Tuesday, December 30, 2008

"Yes Man"

Yes Man (2008)
starring Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Darby, Terrence Stamp
written by Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul, Andrew Mogul
based on the book by Danny Wallace
directed by Peyton Reed

It’s truly a sad time when one can go to a movie theater in 2008, see Terrence Stamp onscreen, utter the phrase “Kneel before Zod!” and have no one around you get the reference (I swear, kids today have no idea what they’re missing). I experienced this dejection first-hand when I saw Stamp in a supporting role in the Jim Carrey vehicle, Yes Man. I saw Stamp and sprouted the Zod line to no audience reaction save a chuckle from my friend Zuke (and I’m not convinced she wasn’t just being polite. Thanks, Zuke. Love you.). Aside from that, my experience with Yes Man was quite enjoyable.

Yes Man is a comedy in the vein of Liar, Liar and Bruce Almighty; a ridiculous concept played for laughs without going over the top into the realm of slapstick. It’s not as funny or cleverly written as Liar, but it’s not as dopey as Bruce. Most importantly, it returns Carrey to his more familiar (and favorable) comedic talents. Let’s face it, after Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I figured he would avoid drama. Then I saw The Number 23. I’m still scratching my head.

Anyway, Carl Allen, (Carrey) is a lonely loan officer with an insufferably friendly boss, Norman (Rhys Darby). Carl is a recluse who spends his evenings with rentals from Blockbuster, despite the continuous invitations to hang out from his buddies (Bradley Cooper & Danny Masterson). Why is Carl so lonely and reclusive? Because he still hasn’t gotten over his three year old divorce from Stephanie (Molly Sims).

Carl coincidentally stumbles across long lost friend Nick (John Michael Higgins) who convinces him to attend a “Just Say Yes” type of self-help seminar presided over by “Just Say Yes” self-help guru, Terrence Bundley (General Zod. Oops, I mean, Stamp). In a nutshell, Carl is convinced that the key to ending his depression is to trust the positive powers of saying “yes” and must do so to any proposition, no matter what the proposition is. Silly and fanciful? Oh hell, yes. As is evidenced in his first test where a homeless bum asks him to a) give him a ride to a place WAY out of the way, and b) use his cell phone to the point where the battery dies. Carl reluctantly says, you guessed it, “yes.”

The chain of events resulting in saying yes leads Carl to meet Allison (Zooey Deschanel), the script’s obligatory love interest. This spot of good fortune leads Carl to believe in the power of “yes,” and decides to do it more often. The results are, in a word, funny. Carl is enjoying life more than he ever did before, and he rides the “yes” wave until it crashes at the start of the third act. Well of course the good luck runs out. You know what they say about “all good things,” don’t you? Besides, conflict between boy and girl is as obligatory as a love interest in a story like this.

Said conflict is as ludicrous and unbelievable a plot device as I’ve ever seen, but not as much as the premise of the story to begin with, so it’s completely acceptable for the purposes of the comedy.

As for the comedy, if Jim Carrey ain’t your bag, than neither is Yes Man, for all the comedy in the film stems from Carrey’s Carl Allen. However, the supporting players feed off Carrey to the letter, and the laughs are genuine. Deschanel is nothing special, but considering it took a team of three screenwriters (Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul & Andrew Mogul) to convert Danny Wallace’s book to screenplay, I can surmise that the bulk of rewrites were to change the character of Allison to better suit the limited talent of Deschanel after she was cast. They succeed to a degree, but it’s still Zooey Deschanel, and her signature cute, left of center quirkiness gets old about midway through the second act.

Peyton Reed directs Carrey as well as anyone else has. And when I say “direct,” I mean let Carrey use the script as inspiration for his improvisations. It works, but I reiterate, Jim Carrey is an acquired taste. So if you’re avoiding this movie simply because of who has top billing, fine. Just wait three years for Yes Man to be on cable TV. There’s not too much cursing, so you won’t lose much in translation, save for annoying commercial breaks. Then get back to me.

Amity Island Harbor Master Frank Silva says, "I can understand why Turz didn't appreciate Number 23 or Spotless Mind. They're artsy-fartsy films for a more sophisticated crowd. Like harbor masters, dock workers and trash collectors."

Here is one of the coolest live performances youTube has in its brain-dead collective. Jenny Says from Cowboy Mouth-

Turzman: out.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Embrace of the Vampire

Embrace of the Vampire (1995)
starring Alyssa Milano, Martin Kemp, Harold Pruett, Rachel True
written by Nicole Coady, Rick Bitzelberger and Halle Eaton
directed by Anne Goursaud

All this talk of Twilight lately has left a bad taste in my mouth. Quite frankly, the Vampire genre disgusts me right now. In an attempt to rekindle my appreciation for Bloodsuckers, I sought comfort from the erotic side of the fang. I rented two classics and one not-so-classic that promised hot, naked vamps engaging in (mostly) lesbian sex. The problem with horror-erotica is, the erotica almost always takes a back seat to the horror, and I find nothing sexy about gore. Historically, the vampire genre has been able to mix the two effectively, because of all that romanticism associated with the tragedy in being a vampire. But there is more than a fine line between a trickle of blood dripping slowly down past the bosom of a beautiful damsel, and smearing blood all over the place like a kindergarten finger-painting session. I might be the minority here, but I have a hard time maintaining wood when I see a lot of blood.

The three flicks I watched were, 1970’s Vampyros Lesbos (which made no sense), 1974’s Vampyres (aka Dracula’s Daughters, which made even less sense) and 1994’s Embrace of the Vampire. It is the latter that chose discretion as the better part of valor with blood spillage and the one I chose to review, despite the other two being considered classics in three separate sub-genres, uniformly (Vampires, Erotica and 70’s Exploitation Cinema). Ironically, it’s also the worst of the bunch.

Embrace is essentially a watered-down retelling of Bram Stoker’s epic. A man (Martin Kemp) is forced to abandon his love for a princess (Rebecca Ferratti) after he’s turned into a vampire by three naked, nymph-like woodland bloodsuckers as he sleeps in the forest (?). Our poor tragic figure (who never gets named, by the way) aimlessly wanders the planet miserably for hundreds of years until he stumbles across what he believes to be the reincarnated soul of his princess in virginal, college freshman Charlotte (Alyssa Milano). So Mr. Vampire spends the bulk of the film trying to create distrust between Charlotte and her horny but patient boyfriend, Chris (Harold Pruett) so they’ll break up and Charlotte will willingly give up her cherry to the vamp. And that’s about it. Sound familiar?

Embrace is not the typical erotica illustration, so maybe it’s not fair to lump it with those other films, but Embrace of the Vampire does offer one unique element that I wish more films would implement; Alyssa Milano nekkid. Quite often, in fact, thus fulfilling a fantasy I’ve had since the early 1980’s. Now that that’s out of my system, on with the review.

Not that there’s much to say except, this movie stinks. The main plot is as simple as stated above, and Milano is unconvincing as a sainty, “I won’t screw till I’m married” type of girl. The outfit is stereotypical, with knee high socks, conservative sweater, and cross on a necklace. The only thing missing is a rosary. Milano just doesn’t sell it. I suppose one can argue she’s been typecast, I mean has she played anything close to innocent since Who’s the Boss? Nothing comes to mind.

The biggest disappointment in this film is the titular fang-face. To be blunt, Martin Kemp plays the most uninteresting, uninspiring vampire I’ve ever seen. For a guy who’s finally found his long lost love after a few centuries, his attempts to bag her can best be described as “lazy.” He doesn’t do anything to so much as seduce or trick Charlotte as he does to simply annoy the piss out of her. When she’s asleep, Mr. Vampire comes in, strips her and begins to rape her until she wakes, where he disappears, leading her to believe she was dreaming. And when she’s awake, he’ll just show up and start talking. When she responds, he disappears just in time for others around to turn, see her talking out loud, and wonder who the hell she’s talking to. Real smooth you undead shithead.

To round up the rest of the players, Chris the boyfriend is a poorly written moron, and Charlotte’s two best girlfriends are stereotypes stolen verbatim from a thousand other scripts; the good friend (Rachel True) and the bitchy friend (Jordan Ladd).
The subplot involving a photographer (Charlotte Lewis) who entices Charlotte into lesbian experimentation (just like all cross-bearing, knee-bending, God-fearing, Jesus-freaky saints are prone to do) makes absolutely no sense. It contradicts the character the film makers are purporting Charlotte to be and serves little purpose other than padding out the run time to a tortoise-like 93 minutes and excuses Alyssa Milano to take her top off again (yay!).

Now, because it’s mildly important, I take this time to mention that Embrace of the Vampire was written by Nicole Coady, Rick Bitzelberger and Halle Eaton, and directed by Anne Goursaud.



Guardian of the Universe Gamera says, "At least this movie has a true vampire, unlike Dracula's Daughters where the ladies are not only NOT related to Dracula, but are not even vampires. They're just ghosts that haunt a particular castle and like to drink blood."

Gold-digging hussie REDSEXGODDESS says, "So what if Alyssa Milano takes her clothes off? I'll take my clothes off if you give me some money."

And on a completely unrelated note, enjoy Billy Joel performing "I Go to Extremes" LIVE from Yankee Stadium.

And from the Girls I really really wanna have sex with, but who wouldn't files, Kyla Cole.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Great news, everyone. "On a Dark and Stormy Night" finally has a premiere date. No shit this time, either. I'm told this is set in stone.
Thursday, January 29, 7:00 pm.
The Krikorian Theater, Redlands, CA.

I know a lot of you wanted to come to the premiere when it was supposed to be last April, so I'm putting this out there for anyone still interested.

Tickets must be purchased through the director, Ezequiel. Cost is general admission. ($9.00)
Just type "Stormy Premiere" in the heading so he knows you're not spam. Tell him Turzman sent ya the invite. Here's his e-mail addy-


"this first screening only holds 120 asses. so get your tix now!
and don't forget to visit
www.OnADarkAndStormyNightMovie.com "

The impatient ghost of Robert Shaw says, "Last April? What the hell was the bloody delay? Did your shark not work, either?"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A spot of good fortune.

Okay. So I can no longer completely loathe a certain coffee dispensary that formerly held me in its employ. I mean, it would directly violate the laws of Karma. You see, my funds are nearly depleted despite having worked 13 of the last 14 days at my new gig. The money's all but dried up. Then, out of nowhere, my good friend Nathan came over and said there was a bag of unclaimed tip money in my name.
No joke, there was $50 awaiting me. Fifty mutha-humpin' greenbacks! So I swallow a bit of pride and give a half-masted Turzman Salute to, *sighs* Sta***cks.
I can't do it. So I'm weak.

Anyway, about that fifty smackers...

I celebrated by treating myself to a churro. $1.03 after my employee discount.

Celebrate with me by doing the Hanky Panky.

And now, a song that is "slightly more fun that being stung by a scorpion."
Flots Till Death, bitches.

Internet addict PornoCat says, "On a side note, can anyone help Turz and I find some decent quality Reverend Horton Heat videos online anywhere? Thanks, meow."

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"A Fistful of Brains"

A Fistful of Brains
starring Jaqueline Martini, Conrad Osbourne, Edward Warner, Darrel Parker.
written and directed by Christine Parker

Circa 1872, the denizens of sleepy little Shadowhawk, North Carolina are facing a crisis of the peculiar kind. Someone or something has been mutilating cattle and retreating to the nearby woods, thus eluding identification or even description. The townsfolk chalk it up to Indians, but the ever vigilant and watchful Sheriff T.W. Earp (Darrell Parker) has assigned a patsy (David Elway) and scheduled a public hanging. The only thing this unfortunate soul is guilty of however is a personal effrontery against the sheriff, who takes such things a little too seriously and is not ashamed to dish out his own personal brand of justice, as we’ll learn through the course of the film.
The hanging coincides with the arrival of Shadowhawk’s two newest residents. Pastor John (Wayne Bates) who’s predecessor, Pastor Terry Barry (Paul Cardello) was another unlucky victim of the sheriff’s ire, and the mysterious Dead Eye (Edward Warner), a man who claims to be over 200 years old thanks to his magical elixir; a super-water that he’s oh-so willing to sell for only 25 cents a bottle.
Local yokel Frank (Pericles Lewnes) is desperate to help his terminally ill daughter (Jessie Walley) and buys a bottle. The results aren’t quite what he expected.
Meanwhile, Earp is forced to lock up his son Jack (Conrad Osbourne) for feeling up his sister (ew), Lily (Jaqueline Martini) in a drunken state. (Drunk or not, copping a feel on your sister? Yucky, yucky, yucky.)
Before things have a chance to get back to normal (normal being what normal is in this particular jerkwater, anyways) another herd of cattle are mutilated. Without a patsy to hang, and tired of the senseless destruction of livestock, Sheriff Earp finally sends his deputy (William Drake) and a posse into the woods for these Indians. When the posse stumbles across a campsite with body parts (from varying species, including human) on cooking spigots, our intrepid cannon fodder realize to their horror that these are not Indians, but something much worse. The chaos that will come to encapsulate A Fistful of Brains ensues…

There are many reasons as to why any given motion picture may be difficult to watch. Through the ignorant, untrained eyes of the average movie-watcher, those reasons are whitewashed and dismissed with the ambiguous “bad.”

Q- Did you see Spielberg’s last flick?
A- Yeah it was pretty BAD.

For my purposes as both audience member and reviewer, the ambiguity of “bad” doesn’t cut the mustard so I try to delve into the “why” a little deeper. For the most part, I‘ve found unbearable movies unbearable due to any combination of incompetent film makers, lousy performances, poor production, weak stories with laughable plot devices, wafer-thin characters, etcetera. Productions with a modicum of financial resources that fail to deliver because of the above reasons invoke no pity from me.
Then there is the rare gem that is usually classified as the “micro-budget indie.” A film that shows promise but fails to deliver due solely for financial reasons are very hard to watch for me because, having had my share of experience working on micro-budget independent films, I can recognize the “what ifs” when I’m watching an underdog. “The little movie that could, but not quite,” if you please.

It is in the latter category where A Fistful of Brains firmly plants itself because upon viewing, one can clearly see that Fistful’s technical and creative grasp far, far, far exceeds its fiscal reach. That being said, there is more good than bad in this film. The faults certainly don’t outweigh the benefits, but the sheer resonance of Fistful’s deficiencies overshadow the fact that there was some real talent working on a unique twist to an old idea. On the production side, that is. The biggest deficiency is, in a word, the acting. There’s no nice way to describe how poor the performances are. Let’s just say that all the talent on this project was behind the camera, not in front of it. That flaw, along with the other problems I had with Fistful can be attributed to one cause. No money.

It’s obvious that writer / director Christine Parker can tell a story through a camera and has a firm grasp of the technicalities of transposing a tale from paper to screen. The camera angles never violate the x/y axis and eye lines don’t contradict each other. The closeups are tight and the wides are picturesque. The interiors are lit nicely and with the exception of some grainy moments, the night exteriors are lit well enough. The sets, props and costumes look authentic enough to be a credible facsimile of the time and setting. The gore effects are effectively gory without overpowering the viewer. My guess is this is about where the money began to dry up.

I surmise that there was not enough money to pay a full compliment of talented actors or rent a sufficient post production facility. The sound quality is just one step above atrocious. One must pump up the volume to a ridiculous level to hear dialogue, but lower the volume quickly before the screaming and yelling begins or else risk blowing up speakers and bleeding from the ears. Also, it’s evident that the budgetary restraints led to time restraints because there were points where, rather than quick edits between characters during dialogue, Parker relies on single takes with panning cameras when people are conversing. Not always, but enough to make me assume there wasn’t time enough for multiple takes from different angles, giving more to the editors to work with in post.

Also, more time would have meant more rehearsal for the actors, which may have led to better final performances. I’d like to think that the talent pool in North Carolina isn’t as shallow as a drink of water, and I’d like to think that Parker is a capable enough director to get good performances from mediocre talent, given sufficient time to work. But this rag-tag potpourri of pseudo-thespians collectively ruins the totality that is A Fistful of Brains, thus effectively negating all the hard work put forth by everyone else on the production. I mean, all ambiguity aside, they are bad. Monotone deliveries are always hard to watch. There is absolutely no emoting except for in the direst of story circumstances, and even then we see dubious acts of unprofessionalism. Note to all actors out there: if you play a character that is being torn apart by a horde of zombies, please do not smile on your close up!!! I mean, seriously. There’s more than one occasion where we can see people smiling or laughing during scenes that are trying to be scary and suspenseful! C’mon, I like to have fun at my job too, but in this instance, it diminishes the severity of the situation, like when people are supposedly in mortal danger. Maybe I’m asking too much, but I expect an actor to act scared when the script calls for their character to be scared.

As for the story, it’s not perfect but it’s unique enough to set itself apart from the rest of the flotsam and jetsam floating around the dead sea known as the Zombie genre. Parker succeeds in creating zombies that are different than the usual ilk that has been done to death (pardon the pun) but are not so far removed that they are a different species altogether just posing as zombies. (Ala the *ahem* “vampires” of Twilight that don’t look, act, or die like true vampires). Instead, Parker’s undead are a mix of Romero’s Z-Force and the cannibals that inhabited Italian gut-munching cinema in the 60’s and 70’s. (No, not the Romero clones, but the actual Cannibal genre). That’s actually what they become; more immortal cannibal than zombie. They retain memories, can speak and recognize people, they just can’t be killed nor do they care who they eat. We come to learn that they don’t need to eat people to survive. They can get by on beef, they just prefer people meat. Upon reflection, one can argue that being a Christine Parker Zombie ain’t a half-bad existence, once you get over the taste of human flesh. Red meat every day and immortality? Sign me up!

To be honest, the movie fails when it tries to be funny. So much so, it makes me wish it doesn’t try to be, but the biggest problem I have with the story is the lack of a sympathetic character. Sheriff Earp rules over the town with an iron fist and has no problem murdering people that rub him the wrong way. The townsfolk are stereotypical country bumpkins that are either stupidly ignorant of or lazily content to live under the immoral regime of such an asshole. I mean, it’s not like a bullet couldn’t take care of the problem and give the sheriff a taste of his own medicine at the same time. The new pastor is a pervert in the truest definition of the word, who prefers the company of girls, boys and farm animals. Dead Eye, the stranger with the zombie-inducing magic water elixir is in town to build an undead army to fight his twin brother, Lazarus, who also has an undead army. The exact “why’s” aren’t really explained, and Lazarus isn’t as evil as your typical villain, so Dead Eye is ruining the lives of everyone in town because of selfish, sibling rivalry? My undead army is bigger than your undead army? Asshole.

Not even the purported protagonists are people you really want to see succeed past not being eaten alive. I mean, Jack and Lily are introduced to us as brother and sister. So to see Jack hit on her (even from a jail cell once he’s sobered up!) is both creepy and disgusting. Then, later in the film we discover that they’re not really blood siblings but they were raised as such because eeeeviiiil Sheriff Earp killed Lily’s real mom, or something. It could be a lie, for all I know because Jack reveals this to Lily only moments after she’s turned down another one of his sexual advances. Regardless, upon hearing this story that may or may not be a lie, Lily has no problem jumping in the sack with a guy she thought was her brother not two minutes ago. Ew. Even creepier. Lie or truth, these two are just slightly more moral than the rest of the people in this town, and again, it’s hard to root for such unlikeable people. Plus, this diminishes the effect of the twist ending that, under different circumstances with different people would have generated the reaction I think Parker had in mind from the audience.

Internet addict PornoCat says, "I noticed that nowhere in the review does Turz use the word 'pedantic.' I guess it's a safe assumption that he recommends this film. Meow."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Angry Young Man

"He's been stabbed in the back, he's been misunderstood.
It's a comfort to know his intentions are good."

I don't know why, but I've been itching to listen to this song for a couple days now. I did today as I folded laundry and it struck me. Billy Joel wrote this song about me back in the early 70's.
Well, not me specifically, obviously. That would be spooky. But he may have well written it about me. Pretty accurate.
Maybe if some of the selfish jackasses at my last job had heard this song, they might have understood me a little better. Maybe not. The kids today are inherintly (duh) dumber than they were back in my day.

Watch and be amazed...

"He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl.
He's always at home with his back to the wall.
He's proud of the scars and the battles he's lost.
He struggles and bleeds as he hangs on his cross
and he likes to be known as the Angry Young Man."

Amity Island Harbor Master Frank Silva says, "I don't think this song is intended to be a biographical account of somebody positive, or even tragic. Now, The Old Man in the Sea is a riveting account of a tragic hero. You should pity him."

Fuck the old man and the sea. Irregardless (duh) of the song's intent, I'm right about this.

In closing, I'd like to share something from the "Girls I really really wanna have sex with, but who wouldn't?" files...

Sophie Sweet aka Sweet Sophie Moon.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Fluxation without Representation

I've recently had a change in occupation. It was not by choice, but rather thrust upon me. In literally seconds after I was fired from one job, another was offered to me. I'm no expert on hiring/firing, but that turnaround time has got to be a record. It's certainly unique. In this era of economic woe and want, I'm just thankful I'm not unemployed.

Now, the reasons behind my release from a certain coffee dispensary are frankly, quite bogus. Let's just say that I am now looking at my former, fellow baristas in a new light.
In short, fuck 'em. Not all of them, mind you. Just a few. They know who they are. May they all live forever in ignorant bliss. Selfish jackasses.

So I was picked up via free agency in a matter of seconds (literally) by another institution. I'm not prepared to disclose the company by name (thanks to what little pride I have left) but here's a hint...

Nuff said. About that, anyways.

I'm trying very hard to remain positive. Betrayal by your peers is a tough pill to swallow, under any circumstances. So it's not easy. But I got 3 feature length films coming out in a matter of months, and I've done 2 very good shorts this past year. So I've got an impressive reel to show at auditions. Maybe it's time to hire an agent...

Also, the ever-so-wise Overseer at Karma Critic, FableForge has asked me to write film reviews again for the site, plus for a regular segment on the weekly radio show. I did have my reasons for stopping, but I love reviewing films so much, I considered it.

I called upon the Supernatural and hired a fortune teller to summon the impatient ghost of Robert Shaw for advice. Once he began reciting the famous Indiannapolis speech from Jaws, I knew I had to write film reviews again.
I don't know why, I just know what.
What? Well... maybe not. It's all a bit cloudy.

Cloudy. That's a good word.

Just out of curiosity, I sought the advice of another former ex-friend that had betrayed me in the past.

When I asked REDSEXGODDESS, she said, "Ask me again when you have some money."
Considering the gig for KarmaCritic doesn't pay, I disregarded Red's advice as shallow and pedantic.

Anybody else want a taco?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Review: "Requiem for a Heavyweight"

1962's Requiem for a Heavyweight.
Anthony Quinn, Jackie Gleason, Mickey Rooney.
Written by Rod Serling.

Sharks have Jaws, the mafia has The Godfather, Satan has The Excorcist and boxing has Raging Bull. It seems every film genre and sub-genre has it's crown jewel and the standard is usually a tremendous drop in all-around quality when discussing a "runner up." We're talking serious fallout of nuclear proportions. It's a rare occasion when a particular genre can have a second film even mentioned in the same breath as a classic, and the boxing genre, I believe, is exceptionally special because it offers two films. As evidence I suggest one either re-watch Rocky, or sample today's morsel, 1962's Requiem for a Heavyweight. It has a powerful performance from Anthony Quinn as the titular pugilist, it has a supporting cast that boasts the legends Jackie Gleason and Mickey Rooney and it has a brilliant screenplay from Rod Serling that elevates it (dare I say it?) past Rocky and makes a very serious run at Raging Bull as the greatest boxing movie of all time.

The film opens with Quinn's Louis "Mountain" Rivera, a punchy, seventeen year veteran of the squared circle in a heavyweight title fight against Cassius Clay, cameoed by Ali himself. In round seven, Rivera goes down for the count having sustained horrible damage to one of his eyes. So much in fact, that the ring doctor suggests Rivera retires because just a few more shots to the head could lead to blindness.

The problem with retirement is, at age 35, Rivera has no other skills to make a living on. Also, his manager, Maish Rennick (Gleason) and trainer, Army (Rooney) have no other ponies in their stable. It's Rivera or nothing for Maish and Army, and for Rivera, it's the ring or nothing, until he meets Grace Miller (Julie Harris), a kind-hearted civil servant in the employment agency Rivera registers with. Grace thinks Mountain would be perfect as a counselor at a camp for troubled boys, while Maish is scrambling to get him into professional wrestling.

These two subplots are not only riveting as they stand alone, but they intertwine late in the third act most effectively, completing the totality of Requiem as a story, and is a wonderful testament to Serling the writer. Grace enters Mountain's world to better understand him, realizing he would be perfect as the counselor, and pulls every string she has to set him up with an interview. There is something very pleasing about watching the infancy of potential romance between the two bubble up. Meanwhile, Maish is in debt to the local hoods, laying promise upon promise that he is, in no way, capable of keeping. He sees pro wrestling as the only alternative, and in his defense he sincerely has the best interests of himself as well as Mountain and Army in mind. That is until he hears about the potential camp counselor thing, and this is where Maish goes from fairly likeable to moderate scumbag as he implements sabotage.

Mountain is too naive, childlike when it comes to nearly everything, as is evidenced in his social awkwardness with Grace, and his blind trust in Maish and Army, having been taken care of by them for his entire, seventeen year career. It's far too easy for Maish to get Mountain drunk (under the guise of celebration) and make him late for his interview, where the drunken Mountain makes a fool of himself, ruining any chance of being a counselor or hooking up with Grace. All the while, Army is torn between is loyalty to Maish, and what he knows is best for Mountain.

Quinn shines as Mountain Rivera, creating a character different than Robert DeNiro's Jake La Motta (as he was a wife-beating asshole) but it's also a character more sympathetic and loveable than Rocky Balboa, which is a feat in and of itself, despite preceding Rocky by about a decade. Put Requiem for a Heavyweight at the top of your "things to do" list immediately. You have the Turzman guarantee that it will be wonderful.

Guardian of the Universe, Gamera says, "For a movie about fighters, there's not a lot of fighting in it. Not like my epic battles versus the likes of Guiron or the Gyaos', anyway."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The *ahem* "Vampires" of "Twilight."

On today's episode of Karma Critic Radio, the panel discussed vamps in the movies. Unavoidably, Twilight came up in our little roundtable.
Now I admit, I'm not following the hype on this one. Personally, I'm a little tired of the Vampire genre and I think it needs to take a nap for about a decade, and come back refreshed. The point is, I have no knowledge of, nor a preconception of how Twilight approaches the vamp mythos. Well I found out today, and I was surprised.
What doesn't surprise me is how anticipated this flick is by prepubescent idiots who couldn't find their own asshole with a road map. But I digress...
According to KarmaCritic moderator, FableForge, the vamps of Twilight do not have fangs, do not drink human blood, and do not, I repeat, DO NOT get hurt by sunlight (!)


No. Seriously. Instead of dying in the sunlight, these vampires' skin starts to sparkle like glitter (!)

I'm gonna try to keep this as simple as possible, kids. Pay attention...

You show me a creature that,
a) Does not have fangs,
b) Does not drink human blood,
c) Does not get hurt by sunlight,

and I'll show you a creature that IS NOT A FUCKING VAMPIRE !!!
End of lesson.

Now, for all those who disagree, world reknowned smart person Albert Einstein says,

Jedi Master Yoda says, "Anticipate this movie you do? Stupid, clueless, idiotic, nonsensical moron you are."

I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Run! Bitch Run!"

Please pay no attention to the animated gif of Chad Pennington's single great moment as a member of the New York Jets. I want to see if animation goes in this blogger system. If not, you'll be looking at a random football player as I write about my first feature length film, Run! Bitch Run!
I did two and a half days work on this film, and I die 5 minutes into the thing. The cool part is, my death sets the tone for the rest of the film, which is a sick, sick brutal motion picture. Written by Robert Hayes II and directed by Joseph Guzman, I'm convinced these two merchants of filth are going straight to Hell for this film. And I love them for it.
It premiered October 30 at 11:59 pm at the New Beverly Cinema in west Hollywood, and a crowd of 200 plus gave it a "standing O" afterwards. Many thanks to my good friend Lizzy, who accompanied me. I soooo did not want to go STAG to my first movie premiere, although I may be sent to Hell for exposing a sweet, young girl to such brutal trash.
So yes, I've seen myself on the big screen, but this is not a film I'm comfortable showing to my family. It's a direct homage to 70's era rape and revenge films. Straight exploitaion with teats, murder, sex, rape, murder, teats, rape, sex, more rape, and some more murder, more teats, and lesbian sex. I'm surprised Lizzy didn't fall off her chair.
Of course, she refuses to talk to me anymore...

When asked what he thought of Freak Show Entertainment's Run! Bitch Run!, Muppet Lab's very own Beaker had this to say, "Meep meep meep, meep meep meep meep. Meep meep. Meep-meep meep meep meep, meep-meep. Meep meep, meep. Meep." Thank you, Beaker.

When asked for his thoughts on the film, Amity Island Harbor Master Frank Silva said, "What the hell did I just watch? There wasn't one musical number in that whole picture, and the women-folk were naked. There wasn't no fish, no boats, not even any water. What the hell was I doing there? I'm going home, I got a harbor to run." Thank you, Mr. Silva.

Giant, mutated, flying turtle, Gamera shared his thoughts. "I felt the plot was needlessly obtuse and pedantic and the overall lethargic tone was surmised only by the demeaning treatment of women. Aside from that, this movie kicks ass!" Thank you, Mr. Guardian of the Universe.


And finally, when asked for her thoughts on the film, REDSEXGODDESS said, "You're kind of cute. You got any money?"

There you have it. The experts have speaked. Or spoken, or whatever. Learn more about Run! Bitch Run! at the Freak Show Entertainment home page.

C-ya in the funny papers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Aces High"

Starring myself, Nick Endres, Marlies Pinto & Ezequiel.
Co-written by myself & Ezequiel.
Directed by Brian Joseph Ochab.

This short was so well-received that there was talk about a feature length film. I started writing the script with "Punk Rock" Ryan Pena, but before we finished even a first draft, the potential money-person pulled out, and Ochab moved on to another project. So I wrote another version by myself, but since I can't claim the property as solely my own, it sits on my computer, eating drive space.

Oh, huh-row, preeeze...

You know, it just occurred to me, I'm frigging tired. You see, one of the necessary evils of being an unknown actor is the day job. It's practically a requirement. Mine is one of those places that opens early and closes late. That's the only clue I'll give as to where I work when I'm not on set.
Common decency suggests that you don't make people work early and late shifts consecutively, or even in the same week. The simple reason is, your sleep patterns get all f*cked up. When you sleep patterns are f*cked with, you feel a lot older that you really are.
Anyway, I am posting this on someone else's computer, so I am going to pick a random image off their hard drive.

Who keeps a picture of a worm on their hard drive???

Monday, November 17, 2008

Brandon Jacobs

The outstanding running back for the NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS had a monster day against the Baltimore Ravens and supposedly "the best run defense in football."
Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw and Derek Ward combined for over 200 yards on the ground.
Here are Jacob's highlights. Brilliant.

Excuses, excuses.

This blog post is merely an attempt to see if I can figure out if cutting and pasting html code is worth the effort of posting a blog with multiple pix. I'm lazy by nature, but I like to add visuals, so I'm facing a quandry, unless I'm mistaken in the definition of "quandry."
First, the cast and crew of the (hopefully) upcoming motion picture, On a Dark and Stormy Night-

Juan Reidinger (far left) is the star of this film and I think his performance will put this film on the map, thus exposing to the world how great the rest of us are.

This is Beeker. He was a muppet. Well, technically he still is a muppet. What is a muppet? Well, according to philosopher Homer Simpson, "a muppet is not quite mop, and not quite a puppet." Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Beeker was lab assistant to Professor Bunson Honeydew, a less memorable muppet, but he did have a PhD. Whether or not he earned it, or if it was an honorary doctorate bestowed by Jim Henson is unclear.

This is scotch. Scotch of the Glenfiddich single malt variety, to be specific. Me likey, long time. Not every bar carries it, and the ones that do charge a lot for it. But it goes down reeeeeel smooth, and is great precursor to pitchers and pitchers of beer. It's as strong as tequila, easier going down than whiskey, but is much, much more forgiving. Well worth the price.

This is porn star Jessica Drake. Read her necklace. It is correct.

The script specifically said my character does not push Adrian Quihuis into the pool. I suppressed the urge to show off my improvisational skills although in hindsight, I shoulda done it. It would have been a funny story to tell.

This is Mack. She lives in a hole between a coffee maker and a Frappucinno sure-shot dispenser. Her best friend and neighbor is a bottle of whipped cream. Mack is also an artist.

She wrote her name and drew a peace sign in chocolate sauce one day. Although I saw it as a sign of artistic skill, other people found it disturbing.
I'm told that the shock therapy is working nicely.

I think that's enough for one session. C-ya in the funny papers.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Um, interesting?

So the photos are cut in half.
Forgive me, I'm an idiot. I expected
the full photo to post when I
published them. Yeah, I assume too
much, that's the problem.

I move forward by flashing back...

AS I mentioned yesterday, it was a year ago that we were filming the motion picture, On a Dark and Stormy Night. When shooting wrapped, I took time to reflect on the experience and blogged about how great everyone was, thus proving how great I am. But I digress...


That's the cast and crew. You could just have easily looked us up on the Net at the IMDB, but "OADASN" has been removed pending the legal quagmire. Anyway, here's the cut n paste from 11.5 months ago. I still mean almost every word...

Monday, November 26, 2007
"On a Dark and Stormy Night: A Reflection"
by Mike Tursi
Principal photography is done.
The wrap party was last night.

It's over, except for post-production.
I am empty inside, and I didn't expect it to be so.
Well, not completely empty, but a huge chunk of me stayed behind, on set of "OADASN."

It was a great experience, and sometimes, I think it took it for granted when it was happening. But now, after a day of reflection, I realize I was working with some truly great souls, and I miss them dearly, only after one day.

Do I have some regrets? You bet. I could have made more out of this experience than I should have, and I attribute that error to growing pains as a new actor. I have no delusions about the fact that, of the 8 principal actors on this project, I was (and still am) the least known; the minorest of the celebrities, if that word even applies. I must say, the celebrities that I worked with are as real a bunch of people as the baristas at Starbucks and associates at Wal-Mart.

I wish I could have shown my fondness for these people more than I did.

Here's my list of "thank-yous." ---

Juan Reidinger, aka "Number Juan in our Hearts"- a man among men, and a great human being. His star is on the rise, and he will be a huge actor, very soon. Yet, his head is not in the clouds. He tackled this project with a passion I have never seen before, and is the most respectful soul I have met.
Muy bien, mijo.

Aaron Massey, aka "Money Massey"- he is money because when he is in a scene, the best way to describe it is, "rich." In my opinion, not only the best actor of this bunch, but the most talented actor I have worked with (in my albeit short career, but it's still the truth). Most of his scenes were shot in only one take, because the man, in the simplest of terms, "nails it every time." I have never seen an actor prepare as much for a role, creating backstory for his character. His nose was buried in his script over 90% of the time, and his preparation shows in his work.
Double-down, mutha-fucka!

Adrian Quihuis, aka "Joey Jo-Jo Joes"- have you ever met a person who was so funny that it annoyed the piss out of you? That's Quihuis. He had a snappy one-liner for literally, EVERYTHING ANYBODY SAID, and it was always fresh. It never got old. Nobody got to see how witty I am because Adrian would always beat us to the punch with the comebacks. He is a ball of energy that always had us laughing, and he has the funniest moments in this film. I am truly envious of Adrian's wit and timing and I know he can be one of the best stand-up comedians if the acting thing doesn't pan out.
Duuuuuuude, Gray's being a dick.

Anna Ward, aka "The Dream-Buddy"- beautiful and intelligent women that like sports are few and far between. To a guy like me, they are the rarest of commodities, and I would trade all the gold, silver and platinum in the world to remain friends with Anna Ward. If I had one day to live, and I could choose how to spend that day, it would be with Anna at a picnic with a good bottle of wine after a walk on the beach. We would have good conversation, and top off the night at a Mets-Cubs game (at Shea or Wrigley, it wouldn't matter) chowing down on hot dogs and peanuts. Yes, after a day like that, I would be fulfilled.
The Ace of Bicycles.

Marlies Pinto, aka "One of my favorite people in the world from now on"- Marlies was the first fellow cast member I met, and previously we had talked on the phone a few times. I knew before we met that I would like this woman a whole bunch. Also beautiful and intelligent, Marlies' spirit is kind and gentle but she has a sense of humor that dishes out and takes some pretty raunchy jokes. Not unlike Anna, to a guy like me Marlies is pretty much the closest thing to my "dream-girl" that I have met, and because we had sort of a minor kinship beforehand, my respect and admiration had time to graduate into a strong love and affection. I think I'll miss Marlies most of all.
The ride was fun, wasn't it?

Tamela D'Amico, aka "My Fellow Paisan"- at all times, Tam simply radiates confidence. I mean, she beams of it, but it's not arrogance, by any definition of the word. I think Tamela would be one of the best bosses an employee could hope for, because she has this aura about her that suggests no problem is too big for her to handle. She seems to have answers for and opinions on EVERYTHING. And she is so brilliant that it's scary. But yet, she's another kind and gentle soul. A gifted actress and singer (I'm gonna buy her CD but everywhere I go, it's SOLD OUT!) and also an accomplished director. Her technical knowledge of the craft is as impressive as her creativity. I've already said she's brilliant, and oh yeah- she's beautiful too.
My hair needs more teasing, daaaaaaah-ling.

Eva-Maria Leonardou, aka "The Greek Goddess"- the epitome of grace and elegance. Seriously, there's nothing she doesn't do gracefully, even in the way she comes up and says "hi" to you. And yet, her attempts to understand American culture items and English expressions are so innocent. When she asks for explanation on something it is one of the cutest things you can ever see. Eva-Maria is an A-List celebrity in her native land, but courageously gave that up to make her mark in America, and I hope for her more than all, OADASN pushes her over the top.
What does this mean, "donkey-punch?"

Elias Acosta, aka "Director of Photography/Cinematographer"- I don't know if this project would have reached it's full potential fruition without Elias looking through the lens. I had the pleasure of watching him interviewed about his work on OADASN and watching this man talk and the passion for his craft was awe-inspiring. This talented Dominican film maker has many exciting projects that were put on hold so he could work with us. I can speak for everyone when I say WE ARE GRATEFUL..
Wisdom far beyond his years.

Mike the Sound Guy, aka "Mike the Sound Guy"- I never got his last name, and that is regrettable for he was our savior. At the last minute, we still had no sound guy. Mike answered an ad on Craig's List and the next thing we knew, we had a sound guy. His technical expertise paid off in full, plus interest because it would have sucked if, after two weeks of shooting, we had no dialogue.
Condoms on microphones is not phallic if used for technical reasons.

Ezekiel Willis, aka "Mr. Everywhere"- originally brought on as a 2nd unit director, Zeke's duties morphed into pretty much assisting all the technical people. He was constantly glued to either a camera, the camera operator, the sound guy, the director or the producer. He was quick to help set up from shot to shot and without him, our transitions between shooting would have been hectic, at the best.
Lightning ain't bad once you get used to it.

Brian Snowden, aka "Mr. Everywhere, the 2nd"- he just showed up one day and started working. Seriously. I think he heard from Tamela that our crew was short-staffed, so he drove down from SAN FRAN-FUCKING-FRISCO on his own dime, put himself up in a hotel, and started working. And he was invaluable because he went far beyond the call of duty to make sure we actors were comfortable, fed and boozed up at all times.
Living proof that nice things happen to nice people, I'm actually envious.

Katie Custer, aka "MAAAAAAKEUUUUUUUP!!!!!"- a staff of one, applying makeup daily to 8 people attending a Halloween party. At 4:30 am every day for 2 weeks. Making me look handsome for the camera. None of these things are easy, but she made it look easy. Katie is a sweetheart, but I didn't have the heart to say this to her face...
The Jacksonville Jaguars suck.

Julie Lorenzen, aka "The Psycho cook with a Heart of Gold"- I swear, I fell in and out of love with this girl twelve times over the course of fourteen days. And she never got tired of me telling her how nice it would be if I saw her naked. She cooked and cooked then cooked some more. Then she served us. Then she did it again for lunch. And then for dinner. She liked to pinch my ass and it felt good. She made me feel liked even if I was a pain in the neck.
Discovery Channel, Shark Week, in the nude; we are so there.

Lee Brandt, aka "Cop 2"- where the hell have you been the whole shoot? Just one day of work? WTF??? lol

Jason the cop, aka "Cop3"- the real McCoy, LAPD. He came in as a technical advisor and we gave him a small role in the movie. He brought his gun, nuff said.

Ezequiel, Sr and Carmen Martinez, aka "The Most Gracious of Hosts"- you offered your home to us and we, in turn, invaded it and took over. You were captives in your own house for two weeks and still gave us a party bus.
Let's do it again, real soon, like tomorrow. lol.

Carolina Martinez, aka "A Shrink in Progress"- I was just really happy to see you again.

Emerson Bixby, aka "The guy who wrote all this crazy shit"- Bix cannot be described. Bix must be experienced. And I mean that as the highest of compliments. He did assure me personally that, if he had a sister, it wouldn't bother him so much if she and I had sex. Keep in mind, that's not an exact quote. I'm paraphrasing.
"The Man from Earth" kicked ass. Rent it tonight.

Brian Ochab, producer, aka "The Great Orchestrator"- none of this would have happened, I mean NONE of it would have happened, if Ochab had not run a tight ship. He was on top of everything. He made sure we all were fed. He made sure we were all comfortable. He made sure we all had a place to sleep at night. He made sure the crew knew what and where to set up next. He made sure Ezequiel didn't get somebody killed for one of his crazy ideas. He made sure Mrs. Martinez didn't kill anybody when we disturbed the neighbors. He hooked us up with a party at The Magic Castle in Hollywood (a fantastic place, by the way). He did magic tricks. He danced a pole on the party bus. He played "Cop 1" in our movie. He reimbursed me for my gas receipts in an acceptable time period, lol. In the dictionary, under "producer," there is a picture of Ochab. He has my sincerest gratitude.
Watch him pull a rabbit from his ass!

Ezequiel, director, aka, "Field General."
I'd say something nice, but the little prick would probably rewrite it! lol.
Congrats on your first feature, EZ. I'm proud to have been a part of it.

If I had to do it all over again, the only thing I would do differently is this-

rather than commute to and from set every day from my house, I would certainly have stayed in the hotel, despite being local. This way I could have spent as much time as possible with these wonderful people, and I would not have missed any of the camaraderie. I love you all.

signing off.

Like I said, I still mean almost every word.
Coming soon: I'll tell the story of the forst time I ever saw myself on the big screen.
Hint; it was called Run! Bitch Run!
In the meantime, here are some more memories from OADASN-





Saturday, November 15, 2008

Turzman REDUX

It's been a whole long time since I communicated with you via this intranet thingy. I won't get into the reasons why, but Turzman Central had to go inactive a few years back for reasons beyond my control. Contrary to what some people may think, I have NOT died, nor did I sit around doing nothing. In fact, in the last 14 months, I have acted in 3 feature length films and 2 shorts. No shit, kids. Your old friend the Turz is a bona fied, paid actor, with IMDB credits and everything.
In fact, one year ago today, I was hard at work on my second feature, On a Dark and Stormy Night which unfortunaely, is currently in the middle of an ugly legal quarrel. My first film, Run! Bitch Run! premiered just this past Halloween at the New Beverly Cinema in Hollywood, and Driving Bill Crazy will be on DVD by this Christmas.
So I figured it was time to revive Turzman Dot Com.
Just be patient while Webmaster Steve and I bounce ideas back and forth cross-country. We want to make sure that Tursi 2.0 is a way-cool site you would recommend to friends and family.
Turzman Dot Com, the official Mike Tursi website will return soon. So, assuming this acting thing works out for me, I'll be needing a fan base, and here's your chance to jump onboard the ground floor. The line forms here and now, I guess.
Listen to me, begging for fans. How tacky.