Search This Blog

Monday, December 19, 2011

Film Club

Hey folks, thought I'd get a jump on January's film club selection since I was so late posting December's.  For the month of January we will be meeting Thursday the 19th at 6:15 pm and we will be viewing:

Aguirre, The Wrath of God
Directed By:  Werner Herzog

The story follows the travels of Spanish soldier Lope De Aguirre, who leads a group of conquistadores down the Amazon River in South America in search of the legendary city of gold, El Dorado.  Using a minimalist story and dialogue, the film creates a vision of madness and folly, counterpointed by the lush but unforgiving Amazonian jungle.  Although based loosely on what is known of the historical figure of Aguirre, the film's story line is, as Herzog acknowledged years after the film's release, a work of imagination.  Some of the people and situations may have been inspired by Gaspar De Carvajal's account of an earlier Amazonian expedition, although Carvajal was not on the historical voyage represented in the film.  Other accounts state that the expedition went into the jungles but never returned to civilization. (From Wikipedia)

This film is a wonderfully visual masterwork from one of cinema's most impressive directors.  You will not want to miss the harrowing descent into delusion and megalomania.  Hope to see you there!

Here's the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xcr8nVr4tSA


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Film Club

Hey everyone, for the month of December I decided to go with a movie that would be relevant to the season so we will be watching:

A Christmas Story
Directed By: Bob Clark

I was going to put a plot synopsis here but I figure just about everyone knows it already.  If you don't, all you need to know is that the only thing Ralphie (Peter Billingsly) wants for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB Gun but it turns out getting it isn't as easy as he hopes.  Based on the semi-fictional writings of Jean Shepherd (who also narrates) A Christmas Story is a Christmas classic for everyone.

Here's the trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvMLfSQrHKE

Monday, November 28, 2011

"This is the Place Where Dreams are Made"- A Review of Hugo

I will tell it to you straight, when I saw the first trailer for Martin Scorsese's newest film Hugo, I was anything but impressed.  The trailer presented it in such an awful way I had no desire to ever see the film.  The trailer involved a lot of Hugo running around the train station, being chased by the Station Inspector (played by Sacha Baron Cohen).  It felt really goofy and not in a fun way.  It felt like another family film about a small English, orphan boy.  Let me say this now.  Hugo is almost nothing like what the trailer depicted.  I felt like I was lied to.  Yes, Hugo does his fair share of running from the inspector, but it's such a small part of the film I wonder why it was even shown in the trailers?  Whatever, I'm over it.  Hugo is at it's core a film about film, or even more specific, about film preservation.  Hugo is the son of a watchmaker (played by Jude Law) and has a natural penchant for fixing things he finds that are broken.  His father is involved in some kind of accident and Hugo is left alone with his alcoholic uncle who teaches him how to tend the clocks.  He lives in the train station walls, everyday winding the clocks, making sure they serve their purpose.  He watches an old man who owns a toy shop (Ben Kingsley) and steals parts and gears from him when he is not looking, because he is trying to fix something:  an automaton his father found in a museum.  When he is caught stealing the parts he is forced to empty his pockets, but one pocket contains a notebook that belongs to Hugo, with drawings of the automaton, when the old man sees this he becomes visibly upset and takes the book from Hugo, saying he is going to burn it.  This is where the film begins it's mystery.  Unless you have read about the film, or are familiar enough with the book, you do not know who Ben Kingsley is supposed to be, in fact it isn't until later in the film you actually find out his name, his full name.  I won't tell you, because I feel that might spoil it if you don't already know.  Hugo meets with the old man's god-daughter, Isabelle (Chloe Moretz), who tells him she will help get his notebook back.  She also encourages Hugo to pursue this thing, because it might be an adventure.  She takes Hugo to a bookstore where the owner (Christopher Lee) allows her to borrow books.  They come across Robin Hood, Hugo says he hasn't read it but he saw the movie, Isabelle informs Hugo she has never seen a movie before.  Hugo is shocked and convinces her to come with him to the cinema, they sneak in and watch as much of Harold Lloyd's Safety Last!  as they can before being thrown out by the manager.  I loved this scene.  The look on Isabelle's face, the wonder, the sense of unbelieving, the concern for Lloyd's character as he hangs precariously from the hands of a clock high above the city street.  Scorsese captures the feeling, the magic, the dreamlike quality of film, the experience of witnessing something for the first time that is unlike anything you've ever seen.  It's remarkable and it's only the first of many other scenes to come.  There is a lot of old footage from the earliest films we have, Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat by the Lumiere brothers, The Great Train Robbery by Edwin S. Porter (which influenced Scorsese's shot of Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, where he points the gun at the camera) A Trip to the Moon by George Melies and so many others.  We find out Isabelle's god-father has some connection to the automaton and to the cinema, and the adventure to finding out what that connection is, is amazing.  Hugo is a good film for anyone, it's filled with humor, adventure, and even a little romance, but it's even more for film lovers.  It's such a wonderful celebration of the art and magic of film-making and the importance of film preservation.  Scorsese brings this to life with a deftness unfortunately lacking in the run-of-the-mill modern American directors.  His love of film and the preservation of film does not dominate the story here, but enforces it, bolsters it into something more than a simple movie.  He shows us that films are the place where dreams are made, and invites us to come dream with him.  He also shows just how important it is to preserve old films.  We are lucky to still have the early films we do only because of extensive searching done by lovers of the cinema.  These important films might have been lost forever, and Hugo includes this idea very prominently, but not in a way where children will find it boring.  I highly recommend this film to anyone and everyone, and I dare you not to enjoy it. (A side note:  While I'm not a big fan of 3D, viewing it more as a gimmick that takes away from the film than an actual asset, Hugo is definitely worth seeing in 3D.  Scorsese uses it as I would expect him to, with skill and care, adding greatly to the depth of the film.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

"I'm seeing something that was always hidden." Blue Velvet on Blu-ray

The opening credits roll on a backdrop of blue curtains, we see (in slow motion) picket fences, vivid red fire engines, cookie cutter neighborhoods, dogs barking, children playing and sunshine bathing everything in it's warm glow, all this set to an old Bobby Vinton song.  Then, we see a man have a stroke and the camera zooms in, passing him and entering into the ground where we see beetles and bugs violently ripping, tearing and gnashing each other.  The film to which I am referring is none other than David Lynch's american masterpiece, Blue Velvet.  This film is dark and mysterious, equal parts film noir, sexual thriller and dark comedy.  The opening I described sets the theme that under the polished, happy veneer of everyday life, there is an ugliness, or sometimes violently maniacal evil lurking.  Kyle MacLachlan plays the innocent Jeffrey Beaumont, home from college because of his dad's hospitalization (the man with the stroke in the beginning).  Soon after arriving, he finds a human ear in a field near his house and decides to bring it to the police, a local detective and father of his soon-to-be-friend Sandy (played by Laura Dern), little does he know this ear is the first step down a long and dark road.  The camera even zooms in and seems to enter the ear, a loud buzzing filling the soundtrack.  Lynch uses this idea in several of his films, the idea that we are leaving the reality we know and entering into unknown territory.  With some information, Jeffrey is lead to the home of a sultry nightclub singer, Dorothy Vallens (played by Isabella Rossellini), who is an important part of the puzzle.  For some reason she has ties to a madman named Frank Booth (played with terrifying ferocity by the late Dennis Hopper), who is a sexual fiend and homicidal maniac.  The more Jeffrey is involved in Dorothy's life, the more we wonder:  Is Jeffrey just a curious young man playing detective, or is he also a pervert?  Jeffrey soon finds himself deep in an underworld he never dreamed existed, and there may be no turning back.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the film and to commemorate this event it has been released (for the first time) on Blu-ray.  I had the opportunity to re-watch the film before writing this, it is as potent and intense, humorous and bizarre as ever.  The HD transfer looks great.  Lynch's films usually look great anyway but the higher resolution really brings out his amazing use of color, especially the many "blues" used in this film.  Also spectacular is the sound.  This film has a lot to do with sound and that aspect is played up by the wonderful HD transfer.  The special features are not bountiful, but there are a few nice bonus things added in that will excite die-hard Lynch fans.  This film was originally supposed to be 4 and a half hours long, but was cut down to just 2.  While not all the missing footage has been found, an extra 50 minutes are present on this disc.  The deleted scenes are presented as a film in and of themselves (Lynch has a way with presentation when it comes to deleted scenes), with scoring and end credits, they play like a 50 minute movie that fits in with the actual film.  It has some tv spots and trailers, a documentary, the original Siskel and Ebert review and even a few outtakes.  If you haven't seen this film, now is the perfect time to jump into the world of David Lynch, where, like in Blue Velvet, nothing is as it seems.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

FILM CLUB

Wow, so the month of October just flew past.  Thanks to everyone who came out to support our HORRORFEST, hope you enjoyed yourselves, we enjoyed having you there.  With a new month comes another FILM CLUB film.  This month we will be watching:




Hannah and Her Sisters
Directed By:  Woody Allen
Rated: PG-13



Hannah and Her Sisters is a 1986 American comedy-drama film which tells the intertwined stories of an extended family over two years that begin and end with a family Thanksgiving dinner. The movie was written and directed by Woody Allen, who stars along with Mia Farrow as Hannah, Michael Caine as her husband, and Barbara Hershey and Dianne Wiest as her sisters.  The story is told in three main arcs, with almost all of it occurring during a 12-month period beginning and ending at Thanksgiving parties hosted by Hannah (Mia Farrow) and her husband, Elliot (Michael Caine). Hannah serves as the stalwart hub of the narrative; her own story as a successful actress (a recent success as Nora in A Doll's House) is somewhat secondary, but most of the events of the film connect to her.


 Hannah and Her Sisters won both Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the first movie to win both supporting actor awards since Julia in 1977, nearly nine years before. (From Wikipedia)


This is probably one of Woody Allen's best films, right up there with Annie Hall and Manhattan, there is great comedy, plenty of drama, a little romance and infidelity, but overall, a great story.  If you're a fan of Woody Allen's work (or even if you're not!) you should come and check out this film!


Here's the trailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qtgw38Yq2Qs

Monday, October 31, 2011

Orignal Horror Films to Scare Your Pants Off


It seems only appropriate, here on Halloween day, to discuss a few horror movies.  I've made a short list of horror films that don't quite fit in with their brothers and sisters.  I'm talking horror films that are unlike others in at least some way, films that are refreshingly different, not perfect, granted, but still original enough to be more enjoyable than your run of the mill tripe that gets pumped out of Hollywood (I'm looking at you Marcus Nispel).  These aren't going to be in order of how much I like them or anything like that so don't bother with that.  I'm basically going to put them down as I think of them (see, isn't that more fun?) Let's go.

1.  Martyrs (2008)

Yikes...this film is rough.  I mean really rough.  Probably one of the most horrifying horror movies I've ever seen.  It never lets up, it starts hard and ends harder, we, as the audience, never get any relief from this film, yet we keep watching, we must keep watching.  The violence in this film is extreme, and it's relentless, uncaring, brutal, ferocious and depraved.  There is torture that would make Saw and Hostel run for cover.  That said, this film is far different and leagues better than all the other films in both series.  Where Saw and Hostel (especially the later installments of Saw) fit into the category they helped create, that of "Torture Porn"...where we "get off" on the images of death and torment.  Martyrs does not do this.  There is no satisfaction in watching what happens, it is devastating.  This film burns itself into your brain and leaves you thinking about it for days.





2. YellowBrickRoad (2011)


I just watched this last night, yup, last night.  This is a very fascinating film, almost more psychological thriller (with some horridly violent scenes) than straight horror film.  The premise is that the population of a town in New Hampshire disappeared in 1940, just packed up random things and headed off down a trail called? You guessed it, YellowBrickRoad.  A team of people, photographers, filmmakers, writers, what have you, come to the town (called Friar) to investigate the story, now 70 years old.  Once they set off down the trail, things get...weird.  Music is heard in the distance, in the middle of nowhere, miles from civilization, seemingly from every direction.  People start to break down, and then the hits the fan.  What I really liked about this film was the fact  it made an effort to be more character driven than what we're used to seeing, that and the fact it's just so blasted weird and horrifying.  The end falls apart a bit, I kind of knew it would about half-way through the film, but regardless, it was an intense, scary film I would recommend to anyone who likes a little low-budget horror.


3.  House (1977)


You like your horror films to be crazy?  Well then House is the film for you.  There is no easy way to explain this film.  Take the styles and stop-motion of Tim Burton, toss in a little bit of Dario Argento's colors, a piano that eats people, severed heads that fly around, and make it Japanese and you might get close.  The main characters are all (seemingly) teen-aged Japanese girls, who are basically a caricature of woman in general, Japanese women in particular.  There is a bizarre love story that plays simultaneously with the main story (a flashback I believe) that is there to add some extra depth and horror to the story, when you consider what happens to all the guests of the house.  It's like the filmmakers took some acid and started shooting, seeing as how the film gets crazier and crazier (and then they somehow slipped the audience some).  Oh yeah, and there's like a demon-ghost cat as well...how could one not love this film?





4.  Rubber (2010)


House is pretty crazy.  This might be crazier, if merely in concept alone.  A tire, named Robert, becomes sentient and goes on a killing spree.  Yes, that is the actual plot of the film.  It's funny, gory and downright insane!  (I stole that from a movie poster, but it's the best way to describe it.).  It begins with a police officer explaining that this film is an homage to the "no reason", asking a series of questions pertaining to other films and merely replying, "no reason" (i.e. In the excellent "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" by Tobe Hooper, why don't we ever see the characters go to the bathroom or wash their hands, like people in real life? Absolutely no reason!)  We see an audience of people standing out in the desert, watching the "film" of Robert on his rampage (what we are seeing) through binoculars. It's all very bizarre.  Strange subplots that seem to be connected, or not connected to anything else in the film, abound.  This is another entry for you if you enjoy films that make you scratch your head.


5.  The Blair Witch Project (1999)


Yeah, that Blair Witch Project.  In recent years we have seen a slew of films that are made in the "found footage" style (think Paranormal Activity, [REC] and it's remake Quarantine, Cloverfield, The Last Exorcism, etc.).  Not a completely new idea (Cannibal Holocaust came out in 1980), but what makes The Blair Witch Project exceptionally terrifying is that not only did it claim to be real (constructing a website about the myth of the Blair Witch, setting up an abandoned car where it was said the kids disappeared) it felt like it could very well be real, just a bunch of college kids going off into the woods making a documentary about a local legend.  I will admit that subsequent viewing of this film are nowhere near as good as the first time, but, the end, specifically the last 10-15 minutes are gold.  It never fails to make my heart pound even though I know how it ends.





6.  Eraserhead (1975)

I don't normally consider this film to be horror, but it fits nicely into this list.  This film is a nightmare.  It's like literally watching someone's nightmare, always wishing they would wake, but they never do.  This is David Lynch's first feature film.  The landscape in the film (seemingly post-apocalyptic, industrial wasteland) mirrors Lynch's feelings about where he was living at the time (Philadelphia I believe), the rest of the film mirrors his fears of becoming a father.  This is essentially the crux of the film.  All parents hope their children are healthy and normal, but they will love them regardless.  The man in Eraserhead has a child that is neither of those two things. It is deformed and sickly.  He tries to take care of it, raise it, make things right with his girlfriend, all the while trying to escape into a fantasyland he imagines in his radiator....yeah, radiator.  Exceptionally bizarre, hauntingly crafted, this film will drive you to the limits of your sanity.



7.  Phantasm (1979)

I love this film.  This is what I want to see when it comes to horror, something original.  You have your masked murderers, your psychos, backwoods freaks, demons, ghosts, etc....and then you have the Tall Man.  What is he?  A mortician...maybe.  What does he want? Dead bodies apparently, as he drives his hearse from graveyard to graveyard, robbing graves.  He brings them back to the morgue/funeral home, but what does he do with them?  The answer to that question is a nice bizarre one that you'll have to watch the film to find out.  From small hooded men to flying silver cranial boring metal spheres, to corny but genuine humour, to terrifying bloody violence, this film has it all.  Another interesting thing with this film is that it spawned three sequels, all directed by the same director, that tie in to this film and explain things about the story by furthering and expanding it.  I highly recommend this to anyone who considers themselves a fan of horror.






And that's it.  I'm only gonna do 7.  "What kind of list only has 7 on it?  Why not 5 or 10?"
No reason.
Happy Halloween everyone!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Mother. Father. Always you wrestle inside me."

Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life has just recently arrived on Blu Ray and DVD, and I had an opportunity to watch it, once on DVD, again on Blu Ray.  Before I even begin here I have to make something abundantly clear, if you have a Blu Ray player, obtain this film on Blu Ray (it comes with a DVD copy anyway) and if you do not own an Blu Ray player, get one, if not only for this film.  To say this film is "beautiful" does not do it justice, neither do the words, "magnificent" "amazing" "spectacular" (though, those are all very applicable words for this film), this is a film that is "beyond words" so to speak, or at least, that is how I felt after watching it.  Speechless, without words.  What is the film about?  Everything, life, humans, what have you, it's almost easier to say what it isn't about.  The film begins with a quote from Job 38: 4,7, the part where God is answering Job's questions. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, in short, Job was a wealthy man (physically and spiritually) who is tested by the devil, determined to make Job deny God, and ultimately remains faithful and is rewarded for his faith.  The verse that is quoted here is God's answer to Job's questioning, essentially:  "God, where were you when my family and all that I own was taken from me?"  God lets Job have his moment, then responds with a question of His own, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?"  Job didn't realize that all he had came from God in the first place, God who crafted the very Universe and all that resides within it.  God brought Job's perspective away from his own little microcosm of existence and presented him with the large scale.  Job remained faithful, not all do.
The family in The Tree of Life lose a son, they mourn, the question God, they remain faithful (or so it seems).  We get a sequence very reminiscent of 2001:  A Space Odyssey, showing the creation of all things, all set to some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard (bookmark: This is a VERY musical film).  We see the cosmos, single-cell life and the ensuing evolution, the dinosaurs and then back to the microcosm of 1950's America (Texas, I believe).  I may be wrong in seeing this connection but I believe it to be the point.  To show this family, watch it grow up, change, mature and struggle, knowing that one of the sons will die, juxtaposed with the grandiosity and magnificence of existence, is meant to almost parallel Job.  The small and the big, not necessarily important and unimportant, just a matter of size and scale, something the oldest son can not understand, something the mother questions, yet seems to ultimately understand.  A local boy in the neighborhood dies and the oldest son Jack whispers (seemingly) to God, "Why should I be good, when you aren't?"  He doesn't understand, and that seems to be the case with most people, it's not easy, but then what is?  Most of what happens seems to be showing us how Jack grows farther away from his family, his "naive" but loving mother, his overbearing father, even his brothers to a certain extent.  I know that this connection, the strictly spiritual connection, was most likely not Malick's intent, could be, but most likely not, and it almost doesn't matter.  Sean Penn plays the now grown-up version of Jack who seems to be replaying most of what happens in the film in his head, remembering what is was like growing up, remembering his family and his brothers (one now long dead), rethinking his life and the way he lead it.  All this leads up to some sort of afterlife where everyone is reunited and remembers they're family and friends, it's an interesting take on things.
That's really about it...it's not the easiest film to describe or put into a nice plot summary, it's light on the narrative and heavy on the visuals, the imagery the sounds and emotions that are conveyed.  And the music, oh the music.  The sequence of creation, the galaxies, stars, planets, supernovas and nebulae are set to the most wonderful opera and classical music, it's enough to bring tears to your eyes.  The father's dream was to be a musician and he frequently plays classical music while the family eats or sits around the house.  Having an affinity to classical music myself, I could not resist this film (much like the soundtrack to 2001:  A Space Odyssey).


THE BOTTOM LINE
Terrence Malick is a visionary director the likes of which are rarely seen in this day and age, from his early film Days of Heaven to his epic meditation on war and humanity The Thin Red Line, and now The Tree of Life.  This is one of those films you must see, if you love film, music, art, whatever!  Just see it.  It's not for everyone, but it's at least worth a watch.  FINAL GRADE: A

Monday, October 24, 2011

HORRORFEST


Alright everyone, we're coming up on the last night of HORRORFEST. We've watched Night of the Living Dead, Halloween, and Let the Right One In. This Friday we will be watching Stanley Kubrick's horror masterpiece, The Shining. Everyone is invited, there is no sign-up, just show up at the library before 5:15 this Friday evening, the 28th. Food and drink will be available but feel free to bring anything else you might like, either for yourself or to share. Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 10, 2011

HORRORFEST UPDATE


Hey everyone. Just want to start off by saying the first night of HORRORFEST went well, we had about 11 people in attendance for the film Night of the Living Dead. This coming Friday, the 14th we will be watching John Carpenter's classic film Halloween. Come on out for some food and drink, good company and a great film, hope to see you there. (Library hours are 9:30-5:00, we will wait til about 5:15 before we start, come early so you don't get locked out!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

FILM CLUB

Hey everybody! October is just about here so I figured I'd put up the Film Club information for the month. As you may know we have the HORRORFEST running for the month of October and any and all are welcome to attend, but for those of you who might not want to be part of that I will still have the regularly scheduled Film Club on the third Thursday, which would be the 20th. We will be watching:



Nosferatu

Directed by F.W. Murnau


Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (translated as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror; also known as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Terror or simply Nosferatu) is a classic 1922 German Expressionist horror film, directed by F. W. Murnau, starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok. The film, shot in 1921 and released in 1922, was an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, with names and other details changed because the studio could not obtain the rights to the novel (for instance, "vampire" became "Nosferatu" and "Count Dracula" became "Count Orlok"). (From Wikipedia)


Come on out for a scary good time!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

HORRORFEST


It's coming...

Join us at the Crete Public Library this October for HORRORFEST. Four Fridays, four of cinema's greatest horror films. SEE: George A. Romero's masterpiece of zombie horror Night of the Living Dead, John Carpenter's classic slasher Halloween, Tomas Alfredson's chilling tale of vampire terror Let the Right One In, and Stanley Kubrick's modern masterpiece of psychological horror The Shining. ENJOY: refreshments, trivia, obscure facts and discussions of each film. Every Friday in October, when the Library closes, the horror begins. (Library hours for Friday are 9:30-5:00, HORRFEST will begin once the library closes)

Here are the trailers:





Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Deep into that darkness peering...


As we stand in the drafty doorway of October (November just around the corner) fall now upon us, my mind tends to gravitate towards that blessed (cursed?) of holidays that is swiftly approaching, of course I'm referring to Halloween. I LOVE Halloween and I eagerly await it's arrival year after year, with a giddy anticipation that almost borders on absurdity and when I say "almost borders on" of course I mean, "tramples headlong into". For me, fall equals Halloween equals fall. The two are nearly synonymous with one another. I imagine a quieted suburban street all fallen leaves that rustle with the wind, that sharp chill that says winter really isn't as far away as you hope it is, a moderate jacket will suffice, or a hooded sweatshirt. There is a lonliness that comes with the fall, and even Halloween, at least for me now that I've grown into an "adult", my perception of the world broadened to that point of totality that takes away from the magic that is Halloween, and yet, I try as hard as I might to regain that sense of wonder. My view of what fall and therefore Halloween "should" be like is somewhat influenced by films. The film Halloween and to a somewhat lesser extent, A Nightmare on Elm Street, really embody, for me, what Halloween ought to feel like. Not many films capture it, but some manage to do just that, in recent years I believe the film Trick 'r Treat comes pretty close. You could argue that my perception has been altered by these films and it very well may be, but I like to think that what those films do is summon up a "memory emotion" from my childhood, what I really felt come Halloween time, a feeling that may have lain dormant for years. There was that feeling that the night would never end, that we would continue our ritual demanding of sweets in exchange for dressing up as our favorite horrors or less frightening characters, forever, into an eternal twilight of cool air and rustling leaves, all darkness and fog, Jack o' lanterns our only guides. As children we are blessed with the inability to view our lives, or the events therein, with the completeness we do as adults (who are even limited to a certain extent), for them the wonder is in those moments of unknowing. Halloween has changed even from when I was younger (not that long ago). I remember going to my grandparents' house out in Lansing and traversing the, seemingly, endless streets of their subdivision for what seemed like hours upon hours. In actuality I'm sure it wasn't nearly as long as I remember, but it felt like it. I remember it being dark, oh so dark, what a dark it was! It was dark from the moment we started! We never started when it was still light out, where was the fun in that? Now I see children, always accompanied by an adult, making their way up and down the sidewalked streets at about 3:00 in the afternoon, (still daytime as far as I'm concerned) and wrapping up right when it gets dark! It's like a city ordinance...so sad. Times are different now, but I try to keep the feeling and memory alive by habitually dressing up, watching the horror movies that really put the creep on, eating candy and caramel apples and all things unhealthy and just letting the little kid in me have control...and that's why I look forward to Halloween, another opportunity to give that emotion and memory some life, so it doesn't die, as I get older and older. So have yourselves a happy Halloween everyone! (This post really wasn't about film...but, oh well!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

FILM CLUB



Hey everybody, thanks to everyone who made it out for Days of Heaven this past Thursday, we had a nice attendance (12 people!) and we even had a little conversation time afterwards for about 20 minutes, I was really happy with the way it turned out and it seemed like everyone enjoyed the film, at least to a certain extent. This update is for the month of September, a little advance notice so you know. We will be meeting Thursday, September 15th at 6:15pm and we will be watching:


Dr. Strangelove (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)

Directed By: Stanley Kubrick


Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, commonly known as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 black comedy film which satirized the nuclear scare. It was directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick, starred Peter Sellers and George C. Scott, and featured Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens, and Tracy Reed. The film was loosely based on Peter George's Cold War thriller novel Red Alert, also known as Two Hours to Doom.
The story concerns an unhinged United States Air Force general who orders a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. It follows the President of the United States, his advisors, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a Royal Air Force (RAF) officer as they try to recall the bombers to prevent a nuclear apocalypse. It separately follows the crew of one B-52 as they try to deliver their payload. (From Wikipedia)


Come on out for a fun and hilarious time!


Here's the trailer:


Thursday, August 4, 2011

FILM CLUB


Hey folks! It's August now (yikes) and that means it's time for a new film. This month we will be meeting Thursday, August 18th at our usual time of 6:15pm and we will be watching:

Days of Heaven
(Directed By Terrence Malick)

Days of Heaven is a 1978 American romantic drama written and directed by Terrence Malick and starring Richard Gere, Brooke Adams, Sam Shepard and Linda Manz. Set in the early 20th century, it tells the story of two poor lovers, Bill and Abby, as they travel to the Texas Panhandle to harvest crops for a wealthy farmer. Bill encourages Abby to claim the fortune of the dying farmer by tricking him into a false marriage. This results in an unstable love triangle and a series of unfortunate events. Days of Heaven is widely recognized as a landmark of 1970s cinema. Many commentators have noted the way the film emphasizes powerful symbolic imagery over conventional dialogue and pacing (From Wikipedia). Terrence Malick is a singular director that is unlike any other living today. He has only directed 5 films in the span of nearly 40 years but each is a precious gem in the world of cinema. He is a director of little words (his films reflect this), but the feelings and images he conjures are more powerful than any words, each frame is saturated with a richness and depth that escapes most directors.
This is a film you will absolutely not want to miss!

Check out the trailer:



Monday, July 25, 2011

FILM CLUB


Hello everyone, here is a little slideshow I put together that kind of showcases Film Club. What it's all about as well as the films that we have enjoyed so far. Check it out!



http://portal.sliderocket.com/AUNDG/Film-Club

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spins a web, any size...


Catches thieves just like flies, look out! Here comes the Spider-man!


So, they've released the new "teaser" trailer (though it's like 2 and half minutes...) for the new Spider-man reboot entitled The Amazing Spider-man, starring Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Never Let Me Go) as the web-slinging title character and Emma Stone (Easy A, Superbad, and the forthcoming The Help) as the gorgeous, blonde haired Gwen Stacy. I won't lie...I'm a huge fan of Sam Raimi and his version that was released in 2002 (almost 10 years ago, yikes!), I thought everything worked real well in that version, the characters, the story the humor and the action (in appropriate quantities...though, what really is an appropriate quantity of anything when Sam Raimi is involved?), everything jived and made for an engaging and all together entertaining movie-going experience, which is why I'm kind of skeptical about this new version. That said, I'm also very excited about this version for a number of reasons. 1. I think the cast is pretty solid, Andrew Garfield is a pretty decent actor (he did very well in the The Social Network), I love Emma Stone and the supporting cast is extensive and awesome, including but not limited to: Martin Sheen, Rhys Ifans, Dennis Leary and Sally Field (to name a few.) 2. The director is Marc Webb, who's 2009 film (500) Days of Summer what funny, heartfelt and all together wonderful. I have faith in him, and 3. It's not Spider-man 3 (ok, I'm sorry, but it was awful).

Final thoughts: I don't think that it's a necessary reboot (they hardly are), and I really love Raimi's Spider-man and Spider-man 2, (not to mention the Bruce Campbell cameos), I feel like they're trying to reach a younger, more angst-filled crowd (think Twilight, ughh, sorry), especially with this trailer...I hope that isn't true of the film itself (trailers can, and most often are, deceiving in the tone they set), but we shall see.

Here's the trailer, what are your feelings on the matter?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Couple New Films

I love hearing about new films that are going to be released in the near future, especially when they look good or when they are directed by a director I really like, the following are two such films.




1. Contagion (Directed by Steven Soderbergh)


Soderbergh is one of those directors that I love because of his broad range of films, whether it be Ocean's 11, 12, 13, Erin Brockavich, the remake of Solaris, Traffic, the experimental The Girlfriend Experience or the mania that is Schizopolis, (to name a few), I always find myself enjoying them. You never really know what to expect from the man because he can pull off the ridiculous, the serious, or the moderately/wildly humorous. This looks like a film that I think will be at the very least, entertaining.


See the brand new trailer here: http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/contagion/

2. A Dangerous Method (Directed by David Cronenberg)

Probably my second favorite living director (behind David Lynch), Cronenberg is one of those directors that deals directly with the source of horror, love, anger, hatred or what-have-you....human beings themselves. Known for somewhat having invented the pseudo-genre of "Bio-horror" his films don't just deal with human beings, they rip them apart, bury themselves deep inside them or mutate them into horrific creatures (most often revealing what they really are on the inside to begin with). When I hear his name certain titles jump to my head immediately: The Fly, Dead Ringers, Naked Lunch (all together different than the book), The Brood, A History of Violence, and probably my favorite, Videodrome. This new film about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung looks like it will be nothing short of wonderful.

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZ7JKmcLTsI



Thursday, June 30, 2011

FILM CLUB

Hello everyone, this is your film club update. What could be better than watching a movie, for free, at the library? Now, I know you're thinking the answer couldn't be anything other than "nothing", but that would be wrong. The answer is TWO movies for free at the library, in the same night! Yes, that's right, we will be watching two films for film club this month. I said that we would be watching Duck Soup by the Marx Brothers, and we will be, but that's only half right because due to bad planning on my part (after rewatching Duck Soup) I realized that it's only like 68 minutes long...which would just be too short. Sooo, I've decided to also show Horse Feathers by the Marx Brothers. While not as good as Duck Soup, it's probably my second favorite. Soooo, Film Club will be on Thursday, July 21st at 6:00 PM (I've moved the time up 15 minutes to somewhat accomodate the fact that we will be watching two films instead of just one.)


Horse Feathers (1932)

Directed By: Norman Z. McLeod

The film revolves around college football and a game between the fictional Darwin and Huxley Colleges. (Thomas Henry Huxley was a defender of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.) Many of the jokes about the amateur status of collegiate football players and how eligibility rules are stretched by collegiate athletic departments remain remarkably current. Groucho plays Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the new president of Huxley College, and Zeppo is his son Frank, who convinces his father to recruit professional football players to help Huxley's team.








Duck Soup (1933)

Directed By: Leo McCarey


The wealthy Mrs. Teasdale (Margaret Dumont) insists that Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx) be appointed leader of the small, bankrupt country of Freedonia before she will continue to provide much-needed financial assistance. Meanwhile, neighboring Sylvania is attempting to take over the country. Sylvanian ambassador Trentino (Louis Calhern) tries to foment a revolution, woos Mrs. Teasdale, and attempts to dig up dirt on Firefly by sending in spies Chicolini (Chico Mar) and Pinky (Harpo Marx).






Come on out for a night of ridiculousness, nonsense and outright hilarity. You will not want to miss this Marx Brothers double feature event.


Check out the trailers:




Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo


Hey friends, for all you fans of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, check out this trailer for the American remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo film (if you haven't seen the Swedish version I recommend you check it out immediately). Normally I don't go for remakes and what have you but this trailer is just so well made I can't help but get a little excited. This version is going to be directed by David Fincher who's most recent film was The Social Network (also worth watching). If the music from the trailer is any indication of what we can expect I'm totally psyched. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame is teaming up with Fincher again to do this soundtrack (he was also responsible for the wonderful soundtrack to The Social Network).

Have you read the books? Seen the Swedish films? Have a favorite? Let me know!
Check out the trailer here:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

FILM CLUB

Hey everyone, film club is on it's way again, so for once I'm going to put this up well in advance, so you all have plenty of time to decide if you'd like to see it or not! (isn't that nice?) This next film will be Thursday, June 16th at 6:15 PM in the large meeting room located on the second floor of the library.
This next film is:

Pan's Labyrinth (Rated R)
(Directed by Guillermo Del Toro)

The film takes place in Spain, five years after the Spanish civil war, during the early Francoist period. The narative of the film interweaves this real world with a fantasy world centered around an abandoned overgrown labyrinth, and a mysterious faun creature, with which the main character, Ofelia, interacts. Ofelia's stepfather, the Falangist Captain Vidal, hunts the Spanish Maquis who fight against the Fascist reign in the region, while Ofelia's pregnant mother grows increasingly ill. Ofelia meets several strange and magical creatures who become central to her story, leading her through the trials of the old labyrinth garden. The film employs make-up, animatronics and CGI effects to life it's creatures. (From Wikipedia)

As always, Del Toro delivers a tale that is full of wonder and imagination yet grounded in a reality that is, at times, grim. Don't miss this fantastic film!
Check out the trailer:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Film Club Summer Line Up

Alright, I think I'm going to go with with these films for the summer...

JUNE: Pan's Labyrinth (Directed by Guillermo Del Toro)

JULY: Duck Soup (Directed by Leo McCarey)

AUGUST: Days of Heaven (Directed by Terrence Malick)


(Duck Soup will be a nice, light, buffer between the two other, heavier, films.)

Hope to see some new faces! For those unfamiliar, I will be posting a little information about Film Club)

Here are the trailers for the films in case you wanted to check them out:



Sunday, May 22, 2011

What is this "Film Club"?



The Crete Public Library Film Club is a group that meets every 3rd Thursday of the month to watch a film. We usually meet at 6:15 PM in the Large meeting room located on the second floor so we have plenty of room and access to the projector. We also have FREE coffee and tea courtesy of the library; anyone is welcome to bring snacks if they like, for themselves or to share (one of our regulars always brings cookies for the group!). At Film Club, the goal is to show films that you may not have seen. Most of the films that are chosen are films that showcase astounding visuals, thought provoking themes and ideas as well as pure cinematic entertainment. You don't need to be a film buff to have a good time at Film Club! Depending on the film, sometimes we have a little discussion afterwards, share what we got form the film, our own interpretations or what have you, it's not mandatory but it can be fun! Film Club is coming up on it's 3rd year of existence here at the library and over the course of those 3 years we've watched a wide variety of films such as:



-Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

-Food, Inc.

-Pursuit of Happyness

-The Shop Around the Corner

-Breach

-Osama

-Little Miss Sunshine

-Julie and Julia

-The Lives of Others

-Murderball

-Into the Wild

-An Education

-Vicki Christina Barcelona

-Crazy Heart

-Man on Wire

-The Cove

-Slumdog Millionaire

-The White Ribbon

-The Wrestler

-Away We Go

-Hard Day's Night

-The Road

-Volver

-The Fall
-Doubt

-The Seventh Seal

-Rear Window

-My Left Foot

-Love Aaj Kal

-Baraka

-The Messenger

-Best Worst Movie

-The Fountain



So, if you're looking for something to do on the 3rd Thursday of the month, come on out for a FREE movie and refreshments. If you'd like to be notified what the film will be in advance, give us your name and email and we'll add you to the emailing list. For information head to the circulation desk and ask for Dan.


Hope to see you there!

Film Club for the Summer

I am working on compiling a list of the films I will be showing for the summer months and I will release them all at once...this way everyone knows what is coming up in advance and hopefully it will draw in some more folks. I've also been toying with the idea of a separate club that meets in the summer that shows more "movies" than "films". Movies being a bit more light-hearted in nature, leaning more towards pure entertainment value rather than films which can be a little heavier and more thought provoking in nature. The Film Club would still meet, this would just be a separate special thing for the summer (or for longer depending on it's popularity), but I'll have to check with the powers that be...more on that to come.

Monday, May 9, 2011

FILM CLUB



FILM CLUB


Hello everyone, film club is coming quick. This month we will be meeting Thursday, May 19th at 6:15 in the large meeting room. We will be watching Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain.


The Fountain is a 2006 American romantic drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. The film comprises three storylines where Jackman and Weisz play different sets of characters: a modern-day scientist and his cancer-stricken wife, a conquistador and his queen, and a space traveler in the future who hallucinates his lost love. The storylines—interwoven with use of match cuts and recurring visual motifs—reflect the themes of love and mortality.


Aronofsky originally planned to direct The Fountain on a $70 million budget with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in the lead roles, but Pitt's withdrawal and cost overruns led Warner Bros. to shut down production. The director rewrote the script to be sparser, and was able to resurrect the film with a $35 million budget with Jackman and Weisz in the lead roles. Production mainly took place on a sound stage in Montreal, Quebec, and the director used Macro Photography to create key visual effects for The Fountain at a low cost. (From Wikipedia)


This film is a visual masterpiece that overwhelms the senses. As I mentioned, it was done with very minimal amounts of CGI, opting for the use of Macro Photography. The story is a simple idea that is displayed in a beautiful, sometimes enigmatic way. You won't want to miss this wonderful film. See you there.

Check out the trailer

Monday, March 28, 2011

Film Club



Hello all, film club will be here before we know it. This month, we will be meeting on Thursday, April 21 in the big room upstairs, at 6:15pm.


This month we will be watching the film Baraka, directed by Ron Fricke. The film was made in 1992 and is a non-narrative film. What this means is that the film follows no particular story, and contains no dialogue. The film is more of a visual documentary that takes the viewer on a journey across different cultures and locations, to be specific, 152 locations spread out over 24 different countries. This film was the first film in over 20 years to be filmed in the 70mm Tod-AO format (technically filmed on 65mm then printed on 70mm), a format that allows for extreme widescreen film format. The result is a "journey beyond words" that will leave you awe-struck. You will not want to miss this one-of-kind film experience.


Check out the trailer:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO1nSVy8q8I


Thursday, March 10, 2011

"A million dollars isn't cool, you know what's cool? A billion dollars." ( A review of The Social Network)

From the moment I saw the teaser trailer for The Social Network, some time last year, I was hooked. Over a black screen we hear some choice bits of dialogue while words like "Punk" "Prophet" "Traitor" "Billionaire" slowly come into view with a soundtrack of drawn out musical pulses that gradually build in intensity as the trailer unfolds, when it reaches it's conclusion we are shown a picture of Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and then the words "The Social Network" presented in the style of the Facebook logo. This was just a taste...then they released the trailer, utilizing similar bits of dialogue except now with the footage that accompanies them, all set to a chilling (near, save for a piano) a cappella rendition of Radiohead's "Creep". I was amazed, to but it bluntly, this is how trailers should be made: It gave nothing away and barely gave you an idea of what the film would be. The idea was at first ludicrous, when I had heard the rumors, a film about Facebook? What next? But this trailer changed my mind. When I finally saw the film several months later, my anticipation was well rewarded. The premise is simple: A retelling of the conception and subsequent birth of what is now arguably the king of all social networks, Facebook, and the lies, the genius, the inspiration that surrounded it. Oh, and the lawsuits. We witness two different depositions as Zuckerberg is being sued by two different parties. This is the first mechanism used to further then story. The second is the use of flashbacks to reveal how, and why, the whole Facebook phenomenon started. In my personal opinion I believe the choice to unfold the story in this manner was a great choice. The pace is quick, concise and clear, never dragging, never allowing itself to drag, it kept me interested, kept me wanting to see more, and I can tell you I was never bored.
We can argue about the legality of what Zuckerberg did, about whether or not the site should've been allowed to continue functioning considering his, as the movie states, "intellectual property theft", but it would be irrelevant. Regardless of your opinion, what Zuckerberg did, what he created, was nothing short of genius. Whatever truly fueled him, whatever his motives really were, he saw something more, knew something the Winklevoss twins did not. Facebook may've appeared to be a simple social networking site among the ranks of Myspace and Friendster, but it was something far more important, to the online community in general and specifically our generation. Something that continues to change and adapt to the ever-shifting, often fickle social scene.
What makes this film work is a masterful combination of very important elements. First, the strong leading actors. Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justing Timberlake and Armie Hammer, all of whom embody the characters they are portraying with a deft sense of realism and finesse. Second, the witty, intelligent, fast paced and razor sharp writing of Aaron Sorkin, who's script leaps off the page onto the screen with a clarity that is near unparalleled. Third, David Fincher (the director). Fincher has come a long way from his feature film directing debut, Alien 3. Fincher proves he is worth his salt and worthy to contend with the best of the best (consider his latest films: Panic Room, Zodiac, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and now The Social Network), with his adept control of the actors' performances, taking the script and making it his own, he has become a force to be reckoned with within the directing community. Fourth, and by no means the least, the fresh, original, often haunting score composed by Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails fame) and Atticus Ross. This score won Reznor the Oscar at the Academy awards for best original score and he deserves every bit of that honor. Sorkin took the source material and made a screenplay that was his own, the actors interpreted it in their own way, Fincher molded it into his style, and Reznor made it into something all together different than all the others before him, and yet, it all comes together, it all works as a whole, a wonderful piece of cinematic art that I am proud to have witnessed, a film with a beautiful sense of humanity and depth. I have seen the movie countless times now and I find myself discovering something new about it every time I watch it, maybe nothing substantial, or even important, but things that make it a thrill to watch with every subsequent viewing.


THE BOTTOM LINE:
This film should've won best picture at the Oscars (granted The King's Speech was a great film as well), and I will stand by that. I think this is a film that will be remembered for generations to come, because it captured something great, something that could've been lost in a single moment of hesitation or doubt. Was Zuckerberg wrong for what he did? Maybe, probably, but does it matter in the long run? He's worth upwards of 40 billion dollars now, I believe, but I don't think it was ever really for the money, not saying he doesn't enjoy it or would give it all away, but I think he truly saw something, something that was important, something that was "cool", and that was a priceless asset he wasn't going to give up. I'm glad he didn't.
See this film.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Film Club



Film Club is approaching....

This month's film club will be on Thursday, March 17 at 6:15 PM, which happens to also be St. Patrick's Day. In honor of St. Patrick's Day we will be watching My Left Foot, directed by Jim Sheridan, starring Daniel Day Lewis as the main character (a role for which he won as oscar) Christy Brown, an Irishman born with cerebral palsy, misdiagnosed as mental illness for the first 10 years of his life; brown eventually learned to write with his left foot, the only part of his body he could control. This movie is at times funny and at times sad but always affecting, this is a film you shouldn't miss. Hope to see you all there!

Check out the trailer:

http://www.fandango.com/movie-trailer/myleftfoot-trailer/54816/

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

OSCARS

It's very short notice, but this coming Sunday, Feb. 27th, Oscar night, the Hollywood Palms theatre in Naperville is hosting it's annual Oscar party. It's like $22.00 and it all goes to charity, you can dress up and you get champagne and a gift bag and what have you, and you watch the oscars on the big screen, it's a pretty good time...This will be my second year attending, and I can tell you, it's definitely worth it, a good time all around. Hope to see you there if you can make it!

Here's the link

Monday, February 14, 2011

Villain of the Week

I'm going to be putting up pictures and blurbs about my favorite movie villains for at least a while, (until I get lazy and don't) we'll see how it goes...got a favorite villain? Let me know.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Word About Remakes....

I mentioned the film Let Me In over in my Two Second Reviews, and that it was a remake of Let the Right One In (a film from Sweden about which you may have never heard) and that it was pretty good, which is was. That said...Let the Right One In is much better. This is seems to be the fate of remakes, and rightly so. I will watch a remake, I have watched a lot of remakes and there are very few that I find to be watchable and nearly as good as the film they are emulating (Dawn of the Dead, The Omen, The Amityville Horror and, as I mentioned, Let Me In come to mind, horror being the most remade genre out there, probably because the genre of Horror is essentially the star itself, it doesn't matter what actors paticipate in them), but then there are films, sadly the majority, that are just utterly atrocious, simply garbage. TANGENT! I brought it up so I'm going to continue with it. Horror is, simply put, the easiest genre to tackle for beginner filmmakers looking to get their name out there, but also one of the easiest to completely ruin by falling into the cliched pitfalls (which happens most of the time.) Another interesting thing to note is that fans of Horror, die-hard fans, are among the most forgiving fans of any genre ( I know, because I am one), it can be horrible, it can be a half step up from crap and they will forgive and more than likely see another by the same director, or another in the same series. Too few actually understand horror as it should be understood, the nuances, the atmosphere, it's not all about the blood and guts (but it can be), it's about what isn't seen onscreen as much as what is. ANYWAY...back on topic.
Even with the decent quality of Let Me In, I'm reminded constantly of how good Let the Right One In was. It was just better. While watching this one I couldn't help but notice how much they tried to make it like the other one while maintaining some sense of originality, but like I said, it was really good, just not the same kind of good as the original film. I've come to really dislike the remakes and re-boots and re-imagining that have plagued our day and age. It seems like all the movies that are made these days fall into those categories. It seems to me that originality has gone out the window (not completely but...) at least for the most part.
For me, personally, it's exceptionally difficult to put up with remakes because I am a firm believer in originality and the quality that comes with something truly original. I will always like an original song or movie, or what have you, better than any cover or remake that is made, even if the new one is better...it's a matter of respect I guess. I respect the artist for making something that hasn't been made before, when someone remakes that, regardless of intent or admiration (you could argue that they are even more of a die-hard fan than I am, which is why they choose to make the remake, OR you could argue that they are just riding someone else's coat-tails and banking on the fact that people like something so they will like the remake...this could all be purely speculation but it's what runs through my head) I maintain my respect for the original work.
It's not that I don't like to see someone else's perspective on something (some people can add an interesting twist or spin on a story), but that's not really the issue. This is actually stemming from some incident I had with a friend of mine (I shouldn't say "stemming" from, but rather "reminds me of") when we were discussing the film Across the Universe (very good movie) and he said he liked some of the songs in the film, sung by the actors, (all Beatles songs) better than the original Beatles songs themselves. I had to disagree. For me, it doesn't matter how good they are, the Beatles are always better, end of discussion, and that's really how I feel about all the others as well...
To summarize, or if you are to take anything from this, I believe the original work or material is the superior product always, without challenge, if not because of actual quality then because of originality, that said, it should be understood that this does not necessarily make the remake "bad" just less than the other.

Thanks for your time.
....and that's it.

Film Club


Film Club is approaching....
We will be meeting Thursday, Feb. 17th in the large meeting room. This month we will be watching Ingmar Bergman's- The Seventh Seal. Set during the Black Death, it tells of the journey of a medieval knight (Max von Sydow) and a game of chess he plays with the personification of Death, who has come to take his life. The film is considered a major classic of world cinema. It helped Bergman to establish himself as a world-renowned director.
This is probably my personal favorite of Ingmar Bergman's films, right up there with Persona, Wild Strawberries, Hour of the Wolf, and The Silence (all of which are worth checking out if you have a chance). If you are feeling adventurous and don't mind a little subtitling, come and join us, and be ready for some discussion!
Here is the trailer:

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011

Limitless Horizons....

I thought this was pretty cool, so I figured I'd share it. Acclaimed Korean director Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance) has directed a short 30 minute film using his iPhone 4. I've actually been shooting a short of my own with my iPhone, but nothing like this...It seems to be like a supernatural/horror film, and pretty decent quality. I'm excited about the possibilities of shooting films on something like an iPhone, something that I believe will increase in popularity as the quality of phone cameras improves. It opens things up for amateur and professional filmmakers alike, and offers a certain versatility and portability, though I don't think it will ever surpass the other formats like film or HD digital, it does offer interesting possibilities.

http://blog.moviefone.com/2011/01/18/park-chan-wook-iphone-film-trailer/

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pet Peeve



Ok, so I saw this happen again the other day while I was watching something (can't remember what it was, not important) and it really bugged me, like it always does. See this guy here:

<----

Contrary to popular belief this is not "Frankenstein"...or "A Frankenstein" This is a monster....Frankenstein's monster, to be more accurate. Frankenstein is the name of the doctor that made this creature.


So, next time you hear someone call him a "Frankenstein" you can flash them your nerd card and correct them.

That's really all I've got, just bugs me.


That is all.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"Don't let anyone tell you what it is." (A review of Catfish)

Catfish is a documentary about a man who begins a relationship on Facebook. Catfish is a statement about today's culture. Catfish is suspenseful, insightful and Catfish is moving....

So, what is Catfish? I can't tell you.

Catfish follows the story of a man, Yaniv, who is a photographer who lives with his brother and friend (filmmakers, also directors of this film). Yaniv receives a painting in the mail, the painting is of a picture he had taken that appeared in a news article. The painting was made by a little girl named Abbie. Yaniv becomes friends with Abbie on Facebook and continues to receive paintings of pictures he has taken. They message each other and talk on the phone, they become friends. He gets to know her family, her mother, her father, her older sister and their Facebook friends of the family. He starts a relationship with Abbie's older sister Megan, it's long distance (Yaniv in New York, Megan in Michigan), they message each other on Facebook, they text, they call each other and it starts to get serious. Yaniv's roommates document the process, they are all part of it. All of Abbie's family know them and they know Abbie and Megan's family.
Abbie, Megan and their mother are all very talented. They paint, they play guitar and the piano and they sing beautifully. Abbie is a cute little 9 year old, Megan is a very attractive young woman and their mother is youthful and gorgeous. They are next to perfect. Yaniv falls for Megan and thus begins their relationship.
I have set the movie's scene for you and that is about all I can do, without possibly spoiling the movie. What I can do at this point is describe to you somewhat how I reacted to this film. I was intrigued, I was nervous, I bit my nails, I was on the edge of my seat, I got chills and I was shocked, moved, impressed. These filmmakers have captured something genuine here, genuine and genuinely disheartening. I really feel that the film was a little bit of a commentary on this age, this generation in which we find ourselves. It really delves into concepts of personal identity and reality (one that is ever-shifting). I would try and say more but I've most likely said too much already.

BOTTOM LINE: Don't let anyone tell you what it is...see it. A

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Blue what?

Well, it's 2011 now and you've undoubtedly heard the word Blu-ray at least once, in fact due to it's increasing popularity it has almost become "common", but you may say, "Wait a minute, I keep hearing about this Blu-ray but I have no idea what it is!" Don't fret. I'm going to lay it out for you. Blu-ray actually refers to two different things. First of all is the Blu-ray player. Very similar to the DVD player (also able to play DVDs), the Blu-ray player employs a blue laser to read the disc (hence the name Blu-ray). A normal DVD uses a 650 nanometer red laser, Blu-ray uses a 405 nm "blue" laser. This shorter wavelength allows for over 5 times more data storage per layer than allowed by DVD. As I mentioned, the Blu-ray player will not only play regular DVDs, but also make them High Definition (post about HD to come later).
Secondly, we have the Blu-ray disc. Blu-ray discs are made in such a way that they can hold about 6 times the amount DVDs can hold. This allows movies to be converted and recorded to the disc without compression, providing lossless video and audio, the result is higher definition. Blu-ray is only fully realized on an HDTV (High Definition Television) with an HDMI cable (High Definition Media Interface), which allows higher transmission of information. HDMI cables transport audio and video at HD levels.
So, if you have the means, and the HDTV on which to utilize it, I fully recommend obtaining a Blu-ray player and some Blu-ray movies, you will quickly realize the improved image. Even if you don't grab up some Blu-ray movies, the player will definitely sharpen the image of your regular DVDs as well. In the end, with the way things are going (especially with the price drops), a Blu-ray player is a worthwhile investment, and a definite "must have" for cinephiles. Hope this helps...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Film Club


Hey everyone, film club is approaching. We will be meeting Thursday, Jan. 20th at 6:15 in the Large Meeting Room upstairs, and that's at the Crete Public Library (in case you didn't know). This month we will be watching Tarsem Singh's artistic masterpiece: The Fall.

The Fall was filmed in over 18 different countries using over 26 locations. All the places and images you see on-screen are real, no computer generation (according to the director). This film is the product of a director with sheer, uninhibited creative control, with no companies telling him what he can or can not do, he wanted to make this film and he did it. This is one of the films that you must see, if for no other reason than the simple fact that it exists. It is extravagant, beautiful, heartbreaking and full of life. This is a film you will not want to miss.




Check out the trailer:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"Enter the Grid" (A Review of TRON Legacy)

Tron Legacy opens with a scene that takes place about two years after the event of the first film, TRON. We meet a young Jeff Bridges (by aid of some CGI), the computer hacker extraordinaire, Kevin Flynn, talking to his young son Sam. He tells his son of a world that exists inside a computer, a place called The Grid, a world he created and finally entered. They make plans to hit the arcade that Flynn owns (Flynn's) in the morning, but when the morning comes, Kevin Flynn has disappeared. The fate of the company of which Flynn is CEO, ENCOM, hangs in the balance and the young Sam Flynn is fatherless. We cut to a cleverly made interlude that somewhat explains what has happened in the years following the first film and also sets the scene for this film. Flash forward about 20 years. Sam is now an adult. He resists his inheritance of CEO of ENCOM, but remains the largest shareholder. After an annual stunt/prank, Sam is confronted by his father's old business partner Alan (played by Bruce Boxleitner from the first film) who informs Sam he has received a mysterious page from Flynn's office ( a number now 20 some years disconnected). Sam decides to check it out and stumbles upon his father's secret workplace. With little messing around, Sam suddenly finds himself transported to The Grid; the computer world he grew up hearing about and always dreamt of visiting. From here, Sam's adventure begins. I won't go into a full plot synopsis because that would be boring.
Much like Jeff Bridges' character Kevin Flynn (which he reprises for this film), Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is thrust into a strange world without any knowledge of how things work, or what is going on for that matter. We the audience, at times, also find ourselves in this position. This can be both exhilarating and sometimes frustrating. The first film was revolutionary in terms of it's visual accomplishments, one of the first films to incorporate a fully computer generated environment with live actors. That said, the plot is ludicrous. The story taken at face value, is intriguing, engaging and fun, any further investigation and the plot kind of unravels. Many things make less sense the more you think about them, but this really isn't the type of movie that is meant to be overanalyzed, it should entertain. We need to allow ourselves to be taken on the ride that is this movie. This is by no means a rationalization of aspects that may be lacking, it is merely a suggestion. You will either enjoy this film or you won't. TRON Legacy follows in the footsteps of the first film. The filmmakers hired the same writer who worked on the original film and it shows. There is a familiar feel to this world and the characters (for those of us who have seen TRON) as well as the less-than-exemplory dialogue (I found myself cringing more than once), but that didn't much matter to me. I was quite taken by the world of The Grid, a system that now lay in a state of disarray, a digital dictatorship where programs and users alike fight for their "lives" in a gladiator-esque arena. Where swords and chariots are replaced by discs and light-cycles. Where a mysterious program called C.L.U. (also played by Bridges) reigns over the city with a technological fist. The disc-battles are intense, every program fighting to survive or face "de-resolution" (death on The Grid), the all too brief Light-Cycle duel was a phenomenal display of computer generated goodness. All this is set to the driving, pulsing, electronic beat composed entirely by electro/techno legends Daft Punk. Not to be understated is their impressive use of a full string orchestra, employed to create beautiful, elegiac and often-times dark atmospheres, an ever present compliment to the images. I'll end my gushing about this film here.

THE BOTTOM LINE: One thing must be made clear...this film does have it's issues, some cringe-worthy dialogue, odd pacing and some plot/story holes, that being said, TRON Legacy offers a roller-coaster ride of special effects, fantastical story, incredible music and high-class blockbuster entertainment. With a PG rating, everyone in the family can enjoy it. Clean enough for kids, action-packed enough for the older crowd. TRON Legacy is sheer movie-going, pop-corn, candy and soda bliss. B+