Friday, July 27, 2007

Long Live The Fan Film AKA Dartflix Edition # 19

I often bitch and complain about when a book, TV show, comic book or graphic novel I like gets adapted into a lackluster film devoid of any soul or passion from the writing team or the director. Do you think that “Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer” was a passion project of Tim Story’s? How about any of those videos he directed for Jagged Edge? Methinks not.

I am so fucking sick of reading some piece of engrossing literature or watching some great show that works on many different levels and resonated with millions of people for different reasons just to have some studio buy the rights to said property and subsequently hire a writer that sucks the very essence and soul out of it (because he was never a fan of the source material) so it can be sold to the masses as a diluted version of what it once was. When directors and writers actually are fans of the source material and are committed to doing a faithful adaptation or translation to the silver screen we end up having an excellent final product as in the case of “V Is For Vendetta”,“Sin City”, “300”, the Harry Potter series of films or J.R.R. Tolkien’s Fellowship Of The Ring trilogy.

There is another case in which the common man (with a computer and a camera) has the opportunity to show up those assholes in Hollywood...the "fan film". Whether it be an original creation (like the above internet classic “Hobo With A Shotgun”) or one of Miguel Mesas’ excellent works you can see that these films are passion projects for these directors. Just like producers in the music industry, most writers and directors in Hollywood are simply work for hire ( hoes) that go from job to job in order to make a living.

When rights to a property are bought, it’s the screenwriter and the director’s job to make an accessible and commercially viable final product so the studio can make back the money on it's investment into said project...not particularly to find out what it is in the source material that draws in it’s original/core audience and to preserve that in the forthcoming film adaptation.

Sometimes fan films can be used as demos to get the directors jobs in Hollywood. In many cases there are people already in the film industry that make these short films to show that can do other things than what role they've been pigeonholed into. Sandy Collora , the director of this now famous fan film called “Batman: Dead End” has used this film as a “demo” that got him noticed for his creative abilities and eventually got him his own project in 2005.

Cyril Raffaelli, a traceur, fight choreographer, martial artist and stuntman (Section B 13, Transporter, Transporter 2) used his own short film “Mukiai” as a demo that helped get him work in big films like the summer blockbuster
“Live Free And Die Hie Hard”.

The director of several excellent fan films Miguel Mesas is spotlighted in this blog later on in this post.

Top 5 Late Film Trailers Of The Month (7.1.07-7.31.07)

Senseless (KOR)

Gone Baby Gone (USA)

The Duelist (KOR)

10, 000 B.C. (USA)

The Believers (USA)

Top 10 Trailers Of The Month (7.1.07-7.31.07)

The Invasion

3:10 To Yuma



The Brave One

The Hunting Party


The Dark Is Rising



Top 5 Apple Trailers Of The Month (7.1.07-7.31.07)

Ghosts Of Cite Soleil

Charlie Bartlet

No End In Sight

Vantage Point

1-18-08 AKA Cloverfield

Dart’s Director Spotlight recipient for July: Miguel Mesas (ESP)

Independent Movie Of The Month Of July: Wu: The Story Of The Wu-Tang Clan by Gee Bee (Gerard Barclay)

Here are some of my film recommendations for rental through Netflix:

Trade (available for rent)
Dynamite Warrior
Man About Town
The Best Thief In The World
The U.S. Vs. John Lennon
All We Are Saying
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
The Emperor & The Assassin
Blade Runner
Total Recall
Predator 2
Alien 3
Alien Resurrection
The Abyss
Dark City
Fight Club
Battle Royale
Battle Royale 2
The City Of Lost Children
Event Horizon
They Live
Strange Days
No Escape
Alien Nation
Code 46
Buffalo 66
Minority Report
12 Monkeys
Nine Queens
A Scanner Darkly
Igby Goes Down
An American Haunting
Extras (Series)
Nowhere To Hide
The Fifth Element
After Hours
200 Cigarettes
Red Dawn
The Hill Have Eyes 2
Shooting Gallery
Poolhall Junkies
The Patriot
The Kovak Box
Wild A t Heart
True Romance
The Way Of The Gun
Duane Hopwood
Lonesome Jim
The Code
The Signal
The Number 23
Crime Story
Last Hurrah For Chivalry
Rock The Bells

What the future holds for comic book/video game films:

Y: The Last Man

The Losers

The Silver Surfer




Dart’s Picks:

Haven- How I was able to sleep on this flick for this long is beyond me. It has a brilliant ensemble cast, is well written and has all of the elements of a great thriller/drama. The story is set on the Cayman Islands and deals with locals as well as those that come to the island to launder dirty money and the fallout from their illegal activities.I don’t wanna post any spoilers, just trust me and don’t sleep on it like I once did.

The Nest- This French action film is a quasi remake of/homage to "Assault On Precinct 13" but it has enough action and fascinating characters to more than make your Netflix queue.Check out a review of it on Late Film by Feral Cat.

The U.S. Vs. John Lennon-All of these hardcore rappers in the game that claim they're gully and hardbody and swear the Feds are tapping their phones and make you believe they are constantly under surveillance and being harrassed by the police don’t have shit on John Lennon. 50 Cent couldn’t have lived a fuckin’ month in John Lennon’s the fact that John Lennon was actually doing something to help mankind and not just make wack music and get rich.
John Lennon died trying to make the world a better place...fuck 50 Cent, John Lennon was REALLY hardbody (word to Fred Hampton, Sr.). Oh yeah, watch this documentary to understand where I'm coming from with this tirade.

Rock The Bells- This film about the original “Rock The Bells” concert in California where the Wu Tang Clan were supposed to have all 9 original members perform back when Ol’ Dirty Bastard was still alive. I have been waiting for close to 18 months to see this movie after it had been submitted to several film festivals and I know I ain’t the only one. Put it on your lists NOW.

Dynamite Warrior- This Thai martial arts flick has some great special effects and some excellent fight also has a paper thin story and only about half the cast actually deserved to be paid because they sucked at acting and fighting. When the main actors in the film aren’t on the screen the film tended to drag on (I actually considered taking the DVD out at around the 30 minute mark) but the action and fight scenes more than made this a worthwhile rental. I wouldn’t recommend anyone actually buy this one, though.

The Ghosts Of Cite Soleil- This film is a continuation of the 2004 documentary “Haiti: The End Of The Chimeres” (that has only been seen on cable and I haven't been able to locate a physical copy of it for a full year since I first saw it) and focuses on the soldiers hired by the government to keep people in line. This movie is going to end up being the “City Of God” of 2007 in the hood when it finally comes out on DVD. Believe it.

Dart’s WTF?/Watch This Bullshit At Your Own Risk Award:

Who’s Your Caddy?- I refuse to watch this Black foolishness. Big Boi must be out his goddamn mind if he thinks people are gonna go see this bullshit. That trailer made me want to pick up the jack call the NAACP up or protest out front of the theater. No Tyler Perry’s “House Of Payne”


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