Monday, December 31, 2012

End of the Year Self-Congratulation

If you look back at December 2011, I wrapped up the year in 4 posts. This time, I've cut it down to two and a quarter. Yes, I know it's patting myself on the back - but I'll try to be quick about it. 2012 has been a banner year. Since it's almost done, I figured I'd share some random info and reveal which posts I'm proudest of this year - like the August entry with news about Cronenberg trashing TDKR and three Batman-themed Fan-made Gems. I love it for having the magnificent "dirty car art" you see below:

This pic of some car's rear window should be in a locket around my neck!

Last year, some of my fellow-bloggers thought I was making too big a deal of the fact that I started making 3 posts per week for most of 2011. Maybe I was, but it felt like a big deal, as I was working hard as a lawyer, writer, and photographer. With all those professional obligations, it was tough to publish quality entries on a regular schedule.

So, of course, my hubris took over in April and I decided to up 2012's numbers to (at least) 16 entries per month. I created some new, regular tags - like the Question for the Week entries - as well as joining other sites, being sure that I had one+ new review coming out each week. I kept plugging away, offering weekly reviews, questions, and fan-made gems, as well as a random post. It was hard work, and I'm proud of the results. 

Why is Save the Date no longer in theaters?!

I haven't had a lot of days off this December. Actually, I'm at work today, just like I was on Christmas Eve (til 9pm!), and just like I was for half of the Saturdays and Sundays this month. As you can imagine, it's made trips to the theater a little difficult. I was very happy to have this weekend to rest, and I figured I would see a movie.

But a relative asked me to save Django for them, and I decided to see if I could take my mother and brother to see The Hobbit. Yet, even before I got the special request to hold off on Tarantino's latest, I decided which movie I would watch: Save the Date, the dramedy about two sisters and how they deal with their relationships with each other and with men; it stars Alison Brie and Lizzy Caplan.

Great shot!

As you can tell by this post's title, I wasn't able to find tickets no matter who thoroughly I searched on Fandango and

Seriously, what gives? This movie came out 16 days ago in limited release and it's not playing in any of the dozens of movie theaters in the five boroughs! I know that a lot of movies come out at the end of the year, and I know a lot of it is kid-fare that really drives most movie ticket sales, and that's just peachy for everyone involved. I remember how much fun it was to catch movies during this dead spell with an early end to the college/high school semester, as well as tons of days off from work.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 34: Better Than Something: Jay Reatard

Sorry, all. First I had an internet outage, then a brief shopping trip turned into a 2-hour, 3 or 4 mile stroll over much of Midtown Manhattan. I would've changed the time on the post for today, otherwise. Hell, I made a last-minute choice, so I still have to go back outside to watch Save the Date in a local theater...

I'm going to publish my review of Better Than Something: Jay Reatard by 10PM tonight. As with all my off-site indie movie reviews, I will update this space with a link to the post, which will go up at 9:50PM EST at Man, I Love Films.

"It Ain't Gonna Save Me" is a great track and it has a fun video.

I made the deadline I set for myself! I win again! - even if I needed 40 extra minutes to add all the whistles and bells to it... In any case, I'll see you all for one (or possibly two) posts tomorrow.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Question for the Week of Dec 24-30: Best 2012 Film Experience

What was my happiest movie moment of 2012?
Well, this was a fortunate year, so I had a few of those. Easy examples: The Avengers went off with barely a hitch and gave us a few Fan-made Gems, and Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises brought that director's Batman trilogy to a problematic-but-still-satisfying conclusion.

Still, I couldn't quite predict that my anticipation for Looper would play out differently than I had expected, and yet still wind up a knock-out. A year before it came out, I'd heard about this pic, and waited for it - like a Christmas present. Actually, I'm nervous-excited for Dead Shadows and Bad Kids Go To Hell for similar reasons.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Rare Exports, My 2012 Holiday Movie

I was comforted, a little, when I learned this week that Netflix had a legitimate "outage" on Christmas Eve and that the problem wasn't on my end. This explains why I couldn't watch my intended Holiday movie in time for my planned review. I'm less pleased that Netflix decided to blame this interruption on Amazon, a bit of news about which you should all read for yourselves, then come back here and share your opinions with me.

I was very grateful to DJ for his excellent Xmas review of The Lion in Winter, an entry which I hope you enjoyed as well. Now, I want to share the post that would've gone up, but for this silly internet outage:

Sometimes, it's best to go in knowing nothing. Certain pictures have managed to meet or exceed expectations with a decent amount of spoilage, but the best surprises come when you really have no damn idea what's coming. As I researched my 2012 Holiday review, 2010's foreign Rare Exports was mentioned by several sites.

The upshot of my impression was: Finnish horror film wherein a demonic Santa Claus wreaks havoc on a group of reindeer herders. The general positivity and unlikely premise made this an easy choice, and I'm glad to say RE matched its rep. It was a fine, controlled little horror/fantasy film.

We begin the film in English (with no subtitles), where an English businessman talks to an excavation foreman. The foreman talks about the unusual stuff they're finding inside a mountain and the knowing exec on the other side of the table assures him that they're after something unique, valuable, and dangerous. The boss then gives the team leader a sign to hang up in the office, a sign with new workplace rules like "No Spitting" and "No Cursing." Only one man in that office thinks its a joke.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Year-End Roundup 2012

It's that time! 2012 will soon be gone, and 2013 will get all up in our business. I'm sad to see it go, as 2012 has been a banner year for Net-flixation! I shattered all my records for hits in a month, and in a day, repeatedly, and I've posted more often than every other day this year.

But I should probably just get to it. Office parties, Santacon, presents, end-of-year business... We're all busy, so I'll stop being so pleased with myself. It's time for a review of the year in movies (for me). I still haven't thought of categories better than what I've used since 2010's Roundup... nor did anyone suggest other categories for me to consider, so if you don't like the sections I have, it's partly your fault. And I gave the winner for "Biggest Vicarious Disappointment" an embed to a Fan-made Gem by the How It Should Have Ended crew...

Oh, well - Enjoy!:

Best New Movie (that I actually saw) - Looper. Which I still haven't reviewed yet. I'll get the DVD and review Johnson's hit soon after. It was imperfect, but incredibly surprising - and I loved Rian for creating a new work instead of every freaking 2012 movie being a reboot, remake or a franchise effort. I'm ashamed I haven't covered it yet. Let's move on, shall we?

Best Out-of-the-Blue Release - Sironia.

I try not to include, in these lists, the work that I do for other sites - in this case, Man, I Love Films. I can't help it, though. By taking over responsibility for their indie movie reviews, I've been exposed to a great many pictures that I never would have heard about - much less seen - otherwise. I loved a lot of those pix, but Sironia really stands out. It's the only 5-star review I've given over there.

For one thing, I only chose Sironia because I watched Angel, which introduced me to the slender acting powerhouse that is Amy Acker. Based solely on her being a lead, I chose this relationship drama, and got floored by how intelligent and touching it was. I had a great time watching it, and my review reflected the same. Please rent/buy it, if you haven't already; you'll have no regrets...

Most Internal-Conflict-Causing Film - The Cabin in the Woods.

Wow, Acker's in this one, too.
I saw this movie at the amazing Night Hawk theater in Williamsburg, with my good friend Scott G. We enjoyed the hell out of this experience, so I was conflicted in different ways than usual. I was laughing so hard I scarcely cared that the end progressed stupidly/unevenly, and it was never especially scary - as a "horror movie" should be... Cabin was a fun pic, despite its flaws, and was meant to be watched on a massive screen, surrounded by friends.

My inner struggle, then, was the point where I realized that this would only be "WB-movie scary" (e.g., Disturbing Behavior), and that there were still tons of plot problems, but that I should just enjoy how clever and funny it was. Finally, I was as pleased by tCitW as I was upset that the movie sat on the shelf for years while MGM went through financial problems. This feeling was even stronger since it would have been out earlier, if not for the studio's choice to convert it to 3-D - a decision which they later reversed. Grr! Argh!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Movies: The Lion in Winter

[Merry Christmas, and, also, f--k it. I had problems accessing Netflix last night - and, earlier in the week, DJ was kind enough to offer up an Xmas movie review. Serendipity gives me a decent excuse to push my own holiday post to tomorrow, with a thousand thanks to a standup dude who manages to write through a schedule that's far more punishing than my own... I go now to keep resting, and spend time with my family.

Happy holidays ya'll...]

"Well! Shall we hang the holly, or each other?"

There are a lot of dramas about family dysfunction at the holidays. It's a common trope, mainly because the holidays are times when family members that may not spend the rest of the year in close proximity get together.

Most of these holiday dramas suck to one extent or another, because the stakes are pretty mundane. Will Mom and Dad's marriage break up over the pressure of the holidays? Will Dad come to terms with the revelation that son Billy is gay?

One cure for this banality is The Lion in Winter. Just like any other Christmas drama family, the Plantagenets are getting together to celebrate the holiday. Wife Eleanor has been separated from husband Henry, but they're reuniting for Christmas dinner with their three sons, Richard, John, and Geoffrey, and their cousins Philip and Alais. As in other movies of this type, there will be conflict and shocking revelations that threaten to tear the family apart, and family relations will be driven to the breaking point.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Mass Effect Cartoon

Hello, all, the schedule for this week: today's Fan-made Gem will be followed by my Holiday movie review, which I'll posted once it's done. If that's this afternoon, fine - if it's tonight, also fine. This is my 15th straight full day of work, so tomorrow is most likely. I have entries ready for the week, with Thursday getting the big Year-End Roundup for 2012. I'm only missing a post for this Saturday, but I'm not going to worry about that right now. I'll try to go out to the movies tomorrow while I get some much-needed rest...

Technically, this is as much a Fan-made Gem as it is a Site Oddity, because I only write about games in my two You Shoulda Been A Movie entries. Then again, this is a movie blog, yet Net-Flixation has almost 30 posts about TV. Hell, I never even played Mass Effect! But I do enjoy a good joke...

It's also a Site Oddity because I've had this post ready for at least 5 months: IGN created the below video as an April Fool's Day joke this year, and I found out about it through Comics Alliance. Sure, it's way old now, but it's exceptional, really, because of what it does with a complicated story about (I looked this up) an unsteady alliance of various alien races who all struggle with each other before learning that they all share a mutual, unstoppable enemy. I figure this popular gaming franchise may well lead to a film series, so it's not too off-topic...

The real reasons I'm posting this video below are that (a) it's quite funny, even with slight knowledge of the characters and settings, and (b) this perfectly matches the tone of so many ridiculous 80's and 90's cartoons. It's like seeing a trailer for Inception in the style of an episode of Jem and the Holograms. Which is, now that I write those words, a pretty neat idea.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 33: Sexy Baby

This isn't just another week, another indie movie review - it's also my 200th post this year! I don't want to half-ass anything, much less my writing, so I chose to end the year strongly and keep posting straight through the holidays. In fact, at present, there's only one remaining day in 2012 for which I don't have a post ready... It's the little things, right?

Today, I saw Sexy Baby, a documentary about how the modern sense of female sexuality is completely skewed, and how it can affect women. I am on record as being an egalitarian and feminist, but it's clear that this doc tackled an important subject: how modern porn, music, and advertising have influenced the public attitudes toward sex, and how this perception might have an unhealthy impact on real-life women of all ages - especially young girls who are just coming into their own.

I liked this documentary a lot, and I thought it was (at least somewhat) important; it deals with real issues, and I loved that. I think you should see it, too. You can read the rest of my opinion over here at Man, I Love Films. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Which Holiday Movie Will I Review?

Yes, yes, I'm sure you're all very interested, but here's the update:

The final tally came to 9 pictures. My one requirement was that the Holiday Season, usually Christmas, must play a role in the story. The list came down to 9 movies: Trading Places, Bad Santa, Reindeer Games, Black Christmas, Rare Exports (a 2010 horror film from Finland), The Ref, Better Off Dead, Scrooged, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It's actually 10, if you include the Black Christmas remake as well.

It's a crazy set, right? I don't like making "typical" choices for a seasonal review, and I have plenty of time to cover old favorites like Miracle on 34th Street and A Christmas Story.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Honest Trailers: Prometheus

I gotta say, DJ's review of Prometheus made me feel sad. When I predict that a movie will suck - and it's not by Michael Bay or Paul W.S. Anderson, etc. -  and it ends up being awful, I don't feel all superior and proud and happy; no, I have those feelings anyway, all the time.

But I hope that movies will be made well, and be worth the investment of time and money on behalf of all involved. So, even though I wrote one article dismissing the announced premise behind this Alien reboot, and another claiming the just-released trailer still promised a suck-fiesta, I wasn't thrilled to read that the movie had an insane, senseless story to match its overdone symbolism and great special effects.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Too Similar?: Justin Bieber vs Corey

It's been a while since I did one of these, & I honestly don't follow pop music anymore - it's not about age, tho. MTV used to be an easy way to check out a variety of new music, but I don't even need to finish this sentence do I?  And for all the great things about NYC, the radio here tends to suck, especially for new tunes... Most importantly, I've had time to collect tons of my own favorites, and to develop my own tastes: electro rock, nu-jazz, downtempo, acid house...

All those genres compete for my time - and I still listen to classic rock, favorite bands like Cake, Garbage, Queen... I might have heard one track once, and I long ago assumed his music is not my style, but I sure have heard this kid's name a lot. And with all that setup, there's no need to draw this entry out further. That photo above is a picture of Justin Bieber that I saw on December 17th, 2012.

His outfit looks stupid - very retro, cutoff denim jackets are silly, and the gold chain is laughable, and he looks like 12 or something, the hair is dumb... I guess I shouldn't criticize too much, as I know that a lot of genuine high fashion can look pretty stupid to my eyes. And we all know my issues with modern teen heartthrob hair, right?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Question for the Week of Dec 17-23: What DVD Don't I Have and Really Want?

What DVD do I lack? Or, more accurately - not simply, "don't possess," but "don't possess, and it genuinely bothered me."
I know the answer to this from years ago. I had been hunting a few pix down in the early 00's, and it was crazy how no amount effort would produce more than a bunch of dead-ends. And, no, I'm not making holiday gift suggestions to anyone who knows me....

For one thing, I don't have a copy of Bad Taste. Any regular reader knows how much I love that film - enough that I don't need to own it for a while. I can get it whenever I want to, I'm not gonna watch it over and over, and I'm not going to play it for all my friends - although it would make for a great movie party. I can wait a good while before picking it up... 

The runner-up has to be John Woo's The Killer, another pic you already know I love. I have a VHS copy (yes, really, and it's my brother's, so...), but the disc was unavailable for a decade. I think the DVD was released twice - nor is it a movie you'd buy, then sell off later. If you bought The Killer, you're hanging on to it...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Recommended: Todd and the Book of Pure Evil

Despite my "prolific" blogging (a friend said that), I only look at two message boards. AV Club is one such, and one Angel/Buffy commenter advised horror fans to try a Canadian series called Todd and the Book of Pure Evil. I made a mental note, found I couldn't watch it in the US, and moved on. Months passed...

Three weeks ago, a huge smile bloomed on my painfully-cute face as I scanned Netflix Instant's awkward "New Releases" and "Recently Added" sections (awkward since they're not chronological, and are repetitive) - TatBoPE was available! I started watching, noting there were 25 eps to enjoy... And I was blown away. This show is fun, smart, and well-written. 

I was genuinely shocked. It happens seldom with me and TV offerings; you expect to get some nice ideas condensed for easy consumption, or charismatic actors/actresses with decent lines, but you don't expect a home run of quality. Alphas, Lost Girl's first season, the early run of Wilfred... it's rare, but many series can display an artistic bent and intelligence, while also being pure fun. This was one of those shows.

Todd and the Book of Pure Evil is about the titular Todd, a high school kid who loves three things: metal music, weed, and the hottest girl in school, Jenny. At the start, we see him in a music-competition at his school, Crowley High. His adversary is a better musician, a good-looking bully who's dating Jenny. After being embarrassed and dismissed, Todd discovers a tome that looks a lot like Evil Dead's book, The Necronomicon - but with the "metal horns" gesture on the cover. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Great Moments in... Behind the Scenes Footage

In early October, Flavorwire posted a great entry on 10 different behind the scenes clips from famous films. I really enjoyed this article - as I hope you do - this is a neat insider's look into works that we all know so well. I was especially happy for some of the things I learned from it.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 32: Duck Beach

Double-dammit. Well, I was surprised with a request to work 16 hours over the weekend, and I'm on pace to hit just shy of that - 14. The result was that I got to watch the movie for this week's Reviewing with Others, but I haven't finished or scheduled the review yet. And so this post went up 30 minutes after I got into work.

I'm off of work at 6, so let's say it'll be up by 9PM over at Man, I Love Films. I'll update the previous sentence with a link and post a little "[Update]" sentence at the bottom of this post to confirm.

What do you have to look forward to this time out? Duck Beach, a documentary about a 12-13 year-old Mormon tradition. As having children is one of the most important requirements of their religion, single Mormons in their 20's-30's take the Memorial Day weekend to descend on a beach off the coast of North Carolina. Their purpose is the same: to find their "eternal mate."

It's a good documentary, and well worth watching. At 75 minutes, Duck Beach doesn't overstay its welcome; although there are a few things it could have added, DB treats its subject with respect as well as a realistic sense of humor. It's pretty damn funny to watch folks "wildin' out" by drinking Mountain Dew - or, as one of the beach-bound Mormons put it: Girls Gone Mild.

[12 minutes later than I predicted, motherb--ches! Pretty good for a guy that worked a 65-hour week, 14 of which were yesterday and today.]

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Question for the Week of Dec 10-16: Best Other Blog Post in 2012

What's the best film blog post - from another blog - that I read this year?
Well, this one is easy. I still haven't watched Black Swan, sadly. I know the movie's supposed to be great, and I look forward to it at some point, but I haven't had time. Fortunately, I am interested in things I haven't even seen yet - I was reading through Nikhat's film blog, and she lead me to a post by her friend, Sati.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fan-made Comic Con Interview Gem

This is pretty funny. The interviewer talks to all these costumed people and just screws around with them, but everyone's in on the joke. The eskimo kiss montage is also brilliant!

Monday, December 10, 2012

F--K You, Zero Dark 30: F--k You, F--k Yu, F--k U

I am a supporter of Kathryn Bigelow. Anyone can tell you that women are vastly in the minority among major US film directors. I'm trying to think of some more, and I only come up with Nora Ephron, really. Unimpressive, right? Bigelow broke new ground in 2009, when she became the first woman to get a Best Director Oscar, as well as the first woman to get a DGA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film.

By all reports, The Hurt Locker
(the film for which she won) is an amazing movie, and I'm sorry I haven't seen it yet. But that's not to say that I've liked all her work: 
  • Strange Days was a complete clusterf--k of poorly-advised ideas (um, rape plays a huge part in that movie - including futuristic scifi innovations on rape). 
  • Near Dark was a fantastic movie, and one of the best vampire pix ever, really, while 
  • K-19: The Widowmaker bored me to tears, but I saw it ages ago and don't recall it well. 
  • Point Break may not be a deep and wonderful movie, but it's a fun action macho-fest, and it's actually quite cool that a woman made it.
So why am I deeply upset about Zero Dark Thirty? Its quality seems high, given the overwhelming-positive critical response to this pic that will get a limited release on December 19th, then a wide release in mid-January 2012. The quickest way to explain my issues today is to simply state this: all proceeds should go to fund better medical and psychiatric treatment for every soldier deployed to Afghanistan, as the hunt for that loser is pretty much the cause of all this. Today, that's my end-point here...

This is so gratifying, I think it almost counts as masturbation.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 31: Knuckleball!

I was running a bit late, and a blank draft got posted by accident this morning, but I have a new review up now at Man, I Love Films. Knuckleball! is a visually-stunning documentary about the famous Red Sox starter, Tim Wakefield, as well as the latest master of the pitch, R.A. Dickey.

I retired my love of baseball a while ago, but even a Yankee fan could appreciate the skill and accomplishment behind Tim Wakefield's career. There's nothing better to say about an opposing player than "I don't ever want to face that guy." Knuckleball! had its flaws, but I enjoyed reminiscing along with it a lot, and the visual composition and effects were exceptional.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Great Moments in... Film Parody: Die Hard XII

There is something beautiful about The Ben Stiller Show. I may not have the greatest opinion of his later works, but that tv show built a lot of cred for Stiller, and with good reason. As such, I present to you now the awesome spoof that was featured on his series, Die Hard 12: Die Hungry.

A lot of people remember this skit, and if you don't, I hope you're in for a great big laugh. I honestly can't tell if this will hold up so well, so many years after it came out; or maybe I'm just entranced by a red-headed version of uber-hottie Janeane Garofalo. 

Maybe you're not convinced?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 30: The Russian Winter

3 Quick site notes: I have added "captcha" again to the comment box. Sorry, but I've been getting too many spam comments, and they're genuinely starting to annoy me. It's still easy for people to comment on my posts, (which you can still do anonymously, btw) but if you get one that you can't read, just click the little "reload" button until you get one you can read.

Also, this is the site's 400th post! I'm happy and excited, but I can't do anything special for it right now. My earlier anniversary posts did that, but I wasn't posting 4+ times per week back then and I didn't have as much paid writing and photography work to compete with lawyering and this blog. Maybe I'll put it into the End of the Year posts that I will of course do again at the end of this month...

Finally, I will do a Christmas review this year, as I did twice before to my great pleasure. I'm taking suggestions for this year's entry - just call one out to me...

This weekend, I watched The Russian Winter, a documentary about the life (and resurgent Russian concert tour) of John Forte, a member of The Fugees. Part of the motivation for this doc was that Forte is an incredibly talented musician, but the other reason was Forte's unusual experience:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bad Boys, the Cursing Supercut

Yes, it's time to revisit Bad Boys - again. This entry won't trash a specific part of it, as I did before, or how it relates to the tidal wave of suck that is Michael Bay's respect for his audience, specifically their intelligence and maturity, and whether any of his viewers are, y'know, women who don't like seeing women depicted as... slutty, shallow receptacles.

If I had a daughter and she dated Bay, I would have to hire women to bitchslap the hell out of her; there could be no greater anti-feminist act by a woman. It'd be like a Ukrainian falling in love with Stalin. Yes, that is harsh of me, but Mike should just film porn if that's what he's into - not pretend he's making a movie.

It only pisses me off all the more that these pix make teens stupider because they don't realize they're not even getting any kind of story, much less a three-act story. Meanwhile, every object on screen - except the men - are fetishized to the point that I think I want to wear a condom while watching Mike's work. I know I've used this clip before, but it encompasses him so well:

go to the 1:50 mark. It's only missing an explosion to show his whole motif.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Question for the Week of Dec 3-9: Why is 28 Days Later a zombie film?

Why do you count 28 Days Later as a zombie film? They never use the word in the movie, and they don't feed on the living...
28 Days Later is a fantastic movie. I loved it - so much that I kind of don't want to review it. I'm not sure what I can claim about it, review-wise, that would be worth my and your time. But I can totally discuss how it's a fantastic zombie film, and why.

I remember my feelings from the first time I saw Romero's Night of the Living Dead. It's a scary pic, and   it was new and inventive - not only for its time, but to my young self. The whole "eat you" thing is shocking, but the real terror is in this idea that, suddenly, people are rising from their graves and attacking the living. 

You don't know why, which is so important to someone following a story. It could be that the Bible is true and it's the apocalypse, it could be the work of some demon or science - just having your dead loved ones come back with a vicious, mocking mindset is completely f--king terrifying. Over time, though, people started to apply hard-line "rules" to the concept, and that's where things fell apart.

Much like vampires in Stoker's novel could walk in daylight, we soon had specifics that served to either "balance" the situation (e.g., why haven't they taken over already) or to create tension in the audience (e.g., the head is the key, even though the brain should be dead). In a short while, zombies weren't just after flesh - they wanted human brains. Zombies could be killed, but only by disrupting the brain/spine area. And they were always at least mostly mindless...

Friday, November 30, 2012

End of November Thoughts and Thought-Like Things

Well, for starters, I broke 5k hits for the third month in a row! I not only broke 75k hits over 3 & 1/2 years, but I've nearly hit 80k, all in one passing of 30 days. It's amazing, and I'm honored to have done even better in November than I did in October. Thanks, everyone.

For another, I recently discovered that I'm on Wikipedia! It's a brief mention of a review for Man, I Love Films, and I don't have my own Wiki page or such (yet). Still, it's an honor to be included in the Internet's biggest encyclopedia/database. What I'm trying to express is that I'm patting myself on the back, firmly...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Three Kinds of Crazy: Appreciating Nick Cage

Because life can be dreadfully random, here are three short reviews featuring Nicolas Cage. I'm sure it won't be a shock to anyone that in all three he plays deeply disturbed individuals.


Ever find a movie somewhat enjoyable and also kinda reprehensible? That's Kick-Ass, the adaptation of Mark Millar's comic book--a decent enough time complicated by story and morality problems.

The story has two parts. The first is the type of high-concept premise that Millar specializes in: what if a regular superhero-obsessed teen (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), with no superpowers or fighting skills, decided to dress up in a wetsuit and go out there and fight crime? The initial result, a high profile beat down at the hands of some hoods, should be the end of the story. Instead, we go to part two, where Kick-Ass--wetsuit guy's actual chosen superhero name--recovers from his injuries and gets back into the superhero game, improbably becoming a big success and capturing the public's attention.

In this second part of the story, the focus shifts from Kick-Ass to two unrelated heroes, Big Daddy and Hit Girl. Big Daddy, played awesomely by Nick Cage, is basically Batman, minus the restrictions on killing and using guns. Cage gives Big Daddy two sides--a mild-mannered and sometimes visibly disturbed civilian identity, and a dead-on Adam West impression while in costume, making the character almost equal parts incredible and pathetic. Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz), the Robin to Big Daddy's Batman, is one of the more problematic fictional characters in film history. She's a sword- and gun-wielding killing machine, foulmouthed like Don Logan...and she's also middle school-aged.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Road House, the Evil Version

In the middle of this month, the brilliant folks at Uproxx told me about something pretty clever: a tyrannical version of Road House where Patrick Swayze is, basically, a villain.

Or, as this genius video imagines, a total d--k:

I will review Road House soon (next month), but I gotta think that this is, at least, a very smart way to play with an established film. I just wish they gave Swayze a goatee... 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Question for the Week of Nov 26-Dec 2: Random Re-casting

What's the best random reinterpretation of a movie I've ever seen or heard of?
A while back, I was talking to a coworker, Josh, and the movie Commando came up. We both shared how much we liked it, and how good the old Schwarzenneger films were. Suddenly, the conversation turned to Commando's villain, Bennett. He was played by Vernon Wells, an Australian actor who also appeared in Weird Science and Mad Max 2. That's Vernon on set with Arnie.

He was an over-the-top villain, but Commando was a very OTT movie. How OTT? Arnie kills someone by hurling the blade of a circular saw at their head.

Bennett has a real problem with Arnold Schwarzenegger's role, John Matrix. From the very beginning of the film, Bennett is executing John's former Delta Force team, one by one. Then Bennett kidnaps John's daughter to force the hero into assassinating someone.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 29: Linotype

I just watched and reviewed Linotype, a documentary about a machine that's basically the 19th Century's most perfect printing press. My thoughts can be read or whatever over here at Man, I Love Films.

As to the upcoming week: I'll stick to the Fan-made Gem/Question/Review/random entry schedule. The Question coming up should be a lot of fun for everyone, and the Gem is pretty good. And I think that, in addition to an indie review, I'll finally post MRQ XII this week. Also, there should be 5 posts this week instead of the usual 4.

Naturally, the real shame here is that the awesome "T2 Mitt Romney" post from mid-November is now no longer on my homepage. Then again, the only way I would be truly happy is if that clip played every time you visited my site...

Or every time I closed my eyes.

See you all tomorrow
Half a Film Student

Friday, November 23, 2012

Question for the Week of Nov 19-25: Franchise Disillusionment

What's with you and franchises? What happened?
Well, I gave up on them; in fact, I see them as a near-guarantee of poor quality, these days. It's a sad turn of events, I guess, but I'll try to break down the different factors very clearly. First, tho, a little background:

My college roommate and I held multiple marathons or semi-marathons of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street films. Fortunately, my roomie wasn't just a film-lover - he really enjoyed horror pix on multiple levels, just like I did. Those two series, particularly, are scary at times, but also silly, funny, dumb, messed-up, inventive, impressive, and clever. 

They're great for looking back at the 80's and 90's, too. It's not just the hair and clothes, these pictures feature a lot of surprising cast members (Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne, Crispin Glover, Steven Williams...)...

And, since childhood, the Bond series was a big deal for me. I was raised to revere travel, and I loved the music, and I can't tell how many times I might have seen any one of the first 14 or so 007 movies. It might be why I wrote up No One Lives Forever. I was also a big fan of the original Star Wars trilogy and the Indiana Jones films - although I've had some problems with Jedi, as well as Temple of Doom and Last Crusade

I guess a lot of the damage started with the 1-2 punch of the Matrix sequels and the Star Wars prequels. Yes, Phantom Menace made no sense, but I was so happy for more SW that I was willing to play along - until I saw Attack of the Clones. That was so bad that I only saw RotS because (a) a date cancelled on me, (b) my roommate wanted to see it, and (c) I figured after parts 1 & 2, it'd be funny watching Anakin get maimed (answer: it was). That's right, I saw Star Wars RotS ironically.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 28: Programming the Nation

Yes, you have a lot to be thankful for on this super-early Thanksgiving Day (the earliest it can occur, btw). I have two - yes two! - posts up today, to make up for the lack of an indie movie review last week. I've kept a fairly steady pace on those over this Summer and Fall, but I will have another review up this weekend to make up for it - as well as my weekly Question post, which goes up tomorrow.

Getting back to the documentary: it's about the use of subliminal and unfairly-manipulative advertising in the US. I was open to its ideas, and liked a lot of the doc, but it could have been a bit better. To learn my opinion - and suggestions for improvement - just check out my review over here at Man, I Love Films.

Yes, yes, I do this all for free, and yet I'm still working it on a federal holiday. That's the way I roll, friends. You keep reading and responding, and I'll keep writing.

Happy T-Day!

Lockout Review - it... actually works

I can't believe it. This film had a trailer that I only watched because I like Guy Pearce a lot (Memento!). The trailer's set up to give you a guy that's basically Snake Plissken from John Carpenter's excellent Escape From New York - a bloodier version of the Marlboro man. Y'know, man at his most... Man.

It also gives Pearce a filthy mouth and a mean sense of humor. The trailer was genuinely fun - watch it for yourself: 

But, of course, this kind of movie isn't meant to be any good, right? It'll probably work on some half-camp level, but the dialogue will suck really really badly. Some performer may overact so much (or be so flat) that it ruins every scene. The fx might be kind of shoddy, or you won't have distinct characters that evoke any feeling from you, much less sympathy or concern.

So what the hell happened? Lockout was...not bad. In fact, it was... just fine(?)! Lockout was entertaining?! It would have been very easy to misstep with this story and these types of characters; the directors (James Mather and Stephen St. Leger) managed it perfectly well. I was going to cover this movie as part of an MRQ, but this is so rare nowadays that it deserves to be reviewed on its own.

Why is it so rare? Because the filmmakers used exactly the kind of roles, plot progression, and pace to make this motion picture work. Let's be blunt: if you see a movie called House of the Dead, the title itself says you're in for a cheesy B-horror movie, cheap fun. Without a "serious" director or writer attached - Fincher, Aronofsky, Tarantino, Charlie Kaufman, Joss Whedon - you're even more prepared for a low-stakes, low-expectations entertainment.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy 50th, Cinematic James Bond!

So, James Bond has been in film for decades now - 5 of them, as of this year. As a result, the pop-culture staple is getting a lot of attention in 2012. I'm only highlighting two of these videos today, but the Bond series will come up a lot in this week's Question post, and DJ will pop in to review Skyfall...

For starters, there's this official video (AV Club told me about it), which was created by Barbican. It's always been true that the world of 007 is all surface, lots of excitement without necessarily a lot of depth. Appropriately enough, this vid is about designing 007's style:

If you follow the link to Barbican above, you can see the other videos hosted on the site. They cover various aspects of the series, so you'll get to learn quite a bit about the only spy too stupid to use a fake name...

And I have to mention that, in October, even The Economist got in on the game. Its website posted statistics for all six James Bond actors. So what kind of stats does a spy like 007 get? Yeah, Economist couldn't do better than a Maxim article: they went with the number of (a) martinis, (b) sexual/romantic conquests, and (c) enemy kills.

It's shocking, because the results don't play out like you'd expect. Pierce Brosnan blew everyone away in the murder/death category, killing nearly 20 in just 4 movies. Sean Connery and George Lazenby seem tied for conquests - but George was in only one film, so he must've had like 8 women or something in OHMSS...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ranker's Great Alternate Endings List

Let me tell ya, I'm feeling so happy that I added the Fair Warning page recently. Obviously I must've foreseen the future and realized I'd be riding the subway in to work with my cell phone showing me that once again a draft got published instead of the finished post.

But let's not dwell. It happened, it's over. I'll try to figure out why this has happened like 5 times over the last month and half, when it barely occurred before.

Ranker recently came up with an excellent list of alternate endings for some fairly well-known movies. It includes the usual entries - Blade Runner, Brazil, I Am Legend (sigh), Fatal Attraction. Hell, Little Shop of Horrors made it in, and I've seen like 6 posts since October about its original ending.

But it does bring something new to the table, too: I didn't know that Dante was supposed to die in Clerks(!). Wow, I guess he was supposed to be an allegory for Christ. "For I have told thee before, that I am not supposed to be here today, my son..." There's also some surprising differences with the endings to of Deep Blue Sea, 1408, and The Lion King.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Question for the Week of Nov. 12-18: Best Poster + Tagline

What's my favorite movie poster tagline?
Well, there are some that I love ironically, and there are some that I love because they're so awful. Anyone who knows me well is aware that I often use the taglines from Jaws 4: The Revenge (that sub-title!) and the second half of the title for Breakin' 2.

And, clearly, Striking Distance deserves its own spot in the treasure chest of trivia my brain is full of, which is why it's got it's own post on this site...

But if I were pressed to call one up to stand above all? For sheer quality, I'll have to go with the original A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Final Romney Fan-made Gem: T2 Version

There was no way I could possibly not post this. It's bloody hysterical. Whoever made it deserves a hug, a high-five, and a cash prize. I like it so much, I don't care that it kinda does fit the width of my pages...

It's not just some political insult or mockery - this is actually a valid observation about what might be the real situation behind closed doors. I'm also so impressed because I myself wouldn't have thought to do this - as either a joke or as commentary - for any political event, whether I had personal feelings on the matter or not.

Ryan's real-life position may well be like little Johnny Connor's: Romney is done, because the modern political party attitude will just focus on the fact that he didn't deliver; it won't matter to them and folks like Rove whether they really liked his message or thought he had the ability to lead the country into a brighter future. Also, Romney said that mean thing about minorities after he lost, so...

Meanwhile, Ryan, as the VP nom, won't bear the blame for any failure, and he'll move on into the uncertain future.

And James Cameron will remain incredibly popular; it just has nothing to do with the election. See, T2 ties right in to these events so neatly.
I know now why you cry. But it is something I can never do... I cannot self-terminate. You must lower me into the steel. Good-bye.
-The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Monday, November 12, 2012

UnFun Film News: Latino ParaAct; Animal Farm, Neutered

I'm here today, readers, friends, random-ass strangers, to fill you in on two bits of news. They're not recent - I learned about 'em weeks ago. I try for positivity and whatnot, but I think both are awful tidbits of info, ones that reflect poorly on the film industry.

The first bit begins with something cool that I didn't know: Andy Serkis took advantage of all his motion-captured performances and started his own mo-cap production company. That was a cool thing to learn, to me, and I congratulate Serkis and wish him the best. 

Except on his first project for the fledging business: Andy wearing his green-screen suit so that he can put on a cinematic production of Animal Farm, which will have no politics in it.

Yes, I can't support a family-friendly Animal Farm film that will dance around all of the social and political issues that George Orwell put into his novella. This work was assigned to me in like the 6th grade (or earlier, I can't recall), which makes the changes completely stupid and... stupid. 

As a writer and Lit major, I am offended, repulsed, and disgusted that anyone would take George Orwell's amazing socio-political allegorical piece and turn it into what sounds like Babe 3: The More Animals Edition. Talk about aiming for the basement, right?...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 27: Sironia

This week, I saw Sironia - it's a fantastic drama about a musician who jumps immediately from success to failure, forcing him and his just-pregnant wife to move to her home town in Texas (Sironia). They adjust to their new lives there, but their fresh start is far from smooth.

I chose to review this film the instant I saw Amy Acker was starring in it. She's a fantastic actress, and my capricious choice paid off in spades because this was a great, rewarding, funny, and true-to-life movie. It's very atypical, in a lot of ways, and bonus points were awarded for the excellent cast, which includes Jeremy Sisto, Robyn Lively, and the exceptional Tony Hale.

Read my glowing review over at Man, I Love Films. And then come back here on Monday; I'm not certain if next week will have more than four posts, but I still have some sweet entries lined up for all of you.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Netflix Takeover?, Amazon Competes!, Lame Hulu-CBS Deal

This week, it came out that a man named Carl Icahn owns 10% of Netflix's stock. This is more than he owned a short time ago - and he's used some of his personal billions to acquire these shares, as well as through his investment business. For those who don't know, Icahn is well-known as an activist shareholder. 

So, if he invested in a company & it starts under-performing, he tries to take control of it. He buys more of its stock, then proposes replacements for the business' leadership - with people who'll follow his biz plans. The idea is that the company will be sold to a competitor, or will spin off some division that is doing poorly, or something along those lines...

In response to Icahn, Netflix has adopted the "poison pill" corporate defense. The phrase comes from the idea that if a "shark" (the guy trying for a hostile takeover) "swallows" (wins) his prey (the company he takes over), then the shark will eat something that will "hurt." It's "poison" in that the method might limit the shares the take-over-er can buy, or make the business harder to control. 

Here, Netflix is using a shareholder rights plan to do their work. Folks in finance and entertainment are all a-buzz about this, especially because Icahn wants to sell Netflix to its biggest rival: Amazon. Holy ----.

Sticking with Netflix for a second - if only to discuss their biggest competitor - Amazon Prime will now have a monthly instead of a yearly fee. Yes, anyone who wants to check out their large selection (and reduced shipping fees), will be able to try them on the same terms as they can try Netflix and Hulu Plus. It's going to be one hell of an incentive, to not have one free month to decide on an $80 fee for the retail giant's video selection.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Question for the Week of Nov 5 - 11: Why So Serious?

What are you going on about with all this critique and criticism?
How can I explain... why I seem like a hardass? Instead of explaining all my standards, which I've done slowly thru my Movie Aspects and R3V13W3R$ tags, I'll use an example. 

And one example we've all seen major movies use, misuse, overuse, and abuse: the American film/tv industry's obsession with "dark" or "edgy" characters, scenes, and/or material. It's so over-played, I figure any reader has a similar moment in mind already...

9MM has a guy enter the bdsm/fringe film element, hunting down the source of a snuff film; Tron: Legacy: The Suckening had a spoiled 21 year-old trust fund baby describe the last 30 years with absolute bored cyncism; in Gladiator, the lead's wife and babes are killed; any season of The Sopranos after the 1st.

The basic idea: character/plot elements should be more compelling when (off the top of my head) a suburban grandma kills a nice dog because she's jealous of its owner. In many recent pix, this sort of scene just comes out of the blue, with not enough characterizing setup beforehand or thematic purpose displayed afterwards. It only happens to sting the audience.

If you read my review of Peter Jackson's debut film, Bad Taste, you know I revere and adore a sick indie movie that entwines its smartly-executed alien invasion storyline around scenes that are flat-out disgusting. My review made verbal love to that picture, and the only non-spoiler scene I can find to try to explain how it's like a hysterical but icky gross-out contest from your best friend is a clip from Jackson's 3rd film (which I will review), Brain Dead. But please, don't have kids nearby when you watch this, ok? 


Right? Can you tell that it's not like I'm only for brainy, arthouse movies or historical biopics? That I can want to hug a film that pulls harsh, messed-up s--t at the drop of a dime? It's like a great Halloween story, or... a prank from a parent or sibling! It's not cheap, you can't dismiss it, and it's effective!

The important thing is that all the splatter was appropriate to BD (in the US, called Dead Alive), and that it also had good dialogue, camerawork, characters, pace, and tone. And, honestly, if a director gets to make a film without massive studio interference, there isn't much excuse - it's the basic job of a movie to have those things. That's my big, fancy standard that I write about all the time.

Monday, November 5, 2012

How It Should've Ended: TDKR

The semi-geniuses over at How It Should Have Ended made a fun new entry at the end of August - they gave The Dark Knight Rises their unique, clever treatment, just like they did to The Avengers in June.

Once again, this work neatly points out flaws, plot problems, and other little quirks in Nolan's last Batman installment. It made me laugh a bit, and I think it'll do the same for you. Click below and enjoy, then check out this bonus scene, which the HISHE crew made shortly after.

Maybe it's not great; I could be wrong. What's most likely is that I was completely won over by the very first joke - it strikes at the heart of something weird about The Dark Knight Rises (Bruce Wayne's identity being known so freely), while also making the perfect comment on it (Batman is frustrated enough to freak out, yet still tries to score with a hottie). For whatever reason, this struck me just the right way. I hope it does to you, too. xoxo Half a Film Student

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 26: We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists

I just watched and reviewed We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, an indie documentary about Anonymous, the online hacking community responsible for shutting down the Playstation Network, PayPal, and even the governments of Tunisia and Egypt

This documentary is very timely, beautifully-shot, and informative. If you have a friend or relative who knows nothing about hacking and online communities, this film is actually a great primer. The interviews are also exceptionally well thought-out and -conducted.

I loved We Are Legion a lot. It got the highest rating I've ever given for a review on another site. You can read what I wrote here over at Man, I Love Films. This picture is available to rent or purchase online now, and I strongly suggest you check it out...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fan-made Then & Now Photography

All glory to the AV Club! Seriously, Scott Tobias managed to find yet another magnificent Fan-made Gem for me.

This week's installment of Fan-made Gems features an art that I deeply love: photography. It's not just that I practice it myself, it's that photographs are a versatile type of art - your imagination can just take over and you can do so much with them!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


My usual news source, the AV Club, revealed today that Gorge Lucas has sold Lucasfilm to Disney for  $4 Billion. Disney is already moving on this, slating a Star Wars VII film for 2015.

Nice ass-kissing, interviewer!

There is no telling how dumbfounded my dumbfound-ness is. SW is now free from Lucas, which I actually asked for at the start of September. This deal could be used to flood audiences with more and more products and toys and whatnot - but it could also bear a whole lot of productive, gratifying, fan-ingratiating fruit. 

At the same time, this news makes me think that maybe I had a heart attack in the shower, and this is just one last happy hallucination before my brain finally dies.

Halloween Reviews, Videos, and Links

Another year, another Halloween. I said I wouldn't do anything special for it, but I lied. It's a great holiday, one which I support... In fact, I'm wearing my costume now, because blogging is more fun when it looks like you're crazy. In any case, I wanted to give you something to help you enjoy the season cinematically.

Like, for example, this 12 minute, 20 second vid of horror movie quotes. The video, compiled by Harry Hanrahan, and posted on by Dustin Rowles, is put together pretty well. Best of all, it shifts back and forth over films from every era - all the classic lines are here, and some are from pictures like Blue Velvet. Hanrahan recognizes the tension of horror even when it's outside the genre...

I have to point out, however, that this fine video is missing one of my favorite horror scenes. Its absence stands out, since the Evil Dead 2 picture is the cover-photo for the Youtube upload. Yes, of course, I mean this:

I'd include ED2's "Dead by dawn!" scene, but those videos were taken down, sadly... Or, moving, you can get some ideas by checking out the Horror tag here. That'll keep you focused on those specific posts, as will the Slasher and Thriller tags. You can also check out my MRQ Halloween reviews from 2010 and 2011, the latter of which has my list of Halloween rental recommendations.

And, as I've reminded everyone twice this month already, there's still the Red Letter Media horror film that's available free until the end of tomorrow.

There's also this nice post from Flavorwire, listing 10 Halloween cartoons that you can watch in full on Youtube. This awesome collection of embedded videos is very, very gratifying, and includes:

Monday, October 29, 2012

HAHAHA - No wait, Joss Whedon is fantastic

I usually avoid posting twice in one day, and now - but I have the day off and the AV Club's news had me laughing too hard to... you'll see.

As I've said - now twice before - I avoid getting political here because, simply: who cares about real-life politics when you're talking about movies? We're usually not discussing a realistic, much less, average situation. And only some period piece films discuss the actual politics or societal beliefs of any era. 

Best to save it for when you need it, right?

Just as importantly, I have artistic principles, and one of them is that an artist (unless they're happy where they are) should be able to work in any style, with any purpose in mind. No one should stick to slapstick comedy - if you're great at it, then fine, but also use other types of humor... And writers shouldn't just stick to one genre - in private or public, if you're not experimenting every so often, then you'll just sink.

WHATEVER: I can post this here because it's movie-related: Joss Whedon is credited as "Filmmaker," and this video also fits in just fine with what I've learned from cinema. Special praise goes to the end-blurb, and paying attention to the crucial difference between George A. Romero zombies and 28 Days Later zombies.

Yes, somehow, I'm all a-twitter with Joss Whedon's endorsement of Mitt Romney for the Prez office:

It's so rare that I feel this way. I don't know what to do, so I'll take a bath while NYC still has power. Just remember: a New York native tends to look up at the sky and say, "what the f--k is your problem?" If you're stuck in this insane weather pattern, brave readers - do the same. Do the same.

Question for the Week of Oct 29 - Nov 4: Remake? Fine

For which movies would I want or support a Hollywood remake?
I sometimes gripe so strongly about Hollywood's remakes/reboots that's it's become a pet topic on this site; it has its own tag and everything. However, I figured that instead of just sitting back and jeering, I'd show that I can also be a constructive critic. As such, here's a good example of a remake I could get behind:

This Redband trailer is fine; the original team is behind it.

Evil Dead came out ages ago, and it did what it had to: cemented Raimi's career and led to Evil Dead 2. I'd hate to hear of an ED 2 remake, but the original? That's just fine, as it was an imperfect debut. In any case, the involvement of Raimi and Campbell, with all their talent and experience, circumvents my usual worry: that the new project is a cheap money grab. 

Want another example? Both sequels to The Matrix. This might be unfair, as I'd pay anything to avoid that disappointment again, even giving a pass to two remakes of a franchise that should've stopped with film #1. No price is too high.

The main issue I've had with remakes is that they're a symptom of the real problem: execs believing that you can guarantee an audience for a picture solely because it's named after something popular. My What's in a Name post is all about the excessive reliance on "names" and "brands." In our case, we get remakes of successful or cult films - it's why a new Red Dawn is coming out, Logan's Run is in development, and a second trilogy of Dragon Tattoo, though the first did the job just fine.

If you're just gonna do a different stage dressing of Stieg Larrson's work, you might as well have had Craig and Rooney put on a production of Our Town. They're both fine actors, and I'm sure Fincher would just crush the material.

I'm snarky and picky because a lot of these remakes don't even carry much effort or quality or invention - it's like showing up on a date in a really nice suit, but talking like a jerk the whole time. You can make the image of a movie look great, and you can give it a familiar label to make it appealing through familiarity, but that's simply not enough. And if what someone brings to the table seems weak or quite sloppy - and it's their damned job and it involves millions of dollars - then they've made a very bad impression.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Reviewing with Others, Pt. 25: The Love of Beer

I recently watched and reviewed Love of Beer, an indie documentary about women who are in the beer-brewing industry.

I liked LoB quite a bit; it knew exactly how to approach its topic and make it relevant to anyone who has an interest in kicking back with a good beer. Read my review over at Man, I Love Films, if you want to find out what made this documentary so enjoyable.

[UPDATE: The link will come up early this morning, after the post goes live]

Friday, October 26, 2012

Site Update: Free Oct Video, Writing For Other Sites

Sometimes, I want more posts to show on my homepage. The current limit, 7, doesn't make the site load slowly, but it is easier for a post to go out of sight, out of mind. I guess it's my own fault, too, because I always include enough text on each post's homepage snippet to lure you in.

Long story short: Red Letter Media's horror movie is still available to watch online, free through Halloween. This week's movie review hasn't been written yet (again, Looper must wait a bit, but you already have my brief reaction), but once I post it, my promotion of RLM's work will be a little harder to find.

But besides making sure you can take advantage of Red Letter Media's generosity, I wanted to prepare everyone for a few changes:

You'll be getting more than four posts per week here, and pretty soon at that. Some of those extra posts will be links to my work in different formats (like... maybe a podcast), as well as new, regular written entries on other sites. I'll try it 'til the end of 2012, and decide if I need to post less often here or elsewhere. Be warned, paying work comes first...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Question for the Week of Oct. 22-28: Inception Gripes

Why do some people really not like Inception?
A co-worker, Josh, wanted to talk about Inception for a few minutes. He told me that he watched it and it made him feel dumb. This guy's an attorney, so understanding complicated rules and such is not something he sucks at.

Add on top of that, he said it felt kind of pretentious - that Nolan was riding on the success of Memento to get away with a story that made no sense.

After he gave me his opinion, he asked me for my own, and I admitted that I really enjoyed it. Then I told him my secret trick for enjoying the picture: I turned my brain off part-way through. What a new and genius approach, right?

But I wasn't going to stop being critical. It wouldn't be fair to me, and Nolan films are worth wearing your thinking cap. I just chose to give a very wide berth to the rules in this picture. It's like when you decide to argue against someone's points instead of making a different, but better, argument. I was going to let the writer/director have his points.

Inception was made so well and entertainingly that I didn't want to waste time worrying about it. All I could do was stop caring about holding the filmmakers to logic. And Josh came right back to say that it's even harder to do that when a film is done in realistic style. I agreed!

If I took it easy on a movie's plots and overall story, I still held Nolan's pic up to good story-telling rules. So why did I give it a break?

For one thing, I trust the pedigree of the cast and crew. It's a slippery slope, but Nolan, Wally Pfister, and Zimmer (along with J G-L and Murphy and the rest of the cast) have earned my trust and patience. If I see the work of these people, it would have to make a lot of mistakes for me to start to judge it harshly.