Inspiration

Like sappy movies? Well then, have I got some news for you. Imagine a movie produced by Will Smith, written and directed by The Blind Side’s John Lee Hancock, and starring the one and only Denzel Washington. Can you comprehend the sheer force of drama that would be created from the perfect storm colliding of all these inspirational storytellers? You might not have to, because it might be happening; and in a film that suddenly makes my stupid storm metaphor seem to be in bad taste. Oh well, let’s venture on.

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Shannon Shea has done special effects work on over sixty films. From Evil Dead II to Predator. From Dances With Wolves to Jurassic Park. From In the Mouth of Madness to Sin City. Every week he delves into his personal and professional history to tell the story of how he became a monster that makes monsters. So there I was, in a small conference room in Woodland Hills, California on a warm February afternoon in 2009. I knew that the meeting would go long, and I would have to spend at least an hour driving home to Los Angeles. Sitting next to me was Mark Dippe, Industrial Light and Magic alumnus and director of the movie Spawn, and across from me sat Dean Cundey, the guy that not only shot all of John Carpenter’s early movies, but also shot Jurassic Park and Back to the Future just to name a few. At the end of the table was producer Tom Kiniston; I had worked with Tom on the Tremors TV series, and next to him was Brian Gilbert, formerly of Stan Winston Productions. The director was Brian Levant, whom I had never worked with personally. However I was familiar with him because I was representing KNB EFX Group, and KNB had made the Turbo-Man Suits for Jingle All The Way, a Mr. Levant effort. We, along with other department heads had gathered to discuss Scooby Doo and the Curse of the Lake Monster. As we began to go through the […]

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On the surface, the story of Bethany Hamilton is toweringly inspirational. The young surfer on the verge of going pro faced a personal loss so great that it should have destroyed her future career and water-soaked passion in one blow. The fact that she fought back against it, got back on the board, and eventually triumphed is a testament to the human spirit (as well as, according to the film, a testament to faith and the power of a higher being). It’s a compelling story, but as Soul Surfer proves, it’s not the best basis for a full-length feature film. It’s perfectly passable, but director Shawn McNamara has created a version of the story that focuses on filler and ties up all the drama far too easily.

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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
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published: 04.17.2014
B-
published: 04.16.2014
B+

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