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a comment: In The Lion Sleeps in Winter there are three
sons. Dalton isn't one though, he plays the prince or
young king of France come over to negotiate (and we
find out he's been having an affair with Hopkin's character
when he was in France).
don't get away with anything. Sheesh! "The Lion
Sleeps in Winter"? Was that The Tokens follow-up
to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"?
glad you mentioned THE LION IN WINTER. It's one of my
favorite films, and I've even managed to drag some of
my friends into watching it (no mean feat, as one of
them patently refuses to watch almost anything over
ten years old). That was an incredible ensemble cast,
almost a who's who of up and comers (I can't remember
who played Prince John, but he became somewhat famous
as well). It is also an example of superbly scripted
dialogue; you get the feeling that Katherine Hepburn
and Peter O'Toole aren't so much speaking as they are
duelling with words. Anthony Hopkins smashed stereotypes
of homosexuality with his portrayal of Richard the Lionheart.
It was much better than the portrayal of the young Edward
II in BRAVEHEART, also a young prince who would have
difficulty siring an heir, if you know what I mean.
Adapted from a play, it had more dialogue than action,
but in this case the dialogue WAS the action. I'm going
to put it on my Netflix list and watch it again.
On a side note, I know that you were less than fond
of BRAVEHEART, but there were three very good performances
in the film that redeem it somewhat. First is Patrick
McGoohan, who was excellent as Edward I, combining the
laid-back cerebral villainy of Claude Rains' Prince
John and Basil Rathbone's physical power as Guy of Guisborne
in THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. The second is David
O'Hara's performance as the Irish madman Stephen, which
was eclectic and enjoyable (I particularly liked that
bit of business when Hamish asks him why he talks to
the air; is his father a ghost or the Almighty; to which
he replies "in order to find his equal, an Irishman
is forced to talk to God!"). The third was a minor
role but nonetheless well played: Ian Bannen's performance
as the leprous father of Robert the Bruce. That performance
was strange to me, as the only other film I saw Ian
Bannen in was THE HILL (he was the sympathetic Staff
Sergeant in that film), when he was out of make-up and
much younger. In the wasteland of modern film, I find
myself forced the glean the few good bits out of otherwise
McGoohan was good, the rest I don't remember as the
film annoyed me so much I've tried to put it out of
my head. Ian Bannen is also very good in "The Offence"
with Sean Connery, directed by Sidney Lumet, which is
a weird, intense, disturbing film that doesn't really
come off, and made by the same folks that made "The
Two easy questions for you. First, Mike Ditz is listed
as a "still photographer". Are these publicity
photos or do they serve a more technical role? Second,
you mention several times about storyboarding. I believe
that these are drawings which indicate a scene's setup,
camera angle, etc. Is that right? If so, you drew them
yourself? Could an example be posted? Thanks as always.
shot the publicity stills for many of our films. He's
shot more technical photographs, too, like background
plates for special effects, but mainly they're for distribution
and publicity purposes. Yes, storyboards are for showing
the composition, the juxtaposition of one to the other
to see the cutting, as well as the number of shots the
director has in mind. Here
are some of my storyboards from "Lunatics,"
drawn in 1989.
just thought of another starting bit role for a now
famous actor. Richard Dreyfus had one line in THE GRADUATE,
in one of the dorm scenes ("somebody call the cops!").
I never realized that that was him until he mentioned
it on David Letterman. He also had an offscreen line
in VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, where he finds the actress dead
at the end of the film (the line is him calling for
her in her dressing room and knocking on the door, the
knocking getting more rapid and desperate as he realizes
something is wrong). This one doesn't really count,
but the singer Phil Collins was an extra on A HARD DAY'S
NIGHT (the twelve-year-old Collins was one of the kids
in the theater during the final concert scene). I can't
think of anymore off the top of my head.
Ford has a tiny bit in "Getting Straight"
in 1970. The famous British author, Martin Amis (son
of famous British author, Kingsley Amis), is one of
the kids aboard a pirate ship run by Anthony Quinn in
"A High Wind in Jamaica" in 1965. These are
both legitimate parts, but the two sons in "A Lion
in Winter" are (in their first films roles) Anthony
Hopkins and Timothy Dalton. John Hurt has a small, but
good role in "A Man for all Seasons" in 1966.
That's all I can think of at the moment.
wasn't sure that that was Jeff Goldblum in DEATH WISH,
so thanks for confirming it ("Rich cunt!"
'smack!' "I KILL rich cunts!"). That put me
in mind of other films where now famous actors made
small or relatively small appearances. There was Steve
McQueen in SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME, Lawrence Fishburne
in APOCALYPSE NOW, Alex Winter (of BILL AND TED'S EXCELLENT
ADVENTURE fame) in DEATH WISH III, Clint Eastwood in
THEM! (he was the jet pilot at the end, wasn't he?),
and of course, Gary Cooper in WINGS (that one may be
a double: Coop's first film appearance, and the first
known example of product placement in cinema history
- the Hershey bar that he was eating and left on his
cot in plain sight). Can you think of any others?
"Apocalypse Now" is a Lawrence Fishburne's
first film, but that's a major role, he's on camera
for half the film. I was acquainted with Larry for a
while in the early 1980s, when his acting career was
in the toilet and he was working as a PA. He told me
he went down to the Philippines when he was sixteen,
and when he got back he was nineteen. What's so shocking
about Gary Cooper in "Wings" is that he's
so much more of movie star than either of the leads,
Richard Arlen or Charles "Buddy" Rogers, who
are both wimps wearing too much make-up. Sadly, though,
Coop enters the film, then immediately crashes and dies
in an airplane. Regarding big stars first small parts,
there's Sylvester Stallone as a thug in "Take the
Money and Run," Meryl Streep in "Julia,"
James Woods in "The Way We Were," you can
just barely see Sigourney Weaver in "Annie Hall"
for a second, as well as Jeff Goldblum, who has one
line ("I forgot my mantra"), Richard Farnsworth
as one of bounty hunters in "Papillion," Christopher
Lloyd and Danny DeVito in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's
Nest," Robert Mitchum is in one scene in "The
Human Comedy" in 1943, John Wayne plays a male
secretary in one scene in "Baby Face" in 1933,
Robert Redford is an extra in "The Music Man,"
in 1962, Lana Turner has a great little bit part in
a very tight sweater, walking up a sidewalk so that
she looks like "jello on springs" in "They
Won't Forget" in 1937, Marylin Monroe has a great
little bit (looking fantastic) in "All About Eve,"
oh, and let's not forget Raoul Walsh as John Wilkes
Booth in "Birth of a Nation," as well as John
Ford as the klansman wearing glasses. But I go on. Anyone
been out of the loop for awhile (duty calls), and I
was just reading the old emails. I saw that you mentioned
a Van Gogh painting titled "The Pool Room"
in a recent posting. If the scene is one of an empty
pool room, the billiard table lit by an overhanging
light, and chairs and tables around, then the painting
is actually titled "The Night Cafe." I'm no
art expert (I would actually buy that print of dogs
playing poker), but I've seen that painting in person
(it's in the collection of the Yale Art Gallery in New
Haven, CT). Didn't mean to be a smartass, just curious
if I was thinking of the same painting.
Anyway, on to a question. What do you think of the DEATH
WISH films? I liked them, at least through Part III,
and found that they attempted an allegory of a social
issue, namely, the explosion of urban crime in the late
'60s and '70s, and the seeming helplessness of the police
and legal system to deal with it. In that regard, they
are not unlike other films of the '70s that deal with
these issues, such as DIRTY HARRY and SHAFT. Perhaps
I'm reading too much into a simple slew of action movies,
but at least in the case of DEATH WISH, the fact that
the protagonist provided a seemingly simple solution
to a difficult problem was what made the film so popular.
The character of Paul Kersey represents the end of American
innocence, and the cynicism that replaced '60s liberalism.
His frustration with the establishment's failure to
help him is the frustration of a nation. Although the
characterization was a little weak (the audience is
supposed to believe that Charles Bronson is a "bleeding
heart liberal" simply because someone at work calls
him one), the fact that the film touched a nerve (and
spawned four sequels) is undeniable. Do you suppose
that this was accidental, or a deliberate plan on the
parts of the filmakers?
Darryl "Whack the bad guy with a sock full of quarters"
sure you're right about the Van Gogh, although there
are people in the room, and a man in white standing
beside the pool table. I've had it on my wall for years,
but it's not titled. Anyway, I enjoyed the first "Death
Wish," particularly Herbie Hancock's score, but
all the sequels seemed like crap to me and I finally
stopped seeing them. It's amusing that one of the delinquent
kids is Jeff Goldblum in his first film. I liked "Dirty
Harry" a lot more -- it's got a better script,
and Don Siegel was a better director than Michael Winner.
I didn't like any of those sequels, either, though.
Quite frankly, I just can't stand sequels, which, as
William Goldman so aptly put it, are all "whore's
am a recent film school graduate from Orlando,Florida.
In a month or so I plan on moving back home to Michigan,
and I need to become involved in the film community
there. Personaly, I do not want to move to LA and deal
with all of the red tape as I have dealt with it here
in this wanna be town of Orlando for the past two years.
What would your advise be for me wanting to get into
the film communtity in Michigan. I am a screenwriter
and have completed film school( ie: I don't know crap)
I would like to continue learning and also branch of
and do my own thing when time/money allows. Is there
a venue or "way" that I could "get in"
when I come back to Michigan, without sitting on my
ass, answering phones for a small production company
that makes two psa's a year?
I met you a few years ago at a screening of RUNNING
TIME on Broadway in Detroit, I still think about the
kid who after the movie ended said " That lead
actor was pretty good, who is he" and everone moaned
and said 'Thats Bruce Campbell'.
not like there's a really thriving film industry in
Detroit, unless you want to work on car commercials
or industrial films. There's that group where you saw
"Running Time"--I forget their name--run by
Bob Anderson and Wayne Indyke, both very nice, bright
guys (Bob was a sound editor on TSNKE and Wayne was
a grip on "Lunatics"). There's the Studio
on Washington Ave., run by Brian and Aida Lawrence,
which is an actor's studio (they did the casting for
TSNKE), and they generally know about any features going
on in town. And there's Bob Dyke, who has made two features
and I believe is about to start another one. His company
used to be Magic Lantern Prods. He may well be worth
contacting. Good luck.
are your thoughts and opinions on the art of stop-motion
animation? Do you have any favorite pieces/films that
utilize this art?
don't do anything stop-motion anymore, do they? I thought
there was a certain charm to stop-motion clay animation
that is absent from the digital versions we now get,
like "Shrek." I was madly in love with cartoons
as a kid -- the one-reel, short-subject sort -- but
I never really cared for any kind of animation at feature-length.
To me it's a ten-minute form.
Regarding "The Beast", I didn't mind the Americanizations.
I considered that a parallelism, trying to show that
the Soviets in Afghanistan were facing a situation similar
to Vietnam. Besides, I've studied Russian History and
their explatives make no sense to me. I also thought
that the characters were all well motivated, and that
there was a structure to the story. I haven't seen any
other movies dealing with the Afghan War (have you?)
and I appreciate that, especially given the timing of
the movie. I wouldn't classify it as a great movie,
but I did think it good.
I know that you have issues with sequels, at least in
general, but what do you think about series? I think
"Horatio Hornblower", "Sharpes ...",
and the "Jeeves and Wooster" series were all
well done, though admitedly for cable. Thanks as always.
never seen any of those series, but a series is a very
different animal than a sequel. A series was meant to
keep going, a sequel is an after-thought done strictly
for money. The only series shows I watch are "The
Simpsons" and "Sex in the City."
Dear Josh: Hi Josh.
you aware that Andrew Kovacevich who played the innkeeper
in the episode you directed "In Sickness and In
Hell" has died?
died in a fall from his porch on May 18.
was 39 years old, about the same age as Kevin Smith.
is the news link -
for informing me of this. Andrew was a very nice guy,
and it seems to me he was in another episode I did,
too. What's happening to the New Zealand actors? And
he died falling off his porch? What could that possibly
E-mail: dont have one
was going through your archives and I didn't see that
you saw these films: LANTANA & L.I.E. You should
somehow check them out. It would be interesting to hear
what you have to say about them.
also curious to know what you have to say about the
classic noirs: Polansky's FORCE OF EVIL & Lang's
is on the list, "L.I.E." wasn't available.
I think "Fury" is Fritz Lang's best film,
and I think "Force of Evil" is over-rated
and too talky for it's own good. Abraham Polonsky was
quite a good screenwriter, but an unexceptional director.
I saw Henry Bean's THE BELIEVER, an excellent film,
and I was very impressed by the astoundingly good performance
from Ryan Gosling. I have to be honest and say if I
had had to predict which of the stars of the HERCULES
and XENA franchises would emerge as an effective big
screen performer Gosling would be have been my last
choice as I thought he was terrible in "Young Hercules"
when compared to his predecessor Ian Bohen.
Were you surprised at how good an actor Gosling has
become (assuming you have seen THE BELIEVER) or did
you hear good reports of his ability when you were in
New Zealand yourself whilst his show was shooting?
didn't even know Ryan Gosling was in "Young Herc."
I liked "The Believer," and I watched it twice.
Ryan Gosling was very good. I'm glad he got another
break after "Young Herc."
I've been reading the archives; I'm up to page 57. It's
now on my recommended readings list, not that anyone's
asking. Still, I started visiting this site too late!
I liked "Xena" but would have had more fun
with the fanatics. The long-term regulars, and you and
they know who they are, are an impressive, literate
group. The references to Kevin Smith are poignant in
retrospect. He seemed like a stand-up guy. I don't know
if you've seen the testaments posted by TR's and Alex
Tydings' websites, but they paint a vivid picture.
Somewhere you mention having written a review of Disney's
"The Black Hole". There is a scene where Ernest
Borgnine is looking into the faceplate of a zombie-crewmember
and muttering something or other. His, Borgnine's, facial
expressions in that scene always impressed me. I was
pleased that BC used Borgnine as an example of professionalism
Another person mentioned in discussions is Jason Patric.
He was in the movie "The Beast" which I always
liked. You seem to have a penchant for war movies and
small group settings and I wonder what you thought of
this movie. Thanks as always,
liked the idea of "The Beast," but the script
and execution left a lot to be desired. I had severe
problems with making the whole tank crew Americans,
then saying they were Russians, including a "surfer
dude" character, as though there were such things
in Russia. Where does he surf? The Baltic? More than
that, I have a problem with all of Kevin Reynolds films,
which are all really knuckleheaded on some level. I
just watched "187" and it sucked, taking a
serious issue, melodramatically overplaying it, then
moving into unbelievable dramatic nonsense.
not even gonna ask why I'm seeing the Houston Herald
instead of your Main page when I type in beckerfilms.com.
Are you trying to mess with my head?
server was down for a few days. Why Beckerfilms would
become the Houston Herald is beyond me, though.
just happened to be reading The Crazy Man, and I happened
to notice you had mentioned my home town, Ishpeming
in it. Although you were right about being in the middle
of no where, you made us sound like a bunch of boring
geeks. I was just wondering how you had known that this
place exists, if you like to drink beer, and have you
had one of Ishpeming cudighis?
from Michigan, too, although I'm from Detroit. As kids,
if my father meant "the middle of nowhere"
he would say "Ishpeming," so I used it as
the setting of that story. Sorry if I made you Ishpemingites
sound like boring geeks.
just finished a short script. It's only 12 pages, but
I think it will be a fun project. Did you say that structure
can be overlooked on short films? Anyway, I guess I'm
just wondering what the next step is. There will be
no funding or set design, since it will just take place
in a laundromat, which I can get for free (wow, what
connections!). I guess I should go to some local performing
arts theatres and look for the two cast members and
a minimal crew, huh? A camera operator, make-up and
wardrobe person, maybe someone who knows about lighting
(I'm hoping that the available light in a laundromat
will be better than, say, a bar, which was the scene's
original setting), and someone to make some sandwiches
at lunch time. Is that all there is to it? Just give
it a shot? Or is this casual attitude detrimental somehow?
I never said structure can be overlooked in a short,
I just said it wasn't nearly as crucial as with a feature.
Still, 12 minutes can be grueling if the script is bad.
If you want the film to look any good you still need
to light it. Minimally, bring a piece of white poster
board with you to kick some light back at people. Perhaps
you want to operate the camera yourself, which will
make certain you get what you want. Otherwise, good
luck, and have fun.
do you think of Andy Warhol? Are you into painters at
all? If so, whom?
you the reincarnation of Warhol's Nico, Christa Paffgen?
I honestly don't give a damn about Warhol as a painter
or a filmmaker. He's a good example of the modern artist
who really has no talent, but is just out to fool the
establishment, like Jackson Pollock, or Damien Hirst.
I much prefer the Dutch Masters, where you can actually
see their incredible talents splashed all over the canvas.
I'm also a big fan of the impressionists, who were all
very talented, and I can clearly see what they were
up to. I have a couple of Monet reproductions on my
wall and they take my breath away. I'm looking at his
"Twilight in Venice" and "Haystacks"
right now, and his use of color and composition move
me. I've also got Van Gogh's "The Pool Room"
on my wall, and that gets me, too.
want the world to see who i am and i feel i can only
do this through television. i am a 17 yr old irish female
(with an irish accent) and have only now serioulsy considered
performing arts. i live in sydney, can you give me any
information on how to "go about" getting into
the industry? i am now applying to the local theatre
and possibly an agent.
suggest finding a working director and start sleeping
with him or her. That's probably your best chance. Next
to that, try training a little more. At seventeen you
only think you know everything, but alas, you probably
hardly know anything about your craft. The more you
train, the more you'll realize what you're getting yourself
into. Good luck.
for the quick answer before. :)
probably heard that Sam Raimi's production company,
Renaissance Pictures, has made a deal to start making
horror movies. Are you going to be involved with this?
the time being, I believe it's just one horror film,
and no I'm not involved. Sam's pretty touchy about this
kind of thing, I'll be kind of surprised if they actually
for say that the rented movie tonight was The Bridge
on River Kwai. What a joy! You have all the right. Is
full of irony, from the fate of William Holden character
(he escaped of Stalag 17 to fall in Camp 16?) to the
marvelous end. Thanks for name always that wonderfull
glad you enjoyed it. And let me tell you, it wasn't
easy to make. We spent months in Ceylon shooting it.
That's a funny idea that Holden escaped from "Stalag
17" and ended up in "The Bridge on the River
Kwai." His character isn't even in the book, BTW.
I'll try and keep this brief (good luck) I've been writing
screenplays for some time and wish to direct as well.
I am currently trying to put together a shoot for a
low-budget script just to get my hands dirty. I've talked
with several very honest professionals who have given
me great feedback on equipment (HD cameras, lighting,
grip, stereo sound, editing, etc) Though I am planning
enrolled and will be beginning school for this field
in the fall, I really am irking to give this a shot
sooner (as long as I can get all the money) My question
is, if a pro can show me how to use the equipment I
choose, give me a crash course you can say, is it reasonable
to think that I would be able to pull off a low-budget,
fairly straight forward project? Your thoughts on learning
the basics of the equipment from a pro and then giving
it a shot myself would be appreciated.
question to you is, to what end? Is the purpose just
to shoot something for the sake of shooting it? Or would
you like to be able to sell it afterward? If it's the
former, then I recommend making a short first. If you
haven't made a really good (or any) short films first,
you probably shouldn't be making a feature. And the
bottom line of a feature at this moment in time is that
unless it's shot on film, you won't be able to sell
it to anyone. Using the equipment is the least of your
problems. It's the concepts of directing, working with
actors, and montage that are the issues, and you'll
only pick those things up by doing it. Make a really
good short first instead of a crappy feature.
about to shoot a documentary, the setting will be in
forum style. There will not be any more than a dozen
people. Any ideas on the best way to do this?
Also, as an independent film maker with a feature in
the can already, would you suggest creating a trailer
to shop it around to the big guns?
One more, how do you feel about the african american
presence on the silver screen today, and do you have
us within your films or employed by you?
5 onthe BlackHand Side Films
not sure I understand what you mean by "in forum
style," people sitting on stage talking? If so,
you would probably want to shoot with multiple cameras
if you can get them. I've shot pilot versions of my
films to raise money to make the features, then I've
cut a trailer from the feature. To shop a feature around,
though, people really want to see the whole film, projected
in a screening room or a theater, if possible. Also,
I've had African-American actors in all of my movies,
and in major parts in several of them. On "Xena"
I always intentionally cast a variety of ethnic groups,
and any part that wasn't specifically called out as
Caucasian, I always tried to cast ethnically, which
in New Zealand meant with Maoris, the native New Zealanders,
or Asians. I like ethnically diverse casts, if possible.
Lunatics: A Love Story going to be made into a DVD?
I think it would be neat to hear your/Ted Raimi's or
anyone else's commentary on it.
can't see it happening in the forseeable future. Sorry.
saw your comments about Bound. I agree with your lack
of characterization and just having the screw instead....
is from the same guys who brung (and are bringing) us
the Matrix series.....ugh
was wondering if Hard Core Logo showed up at your doorstep
yet. I must say that I liked "Bound" better
than "The Matrix." I'd rather watch attractive
girls get it on than watch Keanu Reeves do anything.
just bought a used Canon 514XL-S super 8 camera, and
I intend to shoot a short film. I have a few questions:
Is EASTMAN EKTACHROME VNF 7240 Film any good? Secondly,
Bill Warren's Evil Dead Companion says that Within the
Woods was shot at 18fps (24fps when Bruce was on screen).
I thought 18fps would move too fast, however, Within
the Woods ran smoothly. So shooting 18fps will be fine?
not true, "Within the Woods" was entirely
shot at 24 fps. so that it would be easier to transfer
to video tape. Super-8 can be shot at 18 fps. or 24
fps., and it won't look weird either way because you
project it at the speed you shot it. We shot all the
super-8 films (about sixty films) at 18 fps., then,
when we started to get serious and wanted to transfer
to video tape, we started shooting at 24 fps. 18fps.
doesn't transfer very well. But let's face it, super-8
in general doesn't transfer very well to video. I personally
think it's a defunct technology and you'd be a lot better
off shooting DV. Oh, and Ektachrome is good film, it's
rated at ASA 160 under tungsten light, and I think 120
in daylight (I could be wrong about that). Kodachrome
has much richer colors and more contrast.
you don't mind, I need some advice about a script I
am currently about to work on. Basically, I have mostly
everything visioned in my head that I will flesh into
a treatment soon. However, there is a problem. The story
will take place mostly in a character's apartment room.
I'm aware Linklater's "Tape" takes place in
a hotel room, but it is based on a play. I am planning
on writing a screenplay based on my story, not a play.
I don't know whether I should change it to a play format,
or a screenplay format. Everyone that I have asked so
far gave me the suggestion to make it a play since it
is all interior, with the exception of one scene, which
is going to take place exterior. I wanted to ask you
for your opinion, since you have more knowledge in screenplays
than anyone I've asked, and I know you can help me.
You always seem to give the best answer. Any advice?
See any new movies (good or bad) lately?
cares what other people think is the right theing to
do? Do what you think is the right thing to do. If you
think it's a screenplay, then write it that way. As
a play, however, you might get someone to put it on.
As a screenplay, if you don't shoot it then nothing
can be done with it. Screenplays only have two ultimate
ends: they are shot, or they are abandoned. And by the
way, writing a full-length drama that's entirely in
one room will very difficult. Good luck.
As regards your project, "Terrified", with
BC and TR, I hope you include comedy. For one thing,
I could probably watch half an hour of BC and TR eating
breakfast with 20 lines between them. I also think that
comedy need not be "spoof" or parody, a belief
which seems to be a current trend. Finally, I think
that good comedy, even physical comedy, requires thought
as to pacing, delivery, etc. The funniest people I know
tend to be the most intelligent and I don't see why
that shouldn't hold for movies, even horror movies,
As a general question, I wonder that you haven't attempted
more outright comedies. You have a knack for them, I
think. I realize that your early shorts were largely
comedies (I have a collection of them). I would think
that comedies might find distribution more readily,
though that is an uninformed impression. Obviously,
you should and will make the movie you wish to make,
but I do think you have a gift for comedy. Thanks as
have a comedy idea I'd like to do with Bruce and Ted,
also, but they think a horror film is more of a sure
bet, and I can't argue with them. I probably shouldn't
have even mentioned the project since most of these
things dry up and blow away before you know what happened.
Ive read many questions that ask about your favorite
films. To me you seem more of the literary type, I'm
not(more math). So I was wondering what films you think
have the best screenplays and scrip
favorite example is "The Bridge on the River Kwai,"
which I think is a brilliant script, by Michael Wilson
and Carl Foreman, but there are many, many scripts I
like and admire, although not recently. Robert Bolt's
script for "Lawrence of Arabia" is really
terrific. Daniel Taradash's script for "From Here
to Eternity," Sylvester Stallone's script for "Rocky,"
David Webb Peoples' script for "Unforgiven."
This could go on and on. It's not that I'm really that
literary of a character, I just like well-written scripts.
Call me a stick-in-the-mud. I just watched "Bound"
at somebody here's recommendation. Well, it was okay,
but they substituted lesbian sex for characterization
and motivation. It's a whole lot easier to write "they
fuck" then actually have to deal with who they
really are. And do I actually believe that these gals
would steal $2 million from the mob? No. And that's
one of the better recent films I've seen. So, if wanting
the movies I see to be written with some sense of logic
or intelligence, then I guess I am a literary type.
you happen to know any director's sites or any directors
that might be interested in making a remake of Logan's
Run. If the movie were to be completely remade it would
be great especially with modern day technology. it s
a great story and i I really do believe stongly believe
there are issues in the movie "Logan's Run"
that can be presented. As the orignal one focused heavily
on youth culture themes, the remake can focus on another
major theme. the movie would be in a time where a totalitarian
government police machinery taking hold utilizes religious
and otherwise propaganda to brainwash the civilianship
into institutionalized idiocy. THis is a sci-fi fantasy:
In a post-apocalyptic urban environment several centuries
hence, Logan 5 (Michael York) and his friend Francis
7 (Richard Jordan) lead unquestioning lives of hedonism.
Entertainment comes in the form of casual sexual liaisons
and gladiatorial games in which those who do not wish
to undergo euthanasia at the age of 30 vie for the illusory
chance of continued life. As "sandmen," Logan
and Francis are charged with tracking down and killing
"runners" -- those citizens who will submit
to neither "renewal" (a peaceful death) nor
"carousel" when their time comes. When Logan
grows intrigued by a beautiful young woman, who plans
to become a runner, he is forced to question the fundamental
principles of his society. And when his superiors force
him to pose as a runner himself to weed out Jessica's
guerilla underground, Logan finds himself fleeing the
city in search of a mythical place called Sanctuary
where people are allowed to live out their natural spans.
thought "Logan's Run" was a cheesy piece of
junk to start with, and I HATE remakes.
saw "Enemy At The Gates" and I thought it
was two-thirds of a good movie. The last third of the
movie contained two particularly phony scenes (characters
behaving in ways that violated all of the plot development
up to that point) that sort of spoiled it for me. Ron
Perlman was terrific, though.
of Burt Lancaster, I had the good fortune to see "The
Train" again recently. It's really a caper movie
if you think about it. And the special effects were
terrific, but they served the story rather than being
the centerpiece of the movie. And Paul Scofield was
at least as good as Burt in the role of the Nazi commander.
took the kids to see "Spider-Man." I'll give
it this: unlike so much of what Hollywood spews out
today, I enjoyed it and didn't hate myself afterward
for going to see it. It's a comic book movie like so
many that Sam has made, and he's very good, if not the
best at making comic book movies. Great art or even
a great movie? No. Pleasant diversion for a couple of
good luck on your latest project. And I still have my
fingers crossed that I'll see "Hammer" one
of these days.
do, too. I like "The Train" a lot, and I think
it's a terrific example of what movies used to be and
aren't anymore. It's a believable action story with
highly ironic premise. My friend John and I used "The
Train" as the film Steven Spielberg not only could
never make, I bet he doesn't get it and probably can't
sit through it. If you pitched him the story of a train-
load of great art being shipped out of France by the
Nazis, and the Nazi Colonel in charge is an art expert
that loves these paintings, and the French resistance
fighter given the responsibility to stop the train could
care less about them and may even blow up the train
and the paintings to stop them from leaving, Spielberg
would sagely wag his finger at you and tell you that
the story is wrong -- the Nazi should not care about
the paintings, and the resistance fighter must love
them. That way you eliminate all that confusing irony,
and the good guy is totally good and the bad guy is
where's the review of Spiderman? You know you gotta
do it! ;)
Sam's my friend. He's made the sixth largest-grossing
film of all-time, and I wish him all the very best in
the world. My views on this sort of film are well-known,
and I don't need to reiterate them.
knuckled under and went to see STAR WARS, EPISODE II
last night (I had a free pass), and it spurred an observation
on my part about George Lucas. He may not be very good
at directing character interaction, and sometimes fails
to create believable or sympathetic characters in the
first place, but he his very good at details (the background).
By details, I mean set dressing, extras, that sort of
thing. If you watch any of the STAR WARS films, there
is alot going on in the background. In Episode II (don't
worry, this is NOT a plot giveaway) there are several
city scenes that are very well fleshed-out: there are
large screen tv's on buildings (a la Times Square in
NYC) with commercials on them, people are moving about
and interacting (some CGI, some real) and all the sets
have depth to them. Lucas' talent is to make alien locations
exotic, but entirely believable at the same time. It
is no great stretch of the imagination for the viewer
to believe that alien worlds exist in these films; they
have depth and multiple layers, just like locations
in the real world. In short, Lucas is able to sell far
off galaxies and other planets in the background, but
unable sell his main characters' behavior in the foreground.
This inability leads to one result: an exciting, $200
million travelogue of exotic locales, with these annoying
people (the actors) getting in the way of the camera.
I call that unintentional irony.
In all fairness to Mr. Lucas, he HAS supported and nurtured
technology that almost every film made in the last 25
years has used. I noticed that he filmed Episode II
digitally, entirely without film stock. As an independent
filmaker, do you support this technology? I would think
that once the technique proliferated and became commonplace,
getting a film made would be easier than ever before.
Photography, lighting, editing, could all be done or
modified through a PC. The thought of it is exciting,
as it will hopefully ease the financial burden for filmakers
more concerned with good films (like yourself) than
with commercial crap, and pump more well crafted films
into circulation. What do you think?
but to me that's $200 million worth of missing the point.
It's not about the background, it's about the foreground.
That's just another variation of all modern movies reviews,
which go: "The story was terrible, but the effects
were great," or "I hated the characters, but
terrific photography." Any variation of that theme
annoys and pisses me off. Bruce took his 14-year old
son, Andy, to "Star Wars 5" (sorry, but there's
been five of them), and he was bored out of his skull
the entire film, poking Bruce, crawling on the floor,
talking, etc. Then, after the film, Bruce asked what
he thought, and Andy said, "It was great."
Bruce was a bit shocked, and said "But you were
bored the whole film, how could it be great?" Andy
shrugged and said, "I guess I've never seen a great
film." So, Lucas gives great background action.
So what? That's like saying the guy's a terrible painter,
but uses terrific canvas. For me, if the foreground
action sucks, then automatically it all sucks, backgrounds
and all. Meanwhile, the use of digital makes a lot of
sense if every shot is a digital effect. Shooting digitally
also makes perfect sense with documentaries right now.
But not for features, because the paying markets still
won't buy them. Yes, there's been a few features shot
on DV, but they all had something else going for them,
like an all-star cast, or $200 million worth of special
effects. It's also harder to light DV and make it look
as good as film. Bruce just starred in a film for the
Sci-Fi Channel that was shot digital high-def, and it
was a big pain in the ass, more expensive, and no one
liked it. The cameras were $7,500 a week. A decent 35mm
camera is $1,000 a week. And to get the digital image
to 35mm right now costs $1.25 a frame, and there are
144,000 frames in a 100-minute movie. This will undoubtedly
all change in the future, but it's not there yet.
seems like cutting a trailer is an art form all its
own. This question popped into my mind when you said
that "Windtalkers" looked like it might be
okay. Even if you ultimitely don't like the fim, which
happens most often, how often do you enjoy the trailer?
Do you find that the trailers are being done well these
days? If anything, I think people are better at trailers
than movies, because a lot of times, I'll be prepared
for the epitome of whatever genre it is (the funniest
comedy, scariest thriller, etc.) and then I'm quite
disappointed. Who has the say so for the trailer in
a major studio film? Director? Editor?
film companies hire one of the several big trailer-cutting
houses, who then come up with an approach (or several),
then end up cutting several versions. I find that most
trailers these days are cut almost exactly the same.
There seems to be two basic approaches: 1. VO Narration:
"In a world . . ." and this goes onto something
like, ". . . Where wrong is right, and right is
wrong," or "In a world where giant bugs have
taken over the universe . . ." then it goes into
a fast montage with hard-driving, thumping music; 2.
The conceptual zooming idea, VO Narration: "A town,
a house, a family, a secret . . ." fast montage
with thumping music. The editor that's cut most of my
movies, Kaye Davis, has cut hundreds of trailers and
they almost all seem the same.
man, I wasn't trying to blow the movie for you (Enemy
at the Gates). My mom yells at me for the same thing;
If I like a film, I get excited about it and forget
that other people may not have seen it yet.
Thinking of the film put me in mind of an interesting
book that I read awhile ago, which sheds some light
on a well-known film. It was called PLATOON BRAVO COMPANY,
and was written by LTC (Ret.) Don Hemphill. Don Hemphill,
was commander of B co. 3-22 Infantry, 25 Infantry Division
(Light) just prior to and during the TET Offensive.
What makes this fact significant was that in the 3rd
Platoon of that company was a young SPEC-4 named Oliver
Stone. Hemphill makes mention of Stone, referring to
him as a good soldier and a talented man. However, his
account of life in a line company in Viet Nam and Stone's
differ markedly. For instance, many of the events that
Stone writes of taking place (rampant drug use, murder
of NCO's, atrocities) did not occur, or occured differently
from the way he described them. As Hemphill put it "I
wasn't in B co. as long as Stone was, so I can't speak
for his whole time in the company. I CAN say though,
that I kept my men way too busy to get into that kind
of trouble while I was there." [paraphrased, not
an exact quote]. His book does offer an interesting
account of his own experience, of "months of boredom,
punctuated by minutes of intense action." It was
an interesting read.
not like Stone said at the beginning of "Platoon"
that it was a true story. I always felt that it was
a ficticious story woven into real events. It's not
important whether anyone fragged the CO in his platoon,
it happened numerous times in other ones. And there's
no question there was a lot of pot smoking, as well
as other drug-taking, too. My buddy Sheldon wrote a
play about being in Vietnam called "Tracers,"
and there's a terrific scene of a bunch of soldiers
whacked on heroin sitting by the wire of the firebase
watching the tracers streak by. I still think that "Platoon"
is the best of all the Vietnam movies, kind of by far.
I also like "Go To the Spartans" with good
old Burt Lancaster (hey, we're back to that topic).
Another good one is "Bat 21" with Gene Hackman
and Danny Glover, and that's based on a true story.
I L Diamond
E-mail: can't give
new film by John Woo called Windtalkers looks awesome.
I sure hope you check it out. You do have a movie theater
close by, don't you?
is the log line of the new horror film you are currently
undertaking? Have you actually written the script, or
are you still in the treatment stage?
luck to you,
looks okay, but just like most Hollywood films, if it's
about ethnic characters then a white guy has to have
the lead. Like "Geronimo: An American Legend,"
starring Jason Patric, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman,
then Wes Studi as Geronimo, who ends up being a supporting
character in his own story. I watched the "60 Minutes
II" report about the Navajo code-talkers, and non
of the white bodyguards ever had to kill the Navajo
they were guarding because he might fall into enemy
hands, which it seems to me is the dramatic basis of
the whole film "Windtalkers."
don't want to share the logline of the story I'm writing
just yet. Call me superstitious. I completed the treatment,
but haven't begun the script yet.
saw that trailer for MARTY on TCM a few months ago (I
love the way that they show trailers in between the
movies on TCM, as if they were current coming attractions),
and Burt was very good in it. It makes you want to watch
the film simply because he politely stated that he thought
it was good.
I noticed someone mentioned ENEMY AT THE GATES, and
I also recommend it. In short, the director took a three
paragraph snippet from a book on the Russian front of
World War II and blew it up into a plot for his film.
It's about a duel between two snipers at the battle
of Stalingrad: one Russian, one German. The German sniper
(played by Ed Harris), a master shooter from the Wehrmacht's
sniper school, is called in to find and kill the Russian
sniper (played by Jude Law), who has become a Russian
folk hero by inflicting costly casualties on the invading
Germans. It is very good visually, and tells an even-handed
story (Jude Law is the hero, but Ed Harris is not demonized
because of this). The director manages to create tension
in a difficult situation; he makes lying still in a
pile of rubble, sighting through the scope of a rifle,
dramatic in it's own right). Against the backdrop of
the enormous battle (I read somewhere that nearly one
million soldiers were committed to the battle on both
sides; Stalingrad was an important symbol of Soviet
resistance, vital for the Russians to maintain and for
the Germans to crush), the duel between the two men,
each a master at his craft, is oddly personal. For a
big "A" picture, it was surprisingly good.
Just a quick question: what do you think of other instances
where white actors played other races? A few examples
come to mind: Lawrence Olivier playing Moors in OTHELLO
and KHARTOUM, Jack Palance playing a Hun in SIGN OF
THE PAGAN, and John Wayne playing a Mongol in THE CONQUEROR.
If I were to rank them, I would put them in descending
order, as I listed them (what the hell were they thinking,
casting John Wayne as Ghenghis Khan?). What do you think?
second I realized you were telling me the plot of that
film, I stopped reading your letter. Replying to your
P.S., I generally don't like seeing whites portray other
ethnicities, but it was done so much with Indians in
westerns, and it frequently gave the Latino actors parts,
it amuses me.
have a big beef with DVDs. Aren't they the enemy of
independent film? How many average stuggling film makers
can avoid to make use of the DVD format? As DVD slowly
edges out VHS, I worry that we are fast approaching
a world were recording anything, be it a movie off of
TV or making your own film, we be near impossible. Or
am I just being nuts? Should I embrace this new technology?
nuts, dude, DVDs look and sound great. It's a good technology,
and what I believe will finally replace 35mm prints.
Suddenly, distributing a film would be very cheap if
you could just send each theater a DVD for 36-cents
through the regular mail, like Netflix. I was showing
free movies here up at the elementry school on the corner
using a DVD player, a video projector, and a stereo,
and it looked and sounded terrific. I actually think
the DVD of "Running Time" is the best-looking
version of that film, better than the 16mm prints or
the 35mm blow-up. I'm totally for DVD.