Friday, June 27, 2014

Eric Jacobus Interview (C) 2014 Dan's Movie Report Exclusive!

Eric Jacobus is one of the true innovators of action short films, his work has hundreds of thousands of views on Youtube, and spawned legions of followers and imitators. Last year he shot up the populatrity scale with his portrayal of Striker in the Mortal Kombat Webseries. In 2014 his latest effort Kicktionary has been featured on hundreds of action websites and even on major news outlets. After years or promising, I finally chat with the man behind The Stunt People, in a one on one discussion about; Mortal Kombat, shaving and action. Grab on to your straight razor, and get ready for some fearless, folical fun with Eric Jacobus!

First up chat a bit about last year, being chosen to portray Stryker in the second season of Mortal Kombat.

You know, when I put my business card in the bowl at the Black Bear Restaurant, I thought I was entering for a free lunch. Really though, the phone call was a complete surprise. I had just come home to the Bay Area after a 7-hour drive from Los Angeles and got a text from Larnell Stovall asking if I'd want to play Stryker in Mortal Kombat. I called him up and said, "Ehh... I don't really play video games anymore." And he said, "Not the game you idiot. The web series." I guess some of my movies had gotten around in the stunt community, so my name came up when they were discussing casting. I ran out the front door and was in LA the next morning. I came from a background of starring in short martial art videos, so to be called onto something as big as Mortal Kombat Legacy was huge.

I thought the series was fun, why the hate, I mean really it was supposed to be violent, curse words and R rating?

That's the can of worms you open up when you make fan films - either you pay lip service to the franchise, or you take a risk and innovate. Kevin innovated and darkened the tone, which was the tone that got him the director's chair in the first place, but there are lots of fans who wanted the "Toasty" guy to pop up, or a "babality", you know the goofy stuff that defined early Mortal Kombat games. I like the goofy stuff myself. I kept asking Kevin to let me turn into a T-Rex and bite Liu Kang in half, but that would've been a weird ending.

Let's Chat about Stryker VS Mileena, yeah she did die in the series, but how would you approach fighting her, would it be like F this and run, would you use the facial folicle charms etc.. haha

I've thought about this a lot, and frankly I wouldn't do anything. Mileena keeps walking around saying she's genetically a Tarkatan this or that, like it's gonna get her some kinda leg-up on a university app. She's also half-Edenian, which is like a human, so she'd be an easy take-down for any riot cop, since last I checked they don't make armor-piercing sais. But the real question is whether she's gonna pull some kinda crap about the cops unfairly targeting Tarkatans, because that's the last thing I need in my career. So, I'd look the other way, but if she jumped me I'd shove a grenade through that grill without hesitation. (ed note- watch for Mileena (Michelle Lee) response later in 2014!)

Changing the chat direction to Facial hair and action, an under appreciated subject, what is your morning beard and mustache regimen?

First thing I do in the morning is look in the mirror and repeat my morning mantra - "I should really clean up my beard...tomorrow." Then I move some hair to cover the small bald spot to the left of my chin. Maybe I'll take a buzzer to the whiskers growing out of my cheeks, and be concerned that there are more of them every day. Maybe get the ones growing off the tip of my nose. Count the new grey hairs. Then I put on my flannel and go cut some trees down. Sheds don't build themselves.

Do you trim using a small scissors, or one of those fancy Wahl trimmers?

I've got an assortment. I've got a buzzer I bought from Ross on clearance which has a battery that needs charging half-way through a shave. So I gotta shave strategically you know. Then I've got my little plastic scissors from first grade to trim stray hairs. Some day I'll upgrade my system but being a physical actor means I'm on a budget. And no, I don't pluck.

Chat in detail regarding cleansing products, what do you use?

Generic face wash from Walgreens, or the most basic Clean and Clear... or just soap. When my beard gets long I use Head & Shoulders shampoo. I've heard Mane & Tail will keep hairs from falling out for those of you looking for more length. But I don't wash my face every day. Hell I don't even shower every day, maybe twice a week. Your face needs that natural oil, which you wash off whenever you shower. We're obsessed with decontaminating our skin every day like we're going in to perform surgery. I tell ya, my acne stopped once I chilled out on the obsessive washing. Ladies like it too, but don't give that secret out. You'll take away my edge!

Quick wash, warm soapy water prior to? What soap?

If I'm cutting the whole thing off, I use a buzzer to get it to stubble length, and then I go three-blade electric on it. No soap, no product. Just buzz, shave, aftershave. Usually I use Old Spice aftershave, but in a pinch I've mixed rubbing alcohol with water and it did the same job. Once I accidentally drank it because I put it in a mouth wash container.

I use the slim twin, for the 'stache, seems to reach problem and difficult areas, do you have a favorite razor? How about shaving cream?

There's a funny story about that. Way back when I started making movies in 2001, we did a goofy short film called Road Block. My buddy and I both needed to shave for a scene. He had a Gillette Mach 3 Extreme Shaving thing and sliced off his beard in a few minutes, which was a pretty thick beard. Then I used it, and I dulled the razor halfway through. My beard's thick, but my beard hairs themselves are thick too, like they're 2 or 3 hairs in one. I wear out Gilette Mach 3 heads after two uses, which comes out to something like a dollar per shave. By comparison I can get about 3 years of decent shaving from a triple pack of circular shaver heads for $25. So there's no contest in my book - 'lectric all the way. But if I had the money I'd get a straight razor shave every day. When I make my million...

Do you use products to keep follicles in place while shooting a difficult action sequence

Sweat will mess up your face after a fresh shave, so I'll never clean shave before a fight. Besides, you never wanna get hit after a fresh shave. Your face will peel off like wet chicken skin.

Switching directions again chat about the many cool things from the 80s you collect, and, Laserdiscs, how did you get started with that collection?

I guess living in the 80s made an impression on me, but everyone seems to love that period. I like today's stuff too - Netflix, internet, screens that weigh less than 50 pounds - but Laserdiscs... those are never coming back. They take up too much space, and the cover art is totally pre-globalization, the kind of art that hipsters wanna replicate. You know, less emphasis on big heads and backdrops, more full bodies and moments from the film, lots of colors. Every cover now is blue, green, and yellow. A few Laserdiscs also never made it to DVD, like my subtitled Cantonese anamorphic print of Drunken Master 2. And you get the big cover art, uncompressed sound. Laserdiscs also turn movie-watching into an event, since a 12-inch disc is hardly portable, so it's like an LP - you gotta spend time with it and flip it over halfway through. We're so damn mobile now, so it's nice to sit down in the family room and just focus on one thing.

What other things from the 80s do you collect, I noticed many video games, and of course cheesy 80s films?

I'm collecting big-box PC point-n-click games from the 80s and 90s, back when they used hand drawn characters and backdrops. Complete LucasArts collection, most Sierra adventures, dorky stuff that makes my wife's eyes roll. But I collect em because nobody else does; they're just going into dumpsters and not getting any love. Everyone's collecting cartridges, which explains the crazy price that stuff is demanding now. So... I'm selling my carts!

You were one of the pioneers of the short film as a showcase for you work, now with the advent of higher quality digital cams and GoPro cams everyone is doing it, do you feel pressured to put out more films?

Everyone's making action videos, but not many people spend time writing out innovative concepts. It's as if their time on camera is too valuable to waste on story, and they've gotta get their kicks and falls in. I get it - I just wanted to get to the damn fight scene when I started out too, but that was back then when an indie fight scene caught people's attention. Not anymore - they're a dime a dozen now. If you wanna stand out from the fray, step away from making stunt reels and demos and just write one cool concept out. Your single kick will go a lot further if it's got a cool idea behind it. And please for the love of God, no more movies about guys in suits fighting over a briefcase.

Chat about your latest project Kicktionary, concept, idea, formulation etc...

I did it for the same reason I did First-Person Darth Vader - nobody else was doing it. And the Kicktionary required an even smaller cast - me! I realized though that directing me is a big pain in the butt. Now I know why I pissed off so many people back in the day.

By naming each kick, gives the fans a reference point, how did you decide to do that?

I respected the naming conventions, starting from widely accepted names (roundhouse kick, side kick, etc.), then into the martial art-specific titles from Taekwondo, Karate, Capoeira, and more. Tricking martial arts also has pretty defined titles, so I went there next. If I still couldn't find the kick, I'd reference the actor who did it, like Hwang Jang Lee who trademarked tons of kicks, or Casanova Wong. If it's not in movies, then I reference video game characters. I'd open it up to Facebook friends too, who were usually able to find a name for it. I managed to name em all, but in the future, when all else fails I'll just do Eric Jacobus Kick 1, Eric Jacobus Kick 2, and so on.

Good press for you on this one, will of course spawn imitations, what do you think?

Good, I wanna see em! It'll give me ideas for Volume 2.

What are some of the future concepts you have in the works?

We've got Rope A Dope 2 coming up, and our straight-up actioner, Make Peace or Die has a script we're shopping around at the moment, trying to come up with the right package.

Chatting about additional projects, "other peoples" films, what are you working on or is it in the NDA area as of now, like hmm, can we know or not?

ABCs of Death 2 is the one I'm most excited about. It's coming out later this year, and I star in the first segment of the compilation.

What else is going on, looks like marriage is in the works, congrats!

She's the one! We just acquired a beehive too. All we need are a couple more guns and a bomb shelter and we're ready for the apocalypse.

Advice to younger short film makers, Youtube, Indigogo etc...

Don't follow the crowd, listen to the losers, work hard every day, and don't pick at your beard because it might not grow back.

Thank you for taking the time out of your rigorous grooming schedule to conduct this detailed interview. Eric rules the earth of the action short and is a follicle hero to many.

Follow Eric and his extreme action antics @ and as well as my Facebook page and twitter @ericjacobus

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

And So It Goes Movie Review (Exclusive Critic Screening 6-25-14)

Above Photos: Poster for And So It Goes and my Press Ticket! 

Greetings fellow movie watchers, I know, you are asking Dan's Movie Report and romantic Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton Movie. And So It Goes is one diverse and twisted tale of love lost, love rediscovered, and relationships in general, all wrapped up in the package of an absolutely hysterical comedy, about the trials and tribulations of life.

Michael Douglas has portrayed so many diverse characters in his career, but in Rob Rieners's comedy he is forced to fully flex his acting muscle as Real Estate agent Oren Little. Juggling the raw human emotion in the beginning of the film visiting his dead wife, all the while cursing under his breath, why did she have to be buried on a steep hill. And So it Goes, flows like water, with Douglas steering the ship the audience is never far from the metaphorical shore as he soon meets up with his lounge singing neighbor Dianne Keaton.

The pair grow close when his son is of to jail and they are forced to look after his ten year old daughter. Learning to love again was a difficult chore, but as the movie progresses, the hard heart character turns to butter, as he shows true affection for his granddaughter, eventually his son.

Keaton plays a tortured soul living in the past and crying at the drop of a hat when she sings a sad song or thinks about her late husband. Keaton's natural quirky mannerisms work solidly in And So It Goes, she is the emotional one to the more stoic Douglas.

Watch for some cool side characters, Rob Reiner plays a toupee wearing piano player in Keaton's band. Frances Sternhagen plays the snarly Claire, an longtime employee of the real estate agency Douglas works for, she always has sarcasm at the ready, and is absolutely hysterical. Props to the dog in the film, serious, his comedic timing was top notch, plus he can poop on cue, trust me watch out for that!

A final mention goes for again the fantastic direction of Reiner, coupled with the great acting from the two leads. Keaton and Douglas are pros, but in And So It Goes, looks like a bit of real emotion played out. Fleshing out detailed characters is difficult, and Reiner does this with ease. Not only are the characters likable on the surface, they are dealt with on a deeper level. And So it Goes, is a memorable film that will have audiences talking about that. The screening was completely full and the audience reacted with laughs all the way through followed by many applause at the end.

Overall, And So It Goes is a great way to spend an hour and a half. Yes guys will like it, there is just enough raunchy humor tossed in to keep us men interested, balanced with the romantic stuff for the ladies. I do reccomend this film and rate And So It Goes an 8 out of 10.

And So It Goes opens on July 18th, click the Facebook page for more info @

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Listen Up Philip acquired by Tribeca Film plans for a VOD release 10-21-14

Get Ready for More coolness from Tribeca Film! Dark Comedy: Listen Up Philip

Fall theatrical release set for Alex Ross Perry’s acclaimed dark comedy starring Jason Schwartzman and Elisabeth Moss

"The acerbically funny Listen Up Philip counts as a great leap forward for Alex Ross Perry. Assured and at times dazzling." –Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

"Remarkably achieved…told by Perry with immense filmmaking verve and novelistic flourish, and acted by an exceptional ensemble cast. Formally announces Perry as one of the most promising young talents on the indie scene." – Scott Foundas, Variety

"Perhaps the major work of the modern American low-budget indie scene."
– Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Mubi

New York, NY – June 23, 2014  Tribeca Film today announced it has acquired North American rights to Alex Ross Perry’s acclaimed dark comedy, Listen Up Philip starring Jason Schwartzman, Elisabeth Moss, Jonathan Pryce, Krysten Ritter, Joséphine de La Baume, Dree Hemingway, and Jess Weixler. Written and directed by Perry (2013 Independent Spirit Award-nominee for The Color Wheel), and shot on 16mm film by cinematographer Sean Price Williams, the film played to rave reviews when it premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. It will be released theatrically beginningOctober 17, 2014, with video-on-demand platforms following on October 21, 2014.

A complex, intimate, and highly idiosyncratic comedy, Listen Up Philip is a literary look at the triumph of reality over the human spirit. Anger rages in Philip (Jason Schwartzman) as he awaits the publication of his sure-to-succeed second novel. He feels pushed out of his adopted home city by the constant crowds and noise, a deteriorating relationship with his photographer girlfriend Ashley (Elisabeth Moss), and his indifference to promoting his own work. When Philip’s idol Ike Zimmerman (Jonathan Pryce) offers his isolated summer home as a refuge, he finally gets the peace and quiet to focus on his favorite subject — himself.

“Driven by a superbly acidic performance by Jason Schwartzman and equally fuelled by its allusions to and by inspiration from Philip Roth, director/writer Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip is a revelation by a uniquely gifted filmmaker,” said Geoff Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer, Tribeca Enterprises.

"Life isn't full of easy answers or situations where things are wrapped up in a neat little package, and I set out to make a film that reflects this. That scared some people. Tribeca Film has proven themselves fearless by partnering with us for the release of Listen Up Philip. In this day and age, distribution for independent films is a real broken system, probably worse than it has ever been. So it is incredibly exciting to be working with people who actually care not only about 'movies' and 'stories' but about honest to god Cinema, I mean serious Cinema that leaves audiences heavier. They've put their support behind me and this film and they believe in it in a way that I hope will allow Listen Up Philip to be seen by as many people as possible," said Alex Ross Perry.

Listen Up Philip is produced by Katie Stern and Joshua Blum at Washington Square Films and Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston & David Lowery of Sailor Bear. The deal was negotiated for Tribeca Film by Nick Savva, with John Sloss of Cinetic Media on behalf of the filmmakers.