30 October 2013

There is Pleasure in the Pathless Woods

          So, this is something new I'm going to be adding to my blog.  I'm going to start posting some of my favorite poems.  I have mixed feelings about poetry.  Some of it I really like; other of it does not make any sense.  As a whole, I'm not a big poem guy; there are just a few that catch my attention.  Take this first poem for example:  I really like the first 5 lines (and will italicize them) but the rest of the poem I could care less for.

          This poem is called "There is Pleasure in the Pathless Woods" and it is actually part of a longer, narrative poem called Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.  I have not read anything from that.  It was written by George Gordon Byron.  Anyways, here it is:

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne'er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean--roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin--his control
Stops with the shore;--upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.

His steps are not upon thy paths,--thy fields
Are not a spoil for him,--thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth's destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send'st him, shivering in thy playful spray
And howling, to his gods, where haply lies
His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth: —there let him lay.

By: George Gordon Byron

          I just really like nature, being in the outdoors.  I like going out by myself, away from everyone and everything.  It's great.  And I stole this poem from HERE.

     But that's just my opinion...

18 October 2013

Carrie (1976) and Carrie (2013)

          Essential plot rundown:  Bullied high schooler Carrie discovers she has supernatural power and fights back.  I've been waiting to see this movie for a long time because I'm a fan of Chloë Grace Moretz.  And I barely watched the original with Sissy Spacek for the first time the other week.

          I'm fairly open-minded when it comes to remakes, but I feel that the new Carrie is unnecessary.  I like remakes that change and reinterpret the original.  However, the new one does not do that.  It is essentially the same movie.  It even has a lot of the same dialogue, which I assume came from the book.  The only real difference is that the new one has less nudity and more special effects.  I feel if you're going to remake something, make it your own, don't photocopy the original.

          With that said, I liked both movies.  (But I would say that I liked the original better).  I wasn't too impressed by them, but I can see why the original is a classic.  My problem with the story is that there is no real character arcs in either film.  The characters are the same at the end of the movie as they were in the beginning.  While I was watching the '76 version, it reminded me of a joke and that we're just waiting for the punchline.  There's no real change in story, character or anything.  Carrie could just be the first act of a three act film.

          One of the reasons that I think the original is better is because of Sissy Spacek.  She was perfect for the role.  She's kind of creepy looking; she's also small and weak.  She's totally the type of person that would be bullied in high school.  And her being weak makes the climax that much better.  Chloë, on the other hand, is not that.  She's really pretty and doesn't look like an outcast.  And she's a lot stronger person that Sissy.  I've really only seen Chloë in Kick-Ass and Let Me In and she plays strong characters in both of these; so it was hard for me to imagine her taking crap from people.  Don't get me wrong, she did a good job; she was just miscast.

          And I felt that in the original, Carrie and Tommy had way better chemistry than they do in the remake.  When they were at prom, I thought Wow, he's really enjoying himself with Carrie.  What a nice guy.  I didn't get that at all in the remake.

          The climax starts off better in the original, but ends better in the 2013 remake.  It was so creepy/terrifying to see Sissy Spacek wide-eyed, closing all the doors; the split screen was effective.  But, fire hoses aren't that scary.  The remake was better because of the advanced SFX; Carrie really was able to display her telekinetic powers.

          So, overall, both are decent films, but I think I liked the original a little better.  The remake isn't bad, it just doesn't bring anything new to the table; so, to quote Col. Stars and Stripes:  "What's the point?"  Oh, I also liked the original ending better.

     But that's just my opinion...

15 October 2013

The Wolf and the Ewe (2011)

          This is a BYU short film that I saw a few years ago and recently rediscovered.  Unfortunately, it was made before my time so I was not able to work on it.  But, I really like it so I thought I'd share it.

     Watch it HERE.

          I really like the visuals.  And it's in Romanian, so that's cool too.  It also has werewolves and it's Halloween, so there's that.  Enjoy.

     But that's just my opinion...

02 October 2013

Nobody's Business (1996)

          Essential plot rundown:  Filmmaker, Alan Berliner, tries to find out more about his family history by interviewing his father.  I had to watch this for a documentary class I'm taking.  And I don't write a lot about the movies I watch in class so I thought I'd do this one.

          I have mixed feelings about this film.  I liked some parts and disliked others.  First of all, I liked the style.  Alan takes the audio from the interview with his father and plays it with archival footage, home movies, b-roll and photographs.  Other than making for a visually interesting film, I think that the video grounded the interview in reality.  It made Alan's father, Oscar, and the people he was talking about real and not just some person from a story.  He also adds a lot of sound effects that add to the style.

          However, after a while, the style starts to get boring and repetitive.  The film is only an hour long, but he uses the same sounds and footage over and over again.  I think it would have worked a lot better if the film had only been 20 minutes long or so.

          I also felt like Alan was trying to manipulate me.  Because we actually see very little of the interview, I felt like he was editing sound bites together out of context.  Without a visual cue, audio can be edited together to make the speaker say anything the editor wants.  And I felt like this was happening.  I'm sure an audio professional could listen to it and hear if there were changes in the audio that would indicate that they were taken out of context, but I can't.  But I sensed that they were.

          And the interaction between Alan and Oscar felt off to me too.  They seemed to be getting mad at each other for no real reason other than to spice up the interview.  Alan seemed like he was provoking his father into getting excited.  I don't know, that might as well be how they really interact (and it probably is) but it seemed like to was a little staged and unnatural.

          But, overall, it's a decent documentary.  It was interesting to learn about Oscar and I could relate to him.  I liked the style but it eventually became redundant.  It's worth watching, but not a must see.

     But that's just my opinion...

29 September 2013

Metallica: Through the Never (trailer)

          So, a while ago I heard that Metallica was going to do a 3D concert movie.  And my thought was: Really?  You're going to be like Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Bros and do this?  Man, if people thought you sold out before, wait until they see this.  But then, I recently saw "this" and by "this" I mean the trailer.  And my thoughts changed completely.

     Check it HERE.

          This actually looks really good.  I'm loving the whole combining the concert footage with a narrative; it could be really interesting.  But, in all fairness, I've never seen any other concert movies so I don't know how they usually play out.  Maybe they have more than just concert stuff.  But I am eager to see how they connect the two; will it be 50/50 or some other ratio?  I just think it looks pretty cool.  Even if there is no story other than a riot, that riot looks cool enough for me.

          And the concert looks cool too.  They're on a huge stage, there's lasers, tesla coil stuff, looks like it could be impressive.  And I like Metallica.  They've got some sweet stuff.  I am very excited to see this.  But I wish there was an IMAX closer to where I lived, cuz that would be awesome.

     But that's just my opinion...

21 September 2013

Prisoners (2013)

          Essential plot rundown:  Two little girls are kidnapped, so their fathers go after the kidnapper.  When I first saw this trailer, I thought it looked amazing.  It looked like it would be emotional and hard to watch.  I was expecting a powerful film.  However, what I actually got was a little bored.  Prisoners wasn't a bad film, it just wasn't that good either.  And that is the biggest problem with the film: it had lots of potential but didn't deliver.

          Let's start with the plot.  The story itself was really good.  It tackles an interesting subject and asks some hard questions.  But, something was lost in the transition from page to film.  The script could have been a little tighter; it's a 2 and 1/2 hour long movie and there were times when I felt bored.  So quickening the pace would have helped.  Some of the dialogue was awkward and there were some small plot-hole things; but those are inconsequential.

          The biggest problem, I felt, was the lack of character development.  The girls are literally kidnapped in the first five minutes of the movie, so I never got the chance to get to know them or their family.  They were strangers to me.  It's like seeing those missing child posters and feeling bad because they are missing, but you don't get emotional over them because you don't know who they are.  If they would have pushed the kidnapping back further into the movie and given us time to get to know the characters, see the parents interact with their kids, it would have been an a lot more effective film.  But, I didn't really care about the girls nor their parents.  Intellectually I understood why Wolverine was doing what he was doing but I wasn't invested emotionally.

          And I didn't think the acting was too great either.  Hugh Jackman has the most screen time.  And while not bad, he did seem to over act at times.  I like Terrence Howard as an actor, but he doesn't do much here.  But that's because he isn't given much to do.  I wanted to see more of him.  But the worst was Jake Gyllenhaal.  I didn't like him at all.  He just seemed weird and I never knew what he was feeling.  And what was up with the old lady makeup?  They couldn't just cast an older actress?  That was kind of distracting.

          But, overall it's a decent film.  Not anything to rush out and see; but it's also not a waste of time watching.  It had a lot of potential with a strong story, but it fails to deliver.

     But that's just my opinion...

13 September 2013

Insidious (2010) and Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)

          Essential plot rundown: A family is being haunted.  I never saw the original before, but I kept hearing how scary it was.  So, when I saw that it was screening before the sequel, I took advantage and saw them both in the theatre.

          And I'm glad I did.  Insidious was terrifying.  It's been a while since I've seen a movie that gave me goosebumps and I had never seen a movie that made me want to cover me eyes.  It was that scary.  A lot of the scares are jump scares (which I'm not a big fan of) but the filmmakers use them effectively.  And there are some atmospheric chills as well, so that was a plus.

          And the story was good too.  I thought it was interesting how they explained the whole haunting scenario.  And it resonated with what I personally believe.  I thought the actors were believable.  Overall, it was a really well made, effective movie.

          But there are some parts when the film shows too much of the ghosts; which I always find cheapens the mood.  Showing too much takes away from our imagination, which is scarier than anything on screen.  And that was really my only complaint.

          There is also a part in the first one that may or may not have been a homage to William Castle's 13 Ghosts.  That scene dreadfully made me want to cover my face.

          Insidious: Chapter 2 virtually takes place right after the first one.  And this one was different from its predecessor.  The sequel is a natural evolution from how the first ended.  And because it continues the story instead of trying to rehash the first, it has a different feel to it.  It wasn't as scary, but it was funnier.  The story was also a little more complicated, which I think worked against it.  

          There are some flashback scenes, so they have other actors playing younger versions of some of the characters.  And they worked great.  Sometimes when they have a different actor playing a younger version of a character, it seems weird.  But the actresses chosen looked and acted like the older characters.  I totally bought that they were suppose to be the same people.

          And there are some parts when the filmmakers combine traditional cinematography with the found footage style.  I found it distracting.

          Overall, they are effective films.  The first one is truly spine tingling.  I thought I was going to die.  Insidious: Chapter 2 is a scary film, but not on the same level as the first.  But they are both worth watching.

     But that's just my opinion...

11 September 2013

Cargo (2013)

          I stumbled upon this short today and decided to share it.  It is a refreshing take on the current zombie craze.  It also has a lot of heart; I may or may not have gotten a little choked up watching it.

     HERE is the link for the vid.

          You don't have to be a zombie fan to like this.  And there's not much gore in it.  So go ahead and watch it.  You won't regret it.  Unless you don't have a soul, then you might.

     But that's just my opinion...

06 September 2013

Robocop (trailer)

          I am a huge fan of Robocop.  And I have been as along as I can remember.  People ask me what my favorite movie is.  Robocop.  No hesitation.  It's great stuff.  So, when I heard that it was being remade, I was excited.  Now, I am a fan of remakes; so I was interested in seeing how the classic would be updated.

          I debated on whether or not I should watch this trailer.  Sometimes I don't watch the trailer so nothing in the movie is given away or so I don't have any preconceived notions.  But, I can't resist Robocop, so I watched it.  And I have never been so nervous watching a trailer before.

     And HERE is said trailer.

          And I really liked what I saw; though it will take some time getting use to Joel Kinnaman as Robocop instead of Peter Weller.  (But, in his defense, Weller only played Robocop in 2/3 of the movies and none of the tv shows).  I liked the design of the suit.  It still is undeniably Robocop, but sleeker, more modern. I also liked the nod to the original suit, with the gray color scheme before they paint it black.  I feel the same about ED-209: still looks like ED, but different.  And Gary Oldman is in it; he's badass.

          But I wonder who the bad guy will be.  In the original, it was Clarence Boddicker, played brilliantly by Red Forman.  He added a whole other something to the original film.  But here, at least judging by this trailer, there doesn't seem to be a "villain".  It seems to focus more Murphy becoming Robocop.

          And that is one of the things that excites me about this movie.  It appears that the film will explore more of Robocop trying to find equilibrium between his past life and his new.  Making his wife aware that Murphy is Robocop is an interesting choice and I'm eager to see how that plays out.  Also, the whole "who is in control" thing could be intriguing.

          Anyways, I am super excited to see this movie.  I love Robocop and am curious to see a new interpretation of him.  However, regardless of how good the remake actually is, Robocop is awesome and always will be.

     But that's just my opinion...
          (Except for the part of Robocop being awesome.  That's pretty much fact).

02 September 2013

Blackfish (2013)

          Essential plot rundown:  This documentary looks at how a captive whale, Tilikum, had killed 3 people specifically and at captive orcas in general.  I never heard of this movie until Magnolia Pictures started blasting their Facebook page with it.  So naturally, I checked it out, thought it looked good, and drove a half hour to go see it.

          This is a pretty interesting documentary, but not without it's problems.  The orca footage is pretty cool.  They are such majestic creatures that it's hard not to be in awe of them, especially on the big screen.  And video of the whale attackings is horrifying.  It doesn't show anything graphic, but it is still pretty intense because you know those whales can kill those people without hesitation.  The filmmakers also do an effective job humanizing the captive animals.  It is quite sad watching a calf being separated from its mother.  And that's actually all I have to say about the good stuff.

          And now to the bad.  The biggest and most obvious is that this documentary is pretty one-sided: SeaWorld is bad.  They interview a lot of former SeaWorld trainers which is good; but they only have one person who is pro-marine parks.  It did say that SeaWord refused to be interviewed, but they could have found some more pro-SeaWord people to talk with to make for a more balanced discussion.  But you know going in that this type of movie has an agenda.

          The only other complaint was that, as times, I was a little disorientated. They start talking about one incident, then move to another one without much of an indication.  Sometimes I was confused on which whale was attacking who and I never knew when the attacks occurred.  Also, there are times where there were too many interviews and not enough killer whale footage.

          But overall, it is a pretty good documentary.  A little one-sided (ok, a lot one-sided), kind of slow in some parts, but when it gets intense, it's intense.  I'd recommend it to anyone, whether they're pro- or anti- SeaWorld.

     But that's just my opinion...