Tag Archive: joseph gordon-levitt


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The family and friends don’t get to see the millions of middle steps in between ‘here’ and ‘There’ so today and tomorrow’s posts are for you…

Here’s the ‘why’: NBC and the American Black Film Festival run a competition called ‘the Star Project’ where the non movie stars among us can audition for the network as an opportunity to get to ‘There’.  Seven monologues to pick from, you (should) pick the two that you have the most connection to.

Now I will take a page out of Denzel’s book and say I’m not really inclined to go over everything I research to go from being myself to whoever I’m trying to be ‘in the moment’.  But for entertainment’s sake as much as anything else, here’s a little backstory to give you some context of what you’re watching:

True Detective Season 3: Set in Chicago, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the pretty boy womanizer with a bad attitude who always gets his man (even if it’s not always by the book.).  I step out of my comfort zone to play Detective Cole Langston: a philosophical, outside the box thinking, always calm type who’s hard to categorize.  The woman in between us is my on again off again girlfriend played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, because she’s a great actress…

Gugu-Mbatha-Raw

Yep, that’s the only reason…

Anyway, a simple, gang related homicide on the South Side should be open and shut.  But, because we’re a little too good at our jobs, me and HitRecordJoe uncover a conspiracy that goes all the way up to the mayor of Chicago (played by character actor extraordinaire John Doman).  The Mayor calls in a favor to his buddy the Chief of Police (Academy Award winner J.K. Simmons) to shut down the case, but of course we don’t play by the rules.

So in the last episode, we find the last body, we ‘catch’ the killer and solve the case (in theory, the lawyers have to figure out what holds up in court).  And after everything we’ve been through, HitRecordJoe is waiting for me to say something.  Am I angry? Devastated? Has my spirit been broken?

And I hit him with this before the final credits roll.

Enjoy!

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The question I get most often from those of you who have tracked my progress is ‘Have you written anything new recently?’  And the answer for most of the past year has been no, for a lot of reasons.  In no particular order, the time and commitment necessary to make a short film, ‘the Actor’ making serious, tangible headway into the Game (more on that front later in the week), and if we’re being honest, inspiration/motivation.

Well, that question can be put off for a while.  I wrote a very short story, that I think would be a nice short film, in live action or animated form.  Or maybe some other artform I haven’t considered yet.  If you want to consider it part of the ‘Malik Anthology’, it’s very much a sequel to ‘Lady in My Life’, albeit set a good five to ten years into the future (at least).  In this story, a father is talking to his child about love, and…I’ll let you take it from there.

It’s posted on Joseph Gordon Levitt’s site, hitRECord.org.  In other words, my fellow artists, I’m ceding this one over to you to see what you might turn it into.  I actually dig the ‘community collaborative’ element of it, and in time I imagine I’ll jump in from time to time and throw some words onto the projects of people who are looking for that.  But for now, enjoy…

http://www.hitrecord.org/records/1265788

 

Alright, it’s late Sunday night/Monday morning when this goes out, so most of you who were interested has seen The Dark Knight Rises at least once right?  Good!  If you haven’t seen it, leave now.  Friday morning I gave my midnight screening, top level, not ruining anything for any of my friends review, if you’re still reading I’m assuming you’ve seen it so this time around I’ll go into detail about exactly what I liked and didn’t care for (in no particular order…)

  • MICHAEL CAINE!!!!  You only had five or six scenes, but you put on the Daddy pants didn’t you?  A lot of it was how Alfred was written this time around, but you put on the acting boots and you had me (most of us actually) feeling it when you’re crying at Bruce Wayne’s grave.  Salute, sir!
  • Marion Cotillard: Professionally it’s certainly an asset, but between this and Inception, you might want to tell Nolan no next time he says he has a part for you.  Unless you’re not acting in these films, and you really are ‘the beautiful woman who looks like she will cut up every suit in your closet if you forget her birthday.’  If that’s who you really are, let me just go on record and say you’re my favorite part of both movies! (Please don’t hunt me down and stab me in my sleep.)
  • Knightfall is my all time favorite Batman story by far (and the Batman film I always wanted to make growing up).  So even though he again ended up being the ‘muscle’ for a femme fatale villain, I was overwhelmingly happy with the redemption of Bane as a Batman film villain.  In the end though…the sound mix still didn’t come out perfect did it?  There were still a few times where I wanted someone to say, ‘Hey Bane, you mind saying that one more time?’
  • While I’m in the fanboy bitching mood, I was cool with using the Tim Drake, excuse me, ‘John Blake’ version of Robin that White Malik played (that’s my crews nickname for Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Another time I’ll go into that nickname.)  But his explanation for figuring out Batman didn’t jibe for me, (paraphrasing…)

Robin: ‘I’m an orphan too so I know how you put on a ‘mask’ to hide your pain. You’re Batman.
What Bruce Should Have Said: Um, yeah I hide my pain because my parents were murdered in front of me.  Get out.

On the other hand, if Robin would have said…

Robin: “I became a cop because of the Batman.  I know how you and the Commissioner took down the mob by following their money.  So I used the same logic.  All the fake Batmans had their guns, but how does the real Batman have access to a military grade car like the Tumbler?  How does he have the means to go to Hong Kong off anyone’s radar and bring back a key witness?  Maybe if the Batman was really a billionaire heir to the biggest industrial company in the city?

Bruce: Get out.

I rest my case.

  • In terms of my earlier comment about too much exposition in the first act (I won’t say I originated this comment but it’s true), it REALLY makes you love Heath Ledger’s Joker again right?  Where did he come from? ‘No name, no matches on prints…nothing in his pockets but knives and lint.‘  Why is he so destructive?  “I’m like a dog chasing cars…I just DO things”   Obviously you can’t beat the chaos/anarchy theme into the ground too hard, but that Joker was iconic.
  • Fanboy nitpicking aside, the ending gets better the more I think about it.  Again, I’m not the first to say this but I agree 100%: in comic book/cartoon form, the story never ‘ends’, the Batman never ages, and his mission goes on for eternity.  In a ‘realistic’ story though, the Prince of Gotham could only be the Batman for a limited time physically (like a professional athlete’s career at best), and if he somehow survived being the Batman…hopefully he would eventually try to have the normal life that his parents, Alfred, even Rachel all wanted for him.  So sure it was a ‘Hollywood’ ending, but I think it was the right way to end the trilogy.

My generation’s Batman is complete.  Thank you Mr. Nolan.

2010 has gotten off to a crazy start, so I’m posting my Golden Globe predictions to start the week.  I doubt I’ll see any more of the films between now and Sunday, so away we go…

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Who I’d Like to Win: The Hurt Locker.  And I wouldn’t be surprised if it does win.  It all starts with the script as they say.

Who Will Probably Win: Up in the Air.  The modern day equivalent of a classic Hollywood film.  You threw in the fact that it’s more upbeat than Locker and it was directed by a (legitimately talented) Hollywood legacy kid, and all the signs of there.  That said, Tarantino is HUGE overseas and this is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, so who knows?

Best Director – Motion Picture

Who I Want to Win: Katheryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

Who Will Probably Win: Katheryn Bigelow.  This is one of those categories where every nominee is legitimate, but I think the Globes will set the stage for a female director to walk away with the top prize.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Motion Picture

Who I Want to Win: Matt Damon in the upset. 

Who Will Probably Win: Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds.  This is the scene stealer category.  Not much more to add.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role – Motion Picture

Who I Want to Win: Mo’Nique.

Who Will Probably Win:  As cynical as I am, I think the two ladies from Up in the Air will split the vote and Mo’Nique will actually win this category.

Best Actor – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical

Who I Want to Win: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 500 Days of Summer.  If I could have played any role in a movie I saw in the past 12 months, this would have been it.  I admit I’m jealous.

Who Will Probably Win:  Man, I could make a strong case for every nominee here.  I really don’t know so I’ll go with Gordon-Levitt.

Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical

Who I Want to Win: Meryl Streep – It’s Complicated.

Who Will Probably Win:  Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia Yeah I know I’m cheating a bit here, but…it’s Meryl Streep.

Best Actress – Motion Picture – Drama

Who I Want to Win: Gabourey Sidibe, Precious.  Now the cynicism kicks in – it ain’t gonna happen.  But giving the sister her due.

Who Will Probably Win:  Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side.  Accuse me of being biased since she was by far one of the most down to earth actresses I’ve met (on her level), but I think Blind Side mania gets its coup de gras with a victory here.

Best Actor – Drama

Who I Want to Win: George Clooney, Up in the Air.  You know, as I write this entry I’m starting to recognize how much personal biases really do shape who wins awards in this town.  Ah, got to love Hollywood politics…

Who Will Probably Win: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart.  I think this is this year’s ‘Mickey Rourke Special’ where a guy who’s been around forever gets some overdue love from his peers.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Who I Want to Win: 500 Days of Summer. If for no other reason than the Hall & Oates dance sequence.  Damn you, Joseph Gordon-Levitt…

Who Will Probably Win: The Hangover.  Time will tell if this film is as transcendent as the comedies that came before it, but it was certainly the crowd pleaser of the year.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Who I Want to Win: Up in the Air.  One more admission of bias: Clooney’s the star, they shot in the Midwest, and guys I’ve worked with worked on this film.

Who Will Probably Win:  The Hurt Locker.  And I won’t be remotely upset of it does win.  The most ‘powerful’ film of last year in my opinion.

One last note, Ricky Gervais is the host.  I’m in the cult of people who love his sense of humor; if you’re unfamiliar with his work (creator of The Office and Extras, two shows I love), the Globes is probably the perfect opportunity to see if he’s your cup of tea or not.

Later,

M

500 Days of Summer

 

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The best movie I think I’ve seen so far this year was The Hurt Locker.  The most entertaining movie I think I’ve seen was 500 Days of Summer.  As the poster, the trailer, and the prologue all indicate, this isn’t a typical romantic comedy.  ‘The Guy’ in this one (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) believes in true love and finding the One.  ‘The Girl’ (Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel) is much more free spirited, and not into the relationship game as much.  The guy is a little on the simp side for my tastes, but that’s the nature of the story that’s being told.  (Although I’ve already had a fun conversation with one of my buddies about how long you let your homie get strung along by some girl who’s not into him as much as he’s into her.  My answer: it’s a movie, you kind of roll with it.) 

The brilliance of this film to me is in the structure of how the story is told.  Mostly non-linear, there’s a series of devices used to keep the story popping.  One involves one of my top ten favorite songs ever (check out the trailer for a hint), there’s a sequence that plays to the film snob in me, split-screen is used really, really well in this movie.  Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest doing so. 

Oh, one last note.  My favorite cutie from Friday Night Lights, Minka Kelly is billed as a co-star in the film.  I won’t ruin her part for you, but I’ll say if that was a ‘co-starring’ role, I’m closer to getting my name on the marquee on a regular basis than I thought!