Movie Review – Shoot ‘Em Up

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– Summary –

Director :  Michael Davis
Year Of Release :  2007
Principal Cast : Clive Owen, Monica Bellucci, Paul Giamatti, Stephen McHattie, Greg Bryk.
Approx Running Time :  86 Minutes
Synopsis: An assassin and a prostitute must save an orphaned infant from the clutches of a vicious gangster.

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In the genre of action films, names such as John Woo, Richard Donner, and Tsui Hark instantly spring to mind. Directors with a flair for visual action, for capturing the frenetic pace and rampant confusion associated with the style. After years of perfecting their art, they are reknowned masters of the action genre.

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Vale – Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger - 1979-2008

Heath Ledger – 1979-2008

It might seem a tad presumptuous to write a tribute to Heath Ledger, who passed away this morning Australian time, given that I had never met the man, or even thought too much about him while he was alive. Funny how you don’t miss something until it’s gone, eh? I checked out Wikipedia to update myself with his body of work, some of which I will admit I never saw. While brief, in the scale of things it still manages to be impressive. To go from virtual nobody to a major Hollywood star within ten years, starring in a total of 14 major films, is a magnificent achievment for a lad from Perth. The fact that he never took hold of the Hollywood glamour lifestyle to which he could have easily slipped into, was a testament to his character as much as to his belief that he was an artist, not a fortune hunter. After checking out his CV, it became clear to me just what a talent we have lost.

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Heath Ledger Dead

Well, the news came thru today that Heath Ledger, great Australian actor, has been found dead in his home in Manhattan. Heath, what were you thinking? Drugs? Mate.

What frustrates and saddens me about this whole sorry saga, is the fact that we’ll never get to see what he might have done with his career.

An update to this post will be done this evening.

Directors & Producers Guilds Sign new Deal: Writers strike over soon?

Sorry for the second post in one day, but after reading the following article on IMDb, I had to reflect on what has been a very trying time in Hollywood recently. Here’s the original post from IMDB:

All eyes turned to the Writers Guild of America Thursday after the Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers concluded a three-year agreement that significantly raised the directors’ residuals payments for shows sold on the Internet. In a statement, DGA President Michael Apted said, “This was a very difficult negotiation that required real give-and-take on both sides.” In a separate statement, alliance President Nick Counter said, “Both parties were determined to focus on the core issues that are most important to all of us.” Counter’s remarks appeared to be a jab at the writers, who had insisted on putting demands for jurisdiction over reality shows and animation on the negotiating table, matters the AMPTP had refused to consider. Under the agreement with the directors, the studios and production companies will pay a residual of about $600 whenever ads are sold on a one-hour program that is streamed over the Internet for more than 17 days. Additional payments are spelled out for programs that are streamed for more than 26 weeks. The deal also essentially doubles the residual rate for paid downloads of TV shows and movies, based on distributors’ grosses, after the first 100,000 downloads (50,000 in the case of feature films). The New York Times reported today (Friday) that a $2-million study commissioned by the DGA determined that producers will continue to earn a negligible amount of revenue from digital media until at least 2010. Thursday’s agreement also calls for doubling the residual rate on DVDs. Nevertheless, the WGA has made it clear that it will act independently in negotiating a deal with the studios and will not be bound by the terms of a DGA deal. Asked about the deal, Writers Guild of America West President Patric Verrone said cryptically, “I don’t want to prejudge it.” Doug Allen, executive director of the Screen Actors Guild, which is also due to begin talks with the producers, said that he had only seen a press release and wanted to see “more specifics.” Nevertheless, many analysts commented that it was unlikely that the writers would be able to negotiate a separate deal that would be more lucrative than the one with the directors.

Boiled down, it essentially says that the Directors and Producers Guilds have all come to an agreement, so anybody screaming and stomping on more dirt than they deserve might get kicked off the plantation. The Writers Guild might have to hurry up and get back to the negotiating table! Watch this space for more updates as I get them!

Schoolyard Justice – Update #4

Another short update this morning. Working on SYJ, I suddenly realised that I hadn’t updated any images from the last time…. not in the last post, anyway. So, for your edification, here are a couple of images from Schoolyard Justice. Check out the rest of the website for more details, and also www.syjmovie.com for other details.

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Jamie Williamson in action in Schoolyard Justice. (C)2008 Fernby Films.

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Instrument of doom….. well, not really… What signifigance does this lighter have??? You’ll find out…. (C)2008 Fernby Films.

American Writers Strike takes effect – Starting to suck

The Amrican Writers Strike began in Novermber, by the Writers Guild who were wanting some decent payback for DVD and Internet sales of movies, TV and Music that they had a hand in creating. For too long, they asserted, studios had scooped the money for this new boon to the industry and pocketed it all. Writers were paid a salary, a once off sum, and that was it.

So, in order to get a fair deal, they went on strike. Fair enough. If you are getting ripped off, then you have a right to stand up and say something about it.

Problem for the world is, with the writers strike, most Hollywood productions have shut down. Most TV shows are off the air, as new shows are not currently being filmed. Most of 2007/2008 product should currently be in production, but its not. Which means that all your favourite shows, like CSI, Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and all those shows, have about half the usual number of episodes shot and completed. Which means, for the next year or so we’ll be playing catchup on stories in those shows. There is a fair bulk of Australian TV that is taken up with screening US shows, although now thats not going to be such an option. And repeats will only get you so far. I guess this means more reality shows (which are unscripted) on our tubes.

It also has the unfortunate power to halt any and all film production currently taking place in the world wherever US guild members are involved. Already completed scripts are allowed to be used, although if you want to tinker with it… too bad.

As an example, the George “Happy Feet, Mad Max” Miller directed Justice League project has been put on haitus for the immediate future, while the negotiations in the US take place.

http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/0,26278,23067524-7485,00.html

Its a real pleasure to finally see Megan Gale in a major film role (she appeared briefly in Stealth, a few years back) in a role I can see her slipping comfortably into. For those unaware, Gale will be taking on this role:

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But if Millers film gets pushed back too far, other issues might arise…. such as actors and crew having to pull out to fulfill other commitments.

The entire thing is beginning to bite hard, and it’s not just affecting the US, but everywhere else as well.

And it’s starting to suck.

Schoolyard Justice – Update #3

Just a short post today, to let you all know that sound mixing on SYJ is progressing well, and the music is coming along as well. Ryan kris, our composer, has been working on several themes for the project, and I am looking forward to mixing them into the final film. Foley and ADR is going well, but I will admit that its a lot more difficult and more time consuming than I was expecting when I began to do it.

Anyway, things are progressing well, and hopefully by the end of this month we’ll move towards the final phase of pickup shooting and final mixing.

See Cloverfield this weekend! It will be good for you.

The official list is up…. check it out!!!

I have finally done what somebody suggested ages ago, and put a list of my Top Ten films up on the site. Check out the sidebar for the link to the Top Ten list page! Go, enjoy. Oh, and if anybody wants to poke fun at my list, let them list their own Top Ten so that all is fair!!! GO! Read and enjoy!!!!

Project Designation: Cloverfield

The most anticipated film this summer is upon us: the imminent release next week of Cloverfield. While receiving virtually no publicity here in Australia, the film was produced by JJ Abrahms (the man behind Lost, Mission Impossible III) and is expected to rake in a fortune overseas.

For those who know nothing about that which I speak, click this link to find yourself at the trailer…. in high quality.

http://villagecinemas.com.au/Movies/Cloverfield.htm

Looks entertaining yes? A remake of Godzilla? Not quite, but sort of. Some kind of ferocious monster lands in New York City and starts to tear it apart. Finally, the kind of movie 1998’s Godzilla only wished it could be.

Anyway, colour me excited and waiting in line to see this film!

And I promise to post a review of it once I have seen it.

The Apartment Trailer – What is it?

Eagle eyed viewers might have noticed a small addition to the archive page on YouTube over the last week, a little trailer entitled The Apartment. What is this, you ask. Fernby Films have not had this on their agenda to my knowledge, you say, shaking your head.

The Apartment Trailer is my attempt to make a creepy, scary trailer for a film that does not exist. The Apartment is a non-existent short film about nothing. The trailer is simply an excuse to try out different things with sound and lighting, along with different effects and trying to tell a small story within the context of a trailer.

Having managed to get almost every creepy camera shot into it that I was capable of filming on my own (filmed and edited inside of six hours) I think it’s quite successful.

Let me know what you think!