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Commentary - Out of Focus

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bound for Sundance 2011, I am not. Things didn't pan out as I'd hoped. However, it doesn't stop me from discussing up and coming filmmakers. Earlier this week Tinsel & Tine highlighted some emerging filmmakers from Reelblack's Shorts Showcase (click HERE for post) and now I'd like to draw attention to Epic Boys Productions headed up by Jim Cocoliato.

I met Jim a couple of months ago at The Greater Philadelphia Film Office 25th Anniversary Celebration (click HERE for post). During the evening we discussed his short film (45 min) Out of Focus and he asked if I wanted to view a screener of it.

I'm sure everyone recalls the infamous meltdown Christian Bale had last year on the set of the new Terminator movie, (click HERE) where he ripped the DP a new one for checking lights during a scene. It was supposedly such a horrible distraction for Bale that it spurred him on to a long tirade, berating the guy repeatedly with expletives and criticisms of unprofessional-ism. Well, Cocoliato thought this would be a great jumping off point for a movie and set about with his writing team (Brian Beavers and Peter Calciano) to make a movie based on what might have happened to the Director of Photography after such an embarrassment and professional set back.

In Cocoliato's film, Derek Miller (Joshua Sterling Bragg) plays the DP who's been blacklisted in Hollywood after being chewed out by a famous actor. He's still got his car and apartment, but it's obvious things are getting tight money wise and he's in a state of apathy and depression over not being able to work, or at least not in film; he does take a gig at an Olan Mills type photo studio breifly, but gets fired for cursing at uncooperative children not capable of sitting still and saying "Cheese".

Soon enters Kate Henderson (Naomi McDougall Jones) she's put her heart & soul into a screenplay entitled "Love Stained". The title of which keeps eliciting a response of - sounds like bad porn, which I believe is redundant. Regardless, Henderson attempts to persuade, or hound Miller to shoot her film as he's got nothing better to do. Miller, not quite that desperate, turns her down repeatedly - until he's approached by a Guido type studio executive, Vincent Palmiero (Matthew Imparato) who's looking to make a reality show based on sh** going wrong on the set of a crap movie.

The film has some guy type humor sprinkled throughout, but it's not played for laughs. It's going for more of a lightly romantic, inside joke kind of feel. Now keep in mind, this was Cocoliato's senior thesis film, so it wasn't a script that had time to really percolate. And because it's a short, a lot has to be condensed. If it were a full-length feature, I'm sure it would have included more scenes of sabotage on set; a lot more scenes featuring the two leads falling in love; more angst from Miller on being a sell out and more build up to the reveal of the betrayal.

From an acting standpoint, Naomi McDougall Jones is someone to watch. She's got good timing and a nondescript, attractiveness, something like Amy Ryan, that quality that conveys a sympathetic, "every woman" type relate-ability.

For production value, on a low-budget scale of 1 -10, I rate it a 7. Particularly impressed with the sound quality.

Epic Boys Production are in the midst of working on a web series called Stunods, a comedic fleeing from the Mob based story in collaboration with Driver Digital. Looks like Jim and his team may have a bright future ahead of them, just as long as they never have a face to face with Christian Bale.

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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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