Last year, Martin Scorsese penned a public letter to his daughter, expressing how films nowadays can be made for little money and how important it is to maintain the spark that leads one to making a film. He’s right; what’s unique about this time is that anyone can be a filmmaker. All anyone needs is a camera and an editing system, and he/she can make a film just the way that he/she originally envisioned, without any interference whatsoever. With that, the filmmaker’s voice is preserved, which is something that any director or writer working in Hollywood would kill for.
I couldn’t help but think back to this letter after watching Jim Akin’s second feature-length film, The Ocean of Helena Lee, because it encapsulates just what Scorsese wrote about. Here is a film that was produced with just a thousand dollars and – from its first to final frame – expresses and maintains its filmmaker’s vision and voice. While it does have its fair share of flaws, you can’t help but admire its spirit and tenacity to show and tell a personal human experience.
When I moved to Upstate NY and saw that I had a large pond in front of the home I would be living in, I thought it was awesome. Then I remembered I had a not-quite-two-years-old boxer who does whatever the fuck she wants. That’s when the nightmares started. It’s a cold, snowy day and Evie is running around outside and then crack-yelp-splash, she’s falling through the ice and I can’t get to her. I’d wake up freaked out and panicked only to realize that it was just a dream and Evie was in California.
Well, Evie is not in California any more. She’s here. And the first day I took her outside, she ran on top of the pond. Yup, it’s her world and she don’t care if I want her to be safe, she’s running where she wants. Fortunately it was cold as hell and the ice held. However, two days later, it was a balmy 60-degree day and we’re out for a walk. And that is how our story begins… Continue reading →
I feel like most people had high expectations going into this movie. I did not. I am not weighed down by silly ideas like “a movie should be good” or “will I believe that these characters are the Avengers” or even, “What are they avenging?” Unlike Jun; who walks in with a notepad in one hand, and a Filmmaking for Dummies in the other; I just need some action, a few one-liners, something that doesn’t look cheap, and you’ve got me hooked. Just kidding Jun… Just kidding… Continue reading →
Avengers: Age of Ultron has a lot of expectations to juggle. It’s the follow-up to the all-time biggest superhero film, so moviegoers naturally anticipate a bigger, grander picture with new characters. It’s tasked with pushing the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) narrative closer to the inevitable showdown that we’ll see in the two-part Avengers: Infinity War. Director and writer Joss Whedon said he’s looked to Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather Part II, arguably two of the best sequel films, as inspirations. I’ve never seen so much coverage regarding a film’s opening weekend box office prospects since Avatar. Under such pressure, it’s naive to believe that the film won’t buckle, and buckle it occasionally does. Nevertheless, this globetrotting flick never fails to entertain with its relentless action and energy, even though its reach exceeds its grasp.