12/28/11

Out of Time: The story of a man who forgot about time.

Out of Time - Trailer from Zeke Brizuela on Vimeo.


Check out this trailer of a short film by an up and coming Argentinian film maker named Zeke Brizuela. Looks interesting. Read more about it here.

The subject reminds me a bit of Nuri Bilge Ceylan's film Distant.

"Hunger" - Steve McQueen interview (3/4)

12/25/11

HUNGER - OFFICIAL TRAILER



Great film debut. Best non-musical soundtrack I've heard in a long time.

12/18/11

"SESSION 9" Official Trailer (2001)



Because I am sick of Dan posting this horrible writing advice from this hack writer, I thought I'd post a trailer of a film I streamed last night.

This is an example of a movie that didn't know where to go. On one hand, it is supposed to be a "horror" film (read: scary) and then on the other hand, the film spends a lot of time focusing on the working class characters hired on to clean up an abandoned insane asylum.

Ok, this isn't nec., a bad thing, right? Except for the fact that the movie doesn't have enough character development for it to work on the working-class character level, and then it is not even remotely scary enough to work on the horror level. After watching, I have no idea what this was even about because the ending was left very ambiguous. And while ambiguity is great for a poetic film, it doesn't work for a rote, linear a-b-c plot driven film as this.

I still have no idea what "Session 9" was referring to--there is a case involved but I fail to see how it connects with the men cleaning the building. Did the looney bin "possess" them in some way? Was the guy who became nuts somehow related to it? It tried to offer "twists" to a plot that made little sense.

It is a rarity for me to complain about plot points being unanswered. But if the film fails on the level of depth, character development AND horror, what else is there? This was like the director had one foot on the boat and one on the dock, and neither worked. The ending peters out and I have no idea what the point was. Something tells me neither did the folks who wrote this film.

Resist the Urge to Explain -- Lessons From Silas Marner by George

12/16/11

Who Said What? - Identifying Dialogue Speakers



All of these points means she must hacve very little room to write anything of depth.

The perfect book for her to [pen is HOW NOT TO WRITE WELL.

12/14/11

How to Write an Epilogue That Works - Lessons from How to Buy a Love of ...



The sweeping assumptions this woman makes shows how linear, limited, and trite her mind is.

12/13/11

Hawaii Five 0 Intro



Also watching this: 15-20 seconds in. Jack Lord was a Motherfucker and an Asskicker. Greatest theme credits entry in history. The wobbly camera approach up to the balcony, and Jack- as McGarrett, smoothly and calmly turns around and says, 'Be cool, bitches. I got this by the balls!' What a better way to encapsulate and define a character!

Mission: Impossible Opening Montage 1



Been watching old episodes of this. Great theme song.

Three Places Where You Should Tell Instead of Show - Lessons From Patric...



Even when she recommends writers, they are bad. Just Google.

This woman is actually quite cute, and has a sweet personality. Too bad her ears have a wind tunnel betwixt them.

12/12/11

More Weiland

http://wordplay-kmweiland.blogspot.com/2009/07/making-cliches-work-for-you.html

Read the horror. She has no clue as to what a cliche is, even as she recognizes the need to undo them.

12/11/11

A Hack's Hack

http://www.amazon.com/Behold-Dawn-K-M-Weiland/dp/0978924614/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323634895&sr=1-4#reader_0978924614

Herein the trite opening to a book by K.M. Weiland. It's so trite and larded with cliches, which is expected since her advice is so trite and predictable. Be a hack like me, she says!

Are You Sabotaging Your Own Character?



Again, not a dram of showing, even though KM Weiland repeats the cliche dof showing not telling.

12/10/11

How to Tell if Your Backstory Is Boring - Lessons From The Three Muskete...



I've come to the conclusion that this gal is to writing what a big boobed stripper is to a date. You just wanna tell her to keep her mouth shut.

12/9/11

12/8/11

How Scene and Chapter Length Control Pacing



More bad advice. Short chapters and sentences do not necessarily mean nor imply speed. There are numerous other things it can mean- such as allowing gray in the moment or character, and inviting a reader to imbue more into such.

It's no wonder writing today is so bad when people like this are giving advice.

12/7/11

Help Readers Keep Your Characters Straight



Typical MFA bullshit: obvious, but irrelevant to writers of quality. The 3rd 'helpful hint' is ridiculous.

12/6/11

The 3 Mortal Sins of Fiction



Why does she not 'NAME' Jane Austen? She's been dead a few hundred years.

Plus, of all of Austen's sins of commission, these 3 listed are NOT among them, nor are they problems; unless you are a hack formula writer who does not have the ability to connect with readers in a deeper manner....sort of like Ms. Weiland, perhaps?

12/5/11

The Cure-All for Long and Boring Narrative



This woman would make a terrible teacher. She never demonstrates- put up the text!

12/4/11

Drama vs. Melodrama: Can You Tell the Difference?



This woman is incredibly banal and obvious. She also gives no examples of the things she discusses.

12/2/11

Authors@Google: T.C. Boyle



A hack explaining hackery. Around 28 minutes in, he basically admits he's shallow.

12/1/11

11/26/11

HUNGER - OFFICIAL TRAILER



Wow, this is an impressive film. On streaming and worth the watch. The 1st half has pretty much no dialogue and only images, and then a long dialogue sequence between a prisoner and a priest. I would have to rewatch it to catch everything, but it's not based on the Knut Hamsun novel. If you want something visual, philosophical and existential, this is for you.

Don DeLillo Reads from Mao II

11/24/11

William T. Vollmann Part 1



Another writer who's 'fame' is that he self-marginalizes himself and writes diarrhetically.

11/21/11

American Masters: Woody Allen

I just finished watching the PBS American Masters doc. on Woody Allen, which is available online. (Part 1 as of this writing and Part 2 shortly will follow.) 

While this 3.5 hr doc. is mostly thorough, Part 1 and 2 are almost like different films. (I said almost.) Part 1 is the better half, since it goes into how Allen got involved in film in the first place, and covers his early development as an artist, his relationship with Diane Keaton, etc. Part 2 is more on commercialism and scandal, though it does cover his films with Mia Farrow.

But as for a few things that disappointed me:  all the critics made it seem like Stardust Memories was a "misstep" and a "failure" of grand proportion, though none of them really stated why. Just read Dan's review and see how he disagrees with that. Stardust Memories is one of the greatest films I've ever seen in my life, so to call this masterpiece a "failure" even more than 30 years after the fact made me depressed a little.

The second disappointment is that the doc. didn't even mention Another Woman, which is another one of his greatest films. In fact, if I could rank his three best films overall, they would be Stardust Memories, Another Woman and Crimes and Misdemeanors. One out of those films was mentioned as a failure and the other wasn't even mentioned at all.

Yet why the boner for Matchpoint? Ah, because it made some money and sort of made him "cool" in a way, after various lackluster films like Jade Scorpion, Hollywood Ending and Anything Else. Though the doc. neglected to mention that Allen recycled his own material from Crimes and Misdemeanors, albeit differently. Granted, Matchpoint is a good film, but no Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Perhaps the most ridiculous was when they made it seem like A Mid Summer Night's Sex Comedy was somehow an indication that Allen was back on the "right track" after having "fallen off it" as result of Stardust Memories. Other than being the first film with Mia Farrow, it's just an ok, lite movie.

The doc. is worth the watch, even though I found the critics ill informed and overall ignorant about what makes for a great film. Oh, and for only calling Interiors "heavy." Heavy? That's all they can say about it? What a bunch of Joeys.

Hawaii Five 0 Intro



Jack Lord was one badass motherfucking asskicker! Another great great tv theme song.

11/20/11

Mission: Impossible Opening Montage 1



Terrific show from the 60s. So MUCH better than what passes for drama on TV these days- better writing, better acting and one of the better theme songs in TV history. Up next: Hawaii 5-O.

11/19/11

Dave Eggers TED Prize 4 Minute Talk



Amazing how many hacks win awards like this TED Prize or the MacArthur Genius Grants. So totally out of touch with reality.

11/18/11

Bret Easton Ellis Slams Self-Censorship Among Artists



Interesting that these interviewers never ask any questions that don't kiss ass. Never anything controversial.

11/17/11

Fight Club's Chuck Palahniuk Talks Latest Book, Tell-All'



Another vapid interview: Upchuck ponders why people don't read literature. Does not that, de facto, require that the queried actually write literature?

11/16/11

Walt Whitman: American Experience (Subt. español).



Whitman PBS DOc. online.

Arts: A Conversation With T. C. Boyle - NYTImes.com/Video



Another bad writer who somehow gets praised despite bad dialogue, no characterization, and no depth, plus an over-reliance on cliches.

11/15/11

Joyce Carol Oates - On Writing Characters



It would actually benefit if the speaker could actually practice what she preaches.

11/7/11

David Foster Wallace on Literature



His writing's banality is only rivaled by the utter vacuity of what he speaks.

10/22/11

william buckley threatens to punch chomsky in the face



A clip from a famed debate and interview where Left Wingers claim Buckley threatens to punch Chomsky. But, it is a humorous remark said by Buckley AFTER Chomsky says he might, jokingly, lose his temper.

Overall, Chomsky won the actual debate on facts- something Buckley could not do, and at times Buckley comes off as petty, but in listening to the longwinded Chomsky one can see here, even this early, how easily Chomsky got off on the sound of his own voice and aversion to the specifics directed at him.

9/27/11

The Shape of Things [Neil LaBute · 2003]



Here's the real trailer--the other one was an accident.

THE SHAPE OF THINGS trailer



Very dialogue heavy and about a bitch that takes over a guy's life, in addition to bad art. Definitely worth the watch. On streaming.

The Jimmy Show (2001) - mulligatawny scene

9/26/11

'Le Fils' ('The Son') trailer - Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne



Film I gotta watch in the near future. Roger Ebert raves on it; my wife does not. I'm generally harsher critically than she is. Who will will: Roger vs. Jess?

9/24/11

"Ptolemy Wept" Animated STAR TREK episode, Part 1



Barely recall this as a kid- how wooden, just like the Planet of the Apes cartoon.

9/23/11

Blakes 7 opening



Another cheap British sci fi series from the 70s.

9/19/11

Fοrbiddεח Gamεs (1952) 1/8



I streamed this great little film tonight--it's about children during the war and inventing their own ways to cope with death. I recommend the watch. On Instant of course!

Doctor Who - Clean Tom Baker Opening (1974)



Best sci fi theme song ever.

9/17/11

Private Property



I watched this french film tonight and it was good. It's about a mother who is treated like shit by her sons. It's not over the top, but they are lazy, ungrateful, spoiled brats who are about 30 yrs old and mooch off their parents. She ends up putting aside her own desires because of them. Does an excellent job of showing off the family dynamics via body language.

Doctor Who- Tom Baker Interview



The best of all Dr. Whos- hands down.

9/7/11

Sophia Loren....An Italian Beauty

The Best Years Of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)


I checked this one out tonight, as I've been going through the IMDb 250 recently and watching the ones that I haven't seen. It's an endeavor that's been occasionally very rewarding at times but somewhat unbearable more often, as there are a number of films on that list that barely scratch mediocrity yet are highly lauded. This is one that falls somewhere in the middle.

It's a film that is, in many ways, much better than a lot of the movies made at that time. The acting is naturalistic and subdued, the plotting mostly avoids anything overtly melodramatic, and the writing does a pretty good job of making the situations realistic and believable (not to mention some good cinematography from iconic cinematographer Gregg Toland, of Citizen Kane fame). Aside from the over-the-top musical score, which plays rather loudly over most of the scenes in the movie (though is strangely absent from some, to the movie's benefit), the movie doesn't feel particularly dated, at least not compared to most of the movies of that time.

And yet, I found as the movie went on that the initial surprise of the fairly realistic acting and writing gives way to something of a disappointment, for about an hour or so into this nearly-three-hour feature, you realize that there's not going to be much gazing into the interiors of these characters. The situations are right in terms of the writing, but the characters don't really have a ton of personality to make them or the film truly memorable or to justify why it is we are watching these three returning veterans instead of three others. The lines are right, but there's not that "something more" to the characters. We understand their problems, but we don't truly understand them; like many characters in Production Code Hollywood, the good characters are a little too good even with their blemishes, and the bad characters - like the shallow, money-obsessed but also buxom wife of Dana Andrews' character - are just a little too defined by their own flaws to be believable.

Still, there IS some good stuff in the movie, so I don't want to denigrate it too much. If nothing else, it's recommendable for its place as an interesting depiction of America directly after World War II has ended, and despite its detriments, it has effective moments and scenes throughout. Still, though, it's hard not to be disappointed when you sense in your gut that something could have been truly special, that you could have had something more if things had been done just a little bit differently. Still, watch it; you will enjoy what's there.

9/1/11

Pierrepoint - The Last Hangman



I watched this tonight on streaming and it was good. Recommend it. It even referenced the name of a woman I once did a poem on.

Lovely, Still Movie Trailer Official (HD)



Watched this last night (streaming) with Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn. At 1st you think it's just a movie about two old people trying to connect and romance one another, but as it goes on, you realize there's something deeper going on. A good 1st film from this new director.

Touch of Evil - Apartment Scene

8/26/11

Isn't She Great (Official Trailer) Bette Midler



A funny film I watched on Jacqueline Susann's publication of Valley of the Dolls. The film is tongue and cheek--and it accepts the fact that her book is trash. It also pokes fun at the fact that you don't need to have talent to be famous. This is on NF streaming.

The Steel Helmet

8/22/11

Nobody Knows



I was finally able to stream this other film by Kore-Eda Hirozaku. A very sad film about 4 kids who are abandoned by their mother in a Tokyo apartment, and they're left to fend for themselves.

THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD TRAILER 1951 HOWARD HAWKS

8/21/11

The Fly (1958) - Theatrical Trailer



Watched this classic and it was ok. The thing I don't get is how calmly the woman reacts to the hubby using their cat (and causing it to disappear) in the experiment. For animal lovers that would be grounds for divorce. I guess to them it was "just a cat."

Jean Cocteau

8/17/11

Love and Honor: Trailer



This is the 3rd film I've seen in the Yamada samurai trilogy and this one was good, too. I'd just love to live in a Yamada film, where the good guys always win. He focuses more on characters and their emotions--and you view them more as people. Yet I would rank them as The Twilight Samurai as the best, Love and Honor 2nd and The Hidden Blade 3rd.

His films are tough not to enjoy.

Blue Valentine - Trailer



Overrated but still good film.

8/15/11

Nijushi no hitomi - Twenty-Four Eyes Trailer (1954)



A mediocre tearjerker that beat out Seven Samurai in some film festivals in Japan. Bad screenplay, but otherwise well made; just no story nor realistic character development.

8/14/11

The Hidden Blade (trailer)



This is the 2nd Yoji Yamada film in his Samurai Trilogy, following The Twilight Samurai. Overall, this is a good film but not as good as The Twilight Samurai. It's very entertaining but follows conventional formula, so for that I can't rank it as highly. But it's still worth the watch and a film I enjoyed. His films have humor in them and a warmth but ultimately this is a more likeable film than great film.

Pickpocket, 1959, by Robert Bresson

8/12/11

Gandhi (Richard Attenborough, 1982)


Watched this earlier tonight with my father, as it's one of his favorite movies. I thought it was a good movie, if a bit dry and lacking insight into the man himself, outside of his historical identity. However, as a portrayal OF Gandhi the public figure, it works well and is effective, especially since it avoids beating you over the head with a loud soundtrack or overt melodrama.

8/11/11

8/6/11

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) (excerpt)



Met this kid in the mid-1080s a few times. Total poseur with no talent. Thankfully, he killed himself with drugs, saving the world from decades of art pollution.

8/5/11

Kabei - Official Trailer



This is the 2nd film by Yoji Yamada I streamed and it's another great one. Great characters that have their little quirks and by the end you care for them. Reminded me a lot of 24 Eyes. A must watch! I hope to see more of his films in the future because both this and The Twilight Samurai are great!

Willem de Kooning: abstract expressionist



Not a great painter, but a step above Pollock and Rothko.

8/4/11

The Twilight Samurai Trailer



A terrific film by Yoji Yamada. It's on streaming, along with one other film of his, that I plan to watch this weekend. It has humor, pathos, depth. A Great Japanese Film Master is among us.

Andrew Wyeth

7/30/11

Blue Valentine - Trailer



Not a great film but an excellent one that shows potential for its director to be one of the best in America.

7/24/11

Kagemusha - CRITERION - OFFICIAL TRAILER



Watched this tonight and it is great. Also available on streaming, but shorter version only. Full version is 180 mins. I would love to be a double for a member of royalty. How fun.

Bugs Bunny Nips The Nips.



An infamous but funny cartoon.

7/23/11

“Spider-Man” (1967)



Bakshi also wrote and directed nearly every episode of the second and third seasons of this series. I saw re-runs of this as a kid, and to date, it remains the only good thing Ralph Bakshi has ever done.

細雪(The Makioka Sisters) 1983 Trailer Ichikawa, Kon



I watched this last night, which is based on the Tanizaki novel. While I have not read the novel, this film was just ok. Sort of a lesser Ozu. The music doesn't make sense to me, as it sounds very 80s synthesized in parts. This is not one of Ichikawa's best--Fires on the Plain and Burmese Harp were both much better.

Fritz the Cat monologue



Recall this film from when I was a kid.

7/22/11

“The Lord of the Rings” (1978) by Ralph Bakshi



Never read Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, but I saw this animation as a kid, and I saw Peter Jackson’s live action film trilogy when it came out in the early 2000s. Bakshi’s film is not good, but it’s actually better than Jackson’s bloated pseudo-epics are, because it’s shorter and less pompous. The 1978 film ends at the exact same point that The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers ends, yet it’s a third as long, and tells in one film what Jackson took two films to tell.

I also think this film’s version of Sauron is creepier, and the effects of Frodo wearing the One Ring were much better handled. Hell, Christopher Lee’s Saruman was a much better villain in the live action adaptation. HE should’ve been the main antagonist. Why? Because he’s Christopher fuckin’ Lee! He can make anything cool.

Charlotte's Web (1973) theatrical trailer



Good adaptation of a good kid's book.

7/21/11

The Hobbit (1977) - Part 1



A really dull book that was made passable by this cartoon. I don't have high hopes for the Peter Jackson live version.

7/18/11

tony randall show



This was a very good show that Randall did after The Odd Couple. Too bad it never got a real shot.

7/17/11

Revenge of a Kabuki Actor - A Kon Ichikawa Film



A film I watched tonight. Interesting and good--funny at times. Overall, it had nice scenery--much of it appeared like a stage setting. I plan to request The Makioka Sisters next, since that is based on the Tanizaki novel.

This film was good, though Fires on the Plain and Burmese Harp are better.

The Monkees on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In



A classic 60s show.

7/16/11

70's What's Happening Intro



Fun show but not with the potential of Good Times.

Good Times



Closing theme to one of the more disappointing shows of all time; since it could have been great but failed.

7/15/11

Magnum PI Theme Opening



Never watched this show in its heyday, and only saw it a few years back when I was jobless. Better writing and acting than I'd've thought and Tom Selleck was actually a good actor.

7/10/11

Buffy and Jody's first day of school



Family Affair was a show I liked when really young but haven';t seen in years.

7/7/11

Addams Family TV Show Opening 1964



Objectively a better show than The Munsters, but Fred Gwynne was Peter Griffin before Family Guy, so The Munsters were the show I liked better.

7/5/11

7/3/11

Them! Trailer (1954)



Streamed this tonight. Dan's influence is infecting me. I enjoyed this and thought it was pretty good. The added bits of sexism are funny--like this one scene where this dope of a detective isn't comfortable addressing a woman as "doctor."

"You can call me Pat if it makes you feel more comfortable."

And then anytime they begin speaking in science jargon, he is like, "Hey buddy! Try speakin' English! I'm a dope!"

Maude theme: and then there's Maude



Another good show from the 70s.

7/2/11

SPIDERWALK SCENE FROM THE EXORCIST



This scene was omitted from the original film. I don't see why--it is only yoga.

All In The Family - Judging Books By Covers 1-3



Great episode featuring future General Hospital star Tony Geary who, in real life, is gay.

7/1/11

Running on Empty (1988) Trailer



I streamed this Lumet film last night. A good-solid movie but nothing great. Suffers a little from that '80s cheese factor. I probably enjoyed The Morning After better, but they're on par.

Still my fave Lumets are Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon.

Wonderama with Bob McAllister



Another show from my youth, in the 70s.

6/29/11

“The Simpsons”



OK, this was my absolute favorite show growing up. I said that Batman: The Animated Series was the best kids’ show, but this one is for adults. Granted, the show’s really gone downhill in the 2000s, but in the 1990s, this was by far the best show on television. It’s odd to realize how great and warm and funny they were considering how stale and corporatized they’ve become in recent years. And Bart Simpson is easily the best cartoon character since the Looney Tunes. Others, such as Pinky and the Brain or Stewie Griffin have come close, but none have reached Bart’s heights. He was one of my heroes as a kid. Here’s to you Bart:

Eat my shorts!

“Batman: The Animated Series”



OK, this and Animaniacs are the best Saturday morning cartoons bar none. I mean, X-Men is good, but name me another superhero series that comes close to it. Maybe the 1967 Spider-Man TV series, story-wise, but this show has much better animation. It takes the best elements of the Tim Burton films, whilst omitting Burton’s “quirky” elements. And it also uses the kickass theme Danny Elfman composed for the 1989 film. Strangely enough this show is more adult and took its audience more seriously than the live action series did.

Seriously, what else can compare to Batman and Animaniacs?

“Animaniacs”



Damn is this a terrific show. Maybe not an all-time classic, but if not, it still comes close. Probably nothing else has come closer to the quality of the old Looney Tunes cartoons than this show. My favorite characters here were always Pinky and the Brain. Seriously, those two are every bit as good as Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, etc.

Strangely enough, I don’t think Spielberg’s a very good film director, but the cartoons he served as executive producer on are often very good- most notably this and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Mod Squad intro



Peggy Lipton was hot.

Room 222 Theme song and opening video with Karen Valentine



Paved the way for The White Shadow, Degrassi High and other shows- even Welcome Back, Kotter.

The Odd Couple TV Show Opening Theme Season Two 1970



Was there ever a better sitcom?

Hawaii Five 0 Intro



Jack Lord was an asskicker!

Love American Style TV Show Opening Theme Season One



A hit and miss classic from Friday Nights of mu childhood.