Friday, August 31, 2012

1759 - True Blood: season five

This could very well be a record low for me in terms of this blog.  As most of you regular readers know I've spent this summer making my second feature film Sex After Kids, and so with that my evenings and weekends essentially disappeared - and now that I'm in post-production it's not much better.  I expect that later this fall I'll be catching up on my viewing in a major way so stay tuned for that!
In the mean time, True Blood!  True Blood is a messy show, and it's not just because of all the sexy gore.  It's pretty famous for starting seasons with a bunch of seemingly random and pointless storylines, and then finding a (usually pretty neat) way of getting them all together by the end.  But sometimes they just have terrible storylines like Terry and his war-ghost thing.  If this show was a hamburger, that would have been the bread crumbs you put in when you just don't have enough of the good stuff to make it a proper meal. 
I'm going to get into some SPOILERS, so avoid the rest of this if you're not caught up on this season.  This season was more-or-less about the looking war between humans and... everyone else, I suppose.  They showed it in a nice small way with a hate-monger group, and that was a good indication about how there were probably groups of people like this all around.  We got re-introduced to a newly vamped Rev. Steve Newland (awesome), as well as big-bad Russel (who went out in about as anti-climatic a way as possible).  The surprising highlight of this season for me was Tara as a vampire.  I never thought Tara would become one of the most interesting characters on this show, but they did a phenomenal turn-around with her.  And the decision to have the slow-play between her and Pam was just pure wonderful.  Can't wait to see more of them.  Eric is probably my real favorite character - he's the most complex - not a villain, not a hero, but he's got a good heart beneath it all.  He gives a shit when it counts, but he's not afraid to get his hands dirty.
Another one of the stronger character moves was slowing turning Bill from this pansy vampire that we first met into... well, I can only assume that he's going to be almost pure villain when we return next season.  It would have been a complete shock to have killed him all together - but the choice they've made here, if done properly, is pretty damn delightful.
I don't love this show, but it's absolutely a guilty pleasure of mine.  If you want to see a wonderfully campy soap opera about vampires, werewolves, and other creatures in the deep south - it doesn't get much more fun than this.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

1758 - Knocked Up (commentary

This film is a huge leap forward for Apatow as a filmmaker.  Not only is it visually miles ahead from his first film, but the storytelling feels tighter (even in this extended version) and the emotions more toned.  You get a real sense that he's in command of his craft here.  The commentary was was entertaining enough with Apatow, Rogen, and Bill Hader along.  They start off promising that it's going to be like a film school in a box, but it's not really.  Still enjoyable enough for fans though!  Made me want to re-watch it with the commentary off!
One more night of unpacking in the shop... one more Apatow film :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

1757 - The 40 Year Old Virgin (commentary)

I've been getting my studio space set up for editing my new film Sex After Kids, so I threw this on in the background with the commentary which includes a ridiculously large amount of people.  It's interesting listening to commentaries with actors because you very quickly get a sense of who are interesting and fun people, and who are very desperately trying to be as interesting and fun as the people whom it comes naturally to.  It's goddamn awkward to listen to sometimes.  As I'm going to be working around the studio for the next few days in the evening there's a good chance I'll check out the commentaries on the other Apatow films as well.
Part of the issue with watching an Apatow film on DVD is that you never get the theatrical cut, you get his bloated version - which isn't a bad thing - but it's tricky to make a comedy really work after it's pushing two hours.  It's interesting to hear them on the commentary talking about how most of the crew had no idea how they were going to possibly string this thing into a film in the end.  A large part of what Judd does is he slaps down two cameras and just has the actors throw a bunch of stuff out and see what happens.  I can see how this could work quite well, but it's also a reason that the visual style of the film is pretty damn ugly.  It looks like a badly shot three-camera-sitcom in some scenes - which I'm not sure if I noticed before. 
The commentary doesn't offer a whole lot of insight into their productions, but it is entertaining if you like this group of people.  If you don't, then steer clear. 

Saturday, August 04, 2012

1756 - To Rome With Love

Full disclosure - I'm a Woody Allen nut.  I didn't get to see this just as it came out as we were moving that weekend, so I was happy to catch it now.  Woody has a wonderful ability to attract some of my favorite actors into his projects - and here he even scored two of my favorite Canadian actresses with Alison Pill and Ellen Page!
This is ensemble-Woody, and to be honest, it just wasn't my cup of tea.  There was, as always, some wonderfully inspired comedic moments and lines, but all in all I just found it floudering a tad.  It was a bit uneven and all over the place - four stories intercut - some taking place over weeks, others in a single day.  Not that I can't get over that, but it just felt odd.  And the thing felt a little heavy with exposition.  I don't want to bag on Woody here since I love the bulk of his work (that might be even saying it lightly), but I have a hard time recommending this one.  It's essentially about a slew of self-centered people who get to see what life is like on the other side (mostly by cheating on their spouses) and then get to return to their regular life consequence free when it doesn't work out.  Catch it on Netflix if you're really curious.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Greetings all!  I've finally redone my website - which I was hating on quite a bit for the longest time and it just became that thing that I didn't want to deal with...
So check it out - I've uploaded stills from all my films - more from Sex After Kids will be coming soon.  There's some videos on there, including a short I did years ago called Hoff's New Direction.  But most importantly I'll be starting a NEW BLOG!  I'm not abandoning this one, but I'll be using the one on my main website to talk more about my creative process, projects, and myself in the industry, where I'll keep using this blog to talk about the stuff I'm watching, reading, etc... My goal will be to update it once a week or so.  People were complaining that all my film news was getting lost in the other posts here so I thought I'd make it cleaner for all of you!  So check back often - I've got something else I'm cooking up that I hope to start releasing in the fall...

1755 - The Dark Knight

I'm in the midst of putting together the final pieces of my geek-office and so I thought I'd throw this on in the background while I worked.  This is not a background kind of film.  It's the kind of film that just absolutely consumes you and draws you in, in no small part to the man in the photo above.  There isn't much here that I can say about Heath's performance in this film that hasn't been said already.  It's truly magnificent and it's the large reason why this film is the strongest of the Nolan-Batman trilogy. 
The plotting of the story in this one is quite masterful.  The theme of chaos and order, what's fair and what just happens because the world can be a shitty place.  It doesn't feel like the stuff of comic books so much as it feels like the stuff of real life.
I can't wait till one day down the line when I can sit down and marathon this entire trilogy.  Probably won't be until my kid(s) are old enough to watch. 
If you haven't seen it, it's your loss.  Not only is it one of the best comic book films of all time - it's just a great goddamn movie as well.