Friday, June 13, 2008

Film Quote Fridays #4

For Film Quote Fridays, I couldn't resist posting this one. If you have about 10 minutes to spare, it's absolutely worth it and positively brilliant. I wonder how many days it took to make. 100?

Answer to last week's quote: "Office Space"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"The Happening"

At first glance, the PR move for Shyamalan's new movie, "The Happening", struck me as a weak way to anticipate a Shyamalan flick. With TV spots constantly billing this as "his first R rated movie", I didn't think that movies of his caliber needed this type of cheap and easy marketing. But then I saw this clip and now I'm hooked.

I like to think that more often than not, that I'm immune to marketing gimmicks. But this clip was interesting enough to get me to plunk down $10 to see it this weekend. I guess the marketing team hooked me - this time. ;)

NOTE: if you think an R rating is nothing special, just watch the last "Rambo" movie. The editors submitted their cut to the MPAA sure that it was going to come back with an NC-17 rating. Much to their surprise, it came back with an R. One of the most gruesome bloodbath flicks I've seen in a long while.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Biggest and The Baddest

When embarking on any project, whether it's starting a new company, your new blog entry or running for office - it's natural to become obsessed with the acceptance of others. Don't worry about being the first or the best, the biggest or the baddest. Just worry about doing your best. Being the best is not for you to decide - that's the people's job.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Freeze Frame Ending

Not everybody can pull off the freeze-frame ending. Not Paul Walker in "Running Scared", not John Philbin and Nia Peeples in "North Shore" either. And certainly not "The Tiny Hands" guys in last week' post. Come to think of it, I believe the only freeze-frame ending that ever nailed it was "Rocky" - thank goodness. Not to mention, it's a pretty out-dated way to end a flick, so I doubt that we'll see any new attempts any time soon. Maybe we should keep it that way. Yuck.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Two Sides to Every Story

One thing that I admire most about filmmaker/docudramatist Morgan Spurlock is that he tries to convey both sides to his stories. Yes, it's easy to poke fun at McDonald's and it's even easier to look down on the government for its lack of alternative to fossil fuels, but chances are, that you're looking at it from an outsider's perspective.

To make a valid argument, you'll need to understand both sides to an issue. And although he clearly has a point to prove in all of his works (corporate carelessness and consumer ignorance in Supersize Me, the lack of government efforts towards a cleaner, safer and preserved environment as a coal miner in 30 Days) he also makes sincere efforts to understand the opposition's viewpoint by immersing himself inside the issue rather than above it.

Until you put yourself in someone else's shoes, you'll never fully understand why things are the way they are. Even if it is just for 30 Days. That's 30 days more than you and I have put in.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Film Quote Fridays #3

"Good evening Sir, my name is Steve. I come from a rough area. I used to be addicted to crack but now I am off it and trying to stay clean. That is why I am selling magazine subscriptions."

Answer to last week's quote: "North Shore"

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day AfternoonThis performance is why Al Pacino is great.

After years and years of hearing about it, I finally was able to watch the legendary "Dog Day Afternoon" starring Al Pacino. Don rented it on Netflix and I can now see why it was always mentioned whenever the classics would come up. I'll tell you this much - the movie had it all... a great story, A GREAT performance by Pacino, a great cast and my favorite...low-down, gritty RAWNESS!

Made in 1975, this movie has to be one of the most organic movies ever made. By that, I mean the setting, the realism, the improvisation, the dialogue, the performances and the directing was subtle, calm, smooth and hit like a sledgehammer!

The Story
Without giving away too much (in case you're the 1 person left on Earth who hasn't seen it. Oh wait...that was me.) the story is based on a real life incident about an unstable man who robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation. From the first five minutes of the movie, the realism sets in as it was perfectly portrayed by the actors and the authenticity of capturing the unfolding of life scenarios, interaction and mannerisms on film. Don and I both agree that this has to be the best bank heist movie ever made.

The Performances
From Charles Durning's portrayal of Detective Moretti to Pacino's unstable Sonny Wortzik, the authenticity of interaction between the cast is captured beautifully and most of all, honestly. Pacino carried the weight of the film on his shoulders and pulled it off from beginning to end - which is no easy feat considering that the entire movie relies upon the layers of struggle that Pacino's character must convey not only consistently - but constantly - always worried, always thoughtful while sprinkling it all with bits of satisfaction here and there.

The Direction
This is the first Sidney Lumet movie I've ever seen. And he gave me a treat from the first establishing shots to the last minutes of the movie. His style was patient, calm and was able to make me feel as if I was experiencing the same anxiety both from the hostages AND from Pacino's character. His sense of establishing a realism and authentic, organic vibe in the film was the best I've ever seen from a major studio movie. I was blown away.

If you haven't already seen it, cheat yourself no longer and make it a point to see it. My brain is crammed with movies from throughout the years and I thought I'd seen it all. Then I saw Dog Day Afternoon.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Top 10 Teen Angst Mainstream Films

Again, as it stands with any other of my lists, ask me on another day and I'll probably have a different list. But it is - my Top 10 Teen Angst Mainstream Movies:

10. Rebel Without a Cause
9. The Breakfast Club
8. Say Anything
7. Romeo and Juliet (The Baz Luhrman Version)
6. Kids
5. Fast Times at Ridgemont High
4. Ferris Bueller's Day Off
3. The Outsiders
2. What's Eating Gilbert Grape
1. American Graffiti

Honorable mention: Thirteen

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The "Tiny Hands" Series

To know me is to make me laugh. The "Tiny Hands" series from Comedy Central's webisodes is pure genius. I mean, from it's low-budget generic production to the dry staleness and comedy of the slacker actors - it's the best a homemade video comedy series can get.

When Don and I stumbled across this last year, I swear - it took a good five minutes for us to stop laughing - which tells you a lot about our style of humor. Plus, David Cross is just the best. Man, I can't wait until we finally get around to making our first comedy.

You can catch the other webisodes here.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Finding the Vibe

Does anyone remember the very first season of American Idol and how the attraction of the show was based on the shock factor of Simon ripping singers to shreds during auditions and making them cry?

Or how about on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition when the first season focused on getting a house completed in just seven days along with the constant bickering amongst the design team rather than the designs?

Or how about on Scrubs when the first season was more of an early twenty-something angst black comedy show?

Well, fast-forward to today and now Idol Gives Back donating millions in charity while drawing in huge A-list talents like Brad Pitt and Mariah Carey while creating real talents like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson and others to go on to broadway and television.

Extreme Home Makeover just completed two seasons of their 50 State Tour Across America tour not only rebuilding people's homes, but also the lives of people who deserve it - all while focusing on the life-changing positivity and interactivity of the show and giving people a second chance on life.

Scrubs left the airwaves after perfecting its craft of quick-witted editing, stupid-funny jokes and comedic timing that we all know it for while newer shows like Psych and 30 Rock follow in its footsteps.

Sometimes, for a great idea to work, it just takes time.