Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hostel: Part II


So disturbing and yet I can’t seem to look away...

I’m up to page 96 with the werewolf spec, but I still have a long ways to go. The opening sequence is killing me.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Lost Room



Remember the good old days when TV shows, movies and mini-series would actually wrap up all their loose ends? They leave a whole lot dangling here. Still, it was pretty entertaining ride.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Night Watch



I’ve got this huge backlog of movies that I’ve been meaning to blog about and “Night Watch” is probably the most deserving on the pile. The film has been around for a few years, and enjoys a bit of a cult following, but I only “discovered” it a couple months ago. Now stop me if you’ve heard this before: the story involves a secret war among supernatural beings that has been going on since... forever. Okay, it might not be so deserving in terms of originality, but as foreign horror movies go, “Night Watch” kicks all kinds visual ass. It’s the first installment of what’s supposed to be a trilogy and includes chosen ones, prophecies, shape-shifting owls, vamps, you name it. Director Timur Bekmambetov creates a lasting impression with his creative visuals. Looks like he was able to do heck of a lot with very little. It’s no wonder that one of the studios snatched him up to helm the adaptation of the graphic novel, “Wanted”.
Right now, torture porn is all the rage -- well, except for “Turistas”, don’t know what happened there -- but it’s nice to see that there are filmmakers out there trying to bring supernatural back. Keep an eye out for "Day Watch".

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Blood and Chocolate


Another werewolf movie to hit theaters in January. You can check out the trailer over at www.comingsoon.net. Read about this project a while ago but forgot all about it until now. By the looks of the trailer and the “from the producers of Underworld” caption, you’re going to get the comparisons, which I’m guessing, is exactly what the “producers of Underworld” want. Whatever you want to call it, “Underworld Junior”, “Dawson’s Paw”, “One Wolf Hill”... you gotta bow to the power of the teen female horror fan because Hollywood sure does. As far as I can tell, “Blood & Chocolate” and my werewolf spec might share a few things in common but they’re competely different animals.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I AM LEGEND


One of the posters for Will Smith’s upcoming “I Am Legend”. Can you say underwhelming? Not even the hint of a sinister image hiding somewhere in the background. Guess they’re going for a less is more approach.

UPDATE: I was punked. It's just the work of some fan. Thanks again for the heads up Burbanked.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Magic Numbers


Jim Carrey’s "The Number 23" appears to be something mighty interesting, even though we’ve sort of covered the same ground with Will Ferrell’s “Stranger Than Fiction”.

I’ve been on a bit of a roll the last couple of weeks with the werewolf spec, but I neglected to update my progress bar. The deadlines for the Slamdance Horror and the AAA screenwriting contests are approaching. I’ll be lucky if the screenplay is in decent shape.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Ungrateful Bitch


To be honest, I’ve seen worse. Much worse. After watching “BloodRayne”, I am convinced that Director Uwe Boll is some kind of vampire. Not one of the euro-trash suckheads that dominate today’s movies, but a throwback to the vamps of yesteryear who could hypnotize their prey with a penetrating stare. I mean, how else can you explain the likes of Academy Award winner Sir Ben Kingsley smack dab in the middle of this mess? Sure, he could be whoring himself out for the cash, but I’d like to think he’s bigger than that. The dude was Ghandi after all. Uwe must have worked his mojo on him. I read somewhere that low budget scripts can sometimes attract a big name star -- who has a limited window -- with a character that stays in the same location. The actor can come in and finish the bulk of his scenes lickety split. Maybe that’s what happened here, but I’m still leaning towards vampire director. Sir Ben has a great zinger near the end...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Deja View



Really looking forward to that new Denzel Washington series tonight on ABC. You know, the one about the guy going back in time to save his girlfriend. It’s surprising that an actor of his stature would do television... That upcoming Taye Diggs movie about a guy going back in time to save *his* girlfriend, looks interesting as well... Wait. That’s not right. Talk about parallel development. As far as I’m concerned, the most intriguing thing about “Daybreak” is the female lead, Moon Bloodgood. Coolest. Name. Ever. Whenever uttered, it should be accompanied by a thunderclap and a flash of lightning. With a name like that, you just know her vampire birth parents showed up on her eighteenth birthday and the Van Helsings had to battle them to the death.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Death by Disintegration


There’s something about “X-Men: The Last Stand” that feels insincere. Yeah, I know it’s a comic book movie and therefore set in the land of make-believe, but still...

Throughout the film, a couple of major characters bite the big one and I just sort of sat there unmoved -- part of my beef with last week’s episode of “Lost”. None of the deaths resonated with me. Maybe the problem lies in the fact that there are too many damned characters running around (which has always been the case with this franchise) and not enough time for them to properly reflect on stuff. I might start to sound like a crotchety old humbug, but back in my day, death used to actually mean something. People didn’t disintegrate, they dropped dead. Whole bodies and everything. And it wasn’t always quick and neat either. Remember when Spock died in “Wrath Of Khan”? Now that’s a death scene. How about Joyce Summers’ quiet and unremarkable death on “Buffy”? One of my favorite death scenes was in “Fright Night” where Mr. Fearless TV Vampire Slayer stakes a real vamp and it’s nothing like what transpires in his movies. There’s pain, sadness and even a sense of regret between him and the dying vampire. I think if you’re gonna kill somebody, try to make it matter beyond advancing the plot. Didn’t stop the movie from making a bajillion at the box office though. Overall, “X3” is a lot like Chinese food. Enjoyable enough while you’re taking it in, but afterwards, it becomes a distant memory like... that.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lost

There’s a Woody Allen joke that goes something like this: two old ladies are eating in a restaurant. One lady makes a face and says, “The food here is horrible” and the other one goes, “And in such small portions!” I’ve kept that in mind when it came to expressing my thoughts on the current season of “Lost”. Even though I was no longer enjoying the viewing experience, I couldn’t seem to make a clean break. I totally gave up trying to solve the many mysteries of the island long ago, but the show still managed to draw me in with compelling characters and great drama.... until last night. You finally broke me, J.J. Abrams. I’m done.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Feeling Lucky?


Haven’t done much since I shipped out my Scriptapalooza TV entry on Monday, except relax. Feels good to finally have that monkey off my back. At this point, I think it’s a wrap. Seriously. I mean, what’s left? Yet another draft for another contest? Extend it into a feature? I could try the Rosario Dawson route: turn it into a comic, then pray some big studio will swoop down and snatch up the movie rights -- which is exactly what happened with her “Occult Crimes Taskforce”, but I’m content with the fact that I was able to take a solid idea and turn it into a decent -- not spectacular -- script. I’d be more content if it placed in a contest but decent usually isn’t good enough to get you a win or a sale. Time to cut my losses. Now about stuff I hope to sell someday...
I don’t have a snowball’s chance of finishing the werewolf script for that Slamdance Horror contest, even if they extend it, which they probably will. Been reading screenplays from the “Blade” trilogy -- yeah, even “Trinity”. My Achilles heel has always been my “See Jack Run” style of writing action. Gonna dig through some James Cameron stuff like “Aliens” and “T2” as well. Was sort of stuck with the Zombie script because I couldn’t figure out how to keep the locations to a minimum. Turns out that I had it in the script all along. Originally, what was supposed to be a 5-10 minute scene in Act Three, I should be able to make last 30-40 minutes. Theoretically...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Police Boxed In


Great episode of “Dr. Who” last night, “The Girl In The Fireplace”. Turns out that it was written by “Coupling” creator Steven Moffat. Man, is he talented or what? Haven’t posted a heck of a lot lately because of that looming October 23rd deadline for Scriptapalooza TV. The teleplay itself is in pretty good shape, no drastic revisions. I’m just trying to clear up something in my B-story that might be confusing to some, and working on a bit of rah-rah dialogue for my protagonist.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Story Starters

Couldn’t let Friday the 13th go by without a few story starters:

13 Bone Chilling Tales of the Paranormal


Body Discovered in Bed 5 Years After Death

Carnivorous Plant Eats Mouse At French Garden

Death-Row Prisoner Gets Pregnant in Solitary


More Oxygen Could Create Giant Insects

Ghost Rider


The poster in the middle was released first. At the time, I remember thinking, ‘Oh, Gawd! They’re trying to sell it as a sappy romance with a tiny helping of supernatural on the side!’ Nothing wrong with a love story in a comic book movie -- it did wonders for “Spider-Man” but “Ghost Rider” is a different animal entirely. There’s just not a lot of time to whisper sweet nothings in the midst of all the demonic destruction and biker badness. The subsequent posters suggest that ole Zarathos will still have his edge... as much as PG-13 will allow anyway. Since I’m talking comics and movies, that Eva Mendes be would be my pick for Joss Whedon’s “Wonder Woman”.

Friday, October 06, 2006

One Page 2006



Red Right Hand has issued the call once again... This feels a bit like cheating because I posted a page from this discarded version of my werewolf script last time, but I’m going through some stuff right now with its current incarnation -- better known as procrastination -- so a trip down memory lane might put me in a better frame of mind.
I abandoned this version for a few reasons. First, the protagonist was too much of a Lara Croft clone. Wealthy. Beautiful. Adventurer. *Yawn* I went back to the drawing board and tried to create a more interesting character who didn’t have everything. The other issue for me was tone. I always start with the darkest of intentions but the jokes start flying as soon as my characters open their mouths. These days, horror comedy is the equivalent of putting a bio-hazard sign on the movie marquee. Have I been 100% successful? Meh. I’ve made the world that these characters inhabit, less fantastical. Yeah, there are werewolves but no special guest appearances by the invisible man, zombie queens or the mutant frogman nation.



Saturday, September 30, 2006

"Blade" cancelled



I’m gonna suppress my pun reflex because there are a ton of them about this already. There’s not a whole lot to say here. Not a bad series, I’ve seen worse -- “Birds of Prey” anyone? It just couldn’t deliver the martial arts and special effects on the level of the “Blade” films. An impossible task when you consider the limited budget of TV and Kirk Jones’ lack of martial arts experience.
It is a little surprising that the news came so soon. The planned DVD release promises all kinds of gratuitous nudity and violence. The TV DVD culture is still new and it seems as if the suits are still trying to figure it out. A show like “24” really started to take off when people started watching whole seasons on DVD. It’s not crazy to think that season 1 of “Blade” on DVD could have increased interest in a second season. Why not hold off on cancelling the show until seeing how it performs on DVD? Too short of a window?
The last few minutes of the season (now series) finale were disappointing. Now Krista will be be stuck in Marcus’ clutches for all eternity. I’m curious if more shows are going to be written with major arcs being wrapped up in thirteen episodes, you know.... just in case. Probably not, nobody wants to go into a series with the idea that it’s going to fail -- even though, most of them do. Nowadays, cancelled shows aren’t exiled to some musty box of tapes in the basement. People will actually buy them on DVD, just don’t leave us hanging...
Speaking of TV, my scriptapalooza TV pilot should be polished by next Saturday.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Heroes



Liked it. Didn’t love it. Damn you, J.J. Abrams and Joss Whedon! Damn you both to hell! I used to able to take whatever drivel the networks fed me, but now I have all these blasted high expectations. You’ve ruined television for me.
On a pure fanboy level, the super powers, the hot chicks, the comic book references/art are golden. The stuff in between, not so much. I wished it had focused on one or two characters at a time and gave them a chance to breathe. I mean, Web Stripping/Gambling/Dopplegang Murdering Mom with the biracial Genius Kid on the run from the mob, is more than enough for a stand alone series -- Spoilery guess: GK or his Dad also have powers. It’s hard to pull off a show with so many characters (note to self: hint, hint) and apparently, more will be popping up as the season progresses. I read somewhere that the producers didn’t want to do one of those slowly unraveling dramas. That’s not always a bad thing. It works for “Lost”, didn’t work for “Invasion”, “Surface” and “Threshold”. I’ll keep watching -- anything to avoid “Vanished” -- with my feet firmly planted on the ground.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Good Site

I’m probably breaking my streak of frivolous entries, but I came across a pretty useful site. A good DVD commentary can provide a great deal of insight as to how the pros do it, but how do you weed out the crappy ones? RateThatCommentary.com does just that. It's "the definitive commentary track database, as well as your guide to finding the best and worst in DVD commentary tracks." Haven’t signed up yet, but at some point, I’ll be adding a couple reviews of my own to their database.

Monday, September 18, 2006

UPN R.I.P.

The WB had a proper send-off last night with the "Felicity", "Buffy", "Angel" and "Dawson's Creek" pilots, but what about the good ole United Paramount Newtork? How about a moment of silence for the likes of “Star Trek: Voyager”, “Enterprise”, “Jake 2.0”, “Nowhere Man”, “Special Unit 2”, “Level 9”,“Homeboys in Outer Space”, “Seven Days”, “The (New) Twilight Zone” and “Shasta McNasty”. Ah, those were good times -- okay, they were more like hit and miss, mediocre times but I appreciated the effort.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ultraviolet



About a month ago, I was robbed. A guy hit me over the head, went through my pockets and ran off with $4.95. That guy was Kurt Wimmer. If you listen carefully, you can still hear him chuckling as he takes his ill gotten gains (as meager as they were) to the bank.
This is easily one of the worst movies of the year--maybe of the last decade. If you didn’t know any better, you’d swear it was a video game adaptation. All the elements are there: gravity defying stunts, an almost infinite supply of weapons stored in hyperspace, instant costume changes, sword fighting, endless evil henchmen, vampire viruses--my head is about to explode. Maybe Kurt’s in the wrong business. Just get rid of all that pesky dialogue and any attempt at a coherent story.
“Ultraviolet” even fails on a it’s-from-the-director-of-Equilibrium-so-there’s-gotta-be-some-cool-gun-kata level. All the shooting and killing become mind-numbingly repetitive after the first action sequence. Now I’ve heard the stories that the studio edited the movie to their liking and cut Wimmer out the process, but still...this is a bad, bad movie. The curse of the action chick flick continues...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Eureka


After you get past its obvious charms--took me a while, there’s a whole lot to like about this show. Smart, funny, quirky. I wanna say a sci-fi “Northern Exposure”, but that’s not quite on the button. Nevertheless, if the Sci-Fi Channel is going churn out stuff like “Eureka”, it almost makes up for all those Saturday nights I spent watching the likes of “Mansquito” and “SS Doomtrooper”. Almost. It also takes away some of the sting from cancellation of “Stargate: SG-1”. As for my own pilot script (aka the writing sample), steady as she goes for Scriptapalooza tv. The last I need is a eureka moment where I decide to take a buzz saw to ACT II.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Covenant


Sony Pictures' official "The Convenant” website has the first three minutes online... they fail to mention that the first two and a half minutes are the opening credits. I don't know about you, but nothing makes or breaks a movie for me like an opening credit sequence. The other thirty seconds shows the four leads jumping off a cliff, ala “The Lost Boys”. If you’re wondering why the “producers of Underworld” are churning out what essentially looks like an extended boy band video, it turns out that today’s teen girls love horror, much more than their male counterparts (a blurb I got from Variety). The movie’s myspace page has over forty-thousand friends. It’ll be interesting to see how much of that will translate into actual box office (worked for “Step Up”). So teen girls like horror. Does that mean we should have more strong female characters or come up with more reasons to keep Biff shirtless?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Robots In Disguise



The Movie Blog hipped me to some images from the live action “Transformers” movie. That weird-looking thing above is supposed to be Megatron...seriously.



Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Captain Caveman!



Here’s a movie where nothing really happens. Well, stuff happens, but none of it is even remotely interesting. A bunch of people are trapped in a cave with some monsters and -- wait, that picture of Natalie Mendoza is from “The Descent”! I don’t know *how* I could have mixed up two completely different movies that take place in caves and feature monsters. For the record, “The Descent” was in the can well before “The Cave”. Haven’t seen “The Descent” yet, but I’m a big fan of director Neil Marshall’s “Dog Soldiers”.
There’s a rule in screenwriting about the first ten pages of a script, how you should knock the reader’s socks off, but it doesn’t mean you can then slack off from page eleven to Fade Out. The big “twist” in the movie could have been explored so much further. The PG-13 rating didn’t help matters either.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Monster Mash

Whoa! Actual progress bar movement on the werewolf spec. Not enough to make the Screamfest deadline that came and went a few days ago, but Slamdance has a screenwriting contest for Horror scripts (Halloween deadline) so I’ve got plenty of procrastinating ahead of me. Seriously, less pontification, more writing this time. The TV pilot needs a spit and polish job, but it’s basically done. Scriptapalooza TV, here I come!
The Latino Review has the lowdown on Andrew Kevin Walker’s “The Wolf Man” screenplay here. Sounds like Walker doesn’t pull any punches (his “Batman vs. Superman” script would have kicked all kinds of cinematic ass). It’s pretty grisly and even features a showdown between The Wolf Man and an alligator. Some other stuff, “Feast” actually has a release date in September. I’ll believe that when I see it. Finally, I already posted some story starters for the week, but what in the heck is this?

Is strange carcass the ‘hybrid mutant’?



Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Can you blush?


I’ll admit I was a little hard on “Blade: The Series” when it premiered. I harped on the questionable acting talents of Kirk Jones and Jill Wagner, the mediocre fight scenes and the cheesy “Mutant X” feel of everything. Now that I’ve had some time to chew things over, I gotta say... those complaints are still valid, *but* the developing storylines aren’t half bad. With all the plotting, Vampire Nation politics, secret experiments, rogue vampires, moles and that pesky Daywalker, it’s really hard out there for a vamp.

Last week, we got more background on Blade’s origin, saw how Whistler got that limp and found out that Blade’s Dad is one bad mother-- Shut your mouth! (I was only talkin’ about Blade’s Dad). Also, Krista decided to turn her dying Mom into a vamp-- I’m sure that will end well. If I had one additional nitpick it would be about Pure Bloods and aging. We all know that vampires don’t age, so how exactly does a Pure Blood grow? Charlotte, the tween Pure Blood that Marcus is so deathly afraid of, has obviously been around the block a couple times. Is she going to have a growth spurt? Can Pure Bloods choose to remain a certain age?

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Fog


An 80s, cult horror movie ripe for a remake? Check! Bloodless, PG-13 acceptable deaths? Check! Tons of CGI? Check! Male and female hotties of the moment with questionable acting skills as the leads? Check! What could possibly go wrong? Plenty. I’d be lying if I said the original “Fog” was the “Citizen Kane” of horror flicks, but that John Carpenter always knew how to get a good scare of his audiences and he also managed to do it without a ton of dough. In this remake, even the 21st century CGI fog looks crappy. The vengeful spirits aren't shadowy wraiths with red, glowing eyes...they're transparent. Frickin' transparent!
I could go into a bazillion other complaints, but something in particular got stuck in my craw. The ghost/zombies want revenge on the descendents of the guys who screwed them royally. Fine. And there’s this subplot about Maggie Grace’s character (Elizabeth) realizing that in another life, she was one screwees... it’s probably why she’s always felt like an “outsider”. Okay. Late in the movie, she leaves her boyfriend (Tom Welling), goes up to the ghost/zombie leader and changes into one, after a magical kiss. After that, the ghosts/zombies pretty much leave. End of movie. WTF!?
How about Elizabeth sacrifices herself in order to save the man she loves. Yeah, it might be corny and hackery on the highest level, but it wouldn’t be any worse than the crappy resolution they used. And just for the record, Maggie Grace and Selma Blair, I’ve seen Jamie Lee Curtis and Adrienne Barbeau and you, Young Misses, are no Jamie Lee Curtis nor Adrienne Barbeau.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Grindhouse


Now there’s something you don’t see everyday. Rose McGowan with a machine gun for a leg. Who comes up with stuff like that? Tarantino and Rodriguez that’s who. I don’t know if I should be jealous or skeeved out. Two movies for the price of one, imagine that. And with bogus trailers in between “Planet Terror” and “Deathproof” maybe “Grindhouse” will be next year’s “Snakes On A Plane”. Oh, I read somewhere that Miss McGowan mows down a bunch of zombies with a mean machine gun kick.
As for my own zombie script, I spent some time going over the vomit draft and discovered this immense black hole sucking--er, making everything suck. I’ve named it, Act II. I need to work on a clearer outline before I decide to jump back into that mess. On the plus side, the creative juices are still flowing on the werewolf spec (sounds messy). Right now, I’m working on a new opening and extending an action sequence. I had the good fortune of catching a segment on the Fox Movie Channel about the “Hills Have Eyes” remake. The filmmakers talked about pacing in horror movies. You’ve heard the mantra, always start scenes late and end them early, but in horror, you really want to stretch some scenes out, create tension. Don’t have the hottie in her undies open the first closet to reveal a hissing cat (or axe-wielding maniac). Been looking at a couple of my sequences differently ever since.
What else? Fantasy Spec has been screaming for attention, I think I’ve finally got a handle on the tone. Something lighter than the werewolf and zombie spec--which would be a nice change. I’d love to crank out a first draft in the next two months. My goal this year was three specs... still possible at this point.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

You stole my story!



Sort of. I mean, I hadn’t written it yet, but I was thinking about it. Someone snuck into my secret window and swiped the idea I had for a supernatural romantic comedy. Mine wasn’t called, “How I Met My Boyfriend’s Dead Fiancee” and it wasn’t exactly about a dead fiancee trying keep her skeptic boyfriend from falling for a psychic, but still... don’t you just hate when that happens?

I had abandoned my outline when Reese Witherspoon’s “Just Like Heaven” came and went with a quickness last year. Who knew there were so many romantic-triangle-with-a-ghost stories floating around? Here I was, thinking I had a bit of a throwback premise in the vein of “I Married A Witch” and “Bell, Book and Candle” (btw, the thought of a remake starring Alicia Keys makes me throw up a little), now comes “HIMMBDF” with Eva Longoria. I am so unoriginal when I think I’m being original.



Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hood of Horror



The last time Snoop Dogg went the horror route, we were rewarded with the cinematic masterpiece, “Bones”. Now he’s back with “Hood of Horror”, a horror anthology that smells suspciously a lot like “Tales From The Hood”. A couple of early reviews have been surprisingly positive, so this might be worth checking out. HOH has a myspace page here.




Thursday, July 20, 2006

Underworld: Exposition



The first 15-20 minutes are chock-full of it. Part of the problem is that it’s a sequel and ended in to-be-continued fashion, so there’s a lot of catching up to do. Nobody goes into “Evolution” expecting “Citizen Kane” (and I’m pretty sure that I’m first and last person to put the two of them in the same sentence), but how about taking a stab at a decent story? This movie might have some of the dumbest characters that I have ever seen grace the silver screen. Dumber than the girls who go downstairs to investigate strange noises with partial nudity as their only weapon. Dumber than the protagonist who doesn’t check to see if the killer/monster is really dead before turning his back on him.
Why would you want to free your uncontrollable, bloodthirsty, werewolf brother with no real plan (I could understand if he thought turning William into hybrid would make him normal)? And if you’re strong enough to yank down a helicopter, do you really need a key to open his centuries old, iron maiden-like prison? If the bad guy will stop at nothing to get something in your possession, how about hiding or destroying it, rather a than wearing it in plain sight around your neck? If you’re a ruthless vampire who commissioned someone to build ye old iron maiden-like prison and it was supposed to be hush-hush, wouldn’t you kill the builder the minute it was completed? Also, if there was a record keeper who discovered your secrets, why in the hell would you exile instead of killing him (so he can later provide exposition to the protagonists, that’s why)? My biggest eye-rolling moment had to be a certain character’s out of the blue resurrection at the most opportune time.
“Underworld” had its flaws, but certainly not on this level. I'm a little surprised how much I disliked this sequel. I will say this much, the action and special effects in “Evolution” are very good, but the same time, it works against the story. Characters are so busy jumping through hoops, we never have a chance to get to know them.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nightmares & Dreamscapes


Watching an adaptation of Stephen King’s work is like a box of chocolates... except more often that not, you’re going to get a mouthful of bitter candy. “Nightmares and Dreamscapes” is one the few of King books that I haven’t read, so I was looking forward to the TNT premiere (with limited commercial interruption).
All in all, it was okay. Not as good as the recent “Salem’s Lot” remake, although that’s talking apples and oranges. I’d say it was a few steps above the “Twilight Zone” series that was on the network formerly known as UPN. Bigger budget and better actors. The stories did seem a bit padded, probably could have been condensed into a half an hour. Hopefully, they'll get better.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Up, Up and Away!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I hadn’t read the J.J. Abrams’ “Superman” screenplay and wouldn’t you know it, the darn thing popped up on simplyscripts. I sure could use ten million dollars right about now...*looks around expectantly*
The script is basically a mixed bag, which shouldn’t surprise anybody. I mean, we are talking about J.J. Abrams here. It’s almost a given that you’re going to be amazed by some ideas and downright frustrated with others. There is a lot to like here: Clark’s early years, putting on the suit for the very first time, Superman saving Air Force One, etc.
Some of the space opera stuff didn’t work for me. Civil war on Krypton? Lex Luthor a CIA agent? Not to mention the idea of a chosen one and a prophecy-- “Alias” anyone? There’s a huge twist late in the script that’s on the level of finding a giant, four-toed statue in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, I can’t believe he went there. To be fair, this a first draft so there would have been a ton of revisions. If “Superman Returns” cost 260 million to make, this Abrams’ version probably would have gone well over 300 million.
I can see why fanboys would have rejected this “Superman”. Too many changes to established cannon. It would be interesting to see what Abrams could do with a comic book character whose history wasn’t so deeply carved in stone.




Friday, June 30, 2006

Sucks To Be You


I didn’t have high expectations going into the premiere of “Blade: The Series”, but I gave it a shot. Capturing the essence of a big budget movie and squishing it into a medium-sized box for weekly viewing is a daunting task. Sure, it worked for “Buffy”(the most obvious comparison), but “Blade”... not so much.

The “Blade” movies focused on over the top special effects and action scenes, headlined by a stoic, bad ass protagonist. You didn’t see me use phrases like compelling characters, memorable dialogue or great storytelling, which are the main ingredients of good television. “Blade: The Series” thinks it’s a movie, so it tries to go about it’s business that way. Kirk “Sticky Fingaz” Jones is a decent actor but he’s no Wesley Snipes (even though Wes has been sleepwalking his way through Hollywood for the last decade). The fact that “Sticky” seems lacking in the martial arts department (and looks stiff as a board) doesn’t help his cause. Jill Wagner definitely fits the bill as the hot chick, but was shaky in the acting department. On the plus side, Neil Jackson and Randy Quaid brought some much needed credibility to their respective roles.

Anyway, the plot goes something like this: Krista joins forces with Blade, to take down Marcus, the vamp who killed her brother. She fails in her initial attempt and is turned into a suckhead. With the use of Blade’s serum, Krista is able to resist “the thirst” as she tries defeat the vampire organization from within. Trust me, it sounds a lot better than it was.

We’re in the dog days of summer when it comes to television, so there’s not a lot of competition out there. I’m sure it did well in the ratings, but I’m not sure for how long.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Half-Light



I don’t know what possessed me (ha-ha) to order this Demi Moore supernatural thriller on PPV a few months back. The “world premiere” on TNT last night only added insult to injury. Not much to say here except this: if you’re in a relationship with someone and no one can corroborate said relationship, there’s a pretty good chance you’re crazy, being duped or haunted. Not a bad movie (great scenery), but you realize something isn’t quite right, long before it dawns on the protagonist. These days, it doesn’t take a whole lot to get the audience’s Shyamalan sense tingling.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Bump in the type



Just started reading the “Supernatural” pilot via simplyscripts.com. Not bad. Scriptapalooza TV is now accepting entries. Hmmmm, maybe I should start a self-imposed teleplay in two weeks challenge. Nah, I’ll save that for the Fall. Still have an overdone pilot script that needs tinkering (I’m pretty sure I can throw a kitchen sink in there).
Finally got out of my funk with the werewolf spec. I’m really behind schedule at this point. The Screamfest final deadline is in August and that seems like a reasonable amount of time for most people but I’m not most people. I’m someone who needs a big, comfy, neurotic cushion to work with.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Troubled Waters


Took a double dip of “Dark Water” over the weekend. Something must have gotten lost in translation (no pun intended) because the American version borders more on psychological thriller rather than horror. The story goes something like this: a recently separated mother and daughter, move into an apartment with a leaky ceiling from the haunted apartment upstairs.
Not a whole heck of a lot happens that most people would consider even remotely scary. Jennifer Connelly has a spooky dream *drip* her daughter plays with an “imaginary friend” *drip* the creepy super refuses to fix the leak *drip* *drip* a missing little girl’s backpack keeps appearing/disappearing *drip* maybe Jennifer Connelly is crazy and it’s rubbing off on her daughter, like her own mom did to her *drip* teenage punks ogle Connelly *drip* maybe her ex-husband is behind it all! *drip* No wait! The imaginary friend is a ghost! *SPLAT*
The plot is basically the same in the Japanese version, but it’s not pretending to be Masterpiece Theater, so you get better payoffs. Much better final act.

Friday, June 16, 2006

We Can Be Heroes



The website for Spike TV’s “Blade: The Series” is up here. Judging by the number of folks who stumbled on to my blog from an old entry, the show has pretty decent buzz.



While everyone is waiting for Superman to Return, the Movie Blog hipped me to a site that has some info on the "Superman Lives" project. The screenplay was penned by Kevin Smith (under duress) and was supposed to be directed by Tim Burton. Thankfully, this turkey never got off the ground. The concept art is freaky enough. I’ve never read the “sacrilegious” J.J. Abrams’ “Superman” script that angered many a fanboy, but I’m curious to see how (or if) Brian Singer can breathe some life back into this franchise.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Skeleton Key



Finally watched “Skeleton Key” over the weekend. I knew the “twist” beforehand so I wasn’t able to get the full effect, but the movie is a good lesson in creating atmosphere. We’re talking old school horror here. No gore, blood or ...CGI! Mostly shadows, creaky floors, lightning, ominous music and solid performances from the cast. You could almost classify “Skeleton Key” as a thriller with supernatural overtones rather than a horror flick (almost). The surprising thing is that today’s short-attention-span-MTV-weaned-audience ate it up and the movie made a nice piece of change at the box office (around 80 million, I think). It probably didn’t hurt to have Kate Hudson occasionally investigate spooky noises in her undies either. A good but not great movie. Screenwriter Ehren Krueger talks a little about his process here.



Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Missing in Act II

I've been in a bit of a slump with the werewolf spec. The ACT II blues. Time would probably be better served working on the zombie and fantasy specs that I put on the back burner. In other news...

His Royal Purple Badness turned 48 today!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

B-Movie Weekend


The Sci-Fi channel had an “Angel” alumni double-feature on Sunday, “The Crow: Wicked Prayer” with David Boreanaz and Charisma Carpenter in “Voodoo Moon”. I managed to catch a little bit of both. “Wicked Prayer” just didn’t have the budget to be on the scale of the previous Crow movies, but I think I understand what they were trying to accomplish. This incarnation of “The Crow” looks and feels very much like an old Western: the wronged gunslinger coming back for revenge. David is the villain while Edward “T2” Furlong is the lead (probably would have been better if they swapped roles). There’s something about a double murder/sacrifice, a 666 tattoo , Tara Reid’s character becoming psychic.... I bailed out somewhere around the time Macy Gray showed up.
“Voodoo Moon” didn’t take itself that seriously and was a heck of a lot more enjoyable (I’m pretty sure the director had a blog up at some point). You’ve got your forces of good preparing for a final battle against a great evil. Original, I know. Jeffery Combs has a hilarious part as a cop who’s not gonna let a little thing like death stop him from fighting evil. John Amos, the dad from “Good Times”, shows up as a badass biker (who knew?), ready to kick evil’s ass. Charisma plays the protag’s sister, she can draw the future. A little too much cgi in the final battle, but you know what you’re getting into with this kind of flick.


BTW, a most uneventful Day of the Beast...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

POW!


Holy X-ceded expectations! “X-Men: The Last Stand” made 44 million dollars on Friday! I think it’s pretty safe to say this isn’t their last stand.

On another superhero movie note, finally saw “Sky High”. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought the premise was about a child of superhero parents going off to a high school for superheroes. Our protag has one teeny problem, he doesn’t have any super powers. About halfway through, he conveniently gets his Dad’s super strength and near the end, he can fly like his Mom. I guess the moral of the movie is this: you need superpowers to solve all your problems. Trying to live up to his parent’s expectations seemed a lot more interesting road to take than the tired high school clique wars. Then again, I am talking about a Disney movie.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Lost Season Finale

I'd give it a C+. A few answers, but mostly more questions. What's up with the four-toed statue? How many frustrated viewers will abandon the show next season? That's the real cliffhanger.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Think Big


A few months back, the director was featured on that “Nightline” piece about the popularity of horror movies. The clips from a screening made “Abominable” look pretty cheesy, but I was pleasantly surprised when it premiered on the Sci-Fi Channel over the weekend. Most of what you’d expect is there: prerequisite buxom women, isolation in a cabin, a monster hidden in shadows, gruesome deaths, but the movie also included a paralyzed protagonist living nearby. I thought that added a clever “Rear Window” twist to a well worn premise. Placing the protagonist away from the action, let the movie cut away from the potentially bad dialogue that can bog down this kind of film. Didn’t feel that drawn out either. The only down side is that I didn’t get to see it in it’s R-rated glory. I really need to get cracking on one of those limited location horror flicks.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mercy Mercy Me


“Supernatural” gets a second scary season over on the CW, but I’m a little surprised “Mercy Reef” (aka the Aquaman show) didn’t make the cut. The concept sounded promising. You can check out the casting notices here. Then again, we are talking about Aquaman, the Rodney Dangerfield of superheroes. Here’s an old flash toon that I came across, it pretty much sums up his plight: It’s not easy to be me.

UPDATE: Witness the Aquaman promo.





Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Back In Black

Whoa! It’s been almost a week since my last post. I’ve been in rewrite mode with the werewolf spec, mostly trying to iron out the many kinks of Act I. Editing a vomit draft is a lot like pulling a loose thread on a cheap sweater, it can unravel so easily.

For the most part, the good stuff is still intact. I killed two birds with one stone by eliminating a cliched action sequence (you know the one -- protag knocks a guard out and steals his clothes, which always happens to be a perfect fit. What was I thinking?) and replacing it with something that expands the love interest's role. My character’s motivations might not be as clear as I’d like. And I have find the best way to deal with some clunky exposition in various spots. I'm hoping to complete this second draft in the next couple weeks, but you know how that goes...



Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lady In The Water Trailer


You can see the trailer here. It’s really hard to predict how this film will fare at the box office. The bedtime story stuff had me worrying for second that Shyamalan was getting all soft and mushy, but the trailer got my attention. With all that said, I suspect “Lady In The Water” will be a modest hit, barely grossing 100 million. Genre fans will appreciate it, but curiosity seekers will probably be disappointed like they were with “The Village”.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Supernatural Finale


Meant to post about this last week. I must have missed several episodes because Dad is back, one of the brothers has psychic abilities and we now know why the demon killed Mom (and the girlfriend). Also, the brothers have a gun that...zzZZ. Sorry. Where was I?

I’ve always liked the premise, but the stories just don’t grab me. In shows like these, after getting past the typical monster-of-the-week stuff, there’s always a struggle to come up with fresh ideas. Earlier in the season, there was an episode about insects out for revenge, the result of an old Native American curse... Watch out! Those killer CGI insects are gonna get you! In all fairness, the finale wasn’t half bad. The what-happened-to-dad arc was okay. If I were going write a TV spec, “Supernatural” would probably be the most fun. I’d just try to raise the bar a little bit with the standalone eps.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Miracles: The Series


Just picked up the complete series on DVD. Premiering as a midseason replacement in 2003, “Miracles” was overlooked by viewers and only lasted six shows. It was clearly better than the failed reimagining of “The Nightstalker” that ABC trotted out last Fall. Although a few episodes went off the beaten path (less about the ambiguous nature of the force behind some miraculous events and more towards garden variety paranormal stuff), it’s mostly good television. Haven’t had a chance to listen to the six audio commentaries but I expect to glean a couple nuggets from exec producer David Greenwalt.




Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Lost


I skipped tonight’s special episode of “Lost” *cough*clip show*cough* but I figured it was a good time to post my crazy conspiracy theories. Throughout the second season, I’ve managed to stop analyzing every episode till my eyes bled. Sure, I’d listen to water cooler talk, but for the most part, I’ve resisted the itch. Sitting back and watching the show as just a drama has been fairly satisfying. I say fairly because this season has been just okay. It seems as if the button down in the hatch is metaphor for the reset button that’s been pressed when it comes to the characters. After all the arcs in the first season, they’ve gone back to their old ways. Sawyer (“leopard can’t change its spots”) is only looking out for number one, Hurley is crazy, Jin is an overbearing husband, Locke has a crisis of faith, Sayid is back to torture, etc. At some point, Kate will do something to remind us that she’s a hot, cold-blooded killer. And how could I forget, “WALT!!”

There’s a bit of an idiot plot going on, people don’t talk to each other. No one questions what the heck is going on, except for Bernard and you saw how long that lasted. I’m starting to feel like “Lost” is taking me for granted. It walks around in a terry cloth robe, hair in curlers and wearing an avocado mask. Is that supposed to keep me interested? Meanwhile, there’s another hot show down the hall, “Criminal Minds” and it keeps giving me the eye. “Criminal Minds” isn’t as hot as “Lost” but it sure is straight-forward. No mind games or getting me all worked up for no good reason... Where was I again? Oh yeah, theories. Here we go:

1) An alien or alien craft is somewhere on the island. Telepathy is its only means of communication. Scientists (The Others) are manipulating the being/craft to draw individuals with latent psychic ability (Walt) to the island so they can perform dangerous experiments. Walt’s comic book (via Hurley) involved an alien who was seeking revenge on mankind who had imprisoned him. The black smoke is a product of alien technology. Feel free to poke holes in this one.

2) The producers have said there’s a rational explanation to everything so here goes my reality based theory: it’s a long forgotten government experiment that’s still running autonomously. I’ve heard the scuttlebutt about a Nazi connection but I think that's off base... sorta. In 1961 there was an experiment conducted by Yale psychologist Stanley Milgram, to study what made Nazi soldiers blindly follow orders. In 1971, there was the Stanford Prison experiment where volunteers were divided into prisoners and guards in lived in a mock prison. This purpose of this experiment was to study the human response to captivity (I read somewhere that it was funded by the Navy). The whole thing was a big mess and was scrapped after a few weeks but is it goofy to think that someone would try it again? Now throw in the secret CIA mind control experiment, project MKULTRA, where various individuals were unwittingly experimented on with LSD. So what does this have to do with “Lost”?

Both the castaways and The Others are test subjects. The Others have been conditioned to believe they’re “good people”. They’re only doing what has to be done. Some hokeyness about a sickness. The castaways have been conditioned in another way. All those seemingly pointless flashbacks? I’ll go with false memories for six hundred, Alex. The magic numbers? Probably a post hypnotic trigger. The way everyone seems connected in the flashbacks? Seems like some sort of dream-like state to me. I think Hurley’s it’s-all-in-my-head episode was a clever deflection. What happens on the island is real. Everything up to that point is debatable. The blast door map is just a red herring to lead us further down the rabbit hole. My guess is that the season finale will hint that the plane crash was staged or that one of our beloved castaways is actually an Other.

Anyway, those are my theories. Hopefully, I didn’t sound like too much of a nut.




Monday, April 24, 2006

Phone

I mentioned Asia Extreme on Sundance a few weeks back then promptly managed to miss the last couple of featured movies. Anyway, I caught “Phone” last night. Basically, it goes like this: a reporter’s new cell phone number puts her in touch with a ghost. There are some derivative elements from “The Grudge” and “The Ring” but the plot itself is pretty clever. The remake, which is already in the works, will hinge on who gets to play Young Ju. Dakota Fanning immediately comes to mind but she might have played the creepy little girl one too many times.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Frightline

Tonight’s “Nightline” has a segment on the increasing popularity of horror movies.

Bonus story starter: Snake in a mother-bleeping television!

Update: Pilot Script

Missed the scriptapalooza TV deadline. Minor tweaks turned major (I'm a hot, neurotic mess). I can’t overwrite my way past their Fall deadlines, can I? Anyway, I’ve got the Screamfest contest coming up and there’s a certain werewolf script that I need to start obsessing over.



Friday, April 07, 2006

A Tale of Two Sisters

Earlier this week, the Sundance Channel kicked off its Asia Extreme showcase (Sundays at midnight) with “A Tale of Two Sisters”. If you still can’t fathom all the hoopla over Asian horror, see this movie. See it before Hollywood sucks it into the machine and spits out another watered-down remake (the thought of Tom Cruise’s production company remaking “The Eye” with Renee Zellweger as the lead, already gives me the heebee-jeebies).

Wicked stepmothers, ghosts under the sink, sisters in peril and just when you think you’ve figured it all out, the twists just keep on coming. Don’t take my word for it, check out “A Tale of Two Sisters” for yourself. Nothing like watching a really good movie that inspires you to raise your game a couple of notches.



Thursday, April 06, 2006

Scriptapalooza TV Pilot Spec

A week and twelve hours left. Not a whole lot to report. Changed the title again. This time it’s for good. Seriously. Don't give me that look! Still trying to straighten out my somewhat convoluted B-story. At this point, I’m really not trying to reinvent the wheel. The darn thing either works or it doesn’t. Anyway, I might go dark until I’m done.



Sunday, April 02, 2006

Gory Stories

Good article over at the Star-Telegram about the increasing popularity of horror porn. There's a quote from Wes Craven that attributes it to the current climate we live in, “And I think right now, with the post-9-11 world and Iraq, creative people are almost being goaded to look at things in the strongest way possible. If you look at the Academy Awards [movies], those are films about real issues. I think everybody is saying, 'We have to talk about the nitty-gritty stuff here.' It's not the time for confections."

I don’t think I’m willing go that far. There’s definitely a certain kind of dark, mean-spiritedness to these films but the truth is that they’ve been always around (what’s interesting is how nudity/sex have decreased but violence/gore has risen). They just happen to be really popular at the moment and hella cheap to make. At some point, the fad will eventually burn itself out. Do I wish I could jump on the horror-porn bandwagon before it’s too late? I’m a good-overcoming-evil, bump in the night, supernatural horror kind of guy, but if inspiration ever struck...



Thursday, March 30, 2006

Skinwalkers

Yet another werewolf movie on the horizon. It doesn’t have a one sheet yet, so you’ll have to settle for that pic of the homely Rhona Mitra. Here’s a brief synopsis:

Skinwalkers is a horror action film about a 12-year-old boy who suddenly finds himself at the center of a battle between two warring groups of werewolves. One group of werewolves is sworn to protect him, the other group is trying to kill him -- and the young boy's mother has to find out why her son is at the center of the conflict before time runs out.

The folks over at joblo.com have an interview with some of the cast and director, Jim Isaac. There’s also a pretty bare website but it promises a director’s blog. Might be worth checking out in a couple months.



Sunday, March 26, 2006

V for Vendetta

Just finished reading an early draft of “V for Vendetta” from simplyscripts. If the film is half as good as the screenplay, I expect it to kick some serious butt (box office has been good but not great). “V” is one of the best scripts I’ve read since “Batman Begins”. It’s so good, I might even lift my self-imposed ban on the Ultimate Matrix DVD Collection. My faith in the Wachowski brothers has been restored, but I’ll still treat “Matrix Revolutions” like “Highlander 2”, pretend it doesn’t exist. Up next: “The Jacket”.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Wolfman remake

So Benicio Del Toro is set to star in a remake of “The Wolfman”. The news is a bit of a shock because Hollywood churns out so few remakes these days, but casting Del Toro is definitely a step in the right direction. Almost as good as William Dafoe for the Green Goblin in “Spider-Man” (hopefully, he won’t be buried by tons of makeup). Add “Se7en” screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker to the mix and you start to think, maybe this won’t suck. Haven’t heard anything about a director but I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed with this one. It took forever to recover from the trauma I experienced while watching “Van Helsing” and “The Mummy” movies.




Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Update: TV Spec

There’s a scene in “Purple Rain” where Kid is performing “Darling Nikki” while Appollonia sits at a table with Morris and Jerome. The more Kid sings about Nikki the sex fiend, the more flustered Appollonia gets until she can’t take it anymore and runs out of the club. The song was his private little message to her. Everyone else was just scratching their heads.

My Slamdance TV entry probably had a couple of readers scratching their heads. Looking at it now, the teleplay feels like it was written for an audience of one. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating but the script’s appeal was definitely limited. The goal this time around for Scriptapalooza TV is to simplify and broaden. It’s easy to get caught up in the trappings of the genre, but at the end of the day, people want something to hold on to, something real. The groundwork is already there, now it’s just a matter of bringing out the universal themes everyone can relate to...which is easy...sort of...



Monday, March 13, 2006

Update: Fantasy Spec

Long time no update. I was under the delusion that this script would be ready for one of the big screenwriting contests, but I finally snapped out of it. It’s also an adaptation (a very loose one) which is a no-no for the Nicholl Fellowship. Anyway, to make a long story short, Fantasy Spec stays on the back burner for another few months.

I still have a couple nagging reservations about the concept. Like I said, it’s an adaptation and I’m not the only genius who has been down this well-trodden path. Sure, I’ve got my own spin but still...oh, what the heck. Worse case scenario is that it doesn’t sell, a scenario I'm all too familiar with.



Saturday, March 04, 2006

Blade: The Series

Coming to Spike TV in June. I can't put my finger on it but he seems different. You can check out the trailer here.





Sunday, February 26, 2006

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