Saturday, January 29, 2011


And just because that last post got me in the mood...

NWA - Express Yourself
Uploaded by benjamin_franklin. - Explore more music videos.


I may not be the biggest hip hop fan on the planet anymore but that has more to do with the state of rap today than anything else. Ringtones ruined the hip-hop genre and now so much of it sounds exactly the same that I don't know who's who or what's what. It's kind of a bummer, but I'm doing fine without having ever heard the kid from Degrassi rap.

The majority of the rap that I like and still listen to is the stuff from the early to mid-90s. The likes of N.W.A., Biggie, The Pharcyde every so often, De La Soul, Wu Tang Clan and that kind of thing. Right up there towards the top for me during that time was A Tribe Called Quest. They were always a staple of the hip-hop/punk mixes I used to make for people in high school (there might be one floating around my parents house still. If I can find it, I'll go through it like I did this one) and while I haven't listened to them in a while, they are still one of my favorites.

Michael Rapaport (character actor from awesome stuff like BOSTON PUBLIC) followed them around for a couple of years and brought a documentary about them to Sundance called BEATS, RHYMES AND LIFE that I saw the other night. It was a solid movie that stalled a little in the middle, but picked up at the end again. The most interesting parts were how they came together originally and how their first comeback tour (on Rock The Bells 2008) fell apart because of Fife's trouble with diabetes and his already strained relationship with Q-Tip.

It soared when Rapaport looked at the rise of the New York art hip-hop scene which was trying to be decidedly different from what N.W.A. was doing out in California. I didn't care much for the later albums by the group, which is where the movie gets a little slow and boring, but when Q-Tip and Fife get into an argument backstage at Rock the Bells in SF (which Rapaport was present for with cameras), it got really good again. I think my favorite part of the movie was when Rapaport asked the guys from De La Soul (also on that tour at the time) if that would be the last ATCQ show and he answered bluntly, "I hope so," and went off about how Tribe had always been about love and respect for each other, and if it wasn't true anymore then they shouldn't be up on stage pretending that it was.

The doc had to walk a fine line since Rapaport is also an enormous Tribe fan, and he didn't want it to come across as a home made fan film. It worked out really well and I was glad I caught it (I even got in a couple of questions during the panel after the movie).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Seven or eight years ago, we started a tradition of the Sunday Night Movie, which is exactly what it sounds like. Each Sunday a bunch of us would get together and see a movie. We did this every week and we did it consistently for a really long time. Sometimes there wasn't anything really good out, but we didn't want to break tradition, so we saw whatever was out. Seriously. We sat through garbage like THE BIG BOUNCE, SECRET WINDOW and FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX (which I'd probably still watch if it was playing on TNT some night) because that's what we did on Sunday night.

We fell off for a few years, but since the summer, the Sunday Night Movie has been back pretty strongly. Since January and February are usually pretty slow months at the theater (it's when studios dump all the movies that weren't quite summer blockbusters and nowhere near good enough for the fall awards release) I started looking through to see what was coming up. And that turned into a 'MOVIES I'M EXCITED FOR AND/OR CURIOUS ABOUT IN 2011' post. Because that's something I've always done in my head and I read the Entertainment Weekly Summer and Fall preview issues every year. So I figured why not make my own?

*EDITED TO ADD - I'm going to come back to this list in December and go through which ones I actually saw and which ones got such bad word of mouth that I stayed away altogether.

Also, these are all the bigger studio movies that had release dates in place long ago. There will definitely be smaller, indie movies that aren't on the list because they don't have a definite SLC release date yet. Don't judge me.


THE MECHANIC - Ben Foster, Jason Statham in a shitty action movie? Of course I'll see it.


CEDAR RAPIDS - Because I think Ed Helms is hilarious.
GNOMEO & JULIET - Doesn't look great, but probably has some funny moments. And I'm a sucker for animation.


THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU - Matt Damon is great, Emily Blunt is pretty and Philip K. Dick was awesome.
BATTLE: LOS ANGELES - Could be awesome, could be a laughable train wreck. Either way, it's a way to spend my Sunday night.
PAUL - Simon Pegg and Nick Frost haven't disappointed me yet and I doubt they will.
SUCKER PUNCH - Just to see if Zack Snyder is who I thought he was. Plus over the top action, way too much slow motion and out of nowhere sex scenes? It can't be all bad.


SOURCE CODE - I loved MOON, I don't care for Jake Gyllenhaal. Toss up.
THE BEAVER - Say what you will about Mel Gibson, I'm looking forward to this.
YOUR HIGHNESS - It's either going to be hilarious or it's going to miss on every level, but the trailer gives me a little hope.
SCREAM 4 - Curious to see whether they can make something good or if they should have just left it alone.


THOR - I have faith in Kenneth Branagh.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES - It has to be better than the last two, right?
THE HANGOVER: PT. II - This movie will be so overhyped that there's no possible way for it to live up to the expectations. It'll still have one or two really funny parts.


X-MEN: FIRST CLASS - Matthew Vaughn hasn't made a bad movie yet.
SUPER 8 - Neither has JJ Abrams.
GREEN LANTERN - It looks FANTASTIC FOUR campy from the trailer, but there might be hope.
CARS 2 - Pixar doesn't make bad movies. They just don't.


HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PT. 2 - Still haven't seen Part 1, but I'm glad this is going to be the end.
CAPTAIN AMERICA - I don't have faith in Joe Johnston, but I'm hoping he surprises me.
COWBOYS & ALIENS - Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford together will get me into the theater to see just about anything.


30 MINUTES OR LESS - Reuben Fleischer (ZOMBIELAND) alone will get me in to the theater just to see if he can give me another fun hour and a half.


DRIVE- Nicolas Winding Refn tells a story of a Hollywood stunt driver. I already bought a ticket for this.
MONEYBALL - I love baseball movies and this seems like it has potential.


CONTAGION - Steven Soderbergh and Matt Damn. Don't need to know anything else.
NOW - Andrew Niccol with another Sci-Fi movie. Worth checking out at least.


IMMORTALS - Used to be called DAWN OF WAR and WAR OF THE GODS before that. Tarsem Singh, who directed THE CELL is making it, so it will at least look awesome.
THE MUPPETS - Jason Segel was handed the reins of the Muppets franchise based off Dracula The Musical in FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL. Absolutely nothing can go wrong. Right?
RISE OF THE APES - James Franco and John Lithgow battling super intelligent monkeys?  Sold.


HUGO CABARET - Martin Scorsese. Enough said.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL - Brad Bird (THE SIMPSON'S, THE INCREDIBLES, IRON GIANT) makes his first live-action feature. Cautiously optimistic.
SHERLOCK HOLMES 2 - Better get an amazing 'AND THE CASE OF' subtitle instead of a boring 2.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO - David Fincher. Enough said. Plus Daniel Craig. And Rooney Mara looks great.
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN - Because it's the only movie anyone will be talking about come December. "Spielberg and Jackson working together?!?!?! I HAVE TO SEE IT NOW!!!!!"
WE BOUGHT A ZOO - Cameron Crowe. Enough said.
WAR HORSE - Spielberg and war are usually pretty solid. But Spielberg and little kids irritate the shit out of me. Toss up.

What do you think? Which ones are you excited for?


I get a kick when people do things like this. This guy made a fake trailer for Pixar's UP as it would have looked as a live-action Disney movie from the 60's and it's pretty spot on. I tip my hat to him.


I always forget that pirates were actually around a few hundred years ago (like cowboys of the water!) but that there wasn't any magic involved like in the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN movies. Which, by the way, I think the first one is a fantastic adventure movie and the second and third both kind of suck. Don't even care about the new one, though I'm sure I'll see it.

But anyway, back to what I was writing a few seconds ago. The Queen Anne's Revenge wrecked on the shores of North Carolina a long time ago and archaeologists have been excavating it since about 1997. A few weeks ago, they revealed what might have been Blackbeard's sword. And yes, for all the tales you hear, Blackbeard actually was a real pirate. And for being a feared pirate for only two years, he built himself up quite a reputation.

But the thing about this sword is that it might (and probably) didn't belong to Blackbeard at all. When Queen Anne's Revenge ran aground in 1718, it was abandoned partly above water for nearly a year before it fell apart and disintegrated. Scavengers came and went snatching up what they could and though not likely, it's possible that this sword was unreachable or hidden until it was uncovered not long ago.

On another note, how awesome would that have been to be walking along the beach and see a giant, abandoned ship just ripe for the picking? I probably would have been scared shitless to go searching through it because of the ghosts and all the unstable dynamite lying around, but still.

National Geographic has a little bit more on the discovery (and a few more pictures) at their website if you're interested.


Off and running. These probably won't be interesting for anyone other than the people in these videos (and their wives, girlfriends and moms who most definitely read this site, right?) but here they are.

I might do one or two a week for the next little while, and I'm still trying to get some ladies to agree to it so it's not just a boys club thing. But anyway, here's the first one with DP, Josh (Spidey) and Brook counting down (sometimes up, sometimes both) their Top 5 Anything of 2010.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Playing SLC on March 1. Pretty excited about it.

Heartless Bastards- Out at Sea from James Sullivan on Vimeo.

P.S. I cheated on the tag. I didn't post a video yesterday (or last Monday or the Monday before that) so I'm playing catch up.


I wrote this for the SLCFF blog a little while ago and figured I'd repost it here, in case anyone that reads this site didn't know I also do a lot of stuff over there. -- Everyone has to have heard about Kevin Smith Vs. The World by now, right?

If not, I’ll fill you in quickly: Kevin Smith (CLERKS, CHASING AMY) was at Sundance with his new horror movie RED STATE. When the film was first accepted, he said on Twitter that he planned to pick a distributor right there in the room after the screening. Everyone (including me) thought that meant he’d auction it off to the highest bidder without taking all those film festival meetings you hear about (or see on ENTOURAGE). When the “auction” started, Smith bid $20 for the distribution rights and won immediately. He then announced that self-distribution had been the plan all along. He’s taking RED STATE on a city by city tour in March, followed in October by distribution through is own SModcast Pictures (You can read his version at his blog).

This has probably (and unfortunately) been the biggest story coming out of the Sundance Film Festival so far and the reactions are all over the place. There are a lot of people on his side (fans mostly, but some in the film industry also) and a lot of people that hate him more now than they did before Sunday night (film critics and bloggers mostly).

I’ve spent the last few hours reading up on it and there are people like music video director Ryan Mackfall who support and love his decision and then there are people like Devin Faraci, Editor of Badass Digest (the film and culture blog started by the guys that run Alamo Drafthouse) who absolutely hate the idea and feel Smith is actually making things harder for independent filmmakers.

Having spent a great deal of time touring the country playing music (as have quite a few of the people involved in the SLCFF, which is kind of where we honed our DIY, grassroots style) I’ve always wondered why more people didn’t take their indie film on the road. It could be a pricey venture for some, but it’s what they did in the old days (it was called ‘four-walling’) and it just might work again.

Some people might feel that an On Demand type release is the future of indie movies, but that’s kind of sad to think about. I’ll always love going to a theater, ordering popcorn and sitting in a seat to see the film with an audience (even if there is that one lady that laughs really loudly at everything even remotely funny).

That’s one of the reasons we started the Salt Lake City Film Festival in the first place. We love films and we love giving people an opportunity to show them to audiences. It makes us happy when we see a director or writer beaming after their film has just wowed everyone in the theater, and we’ll keep doing it as long as there are filmmakers out there willing to put their heart on their sleeve and share their stories with the world.

But what about you? What do you think of Smith’s plan? Is it a bold new move, Indie Film 2.0, as he calls it or is it a slap in the face across the industry?


The Baltimore Sun has been posting articles on the back and forth between Baltimore police commissioner Frederick Bealefeld and THE WIRE creator David Simon.

Bealefeld said at a January 8, 2011 event that the show was the "most unfair use of literary license that we've borne witness to" and that it's a "smear that will take decades to overcome." You can read most of what he said (with a video, even) over at the Baltimore Sun Blog.

Simon took issue with that and responded very quickly. You can read that one here.

I'm not from Baltimore and have only ever been there one time. That one time I parked my rental car and as I got out, a guy standing on a corner said to me, "You shouldn't park here. Go down a few more blocks in case you're still out when it gets a little darker."

I don't know if he was serious or not, but I moved my car. I looked at him in my mirror as I drove away and he didn't start laughing like he pulled a fast one on me. He simply stood where he was and finished his cigarette. That made me believe that Baltimore wasn't the nicest place and when I saw The Wire, I kept thinking back to that moment and how similar that area looked to the dangerous parts portrayed on the show.

Everyone I've ever met from that city said the show was depressingly realistic and there weren't a lot of shows that can say that—especially cop shows. I'm not in any position to say how real it is or isn't, but from everything I've seen, heard and read about that show and the fact that David Simon is a former Baltimore crime reporter and his co-producer Edward Burns is a former Baltimore detective, I'd say it's a pretty good chance.

But again, I don't know. I live in Salt Lake City. Our two biggest problems are deciding where to build a shiny new police headquarters and overeager Highway Patrolmen with tasers and an itchy trigger finger. Neither of those are anything close to the problems of Baltimore and never will be. That's something I'm grateful for and another reason I like living here.

But it does seem to me that where there's smoke there is fire and police commissioner Bealefeld is just trying to focus attention on something else while he figures out a way to curb what has (seemingly) been a problem in his city for nearly two decades.

Of course, I have a biased opinion in this. Not only is THE WIRE one of my favorite shows of all time, but I will trust a journalist over a cop any day of the week. And unfortunately for everyone, that's probably not a good thing.


Here's an Esquire article Simon wrote a few years back that's one of my favorite things he's done. Check it out if you've got a minute.

And if you ever plan on watching THE WIRE, don't watch this video. It spoils too much. But if you've seen it, these are some of the best quotes from all 60 episodes.


Did NO ONE learn anything from PIRANHA 3D? No good can come from this. Things like this that remind me of something Patton Oswalt said once, and I'm paraphrasing here: "Sometimes science is fucking wrong and gives us shit we don't need... they might as well go, 'Hey, we made cancer airborne and contagious! You're welcome! We're science: we're all about coulda, not shoulda.'"

Wired Science -- Lake Vostok, which has been sealed off from the world for 14 million years, is about to be penetrated by a Russian drill bit.

The lake, which lies 2.5 miles below the icy surface of Antarctica, is unique in that it’s been completely isolated from the other 150 subglacial lakes on the continent for such a long time. It’s also oligotropic, meaning that it’s supersaturated with oxygen: Levels of the element are 50 times higher than those found in most typical freshwater lakes.

Since 1990, the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in St. Petersburg in Russia has been drilling through the ice to reach the lake, but fears of contamination of the ecosystem in the lake have stopped the process multiple times, most notably in 1998 when the drills were turned off for almost eight years.

Now, the team has satisfied the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat, which safeguards the continent’s environment, that it’s come up with a technique to sample the lake without contaminating it. Valery Lukin told New Scientist: “Once the lake is reached, the water pressure will push the working body and the drilling fluid upwards in the borehole, and then freeze again.” The next season, the team will bore into that frozen water to recover a sample whose contents can then be analysed.

The drill bit currently sits less than 328 feet above the lake. Once it reaches 65 to 98 feet, the mechanical drill bit will be replaced with a thermal lance that’s equipped with a camera.

Time is short, however. It’s possible that the drillers won’t be able to reach the water before the end of the current Antarctic summer, and they’ll need to wait another year before the process can continue.

When the sample can be recovered, however, it’s hoped that it’ll shed light on extremophiles — lifeforms that survive in extreme environments. Life in Lake Vostok would need adaptions to the oxygen-rich environment, which could include high concentrations of protective enzymes. The conditions in Lake Vostok are very similar to the conditions on Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus, so the new data could also strengthen the case for extraterrestrial life.

Finally, anything living in the lake will have evolved in relative isolation for about 14 million years, so it could offer a snapshot of conditions on Earth long before humans evolved.


Oscar nominations were announced this morning. I don't follow the Oscar race too closely, but I was pretty satisfied with what got nominated—with the exception of Helena Bonham Carter in THE KING'S SPEECH, because that's just dumb.

But since 127 HOURS was nominated for a bunch of awards, I wanted to pull the curtain back on what that movie could have been if Danny Boyle didn't have the clout to get anything he wanted after winning for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.

The A.V. Club -- Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours may have been one of the most critically lauded films of the year, and yes, much of that had to do with the performance of James Franco as trapped hiker Aron Ralston. (It was all part of a new media experiment Franco’s working on called “Disbelief In Phases,” a project that has some mysterious parallel to Franco’s staged puppet-show versions of Goethe for the homeless, and which will only be revealed by time capsule some 100 years hence.) But just so you know, former 90210 star Luke Perry thought of doing Ralston’s story first, trying unsuccessfully to secure the rights as a vehicle for his former little rapping DJ buddy Brian Austin Green: “Brian's a great actor," Perry told Access Hollywood while promoting his Jason Priestly-starring Hallmark Movie Channel feature Goodnight For Justice. "I thought he'd be great in that part, but Danny Boyle, he got it.” Yeah, thanks a lot, Danny Boyle.


On the flight back from Florida (that I mentioned earlier) I have a layover in Detroit (a little weird and out of the way, I thought). I've never been there but I've always wanted to, mainly because of ROBOCOP, but also because I've become kind of fascinated by the city over the past few years. The economic downturn seems to have hit Detroit the hardest and it's really kind of heartbreaking to see what was once such a prominent U.S. city fall on such hard times.

This Sports Illustrated article on the Detroit Tigers and its fans at the end of last years season kind of kicked things off for me and it carried on from there.

One thing that has been grabbing my attention the most (as well as numerous others, judging by how many there are) has been photo sets of the city popping up all over the Internet. One of the saddest and best in these series is one called '100 Abandoned Houses' by Kevin Bauman that's gone way over 100.

A lot more have been popping up lately, too. But my favorite of the ones I've seen has to be by Jim Griffioen on his blog Sweet Juniper. His son wanted to be a robot for Halloween, so he made a Robocop costume out of things he found in his basement. Then he took his son around the city and took his camera along to document it. The pictures turned out fantastic and it made me want to explore Detroit even more.

My layover is only an hour and I'll probably be itching to get home by then anyway, but right now, I wish it were a couple of hours and I could take a look around that city myself.


The older I get, the more I hate winter. Today is my Saturday, so when I woke up to more snow I was pissed. The last few days have been almost spring-like (in Salt Lake, anyway) and I did everything I could to keep my hopes down. I knew it was only a matter of time before winter came back again and crushed my dreams of not dreading leaving my house, sitting outside at night and riding my bike around town.

To make matters worse, I just bought my plane ticket to a wedding in Florida in a couple of months. Granted, by the time the wedding rolls around, the snow will be long gone and Spring will be taking shape, but still. I've been looking at the pictures of the resort for the past hour and getting really excited. Then I remember that it's three months away and I have a lot more of this ahead of me:

Either I turn into my Grandpa (who bails for Arizona every September and stays away until May) or I suck it up and get really good at snowboarding so I can use bullshit phrases like "shredding the fresh pow" and sound like an idiot, or I can get the fuck out.

But you know what? I'm doing neither. I'll keep living here and bitching about it on the Internet. Because that's what it's for.

And I'll just keep looking at these pictures to tide me over until April. So thanks Dan and Kristin, but I do secretly wish your wedding was sooner.


My first (and probably only) Sundance screening of 2011 was a dark comedy/drama called THE DETAILS. Tobey Maguire was the star and if I'm being honest, it's going to take a few more movies before I stop expecting him to rip off his shirt and reveal a SPIDER-MAN costume underneath. He'll get there eventually, but not quite yet.

I've got mixed feelings on this one. It had a few great moments, but it also had a lot of moments that the writer/director Jacob Aaron Estes just seemed to throw in. He described it afterwards as an 'impulsive writing exercise' and it definitely showed. The tone shifted back and forth almost on a whim and the movie never quite found a rhythm.

In lesser hands, a script that lacks balance could have been a complete disaster, but luckily for THE DETAILS, the cast stepped up and kept it from ever going off the rails. Ray Liotta (always Henry Hill, Dennis Haysbert (forever Pedro Cerrano, eat your heart out President Palmer), Elizabeth Banks, Laura Linney and Kerry Washington took what could have easily been mistaken for a script in someone's college screenwriting class and took it to another level.

Again, not without its flaws, but a solidly entertaining movie that fit the bill of a typical 'Sundance movie.'

The Q&A afterwards was lackluster though, with Estes seeming bored and disinterested, which is surprising considering that was the first showing of the film. It just felt like there was a million places he'd rather be than up there talking about his movie.

I've never made a film, but I think I'd be excited and show a little more enthusiasm after it played well (but didn't go over like gangbusters) at a festival like Sundance. That's just me though. I was kind of disappointed with his answers and demeanor as a whole.

My guess is that there are too many stars in THE DETAILS for it not to get picked up for limited distribution, but it didn't knock my socks off, which sadly, has become the norm for Sundance premieres.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


The Coen Brothers rarely do wrong in my book (THE LADYKILLERS might be their one misstep, and yes, I did like A SERIOUS MAN, I'm standing by that) and TRUE GRIT was no exception. While I didn't love it enough for it to crack the Top 5 of 2010, I still loved it from start to finish. That probably has to do with three things more than any other.

1) I love Westerns. Something about them has always appealed to me and I watched a ton of them as a kid and appreciate them more now that I'm an adult (or as close to one as possible). The atmosphere, pacing, set design, dialogue—I love it all.

2) Jeff Bridges is fantastic. I would watch him in just about anything even if the rest of the movie was absolute garbage (spoiler alert for the upcoming Tron: Legacy half-assed review). Making him a drunken, one-eyed lawman that doesn't much care about the law as much as justice and you've got yourself a winner. He should be in more movies, but I'm glad he picks and chooses carefully.

3) Matt Damon. I don't care what anyone else says, I still think Matt Damon is great most of the time and he killed it here.

Add all three of those together and you've already got one hell of a movie. You probably wouldn't even need to try very hard to make it at least watchable with all that going for you. But the Coen's were able to find even more with TRUE GRIT. They've got a great story (that has surprisingly more heart than probably any of their others movies) and a fantastic young actor, Hailee Steinfeld as Mattie Ross, to push it over the top. I loved it from start to finish.

Can't wait for the next Coen Brothers movie. There are a bunch of projects that they've alluded to in the past but haven't ever materialized for one reason or another. HAIL CAESAR, about a matinee idol trying to make a biblical epic, set around the same time period or just after O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?, is one. TO THE WHITE SEA, about a WWII bomber shot down over Tokyo is another. Brad Pitt was supposed to star, but they couldn't ever get a budget that would realize what they had in mind. An adaptation of Michael Chabon's THE YIDDISH POLICEMAN'S UNION is probably the best bet for their next one, but that's also been rumored for a while.

There are a couple of screenplays they wrote floating around too (a remake of the heist film GAMBIT and one called SUBURICON), but no one is entirely sure what's happening there.

Whatever they do though, I'm expecting great things.


If you've been reading or following to some extent over the past few months, you probably read (or least saw, maybe even skimmed over) my Guitar Center post.

If you didn't, I'll give you the short version: I bought a guitar, they gave me the wrong one. Went back, got the right one, came back home to find they'd given me the wrong case. Took the case back, mass confusion occurred, got jerked around a bit, complained about it on the internet.

Well, there were two guys that heard about this and actually tried to make it better. They both did everything they could to make me not hate Guitar Center only to see the employees tear it down right after they'd built it up.

Long story short, I appreciate what they did for me, and even though Guitar Center will be my last option next time I have equipment or gear to purchase, I've at least put it back on the list as an option. A month ago, it wasn't even that.

Just wanted to throw out a 'Thanks' to Jeremy and Mike for doing everything they did. It meant a lot to do that when you didn't even have to. That's what customer service is all about. It's just too bad that your employees forced your hand in the first place. But I do appreciate it.


The SLCFF is still rolling along and we've got a pretty good article in SLUG this month. Check it out.

SLUG -- While most people’s attention will be turned towards the stuffy old celebrities, pantiless pseudo-celebrities and the handful of serious independent filmmakers inhabiting the streets of Park City this January, the organizers of the Salt Lake City Film Festival will be hard at work putting together the third installment of their annual event. Taking place every August, the SLCFF has featured a wide variety of independent films, from critical favorites like Best Worst Movie to local documentaries like Cleanflix and a number of obscure features and shorts that live and die in the film festival circuit. Even though this year’s festival doesn’t take place until the end of August, the organizers have been busy expanding their brand and planning for the future. On December 16, the SLCFF celebrated the launch of their new website and the opening of submissions for the 2011 festival at their monthly HEFFE’FILM’IN film screening at Brewvies. SLUG spoke with the Salt Lake City Film Festival’s organizers about what happens behind the scenes during the film festival’s off season and how the festival has evolved over the past few years.

The second annual Salt Lake City Film Festival concluded on August 15, 2010. However, the event’s organizers kept working. “After the first year we ended the festival and we were stoked about it, so we decided to take three months off, and that was a mistake,” says Matt Whittaker, one of the festival’s co-directors. Now that the film festival is entering its third year, the organizers are applying the lessons they’ve learned from past years to make organizing and running the film festival easier and more efficient. “We try to figure out new ways to organize ourselves every year. The first year we didn’t have online ticket sales, which was pretty nuts. Then we got online ticket sales for the second year, and it was even crazier to deal with that monster,” Whittaker says. “We’re slowly becoming nerdier and nerdier when it comes to organizing this thing, which is good.”

Read the rest...


I was doing so well with things last month, then the holidays hit and it just sort of came to a stand-still. Might have something to do with the fact that I got an exorbitant amount of DVD's over the last few weeks and have been holed up on my couch watching BIG LOVE and a bunch of other stuff.

Meanwhile, my list of topics has reached well in to double figures, I've slacked and haven't written my half-assed reviews of TRUE GRIT, TRON:LEGACY, I LOVE YOU PHILIP MORRIS or THE KING'S SPEECH. And I know everyone is dying to hear what I thought about those, among other things.

So we might be back on track but only time will tell.

Monday, January 10, 2011


This is my man Dan C. again. Remember him from all the Tamerlane posts last month? Well maybe this will either refresh your memory or introduce you to him.

Terrible. Gentle. Man. from Dan Christofferson on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

CHEREM. 2003.



For a couple of years, I was writing about music for the U of U newspaper and City Weekly, which meant I got to interview band members. I always enjoyed it, but it did take a little getting used to. I sort of winged it there at the first and learned how to do it as I went along, which is the best way to learn.

The part that I always got nervous about is when I had to interview someone from a band that I really liked. What if they were an asshole? If that was the case, I wouldn't be able to listen to the band and it would kind of bum me out. Thankfully, that never happened.

(Side Note - To this day I can't listen to Against Me, because I once booked a show for them and they bitched that I could only pay them $1000 after the show. There are a few others like that, too. I'll have to make that its own post sometime.)

I got pretty lucky and everyone I talked to, while definitely burned out from talking to so many writers over the course of a couple weeks, was very polite and I never had an issue. The only thing that ever came close is when one band's (Enon I think) publicist told me to call at 2PM, but forgot to factor in that they were on the other side of the country and the singer was a little pissed that I called two hours late.

I've never had to interview a real, honest to goodness celebrity though. I think that might be where things get a little tough and I don't know that I could handle it. I'm far too nice by nature and I would go along with any ridiculous guidelines and condescending attitude that they gave me because, at the end of the day, I'd feel like they were doing me a favor by letting me write about them. When in reality, they usually only do press to promote something and therefore would need my help more than I'd need theirs.

That's why, when I read the Christian Bale interview in last month's Esquire, I was really impressed with how the writer handled things. Bale had insisted that he'd only agree to the interview as long as it was only published as a strict Q&A piece, and the writer took issue with it.

I read it and was taken aback. Not only did he flat out call Bale a dick to his face, but the way it was printed made it sound like this was a very, very tense conversation. I don't think I'd have it in me to stand up to anyone like that, let alone a fucking movie star.

Which is why I'd never make an outstanding journalist. I do great when I'm writing about things I like, but if push came to shove, I don't think I'd be able to handle it. Maybe that will be one of my goals for 2011—schedule interviews with assholes and stand up to them. I'll get on that.

Here's a little excerpt from the article. You can head over to the Esquire site to read the whole thing.

Finally, the situation calls for extreme measures.

ESQUIRE: You don't want to be a vain movie star, I totally get it, I respect it. But there's nothing that's more of a dick movie-star move than to say, "It has to be printed as a Q&A." That's movie star. You and Tom Cruise back in the day are the only people who do that shit.

BALE: That's not true! [laughing] We're not the only ones. And it was like I said yesterday, it came from a couple of interviews where they just made up a whole bunch of crap in their effort to practice writing their novel.

ESQUIRE: That's very patronizing and insulting, you realize that?

BALE: What, that?


BALE: But these guys lied.

ESQUIRE: Has anybody in the movie business ever lied to you?

BALE: Oh man, listen, that's not restricted to any one line of work, is it?

ESQUIRE: But you're still in the movie business, right?

BALE: You really wanna be freed up from just doing the Q&A, don't ya?

ESQUIRE: I went back to my hotel last night thinking, This guy's very cool and he doesn't wanna act like a poncy movie star, he wants to be a regular bloke, but he's got instructions on what format the fucking story should take. He's delusional!

Bale is laughing...

ESQUIRE: Poor guy! He actually thinks he's normal!

BALE: I do love people ripping the shit out of me. I don't know what that's about, but I love it. The more crap you give me, the happier I get.

But Bale takes control again, a hint of British irony in his voice.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Late to the party yet again. Best song and video of 2010, hands down.


I've been putting this off for a week now because I've been having a hard time with the four and five spots. One and two were set in stone the second I finished them, but rounding out the rest was no easy feat. I actually saw a lot of good movies this year, more than I expected when the year started, since last year was just a whole bunch of okay. I never got around to making a 'Best Of' list for last year, because at the end of the year, my list still looked a lot like it did in November.

This year though, I made it a point to get 'Best Of' lists from everyone that's working on the film festival and I couldn't really make them do it without doing one of my own. So without further ado, here's my Top 5 Movies of 2010.

5. INCEPTION - This movie was just so much fun. I love heist movies in general and this added another level to it. Every character was great and every performance was spot on (and I want to dress like Joseph Gordon-Levitt all the time now) and Christopher Nolan knocked it out of the park. He just made an awesome, fun movie.

4. THE SOCIAL NETWORK - How do you manage to take a story of talking heads that takes place largely in different offices and dorm rooms exciting? I'm not sure, but Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher figured it out and made sure I was focused, interested and enthralled for a full two hours.

3. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP - Hoax or not, I doubt we'll ever find out. But this movie, everything about it, was fascinating to me. This is the movie I saw the most times this year and I never get tired of it.

2. TOY STORY 3 - This is the only movie I've seen this year where I saw it one night and saw it again the next day because I loved it so much. The original and the sequel have long been favorites of mine and it might be the only satisfying 'Part 3' I've ever seen (because you know what? I hate LORD OF THE RINGS. Yeah, I said it). Pitch perfect movie from beginning to end.

1. BLACK SWAN - Not a day has gone by that I haven't thought about this movie in some way or another. I loved every single thing about this movie and Darren Aronofsky proved (again) that he is a massive talent and if Natalie Portman doesn't win every award, it's a god damn travesty.

HONORABLE MENTIONS - TRUE GRIT and THE FIGHTER were right there in the running for the four and five spot and it took me a considerable amount of time to figure out how to fit four movies into two spots. But at the end of the day, they just barely missed the cut.
Those would probably round out 6 through eleven if I had to go that far. But I'm keeping it at five.

So there you go.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Continuing in my tradition of being a few years late on all sorts of music, I heard this for the first time last night and haven't been able to get enough of it since. I love it.

But this is probably the only song I like by this band. The rest of them sound just awful.


Hell yes,  2011
Isn't that the way it's supposed to be?

Now, if that song isn't stuck in your head for the rest of the day I haven't done my job correctly.

But, no part of that headline is true. It's just that I struggled for far too long with a good way to kick off the new year, blog-wise, and that's what kept popping in to my head each time I sat down to think about it. So there you go.

I saw a lot of people reflecting on 2010 in other blogs and places, because I guess that's what you do on blogs. But me? I go against the grain and right now I can't think of any funny jokes about 2010, so I'm only going to say one thing about it and then we're moving on.

Holy shit, that went by fast. Too fast. Slow down, for Christ's sake. This isn't a race.

I'm still recruiting people (and a camera) do do a Top 5 Anything of 2010 video post, so hopefully that will be done in the next two weeks. I don't have any New Years Resolutions, per se, but I do have some goals and I may formulate them into a post for you to read, but more for me to look at. Because I swear that I made some last year, but I just can't remember what they were, so I figure that if I have them down somewhere, I'll be able to see if I'm on track or if I've given up all together.

We'll see. But until then...

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Welcome to 2011.