Monday, December 31, 2007


Stacey and her parents and my parents all got together and got me a new drum kit for Christmas. It rocks! Unfortunately, this cell phone cam photo doesn't quite do justice to the silver sparkle finish...

Also, Stacey's and my good pal Ces got us the new Futurama "Bender's Big Score" DVD for Christmas, and it's great. "Score" is a feature-length follow-up to the once criminally-underrated Futurama TV show, and it's nice to see that the Futurama creative staff hasn't lost their edge over the last couple of years.

"Housekeeping" note.

I just moved a few media files from Libsyn to a different server and updated the links accordingly. If you've bookmarked any of the old Libsyn links, they won't keep working for long.

If you have trouble finding any Interplanetary-related video or audio, email me at, and I'll help you track it down.

By the way, Libsyn is a really good media hosting service. I'm just not using it enough to justify paying for it (even though their plans start at a very reasonable five dollars per month).

Now playing.

Wow. Just watched maybe the only under-hyped Judd Apatow-related movie of the year, The TV Set, and it is excellent. David Duchovny leads a solid cast in a dark satire of the television business. Entertainment Weekly gives it in "A-" in a short review, I give it a solid "A."

Living up to its advertising campaign, Hatchet is an old-school American horror film. Too bad it didn't get a wider theatrical release, but it's now available on DVD for the enjoyment of all. Check out the "Horror-Movie-A-Day" review for more.

The Asylum, former distributor of Hide and Creep, gets grief for ripping off big studio flicks (I Am Omega, Transmorphers, War of the Worlds, etc.), but I think it's kind of charming. Roger Corman, one of my heroes, was the master of this sort of thing back in the day. But Alien Vs. Hunter, released to cash in on Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem, is not charming. It's nearly unwatchable. Check out Foywonder's excellent Dread Central review for more info.

Now playing.

Charlie Wilson's War takes a pretty serious covert war (the U.S. aiding Afghanistan's 1980s-era fight against the Soviet Union) and manages to turn it into a pretty funny movie. Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance alone makes it a must-see. Roger Ebert liked it. More importantly, it currently sits atop Stacey's best-of-2007 list.

Sweeney Todd: a bloody good time. Awesome performances (not surprising, with Johnny Depp and Alan Rickman heading up the cast), awesome songs, awesome story. See Ebert's four-star review for more detail. Better yet, go out and see the movie.

I also recently caught No Country For Old Men in the theater for the second time. It's still my pick for best film of 2007.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Happy holidays.

Happy (belated) holidays, everybody. I'm very behind on blogging, due to all the catching-up-with-friends-and-family over the last week or so. I'll try to get back on it next week.

Have a fun (and safe) New Year's Eve...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

"Other Worlds Than These" episodes 015 and 016.

Two for one today, since I missed last week.

015: Sex In A Submarine.

Writer William Martel has many produced screenplays under his belt, mostly of the B-movie variety (my kind of guy!). His frequently-updated blog, "Sex In A Submarine," is filled with great anecdotes about both the art and (sometimes seedy) business of writing movies that are more likely to show up on Cinemax than at your local multiplex.

016: John August.

At the other end of the screenwriting blogosphere, you'll find John August, author of "Hollywood" screenplays like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish, and Charlie's Angels. August is mostly writing about the Writer's Guild strike these days, but you can dig through his archives for lots of good advice for up-and-coming scribes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Now playing.

I went into Southland Tales expecting a trainwreck. Many Tales reviews have been downright venomous. Ebert gave it one star, and Devin Faraci at called it the worst movie of the year.

So I was a little surprised (and maybe even disappointed) to find out the movie isn't that bad. I mean, it's a mess, but it's an interesting mess. The plot is sometimes indecipherable, and the attempts at humor are hit and miss. But Tales features several scenes I really like, enough to get me to give it another look when it comes out on DVD.

I'm Not There is great. And unorthodox, as it features six different actors portraying different aspects of Bob Dylan's personality.

About half of the flick is filmed in beautiful, grainy black and white, the music is great (no surprise there), and Cate Blanchett (portraying one of the Bobs) is even better than usual. Highly recommended.

Juno is occasionally too clever for its own good. But for the most part, it's a sweet, well-acted flick and an original entry in the pregnant-teenager-movie genre.

Owen Gleiberman's Southland Tales review

Roger Ebert's I'm Not There review

Ebert's Juno review

"Things..." episode 016.

016: Don't trust the government.

We recently got hit with a fine from the IRS for late payment of some Hide and Creep taxes. Not that we actually paid late -- Stacey sent the check at the appropriate time. But the US Post Office, incompetent as usual, never delivered it to the IRS. By the time we found out and were able to get another check out, it was too late.

If you're sending anything important to the IRS, play it safe and use certified mail.

Monday, December 17, 2007

They confiscated my peanut butter...

... at LaGuardia. Seriously.

Just got back from New York City, where I had little to no internet access, but lots of fun. I'll try to get caught up on blogging tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Saturday and Sunday.

We filmed pretty much all weekend -- Saturday at Hunter Cressall's place, on his awesome spaceship set, and Sunday at the quarry.

I think we managed to get some good stuff both days, in spite of the usual problems (not enough time, trying to keep our overused costumes together, making a fake rocket launcher look like a real rocket launcher).

Here are some photos from Saturday. Sokol stopped by and took some pics on Sunday -- hopefully he'll be kind enough to let me post those at some point.

"Things..." episode 015.

015: Keep in touch.

I'm getting ready to ship some equipment out to my pal Mike Harring. Mike's a super-nice and super-talented guy, and he's about to shoot his first feature. The equipment loan is a way for me to make a small contribution to Mike's project, and it will hopefully save him some time, hassle, and money.

I mention this to remind you to keep in touch with your friends (especially your filmmaker friends) about your movie projects. You never know when they'll be able to help out.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

"Other Worlds Than These" episode 014.

014: Bazza's Bazaar.

Bazza's Bazaar is a great resource for buying and selling movie gear. From the Bazza's web site:

"Bazza's Bazaar brokers the sale of used professional audio, film, photographic, television and video equipment of all types."

That pretty much sums it up.

Lots of their equipment is in the U.K., so the prices might be a bit high for U.S. customers. I think the sheer number of items on the well-organized Bazza's list makes up for any pricing issues.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Now playing.

Wes Anderson kind of keeps making the same movie over and over. But it is a movie I really like.

In his "latest" (it finally arrived in Birmingham on Friday), The Darjeeling Limited, Anderson looks at another fractured family's attempts at reconciliation. As usual, Anderson delivers a fine film. He's five for five (Anderson also directed Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and The Life Aquatic) -- how many directors can you say that about?

Ebert liked Darjeeling, too. Check out his 3.5 star review. But ignore his remarks about Aquatic, which is still my favorite Anderson flick.

"Things..." episode 014.

014: Get a FedEx account.

Shooting 16mm film in Birmingham means shipping 16mm film out of Birmingham, for processing elsewhere. So, during a busy shooting period, I might use FedEx once a week.

Why not UPS or the U.S. Post Office? Well, the Post Office is useless, unless you are a stamp collector. And, unlike FedEx, both the Post Office and UPS use X-rays to inspect packages, which is bad for film.

So it is FedEx for me. That used to mean actually going to a FedEx or Kinko's and filling out that little shipping form by hand, which I really hate. Then, one day, one of the Kinko's FedEx guys talked me into signing up for a FedEx account. I'm glad he did, because...

  1. I can now use the computer to print shipping forms.

  2. I get a 10% discount on shipping.

FedEx account holders get other perks, too. And it doesn't cost anything to sign up for the account.

If you're interested, check out for more info.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sunday at the quarry.

The crew has been lean lately, due to my organizational shortcomings as much as anything else. So it was great to have Jimbo, Hilleke, and Sanford join us "regulars" (Stacey, John, Trap, and me) yesterday at the Wade Sand and Gravel quarry. We filmed a few scenes featuring Michael and Amanda and grabbed a couple of pick-up shots with Kyle. And we narrowly avoided getting rained on. It was a good day all around.

Photos courtesy of Stacey and Hilleke.

Portraits from yesterday at the quarry.

Courtesy of Stacey and Hilleke...