Thursday, July 27, 2006

Frustration: Entry 102

If you carefully examine the expression on my face in the partnering photo you'll see a forced smile, a deep inhale, gritted teeth, and the hinted sweats of a boiling rage. I haven't taken any photos that could pleasantly display the frustration that has been pouring out of me like a broken water main... So this is as close as I could get without dousing an object (animate or inanimate) with a highly corrosive/flammable liquid crushing it's skull (or something resembling a skull), dismembering said object, and setting it ablaze... Then perhaps running over it with a car. Get where I'm going here?
I understand, or at least I've been told, that someone is checking and double checking our second attempt at getting DIVINE MANIPULATION OF THE THREADS pressed to DVD. Second? Yeah, the first came back with a glitch... all 1000 copies. The following day I called our contact and told him of the unfortunate news. He said that he would get back on it and find out where the problem came from. After three weeks of going back and forth through phonecalls and bullshit, our contact finally said that "we" were going to take a different route. You see, the company that pressed the discs didn't want to take responsibility for the mistake. They wanted to play games and wait it out. They wanted to blame us for a problem with our master disc but kept saying that they wanted to run tests on our master disc to find out where the problem lay. We requested numerous times to send back our master... because there was no f-ing way in hell that there was a problem with our master disc. They didn't send it back, they kept screwing around.
Sound like a lawsuit? Yeah. I'm thinking that the Better Business Bureau might be a good path. Never pre-pay for a project... because once people are paid, it's a little difficult to motivate them to fix a mistake on their end. Now that we're having to get the project done again, there is a dance taking place in the grand ballroom of trust and money. You see, somewhere in this dance I felt a tug on my belt... as if someone were trying to steal my pants and screw me. The rumor that has been danced around is an issue of having to pay more money for a job that we've already paid for... a job that was not done correctly. It's bad business and this nice guy routine that I've been known for in the past is really starting to wear thin.
This is my baby... our project. This is something that people have been waiting to get their hands on for some time... and we're getting screwed around because some f#9{sticks in Chicago made a mistake and don't want to take responsibility. The movie was released in April. It's almost August. WTF? Perhaps the picture is no longer doing this steaming pot of frustration an ounce of justice...
I did submit DIVINE MANIPULATION OF THE THREADS to the Indie Memphis Film Festival through . It's a helpful little sight that offers an electronic press-kit and easy processing. I'm certainly hoping that as "local boys" we are allowed in the competition. A while back there were some talks about Indie Memphis not letting in films that have previously screened in Memphis.
Um, every project from Sawed-Off Collaboratory or the Media Co-op was screened before their involvement with the festival. Hell, the "L'il Film Fest" short film winners (which are screened publicly at the L'il Film Fest) are guaranteed to be showcased at the Indie Memphis Film Festival. Let's not be hypocrites, okay? If you don't like the film... fine. If you exclude local Memphis films from Indie Memphis I think that you start burning bridges and treating those that actually put asses in seats during the festival like bastard step children. I don't think that we should start excluding local filmmakers because they've taken it upon themselves to have a premiere... but I may be getting ahead of myself.

On another note: I did see A SCANNER DARKLY and CLERKS II. The first was not that fascinating. The rotoscoping animation was perhaps the best part of the film. Transferring a book of that nature that gets so far in your head into a successful feature film is not an easy task. I wonder if they shot the film and had to find some way to make people want to go see it... sober people that is. From what I remember of the "Old Bevan" days of yore, that would have been a trippy ass film to watch while on mushrooms or some other psychotropic hallucinogenic. CLERKS II on the other hand was a healthy dose of Kevin Smith's gross out humor. I laughed a lot. However, remember that dance scene in "DIVINE?" Yeah, there's a dance scene in CLERKS II... for no apparent reason other than being odd and funny. So, I didn't steal the idea from Kevin Smith. I want that known and on the record.
Who needs a drink? Oh, the official Rusted Sun Films website is in the works for a make-over. I'll try to keep you kids posted on when the hell that will actually happen. Sometime when we have the discs I'm sure. There should be other festivals to submit to as well... when I get the 1000 discs back.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Film Reviews, DVD Update: Entry 101

Okay kiddies, now that I'm playing the lonesome bachelor I've taken it upon myself to make the time to see the films that I couldn't have viewed while the girlfriend was in town. No, not porn you pinheads... Simply films (be they Indie or Studio off-shoots) that I wouldn't have normally been able to convince the girlfriend to otherwise join me in watching -- without kicking or screaming or favors that would slowly murder a small chunk of my soul in gut wrenching exchange (ie: girlie movies with names like FAILURE TO LAUNCH or THE LAKE HOUSE... but I might actually see THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA because Anne Hathaway is quite attractive... but that's another story for another time). So with this rare opportunity of available time held steady in the sights of somewhat meaningless disposal, I have chosen to meander through the fields of media consumption for the "Indie" road less traveled. There are other ways to spend the day. I could be reading my new "Story" book (that is supposed to help a poor screenwriter understand the delicate workings of a GOOD story -- As opposed to the relentless loads of Hollywood crap that has been developed and given the greenlight over the past few decades). I could have also been using this time to develop such said screenplay into characters, archplots, miniplots, negative/positive change, and all of the little elements that will, with all good hope, make my next little working something that people will care about. I decided that there still had to be some inspiration left out there in this world of film mediocrity and I surfed through the showtimes to find something to whet the cranium. Last night, I scheduled myself to make time to see the film BRICK.
I remember hearing rumblings around the film festival circuit when this film first came out. Of course, as I've been reading and learning all about the various processes that help to get a film distributed, I understand that any word coming out of Sundance (or any other major festival for that matter) should be taken with a shovel of salt. As Sundance is commonly viewed as the pinnacle of Independent Film success, it should also be understood that there is a fair amount of "shoveling" that spills into the streets, trade magazines, and hype squarely intended on getting people to get "hot" about any particular film. There are people that get paid by the hour to shovel the word.
The word was thrown around in various forms of clever genius... a film noir adventure that captures the audience... etc. etc. I'm kind of partial to the whole film noir movement, so that particular mound of wordplay caught my attention. There was one little mixture in this formula that made it stand out like a Freshman with a pair of speed-flung nunchaku... They took the classical film noir detective mystery and set it against the backdrop of a modern day high school. Hmmm... Well it could work. At least, it would be something different. I mean, it couldn't be any worse that LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN (which was the first film that made me seriously think of getting up out of my seat, walking to the ticket counter, and woefully asking for my money back. -- I've NEVER walked out of a film, mind you... but LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN and BOONDOCK SAINTS came damn close to breaking the chains of respective restraint).
Amazingly enough, it wasn't half bad. BRICK was shot well. The dialogue was pulled directly from an old film noir film, which is what made the whole "High School Setting" a little less than palatable. When a rebel high school student is "playing it cool" with Vice Principal Richard Roundtree, they exchange dialogue that only a Private Detective and a Police Captain would chew up and spit out across a shadowy office in the 1950's (daddy-o).
It's an interesting concept. Take a classic film noir in the vein of CHINATOWN or A TOUCH OF EVIL -- Then work up the script with clever dialogue and catchy neo-noir words. I'm sure the script was taken to a studio and someone said, "This will never work. People won't come out to see the movie. Film Noir is dead. 14 year old girls control the world. They have all of the money, they convince boys to pay for movies. Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake have made a killing off of this age demographic. Make a movie that teenagers will watch."
There is a terrible white sheet of fear that washes over someone after hearing words like that. But it can be fixed. "Okay, lets take the ultimate cool of film noir and put it in a high school with drugs, kingpins, murder, deception, and a kid that plays detective so damn well that he can't be stopped. Shit, man, don't you remember how the 80's blew up with 21 JUMPSTREET?"
And that's the best description I can mash together... take a fist full of CHINATOWN, half a cup of 21 JUMPSTREET, add the kid from 3rd ROCK FROM THE SUN, the chick from LOST, mix, and serve.
Other than some situations taking place around a bunch of high school kids (thus making the scenario a little too hard to believe -- But then again what the hell did STAR WARS have going for it if not a level of detachment?)... I enjoyed the film. I really enjoyed the music. It is clever. It will probably catch on to be a cult classic and the video sales will go through the roof. Hell, I'll more than likely end up buying a copy. However, I still have to pick up KISS KISS, BANG BANG and THE MATADOR. They may not be great films... but I haven't seen them and Christine can't yell at me for purchasing them from 3000 miles away. If you get a chance or some free time away from the girlfriend (unless she's into Indie film)... see BRICK. I'll more than likely catch PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN this weekend too. I can't help it Johnny Depp is a talent that cannot be contained and Kiera Knightly makes my heart twist in a state of flux.

So, want some updates on the progress of the DIVINE MANIPULATION OF THE THREADS DVD? So would I. I understand that the people that glass mastered and pressed the disc are of the opinion that the problem is on "our" end. It's been said that the master we sent them is the root of the problem. I don't necessarily believe it... I'll have to wait until Monday to see for myself. That could be a major problem. So, keep waiting. I hope to have this ass chapping debacle behind us soon enough. It's helping me find religion. I know that there are several people that want to purchase a copy. I want to sell them to you. I just have to make sure that the thing we're selling isn't a waste. A "skip" in the movie is not acceptable. Film festivals won't accept it and neither should you... or I... Well, it's hurry up and wait from here. Until next time...