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My IMDB Page

My first official credit is now listed on IMDB. I wonder what I could add to the trivia section. What would be useful info…? I could look up old classmates Tony Sims who crewed a few films in the early 90s and most likely Ammar Desariah, who does some acting gigs here and there.

Being an extra on Chris Robin Hood’s thesis film ‘Count’ back in…oh when was that? 1992 or 93 I think. Worked at Merha Tube, Grand Blanc, MI in the late 90s-early 2000s. The Rabbit Lady from Roger& Me – Michael Moore’s late 80s doc- worked there.

Oh, there’s the “Dusty” gig at AutoWorld in 1990. The place is now the UM parking lot.

Hopefully, this is the start of good things.

In any case, “Forced Donation” my first produced short, will be screened at the Independent Filmmakers Convention
in Indiana next week, June 7th.

That would be an interesting double bill...

That would be an interesting double bill…


Even though I have the DVD, for some reason I found myself watching, at least the latter half of 2001′s Donnie Darko on the Blockbuster channel (Dish). Nothing else was on at the time to suit my fancy. I also know that I’ll re-watch the film later on in it’s entirety sometime soon. It’s just a rule of mine. But re-watching even part of it transported me back to the the first time I seen it at the 2001 Austin Film Festival. I loved the film then, and I still love it now. I got the screenplay/book, big time fan. I still have hopes for the films writer-director, Richard Kelly, even if he did go on to later direct The Box and Southland Tales, that he will return to the brilliance seen in this film.

In any case, I got a little curious and wanted to brush up on my Darko trivia. Went to the IMDB. Surprised that I discovered that Darko had a bit part for Seth Rogen, his first onscreen role. Hung my head in shame that I didn’t know that or had simply forgotten. Hey, we’re all human. We all err, right?

Headed to the goofs section. My jaw hit the floor.

You gotta be kidding me.

Goof: Anachronisms: When Donnie leaves the theater to burn Jim Cunningham’s house down, we see that the films playing at the theater are The Evil Dead and The Last Temptaion of Christ. Although the film is set in 1988, The Last Temptaion of Christ wasn’t released till 1989

I had long since forgotten my old IMDB account so I promptly made a new one with my Facebook. I’m sorry. I feel it’s my civic duty. Even at three in the morning. How long has that been there?

We are only human, right?
And, lo, it’s also concerning that overrated piece of stuff the otherwise brilliant Scorcese did. Never thought in a million years I’d be the guy to set the record straight. Least the person can go back and use spell check. But here’s my correction, and I hope IMDB has the wisdom to let it stand-

When Donnie leaves the theater to burn Jim Cunningham’s house down, we see that the films playing at the theater are The Evil Dead and The Last Temptation of Christ.Some think the ‘Last Temptation Of Christ’ wasn’t released until 1989. The fact is the film was first given a limited release on August 12, 1988. It is possible that the film was re-released in early 1989 to drum up Oscar support. In addition, while the film would have been out of release theatrically by the events of ‘Darko’, the double bi ll is at a second run theater, or that ‘Evil Dead’ was booked for the Halloween season.
Type: Incorrectly regarded as goof

Even the IMDB lists the release of Last Temptation in August. On top of that, it’s The Last Temptation Of Christ. The protests that summer were even more remembered more than the movie itself. But it got me thinking about something. How many “goofs” people talk about on various films aren’t really goofs?
Your Friendly Big Brother hasn’t got the time to police all the pages, but I can’t help but post about this.

I don’t know why it hits me this way. It just ticked me off. I have nothing to do with the film other than being a film watcher. And this…”goof” ticked me off. Makes me think of all the rotten little things that nitwits on the net do. Like going into Spoilers R Us on Wikipedia. Seriously! But here comes another ballgame, calling out errors when there aren’t any. And all IMDB has to do is ONE QUICK FACT CHECK. But I’ll play optimist.

So maybe the writer of that entry also saw the film on Block, and said, “hey! This film takes place in 1988! Last Temptation was in 1989!” to which is equally as dull because it just takes ONE QUICK FACT CHECK to know for sure.

Maybe nobody cares. Life goes on.
But sorry whoever wrote that. I can’t let that slide.
Not as a Darko fan, not as a film fan, not as an aspiring writer-director. Just all the above.

And a concerned citizen.

christianbale I never thought it would come to this, but I really am disappointed with my film-geeker blogger pundits and peers overall in regards to The Dark Knight Rises. It’s not that they disliked the film, or, even if they did, they saw it and formed an opinion. All film is subjective. I understand that. But when my peers put together the top tens of 2012, the reason for having Rises lower than other films -specifically The Avengers- is due to Dark Knight Rises having too many plot holes. I found it rather odd. While The Avengers is pure popcorn fun and I’m not really knocking it in any way, many have noted the film has the most movie error mistakes of the past year. Some people noticed, some didn’t. Some….just don’t give a rip. But my point is…why dump on one film while giving the other a pass? To add to that, last summer I heard of all the “plot holes” in Dark Knight Rises and was confused more by those who made those charges. Didn’t they see the same film I did? Well, I bought the latest Batfilm on video and re-watched it a few times. Even did the Ultraviolet – Flixter thingie. Now, I think…I think…I know what went down. View full article »

dniezby_film_strip203While many of my film blogger-y type peers have already put out a Top Ten of 2012 and a Worst 10 of 2012, I chose to hold off mostly until the start of the New Year. I was debating whether or not to put it in posts up at Movie Snitch, but chances are I’ll probably do so…after I see Lincoln and Les Miserables.  So it may change. But it’s still a tough choice on a “final” top ten. There were a surprisingly abundance of great films this past year. I also believe that there were less rotten duds that hogged the spotlight away from the gems. View full article »

Resolutions for the new year:

- Keep writing.
- Get more work
- Keep the faith!
- Be a little more active on my personal blog.
(gears may change soon)

But there are also things which have come to attention on a personal level that some bridges are still burned for whatever reason. Most of these things should be water under the bridge. Most of these things, if not all of them, have already been forgiven. You are still, in spite of everything, a friend. You know who you are. So I leave 2012 with a scene from 1989′s ‘Dead Poets Society’.

I’ll be back soon with a closer look at one of the past year’s best/worst films. I’ll also share that post on Movie Snitch. There will be also an in-depth look at one of the past years biggest films in the week or so to come.

Happy 2013!

- DjS

Time For An Update…


It’s been awhile since I visited, much less posted on my own blogsite. I’ll be ramping things up shortly on this end.

Here’s what’s going on since:

One of my short scripts, Forced Donation, has been filmed. It is currently in post and will be finished soon. It filmed late last summer. The same folks behind this are also considering another short of mine ‘Mystery Of Mister Y‘ Matt Reilly and Kristian Steel are the first folks to interpret my brainwaves.

The Servant.
Things have changed a bit since the last post regarding this some time ago. While I am in contact with the previous party that was interested in this, another party has since stepped in – they even tracked me down - and they are doing most of the pitching at this time. As of now I cannot publicly say who they are due to contract (it’s not a ‘public announcement’) but I’m convinced this will happen someday in some sort of format.

The Clean Up Crew and Breaking Eggs are on the back burners for now. They are question marks.

Spring Comfort a short, has gotten some interest. I’m rewriting it to mold into the filmmaker’s needs. If it happens, it will be part of an anthology, and that’s all I can say about that at this time.

The Find
I can talk about this one a little bit. Hopefully, prep and pre-vis will happen in early 2013. The script originated as a entrant in a DVX userfest with an ‘Alien’ theme. The version at DVX is slightly different than the version on Simply Scripts – the latter more ‘Heavy Metal’ if you will. By ‘Heavy Metal’ I mean like a CG version of the ’81 cult film and/or graphic novel-fantasy magazine and not the Headbanger’s Ball. In any case, shortly after I posted the longer version on SS, someone from the Art Insitute Of Pheonix read it and made me an interesting offer. While payment is credit and a bag of mints, the script has a strong chance of being some sort of project over there. Cross your fingers on that.

When I’m not writing, I’m usually peer reviewing at Talentville or Simply Scripts. Or hanging out at Movie Snitch (formerly Reel Time)

-DJS

Source Code Ending Debate

Jake Gyllenhaal, Vera Farmiga and Jeffery Wright in Duncan Jones' 'Source Code'

Source Code is one of the best reviewed films of 2011. There is a lot of twists, turns and drama in this sci-fi thriller where if it were just that alone, it would be fine. But director Duncan Jones (Moon) and writer Ben Ripley go an extra mile and make a decent drama out of it too. It is a must-see film if you haven’t seen it already.

It’s also a layered, non-linear film of sorts, that is so smart and sharp that it went over the heads of some viewers, as the film underperformed at the box-office. Some wonder if Jake Gylenhaal is leading actor material, since most of the films he’s been in tanked. I’m not one of those who buy into that, because I have yet to dislike his work in the films he has done since Donnie Darko. In fact, I think it’s a shame that the masses avoided ‘Moonlight Mile’ many years ago, and ‘Jarhead’ also deserved a better fate as well, and not because my fellow high school alum Ammar played the Iraqi tower guard either.

But I think folks avoided ‘Source Code’ due to early bird viewings in regards to the film’s last five minutes.

Beware all ye who read further! This discusses the ENDING of the film and SPOILERAGE is afoot!

About the ending. If it was me personally I would have chopped it right at the freeze frame moment as Goodwin decides not to pull the plug, but to reboot him and erase the memory. This way, in Steven’s mind, he did save the train and stop the bomber. He’s seen and expierienced death countless times (even the first time around, noticing the character’s “war condition” which may also play in mental truama) More importantly, he “talked” to his father for the last time. (Note: I found out this this was a bit of an Easter egg, as his father was voiced by Scott Bakula. That was a nice touch!) That’s not a real Hollywood ending, but since his mission was to identify the bad guy, and said bad guy was “caught” he still saved countless lives. If the film ended right there, it would be outstanding.

I didn’t outright hate the ending we are given, with one exception.  Because of the ending, the film blinks and becomes less than perfect. The insert shots of Chicago landmarks from earlier I feel are afterthoughts in an editing room to cover some butts. It doesn’t work for me, and I think it violates the story. Here’s why:

Steven has been in the machine for at least two months. When the train bombing happened, The Source Code project was put into effect.  Steven could only go in for eight minutes. When Stevens saves the passengers at the end, and the time unfreezes after eight minutes,it should be Sean Fentress – who we seen in the mirror and on the driver’s license. Instead we see Stevens.  While the message was sent BEFORE the eight minutes were up, it is quite alright for Goodwin to get the message in the changed reality. But the last bit of the message “is Source Code works and for her to tell him the truth when the next ‘mission’ happens.” is incorrect, given the premise of the movie and the ending itself by itself.

And that’s what’s bugging people. It’s implied that his conciousness is still in Fentress. Fentress should – should have his body back. It would have been neat if Fentress has “memories” of Stevens, and, I think, playing by the rulebook. THEN have the flashes of landmarks, meaning that those are Fentress’ memories, Not his.

So…when Stevens goes on another mission, his conciousness is transported into another person, right? Wrong! Because he’s in Fentress! The only other wild possibility is that “Fentress” is in Stevens body, but that’s not what Stevens says. In addition, Fentress’ spirit cannot be dead since he /Stevens/ saved the train. Hence, Fentress didn’t die.

But…there was that mention of being an alternate timeline, as flimsy as it is (in which case, Rutledge was also correct) and since in the “real” timeline, Rutledge stopped Goodwin from pulling the plug…

Either the ending is one big lie (the last “happy” memory of Stevens before his memory is stricken) or Ben Ripley and Duncan Jones bungled.

The filmmakers suggest that the ending is a new reality, and that everytime Stevens was sent back, a new one is created. But those alternate universes only had a span of eight minutes; the result is unavoidable. It can also be said that Stevens’ time span in “the real world” (his mind capsule) is only seconds from the time he comes back. Eight minutes are in the past, not the future. But there’s another problem with that phone call. It’s made that morning as Stevens has saved the train. Which can’t really happen, since he wasn’t sent back after he saved it
I would have been fine with it if it wasn’t for the line of ‘tell me the truth’. That one line, and the fact that Stevens is still in Fentress (did he just steal Fentress’ girl in one morning!?) does cast a big cloud over the film. Still, I can’t entirely condemn it. It gets people talking in debates. That is big accomplishment in today’s film-land.

Vampires, vampires and more vampires! One of these days, I hope for a Moonlight movie...

There are a few new places which I am roaming around on the ‘net, and lucky for me, none of them are MMOs. Yes, I do my share of online games, but not as much as a few years ago. They are, for the most part, too time consuming and when I step outside to get the snail mail I feel like a Morlock. In any case, since The Movie Blog is defunct for me, I decided to add to the links ‘Reel Time Movie’ Blog’ which is what the old ‘Movie Blog’ used to be. (re: IQ). Most likely I’ll be joining back up with those folks sometime soon. The link to that will be up when it goes live.

But since I was updating the links section, I threw in one more. That’s the Castle Dracula Podcast which recently started up on Talkshoe. For anyone who has visited places like NowLive LA, it’s kind of like that: a call in Podcast and live chatroom. Castle Dracula is hosted by “Sword of Dracula” author Jason Henderson, “Halloween Man” creator Drew Edwards, “Clockwerx” manga creator Tony Salvaggio, and Julia Guzman.

It just so happens that at this time I’m expanding a short script of mine ‘The Servant’, which deals with Vampires, Vampire Hunters and one unusal Ghoul. The concept is simple: if vampires can be updated and re-invented, why not the hunters? Why can’t the Ghouls? So listening to this podcast helps me in a few ways by getting into the ‘vampire mood’ if you will. Yes, I could pop in DVDs of ‘Near Dark’ ’30 Days Of Night’, ‘The Lost Boys’, ‘Shadow Of The Vampire’ the ‘Blade’ films and the ‘Moonlight’ TV series to get some styles in mind. It always helps; when wanting to write action films, shouldn’t you watch action films to study structure and what’s been done? When I want to write Horror, I’m not going to watching three of my favorite films, Lawrence Of Arabia, Star Wars and The Outlaw Josey Wales. Know what I’m saying? Okay, maybe Jaws. But I’m most likely to watch Stephen Kings’ Salem’s Lot – both the one with David Soul and the one with Rob Lowe. Or at least a film-noir thriller like ‘After Dark My Sweet’ or ‘House Of Games’ (a different kind of vampire: a con artist)because I do find that film noir can lend itself rather easily into a vampire horror.

While it pales in comparison to the original, that does not mean Jaws 2 is a terrible film.

As much as I love the original Jaws (1975) I think that it’s sequel, Jaws 2 gets a bad rap. Sure, we don’t really get any memorable characters like Hooper or Quint, but we do have returning characters/actors and a handful of the production team of the first film. It must count for something. But there are three main reasons why I love Jaws 2, and several minor reasons.

Part of the magic of the first film is that, due to production challenges, there was a choice not to show too much of the killer shark. It gave us a unique lesson in film in that sometimes less is more. It also suggested that it is not always wise to always show your monster right away, but tease the viewer with glimpses. Granted, this is not an absolute. There have been effective thrillers and horror pictures where the threat is in the open and in front of you. But that’s usually reserved for “individual” monsters and killers, be it Chucky from ‘Child’s Play’, Freddy from ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street’ or the demonic car of ‘Chistine’. The ‘Jaws’ formula of not showing the ‘monster’ too much is more like Greg McLean’s ‘Rogue’, about a killer crocodile.

The success of the ‘Jaws’ structure did not follow up in the sequel; the shark is seen early and often. But one of the added bonuses of the film is that when Brody (Roy Scheider) has reason to believe that a new shark is picking up where the previous one left off. While additional safety measures have been added in between both films – most notably a shark tower- Brody has become the new Quint in a matter of speaking. He is obsessed with finding his foe once again. When Amity’s polititians fire Brody, it is with good reason. It isn’t that Brody may or may not be right. It is the mere fact that he himself caused a (well meaning) panic, drew his gun and fired in the water. We know there’s a new shark out there, He knows there’s a new shark out there. Maybe the city council is in denial. But they also know Brody is a paranoid loose cannon. The taking away of his job as Sheriff is a nice character blow. Added to that, we know he’s right, and so are his superiors.

Hello and GOODBYE!

Yes, the family and character moments in Jaws 2 do have some depth to them, and when Brody pretty much goes it alone, he’s got almost no support aside from his wife and his deputy (now called ‘Jeff’ instead of ‘Leonard’ for some reason) who are left behind when the third act kicks in. The events leading up to that third act is what makes this film. It’s a given, isn’t it? Gimmie a sequel and I’ll give you more shark. But what a bonus! See folks, it’s really simple here. We have got, in disgise, a Dead Teenager Movie. The teens rebel, sneak out, must pay the price for lust, and will sacrifice themselves for friends or a young kid. The death toll is a bit higher, and we got four memorable demises. One is really stupid where, after Mr. Shark snaps away a water-skier he goes after the person in the boat. That person, for some oddball reason, pours gasoline all over herself (although in a panic) and indirectly causes the boat to explode. Luckily, she also scars up the shark a bit as well. Later we find that woman’s burned up body as Brody faces (again) his fear of water. Another is Eddie, but only because of the aftermath when his girlfriend Tina is severely traumatized. This makes us have some feeling for the poor kid. The next best “death” is that of Marge, who dies heroically. (Even if,in the days of my youth and HBO at my friend’s house, this was actually a stupid way to go, although not as dumb as gas can woman) But there is THE HIGHLIGHT of Jaws 2, where in the few years after viewing on cable, me and my friends actually thought the shark lept out of the water and clamped down on the heliocopter. Yes it did chomp down, but it didn’t shoot up like a dancing dolphin either. By today’s standards, this event is not as interesting as, say, what would have the attack on the Killer Whale might have been. It also was a lame way to go overall (a deleted DVD scene shows the pilot becoming the sandwich) but back then in the late 70s/early 80s? On the box? Golden moment, folks.

The teens pray to God, and vow never to sail near dangerous underwater power lines again.

But there’s something more for me than all this and just the classic tagline (“Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go Back In The Water”) and that is those days of geek youth. Sure, we loved Star Wars, Rocky, got into Conan a little bit . But then there was Jaws, and specifically, Jaws 2. I still recall my best buddy Shawn, in front of the TV and the HBO box, proclaiming with every shark snack…

Bye, Bye, Bab-eeeeee

and it was tough not to get a smile. And yes, we all thought the death of the shark by electric cable was nothing short of badass. In passing years, I love the first Jaws more and more, as I think it has aged better than Jaws 2. But while not every filmmaker will follow the ‘less is more’ guideline, there is one thing I would love to see filmmakers take from Jaws 2. A Dead Teenager film that has dead teenagers we not only care about – but having the main protagonist be someone who faces problems and who knows a little more than the kids do. That’s not a bad thing folks, if that character has thier best intrests at heart.


An era is at an end. As of August ist, ‘The Movie Blog’ has been uncermoniously been taken over. Even Rodney Brazeau, who has been with The Movie Blog since its humble beginnings, has been locked out. In the last number of months, Rodney, Anthony White and myself were the only active posters on the site, although Hollywood Slinky and Ian would come around time to time. But we kept it alive.

It wasn’t as popular as when John Campea and Doug Nagy were there, I know. People do miss the podcasts. However, when Rodney was posting up the MSN Film Fan feeds, there was a question posed. If folks wanted MSN FF to continue, that’s great. If not…it was hinted that Rodney would do a few mini videocasts of his own in regards to upcoming weekend films, or something to that effect.

That slight glimmer of hope is now off the landscape.
While things change, and the owners of the site (who are nobody who I mentioned above) can do what they want, I think it would not have been too much trouble to let at least Rodney, the senior editor of TMB, to know what’s going on. You can still say “adios” if you like, but at least folks know you waved goodbye. Follow me? The regular and loyal readers of TMB will catch on soon, I’m sure. There is, however, something of note : the owner’s new writer, Erik, DID NOT write a post/headline that announced the changing of the guard.

My. my, aren’t we sneaky?

Seriously, wouldn’t that be a nice thing to do? I mean, okay, you lock all the writers out, including the senior editor, but you don’t let the readers in on the transition? It may be a shallow deed indeed but at least one can create an illusion of grace.

Does it matter that much to me? That’s a tough question. I’ve migrated off and on over sites for almost ten years now. I like doing most film discussion and film reviews, but on the plus side not blogging about news on other sites does allow me a little extra time to work on my screenplays. I’ve also had to say goodbye to some of those sites for one reason or another. But what bugs me is this…mantra. I haven’t a clue WHY people do this nowadays. You would *think* with the e-mail, skype, Facebook, twitter, everything under one’s fingertips – people can communicate and talk to each other.

Yes, folks can do that. They could also go by dinosaur tactics and thinking by remaining silent and waiting to stab you in the back. No warning. No heads up. No class.

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