Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Interstellar Movie Review!

It's really cold out today!

It has been a very long time since I've been on this blog of mine. No – I have not completed my segway to wordpress, I've been busy and personal projects like that took a backseat, except for the occasional Epic Trailer and the watching of films like today's review of Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. And with that, lets get to it.

In A Nutshell:
Well, by now you're all wondering if it's an amazing movie and if it's even worth seeing in the theaters. From the rather slim box office take for a movie of this size and scope - you're not the only one asking those questions. They are two very different questions that need to be answered, so I'm going cheat and answer the second one first. Yes. It is a movie that must be seen in the theater. Plain. And. Simple. Even if you don't think you'll like it. GO TO A THEATER and see it. Even then, you need to find a large format screen like IMAX or XD. I saw it on a standard, local theater screen and I have to admit that I was feeling a bit short-changed on the splendor of the visuals. With that, let me say before I get into the nuts and bolts of this review that I have every intention of seeing this film again if I can on an IMAX screen or it's relative equivalent.

The Story:
Now the story - what is it all about? The A to Z plot is Earth is on the brink of extinction as food crops fall to a blight that has left corn as the only viable staple to feed what's left of the planet's population. In order to guarantee a future for mankind, NASA and the government have secretly conspired to send manned missions to the furthest reaches of space via a wormhole in space-time to another galaxy with potentially habitable worlds. One such mission is lead by Matthew "Well ah-right ah-right ah-right" McConaughey, Anne "Catwoman" Hathaway, Wes "Remember I was in American Beauty" Bently and a black guy. I don't mean to be racially insensitive for flippant about that last part, but sadly for actor David Gyasi who was friggen AMAZING in Cloud Atlas, that is basically what he is reduced to in this movie.

Together our intrepid explorers zip into the worm hole and come out on the other side with three possible planets to explore and and figure out if they can transport Earth's dwindling population there. All the while McConaughey's kids grow older and must deal with their father's absence, raise their own families, and figure out their own path to survival if perhaps with the help of an unexplained, mysterious force.

The Good, The Bad, & The Everything Else:
That is a pretty easy and simple to follow story for what amounts to be a very cumbersome film. I think the easiest and most appropriate way to describe this movie is with a cinematic mathematical equation: Take the explanation of Quantum Physics from John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness + the ability to travel through a wormhole/black hole from Paul W.S. Anderson's Event Horizon + time travel ability from Leonard Nimoy's Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home + the third act plot contrivance from Danny Boyle's Sunshine and ÷ (Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey + Robert Zemeckis' Contact) = Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.  

Did you get all that?
To clarify, this movie is basically Prince of Darkness + Event Horizon + Star Trek IV + Sunshine ÷ (2001 + Contact) = Interstellar.

If you've seen those movies and are familiar with their plots and story mechanics, then you're pretty damn close to Interstellar. I know I am way over simplifying this film, but I also have to be honest when I tell you those movies, in particular Prince of Darkness and Event Horizon did a far more succinct job at explaining quantum physics and the theoretical aspects of long distance space travel. I was so unintentionally hyper-aware of those other movies and how much more efficiently they explained the minutia that it definitely hurt my experience with this movie. But I also don't think that's exactly my fault for being a film fanatic either. That falls on the filmmakers for feeling they needed to explain everything that was happening at all times. This hurts the movie even more when something happens that is pure theory or made up for convenience that it's given the short end of the exposition stick. This happens to a point where the film's climax can feel more than a bit silly or even melodramatic.

"Whoa now!" I can hear you folks out there saying, probably wondering after that little bit why I would still recommend this movie to anyone. Valid question. In my opinion, it is quite simply one of the most ambitious films made in a great long while. The visuals, the story, the themes and message; it is an undertaking that should be commended and congratulated. But with all of the accolades needs to come some grounded criticisms.

First, this incredible cast lead by McConaughey is severally short-changed. So much time is spent explaining the this and that of what's clearly happening on screen that we never get to actually know them personally except for some very short bursts that don't last enough to resonate. In fact the only character other than McConaughey's that truly resonates lands on someone I won't mention because it's a twist in the plot. But when you see the movie you'll know whom I'm talking about and forgive my vagaries. Then you have Jessica Chastain and Cassey Affleck's characters, who really don't need to be there at all. In fact the movie's story may be smoother and work better without them.

Second is exposition. This is a long movie that only feels longer because there is so much time spent(or wasted depending on your POV) on what feels like a physics lesson for the audience. Perhaps this is the greatest problem. All at the same time, this film underestimates and overestimates the intelligence of its audience. On one hand - we're a whole lot smarter and know more about theoretical physics or at least have a rudimentary understanding than ever before. For better or worse we have shows like The Big Bang Theory to thank for promoting the theories and helping them resonate at least somewhere in the consciousness of the general population. But on the other hand, there is so much that we don't know that when something is clearly being made up or even if it is grounded in legit science it isn't thoroughly explained enough to be believable; it is glaringly obvious and weighs the entire film down. At a nearly 3 hour runtime, it feels longer than it should for a movie I would normally want to spend as much time with enjoying.

Apart from those areas, there is a great deal to admire and even love about this film. It is visual beauty at its finest. Particularly wonderful was the usage of practical effects to execute these complex visuals. When you hear that this movie cost $160million, you can see where that money was spent in the best ways. It also has so much to see in every frame that it warrants repeat viewings. If anything, I hope these repeat viewings will help improve my experience and overall opinion of the film.

Another thing I love, and this is largely because I am a score-hound, Hans Zimmer's pipe organ score is incredible and simply beautiful. It is thrilling, dramatic, and tonally it fits perfectly with every single scene of the movie. It is an auditory orgasm and I can't wait to own the CD, rip it to my iPhone and endlessly listen to it over and over again. So if you're a lover of incredible movie music - this is a feast!

It is also a movie that makes you think. Not abstractly about "what does it all mean," but about much more tangible things like our roles in this world. In each of us is a capability to leave a lasting mark on the future. Whether we make a scientific achievement, raise crops, or have a family - all of these are ideas worth thinking about and taking into consideration while viewing this film. Time and our role in the limited segment of time we are given is a reoccurring theme in Christopher Nolan's films and Interstellar is his magnum opus.

In summation, the best way I can describe this movie is as an experience and one that you must have for yourself. Neither my opinion or those of others should make up your mind as to whether or not you should see it. You absolutely should see it and IN THE THEATER. I can not stress that point enough. While I have my qualms about the film - it is one I will revisit again and again. It's a challenge. Is it on the same level as something like Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey? No, not quite. It stretches towards the stars but doesn't reach the same cinematic heights. But that's okay too. Like 2001, it is a movie that makes you think about a lot of things; in this case the meaning of time, love, responsibility, our future and legacy while making you dream for a world beyond our own. So on that level it is a terrific cinematic achievement, and one that should be experienced by all. Go to a theater and see it for yourself. That is the best review I can give.

In the end: 3.5 of 5 stars - while it doesn't quite reach the heights it strives for, it at least tries to be something more than most movies even attempt to be, and that is something that deserves to be seen.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Latest Epic Trailer is Live!

Yes I know you're wondering when and if I am ever going to finish moving this thing over to Wordpress, and the answer to that is... the day that I actually feel like it! My god is that a long tedious process. I hate, no I loath maintenance work. I love to create, I love to be creating constantly. I feel bad and downright icky inside when I'm not creative. SO THERE!

With that, I bring to you good kids of the interwebs, Michael Bay's Interstellar-Mageddon Epic Trailer!

Thanks for watching everyone! Please share if you can, and don't forget to subscribe!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

It's Been Awhile....

 well now that I've got that ear worm working its way around in your head, it's time for me to jump ship onto other topics of conversation.

First up, the prolonged transfer to wordpress continues since I am by all accounts a lazy ass at dealing with this stuff. I'm on target and diligent when it comes to getting my work assignments done zip quick, but my own creative interests have taken a backseat sadly. Gotta figure out how to make this stuff work. Scheduling? Who knows - one day I'll figure it all out.

However in a random note of creativity - here is my latest Epic Trailer!

Have fun ladies and gents, the next one is on its way!

While not the most complicated edit I've ever made - it was a hell of a lot of fun and it entertained me! See you next time. Be good, and try not to hurt yourselves out there in the world. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

In short... I wish my eyes could unsee what they saw for 2 hours and 40 minutes...
Okay so... Transformers: Age of Extinction...
Going into this I want you to note, and I say this with no shame, I enjoy the first and third movies quite a bit.

The Awesome: The Box Trolls trailer at the beginning in 3D was incredible, charming, and left me waiting for September 26th to hurry up and get here NOW! 

The Pretty Good: Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci steal the scenes they're in and John Goodman's voice alone is better than every other performance in this thing. Oh, and then there was Detroit's People Mover dressed to look like a Hong Kong monorail for about 2 seconds - that was pretty cool.

The Oh My God Can This Get Any Worse: Just about everything else in this movie, and no, I'm not exaggerating. I enjoyed the first, loathed the second, and had fun with the third film, but this one... this is easily the worst of them. 

When Megan Fox continues to remain the high achievement in strong, well-written female characters for the franchise - even after her leg got humped by a robot in the second movie - there is a serious problem. If Betty Friedan was somehow brought back to life and saw Nicola Peltz in this, I'm pretty sure she'd climb back into her coffin and politely ask someone to cover her back up. When an entire scene is dedicated to giving a legal reason for Peltz's 17 year old character to be dating a 20 year old guy and him carrying a laminated card in his wallet explaining how under Texas law their relationship isn't statutory rape and have it meant to be a humous sideline into backstory - is more than a little disgusting. It's meant to be funny. There is no other way to interpret the scene. In the real world, where crap like that DOES happen and it isn't because a young girl is defying her Dad's wishes by dating, let alone dating an older guy, but is legitimate abuse - it's NOT FUNNY nor should it be made to be. 

But hey, this is an action movie right? That would be something if the action was actually enjoyable. The action scenes make ZERO sense and are numbingly confusing. And then there are about 50 of the EXACT SAME robot fighting the heroes. I'm not kidding, they actually worked that into the plot so there would be a lot of the same evil robots. Michael Bay has also somehow made Ed Wood look like a continuity GENIUS - characters disappear and reappear in different places at random not to mention how it can be day, dusk/night, and back to day again in a single scene. 

And then the 3D. I love 3D. LOVE IT. I have a 3DTV and probably 20+ 3D Blu-rays in my collection. Part of the reason I even went to see this was because it was in 3D, and that's in part what helped me enjoy the action of the third movie. This time? Totally wasted. With all of the quick cutting, and angle changes, the sense of scale of the Transformers is lost quickly and with it any impact of the effect. Seriously from shot to shot in the same scene they look like they could be 100 feet tall or 10 inches tall.

Then you have the product placement. Granted, this entire franchise is an advertisement to sell adults new awesome sports cars and kids new awesome toys, I can get behind that as a Man Child, I want both. But a Bud Light Platinum commercial? Gak - why not at least get a good beer? A Chinese rice milk drink? WTF? And then when your target audience is essentially made up of 10 year old boys, do you really want to try selling them women's panties with a gigantic, excruciatingly blatant Victoria's Secret bus? Because action figures and lacy under garments don't really go together. Well, sometimes they do, but that's for a decidedly older audience. Just saying. 

But, what about those cool Dinobots in all the trailers? Fans have been waiting YEARS to see these guys in action, and yeah... they're not really in the movie, and when they are, they don't do much or say anything beyond a grunt. Seriously they're there for all of 10 minutes, at best. Granted, they are cool, but this is a classic case of bait-and-switch movie advertising. If the Dinobots were what was going to bring you to the theater, you're going to be pissed.

Can you tell I thought this was a bad movie? I was fine with the franchise up to this point. I could forgive Revenge of the Fallen as a product of the Writer's Strike and no completed screenplay. Shit happens, I get that. This one however, has no excuse for being what it is. It's more than lazy, it's just BAD. And I'm not a Bay Hater by any means, the guy can usually deliver a pretty decent, fun 2 hours of action entertainment. After Age of Extinction, I hope he takes the cue from his latest film's subtitle and not attach himself to another one of these movies or any movie for quite awhile. Say what you will about someone like Tommy Wiseau and "The Room," at least that guy had passion and genuinely tried to make a good movie! If Bay put a tenth of the same amount of effort into this, there could have been a real movie here. But, there's not.

And if this hasn't dissuaded you, if you're intent on plunking down your bucks - all I'll say is that it is okay to laugh every time Mark Walberg says "I'm an inventor!" or "my inventions" or anything science related - everyone else at my theater was! 

In the End: 0/5 I love bad movies, but nothing short of a thorough and vicious savaging from Rifftrax will get me to watch this thing again. In fact it makes me want to sell my copies of the first and third movies - so I'm going to try my best to forget Age of Extiction even exists. At least the state of Michigan got $80+ million out of this pile.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I keep forgetting about this thing!

Not much happening, been applying to jobs, doing this and that to stay busy - but most importantly - I completed my latest Epic Trailer! Enjoy good people of the interwebs.

I give to you Pee-Wee's Big Adventure Epic Trailer

Hope you had some fun!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

House Of Wax 3D Blu-Ray Review

Basil, scared of the high winds, is hiding on my shoulder

Howdy there folks of all shapes and sizes, felt it was a good time to put up another 3D movie review since A: it's been awhile since I've done so, B: I like this movie a lot, and C: my cat Ruby is sitting on my lap pinning me to my chair preventing me from moving lest her sharp needle like claws should extend themselves and rip into the flesh of my thigh causing me to bleed-out whilst enduring a great amount of pain.

And now onto our main course - House of Wax 1953
Original House of Wax 1953 movie poster
The Review:

This classic horror film from 1953 is the movie that virtually made the career of screen legend Vincent Price. Seriously. At the time of the production he was coming out of being "Grey Listed," that is he was against the Nazi Party prior to WWII. Odd as that sounds, but during the Red Scare of the 1950's that was considered to be a very communist line of thinking and anyone that thought or expressed that notion was investigated. With his good name cleared, Price had the chance to either star in a Broadway play or this film, me made his choice and the rest as they say is history. Had he not taken this role, he may have continued to be relegated to supporting roles or simply faded into obscurity.

House Of Wax is a remake of an earlier film about a vengeful wax figure sculptor who is bent on
punishing his former business partner who wronged him and anyone that profited from the destruction of his museum. This time the talented wax sculptor Professor Jarrod who is driven towards murderous revenge is played by Vincent Price. Price lives in this role balancing equally a sense of empathy for his need of vengeance and that of an insane madman who must be stopped at all costs.

Caught in the wake are a couple of innocent ladies, Carolyn Jones as the flighty Cathy and her friend Sue played by Phyllis Kirk. After the death of her friend, Sue visits Jarrod's wax museum of horrors and discovers that a "likeness" of her dear friend was used as the star attraction of Joan of Arc. Soon after Sue is stalked by a disfigured monster who may or may not be in the employ of Jarrod. Also featured as a deaf mute is tough man Charles Bronson - even mute the man had screen presence and is fun to watch!
Vincent Price as Jarrod

This is a truly fantastically creepy film. Not only is it moody and scary with a touch of humor - but the performances from its principal players are perfect. We feel for Price's Jarrod as a tortured man driven to madness, but recoil from him when he takes his quest for revenge past the necessary point as he stalks the innocent to add to his collection of horrors. We know Phyllis Kirk's Sue is in danger throughout the run of the film, we want her to avoid further encounters with Jarrod, but understand and encourage her quest to learn the truth of her friend's untimely death. The horrors and shocks are still effective 60 plus years later. It's an ominous and atmospheric movie, that even the most jaded of horror film fans must appreciate for the role it plays in shaping modern horror.

Easily 5 out of 5

The 3rd Dimension
As the film to popularize 3D features in the 1950's, this is simply a stunning presentation. Contrary to popular belief, 3D movies of the era did not require the signature Red/Blue glasses, but the polarized lenses that are in common use today. Those Red/Blue glasses were used for still images and 3D comic books. With that, this fully restored Blu-ray release is a near perfect replication of the theatrical experience. The only way to make it any better would be to have the movie projected on the largest screen possible. Appropriately "pillar-boxed" in it's original 4:3 aspect ratio, the 3D effects pop in all the right ways. Rarely a strain on the eyes, 3D is truly the best way to watch this movie. I have fond memories watching this in 2D on a small TV set when I was a little kid, the vivid colors, the excellent camera work - all of it works so much better now that it can be properly viewed in the home as it was meant to be seen in the theater. This is a first rate restoration from Warner Brothers and a thrilling 3D ride!

The Extras Dimension
While there aren't a great number of extra features, what is on hand is fantastic. There is a great commentary track by David Del Valle and Constantine Nasr, but the real gem of the bunch is an in-depth feature House of Wax: Unlike Anything You've Seen Before. This is made up of reassembled vintage interview footage and new historian interviews to make one of the most thorough and entertaining behind the scenes look of any film. Did you know director Andre De Toth was blind in one eye? I knew this fact from a long time ago, but if you're wondering how a man without depth perception could direct a 3D movie - you're going to want to watch this feature. Simply put the man was brilliant in every technical and artistic way possible.

The End Result

Um... are you kidding me? If you have a 3D set, intend to buy one, or want to own this movie on blu-ray(it does come with a 2D version) this is simply a no brainer. I rarely buy movies at MSRP, it's a price that is just set too high to be practical in this day and age. In this case, I was forced to buy it at full price since I could only find it in one brick and mortar store and even Amazon didn't have it any cheaper. That said - it is worth every single penny spent. I revel in this movie's production design, incredibly deep 3D images, and love the fully restored picture and sound. This is a movie that belongs in every horror fan's collection, and this is the best way to own it, period.

The Strain Is Coming To TV!
this is my creepy excited face
Okay I am a moderate reader. I pick up a book here and there, I get through it quick, and then I go back to reading my comic books. I rarely ever go into a "series" - they're just not my thing. They require long term commitment and then you run the risk of having one single chapter of the series suck and then throw the game off for the rest of the books - see Stephen King's intermittently amazing and infuriating The Dark Tower books whose last chapters were really kinda bad. To the point that King is reportedly in the process of rewriting them since even he wasn't happy with how they turned out. That said, Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's three part vampire apocalypse series The Strain was friggen amazing! Start to finish it was suspenseful, creepy, action packed and would make for one hell of a frighteningly awesome set of movies. Well it just so happens we are now getting The Strain as a frighteningly awesome TV series instead! I've known this was coming for some time, and the actual air date isn't until July, but the FX channel has been ever so kind to give us a deliciously awesome teaser! It's short, it's dark, it's grim, and damn - July can't come fast enough! So here is the first official The Strain teaser for your enjoyment:

Like I said, short, but awesome! I can not wait. If you haven't read the books, I highly recommend that you do so ASAP. I don't know how far they're deviating from the source with this show, probably not much since it is supposed to be a limited series of only a couple seasons, but still, they're great reads and well worth your time and effort! Seriously bounce over to Amazon - they're pretty cheep, or even better yet, check them out from your local library and put your tax dollars to good use!

While you're enjoying that, I have to go run some errands, but don't you worry your pretty little noggins none - I'll be back later with a 3D Blu-Ray review of the original Vincent Price fright fest House of Wax! See you then good people of the internet land!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Is Not Fun Day

my cat managed this picture when he hopped on my keyboard

So we're getting a new mattress and the delivery people must farm out to the cable companies because they gave us a window of sometime between 11:00am and 4:00pm for delivery... so yeah I'm here all day.

What's new? Not all that much, but I'm getting closer and closer to getting this vlog going so with that I'm testing the best way to record everything and it turns out the photobooth on my macbook is actually a lot of fun.

that's it for now - gotta get to work on my next epic trailer... which will by definition be epic! Go slow... especially in the fast lane, make the world slow down for you - you don't have to speed up for it.

Friday, April 25, 2014

That's Right - It's Friday!
this is me thinking really hard

I am having an amount of difficulty writing my random notes here to introduce each blog - I feel like I have to save them for the randomness that is going to be my vlog... so yeah...

Well what do I have for you? Not much... other than my first video in my Deleted Scenes video series! So without any more delay - I give you Deleted Scenes From Titanic The Dance

Like I said this is a first in a series... I don't know if I'm going to do just Titanic or not - but either way, it's going to be a hell of a lot of fun! So keep your eyes open... even when you need to sleep - you'll never know when the new video will strike! That's all I have for the moment, so be good, and have a restful, relaxing weekend!

BTW I almost forgot; I decided to join my generation and get onto Tumblr... so yeah head over there now if you want to be hip, cool, or with it as the kids say these days.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Getting Better At This Optimizing Stuff...
Sometimes being productive in the face of adversity, social pressures, economic troubles, or personal life issues can be really hard. But sooner or later you have to do it. Sooner or later you're going to have to get up off your ass and do something about it. You're just going to have to make that special trip to Target for toilet paper... that's all there is to it. You can have that crap on your hands forever. It's time to move on and accept it.

What's new? Why am I here? Is there a new Epic Trailer  already? Nope. Sorry to disappoint, but I actually don't have much of any kind of new update for you other than to point out the awesomeness that is I now have a subpage for ALL of my Epic Trailers. Just follow where my finger pictured above is pointing and you should see it... or you can click here and it'll take you right on over like red rover. 

The only update I do have is that I mapped out a long list of creative goals and plans. This includes everything from future Epic Trailers to my upcoming Deleted Scenes From Titanic videos, to Don't Ever Call Liam Neeson videos. What are those last two? Just some more fun I'm cooking up in my creative kitchen - so stay on the look out. I'll also be adding in all of my gifs I created, and any memes I create, just for the fun of it. But then it also helps with my SEO optimization. Why do that? Because I want to, thats why! Plus it helps if any of my content goes viral or generates any kind of a following, people can see it quicker and easier! 

Thats all for now. Got a busy day ahead. So be good out there in interweb land and try not to hurt yourselves. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Conflict Resolution Is A Real Pain In The @$$

Remember the beginning to 2001? Hear that music in your head

Do you ever feel so tired that you can't possibly function, let alone write a blog, and yet you find yourself at work cranking out whatever it is you do, or pouring out your thoughts onto digital paper and don't even bother with correct spelling? Yeah that's my day today. So far I don't see any red squiggles on this thing, but that isn't to say I'm not using the complete wrong word. I am wiped out.

Well this weekend we played host to our MST3k Meetup group. Usually this is a highlight of our month, but the last couple times it's been pretty stressful and irritating, and this last time took the cake. It's not that we're falling out of love with MST3k or Rifftrax, but that our group has gotten a bit out of hand. And it all comes down to just a few people. They have recently gotten so loud and obnoxious that it's ruining the event not only for us, the hosts, but for our friends who come each and every time looking forward to some shared hilarity. Seriously we have people talking(and when I say talking I mean yelling) over the movie! Some even have a familiarity with the episode or Rifftrax movie, so they're riffing ahead of the movie to sound clever and thus ruin the joke. And to top it off, many, many of the jokes are so off color and so uncomfortable, that they can't be described as anything but tasteless. We were hoping this would solve itself, after all when no one else is laughing at what you say, it's a clue to stop talking - so now I have to deal with this. I would have liked to deal with it in the moment, but then we would have to endure the awkwardness of stopping the movies, standing in front of the group to chastise only a few people. And then we didn't know if we were the only ones bothered, it's hard to read a group of 15 other people sometimes. Thankfully, our closest friends and frequent visitors let us know they were bothered by this behavior too.

I don't want to be mean spirited, that's not my nature, but to say I'm irritated is an understatement. I don't want to put it on the shoulders of a few, after all as a group organizer I am partly to blame, but damn, it is amazing how the behavior of a couple can ruin it for so many. Being the pragmatist that I am, I am trying to address the situation as calmly and as even handed as I can, when all I want to do is make sure some people never show up to an event again. I don't want to do that, I know they didn't mean any harm, but damn... life would be simpler taking the easy way out sometimes. Tough act to balance, but I'm doing my best.

Another area where what happened Saturday was so disruptive was in our Sunday. My wife and I were and still are in some respects, completely wiped out - physically and mentally. I got my latest kick ass Hot Toys action figure of the classic Adam West Batman and it is truly incredible - the best figure they've released so far in my opinion and was hardly able to enjoy it. Here is the first pic I was able to snag:
Adam West 1966 Batman
I wanted to get more pictures taken of this guy, including a series for the rest of my collection, but like I said, I was wiped out Sunday so they'll be saved for a later time. It was so bad Sunday we hardly moved and I got no editing time in for my latest Epic Trailer. It's finished now - having spent most of yesterday doing it. I wanted it done earlier, but, it's finished and it is amazing. So in the end, it isn't all a complete shit storm! So, without further ado, I give you Home Alone Epic Trailer:

Hope everyone enjoyed! This was a lot of fun to put together. I have many more ideas in the works, and I hope to get back onto a weekly release schedule going forward. I also have several more goofy videos in the works that will be coming out shortly! Take care and enjoy everything life brings you, good and bad, you'll never know what you learn about yourself.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Shaved...My Face!

My chin looks enormous now. 

There comes a time in every man's life where he needs to decide what is important, to avoid being carded at the liquor store, or to man up and shave off his chin whiskers and and look professional at impending job interviews? The decision has been made. I now look like a butch four year old, and I have to live with my decision for at least the next three to four days. Learn from my mistake. Learn.

Well what's new? I am busy at work at my latest Epic Trailer, and it is going to be funny as hell and I can't wait for everyone to see it. However, I have hit a bit of a snag. See, some of the elements I have to work with have rather craptasticly soft sound, and no amount of altering is generating audible dialog that isn't being beaten to death by noise artifacts and distortion, so now I have to seek out good quality elements, and Comedy Gods willing, I should locate those today. Either way that shakes out, that does indicate that there will be a release date delay for my latest video. I know, I am letting you down, but it must be so. I am sorry. I do hope to have this beast uploaded and ready by Friday noon time, but that must also come with a flurry of mad dash editing. If I can't make it by then, you can bet Monday is a rock solid release date!

With that, I have cracked what I want my vlog to be. For those not in the know, a vlog is a "Video Blog" - get it? Vlog. Mine shall be "First World Problems With Matt." I'd love to give this a fireside, "Masterpiece Theater" vibe but I don't have an apartment with a fireplace. What are the problems I am going to cover? Well, you know those goofy intros I write at the top of every blog entry? Pretty much those. I think they're goofy as hell and if told in a straight faced way, could be hilarious. I don't have a specific timetable to get the ball rolling on these, maybe as early as next week, but we'll see what I can nock together in that time. I do have to keep looking for a job, make some progress on my book, edit my latest Epic Trailer, and I am also working on rebuilding my online portfolio; snazzy it up so it looks awesome. So this new vlog will have to come after all that, but keep a look out for it! It is coming!

That's all for now, gotta clean my apartment a little and take out the recycling. Those are first world problems, but they're not funny.

Monday, April 14, 2014

To Vlog Or Not To Vlog? That Is The Question...

I'm trying really hard to enjoy "Escape Plan"

Welcome back ladies, gents, children, and specially skilled cats and dogs that can activate computers and read nerd blogs. Hope all of you had a great weekend. Mine was nice and relaxing with the wonderful Colorado weather we're experiencing here. Yes, Friday and Saturday both were just spectacular with lots of sun and 70 degree weather... Sunday was a gigantic ice storm. I like to think of days like that as Mother Nature's reminder we're her little bitch.

What's new? Not a whole hell of a lot other than lots of things! To get the ball rolling - this here blog picked up a lot of solid traffic last week - perhaps due to the fact my latest Epic Trailers were pretty huge successes... well at least in my little estimation of them. Take a look again if you haven't already:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles TMNT Epic Trailer

Godzilla Epic Trailer

1400+ views and counting each is pretty solid I think. Not to mention I gained more subscribers! If you haven't yet, please do - it helps get the videos I create promoted up the list, and it looks cool when people pull up my profile - and it helps in Google rankings when people search related material.

NEXT: Because of this blog - I got a nice little uptick in ad clicks, which is awesome, albeit not enough bucks to live off of, but it's something. ALSO if you happen to have AdBlocker on, you can turn it off for my blog, even if you don't ever intend to click on the ad, the number of times the ads appear helps too.

AFTER THAT: I got onto a nice job application binge, thankfully Friday was a very productive day on that end to the point that I heard back from one prospect within an hour requesting additional information before scheduling an interview! So with any luck on my side, stable, strong income isn't too far off.

AFTER AFTER THAT: Went and saw The Grand Budapest Hotel for the third time. Yes it is so good that my wife and I have willingly paid to see it three times in the theater and loved it each time. I honestly can't remember the last time that I, let alone both of us have seen a single movie in the theater that many times. So if you haven't gotten to it yet; GO! It's amazingly funny and I can't quit listening to the soundtrack, so be prepared to buy that as soon as you're out of the movie theater as well. In fact, you probably better have the Amazon app on your phone just in case you can't get that music out of your ears.

Where does that leave us? Well pretty much all caught up except that I am now planning my latest Epic Trailer, which I'm thinking I'll have them posted every Thursday if time permits. It seems like I get more views and traffic that day - people at work on a Friday with work being the last thing on their minds before the weekend need to have a little extra distraction!

Now I am also thinking about doing a Vlog of some kind. What kind of one? That is hard to say. I want it to be funny, and goofy but then there is a lot of competition for that kind of market. Not sure yet what I intend to do, or if I do it at all, but you can bet it'll be pretty awesome...or not. But we shall see what happens with that.

Until next time dear readers, be good out there, and enjoy your Monday! Saturday is only 4 more short days away!

Friday, April 11, 2014

It's Friday, try not to hurt yourself...

It's actually really hard to drink with your left hand when you're
right handed.

I think I have stumbled onto perhaps, what could be considered to be the very, absolute, without a doubt worst first world problem: getting up to urinate 15 minutes before the alarm clock goes off. You don't get that wonderful moment, of shutting off the alarm, or hitting snooze and drifting back to sleep for a few minutes. You have to get out of bed, face the bracing cool dawn air, then stand on even colder bathroom tile in your bare feet, and if you're a guy, hope you're awake enough to aim properly. If you're not awake, you got a mess to clean up. Also, if you're like me, when you open that bedroom door, you're greeted by two hungry cats that won't let you pee without feeding them first. So by the time you get back into what should be a warm, comfy bed, you don't have the chance to drift off back to sleep. You're awake. Like I said, first world problem, but it makes me mad.

Well - what's new today? Not a whole lot - just that I've uploaded my newest Epic Trailer! Woot!

But before we get to that; I've created more "Hail Hydra!" memes! Yes, that's right folks, after a good night's rest - I found inspiration and it has also given me a chance to understand how demented I am. So enjoy and laugh if you get the joke. Or laugh anyway, even if it's out of pity. Pity laughter is better than no laughter at all. By the way, these should be the last ones - for now. No guarantees but my brain travels to weird places...

Alrighty - enough of that fun, onto the main event. Here it is; the latest Epic Trailer! Godzilla! Now, fair warning, this one isn't all that funny, it's more straight up cool and awesome. If I wanted it to be funny I'd have to watch that Broderick movie all over again, and... yeah, I just couldn't bring myself to do that. Enjoy!

That's it for this week. Be good out there, and if you hear of any good job openings in the Denver area - let me know lol!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's Thursday!

Being unemployed offers up a lot of unique opportunities. Being creative. Writing my book. Editing new videos. Going to the coffee shop in the middle of the day and sitting in a big comfy chair... which happens to be situated in front of a gigantic window that is seemingly hotter than hell itself! Seriously, it may not look like it, but I'm sweating buckets here. I know moving is an option but I just got comfortable. So until I can't stand it any longer... here is where I stay! Pitted undershirt be damned!

Allrighty then - What's new? Well I caught Captain America: The Winter Solder yesterday afternoon. And what did I think? Friggen LOVED it. Seriously. 24 some hours later and I believe I can officially stamp it my favorite Marvel movie thus far. It took all the Captain America appearances that happened before and expanded them in a logical, smart direction that continues to build not only his character, but the ones around him. In her 4th appearance as Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson finally actually has something of a character to work with. Sure she got a moment or two in The Avengers - but really, not all that much. Here, it feels like they're actually building her towards her own movie - which would be awesome!

Next you have franchise newcomer Anthony Mackie as Falcon - who is also awesome in the role and makes for an empathetic character for Chris Evan's titular character to play off of. More than a simple stock character to round out the cast, he genuinely feels like he's being built into his own franchise as well - again I am all for.

As a whole this movie works because it's taken out of the comic book genre and dropped into 70's spy thrillers. It plays like a Bourne movie that doesn't take itself so damned serious. That isn't to say it's a joke a minute, but there are enough moments of levity to remind people that they're supposed to be having fun and enjoying themselves. The filmmakers even cribbed Paul Greengrass' patented "Confusovision" for the hand to hand fight sequences, only you wont need a stomach suppressant to watch this one. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo who were known for comedy TV shows like Community are in fine form here as action directors - and according to rumor have signed to direct the inevitable Captain America 3.

Robert Redford also lends a lot of weight to the movie. No, that's not a fat joke. The dude looks to be in great shape; and in true Redford form, is deft at playing someone that could be your best friend or worst enemy all at the same time. And then there's Sam Jackson as S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Fury - who is once again like in The Avengers is allowed to expand his character beyond being a random authority figure in a black trench coat. Backstory is an incredible asset to making a movie good - who knew?

Notice I'm being vague about the plot and the story? That's by design. I hate people that spoil movies and I especially hate it when I spoil a movie. This particular one, while not all together surprising, there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle and I don't want to ruin someone's good time by going too far into detail. I will say again, this is Marvel's best offering to date - easily a 5/5 in my book.

Now to 3D or not to 3D? Good question. Not to 3D. I saw it in 3D, the effect is nice, especially towards the end action sequences, but it's not necessary. This is one of those moments where while I love 3D to death, I wish Marvel was a bit more choosey about what movies get the 3D treatment and how they do it. Just once I'd love them to shoot the movie in 3D for a change. The conversion is practically flawless, but still, not needed to have a great time.

NOW - as a result of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the world is being given a new meme to enjoy - you've maybe seen it floating around? Someone seemingly whispering into someone's ear saying "Hail Hydra." Don't worry, this isn't really a spoiler - thankfully! But I have jumped in on the fun with my own offerings. So without further ado here are my Hail Hydra pics:

And with that, I will leave you for this great day. Before to come back tomorrow for my latest and perhaps most awesome Epic Trailer yet! Seriously - I'm pretty damn proud of it. See you then!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It's a Tuesday, My name's Hartman... I edit goofy videos; I don't carry a badge.

Incidentally - that's Dawn of the Dead on TV.

I got a haircut! Seriously - I was starting to look pretty Swayze, I had the full Road House look going and it wasn't pretty. Sure feathered hair was a sign of male virility and potency, but that was like the 80's. Mel Gibson, Swayze, all the best action guys of the generation had that look. Well, maybe not Schwarzenegger... or Stallone... or Bruce Willis, but that was because he was starting to go bald already. If Willis wasn't going bald, he would definitely sport the feathered mullet and rock it.

Yes I know it's been a while and things have been going on that have kept me from posting. Well, I have been looking for a new job, but that's not it. And it's not that I have been lazy exactly, I have, but it's because I was getting caught up on TV. By that I mean I've been obsessively watching this season of Hannibal! You want a great show to get sucked into that's filled with suspense and dread and is just all around good and creepy. I like that! It's fun! Also I'm impressed with the level of gore - it's not that gory really - but for broadcast TV they're getting away with a lot. If you haven't given it a shot yet, the first season is streaming on Amazon Prime. the first season is a bit "murder of the week," but the main story thread is great and this second season is just awesome. Try it, wont you?

Another thing that's kept me from posting until now is I've gone to the movies a few times. I know - that should have gotten me on here posting up a review, but in my defense I refer you back to the previous codicil about Hannibal. That show is that good! Each episode builds and builds, not just covering territory we've already seen, but going into places only alluded to in the books. But enough about Hannibal. I went and saw The Grand Budapest Hotel which was friggen fantastic! Seriously, I've seen that with my wife twice in the theaters now - it's that good. It's Wes Anderson at his most madcap zany fun. It feels like a warped Blake Edwards movie and everyone should go see it IN THE THEATER! Screw home video. This is a theater movie. It's an experience - so go experience it! 5/5

Next I got to see 300: Rise of an Empire. I'll be honest. I loved this movie... right up to the last 5 minutes. It was fun! The visuals were incredible, leaps and bounds above the previous movie. The action is incredible. The gore effects are actual effects, liquid blood splatters about the sets. There ARE sets! And the 3D is incredible! Seriously one of the best live action movies to showcase how great and fun 3D can be... and then the last 5 minutes kicks in. Truly up to that point the movie is awesome, sure it's dumb, but it's a fun dumb. Then that last little bit kicks in, and for me, as a story teller, completely ruined it. I hate giving spoilers, but I will say I am not against narration, so long as there's a point, it can serve the story. It can provide character depth. However, that all depends on what character is telling the story - and the reveal of who is telling the story, was just stupid. Particularly because the narration drops out at a very logical midway point, and it fits, it's fine, but then that character's voice picks up in the last 5 minutes to talk about stuff that is happening IN REAL TIME! They're no longer telling a story! They're narrating what they're doing! That's like me talking about going to the bathroom while I'm going to the bathroom! So because of that last 5 minutes, this movie goes from being a 4/5 fun romp that I would happily buy on 3D Blu-ray, to an irritating, anger, rage inducing 1/5 for the laziest story telling possible that I will most likely never see ever again.

What else have I been doing? Well it just so happens I have FINALLY created my latest Epic Trailer! That's right ladies and gents - sit bat, relax, and enjoy my version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

That's it for now - gotta get to work on the next trailer! Be good and see you soon!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

When You Don't Have Anything To Say - Say A Lot Of Random Gibberish!

I didn't realize this was such a freaky pic when I chose it!

I really have nothing to talk about... well that's not entirely true. I mean, after all, if I had nothing to say I wouldn't be writing a blog post would I? For starters, I can report that the family member I am helping care for is doing much, much better! Every day there is marked improvement and it's very exciting!

Can't stop admiring this suit...awesome
Okay as a comic nerd, I have to admit something... I have not actually seen one single episode of Arrow! I know, I am a bad, bad, comic nerd. It's just that, you know, it's on the CW - and honestly I expect things to be extremely cheesy and dopy - especially if it's a comics related property. Thankfully, judging from fan response, and the communal chastising I've received on facebook over the previous weeks - it's a damn good show. So now I'll be doing everything I can to catch up. If for no other reason than to get ready for The Flash! After this released image - I am stoked! And so is my wife! Since she's a runner and I'm getting into trail running - when the weather is nice - this is exciting, and this dude's suit looks friggen awesome!

This brings me to another strong point of comic book heroes appearing in various media, they need to make sure they're doing it right! After what everyone's been telling me about Arrow, and now the production of The Flash is getting underway - it makes me wish this creative team was involved in bringing the entire Justice League to life on the Big Screen. Man of Steel was alright. I've enjoyed it on subsequent viewings - but the world their creating or expanding upon sounds very haphazardly applied. Granted there is a heck of a creative team attached to that project and I dearly hope they're aiming to include the guys and gals behind Arrow and The Flash into the further expanding DC Comics Movie Universe.  To do without them, I think would be a huge mistake. Arrow has a huge fan base built in, The Flash will soon have one, it would be stupid to recast these characters for their cinematic counterparts. If there is one thing comic book films attempt to do is broaden their audience.

To be frank, comic fans are a group of fickle and impossible to please people. I know - I am one of them! So if DC is really serious about creating a cinematic equivalent to the Marvel "Avengers" universe - they need to hold onto every fan they can get! To alienate or confuse the fans that may have grabbed onto the show, but not the comic book, would be a fatal mistake. It makes me wonder how Superman Returns would have turned out had they brought Tom Welling in the titular role? Smallville was pretty decent overall, had a good long run of 10 seasons, so naturally for a show to last more than a single season, let alone 10 - it needed fans outside the Comic Book Community to support it. After all, there are only so many of us! Here's hoping Zach Snyder and friends are doing the right thing. They're in my good graces by shooting most of Superman VS Batman in Michigan!

That's it for now - till next time kiddos - be good and don't eat moldy food or stand too close to radioactive waste - It will not make you a super hero! You might grow an extra appendage or two; but not in a good way.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Finished My Oscars Reviews!

Wow... does that loose fitting shirt make me look fat - I'm not fat!

Nothing quite like writing a blog and searching for a job in front of my parent's fireplace! Yes - that means I'm in Michigan doing my part to help out here. Now that I'm well - I can do that! Huzzah! I can actually be of some use to the people that genuinely need my help and not someone that holds no loyalty to a faithful employee that needed to help a family member! Looking at YOU former contract employer!!!

So what happened to me a week ago? I was on a roll there with the blogging and reporting about the Best Picture movies and the hula hoops and the dungarees and the kids with the boom boxes making trouble... well, maybe not that last part. But I was writing about the Best Picture movies. So what did happen? I got tired! I was still pretty sick and keeping that pace of watching at least two movies a day was getting kinda exhausting. ALSO my wife got to Her before I did and loved it so I really wanted to make that a "date night" kind of movie for my viewing and sadly - that didn't happen in time for a Friday post.

SO - here we go. I know it's long past the Oscars and the Best Picture has been chosen already, but I hate to leave things unfinished - if you ever see my story notebooks you'll understand how crippling it is for me to look through those years after I write down an idea. Anyway - here we go for my reviews of Her and The Wolf Of Wall Street and followed by my analysis of the whole shebang.

First up - Her

Her is the story of Theodore played incredibly by Joaquin Phoenix, a lonely romantic that writes love letters for people as a living - who is also in the process of getting a divorce. In a moment of absolute loneliness - Theo purchases the latest OS to hit the market that just so happens to be intelligent and self aware that also chooses its own name - Samantha; voiced perfectly by Scarlett Johansson . What starts out as a friendship of discovery and understanding between Theo and Samantha blossoms into something sexual as well as into something that genuinely resembles love. But can it really be love? Samantha doesn't really exist - or does she? After all, she has feelings, emotions, and behaves and thinks as an individual being would - or does she? She is programmed after all, however she exhibits all of the key functions and behaviors of a living breathing sentient being. So, is she real? Is this a "real" relationship?

I ask all of these questions because this movie is so brave and incredibly creative to ask them but not spell out the answers to the audience. Written and directed by Spike Jonze, this, if I had to pick a "favorite" of the Best Picture nominees - I think this would have to be it. As much as I loved Gravity - I can easily say I will be watching Her many, many more times once it arrives on home video. This is also a fantastic expression of top quality science fiction. It takes place in a very real, tangible, possible future that doesn't depend on creating gigantic floating cities or super advanced space craft. It just exists. It feels real. If feels like our world does now - only 50-60 years further in the future.

And, like any good work of science fiction, it asks serious questions about the current state of humanity without feeling the need to placate and insult the intelligence of its audience by spelling everything out in big colorful magnetic letters. It's subtle, but it doesn't pander. Currently, we live in a world of 6 billion+ people, and we feel alone, alienated and separate from all of them. We struggle to meet and hold onto just a handful of these people to call our friends and possibly even our lover(or lovers if you're into that). With the internet, people are finding that missing piece to fill a lot of those gaps in our personal lives. Why do you think social media has exploded? It's not because we want to be marketed to more efficiently by companies - we want to reach out and connect with other people. Even if they're the people we see and talk to every day of our lives, Facebook, Google +, Twitter etc. are just some of the tools we have to do that.

This film is a beautiful extension of where we currently are. Is Theo and Sam's relationship real? Does this relationship not exist because Samantha isn't a physical being and only a conscious being? Is that tangible physicality the single base requirement for an emotional relationship? These are the kinds of questions that are going to pop in your head days and weeks after seeing this film. And these are the questions you're going to have to ask for yourself - this movie will not answer them for you, and it shouldn't. In my view the biggest task of our time and our lives is constantly being spent figuring out who we are for ourselves - and no one should do that for you. It's your journey. It's your life. You live it.

Can you tell I was taken away by this movie yet? Because I was! It's just incredible. Should it have been nominated for Best Picture? Hell yes! Should it have ultimately won? Tough call, it was a prime candidate. I think in any other year where there may not have been a 12 Years A Slave or a Dallas Buyers Club to contend with - it would have and should havewon. As it stands, I am incredibly happy to see that it won best original screenplay. How Joaquin Phoenix didn't get an Oscar nomination is beyond me, his emotional transformation and personal journey was no less compelling than any of the other nominees up there. If you haven't seen this one yet. GO NOW! I for one will be buying this one on Blu-ray day and date it comes out - and I will be watching it for years to come.

Next up - The Wolf Of Wall Street

So, when The Wolf Of Wall Street started entering my consciousness wasn't around the time of it's start of filming, or the announcement that Martin Scorsese was teaming up again with Leonardo DiCaprio for the bazillionth time. It came to my awareness when the studio was apparently going to hold off the release of the movie to re-edit. They weren't going to re-edit because it was clocking in at 3 hours. Nope. They were going to re-edit because they were doing everything they could to avoid an NC-17 rating! And, even in this R-rated cut, I can see why they were worried.

The Wolf Of Wall Street tells the tall-but-true tale of Jordan Belfort - an extremely unscrupulous unethical, stock trader who built his fortune illegally goading people into risky investments and skimming his percentage off the top detailing his rise and ultimate fall and imprisonment. He also has quite the addiction to numerous chemicals and a better than slight penchant for sleeping around with any willing female that walks on two legs. So why is this movie Best Picture worthy? Because it is so damn entertaining!

Leonardo's Jordan Belfort, just like his real life counterpart, is not a likable guy. In fact, most of the time you should hate him. You would hate him, but he is just so damn charming and fun. Even when the FBI starts breathing down his neck issuing indictments and every amount of pressure to tame this wild man, you end up rooting for the guy to dial his antics up to 11. And that's the amazing thing about this movie - you want a scumbag like Jordan Belfort to win. Make no mistake, he is a scumbag, and in no frame of this movie do DiCaprio and Scorsese try to hide that fact. They show us everything! And by everything - I mean that in every sense of the word. So, if you are sensitive to depictions of excessive drug use, sexuality, debauchery and sin - this is not the movie for you. However, if you're a fan of watching a train wreck as soon as it leaves the station - this is an incredible piece of cinema.

Make no mistake - you're not supposed to root for this guy. It may seem like he's being presented in this fun, partying, care-free way that he's just a guy making millions and having a good time. But what the movie is deftly doing - is making you analyze yourself and your own behavior. If you're entertained but ultimately sickened or repulsed by the behavior on screen, then you're probably pretty well adjusted and on sturdy ground. If you find yourself at all intrigued or coming to the defense of this man's behaviors, then you might need to reexamine some of your life's priorities. Just keep in mind - this movie was put together very carefully. Based on Belfort's memoirs - and also according to interviews I read with screenwriter Terence Winter - most of the worst, extreme behaviors exhibited by Belfort and his friends actually happened and continue to happen! Really, truly, that's not something to celebrate. So if it seems like this movie is putting this guy up on a pedestal - it's really not. What should be celebrate here is the filmmakers' and the cast's willingness to portray everything and not shy away from it.

Upon it's initial reception, this movie was met with what I consider an overly vitriolic reaction to the content with it's incredibly frank depiction of drug use, how those drugs are used, what parts of a woman's anatomy drugs are sniffed and snorted off of or even out of on top of the rampant sexual acts. Cool your jets folks. You're not supposed to be turned on by this exposé of frank sexual indulgence, you should be pretty horrified by it! That's the point. To be honest, there is just no way to show this man's life, to detail real events, how some in wall street actually act and then ultimately condemn that behavior without showing everything in gruesome detail. There just isn't. Sure there is an incredible long scene depicting a hilarious reaction to quaaludes - but - everything else in this movie should horrify you. At just over 71 years old, I have to stand up and applaud Martin Scorsese for being not only willing but also being brazen enough to bring this film to the world the way that he did. A lot of filmmakers would either shy away from the material, or would dull it down to a palatable place that there would just be no point in the endeavor. On top of that - most studios probably wouldn't have touched this movie with a 10 foot poll had it not involved Leonardo and Scorsese. To put in one way, this is Martin Scorsese at his most Paul Verhoeven without being so over the top that the work becomes a cartoon.

I saw this movie with my wife, and we both loved it. It's a riot. It's the kind of movie you watch to keep you away from that lifestyle, not to embrace it. But at the same time, everyone kinda likes to watch a nonlethal car accident when it happens. You know you do it, everyone does. That's why people gawk on the road as they pass by. You look at the mess, and you thank the gods that it wasn't you. That's this movie. You're supposed to watch and be thankful you're not them. Yes these guys were making money hand over fist, but they were also complete ass clowns that did everything they could to scam money out of hard working people and didn't care one ounce for anyone but themselves and maybe, perhaps a couple of choice prostitutes. You should leave this movie hating those guys and gals, but at the same time, you should be also looking at yourself, and see if you can't identify parts of your life that might need to have a little more attention paid to it.

Should this be up on the Best Picture list? You bet. This is outstanding filmmaking from one of America's cinematic masters. Is it his best? Nope. As incredible as it is, it's just not that incredible when compared to the rest of the competition. Ultimately I put it a rung above Captain Phillips and Philomena. It's not the "worst" of the bunch - it's just not as important as the rest - in my opinion that is.

And with that, I come to what I felt about the actual Oscars over all. All in all, while not a big surprise, it was a fine show. Ellen did a great job as host. I loved that she did her usual thing and took the show into the audience. I thought that was fantastic - I would have loved it if she went further back down the aisle than Brad Pitt and interacted with people that the rest of the world doesn't know - but that's cool - there's always next year!

As for the big question - do I support 12 Years A Slave for Best Picture? You bet. 100% yes. Could Dallas Buyer's Club have won and I be equally happy? Sure thing, but still, 12 Years A Slave is the kind of filmmaking that needs to be supported in Hollywood. All too often now, it has become common place for studios to get behind the works that draw in the largest possible audience, and that audience includes 8 and 12 year old kids. Adults like movies that are geared towards actual adults, not 13 year old kids that think they're going to get a look at naked boobies. Does that mean every adult film need to be rated R? No, but nor should it mean every movie intended for an adult audience be rated PG-13 either. For the simple reason that there was a movie that dealt with a serious part of American history in a frank and honest way and didn't shy away from it like 12 Years A Slave is extremely important and should be celebrated - not debated.

Here is my personal list of the Best Picture nominees from best to - well not worst - but least, and not in a bad way.

1: 12 Years A Slave
2: Dallas Buyer's Club
3: Her
4: Gravity
5: Nebraska
6: American Hustle
7: The Wolf Of Wall Street
8: Philomena
9: Captain Phillips

Well that's it ladies, gents, and germs - There is my list. Glad to finally have this little project done and over with! It was fun - but whoa is it hard to maintain this kind of schedule. I'll be back again, if not tomorrow, hopefully soon enough depending on how well my family member is recovering. All of you take are out there, be good, and enjoy some movies!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Finally!!! Feeling tons and tons better! Took long enough, jeebus! I'll tell you, I haven't had a cold or flu that bad in years. Thankfully it's all over and I can actually get back to enjoying some normal life. Now that I'm feeling good I can actually enjoy some of these movies I've been watching and not have it feel like a chore. Don't get me wrong, this Best Picture goal has been a blast, but when you're sick, it's hard to have fun with it.

Ok, here we are today with Philomena and Dallas Buyer's Club.

First up, Philomena.

Okay, well, that trailer, yeah... it kinda lies. The trailer makes it look like a touching, heart warming comedy with a smattering of real life drama tossed in for a bit of flavor. Nope. This is a pretty serious and heavy drama with some cute, albeit quiet jokes tossed in. This is the story of real life Philomena Lee, played by the always wonderful Judi Dench, whom as a young girl got got pregnant outside of marriage. The problem is Philomena is Irish Catholic and it was in the 1940's and there was a custom of shaming young girls that dared to commit this terrible "sin." Their course of penance was to be confined to an abby for a period of 4 years where they would work hard labor 7 days a week as they watched their children be adopted whether they wanted to keep the child or not. If the mother's didn't die giving birth, they were given minimal care, as was the case for Philomena who had to endure a breach birth without any proper medical attention as part of her penance. See, told you it wasn't funny.

Flash forward 50 years and we meet Martin Sixsmith, played by a dry Steve Coogan, who also cowrote the feature. Martin is a former BBC reporter and political spin doctor - who just lost his job and is searching for a project to focus on. During a chance meeting at a party, Martin learns of Philomena's story and her struggle to find her son and he decides to make it his next project. Together the two set about visiting the abby where Philomena stayed and ultimately fly to America to learn the truth.

This is another one of those movies where I feel compelled to be extremely vague about the details. If you don't already know the story, or have read the book that it was based on, it helps to not know too much going in. Next thing that I can't help but mention is that it has a very anti-Catholic sentiment running through it. While Philomena is a strong Catholic herself and manages to forgive and find goodness in everyone, she seems to be the one good Catholic in the entire show. And given what was done to her, I can't say that I blame the filmmakers for taking this rout with the movie.

In spite of the dark subject matter, this is a very fine movie. Well made and competently told. Judi Dench is always amazing so heaping more praise onto her for doing what she's always done best is kinda silly. With that, I have to give a huge shout out to Steve Coogan for turning in a fantastic performance. Usually I see him in more madcap comedy roles or if he's playing it straight and serious, it's in much smaller roles than this. And as a co-writer I have to give him a lot of credit for tackling the material as they did while still finding small places for happiness to sneak in here and there. My only "gripe" if there is one, is that this is not the movie advertised. But that's the fault of the marketing team, not the filmmakers.

I can see why it's a Best Picture contender - it has a lot of Oscar friendly elements working for it, but it too, doesn't have a chance to win the gold dude. If it does, it would only be because votes are going to be so split by other contenders. Even then, it still shouldn't win. I don't mean to be down on the movie or negative, it's just not the best movie of the year. It is very good, and if people are looking for a good drama to take in, I'd recommend it, but that's as far as I'm willing to go in my praise of this movie.

Up next, Dallas Buyers Club

In the words of the brilliant thespian, Keanu Reeves - "Whoa!" This is a hell of a movie. Heavy and serious yet wonderful and heart warming. Matthew McConaughey stars as Ron Woodroof, a self described "Rodeo Man" who openly and frequently uses any number of homosexual slurs to describe "those people" and anyone with HIV and AIDS. That is of course until he is diagnosed with the disease himself.

This true story hits when the AIDS epidemic was just getting going, and coincidentally, exactly when the most could have been done to steam the tide of infection and treat the disease, only due to politics - it wasn't. I was born in 1982, and growing up through the 80's I still have clear memories of hearing about people doing anything and everything they could to get the medications that worked, but weren't approved for usage in this country. I still remember Ryan White, the teen who contracted the virus from a tainted blood transfusion and the incredible amount of advocacy work he did before he died. With that, seeing Ron's story played out by some of Hollywood's finest, delivering their best performances, makes knowing and remembering the history of how people with this awful disease were treated all the more serious. This isn't a subject people should make light of or forget. Wisely rather than pointing fingers at a specific politician or political party, the film focuses on Ron's fight with various bureaucratic agencies to get the medications he and many others needed.

Ron was a fast living guy who drank like a fish, put what ever he could up his nose, and frequently had unprotected sex with numerous partners. So how he contracted the virus is pretty obvious and straightforward, and thankfully, the movie doesn't shy away from. Because it's his personal journey from being a misogynist and a homophobe into someone that fights for people to get the medications they need by traveling overseas and illegally importing these medications is what's important. Helping him along the way is his doctor, Eve, played by a wonderfully sympathetic Jennifer Garner, and a transvestite named Rayon played by an unrecognizable Jared Leto. Was Ron right to break the law and do what he did? Hard to say. But when you consider the FDA and other agencies were dragging their feet and roadblocking research efforts, it gets pretty easy to paint Ron in a heroic light.

The film is quite simply, incredible. There just isn't another word to describe it. The performances are amazing, and if I have to call the Best Actor race, I have to say McConaughey is pretty much a shoe-in. And it isn't because he lost all that weight either. Sure, his physical transformation is incredible, but his commitment to the role and the emotional weight he gives every scene makes his performance one of the best in the history of the medium. It isn't enough to "play" someone in a biopic movie like this. You have to become that person, and McConaughey did that in spades. Also, I gotta tip my hat to Jared Leto who held nothing back for this film and is equally deserving of his Best Actor In A Supporting Role nomination, if not the little golden dude himself. I just can't praise this movie enough.

So what do I have to say when it comes down to the movie's Best Picture chances? Well, this is where things get really tough. Now between this movie and 12 Years A Slave - we have two of the best movies put to film and released to an audience. Not only are they great, they're both important representations of eras in our nation's history that shouldn't be forgotten. Is one inherently better movie material than the other, AIDS vs Slavery? No. Both movies take on their respective subjects with an honesty and frankness that should be praised to no end, if only to encourage this kind of attention to detail from future films. I simply can't pick one movie over the other. If there is justice to this whole Best Picture system - both movies will win top honors because both deserve it equally.

Could my mind change tomorrow since I still have to review Her, and The Wolf Of Wall Street? Possibly. But then after what I've seen so far, the competition is pretty thick. See you then! Be good, and hot damn am I glad I'm feeling better!