Friday, May 21, 2010

Short Festival

Short movies are great when they are short, less than 10 minutes tops. Unless it is the most provocative material of all time, a short longer than 10 minutes drags on and people get murderous. I submitted two of my films to a open mic night of short films this past Wednesday at the Tower theater. First, thank you Tower for putting on this great event. Second, it was a lot of fun watching the films and being involved with the other filmmakers. Screening my film this way helped me to gauge the things that I need to fix with Love Hurts, before the SLCFF.

The biggest surprise of the night was my Zombie PSA, which surprisingly enough won the crowd over as there was much laughter. Before the festivities got started I was asking chad why in the hell did he let me submit the PSA, it was funny but not great. I was so nervous about the reception that it would get, but in all honesty it was the most engaging of the films. Indie filmmakers tend to put a lot of dramatic shots in their films, and use these techniques that in their minds will set them apart. What many of them do not understand is that the story and simplicity of the film is what makes it shine. If it is relatable to the audience and can connect with them through feelings or sensory devices, it will be a memorable experience. Too many times in these short films there are storylines that do not flow, or twists that don't upend the senses like quality films should.

With my film Love Hurts, i think that the story line is solid and unique enough that it stands apart from many of the other films. What I did not do with the filming of it is engage the emotional need for the audience to connect with the characters and the story. It was like who give a rat's ass, which in all honesty is not the reaction that I was going for. HAHA. Good. Good. I will reshoot the darn thing and have it ready for the SLCFF, and I would like do a screening with you buddies. I will win or at least place in the Festival. That is the goal that I have. I would like to thank my great actors for the marvelous job that they did and the patience that it takes to work with me. I love each of them, especially Joe and the Greek family that inhabits his back (hairiest guy that I know)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Robin Hood

Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe team up once again in an historical epic. I loved this movie. I thought the action was great, the characters had a wonderful dynamic and the film was beautifully shot. I have the feeling that with all of the movies that have been done in the past decade and a half revolving around historical characters, have bored many of us movie goers. Think King Arthur as an example. There was so much fiction and skewed fact that I did not know what to think of the tale itself, even though I enjoyed the movie. With all of the LARPing and weird douchery going on in the fantasy genre I thought that this movie would have been more of a steamroller in the box office. They marketed the $h*t out of this thing

I loved Kate Blanchett as Maid Marian, she was powerful, strong and fragile. She played the perfect heroine in this adventurous ballyhoo, and had great chemistry with Russell Crowe. Why are people not a fan of this guy? He is such an amazingly well rounded actor, able to portray a myriad of individuals, each different than the next. He has played every part under the sun from grief-stricken gladiator to cocky, pissy cop. I love this guy. Not only does he train his character nuances from body language to spoken language, but his physical appearance changes as the role requires.

Robin Hood was reminiscient of the Errol Flynn era of sword play and rope swinging madness. The obvious difference was the look of the film. Ridley Scott creates a dark undertone in his movies that not only give an ominous feel, but reflects important social issues from a culturally reflexive vantage point. The sound is intense and increases anxiety during climaxes of confrontation and physicality. It pulsed of raw emotion and savagery as the dynamic of post-Crusade England unfolded. This film was awash in a dark canvas of hues and tones, perpetuating the seething societal beast that was ripping apart America's Motherland.

Like in any action sequence or one of tension, dutching or obliquing the camera angle effectively puts the viewer at unease. What is dutching or obliquing well that kind folks is defined as tilting the camera at an angle, almost a diagonal. During key peaks of fighting or emotional stress, Scott turned the camera on its side at a low angle, to remove any power or confidence from the viewer. Effective! I recommend this movie on a rainy day, it will help add excitement to the drab conditions through which we may be suffering. Awesome Go see it.

Ironman 2

Ironman 2 was great. For all of you naysayers out there who have been proclaiming disappointment I say Boo! Boo on you and your damn expectations. Ironman 2 had a lot of great action and a fairly decent storyline. Granted it had its problems, but there are very few sequels that don't. Had Jon Favreau and Marvel exclaimed,"This is Godfather Part 2, sans the Guineas and the Brando" than I would have choked a snitch. They didn't so I thusly did not need to David Carradine aforementioned woman.

Ironman 2 did have its issues. I think that they tried to cram a lot in to this film, from Tony's health to the switching of power within Stark Ind., to the never ending love interest between he and Pepper. Paltrow looked very sleek and lean I might say. Vurry nice. It had boatloads of action and adventure, with pristine animation and character interaction. Think a Michael Bay movie, but not sucking. This movie didn't have the depth of story that I would have liked to have seen i.e., the first one; but it flowed well and never lost steam within the story.

I would definitely recommend seeing Ironman 2, in fact I really want to see it again. Remember as you watch it that Marvel is setting up many of the future movies in the Avengers storyline, using Ironman as its primary vehicle. This adds complexity to the telling of the story, creating a larger than normal web of twists and turns, so be patient. I think what Marvel is doing is going to pay off in a huge way, and if it doesn't I will personally fund Al-Qaeda as they fly themselves into Disney/Marvel HQ. If I can't finance suicidal Muslims then I'll call the Legion of Doom, they have been looking for work and could use the action.

Oh beware of Mickey Rourke in this movie. He does a great job as Whiplash, but his fingers look like a train wreck, but terrible. I was watching his crooked snausages the whole damn movie and missed a lot of the happenings. They are frigging terrible!!! Bekah boo knows.

Independent Films and their Importance

Matt Lorenzo

Independent Nation; Independent Film

The Sundance film festival has just ended; the stars and directors of America’s favorite art form have all gone back to the warm L.A. air or the bitter cold of the New York winter. Why is it that directors and actors, who make millions per picture, sacrifice money and sometimes their reputation for an event nestled in the mountains of Utah’s Wasatch front? What significance do independently funded films bring to them as professionals ? In what ways have independent films shaped our lives and society?

Defining independent films

What is an independent film? An independent, or indie, film is one that is primarily funded outside of the major studios, i.e. Paramount, MGM, Fox, etc. Indie films are seen as being mostly character driven with gritty visuals and simplistic techniques used for lighting, audio and cinematography. Scripts for independent films are meticulously written and have the ability to reflect certain societal struggles and issues; an example is the film Moon starring Sam Rockwell. In this film, Rockwell plays an astronaut sent to the moon on a three year mission with the responsibility of overseeing the mining of rocks used as fuel on Earth. Without giving anything away, this film is a character study on identity, self worth and the definition of humanity. The best -- and probably the most difficult --part about art is conveying a message to the public without taking away from the entertainment aspect of their experience. Moon is enjoyable to watch and provides one with pure entertainment, but tackling the definition of humanity is no easy feat, especially in two hours.

Independent films have the freedom to explore many subjects in society that are seen as taboo or unmarketable. Oftentimes studios don’t have the capability to explore these same thematic elements, giving rise to a culture of cinematic independence. This type of film emerged in the early 1900’s, during the era of the silent films, and have since steam rolled their way in to the lives of nearly everyone. The pioneers of indie films were seen as risk-takers in their time, leaving the guaranteed money of the large studios to walk their own creative path. United Artists was founded by Charlie Chaplin and three other silent film stars specifically for the purpose of controlling their own futures and the pictures of which they were a part.(Siklos) Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, two of the most acclaimed directors and producers in American history , founded American Zoetrope, the production company of films such as Apocalypse Now, The Good Shepherd and Lost in Translation.(Zoetrope) As these examples show, independent films are a great avenue for the expression of ideas, and also have the ability to succeed financially, even without big budgets and cookie-cutter formulas.

Why do stars, both directing and acting, choose indie films?

While attending the premiere of the movie Get Low, starring Bill Murray and Bob Duvall, I asked,” Why did you both decide to do this film? What was it that attracted you to it?” Mr. Murray responded,” It looked like it would be a good time. No, I joined on to this film to be a part of this unique script and story, one that was very well written and different from anything that I had ever been a part of.” Mr. Duvall then responded,” The director was very good and I was excited to work with him. The story was amazing, but the cast is why I joined this project. It was a very special opportunity.” These two men are two of the most respected and popular actors in our time, and they can do any “project” that they choose. Why then was this film such a special opportunity? In Mr. Murray’s words “the script and story were unique… and different from anything else I had been a part of.”


When asked, the director of Get Low, Aaron Schneider said,” This has been my dream for years, since college, to create a project as unique as this, with such an amazing story inspired by true events. I have dedicated everything to the making of this movie and I am deeply moved that you appreciated it.” Aaron Schneider won an Oscar for best live action short, but he worked mostly as the Director of Photography on TV shows and the occasional movie; he was not some wunderkind who was handed every opportunity. Yet, he attracted two of the biggest stars in film history to his project, because of hard work and a great idea, independent of a large studio. The beauty of technology today and the avenues created by the indie film industry, is that anyone can bring their idea to life no matter how far-fetched. What I learned from these precious moments of dialogue is that a great idea is a great idea and even the biggest names in an industry will take a chance on an independent film maker.

The impact of independent films on our society

In this technological age, the flow of ideas and messages between people has never been as important or prolific. One of the most poignant examples of an independent filmmaker with a message is Michael Moore. Never before has a filmmaker stirred such controversy and created such fervor by taking on some of the most talked about political and moral topics, filming them in a way that appeals to the masses, helping to shape the discussions and opinions of many people.

Many aspiring independent filmmakers are also able to successfully convey their own messages through internet videos, blogs and message boards . YouTube is one of the most popular avenues for this type of filmmaking , having a market share of around 43 percent in the United States with more than six billion videos viewed in January 2009.(comScore). This is a testament to the popularity of video and the role that it plays in our culture allowing Average Joe and his buddies the ability to become titans of entertainment


One of the cornerstones of our society, and the most basic of rights, is freedom of speech and the ability to express our individuality. Independent film has become an important outlet for this freedom of expression. The Sundance Film Festival is viewed as the leader in independent filmmaking and innovates ways to help small productions gain mainstream notoriety. This festival alone last year brought Utah $92 million dollars in economic revenue, further cementing both the importance of the festival and the films that it showcases. We are in an age where our society--through festivals, access to technology, and the internet—allows anyone to affect many different audiences with any number of issues and themes, helping to shape our unique culture through an independent perspective.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Letters to Juliet

Ok so let me preface this blog post with a short blurb. So I love getting together with my buddy buddies, and tonight was no exception. Whitney and Willy were awesome enough to invite me and my beautiful fiance to this movie after she, Whit, had gotten some free tickets. Andy and Bri accompanied us as well, grouping together four(five if you count Jen Buddy) of my favorite people ever. It was great seeing the Wilburs and the Bergesons. They are so damn sexy! So I thank them for the invite. Love you guys.

That being said, this movie was more terrible than the Elephant Man's silhouette. If i could compare it to a bag of prison weiners I would. Oh wait, I just did. First of all the plot was your standard brainless chick flick. Girl is struggling in her work because she has high ambitions. She is also coping with a busy fiance who has different aspirations, which in this movie happen to be the opening of an Italian restaurant, Bucco di Who Gives a Rat's A$$. They make their way to Verona, Italy, the world's most romantic place and also home of the legendary Romeo & Juliet, for a pre-Honeymoon love trip. Gael Garcia-Bernal who plays her success driven fiance, uses this romantically disguised getaway as an excuse to buoy his ingredient providers. Bored yet? Too bad this isn't a scratch and sniff anthrax blog.

So she, Sophie as played by Amanda Seyfried, goes to the famed spot where Romeo so eloquently professed his love to the tasty, jail-bait aged Juliet. The wall below the balcony is reserved for the letters of those longing souls, ovaries included, who seek love and the bringer of its bounty, a.k.a. Mr. Right. She ends up finding Juliet's Secretaries, those lovely women who take the time to answer these letters. She finds a letter from a Claire Smith, Vanessa Redgrave, from 1957 that confesses not only the love she has for her Italian Lover, Lorenzo, but the fear she faces in risking her future on "true love". Now let me interject here and confess that I love Vanessa Redgrave, she was a definite upside of this movie. She is an actress who carries herself with poise and elegance. She was a winner when this script was clearly written by two losers. Anyway, Sophie, responding to this antique letter, with that keen writing ability to which her editor, Oliver Pratt, is oblivious; convinces Claire to return to Italy to find her lost love of more than 50 years. Asleep? I am and I am writing this review. She returns with her grandson Charlie, Chris Egan, and they embark on an epic journey.

A journey that I feel is only surpassed by that of Jason and his Argonauts... Get it, my sarcasm? I will not ruin this movie, by giving any more details, for those brave enough to sit through the whole damn thing. I will say the cinematography in this film was well done, with many beautiful shots of the Italian countryside and the general framing of the characters. I did not care about any of the character development or how the thrown together story was gonna end. I left more disinterested than an atheist at a Baptist Revival. I did not want to set the movie on fire, but rather the jackass that concocted this skewed romantic tale.

All in all this movie gets a 10 on the 1-Who Gives a $hi! scale. Don't go see it, take my word for it. I will say that Chris Egan could be a possible Heath Ledger in waiting, sans the hilly bum rush.


Monday, May 3, 2010

What Shall I name my movie blog/podacast?

I need help in thinking of a very sexy film cast, what do you guys think? Now that I am done with my first official short I am feeling pretty damn good. so i think that i am gonna be off to a rip roaring start. I will post all of the movies that i have been involved with and i was thinking about doing a private screening of them in June. More details will follow.