Archive for August, 2007

Browsing instead of sleeping: The call of “Frisky Dingo”

August 31, 2007

killfaceI hate the nights when things weigh so heavily you just can’t sleep, and most of it when it comes down to it is exaggeration in the heat of imagination.

So, what do you do? Finish writing that screenplay? Start that next book? Write in your blog? Or do you spend hours wandering around watching other people’s lives through their home videos and short films? We can see which one I’m choosing to do at the moment, only because I don’t want to focus on something that means something to me, I mean really means something to me…I am supposed to be sleeping after all.

And this next thing that I have to say is pretty imperative when it comes to things that I don’t necessarily live or die for, but the 10 minute, once a week cartoon on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim called “Frisky Dingo” is about the closest thing to ten minutes of tv perfection I have ever seen. All of the seasons first episodes can be found on youtube.com. But it was the first episode of the second season that recently took the jump from a clever send up of the fan boy geek world I grew up in with some of the most intricately designed characters I’ve ever seen, into a full blown commentary on just about everything.

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Ultimatums, Badness and Falling Stars: And, yes, in that order

August 29, 2007

After falling behind for a few weeks I finally finished my summer viewing slate. A double feature of “The Bourne Ultimatum”/“Superbad” and then a trip to the local cineplex to wet my fantasy appetite with “Stardust”.

bourne ultimatumIf only “The Bourne Ultimatum” meant as much as the level of film making suggested it did. We’re given Matt Damon as Jason Bourne again, only this time we lack the emotional core that made the second film that much more exciting. The cheapest trick is that they spend a large portion at the beginning of the film reminding you how great the second movie was. Remember, the girlfriend died? Yeah, that sucked, the first time we saw it. But by and large this film has very little to throttle the action forward other than Greengrass’ amazing direction and action scenes that make everything else that has come out this summer reek of shoddy craftsmanship. Not to say there isn’t a reason per se for Bourne to go hunting, it’s just that reason is little more than some vague exposition given up front that boils down to, “He just wants to remember who he is.” For the love of God give this man some answers, but you have to give us a reason to want to know as well. (more…)

In Anticipation for Fall Movies: My Checklist

August 27, 2007

exiledThe only way to tell in Los Angeles when the seasons are changing is when the Movie Preview issue of Entertainment Weekly hits your mailbox. It’s a promise by the studios that this is when you can expect to be entertained or provoked or let down.

In the world of film viewing it’s difficult to live without expectation. There’s always that moment when I first hear about a film or see a trailer that I become either for or against it. When for; I get a little jittery and excitable (to show my appreciation I used to throw my hands up in the air and hiss a “Yesssss”, well, I guess I still do sometimes.) When against; my companion and I either mock by faking migraines or making raspberry sounds with our thumbs dramatically pointing downward. A lot of times my expectations will change or I’ll be surprised. I can’t tell you how many raspberries I threw at the trailer for “Serenity” and I ultimately really liked it and sought out the series “Firefly” and really liked that. But there are also many disappointments. It’s really hard not to be sometimes. It’s really hard not to walk into a movie expecting something. Especially when dealing with a series of films, it’s incredibly difficult not to expect something. Thankfully there’s a large part of me that’s open to seeing almost anything, but something like “Live Free or Die Hard” better be good.

Looking over the list of fall films from last weeks Entertainment Weekly, and from the trailers that are already starting to crowd the screen before summer has finished there’s not a whole lot I’m really looking forward to, which is disappointing, so I’ll include ones I’m curious about and others that I’m staying as far away from as possible (as a quick note this is only a portion of the films being released, the rest all lie in the middle ground of film viewing for me):

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The Chill Factor: Best Trailer of The Fall to Come

August 25, 2007

Every year, or in the good years once every major film season, there can sometimes be the one preview that reminds me why I love the medium of film so much. Many times I can tell whose directing the film from the first several moments. I remember being stunned into silence by the visually splendorous trailers for “The Fifth Element” and “Dark City”. But it’s not always sci-fi, others have been Tom Twyker’s “The Princess and the Warrior”, which had me bleeding from the corneas, as did “Gladiator”, “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Amelie”. For me each of these films lived up to expectations. Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” and “The Cell”, sadly, did not.

It’s true that trailers are an art form unto themselves, which many studios just can’t get right. It’s a mix of visual inventiveness and music (sometimes silence), that builds and climaxes with a certain elegance and sensuality. To know when to cut and what not to show. It’s more than just a cliff notes for the movie, it is a movie unto itself, with mystery, wonder and energy. They can be so powerful sometimes they push me back in my chair and make my eyes water. If the director’s vision is big enough, all you need to show is a little. Even a trailer for a good comedy won’t give you everything (if it does, you’re usually in trouble.) Are there any trailers you can think of that really hit home and did the movie hold up or not?

This fall season (so far) has one such gem. It makes the film look to be magnificent, but a trailer is, in the final analysis, a trailer, and so feel it as a trailer, enjoy it as a trailer and love it as a trailer:

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“The Personal Ingmar Bergman: an Odyssey” or “It’s Okay to Question”

August 25, 2007

bergman at work

There’s been so much written about Bergman over the past month, it’s unfortunate that I was unable to finish this sooner, but all commentary on films and filmmakers is worthwhile in my eyes, no matter how timely the piece may or may not be.

Part 1

There’s a lot to this, to understand the impact of Ingmar Bergman in my life you first have to understand my life a little bit. My Father was and still is to this day a minister, and my Mother a minister’s wife. And similar to most biblical stories a lot of turmoil followed them and likewise my sister and I as we lugged around the United States looking for a Church that was without inner conflict; hypocrisy and backstabbing. I remember the stories of the apostles as they traveled across the land trying to bring people together with wisdom and love, trying to upend them out of their ways that were there more for convenience of memory than an actual desire to worship. My parents tried to do this by removing the hymnals and using bands, doing staged productions for the Church (both the poor man’s versions of much larger churches). My Father was trying to reach out to a younger generation of kids. He even went so far as to bring in movie clips. But like the congregation and the apostles, my Father was hardly perfect. Perhaps the man who takes upon them the mantle of not only a religious follower, but leader, succumbs to their own worst impulses when they realize they can’t live up to their own expectations. I don’t know. Thankfully his worst impulses pale in comparison to the leadership in the Old Testament, and he’s since outgrown many of them.

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NEWS FLASH; Sean Penn Cracks Joke!

August 18, 2007

sean penn pouts

Not only was it a joke, but it was almost self-deprecating. In the most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly next to a blurb about his forthcoming movie “Into the Wild” Penn was interviewed, and asked a question I’d wondered myself:

EW: You’ve never acted in the films you’ve directed. Why is that?

Penn: I never made the candy I ate, either. If I have a choice of eating it, or making it, [laughs] I’m going to eat it. I mean, I’ve done pretty much every job there is to do on movies. The actor’s job’s the toughest, but the director’s job is the most rewarding.

Okay, so maybe it’s not that funny. But he did laugh!

I like Mr. Penn. so I’ll give him a piece of advice, next time you use this line say, “I never eat the candy I make either.” That makes more sense and is funny.

I do look forward to this film though. I’ve really liked his movies.


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