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Wednesday
Mar162016

Will You Vote for the BOURNE Movies? 

Every month, the Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMBS) -- of which I am a member -- release a poll to determine which film we will collectively watch, review and discuss during the following month. We're doing a "Franchise Special" in April and I've placed the Bourne series of action thrillers in the running to be considered for Movie of the Month. 

Vote BOURNE for April 's Movie of the Month!This franchise includes The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) -- all starring Matt Damon as black ops assassin Jason Bourne, and The Bourne Legacy (2012) with Jeremy Renner as agent Aaron Cross alongside Edward Norton as colonel Eric Bryer. 

There is some fierce competition among the 11 film franchises being championed for April but if the series of films that brought Jason Bourne into our lives has taught us anything, it's that one person can encounter very difficult missions and still manage to succeed – even when up against an army of many. If you're reading this, YOU are the one who can help me make sure that movie fans honor the Bourne films in all their glory.  

An episode of the LAMBcast – a movie podcast on iTunes, hosted by Jay at Life vs. Film, will also be dedicated to the winning movie franchise. So right now I'm asking for you to VOTE for the Bourne series over at The Lamb website (Go Here for our April Movie of the Month Poll).  

Can I count on YOUR vote for the April Movie of the Month poll? 

What are YOUR thoughts on the movie trailer for the 5th Bourne installment, hitting theaters this summer? 

Friday
Feb262016

Shooting Flames with 'Tex Montana' Film Director Christian Stella: Survival Kits, Hurricanes and Piracy

A man enters the wilderness alone and plans to stay there for 30 days but soon faces the reality that he highly overestimated his survival skills. It's the gist of the plot for Tex Montana Will Survive, a forthcoming comedy film being released digitally in March 2016, after several hundred supporters (including myself) basically bought the worldwide rights to the movie.

Orchestrated by O. Hannah Films through the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, this five-figure deal makes way for a future of independent film distribution where audiences can watch a movie without encountering territory restrictions nor the slow pace with which the entertainment industry moves when making titles available. It also looks to a future where visual media artists can be rightfully compensated for their work.

'Tex Montana Will Survive' Co-Director and Cinematographer Christian StellaHaving never heard of the filmmakers behind this movie until last weekend, I challenged Christian Stella - Co-Director and Cinematographer for Tex Montana Will Survive - to address some real-life disaster scenarios.

Stella also works as a food photographer, authors cookbooks and is behind a computer every other day, piecing together what he shot. Thus, he doesn't get out much and considers himself to be least likely to survive anything. Thankfully, he was still up for taking a stab at the following questions.

Madlab Post: You were just evacutated following a major collapse and are only allowed to save two things and one movie. What would you keep?

Christian Stella: First, I'm pretty sure I have to save my wife. For the second thing, I should probably save ONE of my two cats. Now that's a tough call, because one cat is very old, but the younger cat is a jerk...So I think I've gotta save the older cat, Sedna. I know that's a cheat because the question is most likely asking for inanimate objects. In that case, my camera and computer are the obvious ones. The movie would most definitely be PT Anderson's Magnolia. I have a Magnolia tattoo even.

MP: What disaster do you fear most?

CS: I'm fearing tornadoes right now. I've grown up with hurricanes in Florida my whole life, but those are so slow and come with so much warning. It's a little more rural where I am in FL right now and the wind gets crazy. I'm always listening for tornadoes now.

MP: What lifesaving skills do you have?

CS: I can cook. That's a good survival skill, I suppose, but I'm not saving anyone's life. It would be best if everyone on the island just let me explain how to cook me before they ate me. That would be as useful as I could get.

MP: Name a large-scale disaster that had a major impact on your views about humanity.

CS: I lived right outside Miami during Hurricane Andrew. That had a huge impact on my life because it destroyed a mall that my family owned a store in.

Christian Stella on location filming 'Tex Montana Will Survive' with Co-Director and lead actor Jeremy Gardner.MP: What would you do if you lost everything you owned and became displaced by a disaster?

CS: As long as it happens after this Kickstarter, I'd be fine. It's funny...This kind of thing freaks me out a lot because of the work on my hard drives. With piracy now, you've got to be so protective of your movie before release. But because of being so protective, if I lost my hard drives before the final release, we could lose years of work. There are versions online, but they are lower quality.

MP: Can you swim well enough to save someone else from drowning?

CS: I can swim well enough to save myself, but like a fully dead-weight unconscious person? They're doomed.

MP: What items would be in your 3-week survival kit?

CS: One of my rules while making this movie was that I wouldn't think too long and hard about actually trying to survive... Because Tex Montana is entirely impractical and completely inept... I didn't want to accidentally influence the movie by knowing any actual skills or thinking logically in any way. If I had to spend 3 weeks in the same 9 degrees we filmed in, I'd want to pack a flare gun and a GUN gun... Just in case no one responds to the flares.

Much thanks to filmmaker Christian Stella for taking the time to brief me on how he responds in the face of disaster!

How well can YOU cook?

Are YOU looking forward to watching 'Tex Montana Will Survive?' when the film is released?

There's still a few hours left to grab some of the merchandise that will ONLY be available until the O. Hannah Films' Tex Montana Will Survive campaign ends. This merchandise includes one of 400 limited edition DVD/Blu-Ray combo packages -- hand numbered and signed by both directors -- as well as Tex's Fat Survival Sacks, filled with surprise props used in the film and other random goodies.

Thursday
Feb252016

Hey Academy, how about an Oscar for 'Earned It' by The Weeknd?

Dear voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,

Knowing the 88th annual Academy Awards are a few days away, I'm writing to encourage your recognition of one of the most acclaimed musical compositions on the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack -- "Earned It," performed by Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd) -- as Best Original Song.

The tune excels at seducing listeners into believing our needs and desires will be met in ways that can only be fully understood through the experience of surrendering to an outside force. It is spellbinding in the same way that Fifty Shades of Grey portrays it's protagonist Anastasia Steele as innocent and unsuspecting prey that gets wrapped up in Christian Grey's web of mind games, control and eroticism. "Earned It" is a force that pulls at us like the ropes that bind actress Dakota Johnson's body in the music video, also helmed by Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Tom Mackay, Executive Vice President of A&R at Republic Records describes working with The Weeknd as an unbelievable experience; in a collaboration with Universal Pictures that resulted in the singer's first Top 5 single of his career, on the Billboard music charts. Written by Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Quenneville and Stephan Moccio, "Earned It" is also the only song that appears in the Fifty Shades of Grey twice. In addition to the singer winning his first Grammy award for this tune, in the category of Best R&B Performance, The Weekend also scored a Best Song Written for Visual Media nomination for "Earned It."

Universial Pictures, music buyers that crowned Fifty Shades of Grey with the highest selling multi-act compilation soundtrack since Get Rich or Die Tryin (2005) and the largest debut for a soundtrack since Michael Jackson's This Is It (2009), and The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences recognize that this is more than a hot tune.

It just works....on all levels, and for the right reasons. Period.

The track's arrangement, led by Abel Tesfaye's performance, lends itself to the hynotizing nature of the film it was made for and is as magical as any Best Original Song can get.

Wouldn't YOU agree that 'Earned It' by The Weeknd deserves an Oscar?

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