Your dream might be a Ja Rule, Ice-T movie

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In this new year of 2014, I wish everyone a chance to get closer to their dreams.

My sister asked me the other day, “what do you do at your job?”

I sad, “Well, I mostly upload stuff to the web and make posts on Facebook and Twitter.”

“I’m really a writer though.”

“That sounds awesome, are they hiring?”

Nah, dude. They’re not. Go paint a picture (she’s a talented artist), or better yet, go write a screenplay.

I met a guy recently who wrote a script. He made it into a movie with Ice-T and Ja Rule as actors in it. The screenwriter also starred in it. You see it? It’s pictured above.

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1940s State of the J-Mind

Burton Holmes made this movie that talks straight to a youngsters dome and tells ’em what being a journo is all about. You have to work in crappy weather. OK, I get it. You have to be smart. That’s negligible, but OK I get it.

If this film starts to lose its luster with me (a journalist) then it’s when it gets really  propaganda-y around  5:30min.  A woman has trouble competing with a man in the journalism world? Damn, why harp on the negative? Just a few moments later you see something so ancient in the news businesses. A guy pouring hot type, like something out of the stone-age.

And you know what? Maybe it is.

A Vision Inspiring from Paradise

When news hit that visual storyteller Tim Hetherington died last month in Libya, it sent a huge emotional shockwave through the community of not just the news industry, but photographers and people dedicated to working with images. He was a hero, a skilled practitioner and one of the bravest to hold a camera in a war zone. I finally watched one of his last works, an almost 20min film that blends war footage with footage of his times in Europe. Powerful and deep. Check it out.

One of the things I’m finding most difficult in getting my photojournalism and visual storytelling on is telling a tight story. What I mean is, just showing images is the easy part. I can do that. But, putting things together in image and sound and making sense and always having a storyline, shit, man, that’s the challenge. You can shoot all you want and pop it into Final Cut and spit out a long showcase of the things you “see”. Making it all tell a story and having that good narrative is the stuff of experience, practice—-unless you’re just gifted like that, which I’m not.

I know Tim would probably be proud to know that his work will inspire–forever.  Solid storytelling and the bravery it takes to get the facts and images stimulates an understanding of time and history.

If you’re in the New York area this summer check out Tim’s work in an exhibition setting at the Aperture Foundation, through Thursday, June 23 (10:00 am–6:00 pm most days). More info is here.

(video via Frank151)

The Thing When It Snows

I personally don’t think most people mind the snow. As I write this another blizzard is smacking the city in the face. Freezing speckles of ice that melt when they hit your coat. The shot here was from earlier in the day, when much of the snow on the ground just looked like a dirt and sewer-colored slushy. Slippery and dangerous if you have a bad hip, or need a walker. By midnight, even the delivery guys had to dismount their bikes. The snow was wet enough that it stuck and piled up. It’s Masters Project time right now at the illustrious J School, so the editing suites are packed. The hardcore don’t sleep.

On a sidenote, however, all this snow is reminding me of the Antarctic sci-fi horror movie I saw a few weeks ago,  John Carpenter‘s remake The Thing (1982). A midnight screening at the IFC Theater.

Some joints you just have to see on the big screen. The movie is far from a masterpiece, but the shocks and jolts are so well paced, you’ll find yourself jumping at certain parts even when you know you’ve seen this flick 100 times on HBO. Carpenter is a master of the OST, so he knows where to put those synth stabs.

One of the true gems of the movie is Keith David who plays a no-nonsense brother who actually lives until the end (sorry for the spoiler, but shame on you for not knowing this movie already). I didn’t realize the greatness that is Keith David. His gravitas. That voice. He’s a Shakespearean actor too often type-cast as a gap-toothed gangster.

Drinking More Tron-Aid

Okay. I’ll admit it, my stanism for Tron:Legacy is right out of the 3rd grade. But it’ll probably subside when I get around to the proper IMAX treatment. Besides, most movies I see more than once never hold up to the second viewing. And I can’t stop listening to this soundtrack. I don’t belong to the Daft Punk cult or anything like that, I just think this is a really clean score (listen to it, along with the extras in one long stream below) and the techno bits really lend well to the overall futuraristic light speed essence of it all.

I swear I don’t work for Disney.

Mickey photo via greatwhiteshark.com

Colombiana

For a lot of guys (and women), I’m sure it’s a great thing that the fetish object that is the Latina has a new popular mainstream U.S. embodiment in TV star Sofia Vergara. Type her name into google and you can find all the boob pics you want and see all the awful *cough SOUL PLANE cough* movies she had to work on until she scored a winner. Of course her character is the same carbon copy of other feisty Latin immigrant spouses that goes back decades. I’m just here to celebrate that after Shakira’s worn out her welcome, Hollywood is finally catching on to the fact that Colombian women are hot.

Vergara is up for a Screen Actors Guild Award as well as a Golden Globe. Let’s hope she wins it so that we don’t just think of hips and drug mules when we want to celebrate Colombians in the U.S. entertainment spotlight.

 

 

Photo via.

The Trejo Machine

PacificCoastNews.com

 

He’s a “Hollywood Machine“. Orale.

Danny Trejo at the Hollywood Christmas parade last month.

Few outside Hollywood know it, but Danny Trejo has much more clout in the movie industry than most would think a career bad guy would have. Here’s a Q&A that talks about his indie film roots. Earlier this year, the LA Times wrote:

A quarter of a century later, the actor has starred in seemingly every third Hollywood action movie, including “Heat,” “Con Air” and numerous Robert Rodriguez films (in which his character is almost always named for a weapon). Trejo averages – averages – between 10 and 13 movies per year, often showing up on set for a few days, plying his villainous trade and leaving.

I like his blue collar view of working on multi-million dollar movies:

“Acting for me is like being a contractor or a plumber or a house painter. I don’t distinguish what house I’m gonna paint. Just ‘cuz I’m not getting as much money for this house, I still have to do a good job,” he said in slightly accented English, describing his attitude toward his earlier character parts.

Continue reading “The Trejo Machine”

Stanning on TRON: Legacy

I was checking out the list of this year’s Alfred I. duPont Award winners (the annual prize for the best broadcast pieces on radio or TV) and the thought occurred, what if that award transformed into something?

Now I don’t generally shill for Hollywood flicks, but I just saw Tron: Legacy the other day and man is that my new favorite reboot of an ’80s movie. I’m not saying it’s some cinematic masterpiece. When I was a kid and saw the original Tron, I was too young to really get into it. I still find it a little slow, a little boring. This year’s Tron wasn’t that much better on the story side, but visually, it was crack. And the Daft Punk soundtrack, as mellow as it was, really had me engaged throughout the entire joint. So, what’s the connection to the duPont award? A silvery scroll-looking thing? Well, I thought, what if that joint transformed into a grid vehicle? Like a light jet, or a light cycle? I was super impressed with how those scenes of vehicular homicide rendered in 3-D. It wasn’t so much about the eye-popping, in-your-face effect, but this beautiful depth of field.

I don’t know how long this will last, but somebody put up a bit that compares the two light cycle races, first from 1982 and then from 2010. I like both.

Continue reading “Stanning on TRON: Legacy”

Feeling the Pagan Spirit

 

There was a time back when I was in college and learning about being a 5% (this from listening to too much Wu-Tang) that I thought of Christmas as a pagan holiday and not worth my time. The joys of Christmastime only felt with a marathon movie screening on TNT. Afterall, if you grew up in a household that gave presents every year, reality starts to set in as you leave your teens and you’re more likely to get socks or a tie, instead of something electronic, expensive and fun.

 

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Nothing to Do With the A-Team

 

The homie Sandro Panza just asked me if I’m named after Hannibal from the A-Team or if that’s just a coincidence.

I was a super sick fan of the 80’s show, but I was born a bit before it, so that’s a dumb question. Sorry, Panza. George Peppard (R.I.P) was no doubt my favorite TV character at the time, next to Cliff Huxtable, B.A. Baracus and Alex P. Keaton. But I’m not named after him.

I’d like to think I’m named after a guy I first saw in a malt liquor ad:

My folks were on some Brown Pride, Black Power trip and thankfully gave me a name that represented. So, I was named after Hannibal Barca, defeater of the Romans.

Continue reading “Nothing to Do With the A-Team”