The 7th Annual Davies Awards in Film

Hollywood zeroed in on real drama and history in 2012, and they hit their mark.

Hollywood zeroed in on real drama and history in 2012, and they hit their mark.

A Look Back at 2012:

There’s so much to say about the year in film that was 2012. In many ways it was like two distinct years. The first half was grim and borderline torturous with the only bright spots being two films that came out of the blue to depict with great grit and emotion man vs. his own nature (guised as man vs. nature) in The Grey and The Hunter. In the summer, we were met with art house films critics were too eager to gush over. Yes, Moonrise Kingdom was Wes Anderson’s most charming film in a while, but it was still a Wes Anderson film. And yes, Beasts of the Southern Wild had a cool title and interesting set-up, but it really didn’t make any sense.

Oddly, at the multiplex things were clearer as some of the heavy hitters were well above average. The Hunger Games offered a new series positively literary when compared to the god-awfulness of The Twilight series (finally put to rest this year). Many people didn’t like it, but I still got a kick out of Prometheus while The Dark Knight Rises was a fine conclusion to a fine trilogy. Even The Avengers (overrated by fanboys) was above average…though it was still a comic book movie. This trend continued into the fall with the best James Bond film of the modern era, Skyfall, lighting the box office on fire.

Quietly simmering beneath all of this pop-culture hubbub was a snarky good year for neo-noir with the twisty sci-fi yarn Looper at the multiplexes and art houses runneth over with films like the Russian melodrama Elena, Friedkin’s southern-fried piece of Americana trash Killer Joe and the Twin Peaksian French entry Nobody Else But You.

But it wasn’t until the fall that things got real and filmmakers tapped into history to deliver highly polished professional products of the most prestigious order.
Continue reading

The Spin Bids a Fond Farewell to 2012 and Tells 2013 to Hurry Up Already!

I got a lot of writing done in 2012, often making me feel like a kid again.  (For the purpose of this post, my KidSelf has been recast in Hollywood fashion)

I got a lot of writing done in 2012, often making me feel like a kid again. (For the purpose of this post, my KidSelf has been recast in Hollywood fashion)

Well, we did it. We survived the Mayan Apocalypse only to rush to the Fiscal Cliff. But hey, 2012 is now officially over…so say hello to 2013! Looking back, despite tumultuous world events, it was a great year at The Spin

On Notes Personal:

  • An unexpected death in the family in November spurred me to take stock of some things. This lead to tripping the light fantastic in the grand ballroom of nostalgia which lead to a re-watching of a childhood favorite, The Lady in White…which lead to one of my favorite posts from the year…which lead to a comment on said post from the actual director of the film! This nostalgia tinged final act to the year also sent me on a mission to uncover that lost box of books I wrote from the ages of 10-15. Just in the nick of time I unearthed the box. Reading briefly through some of the stories, I couldn’t help but think that if I were to write taglines for the outlandish and melodramatic plots (more on that below…with actual excerpts!) they would end up sounding like long-lost fake-films from Seinfeld…a topic that earlier in 2012 spurred another favorite post of mine.
  • On the travel front I visited two great cities I had never been to before: New Orleans (for pleasure) and Montreal (for business) both of which I would return to in a heartbeat. This year the horizon broadens even more with a business trip to St. Maarten…and hopefully (if everything falls into place) that long-delayed trip to Europe (for pleasure…to Amsterdam and Bruges specifically) though that might have to wait until 2014.
  • And most importantly, after three long distraction-filled, detour-heavy years…I finally finished the first draft of the new novel – a Depression Era thriller set in Upstate New York. I was working under a self-inflicted deadline of finishing before 2012 finished me, and I’m proud to say I got it done at the last possible minute with a final spurt of inspiration on December 31st. Now, the big question, what the hell am I going to do with it? I’ll be sure to let it sit for a while and breath before editing begins.
    Continue reading

The Stone Digital Literary Magazine Now Accepting Submissions for Upcoming Issues

If only digital literary magazines had existed in the era of The Overlook Hotel...

 

...then maybe Jack Torrance would've been published instead of going mad!

 
Are you a writer tired of unfairly being dumped in the slush pile?

Have you been struggling to find the proper “home” for a favorite story you’ve written?

Are you maybe looking to find ways to reach more readers in the digital age?

Well…roll back The Stone and uncover a great opportunity!

The Stone – a Digital Literary Magazine and unique new experiment from The Schleicher Spin – is actively searching for fresh talent.

Our Premier Issue was released in December of 2011, and we are currently gathering material for our Second Issue we hope to have ready by late spring/early summer.  We seek contributors, both independent and established writers, from across the globe to submit us their best and most dynamic stories.

Wondering what types of stories we publish? 

Read more about The Premier Issue by clicking here.

or click here to download a copy for only $1.99 (USD).

Think you have what we’re looking for?  Send it our way! 

Not sure if you have what we’re looking for?  Send it our way anyway!

What have you got to lose other than the potential to be read by hundreds (and hopefully soon – thousands) of people from across the globe?  We are proud to say our readers and contributors currently hail from North America, Europe and Asia. (Hint – Where are all my South Americans, Africans and Australians?)

When submitting – please follow these guidelines: Continue reading

State of the Union Drinking Game V. 2012

Seriously, guys, I have to give this speech...now?

 
If I were President Obama, I wouldn’t want to get on national television on Tuesday night.  The more the media focuses on the current Republican Presidential Primaries, the better he looks.  He’s best out of the spotlight right now, but it is his duty…and tradition…so the show must go on at 9pm EST Tuesday, January 24, 2012.
 
Oh, how we’re all enjoying the dog (Santorum) and pony (Romney) and rabid wolf dog (Newt) and radically libertarian anti-war horse (Ron Paul) show that is the Republican primary season.  Heck, I’ve been so wrapped up in the raucous roller-coaster comedy of miss-manners that I have no idea what Obama is going to talk about this year.  Jobs?  Sure.  Gridlock?  Check.  The economy is in the midst of a mild recovery on paper (unemployment slightly down, job creation slight up) but it’s not enough to change the sentiments of the populace who are still feeling the full aches and pains of the recession.   Or maybe he’ll take about the season finale of his favorite TV show, Homeland?  (Seriously, are you watching that show yet?  The season finale was off the chains, yo!) Continue reading

Are You Ready for…DUN DUN DUN…2012?

Happy New Year from The Schleicher Spin! 

We’ve finally reached the year named after my favorite comedy of all-time (yes, I’m talking about Roland Emmerich’s 2012 – have I not told you already how much I love this film?) and I couldn’t be more stoked!  We have so much to look forward to this year:  Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, the US presidential election, the Mayan Apocalypse and 27 new reality shows starring the Kardashians!

But first…a look back on 2011.  It was a record-breaking year in terms of readership here at The Spin and we couldn’t have done it without the tireless commenting and blogging of our friends across the blogosphere:  Sam Juliano, Jason Marshall, Dianne Glave, John Lehman, John Greco, Prakash Jashnani, Julio Ibanez, Christopher Tait, The Guy from Condemned Movies, CC Yager, Matt Stewart, Matterspamer, ScarletSp1der, Maurizio Roca, Bobby Myers, Stephen M, Nicky D, Boz and everyone else who has stopped by and shared their thoughts this past year.

Here are some of the highlights from 2011:

And what’s in store for 2012?

  • Reviews of Michael Ondaatje’s new novel The Cat’s Table and hopefully of all those films I missed at the tail end of 2011 (Hugo, The Artist and A Separation)
  • The 6th Annual Davies Awards in Film
  • More issues of The Stone
  • More Guest Bloggers (hopefully)
  • …and coverage of the year’s most anticipated film: Christopher “Fritz” Nolan’s  The Dark Knight Rises

The Schleicher Spin Featured in Premier Issue of Lit Noir

 

My recent retrospective on The Third Man and the Best Films of the 1940’s has been featured in the premier issue of Lit Noir.

The brainchild of fellow writer, blogger and film buff Jack Lehman, Lit Noir is an attempt to create “Pulp Fiction for the Digital Age.”

Priced at a sweet deal for only a buck – (A Buck? – SCRAM!) – Lit Noir is available for download to your Kindle device or Kindle App for your PC, iPad, smart phone or other digital device.

Click here to get your copy today!

– DHS

The Starting Nine

In honor of Opening Day, we now present to you…

The Schleicher Spin’s Guide to the Best Baseball Films:

*In the Outfield:

Left Field –

Cobb (1994) – This biopic did not fare well upon release.  However, Tommy Lee Jones gives an Oscar-worthy performance in a film not about baseball but instead about one of the meanest SOB’s to ever live – who just also happened to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time.  It makes for a fascinating character study.

Center Field –

Are you Madonna? There's no Madonnas in baseball!

A League of Their Own (1992) – This excellent ensemble drama and family film teaches history while preaching about girl power.  Any young player of the game can find much to be inspired by here.

Right Field –

The Sandlot (1993) – This is another kid’s favorite that celebrates the joy of the game and endless summers running amuck in the neighborhood. Continue reading

47 Comedies, One Million Laughs

It’s the long overdue return of The Schleicher Spin’s Guest Blogger Series!

The gauntlet was laid down, and guest blogger Nicky D was asked to make a list of the best comedies of all time.

Which of these films will top Nicky D’s list?

Airplane!

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Coming to America

Groundhog Day

Young Frankenstein

Introduction:

Hello, my name is Nicky D and I am the smartest man alive. I work alongside of Mr. Schleicher on an everyday basis. Mr. Schleicher can’t seem to get over the fact of how brilliant of a man I truly am. I have completely annoyed him with the mentioning of my top lists of movies, especially comedies. So he challenged me to come up with a top comedy list, and I came up with a nice uneven number for you to review and comment on. I love movies and not just comedies either. I am into most genres except for romance, family, documentaries, musicals, and westerns. I still do watch them and try to give an honest opinion on them. My favorite actor is Daniel Day Lewis and my favorite movie is The Last of the Mohicans. I have very strong opinions about movies in general, so if you want to have a spirited debate, as I always say, “Bring it On” (not on the list, by the way). There may be some movies that I left off of the list because of the fact that I might not have seen them, but if you mention a movie I will absolutely check it out and respond with my opinion. Thanks to Mr. Schleicher, and have fun with my top 47 comedies all time.

 Parental Guidance Suggested:  Raw, uncensored comedy quotes below. Continue reading

State of the Union Drinking Game V. 2011

President Obama looks over the speech one last time to see if they can fit in any more allusions to Graham Greene or Terrence Malick to make Dave happy.

In the words of Bob Dylan, the times they are a changing.

It’s amazing what the other party regaining power in Congress and one rousing and comforting speech in the wake of a tragedy can do for a guy’s approval ratings.  After quoting everything from the Bible to the trailer for Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life in his Tuscon Speech (which served as a Hail Mary pass that will be left hanging in the air until 2012), Obama looks to get back down to it with his highly anticipated and much ballyhooed State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, January 25th and 9pm EST.

Gone are the days of crazy-eyed blinking Pelosi, and now sitting next to Biden and his comb-over behind the President will be Sooki-colored blubbering Boehner.  Apparently out on the floor those kooky tea partiers, blue dogs, and bleeding hearts will be mixin’ it up, sittin’ all up in each others’ pieces singin’ kumbaya.  Ah, political theater.  Ain’t it grand?

All eyes will be on the Prez, and there ain’t nuthin’ to do in times likes these but get your drink on. Continue reading

The 5th Annual Davies Awards in Film

A Look Back at 2010:

In 2009, Hollywood went to war and for the most part blew us away if not with the actual quality of their output, with their audacity at least.  In 2010 they took a deep breath and dove back into the shadows and dark alleys of the mind.  It was the year of the Neo-Noir Renaissance.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 (2nd movement) is probably one of the most recognizable and widely used pieces of classical music.  Filmmakers have returned to it over and over again – Tom Hooper just did for the excellent closing montage to The King’s Speech.  But I feel this piece of music represents clearly what the 2010 year in film was all about:  dark, brooding, steady, prone to dramatic swells, often formulaic, but very well crafted.  Tell me you don’t see a bit of the same madness in Carlos Kleiber conducting that we saw in Scorsese, Nolan and Aronofsky directing in 2010.

Unlike most years, it started off like gangbusters with two masters delivering wildly entertaining larks that owed as much debt to their own past efforts at they did to Hitchcock:  Martin Scorsese’s “in your face” Shutter Island and Roman Polanski’s more subtle and refined The Ghost Writer.  The trend towards neo-noir continued and reached its zenith in the summer with two polarizingly opposite films:  Debra Granik’s independent and devilishly simple Winter’s Bone and Christopher Nolan’s wickedly complex mega-blockbuster Inception.  Even some of the heavy-hitters at the end of the year, like Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan or The Coen Brothers’ True Grit owed some debt to noir.

Overall, it was a solid, consistent year for films and a nice way to kick-off a new decade of cinema.  There was nothing earth-shattering or revolutionary, but there were plenty of reasons to be entertained in 2010… Continue reading