Monthly Archives: April 2013

New Cover


All right, so here’s the cover for my latest book.  There isn’t quite a timetable yet on a release date — still have to write a blurb and coordinate other stuff — but as always, I will let you know when I have it.

To see the evolution of the cover, you should look at the pics on my Facebook page and especially my comments on them.  It’s a little clearer why I chose this over other, abandoned ideas.

In the meantime, follow the Best Picture Project.  Or, go here and buy my other stuff — my advice, buy Goliath.  You won’t be sorry.

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Terse Movie Review – Killing Them Softly, dir. by Andrew Dominik

Killing Them Softly poster.jpg

Not nearly as good as the last Andrew Dominik/Brad Pitt collaboration — The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert F0rd — but then again, not much is.  Overall, I liked it.

Still, it’s real easy to see why the film failed to set the box office on fire and was slapped with Cinema Score of F — a grade that puts it in rare company.  After all, when you sell the movie as some sort of shoot ’em up heist/gangster picture, when it’s really more meditative, you’re bound to piss people off and lose a boatload of money.  Lesson to be learned:  while the movie-going public tends to be stupid and fixated on big-budgeted-blow-’em-ups, they also don’t like to feel tricked.  And I can see how this movie might come across as a trick.

In fairness, though, the trickery was not on the movie.  It’s the morons in marketing who screwed the pooch.

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Terse Movie Reviews – Compliance, dir. by Craig Zobel

File:Compliance Movie Poster.jpeg

This might honestly be the most terrifying movie I saw in recent memory — and there is not one speck of blood, nobody hits anybody else, and no threats of grievous bodily harm were made. If not for the fact that the ‘based on actual events’ tagline turning out to be true, you’d think this was a far-fetched joke.

But knowing that not only did it happen in real life, pretty much as it happened in the movie, but that it has a scientific explanation behind what went on, makes it all the more shocking.

Oh, but the real kicker: the perp on the phone was acquitted.

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Hit and Run, Dir. by Dax Shepard and David Palmer

File:Hit and Run Poster.jpg

It will never be mistaken for a ‘great’ film, but given what Shepard — co-Director, writer, star — set out to do, it’s great for what it is.  Uncomplicated, unpretentious, breezy, silly, fun and filled with good repartee and dialog.  Plus, the soundtrack is fabulous, not to mention a show-stealing performance by Bradley Cooper.

I’ll just say it: better than Smokey and the Bandit.

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Attention all Freeloaders —

Cover Idea 17Over at Smashwords, I made something free.  So, if you’re not interested in paying for what you read, you could go on a scavenger hunt and find it

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There’s More Where That Came From: The Best Severed Digit Movies

imagesCAEGVH5CI don’t know what gave me the idea to do a list of the best movies with severed digits – in this case, digits is not meant in a mathematical way, but in the fingers and toes way – but since all lists are inherently arbitrary constructed and a little stupid (AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs, anybody?), it seemed all right just to embrace these lists for all their stupidity and pick something outre.

So, here it is, the ten best movies that prominently feature a severed finger.  Or toe.

(Incidentally, I thought about calling this ‘pieces and parts’ but chose an equally silly title.)

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Terse Movie Review – Room 237, Dir. by Rodney Ascher

Room 237 (2012 film).jpg

The most fascinatingly wacky movie I think I’ve ever seen — who would have thought it so interesting to listen to a bunch of stupid theories for two hours about a movie I love?  And yet, it was.

Honestly, though, I think the movie might’ve been more disturbing than The Shining itself.  Because the music in horror movies is usually what does it for me  — if you’re itching to see me turn a little lily-livered, play Tubular Bells around me and it just might happen — the music used in this doc gave me the eerie, creeping feeling throughout.  And all that without considering how the blend of classic horror and holocaust-film footage worked on me.

As much as I loved the wackiness and audacity of some of the theories, the real triumph is in the editing.  If ever I’ve seen a movie where I can say the editing deserves an Oscar over all others, it’s this one.

BTW, since this didn’t make it to an actual theater in my town, I gotta give some love to the Amazon Instant App on my Blu-Ray player — I might wear that thing out with all the VOD movies I’m itching to see.

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The Best Picture Project – On The Waterfront (1954)

Directed by Elia Kazan

Screenplay by Budd Schulberg

Starring Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Eva Marie Saint, Lee J. Cobb and Rod Steiger

Some movies can be taken on their own terms and are never more than what they are.  There is no subtext, there is no commentary, there is no hidden agenda and absolutely no meanings can be read into them from the context in which they appeared or from whom they were born.  On the whole, I’d say most movies are this way.

Some movies, though, can never be merely a movie because they are nothing but subtext, are rife with commentary, teem with hidden agendas and are overloaded with meaning. Continue reading

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Terse Movie Review – Spring Breakers, dir. by Harmony Korine


Lots of people will see this movie for lots of the wrong reasons — namely, to see some House of Mouse girls gone wild. And maybe, if they’re lucky, enjoy some he do is if the ills in a teen comedy romp. And when those people go to this movie they will be dreadfully disappointed, though not because they’ve seen a bad movie. No, it’ll be because they’ve seen a great movie and are too stupid to recognize it.

Given this movie is massively-inscrutable and almost impossible to describe, I’ll give it a try: Imagine a if Terry Malick, instead of making To The Wonder, went off and remade Scarface instead. Only, instead of setting it during the height of the Marielito business and cocaine boom, he set it during spring break and turned Tony Montana into a whacked-out guru for a hunch of college girls.

That’s about as accurate and I can make my description and, unfortunately, I’m not the only one who struggles with such things.

Anyway, if nothing else, see this movie just for one of the greatest performances you’ll see this year — a sleazy, bravura, creeptastic James Franco. Say what you will about not being right in the Oz movie, or tanking the Oscars, but when he shows up in this movie he hijacks the bitch, grabs it by the throat and pretty much doesn’t let go. even though I know the Academy would never think of giving an Oscar for a performance like this, they absolutely should.

(BTW, I’m aware this is supposed to be a terse movie review, but sometimes, things just get away from you)

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