Category Archives: Independent Film

Interview: Bill Plympton and CHEATIN’

Ella and Jake in Bill Plympton's CHEATIN'

Ella and Jake in Bill Plympton’s CHEATIN’



Bill Plympton Animation Available on iTunes as of April 2015

CHEATIN’ is Bill Plimpton’s seventh full-length animated feature. It is for adults who like an All-American gritty noir story and fans of great storytelling from such greats at Terry Gilliam and Federico Fellini. Read my review here. On April 3, CHEATIN’ opens in New York and then to selected cities throughout the month. It is also available online! You can see it on Vimeo. And you can see other Plympton features on iTunes starting in April. Yes, if you’re a loyal fan or are new to his work, Bill Plympton is here! For details, and to see the movie, just go to the CHEATIN’ THE MOVIE website right here.


A Gritty Tale and a Sexual Odyssey

CHEATIN’ is visually stunning and immersive. It features the journey one woman must take in order to find what she wants. In the tradition of noir, characters must go through the yin and yang to find their true selves. Light into dark. And then dark into light. Truly, a perpetual swirl of desire and searching. And you throw into the bargain a magical soul-transfer machine, and you’ve got yourself a Bill Plympton animated feature.

Disney Can Give Bill Plympton A Call

It is always a pleasure to chat with Bill Plympton. For this interview, we cover a lot of ground on the storytelling process. We chat about how CHEATIN’ and THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE would make for a perfect double bill. And I asked Bill, the king of independent animation, if he’d ever consider working with Disney if the right project came along. Yes. Bill would take the call.

What if Hitler Opened a Theme Park Called, “Naziland”?

And we discuss some upcoming projects. You’ll want to listen to that.

Below is the podcast interview. Enjoy:

Be sure to visit the CHEATIN’ website right here. And, if you’re in the New York metro area, be sure to go to Village East Cinema on Friday, April 3, and you’ll see Bill Plympton in person! He will create a drawing for anyone who asks for one.



Filed under animation, Bill Plympton, cartoon, Filmmaking, Independent Film, Indie, Interviews



Matthew Johnson is the director, co-writer, and starring actor in a film not without its controversy, “The Dirties.” It is a film about a school shooting which makes it vulnerable from the start. However, it navigates its subject with a level of self-awareness that gives it a sense of honesty. In other words, this is not a movie out to make a fast buck. What keeps it real is Matthew Johnson.

It is Columbine that springs to mind when Johnson is asked about what compelled the making of this movie. It is the issue that he had to confront when he was in high school. How do you address that horror, and all the others before and since, and avoid preaching in favor of making of art? What this movie does is use the dynamic of a documentary for all its worth.

Instead of the old traditional Hollywood route, and its hyperreality, “The Dirties” uses the found footage genre to tell a simple and direct story about bullying and school violence. A balance is struck between incorporating actual high school students and schools with the actors. The result is understated, down-to-earth, and very believable.

Matt (Matthew Johnson) and Owen (Owen Williams) are two misfits struggling to survive high school. Maybe they will find satisfying revenge from their bullies through their film project. Early on, we peg Matt as the overzealous one and Owen as the passive follower. We already know that this will not end well and that it is most likely going to focus on Matt. What will be Matt’s breaking point? As Johnson points out, “The Dirties” begins where most stories like this end. We actually get to learn something about the Matt character.

The following interview took place October 11, 2013. Matthew talks about the complex issue of bullies, the sweet pursuit of obscure references, Lena Dunham, mumblecore, Quentin Tarantino, Sacha Baron Cohen, and a glimpse of what lies ahead. As for what lies ahead, that seems a quite proper place for a young talent in search of the truth.

Click below for the podcast interview:

Phase 4 and the Kevin Smith Movie Club are proud to present THE DIRTIES. Winner of the 2013 Slamdance Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Film.

Visit THE DIRTIES website here.

Synopsis: When two best friends team up to film a comedy about getting revenge on bullies, the exercise takes a devastating turn when one of them begins to think of it as more than a joke.

Director: Matt Johnson
Starring: Matt Johnson, Owen Williams
Screenplay: Matt Johnson, Evan Morgan

Available In Theaters and On Demand as of October 4, 2013


Filed under Independent Film, Indie, Interviews, mumblecore

Interview: Director Roger Sewhcomar and ‘Do You Like My Basement?’

Director Roger Sewhcomar, with Devon Talbott and Charlie Floyd, in DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT?

Director Roger Sewhcomar, with Devon Talbott and Charlie Floyd, on set of DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT?

Roger Sewhcomar has crafted a devilishly good horror movie, both chilling and satirical. If you’re in New York City, be sure to catch it at the NewFilmmakers Short Film program on May 29. You can find details here. And, of course, there’s more to come as the film moves on to other venues and branches out into new web content.

Karlheinz Böhm, as Mark Lewis, in PEEPING TOM

Karlheinz Böhm, as Mark Lewis, in PEEPING TOM

If you’re a film buff, you may find yourself comparing “Do You Like My Basement?” to classic horror, especially, “Peeping Tom,” considering both main characters, Stanley Farmer, and Mark Lewis, respectively, are deranged filmmakers. They are up to their gills in toxic psychosis. “Peeping Tom,” although now considered a masterpiece, did not go over so well in 1960 and its director, Michael Powell, paid a heavy price as he was thoroughly drummed out of the business by harsh critics. “Do You Like My Basement?” has a much brighter future ahead of it, not only by comparison, but for being quite a gem. Director Roger Sewhcomar provides just the sort of horror that goes beyond expectations, and meets the contemporary taste for suspense.

Charlie Floyd on set of DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT?

Charlie Floyd on set of DO YOU LIKE MY BASEMENT?

A production such as this has its share of unsung heroes, those that go the extra mile but may go unseen. Ironically, the main character to this film, Stanley Farmer, is never quite seen. However, there is no mistaking the presence of actor Charlie Floyd. In fact, he’s always there. Once you hear his voice, you won’t mistake it. Mr. Floyd leads a strong cast in this remarkable mix of horror, satire, and dark comedy.

It was a pleasure to get to chat with director Roger Sewhcomar. We go over his influences, what it takes to make a movie, and what lies ahead for “Do You like My Basement?” Click below. Enjoy.

Visit the “Do You Like My Basement?” website here.

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Filed under Horror, Independent Film, Indie, Interviews, Kickstarter, movies



I watch a lot of movies and I sometimes take it for granted that you do too, that you’ve already seen this or that cool movie. Or maybe I’m stacked to the gills with pop culture and it’s hard sometimes to know which direction to point my noggin in and start writing. Case in point, SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED Wow, I think there’s a lot of folks out there that are still playing around with the meme that inspired this fine indie flick. It has, for starters, the hero of indieland, Mark Duplass. That man was born to command the indie screen. Catch him in YOUR SISTER’S SISTER with the ever lovely Emily Blunt.


Anyhow, this was one story and then it became quite another more intricate one. As for where the meme came from, the early age of the internet, 1997. A popular magazine about rural living entitled, “Backwoods Home Magazine” had some extra space to fill on one of its pages. So, senior editor John Silveira filled it with a poetic fake ad. Pretty decent, a decade before Twitter: Someone to go back in time with me…Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.” Jay Leno picked it up for his stupid ad routine on “The Tonight Show,” even though it doesn’t reveal someone for being stupid and so a meme was eventually born.

Next up for that delightful little meme, director Colin Trevorrow and writer Derek Connolly turn it into a fanciful, quirky movie. We begin with a meeting at a slick Seattle magazine. Everyone is throwing out ideas. An editor decides he’d love to do something with this oddball ad so a team is created: one cynical reporter and two very green interns. They all jump into an SUV and, if they’re not careful, this will just be another hack job by Jeff (Jake Johnson). The two interns appear to be useless. Arnau (Karan Soni) seems to be an uptight killjoy. Darius (Aubrey Plaza) seems to be an apathetic slacker. But, given a little time, magic occurs in more ways than one. It turns out, that Darius isn’t really a slacker. Given the opportunity, she invests in turning their questionable quest into a worthwhile story.


But there’s more. Kenneth (Mark Duplass), the guy who wrote the oddball ad about time traveling isn’t an obvious nut job. He’s kind, intelligent, and somebody that Darius can’t easily dismiss. And, you guessed it, Jeff and Arnau also grow as characters but in unexpected ways. It’s the evolution of Darius and Kenneth that really captivates. With a delicate touch, this movie will make you believe anything is possible.

So, yeah man, this the prefect time to support this movie. As you probably know, there is a more to the life cycle of any movie that its initial theatrical release. SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. Visit the movie’s website here.

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Filed under Aubrey Plaza, Independent Film, Indie, Mark Duplass, Movie Reviews, movies, science fiction, Seattle, Time Travel