Tuesday, March 30, 2010

1329 - The Wayward Cloud

This is, without a doubt, the absolute worst film that I have ever wasted my touch watching. It's an absolute piece of shit. And I don't say that lightly. It's pretentious and it believes that using graphic sexuality can pass for content, or at least keep you entertained. My God, I can't even begin to express how awful this film is. There's no content, no story, no conflict. Half the time the director sets a camera up and just the most mundane thing happens and it takes forever. The rest of the time he's doing over-the-top musical numbers to amuse - himself?
Please please please, watching grass grow is a better use of your time than this film. I promise you.
I've decided to add on to this, after having talked with my good friend whom recommended and loaned this film to me. However small, there is definitely an audience for this film- the technical filmmaking itself is good. It looks good. The acting is good. My over all issue was that, I didn't care about the characters, or their story. It was a slow moving vehicle that made mildly amusing pit-stops, and that's the best that I can say about it.
So if you're up for this sort of thing, you probably will actually enjoy it. I still stand by my utter dislike of it, but I withdraw me previous statement telling people to avoid it like the plague. Perhaps just avoid it like a bad case of the gout.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

1328 - Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid

This is another of those classics that I had never seen. I'm a big fan of George Roy Hill as a director, and especially the subsequent film that this trio made "The Sting". So I've always wanted to watch this, and was super happy when I saw it as part of that Blockbuster Clearance sale that I happened upon several weeks ago.
You can just tell by watching that Newman and Redford are having a hell of a time making this film. Despite the inevitable conclusion they always find a way to keep it light and entertaining. The only real problem that this film has is that it's, more or less, plotless. Things happen, sure, but there's no real driving force felt - the noose doesn't really feel like it's tightening all that much. I know this isn't a small problem, but I can let this go given that I'm viewing this from a different standpoint than in which it was made.
I love the way that this was shot. Hill has a very specific visual that he's after in this film - and I love how he's able to just hang-back, and let the posse that's after them be faceless.
What's even more interesting is that I just found several articles that state that they're starting work on a sequel to this in a month from now with Sam Shepard playing Butch. Interesting choice given how this one ended. Looking forward to seeing that explanation :)
So if you haven't seen it, it's worth it.


Someone just brought it to my attention that I had the default settings on for 'comments' and so only people with google accounts could comment on the blog - I've lifted that and now anyone can. My apologies!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

1327 - Let the Right One In

I came to this film quite late in the game. I'd heard nothing but amazing things from it as soon as it started to travel across the world's stage. It really is a fascinating film. Technically it's a vampire film, but it's so much more. It's about two halfs of a person, and one just happens to be a vampire. They make up for the aspects each of them is missing in themselves.
The simplicity in which this film was shot only adds to it's appeal. The way that they handle the effects so simply is a thing to behold. It's got several great 'vampire' moments, but they're all done in ways that are so human. I'm trying to be vague because I don't want to spoil any of the richness that this film has to offer. Horror fan or not there is a lot to like about this film. And it's not particularly gory - so it shouldn't turn to many people off. I'm very curious to see what they'll do with the upcoming American remake "Let Me In".
At any rate, this was a great little film and I'm glad that I finally watched it.

Friday, March 26, 2010

1326 - 2012

Can't say that this was on my 'to see' list, but it dropped into my lap and so I thought what the hell - despite the fact that there's a stack of films that I really want to see sitting on my coffee table I decided that this would be a good background film while doing my taxes. And I was right.
It's exactly what you expect, a bunch of set pieces strung together by a predictable and emotionally manipulative story. You can pretty much figure out how most of the stories are going to play out. Whose going to make it, who probably won't, etc...
The destruction scenes are a sight to behold. The getaway in the limo is beyond unrealistic, but whatever. I'll buy it for the kind of film that this is. What do you expect walking into this?
So it's not a horrible film, it's just not a very good one if you're looking for a story with strong themes and characters. It's the same old cliched. Although no one fucks with the White House better than Roland.
See it if you like explosions and set pieces, avoid it if you're looking for character work. Hope the actors enjoyed their hefty paychecks, I can't imagine that they did it for any other reason (and that's not to diss them - I'd do a film like this for a hefty pay check too!)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Criminal: Bad Night

God damn it do I love this book. I read it practically in one sitting. Brubaker knows how to weave a tail and put you right into the skin of his characters. The way he'll weave into other characters P.O.V.'s for a moment or two, just so you can see where they're coming from - even if they are a damaged and deranged bastard. I can't think of a better noir series, not that I'm a big noir expert, but this just soars high above any other crime fiction I've read just for it's purity and grittiness. No one walks away without being punished. I'd love to write in this genre one day. Mine would be more a mixture of this and Damon Runyon combined though I think. Not sure I could go quite as serious and dark as Brubaker, but I'd like to think I could. What a lovely world to play in. I need to pick up my Chandler novels again and start reading them.

Friday, March 19, 2010

1325 - Twlight

So I watched this, if for no other reason, than to be aware of pop culture. This isn't a horrible movie, it's just not a very good one. I don't find that they've done anything particularly interesting with the genre. Vampires can walk around during over-cast. Okay. So what? What's that have to do with anything? The whole villain plot feels tacked on and in-organic, but they needed something to keep this from falling into complete boredom. My main issue is that the marketing of this brand falls upon the epic, and this story falls into the mundane. It's anti-climatic. And it takes forever to get moving in any kind of direction. And our leads fall in love... because they're the leads and that's what leads do.

All of this trash-talk being said, I really really adored Kristen Stewart here. I found her cute and qualitative - which surprised the hell out of me

So I'm glad I saw it. Will I watch the follow-ups? Not likely, although I wouldn't rule it out. I don't mean to pan on this film, it just didn't do anything for me. No offense to anyone involved.

1324 - You Are Here

I saw this film at a cast and crew screening that I tagged along to with Scott McLaren. It's by a local filmmaker friend of Scott's, Daniel Cockburn. All I knew is that it was made for a cost and schedule not unlike my own. And that it was an experimental narrative film that had Tracy Wright and Nadia Litz in it. Enough for me. Sign me up!

So I'm not a huge watcher of experimental films, so I dont have a lot to draw from. I've seen enough bad ones to not actively seek them out at all - but this film had a lot to think about. Some really clever pieces and ideas and it left you with your head swimming. And because the film was self aware it didn't feel overly pretentious which films like this can oh-so-easily do. It was shot beautifully and with purpose. Full of wonderful actors, a handful of which I know, some of which auditioned for my film.

I hope this film finds an audience, because the right audiece will just eat it up till there's nothing left of it - the wrong audience just won't bother with it - so that's okay. But with these kinds of films you just never know where it's going to end up. It's got little commercial value so hopfully the right people get what it's about and put it up on some screens to get a little buzz.

Well done Daniel. I look forward to seeing more of your work!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gotham Central #1: In the Line of Duty

So to start off, this book is by the same writer as Criminal, that noir comic that I was gushing about below. So you've got a great crime writer taking on Batman in a Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead sort of way and what happens as a result is "Batman meets The Wire'.
So the premise is that we're following the Gotham Police Department, the men and women that work in one of the most crime infested cities in the world, and not only do they have to deal with the criminal element but also on a masked vigilante hell-bent on defeating crime themselves. The writing is fantastic. The characters excellent. Relevant. Smart. It keeps you guessing and wondering yourself. You've got one side of the force who sees Batman as one of them, but off the books, and another side who becomes insanely happy when they can solve a crime without the Bat's help at all. I've never really read much of Batman in comic form, but if there is a Batman book that's better than this one, please let me know ASAP.
Needless to say, I'm very much looking forward to the rest of this series.

1323 - Super Troopers

I'm late to this film by about a decade. It was something that was always just there, but I never had a strong desire to watch it, but the years of pressure from various sources had me finally throwing it into my DVD player.
What this film does above others of it's type is that it's not just a sketch comedy film. It's not just about gags and set pieces. I mean, don't get me wrong, the film isn't exactly deep or have sophisticated and intricate plot moves or all encompassing character arcs, but what they do well here they do really well. There are a number of really nice laughs, and it has a cast that really knows how to play to it's strengths. I'm curious to see the other Broken Lizard films are. It was also lovely to see Marisa Coughlan again, I think she's not cast in enough good roles. So there. I've watched it. I've enjoyed it. Leave me alone!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

TUWOPS - The Online is Complete!

Huzzah! We're in the final stages of finishing the film. We just finished the online this afternoon. So for you less film-techy people that's the stage where you take the edited picture and correct/improve the colouring, or general look of the visuals, and do effects, credits, etc… So thanks to some generous and amazing work by Optix Digital Pictures and Mark Driver we have finished that stage, and now we just need to finish the audio portion of the film, which including cleaning up the production audio (which was pretty clean to begin with) and then adding the score (which is underway as we speak) and then the final mix of the sound. Very exciting!

Also, I should take this time to announce the official soundtrack bands that are in our film. In alphabetical order particular order:

Amy Millan
The Betty Whites
Los Campesinos!
Lost & Profound
The Most Serene Republic
Timber Timbre
The Weepies

I really can't wait to start showing this film to people. I'm extremely proud of it!

Criminal: The Dead & The Dying

Goddamn can Brubaker write noir. It's insane how good these are. What we've got here is a fractured story from three points of view. Nothing new, but he plays in this structure with the finesse of a master. Each story brings you deeper into characters that were merely background performers in the previous books and we start to see just how deep and rich this world really is. The stories are endless, and that's kind of the fun - this can go on as long as Brubaker has ideas and the desire to do so. There is a great television or film series within these books and there would be a lot of fun to figure out what that would be. Been borrowing these books right now, but I can't wait to get my own copies. Beautiful art work, great character work. For any fan of crime fiction, especially noir, this is hard to beat.

Monday, March 08, 2010

1322 - Big Love: season four

There's been a lot of people slagging this season. I think it was an interesting one, and a move forward. This season was more like a hallway (I use that expression a lot these days, don't I?) between the old and the new. Now with Roman gone for good it's a clearing for new ways good and bad. Seemingly some of those bad are taken care of, but others are just emerging. Characters such as Nicky & Alby are blossoming. Margie is a constant delight, and the return of Ana was perfect, especially towards where it's leading us. This season ended on a wonderfully ironic note and I'm very curious to see where it goes. This is by no means my favorite show on television, but I enjoy it and I'll continue to watch it. If you haven't and you're curious, give it a whirl - but keep in mind it's intended to be a bit of a melodrama, and goes further with that as each season carries along.
Looking forward to more. Glad they decided to do a short season rather than force extra episodes where they might not belong.

Criminal: Lawless

This series just continues to get better. Each trade is a stand alone story with a few returning characters sprinkled in just to let us know that this world has a continuity. Glad to see Leo still kicking around, and Angie working at the Undertow. This book centred on the the theme of revenge and what it means - does it exist? And it's got some interesting answers, or I suppose technically non-answers.

The writing is tight and playful within the world of noir. I imagine that the Sin City series is similar to this regard. I've been borrowing this series but I can see it as something that I might want to have on my shelf one day. If you're a fan of crime fiction, this is a solid series with good characters, themes, and plots.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Criminal: Coward

I'm late to Brubaker's stuff, but glad to be here now. This one popped so much more for me than the other book of his that I read recently. He's got the noir down pat, and also the criminal mind in terms of the worries, concerns, fears, and troubles that I'm sure plague them. I'm not sure how this series is going to work, but it's intriguing so far. It reads more like a film structure, which is fine by me. It's filled with great characters as well as really clever story and plotting. Highly highly recommend this book.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The System

I've been carrying this around in my bag for awhile now, I was told that it was a quick read since it's all visuals, so finally this morning I treated myself to it on my way into work. The art work is unlike any I've ever seen in a comic. It's more or less graffiti art that tells an interwoven inner-city story about evil rich white men taking down the underclass of society.
I appreciate the art work and even the way he effortlessly flows from one story to another. But this is an oft told tale, and I don't feel like he's making any kind of comment so much as holding up a sign and saying 'look how shitty the world can be'. It's a mirror to what is, as opposed to a window of what could be. That being said, it's enjoyable and a quik read so it's worth checking out if you can find a loaner.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Supreme Power: High Command

I think that this was technically volume 3, but I read a collected edition first, which I believe made up the first and second. Regardless, here we are...
So I'm not sure if this is the end. It feels like it is. If it is - wow. Bleak. And yet - fucking awesome. Seriously, this is probably my favorite superhero series of all time (given how little I've read). If someone were to give me the chance to make any superhero film - it would be this one. Hands down.
For those unaware, this is essentially Marvel taking a riff on DC's Justice League. And it's smart. And amazing. This goes to places that are just delicious. The other series close to this in idea only, is Irredeemable - but I don't think that it holds a candle to this. This - is outstanding. This takes the main story of Irredeemable and eats it as a snack.
I strongly urge anyone with any interest in superheros to pick this up. I assure you that even with a limited pop culture knowledge of staple superheros you'll pick up the satire.
Brilliant. Love it. Interested to see if they'll do more.

Monday, March 01, 2010

1321 - Zombieland

If I were running from zombies, Emma Stone would be the girl for me as well.

So what we have here is a pretty fun, tight, rollicking ride that takes full advantage of it's situation and has an assload of fun with it - especially in the amusement park scenes. And there is a celebrity cameo in here that is not to be missed.

This film does some really wonderful things with set-ups and pay-offs (minus one that I would have liked to see, if you've seen the film I'm talking about the introduction of Stone & Breslin's characters - I would have liked to see their ending mirror their beginning - might have been a bit dark, but it would have been awesome). The cast is delightful, and I could even withstand Abigail Breslin who normally doesn't do much for me. I can only imagine that they're going to try and milk a sequel out of this - which is fine by me since I know that the writers had originally intended this for a tv series, I'm sure that they've got a few more ideas up their sleeves. Looking forward to it!