Sunday, April 25, 2010

I Know You Have A "Q" But I "Ran" "North By Northwest"

I know I haven't posted in a few weeks. Thank you again for checking out the interview I did over at Dead End Drive-In. I have been busy with both fun stuff and film stuff. My original intent was to do blog posts for each of these events but since I wasn't able to I am putting them into one big one.

Spent a lot of time, as always, at The Music Box theatre. First up was a special showing put on by none other than Turner Classic Movies of Alfred Hitchcock's 'North By Northwest'. That alone would have been truly something but to top it off there was a special introduction and Q&A in person(!) with TCM host Robert Osbourne and star of 'North By Northwest' Eva Marie Saint. One of those nights when you are in film geek heaven.

The theatre was packed. The picture does not do the theatre justice as it sits like 750 people. Since this was part of the TCM Film Festival it was free. You just had to show up with a ticket you printed up and it was first come first served basically. I waited in line for a long time but it was worth it.

The Q&A was great. Only downside was there was no signing so I never got to meet them but it was still great. One great piece of film trivia.


In the scene when Eva Marie Saint shoots Cary Grant in the cafeteria there is a young boy at the table just behind them who plugs his ears before she fires in preparation for the sound. You should have heard the murmurs in the theatre as none of us knew that. And when it came up in the film the laughter and applause was great.


And might I add that Eva Marie Saint still looks great. Such a fun evening. Only downside was being there by myself. One of those times when you are so geeked out you want to talk film with someone. Alas it was not meant to be. Still a great time.

Not often do you get to see Hitchcock on the big screen so it was so incredible. Hitchcock is one of my all time favorite filmmakers and such an idol of mine. A really special evening.

Up next at The Music Box was the Sci-Fi Spectacular. This was the fourth year they had it and it's always a good times. Put on by the same people that put on the 24 hour Music Box Massacre every October. This one is a mixture of science fiction and horror films. The line up this year included 'Them!', Mario Bava's 'Planet Of The Vampires', 'Flash Gordon', Larry Cohen's 'Q The Winged Serpent', Tobe Hooper's 'Lifeforce', and John Carpenter's 'They Live'. In attendance was Larry Cohen himself which was a huge thrill for me. I have been such a fan of his for years. And his maverick ways of making movies was a big influence on me.

The following day he was also doing a more private speaking at Horrorbles on screenwriting. I was lucky enough to be one of the 20 people there.

One personal thing about the Sci-Fi Spectacular was they showed the trailer for my film 'Distortion'. It was the first time anything from my film has ever been shown on the big screen. And to see it at The Music Box where I see so many movies was so incredible. And this was right after they showed 'Q' by someone I admire, Larry Cohen, and before one of my idol's John Carpenter with 'They Live'. So it was really amazing and even moving for one night to share the screen with them.

A picture of my trailer being shown. Again, the picture does not do justice to the size of the theatre or the screen.

One final bit of coolness. On a special rerelease they showed another one of my idol's on the big screen with Akira Kurosawa's 'Ran'. As I've mentioned before Kurosawa has been a big influence on me so to see one of his films on the big screen is a real treat. Much like Hitchcock I don't often get to see their films in the theatre so when I get the opportunity I jump at it.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Outside of these events I really haven't had a chance to watch many movies. I need to fix that and get back into more posting.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Dead End Drive-In Interview

Over at the awesome blog Dead End Drive-In is an interview with me (well, the real me not Gory) about my film 'Distortion' and a few other projects. Plus there is an interview with actress and a dear friend Deneen Melody (who did a cameo in 'Distortion' but will be in a leading role in my next film). So much coolness over there. Please head on over and check it out!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Movie Of The Day - The Killer

THE KILLER (1989) d: John Woo

One of my all time favorite movies is John Woo's 'The Killer'. It was my first John Woo film that I ever saw and it completely blew me away. I saw it back in 1993 and if there was a clear case of what kind of action film I wanted to make it was this one. I remember when it ended I think I sat there for a few minutes. Back in the days of VHS I think the tape actually got to the end and it started to automatically rewind. Then I got the Criterion laserdisc which was both flawed and inspiring. It was flawed because the only thing they could get for a transfer was a release print so it was beat up. But it was the original Cantonese version in the original language (as opposed to the dubbed version on the VHS) with the still superior to this day subtitles. I don't think I can tell you how many times I watched the film. Or even just scenes of the film. Just amazing and I could not get enough.

When an assassin (played by the totally awesome Chow Yun Fat) accidentally blinds a club singer (Sally Yeh) as he's pulling off a job he befriends her and then falls in love with her. He tries to help her but needs to pull one last job so that he can help get her new eyes. After the job he is set up but it also leads to the police being on his trail. The cat and mouse of the killer and the cop (Danny Lee) is just fantastic. And the action scenes are amazing. This is John Woo at his very best in my opinion. I love his other movies too (yes, even 'Paycheck' you haters you) but for me 'The Killer' is beyond just a great action film. I think it is just a great film. It has it's drawbacks but they are due to its low budget (I believe the budget was about $2 million) and the fact that the films at the time, much like movies in Italy, were all dubbed after the fact. So even though it's in its native language it can seem a little off at times.

'Hard Boiled' tends to get most of the love (which I absolutely love as well). It also gets treated better as far as video releases go. 'The Killer' has never gotten the release it deserves. I know it would cost money to do a proper restoration. And if I am ever in any position to do so believe me that I will find a way to make it happen. It was just released on Blu-ray in a flawed release. It's a 1080i transfer that is not great. Not bad but nothing that screams high definition. Plus the subtitles are still a bit all over the place. Not bad as I do think they are good in spots but they are no where near as good as the Criterion ones were. Specifically when it comes to one key part at the very end of the film. The Criterion release is the only version to get the subtitles right there which I think ruins an emotional moment. However, beggars can't be choosers. Like I said, I have no options here. This is all I can get and I will take it because I love this movie.

When I say it is one of my favorite films I do mean it. If I have to list a top ten (which may not be a bad blog post actually) then it will be in that top ten. It has been for a long time. Some films come and go from that list but a few of them have been there and will remain there. 'The Killer' is one of them. As it says in the trailer from one of the reviews,"'The Killer' is great cinema." It is. A film I will always consider one of my favorites both personally and professionally. It has inspired me and thrilled me. It speaks to me as a film buff, a film geek, and a filmmaker. What more can I ask for?