Movie Review: Rise of the Plant of the Apes

Just plain fun.  That’s the best way to describe this perfect summer movie.  Rise of the Planet of the Apes has action, really good characterization and the best performance of the year.

That’s right, I’ll say it – Caesar the Ape (Andy Serkis and a lot of CGI) gives the best performance of the year.  It is heartbreaking, empowering and flat out exciting.  The rest of the apes as well.  It’s amazing that most of the human characters blend together – but the apes are all so unique.  James Franco does a good job as well, but it is Caesar’s movie.  Brian Cox is good, the kid who plays Draco Malfoy in the Potter movies plays a weirdly over the top villain (but it works for the movie).  Freida Pinto looks amazing, but her presence is rather pointless.

You wind up wildly rooting for the apes – and this turns into an all out brawl on the streets of San Francisco.  And it is a lot of fun.  Just watching the apes storm the city is breathtaking.  It’s saying something when your heart breaks when apes die, but you don’t even blink when the humans die.

Definitely worthy of the ticket price.  In fact, it may be my favorite movie of 2011 thus far.


Top 5 Heist Movies

To qualify – the movie must revolve around or culminate in aheist.  It can start with a big heist,but everything from there on out should be because of the heist (Riffifi). Somethinglike Goodfellas, where there is theLuftansa heist, doesn’t count because it is just a small piece of the puzzle.  I would include Bonnie and Clyde, as well as ButchCassidy and the Sundance Kid in that mix as well, where it is about thecharacters, not the heists they are pulling.

Top 5

Next 5:
  • Fast and Furious
  • Safemen
  • Three Kings
  • The Sting
  • The Saint

Honorable Mentions:
  • Ocean’s Twelve
  • Riffifi
  • The Bank Job
  • Italian Job
  • Confidence
  • The Inside Man
  • Duplicity
  • Killing Zoe
  • The Lookout
  • Nothing to Lose
  • Reindeer Games
  • Ronin
  • Street Thief (documentary)
  • Swordfish
  • Takers
  • Taking of Pelham 123 (original, 2009)
  • Thief

Top 5 Haunted House Movies

To qualify for this list, a film’s antagonistmust be the dwelling or location from the film. So, something like Psycho doesn’t qualify, because although the horrorelements take place in one primary location – they are perpetrated by a human,not the house, or motel, itself.

Honorable Mentions:
  • Paranormal Activity
  • Darkness Falls

Bulderlyns Colorist – Dmitry Dubrovin!

And the Spoke Lane team keeps growing!  I’m really pumped to announce that, after an exhaustive (from NY to California and literally across the globe), we have inked a deal with Moscow-based artist Dmitry ‘Lemon5ky’ Dubrovin to color Bulderlyns, the young adult graphic novel which is currently in production.

Polish artist Igor Wolski is doing pencils, and Pawel is inking the book.  We’re into the 40’s (of about 150 pages)… all of which Dmitry can dive right in on.

There’s just something about his colors that stand out.  They have a depth and texture that most who are coloring digitally just can’t seem to match.  This guy rocks.  Here are a few of his samples:




Movie Review: All Good Things

All Good Things was something that came up as a recommend for me on Netflix and I remember it being made, but no waves were made when it eventually came out.  I can’t stand Kirsten Dunst, but I am a big Ryan Gosling fan.  And what a great first name.  I liked Jarecki’s docu Capturing the Friedman’s and dove right into this.

It was well made – and the style took you right back to the time period (70’s thru 00’s).  That was really surprising and a pleasant surprise.  I actually researched this case, about a guy who is accused (but never convicted) of killing two women, after I heard about the movie.  Why?  Because I’m obsessed with serial killers and the first wife was actually from Long Island.  I’m also obsessed with Long Island.

The film was okay.  That’s what I’ll say about it.  The story was engrossing, but mostly based on Gosling’s performance.  I knew where it was going, so I was waiting for the explosion – or how they would do it.  And watching this guy simmering beneath the surface from Gosling’s performance was really something.  But the story itself was slow moving (I’m guessing intentionally)… and not as much of a mystery as I was hoping.  They basically paint him out to be the killer and leave no room for other culprits.

For those that are interested – he’s accused of killing the first wife – but her body was never found and she’s actually still considered a missing person (not a dead body).

My R.E.M. Re-Watch Movie List

As I prepare to push forward with my first feature as a director, R.E.M., there are a handful of films that I am going to re-watch a few times.  Either they have the look and feel that I would like, the pace is equivalent, they take place in similar worlds, etc…

They are (and the list will continue to grow):

Top 5 Revenge Movies

For this list, I’m discounting any sport rivalry movies. Because that isn’t revenge, it is morecomeuppance. Or soldiers given order and/or sent on a mission (such as Munich).

Someone had to wrong you and you had to go out of your wayto get payback. And/or the lead wronged someone and they are coming for payback.
My Top 5:
Braveheart – all because they killed his love.
Young Guns – all because those bastards killed John Tunstall.
Out for Justice – all because Richie killed Bobby.  
Conan the Barbarian – James Earl Jones and a bunch of jacked dudes killed Conan’s mother and father.
Old Boy – this is some serious revenge. If you haven’t seen it, you really should.  Don’t want to give anything away.
Next 5 (Top 10):
These could have easily been the top 5.  Really tough list to make.
Revenge of the Nerds 
The Bourne Identity / The Bourne Supremacy
Next 5:
One Crazy Summer
Rocky IV
The Limey
Kill Bill Vol. I
Honorable Mention (alphabetical):
Boondock Saints
Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo
Death Wish
El Mariachi
Friday the 13th
Mean Girls
Nothing to Lose
Office Space
Point Blank / Payback
Red Hill
Road to Perdition
Robin Hood (Original)
The Crow
The Firm
The Player
Thelma & Louise
Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead

What to Write Next?

After coming off producing White Space, it has been hard to motivate to write something new.  But now I’m back in the game and ready to pull the trigger.  I just can’t decide where my focus should be.  Well, to be honest, my focus is on the R.E.M. feature.  But that only occupies a section of my brain each day, as I can only do so much in one day on it (without the cash in hand).  I’ve also had a lot going on with the graphic novels in the last two weeks (Bulderlyns, R.E.M. (4.2.3. prequel book) and Chasing Rabbits).  But again, it is different from writing.

Right now I’m deciding between the following:

The Beast novella.  The script is written and I have a very, very loose prose translation.  It needs a tremendous amount of work.

Penny Black script. Since I’m focusing so heavily on R.E.M. right now, although this is cool – the idea was a project I could do for around $100,000.  I’m also having a hard time getting in the lead character’s head.

– Undercover Cop Show.  This would be like a cross between The Wire and Sopranos.  Like a Donnie Brasco/Departed (although I prefer Infernal Affairs) television show.  Each season would be a new ‘case’, much like each season of The Wire focused on a new element.  The idea is that the first season’s overarching storyline is that this one cop’s partner got killed and he’s dead set on finding out who did it, no matter the cost to him or his family/loved ones.

I guess right now it would be between The Beast and this TV show.  It’s probably easier for me to write The Beast, and more efficient.  However, I then have to begin the long process of printing the books (or shopping for a publisher) and promotion, etc…  and for little in return (potentially).  Since White Space didn’t really pay me much (or anything), this has the TV show in the lead.  But, it too is daunting because it’s not one script – I have to develop the series/characters behind it.  And probably plot out the whole first season.

31 Questions for New Filmmakers – Part VI

The Ethics of Creating is what these last two questions pertain to. Once again, these questions were posited by Ted Hope and I’ve had a lot of fun answering them.

I will start by saying that I don’t believe in ethics.  They are just prescribed morals.  I have morals that guide me, but loathe anything to do with ‘ethics’.  The word itself irks me.  That said, here you go…

Do filmmakers haveany responsibility to culture? 

No.   They have a responsibilityto tell good stories.  If those storiesare about a specific culture – then they should be giving the most honestglimpse into that culture they can.  But,this is a business and things are changed or sensationalized to pull the mostprofit.  There is nothing wrong with that– but eventually I think cinemagoers will see right through those filmmakers.

Do you feel thatbeing a creative person requires that you give back or tell a particular storyor not do something else? Why or why not?

I don’t feel that I need to give back or tell a particularstory for the reasons that this question is implying.  I do feel the need or yearning to tellspecific or particular stories because they have embedded themselves into myhead and are, for lack of a better phrase, bursting at the seams to getout.  The only one I’m responsible forpleasing in an ethical or moral way is myself.