Thursday, December 22, 2011


Directed By: David Fincher
Starring: Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara
Based on the novel by Stieg Larson

This film is intense, sexy, violent and right up Fincher's ally. I read the book last year and I was aware of the Niels Arden Oplev film that came out in 2009. *I never took the opportunity to watch the Swedish version of the film, but after seeing this one, I am interested in checking it out. What I especially like about Fincer's take on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is that you do not need to have read the book to get sucked into the mystery. This film, unlike the Oplev's film, has received a lot of attention state side, not just for the famous director, but for the stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. 

The film opens with an amazing, graphic, title sequence. It's not worth trying to describe, you just have to see it. Immediately, the dark, moody atmosphere sets a beautiful silvery tone that lasts throughout the film. This is quite a long movie but there is a unique balance between long, thoughtful silences and loud, intense violence that make time fly. There are moments of dark humor and they even managed to work in an interesting little love story. This film combines everything a Fincher fan could want and it is an excellent cure for the holiday blues.

Despite the big names involved in this film,  don't expect that traditional Hollywood gloss. This film is raw and some people might be a bit disturbed by a few scenes. As an adaptation, the film is great because it stands on its own as a great piece of art. Fincher is a master of capturing the under belly of modern culture, he does it so well in fact, that you wish you could live in the dark worlds he creates.

The film weaves in and out between two distinct story lines. The first follows Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), a disgraced journalist, hired by an old industrialist to solve a decades old family mystery. The other follows Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) a 23 year old ward of the state and gifted researcher/hacker hired as Blomkvist's assistant. Blomkvist and Salander exist in two different worlds, but are both are driven to pursue truth and both have an innate sense of righteousness.

Blomkvists world surrounds the newspaper business and the Swedish elite. Salanders world is mysterious, violent and a bit sexy. For about half of the film the two exists alone in their own worlds, but the very best scenes in the film involve Blomkvist and Salander, quite, in their arctic refuge musing over documents, and photographs. Both Craig and Mara give near perfect performances in their respective roles.

Rooney Mara is incredibly powerful as Lisbeth and it's probably safe to say she nailed it. Mara is completely unrecognizable in the role and has gone from unknown to super star literally over night. Salander is a complex character with a murky past. The book takes great time to explain her history and her quirks in excruciating detail to the point that she becomes larger than life. The film is the same, but unlike the book Fincher rooted Lisbeth in the real world which made her more relatable.

This film is anything but subtle and I do not think any actress could have captured this character the way Mara did. She has multiple nude scenes and many of them involve sexual violence that will make your skin crawl. Mara's performance is cutting and impassioned, she has really raised the bar for actors across the board.

Although Mara is the break out star of the film, Daniel Craig gets the most screen time. I find it rather hard to be impartial to his performance because he is such a handsome man, all I see are his abs and rippling manliness. But seriously, Daniel Craig is hot, he has never looked better. As Blomkvist, he spends most of the time in thoughtful silences and in the snow, chasing down lead after lead on his relentless quest. He is a single minded, musing bachelor, obsessed with work and with little connection to other people. However, when Blomkvist and Salander's paths cross, Craig is at his very best.

The bond that develops between Blomkvist and Salander is an excellent interpretation of how modern relationships work. There is no romance, no lofty admissions of love. In fact, their relationship is as calculated as their research into the old industrialist's mystery. Mara and Craig have a very intense, sexy chemistry, you wont be able to take your eyes off them.

The film also stars Christopher Plummer as the old industrialist Henrick Vanger, Robin Wright as the editor of Blomkvist's disgraced newspaper, and Stellen Skarsgard as Martin Vagner. Though Mara and Craig draw the eye, the supporting cast is also quite good. With a 2 hour running time, there was enough room to give detailed history on all of the side characters. This film could have been incredibly confusing, but Fincher really tapped into the heart of each character's story and brought it to life with out being tedious.

Artistically, the film is incredible. There is a nice contrast between beautiful snowy landscapes and dark, silvery cityscapes, monotone overcast days, and cold, soggy nights. The visuals are perfectly complimented by an outstanding soundtrack by Trent Reznor. The cinematography is classic Fincher, which shouldn't be too surprising since he worked his long time DP Jeff Cronenweth. This film has the sensibility of Se7en and Fight Club but it is much more controlled and mature.

I think this will go down as one of Fincher's most ambitious and most successful films. From start to finish it is as close to perfect as an adaptation gets. He made the film his own while staying true to the soul of the book. He does take some liberties, but it in no way negates the overall quality of the film. This film is worth ponying up the $7.00 to see in theaters, especially because there is nothing better than 13 foot high, topless Daniel Craig.

A- : This film isn't for everyone, and those with delicate sensibilities might be a little taken aback, but if you love dark, moody, mysteries you will love this film, even if you never read the book.

* I saw the Oplev films and they are amazing! They are different from Fincher's take, but still worthy of a view. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Directed By: Clint Eastwood

I saw J. Edgar a few days ago, I was overruled by my companion on what film to see. I wasn't necessarily thrilled with the choice, I actually wanted to see Tower Heist. But in retrospect, I'm glad I saw this film instead. I have always been a Leonardo DiCaprio fan and I've seen just about every film he's been in. I have more than a few of his films in my personal DVD collection. This film is directed by Academy Award winner Clint Eastwood who is a master of dark, moody tales of misunderstood heroes.

I read a little bit about J. Edgar before seeing it and I didn't peak my interest at all. It is a bio-pick about the man who began the FBI in the midsts of the cold war and his demise into senility. This type of film, on the surface, was not something I thought I would be interested in. When I saw that it had a 2 hour 17 minute running time, I let out an audible groan. In the end, I did enjoy this film but I have to say it is far from perfect and will bore most people to tears.

The film follows the life and career of J. Edgar Hoover, the young ambitious government agent who began the FBI. The film flips between Hoover's younger years as a passionate defender of the American way of life to his older years as a broken old man with a grandiose view of his own history. There is no real 'present' to this film, it just flows, seemingly, willy-nilly from one decade to another and then back again. This style of nonlinear storytelling when done right, like in Christopher Nolan's Momento, can be very powerful. But this film confuses time and events so much you can't quite keep things straight.

Dicaprio is the driving force behind this film and I thought he did a damn good job for what he was given. But unfortunately many of the supporting characters in this film were stagnant. Helen Gandy, Hoover's secretary (who is played by Naomi Watts) is a very important character in the story, but every time she walks off screen, I forget she exists. Her character serves only to say, "yes Mr. Hoover, right away Mr. Hoover."

This would be believable for the time in which the film takes place except for the fact that the first few scenes of the film, they establish that Mr. Hoover trusts Gandy with his life secrets. Gandy and Hoover work side by side for well over 30 years, yet, until his dying day Gandy treats Hoover like she'd known him only a week. There was no emotion exchanged and the chemistry between Watts and DiCaprio was awkward. I wish I could say it was intentional, but Watt's just seemed confused by her character and DiCaprio didn't know what to do with her.

Of course, the relationship that the film really focuses on is the one between Hoover and Clyde Tolson, played by Armie Hammer. I thought Hammer, like Dicaprio, did an excellent job with what he was given. I am not going to get into the semantics about wether or not Hoover was gay, but I thought in the context of this film the Hoover-Tolson relationship worked very well. Dicaprio and Hammer committed to their roles and I believed it.

Every other character in the film is forgettable. There is an attempt to mix in some big names of Hoover's era like Roosevelt, Robert Kennedy and Richard Nixon, but most passed by with out much fan fair. The filmmakers tried to incorporate too many characters and didn't develop any of them. Scene after scene new characters would appear then disappear, it is truly maddening and it contributes heavily to the confusing nature of this film.

Artistically this film was quite good. It is your classic Eastwood. Its dark with heavy use of cold colors and his signature moodiness. The film had a noir feel to it which made the film much more interesting. Over all the production design was accurate and beautiful, and the cinematography was acceptable. Eastwood is quite comfortable with his old man sensibility and it shows through out the film from the set dressing, to the costumes to the locations.

The make-up is also worth mentioning because the three major characters Hoover, Gandy and Tolson age about 40 years throughout the film. To be honest, I wasn't totally sold on it. Perhaps it is because Leo, Watts and Hammer are all very recognizable people, but the make-up looked like clay and none of the actors could move their lips properly. It was a little off putting and old Hoover looked like a bloated dead body missing its mouth.

But despite the many problems I saw in this film, I still really enjoyed it. Sitting through this film was certainly an investment, but it got me interested in a man I never knew anything about. I probably would not sit through this film again, but if you are interested in history and American politics then I encourage you to check it out.


(images are off of Google)

Friday, December 9, 2011


To be perfectly honest, I had every intention of skipping this film. My first impressions from the trailer and some pre-release reviews were not necessarily positive. Even though it was on my list of films to see this season, I assumed I would just catch it when it came out on DVD. I certainly never thought I would write a review for it. Yet, here I am. It has taken me a few days to try gather my thoughts about this film, but after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that overall, I really enjoyed it. If you are at all interested in Hollywood or filmmaking you will love the story line. But this film does lack that cinematic depth that would have taken it to the next level.

I feel like this film had the potential to be a great masterpiece, it had all the right elements. Marilyn Monroe is one of the most celebrated women of all time, her life and career were full of intrigue and drama. Her world was glamourous but mysterious. The film had amazing actors, like Kenneth Branagh, Michelle Williams and Eddie Redmayne. The film had beautiful locations, amazing costumes and lovely music.  But in the end, this film wasn't able to pull it all together.

When I did my pre-season/trailer reviews, I think I said that this film would either be really good or really bad, and the truth is, it actually fell somewhere in between. The very best elements were breathtaking, and the not so great elements made me roll my eyes.

One of the best elements of this film was Michelle Willaiams as Marilyn. I was very skeptical about Williams's in this role. I was certain that she would make it too campy and suck all of the realness of the character. But, like a lot of things in this film, I was pleasantly surprised. Williams was outstanding. Her performance might not be Oscar worthy, but I think she honored Monroe's memory with her honest, multi-layered portrayal.

But as good as Williams is, I think she benefitted greatly from her co-star, Eddie Redmayne, who plays Colin, the young ambitious gopher, turned Marilyn's play thing. The chemistry between Williams and Redmayne is spectacular. Redmayne plays the inexperienced love sick young man perfectly and Williams plays the sweet succubus.

Kenneth Branagh is an excellent actor with an unbelievable resume, but I think he fell flat in his role of the two-faced, desperate director. His character, Sir Lawrence Oliver, is blinded by Marilyn's youth and beauty and unable to see the flaws in his film. He is frustrated with Marilyn's drama and inability to work but doesn't see that his failure is of his own creation. I think that the writers missed an opportunity to cast Sir Lawrence in a more severe light. He came across as an inept, childlike man, throwing uninspired tantrums. There was also a very rich chance to explore Sir Lawrences's wife's jealousy of Marilyn, but the filmmakers threw it away.

I think it is also worth mentioning that Emma Watson is in this film. The more I research this film the more I have come to realize that she is a huge draw for audiences. The Harry Potter actress has gotten more buzz for this film that its stars Williams and Redmayne. I ought to tell you that her role is incredibly small and she mostly smiles and stares. She is also wearing an awful wig. So if you are seeing this film purely to see the lovely and talented Watson, you may be slightly disappointed.

Now, I can't do a proper review of this film with out mentioning the artistic aspects. Over all, I was disappointed with the production design and cinematography, but the costumes were brilliant. The production design had the potential to be a rich aged quality, but most of the sets looked like modern England with a few period cars here and there. The cinematography was muddy and there was an unreasonable amount of soft focus which bothered me most of all. The cinematography had the potential to capture the Marilyn's glamour, but she faded into the background in so many scenes.

The best aspect was of course the costumes by Jill Taylor. They were the element that solidified Williams as Marilyn. With out the amazing, historically accurate dresses and outfits, I don't think Williams would have shined as much as she did. None of the costumes were over worked or campy and they flowed beautifully from scene to scene. My favorite outfit is the one she is wearing when she walks out of the Library and says, "Should I be her? Who? Marilyn," then poses for admirers. Check it out, and check out this film. I am very happy I saw it and it might even be worth seeing again.


(the images are off of Google) 

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Ok, I did a fall movie preview just a couple weeks ago, and I know it isn't technically winter yet. But, there is so much good stuff out there I just had to showcase a few other films I am super jazzed to see. The theme this winter seems to be dark, noir inspired flicks with perhaps a bit of a neo-realistic perspective. I see a pattern of less glamourous, less throw away, mindless garbage. That is not to say that all of these films are going to be winners, but I am seeing a trend towards films that are tapping into the despair and fear that a lot of people are feeling. But its not really as bad as all that, behind each of these films is a sense of hope amidst the somber themes.

(2009) Released Nov. 20th 2011

Documentaries don't get a lot of attention outside of art houses and film festivals, but I think they have the power to really transform the way people think and feel. If only they could get the same attention as the big blockbusters. While the most popular modern documentaries have surrounded political and social issues, very few popular documentaries have take on the subject of history. Garbo: The Spy is not only taking on a historical figure, but a rather unknown one. So, according to trend, this film should get little to no attention. However, the style of the film is beautiful and incorporates found/historical footage, interviews and animation in a way that hasn't been seen in a documentary before. Now, some might say that this film has a look of a History Channel special, but I think the director Edmon Roch has attempted to incorporate a narrative story line which may give this doc a more plot driven feel. I say, check it out. The trailer alone is amazing and I am sure it will not disappoint. Be advised that you might not find this film in your local corporate theater. Try looking for independent theaters.

(UK 2012) 

Another documentary I am excited to see is Into The Abyss. This is a social documentary that looks at the divisive subject of the death penalty from the perspective of the offenders, the victims and state officials. The film comes to you from the German director Werner Herzog, who directed Grizzly Man and Cave of Forgotten Dreams. For doc lovers, this film is a must see, but I think it is important for all Americans to see. I think we often hear about capital punishment and brush it aside and rarely think about what it says about our society. Herzog is not one to sugar coat tough subjects, this film is raw, dark and expressive. It will make you think.

USA (2011)

Part of the reason I chose this film is because I love Woody Harrelson. He is a cult hero, but I think people forget that he is actually one of the most talented working actors today. I mean, the man works hard. This film proves it. I am literally jumping up and down with excitement. This will be the next film I see in theaters and the next film I review. This style of hollywood film really appeals to me, and the cinematography looks great. The film was written and directed by Oren Moverman, who had a quiet directorial debut with The Messenger and is better known for writing the screenplay for I'm Not There. I expect this film to get a lot of attention in the coming months. I think this film elevates Moverman's status and I expect him to have a long and successful career. The trailer pretty much speaks for itself, and I will do a full review once I see it, so thats it for now.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Hello Everyone!

One thing a lot of young filmmakers/photographers run into is people who say 'no' to the simple request to photograph. Now I appreciate if individuals do not want to have their face photographed and I would never publish a photograph of any reasonable person who requested that I not. This, however, excludes police officers, security guards, combative property owners, and celebrities.

Most people will say that your best bet is to scram if someone approaches you and says you can't photograph, but I have found this to be the most idiotic thing an aspiring filmmaker/photographer can do. It is the rule, not the exception, that people don't want photographers around. Also, if you are aspiring, it probably means that you don't have the money to apply for permission permits. My advice is that you can NEVER, ever, ever take no for an answer. There are people of all shapes, sizes and education levels who will deny you, threaten you and in some cases harass you if you attempt to take photographs. These people are everywhere and they usually have one thing in common, they have little to no respect for artists. If you let them, these photophobes will greatly reduce, even stop you from getting the most interesting photographs in the most interesting locations.

If you feel passionate about a location, don't ever take no for an answer. You can try negotiate, bribe, you can try find another vantage point to photograph from, dress in a disguise, lie or sneak. Just be prepared to deal with the consequences of your actions. Truth is, you may get arrested, banned from a location or, worst case scenario, get your camera taken away or smashed. But you need to ask yourself what price you're willing to pay for your art.

When people see a camera, they are automatically wary. Photographers present a threat, a threat that they will expose secrets, lies, and scams. When photographing in an unfamiliar location, you need to treat every person with a certain level of skepticism . If you see someone walking towards you, walk away, slowly, don't run away. Running implies guilt.  If you hear someone call out to you, the best bet is to say nothing, or if faced with a face to face confrontation, repeat, "I'm just about done," "I will be gone in a moment." "Hold on," and "Wait." These phrases will usually buy you enough time to get capture a few more frames with out being confrontational.

Now I should say that it is never wise to get confrontational with people, in any circumstance, but don't let people bully you. Those with no other recourse will resort to intimidation or smart-assery. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. But also be polite and know when to rethink your plan. As a woman, and as a young person in general, people will often speak down to you and be all around awful to you. But just realize that those types of people don't matter in the long run. The best thing you can do is forget them, get your pictures and stay fabulous. 

Today I exercised the advice I just gave you. Granted, my encounter with a combative (alleged) property owner ended with me cursing him out and finding another (better) vantage point in which to take pictures. This alleged property owner was suspiciously alone and not very friendly, he was acting very strange and shifty. He started harassing me right off the bat, and became very agitated within 30 seconds of our encounter.

Rather than argue with a person who looked to be capable of violence, I found a public path behind the Mill which provided me with the images you see above. Even though these types of encounters make for decent stories, the truth is, I was not interested in that man or his illicit behavior. I just wanted to to show this wonderful location in Minneapolis before they renovate it into something ugly and corporate.  I have every intention of retuning to this location to gather some images from the inside. But I am going to wait until winter, when water fills the basement of the Mill and creates a makeshift indoor ice rink. It is strictly forbidden, but I live life on the edge.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

100 Greatest Shut Ups in Film

Stumbled upon this thought I would share it with everyone. 


Mine is,
"Shut the fuck up Donnie"
- The Big Labowski (classic) 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011



Today I spent a few minutes messing around in photoshop and this is what I came out with. Comments!

I'd love to make this into a sticker! 


Just kidding. But now that I have your attention, I would like to discuss the bit of controversy the famous comedy director/producer, Judd Apatow has stirred up. You probably know Apatow best as the director of 40 Year Old Virgin, and producer of the surprise hits Pineapple Express and Bridesmaids. We all saw them, we all talked about them and quoted them for months. The films made so much money, and got so much attention Apatow himself was like a star about to go supernova. So logically, everyone thought this comedy director/producer could be the first one in a long time to get the nod from the Academy. Well, we all know how that worked out. And judging from this interview he is still a bit bitter not only about his own lack of an Oscar, but his fellow comedians as well (though he disguises it with some humor). So, Mr. Apatow, took the opportunity, while on an interview with the LA times to explain why The Hangover deserves its own category. You can check out the full LA Times video interview here. I encourage you to watch it before you read the rest of this article. It's 2 minutes long.
 "It doesn’t seem like it’s screwing up Schindler’s List for Hangover to have its own category. 
It didn't mess up the animation people to do it. Then we could kinda get rid of the Key Grip 
category. (boos from audience). I love the Key Grips they do a fantastic job, but at hour
four, I would rather watch Zach Galifianakis come on, than my friend Curtis"

Apatow makes a decent point about trying to compare the merits of one genera versus another. However, he ruins it by suggesting that somehow the antics of some actor is more worth celebrating than the hard work key grips do, day in and day out. 'Curtis' might not be famous or hilarious, but ask yourself this, what if Zach Galifianakis was your key grip? Now I understand that Apatow says most of this in jest, and I get that he is just spitballing. But I think he is tapping into something very real. Anyway, I digress. 

The way the Academy seems to work is, if you work for a certain number a years and if you reach a certain level of success, you'll get your Oscar. I think the Clint Eastwood Million Dollar Baby Oscar was a bit of a gimmie. For Apatow, his films, and his own stardom have begun to eclipse that other dramatic film directors. Yet, for all his success, for all the money, there is one thing he hasn't gotten, that illusive gold statue. Perhaps he feels as if he and his fellow comedians will never get one if they continue to work in comedy. So rather than change up the style to appease the Academy, he seems to want the Academy to make more room for him and others like him on the ticket. It is a fair enough request, but the real question is, do we honestly think, that out of every hard working filmmaker around the world, that Apatow, is the type of filmmaker the Academy needs to make room for? If Academy Awards were about attention garnered, Apatow and his buddies would win, hands down. But I tend to think that the Oscars are more than just entertainment. I think they are an opportunity for peers to give praise to those who are pushing new boundaries in filmmaking.

I think Apatow makes a good point about how difficult it is to compare comedy and drama. But I believe that wether a comedy, drama, or somewhere in between a film needs to be able to stand on its own as a great piece of art. The problem with comedy films today is not that people hate to laugh, but that the films only push boundaries when it comes to dirty jokes, risque subject matter, but they do very little to redefine the genera, or push the envelope cinematically. Comedy films today are all about who can be the most outrageous and still escape a NC-17 rating. Many comedy films are blatantly sexist and cast women as either the buzz kill or the psycho bitch.

However, I do have to mention that Bridesmaids was quite groundbreaking in the the sense that it showed that women can also be funny, only problem is, they are 30 years too late. Comedy films also play too often to the lowest common denominator with fart jokes, poop jokes, penis jokes, Three Stooges style physical comedy, and the all important funny boob reveal. But very rarely do these films tap into what is at the core of humor. Pulp Fiction is a funny, high quality movie because it taps into our devilish side that wants to laugh at someone getting their head blow off on the freeway. The Hangover is funny while you sit in the theater with your popcorn, and it might even be worth coughing up the 20$ for the DVD, but does it really deserve the highest honor in cinema? I tend to think no.

Let us look at just one of the comedy films in theaters right now. Adam Sandler in Jack and Jill has a 4% rating on The film was called 'disingenuous,' and Sandler's performance was called 'curdled.' This film is doing nothing to convince this movie goer that comedy is the smart one being left out by the snobs. The best comedies are the best because films like Jack and Jill are the competition.

So I think before Mr. Apatow says that the Academy needs to celebrate comedy, I think he needs to ask himself if the comedy genera is really giving us anything worth celebrating?


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I am the type of artist that takes inspiration from the world around me. I don't often remember my dreams so most of my ideas come from how I view reality. For me, finding places in the world that speak to me is an important step in my creative process.

Today I thought I would highlight the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Illinois. This is a place of epic beauty and insane attention to detail. Not only are the exhibits spectacular but the building itself is a marvel of architectural genius. Unfortunately, the Shed doesn't present many photography opportunities. The atmosphere is dark with the lights inside the tanks as the primary light source. The pictures below are not mine, but they do illustrate how fantastic this place is.

I think nature is crucial for all people. For me, the lack of natural surroundings makes me feel lost, trapped. I am not necessarily the girl who wants to bike up a mountain on a Sunday morning, but clean air, dirt roads, and unkept fields will always trump sewer smell, hot tar, and parking lots. When I was living in Chicago, I had this feeling of industrial isolation, it consumed my entire life. I spent many months as unhappy as I have ever been in my life. Everything was so crowded, and I could never find a quiet moment or a quiet place clear my head. It took me a few months and a lot of depressing walks around the city before I finally coughed up the 21$ to go to the Shedd on a gloomy Chicago day.

From the moment I walked inside, I knew I had found my new (and very expensive) sanctuary. For the rest of my time in Chicago I visited the shed at least once every few weeks. I would go alone and marvel at the beauty and grace of the sea life as they danced peacefully and most important, quietly in the massive tanks. I would also lament at times looking at the fish because they were as trapped as I was. They were stuck in crowded tanks just like I was stuck in the crowded city. In the end I was able to escape the city and find my happiness but the fish are still swimming in their never ending circles.




-Sam OG

SONG OF THE DAY: Iron & Wine

OK, so I don't do this every day, but I thought I would highlight a song and an artist that I am getting into on this gloomy November day. The artist goes by Iron and Wine and I discovered him on The Current (go figure). The song is Walking Far From Home, and it really uplifted my spirits. It is a song that has caught my attention in passing probably a dozen times, but I finally took the time to look it up on The Current's playlist. Iron and Wine is actually the brain child of the man Sam Beam. After listening to a few of his songs and muddling through youtube, I came to the realization that Beam is by no means a new comer to the music scene even if he is new to my radar. His sound is very dynamic and influenced by a variety of styles. There are hits of folk and reggae and traditional African tribal sounds. The vocals are very soulful and the lyrics are nostalgic stories.

Iron & Wine's newest album, Kiss Each Other Clean was released almost a year ago, which is essentially ancient history. Despite this, I am still going to highlight my favorite song from that record. Here it is, Enjoy!

I encourage you to check out Iron and Wine if they come to a city near you. They are on tour this winter so visit their website and get a ticket!


Monday, November 21, 2011


I was meaning to post this earlier, but here is a look at the new studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Check out their website, its awesome. I really I to get the opportunity to work inside it one day. Seeing this magnificent structure gives me hope that the New Mexico film industry will thrive despite recent threats from the Republican Governor, Susanna Martinez to cut the film incentive. 

I am not one to go on about how you should buy movies & see them in theaters. But I do think it is important to remember that the film industry is just like any industry. It employs thousands of people all across the country, and not just big name actors and directors, but truck drivers, carpenters and boot makers. The impact a film production can have on a small town like Santa Fe is huge. Small business thrive when the massive film crews stay in the cities hotels, eat in the restaurants, and get parking tickets on the city streets. 

A new studio or a new age of filmmaking? The future is bright. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Hola Amigos!

I have been having an awesome fall. I have discovered some new stuff that I thought I'd share with you.

I have been Camp(ing) for sure. I have been lost in the woods for days. 

Childish Gambino's new album Camp just came out a few days ago. I listened to it on NPR almost non-stop in the days leading up to its release. It is simply amazing. I have to say that I really admire this guy. He is multi-talented and has a pretty large body of work. People probably know him best as Troy from the show Community (which NBC has stupidly shelved). His real name is Donald Glover and he is a bit of a renaissance man. I think he is an example of a young person who is changing what it means to be successful in this ever morphing industry. His music has an modern sound, he is a gifted actor/comedian and a writer. I encourage everyone to pick up this record, grab a bottle of whiskey, light a fire and enjoy.

If you were a fan of Little Britain, prepare yourself for something laugh out loud hysterical. Now I get that a lot of Americans don't like or understand British humor. But this show is too good. It is not outwardly vulgar, but they do play up stereotypes in a way that probably wouldn't fly on this side of the pond. The costumes and make up are damn impressive as is the writing and production value. I am constantly surprised by Matt Lucas and David Walliams commitment to the characters they play. Check out Season 1 Episode 3 for a wonderful little surprise...

If you are under the age of 30 and live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area then you are very familiar with 89.3 The Current, which is easily the best radio station in existence.  So this is mostly for those of you who do not live in the Twin Cities. If you are a music lover and a fan of NPR then I encourage you to check out their website here and stream them 100% free. The current is a non-profit member supported radio and it has a reputation of playing the best most diverse selection of music. My only warning is that while this radio station is very good about playing different genres, if you are a strict top 40, hip-pop, club music fan, then this station might not be for you. However, for anyone looking to discover new music and learn a bit about the artists, look no further than this awesome radio station..


Friday, November 18, 2011

Photographs From Santa Fe


My trip to New Mexico is almost over so I thought I would take this quiet moment to post a few pictures. These images were taken in the historical town of Los Cerrillos Hills, New Mexico, a very tiny town near Madrid, New Mexico. This place is very special to me on many different levels. Firstly, it is a place I discovered on my own while taking a therapeutic drive through the desert. It is a bit off the beaten path and very, very small (only about 20 small homes in the whole town), but it is full of extremely interesting people and lots of history. It was slated to become the capital of New Mexico but was ultimately beaten out by Santa Fe.

This place is also special because I shot several scenes of my senior thesis film there. In the process I got to know many of the local people who are so, incredibly fascinating. They are friendly (if a little wary of random outsiders) and eager to share their stories about their lives, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and the many actors & filmmakers who have come to the town throughout the years. It is not necessarily an easy place to be welcomed into, in fact, the people of Cerrillos Hills are very illusive. However, once they let me (and my film crew) into their club, they were the warmest, most lively group of people I have ever met. They took care of us like we were family during our shoot feeding us, helping us, welcoming us into their homes/property, one of them may have even saved my life.

I know many filmmakers say that after a film is complete they never look back. I have found that this doesn't often work well for me. I am always interested in the past and how it informs my future. I am continuously inspiried by this tiny town and every time I visit I discover something I have never seen before.  I will continue visiting for as long as I seek inspiration.

Specifically, these images are from the Cerrllios Hills graveyard, which has some of the oldest graves I have ever seen, some dating back 200+ years. It is also full of unmarked graves and an unbelievable amount of children and baby graves.  It is, perhaps, a bit creepy, but I don't know a more beautiful place to be laid to rest.

What place continuously inspires you?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

New Mexico!

Hello Everyone!

Today I am traveling home to New Mexico. Well not home exactly, but to the place I consider my personal paradise. I am super excited about the posts to come this week. I brought my camera to finally get some super nice shots of the desert, the party and of course all my lovely friends.

I plan to go take pictures in Los Cerillos, Taos, Las Vegas, Los Alamos and maybe Cruses. I encourage you to look these places up and try to visit them before you die. New Mexico is a wonderful place to photograph and the terrain, the weather, and the unlimited number of spectacular vistas it will test your ability as a photographer. Photographing New Mexico is very soul inspiring and it has forever tied me and my heart to this land

Where are your favorite places to Photograph?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Once the big summer movie boom is over, I find myself spending less time in front of screens and trying to enjoy the heat and sun. But, once the cold sets in, it is back to the theaters for me. I have been hoping for a good fall/winter movie season, and I am happy to report that there are a handful of movies I am super excited to see, and super excited to review.

This season we are seeing a lot of moody, dark films. I am also seeing a lot of powerful women and historical figures as the subject of many promising looking productions.

Directed By: Lynne Ramsay 
Based on the novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver.

I confess that I have never read this book, so I am not going to try compare the book and this film's trailer. But my initial reaction to this is a big WOW! I am always struck by Tilda Swinton and this film looks like it was tailor made for her.  I am interested to see the chemistry between her acting style and John C. Reilly. The two actors who traditionally reside on opposite ends of the spectrum as far as subject matter. The young Ezra Miller is a relative new comer and I am excited to see some fresh blood. He will also appear in The Perks of Being a Wallflower in 2012. 

Directed By: Simon Curtis

I love Marilyn Monroe and I admit I am surprised it took Hollywood so long to do a large scale bio-pic on her life. I do carry a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to this film because these types if films tend to have a lot of glamor with out a lot of substance. However, this film does have a lot of potential and if its good, it will be really good. Michelle Williams isn't necessarily my first choice for Marilyn, but she seems to look the part, lets just hope she brings a high level of honesty to the role and doesn't lose herself behind the hair and fashion.

The Iron Lady
Directed By: Phyllida Lloyd
Starring Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent and Richard E. Grant

Watch Trailer Here

Ok, this trailer doesn't give anything away but there are some very interesting moments that make this film look rather exciting. The trailer is short and to the point and it leaves me with more questions than answers (which is an unfortunate rarity in movie trailers today). I like this trailer for its subtlety, but the real excitement is seeing Meryl Streep done up like the legendary Margaret Thatcher. This is a must see for me and other political junkies.

Directed By: Tristan Patterson
Watch Trailer Here

This is probably the one film I am the most excited about. I think what is lacking in contemporary American film is a genuine representation of the younger generation, the 9/11 generation. Those of us who grew up through war, and fewer and fewer opportunities, those of us who grew up to mistrust government, religion, corporations and any institution. We are the new generation, the one that didn't get the great promise of America. Few films exist that portray our reality. Dragonslayer seems to try tap into some of the feelings that are spilling out from young people.

What are you looking forward to this fall/winter?

Check them out!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I have some excellent news!

The Rest Are Missing is finally on Youtube. I am so happy to share this film with the world.

At its core, The Rest Are Missing is a film about surviving against the odds, and escaping from unknown evils that seek to imprison. Feeling alone is an universal emotion. Sometimes, even when we are in a room full of people, we feel isolated. This film seeks to articulate that feeling in a visceral way.

The film is very minimal. The high desert landscape is allowed to shine in its full glory, and the music perfectly sets the tone for the story.

Leading man Brian Young is a shining star and he brings such passionate honesty to the role.

Watch it, comment. Enjoy!

New Project Details

This piece turned out amazing. It has a super high gloss which gives the piece a lot of movement. This was my first time using this technique and I am really happy with how simple it was and how much of an impact it makes. I am going to take this project much further in the future, but for now, enjoy these pictures.

This piece is for sale for $100.00 (unframed)/180.00 (framed). I will also custom make a piece like this with your choice of colors for a negotiated price.

(Full Size) 

Friday, October 28, 2011

New Project

Like many filmmakers, I have some side interests. I love things that are colorful and expressive and I love to make things with my hands.

I am currently working on a mixed media type painting/craft project. I took a box of 120 crayons and I have started the process of melting them on a piece of black canvas.

No, I am not the first person in the world to think of this idea, but I think I have something that might turn out really cool. Below are a few images I took of the project.

Once it is complete I will upload commercially lit images of it so you can get the full effect.

Sometimes when I find myself feeling uninspired or in a creative rut, I try to go outside of my comfort zone and try something new, even if I don't have a camera in my hand. Right now, I don't always have the time or the resources to make my many film ideas come to life, but I still find different ways to express myself. I feel very empty when I am not working on some type of creative project. So when I began working on this little piece I thought it might be a good way to get my creative juices flowing. Keep following for updates on this project and many more to come. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Please send an email to with your name and address and you will receive a DVD copy of the short adventure/thriller film, The Rest Are Missing. This film is not yet available online or anywhere else. Just send me a mailing address and get this short film in your mailbox totally free.

You may be asking yourself: Why should I get some random film mailed to me?

1- This film is awesome.

2- It's completely, 100%, no strings attached, free. All you have to do is send your mailing address and you will get a plain DVD in a case, no ads, no probing personal questions.

3- You will have a copy of a film that only a handful of other people have ever had access to. That way, when your pretentious friends come over, you will have something other than Old School and and a pirated copy of I Am Legend to offer.

Mostly, it will show that you support young, aspiring artists and have a few moments to send an address and watch an interesting short film.

Plus, if you hate it, you can destroy it then, hopefully, come back to this blog and tell me why.

You address is secure and will not be shared or saved.

The Rest Are Missing
Santiago Meyer
Nicole Davis
USA (2011) 

Someone has gone astray.