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Live for Films – 2009 A Year in Film

Posted by LiveFor on December 16, 2009

What a year it has been for film.

Neill Blomkamp and Duncan Jones had great debuts with District 9 and Moon. Sam Rockwell acted his socks off in the latter. There was animated loveliness with Up, Ponyo, Fantastic Mr Fox and Coraline, but ugliness with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Planet 51 and Monsters vs Aliens.

J J Abrams beamed new life into the excellent Star Trek.

There was old school horror in the shape of Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell and brilliant horror comedy in the wonderful Zombieland (it had the best cameo of the year). Dario Argento’s Giallo wasn’t sure if it was a horror or a comedy.

Comic book movies didn’t quite so well this year. X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Zack Snyder’s Watchmen – I enjoyed them both though despite their flaws.

War movies hit the big time again. Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker gave us an intense take on the war in Iraq and Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds changed history for the better. That’s a bingo!

There were toy and book adaption disappointments in the shape of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra and Twilight: New Moon raked in the cash despite not being very good. Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones had mixed reviews.

Joaquin Phoenix lost the plot or is playing the long con when he quit acting to become a rap star and James Franco started an artistic endeavour by appearing on General Hospital.

Both Dragonball Evolution and Streetfighter adaptions had poor finishing moves at the box office. Terminator Salvation brought us our first proper glimpse at Sam Worthington, but left many cold and Ben Foster chased through the darkness in Pandorum. The Stath did it again in Crank: High Voltage and blaxsploitation returned with Black Dynamite fighting The Man.

The Perfect Getaway had a few twists and turns from the norm and The Cove opened my eyes to the slaughter of dolphins.

Chaos reigned in Lars Von Triers’ Antichrist. Bruce Willis went plastic in Surrogates. Gerard Butler was a Gamer and a Law Abiding Citizen. George Clooney was Up in the Air after The Men Who Stare At Goats. The Coen Brothers’ A Serious Man and Colin Firth as A Single Man confused a few while Carey Mulligan had An Education that many adored, but left me disappointed. Johnny Depp and Christian Bale were Public Enemies and Viggo Mortenson began a long walk down The Road. Audrey Tautou showed us Coco avant Chanel.

Spike Jonze sailed to Where the Wild Things Are, Richard Kelly opened The Box and The Hangover gave a headache to no-one. Clint Eastwood made Invictus. Jeff Bridges had a Crazy Heart while Terry Gilliam and Heath Ledger took us to The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Nicolas Cage began a slow climb to redemption with the aid of his lucky crack pipe in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince brought us ever closer to the end.

An Orphan scared us, In the Loop made us laugh at the political shenanigans, Paranormal Activity scared us, (500) Days of Summer and Adventureland made us happy in a sad way, World’s Greatest Dad reminded us how good Robin Williams could be while Old Dogs reminded us how bad Robin Williams could be. sin Nombre and Thirst were two of the many excellent foreign language films released and Jim Jarmusch showed us The Limits of Control.

Behind all of these other films has been the rumbling spectre of James Cameron’s Avatar. All year it has been waiting and watching and only now are we about to see whether it was all worth it (current reviews seem to say this is a great big hell yes!)

So many films watched but so many more missed. The way it has always been and always will.

That does mean that there are still many wonderful moments to be watched or to take us by surprise when we turn the channel late one night and an unexpected film has just begun – often films you would never normally watch but you end up thoroughly enjoying….and I don’t mean a bit of blue for the Dads!

I suppose that is one of the great things about movies. You will never be able to watch them all and you wouldn’t want to. We don’t all watch the same ones yet that means we all have fresh takes on each others favourite films. They can bring us together or lead to intense arguments. Did Han did shoot first?

Most of all, for the 90 minutes or more they are on, a movie takes us away to another place. Not always a nice place, but it is a break from the real world no matter what. Bad, good or wonderful they are all groovy and bring us all together.

As for me I have had some wonderful moments related to film – I got to speak to Marion Cotillard, Johnny Depp, Duncan Jones and David Sullivan. The site moved over to WordPress and has been going from strength to strength since then – thanks to everyone for taking the time to stop by and have a look.

The Live for Films Movie Club began and is still going to help share cool movies you may have missed (thanks to those on the Forum for sorting all that out).

Live for Films researcher and reporter Pamela Fruendt went along to Tim Burton’s art exhibition at New Yorks Museum of Modern Art. Many people contributed reviews for favourite horror films during Halloween including author Michael Marshall Smith (he reviewed Halloween) and director Andrew Barker (he reviewed Blood Feast).

My Wife enjoyed getting parcels full of DVDs and Posters addressed to Live for Films and I just had a ball doing what I do and have been constantly surprised that so many people seem to dig what I dig, you dig?

For what it is worth my top 10 films of 2009 in no particular order and considering the fact I have yet to see such films as Avatar, The Hurt Locker, Up, The Road and many more are:

  • Moon
  • Zombieland
  • Star Trek
  • Watchmen
  • District 9
  • The Cove
  • Coraline
  • Drag Me to Hell
  • Public Enemies
  • Inglourious Basterds

What have been your highs and lows in films for 2009? What great films have I forgotten and what should I have watched? What films do you wish you have not watched and what film did you see many time? What surprised you? What made you laugh, cry or hurl?

Now we have 2010 to look forward to. Apparantly, according to Dave Bowman, it will be full of stars.

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Exclusive Interview: David Sullivan – star of Primer & Skateland. He’d love to be Preacher & Kim Kardashian tried to kill him

Posted by LiveFor on December 8, 2009

David Sullivan was one of the main actors in the excellent, 2004 time travel film, Primer. It was written and directed by Shane Carruth and I highly recommend you watch it as it is probably the most realistic portrayal of time travel yet seen.

David has also appeared in various episodes of CSI, Criminal Minds and Boston Legal. Coming up he stars opposite Jeffrey Combs and Brian Austin Green in Urgency and the Ashley Green coming of age film, Skateland.

He is also on Twitter.

He was kind enough to agree to an interview with me. Without further ado let’s get to it.

Hi David thanks for taking the time to do this.

First of all, I am honored that you have taken the time to come up with some questions and have the interest in sharing my answers with your followers. It really means a great deal to me knowing that people care about what I say. Hope I’m not too boring!!

We’ve recently had Halloween. Who or what did you dress up as?

I really don’t dress up too much for halloween. I mean, I dress up, but it’s usually pretty general or homemade. This year, my girlfriend and I went to the costume shop a couple of hours before the party and came up with Captain Hook and Tinkerbell. She already had a green dress, so I bought a pirate hat and a hook, and she bought some wings, a wand and some hair glitter. Pretty lame, but we pulled it off. And, yeah, I somehow lost the hook and she lost the wand halfway through the night.

How did you become an actor? Was it something you always wanted to be or did you fall into it?

I can remember when I was like 4 years old in San Antonio with my grandparents and saw this little kid filming Cloak and Dagger. There were all these people around and he was getting so much attention. I loved the fact that everyone was just watching this little kid run around and have fun. I asked my grandparents what was going on and they told me all about it. It soundend awesome, but not realistic. I really don’t think that I had decided that it was a life choice, or at least something I wanted to pursue fully until after Primer though. I didn’t really think that you could make a living at doing it, so didn’t wanna waste my time, but after seeing the amazing response from Sundance and from people who would pay me to act, I really knew that I could devote my life to it and honestly love what i do.

Primer was your first feature film. How did you prepare for the highly complex plot and how do you think that film set you up for subsequent roles?

I honestly didn’t know what I was doing. I had done a couple of one act plays in high school playing 60 year old men, so the kind of acting that was necessary from Primer was something that I was completely uneducated on. I had read the script a number of times and though, very short, it was very wordy and complicated. I knew that the only way we were going to pull this off is if we sounded like we knew what we were talking about, and played it very natural and conversational. This is the total opposite from how one would act in a play. I studied the script literally night and day because I had just been laid off from my job and had little else to do. I would go to Shane’s place every day and run lines and build props and do all “preproduction.” (I learned that word much later.) We got to know each other very well in those two months! As far as prepping for subsequent roles, I think it actually hindered me, not my work ethic but how to approach auditions. For at least a year, I would approach auditions very conversational, and had no stakes or point of view. It wasn’t until I actually got involved in a class that I learned how to approach it with a strong POV and a purpose.

Could you ever see a sequel to it?

No. I honestly don’t think Shane would allow it. I would love to do one, but unless he’s offered millions, I honestly don’t think he’ll do it.

Apart from Primer what is your favourite film / book / TV show involving time travel?

Honestly, I never was a big fan of time travel, except for Back To The Future. I know that sounds really cheesy, but until I did Primer, I just saw movies as a type of entertainment. I never really looked at film as art or as a message or really anything other than an escape from real life for a couple hours. I began to watch movies differently after that. I really began seeing in to movies and trying to really understand why actors and directors do what they do in telling a story. I have come to enjoy movies now for a variety of reasons as opposed to just be entertained.

Do you prefer working on TV shows or feature films?

Honestly, until you’re a household name, you don’t really have a choice. I would love to do movies for the rest of my life, but I know that I have to climb the ladder, and usually that means doing a lot of TV. If there were tons of filmmakers out there who would like to employ me throughout the year, I would much rather do that. I would love to spend weeks studying a role and figuring out nuances and how he would think, then shoot it for a month, then start on the next. I am a logical person thought and I know that that is a ways down the road.

If you were killed by a movie monster which one would it be and what would your final words be?

A movie monster?? Wow, um….He would have to be a misunderstood monster, or at least one that I could see why it was doing what it was doing. I just can’t say Jason because he’s messed up in the head. It would have to be someone like Kevin Spacey in 7. He had a purpose and he thought that what he was doing was right. I would just say to him, “It’s ok. You can be loved if you allow yourself to be.” I think that’s what all monsters want, just to be loved and understood. Goodness! I just reread what I wrote and it sounds so stupid!!!

What have been your favourite films of 2009 so far?

Inglourious Basterds is the front runner, but I also enjoyed a number of others including: The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, Star Trek, Moon, freaking Paranormal Activity (it was so scary; i was smiling the whole time!) and The Hangover. I honestly didn’t see as many movies this year as I would have liked.

Comic book films are big business these days. Are there any comic book characters you would love to play?

I don’t read comics, but if I did get my choice, it would be Preacher. I think he’s a badass from East Texas who thinks he’s doing the Lord’s work. That’s kinda me in a nutshell!!

What film do you first remember watching?

Wow, good question. Growing up, we weren’t allowed to watch tv. My dad actually put our TV in the attic a couple of times a year to keep us away. Funny side note, my mom fell through the ceiling twice sneaking up there to watch it! The first movie I remember seeing in a theater was probably ET. I remember liking it and having way too much popcorn.

Which actor dead or alive would you most like to work with?

Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I would love to just stand there and react to what he would be giving me.

Your have a couple of films coming up. What can you tell us about Urgency and how was it working with genre giant Jeffrey Combs?

Urgency was a very low budget film that we shot around Christmas in LA. My trailer was very small and very cold. I remember being miserable the majority of the time. The couple of days I got to work with Jeffrey, I had a blast. He is such a nice guy and such a giving actor. I can see why so many people like him. I had a lot of fun with him.

Then there is Skateland, a coming of age drama set in the 80s. What role do you play in that and did you have to skate?

This movie just got in to Sundance last week, so I am very excited about that. I do know how to skate. I actually grew up going to Skateland, and the movie sorta reflects what it was like in small town Texas. I was so excited to work on this movie and to have the opportunity to go back home. We shot it less than an hour from where I am from. I think I get to be the comic relief in this film. I have worked with the writer/director [Anthony Burns] before and he really let me just improv a lot. I had a great time being the hardware store manager trying to help the young kid get additional work after the skating rink may be shut down.

After those films have hit what will we be able to see you in next and do you fancy directing your own feature?

I will be in CSI:NY on December 16th. There are a number of reality people in the episode for some reason. Kim Kardashian actually tries to kill me. I have been offered a couple of smaller movies to be shot this winter but haven’t really committed to anything. As far as directing, I have a long way to go. I love working with actors and trying new things out, but as far as the job of being in control/responsible for a big group of people, not sure if I’m ready for that yet. I have a lot to learn, and am excited about doing so.

David Sullivan thank you.

Some great stuff there. If you haven’t seen Primer go and whack it in your Netflix or Love Film queue or pick it up at Amazon UK or Amazon USA (other online stores are available).

What do you think about David playing Jesse Custer in Preacher?

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