Monday, December 17, 2018

The Oscar Race

I'm now heavily in the middle of catching up on all of the Oscar-eligible and contending films released in 2018.  This means going to a lot of VIP screenings, but also there are still a lot of DVD screeners turning up in my mailbox. It's very tough on my schedule because I'm also very busy trying to finish three projects before the end of the year.

So far, I've seen a lot of repetitive Hollywood crap.  But I've also seen a few nice films and three real classics.

The first one I loved is "A Quiet Place", starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt.  The script is very original, and it's directed by Mr. Krasinski himself.  I'm generally not a big fan of horror films, but this one has deeper meaning and some truly psychologically frightening sequences.  I recommend it to everyone, unless they have a weak bladder.

Another live-action film I truly loved was "Green Book" starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali.  This is essentially a reversal of the classic "Driving Miss Daisy", as here a white Italian-American bigot has to drive a black classical pianist through the 1950's segregated South. 

What's so special to me about this film is how rich each character is - Peter Farrelly did a fantastic job in bringing out all the facets of each character and how they interact in such confrontational situations. 

And my third recent favorite is from Hungary, it's called "Ruben Brandt, Collector, from 61-year old Milorad Krstic.  It's a heist/mystery film set in the art world with a chase through Paris.  But the real attraction is the look - it's a mix traditional 2-D animation and 3-D CGI.  The way that Milorad plays with people's faces and angles is just delightful.  Sometimes the characters have five eyes, or three mouths, or a nose stuck in their hair. 

It's like watching a feature film based on my Oscar-nominated short "Your Face".  But it works, it's so surprising yet satisfying to see these mutant humans in a detective film.  There are a number of exciting chases throughout the film and as the characters jump through rooms and locations you'll see billboards with jokes about art, or pictures referencing classic films.  It's so full of cultural in-jokes you'll have to freeze-frame the film not to miss anything. 

I'll be watching a lot more films soon, so when I find a favorite or a big loser, I'll let you know. 

A little bit of trivia - if you see the Empire State Building on Dec. 17, you'll see it's all yellow - and why are they lighting this famous skyscraper this color?  Because it's the 30th anniversary of the first episode of "The Simpsons' - how about that?  Thirty years, who would have believed it?

Today's cartoon is about that fan favorite director, Wes Anderson - Happy Holidays, everyone! 

--Bill P.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Exciting News

Dear Readers and Fans (hopefully)...

I've just received a shipment of our brand new DVD of "Revengeance", the animated feature created by my genius buddy, Jim Lujan, and myself.  It bugs me when people say they don't buy DVDs anymore because they can get movies for free or really cheap on the internet. 

That drives me crazy - first of all, I selectively release my films on the web, and we don't plan on releasing this film via a streaming platform until later on.  Negotiating with streaming services is very tricky - we had "Cheatin'" on Netflix for a while, and we're still waiting to get the rest of the money that we were promised for that. (Something tells me it may not be coming...)

But a DVD often has a whole bunch of goodies that are unavailable when you watch a film on a streaming service, like director commentary, interviews, plus "making of" footage and other background information.  On the "Revengeance" DVD we'll have all that, plus images of the character designs, so you can compare them to my final animation and see how the characters evolved.  These items are very important to get a real feeling about the production of a film.

On the "Revengeance" DVD, you'll also get 2 Jim Lujan shorts, "Party Warriors" and "Booyah" that are like little prequels to the main film.   Plus you'll learn how Jim and I met, and an interview with us at San Diego Comic-Con where we were promoting the film's upcoming release. 

And best of all, you get something you can put in your video library that lets you watch it at any time.  I've heard that stuff disappears from Netflix all the time, with very little warning. 

We will be releasing the DVD of "Revengeance" very soon - first we have to send copies to our Kickstarter backers as rewards.  We're late doing this because we thought we might try to qualify the film for an Oscar, and having the film out on DVD before an L.A. theatrical screening is a big no-no.  I want to apologize to our very patient backers - I think some of them might have given up hope that we were ever going to make these DVDs.  Once we mail out these rewards, we'll start taking orders on my web-site.  And then in January there will also be a Blu-Ray version available. 

Attention, Kickstarter backers - I think we might be really close this time.
My staff just finished sending out a lot of "Trump Bites" Kickstarter rewards, now they've got to jump right over to the "Revengeance" campaign and mail those out too.  But check it out next week in my store, it would make a great Christmas gift.  Plus we'll work out something so for an extra $50 you can receive an amazing piece of art from the film.

By the way, I just saw "Green Book" by Peter Farrelly, starring Viggo Mortensen.  What a wonderful movie!

 This week's gag cartoon is Christmas-based, now that the holiday season is here.  I hope you find it amusing.

--Bill P.