Category Archives: Film

Greg Pak on Happy Fun Room

Super Sammy (Cindy Cheung) gets serious in the Happy Fun Room (Photo by Sam Chase)
Super Sammy (Cindy Cheung) gets serious in the Happy Fun Room (Photo by Sam Chase)

Long before Greg Pak became known for his comics, he was a successful film director and screenwriter. He recently released a brand new short film, Happy Fun Room, which can be viewed on YouTube (as part of the storyworld). Pak happily indulged my curiosity to email him a slew of questions for him to answer regarding this latest project. Enjoy.

Tim O’Shea: In what ways do you feel more confident as a short film writer and director with Happy Fun Room, as say compared to your 2011 effort, Mister Green?

Greg Pak: That’s an interesting question. A number of smart people have said that directing is basically deciding. A director has to make dozens of decisions every day in order for everyone else working on the film to be able to do their jobs. If a director can’t decide, everything grinds to a halt and the film eventually falls apart.

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Mark Fertig on Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters

Once one learns that film scholar/blogger Mark Fertig has authored Film Noir 101: The 101 Best Film Noir Posters, a new Fantagraphics coffee table book, there is only one logical option. Interview him about it. Enjoy Fertig discuss the book and much more about film noir. I wish all my interviews were this content rich. Speaking of content, when discussing certain films, Fertig was kind enough to share links to his blog, Where Danger Lives, please be sure to click on all the links for even more great reading.

Tim O’Shea: You dedicated the book to your late mother. Did she live long enough to know you became a film scholar?

Mark Fertig: Unfortunately my mom passed away when I was still in my twenties; at the time I was slogging it out as an adjunct graphic design professor. However she remains the driving force behind my interest in classic films. Anyone who has ever cultivated a passion for old movies can tell you that it’s difficult to find others out there with the same interests. For me, that person was my mother. We spent countless hours watching dusty VHS tapes and discussing everyone from Alan Ladd to Zasu Pitts. Remember Mia Farrow in those last few moments of The Purple Rose of Cairo? That was my mom.

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Erin Carlson on New York Romantic Comedy Film Site Tours

Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in 1960's The Apartment
Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in 1960’s The Apartment

I recently discovered that entertainment writers Jennifer Armstrong and Erin Carlson will be offering fall tours of romantic comedy film sites in New York’s Upper West Side. The prospect of seeing where Billy Wilder filmed some of The Apartment intrigued me, so Armstrong (who I recently interviewed) put me in touch with Carlson to discuss the tours. Slots are still open for the first tour on Sunday, September 8, and they are a true bargain at only $35 per person.

Tim O’Shea: When did you and Jennifer realize you were interested in offering these romcom location tours?

Erin Carlson: SideTour first reached out to Jen about leading a tour based on one of her pop-culture books, but after a lengthy Facebook conversation about the amazingness of You’ve Got Mail, she pitched me the idea of an 80s/90s romcom-themed jaunt through Nora Ephron’s Upper West Side. I said yes immediately.

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Documentaries To Haunt You: From One Second to the Next

Apparently AT&T hired Werner Herzog to documentary about the dangers of texting and driving, available on YouTube, called From One Second to Next. Not surprisingly, the film legend does a damn good job with it, taking four stories ranging from the perspective of victims and those texting. It is haunting, just as described by the Slate post that made me aware of it.

I am guilty of checking email as I drive, I will admit that. I need to stop because my luck is going to run out someday. I could have been in this documentary.

A Great Interview Snippet from a 2009 Michael Caine Interview

Thanks to my brother and my wife for making me aware of this 2009 New York magazine interview with Michael Caine. Here’s a great snippet.

Right after I got there, I was staying in the Beverly Hills Hotel. I saw John Wayne in the lobby, and I was gawking at him. He said, “What’s your name?” He’d just seen Alfie. Wayne became a friend. He gave me advice, like: “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too fucking much,” and “Never wear suede shoes, because one day, Michael, you’ll be taking a piss, and the guy next to you will recognize you, and he’ll turn toward you and say, ‘Michael Caine!’ and piss all over your shoes.” I couldn’t make this shit up.

Dean Haspiel Shares His Parents

James Haspiel (From CulturePOP)

Dean Haspiel is a great writer and artist. I have thought that for years. But the foundation of this great storytelling partially lies his mother and father, as revealed back in January via interviews and articles recently posted at Trip City.

First up, Barbara Haspiel, in her own words.

Then, photojournalist Seth Kushner documented James Haspiel in an installment of CulturePOP.

Finally, Dean interviewed his father in this TripCity podcast.


Why I Treasure Obituaries: The Insights They Offer

From the New York Times obituary for Bruce Surtees, Oscar-Nominated Cinematographer (and frequent Clint Eastwood collaborator).

Mr. Surtees, who lived in Carmel, was also the cinematographer for “White Dog,” Samuel Fuller’s controversial film about a dog trained to attack black people. Made in 1982, it was not officially released — on DVD — until 2008 because of the studio’s fears that it was inflammatory. (The film, which stars Kristy McNichol, Paul Winfield and Burl Ives, is ardently anti-racist.)

And yeah, I am not going to lie–I am utterly fascinated in a pop culture sense that McNichol and Ives made a film together.

Actor Terence Bernie Hines on A Thousand Words, Rushlights

Article first published as Actor Terence Bernie Hines on A Thousand Words, Rushlights on Technorati.

Terence Bernie Hines

The next two months are going to be quite busy for actor Terence Bernie Hines. First up, on March 9, A Thousand Words, a comedy-drama Eddie Murphy film will open, featuring Hines among the supporting cast. Then, in April, Rushlights, a murder-mystery movie with a cast featuring Beau Bridges–and including Hines as well–will be released. In anticipation of these two new films, Hines was kind enough to entertain a series of questions in an email interview about the creative process in both projects.

In your next film, A Thousand Words, you are part of a cast that includes Eddie Murphy, Allison Janney, and Jack McBrayer. How did you land the role–and who are most of your scenes with?

I auditioned for the part and was initially cast in a different role; but when I met with the director Brian Robbins on set, he felt I would better fit the role as a friend of Eddie’s in his office. So everything I do is with Eddie – and we definitely had fun!

What were some of the benefits of getting to work with a director like Brian Robbins?

Brian has been in the business since he was a kid and has done literally hundreds of shows as an actor, producer or director, so he has a great sensibility for working with actors. And when he sees something that works, he just lets you go with it, which is always nice.

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