A few days ago, I offered a rundown of some of the upcoming high-profile movies poised to hit the big screen in the coming weeks (May 26, 2013: Upcoming movie releases to look forward to! Or not!). Today, I’d like to alert you to some of the smaller upcoming releases that have captured my interest…



Release Date: May 31, 2013

What it’s about: A coming-of-age comedy about three boys who run away from home to live in a tree house in the woods.

What it’s got working for it: Has a Stand By Me vibe.

What it’s got working against it: I think it’s a mistake to market this movie as a comedy given that everything I’ve seen so far suggests some fairly subdued humor.


Release Date: May 31, 2013

What it’s about: An Irish mother is arrested and sent back to Belfast as an undercover operative.  To save her family, she must betray it…

What it’s got working for it: One helluva a set up.

What it’s got working against it: It looks very dark.  But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


Release Date: June 7, 2013

What it’s about: Two young female assassins get more than they bargained for on their latest hit.

What it’s got working for it: Potentially/delightfully weird and over-the-top.

What it’s got working against it: Potentially/ridiculously weird and over-the-top.


Release Date: June 14, 2013

What it’s about: The line between fact and fiction blurs when a British sound engineer travels to Rome to work on an Italian horror film.

What it’s got working for it: Looks like an awesome homage to cinema giallo.

What it’s got working against it: Alternately, could turn out to be plain weird and inaccessible.


Release Date: June 21, 2013

What it’s about: Somali pirates hijack a cargo ship and demand a ransom for the captive crew.  The CEO of the shipping company engages the pirates in a battle of wills while the lives of his employees hangs in the balance.

What it’s got working for it: Looks gritty, smart, and suspenseful.

What it’s got working against it: Also looks kinds of bleak.


Release Date: June 28, 2013

What it’s about: Two female vampires arrive in a small coastal town

What it’s got working for it: Moody, atmospheric.  A gorgeous-looking movie.  Female vampires are a bonus!

What it’s got working against it: Style over substance?


Release Date: June 28, 2013

What it’s about: “Copperheads” = northerners who opposed the American Civil War.

What it’s got working for it: Directed by Ron Maxwell (Gettsyburg, Gods and Generals).

What it’s got working against it: Might be a little dry.


Magsol writes: “In this case, ownership becomes even more complicated. It was Aaron Sorkin who created the character, and Schiff who brought it to life, but Sorkin left after season 4 to pursue other interests and was in no way involved in the writing after that point. Hence, the new direction for the Ziegler character was entirely John Wells’ doing; Schiff was the only constant throughout.”


M Reed writes: “The two leads of Supernatural were recently discussing that it puzzles them that new writers come in and retcon history regarding the characters of Sam and Dean Winchester and that they don’t blame the audience for complaining about these sudden changes in the history of the characters.”

Answer: Ah, but these are very different situations.  In this case, we’re not talking about the writer who created the characters and developed them over the course of those early seasons.

M Reed also writes: “In the case of SG1 yit gets even more complicated.”

Answer: True, given that Jack O’Neil(l) was a character who predated the series.  Still, the Jack the fans came to know and love was created by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner, then brought to life and shaped by Richard Dean Anderson.

M Reed also writes: “Who really owns the characters of O’Neil(l) and Jackson?”

Answer: Oh, that one’s easy.  MGM! 🙂

shinyhula writes: “I’d think studio interference would cause the most problems on set than divas.”

Answer: Well, interference, either by a studio, network, or anyone involved in the production, would be a bad thing.  In a more general sense, studio/network notes can change the creative direction as well, but like cast input, it’s not really a big issue and can be addressed – so long as it’s not something that crops up at the 11th hour (or worse, some time after!).

Ryan “Stitch” Nixon writes: “Personally, the editing was the biggest downfall, they spent so much money I do not understand the cutting it down to LESS than 2-hours when most superhero films now are pushing 2.5 to 3 hours.”

Answer: Hmmm.  While I’m sure a 2.5 – 3 hour version of the movie would have made it “better” in the sense that it would have done a better job of reflecting the original script, I think a longer run time would have hurt the the movie even more.  As Cookie pointed out in his review, unlike Watchmen, Green Lantern was essentially a fun romp, a popcorn movie, not an epic.

HBMC writes: “And Joe, wouldn’t you say that your question – who owns a character – works very differently between television (where the writers often run the show) and movies (where writers are not to enter the actors’ eye-lines, ever, on pain of death)?”

Answer: Most definitely.  In film, it’s the director who sees most of the frontline action.

HBMC also writes: “As to Joe’s actual post – who owns the character, the person who writes them or the actor that plays them, I don’t think it’s a black and white either/or answer. I remember in Uni they once brought in some actors to act out scenes from the scripts we were all writing. It was fascinating because when they went through the particular scene I had written they did things in a completely different way to what I imagined in my head, and in some cases the decisions they had made were better than what I have originally thought of.”

Answer: So true and this is something I’ve mentioned in previous entries.  We, as writers, create the characters but it’s the actors that bring them to life and, consequently, influence their development.  They take what’s on the page and interpret it onscreen.  We see how they’ve interpreted and shape the character accordingly.  It’s a constant collaborative back and forth.

Tam Dixon writes: “Did you try the cheesecake recipe yet?”

Answer: Yep.  Full report tomorrow.

gforce writes: “I’ll go ahead an ask the obvious one – any word on the Dark Matter front, or the other projects?”

Answer: Apparently, June 6th is the date when all our questions will be answered.

gforce also writes: “Also, do you know if Cookie has and ideas for future reviewing projects after the superhero movies?”

Answer: Not so fast.  A thorough audit of the superhero movie catalog by yours truly reveals a bunch of review candidates Cookie (mistakenly?) missed.  Entries like the 1978 t.v. movie Dr. Strange and the equally horrendous Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. starring the Hoff warrant screenings as well.  But there’s no reason why, in addition to these gems, Cookie couldn’t review a few non-supermovies as well.

gforce also writes: “Are you watching the S4 of “Arrested Development” on Netflix? I think it’s brilliant, but you have to watch several episodes to start to figure out what’s going on.”

Answer: I loved the first three seasons of the show and fully intend to check out the fourth – but, at present, my t.v. dance card is full.

baterista9 writes: “As I’ve learned more about the film industry, I’ve gotten the impression that individual divas are in the minority. Am I correct in thinking that most participants “play well with others”?”

Answer: True.

18 thoughts on “May 28, 2013: Upcoming under-the-radar movies to look forward to! Or not!

  1. the only two i’ve heard of are the kings of summer & byzantium, but in my experience; smaller, under the radar movies often turn out to be WTF?! movies.

  2. “Answer: Apparently, June 6th is the date when all our questions will be answered.”

    Did you say June 16th or 26th? Or maybe you meant JULY 6th, or was it the 16th or 26th? I bet you meant Aug. 6th, but maybe the 16th, or 26th. Will Sept. 6th work for you, or the 16th…? I could have swore I read Oct. 6th at first. What was the question, I forgot? 😉

  3. I’d much rather watch these movies than those other supposedly blockbuster expected ones from the other day (with the exception of M. Knight Slymanalan’s, of course. I want to see that one! 🙂 )

  4. Have to admit, I’ve not heard of any of those movies, but several do look kind of interesting. Didn’t “The Hijacking” actually happen? It was particularly bleak if you happened to be one of the hijackers, in that case.

    “Not so fast. An thorough audit of the superhero movie catalog by yours truly reveals a bunch of review candidates Cookie (mistakenly?) missed. Entries like the 1978 t.v. movie Dr. Strange and the equally horrendous Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. starring the Hoff warrant screenings as well. But there’s no reason why, in addition to these gems, Cookie couldn’t review a few non-supermovies as well.”

    We wait with bated breath! I did actually read that first as “in addition to these GERMS…” Still works, I suppose.

  5. Hi Joe:

    This is totally random, but I thought you and some of your readers might like this: http://iwl.me/s/b3a26720. It’s a writing analyzer to determine what famous writer you write like. Just click the analyzer button at the top of the page, insert several lines of your text, and voila! I apparently, write like Lewis Carroll.

  6. Speaking of the SG-1 characters, I found Teal’cs character development one of the most enjoyable parts of the series, when you compare him to the Teal’c of the pilot Children of the Gods episode, you can clearly see he has come leaps and bounds, and has accepted life on Earth, and in turn has been accepted, he trusts others, is trusted by others, he’s part of the family essentially.

    I think in the eyes of the other characters, he’s not just THAT Jaffa, he’s Teal’c, an important and valuable asset of the SGC 😛

  7. hmm… THIS list actually looks more intriguing than the last one… CLIVE OWEN *and* GILLIAN ANDERSON together? Oooo!

    And finally, a Vamp-Flick that’s *NOT* “TwitLit”?? — WOOHOO!!

  8. Well I find myself more of a comedy type show watcher, like so much to laugh, and not have the pants scared off me, thank you. Thats a different look for Alexis Bledel, scary. And Lulu looked quite like a lovely diva on the other days post. Enjoyed the look on her, was that a picture she made for bf Ivon?

  9. I kind of agree with das on this (no surprise, eh?): some of these sound dreadfully depressing. I’m okay with weekly doses of depressing stories, like in Ripper Street or Copper as long as there is SOME happiness sprinkled in here and there. I’ll even watch Criminal Minds once in a while when my daughter had taken over the TV (she’s going into Forensic Chemistry and is fascinated by all that stuff much of which I find kind of creepy. But I digress…) Lately, I get enough drama in my life and am looking for movies that make me feel good.

    I agree with you on all of them, but I suspect that Copperhead, Shadow Dancer (what a cool title!) and A Hijacking will not end well and would leave me emotionally exhausted rather than entertained. Kind of like Flight did last year. If any of them gets an Oscar nomination, though, my best friend and I will no doubt end up seeing them at the local cheap theater.

    But I’m adding the others to my summer movie list! And now that my scrambled brains can tolerate fast images on the screen again – I’m goin’ to go see Star Trek this weekend!

  10. I agree with Sparrow_hawk & Das, those movies look depressing. Give me escapism like Stark Trek!

    I’m glad you make the cheesecake. I’m already planning Cheesecake 2, the sequel.

    Another question: Have you seen Star Trek yet?

  11. Joey, I asked a question on the 27th (two entries ago, seeing as you have two dated for the 28th ) – it was about the David Sedaris book. Was it worth the read? Just curious, because I thought he was funny as hell on The Daily Show.

    Speaking of divas (RE: baterista9’s question above), today one of the news programs did a thing about restaurants in LA dealing with picky entertainers, from those who don’t like anything on the menu and want everything made special, to those who profess to be vegan, but use special private dining areas to feast on steak. They call them dining divas, or something. Is that you? 😉

    I’ve only been in the presence of one celebrity at a restaurant – Lesley Ann Warren. It was about ten years or so ago. She was filming locally and sat at the booth just across from my table. It was an off hour in the off season, so the place wasn’t busy. Her only request was to sample the chili before ordering it (which is a great idea, imho). I remember her being very soft spoken and gracious, not diva-like at all.

    My computer’s being goofy so gotta end it there. (This may be a duplicate, and if so post this one instead of the other if that’s okay. Thanks!)


  12. Depressing stuff, hmm.. I know it’s anime but Saikano was a very depressing series, oh god, you like watch this and can’t help but feel sad. I don’t think anyone has ever seen this and not felt sad. It was quite a powerful story.

  13. Kings of Summer looks awesome, so thanks for the heads up. I’ll watch anything featuring “Ron Swanson”!

    I’m late on the character ownership discussion, but in the SG world I remember the example of how Michael and Claudia strongly objected to how their characters got together in early drafts of Unending. RCC originally wrote it that Vala and Daniel end up in bed without any confrontation. It was after Michael and Claudia spoke to RCC that he rewrote the scene to have Daniel confront Vala and question her motives, which was far more true to the characters and their history. That scene was so wonderful, I’ve often wondered what would have happened if the actors hadn’t come forward and asked for the rewrite. I think it would’ve seemed very out of character the first way, and RCC knew the characters very well. I guess it shows that open collaboration is the ideal situation.

  14. I’ve got a question I’ve tried to ask a few times and have always missed the mailbag. I’ve been curious just how much thought and input goes into naming characters; ever since SGU had the character of Ron “Psycho” Stasiak turn into Ronald Greer by the time it was ready to shoot.

    So how do you name characters?

    Does a lot of time go into coming up with just the right name, or is it a quick “whatever pops into your head?”

    Do other writers or people higher up often make you change character names, or are the first choices usually the final choices?


  15. My ability to go to the movies anymore boils down to every other Friday that Jeff has off, minus the days he wants to go into Houston to have lunch with old co-workers, minus the days that Patrick has off from school on those particular Fridays, minus the days that I cannot work around my dog sitting adventures. Two words: Not many. Me being able to see Star Trek was a fluke. So, one word: DVD.

  16. Kings of Summer and Cooperhead are two movies I am really looking forwarded to seeing. Unfortunatley Kings of Summer is not playing anywhere near me. I keep hoping that a local theather will pick it up if it dose well like they did with MUD (great by the way) but I am not holding my breath. Hopefully it will get picked up by VUDU in the next few months.

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