Director Alex Goldberg described his movie Closure as a “Daytime Noir” and that has really peaked my interest. Learn more about the movie and how to watch it online!
Official Description: Her mother is dead. Her fiancé is now her ex. And the airline lost her luggage. This begins Nina’s first trip to Los Angeles.
As a deathbed promise to her mother, Nina vows to find her sister Carrie who moved to L.A. years ago and hasn’t communicated with her family in months. Nina’s only clue is an apartment address in The Valley, but Carrie’s spiritual and earthy roommate Yasmina is little help. However, Yasmina allows Nina to stay in her sister’s room where she begins to piece together what happened to Carrie.
Her journey as a novice detective is helped, but frequently hindered, by a variety of self-absorbed Angelenos. In addition to the not-quite zen Yasmina, Nina encounters the polyamorous writer couple Jack and Prudence, two detectives who aren’t on speaking terms with each other, a fastidious money man and his pug, and a surprising romance. Nina’s quest leads her to The Superior, the enigmatic leader of an organization who Nina believes holds the key to the whereabouts of Carrie. (Official Website)
Nina continues digging deeper into a side of Los Angeles that outsiders rarely see in her quest to find her sister and get Closure.
The movie stars Catia Ojeda as “Nina”, along with Cynthia Addai-Robinson, Tom Choi, Milena Govich, and Dee Wallace. Closure is available to watch online for free on Tubi TV and with a prime membership on Amazon.
The Pre-Drink is about friendship, growing up and growing apart. The comedy/drama “centers around four friends, two of which are fighting due to rumors that one slept with the other’s girlfriend, and one friend is in the middle trying to hash things out. ” You can learn more about the movie in our The 5Ws and How: The Pre-Drink post and you can rent/purchase the movie on GumRoad.
Later in the week we will have a full spotlight for Cybernetic Showdown, a micro budget B-Sci-Fi movie that lovingly goofs on 80s action movies, so now is a good time to check out the movie’s teaser trailer!
The movie is available for purchase or rental on Amazon & Gumroad.
I have a love for avatar/character creators. When I stumble on them, I can’t help but to try them out. Marvel Comics has a free “Create Your Own Web-Warrior”, aka Spider-Man, creator. Now you can design your own version of Spider-Man for the Spiderverse!
Writer & director Chris Baxter talks to us about his independent film Unlawful Justice. Learn more about the crime drama, who was involved with making it, and how it all came together.
Who? The entire film had such a wonderful family feel. Our DP and producer were two of my roommates. Our editor/DIT and BTS photographer both crashed on our couch often and our lead actor was an acting friend from college. From there, everybody we had knew one or two people that were grips/gaffers/Ads, etc. We rounded off our crew with a couple of Facebook posts for some key positions. We held auditions at Cazt Studio in LA because it was free and it looked professional, but we all worked for far below minimum wage. It was a mix of finding people we have access to, feel comfortable working with, but also know what they’re doing.
Indie Rights released our film. About a year before that, we applied for the Sundance Creative Distribution Fellowship- which was way out of our league. We had a 35k budget for our film, yet the Fellowship’s winning films felt like they were twenty times that in budget. It was probably the equivalent of being one of the better basketball players at the local YMCA and saying one day “You know what, let me go try out for the Lakers.” We didn’t get it obviously. But, I stayed in touch with the director of the program and ended up joining her indie directors meet up. After a few months she connected me with Indie Rights who really enjoyed our film.
What? The story is about a LAPD officer who is financially struggling to support his family. Mainly his daughter whose medical expenses are piling up. When he asks his boss for a raise, he’s given the opportunity to meet an unspoken arrest quota, and if he does, he’ll get a bump in his salary. However, this goes against everything he stands for as a police officer and why he joined the force in the first place; to protect and serve the community.
Meanwhile, there’s a seventeen year old kid from inner city LA who has just been accepted to a prestigious college. However, he doesn’t have the financial means to attend. With the help of his friend, who is a local hustler, he starts selling dime bags of cocaine to raise enough money to make the tuition down payment. Despite never having even jaywalked, he makes significant progress but it’s not enough to cover the tuition expenses. He gets in way over his head and tries to make one final score that will pay for his full tuition. At the same time the Officer is looking for one huge bust that can get him his promotion. The two eventually collide, and only one comes out alive.
Where? We filmed all throughout Los Angeles. Parks, back alleys, and random neighborhoods. We didn’t have much of a budget so we cheated a lot of locations. The morgue, jail, trap house, and two different apartments, were all just at our house. Our PD was incredible and was constantly reconfiguring everything in our living room to make it look like a whole new location. The best compliment I got were various people who said they had no idea that it was all shot at one house and it looked like the production budget was ten times higher than it actually was.
We filmed a lot around LA without a permit. We drove around in a rented fake cop car. For once scene, the driver, who was one of our main actors (she was an incredible actor and so nice), but not the best driver- hah. To her credit, it’s probably insanely difficult to act and drive at the same time in actual LA traffic with roads you’re not familiar with. The DP and myself were squeezed into the backseat, no seat belt because it was a cop car, on hard plastic. Somehow we didn’t crash. It was the very first scene in the shooting schedule. I definitely said a few extra prayers that night and had a few ice packs on my back.
We also got kicked out of a few locations. Some we didn’t have permission to shoot at, some we did, some we talked our way back into. When making a movie on a limited budget like that you have to take what you can get and make the most of it. There’s constantly this balance between getting the best shots, but making sure you’re not endangering anybody… beside yourself, which you’ve already done because you choose the film industry as a career.
When? We shot the movie in late 2016. The editing process took about 6 months. Our editor was living on our couch and we were both working full time just to survive and we worked on the film in any free time we had. His computer kept crashing so half the time we spent just redoing what we had already edited but neither one of us had access to a better computer or even $20 to get one. From there, the coloring and audio process took about another 6 months. We had some heavy audio issues and we couldn’t seem to get the coloring down, but after about a year we decided to call it. They say a film is never done, you just decide to stop working on it. I had worked on the film for nearly two years for probably an average of 10 hours a day for over 500 days straight. I was just so burnt out and decided I was happy enough with what we had.
We had been submitting to festivals and got in nowhere. We were submitting with basically an assembly cut, which I thought would work because during the one film business class I took in college (it was the only one the school offered) the teacher explained how he got a movie into SXSW without a finished cut. However he forgot to mention that the director was a Sundance alum, the film had a major star in it, a budget that was 20x what ours was, and that an unfinished cut meant temp music and a small bit of coloring and audio polish needed to be done… not an assembly cut of a 35k film from a total nobody director.
I took a couple months off from the film because I was so exhausted, disappointed, and not happy with the final cut. I saved up all my money in that few months from working, then I went back with a new editor and came out with a cut I was really happy with and proud of. We applied to basically one festival, got in, won best picture, and then I said lets just go into distribution. The film was released in the spring of 2019. Right when Amazon slashed their pay rates to indie filmmakers. Another bump on our rollercoaster ride, but we’ve made the most of it and gotten a ton of positive reviews.
Why? I have this fundamental belief that almost everybody is a good person, but we do bad things because society forces us to make difficult decisions. I don’t think anybody is evil but we all do evil things, although usually we do them for a good reason. In Unlawful Justice, the police officer steps outside the boundaries of what he can legally do, but he thinks he’s doing it to protect the community and also so that he can get a raise to take care of his sick infant daughter. One of the main characters is a drug dealer, but he’s doing it because the school system failed him and he has no other options to support his family. Society has failed us. Our systems of policing, education, economics, and government have all failed us and it forces everyday people to constantly have to consider making immoral or unlawful decisions just to survive.
At the time, and still today, there were many stories of police brutality. There didn’t seem to be any answers and it seemed that people kept dying. There was this one unique case in the news where it felt that nobody did anything egregiously wrong, but it still led to this conflict between a police officer and a black individual. Thankfully nobody was killed, but it was still very problematic. It seemed that every news outlet was trying to paint one side as the victim and one as the criminal, and every news station was different. However, it seemed like it wasn’t either’s fault- it was just a horrible situation that was exacerbated by these systems we have, especially our system of policing.
So I thought about trying something extreme. Could we create a story where a black man kills a cop, but is in the right? Could we, in the same story, with that same cop, show him assault a black man, but the cop is also in the right? A story where everybody is breaking the law, but we not only fully understand why they are, we conclude that we would do the same thing if we were in their shoes. I hoped to accomplish in the movie that people would think about who their enemy really is a bit differently after they watched it. People aren’t our enemy. Our brother isn’t our enemy. The systems that plague us are. The system of policing. The system of systematic and institutionalized racism. The system of education that has failed us. Our political system which has led us astray. Our financial systems that have created poverty and marginalized communities. We’ve been pitted against each other, to keep our eyes off the real enemy.
How? We’re on TubiTV, Amazon Prime and IMDBTV, Apple TV, and Goggle Play. Thanks for checking out the film!
The Killing Death is a micro-budget indie film from Ian Russell that focuses on “two bumbling cops who are on the trial of a serial killer who makes pizza out of their victims.” The horror comedy is available on Amazon Prime and you can learn more about it here!
This Wednesday Marvel Comics is releasing a pretty epic Women of Marvel special, while DC Comics’ Batman crosses over with one of the most popular video game worlds. Learn more about them and a few other select issues that will be coming out this week!
WOMEN OF MARVEL #1 Official Description: WHO RUN THE WORLD? YOU ALREADY KNOW. CELEBRATE THE WOMEN OF MARVEL WITH AN EXTRAVAGANZA OF EXTRAORDINARY TALENT! The future is female! Get in on the ground floor with this amazing assembly of writers and artists from all over entertainment. Comics legend Louise Simonson kicks things off with a must-read introduction! Nadia Shammas punches the glass ceiling with the Jade Giantess! Elsa Sjunneson grits her way to the front line with Captain Peggy Carter! Sophie Campbell goes feral with a bone-grinding Marrow story! Video game-and-comics writer Anne Toole makes her Marvel debut in a blaze of glory! Natasha Alterici of Heathen fame charges sword-first into the Marvel Universe! With astonishing art from new and established artists Kei Zama (Transformers, DEATH’S HEAD), Eleonora Carlini (Power Rangers, Batgirl), Skylar Patridge (Resonant, Relics of Youth), Joanna Estep (Fantastic Four, Fraggle Rock) and more, you’re sure to come away powered up and ready to slay – in high heels and boots alike. Writers: Mariko Tamaki, Elsa Sjunneson, Sophie Campbell, Louise Simonson | Artists: Joanna Estep, Eleonora Carlini, Maria Frohlich, Naomi Franquiz | Cover: Sara Pichelli
WAY OF X #1 Official Description: THE WAY TO THE FUTURE OF X! Mutantkind has built a new Eden… but there are serpents in this garden. Some mutants struggle to fit in. Some mutants turn to violence and death. And the children whisper of the Patchwork Man, singing in their hearts…Only one mutant senses the looming shadows. Snared by questions of death, law and love, only NIGHTCRAWLER can fight for the soul of Krakoa. Only he – and the curious crew he assembles – can help mutants defeat their inner-darkness and find a new way to live. The WAY OF X. Writer: Si Spurrier | Artist: Robert Quinn | Cover: Giuseppe Camuncoli
BATMAN/FORTNITE: ZERO POINT #1 Official Description: A crack splits the sky above Gotham City…a tear in reality itself. This rift pulls the Dark Knight into a bizarre and unfamiliar world, with no memory of who he is or where he came from. Batman has been drawn into Fortnite! As our hero fights to recall his past and escape an endless loop of chaos and struggle, he’ll come face to face with the likes of Renegade Raider, Fishstick, Bandolier and more. While the World’s Greatest Detective strives to make sense of this strange new world, he’ll uncover the shocking truth about the Island, what lies beyond the Loop and how everything is connected to the mysterious Zero Point. Uncover secrets never before revealed in the game or anywhere else! Every fan of Batman, Fortnite, stunning art and edge-of-your-seat excitement won’t want to miss the Caped Crusader facing off against Fortnite champions on the Island in a desperate attempt to save not only himself, but other familiar faces from the DCU…and perhaps the Multiverse itself! Writer: Gage | Artist: Reilly Brown
JUSTICE LEAGUE #60 Official Description: Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Aquaman and Hawkgirl join forces with Black Adam to fight an all-new world conqueror! But how do they stop the unstoppable power known as Brutus? Enter new mega-power sensation Naomi, who comes face to face with the League and brings along Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons for a blockbuster battle for the ages—with a last-page cliffhanger that will leave everyone guessing what’s next! And in the backup tale, the new Justice League meets the new Justice League Dark, and the demon Etrigan calls the team to action—but Batman has other plans. This team needs a leader, but what twisted secret prevents Zatanna from stepping forward? Plus, Ragman makes a startling discovery—one that may cost his life! Writers: Ram V, Brian Michael Bendis | Artists: Xermanico, David Marquez
DARK HORSE COMICS
COJACARU THE SKINNER #1 Official Description: Cojacaru the Skinner, the strange and enigmatic bane of Eastern European witches, has been dead many years. But from a bloodied French town in the throes of World War II, a plea for help carries across the winds of time. A desperate band of resistance soldiers and their white witch allies rest their fate in the hands of Cojacaru’s ghost. And when she answers their call, it will be heard near and far. Writers: Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden | Artist: Peter Bergting
ORPHAN AND THE FIVE BEASTS #2 Official Description: A brave warrior, following her master’s final wish, finds the dreaded bandit leader that used to be a hero–but is now a force of destruction that threatens all life in the valley with his indestructible legs and ”Two Trees Bearing Heaven” fighting style. Writer/Artist: James Stokoe