Reviews and thoughts about mostly pop-culture.
Reviews and thoughts about mostly pop-culture.
I’ve been busy these past few months learning about filmmaking, especially the writing side of things, but also about the audio recording/sound mixing side. Most of that learning came via Wicked Window Productions‘s latest film, Resurgence. This was presented at the 2013 Action Film Challenge. It’s about 15 minutes long, and received nominations for Best Actress, Best Villain, and Best Directing.
You can also read the full script here, including noting the differences between the film and the script (most of the differences had to deal with location changes and other limitations), as well as seeing the alternate version, WITHOUT the Joey character. And yes, the original name was Conversion. (NOTE: please excuse the hideous formatting. The program I was working with, Scripts Pro for the iPad, is great at a lot of things, but final drafts isn’t one of them. For that, I’ll use Final Draft.)
I’ll likely write a post about the lessons learned here (such as spending all the time you need in pre-production, instead of trying to figure things out on filming days), but for now, please enjoy the film. I’ve even put a few bonus features after the fold: A joke commercial for Suave, outtakes, and pictures. Read more…
Over the past few years, I’ve made it a point to learn how to write scripts. Like with any new endeavor, my first tries weren’t anything to brag about. But, anything worth doing is worth doing badly until you can do it well, and while I still have a long way to go, I’m finally seeing some of the fruits of my labor. This 2 minute short film (commercial, really) represents my the first completed and released project. It was done with Wicked Window Productions, and it’s for a little internet radio station called NX Grind. (By the way, I’m actually IN the commercial, too, the dude in the green football jersey.)
If you like it please, please, please share it. The more views we can get on this, the better. Thanks for watching! And in case you can’t see the video, here’s the link to the YouTube page: http://youtu.be/VEoGXsPIimo.
If you’ve been following this site for a while (a special thanks to the RSS readers who’ve not dumped me from their stream) you’ll have noticed that I recently started posting again. That’s because I finally feel like there’s something that needs to be said, that I want to share, that others might find useful. My absence, as you’ve no doubt guessed by the previous sentence, has been eventful. In that time I’ve accomplished a number of things, from continuing to improve my health to expanding my writing abilities to seeking and pursuing business opportunities.
All of this improvement and knowledge has come by that I’ve finally realized I am truly most passionate about: books, hence the recent (and continuing) theme of the posts here. But books aren’t the focus of this particular post. Rather, the focus is on my recent projects.
Here’s what’s been going on: Read more…
Saw Act of Valor last night, a film written by the same person who wrote 300 and acted in by real Navy SEALs And yes, that’s the extent of my very flimsy intro. I’m not really a film reviewer, so you should probably go elsewhere for a full rundown, but I think the most accurate review I’ve read comes from the Christian Science Monitor:
“The movie is essentially a series of reasonably good action sequences involving wipeouts with Filipino jihadists, Chechen rebels, and Mexican drug cartels interspersed with buddy-buddy badinage not of the first freshness. The bad guys, who specialize in funny beards, funny accents, and shaved heads, would feel right at home in an “Austin Powers” movie. Grade: C+” Read more…
Saturday, I wanted to take The Wife out to the movies. Problem is there’s nothing out there we want to see. The new Harry Potter movie came close to being chosen, but then we found out that my parents were over at my sister’s place, which means they’d want to stop over, which means that heading to the movies would be like telling them we didn’t want to see them.
Alright, that made more sense in my head. Also, it wasn’t anywhere nearly as drastic.
At any rate, we ended up stopping by Blockbuster to pick up a rental. Yes, we have Netflix. We LOVE Netflix, but we wanted something now (or then, whatever). After going in and looking around for a bit, we found the 2-for-$20 and 4-for-$20 tables. Jackpot. We put the movies we were going to rent back on the shelves and started looking through these pre-viewed wonders. Luckily, we had time enough to search, because it was at that moment that heaven’s pipes broke and flooded the streets.
Half an hour later, when it stopped raining, we walked out with a handful of movies, including The Golden Compass, Babylon A.D., Inkheart, and some dragon documentary made by Animal Planet. (I can’t remember its name, sorry, but it was this documentary which chronicled what the evolutionary path of dragons would have been if they were real. Very cool, although it had the cinematic quality of the made-for-TV Dynotopia, which we also own, and which I’ve watched more times than I can count.)
It’s lucky for me that my quality threshold is lowered the cheaper a movie gets. While The Golden Compass, Inkheart and the dragon movie are movies I’d pay more than $5 for, Babylon A.D. isn’t. In fact, the only way I can really justify this movie being in my collection is if I think about this as a “buy 3 get 1 free” deal.
Alright, so Babylon A.D. isn’t that bad. In case you haven’t seen it, it’s a Vin Diesel (his stage name; his real name is “Weenie McWeinerton”) sci-fi movie, sort of like Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick but with less space action. (Actually, Chronicles of Riddick is one of my favorite movies, as it ties in a pretty good story with phenomenal special effects and awesome action. In fact, that’s one thing about Vin Diesel movies, they’re usually great for action. But I’m digressing.) It’s about this mercenary, Turop, who’s hired to transport this girl with huge lips and some kind of power into the U.S. Problem is that he’s considered a terrorist, and by this time North America is essentially a fortress, guarded by unmanned jets, jets easily dispatched by Turop on a snow-mobile. (I think it was a Scootie-puff Jr.)
I’d go on with the story line, but… honestly, I’m not sure where the story line went. First there were these guys fighting who look like they came out of Westside Story, then the pair, accompanied by this kung-fu expert nun, make it to New York where a mafia-style religious order starts a massive gun battle with what look like understudies for the part of Skeletor in the 1980’s He-Man movie, all of whom ride bikes. That’s before everything blows up, Turop dies so that he can live, and the Westisde Story gang dips into his brain to find where the girl ran off to.
So yeah, all in all it was a great movie. Really. It was just missing a coherent story line and a good ending. (I blame the writers.) Other than that, awesome. My favorite part? The big Coca-Cola Zero airplane that takes up about a minute of screen-time. I don’t know how much Coca-Cola paid for the spot, but they got their money’s worth, as it was easily the most memorable spot in the film: I laughed so hard and for so long I had to pause the movie. I don’t think they meant it to be quite that funny, however. The next memorable moment was when Turop shot a cute arctic bunny. Sorry, but any film in which a bunny is so hilariously shot is one I can’t take all that seriously. “Oh look, a bunny!” I said. 10 second later, I see a man, then a laser point, and suddenly rabbit brain cells, millions of them.
You’ve probably noticed how incredibly rambling this post is. Well now you know what the movie feels like. I can only recommend this movie if you like Vin Diesel movies, action, special effects, or sci-fi. Actually, for those of you looking for good sci-fi, a couple of cool technologies are featured in this film, and a few anthropological ideas are pushed, but nothing is explored in depth, which was a big disappointment I felt with this film. The concepts they touch on, of a religious order pressing towards the next level of evolution by the creation of a “miracle” combined with the levels of political instability displayed, were topics I would have loved to know more about. Alas, they surrender talk of that for the Coke Zero plane and explosions, lots of them.
In short, the movie was enjoyable to watch, though I think it’s one I’ll feature at my next “Bad Movie Party”. Yes, I’ve seen worse, but this one is good enough to enjoy and bad enough to be made fun of.
Come to think of it, maybe it was worth the $5.
While I’m not into the FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) movement as I was in the past, I feel that one of the things new people dealing with that community should understand is the different types of people they’ll encounter. With that in mind, here are the four types for users of FOSS.
NOTE: This post was actually written about 7 months ago, when I was in the middle of getting tested for a number of conditions. I was hurt and afraid. Its tone will therefore be considerably different than what you’re used to, if you’re a frequent reader. I decided to publish this because I felt it a fair question, one that could elicit discussion and would elicit thought.
I belong to more than a few email groups. Usually, these are for subjects I wish to learn on: psychology, health, writing, philosophy, etc. Recently I joined a particular health group because I wanted to find out more about a particular condition, one that isn’t well studied but which is being revealed as being more prominent than people once thought. I did this in order to learn, and to help others. However, the old adage “No good deed goes unpunished” proved true, as it was my helping others that cost me my ability to learn more about it. I’ll explain: Read more…
We’ve been buying furniture lately to furnish the new place. For the most part this has involved going to estate sales, garage sales, and antique shops to look for those just-right pieces of furniture. After all, we have a lot of space in the house and don’t wish to fill it with crap. And I subscribe to the theory that all the pieces in the home should be both useful and individually appealing, things which stand out on their own, yet blend in within the framework of the decor. It’s hard to do that with furniture from the big sellers, at least within our current budgetary constraints.
After seeing as much as we’ve seen, as as many prices as we’ve seen, I decided to walk to the local Walmart (which is in the same strip as a used furniture store and a Goodwill) to remind myself what crap looked like, and how it was priced. (This way I could get my bearings again.) Now, I know that going to Walmart is bad for your self esteem: when you go in, demons land on your shoulders and begin feeding on your soul. But walking around the store I saw signs which made me think that Walmart finally came clean, after a swift double-take. Compare the pictures and see if you can spot the similarities.
(On the left, a sign I saw all over Walmart. On the right, the Chinese flag.)
Yes, China’s prices ARE unbeatable. Thanks for telling us, Walmart! Thing is, it’s easy to be unbeatable when you artificially devalue your currency and peg it to that of your biggest potential economic competitor, thereby ensuring a price imbalance. But hey, at least Walmart’s finally being (mostly) honest as to where their loyalties lie. Has the company finally (un)officially admitted to becoming the commercial wing of the Chinese government? The signs point to yes.
Alright, I’ll admit: I’ve been on the movie kick lately. Actually, The Wife’s been on a movie kick lately, and of course, I’m forced to watch. Because that’s what husbands do, they do date-like stuff with their wives. (No, singles, dating does NOT end when you tie the knot. In fact, it’s just the beginning.)
As the title says, I just finished watching Happy Feet, a movie which some believe to be part of the whole global warming propaganda machine. While I didn’t exactly see where any of that really came to play in the movie, watching the film made me feel all warm and fuzzy about using Linux. Of course, the point of this review isn’t to tell you how much I love penguins or penguin-related software. The point is to tell you whether this movie gave me (and I can only presume, will give you) happy feet. Read more…
Another day, another movie. The Wife decided last night to go out and rent Babel, which both she and I had been wanting to watch ever since it was in theaters. (I’ll use the fashionable “we didn’t have time” as my excuse for not having seen it then. Actually, it was because this hermit-apparent hadn’t even heard of it until it came out on video.) The film is just over two hours long, so as you can guess, it took up a large part of our evening, one where I had expected to clean my car and spend some time at a not-so-local bookstore. Was it worth it? Read more…