Tag: Movies

Quit A Dream Job To Pursue A Film Career…

Said no reasonable parent. Ever.

I am sure that there are all sorts of stories out there about people leaving a plum job to pursue some insane pipe dream, only to actually crush it in that ‘pipe dream’.

Here is a case in point. Colin Levy worked at Pixar. He worked on films like Finding Dory, In and Out, Monsters University and several others. Not a bad place to be as, speaking from personal experience, I was lucky enough to take a tour of the Pixar campus last year as the son of a family friend currently works there and he was gracious enough to give me and my family a tour when we were out in San Francisco. Working at Pixar has to be absolutely awesome. Colin pretty much had the world at his fingertips. So what did he do? He quit to pursue becoming a filmmaker.

And wow, his first crack at it is pretty impressive. It is called Skywatch. It is only 10 minutes long, but wow, it is an impressive effort. Really interesting nugget of an idea – a sci-fi thriller that includes drones in a futuristic world where things can be delivered to your living room through a wall unit. What could go wrong? Great execution. Very well produced and directed. Within the first minute, you get the idea of what is going on.

I’m already looking forward to the full length feature!

UPDATE: Here is a short on how he got an Oscar nominated actor (Jude Law) to be in his short film.

Clown Only Screening of Stephen King’s “IT”

Clowns-only screening of IT at The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas.

This is just wrong in so many ways.

The one redeeming element of this idea is how it came about. Back when Wonder Woman was released, the Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theater in Austin, TX held an ‘all women’ screening of the movie. As this screening was announced on Facebook, a snarky commenter, on a lark, suggested they have “an all male screening of Thor:Ragnarock or a special screening of IT that’s only for those who identify as clowns.”

Now that’s listening to customer feedback.

Photo Source: Entertainment Weekly

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

The new Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer has been released in all its glory. T minus 56 days to go. I was able to watch it live when it was released at halftime of last night’s Giants disaster in Philadelphia. Watching it a few times afterwards on YouTube really helped put the nuggets of information into more perspective.

We were able to purchase tickets this morning, but not without some major troubles. The AMC Theaters website was crying bloody murder last night over the volume of traffic to the site. Supposedly, Fandango was not any better. It is not surprising as I doubt any tech company save Apple, Google, or Amazon could have handled what I would imagine was unprecedented levels of traffic trying to buy tickets.

Under two months until the re-boot of the Star Wars saga. I only hope that the movie can live up to the hype and expectations.

If you are interested in decorating your computer/device desktop with some Star Wars backgrounds, feel free to check out the Star Wars Desktop Wallpapers that I have created.

The Hobbit 2 – Desolation of Smaug Trailer

I still don’t agree with Peter Jackson’s decision to split The Hobbit into 3 movies. I would have been fine with two but three seems overkill (and four is right out).

However, I can not argue with the quality of the first Hobbit movie and hope that the next two sustain that throughout.

High Tech Hobbit

On top of the general buzz about Peter Jackson’s latest Middle Earth project The Hobbit, slated to be released in December, film geeks and insiders are chattering about the way Jackson is filming the legendary Tolkien story:

The four-day [CineEurope 2012] conference, aimed primarily at European theater operators, kicked off with exhibitors and distributors hearing that the filmmaker’s decision to shoot his fourth J.R.R. Tolkien adaptation using 48 frames per second rather than the current 24 fps (25 in some parts of Europe) will cost them more. Still, exhibitors have largely signaled that they want to show the hotly anticipated movie.

Filming at that quick a frame rate will bring out much richer detail and color to the movie, so long as your local theater has the proper equipment to show it at that frame rate. And it is in this “last mile” of the content delivery where things break down.

Many local theaters can’t handle this frame rate, although the big studios like Sony and Warner Bros are rapidly upgrading theaters they own. The movie studio will have to distribute multiple versions of the film to accommodate all theaters that can’t handle this. And while filmmaking at the higher FPS rate may be a big deal in Hollywood (i.e the movie industry) however I have to wonder how big a deal this really is to the general marketplace?

I would argue that today’s theater user experience is not materially better than watching it from your couch on your big screen TV. So will the opportunity to watch a movie like The Hobbit at a higher frame rate and quality of picture really drive a materially significant attendance lift in the general marketplace? I am skeptical.

But movie theaters and the studios will have to come up with something. The relevance of the movie theater is tied to their ability to deliver a far superior film consumption experience (and I don’t mean by the amazingly annoying and overpriced trend of delivering fried food to my seat). And as we all know, that is under intense pressure as the once exclusive distribution channels (i.e movie theaters) are no longer so, with so many folks consuming media in multiple form factors (HDTV, iPads, Netflix, Hulu, etc.).

Shaken And Stirred

Someone has taken the time to count the number of gunshots fired at James Bond (aka Agent 007) throughout all 22 Bond movies.

It turns out that there have been over 4,600 shots fired at him.

A static well-aimed shot would almost certainly have proved lethal, but assuming all 4,662 were “on the run”, the probability of a single fatal shot is about 5 per cent. That is, the chance of a single shot missing is 0.95, and hence the probability of all shots missing is 0.954662 or 1.4 10-104, which is as close to zero as makes no difference

Now, about all of those Bond Girls he has gotten to know so well.

via New Scientist by way of NextDraft.

Don’t Be A (Phantom) Menace

I went with my son to see┬áStar Wars: The Phantom Menace yesterday on the big screen and in 3D. And to no one’s surprise, the movie has not gotten any better with the new effects. Menace is easily the worst of the three “prequels” and wins by a nose over the whole Ewok thing from “Return of the Jedi”.

When movies are re-released with new bells and whistles, its always interesting to recollect about what people’s initial reaction was to the movie, to see if time has healed any wounds or opened new ones. With Menace, neither is the case. This release of Phantom Menace is, daresay, a little worse than the original because you have to watch the movie with the stupid 3D glasses on and cringe at the way a movie franchise that SHOULD have been built for 3D demonstrated no redeeming enhancements from the visual effect that felt like it was hacked into the master copy using iMovie.

As in 1999, the one element of awesomeness in this movie is Darth Maul. From an original review of Phantom Menace in 1999, this snippet from Eric Davis at Movies.com sums his presence up:

Darth Maul was — and still is — the greatest thing about Episode I. He’s scary and menacing, and you’re frightened by him. The dude rocks a duel lightsaber, which totally kicked my world’s ass when I first witnessed the ferociously-paced fight scene between Maul, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon — perhaps the film’s greatest sequence — and one of the best Star Wars lightsaber battles the series has to offer.

You are begging and pleading for more of him in this movie…maybe some “never before seen” fight sequences that look stunningly awesome in 3D…something, anything to expand his presence in the movie and make it worthy of the epic series it is part of. But alas, we are stuck with Nute Gunray and a Senatorial debate over taxes that apes those in this Galaxy.

I’ll just stick with the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, thank you very much.

via Moviefone.

What’s In A Movie Name?

Not much creativity, it seems to me.

A couple of years ago, the breakout movie of the summer was The Hangover. Fast forward to this year and Hollywood’s summer of sequels and regurgitated ideas, and what does Warner Brothers deliver but the amazingly drab named “The Hangover: Part II“.

I mean, really? That’s the best name for the sequel to the “largest grossing R Rated movie ever” that they could come up with? For the audience they are trying to target – young men in college through their late 20’s/early 30’s (and maybe men in their late 30’s through mid 40’s who WISH they were back in their 20’s :) – they couldn’t figure out a catchy phrase to represent the sequel? Really?

Without much thought, here are a few exceedingly average, but better than “Part II” names, that I thought of.

The Hangover: Another Round?
The Hangover: Come on, one more.
The Hanover: Back For More
The Hangover: Relapse
The Hangover: Full As A Monkey (Since a monkey is part of the story line)
The Hangover: Double Fisting
The Hangover: Another Bender
The Hangover: Overserved
The Hangover: Served Again
The Hangover: Thai One On (Since this one is based in Thailand)
Another Hangover

Its no wonder Hollywood can’t make a decent movie to save their lives and don’t know when to leave a classic alone. Here’s a stretch – The Hangover: Part II is probably going to be terrible; it will probably try to play off of the same unpredictability that made the original so, well, original. And when the movie is done, we’ll probably walk out of it saying “I liked the first one more.” And maybe then, we will appreciate how funny, original, and unpredictable “The Hangover” was.

UPDATE: I rest my case