Saturday Morning Random Thoughts…December 20th. (Message to Kim Jung Un…I’ll be the first in line to go see The Interview.)

© Chuck Duboff

– This kind of weather makes a Winnipeg winter a lot easier to handle.

– Saw the movie Whiplash yesterday…one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long, long time.

Whiplash-5547.cr2

– A very special thanks to the Winnipeg Jets for putting on the Skills Competition; what a joy it was to see the players having so much fun on the ice and more importantly, to see the wide eyed excitement of Ben and Laine (not to mention Mickey and Chuck feeling like little kids watching their sports heroes). The second picture is Laine right beside the Jets bench.

skills comp pic

Laine at Jets Bench

– So, we are now going to follow the dictates of a weasel in North Korea…telling us what movies and shows we can and can not watch. If Kim Jung Un decided that he didn’t like the values portrayed in the new Hobbit movie…and then states that unless we pull that movie from theatres, a 9/11 style attack on movie theatres will happen…are we going to give up our freedoms, our freedom of speech to listen to an asshole like this. I would be the first in line to go and see The Interview and simply say: in your face you little dweeb!!!

The-Interview-poster

– And what would Adolph Hitler have done with shows like Hogans’s Heroes and movies like The Great Dictator:

Hogan's Heroes

The Great Dictator

– So the United States is going to open relations with Cuba; duh, ya think!!! The Americans have relations with China which is one of the worst human rights abusers in the world. How long now before the States goes into Cuba and once again destroys all that is beautiful about that country? Are there human rights abuses in Cuba? Absolutely. Just as there are human rights abuses in the United States and Canada. Americans will go back into Cuba, build hotels, gambling emporiums, and undo the best health care and education systems in the world. Will the people have their freedoms or will this just be an opportunity for Americans to capitalize on a beautiful island? I think the latter!

habana

– In all my years of watching hockey, I have never seen anything like what the Jets are experiencing…losing their top four defence men…and not just for a few games, but for an extended period of time. Great pickup by Chevy, getting a veteran d-man to plug one of the gaping holes. It will be amazing if the Jets can hang onto a playoff spot until Bogo, Enstrom, Trouba and Stuart get back. All credit to Paul Maurice…two big wins this week with a depleted lineup.

– Where would the Winnipeg Jets be without Big #33 DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN?

Big Buff33

– Sometimes in life there are people you have to say good bye to, because they are nothing more than a drain on your happiness and good will. You know who you are.

– I think Theresa Oswald is the only hope the NDP has of holding off Brian Pallister and his Gary Filmon politics!!

The Other Woman reviewed…The lawyer, the boobs and the wife!!

 

 

©Chuck Duboff

Say what you will about this rather predictable movie, and the daggers are certainly out…but at $26 million dollars in revenue, The Other Woman was the top drawing movie over this past weekend.

Shakespeare it’s not; Scorsese it’s certainly not.  This is a simple, cliched attempt at a story that’s been told hundreds of times.  An aging Cameron Diaz is cheating with the husband of Leslie Mann; the two women become friends and then find out that Kate Upton is cheating with the same man.  They confront him and, bada bing, bada bang, he’s toast…and that’s it folks.  There’s your simple, cliched plot.

However, this comedy is saved from total boredom by some fine acting by Leslie Mann; she really does shine in her comedic role and helps to bring some laughter to this screwball endeavour.  There is obvious chemistry in her on screen scenes with Diaz, who continues to use her long legs and short skirts to divert the attention in her movies.  Sadly, Kate Upton, along with her expected bouncy run on the beach, detracts from the talents of both Mann and Diaz.  It is difficult to tell if Upton is acting or is truly as ditzy as she comes across.  The same can be said for the sleazy cheater, Mark; actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau emulates Upton in his plastic and one dimensional acting.  Finally, somebody please tell me: Is Nicki Minaj a cartoon character?  Seriously, what possible reason would there be for her to be in this movie? All of the cast, directors and producers should thank Leslie Mann for bringing a few moments of laughter to this film.

Kate Upton, Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann in The Other Woman

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Now, that being said…this was the top grossing movie at the theatres this past weekend.  Give the people what they want, familiar plot, lots of eye candy and nothing to think about, and your studio will make lots of money.

Some of my all-time favourite movies; your thoughts? your list?


© Chuck Duboff

These are some of my all time favourite movies; from great baseball movies like Field of Dreams, The Natural, Bull Durham and Moneyball, to the violence of Scarface and Taxi Driver, the fun of Annie Hall and When Harry Met Sally, classic comedies like Planes, Trains and Automobiles and High Fidelity to the painful beauty of Elegy; this is not ranked in any special order, just some of the movies that have always stayed with me.  What movies are on your list?

 

  • High Fidelity
  • Pulp Fiction
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Taxi Driver
  • All the President’s Men
  • The Big Lebowski

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  • The English Patient
  • The Usual Suspects
  • The Sting
  • Field of Dreams
  • The Spanish Prisoner
  • All the President’s Men
  • The Great Escape
  • Groundhog Day
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Annie Hall

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  • The Natural
  • Bull Durham
  • Moneyball
  • Scent of a Woman
  • Elegy

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  • The Shining
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Enemy
  • Rudy 
  • Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh)
  • Scarface

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My tribute to Rubin “Hurricane” Carter

©Chuck Duboff

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Rubin Hurricane Carter was falsely accused of murder, all based on racial prejudice.  In 1984, following some hard, diligent work by a Canadian family,  the court overturned the ruling, stating it was racially motivated.  The lyrics to Dylan’s “Hurricane” tell the story of Rubin Hurricane Carter so very well.  I used the song in class a lot to teach the students the evils of racism.  Take a few minutes to get to know this man who passed away yesterday at 76 years old.  

Carter and Dylan

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Film…Hurricane

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPIgb9k3cUo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNAXkGt7rFA

 

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Dylan’s Song:  Hurricane

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr8Wn1Mwwwk

BOB DYLAN 

 “Hurricane”

Pistols shots ring out in the barroom night

Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall

She sees the bartender in a pool of blood

Cries out “My God they killed them all”

Here comes the story of the Hurricane

The man the authorities came to blame

For something that he never done

Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been

The champion of the world.

 

Three bodies lying there does Patty see

And another man named Bello moving around mysteriously

“I didn’t do it” he says and he throws up his hands

“I was only robbing the register I hope you understand

I saw them leaving” he says and he stops

“One of us had better call up the cops”

And so Patty calls the cops

And they arrive on the scene with their red lights flashing

In the hot New Jersey night.

 

Meanwhile far away in another part of town

Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are driving around

Number one contender for the middleweight crown

Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down

When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road

Just like the time before and the time before that

In Patterson that’s just the way things go

If you’re black you might as well not shown up on the street

‘Less you wanna draw the heat.

 

Alfred Bello had a partner and he had a rap for the corps

Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prowling around

He said “I saw two men running out they looked like middleweights

They jumped into a white car with out-of-state plates”

And Miss Patty Valentine just nodded her head

Cop said “Wait a minute boys this one’s not dead”

So they took him to the infirmary

And though this man could hardly see

They told him that he could identify the guilty men.

 

Four in the morning and they haul Rubin in

Take him to the hospital and they bring him upstairs

The wounded man looks up through his one dying eye

Says “Wha’d you bring him in here for ? He ain’t the guy !”

Yes here comes the story of the Hurricane

The man the authorities came to blame

For something that he never done

Put in a prison cell but one time he could-a been

The champion of the world.

 

Four months later the ghettos are in flame

Rubin’s in South America fighting for his name

While Arthur Dexter Bradley’s still in the robbery game

And the cops are putting the screws to him looking for somebody to blame

“Remember that murder that happened in a bar ?”

“Remember you said you saw the getaway car?”

“You think you’d like to play ball with the law ?”

“Think it might-a been that fighter you saw running that night ?”

“Don’t forget that you are white”.

 

Arthur Dexter Bradley said “I’m really not sure”

Cops said “A boy like you could use a break

We got you for the motel job and we’re talking to your friend Bello

Now you don’t wanta have to go back to jail be a nice fellow

You’ll be doing society a favor

That sonofabitch is brave and getting braver

We want to put his ass in stir

We want to pin this triple murder on him

He ain’t no Gentleman Jim”.

 

Rubin could take a man out with just one punch

But he never did like to talk about it all that much

It’s my work he’d say and I do it for pay

And when it’s over I’d just as soon go on my way

Up to some paradise

Where the trout streams flow and the air is nice

And ride a horse along a trail

But then they took him to the jailhouse

Where they try to turn a man into a mouse.

 

All of Rubin’s cards were marked in advance

The trial was a pig-circus he never had a chance

The judge made Rubin’s witnesses drunkards from the slums

To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum

And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger

No one doubted that he pulled the trigger

And though they could not produce the gun

The DA said he was the one who did the deed

And the all-white jury agreed.

 

Rubin Carter was falsely tried

The crime was murder ‘one’ guess who testified

Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied

And the newspapers they all went along for the ride

How can the life of such a man

Be in the palm of some fool’s hand ? 

To see him obviously framed

Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land 

Where justice is a game.

 

Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties

Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise

While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cell

An innocent man in a living hell

That’s the story of the Hurricane

But it won’t be over till they clear his name

And give him back the time he’s done

Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been

The champion of the world.

Movie Review: Draft Day

 

 ©Chuck Duboff

Field of Football Dreams

Kevin Costner, as Sonny Weaver Jr., is the strength behind the quite predictable, yet very entertaining movie, Draft Day.  For any serious fan of the NFL, much of what happens on the big screen is quite obvious, but much like his other sports movies, Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, Tin Cup and For the Love of the Game, it is Costner’s everyman feeling, that actually brings intrigue to this film.

Sonny Weaver Jr. is the general manager of the beleaguered Cleveland Browns franchise; he had to fire his own father, who was coach of the team, in order to publicly put his own stamp on the team.  He has the opportunity to make some major trades, which would allow him to move up to the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft, and select the sure fire QB, who would turn his franchise around.  He is presented with many challenges; draft the player his gut tells him to, select the hometown star running back or make the big trade to draft the All-American, sure fire, QB.  Costner, much like his Ray Kinsella and Crash Davis characters, embraces these challenges and grabs hold of the audience.  While mulling over these decisions, Weaver must deal with the overbearing owner, Anthony Molina, (played perfectly by Frank Langella) and his salary cap expert girlfriend, Ali (played by Jennifer Garner), who informs Sonny that she is pregnant.  The passing away of his much beloved father, the previous coach of the Browns, adds one more layer to Weaver’s challenging situation.

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Much like other so called sports movies, this is more a story about believing in yourself and facing the challenges which are presented to you.  Sonny Weaver must stick to what he believes in; much like Billy Beane in Moneyball, Roy Hobbs in the Natural and Ray Kinsella in Field of Dreams, each man must hold onto his dreams and fight for what he believes in.

If you enjoy the back room machinations of a pro sports franchise, as was seen in Moneyball, then this movie is for you.  It certainly is fascinating watching the art of the trade unfold; this is given added intrigue by the on screen presence of NFL “people” such as: Chris Berman, Jon Gruden, Mel Keiper, Deion Sanders, Roger Goodell, Ray Lewis, Mike Mayock and Rich Eisen. 

One final thought: given the behemoth that is the NFL, it boggles the mind to see a two hour advertisement for the NFL and its draft day extravaganza.  I’m sure Gary Bettman, Bud Selig and Adam Silver must be shaking their collective heads and saying: “when is enough, enough?”

Enemy…one very bizarre, strange, brilliant movie.

© Chuck Duboff

ENEMY…reviewed.

Muted, muddy, foggy tones throughout the whole movie; dense fog, hovering over a city bereft of life.  Tall, non descript buildings, lacking any individualism.  Haunting, surreal violins, threatening kettle drums, Hitchkockian in nature.  Front row seating as men watch women pleasure themselves.  Robotic individuals walking the streets of a city lacking any life.

Enemy.  This is one bizarre movie, which sees people walking out of the theatre, upset having spent ten dollars on something incomprehensible.  The remaining viewers sit there bewildered, looking for clues, trying to decipher what the heck is going on.

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Jake Gyllenhaal plays Adam Bell, a loner history professor, seemingly going through the motions of life.  He lectures his students on the evils  of totalitarianism; those in power seeking total control of all facets of life.  Bell explains that leaders give their mindless citizens “bread and circuses” so that they are not tempted to pay attention to what is going on in the world; all the while the “spider spreads its tentacles” and grasps control of their lives.  The movie takes a strange twist when Bell meets an identical twin, an arrogant movie star, Anthony Clair, someone enjoying the pleasures of life.  Jealousies develop between the two Gyllenhaals; but, to share anymore would be to give away the movie.

When watching Enemy, you must pay attention to the detail; there are clues throughout the movie as to its meaning and why things are happening as they are. Director Dennis Villeneuve certainly creates a masterpiece of bold film making for lovers of true cinema.  “The most complicated movie I have ever made by far.”

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I haven’t stopped thinking about this movie since I saw it and anxiously look forward to seeing it again.  There will be those who aren’t prepared to think, to challenge their minds, and will choose to watch the mindless drivel which passes for movies these days, but if you are looking for a movie which challenges the viewer to participate in a piece of art, then Enemy is for you.  The last scene, though perplexing at first, makes perfect sense upon reflection.  As Adam Bell had written on his blackboard: “Chaos is order yet undeciphered.”

Dulabic’s Script and Insight Shine in Film Debut.

 

© Chuck Duboff

Living or Waiting to Die…Review

 People Really Read That Shit?

Bojan Dulabic’s first feature film, Living or Waiting to Die, presents a world adrift in technology, isolation and the never ending search for meaning in life.  Bosnian born, and raised in both in Germany and Canada, Dulabic’s main achievement in this film is to use his characters to speak to much of the mindless drivel which passes for entertainment today.  The character of Greg, played by GRAEME MCCOMB,  states: “Art has been sacrificed for bullshit entertainment.”  While watching his friend Jason (ADAM WEIDL)  succeed,  when creating a webcast entitled “DumbAss”, Greg comments: “He gets a thousand followers for a video on shit, no literally shit.  What has happened to our society?”  The strong script, delivered by some fine young actors, holds this film together.

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                 The cast and director chilling… 

Living or Waiting to Die, doesn’t present anything new  in the never ending query into what life is all about; we see idealistic Greg questioning anything that doesn’t serve a purpose in understanding life’s meaning, while his friend Jason embodies the mindless technology driven lives which have overtaken much of society today.  We see more of Dulabic’s frustration with life today, when Greg asks: “Why should we follow the herd?  Why are the ones who seek answers given the harshest treatment by society?” 

 Without question Dulabic is questioning where entertainment is going today: “Alternative media has become Mainstream today.”  Jason stays home on a Saturday night to spend the evening with his computer and not have to “put up with the pretentious shit at the bar.”  Technology has become his evening’s companion, his escape from the bars, his purpose in life.

 

First time Director and Writer, Bojan Dulabic    

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There are no answers presented; a shining light doesn’t appear at the end.  We simply hear Greg state the obvious when in the final scene he lets go of the past which has been dragging him down: “i need to start living.”  Not profound, but through the eyes of twenty somethings, it is a refreshing perspective.

 In addition to the strong script and solid acting, special note must be made of the bold music which served as a background to the angst filled movie.  Dave Chick  was the composer of this urban beat sound; featuring a deep bass, Chick brought to life many scenes which needed to be shaken out of their lethargy.  In tune with all that was unfolding, Chick certainly is an impressive talent.

 Given that this was his first film, Dulabic has an exciting future in front of him.  His message was clear and he demonstrated a good eye on what to focus the camera on.  Hopefully as he grows in his film making career, Dulabic will look to add more substance to his plot, add layers, so as not to lose his audience.  Though understanding his choice to shoot the film in a single room, the film could have been better served with some variance in shooting locale.  At times tedium set in and a change of venue would have helped.

 “I’m very lucky to have been able to get the cast and crew I did.”  Dulabic demonstrates an ability to bring together a fine group of actors and crew and this should only lead to future success.  As Greg Delmage (Sean) stated:  “It was great being part of a labour of love, working with a director passionate about what he was making, and a team treating it with the same amount of love and professionalism.”

 

 Film Webstie:

 http://www.livinglifeorwaitingtodie.com/

 Cast List:

Adam Weidl – Jason

Graeme McComb – Greg

Levi Hildebrand – Zack

Greg Delmage – Sean 

Emily Fonda – Stacy 

John Kevener as Jared Port 

 

To see a video clip:

http://player.vimeo.com/video/88836466?title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

Twelve Years a Slave…a necessary history lesson.

©Chuck Duboff

Twelve Years a Slave, reviewed.

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Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, a freeman who was kidnapped and made to work on a plantation as a slave, in New Orleans, in the 1800s.  This true story, based on Northup’s memoirs, is bold in its depiction of the life black people faced; at times difficult to watch, director Steve McQueen is blunt in his portrayal of slavery in the deep south.

We are pleasantly surprised early in the movie, as Solomon is a freeman living “the good life.”  We wonder why and how long this will last; and much to the viewers horror, Northup is captured and physically and psychologically turned into a slave.  He endures the verbal berating, the brutal whippings and the dehumanizing treatment by his owners.  Michael Fassbender  is haunting, and yet outstanding, in his portrayal of Edwin Epps, slave owner and the symbol of all that was wrong with the United States.  He was every white man who lorded over every black person; he made it uncomfortable for us to watch, yet at the same teaching us important historical lessons which can’t be forgotten.

Epps forces Northup to whip and beat Lupita Nyong’o’s character of Patsey; we cringe every time the whip strikes Patsey’s back.  We feel guilt, want to scream out at Northup telling him to stop.  We rile at Epps as he and his wife, Mistress Epps, played by Sarah Paulson, smugly watch, sneer and relish the beating which Northup starts and which Fassbender completes with much satisfaction.  Edwin Epps: “A man is free to do as he pleases with his property.” Watching this horrific scene,  brings to mind the impossible moment in Sophie’s Choice when Merryl Streep’s character is forced to choose between her two children by a Nazi soldier.  The same excruciating pain and horror which the viewer endured in Sophie’s Choice, is recaptured by McQueen.  Though uncomfortable, it is necessary, and is what makes this such an outstanding film.  

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“Slavery is an evil which should befall none.”  With these words, Solomon Northup clearly states the lesson to be learned from Twelve Years a Slave.  

Reflections on Making my First Film…by Bojan Dulabic

©Bojan Dulabic

Career & Personal Life – Things I’ve Learned Making My Movie

Hi Everyone

If you’ve read my post a couple weeks ago you know that I recently finished my first written and directed feature film, Living Life or Waiting to Die. In this post I’d like to talk about something that I think a lot of people go through, not just filmmakers, but anyone who has a career or passion and a personal life and that’s trying to find a balance between the two.

For a very long time I have not been able to do that. Ever since high school I have been very active in pursuing my dreams and trying out a lot of different things; from theatre, rap music and choir to filmmaking, radio and activism. After high school I attended the University of Winnipeg where I studied theatre and also joined CKUW campus radio station where I hosted and produced a news show and worked on a few others for two years, and at the same time I started my own production company, Dulabic Studio, and started doing documentaries and educational videos, while acting in plays. I loved all of these things and I continued to explore as I was finding myself, finding the artist inside of me, the storyteller who just needed to express himself, in whatever way available. At the same time I also realized another thing…there was still something missing…a personal life…a balance.

Some of you may know that I recently got engaged to a wonderful woman who has helped me find that balance. We met 2 years ago right after I finished the first draft of my feature film. We met and we hit it of. Two months after we met I started working on pre-production for my film. It seemed that everything was hitting me at once, career and personal life were crashing but instead of running away which I would’ve done in the past, because it’s easier, I faced it and merged the two.  

My fiance is not in the film industry, she has never been on a film set, never acted or anything like that but she was curious about the whole process so I made her my producer. I took my passion for storytelling and the woman I loved and made both part of my life and it made the final product even better. It was the best of two worlds.

Filmmaking is very intense and can be a very tedious process. There is nothing glamorous about it. You are doing the same thing over and over again and usually face all kinds of obstacles. And we did; technical problems such as one of my lead actors’ glasses in the film were too reflective and you could see everything in it, we shot the movie in July and it was boiling hot which was very exhausting for all of us, especially the actors and various other things. But we did it, all of us and my fiance and I grew stronger because of it. Even though the story is largely influenced by my own experiences and I wrote the script before I met her, the process of making the movie and shaping it into what it became, is ours, and it’s something the both of us will always share and cherish.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in that process it’s that life, whether it’s personal or one’s career, is just like making a movie. You have to stay true to who you are but yet you gotta work with your cast and crew and collaborate and trust that in the end it will all work out. She knows who I am, she knows I’m the guy who’s going to stay up until 4 am editing and sleep for an hour and wake up to go to an audition. However, at the same time she also knows she can count on me to be there for her and for us. The trust is there between us and with ourselves and that’s something I had to learn; to trust myself that I can do this, that I can balance career and personal life.

Nothing is easy in life, from making a movie to having a family and raising children, it’s never a smooth ride. However, I strongly believe that it’s doable as long as you refuse to give up. I refuse to give up on the artist inside of me, the day he dies is the day I’m 6 feet under, food for the worms. And equally important, I refuse to give up on the woman I love, I refuse to give up on us and refuse to be alone.  

I strongly believe that life is made up of different chapters and a lot of times you can only start the next chapter by closing the previous one. And that’s not a bad thing, it’s growth. I do think that most of us are afraid of that change because we are afraid of what we are going to lose but we don’t realize that by doing that we are actually missing out on the things we could’ve gained. It’s what makes us grow as human beings, as artists, as spouses, as parents etc. All these things are interconnected and one influences the other. I have now entered a new chapter in my life, both from a personal side by getting engaged and from a career side by finishing my first feature film. Change is already happening and I welcome it and you should too, refuse to be afraid of it, be along for the ride and trust that it’ll all work out in the end.   

I tried to instil this philosophy into the story of my film and if you would like to see it check it out at Park Theatre on March 11th at 7:30 pm. Also, my fiance plays about 4 different parts in it hehe.

For more info visit www.livinglifeorwaitingtodie.com

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

Take Care

Bojan

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House of Cards…a review by Bari Levy

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“Democracy is Overrated”

 

A Review of House of Cards

 © Bari Lavy

“For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. There is but one rule: hunt or be hunted.” Indeed in Netflix’s original series, House of Cards, there truly is no mercy. The show unabashedly depicts that which occurs behind closed doors in Washington D.C., specifically politician Frank Underwood’s ruthless quest for power. 

Frank is first introduced to us as the Democratic Party Whip, and boy, does he personify that title. In scene after scene he schemes, tricks, and pushes people, often stopping just short of physically whipping them in order to get them to do his bidding. The difference between him and any other manipulative bully is that Frank’s prey are some of the most powerful people in the United States, from average U.S. Congressmen to the Party leadership and even the President. A man who does not like to hear the word “no”, Frank mercilessly uses every tool and person at his disposal to get what he wants.  

The show shines a strong light on the political underbelly of Washington. It is quickly apparent that one’s degree of power and influence is not necessarily correlated to being an elected official. Civilians, lobbyists and even a billionaire with a private line to the Oval Office continually manage to get their way and influence policy. Claire Underwood, Frank’s wife does not hold public office yet through her sharp mind and her eternally gorgeous visage she manages to create huge waves in the Capitol, both for and against her husband’s interests. Additionally the amazingly influential Remy Danton, the lobbyist with seemingly everyone’s phone number, knows just what everyone powerful wants and how it promise it to them. The show accurately presents that while not everything can be bought in Washington, money talks and with a booming voice. 

Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright headline a talented cast of actors as Frank and his wife Claire, a pair of two faced and manipulative characters who manage to present themselves as good and amiable people to the rest of their fictional world. However, to the viewership their cunning and conniving ways are quite clear which along with their complete lack of mercy should present them as entirely unlikeable. Nevertheless both Spacey and Wright constantly deliver such marvellous performances that generate an intense air of power, confidence and pride- traits that one can’t help but admire. This brilliant air of admiration also inspires a great deal of curiosity that grips you episode through episode. The enticing on screen performance not only makes you desperate to see what they will do next but it also quickly gets you rooting for Frank and Claire – you actually want Frank to succeed through his underhanded and scheming ways.

Despite it’s sometimes dark portrayal of how the political world, House of Cards delivers numerous plot twists that sometime cause you to laugh out of sheer surprise. The show’s producers masterfully weave the inhumanity of the Underwoods with some very real and human moments that make anyone believe that with enough work, tact, and patience they can also be just as strong and influential. This is only aided by Netflix which in a format all their own, releases an entire season at a time satisfying the thirst they themselves create with every cliff-hanger and encouraging hours of binging, and with a show of this caliber I say, “Why not?”

The Six Most Important Steps in Film Making…by Bojan Dulabic

Filmmaking in 2014

 

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Hi Everyone:

 

For those who don’t know me, my name is Bojan Dulabic. I am a former student of Chuck Duboff’s. I am an actor and filmmaker who lives in Vancouver, BC and I recently finished my first written and directed feature film titled Living Life or Waiting to Die.

 

I would like to talk about something that’s important to me which is the process of filmmaking.

 

Up until about 10 years ago it was very difficult for an individual person to actually make a feature film that is quality-wise something that can compete with Hollywood productions and can be screened in theatres and look good. All that changed the moment HD cameras started to be available to the average consumer. Soon after that SLR photography cameras started to offer video capabilities which just blew away anyone who loves video. They offered an amazing high definition quality and more importantly they gave us a depth of field that now started to compete with cameras that are 10 times more expensive. Depth of field is the ability to focus on a certain object and have the rest of the frame be out of focus which we are used to from movies. Nowadays you can get an amazing D-SLR camera with video for less than $1000 and shoot an entire feature film with it.

 

And that is exactly what I did. Back in 2012 I purchased the Canon T3i D-SLR camera for $1500 and that included 2 lenses, a standard 18-55mm lens which is great for master shots where you have 2 or more people in frame and a 50mm f1.4 prime lens which is amazing for low light and gives you a great depth of field.

 

For more info check out my behind the scenes video series on my YouTube channel where I talk about the gear I use and test video: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL04B92F04A682DF66  

 

In July of 2012 I started production on my first feature film and with a budget of $4000 (which includes the cost of the camera) I was able to shoot an 85 minute film. Filmmaking used to be for the elite. It certainly wasn’t for the average person because, even if you knew what you were doing, you couldn’t just buy the gear and start shooting, it was just too expensive so you had to ask for permission. Fast forward to 2014, we don’t have to ask for permission anymore. The process of filmmaking has been completely democratized and it allows anyone to tell their story and make a feature film, if you follow certain steps.

 

Step 1:

Keep The Cost Down

I have used all the tricks in the book to keep the cost down while still maintaining high quality. Different filmmakers will have different opinions on what you should and shouldn’t do. My theory is simple. If you don’t have a big or any budget, keep the cost down and only spend money on the things you need to spend money on. Don’t get fancy. Filmmaking is not about being fancy and glamours. If you are not good with money and organization, get a producer to take care of that. I would suggest to get one regardless because it makes your life easier.

 

Step 2:

Know Your Strengths

I’ve been doing film productions since high school. As a matter of my fact I did my first short film in Chuck’s grade 12 English class as a creative assignment for the book The Catcher in the Rye. I’m used to shooting and editing my projects and I enjoy both of those things. However, I also do these things because I’m good at it. My strength is in editing, shooting and I know my way around basic visual effects (painting out objects, doing motion capture and graphic design related things) which is exactly what I did on this project. I have scored all my previous short films but for this project I decided to hire Dave Chick from http://www.gethatched.ca, a friend of mine, and a professional film composer, to do the score for the film. I knew I could’ve done the score myself but it wouldn’t be the same quality as what Dave delivered and he did an amazing job which elevated the film. So, know your strengths and weaknesses, just because you CAN do something it doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

 

Step 3:

Respect Your Cast & Crew

Let me make one thing clear, without a cast and crew your film will just be a vision in your head and words on paper. Too many filmmakers make it all about them. Filmmaking is a collaborative process. In a perfect world you would just hire the best crew for the job and pay all your actors and crew what they deserve. Unfortunately, with indie films that’s not the case. You will need to get help from your friends and family and you will not be able to pay your actors a lot or anything. However, that doesn’t mean you should treat them like crap. Always respect your cast and crew because without them you are nothing. Respecting them also means don’t waste their time. I made sure that my cast and crew were only on set for the time I needed them. I didn’t want to waste their time. There wasn’t a budget to pay most of them but I decided to give back in any way I could. For example, help them with their projects, spread the word if they are having an event, anything that will help them. One must-have with filmmaking is food. Make sure you feed your cast and crew. Film shoots usually go from 12-14 hours a day, which is what we had on my film. We shot for 8 days (all weekend in July) and on average they were about 13-hour days. However, I made sure that my cast and crew had a homemade meal everyday and that there were plenty of snacks and sandwiches for in between. There are too many filmmakers who don’t think about food. Creative people cannot be creative on an empty stomach. And they should never have to pay for food themselves, especially if you are not paying them at all. Don’t be a douche and have food.

 

Step 4:

You Are Not Always Right

Filmmaking is not a democracy, it actually resembles more a military structure. The director has to have the final saying because otherwise nothing will get done. Too many opinions will lead to time being wasted, which is something you never have enough of on any film set. However, just because you are the guy who has the final saying it doesn’t mean you are always right. Listen to your cast and crew. Some of the best ideas on my film came from my actors and my crew. If you are doing multiple things on set you can’t always stay on top of everything, so, you are going to miss things. Your cast and crew won’t always be right because sometimes you see things that they can’t, so it’s a balancing act. Just don’t assume that you are always right. Keep an open mind.

 

Step 5:

Be Along For The Ride

There is an old saying in Hollywood; “There is the film you write, the film you shoot and the film you edit”. These three are never the same. Something might look good on paper but be very impractical when you shoot it and something might seem like a good idea on the day you shoot it but just not work when you edit it together. Therefore, always be willing to adapt. Changes are constantly happening throughout the process of filmmaking. Just be along for the ride and have faith that in the end it will all make sense.

 

Step 6:

Always Question Traditions

One of my favorite filmmakers, Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Desperado) says that “artistic people are usually slow to adapt to change” and I would agree with that. We get comfortable in the ways things have been done in the past to the point that we don’t question them. Much like cultural traditions we must always question the filmmaking process. Is the way we have been doing it in the past still the best way today? Well, some things are and some aren’t. Don’t get married to any specific process or way of doing things. Always explore and look for better ways. Hollywood still has a very negative attitude towards digital filmmaking. Digital cameras are clearly the way to go, they are cheaper, offer much more flexibility and they are getting better and better each year. Film cameras have reached their peak, they cannot grow anymore. Digital may not be on the same level in certain areas however, its quality can only go up and it does. Guys like Rodriguez, Lucas, Michael Mann and many others in Hollywood only shoot their films on digital nowadays. However, the majority still refuses to join the conversation. Paramount Studios recently announced that all their future films will be shot digitally only. You will see more and more studios follow their lead. So, don’t be left out, question traditions and always look ahead.

 

These are obviously just a few steps out of many but in my opinion these are the main ones. If you are interested in the process of filmmaking the best way to learn is to watch making of features on DVDs, BluRays and online sources like YouTube and Vimeo. That is the way I learn. I never went to film school, never took any filmmaking classes but I have a desire to learn and that’s the main thing. Check out the works of Robert Rodriguez and his behind the scenes features, Hitchcock, John Carpenter, Tarantino, Kevin Smith, Paul Verhooven, Lucas, Spielberg and the next generation of filmmakers like Film Riot on YouTube. These are all individuals who think outside the box and always question the system.  

 

For anyone living in Winnipeg, if you are interested in seeing my feature film it will screen at the Park Theatre on March 11th at 7:30 pm. For more info visit: www.livinglifeorwaitingtodie.com 

 

The film will also be available as a digital download or rental on the website very soon. Sign up for my newsletter on the website to stay up to date.

 

Please let me know your thoughts and any questions you might have about filmmaking.

 

Also, feel free to add me on facebook @ http://www.facebook.com/BojanTheActor

 

Thank You

A Personal Note from Chuck, re: Bojan’s film

I have a very special appreciation for the work of Bojan Dulabic.  We formed a very special bond while Bojan was a student at Maples Collegiate.  Together, we developed and led the Maples Collegiate Unity Group into becoming a leader in promoting Human Rights.  Without Bojan’s great efforts, vision and leadership abilities our group would never have succeeded as it did.  Bojan was an invaluable help to me, and I know with out his help, our group and myself, would never have gone on to receive all the awards and recognition that came our way.  Additionally, at a time when I was still not adept with computers, Bojan was always there to help.  

I am so proud of the fact that he has completed his first film; I can’t guarantee anything about the film, but, take a moment to check out Bojan’s note below, the trailer and, if possible, try and make it to the movie on March 11th.

This is a very special picture below: that’s Martin Dulabic, Judy W-Leis, Bojan and myself…the day that Bojan and his family received their Canadian Citizenship!!

 

Image

Living Life or Waiting to Die…a film by Bojan Dulabic

Hello my fellow Winnipegers:

My name is Bojan Dulabic, and I’m a filmmaker from Vancouver, who used to live in Winnipeg. I’ve finished my first written and directed feature film called Living Life or Waiting to Die. It’s an independent comedy, that tells the story of two roommates, Jason (Adam Weidl) and Greg (Graeme McComb) who through out the story are forced to confront their own demons and take destiny into their own hands.  

Jason, early 30s, is your typical “bar guy” who goes out every weekend and tries to pick up women. Greg, mid 20s, is a typical tech nerd who stays home most of the time and loves to watch movies. 

The film offers a unique and comedically driven perspective into what happens when “the routine” gets to us, when life seems like a song stuck on repeat where one day looks like the next. The main theme is identity, which is examined from both an individual’s perspective and societal.

On a personal note the film also represents my journey through life and views of our society and what it means to be Canadian, from someone who grew up in 4 different countries and has spent the last 13 years living in Canada and calling it home. 

If you would like to watch a sample of the movie download a free package that includes 8 minutes of the film, an intro by myself, theme song and other great stuff. To download it visithttp://bit.ly/19Nosaw 

Winnipeg welcomed my family and I in 2001 when we moved to Canada and is still to this day the only place I can truly call home. That’s why I’m proud to say that my film will screen at the Park Theatre on March 11, 2014. I would love it if you can make it. Check out details below.

Thank You 

Bojan 

 

March 11, 2014
Park Theatre, Winnipeg, MB Canada 
Doors at 7:00 PM, Screening at 7:30 PM
Advance Tickets $8 | $10 @ The Door
Buy Tickets Online:
www.ticketbreak.com/event_details/7109
Join Facebook Events Page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/216523055202230/

Official Website:
http://www.livinglifeorwaitingtodie.com

Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10Jc0V0lygs