Sunday, October 6, 2013

Spring Breakers (2012)

There is a new style of camerawork that has been growing extremely popular among directors in recent years– which mostly consists of freehanded, extreme close-ups of the film’s characters.  In my humble opinion, I find it  as an incredibly irritating and lazy attempt to force the viewer to focus on the particular character’s emotions. Zooming in on an actor’s face so much that one can literally count the hairs up his or her nose is not crafty storytelling.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Concerning Roger Ebert



I am ashamed to admit that I never really watched Siskel & Ebert & The Movies during its original syndication on television, because my enjoyment of films weren't realized until much later, in my teen years. I found myself invested in this newly founded passion, but was at a loss in finding ways to express it. A reason for this was that I simply didn't know anyone who shared the same hobby as me; at least not on the same level.

Friday, March 22, 2013

MAD, Day VIII: Bernie (2011)

Bernie isn't exactly a documentary, because it's been reenacted by some of the biggest stars in Hollywood. It's not a mockumentary either, because many of the real-life Bernie's friends and associates are being interviewed throughout the film. Only, Matthew McConaughey is being  "interviewed" as the local district attorney like the real interviewees, so the line between what is authentic and what's not often becomes hazy.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

MAD, Day VII: Five Feet and Rising (2000)



Five Feet and Rising is a short film directed by Peter Sollett, more recently unknown for the rather lackluster Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (2008). The film is a day in the life of Victor (Victor Rasuk, Lords of Dogtown), a twelve year-old living in New York City.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

MAD, Day VI: A Town Called Panic (2009)


A Town Named Panic is a stop-animation film based off of a popular television series originating in Belgium. According to Wikipedia, every episode is roughly 5 minutes long, so a leap into a 90-minute film is a big step in terms of storytelling and structure. It's almost as if it was decided to make Robot Chicken into a feature film, which sounds like a disgusting nightmare. Hearing good things about it on the interwebs, I gave it a shot anyway. Turns out, it's actually kind of hilarious. It finds similar ground to that of Team America: World Police, although not nearly as raunchy or R-rated, but there are a couple cusses that catch you off guard and makes it all the more funnier. It's difficult to talk about it without discussing the plot a bit, so I will try to sum up it in the simplest way possible:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

MAD, Day V: Love (2011)



There is a notorious story about the late Howard Hughes, and how he shut himself in a studio for 4 months, letting no one else in, and all the whole doing silly things like peeing in jars and refusing to shave or put pants on. This event was sort-of-famously depicted in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator

Imagine that scene, but 119 minutes long. I am almost positive it is very similar to the experience of watching Love.

Monday, March 18, 2013

MAD, DAY IV: Battle Royale (2000)


If I were a pretentious hipster, I would spend a majority of this review describing the similarities between Battle Royale and The Hunger Games, and how, like, Suzanne Collins ripped off Koushun Takami, dude. To your benefit, I won't do that, but it really is difficult to review one without bringing up the other.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

MAD, Day III: Life of Pi (2012)


I was one of the millions who adored Life of Pie when the novel was released in 2001, but I instantly thought it to be un-filmable. Aside from the obvious CGI complications, the idea of watching a boy spend half a year on a boat with a cranky tiger, while at the same time not being absolutely silly seemed highly unlikely. Then came The Lord of the Rings trilogy. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

MAD, Day II: Monty Python's the Meaning of Life (1983)


Usually, people tend to have a love 'em or hate 'em attitude towards the group, and the same rule applies for The Meaning of Life: if you're a fan of Monty Python's other work like Flying Circus, The Holy Grail, British comedy, or awesome things, then you will appreciate this. If not, then stay away.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Movie-a-Day, Part I: The Conversation (1974)


Compared to many of Francis Ford Coppola's films, The Conversation is relatively tame, especially due to the fact that it was released in '74, two years after The Godfather. The film has one of those plots that are extremely simple and rather bland in theory, but if put in the right hands, it can go a long way — in this case, an audio surveillance expert who is hired to spy on a mysterious couple uncovers a potential conspiracy, and spends much of the movie deciding whether or not to close his eyes to it, or risk his life to save others.

Oh Hey, it's Been a While

Wow. So my last post was June 5th. That was nine months ago. 282 days, without writing (I did the math in seconds using a "date calculator" that I found on the internet - isn't technology amazing?). Other than the occasional tweet here and there, that was probably the last time I wrote anything more than an original paragraph. After taking several punches, I started to lose faith in myself as a writer. A battle which I'm sure any writer has gone through at least once (or so I hope). 

It began as starting a review or article that I sincerely planned on finishing and publishing, only to lose interest in it about halfway through and deleting it altogether. A half-page turned into a few sentences, and a few sentences turned into nothing. Just a blank document that I would stare for a while at and eventually walk away from. It felt like an unexplainable phenomenon that I couldn't wrap my head around. All I've ever wanted to be, for several years, is a journalist in film. I knew that the only way to keep about it would be to keep writing. Every day. But I couldn't do it. I couldn't even bring myself to watch films as much as I used to, before that dreaded day in June. I went from watching 3-4 films a week to maybe one, if I was lucky. 

As I'm writing this, I currently have Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret rented out from Netflix since the 18th of August. Thats's seven months, 29 weeks, 208 days, 4992 hours, 299,520 minutes, and 17,971,200 seconds from now (seriously, this date calculator is sweet). I also had Sean Durkin's Martha Marcy May Marlene for quite some time, but finally got around to watching it a few weeks ago (fine flick, check it out). I now have Pete Travis' adaptation of Dredd beginning the ritual of collecting dust until it finally serves it's purpose. 

The point that I'm making with the super awesome date calculator is that I intend to make up for all those months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds lost. As of today, I am attempting my very own "movie-a-day" challenge. I don't exactly know what I hope to get out of it, other than the possibility that if I force myself to watch something new everyday, and write at least a paragraph about it, I will be taking one more step towards my goal of a career. Ask any writer what the best way to get better at the form is, and all they will tell you is to write. All the time, goddammit, and don't stop. And that's what I tend to do, only I'm also throwing movies into the mix. 

My only fear is that I will wake up tomorrow, and do what I did nine months ago: not care. In another step to prevent this, I am taking a page out of Jerry Seinfeld's book, and am using his "Don't Break the Chain" method to increase productivity. I have a nice, big Boston Terrier calendar six inches from where I am sitting right now (it's my girlfriend's calendar, I swear). Every day that I complete a task (in my case, watching a flick and writing about it) I mark off the day with a nice big 'X'. The idea is to not break the chain of X's. 

It just might be too idiot-proof for me to screw this up. Hopefully, by June 5th of this year, I will have completed a nice, 83-day streak. 

First X: Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation.