Sunday, May 17, 2009

Are You There God? Remember me? It's Ryan....Just Checking In, Thanks.

Life is like get caught up living it and you tend to forget to step back and reflect on where it's taking you....

So, like most folks in this country, or many people, i'm unemployed...I can work as a substitute teacher, but given how inconsistent and unpredictable it can be getting sub work (answered a call to sub, got to the school, then was told an hour later i would not be needed because the person who called off DECIDED she wasn't that sick and came in....said teacher is LEGENDARY for dong is what it is).

yes, I am sending my resumes--ALL OF THEM--out everywhere I can...temping when jobs appear, etc.

so, i'm doing all the work necessary to ensure that i find a job SOON....

but, it still doesn't change the fact that i'm at a very REAL crossroads at my life...for the first time, in 33 years (soon to be 34), i don't have the answers.

I have no answers...I don't know where I want to go next...and you know what, I'm good with that.

For the first time, in a long time, i'm learning how to chart my own path in life. I've always taken the "safe" way to get what I want...and that's fine.

but, i'm not feeling challenged or, i'm going to figure out what breathes life into me..what makes me creative.

I know it's writing and always has been...but I admit i've been terribly afraid to make that leap and really get what i produce out there. no one wants to be rejected or be harshly criticized. YET...we learn from negative feedback and make our work stronger...

I know I've always wanted to write for film and television, but I admit I've been hella conservative in getting there. I also know that I have not been READY to make that leap...

I am now and I'm making, no i'm TAKING those steps to get me to that point...

I've been writing scripts and teleplays these days..yea, they aren't GREAT but im putting my words down on paper and learning how to CRAFT what i write into something that IS a stepping stone to getting that foothold TO what i want to accomplish (writing and producing screenplays; creating tv shows that a) people want to watch and b)are GOOD...

it's a lot...i know it's hard to "break in" but i'm going to do my damndest to get there.

at the moment, i'm working on a spec, not only for that portfolio of work writers need to get noticed in Hollywood, but will serve as a hopeful sample that will aid me in applying for the Disney Writing Fellowship...ill talk more on that later...

and yes, moving to LA is in the hoping i can do it at the end of this year, but to be realistic, winter/early spring 2010 is the time period...

I don't know...I guess things are slowly starting to come to fruition for me.

I've never been THAT PERSON who's had a linear progression towards achieving what they want...My path in life has been bumpy, loaded with physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc. roadblocks, minefields, etc. that I've come to expect a windy road...

but, for the first time in a LONG ASS TIME, that's's more than fine that i'm getting closer to what I want out of life, etc.

so yea...i guess i'm just writing this to say that i'm present and thriving and not being deterred given my current circumstances...

i'm human...i have moments of anger, depression, sadness, etc. who doesnt. but, i know that those moments pass and i go right back to work, slowly getting closer to what I want...

and you know going to get EXACTLY what I want also...end of story.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Welcome Back/The Oscars/Moving Forward

Okay, so I haven't been here in ages. Life, work, writing and the pursuit of my individual happiness took precedence over the maintaining of this blog.

I have been watching a LOT of films though. But, since those films have past, and the chance to comment on them here have passed also, I will start a fresh and anew with the Oscars.

I do intend to watch all of the nominees for 2009 between now and June and comment on all of them. So many fantastic performances (Happy Kate Winslet won for Revolutionary Road/The Reader--why folk hated RR is beyond me--the book is devastating and powerful and Kate is luminous as April Wheeler. Sorry, but her performance in The Reader is BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, not best. Get it right, kiddies!...but, Melissa Leo gave the strongest performance of this year in Frozen River (a must add to your netflix queue)) and so little time to watch when they were out.

Brief thoughts on the Oscars: still too long, but Hugh Jackman gets a LOT of props for hosting. Though, I feel like someone MUST hate him cause he got the shittiest bits for a host ever.

Dustin Lance Black: very moving and powerful speech...though I feel that MILK wasn't as strong as it COULD have been and did profit (as it should have) in the post-Prop 8 kaflama, but Black did give an emotionally valid and powerful speech, one that all LGBT youth and LGBT's in general can feel positive about--even if the movie basically whitewashed the presence of people of color from it.

I guess we'll still be waiting another ten years for an LGBT screenwriter of color to get up on the stage and give his OR her speech to the world about the movie he won an oscar shade, just telling and speaking truth.

Sean Penn as Best Actor: I love sean--but, Mickey Rourke KILLED it in The Wrestler and should have won.

Best Supporting Actress: I guess black people should be thankful that the academy nominated TWO black women in the same category (shade of Oprah and Margaret Avery for The Color Purple 23 years ago, natch). I'm happy Penelope won, but that award had Viola's name written ALL OVER IT.

The rest of the show: Weaveonce was a hot mess as usual, why were the "young Hollywood" set in the show--they aren't spectacular nor will ANY of them even GET close to a nomination ever (Zac Efron, Robert Pattinson, Miley Cyrus and Vanessa Hudgens). ABC should really go about getting the young viewers another way.

Seth Rogen: will someone tell his UNFUNNY ass that his fifteen minutes of fame have been over--FOR TWO YEARS NOW. Pineapple Express wasn't even THAT good--just a very long and extended weed joke that went on for two hours TOO LONG.

Slumdog Millionaire: Let's be real...the film wasn't as good as all the praise it's getting. Give it a few weeks, and folk will start seeing the flaws that were rampant in that movie and just how contrived it really was. Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, and the rest of the cast (including the kiddies--LOVE THEM. Have Fox Searchlight done right by their families and given them some coin to live off of? Or, are they still playing that post-colonial, dimissive stance still?) were brilliant. And, Danny Boyle managed to have some moments of brilliance in an otherwise okay film with a very complex and powerful first hour, that collapsed into a very mediocre hour of contrivances and predictability...

And why are White people acting like Bollywood is that NEW ISH? Now it's trendy for folk to start doing the final dance number in the film? pssh....

Angelina Jolie: THAT's how you WORK a red carpet-dress and all. Please, tell these young hollywood starlets to watch Kate, Angelina, and Marissa Tomei this year on how to REALLY give status and presence at the Oscars.

Til next time...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Reasons To Watch TV: Lafayette Reynolds On HBO's True Blood

Once again, the 2008-2009 network television season provides us with another year of bland procedurals, “quirky” character hybrid dramas that aren’t that well written—despite the pedigree of the executive producer on board (JJ Abrams—LOST is great, FRINGE-not so much), and the consistent old-timers and ratings “champs” who bring in steady ratings, but not much else in regard to originality, innovation, or quality (Heroes, anyone?).
Yet, there are networks that have been bucking the trend of mediocrity by giving viewers edgy, well-written, and thought provoking fare. HBO is a cable network that is doing this very thing in regard to their scripted comedies and dramas. The net reached out to an “old friend” to develop and run their newest breakout hit, True Blood. A mix of southern gothic drama, horror, suspense, mystery, romance, and comedy, the series is a character driven ensemble piece that chronicles the interactions the citizens are having with vampires in the small community of Bon Temps, Louisiana. Specifically, the series focuses on the relationship between telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and centuries-old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer).
One of the unusual characters featured in this ensemble is Lafayette Reynolds, a short order cook at the town bar. He has wit for days and an equally colorful ensemble of fishnets, tight pants, and fabulous makeup. But, there is more to Lafayette than that. He’s quite intelligent and cunning. And, I am enjoying how Ball is peeling away his layers in every episode of the show. Critics haven’t warmed up to the character yet and have accused Ball of writing the black characters on True Blood as one- dimensional stereotypes. Yet, I question what it is they are seeing. Alan Ball has always been a master of creating flawed and original characters for his many film and television projects. Lafayette is a prime example of this. Lafayette more than fits in with the rest of the community and is not a stereotype at all. In every episode, you learn something new about him that makes you rethink and reconsider how you view him on True Blood. And, that’s great about Ball’s new show. The greatest characters are those that keep us wondering what they are going to do next: good or bad.
However, this isn’t enough. People demand that characters that look like us be noble and free of fault. Or, in the case of Black LGBT characters, expect them to be non-threatening or so extremely unrealistic that it was easier to stomach shows that allegedly catered to us but gave us the very stereotypes we abhorred being compared to. Of course, “mainstream” (read: White) gays aren’t that accepting of us either. For all of GLAAD’s and’s cries for diversity in film and television, any and everything related to LGBT men and women of color was marginalized and relegated to the occasional “expose” every other year (After Elton), or yearly studies on the lack of LGBT characters of color on TV shows and films, yet no real critique or analysis on how to advocate for this needed diversity (GLAAD). Television isn’t perfect, and I don’t need it to be. I need my shows to be complex, ambiguous, messy, and fun. HBO has the corner of the market on this. And, True Blood, and Lafayette Reynolds is no exception.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Is TV the "New Film"/Fall Awards Season Approaches

Hey everyone...absence DOES make the heart grow fonder...since I've been away from here since june.

I just wasn't impressed with th summer movie season: Save for The Dark Knight, the summer blockbluster season was underwhelming: Tropic Thunder was a series of satirical jokes that went on for way too long, Pineapple Express was yet another psuedo-innovative, yet ultimately vapid and disappointing take on the Aptow "bromance" character relationship vibe in all his films--either produced by him or directed by him. And, Seth Rogen is so NOT a leading man and it's really typical of Hollywood to treat him like one--would Hollywood be so loving if Seth was a fat, nappy haired Black guy named Sequan Rogen? or a Seanday Rogen? I mean, would they?

No shade against seth--people think he's funny; i just find him really irritating and so NOT funny. But, I still had to throw that out there...if only to provoke thought.

But, I'm back and with the onslaught of grad school apps (yea, im going back to school hopefully), screenplay and tv pilot writing (im going to make that happen also), i've been noticing that i'm seeing BETTER quality work on TV shows than on film..with shows like Alan Ball's True Blood (HBO), CBS's The Mentalist, etc. TV is really stepping up to become the go to place for talented actors and writers.
I mean, one of my NEW favorite shows, The CW's Privileged, has cast Anne Archer (arguably one of the MOST underrated and underutilized actresses to date in american film and television) as Laurel Limoge, the VERY fierce and VERY on point grandmother to two spoiled heiresses who need to get into Duke University in order to ensure they GET their seems paper thin, but the writing is very spot on (think Gilmore Girls since Privileged was creator by one of the former producers of Gilmore) and the character development has been great to watch week after week.....
But, is TV replacing film as THE medium to watch for quality acting and quality writing? With the end of The Shield, ER, and Mad Men close to capping ANOTHER brilliant season, with british and other foreign tv imports heading stateside (Little Britain is a must watch for me) and with some foreign tv shows getting airplay here int he states (nee Secret Diary Of A Call Girl--a well written guilty pleasure, did very well on Showtime after Weeds this summer),e tc.
Has TV finally overtaken film in regard to more progressive, well written, and thought provoking shows/films than film itself?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Secret Diary Of A Call Girl-TV

Normally, I wouldn't post about a tv show here, since this blog is devoted to films. But, I had heard about this show through friends who'd seen it over in Britain last year or had seen it online.

After watching the entire series online, I was surprised to say that I'm hooked. And, I'm totally siked that Showtime is airing the entire first series starting 16 June 2008!!!!

Basic Premise: Based on the scandalous and steamy memoirs and blog of Belle De Jour, a notorious and famous British escort, Secret Diary Of A Call introduces us to Hannah Baxter, a brilliant, young, beautiful, and arrogant university grad who also moonlights as Belle, a high priced call girl in Britain.

British pop sensation Billie Piper (Rose from the revamped Dr. Who series and is in picture, opposite Iddo Goldberg-Ben in the series) is Hannah Baxter, Belle De Jour, and the series was quite popular on ITV2 in Britain. It was so popular that Series 3 (Season 3, for Americans) was greenlight for series BEFORE Series 2 started shooting last month. Talk about putting major hype behind a show!

But, I think it's worth it. It's not everyone's cup of tea (british humor isn't always picked up on by Americans and the graphic nudity and sex might be too much for many here), but its definitely worth a try.

Secret Diary Of A Call Girl Trailer
(Click Link: courtesy of Youtube/Showtime/ITV2)

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Okay, so I came in with a VERY open mind and LOW expectations for the horror-thriller THE STRANGERS, a 10 million dollar home invasion film that has just NOW gotten released after being on the shelf for nearly a year and a half over at Rogue Pictures and Intrepid Pictures.

The basic plot line: A yuppie couple couple staying in an isolated vacation home are terrorized by three unknown assailants. (courtesy of The plot is paper thin, yes--It is a horror film. It would be ridiculous to assume something on the magnitude of STRAW DOGS (1971-a classic home invasion-like horror-thriller from the 1970's starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George--points if anyone can tell me what controversial film she starred in which involved her having illicit relations with a black slave...:)).

But, so much could have been done. Honestly, more character development could have been added to at least make Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) somewhat likeable, hell, at least realistic in how they individually and respectively would have acted. I couldn't stand either one of them, and I just prayed they'd die earlier and violently so I could justify the $6 matinee price and the 90 minutes I lost watching the movie.

But, the cast does what they can with what they are given, with Tyler especially managing to be resilient--even if her character is written as ridiculously weak and idiotic. Tyler managed to wring some sympathy and moments of strength as a woman who is trying to figure out how survive the night, knowing that that is becoming bleaker and bleaker by the hour...

The masked assailants (Gemma Ward, Kip Weeks, and Laura Margolis) were able to do so MUCH with little to no dialogue whatsoever. I credit all three of them with the ability to effectively convey murderous tension...without saying anything or little at all.

Scott Speedman: Eh, it was official back in his Felicity days that he's eye candy only, and not much else. His character was annoying and one note, and Speedman couldn't even achieve THAT level of banal mediocrity..of course, he'll be signing up for his next several million dollar plus role in his next project, so his acting skills really AREN'T going to be looked at much..but, his acting leaves a LOT to be desired....PERIOD.

The movie's biggest fault is with Bryan Bertino, the writer-director of this film. This is is first movie, and it shows. The first hour is filled with tension and the right amount of atmospheric aura needed for a film like this. He gets points for not showing violence on screen, and his sound man should SO get awards for utilizing the sound of the film (creaky floorboards, records skipping, etc.) for highest levels of fright and tension.

However, the writing was horrid and leaves a lot to be desired. Bertino could have done so MUCH more with 10 million dollars than the dreck he put out this weekend. Rogue Pictures and Intrepid Pictures should really slap the shit out of their development people who green lighted this picture.

Clearly, the audience knows this isn't going to be a true scare fest, because we're told at the beginning of the film that this is INSPIRED by true events....OK. Great...thanks for killing what little chance we as the audience had for suspension of belief which would have lead to a genuinely authentic horror-thriller that should have been given to us if the script was stronger....

Also, I won't even talk about the implausibility factor (Kristen is running around in the dark with NO SHOES ON? GIRL...the killers could have had bear traps all UP in the mix, and you're running everywhere, giving us Drew Barrymore with contralto theatrics before the credits in SCREAM?!?!?!?!?!?!..That's what you get for not having a flashlight and running right into a ditch and fucking your foot UP! I laughed when you fell, and I laughed when you slithered/crawled, booty all pooched up in the air giving us human snake like shenanigans...Those scenes were SO for the horned out straight boys in the audience)

Common sense would have been very KEY to making this film decent. I'm sure Bryan Bertino will do a better job on his next film...just about as sure as I am that John McCain is the BEST choice for President..NOT.

This is strictly a film you should see on HBO Demand..after being blown OUT on some good weed, two Large Supreme Pizza Hut pies, with buffalo chicken tenders, bread sticks and marinara sauce, which you wash down with $5 jug wine, cheap homemade gin and tonics, and old-school least then you can pantomime what SHOULD have been a scary horror-thriller and get all "scared" when your cracked out friend with the lazy eye starts chasing everyone around the living room with a knife wearing a white latex rubber mask with his tongue caught on the mouth zipper because that amount of inspiration and "realness" would have been WAY better than what I saw earlier today.

If you want to see how home invasion horror-thrillers are done PROPERLY, get thee to Netflix and rent:


Ils-Them (2006): A sublimely scary and enjoyable horror-thriller flick that is about home invasion but is WELL DONE with the violence and atmospheric tension. See it in French, because I am sure Fox Searchlight or some "indie" arm of one of the major studios will remake this and place the hot It Boy and It Girl of the moment in the main roles..or something awfully hideous to that regard.

Expect the obligatory Sex And The City movie review (you know damn well I'm going to comment on Jennifer "I can't act my way out of a paper bag and got my Oscar for giving histronics worse than Kathleen Battle before she was fired from the Metropolitan Opera in the 1990s and still got upstaged by Beyonce's weave and ass" Hudson's part as Carrie's assistant, i.e. the fill in black girl role), coming up this week...

as well as reviews of:

The Visitor (before it ends it run here)
Kung Fu Panda (WHAT? I loves the cliched, wire fu animated movies!)
The Happening (cause I love Zooey Deschanel--question, can anyone verify that she's the voice we hear in THE STRANGERS? It's not Gemma Ward at all...I'll have to check on that one)
engaging and worthwhile indie films....

Atmosphere and Tension: B+
Writing: C-/NE
Acting: B (for Liv Tyler and the killers)/NE for Scott Speedman
Overall Final Grade: C+

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Josh Brolin as W (Coming October 2008)

Here is a pic of Josh Brolin as George Dubya Bush, Oliver Stone's upcoming biopic on the nation's most controversial (and problematic) president to have ever lived...

I'm curious to see what Stone does with this. Let's face it--when he's on, Stone is ON: Platoon, Wall Street, Natural Born Killers. But, when he's off---he puts out ALEXANDER. Even with the added "gay" content in the director's dvd cut, the film still sucked of rusted, fermented, and centuries old, hairy baboon balls....

And, Stone is a hardcore, expecting a balanced and objective portrait of Dubya isn't going to work. But, the cast he assembled for this is no short of amazing, and I am expecting to see some powerful, and Oscar winnning performances coming the Academy Awards in 2009.

W will be in theatres 17 October 2008 (!!!!!). It's shooting now in Shrevport, Louisiana (!!!!!)

At this moment, no word has come on the casting of the pivotal Bush Administration Cabinet Member Dick "I 'Accidentally' Shoot People With Birdshot Pellets and Aid in the Outing of Intel-Giving, Top Notch Covert CIA Agents named Valerie Plame Because I Hate Her Husband Named Joseph C. Wilson IV" Cheney...

Then Again, would YOU want to play the most reviled man in U.S. to Dubya? Talk Amongst Yourselves...

Josh Brolin ... George W. Bush

Elizabeth Banks ... Laura Bush

Ioan Gruffudd ... Tony Blair

Thandie Newton ... Condoleezza Rice
Rob Corddry ... Ari Fleischer

Scott Glenn ... Donald Rumsfeld

Ellen Burstyn ... Barbara Bush

James Cromwell ... George Herbert Walker Bush

Jeffrey Wright ... General Colin Powell

Noah Wyle ... Don Evans (rumored)
Toby Jones ... Karl Rove

Michael Gaston ... General Tommy Franks

Paul Rae ... Kent Hance

James Martin Kelly ... NSC Official

Wes Chatham ... Jimmy Benedict

Jennifer Sipes ... Susie Evans