After hearing about the animated film, Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery, my initial reaction was to wonder how it has taken 40 years for this team-up to happen. One is a group of colorful characters who have been entertaining children of all ages for generations, and the other is a marketing juggernaut that has become one of the most iconic brands around . . . I will let you decide which one is which.

The FFOW! series takes a look at that vast library created by the proud and the passionate: fan films. Whether the budget and talent is astronomical or amateur, FFOW! celebrates the filmmakers whose love of comics, books, movies, video games, and TV shows inspires them to join the great conversation with their own homemade masterpieces.


Writer/director Hisonni Johnson made a splash in 2013 when he premiered Grayson: Earth One, an online pilot that centered on a gritty version of Nightwing. It asks the question, “What if Dick Grayson was never adopted by Bruce Wayne but, instead, fended for himself on the streets of Gotham and Blüdhaven?” Since then, it has won top prizes at Dragon Con, Phoenix Comic Con, and recently at the GeekFest Film Fest.

Now, there’s Episode -- or, technically, Episode 1.5, since the story is now branching out and finding other Robins in Gotham and what their lives would be like if they never encountered the Batman. So, in honor of the Dynamic Duo, let’s look at both episodes!

The FFOW! series takes a look at that vast library created by the proud and the passionate: fan films. Whether the budget and talent is astronomical or amateur, FFOW! celebrates the filmmakers whose love of comics, books, movies, video games, and TV shows inspires them to join the great conversation with their own homemade masterpieces.


Director Vincent Tran has gained momentum this past year thanks to his very successful Supergirl fan film, Girl of Steel. (You can read my review here). His modern interpretations of DC characters strips off the colorful costumes and replaces them with logical and emotional motivation. The same trend continues in his newest film, a spinoff set in the same Tran-verse of DC continuity that promises even better stories.

If you still haven’t seen Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, find a theater near you that’s still playing it and run there. If you’re like me and running isn’t your thing, you can always check it out when it releases on DVD/Blu-ray today.

The FFOW! series takes a look at that vast library created by the proud and the passionate: fan films. Whether the budget and talent is astronomical or amateur, FFOW! celebrates the filmmakers whose love of comics, books, movies, video games, and TV shows inspires them to join the great conversation with their own homemade masterpieces.

For the first FFOW! of 2014, let’s look at one of the first big fan films to hit the web this year, Vincent Tran’s Girl of Steel.

It’s that time of year again. I am very lucky to say I’ll be attending Sundance for the 4th time! Every year I have been able to attend, there have been surprises.  Whether it’s a film with an unknown director and cast breaking out, as in Beasts of the Southern Wild, or Kevin Smith picketing his own movie when Red State premiered, and everything in-between, indie movies have the chance to light up Park City with unexpected buzz. New filmmakers and actors have a chance to step into the spotlight, and movies that would otherwise never make it to a wide audience have a chance to obtain distribution, whether that’s through traditional markets or newer markets, such as Netflix.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, inspired by the 1939 short story of the same name by James Thurber, tells the story of a bored New York daydreamer who finds himself forced to take on a real-life adventure. Ben Stiller, who also directs this adaptation, plays Walter. He works as a “Negative Assets Manager” at LIFE magazine, and the movie takes place as LIFE closes down its print division and transitions to a digital-only platform.

Kill Your Darlings stars Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, Dane DeHaan (Chronicle) as Lucien Carr, Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma) as William Burroughs, and Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) as Jack Kerouac. The film examines the lives of these leading figures that spawned the Beat Generation, zeroing in on a murder that entangled them all and left an indelible scar on their movement.

Shane Carruth, best known for writing and directing 2004’s cult classic Primer, returned to Sundance this past year with his sophomore film, Upstream Color. The film stars Carruth as Jeff, and Amy Seimetz (The Killing, You’re Next) as Kris. What’s this movie all about? Well, there’s nature. And, a pig farm. There are worms. There are maggots. There’s a sound guy recording sounds onto vinyl. Kris may have had her identity stolen, but, more importantly, she’s infected by something. Someone hooks her up to a pig, and she finds herself mentally connected to the pig farm. Kris meets Jeff and a quasi-love story evolves. There’s paranoia. Some mind-melding, but the rules of the world are never consistent or really established. This film is about images, not story or meaning.

David Sedaris fans have waited a long time for this moment. Finally, one of his essays has been turned into a feature film. The chosen piece was taken from Sedaris’ 1997 collection of essays, Naked, and was the inspiration for the screenplay (adapted by Kyle Patrick Alvarez). C.O.G. follows Samuel (Jonathan Groff, Glee, Boss), an Ivy league student who’s having an identity crisis, as he leaves his life behind to work on an apple picking farm.

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