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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.

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+

Crete Public Library Movie Blog

Hello everyone. As the title suggests, this is the movie blog for the Crete Public Library, I'm Dan and I'm going to be running this blog so hopefully we'll get to know each other. This blog is intended to provide several things relating to film: reviews, discussion, trivia, fun-facts and whatever else might present itself, or whatever my fancy may be for that particular day. I plan on giving some "reviews" of new movies that are in theaters (though, more than likely it will be more of my response to the movie rather than a full on review) as well as reviews of classic, foreign, and forgotten movies that I may have seen recently. Feel free to engage in discussion and try to keep it respectful. Whether you consider yourself a hardcore movie buff or just the casual movie-goer, this blog is here to provide an outlet for all things film, I really hope you enjoy this blog as much as I'm going to enjoy writing it!