a public ransom and flying with molly

 

 

Two of the coolest people I know are currently running indiegogo campaigns for two very different projects.

I’ll start with the great Pablo D’Stair, who published my first novel, Ash Cinema, recently finished his first film, A Public Ransom. He’s a friend and probably genius and you’re going to want to see this movie, if nothing else. Details about the indiegogo are here:

So, my debut film A PUBLIC RANSOM is done and out there, available to all for free viewing online HERE. It was a pure underground, guerrilla endeavor to put together, this bleak little art-house noir–purposefully working with no budget and rudimentary equipment to make something in the bare bones spirit of so many filmmakers iconic to me.  As with everything I do, it was l’art pour l’art and came together exactly as uncompressed and non-solicitous as was the intention.

So what is this campaign then?

The single aim of this is to raise some additional money for entry fees to film festivals. I am draining my own personal coffers as much as possible as well, rest assured, but there are many opportunities–with it firmly in mind the sort of movie this is, I ain’t sending it to Cannes, dig?–that seem specifically tailored for films like A PUBLIC RANSOM and I would hate to miss those boats just for being a few bucks short.

To read more check out the indiegogo campaign page.

The next campaign is for the amazing Molly Gaudry. She’s been dealing with a brain injury for the last couple years, and she’s finally discovered therapy that truly works for her. In addition, she wants to bring this therapy to others. Molly’s an awesome friend, founder of The Lit Pub and one of the kindest people I’ve encountered. Details about her campaign here:

Why I Want To Become An AntiGravity® Fitness Instructor and How You Can Help

  • As many of you know, for the past few years I’ve struggled with double vision, cognitive functioning, and sensory processing disorder (explained in fuller detail here and here).
  • A few months ago, at the end of my first semester as a PhD candidate at the University of Utah, Dr. Ericson at the Rehabilitation Center’s Brain Injury Program said to me: “It’s time you start seriously considering a viable Plan B, outside of academia.”
  • Instead, I renewed my efforts in vision therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy (including vestibular, proprioceptive, kinesthetic, sensorimotor, listening, and sensory integration and regulation therapies), craniosacral therapy, myofascial trigger point release therapy, and mental health therapy.
  • Then I found AntiGravity® Fitness, which changed my life. And now I want to become a certified instructor so I can help change others’ lives.
  • I’m going to go into a lot more detail about all of this below, but right here I’d like to ask for your help: I NEED TO RAISE $7,000, which will go toward CERTIFICATION COSTS (outlined below, including indiegogo’s and other 3rd party fees). If you are able to contribute in any way, please select from the THANK YOU PERKS donated by writers, artists, musicians, photographers, editors, and publishers from all over the country. (If you are in a position to contribute and would rather not receive a perk, every $50 or $100 donation will go a very long way toward this campaign.)

Full details at the indiegogo campaign page.

So, yes, go help out some awesome people be somehow even more awesome.

things to talk about

Many things, as it turns out, but I’ll probably be brief, because that’s just how I am.

First and most importantly: Entropy Magazine has launched! There’s seriously so much great content on there, and though I’m an editor, I can’t really take credit for any of it, though I did write about Fathoms by Joe Russ in my weekly column about short films.

I chose to write about short films because it seems like no one ever does, and because I wanted to engage with people about such a vibrant and awesome artform. It’s largely ignored, I think, but I’m hoping writing about it every week will grab some attention. So talk to me in the comments there. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Seriously though, there’s so much great content on Entropy. I’d link it all, but that would take too much time, so I’m just going to keep telling you to go to the website and enjoy the brilliance there.

Kyle Muntz, friend and possible genius, was interviewed by Literary Orphans today too. He talks about his own writing and video games, which I’ll probably make a post about soonishly.

My brother was on the front page of the Pioneer Press website today:

My first and possibly only reading ever will be this Saturday at The Beat Coffeehouse in Uptown. J Alexander Genz will be performing and Anthony Jacques arranged the whole thing.

And, finally, Twilight of the Wolves is officially released on Friday, but you can get some copies early on amazon. I’m hoping to have them sell out before the release, because that’d humor me.

But, yeah, not much else. Check out Entropy and buy my book!

film lists

This is going around the social media, and while I shared one list, I think I’m going to dump a few more here. I’m going to make some rules, though. Each list will focus on a different continent, with the exclusion of Africa, Australia, and Antarctica because I’ve not seen enough films from those continents to have any real opinion. The other thing is that I’ll only name each director once, though I’ll probably cheat and include too many films by each director under the same post. Also, I think I’ll count Russia as Europe because whatever. The Asian list is identical to the original one I made, but without the Russian films. It’s mostly stuff made in my lifetime, which means it’s missing a lot of great older Japanese films, but that’s the way it goes. Also, still missing a lot of awesome Taiwanese film.

But, yeah, let’s begin?

Asian

  1. In the Mood for Love & 2046 – Wong Kar Wai
  2. 3-Iron – Kim Ki-duk
  3. Last Life in the Universe – Pen Ek-Ratanaruang
  4. The Good, The Bad, The Weird – Kim Ji-woon
  5. Ran – Akira Kurosawa
  6. Dolls/Sonatine/Zatoichi – Takeshi Kitano
  7. To Live/Hero – Zhang Yimou
  8. Farewell, My Concubine – Chen Kaige
  9. Fist of Legend – no idea who actually directs it, but it’s all about Jet Li
  10. Legend of Drunken Master – again, no idea about the director, so Jackie Chan
  11. I’m a Cyborg but That’s OK – Park Chan-wook
  12. The Chaser – Kim Yoon-seok
  13. Infernal Affairs – Andrew Lau and Alan Mak
  14. Pulse/Cure – Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  15. Memories of Murder – Bong Joon-ho

Europe

  1. Hiroshima, Mon Amour – Alain Resnais
  2. The Passion of Joan of Arc – Carl Dreyer
  3. The Return – Andrey Zvyagintsev
  4. The Russian Ark – Alexander Sokurov
  5. Solaris/Stalker – Andrei Tarkovsky
  6. Persona – Ingmar Bergman
  7. Une Femme est une Femme/Pierrot le Fou – Jean-Luc Godard
  8. Le Belle et la Bete – Jean Cocteau
  9. Pan’s Labyrinth – Guillermo Del Toro
  10. Talk to Her/Volver – Pedro Almodovar
  11. Reprise/Oslo, August 31st – Joachim Trier
  12. Hunger/Shame – Steve McQueen
  13. La  Double Vie de Veronique/Trois Couleurs – Krzyzstof Kieslowski
  14. In Bruges – Martin McDonagh
  15. Nights of Cabiria/La Dolce Vita/8 1/2 – Federico Fellini

Okay, so Europe is too hard to do properly, and I really only touched the very surface. Didn’t even get to Germany or most of eastern europe, or even much of anywhere. Should’ve done this by country. Should’ve done all of the lists by country, but so it goes.

North America

  1. Tree of Life/The New World/Badlands – Terrence Malick
  2. Upstream Color – Shane Carruth
  3. The Fountain/Requiem for a Dream – Darren Aronofsky
  4. Post Tenebras Lux – Carlos Reygadas
  5. Videodrome/Eastern Promises – David Cronenberg
  6. The Thing – John Carpenter
  7. Memento – Christopher Nolan
  8. Synechdoche, New York – Charlie Kaufman
  9. The Fall – Tarsem Singh
  10. The Third Man – Carol Reed
  11. Magnolia/There Will Be Blood – Paul Thomas Anderson
  12. O Brother Where Art Thou? – The Coen Brothers
  13. Y tu Mama Tambien – Alfonso Cuaron
  14. Apocalypse Now – Francis Ford Coppola
  15. The Game/Seven/Fight Club – David Fincher

So, doing North America isn’t as difficult as Europe, but it presents its own problems, since I really like Mexican and american cinema. Canadian film is mostly unknown to me, oddly enough.

I decided not to include South America, because in the writing I realised my knowledge of South American cinema is pretty poor, but I like what’s been happening there in recent years, so send suggestions along. I’ve seen a lot recently, but they’ve all been one off films that I can’t remember the name of.

Also, because almost none of the films mentioned are comedies or horror, I decided to include special lists. Also, these will be more anglo-centric because I almost always forget foreign language comedies. Also, I can’t remember any old comedies, so this will mostly be newer stuff.

Comedies

  1. Withnail & I – Bruce Robinson
  2. Dumb and Dumber – The Farrelly Brothers
  3. Tommy Boy – Peter Segal
  4. Amelie/Delicatessen – Jean-Pierre Jeunet
  5. Woody Allen
  6. Adaptation – Spike Jonze
  7. Dr Strangelove – Stanley Kubrick
  8. Life of Brian/Quest for the Holy Grail – Monty Python
  9. Groundhog Day/Ghostbusters – Harold Ramis
  10. Be Kind Rewind/The Science of Sleep – Michel Gondry
  11. Rushmore/Royal Tenenbaums/Life Aquatic/Darjeeling Limited – Wes Anderson
  12. Submarine – Richard Ayoade
  13. Zoolander – Ben Stiller
  14. Mel Brooks
  15. The Marx Brothers

Horror

  1. Alien – Ridley Scott
  2. Diabolique – Henri-Georges Clouzot
  3. Audition – Takashi Miike
  4. [Rec] – Jaume Balaguero
  5. Texas Chainsaw Massacre – Tobe Hooper
  6. Them – David Moreau & Xavier Palud
  7. The Hills Have Eyes – Alexandre Aja
  8. Night of the Living Dead – George Romero
  9. The Shining – Stanley Kubrick
  10. Jaws – Steven Spielberg
  11. Silence of the Lambs – Jonathan Demme
  12. The Exorcist – William Friedkin
  13. Gojira – Ishiro Honda
  14. Let the Right One In – Tomas Alfredson
  15. 28 Days Later/Sunshine – Danny Boyle

And then this list is going to be all kinds of cheating.

Animated

  1. Hayao Miyazaki
  2. Perfect Blue/Tokyo Godfathers – Satoshi Kon
  3. Children Who Chase Lost Voices – Makoto Shinkai
  4. The Sky Crawlers – Mamoru Oshii
  5. Grave of the Fireflies – Isao Takahata
  6. Disney 1937-1940/1967-1981/1992-2000
  7. Pixar, with a few exceptions
  8. Dreamworks, with several exceptions
  9. The Iron Giant – Brad Bird
  10. Fantastic Mr Fox – Wes Anderson
  11. South Park – Trey Parker & Matt Stone
  12. Waking Life/A Scanner Darkly – Richard Linklater
  13. Ice Age – Chris Wedge & Carlos Saldanha
  14. Persopolis – Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Parannoud
  15. The Brave Little Toaster – Jerry Rees

I know it’s not fair to group studios together that way, but it’s the only way to even try to make this list.

so much selfpromotion

Makes you feel weird about yourself. Or it makes me feel weird about myself. It’s bad for the heart.

I think, for now, I’ve posted enough about Girl with Ears & Demon with Limp and Twilight of the Wolves, though I got some cool feedback and words about both yesterday.

I have some work I need to catch up on. This week has been difficult, to say the least. Hearts are fragile things. It started on a pretty unhappy note, and I don’t know if it’s getting better, but I feel like I’m able to be more productive today. Hoping to finish Part One of 13 Angels Screaming at the Mountain, which has been forcibly pushed aside for a couple weeks, despite my best efforts. After that, I want to start on the graphic novel.

Let’s talk about movies, since it’s been awhile since I posted about what I’ve been watching. I’ve been keeping up with my movie a day schedule, sometimes watching a few each day, and since I’ve watched so many since last posting about them, I’ll just do brief recaps, because none of them have been very exceptional.

Rewatched the entire Lord of the Rings in a marathon with the roommates. What’s funny about watching them all back to back is that you really get to see all the problems with them. The first one is clearly the best, and only because it’s structured just like a horror film, and uses a lot of horror techniques. The problems with the following two are related to their success and the time between releases. I think Jackson probably went back in with all the new money and tried to make them more epic high fantasy in tone, which also made them sort of hokey and awkward. Some of the funniest moments happen whenever the main characters encounter any other character. No one ever has a normal conversation, or even interaction. Everything’s piled with awkward and bizarre. Legolas is constantly saying the strangest things you’ll ever hear anyone say, and it all seems so out of nowhere. And then he’s always looking around, shiftyeyed. I can’t remember what else was funny/weird about it, but there are a lot of things. Everything in those films is super weird.

The Man of Tai Chi has some super awesome action sequences intercut with Keanu Reeves proving that he’s an alien. He clearly was raised by wolves and only learnt to speak human language as an adult, and he learnt from zeroing in on William Shatner’s Captain Kirk. Stick around for the fight scenes, but pay attention to Reeves. It’s the closest we’ll get to a truly alien performance.

Project A is awesome because Jackie Chan is awesome.

Rewatched The Dark Knight and it’s still awesome, and it’s really awesome in comparison to Equilibrium, which I watched for the first time a few days after. That movie is just hilariousbad.

Thor: The Dark World is as silly as the original, but it lacks the purposeful humor. Everyone’s still always wearing armor, and really weird armor, at that, but this time everything’s so serious. It really cripples the film. It always seemed weird to me that Kenneth Brannagh directed the first Thor, but now I see what he really added to it. He knew how to handle inherently silly material, but he gave us stakes that we sort of cared about by making us enjoy the characters. This new one’s too serious and, well, silly.

Airplane is just silly in a lot of the right ways, but, I mean, it has sort of 70s casual racism and sexism, so there’s that. But it’s hard to take anything in that movie seriously, as it’s just a series of gags and oneliners.

Cutie and the Boxer is a great documentary about art, and the sacrifices it leads to. It tore their family apart, but they’re still together, sort of wallowing in misery. It’s tough to watch at times because you realise what’s happened to them and why, but it’s also full of beautiful moments. It shows love in all it’s horror and perfection, which are often happening at the same time.

I can’t remember what else I’ve watched. Mostly silly things and action movies. Sometimes you need that.

Now to get back to the real work.

I’m lagging behind.

noir: an excerpt

An excerpt from Noir: A Love Story is over at Atticus Review. It’s the first chapter of the novel, so hopefully that’s enticing.

I still need to write a proper account of the novel and what it means to me, and so on, but I’ll get to that as the day for its release approaches. Probably need to start hunting for blurbs soon, too.

Watched Pieta by Kim Ki Duk today. Kim Ki Duk is one of my favorite Korean directors, but he basically makes two kinds of films: the strangely sublime and the intensely strange. Pieta falls under the latter, which puts it in the category of his films I don’t as much care for, though they’re actually much more representative of who he is as a filmmaker. His most beautiful and glorious films are uncommon, but so much better than 99% of what you get to point your eyes at. Pieta is about hate and revenge and cruelty, which is something he’s always going after. The cruelty of the world, how Korea’s changed and burdened its people with this unutterable pain and horror. It’s a good enough film, but if you’re curious about Kim, go see 3-Iron instead. It’s probably his best.

Lots of work left to do this week. Always more to do. Ended up losing most of the day yesterday, so I’m trying to make up for it now, and it’s not going so well. Having a fiercely unproductive day.

So it goes.

I feel weary. It’s the cold. The unbearable frost.

recent films and so on

As you know, I’ve been watching a film a day, which puts me, now, at twenty one for the year. It’s really not as difficult as it seems. It just means wasting less time on the internet and doing something sort of productive with that time. I might not be able to remember all the films I’ve watched since I last updated, but I’ll try.

August, Osage County is a very strong film and also an incredibly awkward and uncomfortable one. I guess this is what it’s like to live in a family full of people who hate one another, but try to love each other. Great acting by great actors in it, but it’s about substance abuse and addiction, incest, molestation, suicide, loss, divorce, and other such unhappy topics. So, while it’s very good, I doubt I’ll ever even consider watching it again.

Prince Avalanche is pretty delightful, in its own way. I found it pretty funny and Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch are entertaining together. It says some things about life and what it means to live the life you want, and there’s surprisingly good cinematography. But mostly it’s a buddy comedy turned inside out and looked at through a peculiar lens.

Wolf of Wall Street is bloated, unimaginative, but pretty entertaining. It has some Fear and Loathing sort of comedy going on, but probably half the scenes drag on too long, and the complete and utter hollowness of the film leaves you needing a lot more. It’s very polished, well acted, but the direction is a mess. It manages to occupy three hours without saying anything, about its protagonist or about its viewers. Again, it feels sort of like a Goodfellas remake but one that drags its feet and doesn’t know where it’s going or even what it wants to do. It’s frat boy cinema, and many people will love it for all the wrong reasons that so many people love Mad Men, which runs into a lot of the same problems. They’re about the hyper-affluent living luxuriously and horrifyingly. They’re everything that’s wrong with the world. Racist, homophobic, misogynist characters full of avarice and malice, using people, destroying lives, and singing and dancing the entire time. And we’re invited to sing and dance with them, but the camera never turns to us and makes us even want to examine corporatism or capitalism or consumerism. Instead it’s just an epic comedy about the hilarious and reckless lives these idiots lived. And then they get away with it. In fact, it even turns an eye on those who caught him, either telling us there’s no reward for doing the right thing or to humiliate them for not jumping on the bandwagon. I don’t know. I’ve never liked Scorsese so it’s easy for me to just call this stupid, but I actually think it’s gross and manipulative.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a decent film. I really like Ben Stiller, though I know most don’t. I think he makes pretty good films, and this one mostly suffers because it’s overly ambitious and not willing to reach where it aims. It’s fine enough. Too long by about half an hour, considering what it is.

Total Recall, the remake, or re-imagining, with Colin Farre;l, Jessica Biel, and Kate Beckinsale is exciting and all that. It’s enjoyable enough. I don’t remember the original well enough to compare, but I think I much prefer the original. This one’s full of all sorts of cool technology, and a lot of really stupid ones, and Kate Beckinsale spends the whole movie jumping off ledges and grimacing, teeth bared, at the camera. Jessica Biel sort of doesn’t do very much except be attractive and a love interest. One thing I really like about it, though, is that it never answers whether or not it’s real or just in his Recall dream. It’s very clear that Farrell’s character believes it’s real, but there’s never actually anything in the movie that gives you an answer there. I actually imagine this is just a directorial and script oversight, but that failing makes the movie much more interesting than it actually is.

Dallas Buyers Club is just great. It’s not as good as some of the other great films this year, but it’s a very solid addition to the year. I just don’t think anything’s as good as Upstream Color, but Dallas Buyers Club is still really solid. McConaughey does an amazing job, as does Jared Leto. It’s interesting and emotional and surprisingly funny, considering it’s about dying of AIDS. Definitely worth seeing.

I think there’s one more film I watched to be accounted for but I don’t remember so it couldn’t have been that great, yeah?

Lots of work to do this week. Chelsea may be buying a car today, too, which is exciting.

Back to 13 Angels Screaming at the Mountain.

Once more, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to my indiegogo. It’s officially over and I love you all, so very much.

down by the water

That video makes me lauuuuuuuugh and I like the song, too, because it reminds me of high school.

Anyrate, watched Woochi yesterday, which is sort of a Korean action fantasy comedy, which I enjoyed maybe more than I should have. It’s too long and probably not actually that good, but I liked it.

Watched Timecrimes the other day, which is basically a Spanish version of Primer, in that it’s a lowtech time travel film where unlikely people bend time around them and run into all kinds of difficulties. Very interesting film that’s almost entirely awesome.

We’re down to the last four days of Revenge of the Scammed so help us get those last $445!