Best of 2012: 3 films by foreign directors you didn’t see… but should have

Gareth Evans. director of 'The Raid: Redemption'
Gareth Evans. director of ‘The Raid: Redemption’

1. The Raid: Redemption
Written and directed by Gareth Evans
Starring: Iko Uwais, Doni Alamsyah, Joe Taslim, Yayan Ruhian
Welsh-born Gareth Evans brings one of the best-directed action/crime/martial arts movies of all time in his third film. The story itself is simple: A team of special force police officers in Jakarta are sent to a building to arrest the crime lord that owns it and rents apartments out to the seediest criminals in town. Once inside, the team is detected and the crime lord makes an offer over the building’s intercom — anyone that can kill the cops gets free rent for life. What follows is an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride between good guys and bad guys featuring fast-paced Pencak Silat-style fight scenes. The story offers a few unexpected twists and turns, but it’s the level of danger and remarkable fight choreography that leaves you breathless.

Read moreBest of 2012: 3 films by foreign directors you didn’t see… but should have

‘The Wrecking Crew’ is a must-see documentary about the musicians you never knew existed

'The Wrecking Crew' is making the festival rounds and is worth checking out
‘The Wrecking Crew’ is making the festival rounds and is worth checking out

Director: Denny Tedesco
Produced by: Denny Tedesco, Suzie Greene-Tedesco, Damon Tedesco, Jon Leonoudakis, Mitchell Linden, and Claire Scanlon

If you’ve never heard of a documentary called The Wrecking Crew, I’m not surprised. Even though the film has won 10 film festivals including four Audience Awards, and been an official selection in at least 28 others all over the world, if you weren’t at one of those festivals you probably don’t know it exists.

Read more‘The Wrecking Crew’ is a must-see documentary about the musicians you never knew existed

Top Ten Producer Notes that Make Screenwriters Want to Slit Their Wrists

Producer notes can drive writers mad
Producer notes can drive writers mad

1. “We like it, we just don’t think we can sell it.” Translation, they don’t like it. We won’t really tell you what we do like, but please go away and spend the next three weeks of your life writing something else to show us that we may hate just as much

2. “It needs more edge.” Translation… We’re not sure what we don’t like about it. Just see what you can do to make it into something we might like better.

Read moreTop Ten Producer Notes that Make Screenwriters Want to Slit Their Wrists

Wanna be a Film or TV Writer

Tell me if this is you…

Night after night, you lounge in front of your HDTV, your fingertip bruised from pressing the guide button on your remote, watching hours of second-rate programs and thinking, “Are you kidding?! I could do better than that…”

Then one day, it dawns on you: “Hey! I could be a screenwriter! I could quit my job at the Gap, hang out at coffee shops all day with Final Draft installed on my laptop, and take a break from my iced soy vanilla mocha-latte-chinos just long enough to walk to my mailbox and pick up six figure checks for residuals and bonuses.” And so, with visions of Oscar nominations and unlimited free time floating about in your head, you sit down and write a screenplay.

So far, so good… then what?

Read moreWanna be a Film or TV Writer

Chris Evans shines as the all-American hero in ‘Cellular’

Chris Evans in 'Cellular'
Chris Evans in ‘Cellular’

[rating=3]Starring: Chris Evans, Kim Basinger, William H. Macy, Jason Statham, Richard Burgi
Director(s): David R. Ellis
Writer(s): Screenplay by Chris Morgan; Story by Larry Cohen

Chris Evans (Not Another Teen Movie) plays a reluctant hero who altruistically does everything he can to save a woman and her son from kidnappers after he receives her call for help on his cell phone — the only number she could get through to on a broken landline.

Read moreChris Evans shines as the all-American hero in ‘Cellular’

Nearly 30 years after ‘Jaws,’ ‘Open Water’ gives us a new reason to stay out of the water

Blanchard Ryan (left) and Daniel Travis struggle to keep their heads above water in 'Open Water'
Blanchard Ryan (left) and Daniel Travis struggle to keep their heads above water in ‘Open Water’

[rating=4]Starring: Blanchard Ryan, Daniel Travis, Saul Stein, Estelle Lau, Jon-Damon Charles
Director(s): Chris Kentis
Writer(s): Chris Kentis

Writer/director Chris Kentis makes a splash with his second film, a low-budge thriller about a couple left stranded in shark-infested waters when their diveboat inadvertently heads back to shore without them.

Read moreNearly 30 years after ‘Jaws,’ ‘Open Water’ gives us a new reason to stay out of the water