Monday, July 30, 2007

Okay, Blockbuster, Who do you think you're kidding?

I went to Blockbuster tonight, obviously to rent a movie. I walked the perimeter of that store looking, no searching, for anything remotely watchable. Now, I'll admit I've probably already seen most of what's good out there currently, but there was a time when I could always find something to bring home. And what's worse is, now they are trying to fool us into renting shitty B movies by dressing them up to look like the big budget films everyone wants to see. Not following? Here is an example...

Yeah. The one on the Left is "Nomad". Could this be any more of a blatant rip-off off the cover art of "300". And the worst part of it all is, the whole row of "Nomad" was rented out! Who the hell is renting this garbage. And the production companies are blatant about this shit. They're not even going to piss on your leg and tell you it's raining- they're just pissing all over you.

Still not getting it? Here's another...

"Transmorphers"... that's just embarrasing. And, do you know what... as a teenager I worked at just about every video store in Northeast Philadelphia and, people are dense enough to actually not realize that this movie ("Transmorphers") is not the one they see advertised in theaters right now ("Transformers").

And just for good measure, here's another...

That's right, the one on the left is "Snakes on a Train", not a Plane. Although, in fairness, "Snakes on a Plane" is a right piece of shit on it's own. But the former is much worse... it is imitation shit. And if you were wondering, This impostor film was all rented out as well.

What are people watching these days.

So, after wasting 25 minutes walking around finding nothing to rent, I left.

I ended up sitting on my couch, bitching in my blog, watching the newest episode of "Hogan Knows Best".

Now, that's what I call time well spent, brother.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Podcasts... not just for fanboys anymore.

When I first heard about the "podcast" phenomenon, I didn't think much of it.

Then, when I finally broke down and officially joined the "iPod generation", my eyes were opened to the seemingly infinite and diverse world of podcasting.

Literally, you can find a podcast about any topic that interests you. Somewhere in this world, there is some sad bastard who shares your obsession with a cancelled TV show, or some crummy B actress, and not only are they obsessed, but they are willing to produce a pseudo-radio show about that topic.

Thankfully, I have pretty much only one real passion- Movies. So here, then, are 4 Podcasts that have made my weekly download and listen list.

1.) Filmspotting- This is the podcast for film snobs. Most of the films reviewed here are leaning toward arty/independent sensibilities. Once you get past their being film snobs, the hosts Sam and Adam, are actually really intelligent and worthwhile critics. ( or search iTunes for Filmspotting)

2.)Film Junk- If Filmspotting is the podcast for snobs, Film Junk is the one for fanboys. This one is actually the one I have the most fun listening to. It's three guys from Canada who discuss all kinds of movies, including at least one timely review, as well as movie news, film trailers and everythng else related to the film industry. It's a fun hour, and after a while the three hosts start to sound like friends of yours because of how informal the show is. Good times. ( or search iTunes for FilmJunk)

3.) Creative Screenwriting- This one is for screenwriters only. Host Jeff Goldsmith, editor of creative screenwriting magazine, hosts a Q & A with screenwriters, filmmakers and the like. Sometimes it can get a little tedious, but when the interviews are good, there is a lot of great advice to be had from writers in the industry. One little note- Goldsmith always makes sure to have the writers tell how they got their break into the business, a nice touch for those of us still aspiring on the outside. (iTunes search: Creative Screenwriting)

4.) Scene Unseen- This one is a straight up movie review podcast,with one twist. As the title would suggest, one of the reviewers sees the movie and the other does not. Sounds kind of dumb, right? Well, it's actually interesting to see how the reviews pan out, because the unseen host bases his input on the buzz and marketing of a film and the seen host obviously bases his on seeing the film itself. This one also benefits from a rather casual feel to it. The hosts play off of each other well, and its always an entertaining show. (iTunes search: Scene Unseen)

Well, that's my 2 cents about podcasts. Anymore I find that I can't just listen to the radio anymore. iTunes has made it possible for me to be my own radio station manager, and the best part is- no commercials.

Seriously, podcasts are worth checking out, and can be very informative and entertaining.

And for anyone interested, my own "Saved by the bell" Podcast, "Live from the Max", will be available starting next week on iTunes.

Jesus Christ, I hope you know that I'm kidding.

No Spoiler Review of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"

I won't go into any detail about this final entry into the Harry Potter saga, other than to say I think this was the best book in the series, and it will become the finest film in the series. Here's hoping they choose a terrific director for the Deathly Hallows movie.

Cheers to J.K. Rowling...... the first Billionaire (with a "B") author ever. I'm sure she is not given her due in the literary world, but at least she can dry her tears on thousand dollar bills. And in case your wondering, she wipes her ass with hundreds.

Friday, July 27, 2007

DVD Review "The Host"

Let me start by saying this- If you have absolutely no experience with asian films in general, bear in mind that their style of acting is, for the most part, somewhat more detached from reality than the acting in American films. Slightly... hammy is how I want to put it.
Now... on to the film.
"The Host" is a monster movie. Like the many "Godzilla" films from years before, a large monster of fairly unknown origin wreaks havoc on a Korean city- People scream, panic ensues, etc etc etc....
The interesting aspect of this film is it's strong emphasis on family. The story revolves around a father whose daughter has been taken by the monster in question. This even leads to his family, who barely get along, getting together and working toward a common goal- the missing girl, Hyun-seo. This family dynamic is almost as important to this film as the monster itself.
The monster in this film was a freak mutation, brought into being by a careless American doctor on an Army base. I mention this because the film does indeed have a slight tinge of anti-American, more accurately anti-government sentiment. Basically, the government uses the crisis caused by the monster against it's oen people. However, that is a discussion for a different blog post, sure to be coming soon.
All in all, this film was vary fun. In fact it's the most fun I've had watching a popcorn munching monster movie since the first time I saw "Jurassic Park".
I should also mention that by today's standards of what constitutes a horror movie (i.e.- blood, guts, so-called "torture porn"), it was refreshing to watch a movie that did not revel in gore, and actually packed a few good frights that I wouldn't hesitate to watch with my neices and nephew.
My Rating- 3.5 out of 5
Okay, I understand how corny it is to post a picture of your cat on your blog. It's downright annoying. But, this is a very candid, personal and okay... cute picture of Lucky, so grin and bear it. You know you were already grinning anyway.

She has been with me the entire duration of my reading "Harry Potter and th Deathly Hallows", so I choose to think that in this picture she is dreaming of casting some kind of spell. Hopefully it is a spell to empty her overflowing litter box. I do not look forward to unearthing those little gems of concentrated poop.

"Wingardium Dookie-osa"

Update: That spell did not work.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ive been loosed of my cellular dependency... in short intervals...

My cell phone has been a bit sketchy lately. Actually, it's the battery that is dodgy... keeps dying quickly.
So, when I went out today to the coffee shop to do some work, my phone just shut itself off.
At first I was annoyed, but after two hours of uninterrupted time to myself I realized that this had been the first time in I don't know how long that I was completely off of the radar. Not a single text message, voicemail, phone call or email to be had! I have to admit, it was a completely happy accident.
Now, I don't recommend everyone go cold turkey and just chuck their cell phones. However, the next time you need to focus, or read, or just be to yourself - shut off that cell phone. I tell you... it was awesome and I'll be detaching myself from the teat of verizon wireless quite often from here on out.
Oh, I gotta go...I just got a hilarious picture message.

Justification for a favorite film...

The other day a buddy of mine and I are talking about what some of our favorite movies are. Of course some of my pantheonic titles came up- "The Third Man", "Citizen Kane", "The Maltese Falcon"- you know, what you would expect any self respecting film school graduate to say. And, all of these titles are definitely in my top 10, but there is also another aspect to the question of what a favorite film is. Does it make you smile when you see it? Sure. Do you look forward to watching it? Of course. Do you seem to find new gems within it on each viewing? I would say so.
So, it came to me that some films that I love satisfy all of these requirements, yet they aren't in the forefront of my mind when deciding what to rattle off as my favorites. As much as I hate to admit it, this is due mainly to snobbery. Not so much on my part, but on the part of people who ask the question. If I admit, freely, that, say... "Dumb and Dumber" graces the tray of my dvd player much more often than my copy of "The Bicycle Thieves", will I be judged immediately as a dullard? Probably not. But it definitely may give a skewed idea of my cinematic sensibilities.
Well, in the interest of full disclosure, this film geek is gonna list some of his favorites that may not make that public listing of my favorites, for fear of being shunned by the film snobs that I encounter.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorites....
Christmas Vacation, Jingle all the way, The Santa Clause, Home Alone (I Love Christmas Movies), Saved by the bell(Seasons 1-5), Saved by the bell: The College Years, Saved by the bell: The new Class(Seasons 1-7, yeah, you heard right), Just about any horror movie you put me in front of, Dawson's Creek, Wayne's World 1 & 2, most disney movies (The only pixar i liked was "Monsters, Inc."), The 6th Day, Most John Carpenter films, Home Improvement, Full House... and many, many more.

As I look back at this list, I see I have a serious affinity for the tv shows of my childhood. What can I say, Screech, Uncle Jessie and Dawson are my boys.

Mainly, the idea of this blog was to point out that we all have guilty pleasures. Even the most snobby of the snobs has their hidden shame. I say, wear it on your sleeve! There's plenty of room for art films, horror films, dumb comedies, and everything else.

Well, that's that. Just wanted to put that out there. I'll probably add to it... or not.

And now I'm off to catch a festival of Fellini's films in some art house somewhere (Read: I'm going to see "Transformers". Shhhh.)