Thursday, January 24, 2013

Introducing Sundance 2013 Sensation ‘Fruitvale’

I just wanted to give MAD PROPS to Sundance 2013 sensation Fruitvale and its writer/director Ryan Coogler (pictured left). The Principal Cast of Fruitvale is Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O'Reilly, Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray.

As detailed in the article below the film was picked up for distribution (bought so they can put it theaters and of course make a profit) by The Weinstein Company (TWC). This is a really big deal because The Weinstein Company has been notorious for picking up potential Oscar winners. Past films picked up for distribution by TWC include Oscar contenders My Week with Marilyn (2011), The Artist (2011, only USA and Australia), The Iron Lady (2011, only USA), Undefeated (2012) Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary, The Fighter (2010, international distribution) and The King's Speech (2010) Academy Award Winner for Best Picture.

Of course TWC picks up many more pictures that aren’t exactly Oscar contenders, but it’s a great sign that this film got picked up by them so early.

I refuse to read reviews before I see a film, but I’m reading great blurbs about the film and its star Michael B. Jordan. Below is more about the film you should know about for the awareness of such a film should start early.

Michael B. Jordan in Fruitvale
Sundance 2013: Weinstein Co. buys 'Fruitvale'
By John Horn and Amy Kaufman | Los Angeles Times

January 21, 2013, 1:45 p.m.

PARK CITY, Utah -- In a deal for about $2 million, the Weinstein Co. has acquired rights to the drama “Fruitvale,” shown at the Sundance Film Festival, according to a person close to the film who was not authorized to speak on the record.

“Fruitvale” is based on the 2009 shooting of 22-year-old African American father Oscar Grant by a BART police officer in Oakland, an event that sparked outrage among community activists.

The film, starring up-and-comer Michael B. Jordan in the lead role and directed and written by Ryan Coogler, follows Grant in the 24 hours before his death, during which he spends time with his family and decides to stop dealing marijuana.

Sundance 2013 Awards Emcee Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Fruitvale Wins Top Prizes at Sundance
January 26, 2013

The Sundance Film Festival honored its top entries during an evening ceremony Jan. 26 near Park City, where 26-year-old Ryan Coogler’s drama Fruitvale was honored with both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize.
Associated Press - Director and screenwriter Ryan Coogler reacts as he accepts the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic for "Fruitvale" during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP

“It’s about how we treat people we love the most, and how we treat the people we don’t know,” Coogler said. “To get this award means it had a profound impact on the audiences who saw it.”

Emcee Joseph Gordon-Levitt expressed his feelings for the film, based on the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant by BART officials in Oakland, a little differently: “I f---ing love that movie!” he exclaimed after the film took home the Audience Award.

—Info from The Hollywood Reporter



Fruitvale is now Fruitvale Station and is coming to select theaters July 12th and nationwide July 26th. Below is the new poster and the new trailer.



Read more about Fruitvale at Sundance at

Read more about Ryan Coogler in Filmmaker magazine here

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

NFOTD 2012

In short #NFOTD means New Film of the Day and a twitter hashtag meaning a film you have never seen before.

This year the creator of the term Cinematographer Cybel Martin decided to ask us NFOTDers (filmmakers and film lovers who use the #NFOTD hashtag on Twitter) about their favorite NFOTD for 2012.

In her words
1. fav film in theater 
2. fav streaming/DVD 
3. fav most eccentric 
4. fav doc

Below is what I said in reverse as a kind of countdown. (There are links to more about these films at the end.)

#nfotd2012  4. fav docUnder African Skies (2012): (
I also saw at the 2012 Maryland Film Festival.

#nfotd2012  3. fav most eccentric 
Compliance (2012): ( & 
The Jeffrey Dahmer Files (2012): (

I saw them both back 2 back at the 2012 Maryland Film Festival and they knocked me out! 

#nfotd2012  2. fav streaming/DVDDog Day Afternoon #DontJudgeMe Absolutely some of the finest acting I have ever seen.

#nfotd2012  1. fav film in theaterBeasts of the Southern Wild (Even though I reserve the right to change after I've see Zero Dark Thirty and Les Mis

Additional Links
I also spoke of #nfotd2012 numbers 3 and 4 in a separate blog post here

I spoke more about Dog Day Afternoon in a blog post titled Cool Trivia About 'Dog Day Afternoon' or Why Al Pacino is So Awesome!

My review of Beasts of the Southern Wild here

—>My Top Ten Films of 2012

You can read a more detailed explanation of NFOTD in the post What is #NFOTD?

Friday, January 11, 2013

I'm so tired of the shade being thrown at Quvenzhané Wallis

Quvenzhané Wallis as "Hush Puppy" in Beasts of the Southern Wild

When “Oscar buzz” started surrounding Quvenzhané Wallis perhaps getting nominated for her performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild, a lot of “unnamed sources” started saying what she did wasn’t really acting. In The Hollywood Reporter just yesterday after it was announced that SHE DID get nominated as Best Actress for her role in Beasts,
"Some fellow actors have suggested that a child performance like hers can be put together by feeding the actor lines and then doing a lot of work in the editing room."
Now there’s an old saying in Hollywood “Never work with children and animals” because they are so hard to direct. I can personally attest to half of that statement.

I’ve had to direct children in several scenes and gee freekin whiz was it hard. From rehearsal to being on set it was a challenge. What they say is true children are hard to direct!

I also get what the detractors are saying about “feeding the actor lines”. Greats like Marlon Brando are notorious for being fed lines on set (as pictured below).
Marlon Brando on the set of The Godfather
I don’t care how many lines are fed (if that was the case with Quvenzhané) ACTING those lines are a different matter. I FELT Quvenzhané’s performance. The emotion, the nuance. It was all there.

Those who know me know I’m discerning and I don’t acknowledge anything that through my knowledge and experience isn’t good or great. I’ll tell you “it was ok” in a minute! LOL.

There are some Academy Award nominated performances THIS YEAR that left me flat and thinking they were only ok. Quvenzhané’s was not one of them.

I know people are going to say what they want, it’s the nature of man, but right now I’m tired of hearing it. I wish her the best of luck in what was truly an excellent performance.
Quvenzhané Wallis
It’s going to be a long seven weeks between now and the Oscars. (February 24, 2013)

UPDATED: February 20, 2013
I also don’t vote for anyone whose name I can’t pronounce. Quvez---? Quzen---? Quyzenay? Her parents really put her in a hole by giving her that name -- Alphabet Wallis. The truth is, it’s a very sweet but immature performance from a 9-year-old. I’ve directed children. They probably did a thousand takes and put the best ones together. 

From a real (anonymous) Academy member voting for this year's Oscars. Read more here

UPDATED: February 25, 2013
Beasts star Quvenzhané Wallis cast as ‘Annie’
By Associated Press
Feb. 25, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — The young Oscar-nominated star of Beasts of the Southern Wild has been cast in the lead role of a new version of Annie.

Sony Pictures announced Sunday that Quvenzhané (kwuh-VEHN’-juh-nay) Wallis will play Annie in a contemporized adaptation of the Broadway musical and the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip. It’s to be directed by Will Gluck, who loosely based his 2010 film Easy A on The Scarlet Letter.

The 9-year-old Quvenzhané is one of the youngest Oscar-nominated actors ever. She’s also shot a small role in Steve McQueen’s upcoming film, “Twelve Years a Slave.”

Annie is planned for release during the 2014 holiday season. Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jay-Z are among the producers. The Smiths’ daughter, Willow, had originally been slated to play Annie.

Watch a video profile on Quvenzhané Wallis on CBS Sunday Morning here

My review of Beasts of the Southern Wild here

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Quentin Tarantino the new Howard Stern Interview [AUDIO]

Quentin Tarantino on The Howard Stern Show
On December 5, 2012 Quentin Tarantino sat down with Howard Stern for 75 minutes to talk about his upcoming movie Django Unchained, but they really ended up discussing the filmmaker's entire life. In just the first 10 minutes they begin talking about QT's absentee father and how Stern actually had him on the show years before. Listen to it below.