Frank McCourt Must Go.

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This has nothing to do with film, but I must confess that I am a huge Dodgers fan. I grew up in Rancho Cucamonga, a suburb outside of Los Angeles. My father and his father grew up in Pasadena as Dodgers fans.

As a result, I will be a  Dodger fan until the day I die. Through thick and thin.

And even Frank McCourt.

I love my team, but Jesus Christ do I hate my team’s owner. For the past year–ever since the divorce proceedings got messy and then the bankruptcy hearings–I’ve wanted to write something on here about Frank McCourt and how much the sins he’s committed against this team make my blood boil.

I could never find the right words… Until this poll-result graphic from an ESPN-LA article inspired me to write this post:

Dear Bud Selig, We Think Frank McCourt is a dickslap. Love, Dodger Fans.

For the first time in four seasons, I didn’t go to a single Dodgers game this year. Even though I lived in Northern California for the past two and a half years, I still made the effort to make it to a game.

This year, though, was my first full season back in Los Angeles. You’d think I’d have gone to at least one game.

Trust me. I would’ve.

I would’ve gone to at least one of Clayton Kershaw’s stellar performances this year. And I would’ve gotten to see Matt Kemp try to win an MVP.

But instead, I decided to stay back and not go. Going to baseball games costs money, and that money would’ve gone straight into McCourt’s pockets. Every $15 dollar parking ticket, every $25 Reserve Level Ticket, every $12.50 beer and $5.50 hot dog I would’ve bought didn’t exist this season because I finally realized where my money was going.

I understand that going to a ball game costs money. I understand that baseball is a business first. But what I don’t understand is the ability for an owner who seems to have no love for the game–someone who doesn’t understand why we’re willing to spend so much goddamn money at a game.

It’s because we love it. And we’ll always love it. We understand that the money we put in will produce a greater work on the field (ostensibly… that’s another long argument, I suppose), not enhance the living conditions of the team’s owner.

It’s tragic, but it happens.

I’d like the next owner of the Dodgers to understand this concept. I’d like for him to understand that the money made isn’t to be spent on anything but the team and its needs–not because it’s personally gainful, but because of a love for the game.


graceland now has a trailer…

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…and I’m finally posting it here.

There’s more over at the film’s official site. 

Also you should totally post a comment on the video and let me know you what you think.


Netflix Watch Instantly Recommendations (7/30-8/5)

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Let’s face facts here: the selection on Netflix’s Watch Instantly section is definitely about quantity over quality. It’s hard to find good movies mixed in with all the crazy shit they like to put up for you. It’s a lot of dentritus, Mockbusters, television, and weird stuff.

So, as your faithful (and inconsistent) blogger/gatekeeper, I’d like to recommend a few films this week for your viewing pleasure… This also gives me a chance to capsule review movies and that’s always fun.

You can click the titles to go straight to the movie’s Netflix profile. The dates in parentheses are when the movie gets pulled from W.I. 

La Dolce Vita (ends 8/1/11. SEE IT NOW!)

This is arguably Fellini’s masterpiece: a lush, three hour tour of Rome and papparazzi and woman troubles. It’s one of those movies that’s really hard to write about because it’s so densely layered and absolutely fantastic.

But, as mentioned. It ends on Monday.

A Woman Under the Influence, Faces, Shadows , The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (all ending on 8/3/11)

A Cassavetes quadruple feature, listed in my preferred order. I haven’t seen The Killing of a Chinese Bookie yet, but all I’ve heard is that it’s great, so I guess I’ll have to watch it before Wednesday.

A Woman Under the Influence is my favorite of the three. It’s a 2 and a half hour character piece on a woman’s mental instability and the ways that it’s pulling the family apart. Like all of his films, it never flinches away from the crazier moments and the experience is definitely life changing. Check out the trailer:

Faces comes in at number 2 and it probably has the best ending of the three. It covers a single night in the life of a married couple after the husband says “I want a divorce.” They both go out seeking solace in myriad ways. My only complaint is that, because of the high-contrast (possibly Super-16) black and white film stock this film was shot on, the shitty quality of Watch Instantly is really on display. If you can ignore that, you’re in for a great movie.

Shadows is Cassavetes’s first film as a director and really puts on display the themes he would continue to deal with: the brutal honesty of love and its implications. It’s about a mixed race couple in 1950’s New York. And has a lot of Jazz. It’s also the shortest of his films, so it’s definitely a good entry into his style.

4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (doesn’t end… it was distributed by Netflix, so why would they pull it?)

This Romanian film won the Palme D’or in 2007 and is absolutely fantastic. Set in the Communist 80’s, a woman and her friend seek out a black market abortion to get rid of the child for various sociopolitical reasons. There are several sequences in this movie that will stay with you.

It’s an emotional film that, if you can stick out, is a rewarding experience.

Let me In (no end date)

original review

This remake of the 2008 Swedish film, Let the Right One In, does its best to not really remake the original film, but to reinterpret the novel. For that reason, this movie stands alongside it as a solid companion. And! It’s not subtitled like the original (in case you hate reading).

This film is filled with great cinematography and an excellent score from Michael Giacchino on top of two great kid-performances (a trend I’ve noticed the past few years and would love to see continued) from Kodi Smit-McPhee of the Road and Chloe Grace Moretz from Kickass.

Let the Right One In (no end date)

As it turns out, both versions are on Netflix. I’m of the camp that thinks that both are equally as compelling and awesome, but I’ll let you be the judge.

Gomorrah (no end date)

I watched this one the other day and, no, it’s not about sodomy’s cousin. It’s actually about the most influential Italian mob, which is called Camorra. It follows the lives of several people of different ages and occupations as they deal with being in the mafia and the choices that people must make in situations like this.

What I found most interesting, though, is that it turns its focus away from the violence and onto the characters. As a result, it could be criticized as boring, but I found it to be the exact opposite–especially when the two teenagers are on screen. Their story is perhaps the most tragicomic since you know exactly what ends they’ll probably meet from the moment they begin to buck the trends and laws laid down by the bosses. And then stealing their guns and cocaine.

It’s a gutsy movie. And I can definitely see why Martin Scorsese attached his name to it.

Oh-kay. I guess that’s about it for this week. Hopefully I’ll do it again in a week. I’ll be honest, I’ve been intending on doing this for awhile and am finally getting around to it.


Turn the page on the day, walk away [transformers 3]

Let me start this off by saying that I am a Michael Bay apologist. I don’t know why, really. I just like his movies and am not sorry for it. He may not be able to make an Oscar-Bait late-fall type of movie, but he’s probably the second best in the summer movie business (behind JJ Abrams).

I haven’t written many reviews recently because most of the movies that’ve come out this summer have sucked. Hard. And I don’t mean that in the typical “story was flat, effects were okay” type of way but in the way of they left absolutely no impression on me.

Take Green Lantern for instance. I saw it the Monday morning after it came out. By the evening, I had to remind myself that I had seen it. It was like watching a $200 million cut scene from a video game. None of it stuck with me. Maybe it’s because, at this point in the game, we’ve seen the origin story a hundred million times. It’s a necessary evil I wrote about in my Thor review.

X-Men First Class was the same way.

But Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon actually left shrapnel in my brain, left me breathless by the end of it’s 2 hour and 40 minute run time.

It’s also the only movie I’ve seen this summer that led the audience to applaud at the end of it. Which usually says something.

It’s not Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I promise. 

A lot of the flack that this film’s predecessor got was deserved. Revenge of the Fallen was overlong and bloated by a plot that made no sense because of the fact that it was written in three weeks (thanks writers strike). This was probably also the reason for all the racist/sexist humor–when you’ve only got three weeks, you’re gonna reach for the low hanging fruit just to fill out the pages.

It was basically a boat with a screen door for its hull. It couldn’t hold water.

But it tried to entertain us with giant action sequences in interesting locations despite not making much sense.

This one, though, returns to the first Transformers in the sense that it really feeds my sick addiction for explosions and destruction. It never lets up. It piles on the tragedy to the point that, yea, I honestly thought that everything was fucked before the third act took hold.

Death and Destruction

Seemingly taking a cue from all the recent “urban warfare” films, this movie takes its major sequences from the Pyramids of Giza to the streets of Chicago. What this does is make the deaths of civilians that much more prominent. I’m a little surprised with how much they were able to get away with in this film because some if it is fairly grisly, even if it is just CGI people.

This doesn’t even begin to describe what happens to the city itself. It’s really something you have to see to believe…

The 3D

Before going in, I had heard from several different reviewers that the 3D in this film rivaled that of Avatar and it’s true. Especially since Bay employed some of the same techniques like slowing down a shot mid-action so you could really get a sense of what was happening. Or simply not shaking the camera so damn much.

The technology was used to its full extent by adding a lot of depth to scenes and having the giant fighting robots brought right to the forefront. Nothing ever felt too gimmicky or out of place, which I guess is the beauty of the PACE 3D cameras. They make things pretty.

How Best to Enjoy this Movie

See it in 3D; turn off the critical/analytical part of your brain; sit close; enjoy the action. If you’re willing to give yourself over to this movie, you’re bound to be entertained. Which is more than I got from the rest of this summer’s lineup thus far.

But where Did Megan Fox go? 

Shut the fuck up.

graceland’s poster

Oh My God, Girl.

We shot the poster a couple weeks ago and have been working at making perfect. This is what we came up with:

Don’t forget to check out our IndieGoGo page for all the latest updates and to donate (you really should). And the facebook page.

A Detailed Guide to Donating on IndieGoGo, Just In Case You Need It [graceland]

Okay, so. Let’s say you get to the IndieGoGo page, you read through all the information, and then you’re all “Gee, I’d love to donate, but I wish someone was here to help me out!” Well, this is the closest I can get to being your personal Donating to Graceland Assistant. Follow these instructions and you’re on your way to having a good day. You can click on the pictures and they’ll come up all huge in a new tab and whatnot. 

Step 1: The Contribute Now Button

This is our IndieGoGo page. What’s Circled is the Contribute Now button. Keep in mind that you can pick whatever amount you wish to donate, the $50 next to it doesn’t mean anything. Give what you can!

Step 2: Figure Out How Much You Want to Donate

The first section of the Contribute Now page lists all of the perks available, with the final one being “No perk, just a donation,” which is 100% tax deductible no matter how much you give. If you get some of our swag/cool shit, you’ll notice that only the cost over the item is tax deductible. So you’ll get everything back on your taxes except what it cost us to make you a bitchin’ poster (ed. note–we’re actually doing the photo shoot today!)

In the box that the arrow is pointing to, you can put the amount which you wish to donate. It can be any number you want, like the Showcase Showdown. You do the $1 bid, but everyone knows that’s stupid. But any number from 1-nth is valid. You could donate $43 if you wanted to. Or any number. You get it.

Step 3: When things Get PersonalIn order to donate, you need to first give us your email address. If you don’t want fun emails from IndieGoGo, uncheck the box that says “Send me occassional emails like our monthly newsletter.”

Step 2 of this part is whether or not you want to tell the world that you donated. We’ve got three options: Name and Amount, Name only, and Anonymous. So there’s confidentiality–or, if you’re embarrassed about supporting the arts (you really shouldn’t be, silly goose), you can go anonymous. I’d like to think the second two are mostly for Daddy Fat Stax out there who give a lot and don’t want to be recognized. Either way, you should be proud that you’re doing this, so I’d recommend at least posting your Name.

Step 3 is totally optional, but I’d love for you guys to leave us a comment–hell, you could even do a shoutout. “All my homies in Cell Block 3 would be proud of my donation…” Anything. Just try to leave a comment.

Step 4:  Pay the Man

This is the part where you fill out your credit card information. In the picture, you’ll notice there’s a popup window–this is their “Don’t worry, your safe” message. I figured you should see it so I could say Don’t Worry, Your Money is Safe and We’re Not Gonna Steal Your Identity.

Then hit contribute. 

Step 5: ConfirmationThis is your last chance to back out, if you really really want to (My guess, you don’t.) Just make sure you didn’t put extra zeros at the end of your $5 donation. We’d be pleased to have it, but your credit score might not be. Or, hell, make sure you did put extra zeros if your confident like that. We appreciate extra zeros.

Step 6: Spread the Word (This One’s Important)

After you press confirm, you will get a nearly identical dialog box. Don’t Ignore It, This is Important. See, crowd funding requires a crowd. And one way to get a crowd is to get our donors tweeting/emailing/Facebooking about their contributions and how just absolutely bitchin’ this project is.

If you don’t have a twitter, hit the email button. Then the Facebook button. We need you to help us by sharing this project. Your money is incredible and great and we’re incredibly thankful for it. But, think, there’s even more you can do to help us that doesn’t cost anything.

Spread the word.

Step 7: The Emails You Receive.

7.1 The Important Email from Fractured Atlas

This email is the one that you need to print and file away, or let sit in your inbox until Tax Time next year. But this is your voucher that says “Give me my money back Uncle Sam.”

So print it, and save it with all the receipts from the Goodwill and whatnot. I figure your philanthropic enough to have a folder entitled “Awesome Shit I’ve Done that the Government’s Gonna Pay Me Back For.” I do. It’s not only helpful come next tax season, it’s also a friendly reminder on a bad day that, yes, you do help people and yes, you are a good person.

7.2 The Kind of Important Email from IndieGoGo

This email from IndieGoGo is one you don’t need to print and save, it’s simply the one that says “Your Order Went Through, Here’s the Details.”

You can keep this one for your records as well, but the only one you need for taxes is the Fractured Atlas Email (7.1)

Step 8: You Make Me Feel Like This:

Happy. We’re making a movie folks.

Party Down, Funding Up. 

Help us Fund Graceland–An Open Letter.

As many of you know, I am directing a short film and, in order to fund this project, we have been crowd funding through IndieGoGo. Many of you were incredibly gracious during our first round of fundraising when we were able to raise $2,050.

Although this is a healthy sum, it winds up being not enough.

We are attempting to make a film of the highest caliber–one that will win awards and will make all of us proud. And, in order to do that, we need a larger budget… It’s not that it takes a million dollars and a small army of people to do this, not in the least. It’s simply that, right now, we are operating on an incredibly tight budget that would benefit greatly from even a marginal increase.

The cool thing is that the donations are now tax deductible meaning that you’ll get your investment back next April no matter what. The only legal thing to mention is that if you request a physical product (one of our gifts like a poster or a t-shirt), then only the amount over the cost of the item will be tax deductible.

However, if you simply give, your donation is 100% tax deductible and your email from IndieGoGo/Fractured Atlas–a non-profit organization we are partnering with–counts as proof for a write off.

When you head over to our IndieGoGo page, you’ll see a new pitch video that includes footage from the rehearsals we had the week before last. We are fully casted and fully crewed, we just need your help.

So please go to our donation page and check out our information and consider giving with the knowledge that your money is helping launch the careers of all of us on this project.

Also head over to the graceland updates section of this site to get access to all the videos and posts I’ve done about the project including information on what we will be using the money for and where the script comes from, where I come from, all of that.

We have a presence all over the web, if you’re interested. We have a Facebook page, and you can follow us on Twitter as “@gracelandfilm”. Like us, follow us, and please, please, give.

I know in my heart of hearts that this is a project that you can get involved with, be a part of, and take pride in. We’ve got 30 days left, let’s see what we can do.

Yay graceland!