Monthly Archives: September 2014

More than a few people have pointed out that a status report is long overdue, so I’m posting this EVERYWHERE. The status of Cowboys & Engines is it’s freakin’ AWESOME! I know it isn’t fair to gloat when I’ve seen the film and you haven’t, but I’m excited!

Before a film goes off for its final sound design, scoring and audio mix, it’s necessary to “Lock the picture.” As a director, this means stepping back and committing to no more tweaking of the cut, no more editorial changes. From the standpoint of flow and shot-by-shot juxtaposition, the movie is done.

I spent the last few days making little tucks and adjustments, and putting in temporary versions of some of our big establishing shots for timing purposes. So, even though I’ve seen the film (500 times? More?), I got to spend a lot of time seeing it as a whole, rather than focusing on its individual parts. And I’m so incredibly proud of what we accomplished, I want to shout. The impulse to share C&E, even though it isn’t done, is SO STRONG, that I feel more certain than ever that we have a winner.

You have to recognize that every director has largely gone cold on a film by the time you see it. It’s new for you, but for the creator, you’re sick to the teeth of it by the time you release it into the wild. You know every crease, line, wrinkle & wart on the old girl. The most you can reasonably hope for is comfortable affection.

But… once in a great while, you get a film so special that you rediscover it again on the other side. The blemishes fade, and what’s left is a magical piece of art that gives you chills and you think, “I helped create this.” This weekend, I learned that Cowboys & Engines is one of those projects.

So, there will be no apologies that we’re so late in delivering, or that we’ve taken so long to finish. The decision not to rush was the right one. What we’ve made has simply taken time. Because it’s special.

Enough ephemera. I know you’re hoping for some nuts and bolts information. On our current schedule, the film should be completed around the first week in October. Once it’s completely done, we’ll release a new trailer online, and schedule the premiere screening (which some of you may well be attending).

Post-premiere, password-protected download links will be emailed out to everyone. That will, hopefully, keep ya’all sated while we prep the physical packages. Discs have to be authored, artwork printed, t-shirts made, there’s the matter of a small book I have to write… etc.

Realistically, expect all the physical goodies to go out very early in the new year. I’d promise sooner, but, y’know, I’d be lying.

Yeah, this has all taken a lot longer than any of us imagined. And you know, I’m so very glad that it has.

I swear to Bob, the powers that be at Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment will just never fucking get it. After years of utterly clueless adaptations (the Fantastic Four films, DaredevilGhost Rider, et. al.,) it seemed as if we were finally seeing the beginnings of an era when the big studios would do comic book properties that appealed to the core audience as well as the “flyover states.”

With its slate of films, Marvel has done something that was previously seen only with Star Trek: create one huge, planned, inter-connected universe for all its characters to play in. From Iron Man to Agents of SHIELD to the four upcoming Netflix series that will culminate in a Defenders line-up, everything Marvel has done since they had the power to do it is all the same mythology. There are even rumblings of letting Pixar do an animated Marvel film that would be canon… Hell, even the miserable Incredible Hulk, the first film to be a part of this universe, gets a, Easter egg in Ant Man to remind us that, “yes, it’s a terrible film, but it’s still ours, and we love it anyway.”

And it’s working. It’s working really, really well.

Naturally, the studios that (sadly, oh so sadly) own several of Marvel’s tentpole properties are trying to build their own interconnected worlds; Sony is giving Venom his own films to lead into Sinister Six. Shame it’s all based on those shitty Marc Webb movies.

Fox, capable of turning any windfall into an embarrassment, is blowing the X-Men universe completely out of proportion, and possibly adding Josh Trank’s DOOMED Fantastic Four reboot into the same continuity.

And then there’s Warner Bros., owners of DC Entertainment. Holy fuck, do these people NOT know what to do with comic book properties. They say those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, so let’s take a quick jaunt down memory lane…

  • Superman: The Movie thru Superman IV
    • One great movie, a mediocre sequel (made watchable in the Director’s Cut), an embarrassment and one of the worst films ever made.
  • Supergirl
    • Nominally, part of the same universe, though it isn’t sure itself. Hey! That’s five movies in the same mythology!
  • Wonder Woman
    • First, two TV movies with Cathy Lee Crosby… then, a TV series with Lynda Carter that has NOTHING to do with either them or the DC universe in general.
  • Batman thru Batman and Robin
    • Again, a solid first entry (though I’m not a fan at all), a silly, camp sequel (more suited to the Batman ’66 series than the big screen), and two execrable follow-ups. A new world for Bruce Wayne, devoid of any other super-heroes to play with.
  • Swamp Thing
    • Let’s make a crappy movie! And a crappy sequel! Then, let’s follow them with a crappy TV series! Let’s set them each in their own unique worlds!
  • Superboy
    • It’s Superman as teen, because teenaged girls love teenage Superman! But not when he’s part of a bigger universe, apparently.
  • The Flash
    • It’s cheese! And even though it’s on at the same time as Superboy, let’s keep them separated, for their own good.
  • Lois & Clark
    • Superman reimagined as a shitty, half-assed, badly acted romance! Yes! And another Superman universe! Score!
  • Steel
    • Shaq, as a character from Superman, only… without… Superman…
  • Smallville
    • It’s Dawson’s Creek, but with super-heroes! No! It’s Superman without Superman! And badly written and acted! And… not… connected to …anything…
  • Birds of Prey
    • It’s a bunch of Batman characters we’ve really never seen before, but in New Gotham, and, uh… Batman has retired…
  • Catwoman
    • Well, we’ve learned our lesson! If we’re going to make a terrible spin-off with a different actress, let’s set it in a different universe with no Batman at all!
  • Superman Returns
    • It’s a reboot! It’s a sequel! It’s… a mess, really. It references the Donner films, but is set in modern day, and everyone is suddenly twelve years old… who knows what universe this is part of?

Which more or less brings us to the modern era. That was just the way studios treated comic book properties then, so where do we stand now?

Well, let’s begin with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, which stands alone as it’s own work. We have Green Lantern, which lives in its own retarded bubble. We have Man of Steel, which isn’t part of Nolan’s world, (despite being produced by him) because his was “too real, and too dark.” I guess a patricidal, sociopathic, mass-murdeing Superman just isn’t dark enough for The Dark Knight, so… another new continuity.

Of course, the courtroom drama sequel, Batman v. Superman takes place in the same universe, with a different Batman, and if they ever get that far, the Justice League film will be part of this continuity after a Green Lantern  reboot, and a few other solo films. Personally, I’ll believe it when I see it.

On TV, you’ve got Arrow and The Flash, both connected. However, they won’t be part of the Justice League film continuity because, well, frankly, neither of those bozos can carry a lead on the big screen, especially child-bride, West Hollywood heartthrob Grant Gustin (seriously, is Barry Allen in fucking high school?) Also on the small screen, you’ve goth Gotham, the Batman version of Smallville, i.e., Batman with no Batman! So, er, just a crime drama, I guess? Stupid, AND NOT CONNECTED TO ANYTHING ELSE!

Let’s not forget the Constantine  film, and the new Constantine series, which are related neither to each other, nor the rest of any ongoing DC continuity.

Coming up, we’ll be getting Guillermo del Toro’s Justice League Dark, which features a team of DC’s magic heroes, (including another John Constantine with no ties to either existing one), and which will also NOT be set in the Justice League universe. I mean, WTF?!? Why are they even called the Justice League then?!?

A few days ago, DC Entertainment announced that Shazam (you guessed it), will not be connected to any of the other DC films. Even though they had just figured out how to make him fit into the comics (Shazam, for those in the know, is really the only guy who can routinely kick the crap out of Superman, so he’s a little bit of a problem.)

Lastly, and this was really the cherry on the sundae, a new Supergirl series was just announced, and odds are really high that, since it isn’t on the CW, and since there’s no Superman (that we know of) in the world of Arrow and The Flash, that it, too, will exist in it’s own little bubble. It’s fucking maddening.

Someone needs to stage an intervention. This is just absurd. I’ve never been a huge DC fan; I’m a Marvel guy to the core. But, seriously, don’t Batman, Superman and the rest deserve better treatment than this?

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