Archive for July, 2009

What’s Goin’ On

Posted in Personal/Creative on July 31, 2009 by joeylabartunek

Works been picking up, which is nice.  Grabbed a job storyboarding a few music videos which is usually quick fun, some web stuff for a clothing company next week, and the ever continuing saga of props for the feature a friend is working on dominate my time and energy.  But it’s nice, if I can somehow survive this week’s financial crisis, next month won’t be nearly as crunchy.  I certainly hope so at least, september is moving month.  I’d like to have my portion of things squared away soon so when the guys and I go house hunting over the next few weeks I’m not desperately scrambling for my share of the crumbs.

PBR (since we don’t have a new name yet) continues to creep towards the beginning of our shooting dates later this month.  There’s a lot of stuff to do, but it looks like we’ll have the money to shoot our first episode at least.  Rehearsals have been going well, and generally the pre-production train has been barreling along without too many problems.  Of course it’s still early, and this is film, so I’m still cautiously scanning for what will inevitably pop up.

Cross your finger, knock on wood.  Or whatever’s handy.

Quicky for those who hadn’t heard, HBO announced that Caveman favorite ‘Entourage’ and ‘True Blood’, a show I like alot, although apparently not as much as some, were both picked up for new seasons.

Entourage is still one of the few shows I actually sit down and watch when it airs every week.  Of course, everyone that lives here loves that show, I think it’s in all of our leases and contracts, “Oh you work and live in Hollywood?  You must love ‘Entourage’.”  But so what?  Knowing I have at least one more season of E, Ari, and the guys makes my insides warm and fuzzy.

Today should bring me one giant step towards finally being done cutting the yoga videos, I’d like to be done with that for awhile, just so I can focus on these incoming jobs and the show.

Alien Prequel Might Not Suck Face

Posted in Film with tags , on July 31, 2009 by joeylabartunek
Nuke her from orbit Ridley, its the only way to be sure.

Nuke her from orbit Ridley, it's the only way to be sure.

Wow, it’s been awhile since I read any industry news that really got me excited about a project.  Certainly not in the last few weeks, when even the ComicCon announcements were… meh at best.  But this, this is good.

From Variety:

Twentieth Century Fox is resuscitating its “Alien” franchise. The studio has hired Jon Spaihts to write a prequel that has Ridley Scott attached to return as director.

Spaihts got the job after pitching the studio and Scott Free, which will produce the film.

The film is set up to be a prequel to the groundbreaking 1979 film that Scott directed. It will precede that film, in which the crew of a commercial towing ship returning to Earth is awakened and sent to respond to a distress signal from a nearby planetoid. The crew discovers too late that the signal generated by an empty ship was meant to warn them.

I’m a huge fan of the original Alien (well and Aliens, but that goes without saying), it’s a classic dark horror film put in a great sci-fi setting, expertly paced and directed by the then up and coming Ridley Scott.  Now that’s Scott’s had three decades and just a couple huge great films under his belt (smell the sarcasm), I’m just fucking dying to see what he brings back to the franchise he started.

Woof.

Blah Tuesday Blah

Posted in Personal/Creative on July 28, 2009 by joeylabartunek

I’m still in kind of a funk leftover from the weekend, it crept in like a black cloud over a picnic that wasn’t that great to begin with the moment we drove out of San Diego. The worst part is, I don’t even care much about getting rid of it, and as Bobby Brown once tried to convince us, that’s My Prerogative.

Regardless of all that, I’ve been busy as hell and really not much in the mood for writing. My nasty disease called Boredom has returned with authority and I’m just trying to keep busy and not be too distracted, I have way too much to do this week to start getting bogged down with dumb restless boredom.

Lots of storyboarding coming for some music videos later in the week and a mass of photoshop work helping a friend with art dept. duties on a feature over the next few days, I’ll catch up when I can.

Song of the day:
Super Furry Animals – Ice Hockey Hair

All Mod Cons

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23, 2009 by joeylabartunek

Today is the official first day of the San Diego Comic Con.  Yes, yes, I know technically last night was preview night, but that’s all shit made up for vendors and people who like to feel important by hanging on preview night.  I mean it’s called preview night for a reason.

Here’s a little secret for you, I can’t fucking stand the idea of going to ComicCon half the time.

I don’t know what my problem with Con is.  As it gets closer and closer I always start to dread and resent it more.  Maybe I don’t resent the event.  Sure the crowds and the parking and the prices would give most sane people cause to hate it, but that’s just the nature of the beast.

It’s hard to put a finger on it.  When I first started going it was– fuck, far more than ten years ago at this point, maybe even closer to 15  Just myself and my buddy Brian went, and it was a much smaller affair (which isn’t saying much, half the size of the current monster is still a monster), stretching throughout just the main convention building, as opposed to the monolithic halls that have since been built to house the Hollywood previews and giant panels.  I met people, smoked cigarettes with icons (I’m looking at you Kevin Smith), and generally had a good time.  As the years went on, more and more people started to come.

Hotel rooms swelled.  Organizing,  packing, and gathering up troops became an eventEvents suck by the way, being reserved for beheadings and monster truck ralleys, and this not being either of those things, had no business aggregating into such a task.  Gathering and herding crowds of acquaintances and semi-acquaintances should be left to those inclined to give a shit how good a time everyone else is having.  I am not one of those people.

I dunno.  It’s hard to put a finger on, I think my distaste comes from the ugly habbit in the past of having to behave like some kind of a papa-bear to folks.  It’s not a role I handle well and as adventuring parties go, I kinda suck, being the guy who likes to adventure in very small and select groups or alone. And even now, after I have effectively severed myself from having to take care of anyone, I still have to see people, shake hands, organize meetings with folks for logistical reasons, and smile like I give a shit instead just wanting to quietly go find the latest Rob Zombie or Venture Bros panel.  Just keep it simple and away from me.

And I think I just put my finger on it.  I miss simplicity.  I miss simplicity in everything, it’s one of those things that gets harder and harder to find as years go by.  But in the pure fun stuff, like Con, simplicity is exactly what I miss most.

Maybe next year I will undertake the quest for simplicity.

Spike Renews ‘Deadliest Warrior’

Posted in TV with tags , on July 21, 2009 by joeylabartunek

From THR who I am shamelessly jacking from today:

Spike TV’s “but what if they DID fight?” bar-argument-settling TV show “Deadliest Warrior” has been picked up for a second season.

The show hypothetically pits famous fighters throughout history against each other. In the ratings, the show is a strong performer for Spike, averaging 1.8 million viewers. But it’s the program’s online appeal the network is emphasizing in the pickup, with 6.2 million “show-related” video streams on Spike.com and noting “Warrior” is the best-selling series among download-to-own platforms.

“We are thrilled with the success ‘Deadliest Warrior’ has achieved both on air and online for Spike,” said Sharon Levy, senior vp, original programming, Spike TV. “The decision to pick it up is a no-brainer. Since hitting the air, fans have endlessly debated and shared online, even offering some great ideas for future match-ups.”

The second season will have 13 episodes that will deubt next year.

Hmm, I wonder if the post-department is going to be hiring again.  Heh.

Beastie’s MCA has Cancer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on July 21, 2009 by joeylabartunek
MCA, stopping and thinking, before he reacts.

MCA, stopping and thinking, before he reacts.

From THR:

Adam Yauch, the Beastie Boy who recently launched a second career as an indie-film exec, said Monday that he has cancer and will undergo surgery.

Yauch posted a video announcement on his Web site saying that he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his left salivary gland. (Yauch’s video is available below.) While the condition is not considered life-threatening, it does require immediate surgery.

“It’s a little bit of a setback, it’s a pain in the ass, but this is something that’s very treatable,” he said. “The good news is that they did scans of my whole body, and it’s only localized in this one area, and it’s not in a place that affects my voice.”

The Beastie Boys have canceled their planned summer tour and delayed the release of their album “Hot Sauce Committee Part 1” to allow time for his recovery.

The development, however, likely will only minimally affect Yauch’s nascent film business, Oscilloscope Pictures, which has been buying up distribution rights at a time when many indie companies have been scaling back. The company recently acquired the Woody Harrelson war drama “The Messenger,” which played at Sundance, and Michel Gondry’s “The Thorn in the Heart” out of the Festival de Cannes.

The company said that despite its co-founder’s health problems, all would continue apace. “Oscilloscope Pictures wants to let the independent film world know that its business as usual at the company,” it said.

Although Yauch has been very hands-on, Oscilloscope was co-founded by ThinkFilm veteran David Fenkel, who had deep relationships in the business and handles much of the day-to-day.

Oscilloscope’s statement went on to say that “founder and company head Adam Yauch expects to be back at work after a brief absence” and offered a lighter, more upbeat thought from Yauch. “This will be a good opportunity to dig through that pile of screeners,” he said. “Maybe I’ll find a few gems.”

In his sojourn so far in the indie film world, Yauch has tried to bring a maverick attitude to that business. He told The Hollywood Reporter recently: “What we do is find what we really like, buy it and then think, ‘Is there a way to market this?’ I guess that’s the opposite of what you’re supposed to do.”

MCA’s my boy, my favorite Beastie,and someone who’s had an important impact on my existence for nearly as far back as I can remember, and that’s saying alot.  I hope he recovers and continues to kick ass.

I didn’t realize he was in the film biz now, buying up and helping to release small indie flicks, but I suppose that just makes sense when you think about what he and the Beastie’s in general have been involved with in the past.

Poor Excuses and Psycho Killers

Posted in Film with tags , on July 20, 2009 by joeylabartunek

My movie watching has been in a decent gear, but the old writing about said movies has not.  As such I have the remnants of 3 different small film reviews clogging up my drafts folder, crying to be let out. I’ve taken pity on these sad scraps and figure they should at least see some light, but  due to my extreme laziness will now be boiled down into even  smaller bits than originally intended.  Sue me.  Here’s the first one.

Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

Directed by Scott Glosserman

Written by Scott Glosserman , David J. Stieve

While the title killer’s name doesn’t immediately drag up images of teen corpses littering the landscape in the wake of classic slasher killers  like Voorhees and Krueger, that’s exactly the type of mystique and visual carnage that “Behind the Mask” starts off wanting you to believe about their title butcher.  Imagine a world where the iconic slasher stars of horror were real.  Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) , is a humorous and slightly charming monster who tells the audience, he’s on that level.  Vernon has hired a documentary film crew to follow him around and show the world not just the the mindset of a crazed masked killer, but also watch him in action.

The crew follows the charismatic Vernon around as he explains how he picks his target, the perfect “Survivor Girl”, stalks her, scaring her and her friends until the moment to strike is perfect.  Vernon is well versed in slasher and horror film lore and talks frankly with his audience about masked-killer conventions and survival techniques (the run and just keep running bit was very funny).  But soon into Vernon’s night of terror, the crew (and us in the audience) realize there’s a lot more going on in the head of the silly serial-killer as things start spiraling way out of control.

Of course what the movie doesnt cover, is Leslie using his mother as first victim for providing him with such an unfortunate name for a masked killer.

Of course what the movie doesn't cover, is Leslie using his mother as first victim for providing him with such an unfortunate name for a masked killer.

I was on the fence with this movie for at least the first 20-30 minutes, riding a fine line of hate and charm.  The first person interviews with Leslie portray him as a kind of goofy show-off who talks big, but can’t possibly back it up.  As such, I couldn’t tell if the film was a joke or not.  I sat on the couch, wildly swinging from mild entertainment to loathing as Vernon and the documentary host Taylor (Angela Goethals) wink and smile and make broad claims about what he’s capable of and has done in the past.  As a huge fan of the genre I was growing closer and closer to feeling my intelligence and taste insulted.  And then shit gets real, and the moment the camera switches to what’s really going on and we see Vernon in his masked glory the movie takes a wild swing in a direction you probably should have seen coming (well I thought I should have) and suddenly becomes a much-much more entertaining beast.

As slashers go, this one was a fun new take on a genre that more often that not in this age of regurgitation can end up being silly, dumb, or just unoriginal.  The inventive use of throwing in the cheap documentary cameras and footage give  the film it’s own flavor, which is a very good thing considering in all truthfulness “Behind” lacks the gore, originality in kills, and body count to make it stand with the slasher films Leslie so badly wants to be on par with.  While I’m not even remotely going to put it on the same level of  ‘Shaun of the Dead‘, it certainly belongs on the same shelf in the DVD collection, right next to the other horror-comedies, that somehow manage not to shit on the  sub-genres they supposedly love and embrace.