Tag Archives: review

The Lorax and Metropolis

The Lorax and Metropolis

John Carter and Casa de mi Padre

These are the four films I haven’t reviewed yet. Maybe it was seeing all four in close succession, but I started thinking about how those films are all tied together. For a moment, I had it figured out.

In my head the films paired together in an interesting way, but now that I think about it it’s hard for me to pair all four films like that. The Lorax and Metropolis still share that thread I saw, but I had a thought for how to compare John Carter and Casa de mi Padre, and it has escaped me.

You might say, “Well obviously John Carter is supposed to go with Metropolis. Both are science fiction, and they originate from more comparable eras. They’re both pretty epic.” That’s true, and I would say they probably fit together well enough to pair them up. But that’s not as interesting to me as tying Metropolis with The Lorax. What stuck out to me watching the restored cut of Metropolis is the same thing that stuck out when I saw The Lorax. To me, that’s so interesting that I even came up with a way to compare John Carter with Casa de mi Padre. If only I could remember what that comparison was…

Maybe it’ll come to me, so instead I’ll start with The Lorax and Metropolis.

Once-ler holds The Lorax
That's right, both at the same time.

Continue reading The Lorax and Metropolis

It’s not you, it’s me

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Writing this one from my phone ‘cuz the god damn Internet had been down for like 3 days here at the Starbucks. Nobody knows how to restart a router? Gotta wait for AT&T to come fix it? You’re losing customers this way, idiots.

Anyway, what shall I talk about.

I kinda blew it yesterday. No Internet here plus no motivation to do anything kinda messed me up. I did do some work on a radio show, so that’s something, but it’s no where near finished. I need to bring up production on those things.

I also get the feeling I should stop watching tv… Now that most of my day is devoted to shit not around a TV, when I get home I just wanna watch TV. But I only have like 2 hours before I just crash, plus I have to share the TV, and the people I share with don’t always want to watch what I watch. Basically that means I end up watching Perry Mason when I get home from work. Don’t get me wrong, I like Perry Mason, but is that what I want to be watching? I’ve got a DVR full of shit I’d rather watch, but I’d have to be antisocial to do it.

If I cut that out, maybe that’d be the way to go. Maybe.

I have enough stuff to watch even without having TV. Speaking of…

I’ve seen 2 movies and I haven’t reviewed either of them. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be! So, briefly, here’s my critique of one of them. I’ll get to the other one another day, hopefully when the Internet is working.

Trash and Progress by Abe Dickman

Instagram Photo

So, as I said before, I worked on this movie. I actually did the production sound for a very pivotal day’s worth of shooting. And, either they looped it really good, or I was able to record some good sound up there on that hill. Just because I was there, I’m going to assume it was looped really well, but I at least gave them some good guide tracks to go by.

First the good: the movie looked good, sounded good, had good effects, good music, good production design. Considering a student made this on their spare time with their own money, all there is to say is Bravo.

But then come the faults. This movie felt long. Really long. And I don’t think it was very long. The writing was kind of bad, but maybe that’s not fair. Maybe the problem really lay in the acting/pacing. I didn’t care about any of these characters. There’s this girl that was naked on a space ship with some dude, but then the ship crashes and the guy dies, but so what? There’s nothing about this girl that makes me want to hear her story. And then she’s there for the rest of the movie, but she does nothing at all. Is she the main character? Why does it start and end with her? Why was there a shot of her holding her belly? Is she pregnant or something? By the dead husband from the space ship? What does any of that have to do with the rest of the movie?

Speaking of pregnant, in the middle of the movie there’s this scene of this adult kid and his parents, and the mom has like performed a coat hanger abortion on herself, and then the dad has subsequently beat her because of it–all off camera, thankfully–but why was that there? What is he trying to say about society there? Another problem was the dad and the mom looked around the same age as the kid.

Speaking of casting, everyone in this movie was probably too young to bring any weight to this story. It ends up feeling like a high school play.

There was a half good idea at least, band of rebels…should I say spoiler alert? Nobody is going to see this movie unless they make in some festivals. But if you’re a festival goer, maybe skip this paragraph. They rebel against this chancellor or governor or general or something, but at the end it turns out the scary dictator is actually a computer enforcing a subconscious democracy. So they’re all really rebelling against the little bit of themselves in the larger majority. Not a terrible idea for a macguffin. But it comes down to the problem where I just don’t care.

One more thing, there’s some weird choices for effect shots in this movie. For instance, there’s a long shot of a 50s style radio that I’m 99% sure was computer generated. Why? Couldn’t find a radio that was satisfactory? Couldn’t get that camera move on your own? And the big computer at the end looked 2 dimensional.

But still, I can’t really pick on the look of this movie. It’s good.

I hope it leads to other projects for the guy, ’cause there’s clearly some talent there, but I hope he gives up trying to write his own stuff. And he should get a casting director that knows more than 8 people.

If I were like a classical Hollywood executive, and I saw this movie, I’d probably be upset. I’d say probably advise to focus more on the scientist and the lesbian bounty hunter out for revenge. Cut the bit with the abortion, and the whole religious crazy guy. Shift the importance of certain characters. Never mind if the reporter/writer/outworlder is pregnant, because nobody cares what she thinks anyway. If she’s there to tell the story, she needs to be a part of the story.

That’s my 2 cents anyway. If you have the chance to see it, I’d still say see it, ’cause its visually pretty good, and it is kind of inspiring to know that such work is possible from a first-timer. It’s a reminder of what you can do…

So why am I not doing it? This movie kind of shows why. I would not allow myself to make those mistakes, at the expense of not doing anything at all. I wouldn’t get past the writing stage of a movie like this, because I’d ask all these questions before I even put anything on paper. It would fall apart and go nowhere. So I have to applaud Abe for getting past that stage and just diving in to make a feature.

So that’s all for now.

Stand, stand, stand.

As I expected, the accelerometer inside the iPhone is probably not sensitive enough to accurately track anyone’s sleep patterns. But still, it’s fun to think about.

Interestingly, the app I had been using to track my sleep before this weekend was made by my friend Tom’s major competitor. The one that he suspects is sabotaging his rating and rankings in the App store. Whoops.

I don’t really feel that guilty. After all, I wouldn’t have the app if he hadn’t have told me to download it in the first place. Hell, I wouldn’t even know such an app exists. Anyway, I’m loyal enough to stop using the old app, and I asked Tom which app to try instead. He suggested this one: Sleep Cycle. Now, is this app any better than the other one, which I wont name? Probably not. Does either app truly do anything? Possibly not.

But what the hell, I need to wake up.

Anyway, here’s my chart for last night.

Sleep Report 2/20-21/2012
Hmm.

I suspect I’ll only be using this app as long as it takes Tom to make his own sleep app, which is next on his plate.

Speaking of Tom and his apps, Fitness Buddy was featured on Gizmodo this weekend. Since I was responsible for most of the photography and video in that app, I feel like it’s worth plugging here. I do find it ironic that I worked so hard making content for a fitness app–the Gizmodo headline is ‘Stop Being Fat and Get In Shape with Your Smartphone’–and yet I’m very much out of shape, and not even interested in using that app. Maybe I should change that…BUT NOT TODAY.

So, the Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance review posted yesterday. I also saw The Secret World Of Arrietty (not to be confused with The Borrower Arrietty, or Arrietty, or The Borrowers) last Friday. I specify the version I saw was the Disney produced American localization, as opposed to the original Japanese or the UK/Australian version. I think it would be interesting to see all three, and maybe someday I will. But for now, I’ve only seen one. Sometime this week, I hope to review it. In short, though, it is a wonderful example of artistry. Even with the American voices, it’s worth seeing on as large a screen as you can. If you have the opportunity, go check it out.

The other thing that is imminent is a new Radio EdSoft Film. Or two. We’ll see. Just gotta finish recording/mixing in the back announces.

Have Some Faith In Magic

One of my favorite webcomics is Questionable Content, which I’m still surprised I even like at all (but I’ll get to that another day). I first started reading reading it at the end what I guess was 2004 (holy crap) and Jeph Jacques had posted his year end best albums review. Jeph Jacques is a very different person from me, but there is apparently a small overlap in our vastly separate repertoires. Back then, he recommended The Go! Team’s Thunder, Lightning, Strike, by saying ‘Imagine if Fatboy Slim and the RZA got together to record a soundtrack for a 70’s cop show directed by Quentin Tarantino, and you’d get something remarkably similar to the funky, hip-hop-inflected party music that this British band puts out.’ I don’t know about you, but I’d watch that show. And so, I bought that album. And I’ve been a The Go! Team aficionado ever since.

But since 2004, Jacques has been all dub step and metal and god knows what…So I thought maybe The Go! Team was a fluke. Then he mentions something called post-rock. I’m not an expert on modern music, I couldn’t tell you what post-rock is, but something inside me said ‘eh, wtf, go for it.’ And I did.

Have A Little Faith In Magic by Errors.

Now, like I said, I don’t know what post-rock or post-electric or Mogwai is (something about gremlins?), so I can’t rightly place this music in a genre. However, I am a large fan of nostalgia. Probably half (if not more) of my music collection found its way in there because it reminded me of better times. Jacques said it sounded like a rock band making a video game soundtrack, and that alone would probably get my attention. Video games are very nostalgic on their own. I listened to it, and it did make me nostalgic, just not for video games.

When I think video game rock, I think of chip tunes, 8bit emulations or imitations of what video game music was back then. Groups like Anamanaguchi, or YMCK. But they sound new. I like them because they sound new, while reminding me of music that’s nostalgic. But this Errors record is different.

The nostalgia it brought up in me was more in line with music from the 80s. There was a sound then that has mostly disappeared from my perspective (at least until now). I’m talking about music like Tears For Fears, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Vangelis, and Dire Straits, to name a few. Maybe I’m describing what post-rock or post-electric is, but that’s not what interests me. What interests me are these new albums coming out that come pre-baked with nostalgia. This album feels like a record I used to listen to all the time, but has lay dormant and forgotten for 20 years. It’s stunning.

Another album that hits this tone is the soundtrack for Drive. Have Some Faith In Magic is good enough to make me want to revisit that soundtrack to see how it stacks up. Is it new music, new old music, or new music that feels old. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to distinguish it, but it’s worth angry.

Another reason I like this album is because it’s very interesting without the need for lyrics. I love my instrumentals. Music can be so good when there aren’t words to cloud your judgement. This album may contain some lyrics, but they’re so chorale and distorted that I can’t tell. Which is just the way I like it.

And that’s my review. I’d like some feedback on it, specifically, did you get anything out of it? Should I include some arbitrary scale or points system or thumbs up/down or 4 or 5 stars? Are the words enough on their own? Should I say anything more, do more research, or is this anecdotal account enough?

Now it’s 9 o’clock and I find myself…tired. Gonna go to bed and do it again tomorrow, though.

Tomorrow’s potential topics: My first day at work, dread, Great American BBQ, House and/or Alcatraz, Berkeley West Edge Opera