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Archive for September, 2011

Review: “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”

September 30, 2011 1 comment

Director: Andrew Dominick

Starring: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, Mary Louise-Parker, Jeremy Renner

Year: 2007

Length: 160 min.

I can’t believe this movie has been off my radar for so long. For a while there, it was just that Western with an almost comically long title that everyone had been talking about, but that I never really paid much attention to. How wrong I was to do that, though. Along with the remakes of 3:10 to Yuma and True Grit, The Assassination of Jesse James has actually managed to lure me into the genre that I had never much paid much attention to. (Spoilers follow.) Read more…

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Trailer Roulette – Creepy situations, eternal youth, and Anna Faris has trouble finding a good man yet again

September 28, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ve had an exhausting few days at work and church, and I think I’m fighting off what may yet develop into a cold, so I figured I’d write something a bit more simple tonight.

First, though, I have a confession: As of right now, I’m a bit behind on what’s coming out this fall. It’s shameful, but you know, life obligations and all. It’s cool. I’ll get through it. But I figured I’d share the experience with you guys with a little activity I used to do all the time at the end of a long week of work and am now trying to revive. For the purposes of having a title, let’s call this “Trailer Roulette.”

Here’s how it will work. I’m going to browse the YouTube trailers page for random, upcoming films and work out with you guys whether these trailers look like they’re worthwhile. I used to do this using iTunes, but, frankly, iTunes is starting to hate my computer, and I’ve long been starting to hate it for hating my computer, so,while these trailers aren’t necessarily in as high quality as those, they work, load faster, and, best of all, they are shareable. Read more…

The Viewer’s Commentary: Coming Attractions

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Hello everyone! I just wanted to thank you all for this past week. I’ve been figuring out scheduling and, while still quite a bit shaky, I am of course going to keep the articles coming. I’ve got some big things planned, but haven’t had much time to do it all thanks to a birthday party, church, and work, but I figured, in the spirit of cinema, that I would give you all a set of previews for some upcoming attractions I have coming that I’m really excited about!

REVIEWS – I’ve seen a few films this past week that I’m eager to get reviews of. One of them still in theatres, one of them well into its senior years, and two that are just now starting to toddle around. … Okay enough with the age analogies. Want some hints as to what these movies are? Well, the first one involves an epidemic so epic, I can list at least 8 major actors by name who appear in the film and still not touch on the number of people involved. The oldest film I plan on reviewing is actually a recently released Blu-Ray involving a pachyderm who rises to the big top. Hint hint… As for the other two, one is a fictional account of the assassination of a legendary outlaw, and the other revolves around a couple determined to be together despite a cosmic, all knowing bureaucracy. Hope you like variety! I’ve also got reviews of the Blu-Ray editions of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi lined up – the discs are literally sitting in my living room waiting to be watched, and my eagerness to get to other movies is definitely going to motivate me to get those watched.

PIXAR IN REVUE – While this is primarily a prelude to a feature I’ve been planning to do since long before this site was even registered, I will be going through each of the major Pixar works, from the first shorts to Toy Story in 1995 to their recent and hopefully brief flirtation with pure commercialization in Cars 2, and then to infinity and beyond. All that will lead up to my most ambitious idea yet…

WALT DISNEY FEATURES: THE FEATURE – Similar to what I’m doing with Pixar, I will continue to express my love of animated films by going over each of the 51 Disney animated features and  take a look at some upcoming works and related works. This one will take me the longest to do, so it will likely become a weekly-at-least type of feature, while I try to not only review and opine on the films, but also hopefully provide some historical context for each of the films, pertaining to not only Disney, but animation and even the world. I plan on doing an overview of each film as a primer before setting out to look at each on an individual basis. This is going to be quite difficult, especially since I plan on continuing work on other films, too, but I’m up for the challenge and I’m really looking forward to tackling this the most!

HORROR FILM MONTH – As always, October is going to be the month I begin focusing on horror films. This year, I’m planning on getting in touch with some of the more famous horror films I’ve always managed to avoid (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween) while going over a few of my favorites, such as 28 Days Later, The Sixth Sense, Alien, and Psycho.

LISTS – Not so much a special thing I’m planning on doing as much as it is a regular feature I plan on doing, many of you may already know that I’m big on Top 10 lists, so expect me to fan the flames of discussion and discord while I make arbitrary lists of films and film-related things!

It’s about to get serious, and I appreciate both my friends and family who come here to support me as I indulge in my interests publicly and all of you who may possibly pass by this blog and find something worth your attention. I am but one man, but I do hope I can meet not just my own expectations, but yours too, and, again, I appreciate any support I get!

Thanks again everyone! I hope you are all as excited as I am!

Fifteen Minute Break Freewrites #1

September 23, 2011 Leave a comment

So, this is going to be a recurring feature to help me write in a shorter format within a shorter period of time. I am writing this, currently, on my last fifteen minute break of the day, Friday, 9/23/11, which you could tell if you looked at the date on this note.

Currently, there are many things on my mind regarding movies. Namely, I’ve been very behind in the recent goings on in theatrical releases. I cannot afford to go to the theatres very often, so most of the reviews on this site will be of films that are available on the home market. However, I am seeing Contagion tonight, which I am  really excited about.

As stated, however, I am very behind on recent movies that are out. The last movie I saw in theatres was Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and I was somewhat late to that. I was unable to catch Cowboys & Aliens in wide release, thanks to time and money just not allowing it, but I’ll be sure to review it once it releases on Blu-Ray for you guys!

I hope that you all (few of you, at this point, but hopefully my readership grows with my writing skills) are enjoying the site. It is my hope that these reviews will not just provide you with recommendations for movies, but also insights into the movie experience.

It is my belief that art speaks for the artist, and while film and its ilk (television, music) are highly collaborative efforts, they still provide a great deal of insight into our own and others’ cultures and the state of the human condition. Which is why I’m so adamant that, even if we do not agree with the filmmakers, we will be open to hearing from them through their craft, through which we can gain a lot of insight on those we may not agree with. “Know thy enemy” as the saying goes … only I hope you don’t think of these people as your enemies, but rather as an audience for your own viewpoints.

If you knew me in person, you’ll know that I’m personally pretty conservative with my values. I am a Christian, and I was raised in a heavily Republican household. Though I do not declare myself as a Republican now that I’m an adult, I do hold much of the same values I did when I was raised as one, with a few caveats. If I had to place any label on my beliefs, it would be some form of Libertarian — at least socially. I do not believe that we can preserve our own rights if we are not providing for the protection of the rights of others. I do not believe we have a right to restrict worldviews  that we may not agree with, provided the actions do not inflict malicious harm on others. I know this might seem vague, as it does to me at times, but, then again, sometimes we just have to call the shots as the targets come at us, I guess.

How does this relate to film, then? I am a strong proponent of non-censorship. To me, art is a testimonial on the part of the artist(s), and I do not believe that, especially as a Christian, I have a right to censor that testimonial. It may be wrong, but it’s also the person’s true story, and we should be able to speak to that without hiding it because we are somehow offended.

And now it looks as though I have to clock back in. Tune in to Fifteen Minute Break Freewrites again, wherein I’ll talk about… whatever is on my mind at the time!

Thank you!

Categories: Freewrite

Special Review: “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” (Blu-Ray Edition)

September 23, 2011 3 comments

Han shot first!

Last week should’ve been a special week for geeks across the world. Star Wars, both the original and the prequel trilogies, was released on Blu-Ray. The announcement, made almost a year before the actual release, made the wait unbearable. And yet, the promise of a brand new, high definition restoration of the films was cast into shadow — the dreadful sense within every fan as they held their breath and braced themselves for the inevitable betrayal as they sheepishly asked aloud, “Which versions?” And inevitably, as millions of Star Wars fans cried out in terror, the details finally came out into the light: These weren’t the films fans were looking for…

How does he even fit in there, now?! Click to see more changes at ScreenRant.com

Read more…

Review: “Catwoman”

September 20, 2011 5 comments

For my first two reviews, I’m going to do a bit of cheating, but hear me out!

These reviews are special, as they were what set me in the direction of being an aspiring film critic in the first place.  See, my third year of college was a bit of a turning point for me, academically. I had spent a good portion of my time at Arizona State University as a Creative Writing major who secretly couldn’t make up his mind. When I discovered that the Department of English required their majors to take not one, but two years of foreign language, I knew I had to bail. Korean was a hard language to learn in the first year alone, and a second year would’ve likely wrecked my GPA. After a bit of exploration, I discovered the Bachelor’s of Interdisciplinary Studies degree, and chose to transition into that, with concentrations in Writing and Communication (a subject I chose based on prior electives and, mostly ,just to fulfill that second concentration, I admit).

What a horrible, horrible costume for a horrible, horrible movie!

One of the upper division classes I was encouraged to take was ENG 494 – Review Writing. The class ended up being one of, if not my absolute favorites in college, and the professor, Dr. Sarah Duerden, was definitely my favorite professor, and she gets good marks on Rate My Professor, too!

The review I post here is unedited from the paper I turned in, with appropriate modifications to the format to duplicate it on this page. The assignment for this was to choose a “specialty” review, meaning one of our favorites and one that we thought we were especially good at. Naturally, after my review of The Simpsons Movie, I went with the film review again.

This review in particular was instrumental in Dr. Duerden encouraging me to continue on this path, so it’s particularly special — at least to me! For the review formatting, I chose to emulate the style of a print publication’s site, The Boston Globe. I chose it because their longer form reviews and semi-casual tone allowed me both the space and restraints to rant against one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, Catwoman! As with my previous college review, this is an unedited copy of the final draft:

Read more…

Review: “The Simpsons Movie”

September 20, 2011 3 comments

The Simpsons MovieFor my first two reviews, I’m going to do a bit of cheating, but hear me out!

These reviews are special, as they were what set me in the direction of being an aspiring film critic in the first place.  See, my third year of college was a bit of a turning point for me, academically. I had spent a good portion of my time at Arizona State University as a Creative Writing major who secretly couldn’t make up his mind. When I discovered that the Department of English required their majors to take not one, but two years of foreign language, I knew I had to bail. Korean was a hard language to learn in the first year alone, and a second year would’ve likely wrecked my GPA. After a bit of exploration, I discovered the Bachelor’s of Interdisciplinary Studies degree, and chose to transition into that, with concentrations in Writing and Communication (a subject I chose based on prior electives and, mostly ,just to fulfill that second concentration, I admit).

One of the upper division classes I was encouraged to take was ENG 494 – Review Writing. The class ended up being one of, if not my absolute favorites in college, and the professor, Dr. Sarah Duerden, was definitely my favorite professor, and she gets good marks on Rate My Professor, too!

The review I post here is unedited from the paper I turned in, with appropriate modifications to the format to duplicate it on this page. The assignment was to do a film review in the style of a well known publication. For my review of The Simpsons Movie, I chose to emulate the style of one of my favorite entertainment sites, The A.V. Club, which is a fantastic source for entertainment news, reviews, and analysis written for entertainment buffs in a casual (often profane, I admit) but informative manner. I hope you enjoy!

Read more…

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