Monday, April 29, 2013

Trailer of the Week: Alien 2: On Earth

No, not the Alien you know and love. Not even Alien. You probably don't even know about this one.

Alien 2: On Earth is an unauthorized Italian ripoff of the Ridley Scott classic. I'm not sure about the budget, but I assume this was made for about twenty bucks, and that's being generous.

Don't watch if cheapo effects scare you. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

Yeah, the trailer kind of speaks for itself. The film itself is very obscure, and was pretty much impossible to find until they released it on Blu-Ray.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Switchblade Sisters (1975) Review

AKA The Jezebels, but I like "Switchblade Sisters" better.
It's hard to review movies like this. When it comes to grindhouse cinema, almost every film is totally unique. You judge them like typical Hollywood films-- if you did, you probably wouldn't enjoy many "cult" movies.

To me, the biggest difference when it comes to these low budget gems is the writing. In Switchblade Sisters, almost every scene has something to like about it. There's always a quirky, odd thing going on, combined with over-the-top characters and great dialogue... all in all, it's something you haven't seen before. But in full, the film is pretty messy. There are a lot of little things to like, and it keeps your interest-- but the film as a whole is all over the place. It's like they were making it up as they went along.

That's what I'm saying about these films, and how different they are. There's no three act structure, no midpoint, no resolution. Screw that crap. You notice the same thing in Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! and even in Coffy. The stories are almost told in this free-form style you would never see in a Hollywood production. And sometimes it works for the film... but more often than not, it doesn't. Despite everything there is to like about Pussycat, the film as a whole feels messy and padded. But does this free-form style work for Switchblade?

The film follows a gang of women-- women with names like Lace, Patch, and Donut-- and their endeavors. They get thrown in jail, recruit new members, clash with rival gangs, and that's about all there is to say. There's really no plot to speak of-- it's just one event after the other until the film ends. Yet, to me, this actually works for the film. It's the hodgepodge of incidents and over the top characters  that adds to the feel of the film. It's something you have to see to really understand.

Switchblade is something else, a film some have tried to emulate over the years-- most notably Quentin Tarantino. I noticed a couple similarities to Reservoir Dogs here-- from the rhythm of the dialogue to the violent finale in the gang's warehouse. Makes sense, since this film was recently rereleased by Rolling Thunder Productions, Tarantino's own production company.

So overall, is it worth the watch? Yeah, sure. I feel like it's good for writers-- screenwriters especially-- to take a break from cookie-cutter Hollywood films and check out some of cinema's oddballs. It's a good way to learn for yourself why conventional story structure is a good thing-- and why you don't always need it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I'm a professional photographer now...

Well, maybe not. But I am a published photographer.

I took some photos for an article my mom wrote. They ended up in the magazine.

Dreams do come true...

Monday, April 8, 2013

New Layout

I changed the layout of the blog, slightly. I've wanted to change the font for a while, but I never really settled on anything I liked. While it's great for screenplays (the only font you should use, actually), Courier just wasn't doing it for me when it came to my blog. I see enough Courier anyway... why not shake it up with some nice PT Sans Caption?

That is all.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

(Not) 100 Movies

So I was watching Die Hard a few weeks ago -- about two days after I announced the whole 100 Movies thing, and I realized, "This movie easily makes my top 100." And then I thought about how many movies I don't have on my list yet, and the fact that it would probably take me over a year to post all 100 entries. By then, my list will have changed. Movies I post about one week may not even be on the list six weeks later, and by the end, I'll probably have added a lot of additional movies to the list.

Not to mention I have other projects going that are more important. So I'm going to put "100 Movies" on hold for now.

What have I been doing on this month-long hiatus? Editing. If you've been following Disposing Dwight, you'll be glad to hear that in the past week I've edited over three minutes, and it's turning out a lot better than I originally hoped. I still need to shoot the additional scenes I missed in June, and I'm also compiling a list of extra shots I need for the scenes I already have. Right now the list is about a page long, ranging from "Timmy smiles, eyes twinkling" to "the head explodes on the pavement, blood and brain splattering everywhere (in slow-motion)".

I'm also writing a few more things -- I finally got around to putting ACMD on paper. It's a script my friend and I have been developing for about four months. We finally finished a pretty solid outline and now we're moving on to writing the actual story. I'm just barely into it so far, but once I get rolling I should be able to knock out the first draft in a couple weeks. It's something I hope to film someday, but we'll see... it all comes down to the budget.

Anyway, I'm trying to get Disposing Dwight wrapped so I can move on to another project. I hope to shoot another film this June, the same month we shot Dwight. I'm not sure what it'll be yet, but it'll be much more ambitious, which means I'll need all previous films totally finished so I can give more attention to my new film.

That's all for now... Couple reviews coming soon, maybe, among other things. I'll post a rough scene from Disposing Dwight soon so you guys can see my progress so far.