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Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Something to bear in mind

Don’t force or stare, just relax…you will succeed.

Written by Nick

December 8th, 2008 at 3:43 pm

Posted in Movies

Michigan’s Digital Production Divide

All this looks like small beer compared to the meltdown here on Wall Street this month, but I was back in Michigan over Labor Day and found myself thinking the state’s huge production incentives program isn’t being fully utilized.

Up North, things are particularly bleak. In the town where my parents stay, Boyne City, 95 people started Labor Day weekend with a pink slip, as LexaMar, one of the biggest corporations in the town of 3500 laid them off on Friday. It made small talk everywhere, downtown, strolling past the classic cars on display, at the police-sponsored drag race at the city airstrip, another midsized manufacturer slicing off jobs as the economy expels another ragged breath.

The one point of light in a state with its biggest industry, automobiles, breaking down, is film production. It’s exceptionally cheap to shoot anything in Michigan right now, and that has ushered in the closest thing to a business renaissance the region has seen in years, at least the latest Band-Aid to create an economic buffer around the doomed car business, like Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson’s Automation Alley plan that began about a decade ago.
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Written by Nick

September 20th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Pineapple Upside Down

True providence (well, an invite from a production company) got me into a preview of Pineapple Express Thursday night at BAM, complete with a Q&A afterwards from David Gordon Green. It was a funny film; it felt like the Rogen-Apatow-McBride-DGG bloc is evolving a tiny amount past previous milestones from each of them, pushing screwball, farce improv comedy a little further out onto the gangplank. Things in PE get pretty absurd, but it’s OK when they do. As the wheels come off, you’re reminded its a chummy bunch of funny guys who have tens of millions of dollars to make something that’ll hold ground at the box office for a few weeks and have a shedload of extra stuff on the DVD. Or, as Green explained the wild climax, “it only works because everything is building to such absurdity.”

Not to give the impression it isn’t a funny movie; its hilarious. I don’t bust out laughing that easily at the novies but by the end even small weird utterances and movements from characters had me giggling.

Spoiler alert: they smoke a ton of weed in the movie. Green revealed afterward it was some herb used as a substitute, and despite it tasting terrible “it was addictive.” They actually had a Technical Consultant who was a pot grower licensed by the state of California. He appeared, along with the postproduction supervisor, as a guy buying dope off Franco. The grower is the one with the rat tail.

Another interesting revelation was how much improv was used. At the end, there’s a Boy what an adventure!-type diner scene, which Green said was all improvised. He wound up cutting five different versions, testing them all in different L.A. neighborhoods and adding stuff that did unexpectedly well into a final cut.

A few more bullet-pointy notes:

DGG is working on remaking Suspiria, the Dario Argento classic, with Christof Gebert, the sound mixer he frequently works with.

Originally Seth Rogan and James Franco had opposite roles.

James Franco gashed his head badly during one slapstick scene and needed stitches in his forehead; they had to shoot him with a headband or from behind for the next week or so.

Huey Lewis wasn’t the first choice for the Pineapple Express theme song; the guys wanted Ray Parker, Jr. But there was prior litigation between Parker, Jr. and studio Columbia that killed the idea.

Danny McBride’s shitty clothes and weird wardrobe is payback for Green agreeing to do a nude scene when the two were in film school together.

Written by Nick

July 26th, 2008 at 1:12 am

Posted in Movies

Brad Neely’s Big Debut

If emerging web video platforms are sports teams Brad Neely is Super Deluxe‘s franchise player. Neely’s been rolling with his twisted brand of hilarity for some time, but now that he’s at the Turner-sponsored spot thousands are braying for Babycakes and the Professor Brothers. Here are the interview bits I didn’t use when I talked to Neely recently for Creativity. Check out more of his work at his Creased Comics site and at his Super Deluxe site. Look for the rest of the interview and a few morsels of Neely’s funniest after the break.

Hey Brad, how’s it going with Super Deluxe?

BN: It’s been really fun so far. Iím turning in a great deal of work, both Babycakes and Professor Brothers and a lot of one shots as well, they’ll be just characters that you never see again, some holiday things. But the core will be Babycakes and the Professor Brothers.

At what point did you take the comics you were making and put voices and animation along? Had you always been doing that?

BN: No, I hadn’t. A few years ago I did “Wizard People, Dear Readers,” which was an unauthorized alternate audio that’s synched with the first Harry Potter movie. I toured around with that and got shut down by Warner Brothers and I had such a good time doing that, it was my first time to be really close to film in a weird way, but it got me to thinking about how to continue to make things on my own terms with my own brand of comedy. So making the pictures sort of cartoons was an easy thing that I could do all by myself.

Where did the character Babycakes come from? I saw one of your comics with a Babycakes-esque guy.

BN: I’m always drawn to the giant, hairless bald person, I don’t know why. Babycakes, whenever, I’d done the George Washington cartoon on YouTube and the Super Deluxe people came to me and asked me if I had anything else to work on, and I just kind of rummaged around a lot of notes and Babycakes and the Professor Brothers just kind of evolved out of that. There are certain types of jokes that I want to be able to tell and certain tones and songs and fantasies and nightmares and prophecies and dances and all that kind of stuff and you make characters that will bring those out.

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Written by Nick

February 21st, 2007 at 9:23 pm

Posted in Clips,Movies

100 Slaps

Written by Nick

June 1st, 2006 at 12:06 am

Posted in Clips,Movies