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Moriarty Visits The Editing Room Of SHOOT EM UP And Interviews Director Michael Davis!

I like Michael Davis, and I have a feeling 99% of you would, too, if you spent any time with him. I remember the first time I heard about the SHOOT ‘EM UP animatics that Michael used to sell his picture, and when Harry got a look at them in March of 2005, he was certainly intrigued by the project’s potential. The first time we ran an interview with Davis was in April of 2005. I think the animatics leaked online through Latino Review in June of 2005. So we’ve definitely been talking about this one for two full years at this point. I went to Toronto about a year ago to see what Davis was up to, and also because I wanted to see Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti at work. It was an interesting trip for me because one of the producers of the film is Don Murphy. Don and I have had an occasionally contentious relationship in the past, but I get the feeling that’s true of pretty much anyone who writes about movies. That’s just Don. He’s one of the few producers out there who presents himself unfiltered online, and if that means he goes toe to toe with writers sometimes, I get the feeling that’s just the way it’s going to be. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got to Toronto, but I knew I had to take the opportunity. I was onset for one sequence, and I got a chance to talk to Michael Davis for the first time while I was up there. Seemed like a good guy, but he was neck-deep in the shoot, and so our chat was sort of truncated. When I was in Hawaii last month, I got a call from New Line Publicity Poobah Gordon Paddison asking me if I wanted to drop by the editing room where Michael was working on SHOOT ‘EM UP for a much longer chat, and I was thrilled to accept. New Line’s been looking for a release date for this one for a while, and I’ve been itching to see some footage. And now that I have, I am confident that SHOOT ‘EM UP is going to rock when it hits in September. Normally, I’d describe the sequences I saw, but with a film like this one, I don’t think describing the action is going to do the trick. I’ll just say that if “torture porn” is a genre right now, then SHOOT ‘EM UP is “action porn” on a scale that I haven’t seen since HARD BOILED. This is kinetic action for a good 80% of its running time instead of just a few set pieces and a lot of padding. I can’t remember the last time we saw an action film that played this rough all the way through. The film absolutely looks like it lives up to its title, and one of the things that makes it really stand out is the cast. Clive Owen. Monica Bellucci. Paul Giamatti. Considering how often pure action films are treated like second-class genre movies, that is not the sort of cast you expect to see, and they’re all on the same wavelength here. Owen’s tweaking the way people see him, and he’s playing a canny riff on the James Bond that might have been. Of course, he’s also a homeless guy, so don’t expect tuxedoes and sports cars. Giamatti has never been slimier than he is here, alternating organized attempts on the life of a newborn baby with phone calls to his wife. There’s one scene Michael showed me where Giamatti gets disturbingly intimate with the corpse of the pregnant woman whose baby Owen spends the movie protecting, and it made me laugh and cringe at the same time. Then there’s Bellucci, who continues to get more beautiful as time passes. She brings a sort of faded dignity to the role of the Dairy Queen, a hooker who specializes in lactation fantasies. Owen brings the baby to her so it can nurse, and she ends up entangled in the chase as well. It sounds outrageous, and it is, but there’s a real human heart to the film as well, and seeing the actors bring these characters to life, I’m really impressed at how Michael has managed to walk a fine line and create something that doesn’t feel like any other action film in recent memory. After we watched about twenty minutes of the movie, we walked across the street to the Arnie Morton’s Steakhouse in Burbank where we sat down for a leisurely lunch and a chat about Michael’s film, the new opening, action movies, and more. Be warned... we digress quite a bit, but that was part of the fun of spending the afternoon with Michael. Like I said, he’s one of us, and I think this conversation reflects that quite clearly. MICHAEL: The studio let me make the movie that I wanted to make, so when they came in and wanted to try some things, it actually made the movie better. DREW: Well, I’ve always understood New Line to be big believers in the “additional photography” process. MICHAEL: Oh, they are. They almost figure it’s going to be something you’re going to do. And that can be a blessing. DREW: I know some people freak out if there’s any mention of secondary shooting. They panic if anyone even suggests reshoots. MICHAEL: Yeah, these weren’t reshoots. This was just additional. DREW: Right. That whole new opening... it’s just sweetening. You just kind of tucked it neatly around what was already there. MICHAEL: Right. The original beginning of the film is still in the movie. DREW: I like it. As much as I loved the way you originally sort of dropped the viewer into chaos, this is an iconic intro now. MICHAEL: It’s very Sergio Leone now. DREW: Have you seen that new Leone box set they just put out on DVD? MICHAEL: No. DREW: It’s got DUCK YOU SUCKER in it. I’ve wanted that film on DVD forever. MICHAEL: I’ve never seen the film, but someone showed me the poster. And it’s like, “Oh my god, I’ve got to see that movie.” DREW: Rod Steiger is awesome in that movie. It might be his best work ever. He’s the perfect embodiment of “the ugly” in that film. Leone always played with such big archetypes. And when he introduced them, he’d take the moment, the way you do with Clive now. MICHAEL: When we first started talking about a new opening, the studio kept pushing for big, big, big, and ultimately, we wanted something that was about Clive. We came up with a scene where Clive was going to play a game of chicken with the bad guys in a car and Clive pushing a shopping cart. There was this really funny scene where Clive’s just not going to get out of the way. He’s just so mad at life that he’s like, “Fuck it... this guy can get out of the way.” And so we were going to do it, and the whole time we were getting ready to do it, I kept wondering when Clive was going to have a problem with the shopping cart. True, we always knew he was a homeless hero, but he really didn’t want to look uncool. So I guess it was two days before the additional photography and Clive says to me, “So... can we talk about the trolley?” And I said, “I knew you were going to bring it up. I thought you were going to bring it up months ago when we talked on the phone.” And so I always knew I wanted to start with that Leone tight-on-the-eyes that sort of says, “Okay, he’s a badass,” and then break that with carrot chomp. And I knew that I’d need to say something about where this guy is and that he’s downtrodden, but without having the shopping cart so Clive doesn’t look uncool. And so we decided to just put him at this bus stop, and then the girl runs by so it’s kind of funny, but you get to start building tension. I had to give up the game of chicken... DREW: Well, it’s great. You can see that he’d love to just stay out of it, but then he watches it getting worse and he’s just, “Awwwwwww, hell.” You get it. It’s not an issue of whether or not he can do something about this. It’s a question of whether he wants to. MICHAEL: The other thing we had to deal with during additional photography was the ending. You know, he meets back up with Monica Bellucci, they have their kiss at the end, and I always knew that scene needed something more. I could have said something during regular production, but I knew what the answer would have been. “Take a day away from one of your other scenes.” And I didn’t want to harm the body of the movie. With the kiss at the end, I thought I could skate by, but I suspected I would need a bang-bang ending. So basically the additional photography gave us time to put some action into that ending. I got more action in the movie. So the studio... they went to bat for us. DREW: Okay, so when you originally envisioned the film... and now that you’re done... is it more than you hoped or what you hoped? Did you make the movie you set out to make? MICHAEL: Oh, it’s more. I got more action in it than I ever intended. And I have to tell you... Clive Owen was my dream dream person to be in this movie. Never in a million years did I think I would get my choice. I’d seen him in CROUPIER, and my wife said, “You’ve got to watch this guy.” She’d seen him in SECOND SIGHT and said, “He’s going to be a star.” So the moment I got Clive, the whole sort of dream-come-true went to a whole other level. Then when I brought on [cinematographer] Peter Pau, it elevated the movie in terms of the action dance. I ended up getting more coverage... I mean, I had the storyboards, and the storyboards and the animation were right there, but Pau always gave me more. There were scenes in there like when Clive grabs the shotgun and does the counter move... Peter Pau knew how to really accentuate that moment. I feel like I got more out of him than I expected. And when we brought in the team of the music people, they elevated to a whole other level that I had not expected. So, yeah, I mean... to me, I feel like being a lifelong James Bond nut, I could end my career now and be happy because I feel like I climbed the mountain. If I hadn’t made this movie, it would still be a wet dream for me when I watch all these action movies. DREW: I love that, man. It’s pretty rare that you get to see somebody really shift course midstream and really get to reinvent themselves. This is such a different thing for you, and I hope it does start a different chapter of what you can do and how people think of you. MICHAEL: I appreciate that, because for you to even say I had a career before this... DREW: You did! You were making films, man. MICHAEL: It doesn’t feel like I have a body of work. DREW: You definitely do. With DVD and cable now, things find their audience. Everything gets equalized over time. 100 GIRLS may not have been a hit, but someone who sees it at two in the morning doesn’t know that and doesn’t care. To them, it’s just a movie, and they just want to be entertained. People know 100 GIRLS. People know EIGHT DAYS A WEEK. Some people would be happy even having that kind of career, making smaller films. And they had a voice. They were definitely your films. So, sure, this is this great radical... and, look, it was obvious talking to you in Toronto and seeing the footage today... this is something you’ve been carrying around with you. You had to do this. And I’m really glad you did. MICHAEL: Y’know, it’s funny, I look back and somebody gave this piece of advice that I wish I had taken, which is... somebody once said, “You should try to start out where you want to end up.” And I had always loved the Bond movies, and when I was a kid, I wrote these James Bond novels. One was called MASQUERADE OF DEATH, and the other one was called SPEARHEAD. And I had created... instead of SPECTRE, there was a new organization called OMEGA, which was Operatives of Mass-Scale Extortion and Global Annihilation. And in one of the books, the bad guy had his headquarters inside the white cliffs of Dover and was going to poison the water supply of England. And I always... when RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK came out, I geeked out. I dressed up like Indiana Jones the night the movie came out, and they put me on local television. And I just loved action. And then when you go to school, you tend to sometimes get influenced by the teachers sort of pressing the art of the movie on you rather than the pop culture delight. And I don’t want to say I lost my way, but I was... I was teaching as the PA for David Goyer’s production class, and then I watch his career, and here’s this guy who knew what he wanted to do, and he stuck with it and wrote genre stuff until he became “the guy.” And I look at my stuff, and I’d be like, “I’ll write in this genre, and then this genre, and then this genre.” I ended up doing EIGHT DAYS A WEEK because I had $200,000 and thought, “Okay, what kind of movie can I make?” I tried to do REAR WINDOW as a romantic comedy because I could afford to do that. And then all of a sudden, you become the teen comedy guy. And you look at these guys who were always so focused on what they wanted to do and what they loved. I mean, I love the romantic comedy genre, but if you look back at my childhood, it was the action genre. It’s so funny. I brought to the set an old negative of myself with a model I built of a Walther P38. It’s a low-angle shot of me in the fifth grade. And I showed it to Clive and I said, “This is where SHOOT ‘EM UP started.” And everybody laughed. But I was just this kid in love with gunplay. It’s great that I’m getting this second chance at defining myself. It’s always been part of me. It just took me a while to get here. Maybe the weird raunchy kooky sex humor in the teen comedies helped me make this movie better. I’d like to think that my journey made this movie better. That would help my life make sense. DREW: I’m always surprised by... I just visited the PINEAPPLE EXPRESS set, and David Gordon Green’s directing that, which just seems bizarre. You look at GEORGE WASHINGTON or ALL THE REAL GIRLS, and you don’t really think action/buddy comedy. But seeing him on-set, directing big crazy action scenes... he barely used a second-unit. He tried to use a first unit for everything if he could. There’s this “boys with toys” element I think all of us indulge to some degree. Even the most “serious” filmmakers... you give them an opportunity and I think it’s something they want to try. I think Green’s happy he made the films he made first and got technically comfortable, so now he can do this. He can cut loose. Do you feel like if you tried to do action earlier in your career, you could have pulled it off with the same panache? MICHAEL: There is definitely something to having done these low-budget films. You learn the value of time, which I couldn’t have known early on. And there are things that you can do as a director, although I do believe your theory about the D.P. being the rock star. You live or die with how fast your D.P. is and how organized he is. There are things you can do to push your crew and decisions you can make before you get to the set to make sure you get the most important things and you’re not wasting your time on something that isn’t going to help the kinetics. So probably the low-budget stuff made me a better director. I think maybe from the imagination standpoint, I would have had it in my younger career, but from an experience and a technical standpoint, it’s better that it happen now. DREW: You got everything you set out to get. MICHAEL: Yeah. DREW: And I know a lot of filmmakers who get frustrated because, when they shoot, they get the bones, and they get some of the meat, but they get no gravy. MICHAEL: The gravy is what makes something special. DREW: And it doesn’t look like you had to compromise at all. You got all that little extra added chaos, the fine details. MICHAEL: The one thing we said early... the decision that I made that helped me was that every decision I make on this film is going to service the action and how I get it and how I get what I want. It doesn’t matter if I lose coverage in a talky scene, but it will make a difference if I lose coverage in an action scene. And the original script... some people read it a little more SIN CITY or DARK CITY in tone, and they’d say, “It would be really great if the whole movie could take place at night, in the dark, with that noir painting-with-shadows kind of thing.” And originally the big car chase in the film was a nighttime scene. And then we started talking about lighting up the streets and all that, and it was obvious to me that I would be getting less shots. So I said, “Y’know, let’s just change the car chase to daytime.” And the film started, once I made that shift, to have more scenes in the daylight and less of that... I wanna say SIN CITY noir quality. Ultimately, if I had to choose between mood and action, I’d rather have kinetic action. And I think in some ways, because the storyline is a little bit... y’know, there’s this homeless guy protecting a baby and... you know what happens... lightening it up and setting much of it in the daytime tells your audience that it can be fun. It’s almost a cliché, doing everything at night. DREW: Right. With the perpetually wet streets. The scenes you showed me, the film’s got its own look. MICHAEL: Well, we tried... and we talked about, and it’s hard to control... but I did show [Peter Pau] the film 2046. I loved the color palette of the greens and the reds. And he said, “But of course all of those are very tight interiors. He could control every inch of these frames, Michael.” But in doing that, he said, “Well, let’s see what we can do with a day exterior.” And he showed me this Chris Cunningham video in which they drained the color out of it to make this grey-green exterior. I said, “There’s a way to get a little bit of that into the day exterior.” And I said, “Okay, what if I made the BMW red against this green texture?” The red tonality is going to punch through. It really helps, because I think day exterior is the hardest to design. At least this way, it ties in with our movie. We were careful about which filters we used. We didn’t want to make the nighttime blue. We went with this sodium look, more of an ugly yellow. We really did talk about what our colors would be and how to make it less of a noir nighttime quality. DREW: Well, it does have its own look and feel. MICHAEL: I think the thing that was hardest for me... I wanted more of a rougher camera style. Less designed. You know how you see, like, the big crane shots that come down all the way into a close-up of an ice cube or whatever? It’s very designed, and obviously you’re in a move. I love that kind of stuff, but I said, “That’s not for this movie. Clive’s a blue-collar hero.” There are times where the camerawork can help you with the storytelling. But I denied that because if it was elegant or overly designed, it would stick out of the movie. So I had to figure a way to do it with cuts. And I became concerned because it’s a whole part of film language that I didn’t allow myself. Ultimately, I think I made the right choice. Sometimes you want a little more of the Spielberg push-in to emphasize emotion, and I tried to hold back and just use a cut from the wide to the tight, and try to make it more... jagged. DREW: So often, action films seem to lean on performers who don’t have to be good actors as long as they can handle action. Like... Jason Statham’s a good actor, but you wouldn’t know it from most of the films he makes. MICHAEL: You know that’s more about what kind of stuff gets sent to him. DREW: Sure. They hire him to be a bad-ass cartoon. But that’s why I love that you cast Monica and Clive and Paul Giamatti. These are actors. Talk to anyone in town, and these three are respected for their craft. And you’re using these three to sort of class up what people treat like a non-acting genre. That choice alone... MICHAEL: You call it a choice. It’s not a choice. It’s luck. Everyone in the world would have wanted Clive or Paul. It’s more like, “How the hell did I get so lucky?” DREW: It pushes this movie to a different place. The stakes become very real. You can add some of the crazy moments or the funny moments, and you know your cast will always pull you back to reality. MICHAEL: That’s important. As much as I love all the flashy action, when you go back to these movies that you really care about, you were always emotionally invested in the hero. Even in something like GOLDFINGER, you feel that sense of remorse when Connery comes in and finds that girl painted in gold. “If I hadn’t seduced her, she wouldn’t have been punished like this.” He feels responsible. He wants to get this guy, and it hangs over him when he sees the girl’s sister who wants revenge. “Is this going to happen to her if I let her get involved?” And I think when you have actors who make the most of the small amount of time that’s actually about the emotions... there’s a scene in SHOOT ‘EM UP that’s basically where Monica reveals her backstory. And she’s so fantastic, and Clive... DREW: That’s such an outrageous character. The Dairy Queen is so crazy, and your introduction of her right now with the john who has the milk moustache... people are going to freak in the theater. For you to make audiences actually invest in her... MICHAEL: There’s one scene that flips the whole movie. “Okay, it’s fun and games, but there’s a little bit more going on, and these characters care about each other, and I care about them now.” I felt like I needed an actress who could stand up to Clive. If I’d gone younger, it would have been awkward. I wanted them both to have some life experience. Monica really balanced it out. When people see the movie, there’s an American-centric quality to it. [Paul] drives a big American car. The love affair with guns is totally American. But then you have this British guy in it, and Monica, who’s Italian... and they really fit together. I was just really lucky. I mean, Don Murphy calls me up one day and says, “Do you know what you’ve done? You never stop to say it, but do you know where you were two years ago?” I try not to go there because I feel like my karma is going to switch or I’m going to wake up and find out it didn’t really happen to me. I do tell him, “Okay, when I’m alone and no one’s looking, I’ll pull a total Johnny Drama.” (throws his hands in the air) VICTORY! (laughs) I mean, I’ll talk to Clive, and I see all the things he’s offered, all the things he could be doing. And he picked SHOOT ‘EM UP? How did I get him? You know his handlers are looking at every step Clive makes, every film Clive makes, and they’re thinking about him in terms of being a giant movie star. DREW: Well, I think his choices are proving him to be a really interesting guy. A serious guy that gets that it’s not about “making the right moves.” He wants to be in films that 25 years from now or 30 years from now, people will actually watch. MICHAEL: Yes! DREW: Lots of actors don’t think like that. They think, “What’s the right move for me right now? Should I go do this crappy horror sequel or maybe this remake of a Japanese film because that’s what everyone else is doing?” I love that Clive thinks like an audience. Ultimately these films live on their own. If he makes good films, they’ll endure. People will see them. If not, it doesn’t matter if it’s “the right move.” MICHAEL: I find that, having dealt with him and dealt with his agents, they’re very supportive and helpful, but he makes his own choices. They certainly are his decisions. They lay out a wide array of choices in front of him, but he’s got this great artistic integrity. So it means something when we get to the end of SHOOT ‘EM UP and he says he wants to do another SHOOT ‘EM UP. And there’s a whole bunch of other things he wants to do. He’s going to do Tom Tykwer’s next movie. That’s a great idea. So... umm... I got lucky. I really did. He cares about the work, and he’s so easy to work with. If somebody was leaning on me from higher up, he’d lean back and say, “Give Michael some room.” He really protected me. DREW: It sounds like once he signs on to do a film, he’s your collaborator, right there with you, like it’s as important to him as it is to you to make the film. MICHAEL: Oh, there’s no doubt. I had people tell me, “Oh, these actors... they’re just concerned about their careers. You need to keep a level of separation between you and the actors.” I didn’t do that. I felt like Clive was a pal and a friend to me. Like we were creating something together, and step by step, we were very much in sync. He’d always come in and say, “I think this scene could be better. These are my ideas. What do you think?” They weren’t demands. He was almost like a writing partner. It was like we were creating this together. I may have given him the script, but it felt almost like something he’d always wanted to do. And every decision that came down, from his clothes to how his hair was cut, we basically made together. DREW: I love that he’s not afraid to trash traditional notions of iconic manhood. Like I love it in CHILDREN OF MEN when he ends up in flip-flops... [MICHAEL laughs. A lot.] DREW: And when you see him moving in that movie, he’s just beaten. Almost frail. And in person, he’s intimidating. He’s this huge ape of a guy... MICHAEL: Yeahyeahyeah. DREW: Sometimes when you see these guys close-up, you think, “Wow, cinema does you a lot of favors.” But Clive’s that dude for real. MICHAEL: Right. You have to look up at the guy. DREW: There’s no question about his ability to take you the fuck apart. Did he shoot CHILDREN OF MEN before or after your film? MICHAEL: Before. And it is interesting because we kept asking him about the birthing scene. I was a little worried about the parallels with CHILDREN OF MEN, but in that film, the birthing takes place at the very end, and it’s not really the plot. DREW: The baby’s more of a device in that film than a character, part of the larger social comment. MICHAEL: And there’s one other parallel where I finally saw that film and thought, “Oh, man, that’s SHOOT ‘EM UP!” You’ll have to see our film, but... you can’t miss it. I have to say, I did find that the frail quality, as you put it, really did come through in CHILDREN OF MEN. Like I saw those flip-flops and said, “I wish I had thought of that.” He wore those red Chuck Taylors in SIN CITY, and I loved those. Oh, man, a hero in Chuck Taylor? And then he wore the flip-flops... DREW: It’s amazing how even one little thing like that changes so much about how he moves. He’s the whole package as an actor. You get the interior and the exterior. MICHAEL: I have to tell you... there are very few times that his character smiles in the movie, and he never really breaks into a real smile. And he would do this part smile, and I’d say, “Just a little bit more.” And with most actors, every adjustment tends to be gigantic. But with him, you’d watch closely and go, “Wow, he gave me a little bit more but didn’t overdo it.” The control, and the degree with which he’d give it to you... it’s amazing. It don’t know how he does it. With my muscles, I’m going to move that whole smile, but... it’s hard to explain. The great thing about him which made my job easier is, really, after the first week, I would start to give a note and he’d just say, “Got it,” or he’d say one word to show that he knew what I was going to say. It just made everything quicker because there was no need for an explanation, you know? My editor gave me a hard time, but I think I made Clive happy because Antoine Fuqua didn’t shoot a lot of close-ups in KING ARTHUR. There was something Fuqua felt was more real about not giving you all those cinematic close-ups. So I shot a lot of the film in close-up, because the guy’s got such a great, interesting face. So the editor goes, “Yeah, you and your boyfriend. You always want to put him in close-up.” And then later on, I heard some of the people who worked on CHILDREN OF MEN say, “God, we have such a crush on Clive, and you finally shot him the way he’s supposed to be shot.” DREW: Okay. So the trailer’s out there now... MICHAEL: Yeah. DREW: Is that a teaser or..? MICHAEL: I think that’s pretty much our summer trailer, but we are going to do a series of teaser posters, a couple of them. The one of Clive is so badass, it’s going to have to hang on my wall. And because the movie delivers on the balls-out action, but it also has a little bit of a twist – a fresher hero, a fresher tone – we wanted to find the right trailer to express all of that rather than confusing the issue by doing one that sells the romance and one that sells the action, or one that’s like, “Isn’t it great that we got Paul Giamatti to be the villain?” We figured let’s nail the tone and put it out there. The other thing, for better or for worse, is that I think New Line learned from SNAKES ON A PLANE that the long fuse can be really hard to sustain. I think our film will benefit from a shorter fuse. People are sort of aware of us... DREW: I think you guys are still under the mainstream radar. That’s good. The other problem with SNAKES ON A PLANE, to be blunt, is that there was no movie to back up the hype. Sure, they built a sort of a buzz, but I think it was more from people laughing at the title than any genuine desire to see the film. To your credit, you made the movie, and now you can figure out how to build that buzz. MICHAEL: It’s great when people want to be part of something, part of some pop culture moment. DREW: Right now, I think the buzz that does exist is from hardcore film geeks, the guys who saw the demo reel, the animation, and who have been waiting since then. They’re the ones waiting for the other shoe to drop. For them, this trailer is like, “Aha! There is is!” For everyone else, it’s an introduction. MICHAEL: Hopefully we’ll please people who have been following it but also catch a bigger audience now. I have to go back... there are so many people that I have to thank. I’m thankful to you guys for picking up the story from day one, for showing the animation, talking about the animation, reading the script... I really feel indebted to you guys for really starting whatever buzz there is. DREW: Well, I feel indebted to you as well. You and Tom DeSanto both sort of served as a bridge between me and [producer Don] Murphy, something that wouldn’t have seemed possible at one point. MICHAEL: Really? DREW: Well, you know Don. The thing that makes him valuable to you as a producer is why we had our issues for a while. Don’s a pit bull. But I think when I came to Toronto and visited the set and had a chance to sit with him and with Susan [Montford, Murphy’s partner] and talk to them about their passion for this project, we found some common ground. MICHAEL: Oh, good. DREW: And I think it makes sense that it happened on this film, because he’s so hands on with it, and it really seems to be living up to its promise. MICHAEL: Here’s the way I see the whole sort of discussion of movies on the internet... there’s the movie, and then there’s the sort of residual effect, like the conversations over dinner as well as the anticipation... it’s not just the two hours you’re there. I like the movies where it doesn’t matter if you love them or hate them. There are movies that I hate, but I love the fact that they were made so I can talk about them. That’s fun, and it moves the art along... DREW: At its best, that conversation can be intoxicating. MICHAEL: Yeah! And you’ve got to expect... I mean, that’s what you get when you’re putting a product out there on the world stage. DREW: I’ve been doing this now for just over ten years. MICHAEL: Really? DREW: That blows my mind. MICHAEL: How old are you now? DREW: I’m 37. And I got into this by accident. When I got onto the internet back in... ’94, I think? I was just amazed that there were other people online who wanted to talk about movies. “Holy shit! Somebody else likes BLADE RUNNER!” Up until then, you would have your close circle of friends, but this gave you that feeling like, “Ahhhh, there are a lot of film nerds out there.” MICHAEL: This is what happens. When I was growing up, I felt so alone in high school that I would go to the movie theater with my cassette recorder and I would record James Bond off the screen with my microphone. And then instead of listening to rock’n’roll when I did my homework, I’d play the Bond movies over and over and over again. There were no VCRs. And I thought I was this weird dude... DREW: I did that with STAR WARS when I was a kid. So did my co-writer. MICHAEL: Okay! Good! But there was no one else in my high school who was that insane about James Bond, no one else who loved movies like that. But if I had grown up in the internet age, I would have felt less like a freak. “Oh, there are millions of people like me! I’m normal!” DREW: Y’know, I meet young filmmakers now, guys making their first or second films, and I start talking to them, and they say, “I’ve been reading you since junior high.” That’s crazy. I used to say I wanted to teach film theory somewhere at some point as a way of passing on what it is that I love about film. But now I feel like I’ve done that. And on a scale I never imagined. When I first met Harry and we became friends, we were just talking online. He didn’t have a website yet when we first ran into each other. And then the website just felt like this natural extension of the conversation we were already having. MICHAEL: That’s what the best things are, though. They come from the heart. They’re not built by marketing departments. They just happen because you love movies or whatever. DREW: Well, look, I don’t want this to ever feel like it’s just about pimping movies for anyone. It should always just be about what we’re interested in. And now we’re lucky because we’re in a position to come and talk to people like you who are doing the work that interests us, and we can have that chance to pick their brains in an unfiltered way. MICHAEL: Well, I have to say, I’m really glad I saw CIGARETTE BURNS. The writing in that is just fantastic... the story, the concept... there’s no... I mean, this should be happening to you. The fact that you know about movies but have also created stuff that is totally top-notch... and I have to tell you, I have a hard time... I have an impatience for films unless they’re really great. There’s not much that I really like to watch anymore because I watch things all the time. I sat down and was like, “This is frikkin’ cool. What is this movie?” And then the hardest part is in the middle of the movie where it’s, like, how do you sustain it? And then the guy walks into that whole snuff thing and the guy talks about when you’ve done something awful and it’s so powerful that film takes on a power of its own... I go, “Whoa, that’s creepy, but it’s true!” And the whole thing was right in the middle when you needed that new twist on the concept, and it’s delivered... DREW: That was the scene that hooked John [Carpenter] originally. He said as he was reading, he was having a good time, but then he turned the page and the head comes off... MICHAEL: Yeah! DREW: ... and he said he sat up and started paying attention. MICHAEL: Well, you had me when Norman goes back to his office underneath the theater, and it’s the dark little room with all the posters and the prints, and that’s what all those rooms always are! And I always wonder, “What print’s sitting under the desk?” I loved the ending when the guy feeds his guts into the projector... DREW: My son was born the first day of production on CIGARETTE BURNS... MICHAEL: You weren’t doing that scene, were you? DREW: No, I wasn’t up there in Vancouver. I was here with my wife. But my writing partner went up. And it was a ten-day shoot over two weeks... so more like fourteen days he was there... and Scott called me every day to tell me about the stuff they were doing, and he told me, “You know, we’re not doing the Bellinger stuff until the very end of the movie. You should try to get up here for that.” And I was like, “Dude, I’m not going anywhere.” My wife, to her great credit, said, “You are going to hate yourself if you don’t go up there for at least the last two days.” So I was up there for... MICHAEL: The guts! DREW: Yeah, when Udo [Kier] was doing that. And it’s still one of the best days of my life. That was one of those things where... Scott and I always write to make each other laugh, and when I wrote that gag, I knew it wouldn’t end up in the movie. That just kept surviving somehow, draft after draft. MICHAEL: Yeahyeahyeah! DREW: And on-set, I remember Scott giving me that look. “Can you believe they’re really letting us do this?” MICHAEL: Okay. Let me ask you as a writer, then... I have this new action piece I’m just about done on. And the bad guys are coming at the hero, the hero needs to get away... you tell me if I can get away with this. He ends up... he just slashed this bad guy, so he grabs the guy’s guts... that’s about 28 feet long, right? And he uses it to swing down to the level below. DREW: [laughs] Absolutely. MICHAEL: Is that too gross for you, or in the tone of a bombastic R-rated action movie, can I do that? DREW: Do it. Dude, I’m so glad the R is making a comeback. MICHAEL: Okay, then. DREW: There are a lot of people who feel this way right now, I think. In comedy, for example, you’ve got Judd Apatow making the world safe for R-rated comedy. And in action, we’ve got to... y’know, I think the biggest mistake we’re going to see this summer, and I think they’re going to pay for it, is Fox making a PG-13 DIE HARD. MICHAEL: I remember DIE HARD being an R-R-R. DREW: Right. A real R. Bruce had such a spectacular pottymouth. It’s like... when we talked about Clive and his physicality and how he subverts it... with Bruce, he’s always at his best when he’s swearing like a drunken sailor... MICHAEL: Yes! DREW: And when he’s been beaten till he doesn’t look human anymore. That’s when I love Bruce Willis. When he’s wet and... MICHAEL: Beaten and bloody. That’s the Bruce we love. DREW: Have you seen their bus posters? MICHAEL: Just the one with his face on it. DREW: They’re sort of great, but they’re deceptive. They say, “Yippee-ki-yay, Mo” and then they’re cut off. That’s a cool idea, but in a PG-13, you can’t even say the line. MICHAEL: I thought you were allowed one “fuck” in a PG-13. DREW: Can’t be in a sexual context, though, and I think “motherfucker” isn’t allowed. So why would you cut the balls off that film? And evidently, in publicity, they’ve told Willis not to even talk about the other three. Like this is a standalone movie. MICHAEL: That doesn’t even make sense. I mean, Bruce could have cashed in, but he hasn’t really done a lot of balls-out action films. He’s done a few, like that thing with Sarah Jessica Parker or TEARS OF THE SUN or the Rodriguez films, but as far as bona-fide action films, he really only did DIE HARD. For him to not do a real DIE HARD and to acquiesce to the PG-13... DREW: You have to wonder if he was sold a bill of goods by Fox and now he’s just trying to make the best of it. MICHAEL: Do you think it started out as an R-rated film? DREW: I don’t know. Maybe... MICHAEL: That’s always the kiss of death. I mean, look at something like ULTRAVIOLET. In the middle of it, they decided they wanted it PG-13. And you cannot recorrect the ship in the middle. I’ve got to believe the people at Fox knew. I mean, look at something like NATIONAL TREASURE> You see a few guns, but does anyone even pull a trigger? That’s what happens when you chase that four-quadrant-everyone-can-see-it thing... and it looks like an action movie, but it’s not. DREW: I think maybe that’s why 300 was so invigorating. People actually use their swords to cut other people open or lop limbs off. How many PG or PG-13 films have we seen where people just sort of wave their swords at each other? MICHAEL: That’s why when I saw KILL BILL VOL. 1, I was just relieved. Besides... STAR WARS and RAIDERS, I have never had a cinematic experience that filled me with so much glee. DREW: And you could tell he was drunk in love with what he was doing. I got that same feeling watching GRINDHOUSE... MICHAEL: Yeahyeahyeah! DREW: When they reach the end of that car chase... MICHAEL: Oh, my god, all the punches at the end. It was all about the filmmaking creating a moment that was larger than what was on the page. It was so much fun! And another thing... it’s not like there were billion special effects. It’s about the idea. DREW: And I love just dropping him. Boom. The end. He’s dead. Goodbye. When he did one of his QT Fests in Austin, he brought a movie called A FISTFUL OF TALONS. It’s an old-school kung-fu movie I’d never heard of... MICHAEL: Okay. DREW: And he said, “This is a good movie. You’ll enjoy the movie. But it’s the greatest movie ever made in the last four minutes.” MICHAEL: Ohhhhh... okay. DREW: And in DEATH PROOF, you can see him trying to reproduce that sort of feeling. You get to this crazy place, and then it’s just, “Go home.” MICHAEL: Without even knowing that antecedent, it works, because it’s a good idea. Even the music of those punches was just perfect. POP! POP! POP! POP! It sounds like... it’s got this great percussion to it. When I did EIGHT DAYS A WEEK, Warner Bros. gave us a little bit of money to try a test theatrical release in Omaha and in Austin. And the fact of the matter is the time has passed when you could fool people by starting in a small place and hoping it would explode, but we tried. And we were going to the theater, and it was when Quentin was doing his festival. And I had always seen interviews with him, and he seemed like this guy who knew everything about films, but I hadn’t really seen the charisma in the TV interviews. But then when I was there and I saw that you could just talk to this guy... it was really crowded in the lobby, but Quentin talked to this one guy for ten minutes, and it was none of this, “Who else is here?” He talked to that guy as if he was his best friend, with such enthusiasm. And then he did the same thing with me. He was interested in what I had to say. It was just me and him talking about films. DREW: That’s how he is. MICHAEL: You know what I’m saying? DREW: No autographs, no star trip, but he’ll talk about movies with anyone. It’s genuine movie talk. MICHAEL: Yeah! Exactly! He made me feel special. I’d never really experienced that, and he just seemed so cool. DREW: That’s why he goes back there. Because the crowds that come are there for the movies. They’re not there to starfuck or to get something from him. They’re there because they want to see great films, and they heard these festivals are fun, and they’re going to walk out excited and ready to have that conversation. MICHAEL: It’s the thing that I regret when people ask me, “Oh, you’re finally getting your shot at this age.” When I was a kid... my parents weren’t even sure I should watch James Bond. When I had a James Bond novel, my mom told my dad, “You have to read that first and you have to cut out the sex parts.” The sex parts are really only one sentence. When my dad would take out the sailboat, everybody had to go sailing, and I hated sailing. They would let me buy comic books for these boat trips, but only the Gold Key... y’know, the Mickey Mouse, or the Supergoof... I mean, Supergoof was the closest thing I had to a superhero book. And everybody else I know who is supersuccessful in this genre had access to that treasure trove. I knew I wanted something more action-oriented, right? And finally... I can’t believe this, but I convinced them to let me buy CREEPY at the local 7-11, and they never really looked that closely. Because those things, the women were virtually naked. Far worse than Marvel. And anatomically correct. They never really checked out how bloody and gory they were. Still, I couldn’t get those that frequently. I probably got five CREEPYs in my whole life. And I didn’t get to see any of the movies that influenced, like, the Tarantinos or whatever. The best thing I would get would be like THOSE MAGNIFICENT MEN IN THEIR FLYING MACHINES. So that’s why I got so hooked on the James Bond movies. I sought out... you know... KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM DIE or the MATT HELM films. It was only by scanning the TV GUIDE to see what were the real spy films. I didn’t go for the gangster stuff. They never really had action set pieces. They were all about tough talking guys with guns, but no car chases or whatever. I had this very limited upbringing. My parents were sort of strict but not really strict. All these great sources everybody talks about... I never saw that, I never heard that. I had this very... obviously the FLYNT movies would play all the time, and I’d watch them ove rand over and over again. Finally, I got my dad... I read THE EIGER SANCTION, right? Oh! Did you ever read the Nick Carter books? DREW: Yep. The Killmaster. MICHAEL: Oh, those were full of sex. But I didn’t tell my parents about that. And full of over-the-top action sequences. Wonderful. They didn’t care about story or theme at all. I was definitely influenced by those. And then I read THE EIGER SANCTION, and I really liked it. I asked my dad to take me to the movie, and there’s this stabbing in the very beginning. And my dad, he sounded like he wsa having a heart attack. “OH! ACK! GAAAH!” He wouldn’t even look at the screen, and I’m going, “Oh, dad, it’s great! It’s great!” My dad just wasn’t a big movie guy. We went to go see THE SWORD IN THE STONE, and he fell asleep. My dad liked boats and cars and external experiences. My parents... y’know, I wish they were more into pop culture things. I felt like I was all by myself. I didn’t have a brother that I could geek out with. I don’t want to say that I was stunted, but I give myself a little bit of a break because I just wasn’t allowed to see all of this stuff. And finally, when STAR WARS came out, I remember... I took my best friend, and we’d go downtown to see movies. And the only reason we’d go there would be because they would show these double features. And anytime I could sit in a theater for four hours instead of an hour and a half, it was awesome. People look at me when they meet me and go, “Well, that can’t be the guy who did SHOOT ‘EM UP. He looks like Ron Howard in HAPPY DAYS.” I don’t look twisted. But maybe this movie is a reaction to... to me, I’m still discovering some of these films that these other people have seen for decades. DREW: Well, you know, Paul Schrader came from this ultra-strict Calvinist background where he didn’t see any movies at all... MICHAEL: Right. DREW: ... and you look at how that manifested when he got a chance to work in films, and you look at HARDCORE or TAXI DRIVER... MICHAEL: Oh, yeah. DREW: So everyone’s background is different, and what we see leads us to... you know, your love of film is evident in what I saw today. It really comes through, though... what you absorbed and what you love and why you love it. It’s not just hollow action. There’s a real joy in the film. And I can’t wait to see the finished film. MICHAEL: Thanks, man. The next thing I’m going to try to do is along the same lines. I would like to stay in this genre and do this forever. We’ll just have to see how this one goes. * * * * So that’s it. As we walked out from lunch, we talked a little more about the return of R-rated action, specifically the RAMBO footage we posted here online a month or so ago. If you’d like to see the animation that Michael used to help sell SHOOT ‘EM UP, you’ll be able to see it on the official site, and Michael’s even done a new animated intro that will be on the site as well. I hope you enjoyed the interview. I certainly enjoyed sitting and talking with Michael, and I’ll have more SHOOT ‘EM UP coverage in the months ahead. I’ll be back tomorrow with my reviews of RATATOUILLE and 1408, and I’ve also got my FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL set visit that I’ll be posting later this week.


Drew McWeeny, Los Angeles

Readers Talkback
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  • June 19, 2007, 7:10 a.m. CST

    :)

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    .

  • June 19, 2007, 7:13 a.m. CST

    2nd

    by SteffanLongdon

    yay

  • June 19, 2007, 7:14 a.m. CST

    I really like the look..

    by SteffanLongdon

    of Shoot Em Up. You have a dream job, Mori.

  • June 19, 2007, 7:21 a.m. CST

    "It’s very Sergio Leone now."

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    He couldnt have said a better thing! <p>Cool interview, Mori. Sounds like a great guy, and Clive Owen sounds as cool as I thought he would be. <p>And finally, ACTION PORN. Now theres an addiction I would be happy with! :)

  • June 19, 2007, 8:05 a.m. CST

    Watch New Line edit this to a PG-13. WATCH!

    by Nate Champion

    Like this nobody is gonna have a say when they yank the film away from him and edit their own version. And how can the dude be a Leone fan and he hasn't even seen A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE!?!?!?!?!?! Come on!!!

  • June 19, 2007, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Hey, Mori

    by ZakChase

    When's your interview with Elliott and Rossio coming? I was quite looking forward to that.

  • June 19, 2007, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Terrific. Well done.

    by Nordling

    Can't wait for this one.

  • June 19, 2007, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Who the heck is "Drew"?

    by blacklodgebob

    What happened to beloved Moriarity?

  • June 19, 2007, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Clive Owen=Best action star around now

    by stones_throw

    <>

  • June 19, 2007, 9:42 a.m. CST

    top effin notch interview

    by cathartist

    With all the bitching on this site and the complaining talkbackers I think its easy to lose focus about what this site is really about. Drew you nailed it! Its great to read an interview about two guys just really loving the craft and geeking out, it gives hope to us readers that if they can do it . . . .

  • June 19, 2007, 9:43 a.m. CST

    Action Porn = Awesome

    by Trooperof3

    OMG This is turning into my most anticipated movie of the summer. I can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!

  • June 19, 2007, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Fuck Yeah!

    by Unlabled

    I have been looking forward to this since I saw the animation and read the script over at Latino Review. This movie is gonna kick ass.

  • June 19, 2007, 10:14 a.m. CST

    Mori....

    by Kevin

    Great interview with Davis. Truly enjoyable read. During the focus group for Shoot 'Em Up, I got irritated with the moderator and asked her if I could just address the filmmakers in lieu of answering her idiotic questions, to which she shot back a firm, "No!". So I ignored her and started to engage Davis about the Bond in-joke with the Walther PPK. Even then he could have opted to ignore my comments but he was receptive and very pleased someone got it. Met him outside of the theater, after the screening, late last year, and we spoke about the choice of music utilized in the film. He was really into our suggestions and what we loved/hated about the film. Incredibly mellow and extremely grounded. The way he talked about Tarantino and his charisma, his character kinda captures the way he was with us that night in Pasadena. I hope this film hits in a big way and hope his next film is as much fun.

  • June 19, 2007, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Great interview.

    by raw_bean

    Can't wait to see it. :^)

  • June 19, 2007, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Clive Owen = Max Payne

    by ludmir88

    do you know waht i mean? Shoot'em up looks like that video game, at least with Clive handling the guns.

  • June 19, 2007, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Best Bruce Willis Action Movie

    by McBane

    Outside of Die Hard, gotta be Last Boy Scout. Tony Scott + Shane Black + Bruce Willis = Noir Action Comedy Bonanza.

  • June 19, 2007, 11:27 a.m. CST

    MORE EDITING ROOM ARTICLES!

    by THE KNIGHT

    Keep up the good work!

  • June 19, 2007, 12:03 p.m. CST

    M-O-M

    by Trooperof3

    Read Article again!. they were saying how movies always have wet streets....

  • June 19, 2007, 12:18 p.m. CST

    Can't wait for this one

    by liljuniorbrown

    I'm aching to see Shoot Em Up. This will be the best action film in decades. Between this and Rambo I can only dream of how awesome a new Tom Jane Punisher flick could be. Getting Clive Owen to be a homeless gun totting bad ass,Paul Giamatti as sick as fuck heavy bad guy and Monica Bellucci as a lactating prostitue named Dairy Queen.........well played sir, well played indeed.

  • June 19, 2007, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Best read on here in ages

    by DirkD13"

    Action-porn too! Well seeing as horror-porn has long ago ran it's course I am glad. I hope this film is this years Crank X 100.

  • June 19, 2007, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Um, I meant torture-porn not horror-porn

    by DirkD13"

    Drinking at work again.

  • June 19, 2007, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Memories of a Murder....

    by TequilaMocking

    Just to clarify, he said there are NO perpetually wet streets in the film. They decided to do the opposite of that.

  • June 19, 2007, 12:59 p.m. CST

    Action-porn is ruining the youth of America...

    by The Dum Guy

    With all the watered down PG-13 shite that makes killing people not look too messy. I can't wait for this and John Rambo.

  • June 19, 2007, 3:05 p.m. CST

    Really looking forward to this...

    by Judge Dredds Dirty Undies

    not based on the trailer though which I don't think is particularly great but I'm still hopeful this is gonna be one kickass flick.

  • June 19, 2007, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Hey, frg10 Troll..

    by drew mcweeny

    ... I understand that you want to continue to be a douche about HOSTEL 2, but (A) I didn't write any of the HOSTEL 2 articles that evidently wedged sand up your crack and (B) one article is hardly cause for you to start hate-bombing the talkbacks. How about you calm down, check out the movie for yourself, and stop acting like a petulant child?

  • June 19, 2007, 4:22 p.m. CST

    FINALLY

    by Quin the Eskimo

    forgetting Sara Marshall

  • June 19, 2007, 4:51 p.m. CST

    People know 100 Girls. People know Eight Days A Week...

    by Sledge Hammer

    ...Yeah, people know they both fucking sucked. Especially people unfortunate enough to have paid good money to see them. Likewise Girl Fever and Monster Men both royally sucked ass as well, so right now this guys track record is anything but good, regardless of how nice a guy he might be. That said, I'm still interested in Shoot 'Em Up, so this will be make or break time for this particular writer/director as far as I'm concerned. Hopefully this will be the one where he finally finds his feet as a film maker, the one that turns it all around. Hopefully it'll be a fun flick, and hopefully it won't turn out to be just a bunch of empty hype. We shall see I guess.

  • June 19, 2007, 5:03 p.m. CST

    You forgot to ask if the flick has bloody exit wounds

    by Neo Zeed

    instead of people just doubling over in pain after getting shot .

  • June 19, 2007, 5:09 p.m. CST

    Also tell the dude he needs a red band trailer

    by Neo Zeed

    The regular one looks too normal looking.

  • June 19, 2007, 5:16 p.m. CST

    frg10...

    by drew mcweeny

    ... I wasn't talking about HOSTEL 2. You're the only one still hung up on that. I was saying see SHOOT 'EM UP (or don't, since it doesn't matter to me either way) and then decide if you need to troll the talkback to make snide comments about it.

  • June 19, 2007, 5:18 p.m. CST

    Sledge...

    by drew mcweeny

    Fair enough. I agree that Michael's resume up until now contains nothing that hints at SHOOT 'EM UP. My point about the earlier films is simply that, good or bad, he's been working. He's been in the trenches making movies, which is more than many people get the opportunity to do. Now, finally, he's making something that it sounds like he's poured his heart and soul into. I hope it works for him, and the stuff I've seen is encouraging. But at least you're basing your opinion of his other work off having actually seen it. I don't think anyone can ask anything else.

  • June 19, 2007, 5:44 p.m. CST

    Hey, like I said...

    by Sledge Hammer

    He sounds like a nice guy, I hope this turns out to be a turning point for him, and most of all I just hope it turns out to be a cool film. After all, as a lover of (all types of) film, I'd always much rather see a film turn out well than not, just as I'd much rather have a good time than have something to bitch about. Like I said, guess we'll see when the time comes, but here's hoping.

  • June 19, 2007, 6:22 p.m. CST

    can't wait for this!

    by AllNtheReflexes

    Loved the trailer - everyone draws the Hard Boiled parallel, but I also got a really Johnny To or Tsui Hark feel from it (especially some of the action scenes from Time and Tide). I didn't realize that Michael davis was the same guy who directed 8 Days a Week until I looked him up on imdb after seeing the trailer - I seem to remember liking that movie when I saw it on cable years ago, but I can barely remember anything about it. Anyway, I'm psyched. By the way, for Hard Boiled fans, it's being shown on the big screen at the Asian Film Festival at the IFC Center in NYC this weekend. I'm so there.

  • June 19, 2007, 9:12 p.m. CST

    Still burned from Smokin' Aces. Gotta be skeptical.

    by CreasyBear

    Is it too much to ask that the director has a clear vision for what the finished product is going to be? Smokin' Aces marketed itself as a fast-paced, over-the-top, black comedy shoot 'em up, (much like this flick) and had some actors generally considered "cool" (as well as Ben Affleck). Yet tonally, it was a wreck. With a premise so simple, how do you screw that up? I hope Shoot 'Em Up's director realizes that the movie is what it is, and that drastic tonal shifts are only going to deflate the experience.

  • June 19, 2007, 9:20 p.m. CST

    And Moriarty, you are "Moriarty".

    by CreasyBear

    You are Snoop Dogg, not Calvin Broadus. You are Sting, not . . . uh, whatever the hell his real name is. You're Prince! Ice Cube! Seal! Cher! Like Magneto asks in X2, "What's your REAL name, John?"

  • June 19, 2007, 9:25 p.m. CST

    8 Days a Week & 100 Girls

    by bobwiley

    Actually, I'm a fan of these movies. I'm proud to say I own both discs. They have their flaws and everything, but you can tell they have heart. They're not your typical teen comedy DTV flicks. For those, check out any of the shitty National Lampoon discs that have been poppin up lately. As for Monster Man, it's a little uneven in some parts, but I think it holds up pretty well considering the budget was pretty damn low. Some of the horror scenes at the end of the film are actually pretty impressive. I'm pretty excited to see what Michael Davis will do now that he has some studio support and an actual budget.

  • June 20, 2007, 12:22 a.m. CST

    This is a cool interview.

    by Pompoulus

    It's like a conversation, not like a guy finding a half hour of shit to yammer about. I feel like you can learn a lot this way, with a more natural approach.

  • June 20, 2007, 1:36 a.m. CST

    SORRY WE DONT TRUST YOUR OPINONS ANYMORE

    by CQuest

    after that hostel shit, any time yall are invited to any shoot or to meet ANYONE it always = a positve review. so sorry dude, you guys are kinda worthless now in that regard. still fun to post in tbs tho!

  • June 20, 2007, 2:04 a.m. CST

    CQuest...

    by drew mcweeny

    ... and feel free to link to my HOSTEL 2 review. Go ahead. I'll wait. And in fact, link to my SHOOT 'EM UP review. Oh, wait... I haven't written one yet.

  • June 20, 2007, 2:04 a.m. CST

    regularfacetoht

    by The Dum Guy

    While I commend your' valor, I must object to your decision. I for one, must be able to support Action-Porn in the most gallant way I see, and that’s by buying a ticket.<br><br>I too, am a by-product of the Transformers (actually that's an early fixture, I still remember Ninja Turtles kick'en shell),alas.<br><br>I'm not exactly sorry I support a Don Murphy movie, after all he was connected to Apt Pupil, Natural Born Killers (don't say you don't like this movie) and Bully... From Hell was alright.

  • June 20, 2007, 2:09 a.m. CST

    this entire paragraph is a review

    by CQuest

    And now that I have, I am confident that SHOOT ‘EM UP is going to rock when it hits in September. Normally, I’d describe the sequences I saw, but with a film like this one, I don’t think describing the action is going to do the trick. I’ll just say that if “torture porn” is a genre right now, then SHOOT ‘EM UP is “action porn” on a scale that I haven’t seen since HARD BOILED. This is kinetic action for a good 80% of its running time instead of just a few set pieces and a lot of padding. I can’t remember the last time we saw an action film that played this rough all the way through. The film absolutely looks like it lives up to its title, and one of the things that makes it really stand out is the cast. Clive Owen. Monica Bellucci. Paul Giamatti. Considering how often pure action films are treated like second-class genre movies, that is not the sort of cast you expect to see, and they’re all on the same wavelength here. Owen’s tweaking the way people see him, and he’s playing a canny riff on the James Bond that might have been. Of course, he’s also a homeless guy, so don’t expect tuxedoes and sports cars. Giamatti has never been slimier than he is here, alternating organized attempts on the life of a newborn baby with phone calls to his wife. There’s one scene Michael showed me where Giamatti gets disturbingly intimate with the corpse of the pregnant woman whose baby Owen spends the movie protecting, and it made me laugh and cringe at the same time. Then there’s Bellucci, who continues to get more beautiful as time passes. She brings a sort of faded dignity to the role of the Dairy Queen, a hooker who specializes in lactation fantasies. Owen brings the baby to her so it can nurse, and she ends up entangled in the chase as well. It sounds outrageous, and it is, but there’s a real human heart to the film as well, and seeing the actors bring these characters to life, I’m really impressed at how Michael has managed to walk a fine line and create something that doesn’t feel like any other action film in recent memory.

  • June 20, 2007, 2:12 a.m. CST

    now its not in in depth review....

    by CQuest

    but its a glowing recommendation for the film. by all means, do what u gotta do. but most of us here ARE kinda sick of how the writers seem to always give positive feedback whenever they meet with or talk with a writer. i mean i know u dont want it to be awkward with them later, but damn. the damage was done by the hostel shilling. sorry if you have to feel it too, but thats kinda the way it is.

  • June 20, 2007, 3:32 a.m. CST

    CQuest..

    by drew mcweeny

    ... those are my impressions of what I've seen so far. And I've been burned before, by the way, and said so. I've visited editing rooms, liked what I've seen, and disliked the final product. And when that's happened, I've said so. <P>Judge me by my actions. Me. Not the actions of anyone else on this site. Judge me by what I've written. And if you still feel that way, fine. But don't throw HOSTEL 2 in my face, because I didn't put that coverage up. All I ask of any reader is that you distinguish one writer from another, just as I distinguish one filmmaker from another. It's lazy and inaccurate to do otherwise.

  • June 20, 2007, 7:05 a.m. CST

    Negative Talkbackers

    by Talkbacker with no name

    Just quit it with all this Hostel 2 and Don Murphy bullshit! Shoot 'em Up sounds like 'our' kind of movie! Fucking hell, what does it take to get you fuckers excited?! (maybe someone funny can answer that one...no not you CQuest or frg10. I said someone funny) . <p>I don't really like Don Murphy (from what I have seen and read by him) but I refuse to boycott a potentialy great movie because the producer acts like an arsehole sometimes. If we all did that we would never go and see any movies! It's like their job, man. <p>On the Hostel 2 issue - If you don't want to read anything about the movie then don't click the fucking link! How hard can it be? Read something else that interests you here. There is lots to choice from, you fucking idiots! <p>Mori, I enjoyed the interview and am looking forward to this one!

  • June 20, 2007, 7:58 a.m. CST

    This years Little Miss Action Film

    by Trooperof3

    Just hit the Shoot em' up website. Hopefully soon there will be some kick ass Posters etc. on the site. to go along with this kick ass movie. Moriarty great interview, hopefully you follow up more with this movie before summers end.

  • June 20, 2007, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Enough with the Hostel Pt. 2 Bitchfest Already!

    by MetaFreePhorAll

    Fuck - why would a website specializing in covering GENRE films cover a GENRE film?! And one that I thought was actually decent, but that's neither here nor there. Also - I loved the fuck out of Crank - so hopefully Shoot Em Up will be Crank, only with less guilty-pleasure and video-game-worshipping and more babies being delivered during shootouts/whatever's going on with the skydiving and the helicopter in that preview.

  • June 20, 2007, 10:06 a.m. CST

    So to Recap...

    by Unlabled

    Hostel 2 is teh suck. Editing room articles either rock or are teh suck and Shoot 'Em Up is either another Smoking Aces/Crank fiasco or the best action movie in years. Glad we got that all cleared up.

  • June 20, 2007, 10:16 a.m. CST

    LOL simply an impression, not review?

    by CQuest

    cmon man thats just semantics. You said you liked a movie, then offered up a cast REVIEW,touched on what a few of the characters do and that u enjoyed it. so now its an IMPRESSION?? what in the hell. Its a damn review man. A small one, but a review the same. n endorsement of the film. Just ADMIT THAT MUCH. There isnt anything wrong with it in itself, but its just about what the site has come to be lately. Its a bit hard to seperate writer from writer's place of employment, ya know? Instead of complaining about us treating u on your own merits you should talk to your coworkers about being a bit less greasy in their blatant promotion of crappy work, as its not worth it. It affects the site as a whole. Anyway tho, Ive said what I need to say on the subject,anything else would just be going over the same thing again. but i DO appreciate you responding. i see that and respect that.

  • June 20, 2007, 12:18 p.m. CST

    Fuck me, I'm there

    by TheContinentalOp

    Just watched the awesome trailer. Any movie that advertises itself to the tune of Motley Crue's Kickstart My Heart is alright with me.

  • June 20, 2007, 1 p.m. CST

    nice to see Michael Davis wasn't fired...

    by arctor

    as that was the word on the street... nice interview.

  • June 20, 2007, 3:08 p.m. CST

    Mori, nice job.

    by StudioPlant69

    I enjoyed the article, I felt like I was almost part of the conversation...or some wierdo eavesdropping. I'll be checking it out when it's released. -Chewing Gum and Ass kicking. -gOODfORyOU

  • June 20, 2007, 4:19 p.m. CST

    You're Either A Liar, AnimalStructure...

    by drew mcweeny

    ... or you can't read. I never said that everyone who disliked GRINDHOUSE hates women. At all. I said the people who were repeatedly reducing every woman in the film to "gashes" or "cunts" or "bitches" obviously had issues. If you were upset, chances are you're one of the people I was referring to, and I absolutely think that the language you use reveals a lot about your worldview. I haven't backtracked on that one little bit.

  • June 20, 2007, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Shoot Em up....

    by Cleyu

    Fucking hell! I haope its better than 'Platfrom Game' Or 'Beat Em Up' YOU TURNED DOWN BOND FOR FOR A MOVIE CALLED SHOOT EM UP!!!!!!! Good luck dude.

  • June 21, 2007, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Thank God for this movie

    by Trooperof3

    With Die Hard Being PG i was super depressed especially with the Talkback area, This is going to be so awesome. Moriarty keep up the reports.. i anxiously await this movie.

  • June 22, 2007, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Michael Davis

    by Sly Fox

    I'm realy looking forward to 'Shoot Em Up', since seeing 'Eight Days a Week' tucked away on Channel 5 (uk) many years ago I've been a big fan of his work. 8DAW is one of the films that made me want to make films. My next project has a character called Erica in it as a reference to the film.