inspiration it was there. I had the film recorded off a VHS. Then I had a VHS copy. Then I had the laserdisc(s). Then I had the DVD(s). Now I have the Blu-ray. It will always be in my collection.

Romero and I have a different world view. I know we disagree on certain political issues. But we share two things. One that absolute power corrupts absolutely. A theme that I feel is present in almost all of his films. A breakdown I can do at another time. And we both love movies and how they are made. Romero is someone that can make a movie by himself if he had too. He knows every job that needs to be done. In his early films he wrote, directed, edited, produced, and shot (or at least co-shot some smaller parts of his films). Even with no money he could create such energy into his films. And if you want to see a masterpiece then track down a copy of 'Martin'. His take on a vampire tale. A low budget film shot on 16mm that is just simply outstanding. His style and his just do it attitude have inspired me ten times over. Even beyond the short films I've done but mainly the feature film I set out to make with no money and even with no crew Romero was a key influence. I knew I needed to look to specific filmmakers to see how I needed to handle it. No better example than George Romero. In fact, one of his key lines of his filmmaking viewpoint, especially in his early films, was one I quoted often,"I'd rather have a hundred lousy shots than one great one." A sentiment I agree with. Especially on a low budget (or should I say micro budget?) film. Since I also edit I shot like a madman and while not every shot is perfect it is a shot that tells story. I can get into the editing room (also known as my TV room/office) and mold the film into how I want it. You need coverage to do that. A key piece of information I took from George.

In fact, I named my main character in the film George after Romero.

I could go on and on about the influence he has had on me. I barely scratched the surface. On this day though I mainly want to say thank you. For everything. I wish you nothing but the best. Happy Birthday George!

George and I at a Flashback Weekend convention back in 2008 right before I started shooting my film 'Distortion' (and also when I was 36 pounds heavier). For the record we were standing on an incline but he is also super tall.

Added bonus:

Two examples of some of my favorite scenes. Not anyone being ripped apart but his explanations as to why the dead have come back to life.

The most famous from 'Dawn Of The Dead'.

My personal favorite is actually from 'Day Of The Dead'. (it's basically the first 4 and 1/2 minutes since I couldn't find a shorter clip).