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88 Questions with Ellen Page [Skiffleboom.com]

Skiffleboom Ellen Page Ariadne 88 Questions Inception

“88 Questions with Ariadne” By Michael McVey, Skiffleboom.com

Audience surrogate ELLEN PAGE asks a lot of questions in INCEPTION… Here’s a video of all 88.



THE MOST BADASS AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHARACTERS IN MOVIE HISTORY

Michael Jai White as Black Dynamite

By Michael McVey, Skiffleboom.com

Preface:
DVD Verdict’s “Objection” podcast created a list of their MOST BADASS AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHARACTERS IN MOVIE HISTORY for MLK day, 2011 (episode #756).  Judge David Johnson and Judge Dan Mancini named their TOP 1o:

Honorable Mention: Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian – Star Wars Episodes 5-6
10.  Reginald VelJohnson as Sgt. Al Powell – Die Hard
9.  Richard Roundtree as John Shaft - Shaft
8.  Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu - Star Wars Episodes 1-3
7.  Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox – Batman Begins and The Dark Knight
6. Grace Jones as May Day – A View to a Kill
5. Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed – Rocky 1-4
4. Wesley Snipes as John Cutter - Passanger 57
3. Michael Jai White as Black Dynamite – Black Dynamite.
2.  Mr. T as B. A. Baracus – The A-Team
1.  Danny Glover as Lt. Mike Harrigan – Predator 2

The gentleman at “Objection” specialize in contrarian a-holery, and offer deliberately restive and hilarious positions on cinematic topics.  A fine list, full of both mighty (HARRIGAN!) and unusual (Lucius Fox) choices.  Conspicuously absent from the list is THE most BADASS African-American Character in Movie History:  Samuel L. Jackson as Jules in “Pulp Fiction”. The role is so iconic, so utterly badass, that the Marine Corp plays his “Ezekiel” speech to fire up Jarheads for deployment.

I personally feel as THE single most BADASS African-American Actor in Movie History, Samuel L. Jackson should be exempt from the list altogether.  He’s a given.  Like the answer to “who is the greatest basketball player of all time,” there’s just no arguing.

I hereby offer an addendum to the original “Objection” list, taken from my collection.

RULES…

I am not reusing any of the aforementioned actors, no matter how much I want to.  For instance, Carl Weathers is an incredible bad ass in “Action Jackson” (where he jumps 20 feet over a speeding car), but as he was listed by “Objection” for “Rocky”, so I won’t include it.

I am only listing actors once.  While Bill Duke was badass in “Commando” and “Pam Grier” is badass in everything, I included only my favorite choice.

I’ve only included movies I’ve seen in full, within the past 10 years (sorry Mario Van Peebles, sorry Billy Blanks).  I also don’t include non-human characters (Sorry Michael Dorn)… though formerly human is okay.  So please feel free to include your own suggestions in the comments section.  And now, without further ado…

Skiffleboom.com:
THE MOST BADASS AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHARACTERS IN MOVIE HISTORY

Bill Duke as Mac – Predator
Turns jungle into parking lot with mini-gun.   Kills boar with knife.  Badass.

Ken Foree as Peter – Dawn of the Dead
Blows away loads of zombies, evil zombie kids.  Owns the mall.  Does his best buddy a solid.  Zombie apocalypse survivor.  Badass.

Woody Strode as Draba – Spartacus
Kicks the ass of the future slave rebellion leader.  Shows him mercy.   Defies class system through ultimate sacrifice, igniting spark in future slave rebellion leader.  Ripped as hell.  Badass.

Tina Turner as Aunty Entity – Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome
Redesigns future legal system to include chainsaws for civil disputes.  Badass.

Denzel Washington and the entire cast of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers – Glory
Charge on Fort Wagner – ’nuff said.  Badasses, one and all.

Fred Williamson, Jim Kelly, Jim Brown – Three the Hard Way

This hat trick defies description.  Badassery abounds.

Eugene Clark as Big Daddy – Land of the Dead
Is technically dead with rotting brain, yet still figures out how to use machine gun. Leads revolution, destabilizes class system.  Badass.

Pam Grier as Coffy – Coffy
Destroys mob, drug pushers, corruption.  Blows drug dealer’s head off with shotgun:  “This is the end of your rotten life, you: motherf#%kin’ dope pusher!”  Badass.

Julius Carry as Sho’nuff - The Last Dragon
Sits wherever he wants in a movie theater. Glows in the dark.  Badass.

Angela Bassett as Mace – Strange Days
Repeatedly saves incompetent hero.  Beats the piss from corrupt cops.  Badass.

Keith David as Frank – They Live
Brawls for absurdly interminable length of time with Rowdy Roddy Piper over sunglasses. Uncovers shocking societal truth, immediately enlists in suicide mission.  Badass.
Rudy Ray Moore as Dolemite – Dolemite
Kicks at stuntman’s head, misses, and STILL knocks him out cold (presumably by the intense air pressure generated by foot) . Beds every woman in the movie, gets no STDs.  Not the smartest idea in the world… but Badass.

Dennis Haysbert as Pedro Cerrano – Major League
Sees hat for bat, takes hat for bat. Keeps live snake in locker.  Deadly lumber.  Later elected President of the United States of America.  Badass.

Charles S. Dutton as Dillon – Alien 3
Gives one of cinema’s greatest motivational speeches ever.  Bare-knuckle boxes alien.  While being torn to pieces by xenomorph, asks it: “Is that all you got?”  SuperBadass.

Leave your own suggestions!
-m


My Favorite Non-Sequitur Musical Moments in Classic Movie Comedies

Skiffleboom Laurel and Hardy Flying Deuces Harvest Moon

My Favorite Non-Sequitur Musical Moments in Classic Movie Comedies
By Michael McVey, Skiffleboom.com



The Big Lebowski: Dust in the Wind, from Skiffleboom.com

Skiffleboom Big Lebowski Eight Year Olds Dude

By Michael McVey, Skiffleboom.com

You’re out of you’re element Donny – I made this image and mixed Donny’s Eulogy scene from The Big Lebowski + remix of Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind.”  Enjoy.


“The COMBOVER: How to Buy Beer” – Skiffleboom.com

"The Combover" - a comedy short by Michael McVey and Justin Kipp

Here is the Full Version of The COMBOVER (ad free).  Enjoy!


— The Year 2000 —

Two under-age teens from upstate New York devise a radical new way to buy beer…

in

The Combover – by Michael McVey, Skiffleboom.com

“The Combover”  is a short documentary by and about two underage teenagers who discover a crack in the system – they discover a way to buy beer.  I made this with my friend Justin in the year 2000.  We were both 19 at the time, bored out of our minds.  There wasn’t much for us to do in our hometown of Warwick, New York.  Warwick is a beautiful, rural place.  It is the Shire to New York City’s Gondor, and <insert New Jersey city here>’s Mordor.  But we were restless teenagers trying hard to get beer.  We concocted the combover idea one night in Justin’s basement.

We were mulling about, and Justin asked me to shave his head bald.  I suggested we mess around with it first, since we’re going to shave it all off anyway.  There were lot of possibilities with long hair.  Mohawk?  Mullet?  The “Krusty the Klown” look?  “A COMBOVER!”   We laughed so damn hard our sides hurt.  The combover has got to be the most RIDICULOUS hairstyle of all time, we had to do it.  It dawned on us that the combover is the perfect misdirection for buying beer.  The question became this:  Would a cashier believe a kid-trying-to-look-older-trying-to-look-younger as a man-trying-to-look-younger?  Would pity blind the gawkers?

I’ve always been a filmmaker, and I wanted to make it a movie.  I got the camcorder my parents gave me in high school, a SONY Handycam Video 8 XR with 180x Digital Zoom.  Battle plan ready, I proceeded to cut Justin’s hair, giving birth to a healthy 7 1/2 lb. combover in his parent’s bathroom.  I’ll never forget how Mrs. Kipp freaked when she saw what I had done to her son’s head, or how hard we laughed afterwards.  It is an All-Time Top Five Laugh for me.

After finding the appropriate wardrobe and accessories (superfluous pipe, check, Mike’s glasses, check), we worked on getting into character.  How would a 38-year-old man with a comb-over behave?  Naturally, he would be a somewhat pathetic, trying to hold onto his fading youth.  He would certainly not like being denied his only comfort in an otherwise lonely existence – that sweet, numbing booze.  Whether we got it or not became irrelevant.   We were buzzed from the adrenaline of making a film.

What up Korea!

Towards the end of the night, we decided that one more denial would send Uncle Earl into a rage.  We already had all the beer we needed, and we didn’t want our video to become redundant.  We needed some drama.  And when that denial came, Justin snapped in a spectacularly hilarious fashion.  Dick move?  Sure.  Funny?  You bet.  But I suppose it’s a rorschach blot.  Places where drinking laws are similarly Draconian will get the joke.  America: the country where a teenager can be sent to war to kill and be killed, but doesn’t have the right to drink until three years after enlisting.  Yeah, that makes sense.  I withheld this video from public view for years; only a handful of people ever saw it.  Now that a decade has past, “The Combover” is finally ready to see the light of day, thanks to New York Statute of Limitations Laws.

I love New York.

This  video remains unchanged from the original in-camera edit 10 years ago.  When I shot this back in 2000, I really didn’t know any way to edit VHS tapes.  I edited simultaneously with shooting, all in-camera.  I could review the footage and rewind the tape to find the right cue, or exit point.  It was definitely fun to shoot.  I particularly love the music in the car.  It made us bolder, and gave the shoot a sense of rhythm and time.   The album:  Pee Wee Ellis’ “Twelve and More Blues,” with Bruce Cox on drums and Dwayne Dolphin on bass.  A great album but hard to find, recorded in Köln, Germany – Minor Records, 1993.  And again for all you knuckleheads out there, please don’t drink and drive – this is a documentary, not a mandate.


***”My original post of “The Combover” has copyright claims levied against it by predatory ad revenue businesses.  They claim 30 seconds of background source music overheard in a supermarket gives them the right to put advertising on my video.  I am trying to keep this video advertisement free.  This version of “The Combover” is edited, removing said source music and audio of heard in the supermarket scene from 2:25 – 3:02.***


“Galloping Gertie” – Student Film, Bunker Hill Community College 2008, from Skiffleboom.com

Brian Karanja as "Mr. Allen."

Galloping Gertie, 2008
Written and directed by Michael McVey
Bunker Hill Community College 2008 – Elements of Video Production

In 2008, I decided to go back to school and learn filmmaking.  I enrolled in video and audio production courses at Bunker Hill Community College, Charlestown, MA.   Galloping Gertie was my first video, made for a class called Elements of Video Production.  It was an intro course for video basics like 3-point lighting and depth of field.  It was a good class, thanks to the learned Professor Pastel and his classic film references.  For our final projects, Pastel divided the class into small groups.  I was elected our group’s writer/director, and I mustered up a quick little story that used our group as actors and our school as our location.

Marcelo Almeida as "The Agent."

I’ve included the original storyboards below: I wrote the script on cocktail napkins at a Cambridge, MA music bar called Toad during a friend’s shows. I wrote parts with specific people in mind – with my group members as lead actors, I cast my audio production Professor Palermo, as the Evil Professor.

The shooting day came, but most of the cast and crew didn’t show up for the shoot…  so I recast on the spot.  With a leading actor vanished from the group, the role of the Agent went to Bunker Hill’s resident AV squad leader, Marcelo Almeida.  Professor Palermo was a no-show, and I ended up filling in.   If you look at the storyboards, you’ll see the difference, as I drew that role for a big Sydney Greenstreet type.

Brian Karanja as "Mr. Allen."We shot the whole thing at Bunker Hill over a couple of days in late Fall 2008. We shot on a Canon Elura 85 MiniDV Camcorder and edited it in Final Cut Pro.  It didn’t cost a thing, and it was a lot of fun to make — I really had a great time making this goofy little project, and really enjoyed the process, even if the final result is ridiculous.

Stephan Brooks as "That Guy Who Was Made Uncomfortable."

When comparing the film against the storyboards, you may notice that the fight scene was originally set in a bathroom.  Why you ask?

Apparently, we weren’t allowed to film Marcelo on BHCC campus bathrooms.  He had landed in some hot water with the campus security earlier in the year.  He was working on his own video project – a “re-imagining” of the Casino Royale Trailer.  Marcelo brought a toy gun to school to recreate a James Bond bathroom fight.  When security walked in on 007 filming fights in school bathrooms, they were not pleased.  They confiscated the toy gun, but let him keep the tuxedo.  Now that I think about it, that’s probably what caused his lutropublicaphobia.

And it was for these reasons we had to move the bathroom fight scene to a computer lab.  We kept computer genius Stephan Brooks’ cameo as “That Guy Who Was Made Uncomfortable,” but it wasn’t nearly as awkward as it should have been.  The lesson: stay fluid, especially with comedy.


Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” – Reviews from Michael McVey, Skiffleboom.com

Christopher Nolan’s “Inception”  - Review by Michael McVey

Originally Published in The Irish Emigrant, July 19, 2010

With the huge global success of The Dark Knight, filmmaker Christopher Nolan was given carte blanche to develop his next project for Warner Bros Studios. The result: this summer’s Inception, is an intricately plotted heist/epic set in the world of dreams. Most studio films with enormous budgets ($150 mil!) are designed to play for broad audiences, using recycled plots and characters.  Nolan has delivered an unusual and welcome challenge to the status quo. Inception is thrilling, different.

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It features a terrific ensemble cast lead by Leonardo DiCaprio, leading both his dream team and audiences through a labyrinthine plot. Inception expands on the visual stateliness Nolan has developed in his other unconventionally structured films, such as Memento, Insomnia, and The Prestige. We get many staples of big budget, tent-pole fare: Action set-pieces, explosions, grand special effects, big movie stars with killer wardrobe. And while it is entertaining, this movie stands out among the studio releases for having a bit more on its mind than explosions. This is a film that challenges audiences, yet is still watchable even if you get lost along the way. Though I’ve only seen it once, I suspect this movie gets better every time you see it. Nolan focuses many of his cinematic tropes on the nature of reality, perception and the power of the mind – as it is the ideas that are the true stars of Inception.  I just wonder how he explained the plot to those Warner Bros studio execs!

Here’s the trailer we’ve all been watching over and over.  This my wind up being the best, if not most watched trailer of the year.  If you’ve seen the movie and dug the score, then you’re gonna love the second video.

Update:  I saw Inception three times in July, once mit Bronwyn und Stefan.  I taped their thoughts the next evening.  Stefan is very passionate about his views.  Video taken during Boston’s Annual Shakespeare in the Park – 2010.  We were chilling for Othello, starring Seth Gilliam, aka Carter from “The Wire.”


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