Movies That Changed Everything: The Complete 12 Part Series

March 30, 2012 at 9:22 am

Movies That Changed Everything: The Complete Series

I’m an aspiring filmmaker and like every filmmaker out there, I have a lengthy list of films that have inspired me along the way.

Movies  That Changed Everything is a twelve part series examining the films that changed the way I looked at movies forever.

The Shawshank Redemption

The Lord Of The Rings

The Matrix

Pulp Fiction

Pan’s Labyrinth

There Will Be Blood


A Few Good Men

The Sixth Sense

The Dark Knight

Good Will Hunting


What films inspired you?

10 Flicks: Best Movie Fantasy Worlds

March 27, 2012 at 8:50 am

10 Flicks: Best Fantasy Worlds In Movies | Top 10 Fantasy Worlds


There have been so many classic films that have transported us to incredible new worlds and introduced us to people and places we’ve never seen before.

Many people will argue over which fantasy movies rank among the best of all time.  I would argue that The Lord of the Rings is at (or near) the top of many of those lists.  However, I’m not going to rank the best fantasy movies.

10 Flicks: Best Fantasy Worlds In Movies | Movie Blog | Top 10 Fantasy Worlds

Instead, here are 10 AMAZING FANTASY WORLDS that took hold of our imaginations forever:

HONORABLE MENTION: The Chronicles of Narnia,  Monsters Inc.

The Matrix Trilogy
The Matrix

The Wizard Of Oz

The Dark Crystal

Alice In Wonderland

Harry Potter
The Wizarding World

Peter Pan

Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Toon Town

Pan’s Labyrinth
Underground Realm


The Lord of the Rings
Middle Earth

If Only I Was Part Of THE HUNGER GAMES Massive Fan Base

March 26, 2012 at 10:18 am

If Only I Was Part Of THE HUNGER GAMES Massive Fanbase | The Hunger Games Review 2012


I’m a jealous film fan.  Every time there is a big blockbuster event that I’m not excited about I find myself wondering why.  It’s a feeling every movie fan craves.  Anticipation.  Every time I see a movie I’ve been looking forward to I feel like I’m 7 years old and it’s Christmas Eve.  But movies like that aren’t released every single weekend.  You have to be patient.  The wait is hard enough if you’re a casual film fan but for die hard film buffs it’s a long road.

I follow every project on my ‘Hype List’ closely.  Every time a plot synopsis is released I read it, every time a still or a trailer is unleashed I watch it over and over again.  A hardcore movie fan’s daily mood is determined by the details revealed about the movies they anticipate.

XTRA | 38 Movies To Look Forward To In 2012

For me, the wait for The Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus & The Avengers has been excruciating.  I’ve endured months without any news at all but the clouds are lifting as their release dates approach…

But I didn’t feel that way about The Hunger Games.

If Only I Was Part Of THE HUNGER GAMES Massive Fanbase | The Hunger Games Review 2012

I didn’t read the extremely popular books before seeing the films but the sheer amount of people lining up to see it was hard to ignore.  The franchise’s built in fan base would easily push the film to number 1 at the box office.  But the intrigue and popularity of the movie lured film fans like me to the theater as well.  And records were shattered.

Aided by strong word of mouth and critical praise (85% on RT), the film made 155 million in it’s first weekend at the box office.  Now that’s how you kick start production on the inevitable sequel.  The Hunger Games wasn’t on my must see list.  I was curious but I wasn’t in line on opening night.  In fact I purposely avoided the lines.

The entire Twilight train passed me by and I wasn’t even at the station and The Hunger Games was no different.  But I saw Twilight regardless just to see what the fuss was about.  It’s an okay franchise but definitely not my favorite.  Sadly, I’d put The Hunger Games in the same category.

When The Dark Knight was released years ago, I followed it’s box office totals closely like it was my film.  I was proud to see it do well.  I’m sure fans of The Hunger Games are just as proud of this solid adaptation.  Suzanne Collins’ tale of a world revolving around teens slaughtering each other is full of tense moments and avoided all the cliches I was expecting to see.  While I didn’t read the book, reactions online suggest the filmmakers did a fantastic job bringing the books to life.  I guess I’ll have to take their word for it for now.

During the movie, I felt like I a new member of an exclusive club and all the inside jokes were flying over my head.  For fans of the books, there must have been tons of references and moments they were looking forward to.  I experienced the movie as something completely new and it was just…  Okay.  I think I was expecting more 1 on 1 battles in a movie about 24 kids out to kill each other.  It also took an hour to get to the games.  Minor gripes as there was still a lot of action in the film.  Something I’m sure fans adored.

You see,  that’s where the jealousy comes in.  I wish I had read the books that EVERYONE is talking about.  I wish I was a part of the club.

…  I suppose I am a part of the club in a small way.  I’ve seen a good movie now and as I write this review, I find myself wondering what happens next.  What will happen in the sequel? Maybe I’ll read the books instead of waiting for the next film to be released.  Perhaps this franchise has won a new fan after all?


The Hunger Games in Two: Intense, Survival

If Only I Was Part Of THE HUNGER GAMES Massive Fanbase | The Hunger Games Review 2012

Why The New Ninja Turtles Movie Is Off To A Great Start

March 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm

ninja turtles logo 2013 new movie


Here’s the thing…  Pitching a new live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie for today’s audiences is not an easy task.  Not only does it have to connect to new fans but it also has to please the millions of passionate TMNT fans who have been waiting years for a reboot.  Especially with all the technological advances filmmakers have access to now that they didn’t have in 1990.

When Michael Bay took over the franchise, people were skeptical but that’s what Michael Bay haters do.  I for one, enjoy Michael Bay movies.  They aren’t Oscar contenders but 2 hours of action, explosions, battles and laughs is time well spent if you ask me.

Yes, people groaned but then he hired Jonathan Liebesman to helm the film and slapped a release date of December 25th, 2013.  The haters were silenced.  Michael Bay was bringing the Turtles back!

Why The New Ninja Turtles Movie Is Off To A Great Start | 2013 Michael Bay

Ahem…  Then he screwed it all up by telling the world his Turtles were from an alien race.  Or did he?

The fallout that ensued after his comments has been fascinating to follow but personally, I think the filmmakers behind the movie are thrilled with the response.  It made national news!  It rocked Twitter!  People everywhere were debating every syllable of that sentence.  People were angry and frustrated while others were intrigued and curious.

Regardless of what side of the line you stand on, people are talking.  The hype for this movie will now be massive as details emerge.  The last few weeks probably proved to the studio that a new Turtles movie was a good idea.

Now lets address the big ol’ alien elephant in the room…

Why The New Ninja Turtles Movie Is Off To A Great Start | 2013 Michael Bay

Mutant Alien Ninjas…

Alien ooze? A planet full of talking Turtles?  Mis-used Alien technology?  Michael Bay did follow up by stating the mythology we all know and love remains in tact. It was simply expanded upon.  That could mean anything.  Did they change the origin to give them a reason to include Krang in the mix?

Why The New Ninja Turtles Movie Is Off To A Great Start | 2013 Michael Bay

I think the Ooze is the Alien here.  I just don’t see a planet full of giant turtles especially because they still have to explain Splinter somehow.  Regardless, even the people who are angry about the ‘changes’ are going to be following this movie all the way up until it’s release.

Michael Bay and Co. know people are watching and it’s up to them to turn the doubters around.  How?

1. The design of the turtles.  Will they be suits or motion capture?  Combination of both?  What will they look like?

2. The Villain.  Shredder is pretty much a guarantee.  (Isn’t it?) With Shredder comes foot soldiers but what about the aforementioned Krang?

3. The Style & Tone.  Will this be Batman Begins with Ninja Turtles?  Dark and gritty?  Is that a world where Michelangelo can still scream ‘Cowabunga’?  How will they achieve that balance?  I think the tone of the 1990 original was spot on.

4. Stills, Trailers & Viral Content.  This one is tricky.  Until we get more clarification on the ‘alien’ comment, people are going to be skeptical but skeptics can always be turned if you WOW them.

5. Be true to the mythology.  People want The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I really think that’s exactly what we are going to get.  The most encouraging comments I’ve heard through all of this came from the director himself:

“Look, it’s so funny—if everyone was such a die-hard fan, they would know that the TCRI canisters where the ooze comes from.  That is alien ooze.  Now I’m not saying what Michael said is exactly what the movie is, because we’re sitting in a room now figuring everything out.  So we don’t know, but we are like Michael said: we’re expanding it, and the expansion will be true to the mythology.  I promise you: fans will love it.

Whatever mythology we’re building on or expanding is coming from that guy, Kevin Eastman’s head, who created the Turtles in the first place.  And so everything will tie in with the mythology; fans will be extremely excited with what we’re coming up with.  A lot of it is stuff he’s wanted to do for a long time, but just hasn’t had the opportunity because now we have the budget and things on this film to expand it in the right way.  And so, I’m happy that everyone is extremely passionate, and they will not be disappointed.  It’s all coming from the best possible place for this franchise.

We’re definitely into the action, but for me what’s more important than that is that it’s a story about brotherhood and friendship and responsibility.  Right now, I’m with the characters because those are what attracted me to the movie.  They’re the best characters I’ll have had a chance to deal with.” (Jonathan Liebesman)

More recently, Michael Bay defended the project while commenting on the title being shortened to Ninja Turtles:

“Paramount marketing changed the name. They made the title simple. The characters you all remember are exactly the same, and yes they still act like teenagers. Everything you remember, why you liked the characters, is in the movie. This script is being developed by two very smart writers, with one of the original creators of Ninja Turtles. They care VERY MUCH about making this film for the fans. Everyone on this team cares about the fans. Just give them a chance. Jonathan the director, is a major fan of the whole franchise. HE’S NOT GOING TO LET YOU DOWN.”

Why The New Ninja Turtles Movie Is Off To A Great Start | 2013 Michael Bay

Below is a collection of links that chronicles the ‘controversy’ surrounding the film.  They are full of insight, opinions and features from around the web.


Michael Bay talks Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by stuffwelike

Yup…  He said it…  Alien Race.

/FILM | Michael Bay Says the New ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Are Aliens

COLLIDER | Michael Bay Says the Turtles in New TMNT Movie Will Be Aliens, Not Mutants

SCREEN RANT | Michael Bay Responds to ‘TMNT’ Alien Controversy & Villain Rumors

FIRST SHOWING | (KRANG?) New ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Movie Makes Our Heroes Aliens?


/FILM | Michael Bay to TNMT Fans: “Chill”

COLLIDER | Michael Bay Responds to Fan Outrage over “Alien Race” TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES


IGN | Turtles Director Talks Alien Hubbub

/FILM | ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Co-Creator Tells Fans to Give Michael Bay a Chance

/FILM | Other ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Co-Creator Says Michael Bay’s Take is “Awesome”

JOBLO | Director Jonathan Liebesman weighs in on this Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles business

THE GUARDIAN | Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles latest! Original star voices support for remake


IGN | Hero Worship: The TMNT Controversy

ANOMALOUS MATERIAL | 10 Alternate Michael Bay Remakes Featuring Aliens

MOVIE LINE | Can We Please Not Have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Culture War?






Top 10 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Quotes

Why Ninja Turtles Made Me Cry

Wouldn’t It Be Awesome If Ninja Turtles 2 Featured Bebop & Rocksteady?

10 Flicks: Movies That Make Me Hungry

All Time Best: Let’s Do This! Movie Moment

Tatsu: The All Time Best Movie Henchman

Rainy Sundays: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Chronicle, Action Figures & The Super Power Dream

Why The New Ninja Turtles Movie Is Off To A Great Start | 2013 Michael Bay


I’m not saying the alien comment isn’t at least a little concerning.  I grew up with the Ninja Turtles and I don’t want to see their story changed.  But tons of film adaptations have changed major elements from the source material that is readily accepted now.  For example, the age of the Hobbits in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Some people were extremely angry.  (Some probably still are) But they made those changes while staying true to J.R.R Tolkien’s work and people love those films.  Even the doubters are anxiously awaiting the new Hobbit films in 2012 and 2013.

Sometimes change is good.  I think this is a wait and see situation.  No matter what, the new movie is meant to be successful they aren’t out to screw it up on purpose.  I can’t wait to see what the new turtles will look like.  I can’t wait to find out more about the filmmaker’s vision for the franchise.

I’m looking forward to a brand new live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie!

New Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie 2013

Screenwriting: Introducing Too Many Characters Too Quickly

March 21, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Screenwriting: Introducing Too Many Characters Too Quickly


I’m just about finished the first act of a new feature length screenplay I’ve been developing for the last few months.  Before I began the second act, I wanted to take a few days and really analyze what I’ve got so far and the overall tone I’ve set for the script.

  • Is it entertaining?
  • Does it move quickly?
  • Are there any slow  or boring sequences?
  • Which characters work?
  • Which do not work?
  • Is the dialogue interesting?
  • Does each moment contribute to the story?

These questions brought up something that concerns me:


The first 10 pages of a screenplay are vital to gain the readers interest and too many characters can make things confusing in a hurry.  How many is too many?  Does it matter as long as you’ve spread things out?

The first 10 pages of my new project introduces 17 characters.  (That number includes minor roles etc…) The way I see it, if I can make these 10 pages work, if I can establish these characters, I’m in good shape moving forward.  The issue here is the techniques used to introduce my characters.  It brings up new questions:


  • Is this story easy to follow?
  • Do I remember names?
  • Do some characters stick more than others?
  • Is it overwhelming?
  • Can some characters be held back?
  • Is…  It…  Entertaining?

XTRA | Be Honest…  Is Your Screenplay Entertaining?

I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out ways to make my first 10 pages better…   In this case, my story begins at a funeral and we meet several people who are vital to the story.  Little by little, the funeral unfolds and more important characters are added in.

After a few hours of work, I think I’ve integrated these characters rather efficiently as each one moves the story forward.  However, the biggest change came when I merged two characters into one.  The result is a simpler script and a much better character overall.


At the end of the day, if it works it works.  I don’t think anyone will complain about too many characters if it’s easy to follow and the characters are memorable.  It’s also important to remember that it is the first 10 pages and you don’t have to introduce EVERYONE at the same time.

The minor changes I made had positive ripple effects throughout the first act and now I feel as confident as every moving forward with act 2.

Here are a couple links I found on the web on the topic of introducing new characters:

How To Introduce A Character

Most Common Mistakes Series: The Dangers of Character Overload

Screenwriting Structure Series Part 10: Your First Ten Pages & The Ordinary World

Screenwriting Mistake #45: Introducing Too Many Characters

The Basics of Introducing A Character

And here is Robert Mckee’s take on introducing new characters:

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