Tag Archives: movies

checking back in

Oh wow, they made my movie! …Well, almost.


Seven long years ago, I wrote about how fascinating it would be if a fictional film were recorded with a twenty (actual) year gap from beginning to end. Apparently, I wasn’t the first one to come up with this idea (of course, because there is no way to be original anymore). The film Boyhood was made over a twelve-year span, which is still pretty impressive…even if the protagonist didn’t lose an arm. Now that’s dedication to one’s craft.

fedex-failIn another case of inane ramblings becoming reality, the late Mitch Hedberg’s joke about FedEx drivers dealing drugs was funny at the time, but the U.S. government isn’t laughing anymore. They’re going after FedEx for their part in distributing drugs from illegal online pharmacies, which is about as silly as Mitch’s original joke. To recall a line from my youth, “Don’t hate the playa – hate the game.”


(almost) full moon

So I took a picture of the moon a while back (just before it was completely full), and thought it was pretty neat looking. It wasn’t neat enough to include in the nature gallery, so I figured I’d put it here and then come up with an accompanying post that mentioned the moon.

I never bothered coming up with anything to say about the moon. So this was going to be the accompanying post.

But sometimes stream-of-consciousness writing can direct the mind, and then I remembered that I really enjoyed the movie Moon. It’s an obscure, atypical sci-fi picture starring Sam Rockwell and the voice of Kevin Spacey. The film is well directed and acted, and it ran the gamut from humorous to thought-provoking to suspenseful to melancholic. It’s probably not for everyone though, and some might find its pacing tedious.

But if you were alone on the moon, a little tedium would be expected. Just look at that thing. It makes me wonder how different it will be when all the thriving moon colonies are in full-swing within the next five years.

65 million years and this is the best we can do?

t-rex render, from flicker
tyrannosaur render, from flicker

Kotaku wants a dinosaur game. I don’t blame them; we need a good one.

Jurassic Park brought dinosaurs mainstream, and as a child I could appreciate the influx of realistic, lifelike dinosaur toys it brought to the market. Before Jurassic Park, dinosaur toys were bulky, cartoony approximations that had no paleontological authenticity; they did little to spur the imagination. Similarly, Jurassic Park ushered in an era of dinosaurs in video games, but most of those were pretty terrible (as Kotaku asserted).  They fail to mention a couple of dinosaur games I would have, including Dino Crisis (I’m currently playing Dino Crisis 2 on the Vita, and it’s okay), Jurassic Park II: The Chaos Continues on SNES (one of the most difficult games I’ve ever played in my life), Dinosaur Safari on PC (a modern remake of this would be excellent), and Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis (a decent-enough park building sim). There was also Turok, a series that was never as good as it could have been (although I loved me some Turok 2 back in the day). There are some good games here, but not great ones. What we need is an open-world dinosaur adventure game; one that doesn’t suck.

For the same reason man enjoys hiking and trekking into the wilderness, exploring the unknown and experiencing breathtaking and unusual sights, man has created the idea of open-world video games. These offer a semblance of wonder and empowerment, to a far lesser degree than reality. But if the “highs” are less “high,” the “lows” of experiencing these worlds virtually are also less “low.” One need not be concerned for his physical safety, even if he can suspend disbelief and wrap himself into the game world. He also need not worry about baser needs, as these games rarely see the player seeking shelter or relieving himself of waste or needing to eat.

And another benefit is that we can make game worlds that contain dinosaurs. And lots of them. And you can hunt them or flee from them or be them, or anything imaginable. And it can be fun.

Jurassic Park IV is slated to be released in June of 2014, despite having no cast or director. I have guarded anticipation. Even if Spielberg is involved in a large capacity, it could be as ridiculous as the last Indiana Jones movie. And there were rumors of JP4 involving man-dino hybrids, which could do battle for one of the worst film concepts (and likely executions) of all time. But with a new Jurassic Park means we may see a good new dinosaur game, and that’s enough for me.

nothing inappropriate here

One of the perks of living in a small town is that the local theater only shows special family-friendly versions of those sleazy Hollywood films. Or perhaps they actually don’t, but the local paper accidentally prints a “PG” where an “R” should be, some unsuspecting parents take their little ones, and hilarity ensues.

While on the topic of Django, watch Samuel L. Jackson give this guy a hard time about not using the full extent of the “n” word during an interview…and tell me that wouldn’t be one of the most awkward, terrifying moments of your life… (nsfw):
Continue reading nothing inappropriate here

that sasquatch sound

The best moments in film are those that can forever be called to mind. There may be no fathomable reason for such remembrances, and some films containing such moments are wholly unworthy of persistence in mind. Whatever the case, the 2002 film “Sasquatch” accomplished this feat at least once. Amiable outdoorsman Clayton Tyne produces an unearthly sound that, if one did not know better, could have reverberated from the vocal cords of the fabled Bigfoot himself.

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Part laughter, part disgust, part hairball, and a touch of whooping cough…that’s my best explanation for it. Be sure to listen to it again.

trapped in the room

http://blog.rifftrax.com/When I watch “the worst movie ever,” I expect to be entertained by how bad it is, and not just bored or frustrated. Having heard that “The Room” is “the best worst movie ever made,” it seemed worth a try as something fun. Let’s go over the checklist and see how it succeeded and failed:

  • Comical acting…check. This was pretty consistent throughout, and not many points can be docked here.
  • Memorably poor lines of dialogue…check. “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!” I have to admit, I was hanging on Johnny’s every word. The accent didn’t hurt, either.
  • Awkward sex scenes…check. This is a failure, not a success. If I wanted to watch two naked hogs rolling about, I’d drive past the farm down the road. You know how it goes.
  • Unrelated plot lines thrown in for good measure…check. There’s a scene that advocates the avoidance of drugs and seemingly has no relevance to the main story whatsoever. But it’s tense and emotional – or it could have been, if any of the actors had been capable of conveying emotion.
  • Less than three different sets…check. The viewer would just get overwhelmed if the characters went to too many different locations anyway.
  • Repetition, repetition, repetition…check. It’s difficult to fill an hour and a half, so a good device to employ is the reintroduction of an ancillary character to have the same discussion over, and over, and over again. She doesn’t love him, old woman – get over it.

There’s other stuff I could put up there, but I’m tired of doing lists. There’s no point in reviewing the traditional love triangle plot. Let me just say, the first five to ten minutes (minus the awkward sex scene) are pretty unintentionally hilarious, and worth watching. The rest of the movie…not so much. If it had turned into one of the numerous ridiculous horror movies out there, with less of a strained effort on “story” and more focus on stupid violence, it might have succeeded (see: “The Midnight Meat Train”). As it stands, “The Room” felt painfully long and did not make me feel like it was worth my time to sit through this failed experiment; it is just another suckfest, and nothing exceptional.

Better luck on the sequel, Tommy Wiseau.

cylinders and cubes, oh my

It’s like something out of that twilighty show about that zone!

homer simpson

I used my Independence Day to learn about a region both simultaneously American and foreign – the Twilight Zone. And I learned that a movie I thoroughly enjoyed, “Cube,” was based on an episode of the Twilight Zone. The episode is known as “Five Characters in Search of An Exit,” and it first aired in 1961. That may not be the most poignant of titles, but it should already let those familiar with “Cube” know how similar the two premises are. In the show, a clown, hobo, ballerina, bagpiper, and Army Major all awaken in a giant cylinder with no knowledge of who they were or how they got there. This odd menagerie of characters is a bit more entertaining than the group assembled in “Cube,” but the character development isn’t nearly as deep (which should not be surprising given the 30-minute nature of the show).

http://www.amazon.com/Five-Characters-Search-Exit/dp/B000I16X48The people spend some time discussing how they might have gotten there, and they try to find a way out, to no avail. Unlike the movie, there is only one cylinder and they cannot move from one room to another. Periodically, there’s a giant bell ringing. Eventually, the prisoners form a giant human chain/ladder (this is used in the movie as well) to try to reach the top of the cylinder. They also create a rope from clothes, and the soldier uses it as a grappling hook.

Spoilers: the ending provides much more closure than the movie does. When the soldier reaches the top of the cylinder, he falls over the edge and into snow, going lifeless. The camera pans out and the big twist is revealed: that the people were all dolls in a bin during a toy drive for Christmas. They remain inanimate at that point. Say what you will, but that was a pretty good explanation. Still, there’s something more to like about the different twists employed by the film, and the fact that its ending leaves much more to the imagination. The deadly traps in various cubes don’t hurt its appeal either.

I suppose the take-home point is that all art begins with a good idea, and that it’s far easier to base that idea off of something you’ve seen or read or heard before, rather than creating it from scratch. Both the original and the derivative may both be worthwhile, as long as they’re just different enough to provoke distinct thoughts or emotions.

democratic party liaison

harold & kumar go to whitecastleThe Internet is abuzz with Kumar’s restlessness, so I’ll give my take. First off, what would be a natural job move for someone whose resume includes acting in such films as “Van Wilder,” “Malibu’s Most Wanted,” “Epic Movie,” and “Harold & Kumar”? If you guessed an appointment to Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Liaison, you’d be correct. For those who haven’t heard, apparently the Obama administration sees potential in 32 year old actor Kal Penn; hopefully it’s a side not evident in his big screen performances. I have no idea what the duties of such a position might be, but knowing that our taxes will be paying his salary from now on is truly comforting.

Hey, Reagen can become President, Arnold can become governor…surely Kumar can fill such a fictitious office position adequately…right? I don’t think the nation really has anything to worry about, but it’s still pretty ridiculous. Interestingly, someone I know had the “pleasure” of personally meeting Mr. Penn and the general impression was that he came off rather rude. Perhaps the Public Liaison position doesn’t require good people skills?

On the other hand, we definitely should worry if the other Mr. Penn is given a job in politics.

Lastly, to free himself up to take the new position, Kal’s character was killed off of the show “House” (which I don’t watch). I don’t really care, but Pete Yorn‘s song “Lose You” (one of his finest) was played during that portion of the episode. Kind of a nice way to go out; you can see the clip here, if it remains available.