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Gene Rhee

A PREQUEL (NOT A SEQUEL) TO DISTRICT 9?

In this interview with the director of , he says he's more interested in doing a prequel (rather than a sequel) to his hit sci-fi feature.  That may disappoint some of his fans since the ending to the first movie sets up the next chapter so well.  But I respect his convictions since he's the one who would have to make it.  To be honest, his interview is surprisingly anti-hollywood given the types of movies he's making, but at the same time, I guess you can't blame him given his past experiences.   Check it out here.

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SOME ADVICE FROM JAMES CAMERON, PETER JACKSON & TARANTINO

I found most of these interviews with several of today's most celebrated film directors to be affirming because they have enough clout and ego to say what they really think.  It's interesting to hear veterans like James Cameron, Peter Jackson and Quentin Tarantino talk about how hard it is to make low budget films, how some of them believe in storyboarding and some don't,...and how despite all their accomplishments, they still have to struggle with studios to get their films made the way they want.   Here's the link to the article.

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THE DECLINE OF ORIGINAL MOVIES

By now, everyone in Hollywood knows that Disney is significantly downsizing Miramax films, it's arthouse film division.  The press releases say they're just cutting staff and reducing the number of films they'll distribute, but in reality, most folks in the biz believe that this is Disney's way of gradually dissolving the division altogether.  In other words, in a year or two, Miramax may be gone for good.  Which is sad because it was one of the few places left that tried to release original films like and .  Given the current trend in Hollywood, this isn't surprising.  Hollywood is more obsessed than ever with remaking movies that don't need to be remade, or turning toys and video games into films -- even though the majority of these films don't succeed [see below].   It makes me wonder, are there any studios left with the balls to make original movies?  What happened to the great original screenplay?  Have film execs forgotten that many of the biggest box office successes of all time were generated from original scripts?  Whether you like these movies or not, be it   or more recent releases like or they all started with an original idea for a film, and were all wildly successful.  Yet more and more, film execs are turning their backs on original stories.  For all those execs who are convinced that studios should focus on toys, video games, comic books and remakes, I'd like to remind them that for every , there are many more similar films that flop like    and .  I'm all for making big, commercial entertainment, but perhaps it's time to get back to what made Hollywood flourish in the first place: an original script. Here's a link about the demise of Miramax, and here's an article about Hollywood's  obsession with turning toys into movies.

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My Little Independent Film

This film has been an audience favorite at numerous festivals, and if you're into relationship movies, I hope you'll check it out.  It's a light, fun ensemble piece with several stories exploring "The Trouble With Romance" from several different points of view - a single woman getting over a break-up in an odd way, a married couple trying to spice up their sex life, a boyfriend and girlfriend dealing with their own childish issues, and a young man confronting his cynicism about love.This film was shot in 15 days with a budget less than what the caterer gets paid on a major studio movie.  It's not a serious movie, but a fun little commercial film about love.  For a low budget indie like this, getting any kind of distribution is a feat in and of itself, and after playing the film festival circuit for a year it got picked up by Warner Bros for distribution. Independent films like this need all the support they can get since we don't have millions of marketing dollars to pay for expensive TV ads that draw large audiences.  The film also stars 2 other AliveNotDead members -Roger Fan and Emily Liu - so give them a shout out as well .  More details below...

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Warner Bros. distributing "The Trouble With Romance"

Warner Bros. to premiere "THE TROUBLE WITH ROMANCE" simultaneously in theaters and on pay-per-view!  The film stars cast members from "Sex & the City", "Entourage", "Better Luck Tomorrow" and more.  See the movie now via iTunes & Amazon VOD.Movie Trailer Link:http:// www.youtube.com/watch? v=tdoE49chFKU(REVIEWS:)StartFragment

'HIGHLY RECOMMENDED'

"An extraordinarily engaging, well-written and creatively filmed romantic comedy comprised of four stories set in hotel rooms on the same floor... Rhee's feature debut is in some ways a textbook for how to make a great low-budget feature:  Start with a really good, tightly written script, hire some terrific, trained, hungry actors and shoot it economically on small interiors.  For an audience, it's a winning combination."

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"The performances are convincing, and director Gene Rhee does a good job of outlining the messiness of human affections here, showing how we don't always know what we really want or how to get it."

-The Chicago Reader"Gene Rhee's wacky and endearing debut feature film "The Trouble With Romance" scores points on most levels of engagement as a warm, breezy conversation about romantic entanglements between men and women.  Split into four vignettes set under one hotel roof in Los Angeles, a quartet of rooms are the stages for frolic, fun, fantasy and frivolity."

Popcornreel.com"Roger Fan's intense crying jag while on the toilet is a riot. It is to bathroom crying jags what the French Connection car chase is to car chases."

-The San Jose Metro

 

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-The SF Weekly

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Other weblinks:http://www.facebook.com/group. php?gid=5579152083

http://www.myspace.com/ thetroublewithromance

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Hollywood As Usual

Back in September, I mentioned that Stephen Chow had been hired to direct and star as Kato in the big budget remake of The Green Hornet.  However, as the article below indicates, that is no longer the case.  In typical Hollywood fashion, Chow is no longer directing the movie, but will still stay on to play Kato.
When I first heard about this back in September, I was hopeful that hiring Chow to direct this blockbuster franchise was a sign that the powers-that-be were starting to look outside the box in making these cliched comic book franchises.  Afterall, Stephen Chow may be a huge name in Asia (and also has a cult following among the indie set in the U.S.), but he was by no means a Hollywood insider.  Anyway, I thought Chow might bring something fresh to the superhero genre, but it looks like Columbia will hire another typical studio director.  At least Chow still gets to keep the eight figure payday they gave him.  Not a bad consolation.http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117997630.html?categoryid=13&cs=1

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What Kind Of Roles Attract Oscars

Here's a link to an article I just saw about what kinds of roles attract Academy Award consideration.  Yeah, it's fluff but kinda fun...http://www.variety.com/awardcentral_article/VR1117996455.html?nav=news&categoryid=1982&cs=1

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What An Amazing Comeback

Here's a great article about Mickey Rourke's amazing comeback from the dumps to being the Oscar front-runner for Best Actor for the movie "The Wrestler".  I know show biz comeback stories are common but this guy really hit a low point.  If you read the whole article, I particularly admire the part where Director Darren Aronofsky resists the advice of his Hollywood colleagues to cast Nic Cage instead of Rourke.  Definitely looking forward to checking the film out.  Here's the link to the article, and below that is the trailer for the movie: http://weblogs.variety.com/thompsononhollywood/2008/11/trailer-preview.htmlVideo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cCNCU7zIiM

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The Jean Claude Van Damme Biopic Starring Jean Claude Van Damme

JCVD is a semi-biographical movie about Jean Claude Van Damme, and ironically, it stars Jean Claude Van Damme.  When I first read about this film after it premiered at Cannes last May, I thought, what a hilarious idea.  Who makes biopics starring themselves?
I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm certainly curious given the concept.  Below is a link to a review of the film...http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/reviews/movies/la-et-jcvd14-2008nov14,0,5737375.storyI was never a huge Van Damme fan growing up, but I did see quite a few of his early films.  Though they usually lacked significant character development or plot, as a young boy, I did find some of his work entertaining.  Based on the reviews, JCVD appears to be mildly amusing (though not as comedic as I thought it would be).  On the other hand, it does show us a more vulnerable side to this former action star.

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Obama's Chief Of Staff Is A Major Hollywood Agent's Brother

What a coincidence.  Obama's projected White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, is the brother of Ari Emanuel, who is one of the founders of the Endeavor agency and is also the inspiration for the "Ari Gold" character on the hit TV show  Entourage.  I wrote a post a couple months back about my own experiences involving politics and Hollywood but this is just too funny.  Anyway, from everything I've read, it sounds like Rahm is razor sharp, highly motivated, and a ball buster, which I think is exactly what Obama needs right now to implement change in our political system.   

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Gene Rhee

Director, Producer, Screenwriter

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Hometown Los Angeles
School U.S.C. film school, Wharton School at UPenn