Tag Archives: movie

Crowd-Sourced Star Wars Uncut – Yet another reason why I love the Internet.

Star Wars Uncut: Director’s Cut from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

Parts of this fan made video collage/Star Wars recreation are über strange and other parts are simply construction paper echos of the original, but taken as a whole this is an interesting and worthwhile experiment.  It is the perfect reflection of the Internet which enables us to easily sample from and re-contextualize the world around us.  The directors put these images in our heads and now as audiences we get to rearrange them and put them back out there for others to see.  To me, that is awesome.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona – *** 1/2

We rented Vicky Christina Barcelona from Amazon – Video On Demand (Formerly Amazon Unbox).  I went in with no expectations but I thoroughly enjoyed the film.  Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz both impressed me.  Rebecca Hall as Vicky was not someone I had seen act before and her performance was spot on as well.  Scarlett Johansson was less interesting but I might be influenced by the nature of the character she is playing.  The ending has a nice symmetry, though perhaps too satisfying a payoff for those too quick to judge the turmoil surrounding Javier Bardem’s character.  Like so many things, ultimately I enjoyed the journey a bit more than the destination but it was a trip I was very glad to have taken.  Authentic dialogue and performances that crackle all set in gorgeous Spanish countryside.

Mini- Amazon – Video On Demand Review

Amazon – Video On Demand via Tivo is a service that enables you to download films (for purchase or rental) over broadband internet.  The service works flawlessly thanks to the integration with Tivo but is still a bit pricey.  The quality of the downloaded video is more than acceptable on our 32″ HD TV.  The convenience of browsing and purchasing without the need for a Netflix cue or a trip to Blockbuster is hard to beat.  We tend to wait for sale pricing and have yet to rent any of the HD titles, but so far so good.

Watchmen Doesn’t Work For Me

Zack Snyder’s Watchmen looks visually amazing but the characters are thin and the underlying dystopian vision lacks the impactful nuance of Blade Runner.  Maybe I am just not in the mood right now for a film that paints people essentially as heartless bugs.  Are we capable as a species of mindless acts of selfish violence?  Yes, but I don’t need a 3 hour film to remind me of this.  That’s what CNN does most nights and I avoid that too.  What I crave and films like Blade Runner, The Martix and 28 Days Later deliver is the dystopian vision coupled with characters that reflect humanities potential.  Not because I can’t handle the darkness but because total darkness is no more real than a vision where everything is sweetness and light. 

Top 25 Active Film Directors List

EW.com (like AFI before them) loves their lists.
Check out their list of the 25 Greatest Active Film Directors.
25 Greatest Active Film Directors

I can’t fault their top 10. Actually I can only find two in the whole list of 25 that really bug me.
Call me crazy but Tim Burton at #13 and Sam Raimi at #15 both seem too high.  Tim Burton is an exceptional Art Director/DP but his inability to consistently build stories as stunning as his visuals should push him lower down the list.  Raimi is solid but I’d bump him entirely for Kevin Smith.  I am reserving judgment on Zack Snyder until I see Watchmen. 
Firstshowing.net has a nice discussion about the list in the comments and manages to put the list all on one page.

(Caution: The EW write up is one of those annoying page view generating 25 pages for 25 directors things that makes EW look like they don’t understand the internet.)

In The Case Of Indy… If Ebert Likes It I Probably WIll Too

Cloverfield Review

It’s been three days since seeing Cloverfield and here are my thoughts.

The shaky camera thing is both a blessing and a curse. It drives a sense of authenticity AND nausea. I (a first person shooter gamer) generally do alright with fast camera moves, but even I found my stomach churning during some portions of the film. My wife had to look away for minutes at a time to keep her popcorn in her stomach. That said, I found the constantly moving camera really did help to up the sense of realism. The ever moving camera pays dividends when Hud (the camera holder) is surprised by a stream of military troops marching up the street with all their weapons blazing. His point of view drifts from trying to take in the soldiers, to focusing on his friends and back again. His mounting sense of confusions and fear is palpable.

While I can understand how it might effect those from NY and Washington D.C., the use of 9/11 imagery in the film doesn’t bother me at all. I think as a country we are still working out what we took in on that fateful day. Well made movies that visually reference 9/11 aren’t so much exploiting our memories as providing another opportunity for us to reflect on the horror from the more comfortable distance of a Hollywood movie.

My strongest critique of the film centers on the relative lack of inspired character development and the less than stellar script. Imagine this film with a linguistic punch of authenticity that was able to match the visuals and you would of had a nearly perfect film. As it stands it is still a remarkable night at the movies, which is more than can be said for the likes of The Bucket List.