My Movie Review – Inglourious Basterds

I went into Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds with mixed expectations. One the one hand, Tarantino hasn’t really hit the mark for me in years, and on other hand, I keep hoping he’s got another really good movie in him. The reviews were overall very good, so I was shooting for an entertaining experience, and would leave it at that.

Inglourious Basterds had some really great scenes that were tense and funny, and the movie was a visual feast. And Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who playI went into Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds with mixed expectations. One the one hand, Tarantino hasn’t really hit the mark for me in years, and on other hand, I keep hoping he’s got another really good movie in him. The reviews were overall very good, so I was shooting for an entertaining experience, and would leave it at that.

Inglourious Basterds had some really great scenes that were tense and funny, and the movie was a visual feast. And Austrian actor Christoph Waltz, who played "The Nazi Hunter," delivered an Oscar-worthy performance. If he doesn’t get a nomination, then the awards are officially useless. He will go down as one of the truly great villains in movie history. He was that good. Brad Pitt was perfectly okay, but Waltz stole the show.

As a movie, however, Basterds didn’t quite deliver. There just wasn’t enough there, there for me. It’s an idea of movie, and yet not a fully realized story. I had read early script reviews that for a two-and-a-half movie about killing Nazis, there wasn’t a whole of Nazi killing going on. Those reviews were on the mark. Too much talking, not enough doing. The talking was good, but I wanted more meat on the bones.

There’s a lot of individual pieces that really stand out in Basterds, but it didn’t quite hold together. For such a quick-witted and clever writer, Tarantino had me checking my watch a few times. It was a bit slow.

Inglourious Basterds is worth seeing, but I wouldn’t go in with only modest expectations.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/08/23 14:36

My Movie Review – Funny People

Last night Liz and I checked out FUNNY PEOPLE, the third movie written and directed by Judd Apatow (following 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and KNOCKED UP).

For sure, FUNNY PEOPLE is his most "mature" movie, in that he tackles more mature themes. The gist is that Adam Sandler (in a great performance) is basically a jerk version of his real self, who is diagnosed with a very rare blood disease.

So he starts doing stand up again, and finds a very raw (and not so funny) Seth Rogen strugglLast night Liz and I checked out FUNNY PEOPLE, the third movie written and directed by Judd Apatow (following 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and KNOCKED UP).

For sure, FUNNY PEOPLE is his most "mature" movie, in that he tackles more mature themes. The gist is that Adam Sandler (in a great performance) is basically a jerk version of his real self, who is diagnosed with a very rare blood disease.

So he starts doing stand up again, and finds a very raw (and not so funny) Seth Rogen struggling at a comedy club, and hires him to write some jokes and be his personal assistant.

And off we go.

The first hour is excellent. I was really invested and wanted to see how it played out. Apatow wrote and directed a truly compelling movie.

And then … the second hour sort of devolved into a "relationship" movie, and went a little flat (although Eric Bana was hilarious in his native Australian accent), and then things picked up again at the end.

Overall, FUNNY PEOPLE is a good movie, with both series and laugh-out-loud funny moments, but it’s a bit uneven. Apatow was aiming very high. Sometimes he hit, sometimes not. I wouldn’t classify this as a ‘must see,’ but it was a quality movie with a career-defining performance by Adam Sandler, who, despite what most of his earlier work would indicate, has turned into a very, very good actor.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/08/15 10:04

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/08/23 14:35

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/08/23 14:35

Subway Stories: Long-Legged Seat Tease

I’m on way home from work the other day, and there were no seats on the F train. It wasn’t so bad, because it was about 90 degrees outside, and the A/C was on full blast, so I didn’t mind too much.

Of course, I’m always on the lookout for a seat (creaky back, you know), and all it takes is for one person to get up at the next stop. Of course, there’s usually competition for those lone seats, so you’ve gotta be on your toes, both figuratively and literally.

Well, just so happens that thI’m on way home from work the other day, and there were no seats on the F train. It wasn’t so bad, because it was about 90 degrees outside, and the A/C was on full blast, so I didn’t mind too much.

Of course, I’m always on the lookout for a seat (creaky back, you know), and all it takes is for one person to get up at the next stop. Of course, there’s usually competition for those lone seats, so you’ve gotta be on your toes, both figuratively and literally.

Well, just so happens that there was a woman–a long-legged woman, in fact (with a short skirt, by the by)–was sitting forward just enough to make me think she might be getting off at the next stop. So I’m sorta eyeballing the terrain, seeing if I’ll be in direct competition with anyone. Sure enough, there was another woman nearby, and it’s my policy never to fight a woman over a seat (unless she’s a total biatch, in which case, too bad). But she seemed perfectly nice, so, even if the long-legged one got up, I wasn’t going to seat jump this other woman.

And yet … the long-legged one didn’t get up at the next stop. But what she did do was straighten her back and sit closer to the end of the seat. So I know I’m really thinking the next stop could be the one. No go. But again, she sat [i]even closer[/i] again to the edge, so that her long legs were extended into the aisle.

So I’m thinking [i]is this it? Is she getting up? Is she just close enough to give up that seat will the other woman take it or maybe not go for it or get off the train or …[/i]

On and on this went. I was like a dog thinking that a single potato chip might drop from someone’s hand, and it when it does … it’s mine!

With each stop the long-legged one inched closer and closer and closer to the edge of the seat, just teasing me, even though I knew that even if she did get up, I wasn’t going to get it!

It drove me mad!

Finally … finally … she did get up, and yes, the other woman standing up took the seat. And you know what? I was relieved! I couldn’t take her just tempting me with that seat, teasing me that she might get up.

… sigh …

The story does have a happy ending (hey, easy … not that kind …). One stop later somebody else got up, and I got a seat all to myself after all.

Whew.

SD Comic-Con ’09: PHOTOS! On-the-Floor Action!

Sorry it took me all week to get to it, but on-the-floor action from the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con is now posted in the PHOTOS section of this web site.

Check ’em out!Sorry it took me all week to get to it, but on-the-floor action from the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con is now posted in the PHOTOS section of this web site.

Check ’em out!

SD Comic-Con ’09: The Comeback Kids Strike Again!

Dating back to the 1990s when I used to have a booth with Rich Henn as the Small Press Expo every year in Bethesda, MD, the Friday session at Comic-Con was my single worst convention day. Ever.

Just awful.

I woke up feeling sort of okay, until I checked my email. I went down to the business center to log in, and got a note from my agent saying that my most promising publisher opportunity was no more. They passed on FINDERS KEEPERS. May day pretty much went downhill from there.

Dating back to the 1990s when I used to have a booth with Rich Henn as the Small Press Expo every year in Bethesda, MD, the Friday session at Comic-Con was my single worst convention day. Ever.

Just awful.

I woke up feeling sort of okay, until I checked my email. I went down to the business center to log in, and got a note from my agent saying that my most promising publisher opportunity was no more. They passed on FINDERS KEEPERS. May day pretty much went downhill from there.

Throughout my 10 hours at the booth I got no Hollywood love. Zero. No agents, no producers. Nothing. I didn’t get even a single attendee name on my newsletter sign up sheet. Henn was off running around the convention hall doing this and that, so that left me to tend to our side of the booth–solo–for most of the day. By the end of the session, it really got to me.

My back hurt. I was cranky. No celeb sightings. My mojo was nowhere. Dinner aside (I blogged about that separately), it was just a lousy, lousy day across the board.

And then a funny thing happened …

The next morning I got up early and went down to the gym, and decided then and there that yesterday was over, and that today was going to be my best day of the convention. I had my hero Zig Ziglar going on my iPod, talking about staying positive, and having a plan, and that if you stick with it, and adjust accordingly, good things will happen. I got my mojo on, I got my sweat on. I was feeling goooooood.

Then, during the show, I found a publisher that once passed on FINDERS KEEPERS, but I talked to a new editor there, who loved the idea of my book, and requested that I send him a copy. Score. I also networked with a couple of other writers, which could lead to some very nice opportunities in the not-so-distant future. My newsletter sign up sheet started filling up, and I banged around some ideas with Rich Koslowski for a new cover for FINDERS KEEPERS.

But Saturday night was the topper. Before we headed out to dinner, Ray and I stopped off at the Hyatt to check on the status of our bill, because Ray and Rich were staying until Monday morning, while I was leaving Sunday morning, and Ron left earlier that day. So it was a bit of puzzle figuring out who owed what.

What we discovered was that the Hyatt–unbeknowst to Rich–charged him approximately $180 … yep $180 … to receive about a half dozen packages he had sent to the hotel prior to the event. We didn’t tell Rich until dinner was over, but when he heard the news, as expected, his head exploded.

So instead of heading out for drinks or desert, Rich high-tailed it back to the Hyatt to straighten this out. For trip where every dollar counts, $180 was shocking. With a full head of steam, Rich was stewing the whole way back to the Hyatt. Ultimately, he managed to talk the hotel manager down to $60 … a heckuva lot better than $180 … but still.

And yet … I love this part … on the way back to the Hyatt, as Rich was zooming ahead, what did I find on the sidewalk, just sitting there? You guessed it. $60! Somebody — sorry dude — must have dropped the cash reaching into their pocket. So we donated the cash to Henn’s package fund. It didn’t cost him a dime!

All in all, I had one of my BEST convention days ever.

Just goes to show that having the right attitude can go such a long way, especially at a convention like Comic-Con, which can wear you down if you’re not careful. From the bottom to the top.

The Comeback Kids strike again!

SD Comic-Con ’09: PB Burger and Skank Ribs

One of the highlights every year at the San Diego Comi-Con is the food. After a long day on the convention floor eating as well as you can without succumbing to skanky convention dogs and $3 bottles of water isn’t easy.

So when the day is done, food is key on our minds.

The past few years I would say I had at least three great meals. This year? Well, here goes:

Wed. night a bunch of wound up at one of the local hotel bars that also serves food. Wed. night was also the travel daOne of the highlights every year at the San Diego Comi-Con is the food. After a long day on the convention floor eating as well as you can without succumbing to skanky convention dogs and $3 bottles of water isn’t easy.

So when the day is done, food is key on our minds.

The past few years I would say I had at least three great meals. This year? Well, here goes:

Wed. night a bunch of wound up at one of the local hotel bars that also serves food. Wed. night was also the travel day, so it’s the one night as group we’re typically the crankiest, and least capable of thinking straight. I should have played it safe and gone for the burger (which Ray said was just okay), but instead I made the mistake of getting an order of wings. They were lousy.

The second night was better. As we do every year, a bunch of headed out to Brian’s which has a mixed bag menu: part comfort food, part entrees. For the second year in a row, I went with the Peanut Butter Burger. Not a misprint. Peanut. Butter. Burger. Just like it sounds. Juicy burger, with cheese, bacon, and … yep, peanut butter. Sounds gross, tastes awesome. The service, on the other hand, was awful. One waiter for about 15 tables. I had to get up and pluck around for extra napkins, ketchup and pay the bill. My food was gooooood, but the experience was sub par.

Friday night, ironically, was the best meal of the week, by far. And I say ironically, because, as you’ll read in my next blog, Friday was otherwise my worst day of the convention. But dinner was awesome. A bunch of ate at Roy’s the hotel restaurant at the Marriott, which is physically in between the Convention Center and the Hyatt.

For an appetizer I had crispy lobster rolls in a sweet dipping sauce … yum … and for dinner, Ray and I both had the fillet mignon (Ray’s medium rare, mine medium well). So good. So, so good. And for desert, I had a pecan tart with vanilla ice cream. Again. Another home run. Paying the bill, however, turned out to be a bit of cluster bunk, as somebody (who’s name I won’t mention), came up $20 short, which I had to front, and when it came time to pay the bill, half the guys went outside to watch … something … and also to break balls for the rest of us with the bill. And, oh yeah, I made sure they paid.

Saturday night–the final night–was another disappointment. It was me, Ray, Henn, Marty and James and Jeremy Owen. We went to this Caribbean joint, which sounded promising, but boy it so was not. The service was ridiculous. The computer broke down. The waitress was frazzled. They didn’t bring out my second drink or take my appetizer order. As for my meal, I went with the sweet glazed ribs, which sounded quite good, but in reality, were just very …. eh. When I order ribs, I want awesome, otherwise, the ribs just aren’t worth it. Mediocre ribs are worse than mediocre most anything else. Some food needs to kick ass to be worth the effort. Ribs are one of them.

Although … Ray and I did end up having a pretty decent slice of peanut better pie for desert at the Hyatt bar, so that somewhat salvaged the night’s delights.

All in all, not a great food trip, but it certainly had it’s moments.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/07/30 09:00

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/07/30 09:01

SD Comic-Con ’09: Angry Security, Kindly Help

This year’s Comic-Con was a tale of two cities when it came assistance. I’ll explain:

On the first day of the show, Ray and I had to run off to ACE Hardware to pick up a three-pronged adaptor for the portable TV/DVD player Rich had at our booth in order to play our various trailers and movies.

When we got to ACE, I have to admit, I had a rather … strange experience. The girl who tried to help us was so … nice, and friendly, and polite … that it actually threw me off! As a New YThis year’s Comic-Con was a tale of two cities when it came assistance. I’ll explain:

On the first day of the show, Ray and I had to run off to ACE Hardware to pick up a three-pronged adaptor for the portable TV/DVD player Rich had at our booth in order to play our various trailers and movies.

When we got to ACE, I have to admit, I had a rather … strange experience. The girl who tried to help us was so … nice, and friendly, and polite … that it actually threw me off! As a New Yorker, fresh off a 3,000 mile flight, I was suspicious. When somebody is that nice to me in New York, I figure they’re up to something, that they’re trying to scam me in some way. (Ever more the reason to make more vacations …).

So I have to admit that I was a little aloof with her, but only because her kindness freaked me out! My bad, I know (Ray scolded me for it), but I did make a big comeback the rest of the week, nice as can be to all the waiters and bartenders we saw throughout the show.

As for the convention itself, well … that’s where we had a bit of a problem. The security team they hired to man the show was so darn aggressive! Whoa! Here’s a few examples:

On the first day Rich, Ray and I are outside, walking from the Hyatt to the Convention Center, when we come to a crosswalk–stepping across the Marriott driveway. The light was green, so I walked across, lugging a hand truck with three huge boxes. About two-thirds of the way across, the cop starts yelling at me. "Don’t you see the red hand telling you to stop?"

I didn’t. There was a red hand, but the light was also green. So, uh …

Then, as another woman walked across, he angrily stopped her in her tracks, and made her go back until the light changed. He was one of those guys who was probably a wannabe detective stuck on traffic duty, and was pretty p.o’d about it.

The next day, Ray and I were walking the floor, taking pictures, checking out the show, when we came to a logjam. About 100 or so people, maybe more, were clustered in one of the aisles, mesmerized but we all saw on screen. There was this absolutely amazing Star Wars … video game! It looked better than all of the Clone Wars cartoons and even some of the movies! We couldn’t believe what we were seeing.

Security comes along, and, in fairness, was just doing their job, trying to keep the aisle clear. However …. there’s a way to do things and a way not to do things. This one security chick was really aggressive. "Move out people! Move it! I said move it!" And her tone was not only loud, but snarky. And finally she said to someone, "Are you deaf? I said move."

That’s when I had enough. Still, I was calm about it. I simply said, "There’s no reason to be rude about it." She of course claimed just how rude she wasn’t being … and then proceeded to literally stalk me for the next hundred feet or so, literally step behind, talking trash to try to get me to respond. I just calmly ignored her and went about my business. Grrrrrrrr.

All in all we had a good time at the show, but there was definitely some weird mojo going on …

More updates to come …

SD Comic-Con ’09: Bizarre and Fruitful

[size=4]Every year that I go to Comic-Con my expectations are sort of the same, sort of different, if only because each year I’m at a different stage myself. And it was unusually hot and humid for San Diego, so there was a wierd vibe weatherwise.

Like with any repeat event, no two years are exactly alike, and the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con had a flavor all its own. To start, this was a sold-out show–125,000 tickets sold–so, yeah … it was packed.

Once again I was at booth 1907 with FI[size=4]Every year that I go to Comic-Con my expectations are sort of the same, sort of different, if only because each year I’m at a different stage myself. And it was unusually hot and humid for San Diego, so there was a wierd vibe weatherwise.

Like with any repeat event, no two years are exactly alike, and the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con had a flavor all its own. To start, this was a sold-out show–125,000 tickets sold–so, yeah … it was packed.

Once again I was at booth 1907 with FINDERS KEEPERS, along with partners-in-crime Rich Henn, who was pimping out ZOOMIES, and TIMESPELL, and James Owen, who’s HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS series now has 2.5 million copies in print worldwide!

Wed. night is preview night, wherein the doors are only open to the public from 6 – 9 pm, and typically is the calmest, easiest portion of the show. It’s for the dedicated fan that just wants to browse and chill, and avoid the madness, and for us behind the booth, the most relaxing, as we don’t have to be so ‘on’ all the time.

Well … so much for that. Wed. night was by far the most hectic, chaotic segment of the entire week! The fans bum rushed the convention center like their lives depended on it. I’ve never seen an opening night like that. Crazy!

The rest of the week was definitely crowded–like I said, a sold out show–and yet it was far less manic than in years past. The attendees weren’t spending too much money; lots of looky loos, and the Hollywood producers and talent agents that usually swarm the place were basically non-existent. Bummer on that end, although I did talk to a couple of Hollywood folks, with one or two who were really intersted (or so they said).

The bigger highlights for me was hooking up with a bunch of publishers who have big interest in FINDERS KEEPERS, including a hush-hush possibility that will have to stay under wraps for the time being …

I also got to see a few industry pals, like Rob Venditti, who’s comic book THE SURROGATES will be out in September as a big sci-fi action movie with Bruce Willis. And I also got to finally meet face to face Maxwell Alexander Drake, a writer I’ve known for a while–and was at his first Comic-Con ever–who’s FARMERS AND MERCENARIES is really starting to heat up in the fantasy realm, so if you like dragon books and that type of epic adventure, I suggest you check him out (and the first in his GENESIS OF OBLIVION saga) at www.maxwellalexanderdrake.com/.

At the booth itself, this was the first year that I had my trailer to play … and it worked! Showing off the trailer lead to almost another dozen people signing up for my newsletter for updates about FINDERS KEEPERS, so that’s a big plus. And … I was able to hand my trailer to a handful of Hollywood dudes, so another plus (although not as many as I would have liked, but still …).

There were also plenty of costumed attendees, and have loads of pics to share. Coming soon! Not to mention that I had a Wesley Snipes sighting (he’s much smaller than you’d think), and for you LOST fans, here’s a kick in the teeth. Literally ten seconds after I leave Rich Koslowski’s booth … who shows up and gets in a picture with Rich? Jorge Garcia, who plays Hurley!

$#@!

And finally, the best time of all was just hanging out with the guys, with Henn and Ray (a surprise visit) and Ron and Rich Koslowski, just talking movies and comics and babes.

So while the 2009 Comic-Con wasn’t quite what I expected, it was extremely fruitful, with FINDERS KEEPERS closer than ever to finally getting into print.

More Comic-Con updates to come …..[/size]

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/07/28 13:47

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/07/28 14:52

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2009/07/28 15:26

S.D. Comic-Con ’09: First Day Back

Just a quick note today …

Flew back yesterday from the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con … and I’m exhausted!

As usual there was plenty of mayhem and lots to report, which I’ll be doing this week. Plus, I’ve got loads and loads of photos from the show. I’ll be posting soon.

But the quick highlights are that from a sold-out show–125,000 attendees–I’ve got some juicy publishing possibilities in the works … including one situation in particular that I can’t get into right now, but couJust a quick note today …

Flew back yesterday from the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con … and I’m exhausted!

As usual there was plenty of mayhem and lots to report, which I’ll be doing this week. Plus, I’ve got loads and loads of photos from the show. I’ll be posting soon.

But the quick highlights are that from a sold-out show–125,000 attendees–I’ve got some juicy publishing possibilities in the works … including one situation in particular that I can’t get into right now, but could wind up being the deal that gets FINDERS KEEPERS in print for 2010!

More on that and the rest of the show later this week. Until then, I gotta sleep!

Best. Chair Massage. Ever.

As a combination of genetic make-up, being hunched over a desk all day, and not stretching and making time to relax enough, my back in particular gets really tight. It tenses up.

So as often as possible … although not anywhere as often as I like … I go for a massage, and more often than not, get a 10-minute massage on one of those lean-forward massage chairs.

I’ve had some good ones and some not so good ones, but the other day … Wow. I’m not just saying this woman kicked ass, tAs a combination of genetic make-up, being hunched over a desk all day, and not stretching and making time to relax enough, my back in particular gets really tight. It tenses up.

So as often as possible … although not anywhere as often as I like … I go for a massage, and more often than not, get a 10-minute massage on one of those lean-forward massage chairs.

I’ve had some good ones and some not so good ones, but the other day … Wow. I’m not just saying this woman kicked ass, this was the Best. Chair Massage. Ever.

Seriously.

And when I say best ever, I mean, best ever for [i]me[/i]. My back and neck gets so tight, so tense, that I need someone with linebacker-strong hands to bring the pain. And she did. Whoa.

She even said to me, "You have too much stress. You are way too tense. You’re making me work too hard! You need to get more massages. You need to relax."

Well … this spa is close to where I work, so I think that come quittin’ time, I’ll be making more than a few visits …

Soooooo gooooooood …..

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