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KO4U Blog

Went to a Zack Snyder Q&A

My gf got me into a Q&A session with the "sucker" of Sucker Punch himself, Zack Snyder. Got a pic on my facebook too. He came off as the kind of guy you'd imagine he'd be: awkward, gushing nerd, mildly modest. My question to him was the old naive "What have you learned to do when going into a studio meeting" as how he got into the business is nothing like me (or what I can ever afford). He gave a pretty standard answer but was detailed. He said that clear and concise discussion and confidence in yourself are your best friends in a spot like that. To make others feel easy giving you their money. I should mention he was very brief in an answer about directing actors (you know, the people on screen!) saying that working with good actors-like Michael Shannon-is awesome (duh) and to avoid wearing out the dialogue in rehearsals (again, duh).

The Q&A was broken up only by showing of his current demo reel which of course is leaps and bounds beyond mine and my friends. Overall pretty cool, but not exactly someone that's gonna teach you much (deliberately anyways, I came to some conclusions on my own about his methods/career) and, NO, he didn't show any Man of Steel footage.

New (video) shorts!

Lately I've been acting in or at least assisting with a series of short films with members of the Media Entertainment Guild at my school. Over the summer I'll be posting them here, but of course you can see all of them on the channel, Walking Eye TV.

This one's about a store stalker. Get it?

Why Kinect this fall?

I am. Thinking of buying a Kinect this fall. Why?

This year's E3 left me hurting for ANY kind of creativity. So many games ending in the numbers 2 and 3...sigh. Am I supposed to get excited over Halo 4? Of course there's going to be a Halo 4! Duh! If you haven't guessed (or didn't already know) I'm a Xbox 360 gamer almost exclusively. Yes I'll get a PS3 someday. And maybe a Wii. But man. Oh man! Was I ever starved for 360 games this year.

So. Reluctantly, I turned worn iron sights towards Kinect.......and saw this.

Yes. Please. Save for Dead Island, there are few original games coming this game and fewer still that can be called "horror" in any capacity. Here's my number one pick for Kinect right now. Watch the crazy bloody demo.

We've already seen garbage fighting games for the peripheral, but this one looks quality. I love the implementation of the Avatar (something I'd expect to see more of Sony's Home). High energy and colorful. God I miss color in games...

Suda 51's next game! And it's coming this year! See? That's what the trailers say! I don't care what "kind" of game it really is, because we all know with his name attached it'll be the strangest yet unique game available on Kinect!

Jeff GoldBlum's jazz band


I saw Goldblum perform with his group called "THE MILDRED SNITZER ORCHESTRA" last night. The group was named after a family friend whom you can see in a brief interview.

The orchestra played at Cafe Was, which is your typical L.A. snob restaurant/bar with drinks ranging $10-$14, i.e. too much. The crowd was also what you'd expect in L.A.



What I didn't expect was Goldblum inviting various singers and sax players to join them in a song or two. One man (who looked like a Tim Burton drawing) sang to his wife and kinda hippie woman kicked ass on the sax. The orchestra was all around pretty into their music, laughing and shouting at each other. In between each song Goldblum played six degrees of Kevin Bacon except he never ended the game! He would ask for a name and connect it then just keep going and going. He is definitely a funny man and very laid back. He'd often play with one hand and shield his eyes from the stage lights to look into the crowd and wave. Aside from those eating everyone was pretty thrilled just to be there.

Oh, did I mention this was all free? :)

An evening with Werner Herzog

If you did not already know, the Hollywood Forever cemetery screens classic films from time to time...with a projector against a crypt wall! It's kinda insensitive but you tell yourself you're honoring the dead who surround you.

And Saturday night my girlfriend and I saw John Huston's "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" with Herzog hosting the event and taking questions afterwards. I've already seen the movie a few times before and I'll give you my thoughts on it later.

Herzog was the really star attraction here. I've only seen one of his movies, "Grizzly Man" which I found captivating. Herzog himself was quite pleasant. My girlfriend had taken his Rogue ****with him a year ago which only accepts 50 students at a time out of thousands of applicants. After hearing him speak I think I may try to get in too.

Herzog praised Huston (who was buried near by) for his non-conformity and related a story of Huston traveling to Mexico (where the movie is set, just fyi) to his first time in the states. Herzog's visa was revoked for some vague reason which lead him to flee to Mexico, learn Spanish, and live there for a year or so. He also talked about how he and Huston preferred to get very little coverage when shooting and rarely use storyboards. As Herzog put it, "Storyboards are for people without strong imaginations" but I'm paraphrasing here. The bit about getting little coverage was Herzog's belief that a performance is hindered by repetition and that you are best off getting it right once and moving on (which also keeps you ahead of schedule).

Then the Q&A began and...oh boy. I am not a particularly brave person and never jump at the chance to say hi to a celebrity (especially given I live just north of L.A.) and this experience reinforced that fear. Not because Herzog was dismissive of the fans that flooded him with awkward questions, but because of HOW awkward they were AND the crowd's verbal reactions.

One woman wanted Herzog to come down and hug her nine-year-old son for good luck. Another asked if he'd seen Danny Boyle's "Shallow Grave" (which has a similar theme to Sierra Madre) and then proceeded to describe the film to him. Ugh. But the worst was the last...a schlub of a guy wanted to know if Herzog agreed with him on the "synchronicity" of the film...

Sorry, the what? The crowd's reaction was a loud groan with a few boo's for good measure. He went on to describe it as the film's quality "a-syncronation". Sweet god, it was difficult to watch. Someone from the crowd agreed and shouting "Get off the stage!" But the long and short of what the guy was asking was if Herzog thought the film was so perfect, it flawlessly communicated everything it was meant to. Well...yes. That's why we were there and celebrating it. More importantly, Herzog defended the schlub arguing with the irate audience that even though his name for his emotional connection with the film was different it was still just.

All in all it was a great night and has left me dying to see more of Herzog's films. He also had a story about working with Klaus Kinsky and how he shot another actor's finger off with a hunting rifle...yeah. For more on that it was recommended that I see the documentary "My Best Fiend" about the actor and director's relationship. I'm also dead set to watch Herzog's "Bad Lieutenant" which is available for streaming on netflix. BTW, Herzog said he loved working with Cage on it. I'll put the trailer for it below if you haven't already heard of it.

Bad Lieutenant trailer

As for "Treasure of Sierra Madre" if you haven't seen it yet, you should! It's one of the best movies ever made (yes, up there with Casablanca). It's exciting, funny, and very tragic. If for no other reason see it for Walter Huston's (John's father whom he directed here in his Oscar winning role) performance as the original prospector.

Prospector dance!

Fincher's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (trailer)

You might remember I saw all of the original Millenium films (that's the name of the trilogy) in theaters:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Daring, horrifying, and absorbing.

The Girl who Played with Fire: Uneven, but fun and a hell of a great finale.

The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Next: Convoluted, but engaging when you could follow it.

Being adaptations of the novels by Stieg Larson, you can't really wag your finger "shame, shame" at Fincher and Columbia Pictures for adapting it themselves. And we, as a nation, are the entertainment capital of the world. So this was all inevitable.

However, I am just not a very big fan of Fincher. I love Fight Club...and that's about it. Benjamin Button wasn't bad and the Social Network was pretty sweet. But I loved the original Dragon Tattoo and don't really see how it can be improved. I'm not a fan of recreating the effective for no greater purpose (like the impending remake of Straw Dogs).

What can Fincher truly give us? I honestly can't look forward to his return to the hard "R" rating after his last two films. I loathed Alien 3 and especially Se7en. I'll see the movie when it comes out this December and I would prefer to be surprised.

watch the trailer

Crimes of the Arizona Shooting

The tragedy of the Tucson, Arizona shooting is that we will not stand united as a country as Obama wished of us in his formal comment on the matter. We will, nay, have begun already to divide on the subject. This is not unreasonable of any of us as there is no clear resolution to be gained. No way to undo or properly prepare for the future. Not today at least.

Maybe Governor Giffords will live. Maybe she will resume office. Maybe gunman Loughner will be institutionalized instead of sent to prison. Maybe he will get the death penalty.

Maybe. But as the media swells with the matter (though only momentarily, before it becomes a faint memory) our minds split. All grounds will be covered, but nothing will be gained.

Those grounds are presented below. My facts come from the New York Time's coverage of the shooting.

"Why is someone like this not in a institution?" asked John and Ken on their radio talk show today. Is the center of the issue that a man publicly witnessed engaging in inappropriate behavior was not locked away? How do you judge a mans mental well being? The very argument of Frank Capra's "Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" is that we are all entitled to our eccentricities, so long they don't harm anyone. Not a day goes by without words of cruelty spoken, death wished upon others, and pleasure gained from assertions of dominance. And what of the unspoken? What we don't say to each other can often be much worse only if acted upon. To treat the constitution as a hierarchy, our right of speech is more sacred than our right to arms.

The irony of September 11, 2001 born nine-year-old Christina Green's death at a political gathering. Not at the hands of a foreign enemy, but one of the politically minded child's countrymen. The Green families loss is great, but so too is America's loss of a youth so involved in political matters. I cannot imagine the kind of kid who would be so interested in her government to attend Grifford's meeting.

What of Jared Loughner's upbringing? Little is yet known of his reclusive family, whom neighbors described as unfriendly and rarely seen in public. This is a borderline ancient argument (of blaming the parents) that while still valid, is and will always be ripe for passing the buck. Loughner is twenty-two. He is legally responsible for his crimes as those in favor of the death penalty will remind us. Schools in America do not educate us to be good parents. Courses on parenting must to sought out of our own open-minded volition. Loughner's childhood, no matter the details, is as any of ours was: a product of our media, the peers we could relate to, and whatever our imperfect parents can contribute in between.

If I must take a position, this is it: Gun control. An equally tired debate that has gone nowhere fast. Some have argued that Loughner would have acquired a weapon anyway possible. Illegal gun sales are common, even through conventions (Mexican cartels are often supplied through U.S. trade shows). Still, it was how Loughner acquired his weapon that disturbs me. He bought a glock handgun from a store. Legally. What I know of the Arizona gun ownership background checks is limited to the ironic 1994 repeal for small arms by Judge Roll who was one of the fatally wounded victims of the shooting.
Does this mean that there was no background check for Loughner's semi-automatic weapon? If there was one, did it acknowledge Loughner's drug abuse which cost him admittance into the army a couple months back? If the gun store was the first place he went for a weapon, could he have been discovered by the law as a potentially dangerous man with a recent history of aggressive behavior?

No. He would have walked out gun in hand one way or the other. Nothing was ever in his way to the meeting on Saturday. Just as the next shooting by a disgruntled youth is in no way in danger of failure. As I twist the knob of my car radio off I hear that talk show pundits changing subjects to the latest developments in Michael Jackson's death back in 2009. Already, I feel my fellow Americans lead me to where I want to be in a time of tragedy and self-reflection. I want to forget.

Most desired games of 2010

With many titles just around the corner in 2011 here's a look back at my most enjoyed or desired games of the year.

MMA

As a former student of both Jiu Jitsu (one year) and Taekwondo (five years) naturally mixed martial arts have been one of VERY few sports I enjoy watching. The UFC games always felt a little intimidating with their licenced accuracy of the sport so I held out for a more welcoming invitation to the digital ring. It's been a while (Def Jam: NY), but MMA is looking mighty fine about now. BTW: Anyone else have any experience in the real ring? Or classes on a martial art?

Just Cause 2

The first game barely raised a brow, but the second? It's got both my brows nowadays. After the disappointing Red Faction: Guriella-incidently one of my favorite franchises-I was to heart broken search for a replacement. What could possibly stack up against Volition's brand of manic action and the prospect of the new sandbox design? JC2 rocks my taste for destruction and silly fun. I must own this.

Darksiders

That slick, nostalgic action figure look. Exploration focused action. Mark Hamill as your sidekick. Hell yes. The only puzzling thing is why I didn't buy this game?

Crackdown 2

Forget the critics, this game is bliss. Sure loving the original is a prerequisite, but soaring action games that constantly reward your every action come in too flavors: The Epic RPG like Oblivion and....well....Crackdown. This is a game that demands very little from you to enjoy it's highlights: high mobility, zombies, and tons of weapons.

Battlefield Bad Co. 2: Vietnam

I wasn't ready for the WWII craze to be over. I love me a good retro shooter (World at War was my fave CoD). Playing Bad Co. 2 earlier this year was refreshing. Not only because I had lost interest in the once innovative CoD series, but because it was the very best Battlefield game I have played. The series had always been unkind to me: cheap deaths, lots of traveling without any action in sight, and never feeling like the appropriate unit type in a fight. DICE changed my mind and now I want back in. As far as I care Vietnam is worth buying a copy of Bad Co. 2 in addition to the $15 download.

New Short Film in the Works

After reading an inspiring article in the November New Yorker about Lena Dunham a amateur filmmaker who's struck a chord with some big wigs at HBO, I feel energized and creative myself.

I will be shooting a short film over the winter break I'm calling "Family". I will write a rough script for my own sake, but this will be a pretty guerrilla production. It wont be any more than 10 minutes when all is said and done (hopefully closer to 6). Without giving much away it will involve death, secrets, guns (though not in the way you might expect), and of course, family.

Shouldn't take more than a week to shoot and edit. Expect it online before Christmas. Also check out Lena Dunham's web series, "Delusional Downtown Divas". It's a hoot!

The Jackass Generation

I know I promised a review of 007: Blood Stone ages ago (and one for Killzone 2 even longer ago) and it's still coming. Been busy with school and relationship hurdles...

So in the mean time check out this video I made for my journalism class as a presentaion on my findings for on the social effects of MTV's Jack@$$ franchise.

The Jackass Generation from David Peddicord on Vimeo.