Thursday, October 11, 2018

Blogging in the 21st century...

I started another blog, but I don't want to abandon this blog.  They say the more you write the better you get, so I've double downed.  Being relevant in the 21st century is important.  Both on a personal level as well as on a career level.  I will not abandon this blog just because I've had so much fun doing it, and it's because of this blog I've meet and talked with some pretty awesome folks.  I will try and review more films since I like doing it, and though I'm no Roger Ebert I do enjoy it.  Being a filmmaker of sorts I find it hard to hate a film or not enjoy a film.  It either works for me or it doesn't.  I was always taught constructive criticism will make you better.  In a culture of attacking ideas and thoughts I find that counter-productive.

I have always loved and admired the "French New Wave" because of their collaboration with each other as well as their competitiveness towards each other.  They produced some radically interesting films.

I'm also closing in on my 500th published post, and I don't want to abandon that.  So here's the address to my other blog on wordpress:

Thanks for listening...


Thursday, August 02, 2018

Grass Roots Filmmaking

I've been always an admirer of people who love the cinema and make their own films independently of Hollywood.  As I grow older I really would still love to do this.  You do it for yourself, and you're friends.  If something comes of it all the better, but this short film shows the passion that the Spence brothers have for filmmaking.  Reminds me of Don Dohler and American who also had a passion in filmmaking.

Take a look and get inspired.

Movie Mavericks - The Spence Brothers from Notasuch Films on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

What is Project Rush? Adobe's new editor for mobile!

Check it out.  Always looking for an editing platform that is mobile.  I'm an Adobe fan.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Ready Player One 2018

It's been awhile, but I finally went to see a Steven Spielberg film in the theater which I have not done since 2008.   Don't get me wrong I did see "Lincoln" and "Bridges of Spies", but on cable and at home.  Spielberg's films are masterful, and when seen on the big screen you know why he is such a consummate director.  Spielberg's visuals are breathtaking, and he knows how to tell a good story.  He has been a favorite of mine since I was a teen and saw a picture of him filming when he was a teen.  It's taken me awhile for me to get excited about a movie, and I have to confess my boys were more excited seeing this film then I was.  After all it's about gaming, and what teen doesn't game?

The movie is 40% live action, and the rest is CGI, and animation, but Spielberg blends the two so well it's hard to see where the line is drawn.  Since the movie is about a fantasy place called the Oasis, and the reality of a bleak future I think Spielberg does a fantastic job showing the different worlds.

The movie is all about pop culture of the past, and how Spielberg interweaves the two is fascinating.  My son has the book and I read a bit of it, and I have to say I like Spielberg's version better then the authors.  I'm not saying the author does a bad job, but film and books are two distinct different mediums.  Spielberg is a master at film, and what he does is create a couple of set pieces in the film that are very memorable.  The race which starts the film is exciting and breathtaking to watch, and so is the dance off at the Oasis between the two characters Parzival and Art3mis.

I did not get all the pop culture nods in the film, but I'm sure that's for me to see when I see it again.  I have a feeling that you will see something new after every time you see this movie.  My boys certainly caught a lot of the pop culture references and characters then I did, but then again they have young eyes, and are trained to react quickly because they game.

I swear the next generation will be hyper sensitive to visuals and very good at multitasking.  Their brains are being wired to think faster, and react faster, and do more then us older folk.  I don't see this as a totally bad thing, because age is always a decider in one slowing down, but Ready Player One is a movie that plays to the younger generation.

The movie though did speak to me.   Spielberg infuses the film with a deep moral compass which I can't argue with, and that is we all NEED to interact with each other on a one on one bases.  That's how we develop connections.

The main character starts out a loner with friends he truly doesn't know, but by the end he is a boy with many friends and a deep love for them.  It is their love that get's him through to the end of the contest in the film.  In essence Spielberg says imagination is good, but look to reality to create you're relationships and through those relationships you can create a better reality.

I liked the message, and that's why I have to recommend it.  The movie does have romance, adventure, and is funny at times.  But then this is a Spielberg film.  Spielberg knows his stuff, and he knows what he's doing.  Ready Player One is a fun and exciting film that people of all ages can enjoy.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War Official Trailer

The anticipation for this film is off the charts.  No matter what you think about these superhero movies Marvel does a great job at promoting it's content. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tobe Hooper (1943-2017)

Another legendary horror filmmaker has passed.  Mr Hooper's filmography lists some of the most original, and probably the most scariest films of modern times.  Of course what Tobe Hooper is best known for is the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre".  A film that has been listed in both the museum of modern art in New York, and the library of Congress in Washington.  Not bad for a film when it was released was dismissed as a sort of pornography of cinema.

What the film "the Texas Chainsaw Massacre" was a film beyond its time.  Scholars have written about the film, and I believe it will be continually be written about when talking about horror or American cinema.

I was introduced to the film by a friend, and when I saw it I did not know what to make of the film.  It certainly pushed some buttons within me, and that's what I think it did for a whole lot of people.  When people describe the film they say it was the most bloodiest and goriest film they had ever seen, but if you really look at the film there is little to no blood in the film.  There is no blood in the film and the gore is almost non-existent because it's all implied, and that's because of the mastery of Hoopers filmmaking skills.

The film is about terror, and it does have some very dark humor in the film.  Listen to the conversation between the cook, and Leatherface, our chainsaw weilding protagonist.  Though Leatherface does not utter a word his gestures and his eyes convey it all.  Gunner Hansen who played the villain Leatherface does some extraordinary acting in the film, and it is these performances that make "Chainsaw..." the film it is.  I can only surmise that Hansen got his directorial instructions from Hooper who saw Leatherface as not a caricature, but a complex personality whose reality is warped because of the way he was brought up by his strange family.

Back in 1974 when the film was released there was no film like this around.  The country was experiencing Watergate, gas shortages, inflation, and the defeat of Vietnam.  Kent State was in the social consciousness as well.  "Chainsaw...." burst upon the screen like the angry child it was.  It laid to rest that we were heading to a beautiful future.  What "Chainsaw..." showed and said that madness is around the corner and it is waiting to consume you if you don't watch out.  All the protagonists meet grisly deaths except our survivor who goes through hell and back.

"Chainsaw...." was a film that gave it to you right between the eyes.    It is because of this that "Chainsaw...." is a film that will always be remembered as a classic.  It was and is a no holds bar slugfest that doesn't let up, and when you think it does it goes into overdrive, and into territory that makes us uncomfortable.

Even if you discount "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" Hoopers other films were filled with terror that disturbed us.  "Poltergeist" was a film about an assault on the modern suburban family, "Salems Lot" was a TV movie epic about people fighting modern vampires.  From the film "The Mangler" to "The toolbox Murders" are all films that make it's audience uncomfortable because Hooper knows how to scare his audience while at the same time make them laugh even though it is a nervous laughter.

It is this formula that made Hooper the great director he was.  Mr. Hooper taught film at the university of Austin I believe , so he knew his material, and knew how to evoke responses to certain material.

All I can say is that another great American filmmaker has passed, and for that we are all at a loss.  Thankfully we have his work to study and talk about.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Dunkirk (2017)

Dunkirk is one of those movies that is better seen in the theaters then seen later at home.  Dunkirk is a film that harkens back to great filmmaking.  Every frame of this film is a work of art.  The sound design is quite intricate and when the German Junkers dive bomb the beach you feel as though you are there.  Christopher Nolan the director of Dunkirk uses all the tricks of the trade to really make you feel that you are there at Dunkirk, and the dread that faces the troops stranded on the beach.

Nolan divides the film between the sea, the air, and the beach.  To say that there is no one character to concentrate on would be correct.  Nolan divides the screen time among various actors who do a fantastic job at conveying the dread and the fear of the early months of the war when Germany was running through Europe, and devouring all that was good.

Throughout the film we see the horrors of war, and the film begins with a bit of silence as several soldiers wander the streets of Dunkirk and are suddenly surprised by enemy troops.  Nolan never really shows us the enemy.  They are at a distance, and it makes them more scary.  We as the audience know what will happen, but how do these soldiers get away to fight another day.  Well that is Dunkirk.

In history Dunkirk was very important.  It rescued many British, Belgium, and French troops trapped at Dunkirk.  Tom Hardy plays a RAF pilot who does his duty without thought.  What he does and how he does it is a reflection of how badly the British were overwhelmed by the German blitzkrieg, yet they persevered against insurmountable odds.  Tom Hardy is almost unrecognizable in the film because he is outfitted with his airflow mask, yet he conveys everything through his actions and his eyes.  Harry Styles also does an impressive bit of acting as well.  There is little dialogue throughout the film for our characters to engage in, but there are moments where they all shine, and that's all die to Nolan's direction.

Going in to the movie I was aware of the history of the events that took place at Dunkirk, but the film brings it home, and makes it very personal, and because of that the film is better for it.

I would be remiss to mention nothing if I was not to mention the cinematography, the music, and the audio mixing of this film works all in its favor.  Nolan surrounds himself with true artists and makes the film work on so many levels.

The cinematography was by Hoyte Van Hoytema, and shooting in 70mm sure makes the screen epic.  The music is by Hans Zimmer.

Dunkirk is worth seeing in the theaters.  I saw it in 70mm, and was a bit taken back by the movies landscape.  I would suggest seeing the film in IMAX because Dunkirk is a film better seen on the big screen.

I did notice a bit of a flicker on the 70mm, yet I do not know if this was because of a technical issue or if it was normal since I was seeing the shutter on a analog projector (celluloid) and I was watching a non digital image.  I still enjoyed the film, and it never really bothered me because I was wrapped up in the film.