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By Christopher Stipp

The Archives, Right Here

Check out my other column, This Week In Trailers, at SlashFilm.com and follow me on TWITTER under the name: Stipp

PAUL - DVD GIVEAWAY

51takhy9ywlEven though some of you may have missed it during its theatrical run, PAUL is coming to DVD. A movie that celebrates crude and lewd humor with a foul alien who has more in common with your average comedian than he does with a species looking to do some probing, PAUL was a gem that needs to be seen if you haven’t done so already.

Thanks to the fine people of Universal Studios Home Entertainment I am giving away five copies of PAUL on DVD and what better way to celebrate one of the better reviewed comedies this year than by having a little contest to see who really wants to see this film. In the film, our two heroes, played by Nick Frost and Simon Pegg, attend what geek event? Those who know the answer and can send me an answer to Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com will be entered to win a copy.

Good luck!

PAUL is coming to DVD and Blu-ray this upcoming Tuesday, August 9th

SYNOPSIS:

BUCKLE UP FOR A HILARIOUS ROAD TRIP FROM THE DIRECTOR OF SUPERBAD & THE STARS AND CREATORS OF HOT FUZZ AND SHAUN OF THE DEAD

“Irreverent and hilarious!” – Sean P. Means, SALT LAKE TRIBUNE
“Seth Rogen is perfect as Paul.” – Ray Bennett, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

One tiny alien makes for big, big trouble in the comedy adventure Paul, coming to Blu-ray™ Combo Pack and DVD August 9, 2011, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Both versions will feature the theatrical movie, as well as an unrated version of the film, not shown in theaters. The film and its unrated version will also be available day and date for digital download and video on demand. Paul reunites Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) as two sci-fi geeks on a pilgrimage to America’s UFO heartland, where they accidentally encounter an alien who sends them on an insane road trip that alters their universe forever. Written by Pegg and Frost, Paul boasts a star-studded cast that features Seth Rogen (The Green Hornet, Knocked Up) as the voice of Paul, Sigourney Weaver (Avatar), Jason Bateman (Hancock), Kristen Wiig (Date Night, Knocked Up), Jane Lynch (”Glee”), Bill Hader (Pineapple Express), Joe Lo Truglio (Role Models), Jeffrey Tambor (”Arrested Development”) and Blythe Danner (Little Fockers). Directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad), Paul comes loaded with in-depth, behind-the-scenes features, bloopers, filmmaker and cast commentary and more, to take viewers on a comical journey behind the making of this critically hailed film.

The Blu-ray™ Combo Pack will include a Blu-ray and DVD copy of the unrated and theatrical versions of the film. Additionally, for a limited time only, the Combo Pack also includes a digital copy of the unrated film that can be viewed anytime, anywhere on an array of digital devices. Blu-ray ™ consumers can also access MY MOVIES™, an exclusive feature that allows consumers to stream a bonus movie instantly to their television through any Internet-connected Blu-ray ™ player via BD-Live™ or to their Smartphone and iPad™ using the free pocket BLU™ app. The bonus movie offer will be available for a limited time only. Visit www.universalhidef.com <http://www.universalhidef.com> for more details.

BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY™ COMBO PACK:

· Between the Lightning Strikes: The Making of Paul

· Behind the Scenes Featurettes:

o RV Doorway: The Cast of Paul On-Location — The cast is just as funny off-screen as they are in front of the camera.

o Runway Santa Fe: An Interview with Nancy Steiner — Follow Nancy Steiner, the costume designer, as she chooses hilarious T-shirts and wardrobe for the cast.

o Smithereens — Blowing up a house on location causes excitement among the cast.

o 5th Date Level Direction: The Cast on Greg Mottola — The cast talks about the fun of working with Mottola, who also directed Superbad.

o Mexico Zero: The Locations of Paul—Mexico Zero is the nickname the cast gives to New Mexico, where the majority of filming was done for Paul.

o The Many Pauls — To create Paul, the filmmakers used all the tricks of the trade, from capturing Seth Rogen’s facial expressions and movements, to using a child dressed up as an alien while on-set.

o Paul: The Musical — The cast joins together for an impromptu musical version of the film.

o The Traveler Beagle — A look at all the different RVs used on the set of Paul, from fully functioning vehicles to a mock-up on a Hollywood soundstage.

· BD-LIVE™: Access the BD-Live™ Center through your Internet-connected player to watch the latest trailers and more.

· pocket BLU™: The groundbreaking pocket BLU™ app uses iPhone®, iPod® touch, Android™, PC and Macintosh to work seamlessly with a network-connected Blu-ray™ player. Also available on the iPad®, owners can enjoy a new, enhanced edition of pocket BLU™ made especially to take advantage of the tablet’s larger screen and high resolution display. Consumers will be able to browse through a library of Blu-ray™ content and watch entertaining extras on-the-go in a way that’s bigger and better than ever before. pocket BLU™ offers advanced features such as:

o Advanced Remote Control — A sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray™ player. Users can navigate through menus, playback and BD-Live™ functions with ease.

o Video Timeline — Users can easily bring up the video timeline, allowing them to instantly access any point in the film.

o Mobile-To-Go — Users can unlock a selection of bonus content with their Blu-ray™ discs to save to their device or to stream from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi network, enabling them to enjoy content on the go, anytime, anywhere.

o Browse Titles — Users will have access to a complete list of pocket BLU™-enabled titles available and coming to Blu-ray™ Hi-Def. They can view free previews and see what additional content is available to unlock on their device.

o Keyboard — Entering data is fast and easy with your device’s intuitive keyboard.

BONUS FEATURES ON BLU-RAY™ AND DVD:

· Bloopers

· The Evolution of Paul — An inside look at how Paul became a living, breathing alien.

· Simon’s Silly Faces — Simon Pegg makes an assortment of wildly funny faces for the camera.

· Who the Hell is Adam Shadowchild? — Find out about the legendary sci-fi writer from the characters in Paul.

· Feature Commentary with Greg Mottola, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Hader and Nira Park

· Photo Galleries, Storyboards and Posters

SYNOPSIS

For the past 60 years, an alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) has been hanging out at a top-secret military base. For reasons unknown, the space-traveling smartass decides to escape the compound and hop on the first vehicle out of town—a rented RV containing Earthlings Graeme Willy (Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Frost). Chased by federal agents and the fanatical father of a young woman they accidentally kidnap, Graeme and Clive hatch a fumbling escape plan to return Paul to his mother ship. As two nerds struggle to help, one little green man might just take his fellow outcasts from misfits to intergalactic heroes.

www.WhatIsPaul.com

COMIC-CON 2011 INTERVIEW - Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus

I rightly don’t care what anyone has to say about the San Diego Comic-Con about whether it’s played out, crowded, too corporate, congested, overrated, or any other pejorative that wants to say why it wasn’t like it used to be. To that I say pshaw for if I could fill my time there talking to writers like Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus I could go back year after year not caring about anything else.

The thing about talking with this duo who have put pen to paper and shepherded two other films to international acclaim, CHILDREN OF MEN and IRON MAN, is that they are exuberant and excited and thrilled at the process of writing for films. My time was limited with the duo but instead of treating this moment with pained aggravation as seen on the faces of some of the more notable panelists during the convention the two of them seemed to be elated to be there in the trenches of mass fandom talking about something that would soon be owned by those who were waiting to see what would come next from Jon Favreau. The talk was brief but insightful as the two of them discussed the place writers fit in to the entire process of making a movie and what it was like to have their ideas heard by some of the most influential people making entertainment in the world. While I had 10 minutes I wish I had more to dig deeper into the process of writing a movie like COWBOYS & ALIENS, like IRON MAN. Alas, I got what I got and was thankful for being able to be in the presence of two guys who were living the dream for anyone looking to turn their words into something spoken and powerful.

markferguspremiereuniversalpicturescowboys5fcx9xicqsklCS: Thank you for taking some time out of a busy day to talk to me. This is just chaos. I literally just ran from one moment taking in the panel for Francis Ford Coppola’s new film, TWIXT and now I’m sitting here talking with you. One guy has a completely gonzo idea of taking a film on the road as a live performance, digitally no less, so he can make sure no film is show the same way twice, and now you two who’ve helped write a movie about some aliens and cowboys.

MARK FERGUS: That’s so cool that he’s going back. I mean he’s already done everything and now he’s going back to the beginning and reinventing the whole thing. That’s cool.

CS: It’s amazing. I don’t want to make it sound like he doesn’t care but he has an idea and he’s executing it without adhering to the old rules of doing things just like if it’s something he wants to do he’s going to do it.

FERGUS: And he’s done the great Hollywood movies that he never has to – well, try and top yourself - he’s done the greatest stuff and now he can do what he wants. It’s just a great way to get back to four walling a movie from town to town and all that. I love that. A movie would come and the advertising would blitz – it was in one place while it could get filled up and then move on. I loved that.

CS: I know my time is short but I can’t start this without giving praise to Children of Men and Iron Man.

FERGUS: Thank you.

CS: How did you two connect and in an age when people just love to write by themselves, take credit by themselves and you guys obviously said to one another that sharing credit was OK at some point. How did that happen?

FERGUS: First of all we went to Boston University together. We didn’t know each other at the time. We walked the same hallways and knew a lot of the same people but we never met or spoke. But then in New York, a mutual friend introduced us. We were writing separately at the time and started editing each others scripts. One day I said we should do something together and that was it. We’ve been writing together ever since.

HAWK OSTBY: It’s not something you ever are looking for but then it happens and it’s like holy shit, we are way better – putting us together is like a third person who neither of us are really and he has all sets of skills that I don’t know how to deal with and vice versa. We like different things. We agree on the big sensibility thing but on the way to get there we have totally different views on it. It was just not a planned thing. It just worked. And we said, “OK, let’s keep doing this.” We don’t even have to struggle for it. It just clicks. People say how do you find the right writing partner and I don’t know if you can. Fate either puts you together or it doesn’t, you know? We didn’t try to make it work. We became friends after we started working together. We didn’t really know each other.

FERGUS: The question was how do you share with other – the film is really a collaborative. You have to be open to that sort of thing. Things are always going to change. Things are always in flux. You just have to be open. We’ve had the great fortune to work with amazing people who taught us a lot of things along the way but we were open to that. People say we know everything but we don’t. I think when you’re open like that it tends to get better. I don’t think we were never in that mode of some people would say you have to protect everything. It has to be chiseled in stone. But, it doesn’t have to be.

OSTBY: That’s the defensive thing because writers get kicked around pretty good in this town and there is an attitude of protect the writing as a way to get status for the writer but it doesn’t. It’s the opposite. If you’re not open it makes you seem like the angry writer prototype nobody wants to deal with. The bottom line is working with awesome people it gets better. Everyone is swirling around each other – feeding off each other so if you miss out on that, you’re a jerk as a writer to close people out and say, the story is right and I don’t want anyone toying with it. Then you miss out on all this amazing energy that’s going to come into the project so you’re crazy to push that away.

phixrs10phpbmi_1_mFERGUS: Especially when you look at the combined resumes, their combined film experiences are staggering. So, it was a real treat for us to walk into a room with Spielberg, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, just unbelievable, all stars. It was an all star room. Keep your ears open and you learn so much.

OSTBY: There was this one moment where Ron Howard was on the phone and the speaker phone wouldn’t work so we were pitching our ideas to Spielberg and he was translating them on the speaker phone to Ron Howard and you go blah blah blah and he would just nail it with one phrase and it was like, “Yes, that’s what I meant.”

(Laughs)

Blah Blah Blah Blah….and nailed it! That’s why he’s Steven Spielberg. Takes all this raw material into the one thing that matters. Boom. That’s how these guys are great story tellers. They just crystallize all these various thoughts into the only story thing that matters; the moment, the character choice, the visual…they just know how to bring it into that one crystallized moment. It’s stunning. So, we got to soak all that in and watch that and then learn from that. Favreau’s got that similar gift like those guys have. A movie is a short thing. It’s all choices and leaving things behind and only picking the right thing and Jon is extremely good at that.

CS: The idea that it is a collaborative process and you just mentioned, you are in the room with Spielberg, Ron Howard. You have to have confidence in your writing but at what point do you say,”This is what I wrote, I really want you to like it” Where does that confidence level come in for you to say I want to be confident about this but I want to be open to other people’s suggestions. It has to be sort of intimidating.

OSTBY: Oh yeah. Obviously we realized that this was going before Steven Spielberg’s eyes and you just want this to be the greatest thing you ever did. Every time we work we want it to be the best job we can. In those earlier drafts things don’t really gel that where the process comes in for that. It’s a little intimidating but it also lifts your game. The pulse makes you work harder.

FERGUS: And you listen to how the other guys respond.

OSTBY: Sometimes you don’t know. Like an idea sounds good to you and you put it before the committee, not really a committee, you see when people lean in or sit back. You watch the body language. Certain ideas – everybody liked and then some things you thought were cool the people were still thinking and thinking….and then I’m thinking it’s not so good when they react that way this early. Body language changes and all your ideas are not that great so you have to find out what works and see what works. And when you put it in front of people like that, they tell you.

Not so verbally they tell you like how an idea is fairing on the big canvass of things. We went though a lot of brain storming – a lot of trying things and failing and going this way and that way but certain elements never change and I think everybody wanted to make the same movie. Of all those all star people involved, everybody had the same movie in mind sensibility-wise and tone-wise and it never became an epic struggle of what the movie was going to be. Like let’s make this Western, Sci-Fi, like totally committed. Play it straight. John Ford-style with the spirit of Spielberg’s Indiana Jones. That’s the movie everybody wanted so it wasn’t a fight like that.

CS: The credits – I was doing some research and there are 7 different people credited with the story. I apologize that I don’t know how this all breaks down with regard to credit but how does that all get pieced out?

FERGUS: It was an interesting process. Some people can look at the poster from the inside and realize exactly how the movie got made by looking. People that have been in the business for a long time they know exactly. The story was three people, Mark, myself, and Steve Oderkerk. Screenplay wise, starts Orci, Kurtzman, Lindelof and then us. All this goes to arbitration with the Writer’s Guild. They look at all the drafts and everything through the entire history of the project and say who did what and then the credits are based on that according to Guild rules. It’s really exhausting. We’ve been to arbitration a bunch of times. And the common sense solution is the right way it turns out. Who really deserves it is the way it turns out. There were rumors in the old days – crazy rules and crazy credits like people that didn’t work on it got credit because they were first of whatever. That doesn’t work anymore.

We started with the comic. There were a lot of drafts and a lot of attempts before which we didn’t really know about because I guess this project has been around forever. We didn’t know that either. So we got the comic book, we did our versions and we went forward. And then Kurtzman, Orci, and Lindelof and also producers were on it and when the project gelled a year later then they went in to finish the rewrites.

It was like two teams – it was us and them for the screen play. And the story was because we invented a lot of the stuff that was not in the book – inspired by the book but not in the book. We got a separate story by credit. It was pretty simple actually. Those three guys are one team and us two guys are one. It’s simple. Those three guys are fused together. Like us, we are like one brain between two guys. It’s pretty simple at the end of the day. I know Hollywood credits are ridiculous now. I know it’s so convoluted and this is convoluted but it worked out. It really came out the right way – the people who did the work that this movie became. So we’re happy with it, obviously because we’re on there, but also it was really fair for everybody who worked on it.

ironman-posterCS: And final question..

FERGUS: We’ll just tell them we are in a really deep discussion and we can’t break it off. Go ahead and ask anything. We’ll be faster.
(Laughs)

CS: A movie like Iron Man, you deserve kudos because not only visually great but the story was unlike any other comic book movie. There was depth, there was character and a snappy sense of humor that Robert Downey Jr. brought to it. It was brilliant in that regard. When you are writing a film like this, and you see the final product, do you see things that you would have tweaked, hearing how an actor is delivering your words, even in a movie that has been so well received?

FERGUS & OSTBY: Oh yeah!

OSTBY: Also a lot of things that should have been edited out! Most famously is the scene where Tony is in his splitting room and sees his weapons are still being used to kill people. Logic went in and got in the way. How long would it take to fly in a jet suit halfway around the world. And he would have to land in the middle, through a party, do his business and then come back. And then somebody realized why is all this in between. Just cut in here – it’s a flying suit. Nobody went it’s 7:00 o’clock in LA – there’s a flying suit, show him land, kick ass, cut. The audience never – months of discussions trying to figure that out. It just doesn’t ring true. Nobody cares. They care about the ride and information gets in the way of good story telling. Good editors throw it all in the garbage, just trying to explain stuff, and nobody missed it. Nobody missed a thing.

So, we see a lot of those things. We watched it with an audience and laughed at things you thought would be funny. And then when they were suppose to laugh, they took it serious. So little things like that were surprises.

FERGUS: I think we would have liked more time to do more action – more original action but it was great that the audience was into the characters and into the story and they didn’t hold anything against the movie – like we would have liked more action. We saw Transformers right before that and we’re like,”We’re screwed! Look at this action – it’s so state of the art. It’s complex, it’s insane and we don’t have that and we’re going to get killed out there.”

OSTBY: I will say at the end of the movie there was something there that just didn’t work. But we didn’t have the big grand finale.

###

I’M NOT LIKE THAT NO MORE - REVIEW

i-m-not-like-that-no-more-movie-posterFor those needing some insight into comedian Paul Rodriquez’ newest film, a story about a boy who desperately needs to become a man it would be this: If Chico and the Man met the 40 Year-Old Virgin you would have Paul Rodriquez and Felipe Esparza in one of the more genuinely funny comedies to come out this summer.

One of the things I was looking forward to as we see Rodriquez playing the part of the typical patriarchal father of a family that is as diverse and outrageously exaggerated as the Klumps were in The Nutty Professor was how the tone of the film would balance the need for this to be a genuine look into the familial dynamics of contemporary Latin culture in America while also blowing things up for comedic effect. You have a little bit of everything in this menudo-like soup of everything from a gay son to an overachieving daughter, two things that weren’t really accepted until the passage of time made it OK to accept those who weren’t the embodiment of machismo or wanting to not become beholden to any man, respectively. In the middle of this morass of caricatures you have a pretty down-to-earth guy, Felipe, played by Felipe Esparza, who simply steals the film.

One of the things that makes Felipe so endearing is that far from being the burnout loser who finally finds someone special and makes him want to turn his life around is that it does try to be something more than a movie that wants to play it all for laughs. Deborah Baker Jr., who plays Jill, the object of Felipe’s desire for personal betterment, is the second anchor in a movie that is all over the board with how hard and fast it wants to play with jokes and obnoxiousness. Yes, while it’s funny to play with stereotypes, Lord knows I love them, it’s important to have a solid core at the center of the film and it’s Baker Jr. and Esparza that genuinely make me care about what happens by the end of this film.

Esparza is allowed to essentially work his act into the movie, being on Last Comic Standing showed how he could help elevate a performance that, in lesser hands, would have been tough to get through, but he really is the reason why you want to see how he goes from wayward loser to someone with potential. Now, we’re not waiting for a big transformation to take place, and I don’t think we really get one, but seeing Rodiguez ply his trade along with everyone in the cast you can’t do better with regard to indie comedy than this.

It may not be Apatow level writing but it’s worth your time, a worthy recommendation when you consider the comedies that pale in comparison to this one.

Comments:

One Response to “Trailer Park: PAUL DVD Giveaway, Interview with Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby of ALIENS & COWBOYS, review of I’M NOT LIKE THAT NO MORE”

  1. Max Says:

    Goooooo Felipe! One of the funniest cats in the game!!!

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