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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Well folks, that's it for me in 2015 and this is the last post for a couple weeks, until after January 11th.  I'm off on a much needed visit home to see my family.  I've been gone too long again.  And being isolated and alone in L.A. is just too much for even a recluse like myself.  Seems I end up getting into too much trouble.  So...

HAPPY NEW YEAR to ONE & ALL!  Hope 2016 brings you everything you ever wished for.  I know I could certainly stand for a few wishes to come true.

Until next year...take care.

THE REVENANT (In Theaters December 25th [Limited Release] and January 8th [Everywhere]) 

I saw THE REVENANT on Christmas Day and WOW! –– this is an amazing film.  Directed expertly by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (BABEL and BIRDMAN), THE REVENANT is more of an experience as the camera moves along with –– and into –– the action so fluidly you truly feel like you're inside the movie from the first frames.  The initial Indian attack sequence is both breathtaking and nerve-racking.  The cinematography (EMMANUEL LUBEZKI –– "Sleepy Hollow" and "Gravity") of this film truly blew me away: the landscapes are outstanding to witness –– vast, dense, barren, harsh, and freezing cold for much of the 2 hour and 37 minute running time.  How no one froze to death making THE REVENANT is a feat of filmmaking in itself.  If it is all just faux movie snow and CGI, well...they did a superior job of suspending my disbelief.

Star and focus of the story, LEONARDO DiCAPRIO is truly exceptional as the broken man.  And when I say "broken" I do mean B-R-O-K-E-N with capital letters.  What this character endures is beyond edge-of-your-seat physical suffering and mental anguish.

This really isn't a spoiler here –– but the bear attack that sets the ball of misery and adventure rolling is one of the most intense sequences I've ever seen in a film.  I'm generally desensitized to a lot of violence, but this one had me gripping the arms of my seat with white knuckles.  Again WOW!

TOM HARDY as the baddie in the film is also truly outstanding.  Some folks love Hardy and some can't stand him, but in THE REVENANT, if you didn't know it was Tom Hardy, you wouldn't know it was Tom Hardy.

His performance is both intense and subdued.  And generally speaking, he makes you want to reach into the screen and wrap your own hands around his throat and strangle him, he's such a self-serving, lying bastard.

Overall, THE REVENANT is a must see if you like your films gritty, real, and intense as a heart attack.  This isn't a movie I'd be throwing into the DVD player everyday for a good time, but I'll definitely be having a second (and probably a third) viewing of this film when it hits the ancillary markets.  And if the future Blu-ray has some great making-of features on it, I'll likely be purchasing it for my private collection.  This film is that good.

Find the THE REVENANT where it's currently screening, or check it out when it opens wide on January 8th!  And HAPPY NEW YEAR to EVERYONE!


From 12.11.15 –– ALL NEW from Feast Frenzy @ The Horror Food Network!

First I sliced chicken breast into thin strips about an inch long, then fried them in a skillet with a little canola oil, one clove of sliced garlic, and a little 50/50 salt.  Once cooked through and starting to brown, I added chopped red onions, a diced Serrano pepper, two chopped garlic cloves, green beans, snow peas, okra, and chopped red bell peppers. –– all spiced with Tabasco sauce, a 3oz can of tomato sauce (no salt added), ground black pepper, oregano, basil, and paprika.  Then I cooked –– stirring –– till all was hot and sizzling.  Time to eat!  From the frying pan I filled a large dinner bowl and garnish with shredded parmesan, pepperoncinis, and green olives (low sodium).  On the side is a salad of chopped spinach, kale, collard greens, red onions, red & green bell peppers, and mini portabello mushrooms.  The dressing is canola oil, balsamic vinegar, and Tapatio sauce.  All quite delicious, low calorie, and healthy.

Friday, December 25, 2015


This goes out to all my Jewish friends, today on Christmas.  It's ok to be a Jew. I love you anyway.



I hope Krampus did not find you! But if he did, remember this: Sticks and Coal are of great value for heating homes, general arson, and, well...get some fine steaks, lovely veggies, and have a great Xmas barbecue!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Z FOR ZACHARIAH (2015 –– Netflix DVD)

The easiest way to describe this film is with the old cliché: Two is company and three is a crowd.  But Z FOR ZACHARIAH (based on the novel by Robert C. O'Brien) is so much more.  It's like watching the calm, pristine surface of pond and then sinking into the somber tension and turmoil below.  I think the reason the movie has received such poor reviews on Netflix (barely over 2 stars) is because most people were expecting the "Z" in the title to stand for "Zombies".  No such luck here.  And thank god!  The story is an apocalyptic one, but Z FOR ZACHARIAH is about a real world experience where nuclear radioactivity kills everyone  Then somehow you keep going.  But suddenly one day there is another survivor, and one becomes two.  All seems like life will be ok again.  As ok as it can be in a world with no more electricity.  But then comes still another day, and now there are three. with "three is a crowd", the "party" goes sour soon enough.  Adam and Eve are perfect and innocent in the Garden of Eden, but only until the third party slithers in –– the poisonous serpent –– wearing a guise of humility and sincerity before slowly, yet inevitably, rearing its ugly head of temptation and sin.  This is the simple truth in Z FOR ZACHARIAH.

Z-Stars: Chris Pine, Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Many films take me places –– and I've always strived to do that with my own films –– but Z FOR ZACHARIAH was so simple I felt a part of it.  I wish I had made it myself –– to write something so complicated, yet so uncomplex.  It was so human.  It was so me, in so many ways.  Especially emotionally, in the way I'm feeling over this Christmas weekend.  Somber, melancholy, lonely, wondering where I'm going from day to day.  Nothing seems right, but everything is somehow as it should be.

The music from Z FOR ZACHARIAH really touched me as well –– an amazing score by composer HEATHER McINTOSH, who I was not previously familiar with.

Film Composer, Heather McIntosh

Again, so somber and melancholy, so lonely and truly beautiful in it's stark melodies on single piano, or strings with a focus on the cello.  Gorgeous.  I needed a new film score to help me through this time.  And this score is how I've been feeling for a while now –– it seems, ever since I started writing my never-finished new short story A CATCH IN TIME.  This score is also my main character in that tale.  Time and time again, I swerve, spin, and fall into my characters and the flow of my life tends to mimic them more than I ever mean for it to.  I think this one is coming at a higher price than usual.  I hope I can stream all of the turmoil and emotion where it needs to go.  But now I just realized I've veered off course and have only been talking about myself and not the film Z FOR ZACHARIAH.

MARGOT ROBBIE, our Eve (and who I was already in crush with from the THE WOLF OF WALL STREET) is very good and, to me, extremely beautiful in a rustic, natural way.  Normally Bond-girl, sexy chic with her native Australian accent, we get to hear Margot flex her acting skills with a southern US, farm girl twang that sounds spot on to my Oklahoma/Texas ear.  Also, be looking for her in the upcoming BATMAN offshoot, SUICIDE SQUAD, playing the part of the very sexy, but very dangerous punkette, HARLEY QUINN.

 Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn

Our Adam in this Garden of Eden is CHIWETEL EJIOFOR (recently SECRET IN THEIR EYES) and is brilliant as usual.   Always a heartfelt and deeply tormented perfomance from Mr. Ejiofor.

Chiwetel Ejiofor

The Serpent slithering into paradise is CHRIS PINE (Captain Kirk from the recent J.J. Abrams STAR TREK films) and is very solid as the rugged, good-looking troublemaker.

 Chris Pine

Z FOR ZACHARIAH is a film about an unusual friendship, and an equally unusual love affair; in a pre-nuclear fallout world it would likely have never happened at all.  Which is sad to think about, in itself, but that's life.

Personally, I highly recommend Z FOR ZACHARIAH.  But only if you are looking for a very human story about one, then two, then three finding each other somewhere at the end of the world as we know it.  And how just one little addition can throw perfection out of balance.  Possibly forever.

Enjoy the Z FOR ZACHARIAH trailer here:

Enjoy some music from Z FOR ZACHARIAH, composed by HEATHER McINTOSH.




Chiwetel Ejiofor, Chris Pine, and Margot Robbie

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

(Wisehouse Classics - with original illustrations) Kindle Edition 

Grab up a FREE copy of Charles Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL Kindle Edition on Amazon!
Well worth the price!  Just $0.00!

 I got mine!

How about a fun Christmas video?  Wait for the sweetness to erupt!  And Wreck The Halls!

Enjoy the video here:

Hahahahahaha! From my Digital Video magazine for December.  This is a good one.  Enjoy!

"Citizenfour's Scott Miles and Alisha Brophy's brilliant parody of the "Edward Snowden" documentary with a Christmas twist in a new stop-motion animated short created with legos.  The elf Snowdin has decided to leak Santa's naughty list online. Why? Because "no man should have that much power."

Watch the video here:

Hey!  It's almost Xmas!  Just picked up this Kindle Edition novel written and illustrated by renowned artist Brom on sale for just $1.99.  It isn't the new film KRAMPUS, but it sounds like a very cool, dark-side of Christmas tale.

At first glance, this novel’s premise is a bit of a stretch. Krampus, child of Loki and spirit of Yule, is imprisoned by Santa Claus. There’s no love lost between the two. Krampus hates Santa for the betrayal that led to his imprisonment, while Santa Claus believes that Krampus is a relic, far past his time. --Regina Schroeder 

Pick it up on Amazon here:

Monday, December 21, 2015


STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015 –– In Theaters)

Saw the film yesterday! Woohoo! And loved it! But what can I really say about it? Almost nothing, because nearly every scene reveals what would be a spoiler. In other words, SPOILER ALERT HIGH and in a BIG WAY on this movie!

What I will say is you get many new characters, the film looks stunning, and the audio is spectacular. THE FORCE AWAKENS does have a brand new feel from word go, but when the Millennium Falcon appeared I got a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye and all the feelings I had about the original STAR WARS movie flooded over me. The sense and longing for the nostalgic was great in my heart and THE FORCE AWAKENS delivers on that eloquently. It's old school and new school melded perfectly.

One of my great fears, however, was that Darth Vader was dead (killed, killed, killed beyond resurrection in RETURN OF THE JEDI) and I wondered how George Lucas would fill that void in this new film. Let's just say it was a bit of a slow burn on that front, for me, but the filmmakers soon enough delivered something brand new and unexpected –– and ultimately satisfying.

If you loved the original STAR WARS franchise, go see THE FORCE AWAKENS, you won't be disappointed. You'll cheer, you'll laugh, you'll be shocked (screaming NO, NO, NO, NOT THAT!), and you might just shed a few tears.  Again, go see it.  George Lucas has delivered us all a spectacular Christmas gift.

Enjoy the trailer here:

 From VARIETY Magazine:
“Star Wars” veteran Harrison Ford might have shared his talent with the “Force Awakens” cast, but he didn’t do any behind-the-scenes coaching.  “I don’t give advice, I just think everybody’s got to figure out how to do it for themselves,” Ford told Variety at the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” world premiere in Los Angeles on Monday. “I would if I was asked, but I wasn’t asked."

Watch the excellent and fun video here:

Great pics!  Must check 'em out here:
Very interesting essay by director JEFF LIEBERMAN, most well known for the horror film SQUIRM.  Check it out.

"Jerry smiled and nodded his head, then he told me that someone else was in here pitching him the same thing two years ago while I was making ‘The Ringer,’ “George Lucas, the guy who just made that AMERICAN GRAFFITI.” He had turned Lucas down because the guy had no track record at this point to support taking over such an iconic property from a major corporation. However, Berger had just optioned out the rights to Dino Di Laurentiis who got Berger’s approval because he promised to get Fellini to direct it."

Read the full essay here:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Digital Production Buzz With Final Cut Pro Editing Guru Larry Jordan.

Jessica Sitomer, president of The Greenlight Coach, has worked in the entertainment industry for eighteen years as a writer, an independent producer, a development associate, a director, and an actress. For 12 of those years she was a career coach for entertainment industry professionals. She joins us this week to share some tips on how to handle the stress of the holidays when you are unemployed.

Listen To The Short Interview Hear:
From 11.19.15 –– ALL NEW from Feast Frenzy @ The Horror Food Network!

Now this one turned out magically delicious!  First I browned 93% lean ground beef, spiced with garlic powder, chili powder, and Chipotle Tabasco Sauce, while grilling fresh shrimp (marinated in Chipotle Tabasco Sauce and sprinkled with oregano) on the Nu Wave Oven.  Once the beef was ready I filled two taco shells with the spicy goodness, added diced red onions, shredded sharp cheddar, and green kale to top them off.  As a side I prepared one can of fat-free refried beans, bolstered with diced jalapenos, a little lemon juice, and original Tabasco sauce, then garnished with diced red onions and chives.  Last but not least, I added some Tapatio Sauce for dipping the shrimp.  The combination of flavors was outstanding!  So good, in fact, I had to go back for one more taco.
"Jenny Lee & Elvira Snow"
TODD BROWNINGS'S 1932 film FREAKS is not for everyone, but has reached cult status and is a proud part of my DVD collection.

"Freaks has earned its place in history as one of the all-time great cult films, though it wasn’t always beloved. The film was reviled by both critics and audiences upon release in 1932. It was a career-killer for Tod Browning, who had previously been a Hollywood golden child with a string of Lon Chaney hits under his belt and who had just come off the enormous success of Dracula."

Check out the rest of the article and cast portraits here:

" The Famous Hilton Twins –– Daisy and Violet"

Saturday, December 12, 2015

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!  Tell the world & share!

Grab them up @ Amazon!



WOOHOO!  I saw a trailer for a sequel (prequel?) to one of my fav guilty pleasures films, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN before viewing INTO THE HEART OF THE SEA (my review below).

Looks cool, but dangerously special FX shiny.  I really hope they don't blow it.  Look for the film sometime in 2016 –– THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER'S WAR.

Chris Hemsworth again plays the Huntsman.  Cool (even though I don't care for his Thor).  Charlize Theron is back (Yum!).  And new additions are Emily Blunt (fell in bigtime crush with her in the recent film SICARIO) and Jessica Chastain (longtime red-head wow! And yes anytime!).  OK.   So this might be another guilty pleasures film for me.  I mean, I have a super hot blond, brunette, and red head here.  Love those girls as actors and pieces of carnal art.  Oh boy.

Anyway...hope this film will be a good one.

Enjoy the trailer here:

Well, poo...what can I say about INTO THE HEART OF THE SEA.  It just didn't float my boat.  No pun intended.  It seemed like a string of spectacular events with gorgeous special effects, but with uncertain direction and no real climax.  I felt like I was watching a whale of a tale with a super big whale that never connected with humanity beyond ramming the hell out of a people-boat.  And then all are adrift for goddamn ever, forced to finally eat each other, and then what?  No freakin' whale!  Ok, the whale did show back up, but only long enough to give the giant eyeball to our hero, who then capitulated to Green Peace and didn't bother to even really try to kill the monster fish (mammal) who had destroyed his crew, ship, and life.  Hmmmmm...oh!  And by the way, Herman Melville is taking notes on this story being told word-of-mouth the whole time, for a possible new novel.  Well, I guess he got one.  Funny that in this film he informs the story teller that he won't need to use all that was told.  He meant the cannibalism faux pas –– but Jesus Christ, that was the best part!  At any rate, I guess Melville got himself a classic novel out of it all anyway –– no wonder I avoid the classics.  And I was just kind of wishing my popcorn hadn't run out and the movie would be over.  Or at least show me some more cool giant whale destruction footage.  No such luck.  I just got an ear full of more stilted dialogue from the story teller's dowdy wife.

Enjoy the trailer here. It's better than the film:

Friday, December 11, 2015

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!  Tell the world & share!

Grab them up @ Amazon!