Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I want to feature your photos on my blog banner

While amusing and unquestionably brilliant, the sight of me romancing the film reel has run its course.

I need a new look. Some fresh material. Inspiration. A prettier muse (than myself). A new and improved brand. Something that makes us all awe, a little bit more, in 2009.

That's where you come in.

I'm redesigning my blog banner again and need your photos to make it swank.

Please send in your shots of the local movie industry, and I'll work them into the new design. I'll accept just about anything but headshots. What do I want?
  • You and a star? OK.
  • A movie production takes over your street? Better.
  • You and your Sharpie chasing Jack Black through the Hilton? I like tenacity.
  • A DVD shrine to movies made in The Shreve? That'll work.
  • You as the Incredible Hulk? I know you're out there.
  • An autographed body part? Now you're talkin'.
  • You kicking me off a set? I dare you.
  • Yellow location signs with cryptic acronyms like "ILYPM," "BIH" and "BARD?" I get you.
  • A movie shot of Maggie's Hangar on Commerce Street ("The Guardian"), or Artisan's Court on Texas Street ("Factory Girl")? Old school references will do.
  • A poster for a locally made movie? Love it.
  • A fake poster for a dream TV series? Maybe. (Think "CSI: Bossier City.")
  • You and Josh Brolin in fisticuffs? I'll contemplate retirement.
Whatever you have, send it to akent@gannett.com and I'll get crackin'. Just about everything goes, but remember: I privilege the unique, the daring, the stupid and the obscure.

PRIZES: Top two photo-submitters will receive a "W." mini-poster or a "Harold & Kumar" plastic gambling visor. Free of charge. Can you believe my generosity?

Button vs. Gump: Round 2

Let me introduce this half-baked thought about the reception of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Lots of critics have compared it rightly to "Forrest Gump," for screenwriter Eric Roth adapted both. (For some food for thought, check out the review that LaMovBlog super-reader Chris Jay pimped in the previous post.) While "Button" and "Gump" are great companion pieces, the stories come from different eras and paint their heroes with wildly different brushes.

Right now, I’m thinking about “Benjamin Button” as the anti-Gump. Pitt’s Button is very ordinary, stone-faced, melancholic and good-lookin’. (Perhaps Pitt is doing his best Keanu Reeves impression.) Never really accomplishes anything. Witnesses history but never takes part in it. Loves and always loses. In the end, a lost man. A poor man. Perennial loser.

Not like Hanks’ everyman, who was extraordinarily ordinary, innocent, funny, accidentally heroic and kinda homely. Loves, loses but endures. In the end, a happy man. Stinking rich. An agent of renewal.

I think critics are defining their ideal heroes when they compare Button and Gump. If more favor Gump, then it supports my pet theory about Hollywood heroes: Losers never win.

Who has more to say about who we are? Which movie do you like better? Or do you, like this critic, loathe both?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Do we see ‘Benjamin Button’ clearly?

Have you seen David Fincher's new masterwork yet? I caught it yesterday with a theater full of patrons. If you've been living far, far away from Planet Louisiana, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" was shot in New Orleans. It easily represents the state's biggest project of the decade – "Ray" was no slouch, either – and should garner quite a few Oscar nominations.

I'm a bit dismayed by the critical reception Fincher seems to be getting these days. Most critics single out the technical wizardry of his movies – "Zodiac" was similarly praised – but they don't seem to feel his stories, his characters have genuine heart.

Here are a few excerpts from "Button" reviews:

Lisa Schwarzbaum, for Entertainment Weekly: "… this Button is a curious case indeed: an extravagantly ambitious movie that's easy to admire but a challenge to love."

Claudia Puig, for USA Today: "'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' (* * * out of four) is worth seeing just for the superb prosthetic makeup and seamless computer-generated effects in which Pitt's head is digitally imposed onto older bodies. The film, ambitious if flawed, also is lyrical and melancholy as it tells the story of a man aging backward.

"But the tale, though laudably imaginative, is overlong and not as emotionally involving as it could be."

Peter Travers, for Rolling Stone: "What Fincher does, shooting digital instead of on film, is simply extraordinary. His astutely restrained direction fuses ferocity and feeling and creates a world you want to get lost in. …

"What Button shows is that Ben is ultimately not the hero of his own life or his own movie. He gets inside our head, that's for sure, but, frustratingly, we never get inside his."

A.O. Scott, for The New York Times, sees the film more clearly: "Above all, though, 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' is a triumph of technique. Building on the advances of pioneers like Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and Robert Zemeckis — and on his own previous work adapting newfangled means to traditional cinematic ends — Mr. Fincher ('Fight Club,' 'Zodiac') has added a dimension of delicacy and grace to digital filmmaking. While it stands on the shoulders of breakthroughs like 'Minority Report,' 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'Forrest Gump' (for which Mr. Roth wrote the screenplay), 'Benjamin Button' may be the most dazzling such hybrid yet, precisely because it is the subtlest. While he does treat the audience to a few grand, special-effect showpieces, Mr. Fincher concentrates his ingenuity on the setting and the characters, in particular — and most arrestingly — on the faces of his stars, Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt."

Kenneth Turan, for the L.A. Times, is baffled: "... 'Benjamin Button' would've had a better chance of success if it had landed in the hands of a director with more of a facility for telling emotional stories than Fincher, whose films include 'Se7en,' 'Fight Club' and 'Zodiac.' No wonder everything feels icy and removed. Giving Fincher this project is like asking the great French humanist director Jean Renoir to do a slasher movie. As my mother used to say, no good will come of this."

I haven't quite worked out my response to these critiques yet, but I'm working on it.

My thoughts run along two lines:

1) As critics and moviegoers, we don't assess digital filmmaking very fairly. We're too hung up on spectacle, and the mere act of perceiving visual innovation/invention. We want to be impressed more than we want to be immersed. (That's not very well put, but I'm working on it.)

2) We're also losing our appreciation for tragic characters like Benjamin Button. We too often dismiss them as "flawed," too often put them at a critical distance, too often describe them as unknowable, or too unlike us.

Again, I'm still cooking on "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and will write more about it later.

In the meantime, I'd love to know what you thought about the movie.

PHOTO: Brad Pitt and Tilda Swinton. (Merrick Morton/Paramount Pictures and Warner Brothers Pictures)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

Some local movie-lovers offered their favorite Christmastime movies in today's Times. From "Gremlins" to "Scrooge," it's a pretty fun list.

Allow me to offer my Christmas favorite. Remember, I'm a bit dark in taste. I don't expect to be forgiven.

"Die Hard" – set on Christmas Eve – comes close to my favorite. I'm just lying if I don't consider "A Christmas Story," however over-played it is. I love "O Lucky Man!" for one jaw-dropping Christmas party. (Do not rent this and show it to kids.) "It's a Wonderful Life" features my favorite actor of all time, Jimmy Stewart, so it's really hard not to select it. "Love Actually," which is more honest about Christmas blues than most, is growing on me. Last year, I celebrated the shock-and-awfulness of "Star Wars" Christmas special, but there's one that stands out among the rest.

This year, I have to go with what I want for Christmas something a bit obvious: "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Scared the living daylights out of me when I first saw it. I was 17 or 18, mind you. I still don't know why I responded that way. Because of its subversive quality? Danny Elfman's hypnotic score? The gloomy synergy of Tim Burton and Henry Selick? Was it hearing the bones of children – and teenagers – rattle in horror until the credits rolled? I don't know. I don't really want to know, frankly. I just love it.

Enough of me.

What's your favorite Christmas movie? I'm making a list, checking it twice and don't really care if you're naughty or nice.

Just post your favorites and argue! (Consider it practice for extended family visits.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Surviving 'Synecdoche, New York'

"Synecdoche, New York" is one of the most depressing movies I've seen in a long time -- we're talking anything Bergman to the 10th power -- therefore I recommend it wholeheartedly. Bleak and pretty brilliant.

I saw it about a month ago and initially shrugged. After writing about it, though, I learned my feelings ran deeper. It's playing at the Robinson Film Center.

It's the anti-Christmas. Have fun!

But seriously, see it. It's as purely cinematic as movies get. You couldn't tell this story through any other medium.

It's no secret to my friends -- hey, I count at least two -- that I love a good downer. Why? I have my theories. So does my imaginary shrink. Here are the top five:

5) It's evidence that I'm happier than somebody on Planet Earth.
4) I'm an enigma wrapped in shadow lost in confusion.
3) I'm obsessed with books and movies about self.
2) Sad movies are sources of existential renewal.
1) In the words of Le Frog from "Flushed Away," "I find everyone's pain amusing, except my own ... I'm French!"

I'm actually German and therefore have deep misgivings about Le Frog. That's why he's 100% right about me.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Derek Johnson on ‘Front of the Class’ role

Q: What was your role in the locally filmed "Front of the Class?" and how did you prepare for it?

A: I played the Tourette's Group Leader in the support group scene. I actually auditioned for the lead role of Brad Cohen, so I studied him and various other people with Tourette Syndrome. I also researched many books and literature on Tourette's, and a couple of years ago, while doing research for another film in which I played a character with schizophrenia, I met many people with Tourette's at conventions, so I pulled out my observations from those people and put together a series of tics of my own.

Q: What did you learn about the process of making a TV movie?

A: Making a TV movie is similar to a theatrical film, only the turnaround is usually much shorter, so the wait to see it from production to release is not as long and drawn out. Everything seems so much faster and before you know it, the movie has already aired.

Q: What did you enjoy most about the experience?

A: I enjoyed the research process and the chance to play a different kind of role. I've been told that I do my best when I play "extreme" characters and not just the "norm." I also enjoyed the cast and crew, especially getting to know the real Brad Cohen. He is such a phenomenal person and his story is so uplifting. Going to the premiere in Los Angeles was a great experience as well, as everyone was so generous and pleasant.

Q: What Shreveport-based projects have you worked on, and what advice would you share with local actors about getting work?

A: I've worked on several of the Shreveport-based films, including speaking roles in "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt" and "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell." I've also worked on several independent films, many of which I have written, produced, and directed. Getting the part is not an easy task. It takes a lot of work to prepare for an audition and to make the character your own. If you want to be an actor, then you have to "be" an actor. You can't just say you are and not put any work into it. Take classes, study, research, and practice.

Q: How have you college acting and filmmaking experiences at Stephen F. Austin State University helped you prepare?

A: Earning my degree in film was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I had the opportunity to both act and make films on a weekly basis while in school, which only gave me more and more practice and exposure. I learned what I was doing wrong early, and had the chance to fix it. Getting ripped apart from your peers and instructors is vital to success as an artist, and many actors starting out jump right into it with nobody telling them what they are doing wrong. I'm proud that I was put in my place early, because constructive criticism opens your eyes.

'X-mas Under the Ground' set for Saturday

Twelve local artists and filmmakers will showcase their work Saturday for minicine?'s "X-mas Under the Ground." The grinches include Bill Daniel, Michelle Glaros, Sara Hebert, Chris Jay, Leo Kacenjar, Mindy McKoin, Shannon Palmer, Rob Peterson, Jon Rothell, Katie Matza and Matthew Keus, Austin Meyes and Mike Schwalke, and students from the Renzi Art and Education Center. It's all curated by Jen Wasson. Learn more here.

If you go
WHAT: "X-mas Under the Ground."
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 13).
WHERE: Lee Hardware Art Gallery, 719 Edwards Street, Shreveport.
COST: free.
ALSO FEATURING: music by A.J. Haynes and Paleo.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The 'Bitch' is from Bossier City

I'm way too excited about "Bitch Slap," a movie starring Erin Cummings. She lived in Bossier City as a kid.

I interviewed her in 2007, and she remains one of the funniest, smartest, most honest subjects I've met.

Cummings was here filming a scene for "Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins" and talked about the nerves involved in working with Martin Lawrence and crowd full of a extras. It was for the opening talk show scene, which was trimmed mercilessly for the theatrical release.

Cummings is a pro, so acting in front of audience isn't anything new. But she had do stunt work while wearing 6-inch stiletto heels, braided hair, a prosthetic lip and giant butt implants.

"When you're presented with an opportunity like that you can do one of two things," Cummings said. "You can succumb to the anxiety and the nerves and the intimidation of what it is, or you can welcome it as a step on the road."

I remind you of this to emphasize this point: Erin Cummings is fearless, and it shows in this trailer for "Bitch Slap." Cummings knows her martial arts. She understands parody. And, as evidenced by "Bitch Slap," she can deliver B-movie sexploitation dialogue with the best of 'em.

Watch this trailer. Learn from Erin. And most importantly, leave hundreds of comments about why this movie must win a trailer Oscar. I want this gem sparkling on 20 of Shreveport-Bosssier's finest screens by April.

Retire? Nah. Go act.

Jerald Amaya gained good memories on the set of "Front of the Class," which debuted Sunday on CBS.

The TV movie is based on Brad Cohen's autobiographical book, "Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had."

Amaya, of Greenwood, played a classroom observer toward the end.

"It gave me the opportunity to not only meet the original Brad Cohen, but it (also) gave us a chance to make a friendship," Amaya said.

The local actor was thrilled to be able to sit in a director's chair. Amaya was also a bit surprised when the movie's star, James Wolk, began talking to him about acting.

"It was almost the teacher asking the student for advice," Amaya said. "I have retired from GM, and this is new to me."

He worked at the Shreveport plant between 1992 and 2006. While retirement's nice and all, Amaya's wife encouraged him to try his hand at acting. "It was either sit home and watch reruns of 'The Blues Brothers' and 'Meet the Fockers,' or get out there and try this."

Don Logan, also a local actor, sent an email about his involvement in the project. Logan's a retired DJ (remember Dandy Don, anyone?) and continues to be an all-around music man.

For "Front of the Class," he worked as an extra (or background actor). Unfortunately, his scene was left on the cutting room floor.

"Hopefully in the DVD, they will use some extended cuts," Logan wrote. "OH WELL, as you guys say in SHOW BIZ, those are the breaks."

Like Amaya, Logan believes that getting older doesn't mean you have to drop out of the workforce.

"Remaining active is very important as you become older to stay the well-rounded person you are," Logan wrote. "There are some jobs I can't do. I can't even do all the things I did at 30. But, I can run, jog a little, stand on my feet for long hours and am in good physical health, so I am a background natural for any director wanting the 'grandfather' look."

Monday, December 08, 2008

La. Produces meetup to feature Will Greenfield

The monthly meetup at the Robinson Film Center will feature Will Greenfield, associate production office coordinator for "Leaves of Grass." Green's credits include "Disaster Movie," "Soul Men" and "Elizabethtown." If you need details, contact Clare France at RFC.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday (Dec. 9).

WHERE: Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas St., Shreveport.

COST: free.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

CBS's 'Front of the Class' draws from local talent pool

I spent my Sunday night watching the CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "Front of the Class." It was filmed in Shreveport and was a pretty solid two hours. It's based on Brad Cohen's book of the same name, which details his life with Tourette's syndrome.

I saw lots of local faces, including local stage actors like Tyler Krieg, Mike Martindale and Patrick Kirton.

Krieg's scene, in which he's a member of a Tourette's syndrome help-group, earned notice in this Reuter's review. Here's an excerpt: "Tom Rickman, who adapted the book, puts Brad's struggle in admirable perspective. There are the obvious school scenes in which his behavior is mistaken for intentional clowning. But there's also a scene with the boy and his mother (Patricia Heaton) attending a Tourette's support group. When they realize that nearly everyone in the room has lowered their ambitions as an accommodation to the condition, they don't stay long."

While there's not much critique in this excerpt, it's a sign that local actors' work is getting noticed. There's a lot of talent in this city, and I've witnessed a lot of it on local stages. "Front of the Class" is evidence that local talent can both feed and succeed in the industry.

Good work, everyone. Let me know if you had a role, and I'll feature you.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

What’s up in Dec.?

UPDATED with new show, "Sinners and Saints": 5:39 p.m. Dec. 5.

The latest update from the state follows. Take note of the available jobs at Bullet Films in Lafayette. Really important job opportunities:

Here's what's happening in Louisiana Film for the first week of December 2008:

Bullet Films in Lafayette is looking to add staff for 2009 and is now accepting resumes for the following positions:

Sound Effects Editors, Dialog Editors, Re-recording mixers, Colorists, 2D Vfx Artists, 3D Vfx Artists, Web designers, Graphic Artists/Concept Artists, Assistant Editors, Editors, Composers, Cinematographers

Resumes are currently being accepted by e-mail at jobs@bulletfilms.net

The Most Wanted Films feature film "Sinners and Saints" is in pre-production in New Orleans with shooting scheduled from December 8th through January 15th. Resumes are being accepted by e-mail at info@mostwantedfilms.com.

The Liberty Mutual Independent Media, Inc. short film "Prodigy" is in pre-production in New Orleans with shooting scheduled from December 12 through December 20. This movie is crewed up and no longer accepting resumes.

The Lifetime movie of the week "Acceptance" is shooting in Shreveport with through December 17. Inquiries are being accepted by fax at (318) 682-5671 (no headshots, please).

The independent feature film "Skateland" starring Shiloh Fernandez and Ashley Greene is shooting in Shreveport through December 11. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at skatelandproductions@gmail.com

The Marquis Productions feature film "Fight or Flight" is in production in Lafayette with shooting scheduled through December 20. Resumes for cast and crew are being accepted by e-mail at marquisprods@gmail.com

The independent feature film "My Own Love Song" starring Renee Zellweger and Forest Whitaker is shooting in New Orleans through December 13. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at myownlovesong08@gmail.com

The Faulkner McLain Entertainment feature film "Alabama Moon" starring John Goodman is shooting in Covington through December 16. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by email at info@faulknerproductions.com. For casting information, please visit www.couloncasting.com

The Mandalay Lifetime Network television movie of the week based on the Nora Roberts book "Tribute" is shooting in Jefferson Parish through December 18. The production is currently crewed up.

The HBO television series "Treme" will begin shooting in New Orleans in early 2009. Resumes for CREW ONLY are being accepted by fax at (410) 986-0029.

And for more information about the film and television industry in Louisiana please visit us online at www.louisianaentertainment.gov and at www.lafilm.org

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Make love to the camera (and I'll feature you)

NPR recently logged a funny story about a book of unforgettable headshots. It's called "Holy Headshot! A Celebration of America's Undiscovered Talent." Our local mugger Eric Gipson is represented. (I can call him a mugger because he stole my wallet once and termed it "magic." True lie, honest.)

Reports NPR, "Most head shots are straightforward pictures of an actor's face. But every now and then, someone decides to get a bit more creative." Check out the gallery for samples.

The books writers supposedly went through 50,000 headshots and selected just 103 for publication. Along with Eric, five other actors with the local Landrum Arts LA agency made the cut.

Eric is excited to be featured. While the headshots are presented in "Holy Headshot!" with a sense of humor, the book goes a bit deeper than laughs. Trying to get acting work as a relative unknown ain't easy, as y'all know.

"It's really kind of a celebration of the struggle," Eric tells me. The book also includes the talents' resumes.

For fun, I asked Eric to play casting director and assess his own headshot. "I would probably say, first of all, that is no Tom Cruise. That is no Brad Pitt. But that may be a guy who has some potential as a character actor."

James Eakin, a Shreveport photographer, deserves credit for the camera work.

This example begs the question: Just how creative is Shreveport's talent?

If you have a nutty headshot, send it my way. Include a 10-word caption, too, which explains your look. If I get enough, I'll post a Shreve Muggers gallery (and send the URL to SPD).

Must be fully creative, now. Nothing straightforward. I'm expecting something with pipe tobacco, a waffle iron and a ferret. If you achieve that look without Photoshop, you get first billing. Email Eric for tips.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

This has nothing to do with movies ...

... but it's funnier than every comedy released in 2008. Please, please, please turn Drew Pierson's "Ranking the 50 state flags" into a viral hit. Click here.

Here's a sample:


Wins award for "Best incorporation of a murder scene on a state flag."

P.S. I just told Drew I was going to make him viral. His response? "Sounds like a date I had." Dude's nuts. ... And ladies, he's available.

'W.' actors arraignment postponed

By Loresha Wilson

The arraignment of "W." actors Josh Brolin, Jeffrey Wright and five fellow film crew members arrested in July after a brawl at Shreveport bar is postponed until January.

Shreveport City Judge David Rabb ordered the arraignment, scheduled at 8:30 a.m. today, for Brolin and others postponed to Jan. 6 to allow for "discussions about a possible resolution" to the case that made national and international headlines.

Brolin, Wright and the other crew members were not present in court.

Click here for more details.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Will 'Leaves of Grass' just blow smoke? Nope.

If you've been following along, you know Edward Norton is pulling double duty on "Leaves of Grass." The comedy recently wrapped production in Shreveport.

Norton plays two roles: Brady, the Oklahoma-based pot-grower, and his twin Bill, an Ivy League professor. Plot-wise, Bill is unknowingly drawn into Brady's scheme to bring down a local drug lord. Given these polar opposite characterizations, the conflict between Bill and Brady will likely explore the tension between chaos and control, of order and disorder.

Here's what director-writer-actor Tim Blake Nelson had to say about it: "I’m very interested in our beautiful, quintessentially human and ultimately vain attempts to control our own lives. And I wanted to write a character who was attempting to do that and succeeding pretty thoroughly, who then got railroaded."

In other words, when "Leaves of Grass" gets released in 2009, don't dismiss it as just another stoner comedy. At its nutty core, "Leaves of Grass" will be much smarter and more introspective than that.

Nelson said he created the twin characters to explore a collision of disparate philosophies. "Even though I suppose I’m an atheist, I kind of buy into the Judaic notion that we really need laws and structure, and without them there is a pretty intolerable measure of anarchy from within and without. And I think that the narrative that has been told over and over again by storytellers, and that I’m certainly borrowing for this script, is that collision of chaos and violence and improvisation, if you will, with the structured life."

From what little I know, I'm willing to bet "Leaves of Grass" will serve as a good companion piece to the Coen brothers' "The Big Lebowski." Remember the Dude? How could you not. While battling the Nihilists and struggling to keep his "chonson," he was, on a basic level, defending his right to a slackerly state of being (and seeking to punish the rug-peers). In "Leaves of Grass," the characters similarly appear to be battling, in Norton's words, the forces of entropy (while pursuing the ideal of growing the perfect bud).

This is all to say that "Leaves of Grass," if made rightly, could achieve cult status. Nelson and Norton are playing with some really cool ideas in a ridiculously fun way, and I hope the movie lives up to its potential.

Am I out of my gourd?

PHOTO: Writer/director/co-star Tim Blake Nelson on the set of “Leaves of Grass.” (Photo by Glen Wilson/Special to The Times)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Has Edward Norton been cloned?

If he did right by his recent job in Shreveport, it will appear so.

There are three must-reads currently making rounds on the world's widest web.

1) I interviewed Edward Norton and Tim Blake Nelson on the set of "Leaves of Grass." Pretty fun story, if I do judge so myself. In the comedy, Norton will play twin brothers. He just finished the challenge of acting in scenes with himself. (Think "Adaptation" on roids.) Here's a Norton quote -- about making the interactions looks believable -- that didn't make the final story: "To me the trick was to, (in) Shakespeare’s words, hold the mirror up to nature and (create) something that looked like it was extemporaneous and sloppy instead of clearly choreographed."

2) Hollywood Reporter profiled Louisiana. Yet again, there's more discussion of tax credits: "'People have been successful in getting their money back from the state in a timely manner,' says Joseph D. Chianese, vp business development for Entertainment Partners, a leading provider of payroll and production management services. 'And because of the sheer volume of productions that have been going into the state, it has been able to develop a local crew base, which is important when you're bringing a production somewhere.'"

3) Kevin Costner and Modern West got profiled on CMT.com. Remember that concert at Municipal Auditorium? Apparently, making "The Guardian" and "Mr. Brooks" in Shreveport left an impression on him: "One of the most powerful songs on the album is '5 Minutes From America,' written in Shreveport while filming 'The Guardian' shortly after Hurricane Katrina had devastated the coastal areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. It's the story of a man desperately escaping the hurricane with two children when his car breaks down and his cell phone goes dead. 'There was probably 20 or 25 people on the film crew that had lost stuff,' [Costner] said."

PHOTO: Actor Edward Norton stars in a dual role as Bill Kincaid (right) and Brady Kincaid (left) in the upcoming film "Leaves of Grass." The project, due out in 2009, recently wrapped filming in Shreveport. (Glen Wilson/Special to The Times)

Three cheers for 'The Pink Angels'

"Don't miss 'The Pink Angels.' Hard riders wearing a size 10 dress."

That tag-line pretty much sums up Friday night. The Robinson Film Center's Chris Jay deserves big credit for putting together a super-entertaining Friday Night Freak-Out! monthly series. If you missed it, RFC screened Ed Wood's "Plan 9 from Outer Space."

It was my first Freak-Out, and I loved every stinking minute of it. "Plan 9" can lay legitimate claim to being the worst movie in cinema history, and seeing that dog in a theater was priceless.

The crowd barked at the screen, mocked the awful dialogue and thoroughly misbehaved for 90 minutes. Now that's a Friday night.

What most entertained was the package of B-movie trailers that reeled before the feature. My favorite, without question, was the one for "The Pink Angels." Watch the above.

Favorite line: "How would you like 10 pounds of dangling fury?"

I wish I could write like that (and not be fired).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pimp your ride

Because I know LaMovBlog readers drive the finest in auto transportation, I'm posting this:

The Lifetime MOV "Acceptance" needs the following for a Tuesday (Nov. 25) shoot: Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, Range Rover, Hummer and other nice rides. Every color welcome except white, black, gray or Gremlin.

Pay: $58/8 hrs.

Contact: (318) 603-4560 and kate@gloriosocasting.com.

PHOTO: I'm pretty certain your 1974 AMC Gremlin will not qualify. (Bob DuHamel/Wikipedia)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You can take Josh Brolin out of Shreveport, but can you ... ?

MTV just logged an interview with "W." star Josh Brolin. (Thanks for the tip, Mr. Youknowwhoyouare.) Remember all of that stuff about an arrest, or a bar fight, or something? Vague remembrance. Here's an excerpt:

MTV: Would that bar fight and arrest in Shreveport be considered a low point in the year?

Brolin: No. That was just pathetic. Nothing went on. I keep saying that, but people go, "It was Brolin. Something went on." But nothing went on. They're really out to get me right now. They need to figure out what the f--- they want to do. There's this contrasting thing [in Shreveport] of a tax incentive where they welcome all these movie people, and then on the other hand, they have a police force that says, "We don't care for strangers in our town." My feeling is, everybody should let Shreveport be Shreveport, and let's film someplace else.

Robinson Film Center shows utter crap (on purpose)

Allow the film center's Chris Jay to describe "Plan 9 from Outer Space," the next feature in the monthly series called Friday Night Freak-Out!: "It's on 35 mm film! The print is beat to hell! This is going to be so much fun!"

Ed Wood's oft-maligned classic is always described as the worst film ever made. Even worse than "Casablanca," "Vertigo" and "Citizen Kane," I'd say, but you should judge for yourself.

The mess even features a "bomb made out of the sun." Didn't Danny Boyle riff on that idea recently?

Jay even promises bad movie trailers where you can see "the strings on the backs of monster outfits."

Just go see this turkey before yours gets too stuffed.

WHAT: "Plan 9 from Outer Space."
WHEN: 10 p.m. Friday (Nov. 21).
WHERE: Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas St., Shreveport.
BYOVB: bring your own vomit bag.

Solaranites unite?!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stallone to direct Statham and Li in The Shreve

Sylvester Stallone will star in and direct “The Expendables” for Nu Image/Millennium Films.

(I think I've finally found my body double project.)

The project should begin filming in February, confirmed Diego Martinez, president of Nu Image/Millennium’s Studio Operations.

(You have no idea how excited I am.)

“The Expendables” will split time between Shreveport and a foreign country, possibly Costa Rica. The bulk should be filmed here.

(You can film it at my townhouse if you want. I have satellite. And a spacious patio.)

The action movie, written by Stallone, follows a group of mercenaries hired to overthrow a dictator. Stallone will be joined on screen by stars Jason Statham and Jet Li.

(Fair warning, Jason and Jet: When I get my ass kicked, I get it kicked. And I'm a bleeder.)

PHOTO: Hollywood actor Sylvester Stallone poses for a photo during a press conference in Tokyo to promote "Rocky Balboa." (I believe he was thinking about kicking my ass.) (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)

Monday, November 17, 2008

LSUS to offer visual effects, animation workshop

On Nov. 22, LSUS's Animation and Visual Effect's program will offer an introductory workshop. It will be led by the program's director, John Miralles. For anybody flirting with the idea of working in these fields, this is a great opportunity to gauge opportunities from someone with tons of experience.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 22.
WHERE: LSUS Technology Center 258.
COST: $39, general public; $29, LSUS students; $10, high school students.
TO REGISTER: students should register in person at the Continuing Ed office in the Tech Center. All others should click here.
MORE INFO: AVEI@lsus.edu.

From the press release: "This workshop is intended to introduce a student with little or no prior exposure to the field of entertainment computer graphics. Topics to be covered will include basic digital imaging, using Adobe Photoshop, basic video compositing using HD footage and Adobe AfterEffects. An introduction to 3D Computer generated images will also be demonstrated. Students will work with Macintosh computers and industry software.

"By the end of the workshop, students will have created their first visual effects shot, and have a greater understanding of the exciting fields!"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Don't be a punk. Go see the Wizard.

"The Wizard of Oz" plays this weekend at the Robinson Film Center, big-screen style. If I can conquer my lung dragon -- my nostrils produce more mucus than a Cronenberg plot -- I'll be there. (Given what you know now, would you rather I stay home?)

It's 35 mm, y'all. Just go.

Show times
3 p.m. and 7:25 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 15)
2 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 16)

And for fun
At 9:45 p.m. Saturday, RFC will screen the "Dark Side of the Rainbow" program, where the soundtrack of "Wizard of Oz" is replaced by Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon." Sounds fun.

PHOTO: File/The Times.

Jabari Thomas at work on 'God vs. Science'

Local filmmaker Jabari Thomas is at work on a Christian-themed project, "God vs. Science." It was recently shot at LSU-Shreveport and stars Ted Ferguson, Chris Weaver and Amber Dawn Landrum. Check out the trailer above.

Monday, November 10, 2008

'Soul Men' comes in 6th

Shreveport is still lookin' for a hit. The R-rated comedy "Soul Men" earned just $5.6 million at the box office, which put it out of the top five.

1. "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa," $63.5 M
2. "Role Models," $19.3 M
3. "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," 9.3 M
4. "Changeling," $7.3 M
5. "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," $6.5 M
6. "Soul Men," $5.6 M

"The Guardian" (2006) remains atop The Shreve's domestic box office receipts with $55 M.

Friday, November 07, 2008

'Soul Men' opens in theaters today

Got your "Soul Men" tickets? The movie, shot largely in The Shreve, opens today in theaters. I logged a nice interview with director Malcolm D. Lee last week, and he had some nice things to say about Bernie Mac.

Hope you enjoy the flick. Lemme know what you think. Reviews are mixed but some of the major pubs had some good things to say about it. Check out the following clip. Very funny stuff. (Not for kiddies.)

PHOTOS: Doug Hyun/Dimension Films.

What’s cookin’ in Louisiana

Here is the latest update from the state office:

Welcome to (225) 342-FILM, the official hotline of Louisiana Entertainment. Here's what's happening for the first week of November:


The Lifetime movie of the week "Acceptance" is in pre-production in Shreveport with shooting scheduled from November 23rd through December 17. Resumes are being accepted by fax at (318) 682-5671. No headshots, please!

The independent feature film "Skateland" is shooting in Shreveport through December 3. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at skatelandproductions@gmail.com.

The Millennium feature film "Leaves of Grass" starring Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon and Tim Blake Nelson is in Shreveport through Nov. 13. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at Leavesproductions@gmail.com
(This show wrapped last evening. AGK)


The Films in Motion feature film "Burning Palms" is shooting in Baton Rouge through November 26. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by e-mail at info@filmsinmotion.com.


The Marquis Productions feature film "Fight or Flight" is in pre-production in Lafayette with shooting scheduled from December 1 through December 20. Resumes for cast and crew are being accepted by e-mail at marquisprods@gmail.com.

The Bullet Films feature film "House of Bones" is shooting in Lafayette through late November. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (337) 706-8971. For casting, please e-mail casting@bulletfilms.net.


The independent feature film "My Own Love Song" starring Renee Zellweger and Forest Whitaker is shooting in New Orleans and in central Louisiana through December 13. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at myownlovesong08@gmail.com.

The Scott Free Productions feature film "Welcome to the Rileys" starring James Gandolfini and Kristen Stewart is shooting in Jefferson Parish through November 11. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at welcometotherileys@mac.com. For casting information, please visit www.couloncasting.com.

The Faulkner McLain Entertainment feature film "Alabama Moon" starring John Goodman is shooting in Covington through December 16. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by email at info@faulknerproductions.com. For casting information, please visit www.couloncasting.com

The Mandalay Lifetime Network television movie of the week based on the Nora Roberts book "Midnight Bayou" is shooting in Jefferson Parish through November 13. The production is currently crewed up.

The Mandalay Lifetime Network television movie of the week based on the Nora Roberts book "Tribute" is in pre-production in Jefferson Parish with shooting scheduled from November 20 through December 16. The production is currently crewed up.

The Horizon Entertainment football documentary television series is shooting in New Orleans with production scheduled into December. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at info@horizonent.tv.

The HBO television series "Treme" will begin shooting in New Orleans in the first quarter of 2009. Resumes for CREW ONLY are being accepted by fax at (410) 986-0029.

And for more information about the film and television industry in Louisiana please visit us online at www.louisianaentertainment.gov and at www.lafilm.org

Monday, November 03, 2008

Shreveport meet-up to feature local f/x man

The Shreve’s monthly meeting will feature John Miralles, director of LSUS’s animation and visual effects program. Miralles has a pretty impressive track record as an effects compositor, working on projects like “Nim’s Island,” “Madagascar,” “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” “Rescue Me” and “Balls of Fury.” At the meeting, he’ll talk about his career and the new program at LSUS. (The LSUS program is going to produce a short animated film so this may be a way to gain a bit more info about it.)

WHAT: Shreveport Meet-Up featuring John Miralles.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Nov. 11.
WHERE: Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas St., Shreveport.
COST: free.

Jerry Katz to teach two-day class

UPDATE: Price was lowered.

Acting coach Jerry Katz will teach a two-day acting course called "The Power of the Actor" Nov. 8 and Nov. 9 in Shreveport, likely at the Actors Café (1401 Fairfield Ave.). You can learn more by clicking here. Cost is $175 and sessions should last about 4 to 6 hours each day.

For more information, contact Vanessa Cloke at (504) 292-6254 or katzactingjoint@yahoo.com.

Katz also aims to teach classes on the North Shore Jan. 17-18 and in New Orleans Jan. 24-25.

La. FIG (La. Film Industry Guide) now online

The La. Film Industry Guide, which will be in its second edition in January, is now online. The following link might help to production folks looking to survey the local climate.

I have a printed guide and it's been useful.

Check it out here: www.louisianafilmindustryguide.com

Questions, contact Pam Edwards at (318) 965-6688 or pam@louisianafilmindustryguide.com.

Jeffrey Goodman discusses 'Last Lullaby' at AFI Dallas

The interview was back in March, but it's worth sharing as director Jeffrey Goodman continues to take his film to festivals. The Shreveport-made crime drama "The Last Lullaby" will be in St. Louis Nov. 15, Kuala Lumpur between Nov. 26-29, and the Bahamas between Dec. 4-11.

Director Jeffrey Goodman brings "Last Lullaby" to AFI Dallas 08 from AFI DALLAS on Vimeo.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Free movie industry training begins Monday

Southern University at Shreveport will offer free classes in film accounting (Nov. 3-25) and production assistant training (Nov. 14-15 or Nov. 21-22). The courses aim to give students exposure to the basics of the movie business.

The film accounting course will focus the day-to-day operations of production accounting. Students will learn about accounting procedures, preparing payroll, production accounting software and preparing weekly cost reports. The course meets Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The production assistant boot camp course will cover the day-to-day operations of a movie set. Students will learn about set communication and set control. The course meets 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Both courses will also offer assistance in resume writing, applying for jobs and “dressing for success.” Students will also learn about set etiquette.

All courses will take place at the SUSLA Metro Center, 610 Texas St., in downtown Shreveport.

They are being presented in conjunction with CERT, the City of Shreveport, SUSLA’s Division of Community and Workforce Development, Louisiana Production Consultants, and Millennium Films.

To register, call (318) 670-6669.

Times unearths Halloween horror show

This was the view from my desk at about 9 this morning: A parade headed by a hippie, entranced by a Trekkie, and flanked by a flock of Elvi. (That's plural for Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich Man, right?)

And just so my colleagues aren't the only ones putting fright in your Friday, below is yours truly and his wife at Bill Joyce's Halloween Party.

Join 'Donnie Darko' freaks tonight at RFC

Apparently, the Robinson Film Center's Friday Night Freak-Out is a freak fest. At least the sexy doorman behaves as such. (No offense, but somebody get that guy a straight jacket. Or some body oil.)

You can catch a screening of "Donnie Darko" tonight at 10. Arrive early. Wear your bunny costume.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Scene Screened: 'Raised on Rice and Gravy'

Documentarians Allison Bohl and Conni Castille are bringing their latest project, "Raised on Rice and Gravy," to the Robinson Film Center Saturday.

As part of the monthly Scene Screened dialogue series, I'm hosting post-screening Q&As after each 30-minute screening (5 p.m. and 6 p.m.).

Admission is free so come on down, eat vicariously and ask some questions!

The folk flick profiles lunch plate houses in Lafayette, La. The team's last effort, "I Always Do My Collars First," was an illuminating look at ironing. (Yes, ironing, and it earned them the Louisiana Filmmaker Award at last year's New Orleans Film Festival.)

"Raised on Rice and Gravy" examines the role these lunch places play in local, daily life. It's all about the importance of comfort food, community and amateur food criticism, apparently.

If you go
WHAT: screening of "Raised on Rice and Gravy."
WHEN: 5 and 6 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 25).
WHERE: Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas St., Shreveport.
COST: free.
INFO: (318) 424-9090 or www.robinsonfilmcenter.org.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

1983 called ...

... and it wants its roller skaters back. Too bad I'm not 25 years and 125 pounds younger. Fly, I think the word was. Or was it rad? Certainly wasn't dope. I remember that much.

But I digress ...

The independent movie "Skateland" is looking for roller skaters, boys and girls ages 10 through 19, to work as extras. (And roller skater means roller skater, not rollerblader.) Work begins Nov. 5.

If you can wheel, email a recent picture to Jay DeFelice of Glorioso Casting: jay@gloriosocasting.com. To register with Glorioso, you can also click here.

PHOTO: Wikipedia Commons.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Big Easy rockin’ with production

Here's the latest update from the state film office, organized by location:

Welcome to (225) 342-FILM, the official hotline of Louisiana Entertainment. Here's what's happening for mid-October 2008:


The HBO television series "Treme" will begin shooting in New Orleans in the first quarter of 2009. Resumes for CREW ONLY are being accepted by fax at (410) 986-0029.

The independent feature film "My Own Love Song" starring Renee Zellweger and Forest Whitaker is in pre-production in New Orleans and in central Louisiana with shooting scheduled from October 20 – December 13. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at myownlovesong08@gmail.com.

The Scott Free Productions feature film "Welcome to the Rileys" starring James Gandolfini and Kristen Stewart is shooting in Jefferson Parish through November 11. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at welcometotherileys@mac.com.

The Faulkner McLain Entertainment feature film "Alabama Moon" starring John Goodman is in pre-production in Covington with shooting scheduled from October 27 through December 16. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by email at info@faulknerproductions.com.

The Mandalay Lifetime Network television movie of the week based on the Nora Roberts book "Midnight Bayou" is shooting in Jefferson Parish through November 13. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at Gary@imagepictures.com.

The Mandalay Lifetime Network television movie of the week based on the Nora Roberts book "Tribute" is in pre-production in Jefferson Parish with shooting scheduled from November 20 – December 16. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at Gary@imagepictures.com.

The Horizon Entertainment football documentary television series is shooting in New Orleans with production scheduled into December. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at info@horizonent.tv.

The Seven Arts feature film "Night of the Demons" starring Shannon Elizabeth and Edward Furlong is shooting in Jefferson Parish through November 1. Resumes and inquiries can be emailed to Liz@voodoopicturesllc.com or faxed to (504) 582-5152.


The Sony Pictures feature film "The Year One" is back for reshoots in Shreveport through October 24. For extras casting, please visit www.gloriosocasting.com.

The independent feature film "Skateland" is shooting in Shreveport through December 3. Resumes and inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at skatelandproductions@gmail.com.

The Millennium feature film "Leaves of Grass" starring Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon and Tim Blake Nelson is shooting in Shreveport through November 13. Inquiries are being accepted by e-mail at Leavesproductions@gmail.com.


The Sony Pictures feature film "Zombieland" starring Woody Harrelson will begin pre-production in Baton Rouge during the last week of October. Details are coming soon.


The Bullet Films feature film "House of Bones" is in pre-production in Lafayette with shooting scheduled from October 27 through late November. Resumes and inquiries are currently being accepted by fax at (337) 706-8971. For casting, please e-mail casting@bulletfilms.net.

And for more information about the film and television industry in Louisiana please visit us online at www.louisianaentertainment.gov and at www.lafilm.org.

New Orleans Film Festival dishes out awards

NOFF handed out its prizes last week. Below is the list. If you attended the fest, I hope you had a chance to see one of the following.

I'm back from a mini-vacay, by the way. My wife and I were away seeing a little man about a diaper. The scary truth is that yours truly is an uncle now, and frightfully unprepared for all things excretory and digestive. (No "W." jokes, please.)

19th Annual New Orleans Film Festival awards

Helen Hill Best Animation Award (Sponsored by Showbiz Software)
Director: Dennis Tupicoff

Best Narrative Short Award (Sponsored by CineFilm Lab):
"Glory At Sea"
Director: Benh Zeitlin

Best Documentary Short Award (Sponsored by Showbiz Software)
"Elegy For The Elswick Envoy"
Director: Nancy Willis

Best Experimental Award (Sponsored by Showbiz Software)
Director: Matt Faust

Best Documentary Feature Award (Sponsored by Panavision)
"Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story"
Director/Producer: Jeffrey Schwarz

Best Narrative Feature Award (Sponsored by Swelltone Lab)
"Goodnight Irene"
Director/Writer: Paolo Marinou-Blanco

Louisiana Filmmaker Award (Sponsored by Panavision New Orleans & Kodak):
"The Zeppelin Parable"
Director: Kristian Hansen
Producer: Jimmy Ferguson

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Get ready for 'W.'

Hope everyone has an entertaining weekend: "W." opens, and it looks nice. Is it good? My review hits tomorrow. Oh, and Brolin and Stone are still sharing. I'll be back in the office Wednesday. Got a little vacation to

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Documentary holding open auditions

Jim McCullough Jr., who's been making movies in Shreveport before Hollywood did, is hosting auditions for a new TV pilot. It is "based on the sometimes painful, sometimes funny, always empowering process of learning to write (and read) more effectively."

If you think you fit the bill, call (318) 218-3456 to arrange audition. No acting experience necessary.

Learn about special f/x

The animation and visual effects program at LSUS will host a talk on advanced computer graphics at 11 a.m. Oct. 20.

The guest is Raffaele Scaduto-Mendola. He's worked at DreamWorks, Digital Domain, Rhythm and Hughes and Omation, and his movie credits include "Barnyard," "I, Robot" and "A Shark's Tale." He's an expert in advanced rigging for 3D characters and pipeline production tools, says LSUS's John Miralles.

For more info, email avei@lsus.edu. Talk will take place in LSUS's Techonology Center 209.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Driving to Dallas tonight to review 'Dubya'

I'm heading to Dallas today for an advanced screening of "W." Should be pretty fun, and I'm looking forward to it.

The movie is generating tons of buzz right now with the morning talk shows. Brolin makes an appearance tonight on Letterman. (This weekend, SNL. That could be really fun.)

While all the arrest controversy stuff has been, well, distracting for a movie critic, I'm interested to finally write about "W." on its merits alone.

Early reviews have been mixed but nevertheless intriguing. Lots of critics are singling out Brolin's performance as solid, and anyone who saw "No Country for Old Men," "In the Valley of Elah," "American Gangster," and, yes, "Planet Terror" knows he is on one serious hot streak. In a word, the guy was brilliant in "No Country."For a really good interview about craft, listen to last night's edition of Fresh Air. (If you missed it, Kathryn Usher made a funny comment about that.) "W.'s" going to be a very, very big film for Brolin's career, I think. Stone has a history of getting the best from his leading men. (Don't believe me? Tom Cruise, Kevin Costner, Val Kilmer and James Woods arguably gave their career bests for Stone films. We should expect nothing less from Brolin.)

Lots of early reviews, too, suggest the movie is incomplete, that we don't know enough about the legacy of the Bush presidency to fictionalize it. Hmm. I'm always wary of criticisms that take on a film for what it "isn't," but we'll see. That's a tough question to answer when it comes to portraying a well-known, well-documented subject.

So far, the best thing I've read so far is the advance from The New York Times' Richard L. Berke. This insight might be key to understanding "W.": "... all in all, the straightforwardness of 'W.' suggests that Mr. Stone set out to make a critical biography but was somehow spooked. The director who has built a career on vowing to unearth hidden truths made a movie that feels more familiar than revelatory."

Are we to criticize Oliver Stone because he's not conforming to the artist we know as Oliver Stone? Don't know yet. Interesting question, though.

For early reviews, check out these:

Time (love this review)
London Times
Hollywood Reporter
The Guardian
Screen Daily
L.A. Times (critics' roundup)

Mine comes Friday.

PHOTO: Josh Brolin as the Decider in Chief. Scene filmed at Independence Stadium. (Sidney Ray Baldwin/Lions Gate Entertainment)

'Year One' reshoot still needs extras

"The Year One" returns to Sibley, La., Oct. 20-29 for reshoots. Movie stars Jack Black and Michael Cera. Extras -- anyone 18 or older -- are needed for all dates. These are paid positions.

For more info: www.gloriosocasting.com and click "get into the scene."

Actors' showcase happens Thursdays

On Thursdays beginning at 8:30 p.m., the Actors Café (1401 Fairfield Ave.) holds an actors' showcase. Local actors are invited to perform a prepared scene or monologue, no longer than 5 minutes.

Winners are chosen nightly, and the best can win a contract and photo shoot with the club's proprietor, Jeffrey Nightbyrd, who also runs Acclaim Talent agency. The contest runs 10 weeks.

More info:(318) 373-9998, actorscafe@gmail.com or www.myspace.com/laactorscafe.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Louisiana bites back at 'W." ... ?

Apparently, not all stories about "W." are of the cops-and-filmmakers ilk. Nature got into the act while Oliver Stone's George W. Bush biopic was shooting here.

Here's an excerpt from USA Weekend: "During the filming in Shreveport, La., the set was intruded upon by snakes, including a 7-foot water snake and a poisonous copperhead, which bit a cameraman. On the lighter side, Josh Brolin, who plays Bush, found a puppy under his trailer and adopted it. The pup, christened Budrow, now lives with Brolin in Los Angeles."

PHOTO: George W. Bush (Josh Brolin, front) and Karl Rove (Toby Jones) in "W." (Sidney Ray Baldwin/Lions Gate Entertainment)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Oliver Stone joins war of words

Apparently, the new issue of Men's Journal features an interview with Oliver Stone. Stone offers his take on the Josh Brolin/Jeffrey Wright/Stray Cat/Shreveport Police controversy.

Here's an excerpt from an article summary on IMDb.com/WENN:

"He tells the new issue of Men's Journal magazine, "I saw Jeffrey being arrested. I guarantee you, that man was not drunk, and he was not disorderly.

"There was a white bartender who had taken a dislike to him a few days prior... and he's (Wright) not going to take s**t from anybody.

"He was escorted out of the bar and treated in a rough manner by these policemen. That's when Josh and his group went out to protest.

"The cops said, 'Step back, sir!' Josh said, 'Sir, why are you arresting him?' and then, boom, (they) maced him in the eyes. They tasered Jeffrey twice... and they beat up my assistant."

Stone admits he stayed inside the bar because he knew he'd get arrested if he joined the fracas.

He adds, "These people were really rough."

This unsolicited PSA is brought to you by G.A. ...

Is your job affecting your performance? Does what you do change what you really want to be? Does your working life have you coming up short in the love department? Fear no more, you poorly performing sack of regret. "Just One of the Gynos" comes to a theater near you this weekend. ...

Former Shreveporter Brandon Olive brings his short film "Just One of the Gynos" to the Robinson Film Center Sunday. It was funded by Shreveporters, and takes place in Shreveport.

It's playing in RFC's small theater (48 seats) beginning at 5:30 p.m., and he might have an overflow screening at 6:15 p.m. Cost is FREE. (If you haven't been invited, the 6:15 might be your best bet.)

As you've probably noted, the above trailer is pretty funny. The short also features one of my favorites: Kyle Gass of Tenacious D fame. Dude is drop-dead hilarious.

Here's an excerpt from an email from Olive: "It's about a young gynecologist who becomes 'overexposed' at work and loses his ability to view his wife sexually. Pretty unique, damn funny. It's currently screening all over the country (over 15 fests), taking Best Short Film at the Malibu International Film Fest and Best Short Film at The Big Water Film Fest. We also took Best Lead Actor for the entire Malibu Intl' FF, something that certainly helped further my acting career and has created multiple opportunities for me to date. ...

"I'm originally from Shreveport, graduate of Captain Shreve High, now living and pursuing an acting/filmmaking career in Los Angeles. It has been great to see Shreveport grow from all the work that has come that way, and especially neat for me to have had the opportunity and support to make a film with the help of loved ones back home."

Check out more at http://JustOneoftheGynos.com.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Mayor Glover says Josh Brolin 'blurring' reality

I just received an e-mail response from Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover regarding Brolin's arrest story, which was published on Hollywood Elsewhere.

Here's Mayor Glover's email response, in full:

"There is an interesting presumption of privilege in Mr. Brolin’s comments. He appears to be blurring the line between reality and his on screen persona. As Southerners we inherently go out of our way to make our guests and visitors feel welcome and at home. However, the expectation that legitimate charges would be summarily dismissed by me, the Chief of Police or the City Attorney is not in line with the way this administration is leading the city of Shreveport. At every level, from City Hall, to our faith community, to our neighborhoods, we are working diligently to make all of Shreveport safer and better. Crucial to that effort is the equal and consistent application of the law.

"But make no mistake, we treasure and value all that the film industry has brought to our community. We will continue to pursue every opportunity available to bring this industry to our region. And we will continue to make all those who come feel wanted, appreciated and welcomed."

Cedric B. Glover
Mayor of Shreveport

Josh Brolin speaks to blogger about arrest: 'There was no defiance, no struggle. There was no fight. There was no resistance'

Blogger and film journalist Jeffrey Wells reportedly interviewed Josh Brolin yesterday at the Four Seasons. The "W." star shared details about his arrest in Shreveport, which happened during a wrap party for the Oliver Stone film (which opens Oct. 17).

Here are two excerpts from the post, which you can find here. Wells offers an mp3 of the interview. There's supposed to be a cellphone video of the incident, too, which could be released.

Brolin: "What we were really waiting for was for them [the Shreveport authorities] to dismiss it. We were waiting for them to do the right thing. The mayor, prosecuting attorney, whomever. I don't know everything that happened. I do know there was no fight. None. I do know that I was maced and that Jeffrey Wright was tasered. There was no defiance, no struggle. There was no fight. There was no resistance."

Brolin: "[But] none of us were drunk, we had just finished shooting three or four hours before. We were out...in the beginning, it was like [smacks hand] okay! It was time! We did it! We were so proud, what an accomplishment!...and then this fucking happens. To me it was ridiculous. I have never seen...I have never ever, ever, ever, ever seen an escalation of paranoia and abuse like that...ever. And I know a lot of cops. Everybody knows I have a checkered past and I've been in situations that are kind of tough. I've never ever been treated like that by cops. Ever."

Again, here's the link to Wells' reporting.


On July 22, Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover defended the actions of the police.

“Each person conducted themselves in a manner that is, without question, beyond reproach,” Glover said at a city council meeting. He also told the council members he had reviewed six to seven hours of police video and audio recordings of the arrest.

After verbal and official public records requests by The Times, the city of Shreveport city, on behalf of its police department, is refusing to release the audio and video recordings from their patrol units documenting the events around the arrest incident at Stray Cat, 222 Travis St.

City attorney Terri Anderson-Scott explained the information, “In the opinion of this office, is not subject to disclosure pursuant LLS-R.S. 44:3 of the Louisiana Public Records Act.”

PHOTO: George W. Bush (Josh Brolin, left) and Don Evans (Noah Wyle) in W. Photo credit: Sidney Ray Baldwin/Lions Gate Entertainment.