Jamin Winans made another movie: The Frame


Our old site guru John reviewed Ink back in 2009 and gave it a rare four and a half out of five stars, refering to it as a film that “combines beautiful special effects with a large world and a very personal story of redemption into something that really is special.” Andrew and Matt spoke with Winans and star Chris Kelly at Flyway that year and praised it for its great story.

And indeed, it was special. It did have a great story. Flaws aside (what micro-budget film doesn’t have them?), it ended up as one of my ten favorites of the year.

So, it comes as a surprise to me that I missed the release of director-writer-composer Jamin Winans’s latest film, The Frame, which appears equally poetic, strange, and enjoyable.

I haven’t watched it yet, but I’m fairly confident that when I do this weekend, it’s going to be great. So, while you await my review, you can (and should) like the film’s Facebook page. Then you should go here and purchase it. While you’re at it, you should probably revisit Ink, by clicking here and spending a couple well-deserved dollars.

Watch Star Drunk, a modern sci-fi classic.

So, a bunch of writers in Portland, Oregon decided to get together, get drunk, and write a script for an epic sci-fi short film. While I think all of us wannabe writers have done this at one point (hey, Steinbeck, Kerouac, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, and Bukowski were all raging alcoholics, were they not?), these guys didn’t regret their decisions the next morning. Instead, they decided to take it a step further and they hired actors who would act out their film while equally as drunk as the writers had been while writing it.

The result is Star Drunk. And it’s as ridiculous as you’d expect – sort of like a sci-fi version of Drunk History meets Battlestar Galactica. It hilarious, especially if you’re a sci-fi nerd such as myself. Or maybe it’s stupid, but I also spend hours each week watching cat videos on YouTube, so I suppose it’s all relative.

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see more of these. Perhaps with some drunk editing thrown in for good measure.

Trailer: Only Daughter


There’s plenty to admire about Aaron Wiederspahn’s Only Daughter. For his first feature film, he had a bigger budget, bigger stars (David Strathairn, Ian Somerhalder, Joseph Mazzello, Jane Adams, Daniel Gillies, Ann Cusack), double the filming schedule, and the result was the rather fantastic The Sensation of Sight.

With his latest effort, Only Daughter, it’s been a slightly more challenging experience, large in part because Wiederspahn has insisted on keeping New Hampshire his filmmaking homebase. According to an article with the Union Leader, Wiederspahn raised $20,000 and began filming on a ten-day shooting schedule with an inexperienced cast comprised almost entirety of New Hampshire actors and crew. The writer and director is more than pleased with the resulting film, which will be screened at The Colonial Theater in Keene, NH on Saturday, August 10 before hitting the festival circuit.

Here’s the official premise, courtesy of IMDb:

Raised by a single mother in a rural New Hampshire town, 18-year-old Dawn Cowley sets out to find the father she has never known and discovers the devastating secret that had torn her family apart.

Wiederspahn also co-stars in the film as the troubled father and, by the looks of the trailer, he has some serious acting chops matching his skills behind the camera. As a film lover, our studio-driven Hollywood has made it easy to become disillusioned with filmmaking, as we’re hit over the head constantly with movies engineered simply to please profit-seeking investors, so sometimes, it’s nice to sit back and watch some really passionate people get together and make a film like this. It’s difficult not to root for them.

Short Stop-Motion Film: Dark Knightfall

Created by Derek Kwok and Henri Wong using Batman toys, here is a rather silly, but still rather cool stop-motion short film about Batman kicking some ass. Like a commenter said on YouTube: “This is pretty much like watching a kid play with his toys. But in a serious way.” It doesn’t make much sense, but that’s not really the point. It never made sense when I always made my toy cars have voices and be able to jump either. But it still happened. I’m more impressed with what these guys were able to do with some simple toys. I think I want to bust out my old Ninja Turtles and make one of these.

Thomas Jane returns as the Punisher… in a ‘fan film.’

I wanted to make a fan film for a character I’ve always loved and believed in – a love letter to Frank Castle & his fans. It was an incredible experience with everyone on the project throwing in their time just for the fun of it. It’s been a blast to be a part of from start to finish — we hope the friends of Frank enjoy watching it as much as we did making it. -Thomas Janes

Thomas Jane played Frank Castle, better known by The Punisher, back in 2004. Reviews were poor and the box office was a modest $55 million. Yet, I remember the debate back eight years ago. I remember fanboys arguing. Some said for an R-rated Punisher film, the violence was too light. Jane’s Frank Castle was too, if not kind, compassionate. Others said that they saw a film that was good, considering it was only given a $33 million budget (which according to the director only $13.5 million actually went towards the shooting) with a very short 52 days to film.

I haven’t watched the film since it was released back in ’04, but I remembered thinking Jane did a fine job as Castle, but the movie lacked severely everywhere else. I remembering thinking that there could have been a good film there somewhere had they had the resources, a more polished script, and someone other than John Travolta as the villain.

According to Film School Rejects, Marvel has had the rights back to the character since 2011. In this short film titled Dirty Laundry that was screened at Comic Con 2012, Jane once again reprises the role of Frank Castle. Could this be his cover letter expressing his interest to Marvel? All I know is that they get bonus points for having Ron Perlman – and it certainly lives up to the “needs more violence” standard that fans complained about.

I think most comic book fans would love to see Marvel take another stab at this character. Would it make sense for Marvel to bring Thomas Jane back? On the bright side, they already have their origin story with the 2004 film. On the negative side, it will always be associated with the 2004 film, if they choose not to reboot it completely.

Check out Jane’s 10 minute film below. Then let us know what you think: do you want to see Jane as Castle again? Or should Marvel go in another direction?

The Dark Turtle?

Every year, I make it a point to re-watch the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles feature film – and every year, I come away wondering if they will ever make a family film that is quite as unique. The blend of child-friendly humor with adult thematic elements and absolutely masterful puppetry and martial arts. Unlike most fantastical films from the era, the original feature holds up surprisingly well. And I’ll be damned if Raphael isn’t just about as awesome as characters come.

Despite my affinity for these biologically-altered ass-kicking turtles, it doesn’t mean I am a fan of all things Ninja Turtles. The first sequel fell prey to its concept’s silliness, the second sequel was an abomination, and the revamps of the franchise in cartoon form have been mediocre at best. Their latest dip in film territory – TMNT – was lackluster, despite the promising character riffs between Raphael and Leonardo.

Since the release of TMNT, there have been calls for the heroes in a half-shell to return to their darker, more violent roots, something that certainly has been influenced by the successful transformation from campy-to-gritty for the Batman franchise. While I am not entirely on board with the idea (frankly, just leave me in peace with my 1990 flick and I’ll be happy) and think that there have been so many incarnations of the Turtles that it has just gotten plain confusing for kids, one filmmaker out there decided to make a three-minute short film to demonstrate what a gritter Ninja Turtles film might look like. It’s certainly shoddily done, but there is something to be said for an embittered-Raphael standing on a rooftop watching the New York sunset whilst score from Danny Boyle’s sunshine is playing. That something might be bemusement, but it’s something.

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Shorts Program: Morgan and Destiny’s Eleventeeth Date


It looks like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and those awesome folks over at hitRECord have put together a sequel to the collaborative Sundance short film hit Morgansen’s Date with Destiny. It’s been finished for some time, but I just stumbled across it as it was posted on Joe’s official collaborative filmmaking site. This time, Morgan and Destiny are apparently on their eleventeenth date – and where else but the Zeppelin Zoo? Co-starring his Stop Loss co-star Channing Tatum, we see Morgan battle Lionel in the most gentlemanly of ways.

These collaborative shorts are awesome – and both were received warmly at this past year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas. Let’s hope the continued success of Joe’s passion projects can help bring a smile to his face after the recent tragic death of his older brother, Burning Dan.

Short film Terminus to get feature length adaptation.

Canadian director Trevor Cawood is probably ecstatic to know that a feature-length adaptation of his short film Terminus is being penned by District 9 screenwriter Terri Tatchell. I’m not sure how they’re going to get two-hours out of this concept, but the short film is pretty damn awesome. Check it out below and be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s hitRECord Short Film

If you have yet to check out Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s experimental filmmaking community, which he now says has evolved into a “full-fledged professional collaborative production company,” then you’re missing out. It’s been around a few years and I’ve been following it since the beginning, when it was little more than a few videos posted by Joe and a forum where others could post and discuss their work. For a while now, they’ve been collaboratively working on a short film titled Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date with Destiny, which Joe took to Sundance this year to screen as an example of the possibilities that the collaborative internet process of bringing minds from all over the world together creates.

On his site where he posted the video, Joe talked about the experience:

Albert proposed an off-kilter writing exercise, and then Metaphorest’s beautifully strange short story inspired it all. I read the story aloud, Jenyffer.Maria started drawing the characters, Tori animated Jen’s drawings, Lula and I did a live-action rendition, Lawrie Brewster took the project to soaring heights with his gorgeous visuals, and along the way there was the help, encouragement and roughly 180 contributions from throughout our community. We brought it to Sundance, and Nathan coaxed the lush and vast music out of the newly coined hitRECorchestra. (Good_Girl_Indie has written out a fabulously detailed timeline documenting what happened and when along this RECord’s progression.)

Not only did we close our (two) official hitRECord screening(s) in the New Frontier Microcinema with this piece, but the next day, Sundance added it as a short film to play before the award-winning feature HOMEWRECKER on a much bigger screen.

Would you like to know more…?

An animated world where running and walking zombies co-exist.

Here’s a short teaser for a film titled AD that was put together by a handful of indie filmmakers who are hoping to make their zombie concept into a feature film. Blending a unique stylized animation with a world where some zombies walk and some run (“The unpredictability of who you’re dealing with makes it way more frightening”), these folks who grew up admiring George Romero (one had a chance to work with him on Land of the Dead as a producer) are looking to put their own stamp on the zombie genre, something that will stand apart from the over-saturated crowd. Read their interview with Zombieinfo here and check out the teaser below and see if you think this could be something that catches on with mainstream audiences or not.

Panic Attack!

According to BBC News, Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez has been offered a $30 million contract to make a Hollywood film with Sam Raimi as one of the producers. Numerous studios took notice of the man after he uploaded a five minute sci-fi short on YouTube that reportedly only cost $300 to make.

“I uploaded (Panic Attack!) on a Thursday and on Monday my inbox was totally full of e-mails from Hollywood studios,” Alvarez said. “It was amazing, we were all shocked.”

It’s shaping up to be a story similar to that of District 9‘s Neill Bloomkamp, whom Peter Jackson championed on the strength of Bloomkamp’s short Alive in Jorburg. Hopefully this story will have similar positive results, because the short, which you can watch below, is pretty impressive.