ALEX'S OSCARS 2018

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Every year I do my own Oscars. I find the entire awards process, of pretty much anything, inspiring in a strange way. I think with age I’ve come to appreciate the criticism that people have on artistic judgement. It’s completely subjective. You can’t state “the best” of anything that’s. HOWEVER, it’s really fun to do so anyways. But you have to know that it i’s subjective to each individual. Ever since I was 11 or 12 years old, my buddy Dylan and I have been pretty much enthralled with the Oscars circuit. I remember this because we saw the movie The Royal Tenenbaums by Wes Anderson, which I consider one of my favourite films of all time, and we fucking hated it. I mean we thought this movie was a boring piece of garbage. Why? Because we were punching well above our weight. It honestly only took us maybe 2 more years to realize how fantastic this film was and how it’s undeniably talented filmmaker was about to term his own name as a style of filmmaking. As a filmmaker in the field, I can’t tell you how many times I hear the term “a Wes Anderson shot”. What an achievement if you really think about it.

But with all of this nonsense about myself, I want to discuss (as usual) the films that I found to be absolutely exceptional in the 2017 race. Keep in mind, I haven’t seen every film that you’ve probably noticed on the film festival circuit. There are a few that I am still waiting to see. Some include The Darkest Hour with one of my favourite actors Gary Oldman, The Big Sick, Mudbound, The Florida Project, All the money in the world, Molly’s Game, Victoria & Abdul, War for the Planet of the Apes, Coco, and a shit load more that deserve recognition but because of the budgets of their marketing department, will never get the light shed that they are due. 

Without further a due, or… due? A dew? A mountain dew…. Without a further mountain dew… nailed it. Here are my thoughts on the best films of the year and their above the line creatives:


Best Score:

  • Alexandre Desplat - The Shape of Water
  • Hans Zimmer - Dunkirk 
  • Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch - Blade Runner 2049
  • Johnny Greenwood - Phantom Thread
  • Carter Burwell - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

and the winner is… Alexandre Desplat for The Shape of Water

I have two ear crushes. One of them is on Hans Zimmer. His tone, his ambience, his style of music just speaks to me. Everything he does, and especially does with Christopher Nolan, just resonates with me. It’s so epic, yet subtle. it’s so emotional, yet so bleak. I don’t know how he does it, he just punches me in the emotional gut and doesn’t stop until the movie is over. It’s almost as if he and Nolan say, “You wanna piss everyone off and be a better duo than Williams and Spielberg?” which the other responds, “Chyeah!”. The other is Johnny Greenwood and PTA. This duo is so grossly compatible that they can make three different films with completely different feels and vibes and still somehow have three scores that feel like they were created by three different composers and even directors. It’s mesmerizing. HOWEVER, Alexandre Desplat is an absolute genius in every way. His work with Wes Anderson speaks to this. But this movie reminds me of the brilliance of Howard Shore’s score to Hugo, as well as the entire history of Paris. And somehow that blends in perfectly with this Baltimore set monster tale directed by Guillermo Del Toro. I’ve listened to it on repeat several times. It’s a score for the ages. 


Best Cinematography:

  • Hoyte Von Hoytema - Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water 
  • Roger Deakins - Blade Runner 2049
  • Sayombhu Mukdeeprom - Call Me By Your Name
  • Paul Thomas Anderson - Phantom Thread

and the winer is… Hoyte Von Hoytema for Dunkirk

I’ve had a boner for anything Roger Deakins did since I was… I dunno… sperm. And I will continue to do so (and so will everyone else.) I’m still pissed that somehow he lost for both The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and No Country For Old Men in the same year, while I feel that both rivalled some of the best cinematography performances of all time (not to discredit Robert Elswitt’s work on There Will Be Blood. It truly was fantastic.) But I would’ve given it to both of Deakins’ work that year first. I’m embarrassed to say that this year over his AMAZING work on Blade Runner 2049, I’d have to say that Hoyte Von Hoytema’s work on Dunkirk is like nothing we’ve seen before in cinema. Mounting 70 MM IMAX cameras to an active WWII vessel is just…. not done. And if it’s done… it’s gonna be Nolan. What a stunning film. 


Best Screenplay: 

  • Greta Gerwig - Lady Bird
  • Martin McDonagh - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Jordan Peele - Get Out 
  • I, Tonya
  • James Ivory - Call me by your name

and the winner is… Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This is probably one of the most loaded categories this year. Every screenplay above is insane as well as so many more, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Dunkirk, Blade Runner 2049, The Shape of Water, more and more, but it’s about goddamn time that McDonagh gets some serious recognition. He was nominated for In Bruges (which lost to Dustin Lance Black’s Milk) which I feel should’ve won, and only really tapped into the midnight crowd with Seven Psychopaths which in my opinion was one of the most original screenplays in years. But this film screams originality, something he is never short on providing us. It’s his characters and the absurd shit that comes out of their mouths. You can’t help but think, “How does this guy come up with this!?” What a brilliant mind that lies within Martin McDonagh. 


Best Supporting Actress:

  • Allison Janney - I, Tonya
  • Laurie Metcalfe - Lady Bird 
  • Nicole Kidman - The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  • Rooney Mara - A Ghost Story
  • Samara Weaving - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

and the winner is… Allison Janney for I, Tonya

This is one of those roles that you feel like can’t be argued with. There’s something about Allison Janney that’s so raw you almost feel intimidated to even challenge her. I only realized this when I was introduced to the subtlety of black comedy in the form of a beauty pageant drama known as Drop Dead Gorgeous. A movie so brilliant that it passed under everyone’s radar. Kirsten Dunst, Kristie Alley, Denise Richards, Amy Adams and the incomparable Allison Janney. She is so versatile that she can transform any role into an oscar contender. Just… goddamn… she’s that good. 


Best Supporting Actor:

  • Sam Rockwell - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Woody Harrelson - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Michael Stuhlbarg - Call Me By Your Name
  • Richard Jenkins - The Shape of Water
  • Sebastian Stan - I, Tonya
  • Michael Shannon - The Shape of Water

and the winners are…. Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Michael Stuhlbarg for Call Me By Your Name

I had to pick two here. When I first saw Three Billboards, I instantly knew that Rockwell would get nominated, and may even win (and am so happy to see he is sweeping this years award circuit. He is well overdue in this field. He was robbed from the awards season run with Moon.) I also knew that Woody Harrelson would get some recognition in the same vein as Michael Shannon in Nocturnal Animals. Those powerful very subtle roles never go un-noticed at the last awards show of the season. But the real injustice that I have found with this years awards circuit was Michael Stuhblarg’s absence on the nominations boards (with the exception of the BAFTAs.) His performance in CMBYN is so goddamn good that it reminds me of what an incredible actor he is. Being in three of this years best picture race just reinforces this man’s talents. But it was his speech scene in CMBYN that brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart in the final moments of the film. Anyone who has seen the film or read the book will agree that it’s as good as a dramatic scene can be. What a powerhouse actor. 


Best Actor:

  • Timothee Chalamet - Call Me By Your Name
  • Armie Hammer - Call Me By Your Name
  • James Franco - The Disaster Artist
  • Robert Pattinson - Good Time
  • Daniel Kaluuya - Get Out 

and the winner is…. Timothee Chalamet for Call Me By Your Name

I am so happy for Gary Oldman and his success with The Darkest Hour, but I haven’t seen it so I can’t speak to it. That being said, I can’t imagine a more powerful performance than Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name this year. The fact that this kid was 20 years old when he shot this film is mind blowing. The courage, the comfort, and the balls it must’ve taken both Chalamet and Hammer (snubbed this year) to perform these scenes is nothing short of remarkable. A film that truly represents love in it’s most basic form, these two actors bring the story alive in an incredible form. If you don’t feel moved by this film, it may not be because you can’t watch a story about homosexual love, it may just be because you have no soul. Chalamet is a force to be reckoned with. 


Best Actress:

  • Frances McDormand - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Sally Hawkins - The Shape of Water
  • Meryl Streep - The Post
  • Margot Robbie - I, Tonya
  • Saorisa Ronan - Lady Bird 

and the winner is… Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I’ve loved Frances McDormand ever since I saw Fargo at an inappropriately young age. I loved her character so goddamn much because of one reason… I believed her. I believed that she was just that good of a person. She is one of those actors that just pulls you into her web and can make you believe anything (much like Meryl Streep). But there’s something very raw and endearing about Frances McDormand within film. Almost like she is unapologetically going to play the role however the fuck she wants. And this role is the true definition of an unapologetic badass mother who will stop at nothing to find her daughter’s killer… and again… I believe her. A fantastic performance. 


Best Director:

  • Martin McDonagh - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Luca Guadagnino - Call Me By Your name
  • Guillermo Del Toro - The Shape of Water
  • Craig Gillespie - I, Tonya 
  • Jordan Peele - Get Out
  • Christopher Nolan - Dunkirk
  • Greta Gerwig - Lady Bird 

and the winer is… Craig Gillespie for I, Tonya

I don’t understand why Gillespie didn’t hit any of the nomination lists with this film. In my opinion, I, Tonya deserves so much more credit in a lot of categories. Most deservingly I think Gillespie’s work directing this absurd black comedy was dark comedy perfection. My buddy Dylan nearly dragged me to this movie at the Toronto International Film Festival. I had only heard the name Tonya Harding when I was young. One of those names that you don’t know what it relates to, but you know the name. When he told me the plot, I had no interest. But nothing else was playing during that time so I agreed. When I left, I said “That is the exact type of film that I want to make.” It’s a film that makes you feel literally every feeling, while still circling around this dark comedic core. My directing partner, Jay Drakulic, once described to me why Drive is one of his favourite films and why Winding-Refn was the best man for the job. He said (not verbatim), “If you took that same script and gave it to 9 other directors, you’d get the same film. But Refn was the only filmmaker to do something truly different with it.” I believe the same applies to I, Tonya. A fantastic film that had an incredible cast, an incredible script, and incredible direction. 


Best Picture:

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Call Me By Your Name
  • I, Tonya
  • Get Out
  • Dunkirk

and the winner is…. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I can’t recommend this film enough. Everything works. It’s that simple. It’s dramatic, comedic, horrific gold. Just go see it for yourself. 


WE DID IT!

And the journey finally comes to an end.

We are extremely excited to announce that our feature film, Hellmington, has finally been printed and is ready to be seen by the world!

I wish I could make this blog entry longer, but the team at Blind Luck is currently up in Sudbury working on a horror film and have been very busy!

In the coming months we will be announcing screening details for Hellmington as it gears up for it’s festival run before being shown nationwide in Cineplex theatres.

And lastly, a massive shout out to everyone that supported us on this crazy ride. You know who you are.

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Coming to an end

When people say "every film that gets made is a miracle" is 100% right. I think anyone trying to venture into the scary world of filmmaking understands this phrase to an extent, knowing how tough it is to wrangle together a group of people to bring your vision to life. I don't think anyone can possibly know how true this statement is until they've done it themselves. After nearly 3 years of working on this film, Hellmington is finally in its final days of post-production.

There's so much to be said about the people who have worked on this project. From pre-production all the way to post, it's been such an insane roller coaster ride. There have been hard times, great times, and a vast journey in between that have taken us by complete surprise. I've learned things about myself, not only as a filmmaker but as a person that stands side by side to other artists in this field, that have just completely blown me away.

At the beginning of this journey, I was just a kid with a passion for storytelling armed with a lifetime of obsessive movie trivia knowledge and the book Making Movies by the great Sidney Lumet. Nothing could've helped prepare me more for this journey than Lumet's bible to filmmakers, as well as many hours sunk into Scorsese's audio commentaries. As I’m sitting in the final days of sound mix writing this blog entry, staring up at a massive screen with what has become our first feature film, I can't help but look to my creative partner Jay Drakulic and think: "Fuck. I can't believe we're here right now." I say this because someone at the beginning of this process said: "This process will break you. And you may not want to make movies ever again."

My response to that after 3 years is: 

Let's go again.

Covered By Fall

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It may not feel like it on the best of days, but fall is definitely here. This photo was taken in Ottawa, Ontario on Mackenzie Ave just a block away from parliament hill. I gave the final edit of the photo a dark, vignette feel to emphasize fall colours. 

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Camera Details

Nikon D3100 w/ 18-55mm lens

55mm

F/5.6

1/500s

ISO 800

All edits were done in Adobe Lightroom. 

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THE RAMBLINGS OF A CRAZED CINEMATOGRAPHER

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It’s 3:47 AM and my bloodshot eyes stare at the ceiling fan as I try to hypnotize myself to sleep. I haven’t slept in days and for weeks I have filled my body with an off-the-strip Vegas buffet of cough syrups, muscle relaxers, alcohol, and cigarettes. I’ve convinced myself there is no time for food. I love making movies. Then what could be keeping me awake? I’ve never been happier; my demons are well fed, and by all medical accounts should be entering a coma that no amount of banging at the door from my producers should I wake from. It suddenly uppercuts me like Debo did Red, I can hear Chris Tucker chanting “You got knocked the F*$K OUT!..." I feel paranoid and insecure. I’m knee deep in the shit of another film.

I navigate the mountain ahead. I’m prepared. This is what I love. This is what I’m made for. I recall the director has asked me so humbly “Can you make it look like American Beauty.” I for whatever reason answered “Yes. Don’t worry, it’ll be great. Know what I am sayin’?” In short “American Beauty” won 5 of 2000’s OSCAR awards, including Best Director, Sam Mendes, and Best Cinematography, Conrad Hall. What was I thinking?  I’m good, experienced, talented even. But what the hell was I thinking! And what about the camera gear? My lens selection? OH GOD MY LIGHTING PACKAGE!!! What if I get to set and not execute this master plan! I will be laughed at and ridiculed. A man with a white beard, wearing a beret will barrel after me screaming through an iron megaphone “YOU WILL NEVER WORK IN THIS TOWN AGAIN!!!”… YIKES.

I do what any free blooded, half naked, covered in fast food Canadian would do. I turn on Netflix and search A-M-E-R-I-C-A-N... Success! I found it. It begins to play. Minutes go by. I tare up every scene into pieces, concentrating on every frames, angle and camera movement. Conrad Hall’s lighting grips my bloodshot eyes until they begin to water. I give up. What does it all mean? Why did he do that move? Where is that lighting coming from! Damn it Mena Suvari, you’re an angel! Also, those roses do not hold up over time. Just saying. Regardless, Conrad! Please speak to me damn it.

How will I ever compare? I know my current scripts, themes and motivations. I love each character and feel for them like they were real. I make comparison between them and my own family and friends. I can see them in my minds eye. But I don’t just love them, I hate them, they make me laugh and cry. The script has become as real to me as any memory from my own life. So why the insecurity? Why am I worried about every technical aspect and living up to Conrad Hall? Still, I must know how he did it. I recall a YouTube video of Sam Mendes and Conrad Hall going over the storyboards that I had never watched. I rip open my laptop, search and hit play. What I saw and heard will forever stay with me. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUckAgEgYbw)

I encourage you to watch the entire video, but to sum things up I have selected these two quotes. Of many elaborate and well worded explanations, Sam Mendes says to Conrad Hall: “You take what is a seed in the storyboard and you give it a kind of soul, you know, with light...wouldn’t you think.” Conrad Hall responds “Well uh, uh, while I agree with everything you said, uh, except I don’t think of it...you intellectualize it, I don’t…I just feel it.” In short Sam Mendes is what scares me. That everything shot must be intellectualized and explained with reason. I’ve never had the ability to do that consistently. Conrad Hall, on the other hand, gives me hope and inspiration. He speaks in my language. To go with your gut, trust in your director’s vision and shoot what you know deep inside is right. No amount of training, video essay’s or YouTube tutorials on camera and lens comparisons will trump your natural artistic vision. I didn’t follow any sort of procedure or manual when I kissed the love of my life. I grabbed her with both arms and kissed her like I’d never seen something more beautiful. I did what felt good, what made me happy. Sometimes the technical issues, fear of others opinions and success’s get in the way of my creativity. But I’m ready for sleep now. I will film this movie because I love it. It makes me happy. I will experiment, fail, and try again. And when all is said and done I won’t be able to tell you why I did it that way, I just felt like it. But what I do want to know is how does it make you feel?

Stay Weird.

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TIFF Reviews 2017

I just wrapped my 12th and final film for the TIFF 2017 film festival, and I gotta say I have an impressive batting average for this year’s rounds. I usually am raking up between 30 and 35 films at TIFF, but thankfully this year I was too busy with the final touches on Hellmington to get around to seeing more. That being said, for 12 films I saw some great pieces of art. 

Not all are going to jive with you, but that’s the fun of the film festival experience. You get to be apart of the hype, and set the tone for the films to come as opposed to hear the feedback and then base your judgement on that. You get to have a completely unbiased opinion towards this film. I have to admit, I do sometimes give a film a higher rating because I feel that awkward, “Everyone likes this movie, so I’m an asshole if I don’t.” But I always try to call myself out on it and remind myself why I love movies. Here are my picks for the best flicks to come in 2017/18 from TIFF (Of what I saw…):

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Starting off with my favourite of the festival. Martin McDonagh’s 3rd film shows just how versatile and original this filmmaker is. Not only did this film have me busting a gut with laughter, but at times I was full on weeping in my goddamn seat. And to paint you a picture, this is the first film I’ve seen in ages that while I was crying my damn eyes out, two seconds later I would burst out laughing, and then get back to my nice cry a few seconds after that. I don’t want to say anything else about this film because the less you know the better… because I know the majority of you will have already seen the trailer. Don’t watch any more, just watch the film.

10/10  

 

I, Tonya

My good pal Dylan (who I have been TIFFing with since 2012) forced me to see this one. I didn’t have too much of a desire to see it, but then when he described the story my ears perked up. I had never heard of Tonya Harding, but I had heard the name Nancy Carrigan. That’s as far as my knowledge went. After seeing this film, I spent hours watching old footage of the case. It completely enveloped me for an entire day. This film is dark, hilarious, tense, and breathtaking. Margot Robbie kills it (as always), Sebastian Stan blew me away and Allison Janney earns my top vote for Best Supporting Actress. Go see this film. It’s pure cinema at it’s finest.

8.5/10

 

The Square

When I first saw Force Majeure, I thought to myself “this is the kind of abstract comedy that I love." I was so happy that there was a filmmaker out there who treats his comedy with the same respect as the film’s style. It’s where style and substance make a beautiful union. The Square takes it about 10 notches further. Again, this is a film to NOT look too much into. I read a summary before the film that was actually incorrect, so when the final credits rolled the only thing I thought to myself was “goddamn, that was so much better than I thought it was gonna be.” A pitch black comedy that dives into the relationships that shape our world. It’ll leave you wanting more, and I hope we get more from Mr. Ostlund sooner than later.

8.5/10

 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

I’ve been a massive fan of Yorgos Lanthimos since his breakout film Dogtooth. Next up was Alps, then The Lobster, and for me the next best is The Killing of a Sacred Deer. This film is so insanely dark, that I couldn’t believe what I was watching. And when I look back at the films of Mr. Lanthimos, I can’t help but smirk and say “Why am I not surprised?” And I feel like that’s what he wants. To surprise us with his warped vision of our world, and believe me… this film is absolutely warped. And it’s magnificent.

8.5/10

 

Brawl in Cell Block 99

It was only a week before seeing this that I watched the debut of S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk. A film that really you can’t gauge until the end credits. Is it a slow burn western? Is it a cannibal horror film? It’s both! And the format doesn’t stop with Brawl. I won’t say what the two sub-genres are, but when that midpoint reversal happens, it hits you with breakneck speed and leaves you shocked in your seat. Vince Vaughn absolutely wowed me, and the way Zahler is able to keep you in your seat is something to truly marvel. What a career he has ahead of him.

7.5/10

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Hellmington Post Production Update

First off, I can’t get over how surreal the last few weeks have been. Since Hellmington officially entered the post-production process, each week has been met with new and amazing surprises. And this week was no exception.

On Tuesday we had our incredibly talented lead actor, Nicola Correia-Damude (AKA Sam Woodhouse) in studio to record her V/O for the film. It had been over a full year since Nicola was in character, but as soon as she stepped up to the mic Sam Woodhouse came back in full force. It was insanely humbling to watch such a talented performer step back into character like it was her second skin, hitting every emotional beat with ease. We had goosebumps the entire day as we watched Sam Woodhouse become more fleshed out and come one step closer to being introduced to the world.

There’s still work to be done, and we can’t wait for whatever the process throws at us next. But one thing is for sure; all we can think about is starting our next project… Our next film… our next adventure.

Alex & Jay (co-directors of Hellmington)

So Long Summer

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This felt appropriate for the last day of August. There is still 22 days left of official summer, but I feel that when September hits summer is over. The before and after of this photo is a great visual change from summer to fall and how post can really transform the look. Compared to the before, the after looks like it was taken months later in a different season.

Before fall is officially here, enjoy the rest of your summer while you can!

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Camera Details

Canon EOS 60D w/18-135mm lens

18mm

F/10

1/100s

ISO 100

All edits were done in Adobe Lightroom. 

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BLP: Hellmington Updates!

A lot has changed in the last 2 years and we are excited to announce that we are pushing hard in Post Production to get Hellmington to the final stages! Alex, Justin and I remember just 2 years ago approaching this idea and taking this amazing opportunity that has changed us for life...from creating the concept, writing, developing, re-writing, re-writing, adjusting, producing, directing, editing and more. 

As we go through all the processes we are more than ecstatic to birth to the world our first feature and see the response we get from our audience!

Not only are we excited about our festival runs (which we will be able to announce in the coming weeks) but we were able to connect again with a true legend and artist Michael Ironside to do some extra finishing touches on scenes from his character Sheriff Rupert Woodhouse.

For all of those who have supported us through this journey we appreciate you more than you know. Cheers to pursuing your passions and hustling to make every moment count.

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Top 2017 Films...so far

Ever since I could remember, films have been the basis of how I live my life. Yeah, it’s a bizarre statement to make. Does it detach me from reality? Probably. You got a problem with it? Don’t care. I love them! And with that, I have a hard time not talking about movies at every possible opportunity that I get.

I haven’t reviewed a film in a very long time but I do store them all in the ol’ noggin. And because of that, I am choosing to just review the films that I love! There’s enough negative things being thrown around these days and I frankly don’t care to contribute to them. So here are my favourite films of 2017 so far…

 

“Get Out” – Directed by Jordan Peele

8.5 / 10

There’s something so satisfying about seeing a directorial debut that is just an undeniable slam-dunk. Jordan Peele’s horror flick filled with witty humour, fantastic social commentary, and some truly terrifying sequences deserves its rank as one of the most original film to hit the screens in the last several years. For those of us who love horror, this is a step back in right direction. It’s too often that people give horror movies slack when reviewing them by saying, “Yeah, but it’s just a horror movie.” The high school horror craze of the mid to late 90’s, that turned the Hitchcockian/Polanski genre into a hollow shell of film, is now taking a back seat to original storytellers that can truly haunt our dreams without sacrificing story for the sake of a jump scare. And with a plot that has something seriously important to say, this movie is not just a slam dunk, it’s a touchdown-homerun-top shelf-slam-dunkaroonie.

 

“Baby Driver” – Directed by Edgar Wright

8.5/10

I’ve been an Edgar Wright fan since Shaun of the Dead, and then eventually going all the way back to Spaced.  He is one of the most exciting filmmakers to watch, not only because of his intensely innovative style, but because as each movie is released he is continuously honing his intensely complex style. This guy thinks of everything in the most detailed of terms and it shows. There is a reason people loved this action packed dark comedy, because it flows with so much excitement and fun. And you can tell – Edgar Wright had fun making this film. What an experience.

 

“Brigsby Bear” – Directed by Dave McCary

7.5/10

This film surprised the hell out of me. It’s hilarious, original, and MOST surprising – it’s intensely dark and depressing. I won’t ruin any of the twists and turns as the trailer does a fantastic job hiding it from the audience (which is one of my biggest pet peeves with trailers – giving away the ending before I’ve even seen the title). The story of a man who only wants to know how the TV shows he grew up watching ends. It’s Be Kind Rewind meets Room. Kyle Mooney has jumped onto the radar and I hope he doesn’t leave any time soon. Plus he is on SNL so… respect.

 

“Kong: Skull Island” – Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts

8.5/10

It’s rare to see a director’s tone and style to squeak its way through a Hollywood blockbuster (just ask Phil Lord & Christopher Miller who recently left the Han Solo film – or Edgar Wright who left Ant-Man before he even got a chance to make it happen). But this film was one of a kind fun. I saw it twice in theatres and you better believe I bought it when it came out. It’s fun, action packed, hilarious, and most importantly for a story about an ape the size of a tower – it's self aware. Too often films are released that are telling a story that’s almost so large and extravagant that it’s just comedic. That’s what King Kong is… a hilarious character, and no one understood that more than Vogt-Roberts. With this being his sophomore effort after Kings of Summer (a fantastic indie coming of age story), he is proving his worth on all ends of the spectrum.

 

“Dunkirk” – Directed by Christopher Nolan

8.5/10

Christopher Nolan is constantly (in my opinion) being held to standards that no other feature film director today is held to. Why? Because he is that f&%king good. He is constantly changing the name of the game, trying things that other filmmakers don’t dare to try. This film is a perfect example of that. It’s not about the back-story of these characters – it’s about survival. It’s about being on that beach, and he makes sure that the audience feels that. What a trip.

 

“A Ghost Story” – Directed by David Lowery

9/10

This movie is more than likely my favourite film so far this year. Off the top, quite honestly, I was physically angry. It introduces itself with a beautiful set of calming shots that really let themselves breathe – and by that I mean – they REALLY breathe. Shots that last several minutes where you wonder, where is this going? And then you get dropped into this tragic story transcending space and time that ultimately juxtaposes the initial long shots set in modern day life. But in death, all we could hope for are those quiet drawn out moments again. What a statement. What a stunner. I got chills even thinking of it again. Lowery is a cinematic powerhouse of a filmmaker.

 

“Detroit” – Directed by Katherine Bigelow

7.5/10

Wow. This filmmaker crushes it. Just crushes it. It seems that with every film she makes, she gets better and better. I rarely raise my hand to my mouth in shock, and I counted three times during this film. It drops you into the film right at the pinnacle point of this tragic part of our history, and you stay with them through this frightening tale of humanity at its worst in the uniforms of America’s “finest”. Go see this film.

 

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King of the Living Dead

What can I say about George A. Romero that hasn’t already been said? It was this question that made me come to the conclusion that what I want to write isn’t a review of Romero’s body of work, or the importance of his contributions to film in general. I want to craft a tribute to the artist that was integral in forming my filmmaking sensibilities, and the stories that I’ve grown a profound need to tell. While I could ramble for pages and pages, I’ll resist the temptation and keep this entry brief.

George Romero entered my life at an extremely impressionable point, and changed my life’s trajectory, indefinitely. I had already been voraciously consuming horror films from the age of six (if I’m being honest, I think it was even before that) but at least since I could form lasting memories. The films of Polanski, Raimi and Stuart Gordon had already captured my sinister sense of imagination, but it wasn’t until I was thirteen and finally saw the original Night of the Living Dead that I identified with horror on a deeper level.

We all know that Romero was incredibly ahead of his time by tackling race, gender equality, consumerism, the military industrial complex and good old-fashioned inhumanity. Personally, Romero was the first filmmaker who made me consider horror as a legitimate genre that can tackle the same issues as dramatic films, but because of the inherent suspension of disbelief that audiences goes into every horror film with, the catharsis is much more unique. It’s like holding a fun house mirror up the world and recording the warped and often terrifying reflection staring back.  It’s this precise sense of dimensionality that I’ve worked tirelessly to infuse into the stories and characters that I wish to create.

As most people do when an idol of theirs passes away, I’ve spent the last few weeks revisiting all of my Romero favourites: Martin, The Crazies, Creepshow, Monkey Shines, just to name a few. While Romero is famous for his Dead films, the one that I’ve always found most poignant as a creator was his adaption of Stephen King’s The Dark Half – the story of an author battling with his destructive alter-ego, who also just so happens to be the most fruitful source of his creativity. What Romero taught me most is to not struggle against my destructive impulses, but to use them as a means to create. To walk hand in hand into that vast and often times terrifying abyss of your mind and understand that darkness is merely the absence of light and that nothingness is a need to create. 

Like Edward Furlong’s character says in American History X, “It's always good to end a paper with a quote… If you can't top it, steal from them and go out strong.”

With that in mind, I leave you with my favourite quote from Dr. Logan in Day of the Dead, “Civil behavior is what distinguishes us from the lower forms. It's what enables us to communicate. To go about things in an orderly fashion without attacking each other like beasts in the wild. Civility must be rewarded, Captain. If it isn't rewarded, then there's no use for it.”

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Montreal Architecture

This is a photo I took in Old Montreal a few weeks ago. Old Montreal is probably one of the best spots in MTL for photographers, especially those who love architecture. The building in the photo is the entrance to the market on the south/east side of Rue Saint-Paul. I love shooting old looking buildings, this spot might be one of the best in Canada for that. 

File 2017-08-07, 12 44 11 PM.jpeg

Camera Details

Canon EOS 60D with a 18-135mm lens

18mm

F/13

1/160s

ISO 100

All edits were done on Adobe Lightroom. 

 

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Welcome to the BLIND LUCK PICTURES blog page, where every month you will find a specialized blog posts from our team members. The focus of our blog is for the team to showcase each others talent and knowledge on subjects they know best and/or inspired by. From movie reviews to cinematography tips, anything and everything media/film/broadcast related can be found here.

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