Movies & TV

Like most people in the civilized world, I enjoy a good picture show.

I’ve developed my own likes and dislikes about movies and TV, so I thought I would put together my opinions to make it easier for everyone to sort through. Most of the reviews I’ve done through the years are “micro-review” format, a line or two of reaction. Who needs to go through an in-depth commentary just to decide to watch something? However, in some rare cases I have put a lot more words together that may or may not make sense to you. Please enjoy.

Below you’ll find stuff that’s been tagged as relevant to TV or movies, some of my own reviews and possibly links to other things.

Peter Drunklage? No Relation.

Our very own Peter Dinklage appeared on a Saturday Night Live sketch on April 6th during the Weekend Update segment. During an interview with Drunk Uncle (a recurring SNL character) on the state of taxes, we see Drunk Uncle’s brother-in-law, Peter Drunklage, who shares a similar proclivity to alcohol consumption and political ranting, especially against immigrants.

Judging from various commentators over the internet, some think that Peter Drunklage reflects Peter Dinklage’s views on taxes, immigration, and the Republican party. The first rule of surviving the intellectual decline in a post-literate society is to never read comments on any news article or YouTube video. I can’t speak for Mr. Dinklage’s personal political views, but I would hope that most SNL viewers, at least, would understand the level of satire that goes on in each sketch. So before assuming that Peter Dinklage is showing his support for either the GOP or chronic alcoholism, just remember 1) he’s an actor and 2) it’s SNL.

In other news, great to see Peter Dinklage on SNL! Many folks are clamoring for him to get to host the show. One day…

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Just an Evening?! with Game of Thrones

Behind the scenes with the Emmy’s, aired March 3, 2013 live on Emmys.com. Featuring the man himself, George RR Martin, producers Benioff & Weiss, actors Peter Dinklage, Maisie Williams and many other folks of HBO’s Game of Thrones. The 90-minute footage includes some great interaction between the cast and interviews with many of the major stars of this hit show.

An Evening with Game of Thrones

GoT Season 3 airs in just a few hours!

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Peter Dinklage talks Nerd Glaze, Game of Thrones & more

Peter Dinklage interview on The Daily Show. The phrase “nerd glaze” is coined to describe the obsession and after-effect of marathon watching Game of Thrones.

They also talk about his role in the 52nd Street Project production, STAND BY ME, The Reliable Plays. Peter Dinklage joins other actors to perform plays written by kids. Tickets are no longer available, but the Project has other events throughout the Summer.

Don’t forget to check out Season 3 of HBO’s Game of Thrones, which airs TONIGHT!

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2012 Holiday Gifts Roundup: Game of Thrones, Season 1

Watch it again, for the first time. Or something. Get Game of Thrones, Season One, on five discs with your choice of Blu-Ray or DVD.

The first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones was groundbreaking entertainment which scored a slew of Emmys for the cable company. Based on George RR Martin’s acclaimed fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire, the TV show has been able to capture the essence of the book in an adaptation that works on screen. A few details, both big and small (depending on how obsessed you are with the book version), are changed to keep viewers engaged with the plot and characters. But if you’re reading this – you know all about it!

Sadly, these newer discs probably won’t have the original footage of Ned’s severed head, which was based on a model of George W Bush that HBO had previously used for another production. However, you can see pictures of it on the interwebs.

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Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones

Starting this week, a new book dedicated to the making of the TV show Game of Thrones will reveal the inside scoop on how our favorite show of all time came to be. Before you rush out to your local bookstore, however, take a look at the HBO Store. They’re offering some exlusive material in The Collector’s Edition Box Set that ships in November.

Replete with maps, illustrations, storyboards, on-set photos, interviews and more, the hardcover book includes a forward by THE MAN HIMSELF, George R. R. Martin! The Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones book and additional materials are housed in a gold foil stamped box to make an exquisite box set. Get costume designs, histories and family trees with a look at the Dothraki language.


Can’t stand the wait? You can buy just the book (hardcover or Kindle edition) Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones
over at Amazon.

Still not convinced? Check out this video preview!

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Waiting for the Emmys Tonight

If you haven’t heard the news before, I’ll speak slooowly so you don’t miss it.

The Emmy Awards are TONIGHT and Peter Dinklage is again nominated for Best Supporting Actor. I’m a bit perplexed, but I’ll get to that in a sec. Game of Thrones is also nominated for Best Drama. The big quandary in my gut is that it’s going up against Breaking Bad, my newest favoritest show. Odds are against GoT winning, but I’m gonna have to pull for it to win in the name of GRRM, D&D, Peter Dinklage and the rest of the outstanding cast. Michelle Fairley, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Alfie Allen, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Kit Harington, and Richard Madden were also nominated but didn’t make the Emmys short list.

Game of Thrones has already won ten billion awards (actually 6 which is just as impressive) at the Creative Arts Emmys that happened last Sunday.

So if you’ve been wondering, like I was, about why Peter Dinklage was only nominated as Best Supporting Actor instead of BEST ACTOR, it turns out it was a decision of HBO to nominate actors for only supporting roles, to avoid calling anyone out as top billing. However, we all know the truth. Tyrion is, in fact, the main character of A Song of Ice and Fire; therefore, we know he’s the main character of Game of Thrones. We let Ned take the limelight last year because we knew it was going to just FREAK OUT the newbies for him to get the axe. So while I’m a little bit sad that he won’t be winning his well-earned award, I think it’s a cool thing for HBO to do this time. Next time, really let him win. His name’s already first in the opening credits.

Since people don’t often win Best Supporting Actor for the same role two years running, I’m not sure if Peter Dinklage will win this year. He’s up against both Jesse and Gus from Breaking Bad!

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Game of Thrones Renwed for Third Season!

Looks like Game of Thrones has been renewed for Season 3! HBO has put in its order for 10 more episodes. Some unbelievers and doubters were sweating it up, as many expected the renewal to come immediately following this year’s season premier on April 1st.

George R R Martin will be writing an episode once more, tentatively titled “Autumn Storms”, the seventh episode of the season.

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Phoenix Film Festival Winners

After 7 days of intense movie-going, it feels strange to not be in a theater. The 2012 Phoenix Film Festival was a ton of fun, and I’m definitely going back next year. That much awesomeness should not be missed!

Let me recap the experience before I unleash a series of micro-reviews on each event. 28 events is a lot to critique! Friday through Sunday were marathon days, 8-15 hours each day. Monday through Thursday was less intense, but it still seemed like a job – an enjoyable one, no doubt. But alas, it’s over now and it’s back to the grind of a real job and now… the writeups. It is a bit daunting, but I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.

Harkins Scottsdale 101 was the location, and it was really a great venue. I ended up buying a Loyalty Shirt, entitling me to a free popcorn at each movie. Popcorn became a meal replacement every day. The flavored powders helped… The Cine Capri hosted several feature films and seeing movies on the big screen never disappoints. Lots of local sponsors gave out swag and hosted events. Chipotle represented with recycle bags made from billboards – pretty sweet. They also handed out free burrito vouchers during the screening of “Fresh”. Independent Feature Project: Phoenix (aka IFP Phoenix) hosted a bunch of educational features for kids and teens as well as wrangled some film makers & their crew into doing some seminars. The biggest impact on me was hearing everyone discuss their experiences in working with their teams. Teamwork is essential, and assembling a great crew is no easy task. However, more people are involved in indie film work, with skilled and talented folks popping up everywhere. Don’t overlook the next film geniuses!

And now, the winners.

Shorts Winners

Secret Identity – Best Sci-Fi Short Film
Brutal Relax – Best Horror Short Film
La Media Pena – World Cinema Short Film
Trolley – Best Grade/HS Short Film
The Life Smugglers – Best College Short Film
Parallax – Best Arizona Short Film
Sacred Poison – Best Documentary Short Film
Play By Play – Best Live Action Short Film
Masks – Best Animated Short Film

Feature Film Winners

Pig – Best Sci-Fi Feature Film
It’s In The Blood – Best Horror Feature Film
Wolves Unleashed – World Cinema Documentary
Ruggero Dipaola, Apartment in Athens – World Cinema Director
Apartment in Athens – World Cinema Best Picture
Lidice – World Cinema Audience Award Winner

And the Phoenix Film Festival special awards, handed out Sunday night with the winners above, which determined what films were shown during the rest of the week. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see all the winners, but expect a review of most in the coming weeks.

PFF 2012 Film Awards

Gary King, How Do You Write A Joe Schermann Song – Dan Harkins Breakthrough Filmmaker Award
We Run Sh*t – Best Documentary
Searching for Sonny – Best Ensemble
Kurt Kuenne, Shuffle – Best Director
Andrew Disney, Searching for Sonny – Best Screenwriting
How Do You Write A Joe Schermann Song – Cox Audience Award
Shuffle – Best Picture

Foundation Awards

Diane Dresback (of Mindclover Productions, whom we wrote about at Comicon last year) – Arizona Filmmaker of the Year
Tiffany Hutson – PFF Volunteer of the Year
Lori Alderfer – PFF Board Member of the Year

Congratulations to all the winners and everyone else who make and support independent films!

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PFF Documentary Shorts

We kicked off our time at the Phoenix Film Festival with their Documentary Shorts presentation. It’s always a gamble with shorts, but I love seeing them. If they’re bad, they’re over quickly and if they’re good, you are getting a bunch of them! I like experiencing the work of many talented artists, but sometimes it can be a chore sifting through them for the diamond in the rough. So throughout the Festival I’ve opted to see shorts in most cases unless it conflicts with a feature I REALLY want to see – which was many, write-ups to come in the next few days as I find time between screenings.

The Documentary Shorts features four powerful narratives showcasing the lives of real people and places. The 2012 lineup includes: Kaziah the Goat Woman, Sacred Poison, Randy Parsons: American Luthier, and My Caddy Won’t Let Me, four very professionally done short documentaries.

Kaziah the Goat Woman

2008. Directed by Amy Duzinski Janes. 40 minutes.

Kaziah the Goat Woman features artist and polygamy escapee Kaziah Hancock. Born on the prairie, she owes her life to the goat that nursed her when her mother could not, and has spent her life being a caretaker and protector of these ruminants on her Utah ranch. Her heart goes out not only to the goats and chickens in her life, but also her fellow humans, especially the families of fallen soldiers. Kaziah paints the portraits, for free, of service members killed in action as a show of support to their loved ones. Her organization, Project Compassion has painted over 3,500 portraits, over 950 painted by Kaziah herself.

The documentary features interviews of Kaziah telling her story of life, love and death in Utah, and tags along in her daily life. Throughout the film, we see her paint, start to finish, a portrait of a fallen soldier based off a photograph sent by the family.

Kaziah the Goat Woman is a moving piece that gets into the mind and motivation of a very strong and spirited artist.

Sacred Poison

2011. Directed by Yvonne Latty. 30 minutes.

Sacred Poison is a documentary outlining the problems of uranium mining and the lack of awareness about unsafe drinking water within the lands of the Navajo (Dine’) people. Uranium was mined until the 80s and 90s with no concern about contamination or health risks. Sadly, many families lost children to uranium poisoning, as they collected the “pretty rocks” for display in their homes. Arsenic is another contaminant in the water (natural and via mining, coal burning and other human activities), and likely contributed to the ill health of one of the people filmed who suffered from thyroid tumors and other complications.

The director Yvonne Latty was in attendance at the screening and was asked how things were doing currently, as the documentary was filmed over several years. She mentioned that not much has changed for the people there.

Please visit The Forgotten People for more information on how you can help the Dine’ people secure safe drinking water.

Sacred Poison won Best Documentary Short Film at the Phoenix Film Festival!

Randy Parsons: American Luthier

2011. Directed by David Aldrich. 8 minutes.

Randy Parsons: American Luthier is a great short documentary focusing on the craftsmanship and skills of guitar maker Randy Parsons as he works on some unique yet functioning instruments. A luthier is someone who creates lutes and other stringed instruments, and this guy does so with traditional wood, glue and… skulls. Inside each guitar he builds are animal skulls to add an artistic and bizarre touch to his work.

The director David Aldrich was in attendance and we spoke to him for a bit. The scorpion embedded in the guitar was packaged for human consumption, so Parsons did not buy a live one for his work. He mentioned that the guitars aren’t all outrageously expensive for hand-crafted instruments. Check out Randy Parsons’ works of art. The skulls aren’t visible on the outside, more like a joke on guitair repairmen, his fellow luthiers.

My Caddy Won’t Let Me

2011. Directed by David Urbanic. 34 minutes.

A novel approach to a rock documentary includes musician, Noah Engh, touring his one-man-band show in a 1972 Cadillac. When the ride unsurprisingly breaks down 2 hours into the trek, Noah continues, doggedly, in more reliable transport. However, it is a sign of things to come as he travels to each booking: broke, but with enough booze to get him through each night. The film is funny yet full of the realities of being a “DIY” independent musician/agent/promoter/event planner/chauffeur.

Noah Engh is a talented individual who understands the risks involved with his profession. He makes a great film subject and My Caddy Won’t Let Me is a must-see for anyone interested in the anticlimactic glamour of a musician’s life on the road.

Director David Urbanic was in attendance and said that Noah Engh has since moved on to other projects outside of the one-man-band tour. Check out the trailer below to get a taste of what Urbanic’s rockumentary has to offer.

“My Caddy Won’t Let Me” film trailer from David Urbanic on Vimeo.

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Dinklage Update: March 2012

I know I’ve fallen down on the job of reporting the latest news involving Peter Dinklage, but I am ready to pay my penance and return as your diligent Dinklage detail discoverer.

Especially since Game of Thrones returns THIS SUNDAY NIGHT.

Back to the latest breaking Dinklage news…

A Little Bit of Heaven, a film we’ve been waiting on for forever here in the US, will finally be released in theaters on May 4th, after bouncing around Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East… everywhere but here since early 2011. Want to see it at home before then? You can buy it from iTunes on April 3rd – next week!

Not gonna lie – I’m no fan of the rom-com, and am only going to see this for A Little Bit of Dinklage.

But wait – there’s more!

Remember Penelope? And how Dinklage nailed the role of Lemon? Well, Mark Palansky is taking two from that show’s cast and making a new movie, starring Peter Dinklage and Catherine O’Hara (Penelope, SCTV) titled Rememory. Not much has been released on the sci-fi like plot, but stuff happens and there will be a thing, I’m sure. Filming for Rememory starts in May. So prepare yourselves for another neat movie from these folks.

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