Wednesday, January 25, 2006

2006 George Lindsey UNA Film Festival

Captain Blasto has made it through the preliminary judging process and is scheduled to screen between March 2nd - 4th at the 2006 George Lindsey UNA Film Festival in Florence, Alabama.

Check out the fest website at

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Super Bowl XL

We're going to the Super Bowl! What a game. How nice it was to not come within inches of five heart attacks. And did you notice that everyone in this picture vaguely looks like Geis?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

An Invention of Limitation

Picked up The Adventures of Superman on DVD. That's the old 50's Superman show starring George Reeves (no relation to Christopher Reeve). George Reeves eventually commited suicide and his life is being made into a movie right now starring Ben Affleck which of course makes me want to fill my mouth with molasses and killer bees. But that's not the point of the post.

The point is that while I was watching I kept trying to put myself into the shoes of a little kid back then. They LOVED this show. This is what really rocketed Superman into uber-popularity. And the whole time I'm seeing this middle aged guy leap out of windows in this awful costume and I'm wondering, "They loved THIS?" The effects are horrendously funny. The acting is just what you'd expect from a 50's show. Superman looks like about as heroic as your Uncle Ray.

But the more I thought about it, every medium that super-heroes have ever thrived on has been a very limited one. Superman, the very first super-hero, was created in the funny books. Cheap little black and white mini-mag's with awful little illustrations. He later entered homes through this little TV show. Spider-Man was made famous, not by the comic book, but by his cartoon in the 60's. I've seen flip books and buddy icons with better animation.

So why did people fall in love with these characters if they're only represented by such limited mediums and low budgets? Because the super-hero is essentially a character of imagination. The very core of a super-hero is just that, the ability to defy human limitations. Superman himself is an invention of limitation. A super-hero NEEDS limitation or else there is nothing to defy. Any guy can walk through a door. But not everyone can punch a hole through it.

This theory lends itself to the consistent failure of box office super-heroes. (Failure in my regard is not measured by box office money, but rather quality of story.) With hundreds of millions of dollars poured into movies like Fantastic Four, Batman Begins, and the upcoming Superman Returns, there is NO limitation. Limitation breeds creativity. Unlimited resources breeds laziness. George Lucas should have learned this by now. If you use computers to create great fictional characters and landscapes you've removed the option of the audience using their imagination to fill in the edges. They don't need to, it's right there. And if you remove the audiences ability to use their imagination, they're not going to be engaged. Understand why kids are then so easily sucked into cheesy cartoons?

Should we withold budgets then? Should we ask Bryan Singer to make a film on 10 million as opposed to 200? Should we make special effects so bad that you have to use your imagination? No. But with every resource at their disposal, he'll never be half as super as he is trapped inside that comic book or those old Fleischer cartoons.

Superman needs to be wrapped in chains, just to show everyone he can break out of them. Maintain limitations, because then you'll be forced to be more creative than you ever could have been.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Harrison Ford's Monkey Pounce

Just saw a preview for Harrison Ford's new movie. No clue what it's called. Something about a bank robbery and his family being taken hostage. When will terrorists get it? Don't take Harrison Ford's family hostage.

There's a shot in the trailer of Harrison Ford jumping onto one of the terrorists. I realized I've seen that exact same jump before. You may have seen this jump in Air Force One (jumping to get the gun while fighting a guy down in the hold right after the missle nearly hits), or you might have seen it in Clear and Present Danger (leaping away from the exploding SUV's.) He has one of the most unique and distinctive jumps. He leaps with EVERYTHING he's got. His face is stricken with adreneline. But the part of the pounce that is distinctly Mr. Ford is the body language. I can't find a picture on the internet, but you'd know it if you saw it. He looks uncoordinated. His elbows are oddly close. His hands are wide open, fingers separated. His legs are just flailing back there. I really hope he's got a mattress off screen, because there is no way he's landing gracefully. And that's what distinguishes Ford from other action star actors. He leaps like a normal human would when trying to escape an explosion.

Now if only he was in a new film jumping for a whip as a large stone slab slowly closes to nearly crush his fedora hat. But that will only happen in a world where Lucas isn't crazy, and unfortunately, that's not this one.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

So here's 4000.

Two years in a row. Here we come Denver.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Character vs. Celebrity

Just saw Fun with Dick and Jane last weekend. It was okay. A couple funny parts. I find myself giving that review a lot more often these days. Kind of tired of seeing just "okay" movies. The big anchor that was holding the movie down is something that claims a lot of movies. The star was too big for the character. I wasn't watching "Dick" struggle to climb the corporate ladder, I was watching Jim Carrey throw his rubber band body around. How can Jim Carrey EVER play anything than...Jim Carrey? You'd never be fooled.

Sometimes actors become too unique, weird, or popular in and(or) outside of their films that they become their own "character" and are incredibly less effective as an actor. They can't step into a character because they eclipse it with their own. Here's some examples:

1. War of the Worlds - 2005
We were supposed to see a dead beat dad struggle amongst an alien invasion to protect his children. What we got was Tom Cruise. We've spent so many movies watching Tom Cruise shoot, jump, punch his way around corrupt law firms, super tech CIA computers, and F-14 Tomcats. Not for one second did you think he could fail. This is no dead beat dad, this is freakin' Maverick. How much more power would that film have carried, had the dad been played by an aging, overwheight, sloppy looking man? The type you imagine the very second you hear the words "child support."

2. Daredevil - (2003)
rated CP's number 1 worst movie of all time

I don't care how much red leather you throw on him, that is still Ben Affleck. It is quite a difficult feat to attempt to take a long standing, much loved character that in itself, without a human face attached, is popular. To then try and put an actor caught up in tabloid spectacles into that mask is a crime. We won't see Daredevil. We'll just see J-Lo.

Richard Donner did it best when he chose Christopher Reeve, a complete unknown, to be Superman. Warner Bros. wanted Robert Redford or Paul Newman. But all you'd be seeing is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The problem when you put an unknown into an already established and cherished character is that if they do a bad job, they never act again, and if they do a great job, they're typecasted as THAT character the rest of their career.

3. The Family Stone (2005)
This is a different case. This isn't a single overwhelming person. This is a film where it is just too big of a stretch to put too many well known actors into a family, to the point where you can't possibly buy that they ARE a family. We've got Diane Keaton, Craig T. Nelson, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, etc. It just takes a lot of "willing suspension" to buy that Annie Hall, Coach, The Notebook Girl, and Richie Tenenbaum all grew up together. To put together a cast like this could be killer. It just takes ridiculously good actors. The example of this pulled off flawlessly? The Godfather (1972), but even Pacino was an unknown back then.

So what's the answer to this? Always cast unknowns? The very second you become popular, you shouldn't get hired again? No. Not at all. See Naploeon Dynamite's Jon Heder about this. He'll forever be Napoleon Dynamite and any movie he does from this point on people will say, "It's that movie with Napoleon Dynamite in it."

While I do agree that unknowns are required for certain roles, I don't think that should ALWAYS be the case. I just think that directors should be careful what type of actors they cast. Do you want people to come to see the celebrity, or do you want them to come and be engaged by the story and the characters? Sure Jim Carrey will draw in some crowds, but unless he's funnier than anything we've ever seen him in thus far, then they'll be leaving the theater to never see your movie again.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A Message to Michael Bay

You all know Michael Bay. He's the genius that brought you Ben Affleck playing with animal crackers on Liv Tyler's stomach. We'll he's busy working on new ways to ruin your life.

Michael Bay is set to direct the Transformers movie. While reading Aint It Cool News today I came across this from Harry Knowles: "When he was very first being tied to this, he felt he kinda didn't want to do it, but after all this work he feels that he's found a really cool film that kids and Transformers fans are going to really get behind."

If you "didn't want to do it" then DON'T DO IT. There are MILLIONS of Transformers fans. There are probably THOUSANDS of talented directors willing to do any number of Fear Factor tests to get that type of opportunity. But in the usual backwards Hollywood way they give the movie to someone who doesn't care about the source. This is my plea to Hollywood. STOP giving the directing rights of famous characters/stories to people who did not LOVE them when they were young. You know what happens when you get a director like Michael Bay to make a movie about something that MILLIONS love and he is fairly indifferent to. You get an AWFUL movie. Because he changes the original material into something that HE likes, not what it was, not what everyone fell in love with. Something that Michael "Armeggedon" "The Rock" "The Island" "Pearl Harbor" Bay likes.

What did we learn from Lord of the Rings? Peter Jackson LOVED the books. Therefore he'll do a darn good job bringing them to the screen. Sorry to say he couldn't do the same with King Kong.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Lake County Film Fest

Captain Blasto has been selected for the Lake County Film Festival in Illinois. The festival will be screening a new shorter cut of Blasto on Saturday, March 4th at 4:30 pm. You can check out the festival at: