Saturday, March 27, 2010

Does anyone listen to audio commentaries on DVDs?

I don't listen to the audio commentaries on DVDs all the time, but once in a while I do and often they are quite good. I came across this article which counts down someone's favorite audio commentaries. I truly think it's possible that and maybe even started to happen that there will be some film-makers that learned everything they know about film-making directly from the Scorsese's of the world that record their own audio commentaries and discuss their techniques to influence new artists.

In case you don't feel like clicking he says these are his favorites with my comments on them:
10) Ocean's 11 - I have actually listened to this and it is quite good. Just fun actors talking about a fun movie they made. If you like the actors in the movie it is worth listening to for added enjoyment.
9) Watchmen- I have the super-awesome BluRay where this is featured but at a runtime over 3.5 hours, it is tough to watch. I hope to check it out soon (fun fact: I am currently watching Watchmen on HBO, but that's besides the point)
8) This is Spinal Tap - A commentary done in character by the 3 main band members. One of the funniest things I've ever heard. It's almost like getting a sequel to Spinal Tap
7) Apocalypse Now - I enjoy the movie and am sure this is a great commentary, but have never listened to it.
6) The Matrix - Again, I never heard it, but believe it could be decent - at least for the first movie
5) Gladiator - Anyone that knows me knows I think this movie is a big steaming pile of awfulness. I'll just let this one go.
4) Conan The Barbarian - I truly think Arnold got to where he is as an actor and governor because he is one of the most fun people to be around. This commentary apparently cements that.
3) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - I've only listened to some of it, but what I've heard is quite good. We were talking about listening to the commentaries next year during our annual New Years Day day of going there and back again. I think this list guaranteed this happening.
2) True Romance - I really did enjoy this commentary, but it kind of made me like the movie a little bit less. Tarantino does a great job of talking about a script that he wrote but wasn't able to get made. It's worth a listen, but when he pointed out how the movie is a young man's adolescent fairy tale, I realized he was right, and it made me look at a movie I loved in a new light. Still worth a listen, but it did have an effect on me seeing the movie the same way ever again.
1) Tropic Thunder - I saw the movie, but have not heard the commentary.

some other notable commentaries I have listened to:
- Dark City- The commentary was done by Roger Ebert around the same time it came out. The amount of detail that he noticed and was able to expand upon made me love this movie even more than I originally did. He points out all the old-school film references the movie has to classic noir films as well as crazy film techniques that I would never know about.
- The Goonies - They were able to get the entire cast of the film together for a viewing around 2001 or so. All of the Goonies show up and talk about making the classic 80s kids movie. They even show it in split-screen so you can see the cast as adults. Sean Astin did have to leave in the middle because he had to do something Lord of the Rings related. Anyone that is of my generation will love this.
- Fight Club - It has some bad parts: Most notable is that it is obvious not everyone was in the same room when it was recorded so prominent people are given a section to speak while others are absent.

I implore both of my readers to give this virtually lost part of the DVD a try for your favorite movies, I think you will be entertained.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lost credits to Buffy Music

I think you all know that I love Lost. Besides that, I think editing in film is one of the greatest arts that is around and I wish I had the patience to do it myself.

For any Buffy/Lost fans, take a look at this video that some fan put together. It's basically perfect.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fun Website/Time Waster

I ran across this website and thought it was fun:
Young Me Now Me

It is just regular people recreating old pictures of themselves now and posting them side by side. It's quite simple, but I found it a fun thing to look at and I think I should try to do this myself sometime.
Just keep clicking NEXT to get a new one. Some are better than others and some involve parents and siblings. I love how they try and recreate the exact poses and situations the original pictures were taken.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm officially NOT looking forward to the Summer Movies this year

I ran across this list for Summer movies coming out and WOW does it look terrible. I am excited for 3 of these movies:
Iron Man 2 - I will see this movie, but am not too excited for it. I loved the first one, but it looks like the trailer played the entire movie and although i know Robert Downey Jr will make it watchable, I am not expecting much from this.
Robin Hood - Confession: I hate Russell Crowe and think Ridley Scott is VERY overrated. Of all his movies, I like Alien and that's about it.
Shrek - The first one was OK. Since then I don't care.
Prince of Persia - I never played the video game (it's based on a video game, right?) and I don't care.
Sex and the City 2 - Nope.
A-Team - I know I will eventually see this as a guilty pleasure, but this as much as I loved the show when I was 8, it really wasn't very good. And Mr. T isn't even in this
Karate Kid - I'm getting depressed the more I look at these movies
Jonah Hex -- I love comic books, I like Jonah Hex in the comic books, but this is screaming Constatine at me. It will be fine to see, but very forgetable.
Toy Story 3 - One of the few movies I expect to be good this summer
Eclipse - I saw Twilight and hated it, I just don't care.
The Last Airbender - This could be good, but I never watched the cartoon, and don't think I'm the audience for this movie.
Wichita - Romantic comedy with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz -- I'll be at home
Despicable Me - This could be a decent cartoon and I'm sure I'll netflix it, but that's it.
Inception -- The only movie I'm very excited for. I love Chris Nolan and think The Prestige was one of the best movies I've seen in years.
Dinner with Schmucks - I never heard of this before this list, but it has potential
Salt - No thanks
Little Fockers-- Come on Hollywood. This is just embarrassing for both of us.
The Other Guys - More Will Farrell being Will Farrell this time with Marky Mark. I'll catch it on HBO
The Expendables -- This actually looks like what the A-Team wants to be. It stars every action star fromt he 80s now getting together for 1 more mission. They should have gone all out though and gotten Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lungred, Carl Weathers, Jesse Ventura etc.... and anyone else you can think of and kill them off slowly in huge elaborate action scenes. It would've been the greatest movie ever. But this could be fun.

Overall the movies just seem terrible already this year.

Anyone looking forward to any movies this year? The next movie I want to see is Kick Ass and I hope it does.

Friday, March 12, 2010

2009 Movies I did not like that much

Some people enjoy reading scathing reviews as much as good reviews. I own Roger Ebert's book "I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie" where he just reprinted the reviews where he ripped movies. Mine are short, but these are just the movies I cared less for:
The Hangover – I think this will get better with subsequent viewings, but with these type of movies you really need to see them before you hear everyone in the world quoting them for 6 months before you get a chance. Not much surprised me, so I didn’t laugh too much. I hope it has rewatchability. In order to understand why I did not enjoy this in more detail, you can read this.
Angels and Demons – It passed two hours without boring me. That’s enough.
Knowing – Decent little Sci-Fi film. I’m always shocked when movies don’t have happy endings. The plane crash scene was fantastic.
The Girlfriend Experience – An interesting, depressing little movie.
The Time Traveler’s Wife – If I didn’t read the book, I would have hated this movie. But because I already knew and cared about the characters, it was decent.
I Love You, Man – I really like this one. Just silly fun. Paul Rudd can do no wrong for me.
Precious – Heavy handed, badly directed, pointless movie. I hated every second of it. The only time I was interested was when I said “Is that Lenny Kravitz?”
Public Enemies – A forgettable film that had some of the best music I heard in a movie this year. Ragtime 1920s style score was just perfect. The cinematography was quite nice too, but I just couldn’t care less.
Taken – Fun action movie. Liam Neeson kills so many people.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Pretty terrible. The turned Deadpool: The Merc with a mouth into a silent killer. Hollywood can’t go to the comic book and then shit on the characters. It’s just not fair to the public that doesn’t know anything about these characters.
A Perfect Getaway – Started out pretty good, and then took a nosedive. The “twist” was unbelievable, pointless and just plain bad. Mila Jovovich still looks gorgeous though.
Big Fan – I wasn’t of this boring, pointless movie. And I’m a football fan.
Extract – What happened to Mike Judge? He seems angry.
Terminator Salvation – Someone took a dump on every Terminator movie that came before this. This movie was pointless and stupid. I liked some of the winks to previous movies, but that wasn’t worth the price of admission.
Transformers: Rise of the Fallen – Was it necessary to have horrible, comic relief in this movie? I really didn’t get it. This is an example of too much special effects.

Movies I still need to see: A Serious Man, Bruno, Crazy Heart, Fanboys, Halloween 2, Me and Orson Welles, Moon, Paranormal Activity, Pirate Radio, The Lovely Bones, The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Road, Where the Wild Things Are, World’s Greatest Dad and Zombieland.

My Favorite movies of 2009 (so far)

This was a pretty bad year for movies overall, but there are some decent diamonds in the rough and a few classics.
Without further ado I will do my best to write about my opinions on my favorites, and some comments on movies I did not particularly enjoy:

1) The best movie of the year is simple to remember. The only movie I walked out of the theater and couldn’t stop talking about. Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds may have been perfect. I wrote a little bit about the movie previously here, but now that the Oscars have come and gone, with the Basterds only winning one award for Christoph Waltz’ amazing portrayal of the Jew Hunter but if people haven’t seen this movie in it’s entirety, they are missing out on one of the most fun movies of the decade. I was surprised by how much of a foreign film this movie felt like, and I say that in a good way. The movie is broken up in five chapters and each one really does stand alone. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised anymore that Tarantino told a bunch of loosely related stories in one film since that’s pretty much all he ever does, but this one really feels different.
The opening scene featuring Waltz and a guy that looked like Jean Reno but wasn’t Jean Reno was the single best scene of the entire year of any movie I’ve seen. The tension during this scene was so strong and it felt like it went on so long while really absolutely nothing happened. The camera slowly panned around the table looking at these two men and every time it got close to a window, I was sure we were going to see the three daughters either dead, or with knives against their throat but this never happened. It was the possibility that it could that kept me on the edge of my seat, and this was all in the first 10 minutes of a three hour movie or so. It didn’t let up for a second and I enjoyed the ride. I look forward to watching this movie again and again as I’m sure, like other Tarantino films, it will only get better with multiple viewings.
2) Inglourious Basterds is heads and tails better than any movie I’ve seen this year, if it gets an A, the following movie would get an A-. District 9 is probably my next favorite movie I saw. Going in, I knew absolutely nothing about this movie. I found the special effects great, the social commentary fantastic, the style of having an almost documentary feel and I really could believe this world that was created. It showed how if aliens ever did come to this planet, I feel this is one of the best portrayals of how we would treat them. The last third of the movie did fall apart a little bit and devolved into a typical action film, but the characterization of Christopher Johnson really helped keep me interested. The movie left it open for an easy sequel, but I hope if they do follow through that they keep what made this movie interesting, and not become an aliens vs. humans war movie.
3) This year was one of the best movies for animated films that I’ve ever seen. There were so many great animated films that I am putting them all right here in order of my favorites: Up, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Ponyo, Avatar (I’m counting it as being animated), Coraline and 9 were all absolutely amazing movies in their own ways.
- Up had the most heart of any movies I’ve seen this year. The opening 10 minutes alone was heart-wrenching and amazingly done. The rest of the movie is some typical Pixar fun, but you really felt for that old man and his wife in the beginning. I look forward to watching this again and loved the talking dogs. Really, Pixar continues to put out amazing product after amazing product I don’t know how they do it.

- Fantastic Mr. Fox was done with stop-motion animation and stayed on that fine line of being an art-house Wes Anderson movie (and it really did have the same feel as all his other movies, amazingly) and being a movie that children can really enjoy as well as adults. The dialog of everything being “Cussing” this and that never got old. I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t like this movie.
- Ponyo I watched yesterday and is simply an old-school, perfect Japanimation movie. It has a sweetness behind it and can literally be watched by anyone of any age. The story is quite simple, it is a take on the Little Mermaid myth, but the style of animation really puts it in an elite class.

- Coraline was good. Nothing special, but a solid piece of animation influenced by one of my favorite authors in the world, Neil Gaiman. Honestly, it’s not my favorite story by him but I was happy to see it translated well onto the big screen. I implore people that even liked this one iota to give his books a chance. He has a very distinct voice. Start with The Graveyard Book

- 9 was another great animated movie I watched this year. It’s a dark tale of these strange puppets trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. It is strange, but in the end it was the visual animation that made this as good as it was.
4) These next quick hits are all movies I enjoyed, but really in the end they good, not great:
- 500 Days of Summer – The scene where JGL looks himself in the mirror and sees Han Solo looking back was worth the price of admission. I really enjoyed this movie because we’ve all been obsessed with someone that really wasn’t that special. This was the story of that relationship. I also liked how it ended where you hoped this girl was different, but it would probably be more of the same. At least this new girl was interested in architecture.
- The Hurt Locker – I think everything I said about it I said in my previous blog entry, but it was a very good movie that told a story about the Iraq War and the type of people that are fighting in it. It also showed how depressing it must be to live there and how happy I am that I never enlisted in the army. For more of my thoughts on this movie Click Here.

- Star Trek – A great summer blockbuster, updating the classic Star Trek crew for a new generation. Chris Pine’s Shatner impression without being a Shatner impression was simply perfect. The entire movie rode on his shoulders and he really delivered. Being a pseudo Star Trek fan, this made me happy and caught a lot of the winks and nods. The real challenge will be the sequel: Every other Star Trek movie has been good: Kahn, Voyage Home, Undiscovered Country, and First Contact. That also means every other Star Trek movie has been bad: The Motion Picture, Search for Spock, The Final Frontier, Generations. I wish this group luck in breaking that curse. For my immediate thoughts on Star Trek when I saw it in the theater click here.
- Watchmen – It’s tough for me to comment on this movie. I think I can understand why people don’t like it. I just think they’re wrong. They made something unfilmable into an entertaining, decent story. It’s not perfect, but I really don’t think anyone could’ve done better. Since writing this I've seen the movie a bunch of times including the Director's cut on BluRay. I still really enjoy this even if that lessens my geed-cred.

- It Might Get Loud – The obligatory documentary film. This follows Jack White of the White Stripes, The Edge of U2 and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and gets them to talk about why they love the guitar. It’s a great love-letter to music. The ending jam session was a little disappointing though. Why would you get 3 fantastic electric guitar players together and give them acoustic guitars and have them play some simple chord progressions. They should’ve all just played some 12 bar blues with each guy having an opportunity to really show what they’ve got. I think this was a missed opportunity, but it may be available on the DVD.
- Adventureland – A coming of age tale in 1980. I don’t know what I liked about it, but in the end I enjoyed it.

- Drag Me To Hell – Welcome back Sam Raimi. Best ending of a movie in a while. For a further review Click here

- Avatar – Special effects: Great. Story: Good. I loved how evil the evil colonel could be. Sipping the coffee while blowing up the tree of life? Classic! The movie was beautiful to watch and I understand howit revolutionized how movies will be done in the future. I'm just not excited for all the Avatar-like movies. Kind of like how after The Matrix came out and every movie was like Diet Matrix for 2-3 years. I expect something similar until we're sick of super computer generated movies and blue creatures.

- Funny People – I liked it. It’s not funny; it’s more like the title is ironic. It should’ve been called “Sad, Depressed People”, but whatever. I enjoyed the non-funniness. I wrote more about why in this blog for those that care.

- Food, Inc – This smart, well done documentary should be seen by every American. It makes you question what you put in your body and how fucked up it is that we don’t really know. We don’t know where our food comes from, we just put it in our body and for a country that is obsessed with H1N1, and Flu Shots and germs, and then they go out and eat a chicken sandwich with no qualms is shocking. Like all documentaries, this movie does have an agenda, but I think this is a movie worth seeing.
- The Cove – More documentaries: I watched a bunch this year. This one is tough to watch, but the final image is really worth it. A powerful film about a messed up situation, luckily South Park can parody anything and they did a great parody of this.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Just more cool stuff on the internet

Once again there are some really creative people here. This blog has a buy take one frame of a film per second and put them all next to each other on poster. It has a pretty cool effect. It's funny that all movies seem to be bright in the middle. It must be some unconscious structure of all stories.

Take a look

Be sure to notice all movies.